August 5, 2019 | Jerry Bergman

Some Professionally-Safe Darwin Doubters Are Now Speaking Out

When the coast is clear, and their careers are safe, some academics can afford to doubt Darwin publicly.

by Jerry Bergman, PhD

In my experience after teaching at three universities, when discussing Darwinism with colleagues, I have learned there exist many more Darwin skeptics than commonly believed. Most are in the closet for very good reasons (career survival), or at least they decline to publicly speak out about their views opposing Darwinism. The evidence against Darwinism is so great that it seems inevitable a few would speak out about their well-founded doubts about evolution. And some have.

Just this week alone, reports were published about the views of two leading scientists who have spoken out about their Darwin doubts. A leading Yale University Professor, David Gelernter, chief scientist at Mirror Worlds Technologies, a member of the National Council of the Arts, and a prolific author, has publicly renounced his former belief in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. He explains the main reason is because the idea “has been effectively disproven.”[1] He writes that Darwinian evolution once

was a daring guess. Today it is basic to the credo that defines the modern worldview. Accepting the theory as settled truth—no more subject to debate than the earth being round or the sky blue or force being mass times acceleration—certifies that you are devoutly orthodox in your scientific views; which in turn is an essential first step towards being taken seriously in any part of modern intellectual life. But what if Darwin was wrong?[2]

Yes, he asks, what if Darwin’s theory was wrong?

Like so many others, I grew up with Darwin’s theory, and had always believed it was true. I had heard doubts over the years from well-informed, sometimes brilliant people, but I had my hands full [of work] … in recent years, reading and discussion have shut that road down for good.

Professor Gelernter first summarizes what evolution proposes and then explains why this irrational magical thinking does not work, writing

Charles Darwin explained monumental change [in life] by making one basic assumption—all life-forms descend from a common ancestor—and adding two simple processes anyone can understand: random, heritable variation and natural selection. Out of these simple ingredients, conceived to be operating blindly over hundreds of millions of years, he conjured up change that seems like the deliberate unfolding of a grand plan, designed and carried out with superhuman genius. Could nature really have pulled out of its hat the invention of life, of increasingly sophisticated life-forms and, ultimately, the unique-in-the-cosmos (so far as we know) human mind—given no strategy but trial and error? The mindless accumulation of small changes? It is an astounding idea.[3]

And also astonishingly wrong, he adds. Yale Professor David Gelernter then explains why Darwin was wrong:

Darwin successfully explained the small adjustments by which an organism adapts to local circumstances: changes to fur density or wing style or beak shape. Yet there are many reasons to doubt whether he can answer the hard questions and explain the big picture—not the fine-tuning of existing species but the emergence of new ones. The origin of species is exactly what Darwin cannot explain.[4]

The overwhelming irrefutable evidence against Darwinism is not met by a rational refutation because it cannot be due to the real fear of retaliation from diehard Darwinists. Professor Gelernter explains diehard Darwinists,

have shown themselves willing to use any argument—fair or not, true or not, ad hominem or not—to keep this dangerous idea locked in a box forever. They remind us of the extent to which Darwinism is no longer just a scientific theory but the basis of a worldview, and an emergency replacement religion for the many troubled souls who need one.[5]

My Experience Confirms David Gelernter’s Observations

In my career as a professor I have often seen this Darwinism idea used as a worldview, and an emergency replacement religion. Let me give one example. The husband of a colleague I taught with was working on his doctorate in zoology. His PhD thesis was on the behavior of snakes. At this time I happened to be working on a review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature on snake evolution. My article was eventually published.[6] Since he had to do a great deal of reading on snakes for his PhD thesis, I gave a copy to my colleague to give to her husband, hoping for some good feedback from someone who I knew disagreed with me. I reasoned that he was the perfect person to review my study to insure I covered the literature fairly and did not ignore any studies of snake evolution. I never heard from him about my article, but I did receive an e-mail, which said,

I want to ask you something that’s been on my mind for a while. Cindy [his wife and my colleague] often brings home articles that you write and I wonder how someone as educated in the sciences as you does not believe in evolution (macroevolution; Speciation)? I think you believe in microevolution. [from his use of the term he is correct] So can you not extrapolate from those small changes occurring over long periods of time to consider speciation? Am I missing something? If you don’t believe in speciation, then what is your alternative explanation and support for the diversity of life? Spiro Mavroidis, Associate Professor of Biology.[7]

His Reasons for Rejecting Macroevolution

The esteemed Yale professor, David Gelernter, summarized the many reasons why I cannot accept macroevolution. The reasons why I, as well as Professor Gelernter, cannot accept what Spiro calls macroevolution were recently accurately stated by Professor Michael Behe in his third book, Darwin Devolves (2019). In short, Behe realized that, as a biochemist, the complex molecular foundation of life was elegantly designed and that an unintelligent, undirected process based on mutations cannot account for the origin and design of life.[8] The main reason is the fact that, rather than building life, “mutation easily breaks or degrades genes, which, counterintuitively, can sometimes help an organism to survive, so the damaged genes are hastily spread by natural selection.”[9] In short, “Darwinian evolution proceeds mainly by ‘damaging’ or ‘breaking’ genes, which, counterintuitively, sometimes helps survival.”[10] Thus, “Darwin’s mechanism works chiefly by squandering genetic information for short-term gain.”[11]

Behe carefully documents the fact that most mutations are either neutral or harmful. Although some mutations can produce an advantage in certain restricted environments, over 99 percent of mutations are near neutral, deleterious (very harmful), or lethal. ‘Near neutral’ means the mutations only cause slight damage, but the slight damage adds up in time, eventually causing genetic catastrophe, i.e., death. Each child has about 100 new mutations compared to his or her parents, and this child’s children are burdened with close to an additional 100 new mutations. Thus, according to the research, the mutation number in humans is accumulating, eventually leading to a mutational meltdown and species extinction.

