Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

Questions on evolution

If evolution is not true, why do most scientists believe in it?

Note the following:-

  • Science students are taught evolution as a fact. People often don't question what they are taught.
  • A paleontologist is bewildered by the lack of genuine transitional forms, but he assumes that the geneticists have enough evidence for evolution. The geneticists don't have evidence but they are sure that the paleontologists have rock-solid evidence for evolution, so they never doubt evolution - they just seek to reinterpret their data in a way that suggests evolution.Thus, evolution also lives on through passing the buck.
  • Many scientists work in specializations in which the question of origins does not force itself prominently. Thanks to super-specialization, a scientist in say, inorganic chemistry may not have had the chance to really check whether the evidence supports evolution or not, because those fields are not his. So he simply assumes by default that the evolution that was taught to him in school is true.
  • Many scientists have stopped believing in evolution and now advocate creationism. Antony Flew is a famous example.
  • Scientists tend to cling on to a theory no matter how inadequate it is when alternative theories are unavailable (other examples are the phlogiston theory of combustion and Ptolemy's geocentric theory). Thus, scientists cling on to evolutionary theory because there is no acceptable alternative. (Creationism is not acceptable to most scientists because they assume that any proposition which invokes the supernatural is false). Why is the idea of God so reprehensible to people? Because they would have  to be accountable to Him (John 3:19-20).
  • Many scientists who are still evolutionists recognize and admit the problems with evolutionary theory. A classic example is Michael Denton, who wrote "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis".
Also see: How reliable are the experts?

How has the theory of evolution helped or not helped the progress of science?

In this connection, it should be noted that many ideas in practical science can be justified using both evolution and creation. For instance, looking at fever in the context of infection, an evolutionist may say that fever must be an adaptive response to infection, and thus not without benefits. A creationist may say that fever is a design feature of the body's response to infection, and thus not without benefits. If you come across an advance in science that is due to evolutionary ideas, and that cannot be explained using the Creation/Fall/Flood teaching of the Bible, let me know. Having said this: Being false, it is not surprising that evolutionary theory has impeded the progress of science:-
  • Evolutionists believe that breast milk is a product of mutations and natural selection. It follows that it should be possible to use intelligent design to come up with bottled milk that is better for babies than their mothers' milk. So women were encouraged to give their infants bottled artificial milk rather than breast milk. Later on, scientists realized that breast milk is superior to artificial milk, and that there are other benefits to mother and child associated with breast feeding. This is natural to expect if breast milk is designed by a Creator.
  • There are some organs such as the appendix and tonsils whose functions were unknown. Evolutionists were quick to conclude that these are vestigial organs - useless organs that are leftovers of evolution. Many patients were encouraged to have their tonsils removed. Later on, it was found that the tonsils play a crucial role - they help prevent the infection of important organs by getting infected themselves. If the assumption had applied from the beginning in Western medicine that no organ in the human body was likely to be functionless, it again does not take much mental effort to deduce that it would have likely hastened the elucidation of such functions.
  • Most evolutionists are indoctrinated with Charles Lyell's uniformitarian hypothesis, that all geologic features must be explained only as due to slow processes acting over a very long time. This has blinded them to recognizing the obvious - that many geologic features are evidently formed due to the action of torrential running water in a short time. The aversion of evolutionists to accepting a flood of gigantic proportions is because this brings them face to face with Noah's Flood mentioned in the Bible. Today, evolutionists reluctantly admit that many geologic features are due to sudden, catastrophic action, which they insist is due to many local floods rather than a single global flood.
  • If evolution has taken place on earth, and there are trillions of stars and planets out there in the universe, there is every reason to expect that there may be millions of civilizations out there. Guided by evolutionary thinking, organizations such as NASA have already spent enormous amounts of money looking for a microbe or two on Mars, or some meaningful radio signal from another galaxy. This money could have been put to much better use where it not for the evolutionary obsession with extra-terrestrial life. Incidentally, if NASA finds an informative radio signal, you can bet they will conclude it was created by intelligent life, and not a natural process. Too bad they do not apply the same yardstick to information-containing DNA here on earth!

Noteworthy news item: In his February 1998 article in the journal Australasian Science, evolutionist environmental biologist David Booth claimed that understanding evolution is of great practical relevance. However in the same article he laments that many Australian university biology curricula ‘pay no more than lip service to evolution’. The reason, says Booth, is the ‘move to a more utilitarian science’ which demands ‘more practical benefits from science’. So Booth admits that, in response to pressure to get more practical scientific results, universities are moving away from spending time on evolutionary theorizing.

