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Michael Behe William Jennings Bryan
Peter Bowler Professor of History of Science Web Amazon GBS
Darwinism's greatest triumph was that it soon established a complete break between science and religion. The Eclipse of Darwinism (1983) p.27
My qualifications for writing this kind of book are twofold. First, I have spent a number of years teaching the history of evolutionism at various levels in universities in three different countries (Canada, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom). This, I hope, has given me some insight into the difficulties of presenting the essence of complex intellectual developments to students unfamiliar with the field. Second, I have published -- originally by accident and later by design -- research in most areas of the history of evolutionism from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. Evolution: The History of an Idea (2003) p.xviii
Far more is at stake than a simple confrontation between Darwinism and a literal reading of the book of Genesis. Evolutionism raises general issues about how God might govern the universe, and specific issues about the status of humanity within the universe and the wider scheme of creation. Monkey Trials and Gorilla Sermons (2007) p.10
The myth that the Monkey Trial was a defeat for the traditionalist forces only began to take shape in the following decade, and was eventually enshrined in the popular imagination in Inherit the Wind. According to the myth, the fundamentalists were exposed as country hicks out of touch with the modern world, and retreated into the hills. In fact, the anti-evolution campaign continued to be active for the rest of the decade and faded away only because it became clear that the practical level it had been successful. If only three states passed anti-evolution legislation, the schools nevertheless stopped teaching the subject. To avoid confrontation, publishers ensured that the textbooks used in the nation's schools no longer contained references to evolution. For all intents and purposes, Bryan's campaign had succeeded. Monkey Trials and Gorilla Sermons (2007) p.185-6
William Broad and Nicholas Wade GBS
In the acquisition of new knowledge, scientists are not guided by logic and objectivity alone, but also by such nonrational factors as rhetoric, propaganda, and personal prejudice. Scientists do not depend solely on rational thought, and have no monopoly on it. Science should not be considered the guardian of rationality in society, but merely one major form of its cultural expression. Betrayers of the Truth (1982) p.9
The ultimate gatekeeper of science is neither peer reviews, nor referees, nor replication, nor the universalism implicit in all three mechanisms. It is time. In the end, bad theories don't work, fraudulent ideas don't explain the world so well as true ideas do. The ideal mechanisms by which science should work are applied to a large extent in retrospect... Time and the invisible boot that kicks out all useless science are the true gatekeepers of science. But these inexorable mechanisms take years, sometimes more than a millennium, to operate. During the interval, fraud may flourish, particularly if it can find shelter under the mantle of immunity that scientific eletism confers. Betrayers of the Truth (1982) p.106
Self-deception is a problem of pervasive importance in science. The most rigorous training in objective observation is often a feeble defense against the desire to obtain a particular result. Time and again, an experimenter's expectation of what he will see has shaped the data he recorded, to the detriment of the truth. This unconscious shaping of results can come about in numerous subtle ways. Nor is it a phenomenon that affects only individuals. Sometimes a whole community of researchers falls prey to a common delusion, as in the extraordinary case of the French physicists and N-rays, or -- some would add -- American psychologists and ape sign language.
Expectancy leads to self-deception and self-deception leads to the propensity to be deceived by others. The great scientific hoaxes, such as the Beringer case and the Piltdown man discussed in this chapter, demonstrate the extremes of gullibility to which some scientists may be led by their desire to believe. Indeed, professional magicians claim that scientists, because of their confidence in their own objectivity, are easier to deceive than other people. Betrayers of the Truth (1982) p.108
Like any other profession, science is ridden with clannishness and clubbiness. This would be in no way surprising, except that scientists deny it to be the case. The pursuit of scientific truth is held to be a universal quest that recognizes neither national boundaries nor the barriers of race, creed or class. In fact, researchers tend to organize themselves into clusters of overlapping clubs. Betrayers of the Truth (1982) p.180
For the public, a better understanding of the nature of science would lead to their regarding scientists with less awe and a dash more skepticism. A more realistic attitude would be healthy for both. But a proper understanding of science must begin with scientists themselves, and should embrace the concept that there is no discontinuity between scientific and other modes of intellectual creation. The phenomenon of fraud underlines the importance of the human side of science. It suggests that the logical structure of scientific knowledge is not a proper basis for placing science in a different category from other intellectual activities. Science is not remove from the wellsprings of art or poetry, nor is it the only cultural expression of rationality.
