Bergson Lewis
John G. West Political Scientist and Cultural Critic

Darwin in the Dock: C.S. Lewis’s Doubts about the Creative Power of Natural Selection

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Bergson Lewis.jpeg Editor’s Note: With the approach on Friday, November 22, of the 50th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’s passing, we present this week in four installments “Darwin in the Dock,” an important chapter from CSC associate director John West’s book The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society. What follows is Part 3. Find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Lewis-Series-Graphic_2.jpg C.S. Lewis knew that the truly momentous feature of modern evolutionary theory is not its proposal that life has a long history, nor even its claim that humans and apes share a common ancestor. No, the truly radical part of modern evolutionary theory is its insistence that life is the product of an unguided process. The claim that evolution is the product of chance and necessity is not just the product of the fevered imaginations of muscular “New Atheists” like biologist Richard Dawkins. It forms the very core of orthodox Darwinian theory, which claims that the primary driver of evolution is an unguided process of natural selection (or “survival of the fittest”) operating on random variations in nature (random mutations, according to modern evolutionists). Darwin himself repeatedly made clear that evolution by natural selection neither required nor involved intelligent guidance. Indeed, according to Darwin, his theory of natural selection provided a definitive refutation of the idea that the features of the natural world reflected a preconceived design:
The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by man. There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows.61
If natural selection was unguided in Darwin’s view, so too were the variations in nature on which selection acted. Objecting to those who claimed that beneficial variations in nature might be the result of intelligent design, Darwin declared:
No shadow of reason can be assigned for the belief that variations… which have been the groundwork through natural selection of the formation of the most perfectly adapted animals in the world, man included, were intentionally and specially guided. However much we may wish it, we can hardly follow Professor Asa Gray in his belief “that variation has been led along certain beneficial lines,” like a stream “along definite and useful lines of irrigation.”62
The dominant view of evolution today in the scientific community remains essentially Darwinian. In the words of 38 Nobel laureates who issued a statement defending Darwin’s theory in 2005, evolution is “the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.”63 One certainly can conceive of a theory of guided evolution, but mainstream Darwinian theory is not it. Darwinian evolution by definition is an unguided process that brings forth new things through a combination of chance and necessity. But can such a fundamentally mindless and undirected process create the exquisite form and function seen throughout the natural world? Lewis was skeptical. Lewis did affirm that “[w]ith Darwinianism as a theorem in Biology I do not think a Christian need have any quarrel.”64 But for Lewis “Darwinianism as a theorem in Biology” was a pretty modest affair. Contra leading evolutionists, Lewis thought the “purely biological theorem… makes no cosmic statements, no metaphysical statements, no eschatological statements.” Nor can Darwinism as a scientific theory explain many of the most important aspects of biology itself: “It does not in itself explain the origin of organic life, nor of the variations, nor does it discuss the origin and validity of reason.” So what can the Darwinian mechanism explain according to Lewis? “Granted that we now have minds we can trust, granted that organic life came to exist, it tries to explain, say, how a species that once had wings came to lose them. It explains this by the negative effect of environment operating on small variations.”65 In other words, according to Lewis, Darwin’s theory explains how a species can change over time by losing functional features it already has. Suffice to say, this is not the key thing the modern biological theory of evolution purports to explain. Noticeably absent from Lewis’s description is any confidence that Darwin’s unguided mechanism can account for the formation of fundamentally new forms and features in biology. Natural selection can knock out a wing, but can it build a wing in the first place? Lewis didn’t seem to think so. A further indication of just how skeptical Lewis was about the creative power of natural selection appears in a talk he delivered to the Oxford University Socratic Club in 1944. There Lewis stated that “[t]he Bergsonian critique of orthodox Darwinism is not easy to answer.”66 Lewis was referring to Henri Bergson (1859-1941), a French natural philosopher and Nobel laureate who offered a decidedly non-Darwinian account