God in Creation Part 3 – THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION EXAMINED
WHERE DID LIFE come from? This question has been asked since earliest times. Today, it is almost universally believed that a simple form of life started as an accidental event and has developed over many millions of years to give rise to all the plants and animals that now exist. This theory of evolution is accepted almost without question by broadcasters, educationalists and an overwhelming majority of scientists. They believe that the concept has been proved up to the hilt. Indeed one scientist has said: ‘The theory is as much in doubt as that the earth goes round the sun.’ 7
STILL ONLY A THEORY
However, it is not generally recognised by many people that there are also some scientists who do not agree with the theory. Some years ago, the prestigious scientific journal Nature complained in an editorial 8 that the Natural History Museum in London, in an introductory notice at the entrance to its Darwin gallery, had stated that creation might be an alternative to evolution.
The editorial suggested that most biologists would sacrifice their right arm rather than deny that evolution did occur. An immediate response came from the museum staff involved: ‘How is it that a journal such as yours…can advocate that theory be presented as fact? This is the stuff of prejudice, not science…Are we to take it that evolution is a fact, proven to the limits of scientific rigour? If that is the inference then we must disagree most strongly. We have no absolute proof of the theory of evolution.’ 9
This is no isolated viewpoint. The rest of this special issue of ‘Light on a New World’ could be filled with quotations from scientists who do not accept the current theory of evolution. Evolutionists critical of the theory have recently published a number of books. As one scientist said: ‘Scientists who go about teaching that evolution is a fact of life are great con-men, and the story they are telling may be the greatest hoax ever. In explaining evolution we do not have one iota of fact.’ 10
7 Richard Dawkins: ‘The Selfish Gene’ (Oxford University Press).
8 Nature Volume 289, page 735 (26 February 1981).
9 Nature Volume 290, page 82 (12 March 1981).
10 Dr T.N. Tahmisian, atomic Energy Commission, USA
THE ORIGIN OF LIFE
Apart from a few rather implausible theories (but that does not prevent them being advanced, especially in school textbooks!), science cannot offer an explanation of how living things originated. Life does not exist outside a small living unit called a cell. There is simply no exception to this. In the previous section we explained just one aspect of life – the coded information on the DNA strand that programmes the cell to make enzymes and other proteins, which in turn control the essential functions of the cell.
As the previous section showed, a length of DNA that codes for just one enzyme consists of a ‘ladder’ of typically over a thousand different ‘rungs’, each in the right place. In view of this obvious complexity, the chances of such a section of DNA occurring by accident are so remote as to be virtually impossible. Nevertheless, even in the most ‘primitive’ cell, at least several hundred such enzymes, with a correspondingly increased length of DNA, are needed before it can be said to be alive.
However, such a cell, even if it accidentally appeared, could not be the precursor of all living things unless it was able to grow and reproduce itself – the complex process of cell division was briefly outlined in the previous article.
When taxed with the impossibility of such a cell occurring by chance, many evolutionists have no answer. Others have calculated that the odds of life occurring on earth by chance are 1 in 1040,000 – a number so incomprehensibly great as to make a chance origin impossible.11 Nobel prize-winner Dr. George Wald agrees with this: ‘One only has to contemplate the magnitude of the task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible.’ 12 Alternatively, as another writer says of the claimed evolutionary origin of life: ‘Such an occurrence would be indistinguishable from a miracle.’ 13 Yet the chance origin of life is the very basis on which evolutionists build their theory. If this could not have happened, then the theory of evolution collapses like a house of cards. Rather than believe the ‘impossible’ – as many do – why not believe that a wise Creator designed the cell?
SIMPLE TO COMPLEX
However, even if for sake of argument, it was conceded that a simple cell could have happened merely by chance, we are a very long way from the myriad forms of life that fill this planet. How did they all arise from this humble beginning?
The current explanation is termed ‘natural selection.’ It is envisaged that, in a quite random way, some variation occurred in that original cell which, at cell division, could be passed on to it’s progeny. This variation resulted in the new organism becoming more successful than its fellows did in the competitive business of living. As a result of a long series of these accidental changes, simple cells became complex and learnt to join together to form bodies. These developed all the interdependent features that are familiar to us today – limbs, muscles, a heart and circulatory system, brain, eyes, ears, etc. It all sounds very plausible, especially as we are told that this process took countless millions of years – and given enough time, anything might happen!
Whilst it is not denied that in some limited situations natural selection might take place, many strongly reject the idea that it is the engine powering an evolutionary process which has led to all the varied forms of life. So let us look a little closer. What is actually involved in evolution by ‘natural selection’?
