One of the most famous books for all humanity is the Bible, which has been living and passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. The vast majority of people have read the sacred texts at least once or live by the views reflected in this book. This leads to the fact that alternative, scientifically based, and factual concepts of the world order are not welcomed in the religious world, as they run counter to the ideas described for believers. More than 160 years have passed since Charles Darwin’s fundamental work On the Origin of Species using Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, but there is still an endless debate about whether the researcher was right. The continuing disagreement is not surprising, as Darwin’s viewpoint has radically changed both the scientific and religious worlds, becoming the starting point for evolutionists. This research paper will discuss in detail the phenomenon of conflict between Darwinism and Creationism and provide essential details of the English scholar’s biography.
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Attempts to Explain Life
Evolutionary biology has become a cornerstone in scientists’ research attempts to describe the mechanisms of development and formation of life. Humanity, throughout its history, has sought to explain evolution by resorting to diametrically different views. For example, some people have turned to mythological development, implying that both the planet and life depend on giant animals to control the course of life. Others argued that all the diversity, biological superiority, and harmony of the world could not be products of a natural process, but were God or Deities’s creation. The scientific community was unambiguous in its views, and sometimes the ideas put forward even correlated with mythological teachings. In particular, Jean Baptiste Lamarck argued that behind evolution there is a constant desire for improvement, which is expressed in regular exercises that act on organs and parts of the body of animals: that is why the neck of the giraffe is long because it “must” reach the upper layers of the Acacia trees (Agaba 2). Perhaps if genetics were already known in Lamarck’s time, the theory of the selfish gene, advanced by Richard Dawkins in 1976, would have been a century and a half earlier (Gardner 1345). However, the founding father of modern evolutionary biology, at least in the form it is taught today, was English traveler and naturalist Charles Darwin.
The innovative, and even untimely, theory of the origin of Darwin’s species lies in a set of provisions that are logical, capable of being tested experimentally, and proven by facts. Fundamental to the development of life, just as the origin of new species, is natural selection. The scientist explained this mechanism as “one general law leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest life and the weakest die” (Darwin 216). In other words, in the struggle for existence, only the most adapted individuals can survive and successfully produce offspring, which have particular deviations that have proved to be adaptive to specific habitat conditions. The most pressing issue in Darwin’s book is the chapters on human origin, for it is man, according to religious belief, who is the crown of Creation. Nevertheless, the scientist expressly argued that there was no doubt about the development of humanity from monkey forms, although it was certainly worth noting that the biological ancestor of man was not homologous to modern monkeys.
Not surprisingly, Darwin’s work and the scientist himself felt all the pressure from the philistine world, as the Englishman described his ideas in some detail, making them accessible and understandable even for people without biological education. Thus, the main virtue of the work became a disadvantage simultaneously, as such accessibility served to increase the attention of people from the non-scientific world. As a result, a unique situation has been created in which almost everyone knows about the theory of species origin because while Schrodinger’s equations are studied at university, evolution is necessarily studied at secondary school in many countries of the world. Nevertheless, practice shows that the educational systems of some countries, including the United States, have resorted to the exclusion of Darwinism from their curricula.
Symbiosis of Darwinism and Creationism
It would be a mistake to think that the two views on the world do not reveal correlations between them. On the contrary, as soon as Darwin published his book in 1859, inspired by a round-the-world expedition on the ship Beagle, religious authorities, feeling threatened, began to develop Christian natural science more intensively (Tanghe). Moreover, though there were differences in several key views, such as the origin of life and man, driving forces, hereditary changes, and purpose, the ongoing battle between religious and scientific, as philosopher Hegel bequeathed, stimulated the development of each side.
Although the theory of biological evolution continues to evolve to achieve perfection and universality for all systems, the fact of development is not questioned, as there is a considerable number of direct and indirect evidence. Moreover, it should be understood that not all Christians or adherents of other world religions deny evolution as the engine of life development. On the border of two directions, even theistic evolutionism has developed, which means that though God has created the world, nature has done the rest of it.
