Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What Kind of Evidence?

There has been an ongoing war in the comments that I have decided to address in an additional comment and a full-length post. So here goes!



I will start with a rather novel and even startling admission. There is no evidence for creation. Well, there you have it. The plain statement. However, we have to admit something else as well. There is no evidence for evolution, either.

That is right, there is no creation evidence and no evolution evidence. All we have is . . . evidence.

We must understand that both creationism and evolutionism are forensic models of history. Creationists and evolutionists both have the same evidences at their disposal; the same fossils, the same rocks, the same trees, and the same strata layers. The question is which model best fits the existing evidence.

Both sides are usually able to cram whatever forensic evidence that exists into their model. An excellent example of this is found in an old Father Brown mystery. A detective believed that the ragged man he has captured is the murderer of one Lord Falconry and determined to test his theory.

He set up a machine to monitor the man's pulse. Then, he wrote "hawk", "eagle", and "falcon" on a chalkboard. When he wrote "falcon", the prisoner's pulse leapt. When he added an "r" to the end, the man's pulse skyrocketed. Proof enough! A machine cannot lie, can it?

True. However, as Father Brown pointed out, a machine cannot tell the truth, either. The man did get excited when "Falconr" was written on the board, but not because he had killed Lord Falconry. In fact, he was Lord Falconroy, but did not want to tell the officer because of a scandal he was involved in. Why was he ragged? He had just left a masquerade party.

So you see that the way you interpret evidence depends on your preconceived model, not whether the evidence is "creation" evidence or "evolution" evidence.

When I found out that a T. Rex bone had been found with still-bloody soft tissue inside, I was sure that this proved dinosaurs lived recently.

However, the long-age establishment had a way to fit this seemingly inexplicable evidence into their model. They explained that the bones "fell" into a primordial stew which quickly transformed the blood vessels and stretchy tissue into a nanopolymer with identical properties. This mineral nanopolymer, then, retained its properties for millions of years, not the actual tissue.

That is quite a preposterous explanation, to be sure. My point is that any forensic evidence can be form-fitted to match a particular model. The question is which model best fits the existing evidence with the least "massaging" of the data.

We can also test things we see around us to determine whether a particular interpretation of forensic evidence matches reality. These tests or observations yield "empirical" evidence, which unlike forensic evidence is much more repeatable and testable.

For example, creation scientists interpret the Grand Canyon as forensic evidence for a huge flood that deposited millions of layers quickly, then receded from land, carving out the canyon. Evolutionists see it as millions of years of gradual mineral deposition followed by millions of years of gradual erosion by the Colorado River.

We can take a look at Mt. St. Helens to determine which model best fits. When the mountain exploded, the fast-moving ash and rock deposited and carved out a massive canyon with thousands of layers . . . in a few hours. Even though this is not repeatable, it was directly observable. This makes it empirical evidence instead of forensic evidence. If you want something even more empirical, try putting clay, silt, gravel, sand, and mud into a jar along with lots of water and shaking it. Global Flood on a kitchen-sized scale! You will find that lots of churning water yields lots of layer in a little bit of time.

So we have forensic evidence: The Grand Canyon. Decayed radioisotopes. Bleeding T. Rex fossils. These are the remnants of the earth's past.

We have models. Catastrophism. Gradualism. Young-earth. Long-age. Creationism. Evolutionism.

And we have supplementary empirical evidence. Observations like Mt. St. Helens on the one hand and observations of gradual erosion by the Colorado River on the other.

We cannot prove that evolution or creation are true. All we can do is collect forensic evidence and show with empirical evidence how and why the forensic evidence fits best in our model.

So in this discussion, asking for or giving "evidence" is rather pointless until we know exactly what we are asking for.

The forensic evidences in this discussion are fossils, strata layers, and life itself.

The model we are focusing on in this site: evolutionism.

So you, the defender of evolution, need to come up with empirical evidence that shows why and how specific forensic evidences fit evolutionism.

An example of this would be. . . .

Forensic evidence: Simple and complex life.
Model: "Life evolved from simple to complex through natural selection and mutations."
Empirical evidence: Some example of natural selections and mutations producing a positive, uphill change in an organism from simple to complex.

We, the attackers of evolutionism, need to come up with empirical evidence that shows why and how specific forensic evidences are incompatible with evolutionism.

For starters on our side, I will show:

Forensic evidence: Dinosaur and human footprints in the same strata layer side-by-side.
Model: Humans and dinosaurs walked or ran side-by-side along mineral-laden sand as the waters rose in the global flood.
Empirical evidence: Today, we can see that strata-like layers often result from mineral-rich sand that is quickly flooded. Footprints are made by walking in sand or mud.

Obviously, that is not supposed to be the ultimate death-knell for evolution. Rather, the combination of empirical and forensic evidence lend support to the model that humans and dinosaurs lived simultaneously during a large flood.

Hopefully my lengthy discourse here has cleared up some confusion and defined exactly what we need.

So what do you think?

In Him,

David S. MacMillan III

Monday, September 12, 2005

Refuting Toad's Refutations of our supposed refutations . . . this could go on forever.

On my joint-owned blog, The Truth About Macroevolution, we had a comment left by a John Connolly that, instead of giving evidence for evolutionism, gave 15 rebuttals of what he considered to be creationist attacks on evolution.

As far as we can tell, he copied the article verbatim from The Scientific American. John Rennie, the editor in chief of the Scientific American, wrote the article in early 2002. The full editorial can be viewed here.

Since this article is rather long, I won't post the entire thing here. Instead, I'll respond point-by-point, email style, significantly cutting down the original.

When Charles Darwin introduced the theory of evolution through natural selection 143 years ago, the scientists of the day argued over it fiercely, but the massing evidence from paleontology, genetics, zoology, molecular biology and other fields gradually established evolution's truth beyond reasonable doubt.

"Massing evidence.". Isn't it strange that no matter how much I beg them, evolutionists have yet to present one valid point of evidence that can even come close to holding water?

Some anti-evolutionists, such as Philip E. Johnson, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and author of Darwin on Trial admit that they intend for intelligent-design theory to serve as a "wedge" for reopening science classrooms to discussions of God.

Schools are supposed to teach objective truth. If it is obvious to the reasonable person (scientist, layman, etc.) that it is objectively true that God created the universe, shouldn't it be taught in schools?

Besieged teachers and others may increasingly find themselves on the spot to defend evolution and refute creationism.

It is of interest that the majority of cases concerning this issue deal with teachers that are "besieged" by the government and by secular science in an attempt to stop them from teaching the truth of Creation.

Next, The Scientific American lists 15 common arguments against evolution and their summary "refutations".

1. Evolution is only a theory. It is not a fact or a scientific law.

He goes on to give a long analysis explaining that when scientists call something a "theory", it doesn't mean that it is a theory along the lines of the scientific method or that they distrust it; it is a theory just like the Theory of General Relativity. I understand that. However, we contend that evolution never even made it past hypothesis level; it is a theory along the lines of the scientific method only if you give it quite a bit of slack (see my article for further explanation). In subsequent defense against the allegation that evolution relies on indirect evidence:

All sciences frequently rely on indirect evidence. Physicists cannot see subatomic particles directly, for instance, so they verify their existence by watching for telltale tracks that the particles leave in
cloud chambers. The absence of direct observation does not make
physicists' conclusions less certain.

This fails to realize that the so-called "evidences" for evolution are much more indirect than subatomic particle theory. The difference is this: subatomic particles exist in the present. Evolutionism is a speculation that states that, in the past, natural selection and mutations combined to turn molecules into monkeys into men. Since we don't see this happening today, this is an unobservable speculation about the past; it has nothing to do with repeatable natural processes that we see around us (like subatomic particles).

2. Natural selection is based on circular reasoning: the fittest are those who survive, and those who survive are deemed fittest.

Personally, I have never heard this argument raised. But obviously, this addresses natural selection or microevolution, changes within a species. Change within a species is observed today (like Darwin's finches), so any argument like this is already fundamentally flawed. But the truth of natural selection in no wise confirms or even supports macroevolution, which requires massive uphill trans-species changes.

3. Evolution is unscientific, because it is not testable or falsifiable. It makes claims about events that were not observed and can never be re-created.

This blanket dismissal of evolution ignores important distinctions that divide the field into at least two broad areas: microevolution and macroevolution. Microevolution looks at changes within species over time--changes that may be preludes to speciation, the origin of new species. Macroevolution studies how taxonomic groups above the level of species change. Its evidence draws frequently from the fossil record and DNA comparisons to reconstruct how various organisms may be related.

". . . studies how. . . ." What a nice way of saying nothing. Evolutionists make that same fatal assumption that Darwin made: microevolution, given enough time, leads to macroevolution. Then, they assume that since it did happen, there must be evidence for it in the fossil record. Finally, they shove down my throat the blanket statement that the fossil record is evidence for evolution . . . without one shred of solid evidence!

Natural selection and other mechanisms--such as chromosomal changes, symbiosis and hybridization--can drive profound changes in populations over time.

So who gets to define "profound"?

The historical nature of macroevolutionary study involves inference from fossils and DNA rather than direct observation. Yet in the historical sciences (which include astronomy, geology and archaeology, as well as evolutionary biology), hypotheses can still be tested by checking whether they accord with physical evidence and whether they lead to verifiable predictions about future discoveries.

See, there they go admitting that all the evidence that can exist comes from historical records, not current findings. This sets these forensic sciences (the study of astronomical history, the study of geological history, and the study of life's history) apart from empirical, observable sciences such as physics, chemistry, and biology. But do that have these elusive "verifiable predictions"?

For instance, evolution implies that between the earliest-known ancestors of humans (roughly five million years old) and the appearance of anatomically modern humans (about 100,000 years ago), one should find a succession of hominid creatures with features progressively less apelike and more modern, which is indeed what the fossil record shows. But one should not--and does not--find modern human fossils embedded in strata from the Jurassic period (144 million years ago).

Note that the evolutionists themselves assign ages and values to all of the "periods". I have pointed out myriads of times that in a catastrophic burial event capable of producing the fossil record, the level of a creature in the strata layers indicates logical order of burial, not age! It makes sense that smaller, marine creatures would be buried first, and the mammals and large reptiles more able to survive would be buried last in something similar to a flood.

Evolutionary biology routinely makes predictions far more refined and precise than this, and researchers test them constantly.

The study of microevolution, perhaps. But as Dr. David Menton has said, "The theory of macroevolution contributes nothing to our understanding of biology or any other science."

