By Dr. Jason Lisle (original source here)
Recently, someone sent me a link to an article appearing in Scientific American – a popular science magazine. The article is entitled “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense.” The article was extremely revealing, but not in the way the author probably intended. The article exhibited a very common problem we often see among evolutionists: ignorance of creation literature. Creationists have written literally thousands of peer-reviewed publications showing how modern scientific discoveries confirm creation and biblical history. These range from layman-level articles, to highly technical scientific publications.
Unfortunately, most evolutionists are too intellectually lazy to read these. Consequently, the majority of evolutionists are badly uninformed about creation.
Not only are they uninformed about creation, but most evolutionists are misinformed. They have heard other evolutionists claim that creation scientists believe a particular thing, but they didn’t bother to check. Instead, most simply repeat the claim and the myth is reinforced rather than corrected. This tends to result in straw-man fallacies. Namely, an evolutionist will misrepresent what creationists claim, and then refute that misrepresentation. Indeed, most of the article’s criticisms are against a position that no informed creation scientist holds. They are not claims that are published and defended in peer-reviewed creation technical literature. So, far from refuting creationist “nonsense”, the critic has actually merely revealed his profound ignorance of the topic.
Second, the article reveals another problem commonly found among the most ardent defenders of particles-to-people evolution: a lack of critical thinking skills. Let’s face it. When it comes to origins, evolutionists simply don’t reason rationally or scientifically. They might reason very well when it comes to other areas of thinking. But for some reason, when it comes to origins, logic seems to disappear. We see several examples of this in the article. So, let’s examine the article’s claims, and see if they (1) fairly represent what creation scientists teach, and (2) stand up to rational scrutiny. I will put the article in purple font, with my comments in black.
The problems begin with the article’s subtitle:
Opponents of evolution want to make a place for creationism by tearing down real science, but their arguments don’t hold up.
This subtitle contains the first straw-man fallacy: it claims that creationists are against science – indeed that creationists are “tearing down” science. This is false. As a creationist, I really like science! I like it so much that I spent years in graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in astrophysics. Furthermore, most of the active researchers in creation science have a Ph.D. in science, such as Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson, Dr. Georgia Purdom, Dr. Tim Clarey, Dr. Andrew Snelling, Dr. Danny Faulkner, Dr. Russ Humphreys, Dr. John Hartnett, to name just a few. If they are so anti-science, then why do they spend their lives doing science?
Students of logic will also recognize the “no true Scotsman” fallacy in the critic’s subtitle. Note the phrase “real science.” Presumably the critic wants us to think that his position is scientific and the creationist position is not. And he tries to persuade by simply redefining “true science” as that which corresponds to his beliefs. But anyone could apply that rhetorical trick. I could say, “real science is creation science” and that would have no more logical weight than the critic’s assertion.
We also see an example of the question-begging epithet fallacy. This is the fallacy of using rhetoric in place of logic to persuade someone. One such epithet is subtle: evolution is contrasted with creationism. The addition of the ‘ism’ on ‘creation’ but not ‘evolution’ rhetorically suggests that creation is a belief, whereas evolution is not. But no logical argument is made for this, and nothing could be further from the truth. It is empty rhetoric, without any logical merit.
When Charles Darwin introduced the theory of evolution through natural selection 143 years ago, the scientists of the day argued over it fiercely, but the massing evidence from paleontology, genetics, zoology, molecular biology and other fields gradually established evolution’s truth beyond reasonable doubt.
Here we have the fallacy of elephant-hurling. Rather than providing actual evidence for Darwinian evolution, the critic simply claims that there is overwhelming evidence for it, and lists many fields of science. This would be acceptable if he later gave specific examples from these fields that establish his claim. But he doesn’t. His attempt to persuade is mere rhetoric with no logical merit.
Note that the kind of evolution we are discussing here is the kind Darwin believed in – that all organisms on earth are descended from a common ancestor through progressive modification over billions of years. We might call this “Darwinian evolution.”
It is also sometimes called “neo-Darwinian evolution” (since this includes the specifics of mutations and genes which Darwin did not know). It is significant that we do not mean “evolution” in some generic sense of change. Rather, we are debating a very specific claim about how organisms change.
Today that battle has been won everywhere–except in the public imagination. Embarrassingly, in the 21st century, in the most scientifically advanced nation the world has ever known, …
It doesn’t seem to even occur to the critic that there might be a connection. Could it be that the reason the United States is so scientifically advanced is because we employ creationist thinking? The creationist presumes the world is upheld by the mind of God, so we expect to find patterns in nature. The creationist believes his senses and mind were designed by God, and therefore have the capacity to learn about nature. These biblical convictions justify our faith in science. But if the universe were just an accident, if our senses are merely the result of accidental mutations, why expect science to work?
…creationists can still persuade politicians, judges and ordinary citizens that evolution is a flawed, poorly supported fantasy.
Again, we see a question-begging epithet fallacy. Presumably, we’re supposed to think, “how terrible that people can be convinced that evolution is a poorly supported fantasy!” But that would only be a problem if evolution were not a poorly supported fantasy. Second, notice that the critic does not mention the many scientists that have been persuaded that evolution is a poorly supported fantasy. But if he mentioned that, it might be harder to maintain his façade that science somehow supports Darwinian evolution.
They lobby for creationist ideas such as “intelligent design” to be taught as alternatives to evolution in science classrooms.
There are several problems here. First, there is a whopping big difference between biblical creation, and the intelligent design movement; yet the critic does not distinguish between these two. Most of the creation scientists I know are not affiliated with the intelligent design movement. Creation scientists like myself are not primarily concerned with applying political pressure to get alternatives to evolution taught in secular schools. Neither are we opposed to this. It is simply not our focus.
Also, it seems to me it is the evolutionists primarily who apply political pressure to disallow any discussion of creation in public science classrooms. They want to make sure that only their beliefs are taught. This smacks of desperation. Is the evolutionist’s position really so weak that its advocates must use political pressure, rather than scientific evidence, to persuade students?
As this article goes to press, the Ohio Board of Education is debating whether to mandate such a change. Some antievolutionists, such as Philip E. Johnson, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and author of Darwin on Trial, admit that they intend for intelligent-design theory to serve as a “wedge” for reopening science classrooms to discussions of God.
How terrible that discussions of God should be allowed in the science classroom! At least, I get the impression that this is what the critic wants us to think. But if God exists (and He does), and if He is the one that makes science possible (and He is), would it be so wrong for students to learn this? It seems to me that if the evidence for evolution were so overwhelming, then teachers would welcome the opportunity to show the competing position, expose students to the scientific evidence, and then let them draw the obvious conclusion.
When I teach astronomy and that the planets orbit the sun, I do expose my students to the other views, and the evidence by which those views were eventually falsified. That’s what science is all about. It is a systematic method, not just a series of beliefs. I can only presume that the evolutionists’ political campaign to suppress all discussion of creation in science classrooms stems from the fact that they do know on some level that the evolutionary view is scientifically bankrupt. Why else try to “protect it” from the careful, rational, scientific scrutiny that all fields of science must pass?
Besieged teachers and others may increasingly find themselves on the spot to defend evolution and refute creationism.
Again, we see the question-begging epithet fallacy. How terrible that these poor “besieged” teachers should have to defend their belief in evolution! But wait just a moment. Isn’t science all about showing logically from evidence why we believe what we believe? Isn’t science a process of eliminating competing hypothesis by observation and experimentation? Yes, science teachers should be ready to defend what they teach. I encourage my students to ask questions, to ask how we know what we know. If you just teach students facts, but not how we came to learn these facts, then you are not really teaching science at all. If you cannot defend what you teach, then how do you know that it is really true? To insist that students must accept what is taught without question or discussion of alternatives is not science. It is the definition of brainwashing.
The arguments that creationists use are typically specious and based on misunderstandings of (or outright lies about) evolution, but the number and diversity of the objections can put even well-informed people at a disadvantage.
Let the irony sink in. The critic alleges that the arguments creationists use are faulty. Yet (1) his own arguments so far have been fallacious. And (2) he is clearly not aware of the arguments that creationists use as his straw-man fallacies above and below show.
To help with answering them, the following list rebuts some of the most common “scientific” arguments raised against evolution. It also directs readers to further sources for information and explains why creation science has no place in the classroom.
We would expect now to read a list of the most common creation arguments put forth by the top creation scientists, along with references to the source. That would be the scholarly approach. Is this what we will find?
1. [Creationists claim that] Evolution is only a theory. It is not a fact or a scientific law.
Sadly, the critic starts with a straw-man argument – a misrepresentation of what creation scientists teach. Creation scientists do not claim that “evolution is only a theory.” In fact, most of us would say that evolution is not a theory at all because a theory has some supporting evidence. Darwinian evolution does not. We refer to evolution as a conjecture or speculation about the past.
Unfortunately, some people have said things like “evolution is only a theory” – by which they mean something that is not proved or established. But a “theory” in science is something that has supporting evidence, which evolution does not. This is why informed creation scientists do not say this, and we are on record as saying people should not say that “evolution is only a theory.”  So it is unethical for the critic to take this as the creationist position on the issue, when in fact our position is the opposite.
Many people learned in elementary school that a theory falls in the middle of a hierarchy of certainty–above a mere hypothesis but below a law. Scientists do not use the terms that way, however. According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a scientific theory is “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.”
Notice that Darwinian evolution does not fall under this definition of “theory” because it is not well-substantiated. Granted, evolutionists will claim that it is, but this begs the question. We haven’t yet heard a cogent argument for evolution.
No amount of validation changes a theory into a law, which is a descriptive generalization about nature. So when scientists talk about the theory of evolution–or the atomic theory or the theory of relativity, for that matter–they are not expressing reservations about its truth.
This is true. And this is why informed creationists do not call evolution a theory, as the critic falsely claims. The theories of relativity and atoms each have supporting scientific evidence that falsifies their main competitors. That is not the case with Darwinian evolution. To call evolution a theory would elevate it to a level it does not deserve.
In addition to the theory of evolution, meaning the idea of descent with modification,…
Whoa! Here the critic makes an enormous and obvious error in reasoning: the equivocation fallacy. This fallacy occurs when a person changes the meaning of a word without notice within an argument.
The critic had been discussing evolution in the sense of Darwin’s idea that all organisms are descended from a common ancestor, which creationists reject. But now he suddenly switches the meaning of evolution to “descent with modification” – which creationists accept. Yes, organisms today are not identical to their ancestors. They have descended from the original kinds, and are modified from those kinds. So, yes to descent with modification; but this does not remotely prove that all organisms are descended from a common ancestor.
By analogy, suppose a creationist said to an evolutionist, “Do you believe that houses are created by human beings?” Presumably the evolutionist would say “yes.” Suppose the creationist responded, “See, you believe in creation then. You believe that houses are created, which makes you a creationist.” Now, would that be ethical? Did this hypothetical creationist really prove creation in the biblical sense by pointing out a different type of creation? If not, then neither does “descent with modification” prove evolution in the Darwinian sense.
Evolutionists may believe that one kind of change eventually leads to the other. But that is the very claim at issue.
…one may also speak of the fact of evolution. The NAS defines a fact as “an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and for all practical purposes is accepted as ‘true.’”
This is another rhetorical trick. When the evidence for your position isn’t there, just start calling it a “fact.” Notice that the critic here embraces the NAS definition of ‘fact’ as an observation repeatedly confirmed. Remember this, because he will refute his own position shortly.
The fossil record and abundant other evidence testify that organisms have evolved through time.
No, they really, really don’t. And note that the critic did not give a single example. That’s because he cannot. The fossil record shows variation within a kind – exactly as biblical creation predicts. The overwhelming rule we see in fossils is variation within kinds; fossil organisms are classified into the standard taxonomic categories (phylum, class, order, family, etc.). In the Darwinian evolution model, organisms are in a constant state of flux, and so we really should find organisms that cannot be taxonomically labeled because they do not fit into any one phylum, or class, etc. As one example, where are the organisms that are 40% invertebrate, 60% vertebrate? Granted, evolutionists will always cite a handful of disputed specimens, which are inevitably refuted in a few years. But the fossil record as a whole certainly does not support Darwinian evolution. For an excellent analysis of the fossil evidence, see Dr. Duane Gish’s book: Evolution: the fossils still say no.
Although no one observed those transformations,…
Previously, the critic had cited the NAS definition of fact as an observation repeatedly confirmed. And he stated that evolution is a fact. But here he admits that no one has observed these transformations. Therefore, if he were being logical, he ought to conclude that evolution is not a fact.
…the indirect evidence is clear, unambiguous and compelling.
It is clear that Darwinian evolution has not occurred, at least not on earth. Certainly, we would not conclude evolution on the basis of fossils. Fossils invariably confirm variation within a kind.
