Originally Broadcast, May 31, '97 Last Revised Aug. 04, 2001
INFINITY #14: An Interview With Darwin.
by Daniel H. Harris, Ph.D.
I. The Questions.
Was Charles Darwin a trained scientist? What was Darwin's main idea? How did Darwin arrive at his understanding of evolution? Did Darwin's idea really explain evolution? This INFINITY will answer these important questions.
II. A Trip Back Into Time.
We are about to take a trip back in time via the INFINITY "time machine" to interview Charles Darwin, to find out the truth about him and his beliefs.
[The substance of this interview is based on extensive biographical researches and some speculations necessary to provide an entertaining and coherent presentation.] Jim Garcia, INFINITY producer, operates the "time machine," and plays the part of Charles Darwin. Dr. Harris plays himself. Emma Darwin, Charles' wife is played by Leticia Garcia, a friend of INFINITY.
Dr. Harris: Jim, please set the controls [of the "time machine"] for 3 p.m. Sunday, June 24, 1860, so that the machine will set me down in Charles Darwin's parlor, on the Sunday before the great debate [June 30, 1860] between Thomas Huxley [called Darwin's bulldog] and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce [Oxford Don and Bishop of the Anglican Church]. And please don't forget to retrieve me after I've been there for just ten minutes.
-- pause --
Jim Garcia: The controls are set. I'll activate on your signal.
Dr. Harris: Activate.
-- pause --
III. Arriving in Darwin's Parlor.
Charles Darwin: Who in blazes are you! And how did you get in
Dr. Harris: I'm a visitor from the future, from the 20th century. My name is Dr. Daniel Harris, and others in the future are listening to our conversation, by this device I have in my hands....
Charles Darwin: Your an intruder... Why should I believe you? I should call the constabulary. You appear in my parlor, amid strange noises, without an invitation, carrying a strange machine. I should think your a burgler or perhaps a demon. The wife cautioned me; said, I'd run into evil spirits, if I pursued evolution. If your and evil spirit, I warn you, I'm a trained minister.
Dr. Harris: Please, relax, I'm not and evil spirit. Evil spirits, come to speak lies and deceive. But I will tell you nothing, unless you ask. I am here only to ask you questions.
Charles Darwin: Show me why I should believe you.
Dr. Harris: In the future we are aware of all of your books, including the book you will call, "Variation of Plants and Animals under Domestication, which will be published in 1868, which you are working on now; and "the Descent of Man," which you are also working on, which will be published in 1871; and "the Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals," which will be published in 1872. I have here, an outline describing what was said, at the debate before the British Association for the Advancement of Science, at Oxford, between your friend and defender Thomas Huxley, and Anglican Bishop Samuel Wilberforce; the debate which, for you, will occur next Saturday. Take a look....
Charles Darwin: Well... Well... These notes do appear to describe what Thomas is planning to say. If this is true Thomas would love to see these notes. Perhaps you really are from the future. But, I'm very cautious with interviews, why should I grant yours?
Dr. Harris: There are so many people in my century who believe your theory of evolution, that I'm here to ask you some questions. And no one will hear your answers until 1997.
Charles Darwin: This is so fascinating. Proceed --- By the way, please be seated, I'll call for some tea.
IV. The Interview Begins.
Dr. Harris: No, thank you, I can't eat or drink anything, while I'm in your time, even breathing is dangerous, and I can only stay a few minutes. --- Back to my questions. When did you first start thinking seriously about evolution?
Charles Darwin: When I was visiting the Galapagos Islands, on my five year voyage with the crew of H.M.S. Beagle, I was naturalist on that cruise you know, facts then appeared which could only be explained on the supposition that species gradually modified.
Dr. Harris: Yes, we are aware of your study of the varieties of Finches and exotic creatures on the islands. But we want to know exactly what your idea was, and how it first came to you.
V. Darwin First Learns of Evolution.
Charles Darwin: I suppose I first entertained ideas about evolution, when my father showed me, my grandfather Erasmus Darwin's book, "Zoönomea." My grandfather you know, was founder of the Lunar Society, and his book gave reason to believe that evolution had occurred. Although I didn't read much of it then, I found it puzzling; I did suspicion nature might have a secret for me to find. ---
Dr. Harris: Did any others influence your early understanding?
