Why I Am Not an Evolutionist – Part II

Why I Am Not an Evolutionist – Part II

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Part I   Part III

In Part II, I want to address the first necessary pillar for Darwinian Evolution: Abiogenesis, or life from non-life.

A is not. 

Bio is life. 

Genesis is beginnings.

At one point in the history of our planet, there was no life. Then at another point, there was life. Where did this first life come from? If you are an evolutionist, then that life must have started by accident, but how could that happen?

Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA who is also a staunch evolutionist, wrote a memo as a warning to his fellow researchers, “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”1 I have to ask, why do they have to keep that in mind? What is staring them in the face that they can’t come to grips with? A grand designer? Of course, if you have a grand designer, then we are answerable to someone, a creator.

In 1953, Stanley Miller created a mix of chemicals to represent our earth’s early atmosphere in the laboratory. Miller then sent pulses of electrical current through the chemical mixtures for several days to represent possible lightning strikes. A thick tar coated the flasks, and within this tar, Miller found some amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. In turn, proteins are necessary for life.((Behe, Michael J. Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press: New York, 2006. Print.)) Researchers today reject this experiment because the mixture he used to represent our earth’s atmosphere (methane and ammonia) was largely inaccurate.((House, Wayne H. Intelligent Design 101. Grand Rapids: Kregl Publications, 2008, Print.)) According to Scientific American, the early earth atmosphere mainly was nitrogen with a mix of carbon, methane, water, and vast amounts of water vapor.((Emspak, Jesse. “Early Earth’s Atmosphere was Surprisingly Thin.” Scientificamerican.com, Scientific American, 14 May, 2016 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/early-earth-s-atmosphere-was-surprisingly-thin/))

Even if the artificial atmosphere conditions Miller created in the lab were accurate, the problem of amino acids forming to create a protein was even more problematic. For amino acids to form a protein chain, they must lose a molecule of water, and with water being so abundant on earth, you have another hill to overcome. On top of that, amino acids dissolve in water, one of the necessary ingredients for accurately representing an early earth’s atmosphere.((Emspak, Jesse. “Early Earth’s Atmosphere was Surprisingly Thin.” Scientificamerican.com, Scientific American, 14 May, 2016 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/early-earth-s-atmosphere-was-surprisingly-thin/))

Some may say the Miller experiment is over 60 years old, and only old textbooks reference it anymore. That is rubbish. With just a couple of minutes on the Internet, you will land several current references to the Miller-Urey experiment and no mention of the errors. You can also Google Stanley Miller, and at the top of the list is Encyclopedia Britannica, and the article on Miller highlights his experiment without any mention of its flaws.((Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Stanley Miller.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 28 Feb. 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/Stanley-Lloyd-Miller.))

Even PBS mentions Stanley Miller and the idea of Panspermia, which is life on earth was seeded from another planet.((KCTS Television. “Meteorites & Life. Did We Come From Comet Dust?” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 2005, www.pbs.org/exploringspace/meteorites/murchison/page5.html.)) Of course, that just pushes back the dilemma a step; how life initially began is still not answered because if life on earth was seeded, then we still need to ask how life started from another location. 

Darwin recognized many of the shortcomings of his theory. In the Origin of Species, in chapter 6 titled Difficulties on Theory, he wrote, “These difficulties and objections may be classed under the following heads:

  • On the absence or rarity of transitional varieties.
  • On the origin and transitions of organic beings with peculiar habits and structure.
  • Organs of extreme perfection and complication.
  • Organs of little apparent importance.

Darwin continued, “Firstly, why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms?”((Darwin, Charles. “Difficulties on Theory.” On the Origin of Species. Or the Preservation of the Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Down, Bromley, Kent. 1859. pg 189. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1228/1228-h/1228-h.htm))

Finally, his famous quite that many are familiar with, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Most people who quote that statement of Darwin stop there and never include the next sentence. At first glance, you would think that Darwin is expressing great doubts about his theory, but what most leave out is, “But I can find out no such case.”((Darwin, Charles. “Difficulties on Theory.” On the Origin of Species. Or the Preservation of the Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Down, Bromley, Kent. 1859. pg 189. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1228/1228-h/1228-h.htm))

I don’t want to be accused of cherry-picking quotes and pulling them out of context. Darwin certainly saw obstacles with his theory, but he also felt they were not insurmountable. Why? Because the cell was a black box, he had no idea what was within it, let alone the DNA instructions within the nucleus, which can contain about 3 billion bases.

Not only is the single-cell a complex powerhouse, but so is the code within DNA that is found in the nucleus of the cell. DNA relies on proteins for its production, but proteins rely on DNA for their production. So which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Exactly one hundred years before I was born, Darwin published ‘On the Origin of Species.’ At that time Darwin had no idea how complex the cell was, which Michael Behe pointed out when he wrote Darwin’s Black Box, which helped launch the Intelligent Design movement. Behe’s efforts landed his book on the National Review’s list of the twentieth century’s 100 most important nonfiction works.

For many of you, when you hear the term Black Box, you think of the flight data recorder, (FDR) that records the cockpit conversations and flight data of all commercial aircraft. When there has been an aircraft accident, one of the first clues to what caused the accident that investigators look for is the aircraft’s black box.

For obvious reasons, flight data recorders are designed to be very durable since we would lose the data in weak or flimsy containers. Wrapped in titanium or steel with shock-resistant insulation, FDR can survive impacts of over 300 mph and continue to transmit for up to a month. They can also endure temperatures of over 1000 degrees, operate at -55 degrees, and are equipped with underwater locator beacons that can transmit at depths of 20,000 feet. It is incredible to think about what punishment those black boxes can take and still provide valuable information to help solve aircraft accidents every year.

Dr. Michael Behe’s book had nothing to do with the black boxes we find in commercial aircraft but simply the biological cell. They could see the cell do some fantastic things but had no idea how. The cell and its inner working parts and functions were a black box to science in the 1850s. Science could not peer into and see its marvelous design, let alone understand what parts molecules or atoms played in the world of microbiology.

