If one would have to isolate one idea, one single concept, that defined and shaped the modern era, that laid its foundations and supported all or much that is associated with it, it would have to be Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Referred to by one writer as, “the single best idea that anyone ever had”, and other superlatives, probably no idea in history has ever been so well received and accepted with such wide enthusiasm. For the millions who based their lives on it, it felt not only intuitively correct, but also it introduced them to what they felt was boundless freedom and happiness. And with such simplicity! Without an interfering G-d, or intrusive intelligence, just with a simple law of nature, life kept on progressing, slowly but surely, era after era, from the most basic and simple organisms to the most complex. To its adherents, any belief in a Divine Creator or Intelligent Designer was merely myth and superstition. Science and nature had the answer for life’s deepest mysteries: origins and purpose. The most fundamental effect Darwin and his disciples had was to thoroughly discredit the Torah’s view of creation and man’s role within it. In the words of Michael Denton in his classic work, “Evolution, a Theory in Crisis” (p. 67), “It was because Darwinian theory broke man’s link with G-d and set him adrift in a cosmos without purpose or end that its impact was so fundamental. No other intellectual revolution in modern times (with the possible exception of the Copernican) so profoundly affected the way men viewed themselves and their place in the universe.” This lecture explores the history and evidence of Darwin’s theory as well as the evidence for a new theory of evolution based upon Torah sources and scientific evidence.
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