Why I Am Not an Evolutionist – Part II

Why I Am Not an Evolutionist – Part II

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Part I   Part III

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

A is not. 

Bio is life. 

Genesis is beginnings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part III


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

 

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

Why I Am Not an Evolutionist – Part I

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Above Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

Part II   Part III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part II

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