If God created an idyllic world, how do you explain animal features designed for attack and defense?

There are two possible creationist explanations for Defence-Attack Structures (DAS) in animals:-

(a) Those things that are now used as DAS may not have been designed for this purpose, and had a different function before the Fall. They reached their present function by degeneration, e.g. mutations.

(b) The design information for DAS was already present before the Fall, perhaps in latent or masked form. God foreknew the Fall, so it’s likely that He preprogrammed creatures for the information needed to survive in a fallen world.

Note that many carnivorous animals can do quite well even without meat. For instance the upside-down jellyfish, Cassiopeia xamachana are vegetarians that grow their own food and carry it with them (other jellyfish are non-vegetarians). Similarly, there are examples of lions and dogs that thrived on vegetarian food.

Doesn't Craig Venter's creation of life in the lab vindicate evolution theory?

Firstly, Assuming that Craig Venter really created life, it only supports what I've been saying all along - that intelligence is needed to create life. His work does not prove that random chemical reactions produced life (which is what evolution theory claims).

Secondly, He actually didn't create life. All he did was copy (with the help of already-existing yeast cells) the genome (software) from one bacterium (piece of hardware), make some modifications (watermarks), and put it in another cell (another piece of hardware). If I access the program files of Windows on one PC, copy them, make a few modifications, and then install my modified windows on another already existing PC, it certainly does not mean I created Windows and a PC.

Doesn't Lenski's work with E coli bacteria vindicate evolutionary theory?

Lenski and his co-workers allowed E coli bacteria (the image shows a cluster of them)to reproduce for 45,000 generations to see what would happen. The bacteria were kept in a broth containing glucose - due to the abundance of food supply, the population would increase rapidly until the glucose would run out and the bacteria would begin to starve (Lenski would then rescue 1% of the bacteria and put them in another flask that contained glucose broth). Their inaugural paper is Blount ZD, Borland CZ, and Lenski, RE. Historical contingency and the evolution of a key innovation in an experimental population of Escherichia coli. PNAS June 10, 2008 vol. 105 no. 23 7899–7906.

They observed the following changes in the bacteria that supposedly have significance for evolution:-
  • The cell size increased as the generations passed.
  • Two separate tribes showed changes in the expression of 59 genes in the same direction.
  • The bacteria were initially kept in a glucose environment, but later, when the broth contained plenty of citrate apart from glucose, the bacteria developed an ability to digest citrate as well - "a key innovation". Zachary Blount showed that this was due to two successive mutations.
However, these changes do not support goo-to-you evolution for the simple reason that not even in one case did Lenski establish that the change involved an increase in the information content of the bacterium's genome. Let me clarify:-
  • The increased cell size (instead of rapid cell division)  which helps bacteria survive with a scarcity of glucose is most probably due to the progressive degradation of a gene that initiates cell division at a certain size.
  • Biochemist Michael Behe from Lehigh university showed that the changes in the expression of 59 genes were due to a change in a single control gene. These changes led to loss of function - the bacteria were less mobile, lost the ability to digest ribose, and lost the ability to repair DNA - in other words, a loss of information which proved beneficial in the sheltered, food-rich environment of the lab.
  • E Coli already has a mechanism to process citrate (the Krebb's cycle which is found in all living things). It also has genes to code for a transporter protein that transports citrate within the cell - these genes are switched on normally only under anaerobic conditions. Thus, Lenski's bacteria were able to digest citrate because the switch was damaged - the transporter coding genes were thus switched on even in the aerobic conditions of the lab. This proved to be a bonanza in that the bacteria could now eat citrate as well - a great benefit for bacteria in Lenski's flasks, but nevertheless, an informationally downhill change since a regulatory switch was destroyed.
Thus, the information content in the genome of Lenski's bacteria did not increase. In other words, these bacteria did not demonstrate the kind of change needed to convert bacteria to people.

Aren't human and chimp DNA so similar? Doesn't this prove that they have a common ancestor?

DNA contains its information in the sequence of four chemical compounds known as nucleotides, abbreviated C,G,A,T. The human DNA has at least 3,000,000,000 nucleotides in sequence. The full sequencing of chimp DNA is far from done. Thus, true similarity between chimp and human DNA is simply impossible to measure precisely today.

