For the Reader
"What worries me is that so many physicists and geologists seem to think that peppered moth or finch beak observations illustrate a mighty creative force that produced moths and birds in the first place."
Professor Phillip E. Johnson, Author of Darwin on Trial
In the BBC series 'Great Britons' in 2002, Charles Darwin was listed as the 4th greatest Briton ever to have lived. In his contribution to the series, BBC correspondent Andrew Marr stated: "We have many local heroes; we have only one world changer. His name is Charles Darwin." In a similar vein James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, stated, "Charles Darwin will eventually be seen as a far more influential figure in the history of human thought than either Jesus Christ or Mohammed."
Darwin's claim to fame goes back to 1838 when he became convinced of a radical idea: "species are mutable productions." In layman's terms that means there's nothing to stop fish evolving into amphibians. Back in the 19th century, so sacred and universal was belief in the fixity of species that just verbalising his contrary conclusion felt to Darwin like "confessing a murder."
Prior to Darwin, the Bible's statement that living things reproduced "after their kind " was unknowingly being taken too far by theologians and scientists. It was widely thought that every variation now visible in nature had existed in its current form in the Garden of Eden. Against this background, when Darwin observed the variations that dog-breeders were producing, it made him wonder – if man could bring about such changes in so short a time, then perhaps over millions of years nature, without God's help, had produced all the various species of plants and animals in the world from a single-celled ancestor.1
Then there were the thirteen diversified but similar species of finches Darwin documented on the Galapagos Islands. Rather than God's creating each separate species of finch, Darwin reasoned that all the finch types probably originated naturally from a common ancestor by gradual modification and 'natural selection'. Darwin's theory was sublimely simple: favourable advantageous variations in offspring, naturally selected in the struggle of life over long periods of time, result in the formation of new species. His idea had some truth in it, but in positing that organism change was to all intents and purposes unlimited and infinitely variable, he far exceeded what was scientifically verifiable. (Hardly surprising since Darwin, along with all his contemporaries, was ignorant of genetics).
The fact is, natural selection's effect on finch beak size could never begin to explain where the finches came from in the first place, nor did it prove that all of nature was one great continuum or tree of life. In truth, other considerations, such as the fossil record, stood against Darwin's whole idea. Darwin puzzled, "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."2
Still, Darwin decided to set forth his theory, burying his doubts under what he called "the extreme imperfection of the geological record." The Origin of Species was a publishing sensation. Almost overnight, the prevailing belief that all the beautiful and ingenious contrivances in nature were creations of God collapsed. 'Design' was merely the 'appearance of design' brought about by 'natural selection'. God, if He existed at all, was clearly redundant – and man, far from being created in the image of God, was a mere cousin of the ape. Small wonder that Ernst Mayr, the 20th Century's most prestigious Darwinist authority called Darwinism " ... perhaps the most fundamental of all intellectual revolutions in the history of mankind."3
So, what is the truth? Did every species in nature evolve by mutation and natural selection from an ancient spontaneously generated 'replicator', or did God create each plant and animal as we see them today and place them in their current location during creation week? Actually, neither idea is true. It is essential to understand that the 'created kind' mentioned repeatedly in Genesis chapter 1 is often at a higher level of classification than the modern-day species or even the genus. It's quite possible that even some whole 'orders' of animals may have derived from an original 'created kind'. The fact that different species and genera can be interbred – a zebra with a horse, a lion with a tiger and a camel with a llama – proves that, even if their offspring are in some cases sterile, they must have descended from the same original created kind.
The evidence available through, for example, the study of genetics and the fossil record, points to the fact that God created thousands of pairs of basic types in the beginning, each of which possessed the genetic information and flexibility to produce wide variety in its offspring depending on its environment and location. Selective breeding by humans and genetic mutation have also contributed to variation. Chihuahuas, Terriers and Pekinese all have a mutation in the gene for an important growth regulator (IGF1) which results in less production. Whippets with one mutated copy of the myostatin (MTSN) gene and one normal copy end up being more muscled than normal whippets and consequently can run faster. Thus creation scientists do not believe that God created all the species exactly as we see them today.4
The differences between Chihuahuas and Great Danes are of a different kind altogether to the radical differences between classes like mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians and birds. (Which is why they were classified as different classes in the first place). Each class possesses a number of unique defining characteristics which are not found in any other class. So, the evolution of mammals from reptilian type ancestors requires the development of new features such as mammary glands and a milk supply, a hair covering, a temperature control system, a corti, a diaphragm and a fourth chamber in the heart. Is this kind of change possible by random mutation and natural selection? Sadly for Darwinists the answer is no. Why? There are too many genetic obstacles in the way, even given vast ages of time.
