by Babu G. Ranganathan
Darwin convinced the intellectual elite of society in his day of no need to believe in God because his explanation of "natural selection" in Nature solved all naturalistic problems for explaining design and complexity in life, so he thought. Actually, other individuals wrote and published on the subject of natural selection well before Darwin but that is another subject.
The problem that many didn't realize right away in Darwin's time is that "natural selection" has limits. Natural selection is not a creative force. Natural selection can only "select" from biological variations that are possible and that have survival value. Natural selection itself does not produce biological traits or variations. Biological traits and variations are produced by the DNA or genetic code of species. If the genetic information or capability for a particular trait doesn't exist in the DNA of a species then there's nothing that natural selection can do to put it there. Natural selection can only work with the genetic information available in DNA and nothing more.
When it eventually dawned on followers of Darwin that natural selection has limits, they resorted to the belief that genetic mutations would provide natural selection with entirely new genetic information and, thus, evolution from amoeba to man would become possible if given just enough time.
Mutations are accidents (random changes) in the sequential structure of the genetic code and they are caused by various random environmental forces such as radiation. The problem with mutations is that they are almost always harmful since they are accidents in the genetic code. Even if a good mutation occurred for every good one there would be thousands of harmful ones with the net effect over time being disastrous for any species.
At the very best mutations can only produce variations or modifications of already existing traits, but not entirely new traits. For example, mutations in the genes for human hair may change those genes so that another type of human hair develops but the mutations won't change the genes so that feathers or wings develop! Most biological variations, however, are the result of new combinations of already existing genes and not mutations which are rare in nature. Combinations of genes can occur by chance but that doesn't mean that the genes themselves can come into existence by chance!
Sometimes mutations may trigger the duplication of already existing traits (i.e. an extra finger, toe, or even an entire head, even in another area of the body!). But mutations have no ability to produce entirely new traits or characteristics. It would require genetic engineering to turn an amoeba into a human being. Nature does not have the ability to perform such genetic engineering.
But, didn't we all start off from a single cell in our mother's womb? Yes, but that single cell from which we developed had all of the genetic information to develop into a full human being. Other single cells, such as bacteria and amoeba don't.
Evolutionists will argue that the genetic and biological similarity between all species is evidence of a common biological ancestry. That, however, is only one interpretation of the evidence. Another possibility is that the comparative genetic and biological similarities are due to a common Designer who designed similar functions for similar purposes in all the various forms of life. Neither position can be scientifically proved.
A major problem for evolutionists is how could partially-evolved plant and animal species survive over, supposedly, millions of years if their vital organs and tissues were still in the process of evolving? How, for example, were animals breathing, eating, and reproducing if their respiratory, digestive, and reproductive organs were still incomplete and evolving? How were species fighting off possibly life-killing germs if their immune system hadn't fully evolved yet?
The evidence from genetics supports only the possibility for limited, or horizontal, evolution within biological "kinds" such as the varieties of dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc., but not vertical evolution (variation across biological "kinds"), especially from simpler kinds to more complex ones such as from fish to human. Even if a new species develops but there are no new genes or traits then there still is no real macro-evolution (variation across biological kinds) and the new species would remain within the same biological "kind" even though it would no longer have the ability to inter-breed back with the original stock. Unless Nature has the ability to perform genetic engineering vertical evolution will not be possible.
The early grooves in the human embryo that appear to look like gills are really the early stages in the formation of the face, throat, and neck regions. The so-called "tailbone" is the early formation of the coccyx and spinal column which, because of the rate of growth being faster than the rest of the body at this stage, appears to look like a tail. The coccyx has already been proven to be useful in providing support for the pelvic muscles.
Abortion clinics have been known to tell many young pregnant women that what they are carrying inside has not become a humanbeing yet but, instead, is only a tadpole like creature and that there is nothing to feel guilty about in terminating their pregnancy.
Variations across biological kinds such as humans evolving from ape-like creatures and apes, in turn, evolving from dog-like creatures and so on, as Darwinian evolutionary theory teaches, are not genetically possible. Although the chemicals to make entirely new genes exist in all varieties of plant and animal kinds, the DNA or genetic program that exists in each plant or animal kind will only direct those chemicals into making more of the same plant or animal kind.
Millions of people are taught in schools and textbooks all over the world that the fossil record furnishes scientific proof of evolution. But, where are there fossils of half-evolved dinosaurs or other creatures?
The fossil record contains fossils of only complete and fully-formed species. There are no fossils of partially-evolved species to indicate that a gradual process of evolution ever occurred. Even among evolutionists there are diametrically different interpretations and reconstructions of the fossils used to support human evolution from a supposed ape-like ancestry. In fact, all of the fossils used to support human evolution have been found to be either hoaxes, non-human, or human. Evolutionists once reconstructed an image of a half-ape and half-man creature (known as The Nebraska Man) from a single tooth! Later they discovered that the tooth belonged to an extinct species of pig! The "Nebraska Man" was used as a major piece of evidence in the famous Scopes Trial in support of Darwin's evolutionary theory.
