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 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.

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