11 From Single Cells to Man – How?
Bible and Science – From Single Cells to Man – How?
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures (Gen. 1:20)
In the previous article, we examined the question of how life began. Now let us turn our attention to the progression from single cells to complex organisms. What is the mechanism that allowed single cells to assemble into mollusks, trees, reptiles and mammals?
The absent mechanism is the key
The evolutionist doesn’t tend to dwell much on mechanisms; they are more or less taken for granted! When an evolutionist is asked to specify the mechanism, the usual answer is to bluff his way through it by stating; though we don’t know the mechanism, the fact of evolution cannot be doubted. Lest you think I am misstating the evolutionist’s position, let me cite it in an evolutionist’s own words:
“Evolution:…In evolutionary biology, as in all active areas of research, there is lively debate among scientists. But such argument focuses on the mechanism by which evolution has taken place, not upon the concept of evolution itself…”1
This quote was copied by the author from an inscription accompanying an exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.2 This is what school children are being exposed to at virtually every natural history museum around the world.
In the physical sciences, to presume the fact of a theory without knowing the mechanism would make you the laughing stock of your profession. The plain fact is that no one knows how single cells presumably got the idea to assemble into large-scale organisms. The figure below is a schematic representation of approximately how the sequence of life was supposedly created. The question marks represent the principal “unknown” mechanism.
The first issue to consider is, namely, how did nature advance from individual chemical elements to the DNA/RNA building blocks of living cells that was considered in the previous article? The evolutionist’s argument in this case essentially rests on his contention that time was the hero, which is assuredly an argument based on faith, but not faith in a creator. Rather it is akin to the addicted gambler’s blind belief that he or she will always win a game of chance no matter what the odds. The faith of the evolutionist is based on the concept of “it happened” therefore blind chance must have made it occur (because believing in God is unacceptable to him). Moreover the evolutionist makes such an argument apparently oblivious to the fact that it is a religious argument made in reverse, i.e. faith here is built on the belief (as we have shown previously) that the physical laws of the universe somehow don’t apply, or are suspended for biological processes.
I do not mean to imply by this that there is no evidence at all for evolution or for natural selection for that matter. Of course there is, with such observations as the adaptability of certain moths to new environmental conditions being well known. However, using such short-term effects and extrapolating them to explain life on earth as we find it today is simply not legitimate. It is extremely poor science to take a little bit of data and press its application far outside the realm of observation. This is a ‘sin’ that is common in many an evolutionist’s arguments.
Geologic record confounds evolutionist’s theories
The second thing to think about is: how did individual cells assemble into even the simplest living creatures such as mollusks? The Bible says: And God said, ‘Let the water teem with living creatures’ (Gen. 1:20), so at least in this regard there seems to be agreement between the evolutionist’s views and the Biblical account; both consider the sea as the first nurturing place for life on this planet.
The Bible could have put man first and then claimed all things were then created for his pleasure; some ancient pagan beliefs actually had this as the order of things. Evolutionists often like to deride the first chapter of Genesis for its lack of details, but seldom (never!) give Moses credit (through revelation, of course) for essentially getting the order of things right.
The geological record clearly indicates that simple mollusk creatures, having hard shells similar to clams, have been found buried deep in the earth. Geological layers evidently date such creatures to hundreds of millions of years prior to our era. However, the startling fact is that evolutionists have been forced to admit in recent years, from careful examination of the fossil records, that many of these creatures appear to have hardly evolved at all over incredibly long periods of time. Indeed, some mollusks apparently exist in the sea today virtually unchanged in nature from those found in geological layers appearing to be millions upon millions of years old. This is in direct conflict with the Darwinist idea of gradual upwardly mobile improvement in species.
In fact, this idea of upward mobility of a species was epitomized by the famous display that many Natural History Museums (including New York) had assembled. This display had a series of fossils showing the supposed evolutionary history of the horse that progressed from a small creature, not much bigger than a small dog, which eventually got bigger and bigger with time and had its feet change from toed to hooved. This purportedly proved the concept of gradual evolution of a species. Claims of this sort are still made and unashamedly repeated in respected reference books, for example the World Book encyclopedia says:
…the earliest horse, called Eohippus or Hyracotherium, stood only 10 to 20 inches (25 to 50 centimeters) high at the shoulder and had four toes on each of its front feet. Through fossils, scientists have traced a chain of about 30 species over 60 million years from Eohippus to the modern horse. Each species has slightly different features, such as a bigger body and fewer toes, from its extinct ancestors.3
This all sounds very convincing, and if you have ever seen an exhibit of this hypothetical fossil progression of the horse you would have noted how impressed most of the crowd of onlookers appears to be. There is only one problem; the whole thing is entirely fallacious! It has recently been reported that the exhibit was severely criticized by evolutionary biologists and it has been subsequently dismantled.4 The focus of the criticism was that the fossils were not truly linear in time, some of the smaller ones apparently were dated later than the bigger ones (in complete contradiction to the usual evolutionary gradual improvement notion) and some fossils were eventually found to not be of the line related to horses, but rather to other species. Unfortunately, evolutionary evidence seems to be replete with cases of great exaggeration, wishful thinking, or outright fraud such as with Piltdown man.5
The modern view for explaining the origin of species is to attribute such to the evolution of DNA with the mechanism being mutation. The idea behind mutation is that the chemical sequences inherent in the genes associated with the DNA in the living cell are altered by some external means thus changing the genetic code producing new variant life forms. To test this mechanism Edward Lewis and co-workers6 at California Institute of Technology performed a series of experiments irradiating fruit flies. The fruit fly, drosophila melanogaster, presents a relatively simple case of having only 8 chromosomes (4 pair), compared to 46 (23 pair) for humans that carry the genetic material controlling the inherited traits of a species. These chromosomes in humans contain about 30,000 genes, which define our inherited features, while in fruit flies about 13,000 genes suffice, again simplifying investigations. Fruit flies also live relatively brief life spans of a day or two; hence thousands of generations can be bred and studied over relatively short periods of time.
