Volume 14, Number 7, July 2011


“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.

For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;

Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.

I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.

I will show partiality to no one.  Nor will I flatter any man.”   Job 32:17-21


“That which ordinary men are fit for I am qualified in, and the best of me is diligence.”

Earl of Kent

Shakespeare’s King Lear

Act I, scene iv, ll. 32-34


[“As I See It” is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek.  Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God.  The editor’s perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.


AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com.  You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address.  Back issues sent on request.  All back issues may be accessed at http://www.KJVOnly.org


All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only.  Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand.  Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given upon request.]



The Spiritual Desolation in Darwinism’s Wake


“The influence of Darwinism upon Western civilization is immeasurably great.  We entered the nineteenth century with Christian assumptions for the most part intact: that we were fallen but redeemable creatures made in the image of God.  We exited in a godless cosmos, as mere animals who managed, through much luck and struggle, to climb from unimaginably low origins to a little above the apes. . . . Darwin’s triumph has been to set ideological atheism as the default position of science; as the prism through which scientists are supposed to see the world and conduct their work.  It is just as distorting to science as ideological Marxism is to the study of economics.  It offers an answer to everything; it is an answer to which facts are twisted to conform. . . . So-called ‘social Darwinism’ is not, as is typically assumed today, a misapplication of Darwinism, it is Darwinism, and it provides an open rationale for eugenics and racism.  This had abhorrent consequences in the twentieth century; and unless we understand Darwinism’s flaws, there is no reason to believe it will not have equally abhorrent consequences in our own.”

Benjamin Wiker

The Darwin Myth, pp. x, xi, xii

(see our mixed review of this book elsewhere in this issue)



The Despair of Unbelief


“Take away God, take away the Bible, take away inspiration and revelation, take away all hope of a better life in the world to come, destroy all expectation of resurrection, and put in its place nothing but hopeless and endless night, and you have nothing left that is worth living for.  Then, the life of the greatest and wisest man is no better than that of a fool!  The best fruits of the world then turn to ashes on its lips, and it were better to die than to live!”


Evangelist Billy Sunday (1862-1935)

The Billy Sunday Story by Lee Thomas, p. 241



On Reading Tyndale’s 1536 New Testament


Nearly a decade ago, I “chanced” upon a hardback facsimile reprint of the 1536 edition of William Tyndale’s New Testament translation (Columbus, Ohio: Lazarus Ministry Press, 1999; the original is #21 in the chronological listing of printed editions of the Bible in English in A. S. Herbert’s Historical Catalogue of Printed Editions of the English Bible 1525-1961, p. 13).  The price was acceptable (just under $32) and so I purchased said volume, and have consulted it from time to time.  I very much prefer facsimile reprints over mere reproductions (in print or on the net) of the text of a Bible translation, because there are regularly features of the original edition that are omitted in the reprint, along with the very real possibility of inadvertent alterations in the text.


At the beginning of this year, I decided to read this facsimile NT through, and just this morning (as I write), completed the task (which was interrupted by two trips to Eastern Europe).  This makes at least the 8th different English translation of the NT that I have read in its entirety.  These in roughly chronological order of my reading include: KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV, Stern’s Jewish NT, ERV, HCSB and now Tyndale (of course, several of these I have read repeatedly, and have read portions of the NT in as many more other English versions). 


First, the printing was in the old “Gothic” or “Black letter” font--very ornate, with the “s” that looks like an “f”, which of course took some getting accustomed to.  I noticed that throughout the entire volume, the type-setter seemed to have no capital “Z”s--in proper names these were always set up in lower case.  As with any other printed work, the printer was subject to mistakes, and I found a fair number of accidental omissions of letters and words, repetitions of syllables in words, transposition of words, and incorrect spelling (“u” for “n” and the inverse being the most common).


The unsettled state of English spelling also presented some interpretational issues.  It took me a bit to figure out that “syrs” equals “sirs”; “soudyours” is rather far from “soldiers” but that’s what it meant; “huswyfly” is “housewifely,” odd enough in itself; and such like.


