What an amazing turn of events! Just when it seemed the intelligent design movement was in retreat, out came the remarkable documentary film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. It is fascinating to watch Hollywood celebrity, author and former law professor Ben Stein travel around the world and interview many of the chief proponents of intelligent design or evolution.
The movie gives a balanced overview of the intelligent design/evolution controversy and shows how scientists, professors and teachers who have backed intelligent design have been relentlessly persecuted by their peers for questioning Darwinism.
Why is this happening? It's time to ask some hard questions about this controversial issue that impacts the social, moral, scientific and religious underpinnings of our world. After all, it is not going away.
A rose is a rose by any other name
What is evolution? It's a simple question, but there are dozens of answers. Here is the first problem in the evolution/intelligent design debate—how to agree on the meaning of the terms.
Evolution can mean something as simple as "change over time," or it can be an all-encompassing explanation of the entire universe, as Sir Julian Huxley once postulated: "The earth was not created; it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and soul as well as brain and body. So did religion" (The Humanist Frame, 1961, p. 18).
As you can immediately see, the implications of what he said on our worldview and beliefs are enormous. This is why it is so important to establish the right definitions about the issue at hand. In Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland sequel Through the Looking Glass, the fantasy character Humpty-Dumpty said, "'When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.'" So definitions can be very subjective—and sometimes deceptive.
One of the deceptions used by many proponents of evolution is the "bait-and-switch" tactic. It begins with a simple, noncontroversial definition that can be agreed upon, and later the definition is switched to mean something quite different.
For example, Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education (an organization formed to promote the teaching of evolution), an avowed secular humanist and atheist, seems to use different definitions depending on the audience. She advises biology teachers: "Define evolution as an issue of the history of the planet: as the way we try to understand change through time. The present is different from the past. Evolution happened, there is no debate within science as to whether it happened, and so on . . . I have used this approach at the college level" (Dealing with Anti-Evolutionism, 2001, p. 8).
Yet, in this same article, she admits what she really wants the student to accept: "What do we want students to know about organic evolution? The 'Big Idea' is that living things (species) are related to one another through common ancestry from earlier forms that differed from them [in other words, the amoeba-to-man theory]. Darwin called this 'descent with modification,' and it is still the best definition of evolution we can use, especially with members of the general public and with young learners" (p. 5).
We therefore see how definitions can change according to the target audience. Almost no one disputes that "change over time" has occurred in biology. Heredity sees to that—we are different from our parents and grandparents—but that's not what the theory of evolution is all about. It goes much, much further, attempting to explain how microorganisms, insects, fish, tigers, bears and human beings became what they are through gradual reproductive change from one kind of life- form to another with the passing of time.
Darwinian evolution—what is taught in the classroom—consists of three suppositions: 1) all living things descend from a common ancestor; 2) the principal mechanisms for the changes giving rise to new species are mutation and natural selection or "survival of the fittest"; 3) these are unguided, natural processes.
Once we clearly see what the proponents of evolution want people to believe, we can proceed to what intelligent design theory is all about.
Intelligent design and creationism
First, it's important to understand that the intelligent design theory was not developed by religionists. This modern version was proposed some 30 years ago by scientists who could not reconcile the complexities of the cell with evolutionary explanations. Then, as more scientific discoveries were made that favored the intelligent design theory, it was expanded to include not only the evidence from biology, but from cosmology and physics as well.
What is intelligent design? Here is a working definition from intelligentdesign.org: "The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."
Intelligent design theory poses a mortal threat to Darwinian evolution, since it takes the position that the universe and living things were designed by a superior intelligence and are not just the result of blind forces in nature. Yet modern evolution does not want to include anything that is not part of the observable or measurable natural realm as a cause. It limits the possibilities to natural forces and chance as the creators, an idea called naturalism or materialism (or naturalistic materialism).
Biologist Richard Lewontin candidly admitted, "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 . . . we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door" ("Billions and Billions of Demons," New York Review of Books, Jan. 9, 1997, p. 31, emphasis added throughout).
"Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer," immunologist Dr. Scott Todd once boasted, "such a hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic" (Nature, Sept. 30, 1999, p. 423).
Finally, another term that can be loaded with bias is "creationism." It can simply mean a belief that a Creator formed the universe (which 90 percent of Americans believe) or be limited to a narrower view that accepts only a recently formed earth and universe according to a particular understanding of the creation account given in the biblical book of Genesis. It should be noted that the Bible allows for a much older earth than young-earth creationists suppose (see "Where Do the Dinosaurs Fit?").
The dictionary gives a broader meaning of the term in question: "Creationism is a belief that the origin of the universe and everything in it is due to an event of creation brought about by the deliberate act of a creator God." By this definition, the vast majority of Americans—and of all human beings on earth—are creationists.
Missing links still missing
Once the definitions are set, we can go on to evolution's next deception—the lack of accuracy about the fossil record.