All sciences frequently rely on indirect evidence. Physicists cannot see subatomic particles directly, for instance, so they verify their existence by watching for telltale tracks that the particles leave in cloud chambers. The absence of direct observation does not make physicists’ conclusions less certain.
Here the critic commits the fallacy of false analogy. Namely, he attempts to link his belief in Darwinian evolution to sciences like particle physics, presumably to convince the reader that these are in the same category: that evolution is as much science as particle physics. After all, both rely on indirect evidence. Right? But a moment’s thought reveals the critical difference: particle physics can be tested in the present. If two physicists disagree on the properties of a subatomic particle, they can devise a test, the results of which will confirm or falsify one of the competing hypotheses. But notice that evolution in the particles-to-people sense is supposed to be a past event. There is no way to observe or experiment on the past because it’s gone.
Furthermore, to the extent that we can test evolution in contrast to biblical creation based on indirect evidence, evolution fails. Variation within kinds is the rule of the fossil record, not continuous evolution between the kinds.
2. [Creationists claim that] Natural selection is based on circular reasoning: the fittest are those who survive, and those who survive are deemed fittest.
Here again we have another straw-man fallacy. No informed creationist denies the usefulness of natural selection. Though “survival of the fittest” is somewhat tautological, it is nonetheless a useful concept. Indeed, it is a creationist concept proposed by Edward Blyth. Creationists have claimed that we should not say that natural selection is useless since it is based on circular reasoning – the exact opposite of what the critic claims we say.
“Survival of the fittest” is a conversational way to describe natural selection, but a more technical description speaks of differential rates of survival and reproduction. That is, rather than labeling species as more or less fit, one can describe how many offspring they are likely to leave under given circumstances. Drop a fast-breeding pair of small-beaked finches and a slower-breeding pair of large-beaked finches onto an island full of food seeds. Within a few generations the fast breeders may control more of the food resources. Yet if large beaks more easily crush seeds, the advantage may tip to the slow breeders.
In a pioneering study of finches on the Galpagos Islands, Peter R. Grant of Princeton University observed these kinds of population shifts in the wild [see his article “Natural Selection and Darwin’s Finches”; Scientific American, October 1991].
True. Finches remain finches. This is a good example of the biblical concepts of variation within a kind and natural selection. But it lends no support whatsoever for particles-to-people evolution.
The key is that adaptive fitness can be defined without reference to survival: large beaks are better adapted for crushing seeds, irrespective of whether that trait has survival value under the circumstances.
No. The organism is fit if it survives. If the finch has a great beak for crushing seeds, but a fatal heart defect, then it isn’t really fit, is it? Survival of the fittest is indeed somewhat tautological, and nonetheless useful and true. The same could be said of other useful concepts in science, such as mass and force.
Mass is a resistance to acceleration under a force. Whereas force is that which causes a mass to accelerate. It’s hard to define one without the other, and yet the concepts are useful.
3. [Creationists claim that] Evolution is unscientific, because it is not testable or falsifiable. It makes claims about events that were not observed and can never be re-created.
This a partial straw-man argument because I would indeed claim that particles-to-people evolution is unscientific in the sense of operational or observational science. Like many words, ‘science’ has a range of meanings, including ‘forensic science’ in which we attempt to reconstruct past events using scientific principles. Evolution could fall under the category of forensic science. But it is quite true that evolution is not science in the same way as particle physics, or quantum mechanics because indeed it is not observed and cannot be tested in the present.
This blanket dismissal of evolution…
Here the critic commits another severe straw-man fallacy. Creation scientists do not dismiss evolution solely on the basis that it is not scientific. The reason is obvious: not all truth is scientific truth. Something can be true, and yet inaccessible to scientific testing.
For example, the early history of the United States cannot be tested by scientific means (observation and experimentation in the present). Should we therefore simply “dismiss” recorded history on the basis that it is not scientific? Clearly not. Neither do we dismiss Darwinian evolution on the basis that it cannot be scientifically demonstrated in the present. In fact, we don’t casually “dismiss” particles-to-people evolution at all. Rather, we reject it for logically sound reasons; it is contrary to recorded history and basic principles of science (such as those of information theory).
…ignores important distinctions that divide the field into at least two broad areas: microevolution and macroevolution.
At this point, the critic begins a large, yet irrelevant diatribe into what he believes is an important distinction in terms of what creationists believe about evolution: namely, whether changes in organisms are big or small.
In reality, informed creationists reject the terminology “microevolution” and “macroevolution” because (contrary to the critic’s allegation), we are not concerned about the amount of change, but rather its direction.
Microevolution looks at changes within species over time–changes that may be preludes to speciation, the origin of new species.
Macroevolution studies how taxonomic groups above the level of species change. Its evidence draws frequently from the fossil record and DNA comparisons to reconstruct how various organisms may be related.
The issue of microevolution vs. macroevolution is a red-herring fallacy: a distraction from the relevant issue. Remember, the question at issue is whether Darwinian evolution has occurred – whether all organisms are descended from a common ancestor. The question is not whether organisms have changed. We all agree they have. Creationists agree that changes occur below the species level, and above the species level (though the organism still remains the same created kind). The critic can call that “microevolution” and “macroevolution” if he wishes, but this is utterly irrelevant to Darwinian evolution.
These days even most creationists acknowledge that microevolution has been upheld by tests in the laboratory (as in studies of cells, plants and fruit flies) and in the field (as in Grant’s studies of evolving beak shapes among Galpagos finches). Natural selection and other mechanisms–such as chromosomal changes, symbiosis and hybridization–can drive profound changes in populations over time.
These observed changes are predicted within the creation model. The creation model also predicts that changes within kinds can result in speciation: when a group of organisms no longer normally interbreeds with another group of organisms within the same created kind. This has been observed. The critic calls this “macroevolution,” but it is expected within the biblical creation model. The problem for Darwinian evolution is that neither type of these changes could possibly result in one kind of organism becoming another kind.
In order for single-celled life like bacteria to eventually become people as Darwin proposed, the organisms would have to gain brand new genetic information. The kinds of changes we observe scientifically, however, reduce the genetic information, or are perhaps neutral. This loss in information results in changes in the organism: sometimes small changes, and sometimes quite large changes. But the changes are inevitably in the wrong direction to drive Darwinian evolution. That is why the critic’s diatribe here is utterly irrelevant to the issue at hand. It’s not about the amount of change (micro vs. macro), but the direction of change (information increasing or decreasing).
The historical nature of macroevolutionary study involves inference from fossils and DNA rather than direct observation.
Actually, based on the critic’s definition of macroevolution as “how taxonomic groups above the level of species change,” we can study this in the present. Speciation does occur today and has been documented. Unfortunately for the critic, when such changes are studied on the molecular level, they always involve a reduction in genetic information. As I mentioned previously from fossil evidence we could never rationally conclude Darwinian evolution, because fossils inevitably show variation within kinds, but not between kinds.
But what about DNA? The critic here asserts that DNA somehow supports Darwinian evolution. But we have seen here that it really doesn’t. So if fossils don’t help the case for Darwinian evolution, and if the science of genetics doesn’t support it, what exactly is the critic’s evidence for evolution?
Yet in the historical sciences (which include astronomy, geology and archaeology, as well as evolutionary biology)…
Did you catch the question-begging epithet fallacy? The critic here hopes to promote “evolutionary biology” to the level of science by associating it with actual sciences like astronomy, geology, and archaeology. But he hasn’t provided any actual evidence for this. Contrary to his claim that these are all historical sciences, astronomy, geology, and archaeology all study the present world. Certainly, scientists in each of these three fields will use observations and evidence in the present to (in some cases) draw conclusions about the past – particularly in archaeology.
Nonetheless, these fields are primarily operational science – the study of how the universe works today. “Evolutionary biology” isn’t. Evolution in the particles-to-people sense, is not something we can observe happening today.
…, hypotheses can still be tested by checking whether they accord with physical evidence and whether they lead to verifiable predictions about future discoveries. For instance, evolution implies that between the earliest-known ancestors of humans (roughly five million years old) and the appearance of anatomically modern humans (about 100,000 years ago), one should find a succession of hominid creatures with features progressively less apelike and more modern, …
Overlooking the critic’s assumptions about fossil ages, his description of what evolution predicts is pretty good.
…which is indeed what the fossil record shows.
Wrong. And notice that the critic provided no evidence or references to support his assertion. The fossil record does not show a “succession of hominid creatures with features progressively less apelike and more modern.” No informed paleontologist would make such a claim, and the critic obviously has not studied this issue at all.
On the contrary, we find apes in the fossil record with distinctive ape features, and we find human fossils with distinctive human features. The “succession of progressively less apelike features” exists only in the critic’s mind.
For example, human rib cages are shaped differently from apes. Humans have an extension on the skull that forms the upper part of the nose; apes don’t. The bones forming human hips are forward pointing, allowing easy upright walking; ape hips point sideways.
The shape of the arc of human teeth is different from ape teeth, and humans have relatively small molars, whereas ape molars are quite large. These are just some of the differences. And whenever we find a well-articulated fossil specimen, it is clearly one or the other. Marvin Lubenow documents the fossil evidence of primates in his excellent book Bones of Contention.
But one should not–and does not–find modern human fossils embedded in strata from the Jurassic period (144 million years ago).
The critic here makes a whopping big mistake that is frequent with people unfamiliar with science: failure to consider the null hypothesis. In science, we distinguish between two competing hypotheses by performing an experiment. The experiment is only useful if the hypothesis under investigation makes a different prediction from its competitor. Perhaps an example will clarify.
Suppose Jim claims that a particular chemical makes a plant grow faster and larger than those around it. But Jenny claims the chemical actually makes the plants around the treated plant grow slower and smaller. They decide to test their competing ideas by planting two identical seeds next to each other, treating one with the chemical and leaving the other untreated. After some time, they observe the results. They find that the treated plant is taller than the one next to it, just as both Jim and Jenny predicted. Jim claims this supports his hypothesis, but Jenny claims that this result supports her hypothesis. Does it really support one over the other?
The problem with that experiment is that it does not distinguish between the two hypotheses because they both make the same prediction about the outcome: the treated plant will be taller than the untreated plant.
Likewise, evolutionists often claim that a particular observation supports their hypothesis because it matches their prediction, when in reality the creation model makes exactly the same prediction. For example, since DNA codes for traits, we creationists expect that organisms with similar traits would have similar DNA.
Strangely, evolutionists argue that similarities in DNA of similar organisms supports the notion of common descent, since it also makes this prediction. But since both models make the same prediction, the observation does not confirm one over the other.
So the critic here suggests that lack of human fossils in Jurassic strata confirms Darwinian evolution. But did he bother to check what creationists predict regarding the order in the fossil record?
Clearly not, because he would have quickly learned that creation scientists also predict that human fossils will not typically be found in Jurassic strata. Creation scientists are convinced that most of the strata above the Precambrian were deposited during the global flood described in Genesis 6-8. The flood happened in stages, and hence, there will be an order to the fossils.
Organisms that live at lower elevations tended to be buried at lower elevations and less-mobile organisms tend to be buried lower than more-mobile creatures that can flee to higher ground. Since human beings are land-dwelling creatures, and very mobile, we expect them to be buried in the highest strata – which of course they are.
Evolutionary biology routinely makes predictions far more refined and precise than this, and researchers test them constantly.
The problem for evolution is this: to the extent that Darwinian evolution makes correct predictions, it makes the same predictions as biblical creation. And to the extent that Darwinian evolution makes predictions different from biblical creation, they inevitably turn out to be wrong.
Evolution could be disproved in other ways, too. If we could document the spontaneous generation of just one complex life-form from inanimate matter…
Did the critic just suggest that observing the spontaneous generation of complex life would disprove evolution? Isn’t spontaneous generation a requirement of evolution? The critic here is attempting to show that evolution is falsifiable. But he does so by giving a criterion that would actually tend to vindicate evolution rather than falsify it! Those who reject creation and embrace evolution must believe that the first life form was indeed spontaneously generated from inanimate matter. The fact that this has never been documented despite repeated attempts would tend to discount evolution. Yet, here the critic attempts to use this lack of evidence in support of evolution!
Basically, if we could show life coming from non-life, then that would be great support for evolution. And if we cannot show life coming from non-life, then according to this critic, that would be even better support for evolution! When the evidence used to support a model would be even better if it were the exact opposite, you know you are dealing with someone who is not thinking rationally.
…, then at least a few creatures seen in the fossil record might have originated this way. If superintelligent aliens appeared and claimed credit for creating life on earth (or even particular species), the purely evolutionary explanation would be cast in doubt. But no one has yet produced such evidence.
