Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter
|Chapter 2 - The Failure of Darwin: Design in Nature|
|1. What is the theory of organic evolution?||Answer: Evolution is the theory that one or a few simple, single-celled organisms
gradually changed to give rise to all of the many complex species that have ever existed.
This process supposedly took several billion years.
According to this theory, several billion years ago very simple, single-celled organisms appeared on the earth. They reproduced themselves, each new generation the same as the preceding, except that in some of the new individuals random or chance changes called "mutations" occurred. Most of the mutations were bad and the individuals having them died out, but a very few of the mutations conferred some advantage on the individuals possessing them. These individuals were better adapted (adjusted) to their environment (surroundings) and so were able to reproduce more of their kind. Thus individuals having the advantageous mutations gradually came to dominate the population. The favoring of a certain type of organism by the environment (nature) is called "natural selection."
According to the theory, by this stepwise process of mutation and natural selection the few original simple life forms were able to evolve (change) to more complex kinds, better adapted to their environments, to changes in their environments, or to other environments nearby. By this process ever more complex creatures supposedly originated. Many new kinds evolved to fit into new parts of the world, such as the oceans, the soil, ponds, and on the surface of and even inside of other creatures. Thus, through many millions of years new kinds of organisms evolved and flourished. Then they were replaced by new kinds, becoming extinct and sometimes leaving their fossil remains in the rocks.
The alleged history of evolution began with single-celled animals, followed in order by single-celled plants, invertebrate (no backbone) animals, vertebrate (backboned) fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds, primates (monkeys, apes, etc.), and finally, man. So man is, according to the theory, simply the most advanced of the animals, and really only a highly organized form of matter.1
2. Does the theory of evolution by random (chance, undirected) mutations (changes) and natural selection explain where all living things came from?
many kinds of living plants and animals, their origin by evolution cannot be explained or
even imagined. The only other explanation is that they were created. The crucial question
is "What is the source of biological designs (biodesigns)?" The world is filled
with what appears to be evidence that all things are the result of intelligent, purposeful
design and creation by an infinitely wise, all-powerful Creator.
A scientific theory of evolution should take into account all of the pertinent observed facts. For example, it should be able to explain the origin of all of the known fossil and living species of plants and animals. So if the theory of evolution is correct, it should be possible to explain how a series of slight changes could produce any existing species from some previously existing species. And it should be possible to show how each successive change would give an advantage to the creature possessing it. It should be possible to outline such a series of steps leading to each creature and every bodily structure, organ or behavioral characteristic. Such imagined histories would not prove evolution either could or did happen, but they would at least make the theory seem more plausible (likely, reasonable).
It would help if the fossil record contained series of intermediate fossil types to provide historical evidence that such a process of change really took place. A testable theory for the evolution of new biological designs must be devised. Finally, genetic processes or mechanisms must be found which are actually capable of producing new useful biodesigns by chance.
The fact is that many species and many organs completely baffle even the imaginations of evolutionary scientists. And it is certain that no genetic mechanisms have yet been found which can produce new biodesigns. In other words, the theory of evolution fails to explain the observed facts -- except by faith. It does appear that a more reasonable explanation is that all living things were designed by an intelligent, purposeful Creator.
|3. What are some examples of species which evolution cannot explain?||a. Sea Slug With
Borrowed Spear Guns
The nudibranch or sea slug, Eolidoidea, about two inches long, lives in the shallow tidal zone along the sea coast. It feeds primarily on sea anemones. On the tentacles of the anemones are thousands of tiny stinging cells. They explode at the slightest touch, plunging poisoned whips into intruding fish or other creatures. These are paralyzed and drawn into the anemone's stomach to be digested. But Eolidoidea can violently tear apart, chew up, and digest anemones without being stung and without exploding the stinging cells or digesting them. What happens to the anemone's stinging cells is one of the most amazing mysteries in nature. Connecting the sea slug's stomach with pouches on its outer surface are tiny tubes lined with cilia (moving hairs). The cilia sweep the undigested stinging cells from the stomach to the pouches where they are arranged and stored for the sea slug's defence. Thus when a hungry fish tries to take a bite of sea slug, it gets stung in the mouth by the stinging cells which the hapless anemone manufactured for its own defense!2
No suitable explanation for the evolution of this mystery has surfaced to date. As long as this failure of evolution continues, divine special creation of Eolidoidea continues to be an acceptable explanation of its origin for any scientist, teacher or student to hold.
