Christians are often confronted with the claim that “evolution will help society become better.”
Christians are often confronted with the claim that a humanistic worldview will help society become better. Even the first Humanist Manifesto, of which belief in evolution is a subset, declared, “The goal of humanism is a free and universal society in which people voluntarily and intelligently co-operate for the common good.” But can such a statement be true?
For starters, what do the authors mean by “good”? They have no legitimate foundation for such a concept, since one person’s “good” can be another’s “evil.” To have some objective standard, they must borrow from the teachings of God in the Bible.
Beyond that, does evolution really teach a future of prosperity? What has been the result of evolutionary thinking in the past hundred years? Perhaps this could be a test of what is to come. Let’s first look at the casualties stemming from leaders with evolutionary worldviews, beginning in the 1900s, to see the hints of what this “next level” looks like:
|Who/What?||Specific Event and Estimated Dead|
|Pre-Hitler Germany/Hitler and the Nazis||
WWI: 20,000,000 dead, 21,000,000 wounded1
Holocaust: 17,000,000? (estimates range from 7 to 26 million)3
|Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin||Bolshevik revolution and Russian Civil War: 15,000,0004|
|Pol Pot (Saloth Sar)||750,000–1,700,0007|
China estimates 1971–2006: 300,000,0008
Russia estimates 1954–1991: 280,000,0009
US estimates 1973–2014: 57,496,01110
France estimates 1936–2006: 5,749,73111
UK estimates 1958–2006: 6,090,73812
Germany estimates 1968–2007: 3,699,62413
Charles Darwin’s view of evolution was catapulted into societies around the world in the mid- to late 1800s. Evolutionary teachings influenced Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, and many others. Let’s take a closer look at some of these people and events and examine the evolutionary influence and repercussions.
Most historians would point to the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand on June 18, 1914, as the event that triggered World War I (WWI). But tensions were already high considering the state of Europe at the time. Darwinian sentiment was brewing in Germany. Darwin once said:
At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes . . . will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian [Aborigine] and the gorilla.14
Darwin viewed the “Caucasian” (white-skinned Europeans) as the dominant “race” in an evolutionary worldview. To many evolutionists at the time, mankind had evolved from ape-like creatures that had more hair, dark skin, dark eyes, etc. Therefore, more “evolved” meant less body hair, blond hair, blue eyes, etc. Later in Hitler’s era, Nazi Germany practiced Lebensborn, which was a controversial program, the details of which have not been entirely brought to light. Many claim it was a breeding program that tried to evolve the “master race” further—more on this below.
But the German sentiment prior to WWI was very much bent on conquering for the purpose of expanding their territory and their “race.” An encyclopedia entry from 1936 states:
In discussions of the background of the war much has been said of Pan-Germanism, which was the spirit of national consciousness carried to the extreme limit. The Pan-Germans, who included not only militarists, but historians, scientists, educators and statesmen, conceived the German people, no matter where they located, as permanently retaining their nationality. The most ambitious of this group believed that it was their mission of Germans to extend their kultur (culture) over the world, and to accomplish this by conquest if necessary. In this connection the theory was advanced that the German was a superior being, destined to dominate other peoples, most of whom were thought of as decadent.15
Germany had been buying into an extreme view of Darwin’s model of evolution and saw themselves as the superior “race,” destined to dominate the world. This view set the stage for Hitler and the Nazi party and paved the road to WWII.
World War II dwarfed World War I in the total number of people who died. Racist attitudes exploded in Germany against people groups such as Jews, Poles, and many others. Adolf Hitler was heavily influenced by Darwin's teaching on evolution.
Hitler even tried to force the Protestant church in Germany to change fundamental tenants because of his newfound faith.16 In 1936, while Hitler was in power, an encyclopedia entry on Hitler stated:
. . . a Hitler attempt to modify the Protestant faith failed.17
His actions strongly suggest that he did not hold to the basic fundamentals taught in the 66 books of the Bible. Though some of his writings suggest he did believe in some form of God early on, his religious views moved toward humanism after his acceptance of evolution. This refutes notions that Hitler was a Protestant Christian as some have claimed. Consider this quote in his unpublished second book:
The types of creatures on the earth are countless, and on an individual level their self-preservation instinct as well as the longing for procreation is always unlimited; however, the space in which this entire life process plays itself out is limited. It is the surface area of a precisely measured sphere on which billions and billions of individual beings struggle for life and succession. In the limitation of this living space lies the compulsion for the struggle for survival, and the struggle for survival, in turn contains the precondition for evolution.18
The history of the world in the ages when humans did not yet exist was initially a representation of geological occurrences. The clash of natural forces with each other, the formation of a habitable surface on this planet, the separation of water and land, the formation of the mountains, plains, and the seas. That [was] is the history of the world during this time. Later, with the emergence of organic life, human interest focuses on the appearance and disappearance of its thousandfold forms. Man himself finally becomes visible very late, and from that point on he begins to understand the term “world history” as referring to the history of his own development—in other words, the representation of his own evolution. This development is characterized by the never-ending battle of humans against animals and also against humans themselves.19
Hitler fully believed Darwin as well as Darwin’s precursors—such as Charles Lyell’s geological ages and millions of years of history. In his statements here, there is no reference to God. Instead, he unreservedly flew the banner of naturalism and evolution. His evolutionary views certainly helped lead him and the Nazi party into WWII because they viewed the “Caucasian” as more evolved, which to them justified their adoption of the idea that lesser “races” would be eliminated in the struggle for survival. Among the first to be targeted were Jews, then Poles, and then many others.