The critic here has implicitly committed the bifurcation fallacy. Namely, he presents us with two options and refutes the one, thinking it will prove the other, when in fact the correct option is not listed. We are given a choice between super-intelligent aliens creating life on earth, and Darwinian evolution. But the critic excludes creation by God without making any logical case that such a possibility should be excluded. This is a particularly embarrassing oversight considering creation by God is the main competitor to Darwinian evolution. This “heads I win, tails you lose” trick might work on children. It would be disappointing to see an adult fall for it.
When we substitute the correct option into the critic’s statement, the error becomes clear. “If God appeared and claimed credit for creating life on earth (or even a particular species), the purely evolutionary explanation would be cast in doubt.”
Well, I have news for you. God has appeared (John 1:1, 14), and has claimed credit for creating life on earth (Genesis 1:21,25,27). Therefore, evolution should be cast into doubt by the critic’s own reasoning.
It should be noted that the idea of falsifiability as the defining characteristic of science originated with philosopher Karl Popper in the 1930s. More recent elaborations on his thinking have expanded the narrowest interpretation of his principle precisely because it would eliminate too many branches of clearly scientific endeavor.
Exactly which branches of science would be eliminated by requiring falsifiable hypotheses? As far as I can tell: none. Physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology all make testable hypotheses.
Experimentation and observation are the key distinctive features of science precisely because they allow us to falsify a hypothesis. That is in fact how science progresses. Without falsifiability, science would become indistinguishable from conjecture.
The necessity of testing a hypothesis scientifically long predates Popper. Some would say the basic idea goes back to Aristotle. It seems like the critic here really does know on some level that Darwinian evolution is not scientific in the observationally testable sense, and is not genuinely falsifiable by scientific means. Rather than admit that his belief is not scientific, he instead attempts to redefine science. We’re not falling for it.
4. [Creationists claim that] Increasingly, scientists doubt the truth of evolution.
Exactly which creationists say this, and what is the context? The critic provides no documentation to back up his claim, so it is hard to evaluate. However, many scientists that are creationists today started out as evolutionists. So it is certainly true for many individual scientists, they increasingly doubted the truth of evolution. I know many of them. Whether the ratio of scientists who doubt evolution to the total number of scientists has increased or decreased in the last decade is hard to evaluate objectively.
No evidence suggests that evolution is losing adherents. Pick up any issue of a peer-reviewed biological journal, and you will find articles that support and extend evolutionary studies or that embrace evolution as a fundamental concept.
Virtually all public schools teach evolution as if it were fact, and most scientists attended public schools. So it is hardly surprising that they believe what they have been taught from kindergarten. But very few evolutionist scientists have honestly considered creation. Most scientists simply assume that evolution is true because it is what most of the other scientists accept.
They have been trained to think in terms of evolution to the extent that they cannot fairly consider anything else. Like this critic, most evolutionists have not read the creationist literature, and are misinformed about what creation scientists actually state.
Furthermore, contrary to the critic’s suggestion, there are indeed peer-reviewed biological papers that refute Darwinian evolution. More on that below.
Conversely, serious scientific publications disputing evolution are all but nonexistent.
…except of course for all those hundreds and hundreds that do exist, like papers found in the Answers Research Journal, the Creation Research Society Quarterly, the Proceedings for the International Conference on Creationism, or the Journal of Creation, not to mention those others that occasionally find their way into secular publications. Sure, nonexistent – except for the literally hundreds upon hundreds that do exist.
Clearly, the critic’s statement is simply false. He may not agree with the conclusions of those papers. But it is dishonest of him to claim that they do not exist. Nor would we be fooled by the No True Scotsman fallacy if the critic wants to redefine ‘serious’ as “those conforming to his beliefs”.
In the mid-1990s George W. Gilchrist of the University of Washington surveyed thousands of journals in the primary literature, seeking articles on intelligent design or creation science. Among those hundreds of thousands of scientific reports, he found none. In the past two years, surveys done independently by Barbara Forrest of Southeastern Louisiana University and Lawrence M. Krauss of Case Western Reserve University have been similarly fruitless.
Sure none… except of course for those hundreds of articles found in the technical, peer-reviewed journals such as the Answers Research Journal, the Creation Research Society Quarterly, the Proceedings from the International Conference on Creationism, and the Journal of Creation. And those are just the technical journals that are dedicated to biblical (i.e. “young earth”) creation, not including others that promote intelligent design in a generic sense. Clearly, this critic has not done his homework on this issue at all. In any case, the critic’s claim is demonstrably false.
Creationists retort that a closed-minded scientific community rejects their evidence.
Actually, creation scientists are part of the scientific community. And we do not reject the abundant evidence for creation. It is evolutionists who often dismiss evidence for creation out-of-hand. Sadly, this often extends even to evolutionists who are scientists.
Yet according to the editors of Nature, Science and other leading journals, few antievolution manuscripts are even submitted.
Nature and Science are controlled primarily by evolutionist editors who tenaciously guard their belief in evolution by rejecting any papers that would dare come against their sacred cow. Wouldn’t it be rather stupid for creationists to continue to try and publish papers in anti-science journals that are known for dismissing evidence for creation out of hand? Furthermore, we prefer journals that are committed to scientific integrity, rather than defending a belief in evolution.
Some antievolution authors have published papers in serious journals.
Doesn’t that contradict what the critic wrote just a few sentences earlier? Did he not write that “George W. Gilchrist … surveyed thousands of journals in the primary literature, seeking articles on intelligent design or creation science…. he found none.” In just those few sentences, “none” has apparently evolved into “some.” Talk about evolution!
Those papers, however, rarely attack evolution directly or advance creationist arguments; at best, they identify certain evolutionary problems as unsolved and difficult (which no one disputes).
So, when scientists occasionally get a creation-supporting paper into a secular, evolutionist-controlled journal, the paper is not usually overtly creationist? I wonder why?
In short, creationists are not giving the scientific world good reason to take them seriously.
Again, I am constrained to point out that the scientific world includes many creationists. This critic has amply demonstrated that the problem is not that creation scientists don’t research evidence or publish peer-reviewed technical articles. We do. The problem is that evolutionists don’t bother to read them. They simply repeat the misinformation they have heard and not bothered to check, and the chain of ignorance continues.
5. [Creationists claim that] The disagreements among even evolutionary biologists show how little solid science supports evolution.
Actually, it is the scientific evidence that shows how little solid science supports evolution. Creationists have published thousands of peer-reviewed articles at various levels on the topics of genetics, geology, paleontology, and so on, showing how the science confirms creation and challenges evolutionary interpretations. We’re five points into this list, and the critic has not yet even touched any of the main scientific arguments that creationists actually use. I suppose it is easier to just knock down straw-men.
Evolutionary biologists passionately debate diverse topics: how speciation happens, the rates of evolutionary change, the ancestral relationships of birds and dinosaurs, whether Neandertals were a species apart from modern humans, and much more.
This would seem to support what I wrote earlier: evolutionists do not rationally analyze evolution itself. They accept it as an unquestioned filter through which all other evidence is interpreted. Apparently, we may question all the detailed assumptions upon which Darwinian evolution rests, as long as we don’t question evolution itself. But if all these details are in doubt, how can we trust that their combination is true?
Suppose you bought a new car, and the dealer warned you, “We haven’t had a chance to test it, and we’re not sure if the headlights work.” Okay. Then he adds, “And the air-bag system may not deploy either; (we have been passionately debating that issue)!
Also, some of us are concerned that the engine may not work at all. The trunk – most of us think it will open fine, but we do have one dissenter who thinks it might explode when opened. The wheels may or may not turn – we’re not sure that we got the relationship between them and the crank shaft right.” And after all that, he then says, “But don’t worry, we are absolutely certain that the car itself works perfectly!” Bring that image to mind the next time an evolutionist admits all the problems with the details of evolution, but doesn’t question the overarching “fact” of evolution.
These disputes are like those found in all other branches of science.
No, they are not. In any branch of science, if the details of a paradigm are problematic, the paradigm itself is brought into question. This is not so with evolution. Its adherents have unwavering faith. To them, it doesn’t matter that the fossil evidence for Darwinian evolution just isn’t there. It doesn’t matter if everything we know about genetics mitigates against Darwinian evolution. It doesn’t matter if no one has observed it, or if it is unfalsifiable. We dare not question Darwin.
Acceptance of evolution as a factual occurrence and a guiding principle is nonetheless universal in biology.
…except of course for all those Ph.D. Biologists who reject Darwinian evolution, such as Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson, Dr. Georgia Purdom, Dr. David Menton, Dr. Rob Carter, Dr. Jeff Tompins, and so on. In other words, Darwinian evolution may be a majority belief among biologists, but the claim that it is universal is demonstrably false. After making this false claim, the critic then goes on to write this:
Unfortunately, dishonest creationists have shown a willingness to take scientists’ comments out of context to exaggerate and distort the disagreements.
For example? Unfortunately, the critic provides no evidence for this. I don’t doubt that both creationists and evolutionist have their share of dishonest advocates and other advocates who have misunderstood their opponents. From a biblical creation perspective, this is disconcerting. Since human beings are made in God’s image and are responsible to God for our actions, we have a moral obligation to represent our opponents fairly.
However, if evolution were true, and humans were just an evolved animal and a chemical accident of nature, then why would they be morally obligated to be honest? The critic here chastises what he believes to be dishonest creationists. But if he were a consistent evolutionist, he really ought to applaud the alleged dishonesty in his opponents, because it increases their chance of survival.
It’s easy to get ahead by careful lying. And evolution is all about beating the competition. So why would the critic be against behavior that is consistent with his professed position? The critic here has really confirmed Romans 1:18-23 – that all human beings know that God created the universe and living beings, but sinfully suppress that truth.
Anyone acquainted with the works of paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard University knows that in addition to co-authoring the punctuated-equilibrium model, Gould was one of the most eloquent defenders and articulators of evolution. (Punctuated equilibrium explains patterns in the fossil record by suggesting that most evolutionary changes occur within geologically brief intervals–which may nonetheless amount to hundreds of generations.)
Yet creationists delight in dissecting out phrases from Gould’s voluminous prose to make him sound as though he had doubted evolution, and they present punctuated equilibrium as though it allows new species to materialize overnight or birds to be born from reptile eggs.
Can the critic produce even one example of a creationist taking Stephen Jay Gould out of context to make it sound like Gould doubted evolution? I’m not aware of any. Again, I don’t deny that both creationists and evolutionists have their dishonest advocates; but the mainstream creationist organizations like Answers in Genesis and the Creation Research Society, have never – to my knowledge – claimed that Gould doubted evolution. So the critic’s comments here are simply dishonest and misleading.
On the contrary, it is because Gould believed in evolution that his honest admissions of its shortcomings are so revealing. And it is in that context of the “hostile witness” that creationists properly use Gould’s comments. Gould was well aware that the fossil record was not supportive of Darwinian evolution, but instead shows variation within kinds (as creationists expect). This indeed was the motivation for his support of punctuated equilibrium.
When confronted with a quotation from a scientific authority that seems to question evolution, insist on seeing the statement in context. Almost invariably, the attack on evolution will prove illusory.
The irony here is that this critic has not provided any references or context for what he claims creationists state. Thus, his attacks on creation should be rejected by his own reasoning. And again I must point out that many Ph.D. scientists, including me, are adamant that Darwinian evolution is false. I am happy to provide the context for my statement so that you can see that my rejection of evolution is not merely illusory.
6. [Creationists argue that] If humans descended from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?
This again is a straw-man fallacy. Ph.D. creation scientists do not claim that this is a legitimate argument against evolution. On the contrary, the major creation research organizations are adamant that this is not a legitimate argument against evolution, and advise people not to use it. I will grant that some non-scientists have said this; but it is not the position of creation scientists. And therefore, it is dishonest of the critic to present it as such.
This surprisingly common argument reflects several levels of ignorance about evolution. The first mistake is that evolution does not teach that humans descended from monkeys; it states that both have a common ancestor.
Actually, the most common version of this claim says that humans are descended from apes. And some evolutionists take issue with this, claiming, “No. Humans are not descended from apes. Rather, humans and apes share a common ancestor. Humans are descended from an ape-like ancestor.” However, this is semantic nonsense because most evolutionists believe that humans are descended from an Australopithecus. And what is an Australopithecus you may ask? It is an ape. As the evolutionist George Gaylord Simpson put it, “Since the terms ape and monkey are defined by popular usage, man’s ancestors were apes or monkeys (or successively both). It is pusillanimous if not dishonest for an informed investigator to say otherwise.”
The deeper error is that this objection is tantamount to asking, “If children descended from adults, why are there still adults?” New species evolve by splintering off from established ones, when populations of organisms become isolated from the main branch of their family and acquire sufficient differences to remain forever distinct. The parent species may survive indefinitely thereafter, or it may become extinct.
I agree with what the critic wrote here; but I must point out that he is arguing against a position that no informed creationist holds. It is simply a straw-man fallacy. Like most evolutionists, he is totally unfamiliar with the creationist scientific literature.
