The Home of American Intellectual Conservatism — First Principles

December 14, 2017

Darwin, Scientism, and the Misguided Quest for Darwinian Conservatism
John G. West (from IR 45 1-2) - 11/19/10

Without question, modern science has bequeathed lasting and important benefits to human civilization. It has produced wonder-working drugs and miraculous inventions; it has led to a staggering increase in both freedom and the standard of living. Unfortunately, in recent years the cultural Left in America has attempted to enlist science as a weapon in its ideological arsenal, defining any disagreement with leftist ideology in areas touching upon science as a “war on science.” Whether the issue is embryonic stem-cell research, global warming, sex education, or even partial-birth abortion, if you oppose the policy prescriptions of the Left, you are likely to be smeared as “anti-science.” Underlying such rhetoric is an unthinking scientism: a credulous belief that modern science can answer all important questions about human life and that scientists have the right to dictate public policy merely because of their presumed technical expertise.

Conservative intellectuals such as Richard Weaver, Eric Voegelin, G. K. Chesterton, and C. S. Lewis warned prophetically about the dangers scientism posed for politics and society during the last century. “Let scientists tell us about sciences,” Lewis wrote in the 1950s. “But government involves questions about the good for man, and justice, and what things are worth having at what price; and on these a scientific training gives a man's opinion no added value.”1

As advances in science become ever more tantalizing, claims to rule made in the name of science will likely become ever harder to ignore. One of the most formidable challenges facing conservatives in coming years is how to confront this revival of scientism and curtail the overreach of science into all spheres of human life.

Directly related to this challenge is the cultural status of Darwinian evolution, which has served as one of the most powerful engines of scientism during the past century. In the words of Richard Weaver,

as Darwinism and other theories seemed to immerse man more and more completely in nature, it was soon being asked why the methods which had explained so much of the physical world might not explain him also. With this the way was wide open for the materialistic monism which today underlies virtually all “scientistic” social science. Henceforward man was to be “nothing but” what the methods of science could reveal him as being.2

Unsurprisingly, leading contemporary Darwinists, such as E. O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett, have been at the forefront of promoting scientism. More surprisingly, conservative intellectuals today are divided by the debate over Darwinian evolution. Some simply ignore it as unimportant. Others are embarrassed by criticisms of Darwinism, because among the secular elite to criticize Darwinism is tantamount to allying oneself with the dreaded “religious fundamentalists.” Still others, like Larry Arnhart and James Q. Wilson, hope they can rescue Darwinism from scientism and even enlist it as a support for conservatism. These “Darwinian” conservatives claim that Darwinism can be used to defend traditional morality, economic freedom, limited government and even religion. They further contend that the science behind Darwinism is so overwhelming that conservatives must embrace it or be doomed to irrelevance. I think they are wrong on all counts.

It should be made clear from the outset that the term “Darwinism” does not refer merely to “change over time” or even to the idea that all living things share a common ancestor. Instead, in its modern formulation, Darwinism refers primarily to the claim that the mechanism of evolution is an undirected material process of natural selection acting on random mutations, and furthermore to the reductionist corollary of this view that seeks to understand mind, morality, and religion as fully explicable by such a blind material process.

Charles Darwin thought he had explained the origin of the appearance of design throughout nature through a process that did not have the design of particular organisms or biological structures in mind. The only “purpose” of natural selection is immediate survival. Natural selection is blind to the future, and thus in no sense are particular organisms or biological features—say the wings of a butterfly—to be considered the “purposeful” result of evolution. This truth applies even to the development of human beings. In the famous words of Harvard paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson, “Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind.”3

It is important to understand that the rejection of teleological evolution was Darwin's own view, not something grafted onto his theory by others. As Darwin himself emphasized: “No shadow of reason can be assigned for the belief that variations . . . were intentionally and specially guided.”4 It is equally important to understand that Darwin thought his theory provided a reductionist explanation for the development of mind, morality, and religion, and that he believed his theory had implications for social policy.

Having clarified the meaning of Darwinism, we are ready to scrutinize the claims of Darwinian conservatives in five key areas: Does Darwinism support or subvert traditional morality? Does it erode or reinforce the basis of capitalism? Does it promote or undermine limited government? Does it nurture or weaken religious faith? Finally, is the evidence for Darwinism so overwhelming that all rational people must accept it?

