Why I Am Not an Evolutionist – Part III

Why I Am Not an Evolutionist – Part III

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Part I   Part II

I addressed the first pillar necessary for Darwinian evolution, abiogenesis in Part II. Here in Part III, we will look at the second pillar essential for Macro-evolution, the fossil record. In the last hundred years since Darwin published ‘On the Origin of Species,’ paleontologists (people who study fossils) have universally discovered that new animal forms in the fossil record appear abruptly, not gradually as Darwin predicted. Not only are the appearances abrupt, but with little connection to the life that came before.

Because this appearance is so sudden, paleontologists refer to the appearance of more than half of the major animal groups some 530 million years ago as the Cambrian explosion.((Valentine, James W. On the Origin of PhylaChicago, University of Chicago Press, 2004, pg 35)) To put this in perspective, if our planet’s history or timeline was stretched to the length of a football field, the Cambrian explosion would use up about 4 inches.

Turtles are a fine example of a group of animals that appear suddenly in the fossil record. Some 200 million years ago, they entered the stage fully developed and did not have any intermediate forms. Their top shell, called the carapace, is made up of about 50 bones covered with scutes (plates of armor) that have a layer of keratin (like our fingernails) that help protect the shell.((Meyer, Stephen C. “Fossil Succession.” Explore Evolution, Melbourne & London, Hillhouse Publishers, 2007, p 24))

How can evolution explain this? Evolutionary biologist Scott Gilbert wrote, “The turtle shell represents a classic evolutionary problem: the appearance of a major structural adaptation…[evolution] needs to explain the rapid origin of the turtle carapace.”((Meyer, Stephen C. “Fossil Succession.” Explore Evolution, Melbourne & London, Hillhouse Publishers, 2007, p 24))

On the flip side, we have examples of organisms that have remained unchanged for hundreds of millions of years. If you compare fossils of the Ginko leaf to modern Ginko leaves you will see they are unchanged in 130 million years.

Image by wal_172619 from Pixabay

You can also research fossilized nautilus shells and see they are also unchanged in over 400 million years of evolutionary opportunity. Finally, you can find fossilized comb jelly (similar to jellyfish) from the Cambrian period, identical in form to the modern comb jelly. Paleontologists have a name for this kind of stability in the fossil record, ‘stasis.

These examples certainly challenge the evolutionary picture that is widely accepted and promoted in our culture. David Raup, who was a paleontologist at the University of Chicago wrote, “What geologists of Darwin’s time and geologists of the present-day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record; that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record.”((Raup, David M. “Conflicts between Darwin and paleontology,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin 50, 1979 pgs 22-29.))

Few paleontologists will admit the fossil record does not show the transitional forms predicted by Darwinian evolution. Why is that? Many in the field of science have a philosophical bias against a creator. Facts and evidence are irrelevant because they don’t want to be answerable to anyone or anything.

Richard Lewontin, an evolutionary geneticist, and a Marxist wrote, “It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”((Lewontin, Richard. “Billions and billions of demons,” The New York Review of Books, 9 January 1997, p31)) Uncommon clarity and transparency coming from a Darwinian evolutionary believer. 

Former atheist Lee Strobel shared the same bias as Lewontin and wrote, “I was more than happy to latch onto Darwinism as an excuse to jettison the idea of God so I could unabashedly pursue my own agenda in life without moral constraints.”((Strobel, Lee. “Since Miracles Contradict Science, They Cannot Be True.” Case for Faith, Zondervan, 2000, pg91.))

I have addressed the Miller experiment in previous posts, but one of the most well-known and popular ‘missing links’ is Archaeopteryx (meaning ancient wing). This specimen was first found a year after Darwin published The Origin of Species, and within a few years, a total of 8 specimens were found in the Solnhofen limestone quarry in Germany.

According to Kenneth Mason and Jonathan Losos, “Undoubtedly the most famous of these is the oldest known bird, Archaeopteryx, which lived around 165 million years ago. This species is clearly intermediate between birds and dinosaurs. Its feathers, similar in many respects to those of birds today, clearly reveal that it is a bird. Nonetheless, in many other respects – for example, possession of teeth, a bony tail, and other anatomical characteristics – it is indistinguishable from carnivorous dinosaurs.”((Losos, Jonathan B., and Susan R. Singer. “21 The Evidence for Evolution.” Biology, by Kenneth A. Mason, 11th ed., McGraw Hill, 2017, pp. 428–429.)) You don’t hear how much the role of Archaeopteryx is in dispute, that is if it is actually a link between reptiles and birds. The evolution of birds from non-flying reptiles is not a simple matter.