7. [Creationists claim that] Evolution cannot explain how life first appeared on earth.
The origin of life remains very much a mystery, …
Why is the critic attempting to refute this alleged creationist claim when he apparently agrees with it? Furthermore, the issue is not so much what evolution can “explain”, but rather the fact that everything we know about biochemistry mitigates against an evolutionary, chance origin. Scientific studies have shown that biological cells are stunningly complex, information-bearing machines with many interdependent parts.
In all cases where the origin of a complex machine has been scientifically observed, it is always by the design and agency of an intelligent mind. So it is not what we don’t understand about biochemistry that challenges evolution; it is what we do understand.
…but biochemists have learned about how primitive nucleic acids, amino acids and other building blocks of life could have formed and organized themselves into self-replicating, self-sustaining units, laying the foundation for cellular biochemistry.
No. The kinds of reactions designed by biochemists by which certain simple molecules can be replicated are utterly irrelevant to the origin of life. Why? Life doesn’t reproduce that way. Living cells do not reproduce by being made entirely of simple self-replicating molecules. If they did, then the critic might have a point. But they don’t, therefore he doesn’t.
Instead, complex biochemical enzymes in biological cells read and translate the information stored in DNA in order to build both themselves and to replicate the DNA at the time of cell division. Namely, the instructions are copied to an RNA strand by enzymes. The instructions in the RNA are read by the ribosomes, which then produce the very enzymes necessary to do all this, whose instructions are encoded in the DNA.
The system is completely interdependent. For DNA to be replicated, it requires enzymes. But the information to make these enzymes is encoded in the DNA. Neither the DNA nor the enzymes are self-replicating by themselves. Each requires the other in order for the cell to reproduce. Therefore, any talk of the replication of simple, non-information bearing chemicals is utterly irrelevant to the origin of life, because life does not use simple, self-replicating molecules. Thus, the replication of simple information-less molecules cannot lay “the foundation for cellular biochemistry” as the critic alleges.
Astrochemical analyses hint that quantities of these compounds might have originated in space and fallen to earth in comets, a scenario that may solve the problem of how those constituents arose under the conditions that prevailed when our planet was young.
Aside from being a conjecture without any supporting scientific evidence, this is the fallacy of irrelevant thesis. The problem for evolution is not getting the material. Life is made of ordinary elements. The problem is getting those elements to assemble spontaneously into a highly complex, information-rich, biochemical system capable of self-replication. Neither comets, nor anything found in outer space, can account for that.
Creationists sometimes try to invalidate all of evolution by pointing to science’s current inability to explain the origin of life.
In other words, those silly creationists think this car won’t win the race simply because it won’t start. Well, yes. If evolution can’t get started, how can it possibly proceed? Also, notice the critic’s equivocation fallacy. He refers to this problem with evolution as “science’s” inability. No. As we have shown here and elsewhere, the principles of science are based on biblical creation which can indeed account for the origin of life on earth. The scientific law of biogenesis states that life always comes from life. Thus, the first life on earth was created by a Being who is Himself alive. Indeed, God is life, and is the source of all life on earth (John 14:6). So, science accounts for life quite nicely. It is evolution that cannot.
But even if life on earth turned out to have a nonevolutionary origin (for instance, if aliens introduced the first cells billions of years ago),…
Here again we have the bifurcation fallacy: either life came about by chance, or aliens did it. But the historical fact that God created life is not even considered.
…evolution since then would be robustly confirmed by countless microevolutionary and macroevolutionary studies.
If that were true, then why didn’t the critic bother to list any examples, or provide any references? In fact, all the countless studies that have been done in science confirm variation within a kind: the prediction of creation and not Darwinian evolution. For example, consider the E. coli long-term evolution experiment. This experiment has been going on for decades to monitor how bacteria change over time. Over 60,000 generations of these bacteria have occurred in this experiment. And what have scientists found? These bacteria remain bacteria. They have experienced variation within a kind of course; but that is the prediction of biblical creation, not evolution.
 Spetner, L., Not By Chance, The Judaica Press Inc., New York, 1997.
 Lubenow, M., Bones of Contention, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Mi, 1992. 2007.
Part 2: (original source here)
In part 1 we began exploring the misrepresentations and logical fallacies in the evolutionist article entitled “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense.” We have seen that the critic is very unfamiliar with what creation scientists actually teach. In part 2, we see that this trend has continued. As before, I will put the critic’s article in purple font, with my comments in black.
8. [Creationists claim that] Mathematically, it is inconceivable that anything as complex as a protein, let alone a living cell or a human, could spring up by chance.
Chance plays a part in evolution (for example, in the random mutations that can give rise to new traits), but evolution does not depend on chance to create organisms, proteins or other entities. Quite the opposite: natural selection, the principal known mechanism of evolution, harnesses nonrandom change by preserving “desirable” (adaptive) features and eliminating “undesirable” (nonadaptive) ones.
The critic has simply not thought this through. The objection is that the first cell and its proteins could not reasonably form by chance. The critic tries to invoke natural selection to boost the odds. But this won’t work for two rather obvious reasons. First, natural selection doesn’t operate unless there are competing organisms alive at the time. It refers to the death of those organisms that are not already fit. So how can it possibly account for the first living cell? Second, natural selection does not produce or guide any desirable (adaptive) features at all. It simply refers to the removal of those non-adaptive ones. In other words, natural selection does not improve the probability of favorable mutations or other events even slightly. This is explained here.
Natural selection therefore has absolutely no effect on the probability of the chance formation of the first living cell. The probability of such a cell forming by chance are astronomically small, and natural selection does not improve those odds in the slightest.
As long as the forces of selection stay constant, natural selection can push evolution in one direction and produce sophisticated structures in surprisingly short times.
No, it cannot. The reason is obvious: natural selection is not a creative force at all and cannot “push” evolution in any direction. It simply refers to the death of those organisms that don’t already have the right sophisticated structures to survive. Natural selection has absolutely no effect on the probability of new sophisticated structures forming. None.
As an analogy, consider the 13-letter sequence “TOBEORNOTTOBE.” Those hypothetical million monkeys, each pecking out one phrase a second, could take as long as 78,800 years to find it among the 2613 sequences of that length. But in the 1980s Richard Hardison of Glendale College wrote a computer program that generated phrases randomly while preserving the positions of individual letters that happened to be correctly placed (in effect, selecting for phrases more like Hamlet’s). On average, the program re-created the phrase in just 336 iterations, less than 90 seconds. Even more amazing, it could reconstruct Shakespeare’s entire play in just four and a half days.
Here the critic commits the fallacy of false analogy. He claims that the above computer experiments simulate the effects of natural selection on random mutations. But they don’t. The reason is that natural selection simply refers to the removal of organisms whose traits are not currently conducive to survival. It does not preserve traits that will become useful in the future. But the computer program mentioned above does. It preserves all those changes that will eventually lead to the phrase “ToBeOrNotToBe.”
In other words, when a randomly generated letter matches the letter in the phrase at the correct position, the program prevents any further changes. It preserves those changes that will in the future eventually accomplish the goal. But natural selection doesn’t. Natural Selection refers to the elimination of traits that are not currently useful; there is no “goal.”
Furthermore, for this computer program to work, the goal phrase “ToBeOrNotToBe” must already be programmed into the machine, so that it can check the randomly generated letters against the target phrase. Unlike the supposed evolution from single-celled microbes to people, the computer program already contains the information for the goal from the very start! In fact, it couldn’t work without it.
In conclusion, natural selection has absolutely no effect on the probability of the formation of a living cell from inanimate matter. Neither does natural selection improve the probability of mutations that are adaptively useful. Nor does natural selection preserve those mutations that will eventually become useful in the future. It therefore cannot guide Darwinian evolution.
9. [Creationists claim that] The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that systems must become more disordered over time. Living cells therefore could not have evolved from inanimate chemicals, and multicellular life could not have evolved from protozoa.
Although some creationists do invoke the second law of thermodynamics as an argument against evolution, the critic has not stated the argument accurately. The second law of thermodynamics indicates that there is a tendency for systems to become more thermally disorganized over time (an increase in entropy). Entropy is a sort of backwards concept, because it is a measure of thermal disorder. And indeed, entropy tends to increase in a system. However, entropy is only guaranteed to increase in an isolated system – one in which no matter or energy is exchanged with the outside environment. The critic’s misrepresentation of the creationist claim has blurred all these important distinctions.
So, do creationists believe that the second law of thermodynamics disallows evolution? The answer is that some do, and some don’t. It is a debated issue. Yet, the critic has stated this as though it were the unified position of creation scientists. It isn’t.
This argument derives from a misunderstanding of the Second Law. If it were valid, mineral crystals and snowflakes would also be impossible, because they, too, are complex structures that form spontaneously from disordered parts.
Here the critic makes another serious mistake. He has confused order with specified complexity. Snowflakes and mineral crystals do have order. They do not have specified complexity – they don’t have complex interdependent parts that work together for a common goal. Minerals structures do not contain any information in the sense of an encoded symbolic message. But living cells do. Cells have instructions encoded in their DNA, and have many interdependent parts that work in concert.
No one denies that the simple repeated order found in snowflakes and minerals happens naturally in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics. But no one has seen a complex machine with interdependent parts develop spontaneously. Complex machines are always produced either by previous complex machines, or by an intelligent agent.
The Second Law actually states that the total entropy of a closed system (one that no energy or matter leaves or enters) cannot decrease.
Actually, it is in an isolated (not “closed”) system that entropy can never be decreased. An isolated system allows neither matter nor energy to be exchanged with the environment. A closed system allows energy, but not matter to be exchanged with the environment. When your refrigerator door is closed, it is a closed system in which entropy can be locally reduced.
Entropy is a physical concept often casually described as disorder, but it differs significantly from the conversational use of the word.
More important, however, the Second Law permits parts of a system to decrease in entropy as long as other parts experience an offsetting increase. Thus, our planet as a whole can grow more complex because the sun pours heat and light onto it, and the greater entropy associated with the sun’s nuclear fusion more than rebalances the scales. Simple organisms can fuel their rise toward complexity by consuming other forms of life and nonliving materials.
Again, the problem with evolution is not that low-entropy energy is unavailable. No one disputes that the sun provides earth with low-entropy energy, and that life has the ability to harness energy and grow. Biological cells have the genetic instructions that tell them how to do that. The problem for evolution is, and always has been, how to get those genetic instructions without a Creator. There is no known process that can cause brand new information to originate in matter apart from a mind.
10. [Creationists claim that] Mutations are essential to evolution theory, but mutations can only eliminate traits. They cannot produce new features.
Sadly, this is yet another straw-man fallacy. The argument that most creationists believe to be quite strong is that mutations cannot generate brand new information, at least not in the amounts necessary to drive evolution. But creation scientists are well aware that mutations can lose information, and that this sometimes results in a new trait, like blindness, loss of pigmentation, etc. In some cases, these loss mutations can even result in traits that improve an organism’s probability of survival in a particular environment – such as antibiotic resistance in bacteria. But these changes are the opposite of evolution as documented in Dr. Lee Spetner’s book: Not by Chance.
On the contrary, biology has catalogued many traits produced by point mutations (changes at precise positions in an organism’s DNA)–bacterial resistance to antibiotics, for example.
Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is a great example of variation within a kind. And it is due to a loss of genetic information. It is therefore the exact opposite of Darwinian evolution. For a single-celled microbe to eventually become people, it must gain brand new genetic instructions. This is because human beings possess a lot of genetic information that microbes lack. But antibiotic resistance is due to a loss of information.
The bacterium H. pylori can be killed by the antibiotic clarithromycin. This antibiotic binds to the internal machinery of the bacterium, which inhibits protein production, resulting in the death of the bacterium. However, there is a mutated form of H. pylori in which damaged genes produce altered internal machinery. The damaged machinery is unable to bind as well to the antibiotic. Therefore, the mutated bacteria are better able to survive in an antibiotic-rich environment than their healthy counterparts. It is a great example of adaptation, and of natural selection. But since the bacteria have lost information, such a change is in the wrong direction to drive evolution. And of course, the bacteria remain bacteria.
Mutations that arise in the homeobox (Hox) family of development-regulating genes in animals can also have complex effects. Hox genes direct where legs, wings, antennae and body segments should grow. In fruit flies, for instance, the mutation called Antennapedia causes legs to sprout where antennae should grow.
These abnormal limbs are not functional, but their existence demonstrates that genetic mistakes can produce complex structures, which natural selection can then test for possible uses.
It should be immediately obvious that damaged Hox genes do not show that “genetic mistakes can produce complex structures” because mistakes in Hox genes do not produce new complex structures. They simply scramble the locations of where the already-designed complex structures should go.
