Tag Archives: evolution

Intelligent Design vs statistical probability.

Oh, I took statistics in college and no I did not distinguish myself. Nonetheless, I did get the concepts, I may not really understand how to construct a “bell curve” or know how to figure out how many sigmas I need to go to the left or right of the top of the “bell curve”. I do understand that when all factors are calculated and the outcome is the actual statistical probability of an event happening or not happening (called “standard deviation”, ohhhh I remembered that!) . I know how to drive a 41′ boat. I don’t necessarily need to know all the intricacies of putting that boat together.

For too many people who have never had to take any statistical analysis, didn’t even go to college, they will still look you in the eye and insist it’s all about evolution. OK, here’s the cut to the chase; it just can’t be, it’s scientifically impossible. More so, the way our environment from the smallest cell to the hugest galaxy show every sign of being designed it could not have been an accident! Which means it didn’t happen by accident, it had to have been made that way. Any who tries to tell you, from your average high school science teacher, to the neighbor who has a degree in English literature to the guy who barely graduated high school tells you it’s all about evolution, they don’t know what they’re talking about and if they had any knowledge of statistical probability they would know it’s impossible.

I do realize there are a lot of people with a whole lot of letters beside their name who insist on evolution. Why people who claim to be scientists and yet reject scientific reality? These are people who are “scientism fundamentalists”, they can’t allow for a “creator”, everything had to have come together accidentally, some type of “natural selection/interaction”. Despite the fact that what they postulate couldn’t happen statistically, biologically, chemically, just couldn’t and yet these fundamentalists who pose as scientists in our high schools, colleges, industry & research, continue to proselytize in favor of fundamentalism. I can’t remember who said it, but I just don’t have the faith to be an atheist. Atheists, scienticismists, all believe that things came together accidentally and in a way that promotes very sophisticated eco-systems and very sophisticated life, you and me. Many, maybe most scientists today are not locked in this narrow-minded faith system and do look at the facts and concede that the universe is too perfectly designed to happen by accident. The president of our synod, Rev Dr Matthew Harrison, wrote this: “..The most shocking thing is the repeated discovery of order – ordered genetic information in biology and complex order in the universe. It was famously asserted that the probability of life coming about randomly would be about the same odds as a tornado sweeping through a junkyard and assembling a 747, fully fueled and read for takeoff. Atheism requires too much faith for me.” (Lutheran Witness March 2017 p 1) Really a 747 would be a tinker-toy compared to the vast complexity of our universe. Yet those in scientism insist on living in their world of denial: “There can’t be a god, because we wouldn’t be in command, a greater power would hold us responsible for what we do, we can’t have that. We’re god and that’s the way it should be.” Yea, I’ve met these people living in a world of fantasy and denial, just so they can have their way and don’t have to be responsible for a higher problem. Worse yet they insist on dragging others down with them in their fundamentalist zeal.

Scientism vs Christian faith, they’re both faith systems

I’m rebloggin the following, you can find it on “Faith and Science News”

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/06/wall_street_jou096501.html

Wall Street Journal: Coyne’s Atheist Tract Is a “Splendid Specimen of Scientism”

David Klinghoffer June 1, 2015 3:34 PM | Permalink

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I wouldn’t advise any book author to take a negative review too much to heart. However a really singeing one like science writer John Horgan’s takedown of Jerry Coyne’s atheist tract, Faith vs. Fact, must hurt.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal (“Preaching to the Converted“), Horgan agrees with evolutionary biologist Coyne about some things that might have made you expect a more positive response:

I share his enthusiasm for science — as a source of both truth and power over the world — and his concern about religion’s ill effects. I opened his book hoping to find arguments that I could borrow for my writing and teaching.

But no. In summary, “[Coyne’s] shrill, self-righteous diatribe is more likely to hurt his cause than help it.” This part struck me as germane to our concerns here:

Mr. Coyne’s loathing of creationism… leads him to exaggerate what science can tell us about our cosmic origins. Mr. Coyne asserts that “we are starting to see how the universe could arise from ‘nothing,’ and that our own universe might be only one of many universes that differ in their physical laws.” Actually, cosmologists are more baffled than ever at why there is something rather than nothing.

The popularity of multiverse theories — a hypothetical corollary of several highly speculative physics theories — merely shows how desperate scientists are for answers. Multiverse enthusiasts seem to think that the existence of an infinite number of universes will make ours appear less mysterious. The problem is, none of these other universes can be observed, which is why skeptics liken multiverse theories to untestable religious beliefs.

Mr. Coyne repeatedly reminds us that science, unlike religion, promotes self-criticism, but he is remarkably lacking in this virtue himself. He rejects complaints that some modern scientists are guilty of “scientism,” which I would define as excessive trust — faith! — in science. Calling scientism “a grab bag of disparate accusations that are mostly inaccurate or overblown,” Mr. Coyne insists that the term “be dropped.”

Actually, “Faith vs. Fact” serves as a splendid specimen of scientism. Mr. Coyne disparages not only religion but also other human ways of engaging with reality. The arts, he argues, “cannot ascertain truth or knowledge,” and the humanities do so only to the extent that they emulate the sciences. This sort of arrogance and certitude is the essence of scientism.

I was curious to see if Coyne, an active blogger if nothing else over at Why Evolution Is True, would comment on Horgan’s review. Nope. But he’s posted some really nice pictures of birds instead.

Image: “Hubble Peers into the Most Crowded Place in the Milky Way,” via NASA/ European Space Agency.

More devolved or further away from God?

