The Evolution of Evolution

Some of the most interesting things to read are old articles and papers that were typed up by brethren of the past.  One such article came from the typewriter of James D. Bales.  During his heyday, Bales was a highly-respected figure in the religious world, standing firm against evolution, communism, and other theories of belief that attacked the Bible.

We hope you find this article interesting.


James D. Bales, Ph.D. (University of California), Searcy, Arkansas

Evolution means development. Thus men sometimes speak of the evolution of the airplane; which development was, of course, the work of intelligence and not of the blind workings of the forces of nature. The hypothesis of evolution which is widely taught today assumes that as a result of the workings of natural forces, life developed from the non-living; and from the first form of life there developed all the different forms of life which exist today, including man. Using the term evolution in the sense of development let us see how the hypothesis of evolution originated and how it develops when it is consistently applied. In other words, we want to notice something of the origin and some of the results of the hypothesis of evolution.

Evolution did not originate in scientific research, but in the bias of certain men against the God of the Bible who created the heavens, the earth, life, and man. It is based on the assumption that all past events must be explained in terms of present-day processes; even if this cannot be scientifically established. By maintaining that all must be explained naturally, the first evolutionists in our period of time put God so far away from the universe and life that He either did not exist; or if He existed He would in no wise interfere with man and the workings of the laws of nature. Thus for all practical purposes they could forget about God without having any fear that they must someday face God in judgment. They could rule their own lives without having to be subjected to the will of God.

The doctrine that all must be explained naturally was popularized in the field of geology by Sir Charles Lyell. He wrote his book on geology in order to establish this principle of uniformity as the basic principle in geology and ultimately in life itself. He accepted the idea of God, but his bias against God as revealed in the Scriptures is indicated in his contention that Moses had brought great mischief and scandal into the science of geology; and he spoke of driving certain men “out of the Mosiac record.”

Charles Darwin was converted to the idea that all must be explained naturally; and, of course, as this belief grew upon him, his disbelief in the Bible grew. Since Darwin had decided that all must be explained naturally, the very truth of evolution itself was taken for granted. The only question was, since evolution must have taken place, what laws in nature are sufficient to account for life’s origin and manifold form. So deep-seated was Darwin’s bias against God that, although he never became an atheist, but was an agnostic, when reason led Darwin to God he savagely turned on reason and discredited reason. As he said in his autobiography written in 1876:

“Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason, and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the ‘Origin of Species;’ and it is since that time that it has very gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker. But then arises the doubt, can the mind of man. which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?”[1]

Again he wrote:

“Nevertheless you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the Universe is not the result of chance. But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”[2]

Reason led Darwin to God so Darwin killed reason! He trusted his mind when reasoning about evolution, but not when reasoning about God! Why should we trust anything in his writings if the human mind cannot be trusted? How could Darwin say that he fully believed in evolution when his position concerning the origin of mind made it impossible for him, when consistent, to fully believe in anything? How could Darwin continue to cling to evolution, which led him to discredit the mind, and to do so on supposedly scientific grounds? If the mind cannot be trusted at all, science is impossible. Although Darwin admitted that one could still believe in God, even if evolution were true, yet in his own life and the life of countless others faith in evolution has been the means of leading them from God. Although they may not become atheists, they usually put God so far away from man and the universe that He has not spoken and will not interfere with man in any way, including bringing man into judgment.

Darwin’s wife told her daughter, concerning the Descent of Man, that: “I think it will be very interesting, but that I shall dislike it very much as again putting God further off.”[3]

Thomas Henry Huxley, who helped fight many battles for Darwin, admitted that evolution was simply the outcome of applying the hypothesis that all must be explained naturally. He began to be converted to this idea when he was around 12 years of age. This led him to abandon the Bible as the word of God, and finally to accept evolution; because there was nothing else for a man to do once he has rejected the idea of creation by God.

There are numerous other illustrations of the fact that evolution was accepted because men wanted to get away from the idea of the God who creates. As Henry Fairfield Osborn, an evolutionist, put it: “In truth, from the period of the earliest stages of Greek thought man has been eager to discover some natural cause of evolution, and to abandon the idea of supernatural intervention in the order of nature.”[4] This bias has been abundantly documented in the forthcoming book. Why Scientists Accept Evolution.

Evolution is a faith which they accept even though they do not have adequate evidence for this faith. As A. L. Kroeber, at the Darwin Centennial, said: “Overwhelmingly, biologists had been accepting evolution because there was nothing else for them to do; but they had not proved it to their own satisfaction.”[5] He thought that the situation had improved today. Charles Darwin himself admitted that when one descended to details, and of course scientists must descend to details, evolution could not be proved.[6]

William L. Straus, Jr. said: “I wish to emphasize that I am under no illusion that the theory of human ancestry which I favor at the present time, can in any way be regarded as proven. It is at best merely a working hypothesis whose final evaluation must be left to the future.”[7]

The hypothesis of evolution is so far from being scientifically proved that a widely used text book in biology said: “The piecing together of the evolution story is comparable to the reconstruction of an atom-bombed metropolitan telephone exchange by a child who has only seen a few telephone receivers. We know something about living plants and animals, and we have some fossil remnants to go on. Extensive study of the evidence available plus ingenious hypothesis, most of which cannot be adequately tested, have given us a sort of a trial schedule of the possible directions of evolution of living organisms. ”[8]

However, so deep-seated is the bias in favor of evolution that Professor Paul Shorey stated: “An ambitious young professor may safely assail Christianity or the Constitution of the United States or George Washington or female chastity or marriage or private property… But he must not apologize for Bryan… It is not done.”[9] One does not have to accept every interpretation of the Bible made by Bryan in order to realize that thorough-going evolution contradicts the Bible.