Darwinism and Morality

The question of whether Darwinian evolution supports traditional morality is an old one. In a famous essay on “Evolution and Ethics,” Darwin's “bulldog,” Thomas Huxley, vigorously argued the opposite: “The practice of that which is ethically best—what we call goodness or virtue—involves a course of conduct which, in all respects, is opposed to that which leads to success in the cosmic struggle for existence.”5 In Huxley's view, “The ethical progress of society depends, not on imitating the cosmic process [of evolution] . . . but in combating it.”6

Larry Arnhart disagrees, arguing that Darwinism provides a biological grounding for universal moral standards.7 But it is hard to see how this is the case. According to Darwin, specific moral precepts develop because under certain environmental conditions they promote survival. Once those conditions for survival change, however, so too do the dictates of morality. That is why we find in nature both the maternal instinct and infanticide, both honoring one's parents and killing them when they become feeble. In short, natural selection “chooses” whatever traits best promote survival under the existing circumstances. Sometimes that may include traits we consider “moral,” but other times it will include shocking immoralities.

The Darwinian view makes it very difficult to condemn as evil any human behavior that has persisted among human beings, because every trait that continues to exist even among a subpopulation has an equal right to claim nature's sanction. Presumably even antisocial behaviors such as fraud and pedophilia and rape must continue to exist among human beings because they were favored at some point by natural selection and therefore have some sort of biological basis. Of course, one could still justly condemn such behaviors if there existed a permanent moral standard independent of natural selection. But the existence of such a standard is precisely what Darwinism denies.

Darwinism's inherent relativism is apparent in the writing of Darwinists, such as Alfred Kinsey, on sex and family life over the past century, although this fact is basically ignored by Arnhart. He tries to argue that Darwin provided a biological justification for traditional marriage. Actually, Darwin initially argued that the original pattern of human sexual bonding was some form of polygamy. While establishing a biological basis for polygamy as the original form of human marriage may give comfort to modern polygamists, I sincerely doubt many conservatives would find it useful to their efforts to defend marriage. Polygamy, after all, is not what most conservatives mean by “traditional marriage.” Neither is Darwin's version of monogamy, which does not mean lifelong pairing. “The pairing may not last for life,” Darwin wrote, “but only for each birth.”8 According to this understanding, the welfare mother who has five children fathered by three different men would still be practicing “monogamy.” This is not the kind of monogamy most conservatives are seeking to defend.

According to the Darwinian view, nature may—on occasion—sanction certain traditional virtues because at the moment they happen to promote biological survival. But given a different set of circumstances (and circumstances change all the time), a radically different conception of morality might be required. In The Descent of Man, Darwin said as much: “If, for instance . . . men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters; and no one would think of interfering.”9 Although this startling passage references the behavior of bees, it is making a point about human morality and how it is ultimately a function of the conditions of survival. Whenever those conditions change, Darwin seems to say, so too will the maxims of human morality. Hence, Darwinism is a recipe for moral relativism, not moral universals.

Darwinism and Capitalism

Most people probably first encountered the claim that Darwinism promotes capitalism in their high school social studies classes, where they heard about ruthless capitalists during the Gilded Age who appealed to Darwin's theory of natural selection to justify cutthroat business competition. Yet this version of history is more myth than fact. While a few nineteenth-century biologists and social theorists justified laissez-faire economic policies in terms of natural selection, most American defenders of capitalism did not. In fact, they were highly skeptical about economic applications of Darwinism because of the connection between Darwin's theory and the Reverend Thomas Malthus's dour Essay on the Principle of Population (1798). Malthus argued that men, animals, and plants reproduce more offspring than nature can support. The inevitable result is widespread death until the population is reduced to a level that nature can support. By his own admission, Darwin adopted this struggle for existence articulated by Malthus as the foundation for his theory of evolution.10

Applied to the world of commerce, Malthusian theory presents economics as a zero-sum game. The more people there are, the less food there will be to go around. The more laborers there are, the lower the standard wage will be. In the Malthusian view, economic progress for the few can only be purchased at the price of misery for the many. American defenders of capitalism in the 1800s explicitly repudiated Malthus because they thought free enterprise was a system of cooperation from which all parties could benefit. Since they rejected the Malthusian view, they had little desire to resurrect it in economics through Darwinism. Ironically, those who most vigorously identified free enterprise with Darwinism were not capitalism's defenders but its detractors. Various left-wing reformers tried to discredit capitalism by claiming that it was nothing more than Darwinian “survival of the fittest” applied to the world of business.