These experiments did indeed alter the genetic material of fruit flies producing all sorts of abnormalities, including extra body parts, larger eyes, wings with different segments and so on, but the critical issue is that nothing other than an abnormal fruit fly ever came out of all these observations. The fruit fly did not evolve into a beetle, or a bee, or any other species. In fact, the sad feature of all these experiments was that altering the genetic code by mutation only seems to produce freaks of nature. Lewis eventually won the Nobel Prize, but not for helping to prove the theory of evolution, rather because his research contributed to understanding the nature of human birth defects.
Mechanism of change remains a puzzle
The lack of success of controlled experiments to explore how mutations in the DNA genetic structure could cause species to evolve into other species hasn’t apparently dulled the enthusiasm of evolutionists to cite it as the responsible mechanism. To cite their own writing, without any tinkering or paraphrasing on my part, is illuminating. Consider, for example, an extract from a very popular book on evolutionary biology, which states:
[How] Can we account for the sudden appearance of so many fundamentally different kinds of animals – the basic phyla? And why did the variety of animals within each phylum rocket so steeply upward? Scientists would like to know…
What happens when animals flood an empty ecological space is a sequence well known in life’s history. Not only individuals, but also species, begin to climb at a geometric rate: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 …. As Geerat Vermeij puts it, new species are basically accidents that happen as populations of individuals adapt to local environments.7
A few years later in a similar vein the well-known evolutionist, Richard Dawkins, in an article in Scientific American claimed that it was DNA that evolved to adapt to local environmental changes, the mechanism that made the DNA respond was unspecified.8
Thus according to evolutionists the mechanism for the origin of species is either basically an accident or an unspecified magical response that is somehow inherent in DNA. Remarkably, evolutionists pose these ideas as scientific without even blushing! Yet when Bible believers express their trust in the origin of life, and of all things living, to the power of God, evolutionists accuse them of being illogical and unscientific.
After his kind
What is the mechanism for the origin of complex living organisms that is presented in the Bible? Let us consider from the viewpoint of the scriptures how very complex living organisms, especially mankind, came into existence. The narrative isn’t very detailed but it is explicit; it says, for example, considering plant life: And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind (Gen. 1:12). With regard to animal life it is recorded: after his kind (Gen. 1:21, 24, 25). Finally, with respect to humans, it says we were created in the image of the elohim9 (Gen. 1:26, 27).
The Bible reveals life is not an accident, but resulted from a process of design carried out by the angelic host in whose image humanity was created. The reference to after his kind makes it clear that each species, though patterned on a master blueprint of DNA, had specific variations in the chromosome/genetic structure that makes it unique. This explains why fruit flies have 8 chromosomes and humans 46.
This was not an accident, but a deliberate design programmed into the cell nucleus of the given species. The Apostle Paul further elaborates on the uniqueness of species: But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another (I Cor. 15:38, 39 – NIV). The Bible mechanism for the origin of complex life forms is simple: God determined the structure of the DNA and each life form was given a uniquely specific pattern.
Which belief makes more sense?
We have a choice of what to believe on the origin of complex life forms: we can either accept that everything happened by accident or by specific design of the Almighty God. Please be aware that when we say accident, we don’t just mean one oddball lucky shot in the dark, as it were, because there are millions of species on planet earth. Every single species would require an accidental modification of the DNA structure for that species to have evolved. Hence if we assume the evolutionist’s mechanism, we need to accept the idea of not one, but literally millions, of accidents having occurred to explain the myriad of life forms now present on earth. This is just too farfetched for my taste; I prefer a simple elegant explanation as given in the words of the Apostle John:
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Rev. 4:11).
By John C. Bilello, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Next, Lord willing, The creation of man.
1 My underlining.
2 Copied sometime in the early 1980’s on a CYC field trip to that museum.
3 World Book Encyclopedia, Electronic Edition©, Article by Peter Dodson, Ph.D., Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania.
4 If someone lives near a Natural History Museum which has or had such an exhibit I’d be interested in knowing how it is represented today.
5 A fossil remains found between 1908 and 1912 in a gravel pit near Sussex, England dated to 300,000 BC and supposedly being the missing link between man and ape. Later found to be a complete hoax.
6 Edward B. Lewis, Professor Emeritus California Institute of Technology, shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his research on fruit flies.
7 Cited from: The Book of Life, editor Stephen Jay Gould, W. Norton & Co, NY, (1993), pgs. 56-57. My underlining of phrase: “basically accidents”.
8 Richard Dawkins, Scientific American, (1997).
9 Here the Hebrew word is elohiym, el-o-heem´;which is plural of elowahh; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used here with reference to the angels who carried out the work of creation through the power vested in them by the Almighty God.