Few issues within the faith-based arena cause as much division as the question of creation vs. evolution. The popular stereotypes portrayed in the media, and unfortunately accepted by many, are those of the religious “Bible thumper” that unquestionably accepts the biblical account of divine, special creation versus the more educated and objective scientist who “follows the evidence wherever it leads” and supports evolution. As is typical, however, the stereotypes are far from accurate. In this article, we will review the evidence and show how an objective scientific view should actually oppose evolution and support special creation.
First, we have to define the sides of the debate. For purposes of this article, we are focusing on creation vs. evolution in terms of biology. The similar issues related to cosmology, geology, etc. are completely separate from this discussion. As such, the issue of the age of the earth and universe will be discussed at a later time. While these topics are often discussed together, they are actually separate.
Within this context, a “creationist” is someone that believes life began by a sudden and divine edict and that different forms of life were created separately. Since the age of the earth is to be discussed later, both “young earth” creationists (that accept the literal 6-day creation story in Genesis) and “old earth” creationists (that view the six days in Genesis as symbolic stages) are in this group. Both of these groups reject “macro-evolution,” which is the change from one “kind” (a biblically used term loosely associated with species) of life into a different or more advanced kind. However, creationists accept “micro-evolution,” which is the observable change within a particular species or kind.
Evolutionists accept both micro- and macro-evolution and believe that life changes through random mutations and the proliferation of beneficial mutations through natural selection (“survival of the fittest”) over long periods of time. For the most part, evolutionists believe life started and developed to higher levels as a result of combining random, natural processes with millions or billions of years. In essence, it is the idea that given enough time, the “impossible becomes the inevitable.” Evolutionists support their view by pointing to the increasing complexity of life throughout the fossil record, high levels of biological similarities in different life forms, and the readily observable facts of micro-evolution. Combining these elements with long periods of time, they theorize that macro-evolution is the best, and only, explanation for how life developed.
However, there are significant problems with the idea of macro-evolution. First, evolution depends completely on the idea of “spontaneous generation” where living things arose from non-living things through natural processes. This is a necessary foundation of evolution. However, science has never observed, in nature or the laboratory, a single example of spontaneous generation. Furthermore, they have not even developed a feasible and testable theory as to how it could happen.
Next, evolutionists must believe that micro-evolution, combined with enough time, results in macro-evolution. While this theory initially sounds feasible, it has never been observed. Even with multiple experiments on E. coli bacteria and fruit flies, through thousands of successive generations, biologists have only observed micro-evolution. They have never seen E. coli or fruit flies become anything other than E. coli or fruit flies.
Another problem faced by evolutionists is the startling complexity of life. Even the simplest, single celled organisms are a vastly complicated array of proteins and chemicals, with intricate barriers and buffers, to form a “membrane-encased, self-reproducing, self-repairing, metabolizing, living cell.” Further, the genetic information in the DNA of a single human cell is roughly equivalent to 4,000 books with 500 pages each! The idea that this amount of information could be produced randomly is akin to writing 4,000 books by starting with a single phrase, randomly changing letters, and keeping only those results that are still meaningful phrases. The statistical probability of such an exercise producing even one book boggles the mind, let alone 4,000 books!
Evolutionists are also unable to convincingly explain the fact that the statistical chances of life having developed at all are practically zero, yet life flourishes in millions of forms on earth. At the most basic level, there appears to be an incredible amount of “fine tuning” to the universe that makes life possible. If any of the four fundamental forces of physics (strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity) were even slightly different, the universe could not sustain life. For example, if gravity were even a billionth of a percent different in either direction, stars, planets, galaxies, and therefore, life could not exist. Another example is that the mass of a proton is 1,836.1526 times that of an electron. If this ratio were not this exact value, many chemical compounds would become unstable and DNA could not form. There are many other examples of this “fine tuning” that clearly point to a divine design rather than random luck.
The fossil record also poses problems for evolution. While there is a rough progression from simple to more complex life in the fossil record, it does not show a gradual increase in diversity and complexity as predicted by evolution. Rather, life seems to explode on the scene and go through cycles of rapid proliferation followed by extinction, with relative stability in between. Further, there is a lack of the required “transitional forms” between species. If macro-evolution is true, the startling diversity of life we see today requires literally millions of transitional forms, which are strangely absent. For example, there are no observed transitions from invertebrates to vertebrates, fish to amphibians, and amphibians to reptiles. More interestingly, there are no known transitions between single celled organisms and multi-celled organisms since there are no known members of the animal kingdom with two to five cells! The simple fact is most species simply appear suddenly in the fossil record and eventually disappear looking the same way they started. In addition, there are a few species that seem to carry on through multiple extinction events without ever really changing.
Another problem faced by evolutionists is the concept of “irreducible complexity.” This is the idea that certain biological features could not have evolved since they are highly complex and need to be completely developed to function. In other words, they couldn’t have evolved in small steps since each successive stage would have been non-functional. The text book example is the eye ball. Evolutionists have tried to explain this away by pointing to examples of eye precursors such as the light sensitive cells on flatworms. But this is more likely an example of something that simply performs a similar function to an eye, not a precursor, since their structures are very different and there is no roadmap of how it has or could have evolved through other organisms. There are many examples of such irreducible complexity in the animal kingdom which have not been adequately explained.
Evolutionists have completely failed to explain another very simple and common biological fact: the existence of genders. In order for sexual reproduction to occur, the distinct genders had to develop separately yet compatibly, due to completely random processes, in the same geography, and within the same generation of a given species throughout the millions of years evolution supposedly occurred! The chances against this happening randomly are astronomical. Rather, gender is a clear illustration of planned and logical design, not randomness.
The nail in the coffin of random evolution deals with the progression of life from simple to more complex forms. Ironically, one of the observations evolutionists use to support their theory is its ultimate undoing. Life certainly appears to have become more complex. For this to occur by evolution, simple life forms had to mutate, over time, into more complex forms, requiring an increase in genetic information. However, mutations actually destroy, or at a minimum leave unchanged, the amount and complexity of genetic information in a life form. Science has never observed, in nature or in the lab, a mutation that increased the amount of information available. However, for macro-evolution to have occurred, this increase of information must have happened millions, if not billions, of times!
There is one more piece of information about evolution that, while not direct evidence of its being false, is a necessary outcome if it is true. If life evolved from purely natural, random processes, the ideas of free will, emotion, love, morality, etc. are all illusions. They are nothing more than the outcome of chemical reactions in the human brain. In effect, if there is no “soul,” mankind is a completely natural automaton which is only a collection of matter and chemicals that acts and reacts purely as dictated by the laws of physics and chemistry. We are nothing better than moving rocks that can produce more moving rocks. Even our thoughts and memories are only chemical reactions and responses. Does this necessary outcome of evolution fit with what we experience in our lives every day?
If the evidence is so strong against evolution, why do the majority of highly educated scientists accept it without question? In short, they have no other option. Everyone, including educated, “objective” scientists approach everything around them with a particular “world view.” We use assumptions and paradigms because they help us make sense of a complex world. Science, by its very nature, looks to understand cause and effect from a natural perspective. It is all about experimentation, measurement, and explanation. Therefore, the idea that “God did it” is unacceptable to the scientist. So while science is extremely useful and beneficial to mankind, the evolutionist struggles with the same prejudices everyone else does. They don’t see God as the author of life because they can’t. Their world view will not allow it. And even though evolution is rife with problems, it is their only acceptable option.
Image Attribution: “Elrathia-kingii-dorsal” by Micha L. Rieser – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elrathia-kingii-dorsal.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Elrathia-kingii-dorsal.jpg