Defining Terms of Engagement
1) There are two possible reasons for us existing: one is God, and one is the absence of reason itself: random chance. There are perhaps three possible positions from the Christian point of view: God made the world in six days and Genesis is literally true, God made the world over a much longer period and perhaps employed evolutionary processes, and a universe came from nothing, in which life evolved entirely by chance. I will be dealing with what I consider to be the Biblical position (see my last but one post on Creation and Science for why), and dealing with the evolutionary alternative as best I can (no, I’m not an expert in that field, so if you have more info to offer, please do). So basic premise: Genesis true, or Evolution true…
2) There are a huge number of theories of evolution from the micro to stellar and from Darwin’s original “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life“ to modern genetic research. This article, the fragment of evolution I wish to discuss is evolution as defined as the whole journey from non-biological non-living material to sentient man, with which I disagree. I am certainly not someone who thinks that no alteration has ever occurred within kinds and I do not frankly know of anyone who holds this position: even dogs can be bred for certain characteristics. All I am arguing is that this can not (with current knowledge) lead to dogs eventually producing (e.g.) a cow. This aspect of evolution: the change between one kind and another I would call macro-evolution.
3) The definition of kind is also important, as a species (as defined by google-search) is a “group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding”. It is possible for mutations to occur to the extent that two creatures become significantly different from one another, to such an extent that interbreeding (genetically or merely physically) is impossible. I would say an example of a “kind” is (roughly speaking) “cat”: it is possible to create “ligers” and other cross-animals from supposedly different species (lions and tigers) which are sometimes fertile and sometimes not (see here (Answers in Genesis) for more information and examples of “kinds”). This is important as according to Genesis 1:24-25, animals will only reproduce after their kind.
4) Proven science I would define as things that have been repeatedly confirmed by experiment and observed- and it’s usually blooming useful stuff . I have often heard evolution compared to theories such as gravity, and there is some merit to that in that any scientific theory (including gravity) has sections that are not fully understood and are under development. However, I would accept gravity as proven theory, whereas macro-evolution… well… we’ll see!
5) Evolutionist (rather than scientist) would be the more honest term to refer to scientists who as a matter of principle extend the theory of evolution to explain all things (as in point 2).
5) My position is this: survival of fittest yes, genetic variation yes, natural selection yes, even changes within and of species yes. But if I am true to the text of Genesis I must hold that macro-evolution (changes of kind) as being false, and evolution as the explanation of all things as also false, since I think this is giving credit to death and random chance for our existence, where such credit rightly belongs to our creator: the Lord Jesus through whom all things were made. I naturally do not expect atheistic evolutionists to share this position! I will not here be attempting to prove evolution false, since the topic is so wide-ranging and the theory ever-changing, but what I would endeavour to show is that macro-evolution as defined above, as the mechanism for making mankind from nothingness, requires a great deal of faith and thus does not sit very well in the field of proven science.
Evidence for evolution (with which I agree!)…
What has been observed evolution-wise is:
- natural selection (e.g. with bacteria becoming resistant to countermeasures)
- changes within a species (e.g. breeding of animals)
- changes of species (but not kind, e.g. dog producing non-dog, no, but new species yes)
- loss of genetic information that is beneficial (very occasionally) and damaging (more often than not)
- gain of genetic information which has been damaging
In this, I fully accept these aspects of evolution as true. This article (http://atheism.about.com/od/evolutionexplained/a/ObservedEvolution.htm) on observing evolution makes a case from the above and concludes that this means that large-scale evolution is the cause of all life on earth. I obviously do not agree quite with the (all too common) reasoning therein.
Evidence for the scriptures (with which I also agree):
- no change of kind has been observed. I would think that some evidence that e.g. warm-blooded animals can change into cold-blooded (or vice versa) over time, or genderless into two distinct genders, or plant into animal, or even (I think) dog into non-dog would be grave evidence of Bible error. This would not necessarily prove that the theory explains all life on earth, but it would certainly make it more credible and would surprise me, in light of the scriptures.
- beneficial information gain has been distinctly lacking, making the increase in information from nothing (especially over some of the jumps above, plus numerous others such as from scales to feathers) very difficult for evolution to prove.
- the world is fallen and death is subject to decay, so the decreasing lifespans of man recorded in the Bible is also in keeping with an increasingly mutated, confused genetic algorithm for both man and beast. Thus when evolutionists point out that much of the genetic code is “wasteful” e.t.c. this is not in contradiction with the design of a perfect creator
Destructive Information Gain:
Imagine the following sentence: “I have acquired a painting”. Information can be gained by the random insertion of a letter “q”, and the sentence now reads “I haveq acquired a painting.” This is an example of gain which is damaging to the structure. If we want to develop a more complex sentence from this one, the odds are very much against us managing by random means. Though idealogical evolutionists have assured us it is possible, given a long enough time, mathematicians have been more sceptical, especially in the light of the DNA information now available. Remember, for the whole theory to be true we must add whole additional chromosomes that are beneficial for survival, or we are going against the observed survival of the fittest.
Evolutionists often taught loss of information that happens to be beneficial as evidence for progressive total evolution. For example, leaving out some entire words in the previous sentence makes a shorter sentence whose meaning may be more beneficial in some circumstances: “I have a painting”, but it can be messy (“I have pain”). It certainly will not get us from the very simple to the enormously complex as the evolutionist claims. It also loses some of the meaning of the original sentence and in the context of genetics can make the organism more susceptible to other problems.
The basic dilemma is which is more likely: did the sentence “I have acquired a painting” develop from “.” to the whole sentence with each intermediate stage making perfect sense by random chance alone, or from a more complex, perfectly designed, longer sentence, of which some parts are now missing: “I have acquired a good painting by Rembrandt”? The creationist point of view is that the more perfect has given birth to the less perfect (in line with entropy increasing, a basic law of physics*), where the evolutionist has decided that the “.” has developed into the whole sentence. Now, as stated earlier, I have not disproved evolution as a possibility, but with the evidence where it is I state that it takes faith to believe it to be true!
*Interestingly, the evolutionist argument approximately seems to argue that the random energy from sunlight will help maintain the “order” necessary for evolution not to be in breach of the laws of thermodynamics, but thinking about this even from the very inception of evolution this only increases the problem: a sufficiently high frequency of sunlight (e.g. a gamma ray) would only randomly alter a genome that it hit, not help keep it in order! Though sunlight can indeed be successfully harnessed by life (e.g. chlorophyll harnesses sunlight in plants) I have yet to have any explanation as to the mechanism DNA uses to harness sunlight to increase the complexity of the genome, i.e. some sort of solar powered gene splicer…? Yes the laws of thermodynamics apply only to closed systems but we need some means of harnessing the additional energy.
In a change from my usual policy, any and all comments are welcome here, both for and against. However, they will not be posted if they divert from the topic. My two points being: “change of kind… any evidence?” and “beneficial information gain – proven?” Even from there it is quite a way to get to the idea that “all species around us definitely were created in this way”- i.e. macro-evolution is a proven theory.
Incidentally I did mention I wasn’t an evolution expert right? So do feel free to correct me on any facts!