My reasons for having doubts about Darwinian Evolution that I outline below are scientific, not theological. So if you accept Darwinian Evolution as fact, consider some of the empirical evidence I mention, because without evidence of macroevolution and proving how abiogenesis occurred, then evolution has nothing to stand on.
Kenneth Samples carefully researched tough questions for Christians in his book, Without a Doubt. In the final chapter he wrote, “Christianity claims to have answers to life’s ultimate questions. When people ask honest questions about the truth of the faith, those inquiries must be taken seriously. They deserve thought and attention. By answering questions about their faith, Christians engage in two important tasks. They actively participate in apologetic evangelism (a divine imperative: 1Peter 3:15). They also seize an opportunity to grow in greater understanding of their own belief’s.” 1
I do have biblical reasons for not accepting Darwinian evolution, but I am finding that in the realm of apologetics, once the Bible is mentioned, skeptics and atheists tune out. If you deal with scientific facts and evidence, they are willing to listen. In fact, if you do your home work, you will find many evolutionists will admit there are some serious obstacles in making Darwinian Evolution a closed case.
Since science and philosophy support the Christian world view, I have become more comfortable doing the research, and investigating issues like evolution, creation, astronomy, world views, historicity of Jesus, ethics and morality, various social issues, and facts behind theistic views Christians hold. So if you are a skeptic, an atheist, or a Christian with doubts about how we came to be and the truth of evolution, read on.
Let’s take a moment and define the term evolution, because it is often equivocal, (having more than one interpretation). To avoid any misunderstanding when people use the word evolution, it is important to ask them what do they mean, exactly, by the term evolution. Evolution has three basic meanings I want to explain. My Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, which could crush a small elephant, defines evolution as:
1. The act of unfolding or unrolling; a process of development, formation, or growth.
2. A thing or series of things unrolled, unfolded, or evolved; as, the evolution of ages. 2
If you were to visit dictionary.reference.com you will find:
1. Any process of formation or growth; development: The evolution of a language; the evolution of the airplane.
I think it would be safe to say a simple, yet accurate and common, definition of evolution would be ‘change over time’. Things change over time, and we are surrounded by the evidence for it. For those of you who came to this blog via Facebook, prior to February 2004 the Internet did not have Facebook. Prior to February 2004, I had not reached the half-century mark. Prior to February 2004, my mother was still alive. Prior to February 2004, none of my former 8th grade students had any children, and finally, prior to February 2004, I had significantly less gray hair in my beard. Things change over time, and evolution defined in simplest terms is ‘change over time’. I have no problem with this definition of evolution, nor do I know of any Christians who are uncomfortable with evolution defined as change over time.
A second definition of evolution, which is also commonly misunderstood and misused, is microevolution. Micro, (small), evolution, (change over time), simply means small changes over time. A more technical definition would be natural selection, change in gene frequency, or gene flow. 3 As a Christian, I am also comfortable with microevolution.
One example of microevolution is the house sparrow which came to America in 1852. As this species spread north, it became larger bodied to aid its survival due to the colder weather. Larger bodied birds have a higher chance of survival in colder weather than do smaller bodied birds. Other examples of microevolution would be: Mosquitoes evolving resistance to DDT, bacteria strains evolving resistance to penicillin, and HIV strains evolving resistance to antiviral medicines. The famous Galapagos Finches are examples of microevolution, not macroevolution, (large changes over time). Our children’s school books and college text books are full of examples of microevolution, but they are placed in the light of macroevolution.
An important point to remember concerning microevolution is that the changes observed within a species are really just a change in the number of times a particular trait displays itself in a population. Bear with me here as I explain this. Take Darwin’s Finches for example. In 1977, there was a drought on the Galapagos islands and in this time biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant noted some changes in the size of the beaks within the population. No one doubts the bigger beaked finches adapted better to the drought by breaking open the harder seed pods, but critics point out the larger beak size was already a trait within the population of finches. Nothing new evolved, only changes in the percent of a certain trait that already existed within a population were observed. After the heavy rains of 1983, the variation in beak size then returned to normal, suggesting limits to the creative power of microevolution. 4
Finally, the third definition of evolution is macroevolution and this is the definition most Christians are uncomfortable with, and I have serious doubts about. Online dictionary reference defines macroevolution as major evolutionary transitions from one type of organism to another. Or, evolutionary changes over a very long period of time from one species to another species. This type of evolution has never been observed, and relies on far reaching assumptions from microevolution observations and ‘evidence’ within the fossil record.