Science in not an abstract body of knowledge, but man's understanding of nature. It is not an idealized interrogation of nature by dedicated servants of truth, but a human process governed by the ordinary human passions of ambition, pride, and greed, as well as by all the well-hymned virtues attributed to men of science. But the step from greed to fraud is as small in science as in other walks of life. Betrayers of the Truth (1982) p.223
William Jennings Bryan (1860–1925) Web GBS AV
Is it not strange that a Christian will accept Darwinism as a substitute for the Bible when the Bible not only does not support Darwin's hypothesis but directly and expressly contradicts it? New York Times February 26 1922 VII p. 1
Christianity has nothing to fear from any truth; no fact disturbs the Christian religion of the Christian. It is the unsupported guess that is substituted for science to which opposition is made, and I think the objection is a valid one. New York Times February 26 1922 VII p. 1
If a man accepts Darwinism, or evolution applied to man, and is consistent, he rejects the miracle and the supernatural as impossible. He commences with the first chapter of Genesis and blots out the Bible story of man's creation, not because the evidence is insufficient, but because the miracle is inconsistent with evolution. If he is consistent, he will go through the Old Testament step by step and cut out all the miracles and all the supernatural. He will then take up the New Testament and cut out all the supernatural -- the virgin birth of Christ, His miracles and His resurrection, leaving the Bible a story book without binding authority upon the conscience of man. Of course, not all evolutionists are consistent; some fail to apply their hypothesis to the end just as some Christians fail to apply their Christianity to life. New York Times February 26 1922 VII p. 1
Theistic evolutionists insist that they magnify God when they credit Him with devising evolution as a plan of development. They sometimes characterize the Bible God as a "carpenter god," who is described as repairing his work from time to time at man's request. The question is not whether God could have made the world according to the plan of evolution -- of course, an all-powerful God could make the world as He pleased,. The real question is, Did God use evolution as his plan? New York Times February 26 1922 VII p. 1
And so, in the matter of education, Christians do not dispute the right of the teacher to be agnostic or atheistic, but Christians do deny the right of agnostics and atheists to use the public school as a forum for the teaching of their doctrines.
The Bible has in many places been excluded from the schools on the ground that religion should not be taught by those paid by public taxation. If this doctrine is sound, what right have the enemies of religion to teach irreligion in the public schools? If the Bible cannot be taught, why would Christian taxpayers permit the teaching of guesses that make the Bible a lie? A teacher might just as well write over the door of his room, "Leave Christianity behind you, all ye who enter here," as to ask his students to accept an hypothesis directly and irreconcilably antagonistic to the Bible.
Our opponents are not fair. When we find fault with the teaching of Darwin's unsupported hypothesis, they talk about Copernicus and Galileo and ask whether we shall exclude science and return to the dark ages. Their evasion is a confession of weakness. We do not ask for the exclusion of any scientific truth, but we do protest against an atheist teacher being allowed to blow his guess in the face of the student. The Christians who want to teach religion in their schools furnish the money for denominational institutions. If atheists want to teach atheism, why do they not build their own schools and employ their own teachers? If a man really believes that he has brute blood in him, he can teach that to his children at home or he can send them to atheistic schools, where his children will not be in danger of losing their brute philosophy, but why should he be allowed to deal with other people's children as if the were little monkeys? New York Times February 26 1922 VII p. 11
Many who call themselves agnostics are really atheists; it is easier to profess ignorance than to defend atheism.