Someone responded to a post of mine, which was critical of evolution. I grew up mindlessly accepting the secular gospel, that evolution is just a given, a scientific fact and did not give it another thought. The writer/respondent wondered if instead of “evolving”, we were really “devolving”. In some ways man has, in some sense, become better. But in so many ways, the things that are truly important, we have become more depraved, more alienated, more fixated on the true object of our affection, that being “me, myself and I”.

Obviously evolution is a rather pitiful attempt to deny God and to create some kind of phoney paradigm where, given enough time over “millions and millions of years”, that somehow, completely by chance, an incredibly sophisticated environment, would create incredibly sophisticated beings, all by complete chance. (Unless of course you believe the outside of the evolution fringe which tries to convince us aliens came here and started the human race, if not the entire ecosphere. That of course begs the question how aliens came about, but the evolution fringe element really doesn’t go that far, and frankly doesn’t seem to think that deeply.) Most real scientists today are rejecting Darwinian evolution and are growing in their perception of a design of the universe that is more and more incredibly complicated. The idea that says that this happened all by accident is becoming more and more discredited.

I am certainly not anti-intellectual, but those who pose as “intellectuals”, seem to more and more be anti-intellectual. There seems to be this element that thinks that education is more of an indoctrination, a learning of essential facts in order to continue to maintain the status quo, instead of what true science is, which is to continue to question, There is not supposed to be a science orthodoxy, a faith system that dictates that these are “facts” and not to be disputed. But there certainly is a scientism faith system. At least a deistic system (like Christianity)provides for some kind of tangible reality of creation. But the evolution, fringe element, moves even more to the fantastic, when it’s high priest, if not Pope, Stephen Hawking decides ex cathedra, that obviously there has always been gravity and that is what continues to pull the universe together and kicks off the whole “Big Bang”. I’m not opposed to the “Big Bang”, if God chose to use that as His method of kicking off the universe great! What better way than in an incredible flash of light that rocketed out from a tiny bit of mass. But to say that it was somehow always present and self- perpetuating is a faith system that demands a great deal more faith than God the Father of our Lord Jesus, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

God created us to be perfect, we, represented by Adam, decided, that what He did wasn’t good enough, we wanted more and basically Adam waved God off and said, no it’s all about me and what I want. That is the break in our relationship with God. From there sin did and continues to break us down, drive us further from Him, because more and more it’s all about us. So yes, we are “devolvoing” in the sense that we are moving farther away from God and making ourselves an idol. The farther we are from the Father, the more it’s about us, the more debased we become and yes, more like a “survival of the fittest” versus the love for the Father being projected on all those around us and from us to everyone else. The whole evolution argument is about us justifying that it’s about us and that God doesn’t matter. We find out who does, because the farther we are away from Him, the more debased, sinful we become the less human and compassionate and more about me. We can either realize how far we’ve fallen and strive for reality of Jesus. Or we can keep tanking and wonder why things have become more evil.

Our God is very much a living God, to quote the Newsboys “God’s not dead He’s surely alive, He’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion”. He roars to give us the integrity, courage, strength to live a life that truly worships and strives to serve a completely holy, perfect, sanctified God. He made all creation so that we could live as very complicated beings in an environment that supports us. We continue the intellectual challenge of understanding His creation and also Him, in order that we might grow to be more like Him, and not to be about what it is that I want, what I decide is important. When we grow towards God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit we don’t “evolve”, but we become more like Christ. That’s our true goal, we’re not going to evolve that way, it’s going to be about having the faith that God gives us to trust what the Holy Spirit is doing in us and to proceed out into the world in God’s will, not ours.

No missing link here

Neanderthal Men Were Modern Men

A set of fossilized human remains has been discovered in Iberia that shows partial Neanderthal characteristics, proving again that Neanderthals interbred with anatomically modern men.1 This adds to a growing list of evidence, consistent with biblical history, that demonstrates Neanderthal to have been fully human, rather than an evolutionary transition.2

Though evolution models once held that Neanderthal man was one of the “missing links” between an ape-like ancestor and modern man, the repeated discoveries of Neanderthal remains right next to those of modern humans—instead of in separate, lower, older strata—have forced him out of the pool of “pre-human” evolutionary ancestor candidates. In contrast to ever-evolving naturalistic interpretations, the biblical creation model has consistently maintained that Neanderthal man was just that—man.

Neanderthal did have distinct characteristics that are apparently now either extinct or diffused, but his family line was fully human for several hundred years after Noah’s Flood, when humans repopulated the earth about 4,300 years ago.

The mounting evidence for Neanderthal and modern man’s coexistence calls into question whether the Neanderthal and other human varieties even lived in separate times, as the evolutionary story still maintains. Both the Bible and science indicate that this was not the case. Biblical history has no place for such a separate, distant time of evolutionary development, but it does allow for variations within the human kind in its 6,000-year history.

Anthropologist Marvin L. Lubenow has shown that Neanderthal, other than having a larger cranial capacity, was anatomically the same as Homo erectus.3 Their fossils do not fit into the depiction of a linear evolutionary ape-to-man transition that is iconic today, but were simply comingling variations of humankind. Furthermore, a fossil elbow (KP 271) and the Laetoli footprints are indistinguishable from modern man, and both have been dated by evolutionary scientists at 4 million years or older—predating the earliest Neanderthals!4 Thus, within the published evolutionary dates, “anatomically modern Homo sapiens, Neandertal, archaic Homo sapiens, and Homo erectus [as well as Lucy-like Australopithecinces] all lived as contemporaries.”3

As seen in the fossil remains from Iberia, the more that is discovered about Neanderthal, the more evolutionary models morph to accommodate the data. In contrast to this ambiguity, both the Bible and science confirm that man and apes—though many small differences can be discerned within each kind—nevertheless remain totally separate, untransitioned created kinds.

