The Dubious Defense of Darwinism
March 3rd, 1957 @ 8:15 AM
THE DUBIOUS DEFENSES OF DARWINISM
Dr. W. A. Criswell
Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7
3-3-57 8:15 a.m.
These are the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. This is the pastor bringing the 8:15 o’clock morning sermon on the creation of man. For these last several Sundays, we have been preaching on the first chapter of Genesis – the creation account of our world – and we have come to the twenty-sixth verse, Genesis 1:26:
And God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.
And in Genesis 2:7: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
This is the record of the Genesis account of the creation of man. And it has been our thesis in these last several Sundays that all of the facts of biology, of embryology, of paleontology, fossilology, of anthropology, that all of the facts support this special creation of man. It has been our thesis that there is no known discoverable, demonstrable fact that denies this special creation by the hand of God.
Now, this morning, we turn our attention to Darwinism – the theories of Darwin [Charles Darwin, 1809-1882]. And the title of the address is The Dubious Defenses of Darwinism. The evolutionist, the materialist, faces a staggering and colossal problem. This little speck of life that he says evolved out of inanimate matter, all of which itself evolved out of nothing, and which, finally, evolved into man – he faces a staggering problem in demonstrating such a hypothesis. In fact, it is so staggering, that when he seeks to give an answer of demonstration, there are as many theories, hypotheses, of the evolutionary process as there are evolutionists themselves. The only thing they agree on is this: that God had nothing to do with the evolutionary process, but it blindly, fortuitously, accidentally evolved of itself.
Now, the predecessor of Charles Darwin was the French scientist Lamarck [Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, 1744-1829]. He noticed all of the different varieties, shapes, and sizes, and color among the progeny of the parents of the different forms of life; and he concluded that environment changed these offspring, and these "acquired characteristics" the offspring bequeathed to their progeny. And so, gradually and finally, new species developed.
As late as 1900, biologists believed that acquired characteristics – that is, something that a parent acquired in its lifetime from its environment – I say, as late as 1900, many biologists believed that acquired characteristics were inheritable. Take a little dog, cut off its tail, and then its puppies wouldn’t have any tails. That would be a demonstration of acquired characteristics.
Now, of course, we know that such a hypothesis is unthinkable. Acquired characteristics are not inheritable. If you cut off your hand, your child will be born with two hands just the same. Whatever happens to you, the child’s inheritance does not come from any acquired characteristic that you may have acquired. But the inheritance of the child is contained in the genes on the chromosomes when the little sperm and the little egg were united, and it is therein forever sealed.
So Charles Darwin followed Lamarck, and he did so with this remark. He said, "May heaven forfend me from Lamarck’s nonsense." He started out on an altogether different plane from an altogether different basis. He believed that all of the forms of life, which culminated in man, evolved from one primordial beginning. For example, here is a quotation from Charles Darwin.
Our most ancient progenitors in the kingdom of the Vertebrata, at which we are able to obtain an obscure glance, apparently consisted of a group of marine animals, resembling the larvae of the existing Ascidians –
little worms in the water.
[The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, by Charles Darwin, 1871]
Then he suggests a line of ascent from those little worms to the monkey and, finally, to the man.
Now, as Charles Darwin worked out his theories of evolution, how that ascent of man came about, he hit upon two great laws. First, he said, it came about by the operation of the law of natural selection or the survival of the fittest. And second, it came about through the operation of the law of sexual selection.
So, this morning, to begin with, we’re going to look at those two great Darwinian laws of evolution: first, the natural law of selection – the law of the survival of the fittest. Darwin noticed two things as he looked over the forms of life in the world. First, he noticed that the offspring of parents differ among themselves from the parents. Sometimes they differ in size, sometimes they differ in colors, sometimes they differ in shape, but there are differences among the offspring of a common parent. He noticed that. By that, of course, you’d mean that the little kittens might have different colors from the parents. The little puppies might be different colored from the parents, on and on and on. That you see everywhere. He noticed those varieties in the offspring as contrasted to the parents. That’s the first thing he noticed.