In more recent decades, some have offered a more sophisticated argument linking Darwinian theory to free enterprise by championing F. A. Hayek's idea of “spontaneous order.” This is the belief that “complex and orderly and, in a very definite sense, purposive structures might grow up which owed little or nothing to design, which were not invented by a contriving mind but arose from the separate actions of many men who did not know what they were doing.”11 Arnhart embraces Hayek's idea of “spontaneous order” as a key plank in his platform of “Darwinian conservatism.” However, there is a serious problem with trying to analogize from Darwinism to free markets. The Darwinian process is supposed to be blind to intelligence and to the future. Variations in the business world, however, are driven by men exercising their intelligence and foresight. This intelligence and foresight may well be limited, but it is neither purposeless nor blind to the future. Darwinian conservatives confuse the lack of an overarching design with the absence of any design. Something can still be the product of intelligent causes even if it is not the product of a single omnicompetent designer.

In reality, it is Darwinism's unguided process of selection and mutation that poses the real problem for “spontaneous order,” because it asserts that complex order can arise without any goal-directed actions at all, thus discounting the need for the purposeful interaction of rational agents on which the spontaneous order found in the human world depends.

Darwinism, Utopianism, and Limited Government

One of the most extraordinary claims made by Darwinian conservatives is their insistence that Darwinian theory supports realism and limited government rather than utopian efforts to transform society. In truth, scientists and planners during the past century have drawn on Darwinian theory to promote one utopian crusade after another, including forced sterilization, scientific racism, euthanasia, and an ever-expanding government justified in the name of the “evolving Constitution.”

The typical response of Darwinists to this record of coercive “Social Darwinism” is to deny that it has any genuine connection to Darwin or his theory of evolution. But when one examines the historical record in detail, the effort to disentangle Darwinism from “Social Darwinism” is hard to maintain. This can be seen most clearly in the case of eugenics.

Eugenics was the science of human breeding, and during the first several decades of the twentieth century, it resulted in the compulsory sterilization of more than sixty thousand presumed “defectives” in the United States, including many who probably would not be considered mentally deficient today.12 The intellectual leaders of the eugenics crusade were largely university-trained biologists and doctors, and they pushed for eugenics because they thought it was fully justified by Darwinian biology. It should be stressed that eugenicists represented mainstream evolutionary biology, not the fringe. They were affiliated with universities like Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Stanford. They were leaders in America's most prestigious scientific organizations. Biologist Edwin Conklin was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The eugenicists' underlying fear was articulated by Charles Darwin himself in The Descent of Man, where he criticized modern society for undermining the natural “process of elimination” by building asylums for the mentally ill, homes for the handicapped, hospitals for the sick, and welfare programs for the poor. Darwin was even concerned about the supposedly deleterious impact of vaccinating people against smallpox! “No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. . . . Hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”13

Darwin does go on to indicate that we can't follow the dictates of “hard reason” in such cases without undermining our “sympathy . . . the noblest part of our nature.” But such misgivings represented a lame objection at best. If Darwin truly believed that society's efforts to help the impoverished and sickly “must be highly injurious to the race of man” (note the word “must”), then the price of preserving compassion in his view appeared to be the destruction of the human race. With compassion being framed in that manner, how many people could be expected to reject the teachings of “hard reason” and sacrifice the human race? Arnhart whitewashes history when he argues that Darwin was concerned only with “good eugenics” such as banning incestuous marriages.14 If this were the case, why did Darwin warn of the dangers to the human race of helping the poor, caring for the mentally ill, saving the sick, and even inoculating people against smallpox? Darwin clearly supplied a logical rationale for eugenics in The Descent of Man, even if his personal scruples made him ambivalent about pressing his concerns to a logical conclusion. His followers, of course, were not so squeamish.