In his book Behe coined the term “irreducible complexity” and explained it this way, “By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.”((Behe, Michael. “Lilliputian Biology.” The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press, 2006. pgs. 6-11. Print.)) In other words, all the parts are needed for the system to work. If just one part of the machine was missing or not functioning as it should, then the machine would be rendered useless.

Back to the Flight Data Recorders, all the data is lost should an aircraft’s FDR fail to survive the impact. Should an FDR fail to resist the high temperatures of a crash, the information is lost. Should the FDR locator beacon fail, the data could be lost. The data is lost if the FDR fails to resist crushing water pressures. If any systems fail that are designed to keep the data safe, the information is lost. That is what Dr. Michael Behe is talking about in an irreducibly complex system. Should any parts not work, the whole system fails. He gave another, even better example, a mousetrap. The mousetrap has a base, hammer, spring (to move the hammer), a holding bar, and a catch (where you put the cheese).

 Each of these parts are necessary for the mousetrap to function. Without the base, you have nothing to mount the other parts on. Without the hammer, you have nothing to kill the mouse with. Should you lack the spring, you have nothing to give the hammer its force. Missing the holding bar, you have nothing to hold the hammer back in its position to strike. Missing the catch, you have nothing to trigger or even place the bait on to attract the mouse to the trap. Each and every part is necessary for the mousetrap to work.

 You might be asking what this has to do with abiogenesis. Dr. Behe found quite a few irreducibly complex biological systems, and one of them he focused on was the bacterial flagellum. The bacterial flagellum uses an outboard motor system to move about, and it has quite a few different parts, but if even one of these parts is missing or not functioning, it will not work.

Studies have shown that about 40 different protein parts are needed for the flagellum to function in the cell. Not only are all the protein parts required for the flagellum to work, but they also have to be added in the correct order; otherwise it will not function. So like the mousetrap, the bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex, and science cannot explain how this is possible in an evolutionary fashion.((Behe, Michael. “Lilliputian Biology.” The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press, 2006. pgs. 6-11. Print.))

Irreducibly complex systems are a real enigma for Darwinists because it takes a system that functions for natural selection to make improvements on it. So how could life begin with a system as complex as the cell without first being an irreducibly complex system?

Every time I write a paper on the origin of life, I swear I will never write another one, because there is too much speculation running after too few facts. – Francis Crick

Part III


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Why I am not an Evolutionist – Part II by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://christianapologetics.blog/.

 

  1. Geisler, Norman. Turek, Frank. “The First Life: Natural Law or Divine Awe?” I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be an Atheist, Crossway. 2004. []
Why I Am Not an Evolutionist – Part II

Why I Am Not an Evolutionist – Part I

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Above Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

Part II   Part III

I am not an evolutionist because of what I have learned in science concerning Darwinian Evolution. I have reasons for doubting Evolution because of what I find in scripture. Still, in my mind, that just confirms what serious shortcomings evolution already has within the realm of science.

First, it is essential to define our terms and what we mean when using the word Evolution. Above I was talking about Darwinian Evolution or macro-evolution. When we hear the word Evolution, almost always, it is in reference to the classical Darwinian Evolution or large changes over time, but Evolution typically has three definitions we need to consider when discussing this topic with anyone.

The term evolution in its most basic sense merely means change over time. In that sense, I have no problem with the term evolution, and you shouldn’t either. Just look around; things change over time. Indeed, you have changed over time. You were once a child, and now you are an adult.

The second way people, (often found in Jr. High and High school textbooks) use the word Evolution is when they describe micro-evolution or small changes over time. Again, I have no problem with this. We see small changes taking place in the world around us. For example, Darwin’s finches are a fine example of micro-evolution and adaptation. Another example is the house sparrows introduced to North America in the 1850s. Over the last 150 years, the ones who have migrated north have become larger because a bigger body bird can survive better in colder climates, while those in the south are several ounces less in weight. In fact, if you were to look at a climate map over the U.S., you would see an obvious correlation between the larger and smaller sparrows depending on the climate.

The last way people use the word Evolution is when talking about macro-evolution or Darwinian Evolution. Macro, meaning large changes over time. Not just changes within a species, but a change of species. Reptiles to Redhawks, monkey’s to man, or wolves to whale. It is this meaning of Evolution that gives me serious doubts.

What is important to point out is that the examples we see throughout the scientific community for Evolution are examples of micro-evolution (small changes over time). From there, they extrapolate that macro-evolution (large changes over time) is true.

Simple changes in time are not examples of macro-evolution and should not be considered valid evidence for Darwinian Evolution. So next time you hear that change over time is proof of Evolution, ask them what evidence there is for macro-evolution, and the odds are excellent they will give you an example of micro-evolution.

Now that we have a clear understanding of Evolution and what people mean when they use that term, I want to share two main reasons I have doubts about Evolution.

For Darwinian Evolution to be true, there are two conditions or two pillars that must support Evolution for it to be true. These two requirements must be answered by those who believe in the third definition of Evolution.

The first is abiogenesis or life from non-life. If Evolution is true then life must have started by accident. Nothing planned, nothing designed, just a blind haphazard event that took place billions of years ago that kicked off all the life we see around us.

For what it is worth, I don’t have a problem with the time frame. That is the belief that our universe is billions of years old, but I will not get into the old earth vs. young earth discussion. However, I need to point out that an old earth is a necessary condition for Evolution, and because of this, some Christians are uncomfortable with an old earth view. Frank Turek said it best, “…we do want to point out that while the age of the universe is certainly an interesting theological question, the more important point is not when the universe was created, but that it was created.”((Geisler, Norman. Turek, Frank. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Wheaton: Crossway 2004, Print.))

