Book review: 'Creation, Evolution, and the Handicapped'

By Alyssa Klaus

Feb 01

Where does a Darwinian, survival-of-the-fittest worldview leave the handicapped? To renowned atheist Richard Dawkins, the answer is quite clear. When a woman tweeted about her “moral dilemma” of having a Down syndrome baby, Dawkins responded, “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have a choice.”

Within the evolutionary dogma, there is no room for the handicapped, as value is derived from what a person can offer to society as a whole and humanity is no more than “rearranged pond scum.” Samaritan member Pastor Richard Luther Corwin argues against this ideology in his book Creation, Evolution, and the Handicapped: Crushing the Death Image, stating that these views can be dangerous because, as a result, “the social Darwinist or evolutionist freely accepts concepts like eugenics, euthanasia, and abortion as pure science. These are deemed practical options for the betterment of the human community.”

Corwin, who graduated with a Masters in Theology from Harding Graduate School and a Masters in Christian Education from the Institute of Creation Research, was diagnosed with focal epilepsy early on in his ministry career. Though he has been in remission for over 30 years, he remembers the disappointment he felt when he discovered that an accommodation for evolution had invaded the evangelical Church, as well as a valuing of modern science over Biblical truth. Corwin says it’s possible for this accommodation to create a social Darwinist-like prejudice against the handicapped within the Body of believers. “The handicapped often make the world an uncomfortable place,” Corwin says. This is because “our materialistic society measures value by what it deems ‘normal’ or what comes closest to perfection.” This measure must not be present within the Church. Rather, “the Church must be the source for planting renewed self-esteem in the handicapped.”

In the beginning of the book, Corwin discusses how the evolutionary worldview can lead to nothing but despair for the handicapped individual. A significant portion is devoted to exposing these ideas, which he claims have become a dangerous doctrine for a new gnostic religion that he calls “scientism.” He says that Darwinists “have selected nature as their demigod and contrived a series of dogmas and doctrines that require absolute obedience.” This includes the beliefs that death should turn into life, ignorance into knowledge, and chaos into order, the last of these contradicting the second law of thermodynamics, which states that matter is in a state of increasing disorder. Further chapters explore the “Problem of Intelligence” (intelligence coming from non-intelligence), evolution’s role in the rise of eugenics, and Darwinism’s connection to Nazism. Corwin says that “As a scientific theory, Darwinism would have been jettisoned long ago. The point, however, is that the doctrine of evolution has swept the world, not on the strength of its scientific merits, but precisely in its capacity as a Gnostic myth. It affirms, in effect, that living beings create themselves, which is in essence a metaphysical claim.”

This existential view is not as positive as Darwinists would have people believe. At the root is nihilism. “Darwin says to the world ‘come unto me’ and I will give you death, despair, and meaningless existence,” Corwin writes. “If you are handicapped, disabled, aged, or ill, a decision to follow the path of Evolutionary Gnosticism will cost you.” In the example of Dawkins and the Down syndrome baby, the cost is the life of a child.

What is it that is really “immoral” about this birth, as Dawkins claims? Is it for the mere fact that the child wouldn’t be capable of finding their value within the world’s standards? Is it because the child would not “add anything to society” in the traditional, secular sense? Or is it because we are just “rearranged pond scum” and the child was a biological mistake? “For the handicapped person seeking significance and purpose in life, trying to make sense of a seemingly senseless disability and trying to overcome the prejudice and apathy of his or her surrounding community, no comfort will be found in evolutionary science,” Corwin says.

“The ‘death image’ that satan has planted in the secular humanistic world must not be allowed to reach maturity in the hearts of those who follow Christ,” Corwin writes, heading off the second half of his book.

He now shifts his focus to not only how the handicapped should view themselves in light of the Gospel, but also as to how the Church should respond to the handicapped within its doors and in the community. Corwin’s lesson for the Church is that leaders must take an inventory of their congregation and not be afraid to get outside help to learn how to reach the disabled. “When the people who make up the body of Christ let the handicapped person know that he has true value to God and isn’t the ‘project of the month,’ the glow from his spirit will have a revitalizing effect upon the Church,” he writes.

For his disabled brothers and sisters, he reminds them of the great value they have to God and to not be overcome by the apathy and self-pity that satan threatens to drown them with. “Those who have a sense of their own self-worth through Jesus are able to see perfectly,” he says. “Their life is not distorted by the world, and they are not plagued by satan’s illusions. They have a real sense of what they enjoy doing and have simply decided to use their talent for Jesus Christ.”

There is no room for evolutionary dogma and Darwinism’s meaninglessness within the Christian life, disabled or not. We are more than just the product of a random universe, and God’s value system is beyond our human understanding. “You may not realize it, but you have a great value to God. You may appraise yourself as a ‘nobody’ or a ‘nothing,’ but a very high price has been paid for you!” Corwin writes, adding that “If Jesus has the patience and the confidence in you to give you a portion of His strength, then the least you can do is to be used by Him.”