Fragile Philosophy

Origins: Skewering Darwinism’s ‘science of the gaps’

Bethell concludes that “the science of Darwinism amounts to little more than the ‘wedding’ of materialism and Progress. We have seen that if materialism is true, then Darwinism—or something very much like it—must also be true. But materialism is highly implausible and has been widely challenged.


Darwin’s House of Cards (Discovery) by Tom Bethell is not the hurricane that will collapse the evolution empire, but it’s a gusty and gutsy look at a dogma edging beyond its sell-by date—and that makes it our Book of the Year for exploring the origins of the world and of life. Today’s progressives aren’t progressive: They are defending mid-19th-century scientific understanding. As Bethell writes: “Darwin and his contemporaries had no way of knowing just how complex a cell is. Today it is sometimes compared to a high-tech factory. But a cell is far more complex than that. For one thing, factories can’t replicate themselves.”

Bethell punctures Darwin defender Kenneth Miller’s “God of the gaps” critique, which some theistic evolutionists have mimicked. Miller sneers that “as humans began to find material explanations for ordinary events, the gods broke into retreat.” He skewers creationists for their faith in God’s action and their refusal to give up on finding theistic explanations. But the retreat is going the other way these days: Darwinists lack adequate materialist explanations, so Miller requests faith in “scientific progress” and says we should not assume “that science will never come up with” an explanation.

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