Humans have always been interested in seeking information about their past. A question that everyone is keen to know the answer is to the origin of human life on Earth. In this article, we will be discussing how the theory of evolution and natural selection also called Darwinism, was opposed by many people including scientists. We will be discussing why the theory of evolution didn’t go well with everyone. Well, we will be covering many aspects of the theory and shed light on the primary reasons for the rejections.
Before we discuss this, let’s talk about the theory and other essential information revolving around it in brief.
Who was Charles Darwin?
Charles Robert Darwin was an English naturalist, geologist, and biologist. He was born on 12 February 1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and died on 19 April 1882. He is famous for his work and contribution to evolutionary biology. Darwin proposed that evolution happens through the process of natural selection. He published his theory of evolution in his 1859 book “On the Origin of Species.” English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term Darwinism in April 1860.
How did he get the idea of evolution? Journey of the HMS Beagle.
The voyage of HMS beagle was the survey expedition led by Captain Robert FitzRoy. Robert wanted someone on board to investigate geology, this made young lad Charles part of the voyage. Darwin was 22 years old graduate who took the advantage of this opportunity and accepted it. The expedition started on 27 December 1831 and ended on 2 October 1836. During this period of five years, the HMS covered the Atlantic Ocean, and Southern America, returning via Tahiti, and Australia. Darwin spent most of his time on land investigating geology and collecting fossils.
What is Darwin’s theory of evolution (Darwinism)? What is natural selection?
Charles Darwin was influenced by a book called “An essay on the principle of population,” written by Thomas Malthus. During the time he spent away on the voyage (18 months), he made outstanding observations. He stated that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. He talks about how all the species share the same ancestor and has evolved and adapted to their surroundings.
“The theory of evolution,” was not accepted by everybody. There were many causes for the non-acceptance of Darwinism. We will throw light on a few of the main reasons. But, first, we will be discussing creationism.
What is creationism?
Creationism is the religious belief, theory, or doctrine that states that nature, and aspects such as the universe, earth, life, and humans, were created by god. In its broadest sense, creationism includes a continuum of religious views, which vary in their acceptance or rejection of scientific explanations such as evolution. Creationism may also reject the big-bang model of the emergence of the universe.
The basis for many creationists’ beliefs is a literal or quasi-literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis. The Genesis creation narratives (Genesis 1–2) describe how God brings the Universe into being in a series of creative acts over six days and places the first man and woman (Adam and Eve) in the Garden of Eden. This story is the basis of creationist cosmology and biology.
In the early 20th century some state legislatures in the United States banned the teaching of evolution on the grounds that it contradicts the biblical creation story, which they considered a revealed truth.
Why are some people against Darwinism?
The theory of evolution through natural selection was published at a time when the world was dealing with many problems. Darwinism created havoc in the world of science because it lacked empirical evidence. Furthermore, It could not convince the religious groups that humans evolved from chimpanzees.
The common reasons for the disapproval of Darwinism
Inadequate understanding of the empirical evidence given by Darwin
“Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who sets the planets in motion.” ― Isaac Newton, English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, alchemist, theologian, and author.
Darwin’s theory of evolution lacks empirical evidence. It stated that all the species shared a common ancestor but there wasn’t any verifiable evidence to prove this.
About half of Americans do not accept organic evolution as the cause of human civilization on Earth. Furthermore, surveys of American college students similarly indicate low levels of both acceptance and knowledge of evolution. A survey of American college students found that 20–50% think that there is abundant credible evidence against evolution, which modern evolutionary theory lacks “a valid scientific foundation,” and “evolution is far from being proven scientifically.”
The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its author; salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure – John Locke.
People didn’t accept Darwinism as it didn’t go well with their religious views. As Christians believe that God created the world in seven days and that humans were created in the image of God which makes them different from animals. This contradicted Darwinism, which states that every species shares a common ancestor and has evolved over the course of time. It also states that humans are animals and have evolved from Chimpanzees.
The various religious schools believe that God is the creator of everything. He created human life on Earth just the way he created the Universe. Education researchers believe that religious belief is the major reason for the modern non-acceptance of evolution.
Specifically, evolution questions the literal truths of religious scripture such as the Judeo-Christian Bible. Moreover, evolution tends to point out that there is no supernatural force, supreme life, afterlife, or spiritual power (different people call it by different names) that created a life for a purpose, in simple it means “that people are nothing more than animals.”
This developed hard feelings toward Darwinism in so many people. However, in the 1920s Christian fundamentalists in the United States developed their literalist arguments against modernist theology into opposition to the teaching of evolution, with fears that Darwinism had led to German militarism and posed a threat to religion and morality. This opposition developed into the creation–evolution controversy, involving Christian literalists in the United States objecting to the teaching of evolution in public schools.
Social-political factors against Darwinism
Darwinism became the talk of the town for one of the prominent reasons which is the socio-political component of the society. The Political and Social influences don’t act directly but instead act as a milieu for other factors. Yet, it has the potential to affect and target the conceptions of individual beings and the community as a whole. Similarly, Darwinism did not go well with Victorian society as certain religious and political figures did not accept it for it offends their religious views and beliefs.
Creationism vs Darwinism
Since the publication of “On the origin of species,” in 1859 by Charles Darwin, the theory of evolution has remained the topic of debate. The creationist doesn’t believe in evolution for the obvious reason as it denies the presence of the supreme creator God. Whereas, Darwinism states that life is the result of evolution which doesn’t allow the presence of God in its origin, instead it is based on pure science.
Evolutionary creationism is understanding the process of evolution but it also believes in the involvement of God. This is not a scientific theory but shows that the two theories can go hand in hand.
But, both the theories don’t acknowledge each other’s work as it will contradict their own beliefs.
Other interesting facts about Darwinism
“He who thinks half-heartedly will not believe in God, but he who really thinks has to believe in God.”― Isaac Newton, English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, alchemist, theologian, and author.
Do you know that more than 600 scientists from around the world have signed a statement publicly expressing skepticism about the theory of evolution? The Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington, says “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”
The list of signatories reportedly includes scientists from the National Academies of Science in Russia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, and the United States.
“Dissent from Darwinism has gone global,” said Discovery Institute President Bruce Chapman, a former deputy assistant to President Ronald Reagan. “Darwinists used to claim that virtually every scientist in the world held that Darwinian evolution was true, but we quickly started finding U.S. scientists that disproved that statement. Now we’re finding that there are hundreds, and probably thousands, of scientists all over the world that don’t subscribe to Darwin’s theory.”
Despite the enormous progress that has been made so far in evolution education, it still lacks empirical evidence to prove its credibility. This is still unclear as to which theory to fully accept and believe. Whether to rely on what we have been hearing for a very long time that the ultimate supreme force is God or to believe that all the species share the same ancestor and have evolved? People relate to individual theories as per their convenience and suitability. But, to prove any of them is still a matter of concern.
Featured image credit – iStock
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