Evolutionists generally claim the fossil record is a prime proof for Darwinian evolution. For example, an article from the evolution-promoting National Center for Science Education states, "The fact that evolution has occurred is evident from the fossil record, which is a long record of modifications in the characteristics of animals and plants from the simpler to the more complex over hundreds of millions of years" (Gary Bennett, "A Review of Of Pandas and People as a Textbook Supplement," November 2000, online edition).
Nevertheless, how solid is the fossil evidence? If all living things have descended from common ancestors, we should find millions of intermediate links in the fossil record. Even Charles Darwin admitted: "The number of intermediate and transitional links, between all living and extinct species, must have been inconceivably great . But assuredly, if this theory be true, such have lived upon the earth" (The Origin of Species, 1958, p. 289).
Yet, as Darwin himself conceded, they were largely missing. He asked: "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 serious objection to my theory" (p. 287).
He thought that eventually the "innumerable transitional links" to support his theory would be found. But have they?
Paleontologist David Raup gave this summary of what had been discovered by 1979: "Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn't changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transitions than we had in Darwin's time . . .
"So Darwin's problem has not been alleviated in the last 120 years and we still have a record which does show change but one that can hardly be looked upon as the most reasonable consequence of natural selection" (Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, 1979, p. 25).
Now, another 30 years later (150 years after Darwin), the fossil record still shows no evidence of evolutionary transition through gradual change.
In sum, the fossil record has let Darwinists down—the innumerable missing links among the main species are still missing.
What about intelligent design and the fossil record? Does it make more sense?
Yes, it does, according to geophysicist Stephen Meyer. At the beginning of the fossil record there exists what is called "the Cambrian Explosion," a bewildering variety of complex life-forms that does not fit the Darwinian evolutionary model of simple-to-complex life.
Dr. Meyer explains: "The fossils of the Cambrian Explosion absolutely cannot be explained by Darwinian theory or even by the concept called 'punctuated equilibrium,' which was specifically formulated in an effort to explain away the embarrassing fossil record. When you look at the issue from the perspective of biological information, the best explanation is that an intelligence was responsible for this otherwise inexplicable phenomenon.
"So when you encounter the Cambrian Explosion, with its huge and sudden appearance of radically new body plans, you realize you need lots of new biological information. Some of it would be encoded for in DNA—although how that occurs is still an insurmountable problem for Darwinism. But on top of that, where does the new information come from that's not attributable to DNA? How does the hierarchical arrangement of cells, tissues, organs, and body plans develop? Darwinists don't have an answer. It's not even on their radar" (quoted by Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator, 2004, pp. 238-239).
Atheist renounces former view
Recently Sir Antony Flew, the famous philosopher and one of the world's leading proponents of atheism, renounced his former views and accepted creationism. Why? He said it was largely because of the implications of DNA information. His conversion was a major blow to atheism.
What made him change his mind after a lifetime of opposing creationism?
Flew explains that the clincher was the complexity and quantity of information found in the DNA molecule. This is something else evolutionists are not honestly addressing. They continue deceiving the masses by saying that all the intricate DNA information can be explained by evolutionary forces acting on the cell.
Regarding whether recent discoveries relating to the origin of life point to the activity of a creative Intelligence, Professor Flew states: "Yes, I now think it does . . . almost entirely because of the DNA investigations. 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.
"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 , 2007, p. 75).
It's interesting to learn what other factors persuaded him to accept a Creator as the grand designer of the universe and life.
"I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite Intelligence," he affirms. "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 half a 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" (pp. 88-89).
Many of these same points are covered in the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. We highly recommend seeing it.
Modern trends prophesied long ago
Although the evolution/intelligent design controversy might appear quite modern, a variation of it existed at the time of the apostle Paul in the first century. He was well-acquainted with Greek thought and some of its philosophical schools that denied a Creator and believed that nature was sufficient to explain the creation and development of living things, similar to what Professor Flew previously believed.
Paul's explanation seems amazingly relevant and modern. Flew touched on some of the same arguments, used by Paul 2,000 years ago, that finally persuaded him to accept belief in an intelligent Creator. Paul's arguments also reveal the moral and spiritual implications for many who follow the theory of evolution to its ultimate consequences.
Paul's warning to the skeptics of his day also applies today: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them" (Romans 1:18-19).
He continues: "For ever since the creation of the universe God's invisible attributes—his everlasting power and divinity—are to be seen and studied in his works, so that men have no excuse; because, although they learned to know God, yet they did not offer him as God either praise or thanksgiving. Their speculations about him proved futile, and their undiscerning minds were darkened.
"Professing to be wise, they showed themselves fools; and they transformed the Glory of the immortal God into the likeness of mortal man, and of birds, and beasts, and reptiles. Therefore God abandoned them to impurity [of mind, resulting in immoral lifestyles], letting them follow the cravings of their hearts, till they dishonored their own bodies; for they had substituted a lie for the truth about God, and had reverenced and worshiped created things more than the Creator, who is to be praised for ever" (verses 20-25, Twentieth Century New Testament).
So, as the Bible also says, "There is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Don't let yourself be deceived by the false arguments of evolution. Rather, stand firm for an all-wise intelligent Designer and true biblical creationism! GN