Culture Darwinism

Memories: Letters that clarify C.S. Lewis’s dismissal of evolution (“central and radical lie”) donated to Belfast U

Spread the love

In 2012, which attracted brief attention to the facts.

Thomas Woodward writes to say,

A very powerful book was recently edited by (and some super-key chapters written by) John West: The Magician’s Twin: C.S.Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society. , with accompanying videos.

Lewis’s views on evolution changed over time. He did not express in his young adulthood any doubts about common ancestry, but he is known to have had a general skepticism as early as his atheist years in the 1920s, about the power of natural selection to create higher and higher life forms (again, see West on some cutting edge research on that). His doubts about Darwinism began to increase under the influence of an anti-evolution activist in the UK, Bernard Acworth, who founded the Evolution Protest Movement, and whose letters convinced Lewis, by the early 1950s, that the science supporting macroevolution by Darwinian means was completely unconvincing, and he described evolution as the “central and radical lie” that undergirds the modernist web of falsehood. Here is the key portion of what Lewis wrote to Acworth:

September 13, 1951: I have read nearly the whole of Evolution [probably Acworth’s unpublished “The Lie of Evolution”] and am glad you sent it. I must confess it has shaken me: not in my belief in evolution, which was of the vaguest and most intermittent kind, but in my belief that the question was wholly unimportant. I wish I were younger. What inclines me now to think that you may be right in regarding it 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. The section on Anthropology was especially good. … The point that the whole economy of nature demands simultaneity of at least a v. great many species is a v. sticky one. Thanks: and blessings

These ten letters written by Lewis to Acworth were donated in 2012 by the Acworth family to Queen’s U. in Belfast (where Lewis’s mother got her degree in mathematics), and the fanfare was captured in many publications, including this BBC story.

So, when I teach our course, “C.S. Lewis, Apostle to the Skeptic,” I explain that his skepticism of the Darwinian MECHANISM was robust, even from his atheist days (when reading Bergson on evolution), but that doubt ballooned by the early 1950s to full-fledged doubt of the entire macro-scenario, under the influence of Acworth.

Well, that would seem clear enough. The donation of the letters to the Queen’s U library attracted attention to it

But just wait till a career academic gets a grant to cast doubt on the obvious interpretation, and win Lewis back for Darwin.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

6 Replies to “Memories: Letters that clarify C.S. Lewis’s dismissal of evolution (“central and radical lie”) donated to Belfast U

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is a good essay, with references, on the subject:

    C.S. Lewis: creationist and anti-evolutionist
    Excerpt: “In 1951 C S Lewis wrote that evolution was “the central and radical lie in the whole web of falsehood that now governs our lives” and modern civilization. Evolution, Lewis explained, is a picture of reality that has resulted from imagination and is “not the logical result of what is vaguely called ‘modern science’.”

    Lewis was not exagerating in the least. There simply is no empirical evidence for evolution save for in the imagination of men,,,

    “We are told dogmatically that Evolution is an established fact; but we are never told who has established it, and by what means. We are told, often enough, that the doctrine is founded upon evidence, and that indeed this evidence ‘is henceforward above all verification, as well as being immune from any subsequent contradiction by experience;’ but we are left entirely in the dark on the crucial question wherein, precisely, this evidence consists.”
    Smith, Wolfgang (1988)
    Teilhardism and the New Religion: A Thorough Analysis of The Teachings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

    The Pew Forum Poll Reveals More Ignorance – December 31, 2013
    Excerpt: The evidence simply does not support evolution,,, unless it is turned upside down and forced to support the theory.

