M. Fethullah Gulen
It is hard to find another theory that has been so discredited by scientists, and yet is still believed in by so many people, as Darwinism.
The collapse of communism shows that “East” and “West” was a geographical-not a cultural-divide, and no more than a variation within Western culture. The Western attitude to religion, derived from Rousseau (d. 1778) and Renan (d. 1892), considers religion a socially necessary myth, a delusion providing some cultural and social cohesion to collective life, and as unreal as a dream. The Eastern (communist) attitude, an explicit rejection of religion in favor of materialism, gave Darwinism a more deliberate, institutional support.
In broad terms, however, modern Western culture is predicated upon Darwinism. Promoters of Western culture continue to represent Darwinism as established scientific truth and, by implication, religion as unscientific and false. Inevitably, some young people are influenced. Many begin to believe (though far fewer continue to believe) that religion is opposed to reason, and that Darwin’s theory is the best that reason can do.
Within the scope of this brief session, I will touch upon several major points.
According to Darwin, life originated from simple single-celled organisms that gave rise to multicellular organisms through a process of gradual change, along with random mutations, over millions of years. According to more developed forms of evolutionary theory, all living things came from amino acids within water, and later became single-celled organisms. By interacting with each other and the immediate environment for billions of years, either gradually or suddenly they evolved into complex multicellular animals. Invertebrates gave rise to aquatic vertebrates, which evolved into amphibians, which became reptiles. Later on, some reptiles evolved into birds, while others evolved into mammals and culminated, eventually, in humanity.
The evidence usually consists of several incomplete pieces of fossils. But even the actual fossil record does not support this view. To our knowledge, no other scientific hypothesis is sustained on the basis of so many-and so important-missing links. Consider the following: Despite many varieties, bacteria have not evolved into anything different and higher, though they adapt very quickly. Cockroaches and insects remain unchanged after almost 350 million years. Fruit flies, arthropoda, sponges, sea crabs, snakes, lizards, mice, and many other species did not evolve over hundreds of millions of years. Scientists have found bees and honey from millions of years ago. Those bees produced honey and built honeycombs just as they do today, and use the same geometrical measures. So, for that whole expanse of time neither the bee’s brain and physiological structure nor the way it produces honey have changed. Human beings are exactly the same as they have been since their creation.
Scientists have found no transitional organisms, such as an animal that has evolved its front legs partly into wings for the transition to flight. There is not even a theoretical explanation, given that such transitions are supposed to take thousands of generations, of how such transitional animals-lacking four good legs, and still not equipped with two good legs and a pair of wings-could survive.
The “evolution” of a small five-toed dog-like mammal into the modern horse with one toe (hoof) is often mentioned. But where is the evidence? No such fossil series has ever been found. In the absence of any concrete connection between the two, how can we consider it the horse’s ancestor? This is the very opposite of reliable scientific argument and procedure. We say that God created such an animal and that it later became extinct. Why do we need to connect these two species? Even today horses of different sizes and species coexist.
What about humanity's evolution? The evidence consists of some discovered bones or teeth, from which scientists —reconstruct— what the person looked like. During 1910-12, a neo-Darwinist claimed to have found the missing link.1 His claim stood until 1953-54, when scientists finally denounced it for the fraud that it was and saved their community's dignity. Evolutionists used to mention the coelacanth, a fish abundant 400 million years ago, as a link between fish and land animals because of its limb-like fins. They theorized that this fish lurched onto land in search of food, staying there longer and longer until—about 70 million years ago—it disappeared from the fossil record. But in 1938, local fishermen caught several dozen coelacanths off Madagascar. As they showed no signs of evolution, they were quietly dropped by many textbooks from the list of evidences of evolution.
Evolutionists also claim that organisms evolve through random mutations. Mutations occur if the genetic code, normally identical in all of the organism's cells, is copied differently or mistakenly while new cells are being formed. Such changes, which —bear evolutionary fruit— gradually over a long period, may be caused by such external agents as geography and climate, changes in the sun's or Earth's rotation, or by radiation and chemical pollution. The argument is that non-lethal mutations that successfully adapt to changes in their immediate environments function like sudden evolutionary —jumps— and engender species variation. But recent work in genetics and biochemistry prove that mutations are predominantly harmful, even lethal, and the cause of many physiological disorders. In any case, they cannot account for the appearance of new species, for the universe has not existed long enough to allow such randomness to evolve and then establish a new species. Scientists have studied pigeons, dogs, and flies for years. Although some physiological changes occur within the same species, such adaptive evolution within species does not prove the evolution of species. Hybrids are obtained by artificially crossing two species, such as a horse and a donkey, but the resultant hybrid (a mule) is typically sterile. After long research, scientists have concluded that certain barriers between the species cannot be overcome. This conforms to ordinary sense, known facts, and scientific reasoning. How could a human being, possessed of an extraordinarily sophisticated brain, the ability for linguistic and cultural expression as well as of religious belief and aspiration, have evolved from an ape? Belief in such a notion is amazing.
What Darwinism Implies
As Marx and Engels asserted, accepting evolution is a major pillar of materialism—and of historical materialism in particular. Materialists cling to it as other people cling to blind faith, prejudice, or superstition. Insisting that material causes can explain everything, they deny any supra-natural, metaphysical agency that intervenes in the world to make it so wonderfully abundant, prolific, diverse and, within stable forms, so marvellously adaptive and versatile in response to local environmental possibilities. The alternative to evolution is design. This necessarily leads to the concept of a transcendent and unitary power, the Designer-Creator: God. The reason for Darwinism's continuing tyranny is the fear that acknowledging the Creator will collapse the edifice of autonomous science and autonomous human reason. Scientists might believe, but science must be atheistic. Ironically, Darwinists (and materialists generally) defy or ignore facts, and deny or belittle logic and reason to preserve the illusion of independent human reason. It is to the credit of the scientific community that, in ever greater numbers, individual scientists question and challenge Darwinism.
That said, some young people believe in Darwinism because it is official dogma and in all textbooks. How true and apt is the Turkish proverb—a half-wit can easily throw a pearl into a well, and 40 wise men vainly struggle to retrieve it. Nonetheless, no lie can survive forever. The origin of the species and their major divisions is not yet understood. Is it too humiliating for us to admit that we do not know everything? How can we not marvel at the origin of intelligent speech, ideation, abstraction, symbolization, culture, love of beauty and variety, consciousness, altruism, morality, religion, and spiritual aspiration? Darwin was a great and gifted scientist who must be credited for his work in ordering and classifying the species and on adaptation. However, he specialized in observing and understanding what was there in nature. Whatever his own intentions, his work, like every reliable scientific advance, confirms the Divine Architect, the All-Mighty Power, Sustainer, Administrator, Who willed the marvellous organization, reliable, systematic, subtly integrated harmony of nature's operations, and combined that order with beauty. Although Darwin's work increases our faith in God, it led him into error. How great and sublime is the Creator. Order, understanding, and wisdom are by His gift. Likewise, guidance is absolutely in His grasp.
1 The author is referring to Piltdown Man, which was —discovered— in 1910-12 and exposed as a fraud in 1953-54. The perpetrator had joined together a 600-year-old human cranium, an orang utang's jaw and teeth, and possibly a chimpanzee's tooth, and then aged this fabrication by physical and chemical means. (Ed.)