b. Microbe With Rotary Motors
A bacterium commonly found in our intestinal tract, Escherichia coli, is a sausage-shaped cell about 1/10,000th of an inch long. Each microbe is fitted with five or six long, flexible flagella with which it propels itself through the fluid medium. Until about 1972 it was thought that the flagella undulated or wiggled. Then it was found that they actually rotate! This startling discovery initiated intense research which has elucidated some amazing facts about the propulsion system of E. coli.3
The flagella are not entirely flexible but have the form of a corkscrew or helical propeller. Each flagellum connects by a universal joint to the shaft of the motor. This shaft protrudes from the side of the bacterium, and since its flagellum must trail behind, the universal joint is needed to transmit the rotary motion around a right angle. On the inner end of the shaft is the rotor of the motor. The shaft passes through two disks fixed in the bacterial wall. The first is the stator of the motor. The second, outer disk serves as a sleeve bearing. Figure 1 is an engineering sketch of this amazing micro-mechanism. The motor is a constant torque, variable speed, reversible rotary motor! It is also an electric motor, energized by a flow of positively charged protons through the cell membrane. The sensory and control system is also complex and sophisticated.
|Figure 1. The E. coli bacterium cell is about a ten thousandth of an inch long. Protruding from its sides are some half-dozen flagella that trail behind and propel it through the aqueous medium|
|Can evolutionary theory explain the origin of this propulsion system? Dr. Robert Macnab, at the close of a fifty-page review article admitted it could not.4 Prof. Howard Berg of the California Institute of Technology, a leading authority on the subject, could not in a private conversation provide an explanation. In fact, Darwin's own theory predicts that such a complex combination of complex, interdependent parts could not evolve. This is because if any of the parts began to evolve, they would be a costly, useless burden to the organism. Any microbes which began to evolve the system would have to expend energy and building materials to produce something useless. They would not be able to compete with the unchanged microbes around them and therefore would be eliminated from the population by natural selection. Thus evolution would be stopped in its tracks.5|
|Figure 2. The rotary motor of E. coli. The rotor is attached rigidly to the inner end of the shaft, the outer end of which connects to the hook (a universal joint) which attaches to the inner end of the flagellar filament. The stator and the bearing are fixed rigidly to the inner and outer membranes of the cell. The rotor, hook and flagellum rotate at approximately 100 revolutions per second. [Adapted from Bruce Alberts et al., Molecular Biology of the Cell (Garland Publishing, New York, 1983), p. 758, by Bible-Science News, Vol. 32, 1994, No. 2, p. 11.]|
|In view of all these facts and more, it is not
"unscientific" in the least to believe that E. coli was designed and created by
c. Birds, Stars, Maps and Compasses
Migrating birds perform amazing feats of navigation which are still not fully understood by scientists. The lesser whitethroated warbler summers in Germany but winters near the headwaters of the Nile River in Africa. Toward the close of summer, when the new brood of young is independent, the parent birds take off for Africa, leaving their children behind. Several weeks later the new generation birds take off and fly, unguided, across thousands of miles of unfamiliar land and sea to join their parents. They have never been there before. How so they know where to fly, and how do they navigate?
