Evolution: An Article of Faith

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An Article of Faith

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Evolution: An Article of Faith

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In 1859 Charles Darwin rocked the scientific—and religious—worlds with his book On the Origin of Species . It wasn’t long before the scientific communities on both sides of the Atlantic accepted the notion that life evolved over “millions on millions of years,” as Darwin put it in his book, after arising spontaneously from “some warm little pond,” as he described it in a letter to a friend. Darwin found himself enshrined as one of the greatest scientific thinkers of all time, on a par with Galileo and Newton.

Fast forward 150 years to today, and most of the scientific world still accepts the theory of evolution as fact in spite of growing evidence to the contrary. And a world that does not want a God who can tell them what to do wants instead a theory that explains a creation without a Creator.But not all who then read Darwin’s book were convinced of his theory. Other scientists and geologists noted inconsistencies, unexplained creatures appearing at the wrong times in the fossil record, and other holes in the theory—some of which Darwin himself acknowledged.

A theory full of holes

The past half-century has not been kind to Darwin’s theory. When his book was published, Darwin admitted that the fossil record that ought to have supported his theory was full of gaps, but confidently predicted that a great many of the missing transitional species would be found to fill these. But now, more than 150 years later, with paleontologists having explored vast reaches of the planet, the fossil record still fails to show the evidence Darwin predicted would be found.

Meanwhile, new discoveries about the vast complexity of the cell, and the explosion of the field of microbiology, have added further difficulties that challenge Darwin’s theory. Today, hundreds of scientists doubt evolution to the point of rejecting it.

The Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think tank devoted to the critical examination of evolution, lists more than 700 leaders of scientific thought who have gone on record as doubting the theory to the point that many of them now admit a belief in some higher intelligence as the most logical source of the existence of life.

Lost in the furor over evolution is the fact that the theory of evolution is not a fact, but is unproven. A scientific theory is a reasoned explanation that appears to fit all the facts at hand but that cannot be tested and verified as scientific law through the observed results of repeated experiments according to the scientific method. Evolutionary theory cannot be verified through observation because it has supposedly transpired over eons of time—and therefore must remain a theory rather than a proven law. 

However, Darwinian evolution should not truly be classed as a scientific theory since it does not really fit the evidence that exists in a reasonable way. Evolution might be better termed a hypothesis —an educated guess—about how the vast array of life we see in the world around us came to exist. Except it’s not so educated as it’s touted to be since its proponents dismiss considerable evidence to the contrary.

And the theory offers nothing to explain how the vast universe with its “building blocks” of life—not to mention the laws of physics, chemistry and biology that govern it all—came to be. For this reason, the concept is more properly a philosophy or, as we’ll see, almost a religion of sorts—a false religion.  

New discoveries that chop away at the trunk of the tree of evolutionary thought have created a situation reminiscent of the Late Middle Ages, when medieval thought held that the earth is the center of the universe. The prevailing view in the year 1500 was that the sun, moon, planets and all the stars revolved around the earth. 

Along came Copernicus in the mid-1500s showing mathematically that the Sun is the center of the solar system and that the earth and other planets revolve around it. This was confirmed by Galileo and his new invention, the telescope, around 1600.

That revolutionary discovery was initially rejected by most, and Galileo was severely persecuted. In like manner scientists who challenge evolution today often endure ridicule from their colleagues for acknowledging publicly the growing anti-evolutionary discoveries.

The “Cambrian explosion”

One of Darwin’s two central ideas was what the scientific community terms universal common descent . Basically, this says that all life forms ultimately descended from a single common ancestor, which Darwin estimated to have appeared on the scene somewhere between 700 and 800 million years ago.

More than 150 years later, with paleontologists having explored vast reaches of the planet, the fossil record still fails to show the evidence Darwin predicted would be found.

If his theory were accurate, the fossil record should show millions of evolving life forms over millions of years, resulting in billions of fossils of transitional life forms. However, as already pointed out, he had to admit in his book a major problem with the fossil record that he could not explain: “As by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?” (1859, Masterpieces of Science edition, 1958, p. 137).

Later in his book he again acknowledged the problem with the fossil record: “Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory” (p. 260-261, emphasis added throughout).

Instead of the “innumerable transitional forms” predicted by Darwin’s theory, the actual fossil record is vastly different.

The record showed that suddenly, nearly 600 million years ago by paleontologists’ dating, an explosion of life forms occurred during what came to be called the Cambrian period. Over a period of just a few million years in paleontologists’ chronology, a mere blip in the purported geological record of the earth, thousands of new creatures appeared that exhibited a high level of anatomical sophistication.

What had Darwin really stumped was the fact that no fossil evidence of an evolutionary ancestor, no “missing link” for these complex creatures, could be found anywhere, on any continent.

