Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Why Darwin's Origin of Species May Need to Be Banned in Public Schools

Can you imagine what might happen to a public school teacher who read this concluding passage from Darwin's Origin of Species to a class of students? Especially if it seemed that the teacher agreed with Darwin? The grandeur of life with powers breathed by WHO? Oh my. That's pretty much what some devout Christians with scientific training believe. Here's a book that needs to be banned to protect our children from being tainted with "unscientific" beliefs.

You can see this at Amazon.com for The Origin of Species, Revised Edition, edited by Philip Appleman. Use the "Search Inside" feature and search for "there is a grandeur".

32 comments:

S.Faux said...

The two most misunderstood books in the world, IMO, are the Bible and The Origin of Species.

Since the purpose of Education is to educate, maybe these two books should be taught more often, not less.

Russtafarian said...

While Darwin was hardly a religious adherent, his agnosticism was not borne of his evolutionary views. They traced back to the old worn out chestnuts, only his came in the form: "I cannot believe in a God who would allow parasites to live" etc.

Yet he held a place in his heart for SOME higher power...

"Man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system- with all these exalted powers- Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin."

Jeff G said...

Your absolutely right, this book should not be used as a text in an origins of life/universe class. But then, nobody claims it should be either.

Bookslinger said...

Jeff G: You've got to be kidding. Darwin's theories are the essential key ingredients to the overall scheme proposed by the big-bang/evolution movement.

I'll use this as another opportunity to put forth my beliefs:

I believe that this is a recycled planet; that "the beginning" spoken of in Genesis 1:1 is merely the beginning of our turn on this planet, and not an absolute beginning, neither for God nor for the planet.

I believe that the fossil record was laid down during one or more previous creations that used this ball of mud; that those creations were wiped out; and that this ball of mud was "essentially" "without form, and void" when a new creation was again laid out on this globe in preparation for Adam and Eve and their posterity to inhabit.

If God doesn't want to inform us of his previous creations which used this ball of mud (and there's nothing that says he has to), then all occurances of seemingly absolute language in Genesis can then be given a scope that limit such absolutist language to this creation.

I believe that the whole premise of "in the beginning" must be assumed to be a relative beginning, because an absolute beginning is a logical impossibility, especially given the eternal and everlasting nature that God ascribes to himself.

Abraham 3:24 also hints and allows for the possibility that the earth is "recycled." That verse uses the phrase "these materials" but doesn't state what those materials are, or what condition they are in. Are they raw elements/atoms, or compound molecules, or even a higher level of compound materials? Are they never-before-used materials or are they "recycled?"

Once "the beginning" of Genesis 1:1 can be considered a relative beginning, or a beginning of a particular epoch or era of the eternities (or perhaps even "our beginning" or "the beginning of our turn on earth), one can then expand one's mind to conceive of previous cycles or cycles of creations.

To me, the many pre-historic geologic eras identified by paleontology, with their boundaries described by cataclysmic events, indeed hints of "cycles of creation/destruction."

It is in the consideration of such previous cycles, and the application of scope to the statements of Genesis, that many possibilities come forth which may reconcile geological and archeaological evidence with Genesis.

I believe that it is mainly the consideration of Genesis 1:1 as an absolute beginning, and the concept of "creation ex nihilo" (both of which go against LDS doctrine) that create the apparent conflicts of Judeo/Christian faith and science.

Jeff G said...

Bookslinger,

Charles Darwin's book is titled "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life."

It's about the origin of new species, not the origin of life or the origin of the universe. We're talking about Darwin's book, not his theories and how they relate to the "big-bang/evolution movement," whatever that's supposed to be.

If anyone used the quote that Jeff mentioned in his post in any class having to do with the origin of life or the origin of the universe, I'm sure nearly every scientist would object, if only because it provide exactly zero information on the subject.

Bookslinger said...

Jeff G: you didn't get my point. I acknowledge yours; in that Darwin (specifically his book in question) maybe doesn't directly address the origins of life. However, my point is that his book/theories are essential building blocks or way-points of the currently-popular theories of the origin of life and the universe. They might not be identical, but they are on the same line of reasoning, and are currently inseparable.

If Darwin hadn't been the first to put forth or elaborate on such theories, those theories would have had to have been put forth by others, in order for the currently-popular secular theories on the origin of life to have a scientific basis.

Darwin's theories are stepping stones, if you will.

And even if Darwin doesn't directly address the origins of life, the extrapolations (backwards) from his theories lead you directly there, or at least raise the questions that direct your attention to the origins.

steve said...

Your quote is from a later edition of Darwins book. His book was very controversial at the time so he included "by the creator". It originally read:

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

Anonymous said...

My understanding that Darwin lost his faith in God when his wife or friend died. I am not sure there is much proof of his lack of faith from origin of species.

Anonymous said...

"With the death of his daughter Annie, Darwin lost all faith in a beneficent God and saw Christianity as futile."

Aric said...