German researchers raised some of the warblers entirely in a planetarium building. Experiments proved that in their little bird brains is the inherited knowledge of how to tell direction, latitude, and longitude by the stars, plus a calendar and a clock, plus the necessary navigational data to enable them to fly unguided to the precise place on the globe where they can join their parents! Many other species of birds, and insects such as the Monarch butterfly, perform similar feats. How did all of this knowledge and ability get packed into a little bird's egg?6
More recent investigations at Cornell University have revealed that homing pigeons determine direction by observing the position of the sun in relation to the bird's internal calendar and clock. But pigeons were also shown to have direction-finding ability in cloudy weather when the sun was not visible. Electromagnets placed on the pigeons' heads destroyed this ability in cloudy weather, but not in sunny weather. Thus, the pigeon has two ways of determining direction, by the sun in clear weather and by an internal magnetic compass in cloudy weather. Sensitivity to magnetic fields may be provided by small deposits of magnetic iron oxide which have been discovered in tissues in the heads of birds. There is also good evidence that pigeons have an internal map of the earth which they use in conjunction with their compasses to enable them to navigate accurately over distances of hundreds of miles.7
Science cannot explain how these remarkable abilities of "scatterbrained" birds could have evolved by chance. Is it not more reasonable to believe that they were designed and created with those abilities required for a happy life with the birds?
Sir Allister Hardy describes some mysterious natural wonders in his book, The Living Stream.8 The Venus Flowerbasket sponge(Euplectella aspergellum), about the size and shape of a cucumber, has a rigid skeleton constructed of silica(mineral glass) needles called spicules. It is a cylindrical framework of the needle-like spicules which form lengthwise struts and circular hoops at right angles to them (see Figure 3). Resistance to twisting is provided by the insertion of diagonal bars to form spiral geodetics in the framework . Now consider in Figure 4 the sketch of the construction of a single three-spiked spicule by a scattered group of about five tiny cells. The construction of larger more complicated spicules is carried out by larger cells having many nuclei. The question comes to our minds, "How can these blind little cells that have no brain and no nervous system connecting them together know how to build just a single spicule, let alone the entire marvelous complete skeletal structure of the Venus Flowerbasket sponge?" Science has no answer. That God alone knows and can know is, in the light of the available evidence, still a viable position to hold.
|Figure 3. The silica skeleton of a Venus Flowerbasket sponge. It is constructed like the steel framework of a high rise building, with longitudinal members, circumferential members as right angles to them, and with diagonal braces to prevent twisting.|
|Figure 4. A multinucleated sponge cell constructing a complex spicule made of silica extracted by the cells from the sea water. The spicule will be glued to others to construct the marvelous three-dimensional skeletal structure of a Venus flowerbasket sponge|
|Our next mystery begins with the death of a sponge such as the one we have just described. The dead cells and other soft materials decompose, leaving the framework to break up into tiny silica spicules and settle down into the ooze on the bottom of the sea. Other species of tiny, single celled organisms called arenaceous foraminifera, look under the microscope like formless amoebae. Most species of foraminifera secrete tiny shells of lime in which to live, but the species with which we are concerned build tiny houses from spicules of lime or silica dropped from dead sponges! In Figure 5 we see sketches of these houses magnified about 35 times. Technitella legumen builds a home shaped like a hollow cigar a little more than 1/16th of an inch long (Sketch A). Sketch B shows an enlargement of the structural detail, two layers of spicules arranged at right angles for strength. Sketch C shows a different design used by another species of foram. In sketch D we see a much enlarged view of how different lengths and shapes of spicules are fitted and glued together by our tiny amoeboid architect/craftsman. The sketches have been adapted from The Living Stream.|
|Figure 5. A: This hollow cigar-shaped structure a little over 1/16th inch long is home to a single arenacious forminifera cell. B: The fine structure made of silica sponge spicules cemented in two layers at right angles for strength. C: Another species of foram make a spicule home shaped like a many-sided prism. D: Fine structure of C, showing how the foram selects and fits together many different lengths and shapes of spicules to make its home.|
|Let us now think together about the origin of these
remarkable abilities and activities of the industrious and cooperative single cells of the
sponge and of the enterprising amoeba-like foraminiferan architects. Can science show how
the architectural plans for the Venus flowerbasket and for the foraminiferan homes are
"remembered" by the single cells? Supposedly these plans are stored in the DNA
coded information of these organisms. Are they? Can this be proved? No, it cannot be
proved. If it cannot be proved, how can we be sure? We can be sure only through an
invincible faith, but faith is not science. Can it be proved, then, that these abilities
were produced by evolution, rather than being created by the Creator of all things? No.