Since mutations are almost always harmful, a major function of genes is to resist mutation, not facilitate it. In a Darwinian world every single mutation must be advantageous or it will be quickly weeded out. The science literature is replete with discussions of other obstacles to mutation-based evolution, from a too slow mutation rate to the fact that mutations are often recessive and prevailed against by dominant genes in reproduction. Then there's the problem of information. Just as turning a single short telegram message into an Encyclopaedia would demand the introduction of thousands of intelligent grammatically correct sentences, so evolving new biological organs and systems demands a huge gain in complex genetic information. By 'information' scientists mean novel, meaningful sequences of DNA. Yet, no mutation known to man has ever led to an increase in such genetic information.
Probably the gravest problem with the neo-Darwinian theory – that mutations naturally selected have built all of nature – is the simple fact that such a theory ignores what Michael Behe calls the 'edge of evolution'. Behe is Professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. In addition to publishing over 35 articles in refereed biochemical journals, he has written editorial features in Boston Review, The American Spectator, and The New York Times. His book, Darwin's Black Box, has sold over
Not that it hasn't been tried. Eminent evolutionary geneticist Richard Goldschmidt bred gypsy moths for 20 years and a million generations. All he ever produced were gypsy moths. Famed American plant breeder Luther Burbank admitted that though he could breed a plum anywhere from 0.5" to 2.5" long (1.3cm to 6.3cm), he could neither go as small as a pea nor as big as a grapefruit. As biology Professor Lane Lester (PhD in genetics) and Ray Bohlin (PhD in molecular biology) have observed, "Natural selection, recombination, mutation and speciation can all interact in concert to bring about startling variation within the created prototype [kind] ... but there are limits to biological change."5
All of this goes to show that the Bible's ancient claim that plants and animals reproduce only 'after their kind' stands as a scientifically sound statement, provided we understand that being in the same 'created kind' means descending from the same ancestral gene pool. However, Darwin's claim that all of life, including humans, came from a single-celled organism in a little warm pond millions of years ago by nothing more than accidental mutations selected by nature, collapses through lack of evidence.
Granted, the vast majority of scientists still believe in Darwinism partly due to lack of exposure to the other side's arguments, and partly due to an a priori commitment to naturalism. Richard Dawkins is typical when he states: "I'm a Darwinist because I believe the only alternatives are Lamarckism or God, neither of which does the job as an explanatory principle."6 Or take Professor D.M.S. Watson writing in Nature magazine; "Evolution [is] a theory universally accepted not because it can be proven by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible."7 Distinguished Harvard geneticist, Richard Lewontin, is even more forthright. Though speaking of astronomy at the time, his comments are revealing: "We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil 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. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."8
The Bible calls Lewontin's type 'willingly ignorant'. Yet with atheistic Darwinism further away than ever from providing an explanation for the origin of the universe, life and consciousness, honest open-minded enquirers have at least three pathways open to them each of which leads to belief in the existence of God.
Consider the following:
The Information Pathway
Just as a single intelligent radio signal from outer space would indicate the presence of intelligent life 'out there', so the digitally coded DNA database in the cell evidences a designer and creator. Complex specified information cannot self-assemble – it demands a designer.
The Elimination Pathway
There are only four possibilities for the cosmos' origin:
- It came from nothing accidentally
- It came from nothing supernaturally
- It has always been here
- It is not really here; it is an illusion
The only option that will stand up to scientific scrutiny is option b. Option a is out, since from nothing, nothing comes. Option c is also out due to the second law of thermodynamics. Would your watch still be ticking if it had always been here? Option d is plain silly. One has to exist even to be able to deny one's existence. Option b must be the truth. Since whatever begins to exist has a cause, and the universe began to exist, the universe must have had a cause. Yet, prior to the beginning of the universe there was neither matter, energy nor time. Thus the cause of the universe is timeless and eternal. This renders the question "Who made God?" redundant. He is the uncreated creator, the uncaused causer, the unmoved mover without whom nothing else could ever have existed.