Just how this could have happened falls into two camps, the trees down theory and the ground-up theory. The tree’s down theory seems to make more sense because we can envision animals already in the trees over millions of years having small variations and adaptations that would allow them to stay in the air longer. While the ground up theory would mean birds evolved from an animal that ran on the ground and used their hind legs for running and their forelimbs for catching prey, and those forelimbs evolved into wings.((Wells, Jonathan. “Archaeopteryx: The Missing Link.” Icons of Evolution, Regnery Publishing, Inc. 2000, pgs 116-117))

The role of Archaeopteryx causes a division between evolutionists and paleontologists. Until recent years, Darwinists classified and grouped organisms by sharing a common ancestor’s. Then in the 1950s, a second camp began and relied entirely on homology (having the same or similar relation, relative position, or structure). This new perspective is called ‘cladistics’ and simply assumes common descent or a common ancestor without evidence.

Jonathan Wells wrote concerning cladistics, “The order in which animals appear in the fossil record also becomes secondary or irrelevant. If evolutionary relationships are inferred solely on the basis of character comparisons, an animal can be the descendant of another even if the supposed ancestry doesn’t appear until millions of years later. The fossil record is simply re-arranged to fit the results of cladistic analysis.”((Wells, Jonathan. “Archaeopteryx: The Missing Link.” Icons of Evolution, Regnery Publishing, Inc. 2000, pg 119)) All other lines of evidence or considerations take a back seat. Problems in the ground-up theory, such as having animals older in the fossil record than their ancestors, is dismissed and assume the dating of the fossil records are in error.

Is Archaeopteryx a missing link or not? According to cladistics, it was a two-legged dinosaur with feathers. However, many textbooks still claim that it is the missing link but fail to point out the in-house argument as to its origins and, if anything, modern birds, for example, did evolve from it.

Cladistics does not even try to explain the Cambrian explosion. It is simply a tool to classify organisms. Stephen Myer wrote in Darwin’s Doubt, “Cladistics does not, and cannot, offer any explanation of what caused the Cambrian animals to come into existence. Nor can it account for the origin of genetic and epigenetic information necessary to produce them.”((Meyer, Stephen C.”Epilogue: Responses to Critics of the First Edition.” Darwin’s Doubt, Harper One, 2013, pgs 436-437))

In the spring of 2000, Chinese paleontologist J.Y. Chen gave a lecture at the University of Washington. Chen discovered some Cambrian-era fossils in southern China, and after TIME magazine ran a story on the Cambrian explosion and mentioned Chen’s findings, he became a notable expert in the field.

His findings displayed an even greater variety of body plans than many paleontologists expected. The Chinese fossils supported the contradiction that life seemed to appear suddenly and spontaneously without gradations, not what Darwinists would have everyone believe. During the lecture, one professor questioned Chen about his criticism of Darwinian evolution, as if reminding him to be careful. Stephen Meyer, who was at the lecture, wrote, “As a result, one professor in the audience asked Chen, almost as if in warning, if he wasn’t nervous about expressing his doubts about Darwinism so freely – especially given China’s reputation for suppressing dissenting opinion. I remember Chen’s wry smile as he answered. ‘In China,’ he said, ‘we can criticize Darwin, but not the government. In America, you can criticize the government, but not Darwin.'”((Meyer, Stephen C.”Soft Bodies and Hard Facts.” Darwin’s Doubt, Harper One, 2013, pgs 50-52.))

Why are the conclusions of creationists immediately dismissed as biased but not atheists? Indeed, atheists have a worldview they want to protect, and like that of a creationist, they are anything but neutral; it is a double-edged razor. Both have worldviews and beliefs that may sway their findings, but having opinions consistent with the Bible does not mean it is based on the Bible.