The second thing he noticed was this: that there was a struggle for existence in the myriads of progeny that are born into the world. Not all of the acorns grew up into trees; not all of the eggs of the fish ever grow up into a fish. There are a great many more acorns, a great many more eggs, than ever actually develop into mature parents. So he concluded that there was a great struggle for existence among the many of the progeny that are born into this world.
Now, from those two observations, he deduced this first law: that the fittest survive. That by the accumulation, through the ages and the ages of small, minute modifications, new organs developed and new species came into being. Those that were not advantageous, little modifications that were injurious, were rigidly rejected deeming unfit to survive. And only those survived who were strongest and fittest, and the rest died – perished.
Now, the basis of that, when you begin to apply it, is this: that the new organs and the new species gradually evolved through an accumulation of slight modifications. Those little differences when the progeny are born – the accumulation of those slight modifications – gradually developed into the new organs and into the new species.
Now that seems learned and smart when you look at it as long as it is vague. As long as it is theoretical, it seems to be a keen insight. But when you begin to apply it to the actual development of a new organ, it is an astonishing hypothesis in its application. When you begin to explain the development of an eye – for you see, there was a time, according to their theory, when there were not any eyes; when you apply it to development of a heart, there was a time when there were not any hearts; when you begin to apply it to the development of the ear, and there was a time when there were no ears; when you begin to apply it to the development of a leg or a lung, and there was a time when there were no lungs and no legs – when you begin to apply that hypothesis to the actual development of the organs, I say it becomes an astonishing thing.
For example, let’s take the eye. There was a time, of course, according to the evolutionist, when there were no eyes because we all began with a little tiny, primordial, speck of protoplasm that gradually evolved into you. All right, where did that eye come from? Well, according to the evolutionist, it came like this. Upon the body of the little creature, way back there, there was a little pimple, or a little freckle, or a little pigment in the skin, and when the light shined on the little critter, why, it was a little more sensitive there where the little pimple, or the little freckle, or the pigment was on the skin. So the little creature turned that little freckle to the sunlight, and as the waves of the light beat upon that freckle through millions and millions and uncounted millions of years – as the waves of light played upon that little freckle, it gradually, being irritated, developed there a sensitive spot. And that sensitive spot, through the centuries, gradually developed a nerve, and that nerve gradually turned into an eye, and that’s where your eye came from.
Well, when you look at a thing like that, how in the world did that one little pimple, or that one little freckle, or that one little pigment, stay in that place through millions and millions and uncounted millions of years while that eye was developing? And, according to the theory, there had to be another little pimple, and another little freckle, and another little pigment in the skin because you got two eyes and not one. And isn’t it a remarkable thing that they happened to be in the right place? One of them not on the bottom of your foot and the other one on the top of your head, but they happened to be just located right. And isn’t it an unusual thing that there happened to be two? As those waves of light played on the freckles, why didn’t those eyes develop all over the body? And isn’t it a marvelous thing that it quit developing? You don’t see it anymore. Why don’t you see eyes in the process of developing now?
I say the theory is an astonishing thing when you apply it to the development of any organ of the body. Aren’t you glad that when the light waves played on another little freckle that turned into an ear, aren’t you glad that they were placed just right and not catty-cornered and not just anywhere over your body? Wasn’t that a fortunate thing? That’s the evolutionist. That’s how these organs developed – through the accumulation of those small, minute modifications over a period of millions and millions of years.
Where did your leg come from? "Well," says the evolutionist, there was a time, of course, when there were not any legs. And way back yonder, in the days when there were not any legs, there was a little critter back there that had a little wart on him. And as the little critter went along, he found out by leaning on that wart and shoving with that little wart that he could move just a little better. It aided in the process of locomotion. So he came to depend upon that little wart as he moved himself along. And, by and by, through the uncounted millions of years, that little wart turned into a leg. And isn’t it fortunate there was another little wart in the right place? And it turned into a leg.
And when I read all that stuff, I thought, "Man, I believe we’ve been evolving in the wrong direction. A man just got two legs. Keep on evolving. There are other animals that have four legs, and, I presume, keep on developing. I know an animal that they say has got a hundred legs. Looks like we going in the wrong direction." I say it’s an astounding thing when it is applied to the development of the organs.