There were odd forms, as compared to more conventional usage--“gnew” as the past tense of “gnaw,” “stackered” for “staggered,” “neverthelater” for “nevertheless, ”vytalles” for “victuals,” “teth” for “tooth,” “blessedfulness,” “dilgentlyer,” “gripings” for “sicknesses,” “unpossible,” and on the list goes.


Commonly for “it happened” / “it came to pass,” Tyndale has “it fortuned” or “it chanced” which seem a bit “superstitious” to our way of saying things.  The idea of to abide or remain, tarry in a place is several times translated by “haunted”!


Numbers are usually given in the text as Roman numerals, i. e., “v. M.” is “five thousand.”  There were no page numbers, though the leaves / folios are numbered (and folio number lviii, covering the end of Luke 3, and the beginning of Luke 4, is missing from this reprint).  There are no verse numbers (not inserted in English Bibles until the Geneva translation more than two decades later), though the paragraphs are lettered consecutively, A, B. C, etc.


There are numerous small woodcuts illustrating the Gospels, and a good number of larger ones--each occupying a third of the page--in Revelation.  Several are strongly reminiscent of though not identical to woodcuts found in Luther’s Bible of 1534 (such woodcuts are useful to researchers who try to identify the printer of various early unaccredited books, since printers often reused woodcuts in other printed works).


The wording of Tyndale’s NT is about 80-90% reproduced in the later KJV, as it was to a similar degree in the NTs of the Geneva Bible, the Bishops’ Bible, and others of that era.  The influence of Luther’s German version and Jerome’s Latin Vulgate is evident on every page in the choice of vocabulary, phraseology, and interpretation, but Tyndale also made an independent contribution to the work.  He, better than the later KJV committee, renders ekklesia by “congregation” (likely following the lead of Luther’s Gemeinde) rather than “church” (Tyndale reserves this word for pagan temples in Acts 14 and 19, in the latter of which the KJV follows his precedent); and agape he regularly translates “love” rather than the KJV’s common rendering “charity” (wherein the KJV imitates the Latin Vulgate).  Tyndale’s phraseology “wedlock breaker,” meaning “adulterer,” seems to be a literal rendering of Luther’s German word “Ehebrecher.” “Easter / Easter-lambe / Easter fest” are used throughout (under the influence of Luther; see “ ‘Easter’ : Some Notes on Acts 12:4, KJV,” in AISI 11:10) instead of “passover” (a word Tyndale himself coined for his 1530 Pentateuch translation).


“Christened “ (!) is used for “baptized” in I Corinthians 1.  At I John 2:24, Tyndale uses three synonymous words, “abide,” “remain,” and “continue” to render the thrice-occurring Greek word meno; the KJV reproduces this excessive synonymy exactly.


The order of the books is a perfect imitation of Luther.  The usual order is followed Matthew to Philemon, but then we have I & II Peter, I, II, & III John, Hebrews, James Jude and Revelation.


The individual NTs books usually have brief introductory prologues.  That to Romans, and it alone, is very lengthy, exactly as in Luther.  I did not compare their introductions in detail, but they begin nearly verbatim the same, and I suspect continue in parallel, Tyndale borrowing from Luther.


The edition concludes with more than twenty pages of English translation of several brief sections from the OT which are here labeled “epistles,” from various OT books.  These I did not read.  I assume that these are in Tyndale’s own translation, but I have not seen anyone address this issue, and I did not investigate it myself.


I find it most instructive to examine such reprints, knowing that this was the very first form on the NT in English that many readers in England ever saw.  It was their spiritual sustenance and strength.  And this translation left its impress on nearly all English versions that followed to this day.

---Doug Kutilek



Important Bible Facsimile Available


Among the books in my library which I treasure the most are several facsimile reprints of early and historic printed Bible editions in English, German, Spanish and Romanian.  These can be consulted and referenced with much greater confidence that one actually has the exact words of Tyndale or Luther or Reina, than if access is limited to a “text only” on-line reproduction (in which the transcribers may in fact have made mistakes).


