The author of the book Charles Darwin : Victorian myth-maker, A.N.Wilson was former professor of medieval literature at Oxford University and a highly acclaimed biographer.
Wilson was a Darwin believer when he started research for his book. His conclusions were unexpected, both to others and most surprisingly, to him. What may have begun the firestorm against his book was Wilson’s prelude, in which he said,
“Darwin was wrong. That was the unlooked for conclusion to which I was inexorably led while writing this book”
He added that this conclusion “certainly was not my intention when I began detailed reading for this book”. But the result of his historic research was “to part company from the mainstream of scientific opinion which still claims to believe, the central contentions of Darwin’s famous book, On the Origin of the Species.
Wilson’s conclusion was based on the fact that “there is no consensus among scientists about the theory of evolution”, even the central parts of the theory. He added that until he began his research he had assumed “scientific opinion accepted the truth of Darwin’s central theories, and that objections to it were motivated not by scientific doubts but…. most likely religious ones”
He then illustrates this contention by quoting the leading evolutionary scientists, including Harvard’s E.O. Wilson and Oxford’s Richard Dawkins. One familiar with the field will recognise most of the heated evolution controversies which Wilson accurately relates.
A major problem Darwin had which is still true of Darwinism today was coming up with evidence for his view that nature changes little by little. If this was true , all life would be ” in a state of infinitely slow evolution into something else”, and as Darwin taught, taxonomy classification would only be temporary – a condition the fossil record simply does not support. This problem is why some leading evolutionists argued for punctuated equilibrium, in which life forms, in geological terms , change rapidly while at other times they are in a state of stasis.
Wilson documents that the discovery of the laws of genetics were “lethal to Darwinism”. The reason it was a lethal nail in the coffin for Darwin was the problem that Mendelism created for Darwin’s gradualism. We now know that because nearly all mutations are near neutral or lethal, and variation is not unlimited as Darwin proposed his theory is without foundation.
Wilson also documents that Darwinism has become a religion. Evolution is the doorway to atheism. It was spoken of as a faith, and those that rejected the view that the origin of humans was purely natural, including the co-founder of the theory, Alfred Russel Wallace and St George Mivart were excommunicated from the tribe, the loyal circle of Darwin supporters.
Regardless, there is no doubt that it is Darwin, more than any other man, that persuaded much of the academic world that “special creation” was wrong and ‘evolution’ was right. Furthermore, “Darwinism as is shown by the current state of the debate, is resistant to argument because it is resistant to fact”.