Even if evolution takes millions and millions of years, we should still be able to see some stages of its process. But, we simply don't observe any partially-evolved fish, frogs, lizards, birds, dogs, cats among us. Every species of plant and animal is complete and fully-formed.
Scientist Dr. Walt Brown, in his fantastic book "In The Beginning", makes this point by saying, "All species appear fully developed, not partially developed. They show design. There are no examples of half-developed feathers, eyes, skin, tubes (arteries, veins, intestines, etc.), or any of thousands of other vital organs. Tubes that are not 100% complete are a liability; so are partially developed organs and some body parts. For example, if a leg of a reptile were to evolve into a wing of a bird, it would become a bad leg long before it became a good wing."
A lizard with half-evolved legs and wings can't run or fly away from its predators. How would it survive? Why would it be preserved by natural selection? Imagine such a species surviving in such a miserable state over many millions of years waiting for fully-formed wings to evolve!
Some evolutionists cite the fossil of an ancient bird known to have claws as an example of a transitional link. However, there are two species of birds living today in South America that have claws on their wings, but even evolutionists today do not claim that these birds are transitional links from a reptilian ancestry. These claws are complete, as everything else on the birds.
What about all those spectacular and popular claims reported in the mass media of evolutionists having discovered certain transitional forms in the fossil record? Such claims have not been accepted by all evolutionists and, after much investigation and analysis, these claims have been found to have no hard basis in science. This has been the case of every so-called "missing link" and "transitional" form discovered since Darwin.
Recently it was thought they had discovered fossils of dinosaurs with feathers until they found out that the so-called feathers were really scales, which only had the appearance of feathers. Scientists theorize the scales took upon a feather-like appreance during some brief stage of decomposition before being fossilized. Even if they were feathers, this still wouldn't be any kind of evidence to support macro-evolution unless they can show a series of fossils having part-scale/part-feather structures as evidence that the scales had really evolved into feathers.
Many times, evolutionists use similarities of traits shared by different forms of life as a basis for claiming a transitional link. But, the problem for evolutionists is that all the traits which they cite are complete and fully-formed.
Not only are there no true transitional links in the fossil record, but the fossils themselves are not in the supposed geological sequence or order as evolutionists claim in their textbooks. Of course, evolutionists have their circular and unsupported arguments and reasons for why this is so.
If evolution across biological kinds (known as macro-evolution) really occurred then we should find millions of indisputable transitional forms in the fossil record instead of a few disputable transitional forms that even evolutionists cannot all agree upon. And, again, the point needs to be emphasized that species cannot wait millions of years for their vital (or necessary) organs and biological systems to evolve.
In fact, it is precisely because of these problems that more and more modern evolutionists are adopting a new theory known as Punctuated Equilibrium which says that plant and animal species evolved suddenly from one kind to another and that is why we don't see evidence of partially-evolved species in the fossil record. Of course, we have to accept their word on blind faith because there is no way to prove or disprove what they are saying. These evolutionists claim that something like massive bombardment of radiation resulted in mega mutations in species, which produced "instantaneous" changes from one life form to another.
The fact that animal and plant species are found fully formed and complete in the fossil record is powerful evidence (although not proof) for creation because it is evidence that they came into existence as fully formed and complete which is possible only by creation.
Young people, and even adults, often wonder how all the varieties and races of people could come from the same human ancestors. Well, in principle, that's no different than asking how children with different color hair ( i.e., blond, brunette, brown, red ) can come from the same parents who both have black hair.
Just as some individuals today carry genes to produce descendants with different color hair and eyes, humanity's first parents possessed genes to produce all the variety and races of men. You and I today may not carry the genes to produce every variety or race of humans, but humanity's first parents did possess such genes.
All varieties of humans carry genes for the same basic traits, but not all humans carry every possible variation of those genes. For example, one person may be carrying several variations of the gene for eye color ( i.e., brown, green, blue ) , but someone else may be carrying only one variation of the gene for eye color ( i.e., brown ). Thus, both will have different abilities to affect the eye color of their offspring.
In the midst of all the arguments over evolution and intelligent design, it is amazing how many in society, including the very educated, believe that scientists had already created life in the laboratory. No such thing has ever happened.
All that scientists have done is genetically engineer already existing forms of life in the laboratory, and by doing this scientists have been able to produce new forms of life, but they did not produce these new life forms from non-living matter. Even if scientists ever do produce life from non-living matter it will only be through intelligent design or planning so it still wouldn't help support any theory of life originating by chance or evolution.
If the cell had evolved it would have had to be all at once. A partially evolved cell cannot wait millions of years to become complete because it would be highly unstable and quickly disintegrate in the open environment, especially without the protection of a complete and fully functioning cell membrane.
