THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION
"I’m speaking on two subjects, evolutionism and creationism, and I believe it’s true to say that I know nothing whatever about either.... One morning I woke up … and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff [evolution] for twenty years, and there was not one thing I knew about it.’ He added: ‘That was quite a shock that one could be misled for so long … I’ve tried putting a simple question to various people and groups of people: Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing that you think is true? I tried that question on the geology staff in the Field Museum of Natural History, and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago … and all I got there was silence..." - From a November 5th, 1981 lecture by Dr. Colin Patterson, Senior Paleontologist for the British Museum of Natural History. The lecture was presented at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History.
Although I was planning on watching a movie with Amy Tuesday evening, when I learned about the debate about half an hour before it's start time (INTELLIGENT DESIGN / CREATION (HAM) -VS- EVOLUTION (NYE)), the WHOLE FAMILY sat down together and watched. Although Ham started out hot, he lost much of that momentum as the debate went on. It was not that Nye was necessarily 'winning', but that the proceedings were moving so fast that if you were not already well versed on this topic, you could easily have been left by the wayside; relegated to grasping at sound bites as they whizzed by your head (Nye presented so many points that there was not time for Ham to adequately deal with most of them). In fact, all too often "Sound Bites" are what these debates are reduced to. That, or else they bog down in technical minutiae that no one (self included) really understands, or for that matter, even cares about understanding. Usually, there is just too much ground to cover to adequately address specific aspects of this huge topic in the time given.
It is important to understand that when we discuss evolution, it is not simply a discussion about incredibly complex structures. It is a matter of needing to adequately address the incredibly complex information required for regulating, repairing, and replicating every part of your body. Think about it like this; if you were walking along the beach and found a book in the sand, you would simply assume that no matter who lost it, someone with at least some degree of intelligence made it. In other words, no one that I know would argue that the book made itself. Let's take this analogy a step further. What if you opened the pages of the book and noticed that it had writing on each individual page? Now, beyond the fact that I found a a bunch of blank pieces of paper bound together, it contains information. Get past the complicated biochemical structure of DNA, and it is exactly that --- information. Information enough to fill several volumes of encyclopedias --- numerous orders of magnitude more complex than the bound paper itself. How complex?
After Francis Crick, an ardent evolutionist, co-discovered DNA back in the early 1950's (he won 1962's Nobel Prize), he began to realize the gravity of his discovery. Grasping the complexity of the DNA molecule and difficulty (impossibility would likely be a better word to use here) of trying to explain how such an elaborate molecule could 'evolve' on its own (let alone contain the amount of information it does), he invoked something that Carl Sagan had alluded to nearly a decade earlier --- "Directed Panspermia". What is Directed Panspermia you ask? DP is, "the deliberate transport of microorganisms in space to be used as introduced species on lifeless planets. Directed panspermia may have been sent to Earth to start life here, or may be sent from Earth to seed exoplanets with life". To put it bluntly, the DNA molecule presented such a philosophical dilemma to its discoverer that he began telling anyone who would listen that space aliens must have found a way to get genetic material to earth where it was seeded into the 'primordial soup' and began to evolve. You see, Crick understood the situation far better than most of his colleagues do today. Let me spell it out for you in mathematical terms.
"A mathematician calculated the time it would take under very suitable conditions for a usable protein to hook up from available amino acids. That number was 10 x (power 171) years. When we start getting into really big numbers, they are very hard to comprehend. That doesn’t seem like such a big number. Actually there are only 10 x (power 80) atoms in the entire universe. Here is what that number would be in some sense by our reality. If you gave an amoeba 10 x (power 171) years, he could carry every single atom in the universe, one by one, all the way across the universe and back (30 billion light years), more than 600,000 trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion times if he were traveling at the unbelievably slow speed of 1 inch every 15 billion years (the age of the universe)." - Jim Stephens from his website. I have seen similar in several books I have read.
So, in April of 1966, a group of prominent biologists, paleontologists, geologists, etc, got together with some of the world's leading mathematicians at Philadelphia's Wistar Institute -- a biomedical research center whose chief purpose is studying the genetic mutations we refer to as Cancer. The conclusions that came out of this and several similar conferences held over the next decade and a half can essentially be condensed into the red quote above. In other words, evolution --- at least neo-Darwinistic naturalistic evolution --- is a pipe-dream. Unfortunately, unless one understands exponential numbers and orders of magnitude (for instance, 10 to the 81st power is ten times greater than 10 to the 80th power, and 100 times greater than 10 to the 79th power), much of this will be lost on you. The conclusion of these meetings was that random chance and probability cannot conceivably account for the incredible complexity in even something as biologically simple as a bacteria --- an organism with far more technological and chemical complexity than today's space ships (you'll understand why if you watch the videos below).
