Evolution or creation? Darwin under fire
Dutch Christians are once again up in arms against the theory of evolution.
This week it will be 200 years ago that Charles Darwin was born. His book On the Origin of Species, in which he set out his evolutionary theory, was published 150 years ago. Reason enough for celebrations among Darwinists, who point out that the ideas of their source of inspiration still bear fruit on a daily basis. And reason enough for strictly orthodox Christians to try and put Darwin's importance in perspective.
Darwin's 1859 theory of evolution was the first to give a conclusive explanation for the diversity of species on the planet, and for the origin of plants, animals and people. It constituted one of the most important scientific breakthroughs ever, and Darwin's theory has been accepted by all scientists.
However, not among pious Christians who watched Darwin bring down the Biblical story of the creation. These Christians will mark this Darwin year by launching a major counter-offensive, handing out flyers arguing that 'The theory of evolution is just another belief'.
The 'Creation Action Committee' has spared no effort. Nearly all Dutch households will find an eight-page folder on their doormats at the end of this month. Glossy paper, bright colours and flaming oratory are used to wipe the floor with Darwin and his evolutionary theory. However, the average Dutch person is not really interested.
"I'm not really interested, I was not raised a Christian, let those people believe whatever they want"......"neither theory can be proved, so I don't understand what the excitement is all about"......"if you take the Bible literally there is much more scientific stuff that's unacceptable"..."I think it's a waste of all the effort that's put into this and I'm wondering what they intend to achieve".
The objective of the 30 Christian organisations which are financing the campaign is to point out that the theory of evolution is really just an assumption, a theory that can be disregarded. However, the facts tell a different tale, says Darwin expert Chris Buskes of the Radboud University in Nijmegen:
"The evolutionary theory has been confirmed from so many different perspectives that it's become really difficulty to still doubt its validity. Fossils found in various layers of the earth come to mind, as well as genetic material, DNA, which also bears proof to the extent various types of organisms are related. We share 99 percent of our genes with chimpanzees, but much less with a dog, a mouse or a dragonfly. So this type of modern research also further confirms Darwin's theory of evolution".
Theory of Evolution: the theory which explains how life on earth developed through evolution. Darwin describes how the hereditary traits of species developed and adjusted themselves over millions of years. It is not true mankind is descended from the apes. Monkeys, apes and mankind are all descended from a common ancestor, the ape-man.
The controversy between Christians and evolutionists has been around ever since Darwin's book On the Origin of Species was first published. And it is hard to deny: the theory of evolution rules out the story of the creation, in which God created the world in six days, and modern-day Christians continue to struggle with that fact, even in 2009.
Darwin-expert Chris Buskes has no doubts, to him, Darwin remains the greatest scientist ever:
"Everything in biology and everything in the life sciences has to do with Darwin. Darwin is the key to it all. Biological phenomena don't make sense until viewed in the light of evolution".
Darwin's influence today
Modern medicines against viruses and bacteria would not have existed without Darwin. We understand today that pathogens become immune to medicines as the result of evolution, allowing researches to stay one step ahead of that evolution. Without Darwin, would have become useless long before now.
'Intelligent computers' - installed in cars and equipment - increase their knowledge according to Darwinian principles. They sort data based on their importance and in time delete unused data. Just like the whale - originally a land mammal - lost its feet in the course of its evolution.
Thanks to Darwin, we are once again willing to admit that men and women are really different. From the 1970s, this was a taboo; commonly accepted theory dictated that male or female behaviour was acquired, not inherited. However, genetic research based on Darwinian principles has proved there are fundamental differences between the male and female bodies and brains.
Thijs van Westerbeek