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Questions About Science And Evolution | NORMAN L. GEISLER and RONALD M. BROOKS

About And

Two men were walking through the forest and happened across a glass ball lying on the carpet of twigs and fir needles. There were hardly any sounds other than the pair’s own footsteps and certainly no signs of other people. But the very obvious inference from the evidence of the ball was that someone had put it there. Now one of these men was a scientist, trained in the modern view of origins, and the other a layman. The layman said, “What if the ball were larger, say ten feet around, would you still say that someone put it there?” Naturally, the scientist agreed that a larger ball would not affect his judgment. “Well, what if the ball were huge— a mile in diameter?” probed the layman. His friend responded that not only would someone have put it there, but that there should be an investigation to find out what caused the ball to be there. The layman then pursued one more question, “What if the ball were as big as the whole universe? If little balls need causes, and bigger balls need causes, doesn’t the biggest ball of all need a cause too?”

The Bible’s views on the origins of the universe, first life, and new life forms, have caused many to falter in their acceptance of the Scriptures as truth. Modern claims to have proven them wrong beyond a shadow of a doubt. The theory of is now posited as fact. Who is right? The Bible or ?

This chapter will deal with this problem by stating a basic argument, then applying that argument to the three areas of origins: the universe, first life, and new life forms. But before we embark, let’s be sure that we understand what is and how modern evolutionists view origins.

Most of us think of as an invention of Charles Darwin in 1859, but it is really a very old view that has naturalistic philosophical roots. In chapter 3, we mentioned that nontheists say the universe is uncaused—it just always was and will be. All matter (if it exists in any sense) carries in it the principles of life. The idea of life arising from nonliving things is not a problem with this starting point. Indeed, it would be inevitable. Equally certain would be the progress from less complex life forms to more complex ones, since all things would be ever striving toward perfection and the realization of higher states.

Modern does not look very much like this picture. Since many scientists are materialistic, they hold to the basic design but without the spiritual connotations. However, without the spiritual aspects guiding the system, there is no mechanism to explain the progress of species. Enter Charles Darwin. He provided a mechanism to make work beginning with matter alone. He called it natural selection. Much of what Darwin taught has been rejected and surpassed by modern evolutionists, but the doctrine of natural selection has been maintained.

Modern and Creation

The ancient Greeks viewed as a philosophical matter. Reason was the chief tool of rather than experimentation. Much of this attitude came from their belief that the world was a corruption of perfection. The world was to them an uncreated, unknowable, yet necessary evil which God directed but did not really control. Only when the theistic view of Creation took over did begin to study the world experimentally. It was the thought that God had created matter that made it a thing worth studying. In this view, matter was real, good, and knowable. By seeing God as the Creator in complete control, could make the assumption that the universe made sense. Most of the scientists who formulated the studies of modern were creationists. Without this basis, modern would probably never have gotten started.

As to the origin of the universe, classic evolutionists have said that the world was uncaused. Carl Sagan has expressed this in his saying, “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”1 This view is still being taught by those who have not kept up with new discoveries in cosmology (study of the universe). Evolutionists also teach that life first began as a result of chemical reactions in what Darwin called a “warm little pool.” Research done in the last thirty years has shown that it is possible to generate some amino acids necessary for life using only a few basic gases, water, and an electrical charge. This has encouraged the view that life arose from nonliving matter. As to new life forms, these are said to have evolved through natural selection. As the conditions of the earth changed, animals adapted new characteristics to meet the new challenges. Those who adapted survived and those that did not passed into extinction. The great variety of extinct animals found in fossils and their similarities to living species are used to confirm this thesis. If virtually all scientists agree on these principles and have the evidence to prove it, can we still believe the Bible?