4. Increasingly, scientists doubt the truth of evolution.

No evidence suggests that evolution is losing adherents. Pick up any issue of a peer-reviewed biological journal, and you will find articles that support and extend evolutionary studies or that embrace evolution as a fundamental concept.

So who determines what is "peer-reviewed"? Answers In Genesis' peer-reviewed technical journal, TJ, is 100% peer-reviewed but evolutionists just won't accept it.

Creationists retort that a closed-minded scientific community rejects their evidence. Yet according to the editors of Nature, Science and other leading journals, few antievolution manuscripts are even submitted. Some antievolution authors have published papers in serious journals. In short, creationists are not giving the scientific world good reason to take them seriously.

Here's one good reason: AiG. Here's another: ICR.

5. The disagreements among even evolutionary biologists show how little solid science supports evolution.

Anyone acquainted with the works of paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard University knows that in addition to co-authoring the punctuated-equilibrium model, Gould was one of the most eloquent defenders and articulators of evolution. (Punctuated equilibrium explains patterns in the fossil record by suggesting that most evolutionary changes occur within geologically brief intervals--which may nonetheless amount to hundreds of generations.)

Yet creationists delight in dissecting out phrases from Gould's voluminous prose to make him sound as though he had doubted evolution, and they present punctuated equilibrium as though it allows new species to materialize overnight or birds to be born from reptile eggs.

The crux of this issue is that Gould points out, not "patterns" in the fossil record, but the lack of intermediate species. He proposes his own model to cope with the "missing links" that remain missing. On the other hand, someone like Dawkins points out that without gradual change, macroevolution cannot occur . . . smashing Gould out of the water.

6. If humans descended from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

This surprisingly common argument reflects several levels of ignorance about evolution. The first mistake is that evolution does not teach that humans descended from monkeys; it states that both have a common ancestor.

I admit that this attack is untenetable. But I have never used it, and neither has anyone at AiG.

7. Evolution cannot explain how life first appeared on earth.

The origin of life remains very much a mystery, but biochemists have learned about how primitive nucleic acids, amino acids and other building blocks of life could have formed and organized themselves into self-replicating, self-sustaining units, laying the foundation for cellular biochemistry. Astrochemical analyses hint that quantities of these compounds might have originated in space and fallen to earth in comets, a scenario that may solve the problem of how those constituents arose under the conditions that prevailed when our planet was young.

Huh? This is the fallacy of using big words to cover up a lack of content. Rennie starts by admitting that the origin of life is a mystery, but then covers it up by using a string of complex verbiage to basically say "we know how it might have happened, but we aren't telling you" when in reality they have no idea. "Astrochemical analyses." Sure.

Even if life on earth turned out to have a nonevolutionary origin, evolution since then would be robustly confirmed by countless microevolutionary and macroevolutionary studies.

As in. . . ?

8. Mathematically, it is inconceivable that anything as complex as a protein, let alone a living cell or a human, could spring up by Chance.

Chance plays a part in evolution (for example, in the random mutations that can give rise to new traits), but evolution does not depend on chance to create organisms, proteins or other entities. Quite the opposite: natural selection, the principal known mechanism of evolution, harnesses nonrandom change by preserving "desirable" (adaptive) features and eliminating "undesirable" (nonadaptive) ones. As long as the forces of selection stay constant, natural selection can push evolution in one direction and produce sophisticated structures in surprisingly short times.

This ignores the fact that until a fully functional living cell is created, natural selection cannot take place. Natural selection weeds out bad reproductions of an original; unless the cell is already reproducing "by chance" microevolution cannot step in and help.

As an analogy, consider the 13-letter sequence "TOBEORNOTTOBE." Those hypothetical million monkeys, each pecking out one phrase a second, could take as long as 78,800 years to find it among the 26(13) sequences of that length. But in the 1980s Richard Hardison of Glendale College wrote a computer program that generated phrases randomly while preserving the positions of individual letters that happened to be correctly placed (in effect, selecting for phrases more like Hamlet's). On average, the program re-created the phrase in just 336 iterations, less than 90 seconds. Even more amazing, it could reconstruct Shakespeare's entire play in just four and a half days.

Those computer programs had one flaw: they already had Shakespeare's play! Blind chance, which is our only recourse before complete reproduction, has no memory, no goals, and no common sense.

9. The Second Law of Thermodynamics (2LOT) says that systems must become more disordered over time. Living cells therefore could not have evolved from inanimate chemicals, and multicellular life could not have evolved from protozoa.

This is an argument that is purported by many who simply don't understand it. The 2LOT states that any increase in complexity within a closed system must be balanced by a decrease in order within the same system. Information systems like DNA are inherently closed; each "byte" of information is its own closed system. This invalidates evolution. But I agree with the author that the blanket "2LOT forbids increase in complexity" statement is flawed.

10. Mutations are essential to evolution theory, but mutations can only eliminate traits. They cannot produce new features.

On the contrary, biology has catalogued many traits produced by point mutations (changes at precise positions in an organism's DNA)--bacterial resistance to antibiotics, for example.

Such "produced traits" are as follows: a bacterium loses its ability to eat properly. Thus, it cannot ingest the antibiotic meant to kill it. A definite loss of information.

11. Natural selection might explain microevolution, but it cannot explain the origin of new species and higher orders of life.

