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Is Darwin Still Relevant? 


Editor’s note: We are delighted to introduce a new series, “Modernizing Darwin,” cross-posted at Shabbat.com, by Geoffrey Simmons, MD. Dr. Simmons is the author of What Darwin Didn’t Know and Billions of Missing Links. He is a Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture.

During Charles Darwin’s time, many educated people still believed in spontaneous generation, meaning that living beings can emerge from non-living things. Maggots arose from rotting meat, amphibians grew from flooded soils, and rats were created by decomposing garbage. In addition, birds were thought to fly to the moon for the winter, tobacco-smoke enemas relieved headaches, and fleeing slaves suffered from drapetomania, an illness caused by masters who were too kind.

It is readily evident that Darwin was a sincere and conscientious scientist, but his view of the human body might be compared to studying Mars with a simple magnifying lens. There was a lot of mysticism and far too many guesses in 19th century. The time has come to modernize his views.

Darwin didn’t know why children resemble their parents. Nor did he know much about the enormous complexity of the processes happening in the womb during the nine months of gestation. He had no knowledge of antibodies, hormones, enzymes, nerve conduction, glucose metabolism, electrolyte maintenance, oxygen-carbon dioxide balance, chromosomes, temperature regulation, or clotting factors. Just to name a few.

There are approximately 75 trillions cells in the human body with hundreds of different functions and well over a quadrillion interactions. Yet human cells were thought by Darwin’s contemporaries to be building blocks much like the bricks and stones used in buildings. Now we know that virtually every cell in our body is more complicated than any city in the world. 

In many quarters, it is considered heresy (or ignorance, at best) to question Darwin’s writings — much as it was once assumed that our planet is the center of the universe. Nowadays, much of the discussion regarding the theory of evolution has unfortunately moved from civil scientific debate to oftentimes angry, political arguments. This needs to change.

This series will discuss intelligent design (ID), which is the most likely, rational explanation for why and how we have come to be here. The available evidence points to the conclusion that human beings are largely run by information systems that could not have come about by lightning strikes, chance, coincidence, trial and error, mutation, wishful thinking, survival of the fittest, artist’s pencil drawings, or accident. Some agent of incomprehensible intelligence has been and still is guiding what we call evolution.

Constructive questions and courteous comments will be appreciated.

Photo: Center for Science & Culture Fellow Geoffrey Simmons in Jerusalem, courtesy of Dr. Simmons.

This post has been updated. —Ed.