Is Believing in 'God' Reasonable?--Part 5
Does Evolution or Biblical Creation Best Describe What We Observe?
The debate between the evolutionary process proposed by Darwin and the creation described by the Bible is often thought to be an incompatible debate involving science versus religion or faith. In reality it is not a ‘science versus religion’ debate but ‘science versus science’. This means that it is not a debate of functional operational science but rather of origin science and what system of origin best lines up with the provable laws that we know today. It is therefore helpful to give specific definitions.
Webster’s Dictionary describes science as:
‘Systematized knowledge derived from observation, study and experimentation’.
There are two basic kinds of science—
1. Operation Science—this is the commonly known type of ‘laboratory, test tube’ science. This type of science is primarily unbiased, unpresuppositional and is empirical meaning it deals with the way things operate now; it is testable, repeatable and verifiable. (Law of Gravity, Law of Thermodynamics, etc.)
2. Origin Science—this deals with past singular events and is more of a forensic science (looking at physical clues leftover from an event to form a picture of what happened—such as a murder scene). This type of science can be bias and presuppositional because it is speculative rather than empirical (past events cannot be observed nor repeated and must be reconstructed using evidence that remains).
Because we were not present at the creation of the universe, origin science seeks from historical evidence (fossils, astronomy, geological strata, etc.) an answer that best describes the evidence we find. Viewed accurately this way, there is no conflict between debating what the Bible claims to be the beginning of the universe and the theory of evolution. This goes for all other ideas on creation as well (pantheistic, aliens, etc.). It does not matter where the theory of the beginning of the universe comes from (Babylonian Gilgamesh epic, secular college class room, Bible, etc.), all theories are on equal footing until the weight of evidence disqualifies a particular view.
Only unless you disqualify the supernatural before looking at the evidence can the Bible be discredited—a true open minded person makes a judgment based on where the evidence points and not where he/she hope it points—even if the most sensible answer points outside of our material universe.
But such open mindedness is not always the case as we see from leading biology professor and avowed atheist D.M.S. Watson:
‘Evolution is a theory universally accepted not because it can be proven by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible (unbelievable).’
There are 3 major areas that any theory in Origin Science must answer.
1. Origin of the physical universe
Cosmic Evolution states—either the universe came out of nothing or matter and energy are eternal. The latter is supported by the 1st Law of Thermodynamics (energy canneither be created or destroyed but only changes form). To counter the implications of the 2nd Law ofThermodynamics (the universe is running out of usable energy and becoming more chaotic), some have proposed the Steady State or the ‘rebounding universe’ theory, i.e. theuniverse is expanding and collapsing eternally and we just happen to be inbetween at this moment.
Creationism states—God who is eternal, uncreated, and is outside the physical universe, created everything out of nothing, including the laws of physics that govern it. This is supported by the fact that something (matter and energy) cannot be created by nothing and must have Someone or Something to make it exist. The 1st Law of Thermodynamics does not state that matter and energy are eternal but only that we do not observe any actual energy leaving the universe nor any new energy entering it—this realistically means God could have put the current amount in at the beginning of the universe and it has stayed consistent.
The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics states that the universe is running out of usable energy implying that it had a beginning. To get around the problem of the 2nd law inferring a Beginner, Fred Hoyle purposed the Steady State Theory which claims that hydrogen atoms are ‘popping’ in and out of existence adding energy to keep the universe from running down keeping it in a ‘steady state’— yet there is no evidence of this phenomena. In regards to ‘rebounding’—the universe would still slowly ‘wind down’ one day (like abouncing ball) and won’t ‘rebound’ eternally.
2. Origin of life
Chemical Evolution states—purely natural laws can explain the origin of life based on chemical/electrical interplay in the earth’s early history. The modern theory of a ‘primeval soup’ of chemicals dates back to Russian scientist Oparin in1 924. In 1953 Urey & Miller published results of some simple experiments ino rganic chemistry which lent credence to the soup theory. In their experiments they were able to create simple amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins which are, in turn, the building blocks of the cell. The theory is that shortly after the earth was cooled enough to allow it, the combination of hydrogen, nitrogen, ammonia, and carbon dioxide reacted to form elementary amino acids, which in time developed into the DNA chains and finally into cells. This process is said to have taken several billions of years and the extra energy of the sun, volcanic activity, lightning, and cosmic rays was needed to keep the process going.
Creationism states—God built the living, replicating cell complete with working DNA/RNA. Urey and Miller had to assume, contrary to the opinions of geologists, that the early Earth had no oxygen in its atmosphere. This is because amino acids are destroyed by oxygen. But the absence of oxygen implies absence of ozone, another form of oxygen. Ozone in our atmosphere protects us from high energy ultra-violet rays from the sun also destroying nucleic acids. ‘Naked’ amino acids coming into contact with oxygen would be oxidized and destroyed. But if oxygen is removed, as Urey and Miller did, there is no ozone and the UV rays would destroy the acids anyway.
In the living cell, the DNA codes proteins and makes them useful. The problem is DNA itself is made out of coded proteins. You cannot get DNA without coded proteins but you can’t get coded proteins without DNA. It has been suggested that RNA possesses some of the properties of proteins while having the information carrying ability of DNA. No experiment has ever produced anything resembling RNA. RNA does not replicate itself, a prime necessity for a living cell.