Recently, I became aware of the availability of another facsimile Bible edition, this being the so-called “Matthew’s Bible” of 1537, edited by John Rogers (c. 1500-1555), convert and associate of William Tyndale, and the first Protestant martyred by Bloody Mary.  The publisher is Hendrickson Publishers, the publishing arm of Christian Book Distributors (www.Christianbook.com).  The facsimile was actually published in 2009, though I became aware of it--and purchased it almost immediately--only a little over a month ago.  The cover price of the hardback book (a leather edition is also available) is $69.95, but the discount price is about half that (the ISBN is 978-1-59856-349-8). 


What makes this Bible distinctive is that it was the first to include all the translation work of William Tyndale in one volume.  Besides his NT (which he issued in three editions), Tyndale also translated and published the Pentateuch (1530) and the book of Jonah (1531?).  He seems to have also completed the translation of the Hebrew text of the OT from Joshua through 2 Chronicles, but his imprisonment and execution in 1536 prevented his publishing this section.  John Rogers preserved Tyndale’s manuscript and published it in his “Matthew’s Bible” in 1537, along with all the rest that Tyndale had previously published.  For Ezra through Malachi, excepting Jonah, and for the Apocrypha, Rogers borrowed the text as found in Coverdale’s translation (based on Latin and German versions), as published in 1536.  Matthew’s Bible was the second printed English Bible (after Coverdale in 1536) but the first published with King Henry’s license and approval (in essence, being the answer to Tyndale’s final prayer: “God, open the king of England’s eyes!”)


The original 1537 edition was a folio Bible (larger than the dimensions of Strong’s concordance); this reprint is in “quarto” size, but otherwise is precisely like the original edition.  After a three-page introduction from the modern editor Joseph W. Johnson, there follows the original title page with a detailed woodcut (full page wood-cut title pages also precede the Prophets, the Apocrypha and the New Testament; there is a large woodcut opposite Genesis one, but no words).  These are printed using both black and red ink, as are the introductory pages.  The pages of this Bible are not numbered, but the folios (leaves) are, 1-247 (in Roman numerals) from Genesis through the Ballet (Ballad, i.e., Song) of Solomon, then 1-94 for the Prophets, 1-81 for the Apocrypha, and 1-111 for the NT and a 5-page table of passages to be read on certain days of the year.


The text is in black letter (“gothic”), which takes a bit of getting used to, as does the unconventional spelling of many words.  The verses are not numbered (this feature was first added to a Bible a dozen years later), though the paragraphs in each chapter are labeled A, B, C, D, etc.  The margins have a variety of annotations, cross references, and such.  There are numerous woodcuts interspersed in the text, chiefly in Genesis and Exodus and Revelation.


Preceding the actual Biblical text are 35 pages of preliminary matter including a calendar, a brief summary of Bible doctrine, a letter addressed to King Henry VIII, another to the Christian reader, an extensive alphabetic listing of the Biblical teaching on a long series of topics, with Scripture references, and a table listing the names and folios of all the Bible books.


Commonly “facsimile” reprints of old books are of at best only fair to poor quality; this is especially true of “print-on-demand” reprints which are sometimes little short if any of awful and nearly illegible.  This edition of Matthew’s Bible is among the clearest, most legible facsimile reprints I have in my library.  The paper is of good quality, the binding is sound, and the dust jacket attractive.  And the price is remarkably low (I have paid, by comparison, over $130 for a reprint of the 1602 Reina-Valera Bible).  And compared to an actual 1537 copy of Matthew’s Bible--costing at least in the tens of thousands of dollars, perhaps much, much more--this is a great bargain.  The facsimile contains all the information found in the original edition, at a fraction of the cost.  My library is a workshop, not a museum, so I prefer the inexpensive reprint to a very pricey original (I also have fewer qualms about annotating reprints, whereas I wouldn’t think of doing it to an original copy).