The Revelation Pathway
There are numerous ways in which God has revealed Himself to mankind. From the mighty galaxies to the nano-machinery of the cell, His wonderful works reveal a powerful, intelligent creator and designer. Added to creation's revelation is the written revelation of the Bible. The predictive accuracy, scientific accuracy, medical accuracy, uniqueness, durability, harmony and life-changing power of the Bible give evidence that it is indeed the very word of God. To cap it all God has given us His incarnate revelation – He has spoken to us through His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
God, the author of the laws of science, is also the source of moral and spiritual absolutes, a fact reflected in the conscience of human beings who all know, for example, that it is always wrong, at all times in all places to torture little children.9 That is, absolute right and wrong is independent of society and history. Since every law has a law-giver and there is a moral law, there must be a moral law-giver. Since the beginning of history the human race has rebelled against its moral law-giver and Creator. It is an integral part of fallen human nature to play at being God and look for excuses neither to acknowledge nor to be accountable to Him. Scientific materialism, based on Darwinism, is but one of those excuses.
The fact is, God is holy – and despite our best efforts we have all fallen short of His perfect standard of righteousness. Though we like to think we are basically good, when we look into the mirror of God's law we find corruption within. Have you always put God first in your life, or have other ambitions and possessions come first? Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever lusted after another's spouse? Scrutinized by the holy laws of God on judgment day, would you be found guilty or innocent? According to the Bible, the whole world is under condemnation for breaking God's laws (Romans 3:19). Due to the fact that we not only have committed acts of sin, but are sinners by birth, being connected to a fallen human race, we cannot put our relationship right with God by our own self-efforts or good works. The first step on the way to becoming right with God is to come to a proper sense of the dreadfulness of our sin against God, and to cast away any thought of self-righteousness and self-sufficiency. We have to admit we are lost and need a Saviour.
God saw our impossible situation. Though He can never lower the standards of His righteousness and overlook sin, out of divine love and compassion He became man in the person of Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life among us and willingly went to death on a cross where he offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. In God's sight our sin is so serious that it must be punished, either in hell where the unrepentant sinner will receive the eternal judgment he deserves, or in the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross. Three days after dying Jesus Christ broke the power of death and rose physically from the dead. After this He ascended back to heaven where He sits as God and Saviour. Today the call comes to you personally – turn from your sin, let go of any former confidence and trust alone in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, resting on His finished sacrifice for your deliverance from sin and hell.
If through this book you have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for your eternal salvation you should immediately take the following steps:
- Thank Him for what He has done for you and ask yourself the question, "What can I now do for Him?"
- Start speaking daily to Him in prayer from your heart, bringing Him praise and thanksgiving, as well as asking Him for blessings.
- Obtain a Bible and start reading and studying it. It's best to begin with the Gospels (e.g. Mark or John) and read through the New Testament first before progressing to the Old Testament. Ask God to give you understanding as to how to apply the Bible's teachings practically to your life.
- Find a Bible-believing Church and regularly attend its meetings and be baptised.
- Tell others what the Lord Jesus has done for you.
- The effects of selective dog breeding remain an important icon of neo-Darwinism. While it is true that turning some existing genes or regulatory elements on or off, or changing them slightly by simple, single mutations, can certainly affect the shapes and other properties of dogs to a degree, that does not explain where the complex systems controlling the dogs' development came from in the first place. Furthermore, these types of genetic changes are of a wholly different kind than is needed for bacterium-to-Beethoven style evolution.
- Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, (London, Penguin Classics, 1985), p. 292
- Ernst Mayr, Science, June 2, 1972 p. 981
- Lane Lester & Raymond Bohlin, The Natural Limits To Biological Change (Dallas, Probe Books, 1989), p. 175-6, 14
- Richard Dawkins, A Survival Machine." In The Third Culture, edited by John Brockman (New York, Simon & Schuster, 1996), p. 75-95
- Prof D. M. S. Watson, Adaptation, Nature, 1929, 124:233
- Richard Lewontin, Billions and billions of demons, (The New York Review, January 9, 1997), p. 31
- The Bible, Romans 2:15: " ... they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternatively accusing or else defending them ... "
If you would like to get in touch please use the form below: