A recently released book from the Discovery Institute unleashes
unpublished writings by C.S. Lewis exposing motivations behind the
troubled theory of Darwinian evolution.
For decades, atheists have claimed that renowned Christian
theologian and author C.S. Lewis fully supported Darwinian
evolution -- an argument evolutionists have often used to buttress
their argument that intellectual Christians agree with their
secular account of origins.
Many of these assertions have gone relatively
unchallenged over the years -- until recently with Discovery
Institute's release of its new book, The Magician's Twin:
C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, edited by Dr.
John G. West, vice president of the Institute. It reveals, for the
first time, previously unpublished material and quotes from Lewis
on the highly troubled and controversial theory.
"The Magician's Twin explores C.S. Lewis's prophetic
warnings about how science -- a good thing -- is being hijacked by
those who want to erode faith, traditional ethics, and personal
liberty," West told OneNewsNow in an exclusive interview.
He maintains that there is plenty of documented evidence
pointing to Lewis's true take on the subject of human origins.
"C.S. Lewis's personal library contained more than three dozen
books and pamphlets on scientific topics, many of them focused on
evolution," says West. "Several of the books on evolution contained
annotations and underlining by Lewis, including Lewis's personal
copy of Charles Darwin's autobiography."
When asked what drove him to come out with his latest work, West
expressed that heightened attacks and intolerance of competing
origins accounts made the timing ripe.
"We live in an age when a growing number of people are misusing
science to debunk faith in God, traditional morality, and even
personal liberty," the vice president and senior fellow of
Discovery Institute explained. "Lewis was a prophetic critic of
this kind of 'scientism,' and I think there is much we can learn
from him for today about both the legitimacy of science and the
dangers of its misuse."
And this scientism of C.S. Lewis's day is alive and well today,
says West, who notes that the acclaimed Christian author would have
much to say about contemporary atheists such as Richard Dawkins,
Bill Nye and Stephen Hawking, who make scientific assertions in an
attempt to discredit the legitimacy of the Bible.
"[H]e had plenty to say about scientists [and those purporting
to speak for science] who insist that science proves atheism,"
asserts West, who contends that Lewis not only disagreed with many
of the precepts behind the evolutionary theory of his time -- he
thought they were ridiculous and non-academic.
"Lewis thought the claims of these scientific atheists during
his own day were nonsense, and he even satirized their claims in
his science fiction novels Out of the Silent Planet,
Perelandra and That Hideous Strength," West reports.
"So I have no doubt that he would skewer similar claims being made
today by Dawkins, Hawking and company."
Lewis' take on evolution
But how exactly did C.S. Lewis view evolution, especially with
his atheistic background?
"It's important to define our terms," West points out.
"'Evolution' can mean many different things. As I write in The
Magician's Twin, Lewis addressed three kinds of evolution in
his writings: evolution [no. 1] as common descent (the idea that we
came from one common ancestor); evolution [no. 2] as a Darwinian
process of unguided natural selection acting on random variations;
and evolution [no. 3] as a social philosophy that explained away
religion, morality and human dignity."
West explains Lewis's devolving confidence over the years in the
troubled theory's subdivisions.
"Lewis [initially] didn't object in principle to evolution as
common descent (evolution no. 1), although he placed some important
limits on the idea, and by the end of his life he grew more
skeptical of this claim, due to things like the Piltdown Man hoax,"
West reports. "At the same time, Lewis clearly rejected unguided
natural selection (evolution no. 2) as sufficient to produce both
the human mind and the kinds of exquisite functional complexity we
see throughout nature."
And according to West's research, Lewis was no fan of Charles
Darwin's claims on human origins.
"In fact, he believed that Darwinian accounts of the development
of human reason undermined our confidence in reason," says the
associate director of the Discovery Center for Science and Culture.
"Lewis also rejected Darwinism as a social philosophy (evolution
no. 3), especially efforts to promote eugenics (trying to breed a
superior race) and efforts to debunk morality as merely the product
of survival of the fittest."