THE BASIC ARGUMENT AGAINST

Let it first be said that we need not argue on religious grounds. We do not need to simply stand firm crying, “The Bible said it; I believe it; that settles it!” That attitude can be good, but there are good scientific grounds to reject evolution and believe in Creation. In fact, it is all based on the whole idea of what is.

is based on causality; every event has a cause. Things don’t happen willy-nilly. Even if we can’t know specifically what particular cause produced a certain event, we can say what kind of cause it must have been because of the kinds of effects we see today. The idea that whatever caused some effect in the past will cause the same effect in the present is called the principle of uniformity. All science is based on finding causes using these two principles: causality and uniformity.

When scientific principles were first being developed into the scientific method, scientists like Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Issac Newton, and William Kelvin made a distinction between primary and secondary causes. A primary cause was a first cause that explained singularities—events that only happened once and had no natural explanation. Secondary causes were thought of as natural causes and laws that govern the way things normally operate. Unfortunately, some scientists began using supernatural causes to explain natural irregularities like earthquakes and meteors. When the truth was learned about these things, scientists eliminated primary causes from consideration altogether and sought to explain everything in terms of natural causes. But just as it was wrong for supernaturalists to explain ordinary events using primary causes, it is also wrong for the naturalist to explain all singularities by natural causes.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OPERATION
AND ORIGIN SCIENCE

Operation science deals with the way things normally operate. It examines how the world normally works in the present. It studies things that happen over and over again in a regular and repeated way. Operation science seeks answers that are testable by repeating the experiment over and over, and falsifiable if the cause does not always yield the same effect. Its conclusions should allow one to project what will happen in future experiments. Operation science likes things to be very regular and predictable. No changes; no surprises. So the idea of a supernatural being coming around to stir things up occasionally is strongly resisted. Because of this, it usually seeks out natural (secondary) causes for the events it studies.

Creationists Who Founded Modern Science

Kepler—Astronomy

Pascal—Hydrostatics

Boyle—Chemistry

Newton—Physics

Steno—Stratigraphy

Faraday—Magnetic theory

Babbage—Computers

Agassiz—Ichthyology

Simpson—Gynecology

Mendel—Genetics

Pasteur—Bacteriology

Kelvin—Thermodynamics

Lister—Antiseptic surgery

Maxwell—Electrodynamics

Ramsay—Isotopic chemistry

ORIGIN SCIENCE

OPERATION SCIENCE

Studies past

Studies present

Studies singularities

Studies regularities

Studies unrepeatable

Studies repeatable

Re-creation not possible

Re-creation possible

How things began

How things work

May find primary cause

Finds secondary causes

Conclusions not falsifiable

Conclusions falsifiable

Origin science is not just another name for giving evidence to support creationism. It is a different kind of science. Origin science studies past singularities, rather than present normalities. It looks at how things began, not how they work. It studies things that only happened once and, by their nature, don’t happen again. It is a different type of study that requires a different approach. Rather than being an empirical science like physics or biology, it is more like a forensic science. Remember the TV show about a medical examiner named Quincy? Each week he tried to find out what and/or who caused a past singularity (a person’s death) by examining the effect and deciding what kind of thing could have caused that event. That is what origin science seeks to do.

Now origin science works on different principles than operation science does. Since the past events that it studies cannot be repeated today, it uses analogies between the kinds of cause/effect relationships that we see today and the kind of effect that is being studied. Also, origin science does not claim to give definitive answers, but only plausible ones. We did not observe the events of origins, and we cannot repeat them (just as Quincy could not ask the murderer to kill the victim again). So the remaining evidence must be studied and interpretations of it measured by what seems most likely to explain the evidence. And just as operation science recognizes that some events demand an intelligent cause, origin science also admits an intelligent cause when the evidence calls for it.

The first step in the basic argument against evolution is that it has taken the wrong approach. It has applied the principles of operation science to the study of origins. It is seeking regular and repeated causes for events that occurred only once. It has forced the operations that are presently working in the world to explain how the world got here in the first place. Using this method, it is a foregone conclusion that it originated by a process; processes are what operation science studies. But it is confusion to assume that unique and singular events, such as the beginning of the universe or first life, should be studied in terms of a regular and repeated process. To understand origins, we must use origin science, not operation science.

EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT PRIMARY CAUSES

But there is a second part to this argument. Because origin science is not restricted to secondary causes (the natural causes that operate the universe), it sometimes finds evidence to suggest an intelligent primary cause. On the TV show, Quincy had to determine whether he was looking for a natural cause of death or a murderer—an intelligent cause. What kind of evidence would show that an intelligent being has intervened? Carl Sagan has said that a single message from outer space would confirm his belief that there is extraterrestrial life. In other words, some normal events, such as communication, require an intelligent cause. This is a type of order known as specified complexity.

Three Types Of Order

  1. Orderly (repetitive) and specified
    GIFT GIFT GIFT GIFT
    Example: crystal, nylon
  2. Complex (unrepeating) and unspecified
    TGELDHT TBWMHQC PUQXHBT
    Example: random polymers
  3. Complex (unrepeating) and specified
    A MESSAGE IS RIDING ON THIS SEQUENCE
    Example: DNA

This is more than simply design or order. It is order of a complex nature that has a clear and specific function. A chunk of quartz has order in its crystals, but it is repetitive, like the message: FACE, FACE, FACE, FACE. A chain of random polymers (called a polypeptide) is complex, but it does not give any specific function or message. It looks like this: DLAKI CHNAOR NVKOEN. But specified complexity has order that is not repetitious and communicates a message or a clear function, such as: THIS SENTENCE CARRIES A MESSAGE.

Now one of these types of design is the work of intelligent intervention, and I think you know which one it is. It is obvious that wherever we see a clear and distinct message—a complex design with a specified function—it was caused by some form of intelligent intervention imposing limits on the natural matter that it would not take by itself. There are natural phenomena that are orderly and awe-inspiring, but clearly caused by natural forces. We can see that the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls did not require intelligence but only the forces of wind and water to shape them. However, the same cannot be said for the faces on Mount Rushmore or a hydroelectric plant. In these there is clearly a specified message or function. For these we know there must have been intelligent intervention. Whether it be a sculpture, a name written in the sand, or a smoke signal we instantly recognize that it took some smarts to do that—it just didn’t happen by itself. And all of our present experience confirms this to us. It is universally true of things that we find in the world today, so it is reasonable to assume that it has always been that way.

 

 

BASIC ARGUMENT STATED

Our basic argument has now made two points. First, it is valid science to look for intelligent primary causes to events that show signs of intelligence. Archeologists do it all the time. When they find pottery or arrowheads, they rightly conclude that some intelligent being produced it. Operation science is only concerned with secondary natural causes, but origin science is not so restricted and is the proper method for studying unique, past events. Second, present experience tells us that an intelligent cause should be sought wherever we find specified complexity. This gives us a criteria to show when an intelligent cause is operating and when it is not. So if it is valid for science to look for primary causes and we have some way of identifying them, the basic argument for Creation goes like this:

  1. Origin science should be used to study origins.
  2. There are two kinds of science: operation science and origin science; and we must use one or the other to study origins.
  3. Operation science should not be used to study unique, unrepeatable past events because it is devoted to studying the normal operations of the present.
  4. So, origin science is the proper method for studying origins because it studies unique, unrepeated events, which origins are by definition.
  5. Origin science admits the possibility of primary intelligent causes.

     III.     Primary intelligent causes can be identified when there is evidence of specified complexity.

  1. Therefore, wherever there is evidence of specified complexity, origin science should posit a primary intelligent cause.

We may now apply this type of argument to the three areas of origins: the origin of the universe, the origin of first life, and the origin of new life forms.

THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE

There are two views of origins. One says that everything came about by natural causes; the other looks to a supernatural cause. In the case of the origin of the universe, either the universe had a beginning or it did not. If it did have a beginning, then it was either caused or uncaused. If it was caused, then what kind of cause could be responsible for bringing all things into being?