Evolutionary biologists have written extensively about how natural selection could produce new species. For instance, in the model called allopatry, developed by Ernst Mayr of Harvard University, if a population of organisms were isolated from the rest of its species by geographical boundaries, it might be subjected to different selective pressures. Changes would accumulate in the isolated population. If those changes became so significant that the splinter group could not or routinely would not breed with the original stock, then the splinter group would be reproductively isolated and on its way toward becoming a new species.

12. Nobody has ever seen a new species evolve.

Speciation is probably fairly rare and in many cases might take centuries. Furthermore, recognizing a new species during a formative stage can be difficult, because biologists sometimes disagree about how best to define a species. Biologists therefore usually use organisms' physical and behavioral traits as clues to their species membership.

Nevertheless, the scientific literature does contain reports of apparent speciation events in plants, insects and worms. For example, William R. Rice of the University of New Mexico and George W. Salt of the University of California at Davis demonstrated that if they sorted a group of fruit flies by their preference for certain environments and bred those flies separately over 35 generations, the resulting flies would refuse to breed with those from a very different environment.

Speciation happens; splinter groups do become isolated and lose the ability to mate with the original group. But again, speciation is the loss of information. In order for true macroevolution to occur, a splinter group must gain uphill information that makes breeding impossible (scales to feathers, not just shortening of legs).

13. Evolutionists cannot point to any transitional fossils--creatures that are half reptile and half bird, for instance.

Actually, paleontologists know of many detailed examples of fossils intermediate in form between various taxonomic groups. One of the most famous fossils of all time is Archaeopteryx which combines feathers and skeletal structures peculiar to birds with features of dinosaurs.

Features of dinosaurs? Wing claws and a toothed beak. Many indisputed avian fossils show toothed beaks and clawed wings. Besides, modern birds were found below Archaeopteryx. Ol' Archie is obviously fully avian. I won't list the other examples that are given for intermediate species due to lack of space, but none of them hold any more significance than Archie.

Even if a creationist does accept a fossil as transitional between two species, he or she may then insist on seeing other fossils intermediate between it and the first two. These frustrating requests can proceed ad infinitum and place an unreasonable burden on the always incomplete fossil record.

The very concept of Darwinian evolution states that there should be no species differentiations in the fossil record at all, as species never actually stop evolving.

The rest of the article gives arguments that have either already been addressed or are irrelevant to the topic. But I'll refute the last few paragraphs:

"Creation science" is a contradiction in terms. A central tenet of modern science is methodological naturalism--it seeks to explain the universe purely in terms of observed or testable natural mechanisms. Thus, physics describes the atomic nucleus with specific concepts governing matter and energy, and it tests those descriptions experimentally. Physicists introduce new particles, such as quarks, to flesh out their theories only when data show that the previous descriptions cannot adequately explain observed phenomena. The new particles do not have arbitrary properties, moreover--their definitions are tightly constrained, because the new particles must fit within the existing framework of physics.

Again, Rennie fails to note the difference between historical science and empirical science. An autopsy (forensic, historical science) is done to determine the cause of death: whether it was natural or by the hand of man. In the same way, our study of natural history must seek to discover whether natural processes shaped the world around us. While empirical scientific disciplines like physics deal with natural processes, the lie that "methodological naturalism" is a "central tenet" of historical science is as ridiculous as it comes. You might as well limit autopsy doctors to finding natural causes only, since anything else might "cast blame".

In contrast, intelligent-design theorists invoke shadowy entities that conveniently have whatever unconstrained abilities are needed to solve the mystery at hand.
Rather than expanding scientific inquiry, such answers shut it down. (How does one disprove the existence of omnipotent intelligences?)

Intelligent design offers few answers. For instance, when and how did a designing intelligence intervene in life's history? By creating the first DNA? The first cell? The first human? Was every species designed, or just a few early ones? Proponents of intelligent-design theory frequently decline to be pinned down on these points. They do not even make real attempts to reconcile their disparate ideas about intelligent design. Instead they pursue argument by exclusion--that is, they belittle evolutionary explanations as far-fetched or incomplete and then imply that only design-based alternatives remain.

If naturalistic explanations are untenetable, then only supernatural explanations for natural history are feasible, right?

Moreover, it does not make one intelligent-design theory more reasonable than another. Listeners are essentially left to fill in the blanks for themselves, and some will undoubtedly do so by substituting their religious beliefs for scientific ideas.

Darwinism is a faith-based model of Philosophical Historical Naturalism. Creation is a faith-based model of Intelligent Design. Once we have studied the possibilities of ID or PHN as theories, we can decipher based on fossil or other forensic evidence which model of ID or PHN best fits the facts.

Time and again, science has shown that methodological naturalism can push back ignorance, finding increasingly detailed and informative answers to mysteries that once seemed impenetrable: the nature of light, the causes of disease, how the brain works. Evolution is doing the same with the riddle of how the living world took shape.

Again, the Scientific American throws out the distinction between forensics and empirical science. When will they learn?

In Him,

D3

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"Kamikaze" Ichthyosaur Pummels Millions of Years

In 1999, geologists unearthed a beautifully preserved fossilized head of the extinct reptile ichthyosaur. It took months to carefully extract it from the strata layers.

One interesting thing about this head is that it is still in three dimensions. Usually, the pressure of the sedimentary layers flattens fossils into a single, 2-D sheet. However, in this case, this had not happened. Why? The head was buried in a vertical, 90-degree nose-down position, preventing the flattening process (see image at right). Fossilized 3-D head

What is more interesting about this fossil is that it spans three different strata layers that were allegedly laid down over a period of 1 million years!

