Evolution - Degrees of Commitment by Scientists
There is a great variety among scientists and others who believe evolution. Some are true crusaders for the doctrine. This is logical -- if a person really believes in a philosophy, he will likely spread it.
Others echo it gladly, and a great multitude simply go along because it seems to be the thing to do. Most scientists are no experts in the relevant fields, such as microbiology and genetics, and merely have an opinion on the subject like anyone else. Many of these scientists have serious doubts about evolution, but they keep their reservations to themselves. And, of course, a great many people -- including scientists -- are honestly confused on this question. Not because of evidence, but because of presumed evidence -- this is a major explanation for the prevalence of evolutionary belief.
Evolution - A Fashionable False Idea
William Randolph Hearst, Jr., once wrote about pressures from "fashionable ideas...which are advanced with such force that common sense itself becomes the victim." A person under such pressure may then act, he said, "with an irrationality which is almost beyond belief."1 It is exactly thus with the overwhelming pressure to accept evolution. This pressure is not only applied by the scientific establishment, but also by sympathizers in the media and politics, for reasons that go far beyond science and with an enormous influence and exposure to the masses. Janet Browne writes about how this started: “It was to Darwin’s friends that the first wave of positive responses must be attributed. For it was obvious that Darwin’s theories were as useful to them as they were to his theories. Over the following decades, Darwin’s defenders came to occupy influential niches in British and American intellectual life. Together, these men would also control the scientific media of the day, especially the important journals....Darwin’s opponents failed to achieve anything like the same command of the media or penetration of significant institutions.”2
Over the years, the power that the "myth" of evolution has gained over the public, through the human desire to conform, almost amounts to mass hypnosis. It has its effect because people have been led to think that it is the "orthodox" view among those whom they consider to be scientific and worldly-wise.
A scientist thus affected is reluctant to examine the evidence open-mindedly. The problem is not scientific -- it is emotional. One can easily become committed to what appears to be a fashionable philosophy, the "in" thing among his peers. The deciding factor is the pressure to conform, right or wrong. It always takes courage and intentional honesty to seek the truth in the face of the compulsion to be considered "in" because of "being like."
When a fashionable idea has the center of the stage in a society, it tends to drive off opposing viewpoints. Some readers may find, as we have, that it is difficult to locate in university and public libraries certain serious scientific works critical of evolution. Books of this type have a way of not ending up in the science section but instead in the religious section. Scientific works which fail to support evolution may sometimes run into difficulty getting into print and it is not exceptional to see staff members of scientific institutions lose certain positions (or never occupy certain positions in the first place) because of their unorthodox view on evolution. Today, many researchers and scientists who reject the theory of evolution either hide their thoughts and ideas completely or hide behind pseudonyms when publishing controversial ideas, fearing job loss or ridicule.
In a world which has gradually become so acquainted with an unbalanced portrayal of scientific facts, as a result of general prejudice, efforts to stifle true academic freedom and the natural human desire to be "in style," it is not hard to imagine why the theory of evolution has become so widely accepted even among scientists.