The term anti-Darwinism refers to the position or belief that Darwinism (which holds that the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection (EbNS) is the best explanation for the available evidence) is in error, and is held by a number of religious groups who seek to supplant the teaching of EbNS in schools with the Biblically-based doctrine of creationism (often in one disguise or another). Darwinism has been under attack by these groups since it was first elaborated, and the attacks have become especially focused since approximately the early 1980s (although mainly in the United States).
EbNS has mountains of evidence in its support and reflects the overwhelming scientific consensus on the question of species origin, and hence is entirely appropriate for a science class. Creationism has little or no evidence in its support and is in complete disagreement with the scientific consensus, and hence is completely inappropriate for a science class.
When early attempts to introduce creationism into American science classes by packaging it as "creation science" failed in the 1980s due to the clearly religious nature of the teachings and the American legal separation of church and state (Separation) which forbids teaching of religion in public schools, the anti-Darwinists next mounted a two-sided strategy by both attacking the validity of Separation while also stripping the overt religious references out of creationist doctrine and thereby creating intelligent design (ID).
The ID attack failed spectacularly in a 2006(?) court decision in Dover, PA; since then, the anti-Darwinists have continued their attacks on Separation while also promoting efforts to "teach the controversy" in science classes. They have also been trying, often via blatant propaganda such as the 2008 film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, to spread the idea that the scientific establishment is unfairly "expelling" and suppressing any alternative theories without a fair hearing, rather than simply finding the alternatives so far proposed (i.e. creationism and intelligent design) ridiculous and nonsensical (as is the case).
In general, anti-Darwinists do not seem to have any qualms about making up convenient details or even blatantly lying in order to advance their cause, which seems to be the universal rule of a particular brand of Christianity whose details are slowly coming to light (possibly Dominionism or something like it).
The terms "Darwinism" and "evolutionism" are often used pejoratively by groups opposing Darwinian theory (in the sense of holding that it is untrue) in an attempt to frame the theory of evolution by natural selection – an extremely well-established scientific theory – as just another "ism" or ideology, and thereby weaken its apparent credibility.
To the extent that "Darwinism" is an ideology in the sense of being a set of established beliefs and methodologies, those beliefs and methodologies are nonetheless subject to critical scrutiny and revision in the face of new facts – as is true with any area of science, and generally in sharp contrast with the fixed ideologies of those who most stridently oppose Darwinian ideas.
Darwinism is also often criticized by anti-Darwinian groups for being "immoral". This is based on several misconceptions, which can be cleared up by considering the following facts:
- Darwinism is not a system of ethics or morals, it is a theory regarding a set of facts; it is neither moral nor immoral. It can be used as a worldview within which a system of morals can be derived, but it says no more about the necessary nature of those morals than does the heliocentric theory of the solar system.
- Darwinism is not the same as "survival of the fittest", which is a kind of shorthand phrase for any sort of competition in which only the "fittest" survive.
- Although Darwinian theory argues that the fittest do tend to survive, survival is generally a combination of fitness, circumstance, and chance. Darwinian theory also argues that the relevant "fitness" traits must be heritable, which is not true of all survival-related traits.
- Even if Darwinian theory claimed that survival was contingent on being the "fittest", this is not the same thing as saying that it is right that this is so – e.g. that humans should allow "unfit" individuals to die, or (even more absurdly) allocate the most resources to those individuals best equipped for survival. Confusion of these two claims is also known as the naturalistic fallacy.
- Although some have tried to use the "survival of the fittest" misinterpretation of Darwinian theory as justification for eugenics and other pseudoscientific ideas, Darwinian theory does not actually support such ideas, nor did Darwin himself.
- Anti-Darwinists frequently claim that belief in Darwin's theories has caused many tragedies; see #Appeal to Consequences below for further discussion.
- Eugenics is derived from ideas which predate Darwin's theories by millennia, i.e. basic animal husbandry (cull the defectives and breed the best) – not any of Darwin's theories. Eugenics makes use of artificial selection, while Darwin's theories center around the idea of natural selection.
- Social Darwinism is something of a misnomer, for similar reasons; although it does use the idea of competition between individuals as a mechanism for species improvement, it is not a corollary of EbNS and Darwin himself thought it impractical and perhaps inhumane. At worst, Darwinism can be misinterpreted as a prescription for social action; in reality, it alerts us to a potential problem in society, and gives us some of the tools we may need in order to fix it.