Did you know, if you had anything as idiotic as that in the Bible, it would be scoffed at endlessly? It would be laughed at forever. And yet, these are the truths – these are the facts of so-called scientific evolution. I say it insults the intelligence of any ordinary man.
Now, Darwin had access to one other appeal in bolstering that theory of the accumulation of the minute advantages that finally developed into these organs and into these species. He appealed to geological time. He said, now, these things could not come to pass in a few years or in a few million years, but they developed over ages and ages. For example, in one of Charles Darwin’s computations, he came to the astonishing conclusion that 306,662,400 years was a mere trifle in the evolutionary process – 306 million years [On the Origin of the Species, by Charles Darwin, first edition, 1859].
You listen to me. There’s not any schoolboy but that knows in these vast ages of the past, this world, this earth, this planet has changed in its surface and in its climate many, many times. Darwin has to assume that this world was in its present condition for millions and millions of years – uncounted millions of years – for the evolutionary process to develop. And I say any schoolboy knows that this world has not been in its present condition – favorable to the life that you now see – for anything like that period of time.
And a second thing about it: I would think that all biologists now are persuaded that the period of life on this world is not nearly as long as one time these men thought it was. Life just hasn’t been here on this planet nearly as long as these vast geological ages, deemed necessary by Darwin, would call for.
Now, another thing about that theory of the natural selection of the survival of the fittest: the law in itself, as stated by Darwin, is contradictory. This is Darwin’s law as he states it himself.
This preservation of favorable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection or the Survival of the Fittest. Any variation in the least degree injurious would be rigidly destroyed.
[On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, 1859]
Now, that’s Darwin’s own words, as I copied them, as he pronounces this law. Now, I say, there is a violent contradiction in the law itself. First, he says that all of these organs and all of these species were developed by the gradual accumulation of favorable, minute, advantageous modifications. Then, he says in the next sentence that any modification that was injurious, that was not usable, would be rigidly rejected.
Now, these organs are useless until they are complete. If useless, then, until they are complete, the law of natural selection would immediately and rigidly reject them as being deemed unfit to survive. So how did they develop? How could they?
Now, let me apply it and you can see it more easily. Let’s take a spider. In the posterior region of a spider are highly specialized organs for the spinning of a web, and he spins the web in order to gain food to eat that he might live. Now, in the millions and millions and millions of years that it took for those modifications back there in the posterior region of the spider to develop into those highly specialized organs so he could spin a web, so he could catch his food and eat – why didn’t he starve to death in those millions of years while those organs were developing so he could spin his web? Now, if he ate some other way – and he had to eat some other way – then those little incipient modifications in the posterior region that finally developed into spinning organs, they would have been rigidly rejected. They would – those little modifications would have been deemed unfit to live. There’d be no point in their development. He was already eating some other way, so they would never have come to pass.
Let’s take it again applying it to mammary glands, the breasts, of mammals which they say are the highest in the order of the evolutionary process. The mammary glands are the means by which the mammals feed their young. They produce milk. In the millions and millions and millions of years while those mammary glands were developing, how is it that the young were fed? Why didn’t they starve to death?
Now, if the young were fed some other way, how is it that those mammary glands developed because they were useless until millions and millions of years hence until they were mature? And in those years that they were developing, those modifications would have been useless. And according to Darwin’s own law, any variation that was useless would be rigidly destroyed. So how did the mammary gland ever get there in order for the mammal to give milk to its young?
Or let’s take the sexual organs: the sexual organs had to develop simultaneously and parallel in the male and in the female. So while they were developing through millions and millions of years in the male and while they were developing millions and millions of years in the female, they were useless until they were complete and could complement each other millions and millions and millions of years hence when they were fully developed. Now, in those millions and millions of years while those modifications were being developed, any variation in the least degree useless would have been rigidly destroyed. How did they ever finally develop because in their incipient stage, half-developed, they were useless?