I feel there is enough evidence to suggest an old earth, and that does nothing to hinder my Christian faith. So yes, you can believe in an old earth and still be a Christian.

The second pillar is transitional forms or simply the fossil record. This would be the evidence of simple to more complex life evolving over millions of years, from invertebrates to vertebrates. The primary differences are vertebrates have a backbone, central system, and an internal skeleton; invertebrates have none.((Meyer, Stephen C. et al. Explore Evolution: The Arguments for and against Neo-Darwinism. Malvern, Australia: Hill House, 2013. Print.))

Abiogenesis and transition from one species to another are the two necessary pillars to uphold Evolution and natural selection. Even if just one of those were to fail, then the whole theory would crumble due to the necessity of each. As important as those are, the good news is, they are also the weakest and easiest to refute.

Before we explore these two necessary pillars that hold up the evolutionary theory, I want to deal with a misconception perpetrated by many in the scientific community and those who are dismissive of a creator God.

In recent years there has been an effort to dismiss those who don’t believe in Evolution as low brow, uneducated, misinformed, unschooled, and ignorant. However, some studies have supported the notion that creationists are simply not as intelligent as those who believe in Evolution.

Sam Harris, who wrote The End of Faith, Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason, said this about religion to set the stage for anyone who believed in a Creator God. “Once we begin thinking seriously about happiness and suffering, we find that our religious traditions are no more reliable on questions of ethics than they have been on scientific questions generally.”((Harris, Sam. “The Science of Good and Evil.” The End of Faith, Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. W. W. Norton & Company. 2005))

He implies that creationists are unreliable on questions of ethics and morals; they should not be respected in science topics. Please give this a moment’s thought. If there is only one thing I want you to grasp in this post, it is this. Science is in the position to tell us why things are the way they are, but it never will be in the position to tell us the way things ‘ought’ to be.

Rafi Letzter, a journalist for Live Science, wrote a piece titled, ‘Here’s why so many smart people don’t believe in evolution.’ He addresses the research, (one study imparticular) that implies those who don’t believe in Evolution as being less intelligent than those that do. He wrote, “It strikes me as an attempt to marginalize and dismiss the perspectives of religious people for the benefit of Right-Thinking and Clever Academia. I suspect, personally, that a determined person could uncover any number of beliefs and attitudes held by academics that correlate with negative scores on tests of mental proficiency. All of which is to say: I think we should be skeptical of anyone who publishes a study explaining why people who disagree with them are less clever.”((Letzter, Rafi. “Here’s why so many smart people don’t believe in evolution.” Business Insider, businessinsider.com, 15 September 2016. http://www.businessinsider.com/christian-jewish-religious-evolution-2016-9))

Letzter addressed the specific test given by two psychologists, Will Gervais and Ara Nornzayan, in 2015. This test was just three questions that, off-hand to the casual observer, would seem to have an obvious answer. However, the intuitive answer was actually not the correct one. This test was called Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT). What Gervais and Nornzayan found was that those who scored higher on the CRT tended to believe in Darwinian Evolution than those who did not believe in Evolution. Conclusion? Smarter people believe in Evolution.

Out the gate, this is an excellent example of the ad hominem fallacy. Someone attacks your character rather than your argument. One example would be insulting someone because of their education level when they don’t agree with you on a particular issue. For example, “You didn’t even finish high school, so how could you understand anything about evolution?” Another example would be stating that someone’s argument is incorrect because of religious beliefs. “Christians don’t believe in evolution, and some probably still think the earth is flat, so it is a waste of time to even talk to them about evolution.”

If you read Letzter’s post, you will see some research that counters the claim that creationists are less intelligent than evolutionists, and you can find others out there. Upon further and deeper investigation, two other researchers (Kahan and Stanovich) found that secular students with high CRT scores and religious students with high CRT scores tended to stick to their cultural beliefs. This is an indicator that has nothing to do with intelligence.

Kahan and Stanovich concluded, “Far from uniformly inclining individuals to believe in Evolution, higher CRT scores magnified the division between relatively religious and relatively nonreligious study subjects. This result was inconsistent with the bounded rationality theory, which predicts that belief in Evolution should increase in tandem with CRT scores for all individuals, regardless of cultural identity. It was more consistent with the expressive rationality theory, under which individuals of opposing cultural identities can be expected to use all the cognitive resources at their disposal to form identity-congruent beliefs.”((Kahan, Dan M., Stanovich Keith. “Rationality and Belief in Human Evolution.” Social Science Research Network ssrn.com, 15 September 2016.))

In other words, intelligent people can also persuade themselves to accept or not accept an idea that might be counter to their own upbringing. They call it ‘expressive rationality.’ So those who are brought up believing science is the next best thing to sliced bread are predisposed to stick with that belief just as those in the intelligent design camp will stick with their own cultural identity.

Of course, if you understand the findings, you realize that it does nothing to further our position but simply points out that intelligent people on both sides of the aisle tend to stick to their conclusions. With that in mind, it can be said that many in the scientific community have issues with Evolution.

A few years back, there were over 500 scientists who signed a document that stated skepticism on random mutation and natural selection accounting for the complexity of life. Evolution News wrote, “The list of 514 signatories includes member scientists from the prestigious US and Russian National Academy of Sciences. Signers include 154 biologists, the largest single scientific discipline represented on the list, as well as 76 chemists and 63 physicists. Signers hold doctorates in biological sciences, physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, computer science, and related disciplines. Many are professors or researchers at major universities and research institutions such as MIT, The Smithsonian, Cambridge University, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, the Ohio State University, the University of Georgia, and the University of Washington.”((Crowther, Robert L. “Over 500 Scientists Proclaim Their Doubts About Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.” Evolution News evolutionnews.org, 20 February 2006. https://evolutionnews.org/2006/02/over_500_scientists_proclaim_t/))

Finally, Evolution News & Science Today reported on the Royal Society Meeting in London in November of 2016. Their focus was on new trends in evolutionary biology. Evolution News wrote, “First, remember that the Royal Society is arguably the world’s most august scientific body…[and] that such a thoroughly mainstream scientific organization should now, at last, acknowledge problems with the received neo-Darwinian theory of Evolution is also obviously notable.”((Evolution News. “Why the Royal Society Meeting Mattered, in a Nutshell.” Evolution News, evolutionnews.org, 5 December 2016. https://evolutionnews.org/2016/12/why_the_royal_s/)) In the article, they list three main bullets that are yet unsolved concerning the theory of Evolution. The last of the three mentioned were transitional forms, one of the pillars I mentioned above.