of evolution in his book L’Evolution Creatice (Creative Evolution).67 Lewis first read Bergson (pictured above) during World War I while recovering from shrapnel wounds from the front lines, and the experience on Lewis was profound. In his autobiography Surprised by Joy, Lewis said that Bergson “had a revolutionary effect on my emotional outlook…From him I first learned to relish energy, fertility, and urgency; the resource, the triumphs, and even the insolence, of things that grow.” Lewis also was grateful to Bergson for making him “capable of appreciating artists who would, I believe, have meant nothing to me before; all the resonant, dogmatic, flaming, unanswerable people like Beethoven, Titian (in his mythological pictures), Goethe, Dunbar, Pindar, Christopher Wren, and the more exultant Psalms.”68 Lewis continued to re-read Bergson in the years that followed as he continued his studies at Oxford. During the summer of 1920, he wrote a friend that he was “reading Bergson now and find all sort of things plain sailing which were baffling a year ago.”69 A year earlier, he wrote his father that he was living in anticipation of a visit to Oxford by Bergson, but commented wistfully that “I suppose I shall not see [him]… unless he gives a lecture.”70 The impact of Bergson on Lewis is indicated in Lewis’s 1917 copy of L’Evolution Creatice, which is filled with careful annotations and underlining on most of its nearly 400 pages.71 Bergson was an unsparing critic of the creative power of Darwinian natural selection. Granting that “[t]he Darwinian idea of adaptation by automatic elimination of the unadapted is a simple and clear idea,” he argued that precisely “because it attributes to the outer cause which controls evolution a merely negative influence, it has great difficulty in accounting for the progressive and, so to say, rectilinear development of complex apparatus” like the vertebrate eye.72 Bergson stressed that Darwinism’s reliance on accidental variations as the raw material for evolution made the development of highly coordinated and complex features found in biology nothing short of incredible. This was the case regardless of whether the accidental variations were slight or large. As Bergson noted, some Darwinians insisted that the variations used by evolution were so slight that they would not hinder the survival of the organism: “For a difference which arises accidentally at one point of the visual apparatus, if it be very slight, will not hinder the functioning of the organ; and hence this first accidental variation can, in a sense, wait for complementary variations to accumulate and raise vision to a higher degree of perfection.” Bergson granted the point, but then noted the problem it raised: “[W]hile the insensible variation does not hinder the functioning of the eye, neither does it help it, so long as the variations that are complementary do not occur. How, in that case, can the variation be retained by natural selection? Unwittingly one will reason as if the slight variation were a toothing stone set up by the organism and reserved for a later construction.” But “[t]his hypothesis” is obviously “little conformable to the Darwinian principle,” which emphasizes that natural selection acts mechanically and without foresight.73 To get around this problem, other Darwinists claimed that evolution relied on large accidental variations that provided evolutionary leaps. “But here there arises another problem, no less formidable,” wrote Bergson, “viz., how do all the parts of the visual apparatus, suddenly changed, remain so well coordinated that the eye continues to exercise its function? For the change of one part alone will make vision impossible, unless this change is absolutely infinitesimal. The parts must then all change at once, each consulting the others.” Even “supposing chance to have granted this favour once, can we admit that it repeats the self-same favour in the course of the history of a species, so as to give rise, every time, all at once, to new complications marvellously regulated with reference to each other, and so related to former complications as to go further on in the same direction?”74 The sheer improbability of the Darwinian explanation increases exponentially once one realizes how frequently the same complex biological features are supposed to have arisen independently in different evolutionary lineages. In the words of Bergson: “What likelihood is there that, by two entirely different series of accidents being added together, two entirely different evolutions will arrive at similar results?”75 The whole idea was incredible according to Bergson:
An accidental variation, however minute, implies the working of a great number of small physical and chemical causes. An accumulation of accidental variations, such as would be necessary to produce a complex structure, requires therefore the concurrence of an almost infinite number of infinitesimal causes. Why should these causes, entirely accidental, recur the same, and in the same order, at different points of space and time?
Responding to his own question, Bergson replied that “[n]o one will hold that this is the case, and the Darwinian himself will probably merely maintain that identical effects may arise from different causes, that more than one road leads to the same spot.” But this was fallacious reasoning: “[L]et us not be fooled by a metaphor. The place reached does not give the form of the road that leads there; while an organic structure is just the accumulation of those small differences which evolution has had to go through in order to achieve it.” Hence, “[t]he struggle for life and natural selection can be of no use to us in solving this part of the problem, for we are not concerned here with what has perished, we have to do only with what has survived.”76 From the extensive annotations Lewis made in his personal copy of L’Evolution Creatice, it is clear that he understood and appreciated Bergson’s critique of natural selection. Lewis aptly summarized the Darwinian mechanism of adaptation according to Bergson as the “[e]limination of the unfit” and noted that it “plainly cannot account for complicated similarities on divergent lines of evolution.”77 Lewis also noted Bergson’s view that “pure Darwinism has to lean on a marvellous series of accidents” and how Darwinists try to “escape” this truth “by a bad metaphor.”78 Lewis paid particular attention to Bergson’s critique of Darwinian accounts of eye evolution in mollusks and vertebrates, concluding that “[n]atural selection… fails to explain these eyes.”79 Bergson’s critique of natural selection likely paved the way for Lewis’s doubts about Darwin, and may help explain Lewis’s comment to his father in 1925 that “Darwin and Spencer… stand themselves on a foundation of sand.”80 But Lewis’s skepticism toward natural selection was fueled by more than Bergson. The ultimate challenge to Darwinian natural selection in Lewis’s view was man himself. How could such a blind material process produce man’s unique capabilities of reason and conscience? Lewis, of course, was far from the first intellectual to doubt Darwinism’s ability to explain man. Alfred Russel Wallace, co-founder with Darwin of the modern theory of evolution itself, raised the same doubts, as did Roman Catholic zoologist St. George Jackson Mivart, whose best-selling book The Genesis of Species gave Darwin fits. To rebut the naysayers, Darwin responded in 1871 with two volumes and nearly 900 pages of prose in his treatise The Descent of Man, which forcefully argued that unguided natural selection could produce man’s mental and moral faculties perfectly well, thank you. Lewis thought otherwise, and he was tutored in his doubts by a book from of one of his favorite authors, G.K. Chesterton. The book was Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man (1922), which Lewis read for the first time in the mid-1920s. Near the end of his life, Lewis placed The Everlasting Man on a list of ten books that “did [the] most to shape” his “vocational attitude and… philosophy of life.” In Chapter 2 of The Everlasting Man (“Professors and Prehistoric Men”), Chesterton skewered the pretensions of anthropologists who spun detailed theories about the culture and capabilities of primitive man based on a few flints and bones, likely inspiring Lewis’s discussion of “the idolatry of artefacts” in The Problem of Pain. But Chesterton also provides in his book a full-throttled argument as to why Darwinism cannot explain the higher capabilities of man. In Chesterton’s words, “Man is not merely an evolution but rather a revolution” whose rational faculties far outstrip those seen in the other animals. Chesterton acknowledged the possibility that man’s “body may have been evolved from the brutes,” but he insisted that “we know nothing of any such transition that throws the smallest light upon his soul as it has shown itself in history.”81 Again: “There may be a broken trail of stones and bones faintly suggesting the development of the human body. There is nothing even faintly suggesting such a development of the human mind.”82 Chesterton’s book prepared the ground for Lewis’s own eventual critique of natural selection with regard to man — as did a lesser-known volume, Theism and Humanism (1915) by Sir Arthur Balfour. Balfour, best remembered today as the British Prime Minister who issued the Balfour Declaration, adapted Theism and Humanism from the Gifford Lectures he had presented at the University of Glasgow in 1914. Balfour’s goal was to show his audience “that if we would maintain the value of our highest beliefs and emotions, we must find for them a congruous origin. Beauty must be more than accident. The source of morality must be moral. The source of knowledge must be rational.” Balfour