Anonymous said: "With the death of his daughter Annie, Darwin lost all faith in a beneficent God and saw Christianity as futile."

I would not wish the death of anyone's child on them. What a terrible loss. And his story seems to join one tragedy with two: losing his faith in God as a result of his daughter's death. He could have gone the other way, and used his experience to increase his faith in God, if he chose. Reminds me of a quote:

"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way" (Man’s Search for Meaning [1981], 74–75).

Anonymous said...

Jeff this is interesting that you're saying this now. I wonder what led you up to this. a couple points. First I thought this was facinating what a man said when his son was killed in columbine.
“When my son Dan was murdered on the sidewalk at Columbine High School on April
20, 1999, I hoped that would be the last school shooting. Since that day, I tried to
answer the question, 'Why did this happen?' This country is in a moral free-fall. For
over two generations, the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum, expelling
God from the school and from government, replacing him with evolution, where the
strong kill the weak without moral consequences. And life has no inherent value. We
teach there are no absolutes, no right or wrong, and I assure you the murder of innocent
children is always wrong.” (Brian Rohrbough, interview on CBS Evening News,
October 2, 2006)
I am currently reading The God Delusion, by biologist Richard Dawkins, and I have to say that much of what he has said is almost verbatim what I've read in Darwin's Origin of Species. Here's a quote I found in Darwin's autobiography
“By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane
man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is supported,—that the more we know
of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become,—that the men at
that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us,—that
the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events,—that
they differ in many important details, far too important as it seemed to me to be admitted
as the usual inaccuracies of eye-witnesses;—by such reflections as these . . . I gradually
came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation.” “Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I
felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct.”
I'm sure the death of his daughter didn't help his faith, but I don't believe his secular learning did either.

Anonymous said...

Of course much of the teaching in our goverment schools are a rewrite of history. Most goverment school systems do not want to teach the whole truth and the nothing but the truth or story. It should not matter so much did he have faith or not, when teaching the origin of the species, but our goverment schools or teachers would no dought be in trouble if they brought his faith up. Most people would not get this much in to Darwins life unless they were working on a PhD.

Hall Monitor said...

Read a story on http://detentionslip.org about a teacher who is suspended one year for teaching the book "Freedom Writers" in class.

Doug Forbes said...

TWO FALSE STATEMENTS COMMONLY MADE ABOUT DARWIN'S THEORY

1. Darwin's theory of "evolution" has survived intake for 150 years.

FACT - Darwin's theory was exploded by the fact that different animals have different numbers of chromosomes. For example, Man has 23 chromosomes and great apes (chimps, orangutans, gorillas) have 24. You can not get from a 24 chromosome animal to a 23 chromosome animal by evolution (ie: small steps) It is all or nothing. The theory of "chromosome fusion" is a few decades old and is not "evolutionary" in any way.

2. "Evolutionary" knowledge is used in the work of modern medical and scientific professions.

FACT: This is only true if the broadest possible definition of "evolution" is used. As, for example, the knowledge that Dachshunds and Great Danes share a common ancestor. Even in Darwin's time, people understood that small changes from one generation to the other could produce dramatic results. Most of Darwin's theories were not controversial or anti-religious. In fact the founder of genetics was a monk; Mendel.

it's me, andrea. said...

My dad told me about your website and then I found your blog. He's trying to assist me on my 'spiritual journey'. I was raised LDS but kinda feel like there might be something more. I've been attending Evangelical churches is the SLC area for about 6 months. I'm happy and sad and frustrated and overwhelmed...the list could go on. I look forward to researching your info...

steve said...

"
1. Darwin's theory of "evolution" has survived intake for 150 years.

FACT - Darwin's theory was exploded by the fact that different animals have different numbers of chromosomes. For example, Man has 23 chromosomes and great apes (chimps, orangutans, gorillas) have 24. You can not get from a 24 chromosome animal to a 23 chromosome animal by evolution (ie: small steps) It is all or nothing. The theory of "chromosome fusion" is a few decades old and is not "evolutionary" in any way."

What are you talking about? The theory is that our primate ancestors had 24 chromosomes and that the great apes do so today. But somewhere along the line 2 pairs of chromosomes fused in the human evolutionary past.

Here is a quote that explains it better than I.

"The idea is that a few million years ago, a common human-chimpanzee ancestor of ours had two of his or her chromosomes fused together. This sort of thing happens all the time even today. Around 1 in 1000 live births has one of these kinds of fusions.

Then, probably through chance,this ancestor with the fused chromosomes went on to found the human race. Now people have 46 chromosomes and chimpanzees have 48.

An alternative explanation is that the designers fused the two chromosomes together when they created humans. The idea would be that the designer wouldn’t create every plant, animal, bacteria, and virus from scratch–why reinvent the wheel every time? Instead the designers would mix and match parts that worked.

So as part of the process of designing a human, the designer fused two ape chromosomes together. This would presumably be simpler than creating a human chromosome 2 the way the other chromosomes were made.