I am not a scientist, but I do my homework because I am concerned about what is being taught in our schools. I also do my homework because I am concerned about our youth in church and what they consume, often unknowingly from our media. Finally, I do my homework because I want to inform those around me about worldviews counter to Christianity and the consequences of embracing them.

Darwinian Evolution is not the ‘case closed’ many in the scientific community suggest, and it is not just dismissed by the country Cajuns found in the backwaters of Lousiana. That may sound racist, but so does the full title of Darwin’s book, “On the Origin of Species. Or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.”

Belief in Evolution has consequences. Suppose you believe we are just the result of natural selection over a period of millions or billions of years. In that case, there is no ‘ought.’ No one, not clergy, not science, not presidents or prime ministers, not a government, not the United Nations, not a single one of us can weigh in on the questions of right and wrong because it is simply about reproducing and human flourishing. Survival of the fittest.

Part II

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Why I AM Not an Evolutionist by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

A Story – An Apologetic Thanksgiving

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Matt was a young man was on his way home from college during the Thanksgiving break. He had been driving on a cold clear Fall day, his favorite weather of the year, when he decided to fill up on gas. He spotted an out of the way station that did not look too run down, as some of them do. As he pulled in, he noticed someone else who was heading in the opposite direction pull in off the highway . The two of them parked on opposite sides of the same island, facing opposite directions.

Matt got out, opened his wallet, swiped his card, and began to pump the gas. The concrete pad was swirling with colored leaves as the cold breeze found its way into his jacket, and tossed his long dark curls into his face. He was overdue for a haircut. As he zipped up, he glanced up, and saw another young man about his age get out of his car, and begin the same process Matt had finished moments before.

Finally, Matt caught his eye and smiled at him, “This is my favorite time of the year.”

The other young man, taller and with blonde hair, agreed and introduced himself as Chris. A polite conversation ensued, with both of the young men talking about school, and plans for the holiday. The conversation took a turn though, when Matt mentioned he was looking forward to church on Sunday. Chris looked at Mike and asked, “Why do you go to church?”
After a moment, Matt replied, “Well, to worship God.” He was suddenly uncomfortable and felt it was a lame response.

Matt was always uncomfortable talking to people about his faith. He remembered a time when his youth group had to go out and do some street evangelizing. It was one of the worst experiences of his life. They had handed out a few tracts and invited some strangers to church. Matt was just beginning to think, “This is not so bad” when his two of his friends started talking to someone who did not believe in God. Overconfident, Matt jumped in, handed him a tract, and invited him to church. Then the man started asking Matt questions. Very direct questions. Matt could not answer any of his questions, and his friends did not jump in to help. In fact, they took a small step back, leaving Matt to take the bull by the horns. Before they knew it, a few other people had gathered around them and this man was doing all the talking, while Matt just politely nodded, or said, “I don’t know” to the man’s questions. He felt very foolish.

Finally, their youth pastor came over and helped Matt disengage from the man. Even their youth pastor had a difficult time answering this man’s volley of questions. Matt later learned what this man did was coined ‘steam rolling’ – asking several questions before you have time to even address the first one. It can be very intimidating, and unless you are willing to firmly, but politely, interrupt someone, they will dominate the conversation.