Trotsky and Lenin were both notorious leaders of the USSR—and specifically the Russian revolution. Lenin, taking power in 1917, became a ruthless leader and selected Trotsky as his heir. Lenin and Trotsky held to Marxism, which was built on Darwinism and evolution. Karl Marx regarded Darwin’s book as an “epoch making book.” With regards to Darwin’s research on natural origins, Marx claimed, “The latter method is the only materialistic and, therefore, the only scientific one.”20
Few realize or admit that Marxism, the primary idea underlying communism, is built on Darwinism. In 1883, Freidrich Engels, Marx’s longtime friend and collaborator, stated at Marx’s funeral service that “Just as Darwin discovered the law of evolution in organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of evolution in human history.”21 Both Darwin and Marx built their ideologies on naturalism and materialism.
Trotsky once said of Darwin:
Darwin stood for me like a mighty doorkeeper at the entrance to the temple of the universe. I was intoxicated with his minute, precise, conscientious and at the same time powerful, thought. I was the more astonished when I read . . . that he had preserved his belief in God. I absolutely declined to understand how a theory of the origin of species by way of natural selection and sexual selection and a belief in God could find room in one and the same head.22
Trotsky’s high regard for evolution and Darwin were the foundation of his belief system. Like many, Trotsky probably did not realize that most of the precious few instances of the name “God” did not appear in the first edition of Origin of Species. These references were added later, and many suspect that this was done to influence church members to adopt Darwinism. Regardless, Trotsky may not have read much of Darwin’s second book, Descent of Man, in which Darwin claims that man invented God:
The same high mental faculties which first led man to believe in unseen spiritual agencies, then in fetishism, polytheism, and ultimately in monotheism, would infallibly lead him, as long as his reasoning powers remained poorly developed, to various strange superstitions and customs.23
Vladimir Lenin picked up on Darwinism and Marxism and ruled very harshly as an evolutionist. His variants of Marxism have become known as Leninism (see The Development of Capitalism in Russia). Regardless, the evolutionist roots of Marx, Trotsky, and Lenin were the foundation that Communism has stood on—and continues to stand on.
Perhaps the most ruthless communist leaders were Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. Each of these were social Darwinists, ruling three different countries—the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia respectively. Their reigns of terror demonstrated the end result of reducing the value of human life to that of mere animals, a Darwinistic teaching.24
The war on children has been one of the quietest and yet bloodiest in the past hundred years. In an evolutionary mindset, the unborn have been treated as though they are going through an “animal phase” and can simply be discarded.
Early evolutionist Ernst Haeckel first popularized the concept that babies in the womb are actually undergoing animal developmental stages, such as a fish stage and so on. This idea has come to be known as ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Haeckel even faked drawings of various animals’ embryos and had them next to drawn human embryos looking virtually identical.
These drawings have been shown to be completely false.25 Haeckel himself partially confessed as much.26 However, this discredited idea has been used repeatedly for a hundred years! Textbooks today still use this concept, and museums around the world still teach it.
Through this deception, many women have been convinced that the babies they are carrying in their wombs are simply going through an animal phase and can be aborted. Author Ken Ham states:
In fact, some abortion clinics in America have taken women aside to explain to them that what is being aborted is just an embryo in the fish stage of evolution, and that the embryo must not be thought of as human. These women are being fed outright lies.27
Evolutionary views have decreased the value of human life. Throughout the world the casualties of the war on children is staggering. Though deaths of children and the unborn did exist prior to the “evolution revolution,” they have increased exponentially as a result of Darwinian teachings.
Is evolution the cause of wars and deaths? Absolutely not—both existed long before Darwin was born. Sin is the ultimate cause.28 But an evolutionary worldview has done nothing but add fuel to the fire.
In spite of the wars and atrocities caused by those who subscribed to an evolutionary worldview in recent times, there is still hope. We can end the seemingly endless atrocities against the unborn.
In Egypt, Israelite boys were slaughtered by being thrown into the Nile at the command of Pharaoh (Exodus 1:20). And yet, by the providence of God, Moses survived and led the Israelites to safety, and the Lord later judged the Egyptians.
In Israel under the Roman Empire, Herod the Great commanded the slaughter of all the boys under the age of two in and around Bethlehem. And yet, by the providence of God, Jesus, the Son of God, survived and later laid down His life to bring salvation to mankind as the Prince of Peace. Herod’s name, however, went down in history as an evil tyrant and murderer.
In this day and age, governments readily permit the killing of children, both boys and girls, and sometimes command it (abortion). By providence, however, you survived. While we can’t change the past, we can learn from it. If we are to stop this continuing bloodshed, we must get back to the Bible and realize the bankrupt religion of evolution has led only to death—by the millions.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.