We give the atheist too much latitude; we allow him to ask all the questions and we try to answer them. I know of no reason why the Christian should take upon himself the difficult task of answering all questions and give to the atheist the easy task of asking them. Any one can ask questions, but not every question can be answered. If I am to discuss creation with an atheist it will be on condition that we ask questions about. He may ask the first one if he wishes, but he shall not ask a second one until he answers my first. In His Image (1922) p.14-5
I would rather begin with God and reason down, than begin with a piece of dirt and reason up. The difference between the Christian theory and the materialistic theory is that the Christian begins with God, while the materialist begins with dull, inanimate matter. In His Image (1922) p.15
If one refused to eat anything until he could understand the mystery of its growth, he would die of starvation; but mystery does not bother us in the dining-room -- it is only in the church that mystery seems to give us trouble. In His Image (1922) p.17
I had enough seeds weighed to learn that it would take about five thousand watermelon seeds to weigh a pound, and I estimated that the watermelon weighed about forty pounds. Then I applied mathematics to the watermelon. A few weeks before some one, I knew not who, had planted a little watermelon seed in the ground. Under the influence of sunshine and shower that little seed had taken off its coat and gone to work; it had gathered from somewhere two hundred thousand times its own weight, and forced that enormous weight through a tiny stem and built a watermelon. On the outside it had put a covering of green, within that a rind of white and within the white a core of red, and then it had scattered through the red core little seeds, each one capable of doing the same work over again. What architect drew the plan? Where did that little watermelon seed get its tremendous strength? Where did it find its flavouring extract and its colouring matter? How did it build a watermelon? Until you can explain a watermelon, do not be too sure that you can set limits to the power of the Almighty, or tell just what He would do, or how He would do it. The most learned man in the world cannot explain a watermelon, but the most ignorant man can eat a watermelon, and enjoy it. God has given us the things that we need, and He has given us the knowledge necessary to use those things: the truth that He has revealed to us is infinitely more important for our welfare than it would be to understand the mysteries that He has seen fit to conceal from us. In His Image (1922) p.21 cf: audio
The doctrine of evolution has closed their hearts to the plainest of spiritual truths and opened their minds to the wildest guesses made in the name of science. If they find a piece of pottery in a mound, supposed to be ancient, they will venture to estimate the degree of civilization of the designer from the rude scratches on its surface, and yet they cannot discern the evidences of design which the Creator has written upon every piece of His handiwork. They can understand how an invisible force, like gravitation, can draw all matter down to the earth but they cannot comprehend an invisible God who draws all spirits upward to His throne. In His Image (1922) p.24-5
Why should the Bible which the centuries have not been able to shake, be discarded for scientific works that have to be revised and corrected every few years? In His Image (1922) p.94
Darwin is so sure that his theory is correct that he is ready to accuse the Creator of trying to deceive man if the theory is not sound. On page 41 he says: "To take any other view is to admit that our structure and that of all animals about us, is a mere snare to entrap our judgment;" as if the Almighty were in duty bound to make each species so separate from every other that no one could possibly be confused by resemblances. There would seem to be differences enough. To put man in a class with the chimpanzee because of any resemblances that may be found is so unreasonable that the masses have never accepted it.
If we see houses of different size, form one room to one hundred, we don say that the large houses grew out of the small ones, but that the architect that could plan one could plan all. In His Image (1922) p.106-7
They first discard the Mosaic account of man’s creation, and they do it on the ground that there are no miracles. This in itself constitutes a practical repudiation of the Bible; the miracles of the Old and New Testament cannot be cut out without a mutilation that is equivalent to rejection. They reject the supernatural along with the miracle and with the supernatural the inspiration of the Bible and the authority that rests upon inspiration. If these believers in evolution are consistent and have the courage to carry their doctrine to its logical conclusion, they reject the virgin birth of Christ and the resurrection. They may still regard Christ as an unusual man, but they will not make much headway in converting people to Christianity if they declare Jesus to be nothing more than a man and either a deliberate impostor or a deluded enthusiast. In His Image (1922) p.117-8
There is nothing unreasonable about Christianity, and there is nothing unscientific about Christianity. No scientific fact -- no fact of any other kind can disturb religion, because facts are not in conflict with each other. It is guessing by scientists and so-called scientists that is doing the harm. In His Image (1922) p.119
It is true that some believers in Darwinism retain their belief in Christianity; some also survive smallpox. We avoid smallpox because many die of it; so we should avoid Darwinism because it leads a larger percentage astray than smallpox kills. In His Image (1922) p.121
Theistic evolution may be defined as an anesthetic which deadens the patient’s pain while atheism removes his religion. Those who have accepted evolution in the belief that it was not anti-Christian may well revise their conclusion in view of the accumulating evidence of its baneful influence on preachers, teachers and students. In His Image (1922) p.127
