Eddie Evolutionist Debates the 5 Q’s Pamphlet
Hello Genesis Park, as a scientist, I enjoyed some of the material on your website. But I want to let you know that I completely disagree with your little pamphlet called “The 5 Q’s for Evolutionists.” Let me briefly respond to each point in the document, showing quotes from the original in bold for context and then setting the record straight just below.
1. WHERE DID IT ALL COME FROM?
The Cosmological Argument is still one of the best refutations of atheism out there.
This one will be pretty quick. The pamphlet links evolution with atheism (and does the same in the last paragraph of the pamphlet). I am not an atheist and I don’t see any reason why a piece discussing challenges to evolution needs to bring up a particular religious philosophy. 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!
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?” For example Dawkins’ book The God Delusion has a chapter entitled “Why there almost certainly is no God.” His foremost argument is that God is the ultimate Boeing 747 (employing the famous metaphor of something complex which could not have blown together by accident).
But this argument is similar to the first point in that there are various religious positions (like deists or theistic evolutionists) that will readily admit that God started it all. However, we believe that he allowed physical laws, like natural selection, to run their course ever since.
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.
OK, let me be clear. 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 (like how new species arose, for example).
The Law of Biogenesis is a law only because we have not observed any exceptions to it. But we haven’t exactly been observing it for millions of years or on various planets, have we? I admit that this is one of the biggest puzzles in modern science. There are a number of competing scientific hypotheses for abiogenesis that are currently undergoing investigation. But it doesn’t move scientific inquiry forward to just say, “God did it!”
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.
Now we come to an argument about actual biological evolution. But how does one define “information”? We do know that there are vast amounts of evolutionary baggage, called “junk DNA,” in amongst the genetic material that actually codes for biological systems in higher animals. No doubt some of it is vestiges of information that was once used. But what about when the genetic copying machinery accidentally duplicates large amounts of material so that the copy contains more raw material than the original chromosome? 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. Then perhaps this could be “turned on” (no longer merely “junk”) so that it is expressed in the production of a tiny biological component. Voila! Evolution has produced the beginnings of a new biological system. Over the eons of tinkering, additional complexities are then added.
Have we seen novel functions emerge? Sure, consider the ability of certain bacteria to digest nylon. Nylon is an unnatural, man-made substance to which bacteria over the vast ages would have never been exposed. 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.
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.
For the majority of evolutionists who believe in God, it is no big problem to consider that God bestowed a soul into a particular ape-like ancestor millions of years ago. But we are diverging into a spiritual discourse that really has no place in a debate about evolution vs creation.
Most evolutionists believe consciousness is a real thing, though some would argue it is merely the result of physical properties of the brain. Scientists over the last couple of decades certainly have not ignored the phenomenon and this remains an active area of research and debate. For example, evolutionist Daniel Dennett wrote a fascinating book called Consciousness Explained.
One appealing theory about the rise of consciousness is called “Epiphenomenalism.” Don Griffin wrote: “Conscious thinking may well be a core function of central nervous systems…. The fact that we are consciously aware of only a small fraction of what goes on in our brains has led many scientists to conclude that consciousness is an epiphenomenon or trivial by-product of neural functioning” (Griffin, Donald R, Animal Minds: Beyond Cognition to Consciousness, 2001, p. 3.).
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. The benefit could have been cementing group coherence among savannah hunters as the larger brain enabled reflections on personal mortality. (Gould, Stephen [Rose, Steven, ed.], The Richness of Life: The Essential Stephen Jay Gould, 2007, pp. 232–233.)
I believe I have clearly demonstrated that there are scientific answers to the five important questions that were raised. In some cases, the scientific theories need more work and ongoing research will undoubtedly lead to further refinement. But even for those who appreciate the inspiring language of the Bible and other religious traditions, there should be a willingness to separate faith from the scientific pursuit of natural models and productive theories.