 

Evolutionary scientists have told us that the universe either came from nothing by nothing or that it was always here. One such theory is called the steady state theory and also calls for the universe to be constantly generating hydrogen atoms from nothing. In either case, holding to such beliefs has a high cost for the scientist, for both of these violate a fundamental law of science: the law of causality. Both views require that the scientist believe in events happening without a cause. Even the great skeptic David Hume said, “I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause.”2 Yet this absurd proposition is accepted by men who make their living by the law of causality. If the whole universe is uncaused, why should we believe that the parts are caused? If the parts are all caused, then what evidence could suggest that the whole is uncaused? Nothing in the principle of causality supports this conclusion. The evidence is just not there.

Rather, a great deal of evidence now supports the option that the universe had a beginning. Robert Jastrow, founder and former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has summarized the evidence in his book God and the Astronomers, saying, “Now three lines of evidence—the motions of the galaxies, the laws of thermodynamics, and the life story of the stars—pointed to one conclusion: all indicated that the Universe had a beginning.”3 Now if we are speaking of a beginning of the universe—a movement from no matter to matter—then we are clearly in the realm of unrepeatable events covered by origin science.

THE LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS

The first law of thermodynamics says that the actual amount of energy in the universe remains constant—it doesn’t change. The second law of thermodynamics says that the amount of usable energy in any closed system (which the whole universe is) is decreasing. Everything is tending toward disorder and the universe is running down. Now if the overall amount of energy stays the same, but we are running out of usable energy, then what we started with was not an infinite amount. You can’t run out of an infinite amount. This means that the universe is and always has been finite. It could not have existed forever in the past and will not exist forever into the future. So it must have had a beginning.

THE MOTION OF THE GALAXIES

Scientists argue that the universe is not simply in a holding pattern, maintaining its movement from everlasting to everlasting. It is expanding. It now appears that all of the galaxies are moving outward as if from a central point of origin, and that all things were expanding faster in the past than they are now. Remember that as we look out into space, we are also looking back in time, for we are seeing things not as they are now, but as they were when the light was given off many years ago. So the light from a star 7 million light-years away tells us what it was like and where it was 7 million years ago.

The most complete study made thus far has been carried out on the 200-inch telescope by Allan Sandage. He compiled information on 42 galaxies, ranging out in space as far as 6 billion light years from us. His measurements indicate that the Universe was expanding more rapidly in the past than it is today. This result lends further support to the belief that the Universe exploded into being.4

This explosion, sometimes called the Big Bang, was a beginning point from which the entire universe has come. Putting an expanding universe in reverse leads us back to the point where the universe gets smaller and smaller until it vanishes into nothing. So the universe, at some point in the distant past, came into being out of nothing.

THE RADIATION ECHO

A third line of evidence that the universe began is the radiation “echo” which seems to come from everything. It was first thought to be a malfunction or static on the instruments. But research has discovered that the static was coming from everywhere—the universe itself has low-level radiation from some past catastrophe that looks like a giant fireball.

No explanation other than the big bang has been found for the fireball radiation. The clincher, which has convinced almost the last doubting Thomas, is that the radiation discovered by Penzias and Wilson has exactly the pattern of wavelengths expected for the light and heat produced in a great explosion. Supporters of the Steady State theory have tried desperately to find an alternative explanation, but they have failed.5

Again, this evidence must lead one to conclude that there was a beginning of the universe.

The law of causality tells us that whatever happens is caused, so what caused the universe to begin? It is possible that this big bang is simply the latest in a series of explosions that destroy all evidence of what came before. But that only backs the question up a few steps to “What caused the first explosion?” It is also possible that the steady state theory is right, that the universe had no beginning and is creating hydrogen from nothing to maintain energy without running down. But this explanation is contrary to the evidence and the law of causality. Both of these answers are possible; neither is plausible.

