Think About It: The Difference between Evolution and Darwinism

Biologist Jonathan Wells elucidates the critical distinction between evolution and Darwinism.  He notes, “Evolution means change over time” ((“change over time” “cumulative change through time” “a change in gene frequencies over generations.”…Darwin’s phrase “descent with modification” is okay in a limited sense.  Jonathan Wells, Ph.D., The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2006), 1-2. “Even hypotheses that some closely related species (such as finches on the Galapagos Islands) are descended with modification from a common ancestor are not particularly controversial…”  Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide, 3.)) and of course no one doubts that.  “But Charles Darwin claimed far more than any of these things.  In The Origin of Species he set out to explain the origin of not just one or a few species, but all species after the first—in short, all the diversity of life on Earth.  The correct word for this is not evolution, but Darwinism.” ((Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide, 3.))

He then gives three distinguishing characteristics of Darwinism: “(1) all living things are modified descendants of a common ancestor; (2) the principal mechanism of modification has been natural selection acting on undirected variations that originate in DNA mutations; and (3) unguided processes are sufficient to explain all features of living things—so whatever may appear to be design is just an illusion.” ((Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide, 2.)) Darwin’s theory specifically “applies only to living things… [even though he] speculated that life may have started in ‘some warm little pond’ but beyond that he had little to say on the subject.” ((Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide, 4.))

Remember, (1) is an unprovable idea, requiring unprovable assumptions, although there is evidence that can be used to support the idea; (2) does not tell the whole story since we now know that the information flow is hierarchical; (3) is actually inadequate to explain all features, and the concept of “unguided processes” is a faith statement to which science cannot legitimately speak.  Of course, the proposition that the appearance of design is an illusion is a faith statement extraordinaire.  To wit, Darwinist real claim is that even though things may appear designed, they cannot be since natural selection is true, regardless of the evidence to the contrary.  This is not a scientific statement but rather a faith statement. If they were not intransigently committed to Darwinism, it would make far more sense to recognize that the reason some things appear to be designed is because they actually were designed.  Of course, that proposition is absolutely unacceptable since design requires a designer, which any true Darwinist rejects maugre the evidence!

It behooves Christians to be careful about accepting Darwinism under the guise of science or evolution, lest some become unwitting Darwinists and disgrace their Lord and their God-given minds.