References

  1. Walker, M. et. al. 2008. Late Neandertals in Southeastern Iberia: Sima de las Palomas del Cabezo Gordo, Murcia, Spain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print December 12, 2008.
  2. Duarte, C. et al. 1999. The early Upper Paleolithic human skeleton from the Abrigo do Lagar Velho (Portugal) and modern human emergence in Iberia.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 96 (13): 7604-7609.
  3. Lubenow, M. 1992. Bones of Contention. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 178.
  4. Tuttle, R. 1990. The Pitted Pattern of Laetoli Feet. Natural History. March Issue, 60-65. Quoted in Lubenow, Bones of Contention, 170.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.

Article posted on December 18, 2008.

Evolution vs Creation, you might want to read what Darwin wrote a little more closely, not as edifying as you might think

The following is a chapter from a new book from “Answers in Genesis”. Evolution keeps popping up in the church and other parts of society, despite its implausibility, frankly that’s putting it nicely, really its impossibility. Check out this article and you might want to look a little deeper and use some of the links to “Answers in Genesis”.
Do Evolutionists Believe Darwin’s Ideas about Evolution?

Chapter 28

Do Evolutionists Believe Darwin’s Ideas about Evolution?

by Dr. Terry Mortenson and Roger Patterson on January 26, 2015

Few people have actually read the works of Darwin, and if they did they might be shocked to read some of Darwin’s ideas.
Creation and Evolution: Compatible or in Conflict?

This controversy can’t be solved by merely listing both views of the facts. Extremely intelligent and knowledgeable scientists in both camps show that it can’t just be about facts. Discover what makes the difference!

Charles Darwin first published his ideas on evolution over 150 years ago. In those 150 years we have come to understand the complexity of life, and many new scientific fields have shed light on the question of the validity of Darwin’s evolutionary hypothesis. Few people have actually read the works of Darwin, and if they did they might be shocked to read some of Darwin’s ideas. In this chapter we will take a look at what Darwin and other early evolutionists believed and how those ideas have changed over time.

Darwin was wrong on many points, and there would be few who would disagree with this claim. But if Darwin was wrong on some points, does that mean that the entire hypothesis of evolution is proven wrong?

What Is Evolution?

Like many words, evolution has many different uses depending on its context. The general concept of the word is “change over time.” In that sense, one might say that a butterfly evolves from an egg to a caterpillar to a winged butterfly and a child evolves into an adult. There is no disputing that individual organisms change over time. However, using the word in this way is quite misleading for the origins debate. Darwin’s hypothesis involves a very different concept.

As evolution is used in this chapter and in all science textbooks, natural history museums, and science programs on television, it refers to the biological idea that all life on Earth has descended from a single common ancestor. There are many different variations on this theme as well as several explanations of how the first organism came into existence from non-living matter. Examining some of the historical evolutionary positions and comparing them to the ideas that are popular in scientific circles today shows how much those concepts have changed. In general, evolution will be used to refer to the concept of molecules turning into men over time. This concept of evolution is in direct opposition to the biblical account of creation presented in the book of Genesis.1

Evolution—An Ancient Idea

The concept of molecules-to-man evolution is certainly not a new idea. Several Greek philosophers before the time of Christ wrote on the topic. For example, Lucretius and Empedocles promoted a form of natural selection that did not rely on any type of purpose. In De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) Lucretius writes:

And many species of animals must have perished at that time, unable by procreation to forge out the chain of posterity: for whatever you see feeding on the breath of life, either cunning or courage or at least quickness must have guarded and kept that kind from its earliest existence. . . . But those to which nature gave no such qualities, so that they could neither live by themselves at their own will, nor give us some usefulness for which we might suffer to feed them under our protection and be safe, these certainly lay at the mercy of others for prey and profit, being all hampered by their own fateful chains, until nature brought that race to destruction.2

This stands in opposition to the thinking of Aristotle, who promoted the idea of purpose in nature. Aristotle also imagined forms of life advancing through history, but he believed nature had the aim of producing beauty.3 This idea of purpose in nature, or teleology, is later seen in the works of Thomas Aquinas and other Christian philosophers.

THE CONCEPT OF EVOLUTION WAS NOT LOST FROM WESTERN THINKING UNTIL DARWIN REDISCOVERED IT.

The concept of evolution was not lost from Western thinking until Darwin rediscovered it—it was always present in various forms. Because much of the thinking was dominated by Aristotelian ideas, the idea of a purposeless evolutionary process was not popular. Most saw a purpose in nature and the interactions between living things. The dominance of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe (where modern science was born) and its adherence to Aristotelian philosophies also played a role in limiting the promotion of evolution and other contrary ideas as these would have been seen as heresy. As the Enlightenment took hold in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, explanations that looked beyond a directed cause became more popular.