Thus we are left with a choice between competing faiths.
If a scientist believes in evolution, he must assume that some process of gradual evolution taught these cells how to do what they do. Let us imagine the little amoeba-like foram squishing around in the dark ooze at the bottom the shallow sea. Perhaps he finds himself in an area where there is not really enough calcium in solution to form the little lime shell that most species of forams live in. So our little foram finds himself with no home on his back. But this is dangerous, so there is selective pressure to "figure out" a new kind home that can be built with available materials. One day while he is squishing through the ooze, he stumbles onto a bit of building material, a tiny silica spicule from some poor dead sponge. Our foram just has by chance a mutation which gives him the behavioral trait of hanging on to that first spicule and, perhaps, to a second one. But what is he to do with them? They are of no value to him now, and it is tiresome to drag them around. Nevertheless, we must imagine him and thousands of his descendants doing so until, finally, another mutation endows some of them with the ability to produce an underwater glue. Next, another mutation gives some of them the behavioral trait of gluing two spicules together, for no reason at all and with no advantage except, perhaps, that it is easier to drag them around glued together in one piece. You see, in this evolution business, both forams and scientists must be quite resourceful and imaginative in order to have a reason for existence. The forams have no intelligence and evolution has no goal. Their only hope of escaping extinction lies in an amazing sequence of chance, undirected, stumbling, unplanned mutations that finally enable them to construct from the spicules tiny boxes in which to live. Now by further mutations and natural selection, they "learn" to improve the quality of the house design, how to select just the right lengths and shapes of spicules, how to reinforce their walls with two layers of spicules set at right angles to each other, how to use spiral struts to increase the strength of tubes, how to go in and out, etc., etc.
Does this foray into speculation and imagination a la Darwin sound like science? Does it even sound plausible? Only if one is forced to think this way because of a previous choice to reject divine creation in favor of "creation" by some chance process of evolution. But the assumption is not a scientific conclusion. It is a philosophical or religious belief. There is no scientific evidence to prove that the complex designs of any living things originated by chance, without God the Designer and Creator of all things. In all of human history no complex new design has been observed to come from any source other than intelligent human minds. Therefore, we conclude that belief in creation by God is better in accord with the sum total of evidence than is belief in evolution. A scientist who is a Christian believer can investigate such wonders of the natural world with the glory of God as his goal. Furthermore, research with this motivation and faith commitment can be and has been every bit as fruitful for the advancement of scientific knowledge as research carried on by scientists who have other faith world views and motivations to guide their research.
Sir Alister Hardy, in his little book, The Living Stream, cited above, came to see that classical evolutionary theory cannot explain much of the data of biology. He concluded that there must be an intelligent Spirit in nature, which he referred to as God. He identified himself as not being an orthodox Christian, but he believed that some kind of a God must exist to guide evolution to produce the marvels he observed in nature. This is the concept of theistic evolution, not biblical creation. But most scientists are so totally given over to a materialistic world view that they will never listen to Hardy with much more than condescending skepticism. But the uncompromising biblical position is superior to Hardy's mixing up of materialism with theism. The facts of biology support the biblical record of special creation of the original kinds of plants and animals, which were made to reproduce after their respective kinds, not to evolve into new kinds. The Christian who simply believes the Bible and pursues the service of God and of his fellow men in obedience to the law of God and the gospel of Christ possesses the Truth and has the key to wisdom. Let us not compromise God's Truth, regardless of who or how many around us may reject the Truth as it is in Christ Jesus.