Those who insist that eugenics was somehow a distortion of Darwinian biology must account for the fact that the vast majority of leading Darwinian biologists for several decades clearly thought otherwise. Indeed, they promoted the tenets of eugenics as “strict corollaries” of “the theory of organic evolution.”15 And they had a point. If one truly believes that human progress is dependent on a vigorous struggle for existence, then any diminution of natural selection in human society will raise legitimate concerns, and efforts to reinstate selection through eugenics may well appear rational. Indeed, once one understands the evolving nature of “human nature,” it is difficult to see any objection in principle to all sorts of efforts to transform human nature through bioengineering.

Arnhart attempts to outline a Darwinian argument against radical human bioengineering, but his argument is less than persuasive. “Our desires have been formed by natural selection over evolutionary history to promote survival and reproduction,” he writes.16 “Knowing this should make us cautious about using biotechnology to radically change our evolved nature.” But why?

Natural selection is a messy, hit-or-miss process of dead ends and false starts. Why shouldn't human beings use their reason to direct their evolution in order to produce a new kind of human being? What is so sacrosanct about existing human dispositions and capacities, since they were produced by such an imperfect and purposeless process? Arnhart seems to want to clothe human nature with a kind of sacred awe that will restrain human beings from tinkering with it. But such awe is alien to the Darwinian mindset. In his autobiography, Darwin recounted how he had once had such feelings, but they had evaporated. He lamented: “I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body; but now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind.”17 In the Darwinian framework, there is nothing intrinsically right about the current capacities of human beings, so there can be nothing intrinsically wrong about trying to alter them. Indeed, “human nature” in its traditional sense is a non sequitur in Darwinian terms.

Darwinism and Religion

Darwinian conservatives like to insist that “Darwinian biology is compatible with religious belief, and particularly with biblical theism.”18 Accordingly, they dismiss militant atheist Darwinists such as Oxford's Richard Dawkins as little more than fringe figures whose views are not grounded in Darwinian science.

Yet even a cursory review of the evidence demonstrates that Dawkins's views are alarmingly prosaic when it comes to the vast majority of leading biologists. According to a 1998 survey of members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), 94.4 percent of the NAS biologists were atheists or agnostics, far more than scientists in any other discipline. A similar percentage rejected belief in life after death. And according to a 2003 survey of leading scientists in the field of evolution, 87 percent outright denied the existence of God, 88 percent disbelieved in the existence of life after death, and 90 percent rejected the idea that evolution is directed toward an “ultimate purpose.”19 Perhaps these Darwinists reject religion on grounds completely unrelated to Darwinism, or perhaps they are all guilty of sloppy logic. But the association between Darwinists and the rejection of religion at least raises a serious question about the presumed harmony between Darwinian evolution and religion.

What about today's “theistic evolutionists”? Don't they prove the compatibility of Darwin's theory and traditional religion? Not really. On closer inspection such religious believers either reject full-blown “Darwinian” (i.e., unguided) evolution or jettison traditional theism in order to uphold a consistent Darwinism. The latter alternative is the one adopted by most mainstream “theistic evolutionists.”

Roman Catholic biologist Kenneth Miller, for example, flatly denies that the evolutionary process was guided in order to produce any particular result—even the development of human beings. In fact, he says he agrees with the view “that mankind's appearance on this planet was not preordained, that we are here not as the products of an inevitable procession of evolutionary success, but as an afterthought, a minor detail, a happenstance in a history that might just as well have left us out.”20 Human beings an “afterthought”? That is hardly the stuff of traditional Christian or Jewish theology.

Strictly speaking, Darwinian evolution begins after the first life has developed, and so Larry Arnhart is correct that it does not necessarily refute the claim that there is some kind of “first cause” to the universe that stands outside of “nature.” But this “first cause” allowable by Darwinism cannot be a God who actively supervises or directs the development of life. Such an absentee God is hard to reconcile with any traditional Judeo-Christian conception of a God who actively directs and cares for His creation. In the end, the effort to reconcile Darwinism with traditional Judeo-Christian theism remains unpersuasive.