Logically, if we are looking for a cause which existed before the entirety of nature (the universe) existed, we are looking for a supernatural cause. Even Jastrow, a confirmed agnostic, has said as much: “That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.”6 Since he is speaking from the viewpoint of operation science, he probably means that there is no secondary cause which can explain the origin of the universe. But with the recognition of origin science, we can posit a supernatural primary cause that seems to be the most plausible answer to the question. Jastrow closes his book God and the Astronomers with these words:

For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.7

THE ORIGIN OF FIRST LIFE

There are two views of origins. One says that everything came about by natural causes; the other looks to a supernatural cause. In the case of the origin of first life, either it came about by spontaneous chemical generation without intelligent intervention, or by the intervention of an intelligent being through special Creation.

ORIGIN
OF FIRST LIFE

SPONTANEOUS GENERATION
(no intelligent intervention)

SPECIAL CREATION
(intelligent intervention)

DNA Code
Uniformity

Evolutionists believe that life began in a spontaneous way from nonliving chemicals by purely natural processes. Shortly after the earth was cooled enough to allow it, they tell us, the combination of simple gases like hydrogen, nitrogen, ammonia, and carbon dioxide reacted to form elementary amino acids, which in time developed into DNA chains and finally cells. Of course, this is said to have taken several billion years and the extra energy of the sun, volcanic activity, lightning, and cosmic rays were needed to keep the process going. Experimentation begun by Stanley Miller and Harold Urey has attempted to reconstruct these conditions and has had success in producing various amino acids needed for life. From this, much of the scientific community has concluded that the spontaneous chemical generation of life from a prebiotic soup is the way life began.

There are, however, some very good reasons to reject this view. First, the early earth conditions necessary to produce life are just as likely to destroy it. The experimental work has shown that no oxygen can be present for the reaction to work. Also, the energy needed from the sun and cosmic radiation are damaging to the very substances produced. Under the conditions required for life to have arisen spontaneously, it is more likely that the elements would be destroyed faster than they could be produced. Even if the right chemicals could be produced, no satisfactory answer has been given for how they could have been arranged properly and been enclosed in a cell wall. This would require another set of conditions altogether.

Second, the geological record does not support this view. Evolutionists date this origin at about 3.5 billion years ago; however, cells capable of photosynthesis have been found in rock from South Africa dated more than 3.1 billion years old, and in Australian rock dated 3.5 billion years old five different kinds of cells have been identified. There also appears to be evidences of living cells in rock from Greenland dated 3.8 billion years ago. There are no signs in the geologic record of precellular life. But if the age of the earth is about 4.6 billion years and life seems to be abundant, complex, and diverse by 3.5 billion years, that allows only 170 million years after the earth cooled (3.98 billion years ago) for evolution to take place. This is considerably less than the 2 billion years originally estimated. Just to complicate matters further, there is growing evidence that the early earth was rich in oxygen but low in nitrogen—just the opposite of what evolution needs.

Third, the experiments which support the generation of living matter from nonliving chemicals are flawed by the very interference of the intelligent scientist performing the experiment. These experiments do not really reproduce the conditions of early earth. There were no traps to collect only the amino acids produced. The chemicals used were not nearly as concentrated and not hand-picked to form a better reaction. There were many sources of energy acting simultaneously on the chemicals, and not always in harmony. And the levels of energy and wavelengths of light were not controlled. In other words, the experimenters are only fooling themselves to think that they are observing a natural process. They have manipulated the process by their own intervention.

