The Long Debate: Evolution vs. Creation

 Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.

(Investigator 146, 2012 September)


Introduction

The subject of biological origins has been a matter of great debate among scientists, educators, and theologians ever since Charles Darwin popularized evolutionary theory.

Public interest in this subject is supported by the fact that popular books about evolution, including those by scientists Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, and Robert Jastrow, were all best sellers. Since then a whole new world of inquiry has opened up. The research in this area that has caused many to question the ability of damage to the DNA genetic code called mutations to convert some hypothetical first cell into humans.


Darwin and his contemporaries believed that the cell, the basis of all life, was a very simple structure, about as complex as pure mud or gum. This conclusion has changed enormously in the last century. Francis Crick and Fred Hoyle even argued that, due to our advance of knowledge of the enormous complexity of the cell, the probability that life could have arisen on earth is becoming increasingly remote (Crick, 1981). Many other scientists have concluded that it now seems very improbable, close to impossible, that life could ever have spontaneously arisen on the earth. The environmental conditions were never conducive to abiogenesis, nor was there enough time, even if we allowed the earth a 4.6 billion year history. New research is eliminating what was once believed to be the answer to the naturalistic origin of life.


Panspermia

Because the feasibility and the probability of life originating spontaneously in some primordial sea eons ago on earth or elsewhere is nil, the hypothesis that life’s origin on earth was from outer space via comets or meteorites is also nil. This idea was proposed by the eminent astronomers Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe in their book, Diseases from Space (1979), in which they propose that, not only did the seeds of life come from outer space, but that new diseases are still arriving via comets. Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick in his book, Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature also agreed that it is so improbable that life could have evolved on earth, therefore life must have originated somewhere in outer space (1981).  

These are just two examples of the many books that attempt to deal with the origin-of-life problem. University of Toledo Astrophysicist Armand Delsemme believes that the elements and compounds required for all living things, including hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen, came from comets that brought various organic materials to a lifeless, airless earth around four billion years or so ago (1998).

One of the main reasons why many scientists have propounded the idea of panspermia is not because of the evidence — only circumstantial and indirect evidence exists for this theory — but because of a lack of evidence for abiogenesis on earth. As a result of their research on

the origins of life on earth, a biologist and an astronomer have performed the improbable feat of reinventing religion. Conventional science has invoked the workings of chemistry over almost limitless time to bring the order of life out of the planet’s primitive chaos. The life seems to have begun rather quickly; the more scientists have looked, the farther back they have found signs of life: the earliest fossil cells, about 3.6 billion years ago, are almost as old as the solar system itself. Pondering such mysteries, Noble prize winning biologist Francis Crick and Sir Fred Hoyle, the distinguished astronomer, have independently supposed a deus ex galaxia to explain the sudden appearance of life on earth: the ‘seeding’ of space by intelligent beings from distant corners of the universe (Adler and Carey, 1982).

This research, and that of thousands of other scientists, has clear implications for theology. Many of the recent discoveries in science and the knowledge explosion as a whole, especially relative to origins, do not support the classical Darwinian evolutionary model.

Interest in this long debate also a result of the fact that many aspects of evolution, especially the gradual Darwinian model, are now being challenged by many informed critics. One example is the punctuated equilibria model that contradicts the gradual Darwinian theory. Keith Miller, Professor of Biology at Brown University, claims that the fossil record shows neither the gradual evolution of animals, nor an instant creation of every animal kind at one point in time. He openly admits that animals seem to appear out of nowhere in the fossil record and then later become extinct, supporting creationism (Miller, 1982, pp. 85-89).

Other problems include the lack of evidence for the evolution of entirely new genera, the problem of transitional forms, and the lack of vestigial and nascent organs. Another issue is the complete lack of evidence for the evolution of most all animals, such as giraffes. The fossil record should have preserved numerous transitional forms between the early, short-necked giraffes, which must have existed if evolution occurred, and the modern, tall-necked giraffes, but none is found (Bergman, 2002). Similar questions abound.

The common explanation for the lack of evidence for primary speciation is that it takes a long time (the over a hundred thousand years estimate is often given by scientists). Thus, although microevolution actually occurs before our very eyes, it occurs so slowly that it is not apparent to us. Scientific research has progressed immensely in the past few years, and many contend that much of this evidence is detrimental to the theory of evolution. It is for this reason that Gould developed his Punctuated Equilibria theory —evolution proceeds in jumps, not gradually as Darwin taught.

The influence of evolution on various racist theories, such as the Nazi race supremacy theories in Germany prominent before and during WWII, is another issue that has been well-documented in many books such as Pure Society: From Darwin to Hitler (Pichot, 2009).