Although it has been shown that the basic building blocks of life, amino acids, can come into existence by chance, it has never been shown that the various amino acids can come together into a sequence by chance to form protein molecules. Even the simplest cell is composed of millions of protein molecules.
Without DNA there cannot be RNA, and without RNA there cannot be DNA. And without either DNA or RNA there cannot be proteins, and without proteins there cannot be DNA or RNA. They're all mutually dependent upon each other for existence! The cell is irreducibly complex. It could not have gradually evolved! Evolutionists generally believe that it took one billion years for the first life form or cell to have evolved. That belief, although still taught as gospel in many elementary and secondary schools, cannot be sustained by modern science.
The great British scientist Sir Frederick Hoyle has said that the probability of the sequence of molecules in the simplest cell coming into existence by chance is equivalent to a tornado going through a junk yard of airplane parts and assembling a 747 Jumbo Jet!
Once there is a complete and living cell then, of course, the genetic program and various biological mechanisms exist to direct the formation of more cells with their own genetic programs and biological mechanisms. The question is how could the life or the cell have come about naturally on Earth when there were no directing mechanisms.
If humans must use intelligence to perform genetic engineering, to meaningfully manipulate the genetic code, then what does that say about the origin of the genetic code itself!
We tend to judge something as being simpleor complex by its size.So many of us assume that because the cell is microscopic in size that it must be simple. Not so! Size is relative, but not complexity. If you were as big as the Empire State building you would probably think that the tiny cars and automobiles on the street were simple and could easily happen by a chance combination of parts. However, we know that is not so.
Science cannot prove we're here by creation, but neither can science prove we're here by chance or macro-evolution. No one has observed either. They are both accepted on faith. The issue is which faith, Darwinian macro-evolutionary theory or creation, has better scientific support.
If some astronauts from Earth discovered figures of persons similar to Mt. Rushmore on an uninhabited planet there would be no way to scientifically prove the carved figures originated by design or by chance processes of erosion. Neither position is science,but scientific arguments may be made to support one or the other.
What we believe about life's origins does influence our philosophy and value of life as well as our view of ourselves and others. This is no small issue! Evolutionary theory is popular because it gives everyone the freedom to do their own thing! Much of our moral and social ills in society are the result of generations of teaching that man and all life came into existence by chance and random processes. Therefore, there is no absolute truth, especially not any absolute moral and spiritual truth.
Just because the laws of science can explain how life and the universe operate and work doesn't mean there is no Maker. Would it be rational to believe that there's no designer behind airplanes because the laws of science can explain how airplanes operate and work?
Natural laws are adequate to explain how the order in life, the universe, and even a microwave oven operates, but mere undirected natural laws can never fully explain the origin of such order.
We know from the law of entropy in science that the universe does not have the ability to have sustained itself from all eternity. It requires a beginning. But, we also know from science that natural laws could not have brought the universe into being from nothing. The beginning of the universe, therefore, points to a supernatural origin!
There is, of course, much more to be said on this subject. Scientist, creationist, debater, writer, and lecturer, Dr. Walt Brown covers various scientific issues ( i.e. fossils, "transitional" links, biological variation and diversity, the origin of life, comparative anatomy and embryology, the issue of vestigial organs, the age of the earth, etc. ) at greater depth on his website at www.creationscience.com .
On his website, Dr. Brown even discusses the possibility of any remains of life on Mars as having originated from the Earth due to great geological disturbances in the Earth's past which easily could have spewed thousands of tons of rock and dirt containing microbes into space. In fact, A Newsweek article of September 21, 1998, p.12 mentions exactly this possibility.
An excellent source of information from highly qualified scientists who are creationists is the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego, California. Also, the reader may find answers to many difficult questions concerning the Bible (including questions on creation and evolution, Noah's Ark, how dinosaurs fit into the Bible, etc.)at www.ChristianAnswers.net .
It is only fair that evidence supporting intelligent design or creation be presented to students alongside of evolutionary theory, especially in public schools which receive funding from taxpayers who are on both sides of the issue. Also, no one is being forced to believe in God or adopt a particular religion so there is no true violation of separation of church and state.
As a religion and science writer, I encourage all to read my Internet article "The Natural Limits of Evolution" at my website for more in-depth study of the issue.
In Darwin's world of the late 19th century society was ready for a naturalistic and mechanistic explanation for the origin of life and species without any resort to belief in the supernatural. There were many in society who wished to shed any moral and social limits or barriers to sexual and various other forms of gratification. The only way of doing this was to find a "rational" argument against belief in the existence of God and, particularly, against the kind of God that the Christian Scriptures portray. Darwin came on the scene just in time.
The author, Babu G. Ranganathan, is an experienced Christian writer. Mr. Ranganathan has his B.A. degree with concentrations in theology and biology. As a religion and science writer he has been recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis Who's Who In The East. The author's website may be accessed at: www.religionscience.com