Darwin or Pasteur: Who Deserves a Day?
A Victorian evolutionist and a Victorian creationist get good press, as long as it’s religion-free. Which one actually did more for science?
Live Science reported on Louis Pasteur within days of announcing upcoming celebrations of Darwin Day. Mary Bagley’s bio of Pasteur was fairly straightfordward as far as it goes, but said almost nothing about the great doctor’s faith. In a selection of Pasteur quotes at the end, she did include one anti-materialist quote: “Posterity will one day laugh at the foolishness of modern materialistic philosophers.” None of his quotes about his personal faith in God, and his awe of creation made it into the list (see our biography of Pasteur). Some parents, however, may be relieved to find out that Pasteur was a late bloomer.
In Live Science‘s news story about Rush Holt (Democratic congressman from New Jersey) wanting to formally designate Feb. 12 as Darwin Day, Tanya Lewis called his birthday a “global celebration of Darwin’s life and science.” As for the science, though, Lewis mentioned nothing other than his theory of evolution by natural selection – an idea still disputed by a vocal minority of scientists (even some evolutionists: e.g., 12/28/09), and disbelieved by a substantial majority in the public.
“Charles Darwin represents much more than just a theory of evolution. He represents a way of thinking; a philosophy; a methodology,” Holt said in a statement. “It was his thirst for knowledge, and his scientific approach to discovering new truths that first enabled him to uncover the theory of evolution.“
Lewis did not criticize Holt’s opinion; indeed, she amplified it by treating Darwinian evolution as a discovery, an explanation, and a central dogma:
Darwin’s discovery of evolution by natural selection, detailed in the book “On the Origin of Species” in 1859, explains the biological changes that brought about the diversity of life on Earth, and lies at the heart of modern biology.
Yet Darwin himself did not consider his book an explanatory proof of evolution, but rather one long story of how it might have happened. While Pasteur’s findings are regularly used throughout the world to improve life, Darwin’s actual scientific results, such as his catalogs of barnacles, pigeons and flowers, are rarely noticed today. His name, instead, has become synonymous with evolution and the new “way of thinking; a philosophy” as Holt called it.
Lewis did not explain why Darwin deserves a day of remembrance but Pasteur does not (nor Einstein, Galileo, Newton, or any of the other great scientists). As for whether Darwinian evolution lies at the heart of modern biology, that claim would surely be disputed by some scientists and philosophers. Even so, it’s irrelevant to whether or not it is true.
Darwinism doesn’t lie at the heart of biology. It lies at the rectum (9/27/13 commentary). If he left anything lying at the heart, it was a knife. What has he done for science? Nazism? Communism? Two world wars? Eugenics? Genocide in the name of survival of the fittest? Meaninglessness in the arts? Endless laughable just-so stories? (his “methodology” Holt referred to). Rabid anti-creationism? Dogmatism in the schools? Darwin Day should be a day of mourning as we look out over the millions of graves in his gravy train.
Jerry Bergman has unmasked the scientific follies of this great pretender in his book The Dark Side of Charles Darwin (an eye-opening read). By contrast, Pasteur was well known as honest, dignified, sober-minded, careful, courageous, merciful, and committed to doing all he could for the suffering and the cause of science. He is the man who deserves a day of celebration. He is the one who truly revolutionized biology in the late 19th century with his germ theory of disease, vaccines, and pasteurization process – successes in real laboratory science that have made our lives incomparably better, bringing health and wealth to billions of people. A lover of truth, Pasteur was adamantly against evolution, materialism, and spontaneous generation. He testified that he stood amazed at the wonder of creation, and wished to emulate the faith of a peasant woman. Celebrate Pasteur Day (Dec 27) instead of rollicking with the drunkards on Darwine Day (Feb 12).
The Discovery Institute is celebrating Darwin Day in a new, creative way: announcing “Censor of the Year” (see Evolution News & Views). This is a much more fitting remembrance of the legacy of the Bearded Buddha. While the Darwinbot censors put their own brains in the censer to offer to their idol, user your sense or perish in the fogma of DODO nonsense. Like Pasteur said, “Posterity will one day laugh at the foolishness of modern materialistic philosophers.” Get ahead of the curve and laugh now.