Perhaps an analogy will reveal the critic’s error. Imagine an automated assembly line at car-manufacturing factory. Suppose a glitch occurred in one of the computers, and the machinery began attaching engines where the wheels of a car are supposed to go, and put a wheel where the engine is supposed to go. “See”, says the critic. “A simple computer glitch can result in highly complex structures!” Hardly. All of the complex structures were already programmed into the system. The computer glitch simply caused the wrong number and positions of the car’s features.
Moreover, molecular biology has discovered mechanisms for genetic change that go beyond point mutations, and these expand the ways in which new traits can appear.
Unfortunately for the critic, these other types of mutations are utterly irrelevant to Darwinian evolution because they do not (even in principle) add brand new genetic information to the organism’s genome. They simply scramble or remove existing information.
Microbes cannot gain the genetic information to become people by losing information. Deletions, frameshift mutations, inversions, and repeat expansions clearly cannot add brand new genetic information. Evolutionists sometimes claim that duplications do.
This is when a segment of DNA is accidentally repeated. But having a second copy of the DNA segment does not add even a tiny amount of new information. It would be like someone buying a second copy of the same book, thinking that he will learn twice as much.
At best duplications merely provide space for the point mutations to work, while maintaining a copy of the original gene. And so it will be left to the point mutations to generate the new information, which, as far as anyone has observed, they do not.
Biophysicist Dr. Lee Spetner has stated that all point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information, and not to increase it. Yet, there should be thousands of examples of information-gaining point mutations if Darwinian evolution were true. So again, the critic is supposed to be producing evidence for evolution, but instead supplies evidence of variation within a kind as predicted by biblical creation.
Functional modules within genes can be spliced together in novel ways. Whole genes can be accidentally duplicated in an organism’s DNA, and the duplicates are free to mutate into genes for new, complex features.
Unfortunately for the critic, we don’t have any observed examples of new complex features arising from mutations. We do have observations of duplications, and point mutations. But we don’t have examples of these mutations developing into brand new, complex features as Darwinian evolution would require. The critic must take it on blind faith that such information-gaining mutations frequently happen.
Comparisons of the DNA from a wide variety of organisms indicate that this is how the globin family of blood proteins evolved over millions of years.
Actually, comparisons of DNA from various organisms shows that globins appear to be well-designed for the organism in which they are found. Even within the human genome, there are slightly different versions of hemoglobin that are used at different stages of life. Fetal hemoglobin has a somewhat higher affinity for oxygen than adult hemoglobin, which helps the unborn infant access the oxygen in the mother’s bloodstream. This has all the characteristics of a well-thought-out design, not Darwinian evolution.
11. [Creationists claim that] Natural selection might explain microevolution, but it cannot explain the origin of new species and higher orders of life.
Sadly, this is another straw man fallacy. First, as a creation scientist, I advise against the use of terms like “microevolution” since they are irrelevant to the issue of the direction of change. Second, as a creation scientist, I am on record as claiming that natural selection along with created heterozygosity can indeed explain the origin of new species, and perhaps higher orders of life. Where we disagree with evolutionists is whether natural processes can lead to a fundamental change in the kind of organism. Creation scientists agree that speciation occurs, as shown here.
Had the critic written this 200 years ago, he might have had a legitimate complaint.
Many creationists of the past may have held to the idea of fixity of species. Although, in many cases, this may be due to changing definitions rather than confusion over the actual science.
In any case, modern creation scientists recognize that there is a difference between a species (in the modern taxonomic sense) and the created-kind. We do not believe in fixity of species, but we do believe in fixity of kinds. For example, there is more than one species of dog (canid), but only one dog kind. All canids are biologically related to each other, even those classified as a different species. However, they are not biologically related to other kinds of animals.
The Bible was not written using our modern taxonomic system. Therefore, we should not expect the biblical term ‘kind’ to necessarily correspond to one particular level on the man-made classification system. The study of the taxonomic levels at which various kinds are distinguished is called baraminology. Currently, creation scientists believe that kind often lines up with the family taxonomic level. But there are exceptions.
Evolutionary biologists have written extensively about how natural selection could produce new species.
Creation biologists have also written about this. See On the Origin of Eukaryotic Species’ Genotypic and Phenotypic Diversity.
For instance, in the model called allopatry, developed by Ernst Mayr of Harvard University, if a population of organisms were isolated from the rest of its species by geographical boundaries, it might be subjected to different selective pressures. Changes would accumulate in the isolated population. If those changes became so significant that the splinter group could not or routinely would not breed with the original stock, then the splinter group would be reproductively isolated and on its way toward becoming a new species.
This is true, and is a prediction of biblical creation – not evolution. The new species is always the same created kind as the original. This is variation within a kind.
Natural selection is the best studied of the evolutionary mechanisms, …
Natural selection is not an evolutionary mechanism because (1) it is not evolutionary but was discovered by the creationist Edward Blyth and is perfectly consistent with biblical creation, and (2) it is not a mechanism for change. Recall that natural selection merely refers to the removal of organisms that are not already suited to their environment. It does not produce organisms that are well-suited to their environment. Nor does it alter existing organisms in the slightest.
…but biologists are open to other possibilities as well. Biologists are constantly assessing the potential of unusual genetic mechanisms for causing speciation or for producing complex features in organisms.
Known genetic processes along with created heterozygosity can account for speciation. But natural processes cannot account for the origin of “complex features in organisms.” The DNA contains specific genetic information necessary to build the organism. And natural processes do not account for the origin of information. As far as we have observed scientifically, information always originates from a mind. Therefore, genetic information is consistent with biblical creation, but not Darwinian evolution.
In any case, no informed creationist denies that natural selection is very real, refers to the removal of unsuccessful organisms, and therefore has nothing to do with evolution in the Darwinian sense.
Lynn Margulis of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and others have persuasively argued that some cellular organelles, such as the energy-generating mitochondria, evolved through the symbiotic merger of ancient organisms.
The mitochondrion is an organelle (a specialized structure within a living cell) found in most cells of animals and plants. It is the powerhouse of the cell, providing the rest of the cell with adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – the fuel necessary to power the other organelles. Unlike most organelles, mitochondria contain their own DNA. Evolutionists have proposed that the mitochondrion once existed as an independent organism, but got absorbed into the cell of another organism, and formed a symbiotic relationship.
It is a fun story. But where is the evidence for this conjecture? There is no scientific evidence that mitochondria were ever independent organisms from the cells in which they reside, but there is evidence that strongly challenges this idea.
First, mitochondria cannot survive outside a cell because they require the machinery of the cell in order to operate. And cells depend on the mitochondria to supply ATP. They are codependent. Evolutionists might conjecture that they have lost the ability to survive independently since the ancient merger; but where is the evidence of this?
Second, many of the proteins used in the mitochondria are not encoded in the mitochondria’s DNA, but are encoded in the nuclear DNA of the cell. Indeed, mitochondria have only 37 genes and encode 13 proteins. All the other proteins necessary for the mitochondria are found in the nucleus of the cell. It is as if the mitochondria and the rest of the cell were designed to work together from the beginning.
Thus, science welcomes the possibility of evolution resulting from forces beyond natural selection. Yet those forces must be natural;…
Here is the source of the critic’s problem. The critic’s objection to creation is not scientific at all. It arises from a philosophical presupposition. The critic has a philosophical bias that will not allow him to even entertain the thought that God might have designed and created the original organisms. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how much scientific evidence we have for this. He insists that the forces responsible for the origin of organisms “must be natural.”
Why? What if the scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicated a supernatural origin of life? This critic would dismiss such evidence out of hand because he has already arbitrarily decided that he will only accept explanations that are natural.
Notice that the critic makes no argument for this position; it is completely arbitrary. Is this science? Is it scientific to dismiss a possibility out of hand before any investigation of evidence?
…they cannot be attributed to the actions of mysterious creative intelligences whose existence, in scientific terms, is unproved.
Earlier the critic seemed to at least entertain the possibility of extra-terrestrial intelligence creating the first life on earth. Recall he mentioned the hypothesis that “aliens introduced the first cells billions of years ago…” which is something that indeed some evolutionists believe. Such hypothetical aliens certainly constitute “mysterious creative intelligences, whose existence, in scientific terms, is unproved.” And yet, evolutionists allow such an explanation. Why not at least consider the possibility that God created just as He said He did?
 Jeanson, N., & J. Lisle, On the Origin of Eukaryotic Species’ Genotypic and Phenotypic Diversity, Answers Research Journal, 9, (2016): 81-122. [answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/on-the-origin-of-eukaryotic-species-genotypic-and-phenotypic-diversity/]
 See: https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/fixity-of-species/
We have been exploring the misrepresentations and logical fallacies in the evolutionist article entitled “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense.”
We have seen in parts 1 and 2 that the critic is very unfamiliar with what creation scientists actually teach; this is common among evolutionists. Finally, in part 3, the critic mentions some actual scientific evidence. But unfortunately for him, the evidence confirms biblical creation and challenges Darwinian evolution. I will put the critic’s article in purple font, with my comments in black.
12. [Creationists claim that] Nobody has ever seen a new species evolve.
Again, creation scientists do embrace speciation. So this, again, is a straw-man fallacy. Most evolutionists like this critic just don’t bother to read creation literature in which we discuss speciation. But speciation is not evolution because (1) the organisms remain the same kind and (2) they do not gain brand new genetic information.
Speciation is probably fairly rare and in many cases might take centuries.
Actually, speciation happens even today, just as biblical creationists expect.
Furthermore, recognizing a new species during a formative stage can be difficult, because biologists sometimes disagree about how best to define a species. The most widely used definition, Mayr’s Biological Species Concept, recognizes a species as a distinct community of reproductively isolated populations–sets of organisms that normally do not or cannot breed outside their community.
In practice, this standard can be difficult to apply to organisms isolated by distance or terrain or to plants (and, of course, fossils do not breed). Biologists therefore usually use organisms’ physical and behavioral traits as clues to their species membership.
This is true – and perfectly consistent with biblical creation. Speciation always results in organisms of the same created kind.
Nevertheless, the scientific literature does contain reports of apparent speciation events in plants, insects and worms. In most of these experiments, researchers subjected organisms to various types of selection–for anatomical differences, mating behaviors, habitat preferences and other traits–and found that they had created populations of organisms that did not breed with outsiders.
For example, William R. Rice of the University of New Mexico and George W. Salt of the University of California at Davis demonstrated that if they sorted a group of fruit flies by their preference for certain environments and bred those flies separately over 35 generations, the resulting flies would refuse to breed with those from a very different environment.
This is a great example of speciation. The created heterozygosity that the Lord built into organisms along with natural processes can result in variations that are classified as separate species. Yet, flies remain flies. Which view of origins does this confirm?
13. [Creationists claim that] Evolutionists cannot point to any transitional fossils–creatures that are half reptile and half bird, for instance.
More accurately, creationists would claim that there should be countless millions of fossils that cannot be taxonomically classified because they are in between the major categories; and yet, evolutionist can only point to a handful of disputed specimens. Creationist expect to find variation within a kind.
So, we do expect to find transitional fossils between the species level and genus level.
But if Darwinian evolution were true, there should be a continuum of fossils documenting the evolution between the major categories, such as between invertebrates and vertebrates. Where are the fossils of organisms that are 80% invertebrate, 20% vertebrate, and then 60% invertebrate, 40% vertebrate, and so on? Since there are billions of vertebrate fossils, and billions upon billions of invertebrate fossils, shouldn’t evolutionists reasonably expect to find at least a few million in-between forms?
Actually, paleontologists know of many detailed examples of fossils intermediate in form between various taxonomic groups.
Actually, they don’t. The well-studied fossils fall neatly into discrete taxonomic categories. I will grant that evolutionist always have a handful of disputed specimens that they claim to be transitional between the major categories, which are inevitably disproved over time.
But the rule in the fossil record seems to be the same rule that we find today: variation within a kind.
One of the most famous fossils of all time is Archaeopteryx, which combines feathers and skeletal structures peculiar to birds with features of dinosaurs.
Actually, as we will see below, archaeopteryx is 100% bird made of 100% non-transitional features, and therefore cannot be a transition between dinosaurs and birds.
Why then do some evolutionists parade it as something between a dinosaur and bird?
Archaeopteryx had some unusual characteristics that evolutionists claim are reptilian. But are they really? Or are they also found in other birds?
For example, archaeopteryx had teeth. Modern birds do not have teeth, but there are other extinct birds that had teeth. So teeth are features found in some birds, and are not unique to reptiles.
Moreover, some reptiles have teeth and some don’t; many mammals have teeth as well. So the presence of teeth is not a dinosaur feature, unless you think that human beings are dinosaurs. Archaeopteryx had an unusually long bony tail (in proportion to the bird’s size) for a bird. But a long tail is not a uniquely reptilian trait.