In concluding this topic, let it be emphasized that the Venus Flowerbasket sponge and the scavenger forams are absolute mysteries to scientists. They have not the slightest hint of how these creatures can exist and function without God.
e. Good Engineering in the Human Body
The human body is amazing not only because of its excellently engineered structures and mechanisms such as bones, joints, muscles, communications networks, and circulatory systems, but also because of the many sophisticated control systems that regulate all of the bodily functions. In general these control systems use the principle of negative feedback which is basic to the control mechanisms designed by engineers for use in automobiles, air conditioning systems, and manufacturing plants. Physiologist (physiology - study of life processes, activities, and functions) David A. Kaufman lists ten different classes of control systems in the human body: internal environment and homeostasis (keeping internal conditions such as temperature constant), nervous control, hormone control (hormones are messenger chemicals), contractile control, circulatory control, and absorption, resting and energy metabolism (producing energy from food), and regeneration and reproduction. There is not space here even to define all of the bodily functions, but one example will be described.9
The human body has a temperature control system which keeps the body core temperature relatively constant at 99.6°F. The hypothalamus, a gland in the brain, contains an unknown device that provides the standard or ideal temperature signal. This signal goes to a comparison device where it is compared with the temperature signal from a temperature sensor which reads actual body temperature. From the comparison device an error signal of too hot or too cold is sent to either the body's antirise or its antidrop center. If stimulated, the antirise center turns on the sweating and vasodilation (expanding of blood vessels) mechanisms. These release heat to the surroundings and reduce bodily heat production. On the other hand, the antidrop center, if stimulated, turns on the shivering and vasoconstriction (constriction of blood vessels) mechanisms. These preserve heat and increase bodily heat production.
Scientists only vaguely understand the details of this efficient control mechanism, which are undoubtedly highly sophisticated. What great faith in the abilities of "dumb atoms" is needed for an informed person to believe that these intricate engineering techniques used in the human body and absolutely essential to human existence could be the end result of blind, purposeless evolution.
The four examples just considered illustrate the fact that evolution fails dismally when the structures and functions of living things are examined in detail. We have presented these and other such examples of intelligent, purposeful design in nature before many college and university audiences. Not once has a qualified scientist or faculty member offered to explain their origin by evolution through many intermediate steps. A theory which majors on broad generalities but fails on the details is not very satisfactory science.
4. What is the central logic of the scientific case for creation?
|Answer: Divine special creation is by definition a miracle. In a miracle natural law is supervened or transcended by a Power outside of nature. Therefore, a miracle cannot be described or explained in scientific terms or reproduced experimentally. Consequently, there can be no scientific theory of creation and no naturalistic mechanisms of creation. On the other hand, evolutionary scientists claim to have proved that evolution is a fact. They claim to be developing theories which explain the evolution of complex living organisms and to be discovering materialistic mechanisms which can produce these organisms. So they should have fossils which prove that the process of evolution really is a fact of earth history. Also, they must devise and test theories which successfully explain the origin of complex biological designs, and discover and demonstrate mechanisms which are capable of producing these biodesigns. Thus far, as we show in this book, evolutionary science has failed to achieve this, its central goal. As long as the failure of evolutionary theory to explain the origin of anything important continues, belief in the only alternative, divine special creation, continues to be a scientifically acceptable option for anybody to hold.|
5 . But isn't this a negative argument?
|Answer: Yes, but necessarily so by the nature of the case, as we have shown. Nevertheless, the argument is logically airtight, unless and until such time as evolutionary science really succeeds in solving its crucial problem, that of design. Some Christians bridal at having to rely principally on a negative argument. They then try to make creation into a scientific theory, but it is not, and trying to make it so only creates confusion.|
6. Is there a positive scientific case for creation?
|Answer: Yes, there is also a positive case for creation. In all of history humans have never seen a new, useful design arise except from an intelligent mind. Since there is no other explanation for the origin of biodesigns, it is logical to believe that they, too, came from the intelligent mind of the Creator. Therefore, based on both negative and positive logic, every existing complex biodesign is powerful evidence for divine special creation.|
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