The PBS series, "Evolution," is a symptom of a worldview in profound crisis. The worldview is evolutionary naturalism--and the crisis is one of credibility. Good science doesn't need the support of fabricated history, misleading claims, or religious polemics. Yet, sadly, each of these is present in the PBS series. Over the next couple of days, I'll explain how the "Evolution" series fails the test of credibility--and how you can use this flawed program to educate yourself, and others, about the shortcomings of the naturalistic worldview.

Let's start with Monday's episode. Entitled "Darwin's Dangerous Idea," the two-hour opening segment purports to tell the story of Darwin's discovery of evolution via natural selection. I have to say "purports," however, because what the program actually presents is false history--in some instances, shamelessly false.

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  • Ask experts your questions about science and religion
  • Video, interviews, and more The problems start with the very first scene. Charles Darwin is depicted as the young naturalist of the Beagle voyage, walking across a plain in Argentina as he searches for fossils. With Darwin is the Beagle's captain, Robert FitzRoy. When they come upon the skull of a large extinct mammal, Darwin wonders why the species went extinct. FitzRoy replies that there wasn't enough room on the Ark. Darwin laughs and FitzRoy takes offense.
  • Real history? No. This conversation between Darwin and FitzRoy never took place. The scene is entirely fictitious. And while one might allow for some artistic license in an historical drama, this scene actually falsifies history. FitzRoy's own writings make plain that during the Beagle voyage, he doubted the Biblical Flood. Thus the opening scene isn't reasonable artistic conjecture. It's an outright falsehood.

    In the next scene, FitzRoy is shown reading loudly to the ship's crew from Genesis, while Darwin rolls his eyes in his cabin below. But--again--this scene falsifies history. The evidence indicates that Darwin regularly attended the Beagle's church services. In fact, Darwin and FitzRoy published a joint letter defending the work of missionaries in Tahiti and New Zealand.

    But the scriptwriters apparently needed a religious villain to contrast with their idea of an open-minded, enlightened Darwin. A fictionalized "Captain FitzRoy" fit the role, despite the actual evidence.

    Worst of all, midway through the program a scene depicts Erasmus Darwin, Charles' older brother, singing the hymn "Rock of Ages" in the family church. Erasmus isn't so much singing the hymn as he is mocking it, by singing loudly, out of tempo, and off-key.

    There's absolutely no evidence that this or anything like it ever happened. It's another fabrication. So ask yourself--why did PBS put this scene in the show? What's the point of mocking a classic Christian hymn?

    The science of evolutionary biology doesn't need to make fun of Christianity. But the worldview of evolutionary naturalism, whose credibility is in doubt, does--and that worldview is what this program promotes.

    Public tax dollars fund PBS, and the public deserves better than this. And we deserve time to respond to falsified history and religious bias. Let's let PBS know that "Evolution" needs a reply.

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