Archaeopteryx had claws on its wings. But some modern birds have clawed wings, such as the ostrich, and the juvenile hoatzin. So this is a characteristic found in birds and is therefore not intermediate. Archaeopteryx fossils lack evidence of feathers on the head and scales are visible instead. (It is possible that living Archaeopteryx did have feathers on their head, but that those feathers were not preserved in fossilization.)
But are scales unique to reptiles? No.
Modern birds do have scales; most have scales on their legs. Hence, scales are a feature commonly found in birds. And some modern birds, like vultures, lack feathers on their head. So these characteristics of archaeopteryx are bird features, and none are transitional.
Archaeopteryx had all the defining characteristics of a true bird, including perfectly functional flight feathers. These feathers had an asymmetric quill – a characteristic of flying birds, as opposed to flightless birds which tend to have a symmetric quill.
Archaeopteryx had full wings, a wishbone, just like any other bird, and perching feet. Archaeopteryx had long, powerful forelimbs (wings), and much smaller hind limbs. This is the exact opposite from the theropod dinosaurs from which birds supposedly evolved.
Archaeopteryx had the hip structure of a bird, totally different from the hip structure of a theropod dinosaur. So when we examine the actual evidence, we confirm that archaeopteryx was fully bird, and not some sort of in-between form.
Apparently, archaeopteryx also had the avian lung system common to birds but very different from reptile lungs. This deserves some explanation. Reptile lungs work much like ours – a bellows system in which air is pulled in and then pushed out the same way. But birds have a high metabolism and require much more oxygen. So their lungs are designed so that air flows in one way, and flows out a different way, virtually doubling the intake of fresh air. Furthermore, unlike reptiles, in avian lungs the blood flows in the opposite direction as the air, in order to maximize the transfer of oxygen.
Now how could a reptile lung system possibly gradually evolve into an avian lung system? They are opposite! And breathing organisms can’t live very long without air, giving the organism very little time to switch from one system to another. How could one system – even in principle – gradually evolve into the other?
If Darwinian evolution were true, what would we actually expect to find in the fossil record? In the evolutionary view, the feathers of birds evolved from scales.
But flight feathers are highly complex structures, with a central shaft, barbs that branch from it, and barbules that branch from the barbs. The barbules have microscopic hooks that link the barbules to those on the adjacent barb, giving the feather its strength. If scales gradually evolved into these complex structures, then we should find fossils of creatures with structures intermediate between scales and feathers.
But that’s not what we find. Archaeopteryx had 100% feathers. Where are the creatures with 50% feathers? If birds (which have wings) gradually evolved from dinosaurs (which do not have wings), then where are the bird-o-saurs with 50% wings? Clearly, a bird such as archaeopteryx doesn’t give any credence whatsoever to the notion that birds evolved from dinosaurs or other reptiles.
A flock’s worth of other feathered fossil species, some more avian and some less, has also been found.
That’s just not true. We do not find fossils with half-wings, 50% feathers, or evidence of a lung system intermediate between reptile lungs and avian lungs. Instead, we find birds, and we find reptiles.
A sequence of fossils spans the evolution of modern horses from the tiny Eohippus.
You may have seen a sequence of horses from small to larger in textbooks and promoted as fossil evidence for Darwinian evolution with names like Merychippus, Pilohippis, and the modern Equus. But in fact, these are all 100% within the horse kind. Someone may say, “but they were different sizes!” Sure, and so are different breeds of horse today. Extinct varieties had variations in the foot structure, variations in the number of ribs, and so on. But these are all variations within the horse kind.
Variation within a kind is a prediction of biblical creation, not evolution. Where is the evidence for Darwinian evolution between the major kinds, such as invertebrates to vertebrates?
Whales had four-legged ancestors that walked on land, and creatures known as Ambulocetus and Rodhocetus helped to make that transition [see “The Mammals That Conquered the Seas,” by Kate Wong; Scientific American, May].
Again, we have a story presented as fact, but no actual evidence to support it. There is no fossil evidence that whales have ever been anything other than whales.
There is every indication that Ambulocetus was a land-animal, in no way related to whales. When it was first discovered in 1993, the key fossil bones that would help determine whether this was primarily a walking or swimming creature, namely, the pelvis, fibula, and tail, were not found.
I have noticed that many evolutionists love to label very incomplete fossils as their best case for evolution, with the key transitional features being the parts that were not found. When you believe in evolution it is nice to be free to speculate unfettered by inconvenient evidence. Conversely, complete, fully articulated fossils invariably confirm variation within created kinds: biblical creation.
Some of the bones missing from the first Ambulocetus fossil were found later, and suggest that the creature was a land animal – not something transitional to a whale. Whale’s eyes are positioned on the side of their head. However, Ambulocetus’s eyes were on top of its head, much like a crocodile. In fact, whales are found in rock layers lower than Ambulocetus, which challenges the notion that it can be a whale ancestor, unless it was able to time-travel.
Likewise, Rodhocetus was also a land-animal and not transitional to a whale in any way. It was originally portrayed as having a tail like a whale – but this was before any tail fossils were found. It was also originally displayed as having legs changing into flippers. This was before the forelimbs were discovered; we now know that it does not have the kind of limbs that can spread out like the flippers of a whale. Nor is there any fossil evidence of the flukes that are present in a whale’s tail.
Fossil seashells trace the evolution of various mollusks through millions of years.
Actually, fossil seashells show variation within kinds. In fact, some sea shells today look virtually identical to those in the fossil record. We do not find seashells evolving into non-seashells.
Perhaps 20 or more hominids (not all of them our ancestors) fill the gap between Lucy the australopithecine and modern humans.
The well-articulated, complete fossils of primates show variation with kinds, but there is just no fossil evidence that humans share a common ancestor with apes. As I wrote earlier, humans have unique skeletal characteristics (rib cage, teeth arc, hip structure, nasal protrusion) that apes just don’t have. Marvin Lubenow’s book Bones of Contention masterfully documents the fossil evidence of humans and apes.
Creationists, though, dismiss these fossil studies.
Actually, creation scientists have examined these fossils very carefully, and have shown that they do not support Darwinian evolution for the reasons I outlined above.
They argue that Archaeopteryx is not a missing link between reptiles and birds–it is just an extinct bird with reptilian features.
It would be more accurate to say that archaeopteryx is an extinct bird with bird features. It has some unusual characteristics, but they are within the bird kind and none support the notion that it is becoming a bird. It’s already 100% bird with fully designed flight feathers, a wishbone, perching feet, etc. Where is the intermediate form, with partially formed feathers, and partially formed wings?
They want evolutionists to produce a weird, chimeric monster that cannot be classified as belonging to any known group.
This sounds like, “Those silly creationists want us to produce a fossil that is actually in between two major groups rather than falling neatly into one or the other!” Well, yes. If reptiles gradually evolved into birds over millions of years, then there ought to be millions of fossils of creatures with traits that are clearly in between these two very different kinds. Why can’t evolutionists produce any legitimate examples? The handful of disputed specimens they produce inevitably turn out to support variation within a kind.
Even if a creationist does accept a fossil as transitional between two species, he or she may then insist on seeing other fossils intermediate between it and the first two. These frustrating requests can proceed ad infinitum and place an unreasonable burden on the always incomplete fossil record.
Incorrect. No one is asking the evolutionists to produce an infinite number of fossils. We would just like to see a few that are genuine transitions between the major groups. (Again, biblical creation predicts speciation events; we hold to fixity of kinds, not fixity of species.)
If bird feathers evolved from reptile scales, then we ought to find some fossil creatures with structures that are 20% feather-like and 80% scale-like, a few with structures that are 40% feather-like, then 60%, and 80%. That’s just four fossils, but evolutionists can’t even produce that.
The fossils we find have 100% feathers, or none. Considering that scientists have found over 100,000 fossil dinosaurs, and 200,000 fossil birds, you would think that a few thousand of these would show a nice progression of intermediate features – partial wings with partial feathers. But no. The fossil evidence always shows variation within a kind.
I will close this section by pointing out that even genuine transitional forms would not actually prove what many evolutionists think they would. The existence of the spork does not prove that forks evolved from spoons. Nonetheless, if Darwinian evolution were true, and lifeforms were constantly evolving, then transitions between the major kinds should be the rule – not the exception. If life is in a constant state of flux, would taxonomical classification even be possible? The fossil record strongly challenges the notion that Darwinian evolution has happened on earth.
Nevertheless, evolutionists can cite further supportive evidence from molecular biology. All organisms share most of the same genes, but as evolution predicts, the structures of these genes and their products diverge among species, in keeping with their evolutionary relationships.
Here we have another spectacular example of a common evolutionist mistake: failure to consider the null hypothesis. The critic has not bothered to read any significant creationist literature, and so he doesn’t even think to ask, “What would biblical creationists predict about the relationship between genetics and taxonomy?” If he had, then he would have learned that we make largely the same prediction as the evolutionists. Namely, biblical creationists recognize that (1) genes code for traits, (2) organisms are taxonomically classified by their traits, (3) therefore, closer taxonomic categories should be more genetically similar than distant categories.
Organisms with similar traits tend to have similar genes. That is not because of evolution. It is because genes are the instructions to produce traits! This really should be obvious.
Evolutionists construct their imagined evolutionary relationships on the basis of taxonomic classification, which is based on similarity of traits, which are determined by genes. So, it is hardly surprising that evolutionist’s inferred phylogenic relationships correlate roughly with genetic similarities. That must be so if genes code for traits.
It is amazing to me that most evolutionists haven’t thought this through. Anyone arguing that similarities in DNA support the notion of descent from a common ancestor has made this very mistake in reasoning. If they were logically consistent, then they should believe that all articles similarly evolved from a common source, as explained here [https://biblicalscienceinstitute.com/apologetics/on-the-origin-of-articles/].
Geneticists speak of the “molecular clock” that records the passage of time.
Although such molecular clocks depend on various assumptions, nevertheless, they strongly confirm recent creation and challenge evolution. You can think of mutations as being like genetic “wrinkles.” The longer a species has existed on earth, the more genetic wrinkles it will have accumulated. By measuring the rate at which mutations occur, and by observing the number of mutations in various organisms, we can estimate how long they have been on earth. And what result do we obtain? Do genetic clocks support the notion that organisms have been evolving over hundreds of millions of years? No. Genetic clocks give age estimates of a few thousand years – consistent with the biblical timescale. For more information, see this article.
These molecular data also show how various organisms are transitional within evolution.
No, they do not. Biologist Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson has done extensive studies comparing the mitochondrial DNA similarities of 2700 organisms. He has found that organisms fall into certain natural “boxes” suggestive of discrete biblical kinds, not continuous Darwinian evolution. His results are published here.
14. [Creationist claim that] Living things have fantastically intricate features–at the anatomical, cellular and molecular levels–that could not function if they were any less complex or sophisticated. The only prudent conclusion is that they are the products of intelligent design, not evolution.
This “argument from design” is the backbone of most recent attacks on evolution, but it is also one of the oldest. In 1802 theologian William Paley wrote that if one finds a pocket watch in a field, the most reasonable conclusion is that someone dropped it, not that natural forces created it there. By analogy, Paley argued, the complex structures of living things must be the handiwork of direct, divine invention.
So far, so good. Paley’s argument has never really been refuted, as we will see below.
Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species as an answer to Paley: he explained how natural forces of selection, acting on inherited features, could gradually shape the evolution of ornate organic structures.
Darwin may have thought that he was refuting Paley and that natural selection could account for the apparent design in living organisms. But he wasn’t, and it can’t. All natural selection does is remove organisms and their corresponding genes. It does not create new features, it does not shape organic structures, it does not improve the probability of adaptive mutations, it does not push evolution forward, and therefore it cannot provide a naturalistic explanation for the design found in living organisms.
Think about it this way: natural selection does not explain why we find animals that are well-suited to their environment. Rather, it explains why we do not find animals that are not well-suited to their environment. That’s a huge difference.
Suppose we come across some well-designed animal that is perfectly adapted to its environment, and ask, “How can we explain the existence and origin of this creation?” The proper response would not be this: “Because natural selection eliminated all the animals that were not well-suited to this environment.” This doesn’t answer the question about why the successful organisms do exist; it only answers the very different question of why unsuccessful organisms do not exist.
Generations of creationists have tried to counter Darwin by citing the example of the eye as a structure that could not have evolved. The eye’s ability to provide vision depends on the perfect arrangement of its parts, these critics say. Natural selection could thus never favor the transitional forms needed during the eye’s evolution–what good is half an eye? Anticipating this criticism, Darwin suggested that even “incomplete” eyes might confer benefits (such as helping creatures orient toward light) and thereby survive for further evolutionary refinement.
The major problem that no evolutionist has been able to answer is that many of the intermediate stages necessary to produce something like a human eye would have no adaptive value, and some of them would actually be counter-productive. Therefore, these stages would tend to be eliminated by natural selection. Evolutionists seem to miss the fact that natural selection does not anticipate any future goal, nor preserve traits that will eventually become useful in the future. It only serves to eliminate those traits that are not currently useful.