I say that the law has in it a violent and inexplicable contradiction, and when actually you apply it to the development of a new organ or to the development of a new species, you come into an absolute, impossible vacuum.
I cannot help but agree with Professor Lock [Robert Heath Lock, 1879-1915] of Cambridge who said, "Selection, whether natural or artificial, can have no power in creating anything new" [Recent Progress in the Study of Variation, Heredity, and Evolution by Robert Heath Lock, 1911]. And Hugo de Vries [1848-1935] declared, "Natural selection may explain the survival of the fittest, but it cannot explain the arrival of the fittest" ["Artificial and Natural Selection," in Species and Varieties: Their Origin by Mutation, lectures delivered by Hugo de Vries at the University of California,1904]. And Professor Coulter, of the University of Chicago, said, "The most fundamental objection to the theory of natural selection is that it cannot originate character. It only selects among characters already existing" [Fundamentals of Plant Breeding by John Merle Coulter, 1914 pg. 34] – end quote, Q.E.D., and that’s that! And yet, that is the great basic law of evolution. And, I say, when you apply it and look at it, it is a ridiculous thing and almost unintelligible.
Now, Darwin had one other access. He found that he could not, by any means, explain all of the phenomena of the forms of life by his first law – that of natural selection through the survival of the fittest. He found that there are some things, some characteristics, for example, of man that could only be explained by the play of conscious choice. So he promulgated his second law, namely, his law of "sexual selection" – that things came to pass and developed because of conscious choice – sexual selection in the part of the parents as they mated.
Now, he applied that to two things among others. First, in Darwin’s day, it was the accepted theory that a man’s mind was superior to a woman’s mind – that male intelligence was finer and stronger than a woman’s intelligence. Now in Darwin’s day, they believed that. So Darwin had to explain that.
Now the second thing that Darwin is going to explain by this principle of sexual selection is this. It was true in Darwin’s day, it was true from the beginning of man, and it’s true today, that a man is born a hairless, uncovered animal. Now, to what advantage was it for the man who evolved from a heavily-covered anthropoid, to what advantage was it for the man as he evolved – and remember, Darwin’s law is all of these things that come by evolution came because of the survival of the fittest. The thing was an advantage for it to develop that way. How was it an advantage for a man who – who according to the evolutionist – developed from an anthropoid that was heavily coated with hair, how was it an advantage for him that he evolve naked without covering? He is the only animal in the world that has no covering. He has to make one for himself. Every other animal in this creation, God gives him a covering but not to the man. Well, how was that an advantage?
So Darwin explains that by sexual selection. Now, let’s look at it as Darwin does it. First, he explains the superiority of the male mind – now, I say, the supposed superiority. He is going to explain the supposed superiority of the male mind over the female by sexual selection – that is, that the males struggle for the females, and, therefore, in the struggle they develop a superior mind to the females, and that’s why the man has superior mental intelligence to the woman. All right, now, that’s Darwin’s explanation of that.
His explanation of why the man is hairless is this: that the women preferred anthropoids – the females preferred anthropoids with less hair. Consequently, they bred the hair off of the men. Now, when you read that, you go in circles. He has just said that the mental superiority of the man came about because of the man’s choice of the female. Then in the next page, he says the reason the man is naked is because of the female’s choice of the male to have less hair.
Well, when you get to looking at it, you think, "What in the world? What have I got into?" So the only thing that we could think of as we looked at that was this: that maybe Darwin meant that three years, the men chose the women and therefore developed a superior intelligence, and, on leap year, the woman chose the men and bred the hair off of them. That’s the only way I can figure it out. You think it’s all right. Mr. Souther says that’s a logical supposition.
My observation about that would be this: I don’t believe that females then would be any different from females now. They would differ in their tastes, don’t you think? Some of them would like a great big anthropoid brute with big sleek, heavy coats of hair all over him, and others would like it a little less heavy and thick.
Listen to me. I read an article out of Hollywood where one of those actresses out there was telling why that she appreciated certain heroes. And one hero she liked, she said, because of his smile, and another she said she liked because of his size, and another because of his voice, and on and on. And one of those heroes, one of those screen stars, she especially liked, she said, because of the hair on his chest. I read that in the magazine, the national magazine. They differ, I say.
