Dino Dave Responds to Eddie Evolutionist
Ed, I appreciate your visiting the website and taking the time to comment on the little 5 Q’s pamphlet. I’ve left the original points in bold, and then I’ve italicized the core of your comments to provide some context, and then I responded to them.
1. WHERE DID IT ALL COME FROM?
The Cosmological Argument is still one of the best refutations of atheism out there.
…Atheists are less than 10% of the population. Yet about 50% of Americans believe in naturalistic evolution. So that means the big majority of evolutionists are NOT atheists. So what if God got the Big Bang started? That doesn’t mean that evolution is false!
A movement must be judged by its leadership. Creationists must deal with the vocal, activist Darwinists who are setting the agenda, writing the textbooks, spearheading the research, and defining the movement. While the general mass of Americans certainly are not atheistic, the American scientific leadership is. In fact a poll of the National Academy of Sciences membership (the scientific luminaries) in biological and physical sciences demonstrated that over 90% of the respondents were atheists and agnostics!
Make no mistake, evolution is being taught as a full-fledged alternative story to creation. Evolutionary philosopher Michael Ruse went even further: “My area of expertise is the clash between evolutionists and creationists, and my analysis is that we have no simple clash between science and religion but rather between two religions.” (Ruse, Michael, The Evolution-Creation Struggle, 2005, p. 287.)
2. HOW COULD A BIG BANG CREATE A FINE-TUNED UNIVERSE?
…requires faith in a designer, multiplied universes, or unknown natural laws.
If I were an atheist, I would probably ask you in turn: “What about God? Isn’t he even more unlikely than a fine-tuned universe by accident?”
Yes, best-selling evolutionists like Hitchens and Dawkins argue forcefully that the existence of God is extremely unlikely. But this is really a perversion of the concept of probability, allowing their bias to masquerade as scientific analysis. We can evaluate the variety of potential outcomes and consider the likelihood of an explosion creating an orderly natural universe. But what of the supernatural? As Berlinski says, “The theory of probability is in the business of assigning numbers to events. The theory assumes explicitly what everyone ordinarily takes for granted, and that is that if events are assigned probabilities, they are determined by means of a random process…. Just which random process is designed to yield the Deity as a possible outcome? It is by no means easy to say, which is one reason, I suppose, that on this subject, Dawkins says nothing at all.” (Berlinski, David, The Devil’s Delusion, 2009, p. 147.)
3. HOW COULD LIFE COME FROM ROCKS?
Evolutionists must get from cosmic evolution (a hot molten rock glob that would supposedly cool to be Earth) to a self-replicating life form.
Evolution is changes to the gene pool in a population of biological organisms over time. It is all about what happens AFTER life gets started…it doesn’t move scientific inquiry forward to just say, “God did it!”
Your definition of evolution is highly problematic. I suppose defining is difficult when Darwinists have so many competing definitions among themselves. But if we are going to have an origins debate, then evolution needs to be broad enough to actually explain origins. Everyone agrees populations change over time. To be an alternative to creation, evolution must be “molecules to man transformation.” Anything less requires a creation event of some kind.
If you still don’t agree with me, I’ll let you argue this one with Dobzhansky, considered by many to be the leading evolutionist of the 20th century. He wrote: “Evolution is a process which has produced life from non-life, which has brought forth man from an animal, and which may conceivably continue doing remarkable things in the future. In giving rise to man, the evolutionary process has, apparently for the first and only time in the history of the Cosmos, become conscious of itself. …Evolution comprises all the stages of the development of the universe: the cosmic, biological, and human or cultural developments. Attempts to restrict the concept of evolution to biology are gratuitous. Life is a product of the evolution of inorganic nature, and man is a product of the evolution of life.” (Dobzhansky, Theodosius, “Changing Man,” Science 155:3761, 1967, p. 409.)
Ed, you claim that the design hypothesis doesn’t move science forward. But what if, in fact, God did do it? Is science ultimately a pursuit after the truth or a quest for the best-sounding naturalistic story? Would it be commendable for a detective to approach a homicide scene and rule out murder before even considering the evidence? If the evidence points to accidental homicide, so be it. But evidence for design deserves to be considered as well. In fact, the vast majority of the classical geniuses who started modern science believed in a Creator. It is the Biblical Christian position held by roughly half of American society. And it is the most reasonable position since it accords with the known scientific law of biogenesis.
4. HOW COULD BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS ASSEMBLE BY ACCIDENT?
When faced with terribly complex biological systems (all the pieces of which have to be in place suddenly for it to work) evolutionary theorists have concocted far-fetched models of gross improbability.
But what about when the genetic copying machinery accidentally duplicates large amounts of material…Is that “new information”? Certainly superfluous “junk DNA” is a place where random mutations can harmlessly accumulate over time and thus the system might chance upon a useful genetic structure. Yet a strain of Flavobacterium, living in a waste-water pond just outside a nylon factory, via a gene duplication event (new information) followed by a frameshift mutation developed the novel ability to eat nylon.