The truth of any view is not based on the worldview of a particular person but based on the quality of evidence. There is no evidence for abiogenesis, only speculation that would make the most addicted of gamblers hesitate to place a bet. As for the fossil record, it is very much in question, even among Darwinists themselves and far from the slam dunk many evolutionists would have us believe.

For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries. ― Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers

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

Why I Am Not an Evolutionist – Part III

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. []
Does Science Ever Point to God?

Does Science Ever Point to God?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Radio Frequency IDentification, (RFID) tech has been around for years and has many advantages over commonly used UPC (Bar Codes) we see on just about everything we purchase at the store. RFID uses a microchip with an antenna and can identify objects, or people for that matter, without having to be line-of-sight. In addition, the chips can store more data than a barcode and send a signal from several feet away.

One day RFID tech will replace barcodes, but not until the price drops, and the price will not drop until more companies begin using RFID. A catch 22, if there ever was one. Or which will come first, the chicken or the egg? What would it take to solve this dilemma? Simultaneous implementation and cooperation. Everyone would have to agree and start using the tech simultaneously and have an industrial and economic system ready to embrace the change. So there must be coordination, communication, planning, timing, and implementation for this to happen. The intelligence behind the process is essential. We also see this in biochemical systems concerning DNA and proteins.

One of my former students who reads my blog sent me a message asking me if I have any posts on science and God. I pointed out a few to him, most recently the three-part series on why ‘I Don’t Believe In Evolution’.

http://www.knowingforsure.com/2018/04/11/why-i-dont-believe-in-evolution-part-i/ Not two weeks later, I took my daughter and a couple of her friends to an Apologetic conference in Rockland. One of the speakers was Professor Douglas Axe, who wrote “Undeniable – How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed.” Then, after some reflection, I decided to write another post on science and God.

The big question Axe has is to what we owe our existence? Are we simply a product of material evolution, and those who believe in God have an overactive imagination or rather a blind faith in the hopes of a better afterlife? Is our faith simply a crutch that rests on centuries of theologians’ evolutionary desires to explain what we don’t understand?

Many researchers have concluded our belief as Christians or theists is a by-product of evolution. If that is the case, we can’t expect this belief to depart from the human psyche any time soon. Justin Barrett, a professor at Fuller University, says, “It’s the way that human minds seem to develop naturally.”((Zukerman, Wendy. “The evolutionary psychology of believing in God.” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC.net, June 10, 2014, https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/the-evolutionary-psychology-of-believing-in-god/5512982)) Barrett believes, “The concept of God begins to emerge when children start searching for reasons to explain the world around them.”((Zukerman, Wendy. “The evolutionary psychology of believing in God.” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC.net, June 10, 2014, https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/the-evolutionary-psychology-of-believing-in-god/5512982))

Professor Robert Geraci also believes that evolution is responsible for our belief in something beyond the material. He teaches at Manhatten College in New York and explains we need an agency or a cause for everything. Intuitively, we all know this. The oak tree was caused by the seed of a previous oak tree, and that oak tree was caused by the seed of another, ad infinitum, but when we encounter things that don’t seem to have a cause or is beyond our understanding, then we inject a diety. In other words, everything should have a cause, and if we don’t see a cause, we make one up.

Geraci says, “Once humans became accustomed to seeing agency, [an action or intervention that produces an effect] around their world, it became an easy intellectual sidestep to say that something was causing events with no clear explanation, such as thunderstorms or sickness. In this way, believing in God may be kind of an accident of our evolutionary heritage.”1

If this is true and our belief is embedded in our evolutionary process, it should come as no surprise that breaking the chains of bondage from this line of thinking will be difficult. Barrett says, “If our belief in the divine is part of our evolution as a species, it explains why it is very difficult to shake.” According to Barrett, “It takes discipline, formal education, and cultural resources to ‘completely divorce oneself’ from these religious inclinations. It is difficult to consistently be a good atheist because our mind seems to be working against us.”1

Is our intuition in seeing design in the biological realm really an aberration of the truth? Has life risen from chance, and we are nothing more than moist robots, as Frank Turek calls it? Francis Crick, one of the co-founders of the DNA structure wrote, “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”2 I would ask, why assume our minds are working against us? What if our minds are working for us? Why do atheists conclude our minds are working against us? It is obvious some have a priori about human biology. I think most of us would agree that our intuition would better serve our survival if it is in line with truth and reality; to me, that is common sense.