A cell based solely on proteins is equally impossible, since proteins lack the ability to reproduce themselves as well. Even if the right chemicals could be produced, no answer has been given for how they could have been arranged properly and enclosed in a cell wall. Also, life arising from non-life violates the Law of Biogenesis (life only comes from life) and cannot ‘spontaneously generate’ as Louis Pasteur (who was a creationist) demonstrated.
Even if aliens dropped us off (or ‘seeded’ life) it only moves the problem to another place! Where did life start there?
3. Origin and development of humans
Biological Evolution states—more complex life forms evolve over long periods of time as genetic mutations give rise to species more fit to survive as they are sorted by natural selection. The examples in the fossil record indicate that man has evolved from lesser animals and ultimately from single celled life. (Darwin’s‘tree of life’)
Creationism states—Man (and animals) were created separately by God each special and ‘according to their own kind’, i.e. birds have always been birds, fish have always been fish, reptiles have always been reptiles, humans have always been humans (Gen.1:20-27). It is seldom fully appreciated that the only evidence for or against evolution lies in the fossil record. Every other argument for evolution is based on what could have been. Only the fossil record records what actually did happen!
The lack of transitional fossils was something Darwin recognized could be a problem when in Origin of Species he wrote:
“Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduatedo rganic chain, and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.”
In the 150 years since Darwin, the situation has only become worse for his theory. Notes Harvard evolutionary paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould:
“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips of their branches (the ‘kinds’ we see today—fish, reptiles, birds, primates, humans) the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of the fossil record.”
This fact was so overwhelming to Dr. Gould that he devised an alternative to gradual evolution which he called ‘punctuated equilibrium’. It said that instead of slow evolution there was a sudden change in the species, i.e. a bird was hatched out of a reptile egg. No evidence.
This is because a plain, straightforward look at the fossil record gives 2 impressions--
Stasis. Most species appear in the fossil record looking exactly the same as they disappeared or that they look today.
Sudden appearance. In any area, a species does not arise gradually but appears all at once, fully formed. Both of these are seen in the Cambrian Explosion.
David Raup, curator of geology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, which houses the world’s larges fossil collection said:
“Darwin was embarrassed by the fossil record because it didn’t look the way he had predicted it would, and as a result he devoted a long section in Origin of Species to attempt to rationalize the differences. We are now over 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded.We now have a quarter million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed. Ironically we have fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we did in Darwin’s time.”
Understand that there is not one unquestionable example of species transition.
Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History wrote in a personal letter
“I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustrations ofevolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them. You say that I should at least ‘show a photo ofthe fossil from which each type of organism was derived.’ I will lay it on theline—there is not one such fossil for which one could make a water-tight argument.”
Microevolution states that things will evolve inside their species (kind) adapting to changingclimate/food considerations. Survival of the fittest in this sense means thatthe ones with characteristics to aid in survival would live to pass along theirgenes.
3 common examples are often used to support macroevolution that are really microevolution.
The differences in dogs. In colder climates longer haired dogs will survive andspawn other long-haired dogs. Shorter haired dogs will die or move to otherclimates. This is true vice-versa as well. Even though man has bred great physical differences between dogs such as miniature poodles and great danes,they are and forever will be genetically dogs/canine.
Darwin’s Galapagos Finches. Birds with stronger/longer beaks needed to get food will survive and pass on genetic information. We see this in Darwin’s finches, although beak sizes changed they did not transform into another species.
The black and white peppered moths—In Britain during the 1850’s black moths were rare and white were common because they could blend in with the surrounding trees. The industrial revolution came and the pollution was so bad that it blackened the trees with soot. This gave the black ones a ‘hiding’ advantage and they flourished as the white ones were now obvious and were eaten. However recent pollution controls have once again seen the resurgence of the white moths. The pollution dictated which moth survived and thrived. The moths are varieties of the same species and both existed before pollution brought a shift.
Macroevolution states that given enough time one species will evolve into another. There is no evidence for this process anywhere on earth.
While microevolution does occur—meaning adaptations within a species—there is no such thing as macroevolution, or conversion of one animal type to another, into a new genus or other broad classification level. Also, mutations never add information, but only reduce it—this includes even the rare helpful mutations. Even if a mutation helps a particular thing to survive (such as bacteria-resisting antibodies) it never increases the complexity of the genes to pass onto the next generation, leaving the specimen the same species it always was. The problem for Darwin was simply that he was ignorant of the cell and genetics. The thinking of the day considered the cell a ‘simple little lump combination of carbon’.
Also, if macroevolution is engine or the basis for creating all life forms we see today, why has it stopped or stopped so long ago we can’t even find it? Where are the ‘almost human ape-people’ today?
Astronomer Robert Jastrow, founder and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Professor of Astronomy and Geology at Columbia Univ. states:
“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story of origins ends like a bad dream. For the past 300 years scientists have scaled the mountain of ignorance and as they pull themselves over the final rock, they are greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
(Excerpts from Perloff, Tornado in a Junkyard; icr.org; answersingenesis.org)