Seeds of doubt
Lewis' skepticism in evolution began well before his Christian
faith, says West, who shared some of the most powerful excerpts
from writings that uncover the acclaimed Christian author's mindset
on the issue.
"One of Lewis's most heavily annotated books was a nearly
400-page book critiquing the creative power of Darwinian natural
selection that Lewis first read as a 19-year-old soldier during
World War I," explained West. "Lewis wrote careful notes on most
pages of that book, and he later stated that the book's 'critique
of orthodox Darwinism is not easy to answer.'"
These doubts led the young Lewis on an intellectual journey that
questioned and analyzed the theories that were popularly accepted
and propagated by many contemporary scholars of that time.
"Just a few years later, Lewis wrote a letter in the 1920s to
his father, saying that the evolutionary ideas of [Charles] Darwin
and [Herbert] Spencer ... 'stand themselves on a foundation of
sand, of gigantic assumptions and irreconcilable contradictions an
inch below the surface,'" West added. "Lewis was still an atheist
when he expressed these early doubts about Darwin."
A few decades later, Lewis referred to evolutionists as
extremist fanatics in much the same way that today's evolutionists
try to paint creationists and others who don't ascribe to their
"In 1951, Lewis wrote to Capt. Bernard Acworth of the Evolution
Protest Movement: 'What inclines me now to think that you may be
right in regarding it [evolution] as the central and radical lie in
the whole web of falsehood that now governs our lives is not so
much your arguments against it as the fanatical and twisted
attitudes of its defenders,'" West relayed.
It is contended by West that just a decade later, Lewis was
fully aware that evolution was more than a proposed science; it
became a philosophical mindset and a religion in and of itself.
"In the 1960s, Lewis -- in his last book, The Discarded
Image -- wrote about how the Darwinian 'revolution was
certainly not brought about by the discovery of new facts.'" West
shared. "What he meant by this is that Darwin's theory was largely
accepted not because of any new evidence in biology, but because of
the development of new cultural attitudes that predisposed people
to accept Darwin's theory."
And what work does West believe most powerfully showcases
Lewis's belief in creation?
"His book, Miracles, provides an eloquent refutation of
materialism -- the claim that everything is simply the product of
blind and unguided material process rather than the result of
purposeful design," West told OneNewsNow.com. "Lewis also argued in
this book that the Judeo-Christian worldview -- far from being
anti-science -- helped inspire modern science. In Lewis's words:
'Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and
they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a
More than a theory -- a dictate of life
But at the same time, Lewis acknowledged that those shunning
moral accountability strive to establish laws of their own to wipe
out the need of an intelligent Creator, while at the same time
discouraging anyone from questioning their so-called factual
account of origins.
"Lewis disliked the growing dogmatism of proponents of Darwinian
theory, and he urged people to adopt Socrates' motto of 'following
the argument wherever it leads' instead," West proclaimed. "I think
Lewis's support for healthy discussion and critical inquiry in the
sciences is something we all can learn from for today."
The renowned British author understood the dangerous power
behind evolutionary thinking, noting how those behind it have the
ultimate goal of power and control -- not enlightenment.
"Also, by the end of his life, Lewis was especially worried
about the efforts of some people to replace democracy with
'scientocracy' -- a society ruled by those claiming to be
scientific experts," West continued. "Lewis thought these efforts
were subversive of the principles of a free society. His warnings
on this point are especially relevant today, as we see the banner
of 'science' being increasingly misused to attack people of
He sees the battle being played out today through a number of
hot-topic social issues.
"If you raise questions about embryonic stem-cell research, you
are attacked as 'anti-science,'" he contends. "If you oppose
eugenic abortions, you are supposed to be 'anti-science.' If you
criticize healthcare mandates on religious organizations, you are
told that 'science' demands the mandates."
And West believes that society today must be as discerning and
vigilant as Lewis was decades ago and not fail to see the writing
"Some climate scientists even argue that we need to suspend
democracy in order to make progress on climate change; other
scientists and philosophers among the 'transhumanist' movement
argue that we need to evolve a new human race through genetic
engineering," concludes West. "Lewis was amazing in foreseeing the
dangers we are now facing from the proponents of scientism."
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