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


Creative Commons License
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. []

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

Pin It on Pinterest