Darwinism and the Scientific Evidence

If the scientific evidence really supported Darwinism, efforts to square conservatism with Darwinism might be justifiable. But the accumulated evidence of the past few decades has raised substantial doubts about the ability of natural selection and random variation to generate the highly functional complexity we see throughout the biosphere. To cite merely one example: Research published by protein scientist Douglas Axe in the Journal of Molecular Biology shows the astonishing rarity of certain working protein sequences, raising significant questions about how a Darwinian process of chance mutations could generate them. In the words of Dr. Axe, the rarity of these working protein sequences among all the possible combinations is “less than one in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion.”21 Before nature can build animals like mice, muskrats, or men, it first needs to build working protein sequences. If Darwinism cannot account for the generation of such sequences, it can hardly account for the development of living organisms with even higher levels of complexity.

Skepticism toward neo-Darwinism's overblown claims regarding natural selection and random mutation is far more widespread among scientists than most people realize. Despite the high cost of publicly airing one's doubts about Darwin, more than eight hundred doctoral scientists—from institutions such as Princeton, Ohio State, the University of Michigan, and MIT—have signed a statement expressing their skepticism that the Darwinian mechanism is capable of explaining the complexity of life. Geneticist Lynn Margulis at the University of Massachusetts—a critic of intelligent design—bluntly states that “new mutations don't create new species; they create offspring that are impaired.”22 NAS member Philip Skell argues that “Darwinian evolution has functioned more as a philosophical belief system than as a testable scientific hypothesis. This quasi-religious function of the theory is . . . why many scientists make public statements about the theory that they would not defend privately to other scientists.”23

Some scientists and philosophers have gone beyond criticizing Darwin and argued that nature exhibits strong evidence of intelligent design. Intelligent design is a term that is often misunderstood, and space constraints preclude a full discussion of the concept here. Suffice to say, it should not be confused with biblical literalism, and it has deep roots in the history of science as well as the history of philosophy and theology. Plato and Cicero both argued that nature displays evidence of design, and so too did the early fathers of the Christian church. In the words of Lactantius, “Nothing can be made without mind, intelligence, and design.”24 The modern theory of intelligent design is not necessarily antievolution, and it does not claim that empirical science can “prove” the existence of God. Even less does it claim that God should be understood merely as some sort of cosmic engineer. Unfortunately, too often conservatives who criticize intelligent design show little sign of having read the scientists and philosophers who support it, and their critiques of intelligent design simply refute a straw-man version of the idea propagated by such paragons of fairness and accuracy as the ACLU and the New York Times.

The knee-jerk reaction among some conservatives to intelligent design betrays an unwillingness to grapple seriously with the many formidable questions being raised about the evidence for Darwinism. Yet conservatives cannot effectively hope to challenge scientism if they are afraid to confront the most powerful current incarnation of scientism in the form of Darwinian ideology. Hence, even conservatives who accept Darwinian theory should think twice before embracing the dogmatic claims to rule made by Darwinists and other scientific materialists. Such claims have resulted in a concerted effort to shut down honest debate through caricatures and intimidation. While evolution proponents continue to portray themselves as the victims of fundamentalist intolerance, in most places today it is the evolutionists who have turned inquisitors, and it is the critics of Darwin's theory who are being persecuted, especially those who defend the idea of intelligent design.

At George Mason University in Virginia, for example, biology professor Caroline Crocker made the mistake of favorably discussing intelligent design in her cell biology class. She was suspended from teaching the class, and then her contract was not renewed. At the Smithsonian Institution, evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg, the editor of a respected biology journal, faced retaliation and demotion by Smithsonian executives after accepting for publication a peer-reviewed article favoring intelligent design. Investigators for the U.S. Office of Special Counsel later concluded that “it is . . . clear that a hostile work environment was created with the ultimate goal of forcing [Dr. Sternberg] . . . out of the [Smithsonian].”25

Nor is biology the only scientific field where litmus tests are being applied. At Iowa State University, pro–intelligent des-
ign astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez was denied tenure in 2007 despite the fact that his work on design focused on physics and astronomy and did not challenge biological evolution. An outstanding scientist whose research has been featured on the cover of Scientific American, Gonzalez was rejected for tenure even though he had produced 350 percent more peer-reviewed publications than needed to demonstrate research excellence in his department. Iowa State insisted that Gonzalez's denial of tenure had nothing to do with his views on intelligent design. But members of Gonzalez's department admitted otherwise, including one colleague who published a newspaper article highlighting Gonzalez's views on intelligent design as the only reason he voted to deny him tenure.