In the preceding article, we considered the mechanism of protein production within the cell. We noted that each protein molecule was composed of a long chain of amino acids, all placed in a special sequence. This special sequence determined the ‘shape’ of the molecule and thus enabled it to do its job. We saw in the previous article that this correct sequence was determined by the coded information on the DNA thread, which is copied and then passed on from cell to cell as they divide.
11 Hoyle and Wickramasinghe: ‘Evolution from Space.’
12 Weldon and Levitt: ‘UFO’s: What on earth is happening?’
13 M. Denton: ‘Evolution: A theory in Crisis.’
This process of copying DNA into new cells normally proceeds with great accuracy, but very occasionally a mistake is made, so that the new DNA has slightly different coded information. This new code means that a product with a slightly different ‘shape’ will be formed. This accidental change is called a mutation.
Now, as can be imagined, the new protein will probably not be as effective as the original one. Indeed it will probably not work at all, as its new ‘shape’ will not allow it to carry out the chemical reactions for which it was designed. However, the current theory of evolution depends on this purely random mutation conferring an advantage on the cell and thus to the whole organism, that enables it to be more successful than those without such a mutation.
It is claimed that by this process of successive accidental mutations, all forms of life have developed from simpler forms. Thus, for example, the human brain, which is probably the most complex object in the universe, has developed from increased information gradually and randomly stored up in the human genome (i.e. the sum of all the information on the DNA) over many millions of years.
Is this a reasonable theory?
MUTATIONS USUALLY HARMFUL
Firstly, when mutations do occur, they are almost invariably harmful and not beneficial. For example, in humans, a change in a single ‘rung’ of the DNA ladder that codes for the protein haemoglobin, substitutes just one amino acid for another in the sequence; but this apparently small change has far-reaching results – an often fatal disease called sickle cell anaemia. Similarly, a single change in the code for rhodopsin, a pigment in the eye, results in blindness. Therefore, it is generally true to say that most mutations are harmful or confer no benefits.
Secondly and most importantly, the whole basis of the evolutionary theory is that through mutations the information on the genome must increase. Only by this means could a progressively greater complexity of living things have occurred over the supposed millions of years of evolution. If this increase of information does not occur, then it is clear that the current evolutionary theory is a non-starter.
As one recent critic of evolution has observed: ‘the neo-Darwinians14 would like us to believe that large evolutionary changes can result from a series of small events if there are enough of them. But if these events all lose information they can’t be the steps in the … [theory]. Whoever thinks that macroevolution can be made by mutations that lose information is like the merchant who lost a little money on every sale but thought he could make it up on volume.’ 15 So, unless it can be shown that mutations have gradually increased the total genetic information, then evolution could not have occurred.
The fact is that mutations do not increase the available information. As the above writer goes on to say: ‘Not even one mutation has been observed that adds a little information to the genome.’ As a result he concludes: ‘We have therefore to reject the entire neo-Darwinian theory of evolution.’
A familiar example will make the point. Today we have hundreds of different varieties of dogs, varying in size and appearance from the huge St. Bernard to the pocket-sized Chihuahua. It is believed that all have descended from a wolf-like ancestor. In the mutations that produced the range of present domestic dogs, many of the original wolf-like features have been permanently lost; that is, the information for some original characteristics is no longer available on the genome. In other words, although the development of a large variety of dogs from one ancestor superficially looks like a case for evolution, in fact such a development has resulted in a loss of genetic information. However, the theory of evolution, if it were true, would demand an increase.
14 Neo Darwinians = those who believe in evolution driven by random mutations, in fact the majority of evolutionists.
15 Lee Spetner: ‘Not by Chance,’ page 160 (Judaica Press Inc.)
DOES CHANCE PRODUCE DESIGN?
If I dropped a handful of coins, we all know that they would go in all directions, ending up as a random pattern on the floor. However, suppose you came into a room, saw a straight line of coins and were told ‘I just dropped these coins and, look, they all happened to end up in a line’ – would you believe it? No, you would rightly say that chance does not produce design. If I then insisted that this had happened not just once but many times, then you would probably think I was out of my mind.
Yet the evolutionist must believe that a beneficial mutation not only occurred by accident once but repeatedly. Further, most of them would have had to occur at about the same time, because frequently more than one mutation is involved in a given change.