thought that once this argument “be granted, you rule out Mechanism, you rule out naturalism, you rule out Agnosticism; and a lofty form of Theism becomes, as I think, inevitable.”83 With regard to the human mind, Balfour argued that any effort to explain mind in terms of blind material causes was self-refuting: “[A]ll creeds which refuse to see an intelligent purpose behind the unthinking powers of material nature are intrinsically incoherent. In the order of causation they base reason upon unreason. In the order of logic they involve conclusions which discredit their own premises.”84 Balfour offered a similar critique of materialistic accounts of human morality, which he thought destroyed morality by depicting it as the product of processes that are essentially non-moral. Balfour takes special aim throughout his book at Darwinian explanations of mind and morals. It is not known when exactly Lewis first came across Theism and Humanism. His father Albert owned a copy of a previous Balfour book, The Foundations of Belief (1895), but Lewis’s first known mention of Theism and Humanism was in a lecture in the 1940s.85 He later listed it as one of the books that influenced his philosophy of life the most,86 and its basic arguments are on prominent view in Lewis’s Miracles: A Preliminary Study (1947). As Paul Ford points out, “[T]he thesis and even the language of Balfour’s first Gifford lectures permeates the first five chapters of Miracles.”87 The revised 1960 edition of Miracles is generally recognized as presenting Lewis’s most mature critique of the ability of naturalism/materialism to account for man’s rational faculties. What is less noticed is the challenge Lewis’s book raises for Darwinian evolution in particular. Theistic evolutionists like Michael Peterson prefer to treat Lewis’s argument in Miracles as dealing merely with generic philosophical naturalism. But the specific example of naturalism Lewis attacks at length in his book is Darwinian natural selection, not plain vanilla naturalism. In the words of Lewis, naturalists argue that “[t]he type of mental behavior we now call rational thinking or inference must… have been ‘evolved’ by natural selection, by the gradual weeding out of types less fitted to survive.”88 Lewis flatly denied that such a Darwinian process could have produced human rationality: “[N]atural selection could operate only by eliminating responses that were biologically hurtful and multiplying those which tended to survival. But it is not conceivable that any improvement of responses could ever turn them into acts of insight, or even remotely tend to do so.” This is because “[t]he relation between response and stimulus is utterly different from that between knowledge and the truth known.”89 Natural selection could improve our responses to stimuli from the standpoint of physical survival without ever turning them into reasoned responses. Following Balfour, Lewis goes on to argue that attributing the development of human reason to a non-rational process like natural selection ends up undermining our confidence in reason itself. After all, if reason is merely an unintended byproduct of a fundamentally non-rational process, what grounds do we have left for regarding its conclusions as objectively true? Lewis knew that the corrosive impact of a Darwinian account of the mind was not merely theoretical. In his personal copy of Darwin’s Autobiography, he highlighted two passages where Darwin questioned whether the conclusions of a mind produced by a Darwinian process could in fact be trusted. In the first passage, Darwin acknowledged “the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man… as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting, I feel compelled to looked to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.” Darwin claimed that this conclusion “was strong in my mind about the time… when I wrote the Origin of Species,” although “since that time… it has very gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker.” As a result, he now “must be content to remain an agnostic.” Why had Darwin’s confidence in the existence of a First Cause collapsed? Apparently because he realized the implications of his theory for the human mind: “But then arises the doubt — can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?”90 Lewis placed an “x” next to this revealing admission by Darwin, and he underlined an even stronger statement by Darwin making the same point three pages later. In a passage from a letter written in 1881, Darwin expressed his inconstant belief “that the Universe is not the result of chance” and then added: “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”91 (underlining by Lewis) Lewis argued