Back in Darwin's day, cells were basically thought of as blobs of cytoplasm with a darker nucleus. The prevailing thought was that as science progressed, it would reveal that cells are not very complicated. But something unexpected happened. The 20th century provided a technological explosion that went far beyond what the average person of that day could have envisioned. These advances have revealed that even the simplest organisms, proteins, cells, and biological systems, are complex beyond our wildest imagination. And with each passing year and every new study, we are finding new and deeper levels of biochemical complexity. You can better understand what I mean by taking just a moment to watch the videos below (make sure to watch them with your kids).
In Origin of the Species (a book written in 1859, just prior to our own Civil War), Darwin contemplated the human eye and stated, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down". When discussing this idea of an organ as complex as the eye evolving via random genetic mutations, ardent evolutionist Richard Dawkins stated in 1986's Blind Watchmaker that, "Vision that is 5 per cent as good as yours or mine is very much worth having in comparison with no vision at all. So is 1 per cent vision better than total blindness. And 6 percent is better than 5, 7 better than 6, and so on up the gradual continuous series." While his assertion is unequivocally true (5% vision would be better than total blindness), is his thought process valid? Could something as absurdly complicated as an eye (both structurally and biochemically), evolve gradually from a point of very slight vision, to slowly improve itself by the gradual accumulation of chance mutations to the point we can witness the visual acuity of eagles, insects, or humans? I, for one, am not buying what's being sold here, and let me quickly show you why not.
When I was 12 years old, Carl Sagan told our 7th grade science class that, "The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be," Although I was not as adept at spotting BS as I am now, this sentence sounds suspiciously like a truth claim from a religion you may be at least somewhat familiar with (HERE). That's because Naturalistic Darwinistic Evolution is a religion --- a religion that requires just as much faith to believe as any other religion --- and after watching the videos above; maybe more. If you actually watch the debate; near the end you will hear Nye rapturously mention (twice) the "joy" he receives from passing on his faith and worldview (Neo-Darwinistic Naturalism --- the only 'science' he admittedly views as valid) to younger generations. Although he talked several times about the people from the world's various religions denying Ham's position (a point that I would definitely agree with); he fails to grasp the bigger picture. All of the major religions of the world (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, tribal paganism, etc,) would abjectly deny neo-Darwinisitic evolution. This goes for Buddhism and Hinduism as well. While adherents of these religions might very well be evolutionists of some sort, they would not consider themselves to be "Naturalists" who believe that the diversity of life we see around us was caused solely by chance mutations coupled with completely natural causes.
Unfortunately, the religion of Naturalism fails to answer most of our basic questions (Nye was forced to admit this in the debate). Why am I here? Where does consciousness and the ability to think and reason come from? What about the laws of logic? What happens when I die? It's one thing to fancy that a complex organism could somehow evolve through random genetic mutations. "Fanciful" is taken to a whole new level when we are forced to imagine that information could simply create itself ex nihilo (out of nothing) --- information that is infinitely more complex than this blog post you have managed to wade through. If Ham is correct, no harm is done. If Nye is correct and life boils down to little more than "Survival of the Fittest," the predictive powers that he so boastfully claimed for Naturalism have already shown us where we are ultimately headed (HERE). After all; history tends to repeat itself.
"Naturalism is not something about which the Darwinists can afford to be tentative, because their science is based upon it. As we have seen, the positive evidence that Darwinian evolution either can produce or has produced important biological innovations is nonexistent. Darwinists know that the mutation-selection mechanism can produce wings, eyes, and brains not because the mechanism can be observed to do anything of the kind, but because their guiding philosophy assures them that no other power is available to do the job. The absence from the cosmos of any Creator is therefore the essential starting point for Darwin." Page 117 of Phillip Johnson's (emeritus professor of law at Boalt School of Law at the University of California) classic 1991 offering, Darwin on Trial. If you are interested in understanding this issue better, this is the book to get.