For example, the human eye has a flexible lens, ligaments that pull that lens into a flattened state, and a ciliary muscle that can counteract the pull of the ligaments (among countless other cellular machinery). The ciliary muscle relaxes when you view something that is far away. When you look at something nearby, the ciliary muscle contracts, which changes the shape of the lens, bringing the image of the nearby object into focus. This process is called accommodation. The problem for evolution is that these co-dependent parts would be actually counterproductive without the others.
If your eyes had a lens but no ligaments, your vision would be extremely nearsighted – much worse than if you had no lens at all. So natural selection would tend to eliminate such a lens, not preserve it. On the other hand, if the ligaments evolve before the lens, then they are useless and convey no survival advantage at all. They would tend to be eliminated since they convey no adaptive advantage. Likewise, the ciliary muscle is useless without both the lens and ligaments. Yet, it requires energy, and so would be a disadvantage for the organism. Natural selection would tend to eliminate rather than preserve it.
So the precursor steps to the human eye would be eliminated by natural selection – not preserved. And we haven’t discussed the countless other mechanisms that make sight possible. Many of these mechanisms would be counter-productive unless all the other mechanisms are in place. And since they reduce the survival value of the organism, they would be selected against. This mitigates against an evolutionary origin for the eye. It seems that the human eye was designed so that all its parts work together to allow vision.
Biology has vindicated Darwin: researchers have identified primitive eyes and light-sensing organs throughout the animal kingdom and have even tracked the evolutionary history of eyes through comparative genetics.
There is no support for evolution here. The Lord has created different organisms with different types of eyes with varying levels of sophistication. Some creatures have eyes that are simply light-sensors, but form no image. Other organisms have very sophisticated eyes that can adjust their focus. The critic has arbitrarily assumed that these represent the various stages of eye evolution. But there is no evidence for this.
More importantly, it does not answer the objection raised previously. Namely, to change a simple light sensor into something like a human eye would require many intermediate steps that actually reduce the survival value of the organism, and therefore would be eliminated by natural selection. The different varieties of eyes found in the biological world all appear to be well designed for what they do. None appear to be in the process of becoming a different type of eye.
(It now appears that in various families of organisms, eyes have evolved independently.)
This is a very revealing comment. As we saw earlier, evolutionists sometimes fallaciously argue that similarity in traits or genes is evidence for common descent, and thus organisms with similar traits are more closely related than others. But sometimes, similar traits show up in organisms that are widely separated on the evolutionist’s phylogenic tree – a phenomenon called “convergence.”
Since this is contrary to the evolutionist’s most basic premise (that similarity implies close ancestry), you might think an evolutionist would admit that this is evidence for creation. But instead, they claim that it is evidence that such structures evolved independently.
So, apparently if you find evidence of similar traits in supposedly closely related organisms, that’s evidence for evolution; and if you find the exact opposite, well that’s even better evidence for evolution! If evolutionists are going to pretend that their beliefs are scientific, then they need to do better than this.
Today’s intelligent-design advocates are more sophisticated than their predecessors, but their arguments and goals are not fundamentally different.
Why abandon a cogent argument that has never been refuted?
They criticize evolution by trying to demonstrate that it could not account for life as we know it and then insist that the only tenable alternative is that life was designed by an unidentified intelligence.
How dare anyone question evolution and point out the fact that it cannot account for life as we know it! How crazy to conclude that if something cannot come about by chance, then it must be designed! At least, that’s what it seems like the critic is saying.
But it seems to me that if Darwinian evolution cannot account for the life as we know it, is contrary to genetic evidence, and is contrary to fossil evidence, then perhaps we ought to be skeptical about it. Furthermore, it seems that if life was not unplanned, then it was planned. What alternative is there?
We should also note that the critic has again blurred the distinction between (biblical) creationists and members of the Intelligent Design Movement. Of course, some of the former are part of the latter, but most are not. Biblical creationists do not appeal to an “unidentified intelligence” as the designer of life.
The Creator has clearly identified Himself, and He is the Lord Jesus. God has revealed Himself inescapably to man, such that when we look at the world we instantly recognize it as the creation of God (Romans 1:18-20). It takes a great deal of effort and many years of brainwashing to learn to effectively suppress that truth.
15. [Creationists claim that] Recent discoveries prove that even at the microscopic level, life has a quality of complexity that could not have come about through evolution.
“Irreducible complexity” is the battle cry of Michael J. Behe of Lehigh University, author of Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution.
As a household example of irreducible complexity, Behe chooses the mousetrap–a machine that could not function if any of its pieces were missing and whose pieces have no value except as parts of the whole. What is true of the mousetrap, he says, is even truer of the bacterial flagellum, a whiplike cellular organelle used for propulsion that operates like an outboard motor. The proteins that make up a flagellum are uncannily arranged into motor components, a universal joint and other structures like those that a human engineer might specify. The possibility that this intricate array could have arisen through evolutionary modification is virtually nil, Behe argues, and that bespeaks intelligent design. He makes similar points about the blood’s clotting mechanism and other molecular systems.
This is a pretty good summary. I will just add a couple of points of clarification. First, Michael Behe is an evolutionist, not a creationist. He states in his book (Darwin’s Black Box), “I find the idea of common descent (that all organisms share a common ancestor) fairly convincing, and have no particular reason to doubt it.” What he questions is the particular mechanism to which most evolutionists appeal; namely, mutations and natural selection appear to be insufficient to account for the molecular complexity of life. On this latter point, I would certainly agree with Behe.
Second, I highly recommend Behe’s book. Though he believes in evolution, he is honest about its weaknesses. And his book illustrates these quite masterfully.
Yet evolutionary biologists have answers to these objections. First, there exist flagellae with forms simpler than the one that Behe cites, so it is not necessary for all those components to be present for a flagellum to work.
The critic’s argument does not follow logically. An irreducibly complex system may contain some components that are not irreducibly complex. That is, it may have non-essential components in addition to its essential components. The existence of non-essential components does not invalidate the need for all the essential components. Again, an analogy may be helpful:
A car is an irreducibly complex system. It has a number of essential interdependent parts that work together, and if any one of them fails, the car no longer functions as a car. But a car may also have non-essential features, such as cup holders, power-windows, rear window wipers, a built-in stereo, power steering, automatic transmission, heated seats, and so forth. And some cars lack these extra niceties and yet still function as cars. Should we therefore conclude that cars are not irreducibly complex, but are the result of evolution?
The fact that some cars have extra features that other cars lack does not mean that the essential features of a car are not irreducibly complex. Some cars have a simpler design than others; but that doesn’t mean that either of them could have evolved by gradual modification from a common ancestor. They are still irreducibly complex.
Likewise, differences in the flagellae of microbes do not remotely refute the notion that they are irreducibly complex, even if some are “simpler” than others. They all still have some essential interdependent parts, which if removed cause the flagellum to fail.
The sophisticated components of this flagellum all have precedents elsewhere in nature, as described by Kenneth R. Miller of Brown University and others.
And cars have sophisticated components that are found in other machines as well. Does that mean that cars are not irreducibly complex? The fact that both cars and airplanes have wheels does not remotely mean that wheels are not an essential component for a car, nor does it imply that cars and airplanes share a common ancestor.
In fact, the entire flagellum assembly is extremely similar to an organelle that Yersinia pestis, the bubonic plague bacterium, uses to inject toxins into cells.
This is true, but does this imply that the flagellum is not irreducibly complex? The Yersinia pestis has a structure similar in some respects to the flagellum, but is missing the filament and hook, and about 20 or so proteins that would be necessary to form a functional flagellum. Yet, the structure is useful because it allows the microbe to inject toxin into another cell.
So, is this structure an evolutionary precursor to the flagellum?
It has an adaptive advantage, despite the fact that not all of the flagellum’s parts are there. Therefore, shall we conclude that the flagellum is not irreducibly complex?
There are two problems with such a conclusion.
First, an irreducibly complex structure might contain an irreducibly complex component that could be used for something else. A car is irreducibly complex, yet it contains an engine which is also irreducibly complex. That is, the car will not function as a car without its engine, and the engine will not function as an engine without all its essential parts. And car engines can be used in other machinery; car engines have been used to create very powerful chainsaws and snow-blowers, for example. Would it be rational to conclude that a car is not irreducibly complex, and that it came about by gradual modification of chance events that conveyed survival value? More on this below.
Second, further study indicates that the structure in question is actually evidence of design. The Yersinia pestis is the same genus and thus almost certainly the same Genesis kind as the Yersinia enterocolitica – so they are biologically related. The Y. enterocolitica also has the structure to inject toxins – a structure which lacks the filament and hook and ~20 proteins necessary for a functional flagellum. It has this structure unless the temperature drops to 68° F in a low saline environment; in that event the Y. enterocolitica produces the remaining proteins, and hook and filament, resulting in a fully functional flagellum!
So, all the genetic information to produce a fully functional flagellum is already present in the Yersinia enterocolitica. However, some of these genes are suppressed, depending on the environment, resulting in a modified structure with a different function! Duel functionality is the hallmark of the best intelligently designed machines. It seems likely that the Yersinia pestis, being a close relative of the Yersinia enterocolitica, lost the ability to produce the complete flagellum perhaps due to mutation. But this would have been devolution – a loss of genetic information.
The key is that the flagellum’s component structures, which Behe suggests have no value apart from their role in propulsion, can serve multiple functions that would have helped favor their evolution. The final evolution of the flagellum might then have involved only the novel recombination of sophisticated parts that initially evolved for other purposes.
The problem with this conjecture is that each step of the process must convey a survival advantage if Darwinian evolution is to be possible. It does no good to claim that step 207 of 500 might convey a selective advantage, when steps 1-206, and 208-499 do not. Think of it this way. What were the last three steps in the supposed evolution of the flagellum? What purpose would the flagellum serve if it were missing one essential component, or two, or three? It is one thing so say that a large part of a structure might be useful for something else and have survival value. It is quite another to say that every small change in the structure conveyed a survival advantage until it became something very different. For the complexity to be reducible, one must show that every stage of its assembly increases survival value. Evolutionists have not been able to do this.
An essential part of a car (such as the engine) can be used in a different machine for a different purpose. But that doesn’t suggest that a car naturally evolved by gradual random changes that were preserved because they had value. Can you imagine building a car one part at a time with the requirement that after adding each part the entire machine has to function in a way that is more useful than the previous step? That is the challenge for evolution. Yes, a car engine can be used in other machines.
But that doesn’t change the fact that a car is irreducibly complex. It doesn’t mean that a car could self-assemble by incremental changes, each of which conveyed a survival advantage.
Similarly, the blood-clotting system seems to involve the modification and elaboration of proteins that were originally used in digestion, according to studies by Russell F. Doolittle of the University of California at San Diego. So some of the complexity that Behe calls proof of intelligent design is not irreducible at all.
Again, part of an irreducible system might be used for a different purpose. But this doesn’t solve the evolutionists’ problem unless every step along the process is adaptively useful. Only then would the system be reducible.
The chemistry of the blood clotting mechanism is astoundingly complex with great inter-dependency. And if any one component fails, your blood either doesn’t clot, or it clots within your blood vessels and you die. If one essential component is missing, all the other essential components have no value at all in the blood-clotting process. It is irreducible.
It makes no difference to say that some of those mechanisms are used in an entirely different process, such as digestion. Just because a car engine can be used to power a snow-blower does not mean that a car gradually evolved by minuscule random changes that were preserved by slightly improving the survival value of the car.
Complexity of a different kind–“specified complexity”–is the cornerstone of the intelligent-design arguments of William A. Dembski of Baylor University in his books The Design Inference and No Free Lunch. Essentially his argument is that living things are complex in a way that undirected, random processes could never produce. The only logical conclusion, Dembski asserts, in an echo of Paley 200 years ago, is that some superhuman intelligence created and shaped life.
Specified complexity is that which is produced by information – an encoded symbolic message containing an expected action and an intended purpose. Something has specified complexity if it takes instructions to make it.
Manmade structures like cars, buildings, airplanes, and so on, are based on information that encodes how to build them. Living things also contain instructions on how to build their form – genetic information encoded in the organism’s DNA. As far as we know, creative information does not arise by chance. Science therefore confirms the creationist explanation for life’s origin, not the evolutionist one.
Dembski’s argument contains several holes. It is wrong to insinuate that the field of explanations consists only of random processes or designing intelligences. Researchers into nonlinear systems and cellular automata at the Santa Fe Institute and elsewhere have demonstrated that simple, undirected processes can yield extraordinarily complex patterns.