Now, when Darwin published a later edition of his Descent of Man [first published in 1871], where he speaks of all these things, he fortifies that theory that the reason the man was born a hairless animal was because of the female choice – they liked him with less hair – he fortifies that theory with this. He says it has been reported to him, Charles Darwin, that there was a mandrill – that’s another name for a ferocious West African baboon – that it has been reported to Charles Darwin that there is a mandrill, a baboon, that is proud of a bare spot on his body. Now, that’s his proof for this supposition that way back yonder the females took the hair off of the males by choosing men who had less hair.
I repeat. If such inanity, if such silliness, if such ridiculousness were in the Bible, you’d laugh it to scorn. But this is the science! These are the "facts" of evolution.
Let me tell you something. If there is any one thing true about sexual selection, it is this: it doesn’t evolve upward; it inevitably degenerates. That’s true everywhere.
Listen to me. In this animal world, from rabbits to elephants, they are blinded by jealousy. They are crazed by heat. And like the Jukes family, they drop their young by the highway. By careful intelligent selection, by breeding upward the fine points, we finally produce wonderful strains in botany and in zoology. But when the man tires and quits, the dog turns to a mongrel. The cat turns to a vagabond. The potatoes are too small to dig. The horses are too wild and scrawny to catch and to break. The beef cattle turn to ribs and to horns. When the string breaks, the kite falls. It is not evolution upward – this thing of sexual selection, promiscuity – it is degeneration downward, and there’s no exception to that in the facts of biology.
Now, in just this little minute of time for a host of things more, may I say this? In our contemporary, modern day there has been one other tremendous effort to bolster up the sagging fortunes of Darwinian evolution, and it is this. They have just about admitted that it is hard to demonstrate the evolution of organs and the evolution of species through the accumulation of minute variations and modifications. So they hit upon the idea that maybe they did not evolve just gradually through the countless ages – for one thing, you don’t have those ages in which for them to evolve – but that they came suddenly with a rush of mutations.
And in order to demonstrate that, they took the common banana fly, the fruit fly, drosophila. That’s the great instrument of the experimental work of the geneticist. They took drosophila, they took the fruit fly, and they begin working on him. And they found out that by exposing a parent drosophila, a parent fruit fly – by exposing him to the gamma rays of some kind of radioactive material, that mutation – that is, change, variation – was speeded up 150 times.
So for over forty years now, they have been breeding those banana flies, and they have been subjecting them to those gamma rays that have increased mutants 150 times. They have been doing that, I say, for over forty years breeding those flies. They have been doing it for over a thousand generations. If you translate that into human evolution, that would be millions and millions of years of human evolution – over a thousand generations multiplied 150 times. In that period of time, according to the evolutionist, you had all kinds of anthropoids produced, all kinds of apes produced, all kinds of ape-men produced, and you had the man produced.
All right, now let’s transfer it back into drosophila. What has happened in the corresponding evolutionary span of drosophila? Over these forty years, over a thousand generations, breeding them under those gamma rays – the infra and the ultra, every way they know how to change and to mutate those genes – what has the answer been? Has it turned into a bumble bee? Has it turned into a June bug?
I had a friend who was doing his doctor’s degree in biology, in genetics, at the University of Texas; and he lived with those flies. I don’t care where he went, he had those flies with him. I don’t care what he was doing, he had those flies with him. Right in the middle of something we were doing, he’d have to go over there and see about those flies. He never got away from those flies. That was a part of his project at the University of Texas as he subjected them to all of those rays and then as he bred them and watched them.
Well, what’s been the result? Because of those mutations, because of those rays, because of those different breedings, they’ve got drosophila with red eyes. They’ve got drosophila with black eyes. They got drosophila with little stunted wings. They got him with big wings. They got drosophila himself big; they got drosophila himself smaller. They got all kinds of drosophila. And they breed them back and forth and change them and up and down and again and again. But after a thousand generations, and after over forty years, and after mutants under those gamma rays a 150 times multiplied, he is still the same drosophila that the geneticist started with long time ago. You don’t change him. That’s according to the fixed law of God [Genesis 1:24].
