By: Marty Leipzig Re: D-Fens In Defense of Evolution If, as the creationists would have us
By: Marty Leipzig
In Defense of Evolution
If, as the creationists would have us believe, all life on Earth came into
existence through a process of special creation, then the God presumably
in charge of the process has had ample opportunity to create evidence that
would refute what the religious extremist minority naively labels the
"heresy" of evolution. However, when we examine the physical and biological
Earth, we encounter not only a complete lack of disproof of evolution, but
also vast quantities of evidence supporting evolution, all of which
indicates one of three possibilities: (1) life evolved on its own; (2) God
used evolution as a means of "creating" life; or (3) God created all life
through special creation, but wants to deceive man into believing that
evolution is true. All three of these options run counter to the
Examining the Fossil Record
A crucial prediction made by the theory of evolution is that one
should find a general progression of increasingly diverse and complex
life forms when one examines the fossils in progressively higher strata
if sedimentary rock. While creationists should expect the oldest strata
of sedimentary rock to yield fossils of very complex life forms (like
mammals) -- since their God presumably created all life within a short
period of time -- evolutionists specifically expect the fossil record not
to. Thus, had God wished to supply evidence refuting evolution and
proving His status as Creator, He could have easily done so by
depositing, preserving, and later exposing to paleontologists numerous
mammalian fossils in the oldest rock strata. In fact, a God powerful
enough to create an entire universe would surely find it a trifle to
invert the whole sequence of fossils, placing the simplest life forms in
the most modern strata and the most complex life forms in the earliest
strata, thereby disproving evolution. Yet, when we look at the fossil
record, we find the one sequence of life forms that evolution
predicts -- not one of the many sequences that would have demolished
evolutionary science. One must wonder why the creationist's God has
failed to seize such a beautiful opportunity to refute evolution.
Another prediction made by the theory of evolution is that the
fossil record should yield transitional forms -- special creation, on the
other hand, predicts a complete absence of transitional forms. As it
turns out, transitional forms do exist, despite the attempts of
creationists to deny them out of existence with wishful thinking.
_Archaeopteryx lithographica_, displaying a distinct blend of major
reptilian and avian characteristics and highly resembling the theropod
reptiles of its time, is unquestionably a transitional form. _Basilosaurus
isis_ is the name given to a whale whose 40-million year old fossilized
skeleton features a small pelvis with hind legs. The rhipidistians link
the crossopterygian fishes to the icthyostegid amphibians through a
clear temporal progression of vertebral and skull characteristics.
Diarthrognathus sports both reptilian and mammalian jaw joints.
Tetraceratops links the pelycosaurs to the therapsids (the pelycosaurs
and therapsids are themselves reptile-mammal transitional forms).
Creationists honest enough to acknowledge that the listed creatures
exhibit obvious transitional characteristics and exist at precisely the
right time periods and in precisely the right places where evolutionists
would expect to find them, have no route left but to assume that God
created all of those creatures directly. But why would God create
creatures that look so much like transitional forms, unless He wanted to
trick man into believing in evolution and rejecting Him as Creator -- or
unless He actually instituted the process of evolution. But this runs
counter to the will of the creationists, who wrongfully wish to portray
evolutionists as atheistic sinners who reject the "obvious truth" of
special creation out of wicked, godless pride.
Examining Genetic Material
If God created all life, He could have used a fraction of His
boundless power to endow each "kind" with a different form of genetic
material. But all life forms on Earth use DNA and RNA as genetic
material, which is what one would expect had all life evolved from a
common ancestor. Moreover, DNA does not appear to have been engineered
for functionality. Species that look virtually identical and live in
equivalent climates on separate continents often exhibit highly
dissimilar DNA -- their DNA actually more closely resembles that of more
different species living in adjacent environments. This is impossible to
reconcile with the expectation that God would design the DNA of every
species to enable it to best function within its environment. However,
what we find makes complete sense in the light of evolution: adjacent
species have similar DNA because one species diverged from the other and
adapted to a new environment. Similar-looking species with dissimilar DNA
are the product of convergent evolution -- they are not necessarily
related, but they adapt in the same manner to their environments,
resulting in similar appearance.
As if all this were not enough, the DNA of many organisms also
contains introns. Introns are segments of genetic material that are
transcribed into mRNA, but are then excised before the mRNA is translated
into protein. In plain English, introns constitute genetic garbage. We
might expect some meaningless but non-harmful sequences to accumulate in
an organism's genes as it evolves, but there is no reason for a creator
to have put nonfunctional sequences in any creature's genes. Surely a God
that wishes us to believe in special creation would have eliminated all
of the evidence for evolution that we acquire through genetic research.
Evolution and Atheism?
Sometimes the creationists drop their scientific pretenses and
reveal their religious motivations by attacking evolution on the grounds
that it is an "anti-religious" or "atheistic" theory. The creationists
would have one believe that evolution is atheistic, because it
contradicts their naively literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis
in the Bible. However, evolution is not atheistic. Evolution is a
scientific finding, and science tells us nothing about metaphysical
issues such as the existence of God. We know through science that
evolution is a reality. Whether a God exists who used evolution to create
life is an open question.