Charles Darwin: My father Robert, was a physician and he often said, "those Wesleyans are lunatics, and the Anglicans are little better. I've seen no' miracles, as they claim, so why should I believe in creation." So as a young lad I began to think that animals must arise by some force of nature, as my grandfather believed. And I followed my father's interest in medicine and the natural sciences. Although I loved to explore the woods and study nature; father forbade me from pursuing natural history or the sciences at university. He said, there is no profit in them. -- And since my brother Erasmus wanted me to join him at Edinburgh, I went off to join him, and there study medicine. At Edinburgh I fellowshiped with naturalists, did some fascinating study of beetles, and finally mastered my grandfather's book on evolution. One of my studies was published in Stephen's "Illustration of British Insects."
VI. Darwin at Edinburgh U.
Dr. Harris: But as I understand it, you only stayed two years at Edinburgh, and you didn't finish your studies.
Charles Darwin: Yes, that's true. T'was my misfortune to have no stomach for dissection nor surgery. And I was far more concerned with botany and entomology, and I really made no strenuous effort to learn medicine. So I came home, and father suggested I study for orders.
Dr. Harris: By that you mean the Ministry.
VII. Darwin Studies for the Ministry.
Charles Darwin: Of course. Such study is respectable, and an Anglican rector's wages are decent, and we agreed there would be time put aside for me to pursue natural history as well. And we all knew my father's friends in Freemasonry were influential with the church.
Sound of a door opening and closing.
Emma Darwin: Who's this guest you've not introduced, ... and what is this most peculiar machine?
Charles Darwin: Dr. Harris, this is my wife Emma. Dr. Harris has come to ask a question or two of me, and this is his machine. Be not concerned. Please excuse us, for just a few minutes.
Emma Darwin: Don't forget, we have guests coming at 4, for tea.
Charles Darwin: We will be done by then.
Sound of door opening and closing.
Dr. Harris: So you went off to Christ's College, Cambridge.
Charles Darwin: Yes, and I finished my Baccalaureate in 1831, respectably.
Dr. Harris: And as you studied for the ministry, did you learn much of the Scriptures?
VIII. Charles Darwin Reads the Classics and William Paley.
Charles Darwin: T'was the practice at Christ's College to spend much time on the classics; much time on mathematics; and much time on the writings of William Paley; but only a little time on the Bible. I really enjoyed Paley's works, for he supposed God had set the world on its way and is not presently involved with it.
Dr. Harris: So at that time, did you believe the Bible and confess faith in Christ?
Charles Darwin: I suppose I did, but I believed so many things then, and I was sure of so little. I recall Paley and other notables, including Newton, saw no conflict between natural science and the Scriptures, so I why should I. They saw God as the great designer, detached from His creation.
Dr. Harris: That same year, fresh out of college, wiht a divinity degree, you went on, the now famous, five year voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle. With no formal training as a naturalist, you boarded the Beagle. How did that come about?
IX. Darwin's Great Voyage.
Charles Darwin: Capt. Robert FitzRoy found it hard to find an experienced naturalist, who was willing to leave the comforts of England, for five years of hardship and toil, and risk to life and limb, with no great salary or fortune to be gained; and my botany professor, J.S. Henslow showed the Captain some of my drawings, and it was settled.
Dr. Harris: Did your father's friends in Freemasonry have any influence on the decision?
Charles Darwin: I couldn't say.
Dr. Harris: During the voyage was there any specific event or particular evidence that brought you to the idea of evolution?
Charles Darwin: No. But there were many separate facts, as I said.
Dr. Harris: Were you convinced of evolution on your return to England?
X. Darwin's Struggle With Origins.
Charles Darwin: Perhaps more than a little, but the matter was far from clear to me. Capt. FitzRoy preached many Sundays about the flood of Noah, the reality of miracles, and on the truth of creation; but I couldn't be assured of anything.
Dr. Harris: Before I go, I again must ask you what is the core of your belief, and when you arrived at it.
Charles Darwin: In July, 1837, some nine months after I returned, I began to understand that species could arise only from other species, and that variations within a species could result in varieties differing, so that when conditions changed, only those varieties suited to the new conditions would survive; and that by this means one species would, over time, become a totally new species. The key, being variations and changes in conditions over long periods of time. Later, as I was again reading Thomas Malthus', Essay on "Population", I suddenly saw the struggle for existence as the driving force for evolution. The impelling force I call "natural selection." [There is controversy among historians as to exactly when Darwin first read Malthus on population.]
Dr. Harris: Were you able to test this idea before you published your book on the "Origin of Species," last year?
Charles Darwin: I did many tests with pigeon breeding and plants, but in no instance could I make substantial changes in a species.
