Darwin’s Doubts (continued)

Darwin also referred to the Creator several times in his writings:

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

Charles Darwin closed the last paragraph of the first edition of his On the Origin of Species (publication date 24 November 1859) with the above sentence. However, in March 1863, Darwin wrote about this inclusion of the three significant words “by the Creator” to his friend and scientific confidante Joseph Hooker:

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 “I have long 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. It is mere rubbish thinking, at present, of origin of life; one might as well think of origin of matter.”

“…..Further, we must suppose that there is a power always intently watching each slight accidental alteration in the transparent layers; and carefully selecting each alteration.” (Darwin, Origin of Species: second British edition (1860), p. 189)

In his autobiography, Darwin says:

Reason tells me of the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including Man with his capability of looking 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.”

Darwin was impressed with the views of the Reverend Charles Kingsley, who saw no contradiction between faith and belief in evolution, and sought Kingsley’s permission to publish those thoughts in the second edition of the Origin of Species (Darwin, C. R. 1860. On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favored races in the struggle for life. London: John Murray, 2nd edition, second issue):

A celebrated author and divine…has written to me that ‘he has gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of the Deity to believe that He created a few original forms capable of self-development into other and needful forms, as to believe that He required a fresh act of creation to supply the voids caused by the action of His laws… (http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?keywords=the%20voids%20supply&pageseq=436&itemID=F380&viewtype=text)

…It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man may be [both] an ardent theist and an evolutionist. You are right about Kingsley…..In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an Atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. I think that generally (and more and more so as I grow older), but not always, that an Agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/search-results?freetext=agnostic, para. 3)

Darwin seemingly had doubts, but not so the Darwinians.

To them, evolution is the new Godless religion and leading evolutionists are its new prophets.

Eminent scientific philosopher and ardent Darwinian Michael Ruse, in his 2017 book, Darwinism as Religion: What Literature Tells Us about Evolution, (OUP), has acknowledged that evolution serves as a religion:

Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion — a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. … Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.


The famous atheist writer and speaker, Richard Dawkins, when asked to explain the evolution of birds’ feather actually said: “Natural selection, um, well, I suppose that is a sort of matter of faith, on my part.” (http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/12/richard-dawkins-man-of-faith.html, para. 8)

George Sim Johnson, philosopher and historian of religion, in his 1998 book, Did Darwin Get it Right? Catholics and the Theory of Evolution, suggests that if a CD containing the information in the genetic code were discovered, everyone would conclude that it came from intelligent alien life. However, upon finding the same complex information inside our cells, ardent Darwinians conclude that it happened by chance and randomness!

(https://books.google.it/books?id=NmCi0n8Ku7AC&pg=PA4&lpg=PA4&dq=george+sim+johnson+on+genetic+code&source=bl&ots=uScWh0j58V&sig=ACfU3U3Y1-pEEvSVPccrse418TW9F8JYtw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiX2qTs1vPnAhVIExoKHT3SBOkQ6AEwAHoECAYQAQ#v=onepage&q=george%20sim%20johnson%20on%20genetic%20code&f=false, pp.  4–5)

This bias is even found at the institutional level. In his 1991 book, Darwin on Trial under Ch.2, Natural Selection As a Philosophical Necessity ( para. 1), the author, Phillip E. Johnson, discusses the court case against Intelligent Design in Louisiana. He says:

The National Academy of Sciences told the Supreme Court that the most basic characteristic of science is “reliance upon naturalistic explanations,” as opposed to “supernatural means inaccessible to human understanding.” In the latter, unacceptable category contemporary scientists place not only God, but also any non-material vital force that supposedly drives evolution in the direction of greater complexity, consciousness, or whatever. If science is to have any explanation for biological complexity at all it has to make do with what is left when the unacceptable has been excluded. Natural selection is the best of the remaining alternatives, probably the only alternative.  (p. 21, last para.)


Which God and which religion should I follow?