Erasmus Darwin

Coming to the mid-to-late 18th century, Kant, Liebnitz, Buffon, and others began to talk openly of a natural force that has driven the change of organisms from simple to complex over time. The idea of evolution was well established in the literature, but there seemed to be no legitimate mechanism to adequately explain this idea in scientific terms. Following the spirit of the Greek poets Lucretius and Empedocles, Erasmus Darwin, the atheist grandfather of Charles, wrote some of his ideas in poetic verse. Brushing up against the idea of survival of the fittest, Erasmus spoke of the struggle for existence between different animals and even plants. This struggle is a part of the evolutionary process he outlines in his Temple of Nature (1803) in the section titled “Production of Life”:

Hence without parent by spontaneous birth
Rise the first specks of animated Earth;
From Nature’s womb the plant or insect swims,
And buds or breathes, with microscopic limbs.4

And he continues:

Organic Life beneath the shoreless waves
Was born and nursed in Ocean’s pearly caves;
First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass,
Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass;
These, as successive generations bloom,
New powers acquire, and larger limbs assume;
Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,
And breathing realms of fin, and feet, and wing.5

Starting with spontaneous generation from inanimate matter, Erasmus imagined life evolving into more complex forms over time. He did not identify any mechanisms that may have caused the change, other than general references to nature and a vague driving force.

In the introduction to this work, Erasmus Darwin states that it is not intended to instruct but rather to amuse, and he then includes many notes describing his ideas. Despite his claimed-to-be-innocent intentions, this poem lays out the gradual, simple-to-complex progression of matter to living creature—a view very consciously different from the biblical account of creation which the vast majority of his contemporaries knew and believed. He traces the development of life in the seas to life on land with the four-footed creatures eventually culminating in humans and the creation of society. There is no doubt that when Charles began his studies, the idea of evolution apart from the supernatural was present in Western thought (even in his own extended family). The arguments in support of special creation were certainly prominent, but evolutionary ideas were being pressed into mainstream thinking in the era of modernism.6

To underscore the early acceptance of evolution, the following passage from Zoonomia (3 vol., 1794–1796) illustrates Erasmus Darwin’s belief that all life had come from a common “filament” of life.

From thus meditating on the great similarity of the structure of the warm-blooded animals . . . would it be too bold to imagine that, in the great length of time since the Earth began to exist, perhaps millions of ages before the commencement of the history of mankind would it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament?7

Lamarckian Evolution or Use and Disuse

In France, and at the same time as Erasmus, Jean Baptiste Lamarck developed his theories of the origin and evolution of life. Initially, he had argued for the immutability of species, but in his later works he laid out a clear alternative to the special creation of plants and animals. Lamarck believed that the geology of the Earth was the result of gradual processes acting over vast periods of time—a view later to be known as uniformitarianism. Lamarck developed four laws of evolution and put them forward in his Philosophie Zoologique published in 1809. Lamarck proposed that an internal force and the need for new organs caused creatures to develop new characteristics. Once developed, the use or disuse of the organs would determine how they would be passed on to a creature’s offspring. This idea of the transmission or inheritance of acquired characteristics is the hallmark of this model of evolution.

Lamarckian EvolutionIn Lamarckian evolution, animals change due to environmental factors and the use or disuse of a feature. For example, a giraffe’s neck will get longer over time as it continually stretches it to reach higher leaves on trees.

Lamarck’s mechanism of use and disuse of characters was widely rejected in his lifetime, especially by the prominent French naturalist Georges Cuvier, and was never supported by observations. Lamarck did attempt to explain how the characteristics were inherited, but there was still no clear biological mechanism of inheritance that would support his claims. Lamarck also proposed a tree of life with various branching structures that showed how life evolved from simple to complex forms. Much of what Lamarck proposed seems unreasonable to us today with a modern understanding of genetics. A husband and wife who are both bodybuilders will not have an extraordinarily muscular child—that acquired trait does not have any affect on the genetic information in the germ cells of the parents’ bodies. However, recent research has revealed instances of bacterial inheritance that appear to be very Lamarckian in nature. Future research in this area may reveal that Lamarck was correct to some degree. But there are many good reasons to expect that this would provide no support for the idea of molecules-to-man evolution.8

Darwinian Evolution

Charles Darwin was at least familiar with all of these different views, and their influence can be found throughout his writings. Darwin often referred to the effects of natural selection along with the use or disuse of the parts. The legs and wings of the ostrich, the absence of feet and wings in beetles, and the absence of eyes in moles and cave-dwelling animals are all mentioned by Darwin as a result of use or disuse alongside natural selection.9 Exactly how this process happened was a mystery to Darwin. He proposed the idea of “pangenesis” as the mechanism of passing traits from parent to offspring. This idea is not significantly different from Lamarck’s, for it relies on the use and disuse of organs and structures that are passed on to offspring through pangenes over vast ages.

Natural Select + Millions of YearsDarwin originally proposed that natural selection would be the primary mechanism acting to change organisms over millions of years. He was not aware of the role of mutations in heredity.

In his work The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, Darwin suggested that gemmules are shed by body cells, and that the combination of these gemmules would determine the appearance and constitution of the offspring. If the parent had a long neck, then more gemmules for a long neck would be passed to the offspring. In Darwin’s defense, he was not aware of the work of his contemporary, Gregor Mendel. In his garden in the Czech lands, Mendel was studying the heredity of pea plants. Neither man knew of the existence of genes, or the DNA genes are composed of, but both of them understood there was a factor involved in transmitting characteristics from one generation to the next. Despite evidence from experiments conducted by his cousin Francis Galton, Darwin clung to his pangenesis hypothesis and defended it in his later work Descent of Man.