This is called a "polystrate" fossil, meaning that it was found spanning multiple strata layers ("poly" for many, and "strate" for strata . . . obviously!). Such a discovery presents a huge puzzle for evolutionists. According to uniformitarian geology, strata layers are laid down slowly, one after another, over millions of years. But no one would posit that this ichthyosaur hung nose-down for a million years while it was slowly buried in sediments!

As may be expected, the long-agers have an explanation . . . albeit a somewhat unsatisfactory one. Dr. Achim Reisdorf, a German geologist, explains that right after this huge marine reptile died, it started to sink. Increasing water pressure caused the lungs and inner organs to collapse, moving the center of gravity right behind the head. This caused the ichthyosaur to tilt onto its nose, making it sink faster and faster toward the ocean floor in a "kamikaze" plunge.

When it reached the bottom, the head and neck thrust into sedimentary layers that had remained perfectly soft over nearly a million years. But before bacteria could decompose the sunken head, all three sedimentary layers suddenly hardened, fossilizing the buried portion of the body. The rest quickly rotted and was swept away, preserving the fossil we find today.Kamikaze Ichthyosaur from Answers In Genesis

Alright. Sure, that makes sense to me! To start with, dead marine reptiles do not sink. They float. In fact, they do quite a bit of floating. A whale that died off the southern coast of Australian a few years ago refused to sink even after having enough TNT put in it by the police bomb squad to "blow a hole in a concrete wall" (see the AiG story here).

Also, marine carcasses are quickly scavenged by sharks and other fish. The ichthyosaur wouldn't have had time to even start the trip down, much less stay intact!

Even if this reptile had made the "kamikaze plunge" into the sediment, it seems like a mighty big coincidence that the layers had stayed soft for a million years without being disturbed, and then hardened "just in time". How convenient, don't you think?

When scientists hold the preconcieved notion that the earth is billions of years old, look what kind of mental gymnastics they must undergo to keep their theory afloat (or, in this case, make it sink). Think how much easier it would be to allow the thought that maybe, just maybe, this reptile was buried at the same time as the sediments around it. See how much easier life is made when we accept the possibility that Genesis is true?

Story taken from AnswersInGenesis.org.

In Him,

David S. MacMillan III

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

TEN MAJOR FLAWS OF EVOLUTION

I came across this page while doing some research on the internet. As it documents a few of evolution's flaws, I decided to post it.
-Eric

TEN MAJOR FLAWS OF EVOLUTION - REVISED
by Randy Alcorn (with additional editing by Jim Darnall). I wrote the following article many years ago, but it needed to be thoroughly revised and updated. Thanks to Jim Darnall for adding some important new information.

  1. The complexity of living systems could never evolve by chance—they had to be designed and created. A system that is irreducibly complex has precise components working together to perform the basic function of the system. (A mousetrap is a simple example.) If any part of that system were missing, the system would cease to function. Gradual additions could not account for the origin of such a system. It would have to come together fully formed and integrated. Many living systems exhibit this (vision, blood-clotting, etc.). When you look at a watch, you assume there was a watchmaker. A watch is too complex to "happen" by chance. Yet such living systems are almost infinitely more complex than a watch. They could not be random—they simply had to be designed and created.

  2. The high information content of DNA could only have come from intelligence. Information science teaches that in all known cases, complex information requires an intelligent message sender. This is at the core of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). DNA is by far the most compact information storage/retrieval system known. A pinhead of DNA has a billion times more information capacity than a 4-gigabit hard drive. Ironically, evolutionists scan the heavens using massive radio telescopes hoping for relatively simple signal patterns that might have originated in outer space, all the while ignoring the incredibly complex evidence of superior intelligence built into every human's DNA. While we're waiting to hear signs of intelligence behind interstellar communication, we're ignoring those built into us.

  3. No mutation that increases genetic information has ever been discovered. Mutations which increase genetic information would be the raw material necessary for evolution. To get from "amoeba" to "man" would require a massive net increase in information. There are many examples of supposed evolution given by proponents. Variation within a species (finch beak, for example), bacteria which acquire antibiotic resistance, people born with an extra chromosome, etc. However, none of the examples demonstrate the development of new information. Instead, they demonstrate either preprogrammed variation, multiple copies of existing information, or even loss of information (natural selection and adaptation involve loss of information). The total lack of any such evidence refutes evolutionary theory.

  4. Evolution flies directly in the face of entropy, the second law of thermodynamics. This law of physics states that all systems, whether open or closed, have a tendency to disorder (or "the least energetic state"). There are some special cases where local order can increase, but this is at the expense of greater disorder elsewhere. Raw energy cannot generate the complex systems in living things, or the information required to build them. Undirected energy just speeds up destruction. Yet, evolution is a building-up process, suggesting that things tend to become more complex and advanced over time. This is directly opposed to the law of entropy.

  5. There is a total lack of undisputed examples (fossilized or living) of the millions of transitional forms ("missing links") required for evolution to be true. Evolution does not require a single missing link, but innumerable ones. We should be surrounded by a zoo of transitional forms that cannot be categorized as one particular life form. But we don't see this—there are different kinds of dogs, but all are clearly dogs. The fossils show different sizes of horses, but all are clearly horses. None is on the verge of being some other life form. The fossil record shows complex fossilized life suddenly appearing, and there are major gaps between the fossilized "kinds." Darwin acknowledged that if his theory were true, it would require millions of transitional forms. He believed they would be found in fossil records. They haven't been.