The difficulty with this idea is that there is no obvious advantage to having 46 chromosomes instead of 48. What matters is our DNA, not how it happens to be packaged."

jglanfield said...

My favorite quote by Darwin is the following:

'...My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes, depend, I cannot conceive. A man with a mind more highly organized or better constituted than mine, would not I suppose have thus suffered; and if I had to live my life again I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied could thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.'

- Charles Darwin

gb said...

I am certainly not an expert on evolution and all it's varied theories.

But being an engineer, I have had some exposure to the laws of thermodynamics.

It seems obvious to me that the second law of thermodynamics was not in effect until after the partaking of the forbidden fruit.

With the second law of thermodynamics ineffective, all sorts of possible "evolutionary" schemes could have been available that currently are impossible (or at least very, very, very improbable).

We can only speculate what it is really like outside of the bubble of the fallen world that we live in.

I have no doubt that the scientific world and the religious world will someday be united in understanding, when both have and accept more truthful information than they currently have.

Ryan said...

Good luck, Andrea!

Any guesses what missing thing you're looking for? ("no clue yet" is a perfectly valid answer)

djinn said...

What leads you to believe that a teacher would be given difficulties for discussing Christianity? It seems that such beliefs are often vehemently taught; Louisiana just expressly allowed the Christian version of creationism to be taught.

http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2008/06/science_law_could_set_tone_for.html

BRoz said...

I never saw anything wrong with "Origin of the Species". It's "The Descent of Man" that's the problem.

Jared* said...

There are approximately 70 species of voles, and chromosome numbers range from 17-64. In some species, males and females have different numbers. [Link]

"...the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose." - J.B.S. Haldane

Doug Forbes said...

Steve,

First, chromosome fusion is not evolution and was never part of Darwin's theory.

Secondly, perhaps you would provide me a referrence on the frequency of chromosome fusion in modern populations.

Jared* said...

Doug,

You should look into balanced Robertsonian translocations. I'm not sure that the human chromosome 2 fusion is technically a Robertsonian translocation, but the same underlying principle applies.

This source (citing another) says that 1 in 1000 births have a Robertsonian translocation.

it's me, andrea. said...

Ryan,

Thanks! I guess I could go with "no clue yet"...that's easy enough. ;) I guess I've been going though the motions in the Mormon church for years. I'm content in Mormonism, but honestly when it comes to things in life that matter to me, religion and spirituality being a couple of them, I want more than contentment. I want peace and complete happiness. Any ideas??...

Anonymous said...

it's me, andrea. said...


"I want peace and complete happiness."


Good luck. I have been a member of the LDS Church for over 30 years and it has been the greatest experience of my life and I have never come close to peace and happiness let alone complete peace and happiness. The Lord Jesus Christ has given me so many spiritual experiences that I am humbled say that I am not totally happy but those experiences keeps me to seeing Him. I hope you will seek His Holy Spirit as a witness but when you do the struggles may just start as it did with me. We hope the best for you.

David Littlefield said...

We really should avoid making a false opposition between science and faith. If they are in conflict one needs to be adjusted.

I recently commented on this "ball of mud" mentioned above (LINK). Truth needs to be our highest ideal.

-David

Doug Forbes said...

Thanks Jared,

Based on the literature you provided, chromosome fusion seems to be a possible explanation for the difference in chromosome numbers for different organisms including great apes and humans.
The following question remains, however. Can the chromosome fusion theory (true or false) be viewed as a natural extension of Darwin's theory of evolution so as to say Darwin's theory survives intact?

Randy said...

I have not studied the theory of evolution too much nor chromosome diffusion but I was wondering if something happened in the past that made the diffusion of the two chromosomes necessary for early man or other species to survive. For example, if there was a long drought early man may have needed to walk long distances for food and water and over time physiological changes would have occurred to overcome this challenge. If these changes are where the two chromosomes are located then the two chromosomes would have fused together in order for early man to survive. This will validate Darwin's theory of natural selection and be a possible explanation of the missing chromosome, at least in man.

Randy said...

*fusion not diffusion. Too early in the morning for this. :)

Jared* said...

Doug,

Nobody would claim that Darwin was right about everything; there was a lot he did not know, and some things he got wrong. But that does not affect the core of his theory which was that all living things are related by common descent, and that adaptation occurs by natural selection of variation in populations.

Again, that does not mean his theory has not been modified and expanded over the years, but it remains essentially correct at its core.

Allen W. said...

Hi Jeff-

I've been thinking about your idea that this is a recycled planet, and in a way it makes sense of things that otherwise would be problems.

I think the alternative view seems to beg so many other questions; if you believe that God used evolution with the intention of creating mankind, why would he take billions of years to get around to us? etc.

Can you point me to any study resources on the subject? Has anyone written an article or otherwise collected the evidence and doctrine on the recycled creation idea?

Jim