Trying to recover, Matt quickly followed with, “I also enjoy hanging out with family and friends.”
Chris nodded but asked, “So do you go to church to worship God, or to hang out with family or friends?”
“Both really.”
Chris said, “I don’t see a need for God, and I can hang out with family and friends without having to go to church. Actually,” he added, “I don’t even believe in God. Evolution has proven he is not needed.”
Unsure how to respond, Matt asked, “How does evolution prove God is not real? Maybe God used evolution to create man.”
“That is called Theistic Evolution, and I personally don’t hold to that,” said a voice that came from the end of the line of gas pumps.
Both Matt and Chris turned, and standing there was an older gentlemen with a rag in his hand, wiping down the furthest gas pump on the island. Neither Matt or Chris heard him walk up. He was about as tall as Chris, slender with brown hair, graying on the sides, and brown eyes to match his long sleeve fall colored shirt. Matt would have guessed him to be in his late 50’s.
Chris did not miss a beat. “Why not? If it is something God would use, why not evolution?”
The man straightened up from wiping down a pump, he was about as tall as Chris, but not in any kind of formidable way; just tall and friendly looking.
He smiled and replied to Chris, “Well, you don’t even believe in God, so why even consider Theistic Evolution? Besides, evolution does not answer the question of abiogenesis, it only answers how life could have developed after it began, not how it began.”
The man walked over and put out his hand to Chris and said “My name is Mr. Keller, Anthony Keller. I own this little out of the way gas station. My friends call me Andy.”
Chris returned the handshake and was surprised how warm it was despite the cold.
“Hi Andy.” Matt said, reaching out his hand after Mr. Keller and Chris were done shaking hands. “What is abiogenesis?”
“Life from non-life,” Mr. Keller replied, but kept his attention on Chris.
Matt just nodded, but Mr. Keller could tell he was thinking about it.
Chris responded, “Mr. Keller, were you born and raised in a Christian home?”
Mr. Keller smiled, “Yes Chris, I was.”
Chris said, “I was too, then in high school and college I began to look at my parents’ beliefs, and decided on my own what was true.”
Mr. Keller nodded, still listening.
Chris continued, “So it is no surprise you believe in God. You believe in God because you were raised in a Christian home. If you were born in India, you would probably be a Hindu. If you were born in Egypt, you would probably be a Muslim. If you were born in one of the advanced Western European Countries, you would probably be an atheist.”
Mr. Keller cut in, “Does that make atheism true?”
Chris had his mouth open as if he was going to say something else, then he asked, “Does what make atheism true?”
“Being born in a Western European country. Does that make atheism true?”
Chris hesitated, “Well, no.”
Mr. Keller shifted his weight off his right leg and pulled some gloves from his back pocket and began to put them on, “Right, it would not make atheism true, any more than being born in India would make Hinduism true. Your example of being born in different countries, and having different beliefs accordingly, is called the genetic fallacy. What you believe, and what country or family you were raised in, is irrelevant to the truth of your belief. The truth of your belief is based on the evidence that supports it, not how you were raised, or the country you were born in.”
Chris nodded, “Ok, I see that, but what evidence do you have for God? You can’t prove there is a god to me.”
Mr. Keller replied, “You’re right Chris, I can’t prove God exists any more than you can prove He does not exist. But I would not base my disbelief of Him because of evolution.”
Chris shoved his hands in his jacket pockets, wishing he had some gloves. “Why not? Evolution proves we don’t need a god to answer the question of how we came to be.”
Mr. Keller draped his arms over the pump which was next to the young men. He was looking very comfortable. “That is what I was saying before. Evolution cannot answer life from non-life, or abiogenesis. It can only offer a possibility of how we developed, not how we got started. On top of that there is the genetic code. Coding or language requires intelligence; you can’t get language from non-intelligence. Plus there are a host of other considerations, like irreducible complexity, the appearance of design, first cause of the universe, and others.”
At that moment, both pumps snapped off at the same time.
Chris did not reply at first; he was obviously thinking about what Mr. Keller had said as he removed the nozzle from his car and replaced it on the pump.
When Chris looked up, Mr. Keller had his hand out again, glove off.
“Nice meeting you, Chris. I hope to see you again.”
They shook hands.
“Nice meeting you, Mr. Keller. I will stop by again and we can chat some more.”
“I would like that, and I will buy you lunch and some coffee next time around.”
At that, Chris smiled, “You can talk me into that!”
Chris turned and slid his long frame into his car and drove off.
Matt had returned the handle to the pump and was standing there looking at Mr. Keller.
Mr. Keller asked, “Can I buy you a cup of coffee?”
Matt hesitated for a moment, “Sure, but not lunch?”
“Nope. It is more important that Chris returns for a visit than you.”
Matt laughed, “Yeah, I see your point.” Then he asked, “Do you talk to people much about your faith?”
Turning to walk into his small office/store with Matt following, Mr. Keller replied, “Sometimes, sometimes not. Just depends on how the Spirit leads me.”
“Well, I don’t feel led very often.” Matt said shaking his head.
Mr. Keller held the door open and called out to someone inside, “Susan, we have a customer!”
Then turning to Matt he said, “No one likes to talk about something they know little about.” He motioned for Matt to go in. “Come in and meet my wife, and I have some books to show you. Most of them are on apologetics.”
Walking in, Matt asked, “Apologetics? What is that?”
Mr. Keller replied, “Something you know little about.”
The door closed behind him, shutting off the cold wind outside.

 

Inevitably, of course, not only those of us who do science, but all of us, have to choose the presupposition with which we start. There are not many options – essentially just two. Either human intelligence ultimately owes its origin to mindless matter; or there is a Creator. It is strange that some people claim that it is their intelligence that leads them to prefer the first to the second. – John C. Lennox

Science Camp and Hunter Killer Snails

Reading Time: 6 minutes

This past week I took my 6th, 7th and 8th graders to the Alliance Redwood Outdoor Education Camp. It was a new experience for most of my students; many had never been away from home, their parents, or attended any kind of science camp. Several had never spent any time on the beach, so on the last day we went to Bodega Bay  and enjoyed some tide pooling with our naturalist.

con3The students thoroughly enjoyed themselves and when we left, I had a couple of them tell me their favorite part was the tide pooling and spending time exploring and playing along the beach. We walked a mile or two and toward the end of our exploration, I noticed two people a ways off that seemed to be doing the same thing my students were. My class approached within 50 yards or so, and I was curious as to what they were doing. The woman was facing the sea, but did not enter the water. She was conversing with the older gentleman, who was intent on some rocks and seemed to be working on something.

I took a quick glance at my students, adult chaperones, and our naturalist to make sure all was in order. Everyone was chatting and tide pooling. I then walked over to the older couple to say hello. As I walked up, I was surprised to see he was actually drilling into the rocks and seemed to be placing some small orange markers on a rock covered with sea anemones. I stopped just a few feet away and was watching what he was doing. I asked the woman what he was doing. She was very friendly and had an Australian accent.

con2 She explained that her friend David was marking the outer edges of the sea anemone’s colonies. I asked why, and she shared that they both work at a university in Australia, outside of Sydney. I don’t recall the name of the University, but she said they travel to other university’s and coordinate working with other scientists also studying sea anemones. Currently, David was on sabbatical and they were working with U.C. Davis. I introduced myself and shook her hand. I believe she said her name was Jean.

 

con1She told me that David has studied sea anemones for over 30 years, researching their habitats and behaviors on coastal areas all over the world – North America, South America, Japan, and of course Australia. She was very friendly and shared a bit more than I wanted to know, but I listened patiently, waiting for a moment to ask a question. Finally, she paused and I jumped in with a question that I thought she might be able to answer. I asked her, “After studying sea anemones for over 30 years, I have to ask if you have found any evidence on how life could have begun?” She smiled pleasantly, looking up, thinking, she was considering her response. I continued with, “I mean abiogenesis, life from non-life. After so many years of study, have you found any explanation for that?” She glanced at me again and seemed to be slightly embarrassed, still smiling. She said, “That would be a question for David. He is also a geneticist.”

