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Scientific Journals Promoting Evolution alongside Materialism

In July, I noted that Francisco Ayala wrote an article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describing evolution as “randomness and determinism interlocked in a natural process” where “is no entity or person who is selecting adaptive combinations.” Clearly, some theists might find that such descriptions of evolution contravene their religious beliefs. Indeed, there are a number of recent examples of scientific papers promoting evolution alongside anti-religious sentiments:

    • A recent editorial by the editors of Nature explained that “the idea that human minds are the product of evolution” is “unassailable fact” and went on to conclude that “the idea that man was created in the image of God can surely be put aside.” (“Evolution and the brain,” Nature, Vol. 447:753 (June 14, 2007).)
    • A similar view was promoted by Eugene V. Koonin, biologist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Institutes of Health, who in the journal Cell Cycle wrote that the evolution of genomic complexity has “far-reaching biological and philosophical implications” because “Darwin demonstrated that man emerged not by a special act of creation in God’s image, but as a regular result of biological evolution.” (Eugene V. Koonin, “A Non-Adaptationist Perspective on Evolution of Genomic Complexity or the Continued Dethroning of Man,” Cell Cycle, Vol. 3(3):280-285 (March, 2004).)
    • Another recent article discussing the evolution of the flagellum in Microbe Magazine stated that “the English playwright Oscar Wilde said, ‘Science is the record of dead religions.’ In terms of the intelligent design case regarding [flagellar evolution], the current factual analyses force this example to exit the realm of religion and return fully to the arena of science.” (Wong et al., “Evolution of the Bacterial Flagellum,” Microbe Magazine (July, 2007).)
    • Finally, last year, in the journal Gene, Emile Zuckerkandl, Stanford biologist and one of the founders in the field of molecular evolution, explicitly contends that God would not produce the biological structures we observe in nature:

      The observations in question definitely do not suggest that living systems have been built up thanks to the insights and decisions of a master engineer. Rather, the observations testify to a vast amount of continuous tinkering by trial and error with macromolecular interactions. The results of this tinkering are often retained when they can be integrated into the organism’s functional whole. But why would God tinker? Doesn’t He know in advance the biological pathways that work? Isn’t a tinkering God one who loudly says “I am not”? And why would He say so if He existed?

      (Emile Zuckerkandl, “Intelligent design and biological complexity,” Gene, Vol. 315:2-18 (2006).)

It seems that none of these scientists got Eugenie Scott’s memo to not promote evolution alongside materialistic philosophy. While I may not agree with what these Darwinists assert, and personally hope that more scientists would take Eugenie Scott’s advice to leave out materialistic philosophy when promoting evolution, it seems that they are nonetheless working hard to disprove Judge Jones’s Kitzmiller ruling that held it is “utterly false” to believe that “evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being.”


Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



Emile Zuckerkandl