While my library of facsimile Bibles is far from complete, it nevertheless is substantial, and growing, and serves as a great tool for primary research in the legacy of Bible versions.

---Doug Kutilek



A Brief Follow Up


We were provided information by Dr. Maurice Robinson of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary that Everett F. Harrison, whose book Introduction to the New Testament we reviewed in the previous issue, is indeed dead, as we suspected.  His dates of birth and death were 1902-1999.






Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Right Rev. Brian Walton, D. D., etc., by Henry John Todd. vol. II.  London: F. C. & J. Rivington, 1821.  Print-on-demand reprint.  384 pp., paperback.


Brian Walton (1600-1661) was an Anglican minister and renowned Bible scholar in the middle of the 17th century in England.  He is most famous for his editorship of Biblia Sacra Polyglotta, popularly know as The London Polyglot, a six-volume (folio), multi-lingual Bible, published in 1653-57.  This is acclaimed as the greatest of the several polyglot Bibles issued in the 16th and 17th centuries (the others include the Complutensian Polyglott, 1514-17; the Antwerp Polyglott, 1569-72; and the Paris Polyglott, 1645).  It presents the original language Biblical text, in parallel with ancient Bible translations in many different languages (Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic, Persian, Ethiopic, etc.) with these versions each being provided with a literal Latin translation (the Vulgate excepted, of course).  The interested reader can find a clear and succinct account of these Polyglott Bibles in Thomas Hartwell Horne, An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, vol. II, part II, pp. 35-38 (Baker 1970 reprint of 8th edition, 1939 edition); and also in T. H. Darlow and H. F. Moule, compilers, Historical Catalogue of the Printed Editions of the Holy Scripture in the Library of the British and Foreign Bible Society, vol. II, pp. 2-6; 9-12; 20-22; and especially 23-26.


When issued, the London Polyglott was severely criticized by Puritan theologian John Owen, chiefly because variant readings followed by these various versions, and variant pointing of the Hebrew consonants sometimes presupposed by them were felt to undermine the authority of Scripture.  Owen wrote two essays, “Of the Divine Original of the Scriptures,” and “Integrity and Purity of the Hebrew and Greek Text” (occupying pp. 282-421 of vol. 16 of The Works of John Owen, edited by William H, Goold; Banner of Truth Trust 1995 reprint of 1850-1853 Johnstone and Hunter edition).  These essays were originally published in 1659.  It is widely conceded that Owen’s criticisms of the London Polyglott and Brian Walton, and Owen’s defense of the supposed antiquity of the Hebrew vowel points are among the most ill-considered of his voluminous writings, since he wrote out of profound ignorance of the subjects he addressed and about which he nevertheless boldly made dogmatic assertions.  He appeals to emotion and to prejudice, and many of Owen’s arguments are of a piece with those employed by KJVO radicals to denounce and defame those who undertake to revise English versions to bring them into closer conformity to the original Hebrew and Greek texts.


Walton was not remiss in acquitting himself like a man, and replied in extensio to Owen.  The present volume under review is Walton’s rejoinder to Owen, to wit, The Considerator Considered: or, a Brief Review of Certain Considerations upon the Biblia Polyglotta, the Prolegomena, and Appendix Thereof (London, 1659).


While never mentioning Owen directly by name, Walton delivers a blistering rebuke and refutation of Owen’s ill-considered and ill-argued attack.  He shows at length (revisiting the same arguments and evidence three and four times over, and more) that Owen was defective in his knowledge of the subject, inaccurate in his citations, and remarkably selective in his presentation of evidence.  In short, Walton smote him hip and thigh, leaving Owen’s reputation as an accurate and careful scholar greatly debased.  Owen frequently imputed to Walton’s Preface to the polyglott views, positions and affirmations Walton nowhere made.


The editor, Henry John Todd, has added 40 pages (pp. 311-350) of end-notes / observations to the text of Walton’s vindication, adding greatly to the information at several points.  These notes should be read.


