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Biologist: 'The Scientific Establishment Has Turned Into a Darwinistic Church'

Charles Darwin statue in a museum

Science itself is not hostile to religious faith, but some interpretations of science can be, and many Christians who study or practice science tend to find a gut opposition to faith among their teachers, colleagues, and superiors.

A Christian who earned her Ph.D. in biology at the University of Washington and did post-doctorate work at Harvard opened up to PJ Media about the effective worship of Darwinism and the widespread hostility to Christians and homeschoolers within the community of top scientists.

"The scientific establishment has turned into a Darwinistic church," Ann Gauger, a senior research scientist at the Biologic Institute, told PJ Media. "They have Darwin Day every year. It's not uncommon for scientists to genuflect in the direction of Darwin at the beginning of a paper even if it's not relevant to the topic."

Indeed, the vast majority of modern scientific research is not directly relevant to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. In 2009, chemist and professor Phil Skell, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, warned that Darwinists in the scientific community had long overstated "both the evidence for Darwin's theory of historical biology and the benefits of Darwin's theory to the actual practice of experimental science."

Skell referenced Nobel Laureate Ernst Chain, who wrote that his discovery of penicillin (with Howard Florey and Alexander Fleming) and the development of bacteria resistance to that antibiotic "owed nothing to Darwin's and Alexander Russel Wallace's evolutionary theories."

The same can be said about a variety of other 20th-century findings: the discovery of the structure of the double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; new surgeries; and other developments.

Additionally, I have queried biologists working in areas where one might have thought the Darwinian paradigm could guide research, such as the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. Here, as elsewhere, I learned that evolutionary theory provides no guidance when it comes to choosing the experimental designs. Rather, after the breakthrough discoveries, it is brought in as a narrative gloss.

Skell emphasized that the theory of evolution — regardless of its truth or falsehood — "offers no help to the experimenter."

"Studying biohistory is, at best, an entertaining distraction from the goals of a working biologist," the scientist wrote. Both Darwin's and Wallace's theories of evolution have been expanded to include "many of the biological experimental discoveries of the 20th century ... despite the fact that those discoveries were neither predicted nor heuristically guided by evolutionary theory."

Skell concluded that "the overselling of the theory of evolution, because of the incorporation of these later discoveries, may have done a grave disservice both to those two 19th-century scientists and to modern biology."