Why is it that some scientists, who demand scientific proof in various other areas, are determined at all costs to hold to the hypothesis of evolution as being scientifically proved? They know full well, if they are acquainted with the evidence and the meaning of “scientifically proved”, that evolution has not been scientifically established.

Originating in man’s effort to get away from the God who creates and who has spoken to man in the Bible, it is obvious that the influence of evolution would be to undermine faith in the Bible. There are, of course, some individuals who think that evolution has been scientifically established and that therefore they must try to harmonize the Bible with evolution. They hold to evolution and still want to hold to the Bible. However, any hypothesis of evolution that maintains that all can be explained in terms of the workings of present-day processes must come into conflict with the Bible whether they realize this or not. As a result of the influence of the hypothesis of evolution, as well as some other influences, a great deal of the religious world has reconstructed the Bible so as to conform to evolution. Thus there are those who maintain that there was no first human pair, that there was no real fall of man, that God did not miraculously intervene in human history as recorded in the Bible, and that Jesus Christ is thus the product of evolutionary development. If an individual maintains that God did intervene as the Bible says, and that Jesus Christ is God’s Son, they have admitted divine intervention in redemption so why should they rule out divine intervention in creation?

The hypothesis of evolution has had an adverse impact upon morality. If all must be explained in harmony with natural laws then there is no moral realm different from the natural realm. After evolutionists get through explaining the origin of the conscience and moral sensitivity of man, they have in reality explained away morality. To maintain that animals do certain things, and therefore we see in them the beginning of the development of moral conscience, does not prove that I am obligated to do anything. To jump from a description of something that has happened to the conclusion that we are obligated to do this or that is to draw a conclusion that is not justified by their starting point. If men are but highly evolved animals, what right does anyone have to say that one ought to do or ought not to do a certain thing? In fact, to say that one “ought to do something” is no more speaking morally than to say that someone itches. In both cases you are describing a physical sensation. To say that a certain course of conduct would lead to social progress —however progress may be defined — is not the same thing as saying that I am obligated to follow that course of conduct. Every evolutionist must abandon evolution in order to stand for the reality and the binding nature of morality. William F. Quillian, Jr., in The Moral Theory of Evolutionary Naturalism[10] has shown the inability of the evolutionists to establish morality on a consistent naturalistic evolutionary world view.

Darwin viewed morality, religion, and everything else as traceable to something in animals. As he told a cousin: “I look upon all human feeling as traceable to some germ in the animals.”[11]

Darwin’s antagonism to religion increased as the years went on so that he was more antagonistic to religion after many religious leaders had accepted him than before.[12]

Communists pay high tribute to Darwin. In fact Karl Marx wanted to dedicate to Darwin the English translation of Marx’s book on Capital. Darwin refused because he thought it would give pain to some in his family.[13] Karl Marx on December 19, 1860 wrote to Engels that Darwin’s book “is the book which contains the basis in natural history for our view.”[14] On January 16, 1861 he said: “Darwin’s book is very important and serves me as a basis in natural science for the class struggle in history.”[15]

If man is but an evolved animal, there is no moral grounds on which you can condemn the Communists for wanting to establish animal farms, as it were. If morality is simply the evolved customs of man, the Communists have as much right as anybody else to evolve their own moral customs, and there is no moral law in the light of which we can say that they are wrong and we are right. If the survival of the fittest is the way of progress, then those who survive are the fittest by mere virtue of the fact that they survive. In other words, might makes right.

These, then, are some of the consequences that logically flow from naturalistic evolution. There are those, of course, who try to explain the origin and manifold forms of life naturally while maintaining that God is and that is more than an animal and more than matter. If this is true then God has supernaturally intervened in some way to make man more than matter. Once we grant this supernatural intervention we have destroyed the naturalistic hypothesis of evolution. If we are going to say that God super naturally intervened in some way in the creation of man, why not accept the Biblical account of the supernatural intervention?

That evolution has not been scientifically proved can be illustrated by the fact that it would be a rare scientist indeed who would sign the following proposition: Resolved that the evolutionary origin of life and of man has been scientifically proved. If you know of a scientist who will sign this affirmation, we shall be happy to debate him, the Lord willing.

[1] Francis Darwin, Editor, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1898, Vol. 1, p. 282.

[2] Ibid., Vol. 1. p. 285

[3] As quoted in Gertrude Himmelfarb, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, London: Chatto & Windus, 1959, p. 316.

[4] Henry Fairfield Osborn, The Origin and Evolution of Life, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1918, pp. ix-x.

[5] Sol Tax. Editor, Evolution of Man, p. 2

[6] The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. II, p. 210.

[7] The Quarterly Review of Biology, September 1949, p. 220.

[8] Relis B. Brown, Biology, Second Edition, Boston: D. C. Heath and Company, 1961, p. 531.

[9] Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 142, Oct. 1928, p. 478.

[10] New Haven: Yale University Press, 1945.

[11] Himmelfarb, op. cit., p. 317.

[12] Ibid., p. 319.

[13] Ibid., p. 316.

[14] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, 1846-1895, New York: International Publishers, 1936. p. 126. Translated by Dona Torr.

[15] Ibid., p. 125.

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