A geneticist is a biologist who studies genetics. What is genetics? It is the study of heredity and genes. Genes, among other things, can explain why you are terrible at math, but excel at language arts, assuming it is not the teacher’s fault. 😉 Geneticists study microbiology, cell biology, chemistry, and have a solid understanding of how we inherit certain traits from our parents. Why our hair is straight, why our eyes are blue, why some are tall and others short, and why some, like me, don’t like chocolate, but prefer vanilla. As a boy, all my siblings would receive a chocolate Easter Bunny to enjoy, but mine was always white chocolate and I was amazed from an early age, how the Easter Bunny knew that I disliked chocolate.

She called out to David, “David, this gentlemen has a question for you!” He nodded, but kept working for a few moments. It was obvious he was trying to complete the task of marking the rocks. She explained to me while we waited that he was actually marking the sea anemones’ colonies. By marking the colonies, they are able to track their movement, which is slow, slower than a snail. In fact, some snails are predators for the sea anemones. I found that amusing and she could tell. She went on explaining that the sea anemones who were in the front of the colony were actually scouts, and those behind the scouts were warriors. The terms scouts and warriors perked me up, (I know, a typical male response), and I asked why they were named that. She said that as the colony moved, only 15 to 25 millimeters a month, (that is about an inch for the rest of us), the scouts determined if the new territory was worth their efforts. If any scouts were threatened by some snails, (I preferred the term Hunter Killer Snails, but kept that thought to myself), the warrior sea anemones actually threw out longer tentacles and attacked.

About the time I had visions of the under water Alamo, with a colony of sea anemones surrounded by General Santa Ana and his hunter killer snails, David finished his task. He walked up and was changing the bit on his drill when I said to him, “I understand you have been studying sea anemones for over 30 years.” He smiled and said, “Yes.” I continued, “Have you come across anything in your research that would explain abiogenesis? Have you seen any kind of observable evidence that would explain how life could have begun?” David replied, but I followed very little of what he said. He mentioned genes, divisions, population genetics, mutations,  and explained how some sea anemone divide. clone He mentioned chemistry, biology, bacteria, fungi, and other organisms. He mentioned many things, but did not mention how abiogenesis could have taken place. I was going to ask again, pressing in with the question, but a student ran up to me asking me to look at what she found. I could tell my students were gathering around the naturalist for a chat and it was something I should be involved in. I thanked David and Jean for their time and said that I enjoyed the conversation.

When you talk to someone about evolution, it is important to define what exactly they mean by the term evolution. Evolution in its most basic sense means change over time. All we need to do is look around and we can see how things change over time. The second common definition of evolution is microevolution, or adaptation. Darwin’s famous finches are an example of microevolution. The common house sparrow that came to America in the mid 1800’s is another, with the larger bodied sparrow found in the colder climate in North America and the smaller in the South. We have thousands of examples of microevolution, which are commonly used as examples of macroevolution. The last definition, macroevolution, takes place over hundreds of millions of years. Molecules to man. So the question I was asking does not have to do with the process of evolution per se, but specifically how it could have begun.

How does the Darwinian evolutionist, the macro-evolutionist, explain the beginnings of life? How can you possibly get life from non-life?

When we gathered around our naturalist, she had the students share what they had discovered and found in the last hour or so. When they finished, she asked me what I learned from my conversation with the couple. I shared what they were doing, and then my question about evidence for abiogenesis in 30 plus years of studying sea anemones, and his lack of an answer.

Greg Koukl call it, “Putting a stone in their shoe.” Others may say, “I like to give them something to think about.” No matter what we call it, asking the question of abiogenesis to even the most dedicated and educated university evolutionary professors will result in a reply that should be listened to very carefully.

Evolution vs Creation

Reading Time: 11 minutes

My reasons for having doubts about Darwinian Evolution that I outline below are scientific, not theological. So if you accept Darwinian Evolution as fact, consider some of the empirical evidence I mention, because without evidence of macroevolution and proving how abiogenesis occurred, then evolution has nothing to stand on.

Kenneth Samples carefully researched tough questions for Christians in his book, Without a Doubt. In the final chapter he wrote, “Christianity claims to have answers to life’s ultimate questions. When people ask honest questions about the truth of the faith, those inquiries must be taken seriously. They deserve thought and attention. By answering questions about their faith, Christians engage in two important tasks. They actively participate in apologetic evangelism (a divine imperative: 1Peter 3:15). They also seize an opportunity to grow in greater understanding of their own belief’s.” 1

I do have biblical reasons for not accepting Darwinian evolution, but I am finding that in the realm of apologetics, once the Bible is mentioned, skeptics and atheists tune out. If you deal with scientific facts and evidence, they are willing to listen. In fact, if you do your home work, you will find many evolutionists will admit there are some serious obstacles in making Darwinian Evolution a closed case.

Since science and philosophy support the Christian world view, I have become more comfortable doing the research, and investigating issues like evolution, creation, astronomy, world views, historicity of Jesus, ethics and morality, various social issues, and facts behind theistic views Christians hold. So if you are a skeptic, an atheist, or a Christian with doubts about how we came to be and the truth of evolution, read on.

Let’s take a moment and define the term evolution, because it is often equivocal, (having more than one interpretation). To avoid any misunderstanding when people use the word evolution, it is important to ask them what do they mean, exactly, by the term evolution. Evolution has three basic meanings I want to explain. My Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, which could crush a small elephant, defines evolution as:
1. The act of unfolding or unrolling; a process of development, formation, or growth.
2. A thing or series of things unrolled, unfolded, or evolved; as, the evolution of ages. 2

If you were to visit dictionary.reference.com you will find:
1. Any process of formation or growth; development: The evolution of a language; the evolution of the airplane.