Men who would not cross the street to save a soul have traveled around the world in search of skeletons. If they find a stray tooth in a gravel pit, they hold a conclave and fashion a creature such as they suppose the possessor of the tooth to have been, and then they shout derisively at Moses. Orthodox Christianity versus Modernism (1923) p.37 see also: Nebraska Man
In the June Forum, Professor Henry Fairfield Osborn assumed to speak for the earth, and, as its interpreter, administered a rebuke to me in its name. Those, who are unacquainted with the sublime self-confidence of the evolutionists, may be surprised at this presumptuousness; but compared with other illustrations of conceit, the Professor is humility itself. The more inflated of his class do not hesitate to claim an infallibility which they deny to the Bible, and think themselves better informed on ethics than Christ. One of these, speaking at Helena, Montana, not long ago, boasted that science (acting, of course, through scientists) had "discovered incentives to righteousness that Jesus did not know." A man who can teach the Savior morals must be quite a man. The Forum New York July 1925 p.101
I quote his language not for the purpose of showing the tolerant spirit of this eminent scientist, but rather to explain why I do not attempt to defend myself. I could not assume an open-minded attitude without seeming to question his veracity. My only recourse, therefore, is to defend that great multitude of believers in the Bible, for whose intelligence he has the same contempt that he expresses for mine, but whom he has not yet specifically mentioned by name and put beyond the pale of reason. The Forum New York July 1925 p.102
Professor Osborn is so biased in favor of a brute ancestry, and so anxious to substantiate his claims to jungle blood, that he exultantly accepts as proof the most absurd stories. When a few bones and a piece of skull are fashioned into a supposed likeness of a prehistoric animal, described as an ape-man, he falls down before it and worships it, although it contains a smaller percentage of fact than the one-half per cent of alcohol permitted in a legal beverage. Each new exhibit, -- no matter how largely the product of an inflamed imagination, -- lifts him to a new altitude of exultation, and each one in itself furnishes him sufficient foundations for unchangeable convictions; and yet, in spite of his doubled and redoubled certainty, he grasps at each new bit of evidence, no matter how frail and flimsy it is, as a drowning man clutches at a straw.
His latest "newly discovered evidence" is a long lost witness captured in Nebraska. He would probably have declared it "irrefutable" even if it had been found in some other State, -- all the evidence o his side seems "irrefutable" to him, -- but the fact that it was found in Nebraska, my home State for a third of a century, greatly multiplied its value. Some one searching for fossils in a sand hill came upon a lonely tooth, no other tooth was nigh "to reflect back its blushes to give sigh for sigh". The body of the animal had disappeared, and all the other pieces of imperishable ivory" had perished; not even a jaw bone survived to supply this Sampson of the scientific world with a weapon to use against the Philistines of today. But a tooth in his hand is, in his opinion, an irresistible weapon.
The finder of this priceless tooth, conscious that it could impose upon but a few, even among those who prefer speculation to reason, wisely chose Professor Osborn. He hastily summoned a few congenial spirits, nearly as credulous as himself, and they held a post mortem examination on the extinct animal, which had at one time been the proud possessor of this "infinitesimal" and "insignificant" tooth. After due deliberation, they solemnly concluded and announced that the tooth was the long looked-for and eagerly longed-for missing link which the world awaited. The Forum New York July 1925 p.104-5
Give science a fact and it is invincible. But no one can guess more wildly than a scientist, when he has no compass but his imagination, and no purpose but to get away from God. Darwin uses the phrase "we may well suppose" 800 times and wins for himself a high place among the unconscious humorists by his efforts to explain things that are not true. The Forum New York July 1925 p.105 see also: Dispute
I do not distinguish between Theistic and Atheistic evolutionists; the former are the atheist in the making and are doing more harm than atheists because they mislead more. The Forum New York July 1925 p.107
I shall prepare an answer to Mr. Darrow's charge that I am an ignorant bigot. I am not vain enough to think that this compliment -- for coming from him, it was a compliment -- was intended for me alone. While it was addressed to me, it was intended for all who dare differ from him to the extent of believing in the Bible, the God whom it reveals and the supernatural Christ of whom it tells. Knoxville Journal July 22 1925 p.8
This principle of evolution disputed the miracle; there is no place for the miracle in this train of evolution, and the and the New are filled with miracles, and if this doctrine is true, this logic eliminates every mystery in the and the New, and eliminates everything supernatural, and that means they eliminate the virgin birth -- that means that they eliminate the resurrection of the body -- that means that they eliminate the doctrine of atonement and they believe man has been rising all the time, that man never fell, that when the Savior came there was not any reason for His coming, there was no reason why He should not go as soon as He could, that He was born of Joseph or some other correspondent, and that He lies in his grave. The Worlds Most Famous Court Trial (1997) p.178
-- The defense desires to call Mr. Bryan as a witness, and, of course, the only question here is whether Mr. Scopes taught what these children said he taught, we recognize what Mr. Bryan says as a witness would not be very valuable. We think there are other questions involved, and we should want to take Mr. Bryan’s testimony for the purposes of our record, even if your honor thinks it is not admissible in general, so we wish to call him now.