  6. Pictures of ape-to-human "missing links" are extremely subjective and based on evolutionists' already-formed assumptions. Often they are simply contrived. The series of pictures or models that show progressive development from a little monkey to modern man are an insult to scientific research. These are often based on fragmentary remains that can be "reconstructed" a hundred different ways. The fact is, many supposed "ape-men" are very clearly apes. Evolutionists now admit that other so-called "ape-men" would be able to have children by modern humans, which makes them the same species as humans. The main species said to bridge this gap, Homo habilis, is thought by many to be a mixture of ape and human fossils. In other words, the "missing link" (in reality there would have to be millions of them) is still missing. The body hair and the blank expressions of sub-humans in these models doesn't come from the bones, but the assumptions of the artist. Virtually nothing can be determined about hair and the look in someone's eyes based on a few old bones.

  7. The dating methods that evolutionists rely upon to assign millions and billions of years to rocks are very inconsistent and based on unproven (and questionable) assumptions. Dating methods that use radioactive decay to determine age assume that radioactive decay rates have always been constant. Yet, research has shown that decay rates can change according to the chemical environment of the material being tested. In fact, decay rates have been increased in the laboratory by a factor of a billion. All such dating methods also assume a closed system—that no isotopes were gained or lost by the rock since it formed. It's common knowledge that hydrothermal waters, at temperatures of only a few hundred degrees Centigrade, can create an open system where chemicals move easily from one rock system to another. In fact, this process is one of the excuses used by evolutionists to reject dates that don't fit their expectations. What's not commonly known is that the majority of dates are not even consistent for the same rock. Furthermore, 20th century lava flows often register dates in the millions to billions of years. There are many different ways of dating the earth, and many of them point to an earth much too young for evolution to have had a chance. All age-dating methods rely on unprovable assumptions.

  8. Uses continue to be found for supposedly "leftover" body structures. Evolutionists point to useless and vestigial (leftover) body structures as evidence of evolution. However, it's impossible to prove that an organ is useless, because there's always the possibility that a use may be discovered in the future. That's been the case for over 100 supposedly useless organs which are now known to be essential. Scientists continue to discover uses for such organs. It's worth noting that even if an organ were no longer needed (e.g., eyes of blind creatures in caves), it would prove devolution not evolution. The evolutionary hypothesis needs to find examples of developing organs—those that are increasing in complexity.

  9. Evolution is said to have begun by spontaneous generation—a concept ridiculed by biology. When I was a sophomore in high school, and a brand new Christian, my biology class spent the first semester discussing how ignorant people used to believe that garbage gave rise to rats, and raw meat produced maggots. This now disproven concept was called "spontaneous generation." Louis Pasteur proved that life only comes from life—this is the law of biogenesis. The next semester we studied evolution, where we learned that the first living cell came from a freak combination of nonliving material (where that nonliving material came from we were not told). "Chemical Evolution" is just another way of saying "spontaneous generation"—life comes from nonlife. Evolution is therefore built on a fallacy science long ago proved to be impossible.


    Evolutionists admit that the chances of evolutionary progress are extremely low. Yet, they believe that given enough time, the apparently impossible becomes possible. If I flip a coin, I have a 50/50 chance of getting heads. To get five "heads" in a row is unlikely but possible. If I flipped the coin long enough, I would eventually get five in a row. If I flipped it for years nonstop, I might get 50 or even 100 in a row. But this is only because getting heads is an inherent possibility. What are the chances of me flipping a coin, and then seeing it sprout arms and legs, and go sit in a corner and read a magazine? No chance. Given billions of years, the chances would never increase. Great periods of time make the possible likely but never make the impossible possible. No matter how long it's given, non-life will not become alive.

  10. The scientific method can only test existing data—it cannot draw conclusions about origins. Micro-evolution, changes within a species on a small scale, is observable. But evidence for macro-evolution, changes transcending species, is conspicuous by its absence. To prove the possibility of anything, science must be able to reproduce exact original conditions. Even when it proves something is possible, it doesn't mean it therefore happened. Since no man was there to record or even witness the beginning, conclusions must be made only on the basis of interpreting presently available information. If I put on rose-colored glasses, I will always see red. I accept the Bible's teaching on creation, and see the evidence as being consistently supportive of that belief. When dealing with origins, everyone who believes anything does so by faith, whether faith in God, the Bible, himself, modern science, or the dependability of his own subjective interpretations of existing data. I would rather put my faith in God's revealed Word.

by Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries, 2229 E. Burnside #23, Gresham, OR 97030, 503-663-6481, http://www.epm.org

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Time for the Evolution Wars!

The latest article at Answers In Genesis deals with the growing debate over evolution and intelligent design in the public schools. You can read their article here.

With Bush's recent remarks and mounting support of Intelligent Design (ID) in the scientific world, many proponents of secular humanism are starting to be alarmed. The liberals are turning out in full force to, as they would claim, "defend science against religion."

But this isn't a question of "science vs. religion." As I showed in my recent article, teaching of evolution is so scientifically bankrupt as to amount to deception. Proponents of ID only want logical, scientific criticisms of evolution to be presented to public school students so that they can make their own conclusions.