The same mutational events in human somatic cells are a major cause of aging. Thus, entire species age, as also do all life-forms. Aging of species from dogs to humans will eventually cause their extinction. The view that mutations are our creator, not God, is the view that most leading scientists favor. It is a worldview that concludes humans, and all life, are the result of billions of genetic damages caused by carcinogens and other poisons, not an intelligent creator. This view is not only irresponsible, but contrary to observable fact as both Behe and David Gelernter document.

Witness to Intolerance

Dr. Gelernter says he still enjoys the friendship of many of his Yale colleagues, but when he looks at “their intellectual behavior, what they have published — and much more importantly what they tell their students — Darwinism has indeed passed beyond a scientific argument as far as they are concerned. You take your life in your hands to challenge it intellectually. They will destroy you if you challenge it.”[12] That certainly has been my experience.

Gelernter added, “what I have seen in their behavior intellectually and at colleges across the West is nothing approaching free speech on this topic. It’s a bitter, fundamental, angry, outraged rejection [of intelligent design], which comes nowhere near scientific or intellectual discussion. I’ve seen that happen again and again.” The reason why is Gelernter is “attacking their religion [Darwinism] and I don’t blame them for being all head up, it is a big issue for them.” Asked how the field of biology moves beyond Darwin, Gelernter admitted the outlook is bleak: “Religion is imparted, more than anything else, by the parents to the children. And young people are brought up as little Darwinists. Kids I see running around New Haven are all Darwinists. … The students in my class, they’re all Darwinists. I am not hopeful.”[13] Gelernter added that “this is one of the most important intellectual issues of modern times, and every thinking person has the right and duty to judge for himself” its validity.[14]

Following the Evidence

Gelernter thinks that Darwin’s main problem lies within molecular biology. Advances in technology have uncovered vast amounts of information

about the complexity of life, all of which has shown random mutation plus natural selection cannot generate new and complex creatures. The idea that random chance and mutations are the driving force behind the vast complexity of life — even with billions of years of time — is not just scientifically improbable, it’s an impossibility.[15]

David Gelernter is not the only voice in academia with the message that Darwinism does not explain everything. University of Oklahoma physics professor Dr. Michael Strauss studies subatomic particles at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN laboratory in Switzerland.[16] He also is smashing the notion that all scientists believe the universe was created by some sort of cosmic accident.[17] For the last 15 years, Strauss has presented a lecture titled “Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God” to students and peers at universities, including at Stanford, UT Dallas, and UC Santa Barbara.

In this lecture he explains that observable and testable scientific evidence points to a “designer who cares about humanity.” Strauss notes the scientific evidence for the existence of God is clear from studying the specific design of the universe for life, a view called the “Rare Earth hypothesis.”[18] Strauss adds, historically, all scientists believed in God, and it was only within the last 200 years or so, that science has accepted the belief, based on Darwin, that there exists no intelligent creator.[19]

Hear David Gelernter describe his change from Darwinist to Darwin skeptic in an interview by Peter Robinson along with Stephen Meyer and David Berlinski at Evolution News, 22 July 2019.

References

[1] Kabbany, Jennifer. 2019. “Famed Yale Computer Science Professor Quits Believing Darwin’s Theories,” The College Fix. July 30.
[2] Gelernter, David. 2019. “Giving up Darwin.” Claremont Review of Books, 19(2):104-109.  Spring, p. 104.
[3] Gelernter, 2019, p. 104.
[4] Gelernter, 2019, p. 104.
[5] Gelernter, 2019, p. 105.
[6] Bergman, Jerry. 2009. “Evidence for the Lack of Snake Evolution.” CRSQ, 45(4): 258-268.Spring 2009; See also Bergman, Jerry. 2017. Fossil Forensics: Separating Fact from Fantasy in Paleontology. Tulsa, OK: Bartlett Publishing.
[7] E-mail from Spiro Mavroidis dated October 22, 2008 to Dr. Jerry Bergman.
[8] Behe, Michael. 2019. Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA that Challenges Evolution. New York, NY: HarperOne, p. 9.
[9] Behe, 2019, p. 10.
[10] Behe, 2019, p. 46.
[11] Behe,. 2019, p.  48.
[12] Kabbany, 2019. Emphasis added.
[13] All quotes from Kabbany, 2019.
[14] Gelernter, David. “Giving up Darwin.” Claremont Review of Books. 19(2):105.  Spring 2019.
[15] All Gelernter quotes from https://www.thecollegefix.com/famed-yale-computer-science-professor-quits-believing-darwins-theories/
[16] https://www.nhn.ou.edu/people/strauss.
[17] Reed, Michelle. 2014. “Physics Professor Tells Students Scientific Evidence Points to a ‘Designer,’ ” October 20. https://www.thecollegefix.com/physics-professor-tells-students-scientific-evidence-points-to-a-designer/
[18]Ward, Peter and Donald Brownlee. 2003. Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag.
[19] Reed, 2014.


Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology at several colleges and universities including for over 40 years at Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored, are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 40 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.

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Comments

  • webweb says:

    I just shared this article on my facebook page “The Clarion Call to Reformation”. May God use it to awaken some of the false teachers in our seminaries and pulpits is my prayer. True science rejects evolution. As a pastor I have always made it clear to our youth we are not against science we support and love TRUE SCIENCE. Thank you for this article

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