that the theist need not suffer such paralyzing doubts because “[h]e is not committed to the view that reason is a comparatively recent development moulded by a process of selection which can select only the biologically useful. For him, reason — the reason of God — is older than nature, and from it the orderliness of nature, which alone enables us to know her, is derived.” Thus, “the preliminary processes within nature which led up to” the human mind — “if there were any” — “were designed to do so.”92 In short, if an evolutionary process did produce the human mind, it was not Darwinian evolution. It was evolution by intelligent design. Just as Lewis in Miracles rejected a Darwinian explanation for the human mind because it undermined the validity of reason, he rejected a Darwinian account of morality because it would undermine the authority of morality by attributing it to an essentially amoral process of survival of the fittest. As a practical matter, Lewis questioned whether Darwinism could actually explain the development of key human moral traits such as friendship or romantic love.93 But in Miracles he made a more fundamental point: A Darwinian process “may (or may not) explain why men do in fact make moral judgments. It does not explain how they could be right in making them. It excludes, indeed, the very possibility of their being right.”94 According to Lewis, by attributing our moral beliefs and practices completely to mindless and non-moral causes, Darwinists undermined the belief that moral standards are something objectively true or even the belief that some moral beliefs are objectively preferable over others. After all, if human behaviors and beliefs are ultimately the products of natural selection, then all such behaviors and beliefs must be equally preferable. The same Darwinian process that produces the maternal instinct also produces infanticide. The same Darwinian process that generates love also brings forth sadism. The same Darwinian process that inspires courage also spawns cowardice. Hence, the logical result of a Darwinian account of morality is not so much immorality as relativism. According to Lewis, the person who offers such an account of morality should honestly admit that “there is no such thing as wrong and right… no moral judgment can be ‘true’ or ‘correct’ and, consequently… no one system of morality can be better or worse than another.”95 Near the end of his life, Lewis made this point with hilarious results in a “hymn” he wrote lampooning Darwinian evolution. The hymn mocked the blind and undirected nature of Darwinism: “Lead us, evolution lead us/ Up the future’s endless stair… Groping, guessing, yet progressing,/ Lead us nobody knows where.” As Lewis wryly points out, once one excludes a higher purpose from biological evolution (as Darwin tried to do), traditional standards of human progress and decay no longer make sense: “Never knowing where we’re going,/ We can never go astray.” Applied to morality, Darwinism’s philosophy of endless change repudiates “[s]tatic norms of good and evil/ (As in Plato) throned on high;/ such scholastic, inelastic,/ Abstract yardsticks we deny.”96 Whether in reference to man’s intellect or to his morals, the cardinal difficulty with Darwinian natural selection according to Lewis is that it is mindless, and a mindless process should not be expected to produce either minds or genuine morals. This shows why it would be so misleading to classify Lewis as a theistic evolutionist, at least as that term is typically used today. Theistic evolution can mean many things, including a form of guided evolution, but many contemporary proponents of theistic evolution are more accurately described as theistic Darwinists. That is, they do not merely advocate a guided form of common descent, but they attempt to combine evolution as an undirected Darwinian process with Christian theism. Although they believe in God, they strenuously want to avoid stating that God actually guided biological development. For example, Anglican John Polkinghorne writes that “an evolutionary universe is theologically understood as a creation allowed to make itself.”97 Former Vatican astronomer George Coyne claims that because evolution is unguided “not even God could know… with certainty” that “human life would come to be.”98 And Christian biologist Kenneth Miller of Brown University, author of the popular book Finding Darwin’s God (which is used in many Christian colleges), insists that evolution is an undirected process, flatly denying that God guided the evolutionary process to achieve any particular result — including the development of us. Indeed, Miller insists that “mankind’s appearance on this planet was not preordained, that