    “Grand Darwinian claims rest on undisciplined imagination”
    Dr. Michael Behe – 29:24 mark of following video

    Excerpt: ,,,The term “just-so story” was popularized by Rudyard Kipling’s 1902 book by that title which contained fictional stories for children. Kipling says the camel got his hump as a punishment for refusing to work, the leopard’s spots were painted on him by an Ethiopian, and the kangaroo got its powerful hind legs after being chased all day by a dingo.
    Kipling’s just-so stories are as scientific as the Darwinian accounts of how the amoeba became a man.
    Lacking real scientific evidence for their theory, evolutionists have used the just-so story to great effect. Backed by impressive scientific credentials, the Darwinian just-so story has the aura of respectability.
    Biologist Michael Behe observes:
    “Some evolutionary biologists–like Richard Dawkins–have fertile imaginations. Given a starting point, they almost always can spin a story to get to any biological structure you wish” (Darwin’s Black Box).,,,

    In fact, Darwinian evolution is not even a real science in the first place, but is a full fledged pseudo-science with no mathematical nor empirical basis:

    Darwinian Evolution is a Pseudo-Science –

    Verse and Music:

    Romans 1:25
    for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

    Brooke Fraser- “C S Lewis Song”

  2. 2

    Lewis in his letter said “The point that the whole economy of nature demands simultaneity of at least a v. great many species is a v. sticky one.”

    This mirrors a conclusion I arrived at a few years ago when I was revisiting my own doubts and questions about Darwinian evolution. In June of 2012 I wrote about what I called ” … The Problem of “Massively Complex Synchronicity” at

    I wrote ” … So lets move beyond the point by point example/counter-example [meaning the evolution/creation/ID debate] and look at an admittedly very partial picture of the Massively Complex Synchronicity present all around us; a synchronicity which is necessary for our very existence as an individual person on this very individual planet in this very large universe. … ”

    On completion of this essay, my mind naturally settled on the verse “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ ” Psalm 14:1

    I wonder if Lewis, in zeroing in on ‘simultaneity’ was likewise referring to ‘” … The Problem of “Massively Complex Synchronicity.’

  3. 3
    leodp says:

    Lewis wrote that education only makes an unrepentant man a more clever devil. Darwin spun a clever, reductionist lie that the highly unrepentant educated were only too eager to embrace. Imagine if Lewis had not repented. We might have got, “Mere Charles Darwin” instead.

    http: “I AM”

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    “The law of selection exists in the world, and the stronger and healthier has received from nature the right to live. Woe to anyone who is weak, who does not stand his ground! He may not expect help from anyone.”
    – Adolf Hitler

    “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
    – Jesus Christ –

  5. 5
    leodp says:

    Thanks for the Hitler quote, BA. Ideas affect behavior, and so the real external world we all live in. Most especially when those ideas, or truth claims, go to the foundational questions of who we are, how we came to be here and where we’re going. Therefore Darwin’s or Nietzsche’s claims don’t sit isolated in some lab room or on a library shelf. The truth claims of Islam, the claims of Darwin and the claims of Christ are all having huge continuing affects upon the world.

    Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Blessed are those who mourn,for they will be comforted.

    Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

    Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

    Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

    Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called Children of God.

    Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    — Jesus, Matthew 5

    I AM

  6. 6
    tjguy says:

    But just wait till a career academic gets a grant to cast doubt on the obvious interpretation, and win Lewis back for Darwin.

    Seems to me this is happening with the Bible as well. When scientists get hold of the Bible, many times doubt is cast on the obvious interpretation.

    Recently Michael Gungor made the news for his rejection of Genesis 1-11 and in defending his interpretation, he said that maybe Jesus didn’t know what He was talking about and maybe He even lied about it in order to communicate his message to that generation.

    But the Bible tells us that lying is a sin, that Jesus never sinned even though He was tempted in every way like us, and that it is impossible for God to lie.

    Nevertheless, as is becoming more and more common, Gungor too casts doubt on the obvious interpretation of Scripture.

    It’s like the US Constitution. The only reason there is a debate about what certain things mean is that we don’t like what it says so we try and interpret it in a way to make it mean what we want it to mean.

    When words lose their meaning, when the reader is free to interpret the words according to his own wishes, opinions, etc., the words become meaningless and it becomes impossible for the author to get his message across.

Leave a Reply