The popularly reported figure of 95-99%  has been arrived at by a technique called DNA hybridization in which strands of DNA from two different species are checked to see if they form double strands. If they do, it is assumed that the DNA strands are identical - although that is only one of the possibilities.

Having said that, note the following:-
  • Even if a 96% similarity is assumed, the 4% difference still amounts to about 120 million base pairs, equivalent to 120 million words, or the contents of 40 large books. It is ridiculous to claim that mutations (random copying errors) could produce 40 large books of new information. Thus, even a 96% similarity between chimp and human DNA does not suggest that chimps and humans share a common ancestor.
  • We humans share 50% of our DNA with bananas. That does not mean we're half bananas. Thus, DNA similarity is not an accurate indicator of overall similarity between two creatures. Hence it cannot be used to suggest common ancestry.
  • It is naive to equate similarity in letters and words with similarity in information content. For instance, in English, a single word such as "not" can completely change the meaning of an entire sentence.
  • A high degree of DNA similarity is only to be expected if the same Creator made both chimps and humans, as the Bible claims. Just as two business phones are more similar to each other than to a music phone, (and all are designed), one expects humans and chimps to have more similarity in their DNA than humans and crabs, because humans have more morphological similarity with chimps than with crabs.
To summarize: the supposed similarity between human and chimp DNA is perfectly consistent with the Biblical model, and certainly does not prove that chimps and humans have a common ancestor.

What is a genuine transitional form?

A transitional form is not:
  • Any species between two other species; Humans are closer to dogs than to earthworms. However, although dogs exist, there is no evidence that earthworms evolved to man via dogs. Thus, a dog is not a transitional form between an earthworm and man. Arranging animals on paper does not prove that one evolved to another.
  • A species that does not fit into your classification system; the existence of such a species only proves that your classification system needs modification. It's somewhat like this. You call creatures with features A1 and A2 as type A; creatures with features B1 and B2 as type B. Then you find a creature with features A1 and B2. This creature does not prove that A evolved to B. It only shows that your classification system needs to be modified.
To illustrate the second point, consider the duck billed platypus (show in the image). There are some animals that give birth to their young ones and suckle them. You call them mammals (or at least used to). Reptiles and birds hatch eggs and don’t suckle their young. So what do you do with the platypus, which suckles it’s young and lays eggs? Is it a transitional form, a missing link that proves that reptiles evolved into mammals?

After mating, Mrs. Platypus turns to her husband and says: “Honey, we’re transitional forms! Should I lay eggs or give birth to live young?” He says, “I haven’t a clue! Just go with the flow – let’s hope you’ve got one mutation more than dad and mom”. When it’s time, she delivers a mess! An embryo with half an egg shell!! Somehow, the embryo survives and becomes a normal baby. Mr. Platypus then wonders to his wife: “Honey, how are you going to feed your baby? You’re as flat-chested as a reptile!” “O come on!” she replies, “I’ve got these little glands” So she tries to feed her baby, but instead of milk, there’s only water and sweat coming out!!

Is that how it is?! No!! The platypus is fully formed with specialized features! It's got fully developed breast milk and a fully developed mechanism for laying eggs, with no trace of any transition to a live-birth mechanism. It’s not a transitional form between mammals and reptiles! It is a fully developed species that did not fit into early classifications of species! Is it a "reptilian like mammal" or a "mammal like reptile"?! I don't care!! That's the problem of whoever decided to classify animals as reptiles and mammals! Don't pass off problems with your classification system as evidence for evolution!!

A “transitional form” is a form showing the transformation of one feature to another. An example would be the creatures in my hypothetical platypus example. As another example, between reptiles and birds, if a progression of fossils could be found: (100% leg, 0% wing), (90% leg, 10% wing), …, (0% leg, 100% wing), we could call each of them a transitional form, and such fossils could lend some credence to the notion that reptiles evolved into birds.

Are "older" animals "simple" and "recent" animals "complex"?

The grand theory of evolution states that there has been a progression: goo, unicellular organisms, multi-cellular organisms, and finally, man. Thus, older, simple animals have apparently evolved to complex ones. But this pattern is not shown in the real world. Example:

"The eyes of early trilobites have never been exceeded for complexity or acuity by later anthropods." - Stephen Jay Gould, "The Ediacaran Experiment," Natural History, February 1984, 22-23. 

Why did nature give the trilobites - extremely "old" animals such fantastically complex eyes?