Darwin believed that all organisms had evolved by natural processes over vast expanses of time. In the introduction to Origin of Species he wrote the following:

As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.10

Darwin’s belief that slight modifications were selected to produce big changes in organisms over the course of millions of years was the foundation of his model for the evolution of life on Earth. We know today that Darwin’s notion of gemmules and pangenes leading to new features or the development of enhanced characteristics is a false notion. However, that does not mean, by itself, that Darwin’s conclusion is wrong—just that his reasoning was faulty.

Neo-Darwinian Evolution and the Modern Synthesis

The discovery of DNA and the rediscovery of Mendel’s work on heredity in pea plants have shown that Darwin’s hereditary mechanism does not work. But his conclusion of molecules-to-man transformation over millions of years is still held as true by proponents of evolution. In the early 20th century, Mendelian genetics was rediscovered and it came to be understood that DNA was responsible for the transmission and storage of hereditary information. The scientific majority was still fixed on a naturalistic explanation for the evolution of organisms. That evolution happened was never a question—finding the mechanism was the goal of these naturalistic scientists.

Mutation of genetic information came to be viewed as the likely mechanism for providing the raw material for natural selection to act on. Combining genetic studies of creatures in the lab and in the wild, models of speciation and change over time were developed and used to explain what was seen in the present. These small changes that resulted from mutations were believed to provide the genetic diversity that would lead to new forms over eons of time. This small change was referred to as “microevolution” since it involved small changes over a short amount of time. The evolutionists claim that the small changes add up to big changes over millions of years, leading to new kinds of life. Thus, microevolution leads to “macroevolution” in the evolutionary view. However, the acceptance of these terms just leads to confusion, and they should be avoided.

Natural Select + Millions of Years + MutationAfter the discovery of DNA and its role in inheritance, evolutionists pointed to mutations in the DNA as the source for new traits. These accidental mutations provide differences in the offspring that can be selected for. This selection is believed to lead to new kinds of life.

This is not fundamentally different from what Charles Darwin taught; it simply uses a different mechanism to explain the process. The problem is that the change in speciation and adaptation is heading in the opposite direction needed for macroevolution. The small changes seen in species as they adapt to their environments and form new species through mutation are the result of losses of information. Darwinian evolution requires the addition of traits (such as forelimbs changing into wings, and scales turning into feathers in dinosaur-to-bird evolution), which requires the addition of new information. Selecting from information that is already present in the genome and that was damaged through copying mistakes in the genes cannot be the process that adds new information to the genome.

IT HAS BECOME SO PLASTIC THAT IT CAN BE MOLDED TO EXPLAIN ANY EVIDENCE, NO MATTER HOW INCONSISTENT THE EXPLANATIONS MAY BECOME.

Today, evolution has been combined with the study of embryology, genetics, the fossil record, molecular structures, plate tectonics, radiometric dating, anthropology, forensics, population studies, psychology, brain chemistry, etc. This leads to the intertwining of so many different ideas that the modern view of evolution can explain anything. It has become so plastic that it can be molded to explain any evidence, no matter how inconsistent the explanations may become. Even Darwin was willing to admit that there may be evidence that would invalidate his hypothesis. That is no longer the view held by the vast majority of evolutionists today—evolution has become a fact, even a scientific law (on par with the law of gravity), in the minds of many.

To help us see this more clearly, let us take a look at the idea of different races. Darwin published his views on the different races in Descent of Man. Though Darwin spoke against slavery, he clearly believed that the different people groups around the world were the result of various levels of evolutionary development. Darwin wrote the following:

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes . . . will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian [Aborigine] and the gorilla.11

This is the conclusion Darwin came to—that different rates of evolution would lead to different classes of humans. He often refers to the distinction between the civilized Europeans and the savages of various areas of the world. He concludes that some of these savages are so closely related to apes that there is no clear dividing line in human history “where the term ‘man’ ought to be used.”12 Consistent with his naturalistic view of the world, Darwin saw various groups of humans, whether they are distinct species or not, as less advanced than others. This naturally leads to racist attitudes and, as Dr. Stephen J. Gould noted, biological arguments for racism “increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory,”13 though this was likely only an excuse to act on underlying social prejudices.

Dr. James Watson (co-discoverer of the double-helix structure of the DNA molecule and a leading atheistic evolutionist) was caught in a storm of evolutionary racism in 2007. The Times of London reported the following in an interview:

He says that he is “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours—whereas all the testing says not really,” and I know that this “hot potato” is going to be difficult to address. His hope is that everyone is equal, but he counters that “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.” He says that you should not discriminate on the basis of colour, because “there are many people of colour who are very talented, but don’t promote them when they haven’t succeeded at the lower level.” He writes, “there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so.”14

Though he later stated that he did not intend to imply that black Africans are genetically inferior, he is being consistent with his evolutionary beliefs. His remarks were considered offensive, even by those who endorse evolution.

THOSE WHO WOULD SUGGEST THAT EVOLUTION CAN EXPLAIN WHY ALL HUMANS HAVE VALUE MUST BATTLE AGAINST THOSE EVOLUTIONISTS WHO WOULD DISAGREE.

This exposes an inconsistency in the thinking of many evolutionists today—if we evolved by random chance, we are nothing special. If humans evolved, it is only reasonable to conclude that different groups have evolved at different rates and with different abilities, and mental ability could be higher in one group than another. If the data supported this claim, in the evolutionary framework, then it should be embraced. Those who would suggest that evolution can explain why all humans have value must battle against those evolutionists who would disagree. This exposes the inconsistent and plastic nature of evolution as an overarching framework—who gets to decide what evolution should mean? Darwin and Watson are applying the concepts in a consistent way and setting emotion and political correctness aside, when it is deemed necessary. Darwin noted that “it is only our natural prejudice and . . . arrogance” that lead us to believe we are special in the animal world.15

Without an objective standard, such as that provided by the Bible, the value and dignity of human beings are left up to the opinions of people and their biased interpretations of the world around us. God tells us through His Word that each human has dignity and is a special part of the creation because each one is made in the image of God. We are all of “one blood” in a line descended from Adam, the first man, who was made distinct from all animals and was not made by modifying any previously existing animal (Genesis 2:7).

