Darwin was not the first one who suggested evolution as the explanation
of species' origin. Lamarck (1744-1829) had introduced a progressive
view of evolution i.e. little changes in species caused by the
environment passed down to their off-springs gradually throughout
many generations. Unlike Lamarck, Darwin supported the idea of
mutation i.e. sudden and drastic changes.
In the past Westerners were highly interested in Eugenics--applied
genetics. Many research endeavors were devoted to explain why
Western civilizations were superior to others (e.g. research of
intelligence) and how they could preserve their advanced civilizations.
One of the core notions of evolution is that the fittest species
are the strongest ones who could reproduce more descendants.
R. A. Fisher, a well-known statistician and also a believer of
evolution, suggested that the only way to ensure improvement of
the nation was to increase reproduction of high-quality people
i. It is believed that many animals can be observed over the
course of time to undergo changes so that new species are formed.
Most biologists are giving their attention to micro-evolution.
ii. Phi Johnson (1994), who is a well-known law professor, questioned
the evidence and arguments of evolution in the perspective of
conducting a trial:
i. It is believed that all the living forms in the world have
arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic
ii. In 1953 Stanley Miller re-created the early stage of the
earth in a lab and found that amino acids, which are the basic
materials of life, could be formed in a "natural setting."
Today Miller is a professor of chemistry at the UC, San Diego.
He contended that "the problem of the origin of life has
turned out to be much more difficult than I, and most other people
envisioned." Recent research found that life arose in an
environment far less hospitable than Miller's artificial setting.
The primordial atmosphere may not have contained methane and
ammonia, as Miller had assumed.
iii. Countering the idea that life originates from random couplings
of chemicals, Fred Hoyle, a British astronomer, has said that
such an occurrence is about as likely as the assemblage of a 747
by a tornado whirling through a junkyard. Most researchers agree
with Hoyle on this point (Horgan, 1991).
Perhaps the most crucial aspect of this debate is not concerned
with the origin of species, but the assumptions and implications
of evolution. The major challenge of evolution to Christianity
is the materialistic character of Darwinism i.e. explanation of
human behaviors in terms of environmental and biological factors,
or simply matters.
i. Social Darwinism suggests that human society on the whole
is progressive based upon the criterion of survival for the fittest.
Advanced civilizations, in a sense, are mandated to replace lower
In the name of the survival for the fittest and the improvement
of human society, aggressive actions may be justified.
ii. Today many psychologists adopted evolution as the foundation
of their theories. For example, based upon evolution, Robert
Wright explained why men are attracted by many females while women
tend to stick with one mate. According to evolution, early men
wanted to "spread" their sperm as far as possible in
order to extend their kin. On the other hand, women who have
one egg per month were very selective in intercourse. Therefore,
the infidelity of men, relationship problems, and divorce are
"understandable" in light of evolution.
In a pure biological and material level, how can we judge what
is morally right or wrong.
Suggested Further Reading