Of course, this is too much for the secular scientific fundamentalists. Rather than showing why evolution is worthwhile, they ruthlessly attack Biblical Creationism and ID, comparing it to belief in a flat earth and reciting outdated and disproven "support" of macroevolution such as the "backwards" retina (see this article for a refutation) and the cop-out that "little differences add up to big changes", totally ignoring the subject of irreducible complexity.

If, in fact, evolution is so supported by the facts, why is the secular humanist consortium so opposed to allowing any alternate viewpoints? It isn't, as they loudly proclaim, an issue of "separation of church and state" (click here for my refutation of this absurd phrase), for ID only points out that life cannot arise without outside intelligence. As Ken Ham questions, "Is evolution so weak that it has to be legislated in order to protect it?"

The fact is that the forces of secular humanism are so wrapped up in their belief system that they cannot allow anything that could possibly suggest a Divine Intelligence.

Personally, I believe in Biblical Creationism. I also believe that it is perfectly Constitutional and academically honest to teach the Biblical account in Natural History classes. But right now, this is something that liberalism just won't allow. Perhaps the introduction of Intelligent Design to the public schools will open up the door to an acceptance of honesty and integrity in scientific criticisms.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Homologous Structures: Evolution's "Concrete" Evidence?

The following is an article I came across on PBS's evolution library (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/04/2/l_042_01.html). My commentary is in red text.

"If you want to see concrete evidence of evolution, look no further than your hand or your foot. Five fingers, five toes. There's nothing magical about the number, yet five digits at the end of their limbs is a motif that runs through all the animals with four limbs, called tetrapods. Even when there are fewer than five digits in the adult animal -- as in horses' hooves and the wings of bats and birds -- it turns out that they develop from an embryonic five-digit stage. There is nothing inherently advantageous about five digits. Nor is there any environmental pressure that favors five digits on the operating end of four-legged animals' limbs."
    Just a minute here... " Concrete evidence" for evolution? Let's take a look at the definition of evolution:

    Evolution: The theory that groups of organisms change with passage of time, mainly as a result of natural selection, so that descendants differ morphologically and physiologically from their ancestors.

    Since evolution supposedly causes organisms to differ morphologically and physiologically from their ancestors (and thus each other), how then can pentadactyl limbs be considered evidence, much less, "concrete evidence", for evolution?
"Pentadactyly (having five digits) is, in fact, an accident of evolutionary history. All tetrapods descended from a common ancestor that just happened to have limbs with five digits. And over the eons of evolution following that, natural selection worked with variations on pentadactyly rather than starting over again to produce tetrapods with another number of digits, be it two, seven, or 17."
    Consider the definition of "natural selection," since this is a key component of the changes mentioned in the definition of evolution:

    Natural Selection: The process in nature by which, according to Darwin's theory of evolution, only the organisms best adapted to their environment tend to survive and transmit their genetic characteristics in increasing numbers to succeeding generations while those less adapted tend to be eliminated.

    Since "There is nothing inherently advantageous about five digits" and there is not " any environmental pressure that favors five digits on the operating end of four-legged animals' limbs", and yet natural selection says that "only the organisms best adapted to their environment" will live and pass on their beneficial traits, how can tetrapod limbs be proof for this theory, since their is nothing beneficial about having them? The article has just stated that they are, in fact, an "accident". But let's read on:

"The pentadactyl limbs that tetrapods far and wide all have are examples of homologous structures. The term refers to similarities among species that are inherited from common ancestors. Such similarities are not necessarily functional -- that is, there's no physical reason why the body parts are similar based on the tasks they perform. (When body parts resemble each other for functional reasons, they're called analogous structures.) Critics of evolution argue that species were created separately in their distinctive forms and didn't descend from common ancestors. But the prevalence of the pentadactyl limb argues just the opposite: That for whatever prehistoric reasons, an ancestral tetrapod had five digits per limb, and all of its descendants did as well. The similarity isn't restricted to the ends of the limbs -- the bones of the arm, forearm, and hand of different vertebrates form a recognizable pattern, even though they have been adapted to different functions. And aspects of the nerves, blood vessels, and other tissues in the limb reveal other homologous structures.

Homologies are also seen in other structures, and can even be found biochemically, in the very genetic code that stores information for reproducing individuals. These molecular homologies provide some of the best evidence of a single common ancestor for all life on Earth."

    "But the prevalence of the pentadactyl limb argues just the opposite: That for whatever prehistoric reasons, an ancestral tetrapod had five digits per limb, and all of its descendants did as well.
    Ok, Let's think about this: Because animals have similarities, does it mean they have evolved? Birds, mammals and reptiles have nostrils, eyes, ears, tongues, four limbs, five digits on their limbs, and much more in common, but so what? Does it mean they have a common ancestor? Not at all! What happened to Natural Selection creating differences in organisms from their common ancestor? What happened to the organisms differing "morphologically and physiologically" from their ancestors? This is far from concrete evidence for evolution.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Evolution: A Disproven Hypothesis

Alright, alright, I know that the title of this post is just a little bit strong. But it should be! Macroevolution is being taught in our schools as fact, when it really has very little scientific basis.

