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In the Evolution Debate, How Truth Can Prevail

Origin of Species
Photo: Mural portrait of Charles Darwin, Sidney Street, Sheffield cc-by-sa/2.0 © Neil Theasby via Geograph.

In 1950, sociologist Paul Kecskemeti described how totalitarian regimes control mass communications to ensure that the public only has access to their view of reality: 

Although a public opinion as we understand it cannot exist in totalitarian states, its place is taken by an official image of the world expressed through the media of mass communications. The individual may not believe this image to be true, and indeed often tries to look beyond it, since he sees it as an effort of the bureaucracy to control him. Nevertheless, he usually is forced to accept it, partly for want of something better and partly because of the power he knows stands behind it. For in the totalitarian state both safety and advancement depend upon conformity, and the mass media provide the model with which the individual has to conform. 

Kecskemeti’s analysis perfectly describes the challenge faced by anyone who wishes to publicly tell the truth about the evidence for design in biology. Those who control the centers of power in secular nations largely see the world through the lens of scientific materialism, which assumes that everything is the product of the blind forces of nature, chance, and time. They might not fully accept that philosophy privately, but they operate within that framework publicly. And, those who wish to advance in most academic settings must think and behave within the confines of scientific materialism lest they face enormous opposition from the enforcers commissioned to destroy their reputations and careers (here, herehereherehere).

Regulating Public Opinion

A primary means of regulating public opinion by any autocratic institution is controlling mass communications (e.g., newspapers and television) and other official sources of information such as educational curricula, religious instruction, and academic journals. In most secular nations those promoting the scientific status quo have nearly absolute control over official information outlets, and those who question that life is solely the product of undirected chemistry and physics are consistently misrepresented and vilified. 

I have been struck by how most who reject intelligent design arguments have little or no understanding of the arguments or the underlying science. Instead, they simply parrot the same empty sound bites, almost verbatim, that are constantly repeated in official news outlets. When I ask people what they consider to be the most compelling evidence for an undirected origin of life and its subsequent evolution, they typically respond with examples that are either scientifically outdated (herehere), factually inaccurate (herehereherehere), or founded on circular reasoning (herehere). Many are stunned to learn the stark contrast between what they were told and what the evidence demonstrates is actually true (here,herehere). Those who presented them with the misinformation rarely had ill intent. They were simply passing down a secular faith tradition that was passed down to them, which perpetuates the cycle of thought control. 

Hope Still Remains

Yet, hope still remains, for truth has the power to prevail if it can gain a hearing. Therein lies one of the greatest threats to any totalitarian system: namely a free press. Oppressive institutions fear that those under their sway will hear alternative viewpoints, for their ideas can only be sustained in an echo chamber, constantly reinforcing the party line. For that reason, Evolution News, for which I have the pleasure of writing, has proven to be an invaluable tool in disseminating the truth. Readers around the world — 1.3 million users every year now —  see it as a central source for accurate information regarding the true state of scientific theories and the ever-growing evidence for design in nature. The articles here have been translated into other languages, as well, so their influence is spreading in ways that we can only imagine. 

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