Natural processes can result in complex patterns, but never patterns with specified complexity. Specified complexity comes from information. Are there any examples of brand new information arising naturally, apart from a mind? The critic’s mistake here is an example of a red herring fallacy – a distraction from the issue. The critic is supposed to be giving evidence that the specified complexity of living organisms can arise naturally. But instead, he just mentions examples of non-specified complexity. These are irrelevant because both creationists and evolutionists agree that non-specified complexity can arise naturally, such as in crystal formation.
Some of the complexity seen in organisms may therefore emerge through natural phenomena that we as yet barely understand.
Evolutionists pin their hopes on that which we do not yet understand. They hope that, in the future, scientific discoveries will vindicate their wishful thinking. On the other hand, our confidence in creation is based on what we do understand in the present. It is consistent with the science we observe now (life always comes from life, information always comes from a mind, etc.).
But that is far different from saying that the complexity could not have arisen naturally.
Science is about what we can repeatedly test and observe in the present. All our tests and observations in the present show very consistently that specified complexity never arises by natural processes but always comes from a mind. And organisms possess loads of specified complexity.
Therefore, our scientific conclusion must be: organisms did not arise by natural processes, but were designed by a mind. So it is with great irony that we read the critic’s next statement.
“Creation science” is a contradiction in terms.
This statement would be surprising to the many founders of modern fields of science who were creationists. Isaac Newton the father of physics was certainly a creationist. So was the brilliant physicist James Clerk Maxwell. Johannes Kepler who discovered the three laws of planetary motion was a biblical creationist. Kepler even computed the age of the universe at approximately 6000 years.
So were many others of the past, and many excellent scientists today as well. Louis Pasteur, father of microbiology, was a creationist, and adamantly against Darwinian evolution. This conviction didn’t hamper his scientific studies; on the contrary, it led him to disprove the popular (evolutionist) belief of spontaneous generation.
Science is predicated upon biblical creationist presuppositions: the fact that God upholds the universe in an orderly way, and has promised to continue to do so (e.g. Genesis 8:22), the fact that our sensory organs are well designed and able to probe the external world (Proverbs 20:12), and that we are made in God’s image and thus have the capacity to think rationally, emulating God’s character (Genesis 1:26-27, Psalm 32:8, Ephesians 5:1). We are able to do science because we are not chemical accidents, and the universe is not chance. Science is about discovering the patterns in nature that have been imposed on nature by God. If biblical creation were not true, then there would be no rational reason to believe that science is a reliable way to understand the universe. Thus, biblical creation alone explains the success of science.
A central tenet of modern science is methodological naturalism–it seeks to explain the universe purely in terms of observed or testable natural mechanisms.
This is an extremely revealing error. Having failed to provide any actual evidence for Darwinian evolution, the critic here attempts one more desperate maneuver: redefining terms. In particular, he wants to redefine science as his belief in methodological naturalism. Methodological naturalism is the belief that we should conduct our studies as if God does not exist, as if there is nothing beyond nature. It doesn’t strictly deny that God exists, but only postulates that we should pretend God doesn’t exist when we do science. Of course, if God does exist (and indeed He does), then isn’t it fallacious to pretend He doesn’t?
Of course, there is absolutely nothing in the definition of ‘science’ that requires us to pretend that God doesn’t exist. Indeed, the Meriam-Webster dictionary defines science as “knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method.” There is nothing about denying God or assuming naturalism in the definition. Rather, the scientific method involves testing hypotheses and observing the results repeatedly.
Ironically, the scientific method works only because God does exist and upholds creation in a consistent way. In a chance universe, why expect that you will get a similar result under similar conditions? There is no basis for such consistency. But in biblical creation there is. Consistency is a promise from God (e.g. Genesis 8:22).
The critic’s error here is called the fallacy of the rhetorical definition. This is when a person attempts to persuade someone by redefining a term in a way that is not found in the dictionary. It is an unethical approach, but it is becoming increasingly common in evolutionist circles. And it can be emotionally effective. Rather than making an actual scientific argument for your view of life’s origins, simply redefine science to exclude your opponent’s view.
Sadly, this tactic sometimes fools people. We all recognize the power of science. The technological marvels of our modern world owe their existence to scientific reasoning. So, we rightly respect the scientific method. Many secularists attempt to usurp our well-placed respect in science in order to persuade us of their beliefs; they do so by tacitly redefining science to match their beliefs. If I didn’t have a moral center, I could equally well do this, and declare “Science is defined as the fact of biblical creation. So, if you deny creation, then by definition you are denying science!” But that is not the definition of science, and so I wouldn’t do that. Don’t fall for the critic’s rhetorical definition.
Instead, ask if the scientific evidence is really consistent with what the person is claiming. Ask, “if this person’s claims were true, would that make sense of the scientific method? Would it make sense to trust my mind, my sensory experiences, in that view of origins? Would we expect to find patterns in nature if that view were true?”
Thus, physics describes the atomic nucleus with specific concepts governing matter and energy, and it tests those descriptions experimentally. Physicists introduce new particles, such as quarks, to flesh out their theories only when data show that the previous descriptions cannot adequately explain observed phenomena. The new particles do not have arbitrary properties, moreover–their definitions are tightly constrained, because the new particles must fit within the existing framework of physics.
The reason particles do not have “arbitrary properties” is precisely because the universe was created and is upheld by the mind of God. God determines what happens in the universe – not chance. Hence, particles behave according to specified laws, and do not act arbitrarily as if by chance. Both creationists and evolutionists can do science. But we can only do it because creation is true.
In contrast, intelligent-design theorists invoke shadowy entities that conveniently have whatever unconstrained abilities are needed to solve the mystery at hand. Rather than expanding scientific inquiry, such answers shut it down.
On the contrary, methodological naturalism shuts down scientific investigation. If you follow naturalistic thinking through to its logical conclusion, you would find that there is no reason to expect patterns in nature, no reason to expect that the human mind is able to discover patterns in nature, no reason to trust that our sensory organs are basically reliable, no reason to think that our minds are capable of rational thought, and therefore absolutely no reason to think that science is possible or worthwhile.
Fortunately, most evolutionists don’t follow that thinking through consistently. They happily do science as if the universe were controlled by God, while simultaneously professing that God is irrelevant to science. But if they were logical about their naturalistic worldview, they would lose all confidence in the scientific method. Why would you bother to study a chance universe when you cannot trust any of your observations or conclusions?
Notice also that the critic again conflates biblical creation with the Intelligent Design Movement. Biblical creationists do not invoke “shadowy entities” with unconstrained abilities. Rather, we recognize that we are able to solve many mysteries precisely because God is who He claims to be in His Word. The astronomer Johannes Kepler said that doing astronomy was like “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” We study science to understand the consistent way that God upholds His creation. We are motivated to do science because of our love for God, we are able to do science because God has constructed the universe and man such that science is possible, and we have confidence in the scientific method because God has revealed Himself to us.
(How does one disprove the existence of omnipotent intelligences?)
How does one disprove any true thing? The answer, of course, is that one does not. Some claims are potentially false, but unfalsifiable by man due to the nature of the claim. Other claims cannot be falsified because they are true. The critic has arbitrarily decided that God’s existence falls into the first category. But has it occurred to this critic that the claim might fall into the second category?
The existence of God is a transcendental necessity, like the existence of laws of logic. No one can disprove laws of logic because he or she would have to use those laws in order to make the argument. Laws of logic must exist because the alternative is absurd. Likewise, God must exist because He provides the rational justification for the existence and properties of laws of logic, as well as science, morality, human freedom, and so forth.
Intelligent design offers few answers.
Again, the critic’s title indicates that he is supposed to be refuting creationist claims. But once again he conflates creationists with members of the Intelligent Design Movement.
For instance, when and how did a designing intelligence intervene in life’s history? By creating the first DNA? The first cell? The first human? Was every species designed, or just a few early ones? Proponents of intelligent-design theory frequently decline to be pinned down on these points.
Biblical creationists have answered all these questions and have published articles in the technical literature showing how science confirms our answers. It is a pity that most evolutionists won’t bother to read them.
They do not even make real attempts to reconcile their disparate ideas about intelligent design. Instead they pursue argument by exclusion–that is, they belittle evolutionary explanations as far-fetched or incomplete and then imply that only design-based alternatives remain.
Although I am a biblical creationist, and not a member of the Intelligent Design Movement, I must point out that there is nothing illogical about refuting a position without providing a specific alternative. I don’t have to know who murdered the victim in order to know that it was not the guy who has an alibi verified by 500 eyewitnesses. It is not logically necessary to prove any particular version of creation in order to show that evolution is not a feasible conjecture.
Furthermore, if life is not the result of unplanned, chance processes, then necessarily it must be the result of planned, deliberate processes. There is a law of logic called the law of the excluded middle. It basically says “Either A or not-A”. If life is not unplanned, then it is planned.
Logically, this is misleading: even if one naturalistic explanation is flawed, it does not mean that all are.
Darwinian evolution is considered to be the best naturalistic explanation for the variety of life we find on earth. Therefore, if the best naturalistic explanation is without any merit, would it not make sense to at least consider a non-naturalistic explanation? The critic’s comment shows his philosophical / religious commitment to naturalism. For him, it does not matter how much the scientific evidence confirms biblical creation. He refuses to consider any option that does not align with his bias. His objection to biblical creation is obviously not a scientific objection. It is philosophical or religious in nature.
Moreover, it does not make one intelligent-design theory more reasonable than another. Listeners are essentially left to fill in the blanks for themselves, and some will undoubtedly do so by substituting their religious beliefs for scientific ideas.
Again, the critic conflates biblical creation with the Intelligent Design Movement. Biblical creationists have provided a very specific model of earth history that happens to align very well with our scientific observations. We have seen that there is nothing scientific about Darwinian evolution.
Our repeatable observations in the present confirm that organisms reproduce after their kind. They show that brand new creative information always comes ultimately from a mind. But the critic dismisses this view from the outset because of his philosophical bias.
Time and again, science has shown that methodological naturalism can push back ignorance, finding increasingly detailed and informative answers to mysteries that once seemed impenetrable: the nature of light, the causes of disease, how the brain works.
Actually, it was scientific thinking and not naturalism that resulted in such discoveries. Scientific thinking presupposes that there are patterns in nature to be discovered since the Creator has imposed rational order on creation. Scientific thinking presupposes that our senses are reliable, as if designed by God to probe the external universe, and not merely the result of unplanned mutations. Scientific thinking presupposes that we have the rational ability to consider the various options and then choose the best, as if we have genuine freedom endowed to us by our Creator, and are not simply the outworking of chemistry.
Naturalism on the other hand has stifled scientific discovery and continues to do so. Why study the purpose of a biological organ if you believe that such an organ is simply an accident with no intended purpose? Indeed, many organs in the human body were once considered useless vestigial leftovers of evolution. Scientific studies have revealed that these have important functions, as if they were designed by the Lord for our benefit. But why expect to find patterns in a chance universe? Yet, scientists proceed as if the universe were designed and upheld by God in a consistent way that we can probe and discover.
Evolution is doing the same with the riddle of how the living world took shape. Creationism, by any name, adds nothing of intellectual value to the effort.
Again, creation is the backbone of science. Biblical creation provides the rational justification for our expectation that the universe is rational and orderly, that our senses can accurately probe it, and that our mind can rationally discover new truths. Evolution provides none of these things.
If human beings really were the result of billions of unplanned, chance mutations that happened to convey some survival value, there really would be no rational reason to expect our senses or mind to be reliable.
Some people mistakenly think that since accurate sensory organs would have survival value, we can trust that our sensory organs are reliable.
But this begs the question because how do we know that we actually have sensory organs without presupposing their reliability? In other words, how does an evolutionist know that his apparent observations of the world are nothing more than a byproduct of photosynthesis? How does he know that he is not a plant, and that what he thinks he has observed and experienced are merely internal chemistry that allows the plant to grow? In such a case, these chemical reactions would indeed have survival value, but the “thoughts” that result from them would have no connection whatsoever to reality.
Everyone assumes that his senses and mind are basically reliable of course. But this assumption is only justified in the biblical worldview. God has created us in His own image, and given us access to His laws of logic by which we reason. God has created sensory organs that are basically reliable, and a universe that is full of order and patterns.
Biblical creationists therefore expect that science will be a reliable method for discovering things about nature. Evolutionists also rely on science, but they are relying upon something that is only justified in the biblical creation worldview. In this way, they show that in their heart of hearts, they really do know that creation is true (Romans 1:18-20).
We have seen in this series that the critic is horribly misinformed about what it is that biblical creationists actually teach. He clearly has not read much creation science literature, nor has he thought through the implications of his own belief system. Sadly, we have found that this is quite typical for critics of biblical creation. We at the Biblical Science Institute exist to push back the ignorance so rampant in our world, to expose and correct the misconceptions of our critics, and to show how science confirms what the Bible teaches.