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Rabbi Hirsch, Darwin Dissenter

John G. West

Despite the old canard that the only people to question Darwinian evolution are evangelical Protestants (a canard regurgitated yet again last week by the New York Times), the fact remains that Darwin dissenters can be found among thoughtful scientists and other people from all religions and walks of life. There have been many Catholic dissenters from Darwin, from St. George Jackson Mivart and G.K. Chesterton a century ago to biochemist Michael Behe and philosopher/theologian Benjamin Wiker today. There also have been numerous Jewish dissenters from Darwin. David Klinghoffer writes about one of them in an essay for First Things on Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808—1888):

Hirsch insisted again and again that God must be understood as acting with complete freedom in the world, both as it is now and as it was in the process of creation. Accordingly, Hirsch was critical of the then-new Darwinian evolutionary theory. The history of creation was one in which God’s thoughts emerged and freely influenced the shapes of nature: “They are not the result of some force working blindly, but the work of One thinking Being, creating them with intention and purpose”

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John G. West

Senior Fellow, Managing Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute
Dr. John G. West is Vice President of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and Managing Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, West is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker who has written or edited 12 books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action: The Disney Studio’s Live-Action Features of the 1950s and 60s. His documentary films include Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, The War on Humans, and (most recently) Human Zoos. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University, and he has been interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.

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