Finally, evolutionists have never shown any mechanism that can harness the energy to do the work of selecting amino acids and sorting which will build each gene to develop a living organism. It doesn’t do any good to have a drawer full of batteries if we don’t have a flashlight (a mechanism for harnessing energy) to put them in. The DNA molecule is very complex. In fact, it has the specified complexity that we spoke of earlier. The English alphabet has twenty-six letters; the Greek alphabet has twenty-four and the genetic alphabet has only four, but the method of communicating by the sequence of letters is the same. Information scientist Hubert P. Yockey insists, “It is important to understand that we are not reasoning by analogy. The sequence hypothesis applies directly to the protein and the genetic text as well as to written language and therefore the treatment is mathematically identical.”8 It turns out that a single strand of DNA carries the same amount of information as a volume of an encyclopedia. Granting that there may have been enough energy available to do the work, the only systems we know which can harness the energy to do this kind of work are either living (but these were not around before life began) or intelligent. It is easy to pump a lot of energy into a system at random if all you want to do is make it hot, but if you want to organize it—that is, put it in order and create information—that requires intelligence.

What could explain the sudden appearance of life and also provide for the informational organization of living matter? If we apply the principle of uniformity (analogy) to the question, the only cause that we know routinely does this kind of work in the present is intelligence. The reasonable assumption is that it also required intelligence to do it in the past. Uniform experience proves this to us and, as Hume said, “As a uniform experience amounts to a proof, there is here a direct and full proof, from the nature of the fact” that the information inherent in living things required an intelligent cause. Since it is not possible that we are speaking of human intelligence, or even living beings in the natural sense, it had to be a supernatural intelligence. This does create a disjunction in the course of nature, which irritates most scientists; however, once it is admitted that there is a radical disjunction from nothing to something at the beginning of the universe, there can be little objection to the idea of another intervention when the evidence clearly points to it.

Other theories have been advanced to explain the origins of first life on earth. One is that new natural laws need to be discovered, but scientists can only point out the need and cannot explain how the organizing work can be done. Others suggest that life may have come to earth from somewhere else in the universe, either on a meteorite or on an ancient spaceship, but both of these solutions just push the question back one step: Where did that life come from? Still others borrow from pantheism and hold that some mind within the universe can account for the origin of life. Thermal vents in the sea floor and clay deposits are being studied as possible breeding grounds for life’s beginnings, but none of these views really accounts for a way to harness the energy to make specified complexity possible. The most probable cause is a supernatural intelligence.

ORIGIN
OF NEW LIFE FORMS

EVOLUTION
(no intelligent intervention)

CREATION
(intelligent intervention)

Lack of Transitional Fossils
DNA Information
Principle of Uniformity

THE ORIGIN OF NEW LIFE FORMS

There are two views of origins. One says that everything came about by natural causes; the other looks to a supernatural cause. In the case of the origin of new life forms, they appeared either by an evolutionary process of natural selection without any intelligent intervention or by special Creation through the work of an intelligent designer.

Darwin made one of his greatest contributions to the theory of evolution with his analogy of selection by breeders to selection in nature. This principle of natural selection became the hallmark of evolution because it provided a system by which new developments of life forms could be explained without recourse to a supernatural cause. The main evidence that he put forward to support this analogy was the fossil record. Introductory biology books ever since have pictured this gradual transition of life forms from simple to complex in acceptance of this view.

Darwin himself was aware that there were serious problems with the analogy between breeders and nature, but he hoped that what humans could do in a few generations could be done by nature in several hundred generations. However, time is not the only factor which weakens the analogy. E.S. Russell wrote:

NATURAL SELECTION AND INTELLIGENT SELECTION

Artificial Selection

Natural Selection

Goal

Aim (end) in view

No aim (end) in view

Process

Intelligently guided process

Blind process

Choices

Intelligent choice of breeds

No intelligent choice of breeds

Protection

Breeds guarded from destructive forces

Breeds not guarded from destructive processes

Freaks

Preserves desired freaks

Eliminates most freaks

Interruptions

Continued interruptions to reach desired goal

No continued interruptions to reach any goal

Survival

Preferential survival

Nonpreferential survival

Conclusion: Rather than being analogous, in the most crucial aspects, natural selection and artificial selection are exact opposites.