Such intolerance should raise concerns for people from across the political spectrum. True liberals—those who favor free and open debate—should be appalled by the growing campaign of intimidation against academic critics of Darwinism just as much as conservatives. Whatever one's personal view of Darwinism, the current atmosphere is unhealthy for science, and it is unhealthy for a free society.

Conservatives who are discomfited by the continuing debate over Darwin's theory need to understand that it is not about to go away. It is not going away because the accumulating discoveries of modern science undercut rather than confirm the claims of neo-Darwinism. It is not going away because free men do not like to be told that there are some questions they are not allowed to ask, and there are some answers they are not allowed to question. Finally, it is not going away because Darwinism and the scientism it spawns fundamentally challenge the traditional Western understanding of human nature and the universe.


  1. C. S. Lewis, “Is Progress Possible? Willing Slaves of the Welfare State,” in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970), 315.


  2. Richard M. Weaver, “Social Science in Excelsis,” in In Defense of Tradition: Collected Shorter Writings of Richard M. Weaver, 1929–1963, ed. Ted J. Smith III (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000), 141–42.


  3. George Gaylord Simpson, The Meaning of Evolution: A Study of the History of Life and of Its Significance for Man, rev. ed. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1967), 345.


  4. Charles Darwin, The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, 2nd ed. (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1883), 428–29.


  5. Thomas H. Huxley, Evolution and Ethics and Other Essays (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1925), 81–82.


  6. Ibid., 83.


  7. Larry Arnhart, Darwinian Conservatism (Charlottesville, VA: Imprint Academic, 2005), 23.


  8. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, [1871] 1981) [Hereafter, Descent (1871)], vol. 2: 362. Darwin similarly stated a couple of pages earlier: “Men and women, like many of the lower animals, might formerly have entered into strict though temporary unions for each birth.” Darwin, Descent (1871), vol. 2, 360. See also Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, 2nd ed. (London: John Murray, 1882) [hereafter Descent (1882)], 589, 591.


  9. Descent (1871), vol. 1, 73.


  10. Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin and Selected Letters, ed. Francis Darwin (New York: Dover, 1958), pp. 42–33; Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (London: John Murray, 1859), 5.


  11. F. A. Hayek, “Freedom, Reason and Tradition,” Ethics 68: 4 (July 1958), 232–33.


  12. Mark Haller, Eugenics: Hereditarian Attitudes in American Thought (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1963), 141.


  13. Descent (1871), vol. 1, 168.


  14. Larry Arnhart, “John West's Darwin Day in America,” September 16, 2007,


  15. Edward M. East, Heredity and Human Affairs (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1927), 237.


  16. Arnhart, Darwinian Conservatism, 135. See also John G. West, Darwin's Conservatives (Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2006), 38–40.


  17. Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 65.


  18. Arnhart, Darwinian Conservatism, 85.


  19. Gregory W. Graffin and William B. Provine, “Evolution, Religion, and Free Will,” American Scientist 95 (July–August 2007), 294–97; results of Cornell Evolution Project survey,


  20. Kenneth R. Miller, Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution (New York: HarperCollins, 1999), 244.


  21. John G. West, “Scientist Says His Peer-Reviewed Research in the Journal of Molecular Biology 'Adds to the Case for Intelligent Design,' ” January 10, 2007, See also Douglas D. Axe, “Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds,” Journal of Molecular Biology 341:5 (August 27, 2004), 1295–315.


  22. Quoted in Darry Madden, “UMass Scientist to Lead Debate on Evolutionary Theory,” Brattleboro Reformer, February 2, 2006.


  23. Philip Skell, “Open Letter to the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee,” January 23, 2006,


  24. Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, Book II, Chapter IX, in Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 1975), vol. VII, p. 55.


  25. Letter to Richard Sternberg from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, August 5, 2005, available at


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