Before I go any further, it’s important to point out that an old earth view is a necessary condition for evolution. Many young earth creationists are quite uncomfortable with an old earth view because of evolution, but believing in an old earth as I do, does not make me an evolutionist. I have met many Christians that are surprised that ‘a Christian’ can hold an old earth view and not believe in evolution, or at least feel like they are sleeping with the enemy when they hold an old earth view. Norman Geisler pointed out, “…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.” 5
So we don’t have any observable evidence of macroevolution, only microevolution. Norman Geisler and Frank Turek put it this way when the evidence for macroevolution is weighed: “Darwinists are masters at defining the term “evolution” broadly enough so that the evidence in one situation might be counted as evidence in another. Unfortunately for them, the public is beginning to catch on to this tactic, thanks largely to the popular works of Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson. Johnson first exposed this Darwinistic sleight of hand with his ground breaking book Darwin on Trial.” 6
If you are over the age of 40, it is quite probable your science books in Jr. high or high school had examples of evolution using Darwin’s Finches, the Peppered Moths, Haeckel’s Embryos, (something I have already covered), and the 1957 Miller experiment, which supposedly created life from non-life. In fact, I have seen these examples as evidence for Darwinian evolution in science text books within the last 10 years, and all of them have serious flaws and when carefully considered do little to support Darwinian evolution. I will address the Miller experiment in a moment, but I wanted to cover the Peppered Moths first.
This experiment took place in the 1950’s in Britain by Bernard Kettlewell, and was promoted as proof of Darwinian evolution. This experiment flooded science text books in the U.S. and Great Britain for 40 years, despite the fact that it was flawed, and even fabricated to a large degree. Some of you may remember the outline.
Since the Industrial Revolution in Britain, the amount of smoke and soot pollution greatly increased, changing the color of what was once normally light colored bark on trees, to a much darker color. The Peppered Moth was commonly much lighter in color and was able to avoid detection from the local bird populations by resting on the light colored bark. What took place was the common lighter colored moths stood out against the now darkened bark and their population suffered. 7
There were to significant problems with this particular experiment. The Peppered Moths fly at night and they were released during the day. This would have seriously altered their normal reactions and flight patterns. They also usually rest high up in the tree canopy, not on trunks. The experimenters not only placed them on the trunks, but some were actually glued to the tree trunks. And once again, the change in the population just shows fluctuation within a population, no new variety or species emerged.8
“School children need to learn that the Peppered Moth story provides evidence for changes of frequencies of different types within a population, but does not show that large scale evolution can occur. They should also understand that the original experiments behind the peppered moth story have widely acknowledged flaws…” 9
The other questionable research commonly given was the Miller-Urey experiment, which was touted as proof life could be created from non-life, and like Darwin’s Finches, and the Peppered Moths, the Miller experiment found its way into thousands of public school science books.
In 1953, Stanley Miller created a mix of chemicals that were 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 lighting 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. 10 Chemists today reject this experiment because the mixture he used that was to represent our earth’s atmosphere, (methane and ammonia), was extremely inaccurate. 11
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, and water is one of the necessary ingredients for an accurate representation of an early earth’s atmosphere. 12 Echo’s of the movie Catch 22 come to mind.
Some may say the Miller experiment is over 60 years old, only old text books reference it any more, and no one considers it valid any more. That is rubbish, and with just a couple minutes on the Internet you will land several current references to the Miller-Urey experiment without any mention of the flaws. In 2009, Universe Today had an brief article on abiogenesis where the Miller experiment was mentioned, but without any mention of its failed accuracy. 13
So we have defined the three common definition’s of evolution, looked at Darwin’s Finches, Haeckel’s Embroys in a previous post, the Peppered Moth, and the Miller experiment. Now let’s look at one necessary requirement for Darwinian evolution to be true, abiogenesis. The development of living organisms from nonliving matter. The molecules to man theory, or life from non-life.
Some evolutionists will say abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution are two separate topics and are unrelated, but just a moment’s consideration, and anyone will realize that without life from non-life you can’t have the process of evolution. For evolution to take place, you must start with life, and if you can’t explain the beginning of life, how can you explain the development of life. Let me give you an example.