It may seem wrong that creationism is more popular with the public than Darwinism. This may be because it is more accessible for people to go to a church where the Creation of the World is preached than to research centers and universities where Darwin is spoken of. In fact, however, both creationism and Darwinism go side by side, as evidenced by a study of the popularity of search queries over the past fifteen years, as shown in Figure 1. In other words, religion is not an obstacle to the development of evolutionism, just as it is the other way around, as stakeholders differentiate for themselves both concepts and develop within the established framework.
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For the modern scientist, the sacred texts of the Old Testament and the Gospels are like mythological teachings that are not beyond the scope of theology. This means that a researcher has an idea of alternative views of the world, but does not accept them because Darwin presents more convincing arguments and, at a minimum, evidence. At the same time, it is essential to be clear that rumors of a conflict between Darwinism and creationism are seriously exaggerated because each side of the debate has little knowledge of the present state of affairs. In fact, contrary to expectations, Darwin was not an atheist, and in his youth, he sought to become a pastor (Tanghe). It would be correct to note that no scientific theory is strictly atheistic, because atheism is primarily a blind faith in the absence of God, and scientists prefer not to believe in anything but to rely on facts. Breakthrough facts for Darwin opened up a round-the-world journey that changed the way the scientist viewed things, transforming theological tendencies into naturalistic tendencies. While traveling on the Beagle, the man found amazing biological species whose existence diverged significantly from religious concepts. Although the scientist questioned creationism in his book, he wrote that “I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious views of anyone” (417). In fact, Darwin described a parallel, alternative mechanism for the development of life that should not be compared with creationism. The man tried to avoid scientific, theological, and ethical disputes arising from his work. Given the above, it is not ironic that the body of an agnostic is buried in Britain’s most important religious building, Westminster Abbey.
Simultaneously, the scientific theory of Darwinism cannot be questioned, if only because it is scientific. It is essential to understand that evolution through natural selection is not a view or hypothesis, but something that has gained academic recognition because it has repeatedly proven reliable. Numerous phylogenetic examinations, archaeological excavations with finding paleontological values, the discovery of common features in distant species, and different features in loved ones repeatedly and unambiguously confirm the Englishman’s views.
However, one should be as critical as possible and recognize that not only creationism but also Darwinism can be a problem for science, as some people are too literally approaching the idea of evolution. There is no doubt that the world has happened as Darwin, Miller, and Urey and the founders of molecular biology and genetics bequeathed, but it must be understood that science is not inherently stable and that each era professionally develops scientific thought. Among other things, Darwinism’s ideas have been transformed: genetics was breathed into them to become the synthetic theory of evolution that the scientific world uses today. In other words, radical Darwinists may contradict academically recognized facts and models, which, like radical creationism, do not contribute to the effective development of civilization.
The Link Between Darwinism and American Schools
Despite the validity of the Darwin model, American society cannot fully recognize its importance for students. In addition, attempts to ban teaching at the national and federal levels go so far as to make officials and social activists link Darwinism to accepting abortion and euthanasia (Masci). As a result, society is divided into categories, which leads to the fact that some U.S. schools do not accept Darwinism. In fact, there is an inhumane situation in which schoolchildren are denied the opportunity to study scientific views, replacing them with usually creative ones. It is only from this position that religion is an obstacle to Darwinism, but nevertheless, any student can study the ideas of an Englishman themself.
In conclusion, it is essential to note that there are different views on the origin of life, but Darwinism and creationism are the most popular. Therefore, there are some differences between the two concepts, although adherents of each view do not see the problem in the opposite models. For example, research scientist does not worry about religion because they are deeply convinced of evolution theory. Moreover, opinions about the severe conflict were greatly exaggerated, as even Darwin was not strictly atheistic. However, the rejection of Darwinism may be absurd, resulting in a ban on teaching scientific views in modern American schools.
Agaba, Morris. “Giraffe Genome Sequence Reveals Clues to Its Unique Morphology and Physiology.” Nature Communications, vol. 7, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1-8.
Darwin, Charles. The Origin of Species. D. Appleton & Company, 1864. Darwinism, Creationism. Google Trends, 2020.
Gardner, Andy. “The Strategic Revolution.” Cell, vol. 166, no. 6, 2016, pp. 1345-1348.
Masci, David. “Darwin in America”. Pew Research Center, 2019.
Tanghe, Koen. “On the Origin of Species: The Story of Darwin’s Title.” The Royal Society.