Darwin's Proof: The Triumph of Religion over Science/Doubts about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design

By Anderson, Owen | Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, June 2004 | Go to article overview

Darwin's Proof: The Triumph of Religion over Science/Doubts about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design


Anderson, Owen, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society


Darwin's Proof: The Triumph of Religion Over Science/Doubts About Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design Darwin's Proof: The Triumph of Religion Over Science. By Cornelius G. Hunter. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2003, 168 pp., $17.99. Doubts About Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design. By Thomas Woodward. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003, 303 pp., $19.99.

The religious nature of Darwinian cosmology is of growing interest today. This theory about the origin of life has always been debated, but increasingly the focus is on the religious presuppositions behind its claims. While previous criticisms of Darwinism were usually side-stepped by its adherents as mistaken literal readings of Genesis, these new criticisms are more devastating. They call into question the very method used by Darwinists to arrive at conclusions while presenting more coherent interpretations of the empirical evidence. One author who is calling into question the presuppositions of Darwinism is Cornelius Hunter. As a post-doc in molecular biophysics, he is not a newcomer to the area of scientific research. His books Darwin's God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil and the current Darwin's Proof focus on the assumptions about God behind Darwin's theory and what a possible alternative theory would look like. Thomas Woodward has provided a history of the intelligent design movement that focuses not only on the major persons and ideas but also on how scientific persuasion takes place. The importance of this for evangelical theology is that it is the evangelist's duty to be a witness to the clarity of God's existence. As Paul states: "God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Romans 1:20). A review of these two books reveals some main issues in the debate. The ongoing controversy between Darwinism and alternative creation accounts has gone on for some time without resolution, indicating that presuppositions are not being addressed. Among these are the non-empirical nature of questions about origins, the clarity of God's existence, and the need for an answer to the problem of evil. It is the goal of this review to look at these issues and the contributions to this subject made by these two books.

Hunter's book is another thoughtful look at the religious presuppositions behind Darwinian cosmology. His aim in this book is to argue that Darwinism is wrong and to offer an alternative position. His argument includes a look at the design in cells and at the specious reasoning behind much of the proof used to support Darwinism. As a molecular biologist, Hunter contributes fascinating and accessible information about the detailed workings of cells. He joins the many contemporary voices that are exposing the manner in which non-empirical interpretive frameworks are used, in the name of science, to support Darwinism. He also calls attention to the religious presuppositions behind Darwinism, summed up in the claim that "God would not have made the world this way." Hunter's contribution is to show how most of the arguments used by Darwinists assume this. This is a theological assertion, not an empirically-derived truth. It assumes a great deal about the nature of God, how God works in the creation, and the nature of good and evil. Darwinism is not neutral, but is itself one worldview among others.

While attacks on Darwinism abound, the perception is that there is no viable alternative and therefore it is better to stay on the sinking ship. This is the fallacy of "appeal to ignorance" that states that a position is true until it has been proven false. Hunter takes away this excuse by providing an alternative. While his alternative has similarities with intelligent design theory, it also includes reference to the fall of mankind. That is, the world as it is seen today is not the way it was created. While the world was created very good, natural evil was imposed by God after the fall; therefore, any interpretive method that assumes things have always been as we see them today is faulty. …

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