Appeal to Consequences
Anti-Darwinists frequently (and bizarrely) like to blame Darwinism for a number of tragedies and horrific events, and use this as justification for the idea that Darwinism is incorrect and belief in Darwinism is morally wrong; this is an example of the appeal to consequences, which is a logical fallacy. To put it metaphorically, blaming Darwin for the consequences of his theories is like blaming Newton for ballistic missiles, and furthermore says nothing about the truth or falsehood of the theories themselves. (Note: it may be worth discussing the idea that true beliefs can be harmful, as this is the only idea so far discovered which might rationally lead to an anti-Darwinist stance.)
In general, the accusations are also factually incorrect or baseless; anti-Darwinists have blamed Darwinism for all of the following:
- Hitler's Holocaust. This is historically inaccurate; (anti-semitism in Germany predates Darwin by several centuries – see this and this).  
- The Columbine massacre
- The Oklahoma City bombing
- generally any domestic massacre or horrendous act where shock and horror are sufficiently intense as to be able to override the audience's critical thinking skills
- Many anti-Darwinian arguments boil down to Christianity vs. Darwinism; some related pages include:
- Evolution vs. direct creation: possibly this should be moved into "Christianity vs. Darwinism"
- Evolution vs. Intelligent Design: ID is a particular, somewhat de-religionized form of direct creation); this page should probably be merged into Christianity vs. Darwinism and Intelligent Design. ID did raise some specific objections whose wrongness needs to be documented – but that can go on the ID page as ID was pretty much created entirely for anti-Darwinian purposes, i.e. its body of work exists solely to oppose and attack Darwinism rather than being the logical derivation of a set of checkable facts.
- Evolution vs. direct creation: possibly this should be moved into "Christianity vs. Darwinism"
- Ben Stein, entertainer and speechwriter (see Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed)
- D. James Kennedy, producer(?) of Darwin's Deadly Legacy
- Michael Behe
- Roy Spencer, also disbelieves global warming
- Darwin's Deadly Legacy
- Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed: a pro Intelligent Design/creationism film by Ben Stein and others
- 2008-09-16 [Talk|Index] Brunswick school board to consider creationism teaching § “The Brunswick County school board is looking for a way for creationism to be taught in the classroom side by side with evolution.”
- 2008-05-20 [Talk|Index] 16 percent of US science teachers are creationist § “Despite a court-ordered ban on the teaching of creationism in US schools, about one in eight high-school biology teachers still teach it as valid science, a survey reveals. And, although almost all teachers also taught evolution, those with less training in science â€“ and especially evolutionary biology â€“ tend to devote less class time to Darwinian principles.” ... “...a quarter of the teachers also reported spending at least some time teaching about creationism or intelligent design. Of these, 48% â€“ about 12.5% of the total survey â€“ said they taught it as a "valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species".”
- 2008-03-28 [Talk|Index] Darwinist Biologist P.Z. Myersâ€™ â€œNice Feedback Mechanismâ€â€” â€œGreater Science Literacyâ€¦Is Going to Lead to the Erosion of Religionâ€ § “In the midst of a furious national debate about intelligent design, Darwinism, and metaphysical bias and indoctrination in science education, one has to wonder why Dr. Myers would state plainly that the agenda of Darwinists is to advance atheism in the classroom. Why would Dr. Myers state unequivocally on film that a fundamental goal of science education is the suppression of religious belief? .. The most parsimonious explanation is that he means it.” The DI gets it more or less right for once, if you remove the filter of the religionist-speak: science education aims to teach kids how to think, which leads inevitably to increasing rejection of religious dogma and thereby a better world.
- 2008-02-16 [Talk|Index] Survey finds faith trumps science for Florida parents § “Florida parents don't have much faith in evolution. .. Only 22 percent want public schools to teach an evolution-only curriculum, while 50 percent want only faith-based theories such as creationism or intelligent design, according to a new St. Petersburg Times survey.”
- 2006-09-01 [Talk|Index] The hollow shell behind Berlinski's sneer § (by PZ Myers) “David Berlinski, that Prince of Pomposity and Lackey of the Discovery Institute, is trying to get a letter published in Science, complaining about the study that showed America's poor showing in understanding evolution. It's more of an opaque, cranky whine, something Berlinski specializes in, so I rather doubt it will ever get inâ€”the editors there are going to be as respectful of creationist nonsense as I am. Of course, one thing I can do that the editors wouldn't is rip into his letter and tear it to pieces in public...”
- 2006-08-26 [Talk|Index] ''Darwin's Deadly Legacy'': what tripe § “The opening scene was perfect. Kennedy walked onto a stage decorated with flasks and beakers and graduated cylinders full of brightly colored water. One had a small flame going under it; the graduated cylinder was bubbling. It was practically an admission that all of the science in the show was going to be fake.”