Saltation and Punctuated Equilibrium

Contrasted with Darwin’s view of a gradual process of change acting over vast ages of time, others have seen the history of life on Earth as one of giant leaps of rapid evolutionary change sprinkled through the millions of years. Darwin noted that the fossil record seemed to be missing the transitions from one kind of organism to the next that would confirm his gradualistic notion of evolution. Shortly after Darwin, there were proponents of evolutionary saltation—the notion that evolution happens in great leaps. The almost complete absence of transitional forms in the fossil record seemed to support this saltation concept and this was later coupled with genetics to provide a mechanism where “hopeful monsters” would appear and almost instantaneously produce a new kind of creature (e.g., changing a reptile into a bird). These “monsters” would be the foundation for new kinds of animals.

Saltation fell out of favor, but the inconsistency between the fossil record and the gradualism promoted by Darwin and others was still a problem. The work of Ernst Mayr, Stephen J. Gould, and Niles Eldredge was the foundation for the model of “punctuated equilibrium.” This model explained great periods of stasis in the fossil record punctuated with occasional periods of rapid change in small populations of a certain kind of creature. This rapid change is relative to the geologic time scale—acting over tens of thousands of years rather than millions. This idea is not inconsistent with Darwin’s grand evolutionary scheme. However, it seems that Darwin did not anticipate such a mechanism, though he commented that different organisms would have evolved at different rates. Whether evolution has occurred by gradual steps or rapid leaps (or some combination) is still a topic of debate among those who hold to the neo-Darwinian synthesis of mutations and natural selection as the driving forces of evolutionary change.

Natural Select + Millions of Years + Mutation + Bursts of ChangeContrary to Neo-Darwinism, punctuated equilibrium tries to account for the lack of fossil intermediates by appealing to rapid bursts of change interspersed in the millions of years. They still rely on mutations and natural selection, but at a much faster rate.

Conclusion

Sir Isaac Newton provided us with a general theory of gravity (and described laws in support of that theory) based on observational science. Even in light of modern understandings, those laws still apply today. Einstein did expand the concepts, but the functionality of Newtonian physics still applies today as much as ever.

WHAT IS CALLED DARWINISM TODAY BEARS LITTLE RESEMBLANCE TO WHAT DARWIN ACTUALLY WROTE.

The same cannot be said for Darwin’s ideas. Darwin’s hypothesized mechanism of natural selection (even with the added understanding of mutations) has failed to provide an explanation for the origin and diversity of life we see on Earth today. His confident expectation that the fossil record would confirm his hypothesis has utterly failed, and the mind-boggling irreducible complexity seen in biological systems today defies the explanations of Darwin or his disciples. To say that evolutionary thinking today is Darwinian in nature can only mean that evolutionists believe that life has evolved from simpler to complex over time. Beyond that, what is called Darwinism today bears little resemblance to what Darwin actually wrote.

All of these ideas of the evolution of organisms from simple to complex are contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture that God made separate kinds of plants and animals and one kind of man, each to reproduce after its own kind. As such, these evolutionary ideas are bound to fail when attempting to describe the history of life and to predict the future changes to kinds of life in this universe where we live. When we start our thinking with the Bible, we can know we are starting on solid ground. Both the fossil record and the study of how plants, animals, and people change in the present fit perfectly with what the Bible says about Creation, the Flood, and the Tower of Babel in Genesis 1–11. The Bible makes sense of the world around us.

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Footnotes

  1. For an explanation of some of the contradictions between the biblical creation account and the widely held evolution story, see the article “Evolution vs. Creation: The Order of Events Matters!” atwww.answersingenesis.org/articles/2006/04/04/order-of-events-matters.
  2. Sharon Kaye, “Was There No Evolutionary Thought in the Middle Ages? The Case of William of Ockham,” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 14 no. 2 (2006): 225–244.
  3. Henry Fairfield Osborn, From the Greeks to Darwin (London: Macmillan, 1913), p. 43–56.
  4. Erasmus Darwin, The Temple of Nature (London: Jones & Company, 1825), p. 13.
  5. Ibid., p. 14–15.
  6. Modernism was the dominant philosophy in Western culture from the late 18th to the late 20th centuries. This philosophy placed science as the supreme authority for determining truth. Science was viewed as the “savior” of mankind—eventually finding cures for all diseases, ending war, famine, etc. Though it has been largely replaced by post-modernism, this modernist thinking is still very prominent among scientists and many others in our culture. Post-modernism, on the other hand, is a radical skepticism about anyone’s ability to know truth. Post-modernists argue that truth and morality are relative—there are no absolutes. It also reflects disenchantment with the promises made by modernist philosophers and scientists. Both philosophies reject Scripture as authoritative truth and are based on evolutionary thinking.
  7. Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia, volume 1 (Philadelphia, PA: Edward Earle, 1818), p. 397.
  8. Even if Lamarckian mechanisms are uncovered, the fossil record would not support the evolution story. See Duane Gish, Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No, (Santee, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 1996); Carl Werner,Evolution: The Grand Experiment, vol. 1 (Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 2007); and Living Fossils, vol. 2 (Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 2008). Natural selection can only “select” from existing genetic information (it cannot create new information), and mutations cause a loss or reshuffling of existing genetic information. See Terry Mortenson’s DVD Origin of the Species: Was Darwin Right? (Answers in Genesis, 2007) and John Sanford,Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome (Lima NY: Elim Publishing, 2005). Also, what bacteria can do should not be directly applied to other forms of life because bacteria are categorically and significantly different. This is explained in Georgia Purdom’s DVD All Creatures Great and Small: Microbes and Creation (Petersburg, KY: Answers in Genesis, 2009).
  9. Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (New York, NY: The Modern Library, 1993), p. 175–181.
  10. Ibid., p. 21.
  11. Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man (New York, NY: The Modern Library, 1936), p. 521.
  12. Ibid., p. 541.
  13. Stephen Jay Gould, Ontogeny and Phylogeny (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1977), p. 127.
  14. Charlotte Hunt-Grubbe, “The Elementary DNA of Dr Watson,” Times Online [London], October 14, 2007, http://www.entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article2630748.ece.
  15. Darwin, The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, p. 411–412.