For example, the chemistry within the cell is a stage-by-stage process. As an illustration (an example from the hundreds that could be given), one of the most basic reactions in a living cell is the conversion of glucose to carbon dioxide and water, with the release of energy, called the tricarboxylic acid cycle. This does not happen in one go. Rather is it a series of step-wise reactions involving many intermediate stages. However, a different enzyme affects each of the steps. If only one of those enzymes was missing, then the process would stop and the cell die. Therefore, evolutionists must assume that all the mutations that produced the enzymes accidentally appeared at the same time. Or in terms of our analogy, not only did the coins form themselves into a straight line on one occasion, but did so repeatedly.
The same holds good for whole organs and creatures as well as what goes on in cells. The eye is a good example of many differing features that must all be present at the same time if it is to function. As you read this page, your brain is controlling tiny muscles around the transparent lens, altering its shape to accurately focus the image of the print on to the retina at the back of your eye.
The retina has nerve cells that are sensitive even to the smallest quantity of light and are able, by a sort of in-built computer, to convert the light pattern into a compressed series of nerve impulses. The retina also has special pigments that enable different colours to be identified. Within the brain is a particular area that converts the nerve impulses into a picture we can recognise.
Is it reasonable to suggest that all these interdependent features arose by accident and all at the same time? Does it not rather look like intelligent design? The evolutionist claims that the eye developed by a series of random changes over countless millions of years. But think what we are being asked to believe – that all this fine detail working together so perfectly has come about from a series of accidental mutations. Do not be deceived by the glib evolutionary explanation so common in books for children, that some primitive organism ‘decided’ to develop some new feature.
The concept of planning is ruled out in the current theory of evolution – all is the result of purposeless change. It is ludicrous to suggest that an eyeless creature would envisage the need for sight and so control its developments over the ages to eventually produce an eye. As Darwin himself said: ‘To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.’ 16 We may confidently say that chance does not produce design.
Look at the picture of a leaf insect. Here is an example of insects that mimic leaves so perfectly that given the right background they are perfectly camouflaged, as a protection from their predators. Can you see four leaf insects in the right hand picture? Does this look like chance mutations at work? If evolution were true, think of all the wrong designs that must have accidentally been produced by the original insect whilst this perfect disguise was at last fortuitously arrived at. Think of all the simultaneous accidental changes that were needed in the DNA that programmed this new shape. How did the poor insect survive whilst it was developing this disguise? We can be sure that the leaf-like shape was not the choice of the supposed original insect. It probably would not even recognise a leaf, let alone be able to alter its body to copy one.
16 ’The Origin of Species.’
‘THE PRIZE HORSE IN OUR STABLE’
One of the supposed evidences for natural selection and therefore the evolutionary process, is the variation in the peppered moth. It is an example that appears in almost every textbook on evolution. The story is that the moths were originally of a light colour and thus were camouflaged when they settled on the trunks of lichen-covered trees. But with the advent of industrial processes that polluted the air, the tree trunks became darker due to the lack of lichen and an increase in sooty deposits. Thus the moths stood out like the proverbial sore thumb and were rapidly picked off by the birds.
However, in time the moths responded by becoming darker to match the trunks and so they were camouflaged once more. Here we are told, is evolution in action! This is an example of a story that has universally been taken up and quite innocently repeated by advocates of evolution without themselves having investigated the subject. As is so frequent in this field, everyone else assumes that all the appropriate checks have been made.
In fact the darker form of moth existed well before the Industrial Revolution and all that happened was that the darker form later became more prominent. So it wasn’t a question of a new form developing – it was already there. In fact the dark form exists quite happily in rural situations as far apart as Scotland, Canada and New Zealand, where it suffers no disadvantage from its colour.
The experiments, first carried out by a scientist named Kettlewell in the 1950’s, are now regarded as suspect. What is not generally known is that some of the experiments were done in artificial conditions in an aviary. Unlike in the natural situation, specially bred moths were actually placed by the experimenters on the trunks within reach of the ground; then birds were filmed feeding on them. This is hardly what happens in the wild and when the experiments were repeated in natural conditions the results were variable. It is now recognised that the moths only fly by night when the birds are not active and in the daytime they conceal themselves high up amongst the foliage, rather than be sitting targets on the tree trunks.17 Moreover, when tests were actually carried out in woodland conditions, the results were very inconclusive.18
In addition, what of those pictures in the textbooks, such as the one reproduced here? One scientific paper describes how it was done. The pictures were not taken from nature, but dead moths were glued to the trees! 19 As a result of this re-evaluation of the subject, what was once described by one evolutionist as ‘the prize horse in our stable’ has now been discarded by many. An evolutionist says that when he realised this it gave him that same feeling as when he as a boy discovered Santa Claus was not real! 20 This is an outstanding example of what Professor P. Johnson describes as how ‘devotion to the ideology of Darwinism has led to textbooks full of misinformation’. 21
17 C.A.Clarke: ‘Evolution in reverse…’, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 26: 189-199,1985.
18 M.Bowden: ‘Science Vs Evolution,’ Appendix 3, pages 194-211 (Sovereign Publications, 1991).
19 D.R.Lees and E.R. Creed: ‘Journal of Animal Ecology,’ 44: 67-83,1975. J.Wells: ‘Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth (Regnery Publishing Inc. 2000).
