Is it more reasonable to believe in Creation over Evolution?
Before I became a Christian about 2 and a half years ago, I was brought up by society to assume Darwinism is true, that living creatures are as we know of them are the result of random, purposeless evolution ("you can challenge 'religious dogma,' but even think for questioning 'science' and be dismissed as a lunatic." go figure.) Then not too long ago, I read some convincing arguments against Darwinism, and I became an Intelligent Designist. Heck, recently I read some intriguing arguments in favor of the literal interpretation of Genesis. my point is, I am curious about your stand point on the debate. I know that one could write a novel-sized response to this one, so I do not expect you to dwell on this subject very long unless you are led to.
Thank you for writing. Darwinism is definitely a hot topic today, especially with students and churches. Your letter brings up many issues that I'd like to mention. The most important thing when addressing this or any other issue is to try and approach the discussion in a consistent way. We should be able to examine the evidence for and against it rationally and judge its reasonableness. I really believe there has been too much reaction on an emotional level from both sides and therefore we have not been communicating our position effectively.
The best place to start with any discussion is by understanding the exact issue that's being discussed. Misunderstandings about the Christian position of evolution are commonplace.
First off, when objecting to the idea of Darwinism, we are only discussing a specific type of evolution - macroevolution. This means that we're talking about life starting spontaneously and from a single organism came every type of living thing we see today - including germs, bugs, animals, fish, and all of the plants too. Not moths changing colors or some such thing. Having different colors or sizes within a species are micro-evolutionary changes and they are not in dispute.
More specifically, though, we must remember that Darwinian theory the way its proponents currently assert it is a RANDOM AND PURPOSELESS process. That means we must leave out ideas of "theistic evolution" - God causing evolutionary changes to take place. None of the advocates of Darwinism as it is now taught in schools holds to ANY type of creator/designer having any hand in the evolutionary process. I cannot stress this enough. In discussing evolution verses Intelligent Design theory, we must discuss each of those theories the way that their proponents position them. This means evolution is a cosmic accident and nothing more.
Secondly, we must understand that Darwinism is not an empirical science, but a historical theory based on interpreted evidence. Many people get caught speechless when someone objects, "How can you doubt evolution to be true? Don't you know that science has proven it to be true?" Well, science has not proven evolution to be true. The origin of life is not testable and repeatable like the refraction of light or a chemical reaction. It is primarily a search to find out what happened in a specific point in time in history.
Much like a forensic investigator who examines clues at a crime scene and tries to put together the events, we are trying to find out what happened for a single occurrence at a specific point in history that is not reproducible. Therefore, we approach the problem by looking at what we CAN examine and make educated guesses as to which processes are the most likely to bring about all of those outcomes. Evolution is simply one idea of what could have happened given all the evidence we have. The question then becomes "is evolution the best explanation of the evidence we have?"
In reviewing all the evidence we have currently on evolution, I feel that its explanatory power falls short for the origin of life and great variation of species that have existed throughout time. Some of the problems evolution faces are its inability to demonstrate how living organisms began at all, how the components of the living cell are irreducibly complex and how the design evident in those organisms argues for a designer. As we look at each of these dilemmas, we can see how evolution fails as an explanatory model.
In studying the basic question that evolution attempts to answer, "where did life come from", we see that there is no sustainable model for chemicals coming together and creating a living cell. As geologists uncover the true atmosphere of a primitive earth, molecular biologists find that generating amino acids - which produce the proteins needed in all cells for life - becomes incredibly difficult. Further, many scientists see signs that oxygen would have been present in the early atmosphere which would destroy any biological chain reaction creating life. In fact, there is no agreed upon model in the scientific community on how cells did come to be. Scientists who hold to one theory easily point to obvious flaws in a competing model and visa-versa.
Another refutation of the evolutionary model that has recently arisen is the idea that cells themselves are comprised of processes that are what as known as "irreducibly complex". In other words, the entire system must exist all at once for it to be of any benefit at all. Michael Behe in his book Darwin's Black Box explains this in greater detail. He uses a mousetrap as an example. In order for a mousetrap to be of any benefit, it must have some type of base, a spring, a holding wire, a trigger and the hammer that strikes the mouse. Without any one of these components, the trap is completely useless. In the same way, a cell cannot evolve gradually, because all the components that allow a cell to do work must exist simultaneously. Evolving one part but not another is not only useless, but according to evolutionary theory, would put a transitional form at a disadvantage and therefore less likely to survive.
Lastly, the incredible design and purpose shown in the living cell and in the structures that make up living organisms have never been adequately explained by evolution. DNA is a prime example of this. DNA is a digital code made up of only four bases or nucleotides. As a digital code it provides a blueprint so that all the various mechanisms and forms of life are replicated according to its instruction. The question arises then how could something like DNA to be created randomly? There is no such thing as a self-generating code - for a code is an agreed upon representation of what it's trying to communicate. That's why they're used in espionage; they don't mean anything taken at face value. It is only when someone or something who understands the code based on rules which were prearranged will the true message of the code be known.
Similarly, the idea that several thousands of mutations that happened in the proper sequence are responsible for the flying birds or the eye of a man are, when examined objectively, pure fable. We never see this type of successive mutation in reality. Even the fossil record shows environmental systems such as the Cambrian explosion appearing abruptly and completely. Also, the odds for such a delicate balance of all variables required for life to exist is so infinitesimal (see our latest newsletter for more on this idea) that holding it happened by accident becomes absurd.
So, if all these things are evident, some may ask, why do smart people like scientists keep saying evolution is true and scientifically proven? Well, when you get them to talk seriously about evolution, they say something different. Professor Richard Lewontin wrote in The New York Review "We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism." This honest admission shows that these scientists view their theories as dogma. They are taken on faith alone, and not on objective scrutiny.
There is so much more to this topic that I cannot cover due to time and space limitations. I do hope, however, that everyone would think twice before shying away from the evolutionary debate or retreating to a "I take it solely by faith" response. There is good evidence that evolution fails, and so the question then becomes if evolution doesn't work, what other options are there for the existence of life? The evolutionists know the inescapable answer to this question: a Creator.