Dr. Harris: Did this cause you to question your main idea?
Charles Darwin: Of course I questioned, over and over again, but the only alternative to evolution is supernatural creation, and that is out of the question.
Sound effects start. ---
XI. The Return Time Trip.
Dr. Harris: I've got to go.
More sound effects. ---
-- pause --
Dr. Harris: It's great to be back at INFINITY. Thank you Jim, for getting me back here safely.
Now, I remind you all, that Darwin's main idea was what we call dog eat dog competition, or "survival of the fittest; what Darwin called "natural selection." He supposed that the struggle for existence would result in species continuing to modify, eventually becoming new species. Of course in Darwin's time there was no true understanding of DNA and the realities of genetics. Darwin imagined continuous very small variations within a species. We now know that instead of many very small changes, genetic change occurs in jumps and starts, each change in the DNA resulting in a new or revised protein which in turn modifies the structure, chemistry and processes of an organism.
XII. The Reality of Natural Selection.
To see what natural selection really does, let's consider an earthworm that is on its way to forming an eye. For an earthworm living underground an eye is not an advantage, because there is no light down there. But if, after many generations, an earthworm were to eventually develop an eye, the earthworm might be able to live above ground, that might then be an advantage, if of course other changes had also occurred along the way.
In order to live above ground many other unlikely but favorable changes would be necessary for the earthworm to survive in its new environment. The earthworm would have to change its diet, no longer eating buried organic matter. And the earthworm would need to change its skin, which too easily dries out on exposure to air. All these changes would need to happen, or the earthworm would not survive. And these improbable but beneficial changes would, taken together, produce an extremely improbable outcome.
Along the way each generation of earthworm would spend energy making organs such as an almost eye and modified skin, that are not quite useful. So each generation along the way is wasting energy, which is a disadvantage, relative to the other earthworms which are well adapted to their normal environment. In the struggle for existence the earthworm with the almost eye and the somewhat modified skin has an energy disadvantage in producing the next generation of ordinary earthworms, so after many generations of relative disadvantage, it is unlikely that the earthworm with and almost eye will survive long enough to finish forming its eye.
XIII. Natural Selection Doesn't Produce Evolution!
If, as Darwin suggested, a species were to move toward becoming another species, there would be inbetween stages, stages where the new form is at a disadvantage compared with others of its kind. Thus natural selection is most of the time not the force that drives evolution to make increasing varieties, as Darwin supposed. Natural selection preserves species as they are. Natural selection stops evolution cold.
Extensive breeding experiments and developmental studies, beginning in Darwin's time, have never produced a truly new species or even a new beneficial organ. Darwin himself did breeding experiments over many years in an effort to
produce new species, but failed at every turn. In hundreds of experiments with fruit fleas, no new species emerged. In general genetic changes have reduced the survivability of offspring. Another well known example is found in the breeding of dogs. Those familiar with dog breeding know that the purer breeds, those breeds more distant from the original dog kind, more often have diseases and temperament problems, because the purer breeds have more limited genetic material.
XIV. The Only Alternative to Evolution is Supernatural Creation
So experimental studies and common experience destroy the credibility of the speculations put forward by Darwin and the evolutionists. Thus species to species evolution becomes a dead issue. And so the various varieties of life on planet Earth did not arise by evolution as the evolutionists suppose. So how did all the varieties of life on Earth arise? As Darwin noted, the only alternative to evolution is supernatural creation. And where there is a creation there must be a creator. And since there is a creator, it is reasonable to suppose that the creator is in charge of all that is created.
This authority of the creator over creation is perhaps the principle reason that evolutionists are so vehement in their advocacy of evolution. Replace creation with evolution and man becomes "slime and time," and what we do has no lasting consequences. But affirm man as created by God and man becomes accountable. When faced with accountability before God, no set of mere facts will stop the human invention of fables. Men will invent any fairy tale necessary to rule out the possibility of being brought face to face with the creator.
XV. The Problem of Miracles.
Many persons who fancy themselves as having a scientific bent, at this point say that the idea of the supernatural, the idea of a creator God, the idea of miracles, is offensive to the "spirit of science" and thus such thinking shouldn't be a part of any "scientific" discussion.
But in the theory of evolution, each surviving beneficial change in the genetic code of a species is a fortuitous and improbable event [since experiment has not produced such beneficial changes]. Each significant beneficial mutation is the formation of new genetic information which previously did not exist, information arising out of nothing, something arising from nothing qualifies these events as miracles. So in evolution each advantageous change is a small miracle, which adds new information to the genetic code of a species.