20 J.A.Coyne: Nature 396(6706): 35,36.
21 Quoted by J.Wells: ‘Icons of Evolution’, back cover.
EVOLUTION AND FAITH
The above are just a few of the many arguments that can be advanced against the theory of evolution. It is true to say that, whilst evolutionists deride those who believe in specific creation for their faith, they do not realise that their theory has almost become a religion demanding even greater faith and unquestioned obedience from its followers. Charles Darwin, on his deathbed, was painfully aware of this. He is reported as then saying concerning his theory of evolution:
‘I was a young man, with unformed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time over everything. And to my astonishment the ideas took like wildfire. People made a religion of them.’ 22
So it has remained until now. Many who dare to point out the inconsistencies in the established belief in evolution, face the danger of ostracism and even fear for their livelihood.
It is true to say that the burden of proof demanded of other scientific disciplines seems not to be required in the case of so-called evidence for evolution. The wildest speculations and unproved theories are presented as facts to a public who do not have the background to critically test what they are being asked to believe.
Even some doctrinaire evolutionists accept the unavailability of the evidence. The following candid admission was made in an address to the American Museum of Natural History:
‘For over 20 years I thought I was working on evolution…[But] there was not one thing I knew about it…So for the last few weeks I’ve tried putting a simple question to various people and groups of people. Question is: ‘Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing, any one thing that is true?’ I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all I got there was silence for a long time; and eventually one person said, ‘Yes, I do know one thing – it ought not to be taught in high school.’ 23
Although belief in specific creation by an all-wise God requires faith, it is not the sort of faith that ignores the evidence. Instead it looks at the evidence and draws the entirely reasonable conclusion that blind chance could not have produced the complexity and variety of living things.
22 Bombay Guardian, 25.3.1916.
23 Colin Patterson, Quoted by Hank Hanegraaff: ‘The face that demonstrates the farce of Evolution’ page 44 (Word Publishing, Nashville, 1998).
CHRISTIANITY AND EVOLUTION
In the belief that evolution is a demonstrable scientific fact, many Christians have rejected the clear Bible teaching on creation, coining the terms ‘theistic evolution’ or ‘God-controlled evolution.’ They accept the evolutionary time scale and the myriad minute changes that eventually produced life in all its diversity, but believe that the whole process was originated and controlled by God. Those who subscribe to this view believe that the Bible’s record of creation should be regarded as an allegory. Yet Jesus, the one whose teaching all Christians claim to follow, believed in specific creation as recorded in the Old Testament. In answer to a query he said of the first human pair:
‘…Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female…?’[Matthew 19.4].
Also, in explaining the principles of Christian redemption, the New Testament writers treat the events described in the early chapters of Genesis as actual happenings. For example in a reference to Adam’s fall we read:
‘…by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin…’ [Romans 5.12].
In the New Testament we also learn that death can be removed by the work of Jesus:
‘For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous’ [Romans 5.19].
‘For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive’ [1 Corinthians 15.22].
Thus, the clear teaching of the Bible is that sin entered the world at a specific time as a direct result of one man’s offence and that sin can be removed by the work of Jesus. A Christian evolutionist must therefore have a different theology from that of Christ or the Apostle Paul.
It is salutary to note that even atheists recognise this is the only logical position for a Christian, as the words of one of them demonstrate:
‘Christianity is – must be! – totally committed to the special creation as described in Genesis, and Christianity must fight with its full might against the theory of evolution….It becomes clear now that the whole justification of Jesus’ life and death is predicated on the existence of Adam and the forbidden fruit he and Eve ate. Without the original sin, who needs to be redeemed? Without Adam’s fall into a life of constant sin terminated by death, what purpose is there to Christianity? None.’ 24
It is hoped that this booklet, although it only considers a small part of the evidence, has demonstrated that the theory of evolution is itself so flawed as to become untenable. Thus any conflict with Bible teaching is removed and wholehearted support can be given to its message of hope for us all.
24 G Richard Bozarth: ‘The Meaning of Evolution’, American Atheist (February 1978): 19,30