Review Of The PBS "Evolution" Series | The Institute for Creation Research

Review Of The PBS "Evolution" Series

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Only 13 days after the act of terrorism on NewYork, Public Broadcasting Stations delivered a different, but another event of grave importance that was witnessed by millions of Americans—a seven-part, eight hour special entitled "Evolution." PBS, with the aid of WGBH in Boston and Clear Blue Sky Productions televised one of the boldest assaults yet upon both our public schools with the millions of innocent school children and the foundational worldview on which our nation was built.1

These two "assaults" have similar histories and goals. The public was unaware of the deliberate preparation that was schemed over the past few years leading up to these events. And while the public now understands from President Bush that, "We're at War"2 with militant Islamics around the world, they don't have a clue that America is being attacked from within through its public schools by a militant religious movement of philosophical naturalists (i.e., atheists) under the guise of secular Darwinism. Both desire to alter the life and thinking of our nation.

"Come on!" one might exclaim. "You're implicating American scientists, the very cream of human genius. What evidence do you have for such an outrageous accusation?" To which I say, let this blatant video series speak. Read the PBS-supplied documents even now being placed in the hands of school boards and science teachers across the land and let them tell you of mind control beyond anything yet seen in public education. "Evolution" is PBS's assault that's coming to your children's classroom—not soon but now.

The teaching of evolution in public schools isn't new. It was the focus of the "Monkey Trial" in 1925 when John Scopes was found guilty of violating the law by supposedly teaching evolution in a state school.3 Some claim that evolution as a philosophy went underground until Russia's launch of Sputnik in 1957. This space event opened the school doors to the first wave of ideological attack in the form of the militant Biological Science Curriculum Study (BSCS) science texts for public schools. In 1958 the BSCS was ostensibly dedicated to the improvement of biological education, but is "generally credited with introducing extensive presentation of evolution while excluding scientific evidence for creation."4 Despite the claims, however, evolution was the reigning paradigm in textbooks long before this.

A Dangerous Idea

Daniel C. Dennett is an evolutionary atheist at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. One theme from the "Evolution" series is from his philosophical fantasy entitled, "Darwin's Dangerous Idea," his book published in 1995.5 Dennett imagines a dollop of "universal acid" that is so powerful that it can't be contained by any known vessel. It is a childhood concoction, much like a chemical Godzilla that explains what he thinks has happened since 1859. "Darwin's dangerous idea is that Design can emerge from mere Order via an algorithmic process that makes no use of pre-existing Mind."5 Put in more simple terms, Darwin imagined that instead of God creating all things from the top down, chaos created all things from the bottom up in a miraculous cosmic pyramid.

How could this be? It can be, writes Dennett, because nature selects the best from the past. Those survivors have an accumulated advantage to keep on producing new inventions from the lottery of innovations in each generation that can modify life, improve life, and even produce an evolving mind. This may be compared to the mind of the mystical God; only this great and ever advancing mind is in man. Such an idea is at the heart of humanism.6 Dennett not only claims, but insists that this "universal acid" is Darwinism, an idea that can't be contained and is destroying all of the pre-Darwinian concepts (cause and effect, religion, morality, ethics, etc.). This is the underlying perspective taught in the PBS special. Given its overtly "religious" doctrines, can anyone doubt that Darwinism really is a religious idea?

The Religion of Darwin

Darwin died on April 21, 1882, and, as the video narrator explains, Darwin's friends prevailed upon the Royal Society, House of Commons, and Dean of Westminster Abbey to bury him in the floor of that cathedral. These supporters wanted a state occasion with a special anthem celebrating the vast social transformation that England was undergoing. As the series host stated:

Darwin's body was enshrined to the greater glory of these new professionals. For, he had naturalized creation and delivered human nature and human destiny into their hands. Society would never be the same. Darwin's vision of nature was, I believe, fundamentally a religious vision with which he ended his most famous work, On the Origin of Species. (Episode 1)

One can see a clear parallel between Darwin's death and that of the Lord Jesus. Darwin set the captives free from Biblical accountability and turned them over to human hands (humanism) to perfect his legacy. And just what was that legacy? God didn't create man, but nature accomplished it by means of naturalistic evolution.

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 circling 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.7

Don't be deceived by that "breathed by the creator" phrase. At this point in his life (1859 and later), Darwin's atheism was under severe attack by the church of his day so he threw in a sop to his readers as if he somehow thought that God was still involved. He really didn't think so,8 and later removed even the sop.