The Quran says:

If you obey the majority of those upon this Earth, they will mislead you from the way of God. They follow only assumptions, and they are only falsifying.  (Quran 6:116)

A religion cannot be judged by the actions of people born into it. We cannot judge Christianity as a barbaric religion because some Ku Klux Klan members associate themselves with Christianity and carry the cross while they are lynching black men. That would be a very superficial judgment. The teachings of Jesus, peace be upon him, are innocent of such horrific actions.

Similarly, true Islam is there, behind a veil of false media propaganda and a few bad people masquerading as Muslims. Remove that veil, and you will see beauty and perfection. In the Quran, we find an even bigger gap between what a believer can be and the present-day misapplication of religion.

Yes, there are clauses that discuss warfare in both the Quran and Bible:

“You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you.” (Bible, Leviticus 26:7)

Fight in the way of God those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. God does not like transgressors. (Quran, 2:190)

However, these verses should not be taken out of context by ignoring the restrictions in the verses that precede or follow, nor should they be considered in isolation from the values of justice, equality, forgiveness, and charity that monotheistic religions call to.

Knowledge of God/religion does not come from observing the actions of His creation. Nor does this knowledge come from trying to understand the wisdom behind His actions through our limited perspective. Instead, to know God and our purpose in life:

  • We ponder His amazing creation. (See “Signs in the Universe” (Part 10) and “Signs in Creation” (Part 13) for examples.)
  • We read/listen to His words.

People’s distortions of the pure monotheistic message, preached by all prophets of God,  can confuse any sane person and may turn him/her away from religion. Some people take man-made idols as gods; some project ‘God’ as a weak being who answers the call of nature and allows His creatures to harm Him; others take people and religious figures as intermediaries to God and submit to their power and politics. Religious institutions abound with corruption and abuse. Some religious leaders act “holier than thou” and change God’s laws to protect their own power and influence. People commit terrorist acts in the name of religion. The list goes on…

Understandably, this turns people off from religion. In their view, religion poisons everything.

However, we need to differentiate between a religion and the actions of its followers. John Lennox, Oxford professor of mathematics and author, points out that if we fail to distinguish between the science of Einstein and the abuse of his discoveries by scientists who created weapons of mass destruction, we would then repudiate Einstein’s science and say that science poisons everything —which makes no sense. (https://www.inspiringquotes.us/author/9334-john-lennox)

To keep things in perspective, consider  the millions killed in World War I and World War II: approximately 14 million and 70 million, respectively; the 94 million killed to establish the atheist communist regimes  (The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression); the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan and various other war atrocities. These were not committed in the name of religion, but by secular regimes. Thus we see that violence is a human trait; not attributable to religion as some would have us believe, and we should not abandon religion because of the abuses of some of its followers.

Fulfilling our responsibilities to our Creator —and to ourselves— depends upon our comprehension of Who God is, why He created us, and what He requires of us. So we need to find a true path to God. But which path to follow? Each religion claims to be right. What is the reasonable and methodical logical way to figure out the correct path?

  • Not by following our parents, society, etc.
  • Not by following the religion of people who look like us or come from the same race
  • Not by personal preferences and inclinations

The broad concept of God in true religion should be one that any rational person intuitively knows even before reading any holy book: a concept that is in line with human innate knowledge, instincts and logic.

…To be continued in Part 20

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Dr. Raida Jarrar

Dr. Raida Jarrar is a Palestinian American who holds a Doctorate of Engineering from Cleveland State University. Following a career of over twenty-five years in the fields of engineering and aviation IT, she worked as a volunteer at one of the largest Islamic centers in the Middle East, where she interacted with visitors of different religious backgrounds and diverse cultures. The series she writes for Al-Jumuah analyzes and encapsulates her discussions with the atheist visitors, presented in a question and answer format for clarity and ease of reference. The answers are sourced from research, discussions with colleagues and mentors, and personal thoughts. Dr. Jarrar also volunteers as a translator for Islamic content and hosts the Aslamt youtube channel, which is dedicated to answering common questions about faith. https://youtube.com/@aslamt9462

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