This ends these discourses. Next Sunday morning, I’m speaking on the marvelous mystery of the human body. Then they’re all going to be published in a book including the one next Sunday morning.
I want to conclude with this. My dear friends, evolution – the speculation of materialistic evolution – is not a new thing. It is as old as the human race itself. Back yonder, in the beginning, when men began to think and to write and to turn away from God, they began to speculate on this thing of evolution. But physical instruments can never reach into great spiritual realities. Physical science can never penetrate into the origin of anything. It can only observe things that are passing before its review.
Back yonder, in the dim ages of the past, the Egyptians, the Hindu, the Polynesian had his theories of evolution. They believed that there was a primordial egg out of which things were born and out of which things evolved. The only thing is the Polynesian had to have a bird to lay the egg and the Egyptian and Hindu had to have a deity to create the egg. But out of it, there evolved all of these forms of life. And the ancient Greeks, when they begin to philosophize, philosophized on that very thing – the evolution of life. It’s an old, old speculation. It’s an old, old doctrine. It is nothing modern and nothing new.
Those ancient Greek philosophers – doubtless from the Hindus as they listened to their doctrine of the transmigration of the soul from animal to animal, and, finally, up man, and finally, in perfection, to Nirvana, they must have gleaned from that their ideas of the evolving forms of life. Thales of Miletus, born 624 BC, thought that everything evolved out of water. Anaximander [c. 610-546 BCE] thought that everything came from a great infinity – kind of like Huxley’s idea [Thomas Henry Huxley, 1825-1895] – that gradually evolved itself into a pristine mud out of which everything else evolved. Anaximenes [Anaximenes of Miletus, 585-528 BCE] felt that air was the mother of all things. Heraclitus [Heraclitus of Ephesus, 535-475 BCE] felt that only the soul of a man could have come out of a thing pure like fire. Empedicles [5-435 BCE] believed in spontaneous generation and had a rough form of Darwin’s idea of the survival of the fittest. Aristotle [384-322 BCE] believed that the moist mother earth spontaneously gave birth to vermin, and mice, and worms, and dogs, and all the lower forms of life.
All of these speculations were summed up in a tremendous poem written just before the Christian era by the Roman Epicurean poet Lucretius [Titus Lucretius Carus, c. 99-55 BCE], entitled De Rerum Natura, "The Nature of Things." In that, he has the atomic theory about as we have it today, and he says in the many multiplied motions of the those atoms, there gradually formed the forms and processes of life such as you see today.
Modern speculation has added nothing new to the ancients. They said it all back there in the thousands of years ago. It is a mystery the birth of any human soul – you, you, or your friend. And how we were made and how God created us is a mystery in the great hands of God Himself, and any learned man in this earth knows that evolution is sheer speculation.
The great scientist Dr. Rudolph Virchow [Rudolph Ludwig Carl Virchow, 1821-1902], Berlin University, pled with his fellow scientists not to teach the theories of evolution as a fact because, he said, they are insupportable and not capable of demonstration. And any intelligent, learned man knows that. But in the process of time and in the struggle that has ensued, somebody lighted the fire and the conflagration began like Titus [Roman Emperor Titus, 39-81 CE] who gave orders not to burn the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD but a Roman soldier threw a lighted torch through a small window and the thing was on fire and it turned to dust and ashes. And that is what has happened to the academic world of our generation. Through this materialistic philosophy, we have a dead, ashen faith in God that has destroyed the hope of myriads. May the Lord give us learning, and wisdom, and intelligence as we read. Look in the Book! Look in the Book of life; look in the Book of nature; and see there the moving of the marvelous, creative hand of God.
Now, Mr. Souther, let us stand and sing our hymn, and while we sing the hymn, the first stanza, somebody you, to give his heart and faith to the Lord Jesus, somebody you to come into the fellowship of the church: while we sing this song, you come and stand by me.