Again, Darwin acknowledged huge gaps in the fossil record that should’ve supported his theory. As he stated: “The explanation lies, I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record” (p. 261). He hoped and assumed that future scientists would discover the missing links.

But, notes journalist George Sim Johnston: “This is the verdict of modern paleontology: The record does not show gradual, Darwinian evolution. Otto Schindewolf, perhaps the leading paleontologist of the 20th century, wrote that the fossils ‘directly contradict’ Darwin. Steven Stanley, a paleontologist who teaches at Johns Hopkins, writes in The New Evolutionary Timetable that ‘the fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another’” (“An Evening With Darwin in New York,” Crisis, April 2006, online edition).

Since Darwin’s time, millions of new fossils have been discovered representing thousands of different species, but none have been shown to be the missing links he had hoped would be found. In his 1991 book Darwin on Trial, Dr. Phillip Johnson wrote: “The single greatest problem which the fossil record poses for Darwinism is the ‘Cambrian Explosion’ of around 600 million years ago. Nearly all the animal phyla (major classifications of animals) appear in the rocks of this period, without a trace of the evolutionary ancestors that Darwinists require” (p. 54).

What the fossil record does show are soft-bodied worms, jellyfish and similar creatures that lacked any sort of skeletal structure. Then a relatively short time later, a myriad of much more sophisticated creatures having external skeletons, internal organs, and hearts burst onto the scene. In fact, most if not all of the basic body plans of animals alive today were present in the Cambrian period, in stark contrast to what Darwin had theorized.

Also in 2013, in a review of an article about the Cambrian explosion in the magazine Science, Stanford University’s Christophe Lowe commented on the scientific world’s struggle to explain the sudden burst of life in evolutionary terms. “The range of hypotheses proposed to explain the Cambrian explosion is as diverse and broad as the fossils they seek to explain.” He went on to verify that this huge group of new Cambrian animal species did indeed appear suddenly, and that the few pre-Cambrian fossils were not their ancestors.

Scientists have put forward many theories to try to explain away the Cambrian explosion and other ways the fossil record contradicts Darwinian evolution, but it still remains an enormous challenge to evolutionary thinking.

Are mutations really helpful?

Darwin’s other main point, natural selection, gave rise to the phrase “survival of the fittest”—an expression widely used in today’s business and political worlds. According to Darwin, mutations would arise in life forms, bringing new traits, and the more advantageous of these would by the process of natural selection be passed on to successive generations. These were “the fittest,” and those lacking such traits would die out.

To Darwin it seemed simple enough: Genetic changes or improvements that gave an animal an edge in survival would be the most likely to be passed on. But is that the way most mutations work?

Decades spent in the study of mutations have shown that most are harmful, leaving the animal less likely to survive. So one might ask, what are the chances of favorable mutations actually being passed on? Or to state it differently, what are the odds that the DNA of a particular creature would be improved through random occurrence and successfully passed on to new generations?

Dr. Murray Eden, professor of engineering and computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, delved into this question. He compared DNA to a computer code, noting that any computer code would be rendered useless with only a few random changes:

“No currently existing formal language can tolerate random changes in the symbol sequences which express its sentences. Meaning is almost invariably destroyed” (“Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, 1967, p. 14). In other words, the need for specific arrangement of DNA sequences makes it extremely improbable that random mutations would generate new functional genes.

Since it has been determined that mutations occur only once in about every 10 million DNA copies, a logical question might be: What are the odds of a beneficial mutation happening on its own, at random, with no guidance? 

In Darwin’s Doubt, Dr. Stephen Meyer commented on Eden’s findings:  “Did the mutation and selection mechanism have enough time—since the beginning of the universe itself—to generate even a small fraction of the total number of possible amino acid sequences corresponding to a single functional protein of that length? For Eden, the answer was clearly no” (2013, p. 176).

Following the evidence wherever it leads

Ongoing discoveries about the astounding complexity of DNA continue to provide solid evidence for the divine creation of life. In fact, it was an objective look at DNA that led the late Sir Antony Flew, long the leading atheist in England, to renounce his atheism and accept the existence of a divine Creator.

He acknowledged that he had changed his mind about a Creator “almost entirely because of the DNA investigations.” He explained: “What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together.

The weight of evidence against Darwinian evolution is growing. To their credit, some advocates of evolution openly admit some of the problems.

“It’s the enormous complexity of the number of elements and the enormous subtlety of the ways they work together. The meeting of these two parts at the right time by chance is simply minute. It is all a matter of the enormous complexity by which the results were achieved, which looked to me like the work of intelligence” ( There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, 2007, p. 75).

He went on to say: “I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite Intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source.

“Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science. Science spotlights three dimensions of nature that point to God. The first is the fact that nature obeys laws. The second is the dimension of life, of intelligently organized and purpose-driven beings, which arose from matter. The third is the very existence of nature.”

He concluded that when it came to assessing the evidence of nature, “We must follow the argument wherever it leads”—which in his case was to the conclusion that the only reasonable and logical answer is a Divine Creator (pp. 88-89).

Startling admissions from evolutionists

The weight of evidence against Darwinian evolution is growing in biology, genetics and the fossil record itself. To their credit, some advocates of evolution openly admit some of the problems—as evidenced by the following comments.

David Raup, former curator of geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, put it this way nearly 40 years ago: “Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin [and now nearly 160], and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded … [yet] ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time.

“By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information —what appeared to be a nice, simple progression when relatively few data were available now appears to be much more complex and much less gradualistic” (“Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, January 1979, pp. 22-25).

He also later admitted: “In the years after Darwin, his advocates hoped to find predictable progressions. In general, these have not been found—yet the optimism has died hard, and some pure fantasy has crept into the textbooks” ( Science, July 17, 1981, p. 289).

Steven Jay Gould, Harvard University paleontologist and ardent evolutionist, wrote in his book The Panda’s Thumb : “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology Gradualism [evolutionary change over long periods of time] was never ‘seen’ in the rocks” (1977, p. 181).

The fossil evidence forced Gould to admit in a 1980 essay that the traditional view of Darwinian evolution isn’t supported by the fossil evidence and “as a general proposition, is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy” (“Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?” Paleobiology, Winter 1980, p. 120).

C.P. Martin of McGill University in Montreal wrote: “Mutation is a pathological process which has had little or nothing to do with evolution” (“A Non-Geneticist Looks at Evolution,” American Scientist, January 1953, p. 100).

All of these men have strongly supported evolution. But they, and others like them, frankly acknowledged some of the uncomfortable facts that contradict the theory. Yet unlike Antony Flew, mentioned earlier, they were not willing to follow all of the evidence to its logical end.

An article of faith

Deeply held beliefs are hard to give up. Just as those who believed 400 years ago that the sun revolved around the earth opposed the new truth that the earth actually revolves around the sun, so today do most scientists refuse to accept modern findings on the origins of life. The evolutionary paradigm so governs their thinking that they are unable to objectively see other alternatives.

How has the scientific community reacted to the growing weight of evidence against evolution? The answer: They practice the same sort of denial of which they accuse religion— they accept evolution as an article of faith.

Notice this admission by biologist Richard Lewontin regarding his attitude and that of his scientific colleagues: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, … in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism … Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door” (“Billions and Billions of Demons,” The New York Review of Books , Jan. 9, 1997, p. 31)

Kansas State University immunologist Dr. Scott Todd echoed that sentiment: “Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic” ( Nature , Sept. 30, 1999, p. 423).

New Zealand molecular biologist Michael Denton carefully examined the main arguments for Darwinian evolution and found them full of errors and inconsistencies. In his 1985 book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, he wrote that the problems with the theory “are too severe and intractable to offer any hope of resolution in terms of the orthodox Darwinian framework” (p. 16).

He concluded, “Ultimately the Darwinian theory of evolution is no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth of the twentieth century” (p. 358).

More recently, a chapter in Dr. Meyer’s book titled “The Possibility of Intelligent Design,” touched on the scientific world’s refusal to accept any possibility that intelligence, rather than blind chance, was involved in the creation of all life form, including human beings:

“When the case for intelligent design is made, it’s often hard to get contemporary evolutionary biologists to see why such an idea should even be considered … Though many biologists now acknowledge serious deficiencies in current strictly materialistic theories of evolution, they resist considering alternatives that involve intelligent guidance, direction or design” (p. 337).

In other words, those who cling to the evolutionary theory refuse to see and accept the plain evidence. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,’” says your Bible (Psalms 14:1 Psalms 14:1The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good.
American King James Version×
; Psalms 53:1 Psalms 53:1The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that does good.
American King James Version×
). A spiritually blinded, deceived and materialistic world will go to extreme lengths to deny the existence of the Creator.

Do we see any parallels between today’s agnostic scientific community and the philosophers of the apostle Paul’s time? Paul said of them: “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, or of birds and animals … As they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind …” (Romans 1:22-23 Romans 1:22-23 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.
American King James Version×
; Romans 1:28 Romans 1:28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
American King James Version×
).

Where, then, is your faith? Is it in the evidence of the fantastically complex creation you can see around you, or in a discredited theory riddled with problems? Critics of religion says it takes faith to believe in a divine Creator. But in fact it takes far more faith to believe in evolution—indeed, blind faith!

What about you? Do you have the faith required to still believe in evolution? Or are you willing to truly examine the evidence?