I think it would be safe to say a simple, yet accurate and common, definition of evolution would be ‘change over time’. Things change over time, and we are surrounded by the evidence for it. For those of you who came to this blog via Facebook, prior to February 2004 the Internet did not have Facebook. Prior to February 2004, I had not reached the half-century mark. Prior to February 2004, my mother was still alive. Prior to February 2004, none of my former 8th grade students had any children, and finally, prior to February 2004, I had significantly less gray hair in my beard. Things change over time, and evolution defined in simplest terms is ‘change over time’. I have no problem with this definition of evolution, nor do I know of any Christians who are uncomfortable with evolution defined as change over time.

A second definition of evolution, which is also commonly misunderstood and misused, is microevolution. Micro, (small), evolution, (change over time), simply means small changes over time. A more technical definition would be natural selection, change in gene frequency, or gene flow. 3 As a Christian, I am also comfortable with microevolution.

sparrowmap_numberedOne example of microevolution is the house sparrow which came to America in 1852. As this species spread north, it became larger bodied to aid its survival due to the colder weather. Larger bodied birds have a higher chance of survival in colder weather than do smaller bodied birds. Other examples of microevolution would be: Mosquitoes evolving resistance to DDT, bacteria strains evolving resistance to penicillin, and HIV strains evolving resistance to antiviral medicines. The famous Galapagos Finches are examples of microevolution, not macroevolution, (large changes over time). Our children’s school books and college text books are full of examples of microevolution, but they are placed in the light of macroevolution.

An important point to remember concerning microevolution is that the changes observed within a species are really just a change in the number of times a particular trait displays itself in a population. Bear with me here as I explain this. Take Darwin’s Finches for example. In 1977, there was a drought on the Galapagos islands and in this time biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant noted some changes in the size of the beaks within the population. No one doubts the bigger beaked finches adapted better to the drought by breaking open the harder seed pods, but critics point out the larger beak size was already a trait within the population of finches. Nothing new evolved, only changes in the percent of a certain trait that already existed within a population were observed. After the heavy rains of 1983, the variation in beak size then returned to normal, suggesting limits to the creative power of microevolution. 4

Finally, the third definition of evolution is macroevolution and this is the definition most Christians are uncomfortable with, and I have serious doubts about. Online dictionary reference defines macroevolution as major evolutionary transitions from one type of organism to another. Or, evolutionary changes over a very long period of time from one species to another species. This type of evolution has never been observed, and relies on far reaching assumptions from microevolution observations and ‘evidence’ within the fossil record.

Before I go any further, it’s important to point out that an old earth view is a necessary condition for evolution. Many young earth creationists are quite uncomfortable with an old earth view because of evolution, but believing in an old earth as I do, does not make me an evolutionist. I have met many Christians that are surprised that ‘a Christian’ can hold an old earth view and not believe in evolution, or at least feel like they are sleeping with the enemy when they hold an old earth view. Norman Geisler pointed out, “…we do want to point out that while the age of the universe is certainly an interesting theological question, the more important point is not when the universe was created, but that it was created.” 5

So we don’t have any observable evidence of macroevolution, only microevolution. Norman Geisler and Frank Turek put it this way when the evidence for macroevolution is weighed: “Darwinists are masters at defining the term “evolution” broadly enough so that the evidence in one situation might be counted as evidence in another. Unfortunately for them, the public is beginning to catch on to this tactic, thanks largely to the popular works of Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson. Johnson first exposed this Darwinistic sleight of hand with his ground breaking book Darwin on Trial.” 6 

If you are over the age of 40, it is quite probable your science books in Jr. high or high school had examples of evolution using Darwin’s Finches, the Peppered Moths, Haeckel’s Embryos, (something I have already covered), and the 1957 Miller experiment, which supposedly created life from non-life. In fact, I have seen these examples as evidence for Darwinian evolution in science text books within the last 10 years, and all of them have serious flaws and when carefully considered do little to support Darwinian evolution. I will address the Miller experiment in a moment, but I wanted to cover the Peppered Moths first.

This experiment took place in the 1950’s in Britain by Bernard Kettlewell, and was promoted as proof of Darwinian evolution. This experiment flooded science text books in the U.S. and Great Britain for 40 years, despite the fact that it was flawed, and even fabricated to a large degree. Some of you may remember the outline.

mothsSince the Industrial Revolution in Britain, the amount of smoke and soot pollution greatly increased, changing the color of what was once normally light colored bark on trees, to a much darker color. The Peppered Moth was commonly much lighter in color and was able to avoid detection from the local bird populations by resting on the light colored bark. What took place was the common lighter colored moths stood out against the now darkened bark and their population suffered. 7

There were to significant problems with this particular experiment. The Peppered Moths fly at night and they were released during the day. This would have seriously altered their normal reactions and flight patterns. They also usually rest high up in the tree canopy, not on trunks. The experimenters not only placed them on the trunks, but some were actually glued to the tree trunks. And once again, the change in the population just shows fluctuation within a population, no new variety or species emerged.8

“School children need to learn that the Peppered Moth story provides evidence for changes of frequencies of different types within a population, but does not show that large scale evolution can occur. They should also understand that the original experiments behind the peppered moth story have widely acknowledged flaws…” 9

The other questionable research commonly given was the Miller-Urey experiment, which was touted as proof life could be created from non-life, and like Darwin’s Finches, and the Peppered Moths, the Miller experiment found its way into thousands of public school science books.