This edition, an “on-demand” printing, has all the drawbacks common to this genre of printing--the inking is heavy and the type-faces are thick and more difficult to read, and the binding is paperback.  But, it is better to have a less than ideal copy than none at all.  When we purchased this copy, we actually thought we were getting the biography of Walton--which is in volume 1 of this set--but the on-line book dealer description gave incomplete information; whether volume 1 is actually available, we cannot say.  It is accessible at www.archive.org for reading or downloading.

---Doug Kutilek



Some quotes from The Considerator Considered (and we hesitated to quote it much more extensively, though this could easily have been done, and with profit):

”I have in all my endeavors about this great work, proposed no other end, than the Glory of God, in the preserving of his sacred truth, both in the Originals, and ancient Translations, both for the true reading, and right sense or meaning, pure and entire to posterity, against casual mistakes that may happen in some, and the willful corruptions and falsifications of sectaries and heretics, . . . And though these weak endeavors be attended (as it hath been the fate of all public works of this nature) with obloquy in some emulous and contradicting spirits, yet I think it sufficient that I have had the general approbation of men truly learned, judicious, and pious.  And for those that are otherwise, I doubt not but the work will live in after ages, when their invectives shall be buried in oblivion.” (pp. 306, 307)


“No one surely will pretend, that Divine Providence was under any obligation miraculously to continue the infallibility of the authors of Holy Writ down to every librarian and amanuensis, to prevent their making mistakes.” (Henry J. Todd, p. 317; yet this is precisely what the new-fangled doctrine of the KJVO cult, namely “verbal plenary preservation” affirms--Editor).



The Billy Sunday Story: the Life and Times of William Ashley Sunday, D. D., by Lee Thomas.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1961.  256 pp., hardback.


The most famous American evangelist in the first third of the 20th century was surely Billy Sunday, an Iowa native (b. 1862) whose Union soldier father died two months’ after Billy’s birth.  Circumstances dictated that his impoverished mother send him and an brother to a series of orphanages established for the fatherless children of Union army casualties.  Billy’s remarkable running speed led to playing major league baseball with the National League’s Chicago White Sox (yes--that is correct), and later Pittsburgh.  In his early 20s, he became a Christian through the ministry of the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, and a few years later forewent a couple of very lucrative baseball contract offers to become a full-time employee of the YMCA in Chicago at a fraction of his baseball earnings.


He was invited to become the advance man and assistant of noted evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman, occasionally filling in for Chapman in revival meetings.  This work lasted two and a half years.  When Chapman returned to the pastorate in 1896, Sunday began conducting evangelistic crusades on his own, first in Garner, Iowa and other small towns (he began this ministry with a stock of sixteen sermons), later progressing in the following decade to larger towns and eventually major cities.  His converts numbered in the dozens, then hundreds, then thousands in the many-weeks-long evangelistic outreaches; 100,000 converts were reported for his New York crusade alone (newspapermen made the count of respondents/converts, not Sunday).  He preached well over 20,000 sermons in all, as many as 5 sermons in one day and regularly at least 75 per month.  He preached for 39 years and conducted around 300 crusades.  Reportedly over 100 million heard him preach in his lifetime with something over 1.25 million converts (among them one of my grandfathers), a remarkable achievement.


Sunday was severely criticized by modernists and theological liberals for his lack of formal training, his pulpit “theatrics”, and his plain-speaking.  The liquor industry vehemently opposed him as well, because of his strong and effective stand against them (the Volstead Act, establishing Prohibition under the 18th Amendment, was in large measure a result of Sunday’s efforts).  J. Gresham Machen, the very learned Presbyterian scholar said he liked Billy Sunday because of who his enemies were.  There were also criticisms of his acceptance, without accountability, of large offerings at the end of each crusade.