Recommended Resources

Science and Christian apologetics

It is important. I realize that too much focus on the “apologetics”, the issues that are based more in terms of history, science, social sciences, archaeology should never overshadow faith. They should never be the reason that we are Christians, that we know Christ as our Lord and Savior. Because I am giving this issue a lot of attention is not my way of saying Christianity is real, look at the documented facts. People may find the arguments compelling, they may even be convinced, but you are going to be saved by what the Holy Spirit is doing in your soul. Hey, who knows He may be using these arguments, but the cut to the chase is that coming to know Christ as your Lord will be because of Him, not because of what you do.

Now that I’m over the Gospel disclaimer, I move along to a book that I’ve been reading by Philip Yancey. I’ve written about those writers who, if they published their grocery list, I would read it. Yancey is one of those writers and much thanks to my brother in the Lord Rev Dr Mike Ramey for this gift.

The book, “Vanishing Grace”, seems to be sort of in the series of books, “What’s So Amazing About Grace”, for example, by Yancey. He discusses the fact that Christians and the church don’t seem to really practice grace and that there certainly isn’t any grace in contemporary society.

As part of the discussion he includes a section on the relation of science and Christianity. Most would say say that they are mutually exclusive, but when God is the One who has created all that science studies, clearly they aren’t. Yancey quotes Sir William Bragg, “…a pioneer in the field of X-ray crystallography, who was asked whether science and theology are opposed to one another: ‘They are: in the sense that the thumb and fingers on my hand are opposed to one another. It is an opposition by means of which anything can be grasped.’ For much of history the great scientists – Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Leibniz – believed their discoveries in ‘the ‘the book of nature’ comprised a form of revelation, teaching us clues about a creator God.” (p 177)

“I suggested to the panel that although science had contributed much to modern life, there are at least three important questions for which it has no answers since they lie beyond its bound. (1) Why is there something rather than nothing? (2) Why is that something so beautiful and orderly? (3) How ought we to conduct ourselves in such a world?…” (p 177)

Theology used to be considered the “Queen of the sciences”, that it was where all the sciences end up. There are those whose “faith” is in science, the evolutionists believes in Darwin’s writings even though it is not even a good hypothesis, no less ‘theory’. Their faith, compared to the reality of Jesus and His incarnational ministry, is most definitely “blind faith”. The historocity of Jesus is really beyond dispute, He is the most studied individual in history and despite fallacious attempts to discredit the original texts and writings down through the centuries the certainty of His life is more than any figure in antiquity.

Another discussion that’s been impressed on me is the impossibility of life here on earth. “Scientism” (my own creation for the ‘religion of science’) ‘science’ insists that there has to be life elsewhere. Hey maybe there is, God’s going to do His will regardless of the ‘impossibility’ involved, we’re here aren’t we? But to say that life can be blindly reproduced in other parts of the universe, despite the impossible odds of life on earth, is just not dealing with reality. “…In their heyday the Soviets swept the sky with huge antennas listening for messages. Some scientists estimated the universe the universe would reveal a hundred thousand, perhaps a million advanced civilizations. Enthusiasm cooled as, one by one the projects failed to turn up any evidence of intelligent life.” (p 178)

I would quickly note that the “SETI” program in the United States has been mostly discontinued except for sparse private funding.

Yancey elaborates on the discussion about the impossibility of blind creation of the universe. “Scientists themselves who calculate the odds of the universe coming into existence by accident suggest such boggling figures as one in 10 to the 60th power. [That’s one chance in 10 with 60 zeros]. Physicist Paul Davies explains, ‘To give some meaning to those numbers, suppose you wanted to fire a bullet at a one-inch target on the other side of the observable universe, twenty billion light years away. Your aim would have to be accurate to that same part in 10 to the 60th power.’ Stephen Hawking admits that if the rate of expansion one second after the big bang had varied by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have recollapsed. That’s only the beginning: if the nuclear force in certain atoms varied by only a few percentage points then the sun and other stars would not exist. Life on earth depends on similarly delicate fine-tuning: a tiny change in gravity, a slight tilting of earth’s axis, or a small thickening in its crust would make conditions for life impossible.” (p 178)