It is unfortunate that Darwin ever introduced the term “natural selection,” for it has given rise to much confusion of thought. He did so, of course, because he arrived at his theory through studying the effects of selection as practiced by man in the breeding of domesticated animals and cultivated plants. Here the use of the word is entirely legitimate. But the action of man in selective breeding is not analogous to the action of “natural selection,” but almost its direct opposite.… Man has an aim or an end in view; “natural selection” can have none. Man picks out the individuals he wishes to cross, choosing them by the characteristics he seeks to perpetuate or enhance. He protects them and their issue by all means in his power, guarding them thus from the operation of natural selection, which would speedily eliminate many freaks; he continues his active and purposeful selection from generation to generation until he reaches, if possible, his goal. Nothing of this kind happens, or can happen, through the blind process of differential elimination and differential survival which we miscall “natural selection.”9

This objection is still a major problem for evolution. It amounts to the same problem that we saw in examining the origin of first life. The analogy used to prove that natural processes did it all contains a great deal of intelligent intervention that is overlooked in the theory. Breeders manipulate according to an intelligent plan to produce specific developments. Informationally speaking, this is going from a state of complexity in the DNA code to a higher, or at least more specific, state of complexity. It is like changing the sentence, “She had brown hair,” to the more complex statement, “Her tresses were auburn and shone in the sun.” This increase in information coded into the DNA requires intelligence just as surely as the original coding to produce life did. Indeed, if Darwin’s analogy proves anything, it shows the need for intelligent intervention to produce new life forms. Again, the principle of uniformity leads us to this conclusion once it is realized that we are working within origin science, not operation science.

But what of the fossil evidence that has been so widely proclaimed? Darwin recognized this as a problem as well and wrote in The Origin of Species, “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.”10 In the 130 years since Darwin wrote, the situation has only become worse for his theory. Noted Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould has written, “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.”11 Eldredge and Tattersall agree, saying:

Expectation colored perception to such an extent that the most obvious single fact about biological evolution—non-change—has seldom, if ever, been incorporated into anyone’s scientific notions of how life actually evolves. If ever there was a myth, it is that evolution is a process of constant change.12

What does the fossil record suggest? Evolutionists like Gould now support what creationists like Agassiz, Gish, and others have said all along.

The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism:

  1. Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless.
  2. Sudden appearance. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors: it appears all at once and “fully formed.”13

The fossil evidence clearly gives a picture of mature, fully functional creatures suddenly appearing and staying very much the same. There is no real indication that one form of life transforms into a completely different form. While these two features seem to invalidate classical evolution, they are somewhat problematic to creationists also.

Some creationists say that the fossil record reflects the debris of the great Flood either because some animals were better able to escape the waters or by hydrodynamic sorting as the remains settled. These scientists are concerned with preserving a young earth on the grounds that they believe in a literal six-day, twenty-four-hour period Creation with no large gaps in the early genealogies of Genesis. Others, known as old earth creationists, hold that the earth need not be only thousands of years old. This group understands the fossil record to show that Creation was accomplished in a series of stages, each new appearance in the geological strata pointing to a new moment of direct creation. Invertebrates appeared first, followed by a long period of nature balancing itself before the next burst of creation. Fish appeared next and then amphibia and so on until man was created. The latter view does agree with the fossil record, but there is no consensus between creationists about the age of the earth. This is a hotly debated issue, but no matter which way it is resolved, they both agree that the existing fossil evidence supports Creation better than evolution.

When Did It All Begin?

Whether one follows a young earth or an old earth model will determine how you interpret much of the evidence, especially the fossils. The central motivation behind the young earth view is that this is thought to be what the Bible teaches. If the first chapter of Genesis refers to literal twenty-four-hour days, and if the genealogies in chapters 5 and 10 are understood to be closed, then Creation comes out to be around 4000 b.c. Really, only a few young earth advocates care to fix a date like that. They do desire to show that the long spans of time that evolution calls for are neither helpful to evolution nor without presupposition.