Thankfully not all materialists believe that evolution is tricking us into believing in things that are not true. They admit how comfortable they are with a Godless worldview and even desire it to be true so they can live as they please without a God looking over their shoulder. They admit their own bias for a god-less worldview and openly admit they don’t want to answer to anyone for their decisions in this life.

Thomas Nagel, a professor at the New York University, wrote, “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is not God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about life, including everything about the human mind.”3 

That kind of open honesty about oneself and the scientific community at large is rare, and it is a left hook to the conclusions of Geraci and Barrett who blame evolution for our beliefs in God.

Let’s face it, if the evolutionary process is valid, the truth is irrelevant; all that matters is survival of the fittest and natural selection. Yet being a Christian missionary is contrary to natural selection. Selling all you have, traveling to a foreign country, encountering all kinds of dangers, and probably sacrificing your health, well-being, and possibly your life to share the Gospel does not lend itself to passing your genes into the next generation. So maybe in a few millennia, those pesky religious zealots will be weeded out.

In his book, Douglas Axe addresses the bias of many in the scientific community and has experienced it first hand as his research points to Intelligent Design. The focus of his research revolves around the proteins in our body. He points out what every biologist knows, that the proteins make up the cellular activity in our bodies. He likens them to the various parts of a car, and the vehicle is the cell. Without the components (carburetor, breaks, radiator, pistons, tires, etc.), the car would not function. The pieces would just lay on the roadway, inactive and non-functioning.

Each protein is made up of a strand or chain of amino acids, and these chains, when in the correct sequence fold up and create a three-dimensional structure. The genetic code and genes tell the amino acids how to connect and fold. In turn, DNA needs proteins to replicate, but proteins need DNA instructions to know what to form. So which came first, the chicken or the egg?

But the problem goes much deeper than that. Whether proteins or DNA came first is just one of several million-dollar questions, but we also need to know how DNA became a carrier of information to build proteins. DNA and proteins depend on each other for their existence, and researchers know it must be solved, or Darwin’s evolutionary theory is dead in the water.

Stephen Meyer, the author of Signature in the Cell, wrote, “At some point, DNA must have arisen as a carrier of the information for building proteins and then come into association with functional proteins. One way or another, the origin of genetic information still needed to be explained.”4 In other words, we can concede for a moment that functional proteins came about by an evolutionary process, (I don’t believe that) but who came up with the blueprint of instructions to assemble them? We can ask who made the various car parts on the street, (yes it would be nice to know), but we can also ask who wrote the directions on the assembly?

As far as Darwin’s theory of natural selection, we have to ask when did natural selection take place in the process? Obviously, we have to have an initial functioning cell arranged so that it survives. Natural selection does not explain the arrangement or assembly but rather after it has been living.

Jim Tour, a brilliant chemistry professor who has been listed as one of the top ten chemists globally and one of the top 50 most influential scientists in the world today, has some thoughts on natural selection. “If one asks the molecularly uninformed how nature devises reaction with such high purity, the answer is often, ‘Nature selects for that.’ But what does that mean to a synthetic chemist? What does selection mean? To select, it must still rid itself of all the material that it did not select. And from where did all the needed starting material come? And how does it know what to select when the utility is not assessed until many steps later? The details are stupefying, and the petty comments demonstrate that sophomoric understanding of the untrained.”5

We can conclude that RDIF technology came about by random, unguided natural processes over a period of millions of years. We can say the tiny, various microchip components came together and began to function despite what our intuition tells us. We can see that it has significant advantages over the commonly used barcodes, including more information. We understand that it would be a superior method to process data and move merchandise. We can concede it was random processes over eons of time that created this technology, but the question remains who wrote the directions for the arrangement?

“No matter what form the message takes the information being conveyed always originates in a mind. Information can’t be separated from the activity of an intelligent agent. And this connection makes this property a potent marker for intelligent design.”6 Atheists or theists all know that the process that controls our body, starting at the molecular level, contains massive amounts of information. There is no known example of information arising from arbitrary input.

Sources:

  1. Zukerman, Wendy. “The evolutionary psychology of believing in God.” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC.net, June 10, 2014, https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/the-evolutionary-psychology-of-believing-in-god/5512982 [] []
  2. Crick, Francis. “Conclusions”, What Mad Pursuit, New York, Basic Books, 1988, pg 138 []
  3. Nagel, Thomas. “Logic”, The Last Word, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997, 130-131 []
  4. Meyer, Stephen C. “Self-Organization and Biochemical Predestination.” Signature In The Cell, Harper One, 2009, pg 235 []
  5. Axe, Douglas. “Seeing And Believing.” Undeniable – How Biology Confirms Our intuition That Life Is Designed, Harper One, 2016, pg 195 []
  6. Rana, Fazale. “The Artist’s Handwriting.” The Cell’s Design-How Chemistry Reveals The Creator’s Artistry, Baker Books, 2008, pg142 []

Why There Is No God

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I read a book this week titled Why There Is No God, by Armin Navabi, a former Muslim turned atheist.

Navabi explores 20 common arguments for the existence of God and offers counter evidences for each. He writes in his introduction, “As a believer, you may find that you disagree with much of what is said here, and that’s okay. Reading this book will allow you to see what many atheists believe and how some people may question the beliefs that you hold. If you plan to defend your faith in discussions, this book can help you understand the reasoning behind the lack of belief in your opponents. Knowing this will help you debate from a more informed position, and the atheists you talk to may appreciate that fact that you’ve taken time to understand and consider their arguments.”1

Navabi is correct. Too many Christians for too long, (myself included), did not and do not have answers to some of the tough questions atheists can ask. Many of the questions an atheist may ask Christians have never heard of before, especially those who are new to the faith, or have never been exposed to any apologetic material.

Imagine playing a game of chess and you knew the moves your opponent would make ahead of time. How much easier would it be to win the game if you were able to anticipate and prepare for their strategy. Exploring the answers and questions non-believers have concerning God, the Bible, and the historicity of Jesus is not only wise, but the Bible tells us to be ready to give answers for our faith. 1 Peter 3:15  According to Strong’s Concordance, ready is the Greek word ‘heteos‘ or fitness. Anyone who has played any sports know the importance of being fit and well prepared for a sport or match.

I understand that apologetics is not a game, and I don’t look at my conversations I have with non-believers as some kind of match where there are winners and losers. If you begin to study apologetics, you shouldn’t look at it as a contest, and this goes double for those who are competitive by nature. Rather, studying apologetics satisfies the 1Peter mandate in scripture, and can allow you intelligently express reasons for your faith. When an informed atheist or skeptic asks why you believe in God, Jesus, the resurrection, or trust the New Testament, replying, ‘because the Bible told me so’ will carry very little weight with them.

If you are  more liberal in your political views, and then discuss politics with those who are more conservative, you do so in an attempt to persuade them how our state or nation would be better off with left leaning policies and laws. Same can be said for those who are conservative in their views; they believe our country would be better off with more conservative philosophies and constructs.

Discussing your belief with a non-believer is no different, in the simple sense that you believe they will be better off having a Christian world view, not to make the world a better place, but rather for their inheritance of eternal life. Atheists, on the other hand, believe you and the world would be better off if the minds and lives of people were clear of the absurdity of religion. Religion, in their eyes, often does more harm than good.

Navabi’s first chapter discusses science and the complexity and order of life. Concerning design and complexity, Navabi referenced a Youtube video, and I also have quoted text from the Atheist Republic web site concerning the video.
“Back in the 1970s, an unexpected breakthrough was made by a mathematician named John Conway, here in Cambridge. He devised something called The Game of Life.
A simple simulation that shows how a complex thing like the mind, might come about from a basic set of rules. The simulation consists of a grid, a bit like a chessboard, extending infinitely in all directions.” 2

Key words here I find significant.
“He devised something called…” Would it be fair to replace the word devised with designed? I think so.

What is interesting is the example given to demonstrate how simple rules can create complex designs and patterns requires not only a simple set of rules, but a complex computer, monitor, keyboard, and a binary system, that all must work together to process the information input into the system, by a designer. Designed mathematical formulas that create complex designs argue for a designer, not against one.

“…might come about from a basic set of rules.” Where do you get the rules or forces that govern our universe?