we are here… as an afterthought, a minor detail, a happenstance in a history that might just as well have left us out.”99 In short, many modern theistic evolutionists want to retain a belief in a Creator without actually affirming the guidance of that Creator in the history of life. In their view, the Creator delegated the development of life to a self-contained mindless process from which mind and morals emerged over time. Modern theistic evolution’s attempt to strike a third way between materialism and intelligent design with a kind of emergent evolution has all the logical coherence of a circular square, or theistic atheism. Lewis was familiar with attempts in his own day to imbue blind evolution with some sort of purposiveness while still denying the operation of a guiding intelligence, and he was not persuaded. This was where he ultimately broke with his mentor Henri Bergson. Bergson, in addition to critiquing natural selection, offered his own alternative to Darwinism, a muddled proposal for a vital force that somehow impels the evolutionary process toward integrated complexity without the need for an overarching designer. Lewis never attacked Bergson’s critique of Darwinian natural selection, but after he became a Christian he repeatedly attacked Bergson’s non-intelligent alternative. He did the same with George Bernard Shaw, who extolled a view, similar to Bergson’s, of “emergent evolution,” the view that although evolution is not actually guided by an overarching intelligent purpose, purposeful structures that transcend blind matter somehow emerge from the process.100 In a section of Mere Christianity that is too little read, Lewis dissects this supposed third way between outright materialism and a history of life guided by design:
People who hold this view say that the small variations by which life on this planet ‘evolved’ from the lowest forms to Man were not due to chance but to the ‘striving’ or ‘purposiveness’ of a Life-Force. When people say this we must ask them whether by Life-Force they mean something with a mind or not. If they do, then ‘a mind bringing life into existence and leading it to perfection’ is really a God, and their view is thus identical with the religious. If they do not, then what is the sense in saying that something without a mind ‘strives’ or has ‘purposes’? This seems to me fatal to their view.101
In his novel Perelandra, Lewis satirizes the incoherence of the emergent evolution view, which he assigns to the villain of the story, Professor E.R. Weston, a scientist run mad. Lewis gives Weston a speech of non-sequiturs and mumbo-jumbo where he solemnly appeals to “the unconsciously purposive dynamism” and “[t]he majestic spectacle of this blind, inarticulate purposiveness thrusting its way… ever upward in an endless unity of differentiated achievements toward an ever-increasing complexity of organization, towards spontaneity and spirituality.” Weston ultimately identifies this blind and unconscious purposiveness with what he calls “the religious view of life” and even with “the Holy Spirit.”102 The hero of the story, Dr. Elwin Ransom, is not impressed. “I don’t know much about what people call the religious view of life,” he replies. “You see, I’m a Christian. And what we mean by the Holy Ghost is not a blind, inarticulate purposiveness.”103 Near the end of his life, Lewis read prominent theistic evolutionist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s posthumously published book The Phenomenon of Man, which proposed yet another kind of emergent evolution. Lewis filled his copy of the book with critical annotations such as “Yes, he is quite ignorant,” “a radically bad book,” and “Ever heard of death or pain?” (The last comment responded to de Chardin’s statement that “[s]omething threatens us, something is more than ever lacking, but without our being able to say exactly what.”104) In his letters to others, Lewis called de Chardin’s book “both commonplace and horrifying,”105 and he derided de Chardin’s position as “pantheistic-biolatrous waffle”106 and “evolution run mad.”107 To a Jesuit priest Lewis even praised the Jesuits’ attempt to muzzle de Chardin: “How right your Society was to shut up de Chardin!”108 Lewis’s rejection of emergent evolution exposes why his way of thinking is ultimately so friendly to intelligent design. Lewis knew that ultimately there is no third way, no half-way house, no magical hybrid: Biological development is either the result of an unintelligent material process or a process guided by a mind, a.k.a. intelligent design. One can’t split the difference. One has to choose. That being the case, Lewis thought that a mind-driven process is a far more plausible option than a mindless one.