Of course, there are many Creationists who argue for an old earth. Biblically, this position that the word for day is used for more than twenty-four hours even in Genesis 2:4, the events of the sixth day surely took more than twenty-four hours, and Hebrews 4:4–5 implies that God is still in His seventh-day rest. If the seventh day can be long, then the others could too. Scientifically, this view does not require any novel theories to explain the evidence. One of the biggest problems for the young earth view is in astronomy. We can see light from stars that took 15 billion years to get here. To say that God created them with the appearance of age does not satisfy the question of how their light reached us. We have watched star explosions that happened billions of years ago, but if the universe is not billions of years old, then we are seeing light from stars that never existed—because they would have died before Creation. Why would God deceive us with the evidence? The old earth view seems to fit the evidence better and causes no problem with the Bible.

Some evolutionists have attempted to deal with the fossil evidence by introducing the idea of punctuated equilibrium. These scientists say that the jumps in the fossil record reflect evolutionary jumps which brought on major changes in shorter times. Hence, evolution is not gradual, but punctuated by sudden leaps from one stage to the next. The theory has been criticized because they cannot produce any evidence for a mechanism of secondary causes which makes these sudden advances possible. Their theory then appears to be based solely on the absence of transitional fossils. Darwin, after all, understood suddenness to be evidence of Creation. If this is true, then it supports what Creationists said all along—the sudden appearance of fully formed animals is evidence of Creation.

Creationists reason that there are real limitations to genetic changes and that this indicates a special creation of each major category of life forms. Each new life form came into being by an act of intelligent intervention specifying its genetic information for its peculiar function. Just as letter sequences make up different words, DNA codes vary and produce different species. If it requires intelligence to create King Lear from selecting and sorting the words in a dictionary, then it also requires intelligence to select and sort genetic information to produce a variety of species which work together as a system in nature. The sudden appearance of these life forms only strengthens our case that a supernatural intelligence was at work to accomplish this organization. By the principle of uniformity, this is the most plausible solution to the problem.

CONCLUSION

Now that we have new evidence about the nature of the universe, the information stored in DNA molecules, and further fossil confirmation, the words of Louis Agassiz resound even more loudly than they did when first written in 1860: “[Darwin] has lost sight of the most striking of the features, and the one which pervades the whole, namely, that there runs throughout Nature unmistakable evidence of thought, corresponding to the mental operations of our own mind, and therefore intelligible to us as thinking beings, and unaccountable on any other basis than that they owe their existence to the working of intelligence; and no theory that overlooks this element can be true to nature.”14

There are two views of origins. One says that everything came about by natural causes; the other looks to a supernatural cause. The overwhelming evidence supports the Creationist view.

 

1 Carl Sagan, Cosmos (New York: Random House, 1980), p. 4.

2 David Hume, Letters, ed. by J.Y.T. Greig (Oxford: Clarendon, 1932), vol. 1, p. 187.

3 Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York: Warner Books, 1978), p. 111.

4 Ibid., p. 95.

5 Ibid., p. 5.

6 Ibid., pp. 15, 18.

7 Ibid., pp. 105–106.

8 Hubert P. Yockey, “Self-Organization, Origin of Life Scenarios, and Information Theory” in Journal of Theoretical Biology, 1981, p. 16.

9 E.S. Russell,The Diversity of Animals ([1915] 1962), p. 124. Cited in James R. Moore, The Post-Darwinian Controversies (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979).

10 Darwin, On the Origin of Species (London: John Murray, 1859), p. 280.

11 Stephen Jay Gould, “Evolution’s Erratic Pace” in Natural History, May 1977, p. 14.

12 Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall, The Myths of Human Evolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), p. 8.

13 Gould, op. cit. pp. 13–14.

14 Louis Agassiz, “Contribution to the Natural History of the United States” in American Journal of Science, 1860.

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