In one eulogistic monolog, narrator Moore elevates Darwin even higher than Jesus. Jesus plays no role in man's salvation but "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" satisfies. Can there be any doubt that this is an evolutionary moment when the Great High Prophet of the Humanistic Religion assumes his office, receives homage, and passes his vision on to the evangelists. These evangelists in turn proselytize millions of victims in taxpayer-supported schools who can't protect themselves and whose parents don't understand that a vicious religious war for the mind has been declared on America from within.

Undermining Faith

Lest one think that this isn't a religious war of humanism against theism, let's now look at Episode 7. "What About God?" The narrator places the sacrifice on the altar: "The majesty of our birth, the beauty of life. Are they the result of a natural process called evolution or the work of a divine Creator? This question is at the heart of a struggle that threatened to tear our nation apart." Ken Ham appears on the scene to say, "I think it is a war. It is a real battle between worldviews." After scanning Ham's church seminar in Canton, Ohio, and making him look like a huckster, the producer unfolds two carefully orchestrated case studies that purport to be objective inquiry into the whole topic of Darwinism.

One can see the destructive "universal acid" at work in undermining both a Christian university and the faith of three of its students who came from Bible-believing backgrounds, but were poorly prepared to defend their faith from the frontal assault of religious naturalism.

Wheaton College invited the attack by encouraging a double-minded professor to speak to their students. His message was that there is no problem in being both an orthodox Christian and Darwinist. Dr. Keith Miller, a Geology Professor from Kansas State University, was asked to give the keynote address at a symposium on the fossil record and geological history. To no one's surprise he advocated the teaching of evolution and the centrality of evolution as a unifying theory of origins. He didn't find any conflict. There are lots of transitional forms he declared. Such a bold statement begs the question, "name one?" as creationists have asked for decades. The narrator acknowledged that some students were still troubled after this one-sided presentation. Three students are followed through their thought process as they deal with this challenge to their faith. Through the teaching of evolution in the classroom and no support for their faith, all three are swayed to an unstable foundation and acceptance of the propaganda. At least that's the edited version of the video that millions of Americans watched.

In a second case, students at Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Indiana, petitioned their school board to have special creation added to their science curriculum. Over half the student body and 35 members of the faculty supported their petition. "Teach us the facts and let us choose," they asked. They claimed that complex biological structures could not have arisen through natural selection but had to be created by some higher intelligence. After three hours of deliberations, the board decided that creation science couldn't be taught in the biology classroom but possibly under the humanities. The religion of Darwinism doesn't violate separation of church and state but creation science does, they concluded.

Behind the scenes, Dr. Eugenie Scott, Director of the National Center for Science Education (an anti-creation advocacy group) was available to help a Lafayette teacher fight off the petition. Scott admitted that Justice Brennan wrote "alternatives for evolution could be taught, if they have a scientific basis." Scott said, "one reason why the creationists have worked so hard to try to present their ideas as being scientific is so they can duck under the First Amendment." Darwinists practice their religion in the schools under the first amendment. They may call it science, but need a body guard to protect it from open inquiry.

  1. Hutton, Richard, Executive Producer, The Evolution project, WGBH Boston, September 24-27, 2001.
  2. Thomas, Evan and Mark Hosenball, Bush: "We're At War" Newsweek, September 24, 2001, p. 26.
  3. Taylor, Ian T., In the Minds of Men (Toronto: TFE Publishing, 1991), p. 232.
  4. Bird, Wendell R., The Origin of Species Revisited (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1991), vol. II, p. 356.
  5. Dennett, Daniel C., Darwin's Dangerous Idea (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), p. 83.
  6. American Humanist Association, "Humanist Manifesto II," The Humanist, vol. 33 (September/October 1973), pp. 4-9.
  7. Darwin, Charles, The Origin of Species (Philadelphia: David McKay, Publisher), Sixth edition, p. 474.
  8. Taylor, Ian T., In the Minds of Men (Toronto: TFE Publishing, 1991), p. 126.

* Dr. Cumming is Dean of the ICR graduate school.

Cite this article: Kenneth B. Cumming, Ph.D. 2001. Review Of The PBS "Evolution" Series. Acts & Facts. 30 (12).

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