Let’s pretend there was a world called Cardosa in which men and women did not know how women became pregnant, but there is a reigning pregnancy theory called Pregolution. In this pretend world, the Pregolution theory describes the different stages of fetal development, the phases in each trimester, the biological changes a women can expect, possible complications, and finally birth; but the theory does not explain how the pregnancy started, or the initial cause of pregnancy. What woman would be satisfied with a theory like that? What man would say, “Listen, the fact that you’re pregnant has nothing to do with how you got pregnant. Those are separate issues!”? Women everywhere would start asking, “How did this happen?”
Some women may have heard of the different theories on how they became pregnant. One had to do with a ‘primordial soup’, and the chemistry happened to be just right, and she just happened to become pregnant. For most women, this just does not sit well. She is thinking there must be more to it than that. How could you possibly get life from non-life? Intuitively, she is thinking someone else must be involved in this process.
Another theory that many laughed at, but some give it consideration is called Panspermia, (this is not made up), and has to do with aliens from another planet. She has seen those kinds of movies, but that is just too far fetched. Even if it were true, how would Pregolution explain where the aliens came from? It just pushed back the problem of how life began. She has read the volumes of material on pregnancy, but none of them address how she became pregnant. How did this life inside her begin?
As silly as this sounds, it dovetails rather nicely with the problem Darwinian evolution has. Yes, Darwin never addressed how life began, nor does macroevolution attempt to answer that question, but the question remains, sticking out like a sore thumb, or the belly of an 8 month pregnant woman on the planet Cardosa.
Darwinian Evolution has many unanswered questions, and a large number of people just accept the theory without really exploring its imperfections. As a boy growing up and raised in a Christian household, I was troubled by the supposed evidence for Darwinian evolution, but never took the time to really investigate the claims. I experienced doubt about my faith, but much like a child who would continue to believe in the infallibility of his parents, my faith remained steadfast. Now as I research various claims, the amount of evidence that supports the Christian world view is substantial, but absolutely disregarded by popular culture, and our current media.
Finally anyone reading this blog post may want to watch Evolution VS. God, on YouTube, or you may want to visit their website. http://www.evolutionvsgod.com/ and watch it there. The film is only 38 minutes long, but well worth the time. Wyatt, if you read this, send me an e-mail, and I give you a copy for free. 🙂 I have some I have shared friends and family.
The complexity of the simplest known type of cell is so great that it is impossible to accept that such an object could have been thrown together suddenly by some kind of freakish, vastly improbable, event. Such an occurrence would be indistinguishable from a miracle. – Michael Denton
Many investigators feel uneasy stating in public that the origin of life is a mystery, even though behind closed doors they admit they are baffled. – Paul Davies
There is no quicker way for a scientist to bring discredit upon himself and on his profession than roundly to declare, (particularly when no declaration of any kind is called for), that science knows or soon will know the answer to all questions worth asking… – Nobel Laureate P.B. Medawar -Advice to a Young Scientist.
You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
In the beginning god created the heavens and the earth.
1. Samples, Kenneth R. Without a Doubt. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004, Print.
2. Dorset & Barber. “Evolution.” The act of unfolding or unrolling; a process of development, formation, or growth. Def.1. Second Edition, 1983. Print.
3. Caldwell, Roy. “Examples of Microevolution.” University of California Museum of Paleontology. Evolution.berkeley.edu, Web. 15 Jan. 2014
4. Meyer, Stephen, C. Explore Evolution. Melbourne & London: Hill House Publishers, 2007, Print.
5. Geisler, Norman. Turek, Frank. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Wheaton: Crossway 2004, Print.
7. Majerus, M. “The Peppered Moth.” Truth in Science. Truthinscience.org, 2004. Web. 13 Jan. 2014
8. Meyer, Stephen, C. Explore Evolution. Melbourne & London: Hill House Publishers, 2007, Print.
9. Majerus, M. “The Peppered Moth.” Truth in Science. Truthinscience.org, 2004. Web. 13 Jan. 2014
10. Behe, Michael J. Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press: New York, 2006. Print.
11. House, Wayne H. Intelligent Design 101. Grand Rapids: Kregl Publications, 2008, Print.
13. Tate, Jean. “Abiogenesis.” Universe Today. Universetoday.com, 22 Sept. 2009. Web. 16 Jan. 2014