With the end of World War I, the advent of the “Roaring Twenties,” followed by the beginnings of the Great Depression, Sunday’s popular appeal faded considerably in the last decade and half of his life.  He died at age 72 in Chicago in 1935, with his funeral conducted at the famous Moody Memorial Church, H. A. Ironside officiating.  His wife Helen ‘Nell’ (a.k.a. “Ma”) Sunday survived her husband more than 20 years.


Thomas’ biography of Sunday, one of many that have been written, is now half a century old, and is a “popular” account, written with the co-operation of Ma Sunday.  It is naturally a partisan, uncritical account.  A serious falling out between Sunday and his long-time music director Homer Rodeheaver is glossed over, and the ungodly behavior of his sons (and suicide of one of them) is completely ignored.  The biographical account ends at p. 218, followed by what may be called a series of appendices, one listing favorite Sunday sermon topics, another Sunday aphorisms, another a brief “guide” given to converts, concluding with three Sunday sermons or parts of sermons.  The text is accompanied with numerous photos (a great many of them taken from earlier Sunday biographies, such as The Real Billy Sunday by Elijah Brown [1914]).  It may be read with profit.

---Doug Kutilek



The Real Billy Sunday by Elijah P. Brown.  New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1914.  285 pp., hardback.  $1.00, $1.15 postpaid.


Had I read this book first, instead of the previous volume on Sunday by Lee Thomas, I would have recognized that a great deal of Thomas’ book is simply lifted directly and verbatim, or slightly adapted, from this decades-earlier work by Sunday friend and colleague Elijah Brown (Thomas does credit Brown’s work as one among several “sources”).  Most of the photos in Thomas--at least those from before 1915, come straight out of Brown (and the quality of the pictures in Brown’s book is noticeably better).  Thomas, in imitation of Brown, has a chapter of Billy Sunday aphorisms (though they are not all the same), and concludes with a selection of sermons; one of the three Sunday sermons in Brown (“Under the Sun”) is reproduced in Thomas’ book.  On the parts they both cover, Brown’s is the better account, though of course, he only covers up to 1914, with Columbus, Ohio’s convert count of 18,000 the highest yet experienced.  The biggest Sunday crusades--100,000 converts in New York City being the highest number--were still future, as well as the decade and a half of decline, 1920-1935.  Parts in Brown’s account that Thomas judiciously left out were some effusive descriptions of Sunday’s style and effectiveness in preaching, much of it from extended contemporary newspaper accounts of Sunday’s crusades in various cities.  Such first-hand, primary source information is worth having, though never is the “documentation” (dates, etc.) adequate.


It is evident from Brown’s account that Sunday “invented” the “sawdust trail” in his tent revivals (sawdust being an effective material for good footing, and fire and noise suppression), and invented (or popularized, at least) the aphorism “putting the cookies on the lower shelf,” and that practically the whole of later 20th century evangelists’ methodology in conducting crusades / revivals was lifted directly from Sunday’s “playbook.”   He was most decidedly a vigorous pulpit pounder, sometimes to the point of demolition.


By design, Sunday used plain speech, rather than KJV-ish vocabulary in communicating the Gospel. 


We learn that Sunday while a baseball player always slid head-first (was he Pete Rose’s inspiration?)


A list of some 142 crusade sites as of 1914 (pp. 206-207) is provided, though unfortunately without dates, and not in chronological order.


The book records unintentionally the seeds of Sunday’s neglect of his own family, which bore bitter fruit later: “The importance of the work in which he is engaged is so great and far reaching, and the interests at stake so widespread and multitudinous, and his personal and family affairs of such slight consequence in comparison, that he must anoint his altar with the blood of sacrifice, and go straight on in the line of duty, no matter how trying or difficult he may find the task,” (pp. 176-7; italics added).  There is an incident recorded in which Sunday’s young daughter begs him not to leave again; he tries to bribe her with a series of gifts, but she simply says, ‘All I want is you!’


The account is good, but of course, incomplete by 20 years, leaving one in mid-air for “the rest of the story,” with successes but also with its sad and somber personal ending.