(61) Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin and Selected Letters, edited by F. Darwin (New York: Dover Publications, 1958), 63. (62) Charles Darwin, The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, second edition (London: John Murray, 1875), vol. II, 428-429. (63) Letter from Nobel Laureates to Kansas State Board of Education, September 9, 2005, accessed May 18, 2012, (64) C.S. Lewis, “Modern Man and His Categories of Thought,” Present Concerns, edited by Walter Hooper (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986), 63. (65) C.S. Lewis, “The Funeral of a Great Myth,” in Christian Reflections, edited by Walter Hooper (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1967), 86. (66) C.S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, rev. and expanded edition edited by Walter Hooper (New York: Macmillan, 1980), 89. (67) Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution, translated by Arthur Mitchell (London: Macmillan, 1920). (68) C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1955), 198. (69) C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves, June 19, 1920, Collected Letters, vol. I, 494. (70) C.S. Lewis to his father, Sept. 13, 1919, Collected Letters, vol. I, 464. (71) Lewis’s annotated copy of L’Evolution Creatice resides in the Wade Center Collection, Wheaton College. (72) Bergson, Creative Evolution, 59. (73) Ibid., 68. (74) Ibid., 69-70. (75) Ibid., 57. (76) Ibid., 59-60. (77) C.S. Lewis, annotation to copy of Henri Bergson, L’Evolution Creatice (Paris, 1917), 60; Wade Center Collection, Wheaton College. (78) Ibid., 61. (79) Ibid., 74. (80) C.S. Lewis to his father, Aug. 14, 1925. (81) G. K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1993), 42. (82) Ibid., 38. (83) Arthur J. Balfour, Theism and Humanism, edited by Michael W. Perry (Seattle: Inkling Books, 2000), 138. (84) Ibid., 141. (85) C.S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?” 77-78. Albert Lewis’s copy of Theism and Humanism currently resides in the Wade Center Collection, Wheaton College. (86) In answer to a query from The Christian Century magazine, Lewis listed Theism and Humanism as one of ten books that “did most to shape” his “vocational attitude” and his “philosophy of life.” Lewis’s list was published in the June 6, 1962 edition of the magazine. (87) Paul F. Ford, “Arthur James Balfour,” in Jeffrey D. Schultz and John G. West, editors, The C. S. Lewis Readers’ Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 92. (88) C.S. Lewis, Miracles: A Preliminary Study, 1960 edition (New York: Macmillan, 1978), 18. (90) C.S. Lewis’s copy of Charles Darwin, Autobiography of Charles Darwin, The Thinker’s Library No. 7 (London: Watts & Co. for the Rationalist Press, 1929), 149. Wade Center Collection, Wheaton College. (91) Ibid., 153. (92) Lewis, Miracles (1960 edition), 22-23. (93) C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1960), 90. (94) Lewis, Miracles (1960 edition), 36. (95) Ibid. (96) “Evolutionary Hymn,” in Lewis, Poems, 55. (97) John Polkinghorne, Quarks, Chaos, and Christianity (New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 2005), 113. (98) George V. Coyne, S.J., “The Dance of the Fertile Universe” (2005): 7, formerly available at (99) Miller, Finding Darwin’s God, 272. (100) See Lewis, Mere Christianity, 35; C.S. Lewis to Bernard Acworth, March 5, 1960, Collected Letters, vol. III, 137; Lewis, The Four Loves, 152-153; C.S. Lewis, Studies in Words (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960), 300-301. (101) Lewis, Mere Christianity, 35. (102) Lewis, Perelandra, 90-91. (103) Ibid., 91. (104) C.S. Lewis, annotations to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, with an introduction by Sir Julian Huxley (London: Collins, 1959), 217, cover page, 227. Wade Center Collection, Wheaton College. (105) C.S. Lewis to Dan Tucker, Dec. 8, 1959, Collected Letters, vol. III, 1105. (106) C.S. Lewis to Father Frederick Joseph Adelmann S.J., Sept. 21, 1960, Collected Letters, vol. III, 1186. (107) C.S. Lewis to Bernard Acworth, March 5, 1960, Collected Letters, vol. III, 1137. (108) C.S. Lewis to Father Frederick Joseph Adelmann S.J., Sept. 21, 1960.

John G. West

Senior Fellow, Managing Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute
Dr. John G. West is Vice President of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and Managing Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, West is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker who has written or edited 12 books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action: The Disney Studio’s Live-Action Features of the 1950s and 60s. His documentary films include Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, The War on Humans, and (most recently) Human Zoos. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University, and he has been interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.
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