Mr. Bryan -- If your honor please, I insist that Mr. Darrow can be put on the stand, and Mr. Malone and Mr. Hays.
The Court -- Call anybody you desire. Ask them any questions you wish.
Mr. Bryan -- Then we will call all three of them. The Worlds Most Famous Court Trial (1997) p.284
The reason I am answering is not for the benefit of the superior court. It is to keep these gentlemen from saying I was afraid to meet them and let them question me, and I want the Christian world to know that any atheist, agnostic, unbeliever, can question me any time as to my belief in God, and I will answer him. The Worlds Most Famous Court Trial (1997) p.300
-- Your honor, I think I can shorten this testimony. The only purpose Mr. Darrow has is to slur at the Bible, but I will answer his question. I will answer it all at once, and I have no objection in the world, I want the world to know that this man, who does not believe in a God, is trying to use a court in Tennessee
Mr. Darrow -- I object to that.
Mr. Bryan -- (Continuing) to slur at it, and while it will require time, I am willing to take it.
Mr. Darrow -- I object to your statement. I am exempting you on your fool ideas that no intelligent Christian on earth believes.
The Court -- Court is adjourned until 9 o’clock tomorrow morning. The Worlds Most Famous Court Trial (1997) p.304
At the conclusion of your decision to expunge the testimony given by me upon the record I didn’t have time to ask you a question. I fully agree with the court that the testimony taken yesterday was not legitimate or proper. I simply want the court to understand that I was not in a position to raise an objection at that time myself nor was I willing to have it raised for me without asserting my willingness to be cross-examined. I also stated that if I was to take the witness stand I would ask that the others take the witness stand also, that I might put certain questions to them. Now the testimony was ended and I assume that you expunged the questions as well as the answers. … I shall have to trust the justness of the press, which reported what was said yesterday, to report what I will say, not to the court, but to the press in answer to the charge scattered broadcast over the world and I shall also avail myself of the opportunity to give to the press, not to the court, the questions that I would have asked had I been permitted to call the attorneys on the other side. The Worlds Most Famous Court Trial (1997) p.307
The majority is not trying to establish a religion or to teach it -- it is trying to protect itself from the effort of an insolent minority to force irreligion upon the children under the guise of teaching science. The Worlds Most Famous Court Trial (1997) p.322
Christianity has been the greatest patron learning has ever had. But Christians know that ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ now just as it has been in the past, and they therefore oppose the teaching of guesses that encourage godlessness among the students. The Worlds Most Famous Court Trial (1997) p.323
Our first indictment against evolution is that it disputes the truth of the Bible account of man's creation and shakes faith in the Bible as the Word of God. This indictment we prove by comparing the processes described as evolutionary with the text of Genesis. It not only contradicts the Mosaic record as to the beginning of human life, but it disputes the Bible doctrine of reproduction according to kind -- the greatest scientific principle known.
Our second indictment is that the evolutionary hypothesis, carried to its logical conclusion, disputes every vital truth of the Bible. Its tendency natural, if not inevitable, is to lead those who really accept it, first to agnosticism and then to atheism. Evolutionists attack the truth of the Bible, not openly at first, but by using weasel-words like "poetical," "symbolical," and "allegorical" to suck the meaning out of the inspired record or man's creation. The Worlds Most Famous Court Trial (1997) p.326-7
The world needs a Savior more than it ever did before, and there is only one Name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. It is this Name that evolution degrades, for, carried to its logical conclusion, it robs Christ of the glory of a virgin birth, of the majesty of His deity and mission and of the triumph of His resurrection. The Worlds Most Famous Court Trial (1997) p.338
see also: Scopes
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