Still fighting God!
Prominent evolutionist reaches 100th birthday
9 July 2004
Last year, we reported on how Ernst Mayr, an acclaimed atheistic biologist, is seen by many of his peers to be a true disciple of Charles Darwin (see 99 and still fighting God), belying the claim that evolutionary naturalism is not a religion.
On July 5th, Mayr reached the century mark. This coincided with the publication of an article by him in this week’s issue of the prestigious journal Science, entitled ‘80 years of watching the evolutionary scenery.’1 This is his personal account of how evolution theory was rescued from the doldrums in the first half of the twentieth century by marrying the idea of natural selection to genetics, especially the idea of mutations (the so-called ‘evolutionary synthesis’ or ‘modern synthesis’). Revealingly, Mayr says that when he became an evolutionist in his youth, ‘evolution was not really controversial’ in Germany and that ‘there was no Protestant fundamentalism’, as if to indicate that his acceptance of evolution was inevitable.
Furthermore, he writes: ‘In the gymnasium [equivalent to a US high school], my biology teacher took evolution for granted. So, I am quite certain, did my parents …’
One wonders whether things might have been different for the young Ernst Mayr had he been brought up to understand the Bible and how to connect Genesis to the real world of science, especially biology. Sadly, it seems that this centenarian has never looked back and has now become one of the most prolific authors on evolutionary biology ever—in fact, he has written five books since turning 90!
Not surprisingly, the world’s media have been quick to highlight this man’s long-standing promotion of evolution over and against creation. For instance, an article in The Times (London), provocatively titled ‘Science icon fires broadside at creationists,’2 reports that Mayr is currently writing a critique paper on ‘intelligent design’.3 One of his most recent books, What evolution is (reviewed in our peer-reviewed journal Journal of Creation4), despite giving the state-of-the-art thinking on evolution, practically ignored the many problems with the ruling paradigm.
In that book, Mayr lamely stated, ‘The claims of the creationists have been refuted so frequently and so thoroughly that there is no need to cover this subject once more’.5 However, it appears that he has changed his mind—ignoring the ‘problem’ of scientific critiques of evolution has clearly not made them go away. Rather, Mayr is frustrated (as are many of his evolutionary colleagues) that increasing numbers of people are being exposed to such arguments and finding them convincing. No doubt, he must be particularly exasperated that some parents and legislators have had the gall to challenge the sacred doctrines of evolution that are being taught in classrooms across the USA!
Similarly, the fact that ministries like [ours] are having a growing impact in many countries is a cause of great rejoicing, unless of course you happen to be an evolutionist or a Bible-compromiser! Not that Mayr thinks that evolution is in trouble—far from it. So wedded is he to his worldview that he considers ‘evolutionary biology [as] an endless frontier and there is still plenty to be discovered. I only regret that I won’t be present to enjoy these future developments.’6 As long as men like Ernst Mayr tirelessly fight against biblical truth, we will continue with our God-given task: ‘We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’7
- Science 305(5680):46–47, 2 July 2004. Available online: <www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/305/5680/46>. Return to text.
- Mark Henderson, <www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-3-1165986,00.html>, 3 July 2003. Return to text.
- For our view on the Intelligent Design Movement, see this article by Carl Wieland, 30 August 2002. Return to text.
- Jorge A. Fernandez, Evolution’s apostle bares his creed, Journal of Creation 16(3):44–47, 2002. Return to text.
- Ernst Mayr, What evolution is, Basic Books, New York, p. 269, 2001. Return to text.
- Ref. 2, concluding sentence. Return to text.
- 2 Corinthians 10:5. Return to text.