Why Darwinism is Racism

Science must determine if one original pair (monogenism) of humans originally existed, or if there were many original humans, each coming from a separate gene pair, a view called polygenism. This is an important question because evolutionary assumptions imply polygenism. Furthermore, many of the small differences in a population that exist will in time become exaggerated by natural selection pruning out the weaker members. This process, called speciation or raciation, is essentially the development of races, which is hypothesized to occur among all living creatures, plant, animal, and human.

Given any population of animals, minor differences always exist, some that facilitate survival for those who have advantageous traits, other traits that impede survival. Evolution teaches that these slight superior advantages caused by minor differences become major differences in time (the process called evolution, which is the source of races). In time, the “weaker” of the species (the weaker or inferior race) is wiped out, leaving the superior race. Thus, if Darwinism is true, the same process must still be taking place with humans today.

This gives rise to the concept that some races are superior or better than others. In early evolutionary thought, it was thought that the white or Aryan race was superior, and the Oriental and Black races were inferior, i.e., less evolved, and less fit to survive. However, evolutionists must now reject this view due to advancing knowledge and partly due to social pressure.

Many early evolutionists saw “primitive” people as living links between mankind and the apes, providing what they interpreted as one of the strongest evidences for Darwinism. Entire “racial” groups were labeled inferior and mistreated according to this assumption. The Australian Aborigines were thought to be the “first” men, the most primitive race, a living modern link between humans and the apes. Evolution is clearly racist, or more accurately, raciationist (Gould, 1981; Bergman, 1980).

When the notions of “race” and “ethnic group,” were given scientific legitimacy, they were used for political ends. André Pichot, in an analysis of the relationship between science, politics, and ideology from Nazism to the various eugenicist research programs, has documented that racism was supported by eminent scientific organizations from the beginning of the twentieth century to the 1950s. Today, the mapping of the human genome and rapid advances in gene therapies have resurrected the dream of a more perfect race (Silver, 1997).


Can Everything be Explained by Time, Chance and Natural Law?

Evolution is an attempt on the part of many scientists to explain the entire universe, i.e., matter, energy, and all living things including plants, by time, chance and natural law. Evolution concludes that there is no need to posit an intelligence outside of, or apart from, natural law. Other scientists, such as the eminent astronomers Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, conclude that this view is untenable.

A question that must be addressed is, not only if evolution has occurred, but if it is occurring now. Many scientists conclude that human evolution, and that of other life forms, has greatly slowed down, or even largely stopped. Thus evolution in the past is not reducible to evolution occurring in the present. Although secondary speciation commonly occurs (an animal born with unique characteristics that are obviously inherited from the parental gene pool), no one has observed primary speciation, or one in which a new genera, or even a new significant trait arising from an existing one, occurs.
This question boils down to the mind-body problem on which two positions are now common, the dualist position (matter is not everything and a non-material reality exists) and the monist (matter is everything and no spirit world exists).


Are Mutations the Answer?

The problem for evolution is not survival of the fittest but the arrival of the fittest. Evolutionists now postulate that the source of the fittest is mutations, damage to the genome and genetic copying mistakes, in spite of the fact that mutations can produce changes, but mutations almost always are near neutral or harmful — very rarely are mutations beneficial.


Conclusions

The problem of the origin of, and differentiation of, life forms has been with us for several thousand years and, in its wider sense, will likely be debated for some time. The issues related to the creation-evolution controversy are unique in that, in contrast to many controversies, it is far from being over and is, in fact, increasingly being debated in science and is the subject of many papers, presentations, and conferences. Mutations do not solve the problem of the ultimate origin of biological information, nor has any other naturalistic theory.


References

Adler, Jerry and John Carey. 1982. In Newsweek. March 1.

Bergman, Jerry. 1980. “Evolution, Race and Equality of Intelligence.” Creation Research Society Quarterly, 17(2):127-134, Sept.

Bergman, Jerry. 2002. “The Giraffe’s Neck: Another Icon of Evolution Falls.”  T.J. Technical Journal 16(1):120-127.

Crick, Francis. 1981. Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Delsemme, Armand. 1998. Our Cosmic Origins From the Big Bang to the Emergence of Life and Intelligence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gould, Stephen.  1981. The Mismeasure of Man, New York: W.W. Norton Co.

Hoyle, Fred and Chandra Wickramasinghe. 1979.  Diseases from Space. New York: Harper & Row

Miller, Keith. 1982. “Special Creation and the Fossil Record: The Central Fallacy,” The American Biology Teacher. 44(2):85-89. .February

Pichot, André.  2009.  Pure Society: From Darwin to Hitler. New York: Verso.

Silver, Lee M. 1997. Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World. New York: Avon Books.


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