---Doug Kutilek


Some quotes from The Real Billy Sunday:


“It has been our habit for centuries to discuss religion and the affairs of the soul in a King James vocabulary, and to depart from that custom had come to seem something like sacrilege.  Billy Sunday talks to people about God and their souls just as men talk to one another six days in the week across the counter or the dinner table, or the street.” (p. 134)


“Some of the biggest lies ever told are to be found on gravestones.” (Sunday; p. 166)


“You never hear of a man marrying a woman to reform her.” (Sunday; p. 167)


“Look into the preaching Jesus did, and you will find it was aimed at the big sinners on the front seats.” (Sunday; p. 170)


“About four out of five who have their names on our church records are doing nothing to bring the world to Christ, and the church is not one whit better for their presence.” (Sunday; p. 247)



The Darwin Myth: the Life and Lies of Charles Darwin, by Benjamin Wiker.  Washington: Regnery Publishing, 2009.    196 pp., hardback.  $27.95


The author has a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University (in what field, the dust jacket doesn’t say), is apparently Roman Catholic, and a senior fellow with the Discovery Institute, the leaders in the “Intelligent Design” movement.   He does an adequate job of demonstrating that Darwin’s embracing of purely “naturalistic” i.e., atheistic evolution was not the result of his scientific investigations (famously begun on the voyage of HMS Beagle).  Rather, his anti-supernaturalistic views of the biological world arose out of his prior adoption of the anti-supernatural “Enlightenment” point of view that dwelt first in his grandfather, evolutionist Erasmus Darwin, then in his father, and in him also.  In short, the presupposition of pure naturalism was imposed on the evidence, rather than arising naturally out of it.  In other words, Darwin was a highly bias and prejudiced researcher, not the noble, objective man of science who bravely followed the evidence wherever it might lead.


The author repeatedly, almost fawningly, writes of Darwin as a very likeable, personable, loving family man.  Perhaps he was.  But he was also a rabid racist (as Wiker demonstrates), uniformly viewing non-white “races” of mankind as being inherently inferior to the “superior” white Europeans, and whose soon demise he viewed as a great plus for the advance of the species.  “Eugenics” arose naturally out of Darwin’s atheistic evolutionary views, and was strongly championed by some of his children.  Military leaders in German prior to World War I viewed war as a great good, and welcomed the Great War when it came, since the violent clash between nations was sure (they presumed) to lead to the victory of the superior race (the Germans themselves, of course) and the subordination or extermination of the inferior races, all for the ultimate good of the species.


The fatal flaw in Wiker’s viewpoint, and in the book, is his adherence to old earth, theistic evolution, even to the point of repeatedly ridiculing young earth creationists (pp. 54, 138, 166-7).  For example, he says, “[A]ll the evidence from the great age of the earth to the fossils, . . indicates all too clearly that God did not create the earth and all its creatures, fully-formed, just six thousand years ago.  Needless to say, Christians of this camp appear entirely irrational and unscientific,” (p. 166).  This strikes me as an exceedingly arrogant comment, to say nothing of its baselessness.  Can Wiker, for example, match scientific credentials with the men of the Institute for Creation Research?


Wiker seems not to see that 1. if “molecules to man” evolution is true, God is indeed simply not necessary, as the atheists insist; 2. the same lack of fossil and other evidence for atheistic evolution (and the lack of supporting evidence is immense) renders theistic evolution equally implausible; 3. Michael Behe’s research into mutation rates (The Edge of Evolution) absolutely excludes the mechanism of transmission of accumulated favorable mutations as the driving force behind evolution--and the theistic evolutionists having nothing to offer in its place, unless it be a continuing Divine creative hand in generation after generation of plants and animals, ever directing the path of evolution (and just what evidence is there for that?  The atheistic evolutionists mock this viewpoint as being “entirely irrational and unscientific.”).


On the whole, a great disappointment, and an inferior work on Darwin.

---Doug Kutilek