Yancey goes on to describe the responses of the high-priests of evolution (my snide remark) and undirected creation which are to the effect, ‘hey don’t try to confuse me with the facts: “Confronted with the staggering odds against random existence, Richard Dawkins simply shrugs and says, ‘Well, we’re here, aren’t we?’ He, along with many others, sees no need to assume a Designer behind such apparent evidence of cosmic design (although in a conversation with Francis Collins, Dawkins admitted that the fine-tuning of the universe is the most troubling argument for nonbelievers to counter). Scientists in the U.S. are equally divided, with 51 percent believing in some form of deity.” (p 179)

“…it occurred to me, that if the odds were reversed we likely would not have had a discussion. If someone calculated the odds of God’s existence at one in 10 to the 60th power, I seriously doubt any scientists would waste their time discussing faith issues with people who believed in such an improbable God. Yet they happily accept those odds of a universe randomly coming into existence on its own.” (p 179)

Yancey goes on to write about the narrow mindedness, the denial of facts that’s often attributed to religious fundamentalists that scientists demonstrate. They are not just in denial, but they are pejorative in their attitudes towards people of faith. There is certainly antagonism by Christians towards the secular, but the antagonism of those of the faith of “scientism” is much more narrow minded and dismissive. “When I talked with the Nobel laureates later, I asked about their own belief or disbelief in God. All three spoke of a strict Jewish upbringing against which they later reacted. Martin Perl, discoverer of the Tau lepton particle, said candidly, ‘Ten percent of Americans claim to have been abducted by aliens, half are creationists, and half read horoscopes each day. Why should it surprise us if a majority believe in God? I oppose all such superstition, and in my experience religion is mostly harmful. I limit my beliefs to observation, not revelation.'” Wow, that’s pretty narrow and bigoted. I know Yancey would not appreciate my lack of graciousness, but come on, really I’m just pointing out the obvious.

This obvious narrow-minded bigotry is not, mercifully, universal among scientists. But you have to wonder, people who claim to be driven by “observation”, can sure pick and choose and live in such denial. “…Albert Einstein, was more receptive to faith: ‘The scientist must see all the fine and wise connections of the universe and appreciate that they are not of man’s invention. He must feel toward that which science has not yet realized like a child trying to understand the works and wisdom of a grown-up. As a consequence, every really deep scientist must necessarily have religious feeling.”‘

“Einstein marveled that our minds are able to assemble patterns of meaning. As he told a friend, ‘A priori, one should expect a chaotic world which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way.’ The fact that this isn’t the case, that the cosmos is comprehensible and follows laws gives evidence of a ‘God who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists.’ Yet Einstein could not bring himself to believe in a personal God such as the Bible portrays…” (p 180)

“Other scientists share Einsteins’ childlike wonder. Alexander Tsiaras, a professor at the Yale Department of Medicine, entranced a sophisticated crown at a TED conference with a video of the fetal stages from conception to birth. he had written the soft ware to utilize an MRI technique that had earned its inventor a Nobel Prize. The video compresses nine months of growth and development into a nine-minute film…”

“The human body largely consists of collagen – hair, skin, nails, bones, tendon, gut, cartilage, blood vessels – Tsiaris explains in his introduction. A rope-like protein, collagen changes its structure in only one place, the cornea of the eye, where it spontaneously forms a transparent grid pattern. As the video of speeded-up fetal development plays, this mathematician drops his objectivity, awed by a system ‘so perfectly organized it’s hard not to attribute divinity to it… the magic of the mechanism inside each genetic structure saying exactly where that nerve cell should go.'”

“…the programmer Tsiaras remarks, ‘The complexity of the mathematical models of how these things are done is beyond human comprehension. Even though I am a mathematician, I look at this with marvel: How do these instruction sets not make mistakes as they build what is us? It’s a mystery, it’s magic, it’s divinity.'” (p 181)

Carl Sagan was, of course, the  high priest of “scientism” and was usually very antagonistic to Christianity. Despite his profound knowledge of the facts, he seemed to be much more motivated by self-promotion and enhancing the faith system he promoted. But Yancey writes:”…In an exchange of letters with Robert Seiple, then president of World Vision USA, Carl Sagan clarified that even he remained open to belief in God. He viewed with wonder the beauty and simplicity in the laws governing the cosmos. Summing up, he wrote, ‘As a scientist, I hold that belief should follow evidence and to my mind the evidence of the universe being created is far from compelling. I neither believe nor disbelieve. My mind is, I think, open, awaiting better data.'” (p 182)

I really hate it when someone plays me, and Sagan was playing. “Creationism” isn’t “proved” so I’m going to be a proponent of something that is statistically impossible, unless and until such time as there is proof of God. Huh? This is a person that is in denial. People like this love to talk about their objectivity, but they have none. Sorry, but these are narrow minded fanatics that insist that you agree with them in every detail or you’re the one with a problem. I’ve been watching a television show on people and their families who are out on the street abusing drugs. Frankly the attitude seems to be the same in “scientism”, don’t judge me, don’t try to confuse me with the facts, just enable me and leave me alone in my addiction, my denial, my own little abusive world. There are many scientists that are objective and have no problem trying to reconcile the reality of the created universe and the One who created it and His Son Jesus Christ who came to reveal the will of the One through whom all was created. I have always had an interest in various aspects of science long before I was a Christian. The astronauts of the 60s and 70s were my heros, I loved reading books dealing with astronomy and space travel. One of the earliest books I remembered reading was on Clyde Tombaugh, you know who he is? I have always been fascinated by astronomy, but seriously don’t get in my face trying to convince me that this massive, elaborate, amazing universe all spun into existence by accident. It didn’t and anyone who can understand probability understands that.