XVI. The Many Miracles Needed by Evolution!
Thus creation and evolution both require miracles! Both require distinctly new creatures, that did not previously exist, to come into being. Both creation and evolution involve descriptions of creative miracles. It is just that Darwin and the evolutionists are more subtle in the way that they hide creative miracles in the details.
Yes, many many miracles are necessary for evolution to work. Evolution theory requires there be many improbable events, many small miracles to make a species well adapted in a new environment, or to make an entirely new species. And there must be innumerable miracles to make the higher life forms from single celled creatures, as the evolutionists suppose happened. And there must be many miracles for life to arise from non-living chemicals. Thus in evolution we have miracles in great abundance, which are inescapable, which are absolutely necessary to the development of the wide array of living things on planet Earth. If the rules of the game haven't changed, then such developmental miracles should still be going on today.
But such miracles of transformation and beneficial development have never been seen, either in laboratory experiments or in breeding research. If beneficial developmental miracles happened often in the past, but are not observed in the present, then there must be something wrong.
If we can have confidence in modern breeding experiments and laboratory genetic experiments, done mostly by committed evolutionists, with a great desire to find evidence confirming beneficial changes; then the lack of evidence for beneficial changes leaves us with just two choices, 1) either the abundant developmental changes of the past never happened, or 2) the rules of the process suddenly changed.
If evolution did occur, then for evolution to fit the facts as we know them, then there must have been many many miracles, from the assembly of the first living organism, to the beneficial developments giving rise to all the higher life forms; then suddenly there must have been be a drastic change in the rules, a turning off of miracles just as we begin experimental tests of evolution theory. This seems highly improbable. It seems much more reasonable to suppose that the rules didn't suddenly and inexplicably change, that the breeding experiments and laboratory studies which show no favorable developments today mean that neither did they happen in the past and evolution never happened, that the many many beneficial developmental miracles supposed by evolution never happened at all.
XVII. Your Choice.
So when you choose between creation and evolution you have a choice between a few grand miracles during the time of creation, or many many miracles at each step of a developmental process, all down through time, stopping suddenly and inexplicably just as we begin to watch. If the need for fewer miracles is an advantage, and an indicator of truth, then creation seems preferred, because creation involves less miracles than the superabundant ongoing beneficial miracles of necessary in evolution. We have a choice between a creator that does miracles in creation, and uncounted spontaneous uncaused miracles.
Since evolution clearly doesn't align with the facts, a person open to reason will inevitably arrive at an understanding that life on Earth could only have arisen by supernatural creation.
XVIII. Recognizing the Source of All Wonders.
So if you are now willing to shed your belief in evolution and you are willing to accept the truth of the only alternative, supernatural creation; then it is time to recognize the creator, the source of all the wonders of the living world.
Consider for a moment the beauty and great variety of living things. The creation of such beauty and complexity is surely reflective of the creator, showing the creator to be a high order of intelligence with an appreciation of beauty.
If there is a creator God, who is a lover of beauty, then wouldn't it be wise to get to know this good creator God, to seek God as an ally, to become a friend of God? Do you suppose that the creator made so many living things without having a way of reaching communion with His created beings? Is it reasonable to suppose that God cares not for His creation?
If you are not yet open to the idea of communion with the good creator God, then may I suggest you look further at the evidence presented here, in the programs of INFINITY [see programs 2 & 5 & more], and elsewhere on the Dr. Truth website.
XIX. The Call
If, you can now see the wisdom of communion with the creator, then now is the time to look into the wide ranging evidence that the one true God, the creator, the God of the Holy Bible. Now is the time to read the Holy Bible seeking the author. As we read in Psalm 105:4 "Seek the Lord, and his strength, seek his face evermore."
You may also find helpful a deeper look into the evidence presented here, in the programs of INFINITY, and elsewhere on the Dr. Truth website.
Now is the time to put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, as your savior and Lord! [Link to way of salvation]
Ref. Biographical data on Charles Darwin and his family and related issues may be found mainly in ch 5 of, "In the Minds of Men" by Ian T. Taylor, 1991 edition, by TFE Publishing, Toronto M4Y 2T1 Canada, available through the Minnesota Bible Science Association, Telephone 1-800-422-4253, or TFE at 1-416-928-0155.
And in "The Great Books of the Western World", Ed. by Robert Maynard Hutchins, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, 1952, volume 49, "Darwin."