In 1953, Stanley Miller created a mix of chemicals that were to represent our earth’s early atmosphere in the laboratory. Miller then sent pulses of electrical current through the chemical mixtures for several days to represent possible lighting strikes. A thick tar coated the flasks and within this tar Miller found some amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. In turn, proteins are necessary for life. 10 Chemists today reject this experiment because the mixture he used that was to represent our earth’s atmosphere, (methane and ammonia), was extremely inaccurate. 11

Even if the artificial atmosphere conditions Miller created in the lab were accurate, the problem of amino acids forming to create a protein was even more problematic. For amino acids to form a protein chain, they must lose a molecule of water, and with water being so abundant on earth you have another hill to overcome. On top of that, amino acids dissolve in water, and water is one of the necessary ingredients for an accurate representation of an early earth’s atmosphere. 12 Echo’s of the movie Catch 22 come to mind.

Some may say the Miller experiment is over 60 years old, only old text books reference it any more, and no one considers it valid any more. That is rubbish, and with just a couple minutes on the Internet you will land several current references to the Miller-Urey experiment without any mention of the flaws. In 2009, Universe Today had an brief article on abiogenesis where the Miller experiment was mentioned, but without any mention of its failed accuracy. 13

So we have defined the three common definition’s of evolution, looked at Darwin’s Finches, Haeckel’s Embroys in a previous post, the Peppered Moth, and the Miller experiment. Now let’s look at one necessary requirement for Darwinian evolution to be true, abiogenesis. The development of living organisms from nonliving matter. The molecules to man theory, or life from non-life.

Some evolutionists will say abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution are two separate topics and are unrelated, but just a moment’s consideration, and anyone will realize that without life from non-life you can’t have the process of evolution. For evolution to take place, you must start with life, and if you can’t explain the beginning of life, how can you explain the development of life. Let me give you an example.

howdidthishappenLet’s pretend there was a world called Cardosa in which men and women did not know how women became pregnant, but there is a reigning pregnancy theory called Pregolution. In this pretend world, the Pregolution theory describes the different stages of fetal development, the phases in each trimester, the biological changes a women can expect, possible complications, and finally birth; but the theory does not explain how the pregnancy started, or the initial cause of pregnancy. What woman would be satisfied with a theory like that? What man would say, “Listen, the fact that you’re pregnant has nothing to do with how you got pregnant. Those are separate issues!”?  Women everywhere would start asking, “How did this happen?”

Some women may have heard of the different theories on how they became pregnant. One had to do with a ‘primordial soup’, and the chemistry happened to be just right, and she just happened to become pregnant. For most women, this just does not sit well. She is thinking there must be more to it than that. How could you possibly get life from non-life? Intuitively, she is thinking someone else must be involved in this process.

Another theory that many laughed at, but some give it consideration is called Panspermia, (this is not made up), and has to do with aliens from another planet. She has seen those kinds of movies, but that is just too far fetched. Even if it were true, how would Pregolution explain where the aliens came from? It just pushed back the problem of how life began. She has read the volumes of material on pregnancy, but none of them address how she became pregnant. How did this life inside her begin?

As silly as this sounds, it dovetails rather nicely with the problem Darwinian evolution has. Yes, Darwin never addressed how life began, nor does macroevolution attempt to answer that question, but the question remains, sticking out like a sore thumb, or the belly of an 8 month pregnant woman on the planet Cardosa.

Darwinian Evolution has many unanswered questions, and a large number of people just accept the theory without really exploring its imperfections. As a boy growing up and raised in a Christian household, I was troubled by the supposed evidence for Darwinian evolution, but never took the time to really investigate the claims. I experienced doubt about my faith, but much like a child who would continue to believe in the infallibility of his parents, my faith remained steadfast. Now as I research various claims, the amount of evidence that supports the Christian world view is substantial, but absolutely disregarded by popular culture, and our current media.

Finally anyone reading this blog post may want to watch Evolution VS. God, on YouTube, or you may want to visit their website. http://www.evolutionvsgod.com/ and watch it there. The film is only 38 minutes long, but well worth the time. Wyatt, if you read this, send me an e-mail, and I give you a copy for free. 🙂 I have some I have shared friends and family.

 

The complexity of the simplest known type of cell is so great that it is impossible to accept that such an object could have been thrown together suddenly by some kind of freakish, vastly improbable, event. Such an occurrence would be indistinguishable from a miracle. – Michael Denton

Many investigators feel uneasy stating in public that the origin of life is a mystery, even though behind closed doors they admit they are baffled. – Paul Davies

There is no quicker way for a scientist to bring discredit upon himself and on his profession than roundly to declare, (particularly when no declaration of any kind is called for), that science knows or soon will know the answer to all questions worth asking… – Nobel Laureate P.B. Medawar -Advice to a Young Scientist.

Psalm 139:15-16
You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning god created the heavens and the earth.

 

Sources:
1. Samples, Kenneth R. Without a Doubt. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004, Print.
2. Dorset & Barber. “Evolution.” The act of unfolding or unrolling; a process of development, formation, or growth. Def.1. Second Edition, 1983. Print.
3. Caldwell, Roy. “Examples of Microevolution.” University of California Museum of Paleontology. Evolution.berkeley.edu, Web. 15 Jan. 2014
4. Meyer, Stephen, C. Explore Evolution. Melbourne & London: Hill House Publishers, 2007, Print.
5. Geisler, Norman. Turek, Frank. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Wheaton: Crossway 2004, Print.
6. Ibid.
7. Majerus, M. “The Peppered Moth.” Truth in Science. Truthinscience.org, 2004. Web. 13 Jan. 2014
8. Meyer, Stephen, C. Explore Evolution. Melbourne & London: Hill House Publishers, 2007, Print.
9. Majerus, M. “The Peppered Moth.” Truth in Science. Truthinscience.org, 2004. Web. 13 Jan. 2014
10. Behe, Michael J. Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press: New York, 2006. Print.
11. House, Wayne H. Intelligent Design 101. Grand Rapids: Kregl Publications, 2008, Print.
12. Ibid.
13. Tate, Jean. “Abiogenesis.” Universe Today. Universetoday.com, 22 Sept. 2009. Web. 16 Jan. 2014

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