In Charles Darwin's day, the mainstream scientific belief regarding the origin of life was a caricature of Genesis: God supposedly created all wildlife just as we see it today. Of course, nowhere in the Bible is such an idea stated. God created many distinct kinds, and these kinds reproduced and exhibited natural variation. For example, we got all the dogs we see today from one distinct dog-kind similar to a wolf. But dogs always bred dogs.

When Darwin signed on to The Beagle as the ship's naturalist, he sailed to the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific. In this island setting, the wildlife was very specialized and very open to observation. Darwin's grandfather had already publicized the idea that the Genesis account was totally false, and that all life on this planet was descended from the same primitive creature (universal common descent).

This young naturalist noted that there were many different kinds of birds on a particular island. One type of bird he was especially interested in were the finches. It is interesting to note that he didn't learn that these birds were finches until after he arrived back in civilization.

These finches were many and variegated. Some had big beaks, some had small beaks, some had medium beaks, some had long beaks, and some had short beaks . . . you get the point. Lots and lots of beaks. Darwin theorized that all these finches came from the same basic kind of finch, but natural variation during reproduction changed them slightly. The offspring that had the best chance to live then were given a better chance of passing on their genes; these genes were thereby 'selected'. He called this process "Natural Selection".

Natural Selection is a perfectly viable process. Through this mechanism, we get dark skin and light skin, poodles and pyrenees, etc. all through natural genetic variation from a few distinct kinds thousands of years ago.

However, because Darwin had been conditioned by his grandfather to think in terms of universal common descent, he began to extrapolate on the data. Extrapolation, or extending of data, is fine if you have a lot of information and just a little that you don't know. But all Darwin knew was that over time, finches' beaks became more specialized. Perhaps, he decided, this same kind of change happens over millions of years, turning bugs into businessmen. I've finally found something to substantiate Gramp's claim!

When Darwin returned to civilization, he wrote The Origin of Species. This book detailed his new hypothesis; all the animals we see today descended from a common ancestor through extra-extended natural selection. He also wrote The Descent of Man, where he explained his theories on how man evolved from monkeys.

However, the budding idea of evolution would soon be dealt a stunning blow. At the time, simple cells were thought to be just that: simple. Research soon indicated that all life was dependent upon DNA, the four-letter amino acid language that dictated everything about an organism.

Research showed something else also. The variation Darwin saw in the finches was only the highlighting of certain parts of the genetic DNA code. This was microevolution within a species, but Darwin's hypothesis required macroevolution: drastic changes to the DNA code itself rather than the masking of unnecessary parts.

Until now, atheists had a handy way of denying God: "It all happened through evolution!" But now, evolution was heading downhill. Clinging to their ideology like religionists, the atheistic crowd tried to find some way to make the evidence fit their ideas.

Mutations! That's right, mutations! Scientists knew that random mistakes occasionally changed the DNA in the genome. They called these mistakes mutations. Perhaps, the atheists theorized, lucky mutations were the cause of genetic change and macroevolution! Any bad mutations would be filtered out by natural selection, and the lucky mutations they needed would be passed on to the next generation to be built upon by more mutations.

Of course, all this is speculation. We haven't ever seen a mutation that not only made its owner more likely to survive but also added to the genome and would eventually lead to a more advanced species.

This is the current theory held by the majority of scientists worldwide.

But could mutations ever do the trick?

The Descent of Man. Our DNA is a little less than 98% the same as the DNA of chimpanzees. Of course, this doesn't mean we are closely related to chimps or anything. We also share 50% of our DNA with bananas, but we aren't banana from the waist up or from the waist down.

That 2% of DNA holds an enormous amount of information that dictates many different characteristics. Most of these characteristics are critical to the life of the organism; for example our blood pressure is different from chimpanzees so all the pressure-sensitive cells must be changed to cope with the different conditions.

DNA is composed of four amino acid letters: A, C, G, and T. These letters are combined in pairs to create the language; the base pairs AT, CG, GC, and TA. For only 100 DNA base pairs, there are 10 to the 60th possible combinations:

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 combinations!!!

This is only 100 base pairs. The smallest pieces of DNA that can define a physical function are genes, the smallest of which composed of 1,000 base pairs. The number of combinations for such a thing would be unimaginable! But let's consider 100 base pairs. Any imperfect combination would either kill the mutating organism or would be automatically filtered out by the individual cell's copying mechanism.

So, in order to define 1/10th of a gene, we have 1 in 10 to the 60th chances. Mathematics experts tell us that the threshold of impossibility is 1 in 10 to the 50th, meaning that 10 to the 60th is 10,000,000,000 times more than impossible!

Evolutionists, of course, always have a way to defend their ideology. They propose that nature can cope with these overwhelming odds because it has extremely large periods of time.

But even if we have 10 to the 60th chances, it isn't as if this guarantees victory. Each chance the mutating organism has is just 1 in 10 to the 60th! This puts evolution right back where it started.

Science tells us that these odds are astronomically greater than what the human mind is able to grasp. Evolution by mutation is impossible!

Scientific ideas progress from speculation to hypothesis to theory and finally to fact. In order to be called a theory, the idea must have substantial, tangible evidence that backs it up; in the case of evolution intermediate forms would be required.

I have demonstrated that evolution is impossible. It has been disproven time and time again. Since we never had any evidence for evolution other than the speculations of atheists, this idea never reached the level of theory.

Therefore, Darwinian Evolution is nothing but a disproven hypothesis.

In Him,

David S. MacMillan III