Stephen Hawkins describes the four forces that act on our universe: Gravitational force, electromagnetic force, weak nuclear force, and strong nuclear force. Each of these have very unique characteristics. Gravity is the weakest of the four, but it can act over great distances and is always positive. The electromagnetic force is 1041 times stronger than gravity, but can be positive or negative. The weak nuclear force is radioactive, but it acts on some particles, and not at all on others. Finally the strong nuclear force holds the quarks together in protons and neutrons and holds the protons and neutrons together in the nucleus of an atom. 3

Likely that was more information than you wanted to know, but where do these forces come from? Why do they act the way they do? There is nothing inherent in these laws that make them necessary.

Navabi also asks the question, “If complexity requires a creator, who created God?” 4 If God had a creator, then we would just be pushing back the question of a ultimate, initial designer. If God had a creator, then who would have created that God? And who created that God? On into infinity, backwards in time.

We now know that time and space have not existed eternally. This is an important point to understand and be clear on.

In 1929, Edwin Hubble noticed a red shift in distant galaxies that he was observing from the Wilson Observatory. A red shift simply meant that galaxies were moving away from us. In fact, the further out the galaxies, the faster they were moving away. This discovery became known as the Big Bang theory. Simply put, if we move backward in time, the galaxies would move closer and closer together till they converged on a single point. It was so significant that Einstein himself came out a year later to make his own confirming observations.

So if space and time had a beginning, then the beginner must be outside space and time.
Atheists may insist that we will eventually find a natural cause for nature, but that does not make any sense. How can something be the cause of its own existence? If nature did not exist, how could nature be the cause of its own existence? It did not exist to cause anything. It must be something outside of nature, something unnatural, or supernatural. 5

William Paley, a Christian apologist, theologian, and philosopher who lived in the late 1700’s, had a famous argument about finding a watch in a natural setting such as a beach or forest. Paley argued that we would know the watch was designed because of its complex nature. It would be foolish to assume nature, somehow, despite great odds, was responsible for the watch. Navabi also wrote concerning complexity, “If design were truly responsible for everything, there would be no fundamental difference between a stone and a watch because both would have been designed by an intelligent creator.” 6

I am not sure what is implied by fundamental, but I do believe, both the watch and the stone are designed. Granted the design of a stone, say a granite rock, at first glance seems very rudimentary. Maybe a comparison between a simple wooden go-kart, hammered, nailed, and screwed together by a 14 year old boy, and that of a $400,000 dragster would be on par of that of a stone and a watch.

Yet even a granite rock, formed below the surface from slowly cooling magma, has multiple compositions such as quartz, micas, orthoclase and plagioclase feldspar, and amphiboles. 7 Not to mention the complex molecular structure we can’t see with the naked eye, which includes the forces Steven Hawking mentioned above.

A personal God created the universe. This universe, and the world we inhabit, have obvious indicators of design. Kenneth Samples wrote, “…the world exhibits elegant order, detectable patterns, and dependable regularity. These teleological (purposeful) qualities are essential to the nature of science, for they make self-consistent scientific theories possible.” 8

Some Christians may struggle with responses to his arguments against God, but listening to, reading about, thinking about the claims of skeptics and atheists can increase ‘heteos’, your fitness, or readiness for the encounter. Understanding the beliefs and reasons atheists or skeptics have, not only strengthens your position, but increases your knowledge base for defending your faith. Navabi had this right, take the time to understand and consider the arguments on both sides, can only aid the discussions of opposing world views.

Why nature is mathematical is a mystery…The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle. – Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist known for paving the way toward our understanding of quantum mechanics.

 

Sources:
1. Navabi, Armin. Why There Is No God. Atheist Republic, 2014. Print.
2. Ibid.
3. Hawking, Steven W. A Brief History of Time. New York: Bantam Books, 1988. Print.
4. Navabi, Armin. Why There Is No God. Atheist Republic, 2014. Print.
5. Turek, Frank. Stealing From God. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 2014. Print.
6. Navabi, Armin. Why There Is No God. Atheist Republic, 2014. Print.
7. King, Hobart. “Granite.” Geoscience News and Information. Geology.com, n.d. Web. 30 May 2015
8. Samples, Kenneth R. Without a Doubt. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004. Print.

 

 

Creative Commons License
Why There Is No God by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog.

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

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