BCS Home
Introductory Articles
Kerkut's students

Professor Kerkut's testimony

In 1960, Professor G. A. Kerkut (of Southampton University, England) published an interesting little book with the title Implications of Evolution. (Pergamon Press, London.) His testimony, recounted here, is found on pages 4-5. As you read it, it is worth asking the questions: "How dated is this experience? Do students today think there is no evidence against evolutionary accounts of origins? Is there not a real need to get to grips with some of the arguments being made today by intelligent people?" 

Professor Kerkut: "Do you think Evolutionary Theory is the best explanation yet advanced to explain animal interrelationships?" 

Student: "Why of course, sir, there is nothing else except for the religious explanation held by some fundamentalist Christians, and I gather, sir that these views are no longer held by the more up-to-date Churchmen!" 

Professor Kerkut: "So, you believe in evolution because there is no other theory?" 

Student: "Oh, no, sir, I believe in it because of the evidence I just mentioned [natural selection]" 

Professor Kerkut: "Have you read any book on the evidence for Evolution?" 

Student: "Yes, sir (mentions a popular school textbook), and of course, sir, there is that book by Darwin, The Origin of Species" 

Professor Kerkut: "Have you read the book?" 

Student: "Well... not all through, sir" 

Professor Kerkut: "About how much?" 

Student: "The first part, sir" 

Professor Kerkut: "The first fifty pages?" 

Student: "Yes, sir, about that much; maybe a bit less" 

Professor Kerkut: "I see, and has that given you your firm understanding of Evolution?" 

Student: "Yes, sir" 

Professor Kerkut: "Well, now, if you really understand an argument you will be able to indicate to me not only the points in favor of the argument, but also the most telling points against it" 

Student: "Yes, sir" 

Professor Kerkut: "Good. Please tell me, then, some of the evidences against the theory of Evolution." 

Student: "Against what, sir?" 

Professor Kerkut: "The theory of evolution." 

Student: "But there aren't any, sir" 

I would then suggest that the student should go away and read the evidence for and against Evolution and present it as an essay. A week would pass and the same student would appear armed with an essay on the evidence for Evolution. The essay would usually be well done, since the student might have realized that I would be tough to convince. When the essay had been read and the question concerning the evidence against Evolution came up, the student would give a rather pained smile. "Well, sir, I looked up various books but could not find anything in the scientific books against Evolution. I did not think you would want a religious argument." "No, you were quite correct. I want a scientific argument against evolution." "Well, sir, there does not seem to be one and that in itself is a piece of evidence in favor of the Evolutionary Theory." 

For further reading, the following take the discussion further:
The myth of the prebiotic soup
Darwinism and NeoDarwinism

Return to top of page