The Bible Refutes Creationism
The creationists have sought hard to conceal from the public a
fact that completely shatters the case for believing that a literal
reading of the Book of Genesis reveals the true origin of life. The
surprising fact is that a literal reading of Genesis results in
self-contradiction, because there are two mutually exclusive creation
stories in the Book of Genesis.
The first chapter of Genesis describes a six-day creation: on the
first day, God created light. On the second day, God created Heaven by
making a division between the waters which apparently engulfed the
universe. On the third day, God created dry land by gathering together
the waters beneath Heaven, then created the seas, grass, herbs, and fruit
trees. On the fourth day, God put the sun, the moon, and the stars in
Heaven, beneath the upper layer of the waters which he had divided on the
second day. On the fifth day, God created sea creatures and birds. On the
sixth day, God first created land creatures, and then He created man.
Of course, we know that there are no waters above the stars, and
that fruit trees did not exist before the first aquatic creatures, and
that the earth (much less grass, herbs, and fruit trees) did not exist
before the sun or the stars. But lets put aside all of these problems
with a literal Genesis 1, for the moment, and focus on how Genesis 1
compares with the next creation story in the Book of Genesis.
The second chapter of Genesis states that God first created man,
then created trees, then made the animals, and finally created woman.
All of this happened in one day -- the same day that God created the
heavens and the earth, as described in Genesis 2:4. Not only is the
sequence of creation different, but the time span is different as well.
At most, only one of the two stories can be literally correct.
Creationists use all sorts of rhetorical and interpretive ploys to try to
deny the contradiction between the first two chapters of Genesis, thereby
violating their own precept that the Bible must be read literally. Modern
biblical scholars agree that Genesis 1 and 2 do conflict. The two
accounts were, after all, written centuries apart, and in very different
cultural contexts. To believe in a completely literal rendition of the
Book of Genesis is thus to claim that God inspired a self-contradictory
set of writings. Apparently the creationists, as much as they claim to
worship God, actually believe Him to be exceedingly stupid.
When the two creation stories in the Book of Genesis are
appreciated for what they truly are -- allegories inspired by God, or myths
designed by the ancient Hebrews -- only then does the Book of Genesis no
contradict itself or the discoveries of science.
The Verdict on Creationism
The notion of a good, intelligent creator that wishes us to
believe in special creation, yet stupidly or deviously creates evidence
that points towards evolution, and nevertheless expects us to believe in
a self-contradictory literal rendition of a set of ancient writings, is
illogical, untenable as a scientific theory, and too blasphemous to be a
valid religious belief. Why would a good God give us five senses and a
mind with which to explore the physical world, and then deceive us, that
He might condemn us for being deceived? If God exists, He must surely
find such creationist nonsense insulting.
If we cannot trust science, which rigorously tests its hypotheses
and unceasingly double-checks its own conclusions using the tools of
observation and logic, then it is evident that we cannot trust anything.
The creationists say they can trust their literal rendition of the Bible,
but if they reject observation and logic, how can they be certain that
the things they see in the Bible are not as much a "deception" as they
claim evolution to be? Surely they cannot base their beliefs on faith,
because many Christians base their beliefs in an allegorical Genesis on
faith. Indeed, one can have faith in anything at all In order for us to have
objective knowledge whatsoever, we must at least trust science.
To the rational Christian, science is a way of using the
God-given gift of intelligence to understand how God actually does
things. Christians used to think that the sun revolved around the earth,
because they thought that the Bible revealed this "truth." But science
revealed that the earth revolves around the sun. Although they resisted
this discovery bitterly at first, most Christians eventually understood
that God did not set up things the way that they had thought, and that,
at the very least, they had misread the Bible. Where fact is revealed,
faith must often give way. One can use science to better understand one's
religion -- and vice versa -- but it is sheer folly to insist upon a
religious doctrine when scientific evidence indicates its falsity.
Creationism contradicts scientific fact, and its religious basis
contradicts itself. But the creationists, like the geocentrist Christians
of the Dark Ages, cling to their falsified beliefs, unwilling to admit
that perhaps they have made a mistake in interpreting the "Word of God."
The time will hopefully come when the creationists join the geocentrists
of old, and set aside their pride and their dogmas so that they may learn
the great wonders that science teaches of the universe, and -- if he
exists -- of God.
The creationist might claim that Jesus himself spoke in parables to
deliberately deceive people, so that they would not be saved (Mark
4:11-12). To this, we respond that Genesis 1 and 2 clearly must serve as a
parable that was meant by God to keep anyone as closed-minded as a
creationist from being saved. It is doubtful that God would want to be
eternally surrounded by people who refuse to use the brains that He has
so graciously given unto them.
Sometimes the creationists claim to have "experienced Christ" in such
a manner that they are convinced that a literal reading of the Bible,
including Genesis, yields the truth. But there are Christians who claim
to have experienced Christ, yet do not support special creation or a
literal reading of the Bible (some don't think much of the Bible,
period). Each side denies that the other has really experienced Christ.
Since there is no means of testing which side is right (if either!) the
"experience of Christ" thus is as non-authoritative as faith.
... Rule 1-D of Modem Creationism: Claim evidence...then quote scripture
--- Blue Wave/Max v2.20
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