The combination in time and space of all these thoughtful conceptions exhibits not only thought, it shows also premeditation, power, wisdom, greatness, prescience, omniscience, providence. In one word, all these facts in their natural connection proclaim aloud the One God, whom man may know, adore, and love; and Natural History must in good time become the analysis of the thoughts of the Creator of the Universe. . .
So who said this? Louis Agassiz. The renown scientist in geology and paleontology and a contemporary of Charles Darwin wrote this in his Essay on Classification. If Charles Darwin was a Christian and his idea was not hostile to Christianity, this is the kind of statements that I would expect to hear from him. Instead what do we get from Darwin?
“It is often said that all the conditions for the first production of a living organism are now present, which could ever have been present. But if (and oh! what a big if!) we could conceive in some warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity, etc., present, that a proteine compound was chemically formed ready to undergo still more complex changes, at the present day such matter would be instantly devoured or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed.”*1) But I have long regretted that I truckled to public opinion, and used the Pentateuchal term of creation (This refers to a passage in which the reviewer of Dr. Carpenter’s books speaks of “an operation of force,” or “a concurrence of forces which have now no place in nature,” as being, “a creative force, in fact, which Darwin could only express in Pentateuchal terms as the primordial form ‘into which life was first breathed.'” The conception of expressing a creative force as a primordial form is the Reviewer’s.), by which I really meant “appeared” by some wholly unknown process. It is mere rubbish, thinking at present of the origin of life; one might as well think of the origin of matter.*2 (Darwin 1863)
Compare the difference between what these 2 men said. Agassiz said nature show premeditation, wisdom, prescience, and proclaim aloud the One God. Darwin on the other hand said he regrets using the term Creator and that what he meant is “appeared” by some unknown process.
According to Wikipedia Darwin admitted that he is agnostic and never claimed to be Atheist.
In his later life, Darwin was frequently asked about his religious views. He went as far as saying that he did “not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation”, but was always insistent that he was agnostic and had “never been an Atheist”.
Agnostics are really philosophical cowards and in most if not all cases, agnostics are practicing Atheists anyway. However, that is a topic for another day. Getting back to Darwin, even if he claims to be agnostic, that certainly is not Christian or theistic.
Darwin admits that he used the Pentateuchal term of creation because he truckled to public opinion. This makes sense because the term was not used in the first edition of Origin of Species. Martin Gardner confirms this:
“Darwin himself, as a young biologist aboard H.M.S. Beagle, was so thoroughly orthodox that the ship’s officers laughed at his propensity for quoting Scripture. Then ‘disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate,’ he recalled, ‘but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress.’ The phrase ‘by the creator,’ in the final sentence of the selection chosen here, did not appear in the first edition of Origin of Species. It was added to the second edition to conciliate angry clerics. Darwin later wrote, ‘I have long since regretted that I truckled to public opinion and used the Pentateuchal term of creation, by which I really meant ‘appeared’ by some wholly unknown process.” [stress added] (Gardner, 1984)
Here are a couple of more examples of what great men of science and who are true Christians say when they talk about science and God.
May God make it come to pass that my delightful speculation [The Mysterium Cosmographicum] have everywhere among reasonable men fully the effect which I strove to obtain in the publication; namely, that the belief in the creation of the world be fortified through this external support, that thought of the Creator be recognized in nature, and that his inexhaustible wisdom shine forth daily more brightly. — Johann Kepler [cited in Holton, 84]
This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One. [Isaac Newton, 369]
Charles Darwin does not bear any resemblance to these men and certainly no resemblance to Christianity.
How did Darwinism have gotten so popular? The sociological aspect played a big influence in the acceptance of Darwinism. Unfortunately many Christians accepted Darwin’s theory too easily. On the other hand there were sound Christian scientists like James Clerk Maxwell, Gregor Mendel and Louis Agassiz who reject Darwinism. In the next segment I will give my opinion as to the environment that gave fertile ground for Darwinism to take a foothold.