We must distinguish between information and data. Random chunks of zeros and ones added to a computer program is not information and will, in all likelihood, destroy the information already in the program. Evolutionists had put forward the idea of “junk DNA” as a way of explaining how mutations could act on the genetic system without destroying it. But the whole idea of useless DNA is now highly suspect. We are learning that much of what was thought to be junk is actually meta-information (or information about how to use information…kind of like a computer’s underlying operating system).
Moreover, the notion that random changes might give rise to novel structures is naïve. While pursuing his PhD in chemical engineering at California Institute of Technology, Douglas Axe became intrigued with developing a rigorous analysis of the actual likelihood that new proteins could be randomly generated (essential for biological innovations). Working with the Centre for Protein Engineering, Axe’s groundbreaking research into protein folding indicates that the conditional probability of generating a single gene sequence capable of producing a novel protein fold and function is 1 in a whopping 1037. Because of this, he concluded that the classical model of gene evolution is just not reasonable (Meyer, Stephen, Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, 2013, pp. 185-208.)
Now let’s talk about bacteria. It is still a matter of some dispute as to whether the Flavobacterium underwent a gene duplication event or whether this was merely a single step mutation. Bacteria are unusual in their ability to mutate extensively, within carefully controlled parameters. While there is a certain amount of randomness to this, it is highly constrained—kind of like the millions of color and design variations one might employ as background on their computer screen. Moreover, it seems that many of these mutations are not random. University of Chicago geneticist James Shapiro has been pioneering work with bacteria showing that organisms under environmental stress (like a pond with limited nutrients but plentiful nylon) trigger induced mutations in a directed way. He favors a non-Darwinian view whereby organisms respond in a “cognitive” way to environmental influences, rearranging or mutating their genetic information in regulated, pre-programmed ways to maintain their viability. (See Shapiro, James, Evolution: A View from the 21st Century, 2011.)
Though Shapiro hasn’t said as much, this sure sounds a lot like a pre-designed, created system. At any rate, it is not the initiation of a whole new biological function (like the first eyeball, sonar, or wings) but only a slight alteration, allowing existing machinery to digest a new substance. Such minor tweaking is not the stuff of molecules to man transformation.
5. WHY DO WE HAVE A SOUL?
“Wasting” precious resources in worshipping, feeling a compunctions to help the less fit, and having qualms about raw, selfish greed all run contrary to the premise of survival of the fittest.
Evolutionist Daniel Dennett wrote a fascinating book called Consciousness Explained. One appealing theory about the rise of consciousness is called “Epiphenomenalism.” Is there a survival benefit to having “consciousness”? Gould suggested that religious contemplations might have grown as a byproduct from the evolutionary changes favoring bigger brains.
As an explanation, Dennett’s book is a non-starter. Its title has even been roundly ridiculed by fellow evolutionists. In a Review of Dennett’s 2003 book, Freedom Evolves, Strawson stated: “In the last several years the philosopher Daniel C. Dennett has published two very large, interesting and influential books. The first, Consciousness Explained, aimed to account for all the phenomena of consciousness within the general theoretical framework set by current physics. It failed, of course, and came to be affectionately known as Consciousness Ignored…” (Strawson, Galen, “Freedom Evolves: Evolution Explains It All for You,” New York Times, 2003.).
Though Epiphenomenalism has been around since the days of Huxley, it has not exactly been helpful as an explanation either. Ian Glynn stated the problem this way: “[I]f mental events are epiphenomena, they cannot have any survival value. Darwin’s struggle for existence is a struggle in the physical world, and if mental events cannot cause physical effects they cannot affect the outcome in that struggle.… Even if the notion that mental events are epiphenomena is true, it leaves unexplained what most needs explaining. Why should particular physical changes in our nervous systems cause feelings or thoughts? Even epiphenomena need to be accounted for…. So despite its promising start, the notion that mental events are epiphenomena has not got us out of the difficulties that a combination of common sense and physics got us into” (Glynn, Ian, An Anatomy of Thought: the Origin and Machinery of the Mind, 1999, pp. 10, 11–12.).
Gould’s simplistic idea that there would be a survival benefit from a population contemplating one’s mortality is highly dubious. Consider the case of the very first individual in the population to develop a mutation that caused him to invest time contemplating philosophical questions. There would be no others to enjoy cohesion with. Yet the resources that would be wasted and the peril to life that would be risked from such engrossing mental exercises means that natural selection would eliminate him.
Ed, you have not clearly demonstrated that evolutionists have satisfactory scientific answers to the five important questions that were raised. It’s not just that their scientific theories need more work. In fact, the more we work on these matters, the less reasonable naturalistic explanations appear and the more reasonable the design hypothesis appears. For example, the more we understand about the complexity of the cell, the less likely spontaneous generation of life appears. It is now about as close to a scientific impossibility as we can get. The more we understand about genetics, the less likely it seems that there is “junk DNA” and that random mutations can account for information-rich biological systems.
The point of the 5 Q’s pamphlet was to suggest that evolution “is a position of faith, a faith far less reasonable scientifically than Biblical Christianity.” That point stands. There is no more reasonable explanation of origins then “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1)!