Last month’s article presented evolution as a theory that is ‘naked’ of any scientific merit. A bold claim I intend to address in the months to come. Those who put their faith in the seductive draw of evolution’s mythology were presented as either seriously uninformed, pretentious intellectuals, or indoctrinated bystanders. In an effort to reduce the apparent conflict between science and theology, some have blended the worldviews of theology and science to create what is often called ‘Theistic Evolution’. This position once held my interest until I had to admit that I was not being honest with the facts. Adopting any form of Darwinian evolution (the kind that trans-mutates life forms) yields to a philosophical treatise barren of substance and that unfetters thinking to seriously liberal attitudes towards the value of human life, and to subjective morality, situational ethics and often to political persuasions that yield human freedom’s to the State. It is certainly not science.
For many, especially our young, a life devoid of purpose is a life not worth living. Materialism replaces ethical values. Depression and hopelessness are not surprising results for creatures like ourselves who possess the mental and emotional faculties that are so far removed from the rest of the animal kingdom. Our inherent need to love and be loved makes only transient sense in a world that ends in death. But, if evolution is true and death is the end we should, as the Apostle Paul said, “…eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 1 Corinthians 15:32.
In this and the next article, I hope to build the foundation for a fair appraisal of the facts of science and to challenge you with two ‘theories’ or philosophical interpretations of those facts. I am admittedly prejudiced by now, having arrived at my beliefs through an exhausting assessment of the facts. But I do hope to be fair and objective in the appraisal so that you can decide for yourself what is truth. I have never completely yielded to evolutionary theory, either throughout high school or throughout my 10 years of higher education and several years of post-doctoral studies. Having intimate and thorough knowledge of what evolution supposes, I have never found a single fact that credibly supports those suppositions. The only other alternative for me was found in special creation. This ‘religious’ alternative made more sense to me in every aspect of scientific study in explaining, metaphysically, what obviously could not be explained by material observation and certainly not by evolutionary thought. Yet, the tools needed to bring together the various observations of science into a clear and meaningful argument for the super-natural explanation were not being taught or presented at any level of education, and typically denounced as anti-intellectual. If mentioned at all in texts or lectures the “God idea” was ridiculed and relegated to ignorant mythology.
At the beginning of the creation science debate of the 20th century a heavy reliance on biblical authority seemed a rational approach to assess the facts of science. I believe it will always have merit. However, the creation argument also revived a logic that was abandoned for Darwin’s philosophy in the mid-19th century and is now called ‘design theory’; an approach that freely admits that all sciences reveal, to the unbiased researcher, the existence of a deliberate and meaningful creation. This conclusion demands an intelligent creator.
So consider this, there are only two possibilities, either life and the physical universe arose by natural processes, i.e., by evolution, or a super-natural agency designed our physical reality. There are no other options. The controversy between the two positions exists because there are two explanations that are applied to the facts. Evolution demands a material explanation for all things and this is a philosophical bias not a scientific necessity; the first of many indications that evolutionary commitments are religious in nature and subjective.
For example, evolution sees facts like the similarity between life forms as in the case of the great apes and the human body as organic beings having a common ancestor. This is an example of biological evolution evaluating the facts with a potential explanation of why similar forms exist and potentially explains how they came into existence. A second interpretation of these same facts would consider the biological relationship of ape and man not unreasonable, save for the vast number of differences between the life forms that are unbridgeable by any currently known natural phenomena. This leads to question whether chemicals like DNA and proteins, or statistical probability, chance and time and ultimately, evolutionary theory, could account for the differences or the similarities between such life forms. While evolutionist, knowing the odds are quite improbable, are willing to explain away the discrepancies by faith in unknown and untestable hypotheses, design advocates freely admit that intervention by something more creative than humans had a hand in, if not a deliberate act in making such creatures into unique, but fairly adaptable life forms. The facts lead to this conclusion making the design theory a viable alternative hypothesis.
Without going back in history to the many early philosophers of the pre-Christian era who first proposed the idea that living forms were a product of random association of non-living substances (wind, fire, water, earth), let’s start with Darwin whose theory is touted by the London Natural History Museum to have revolutionized biology and “changed the course of science and society.”[i] This claim is true but unfortunately the change has hindered progress in real science as well as manifested humanistic philosophies that distort human value, pervert world perspectives on ethics and misdirect political policy at all levels of government. Darwinism of any kind applied to human living has been an experiment resulting in social blunders of massive proportion. In future articles I hope to address these in particular.
For those who have actually read Darwin’s first edition of “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection” they would have read the preface from Darwin that clearly apologizes for the lack of any hard evidence for his treatise. Though in no uncertain terms he clearly proposes, through a synthesis of previously acknowledged observations of other naturalists, his grandfather Erasmus Darwin, Thomas Malthus, Alfred Wallace and others, with a few original observations of his own, that all things living may have had their beginnings from a common ancestry. Furthermore he proposed the variety of life forms might have its origin by the inheritance of variable characteristics. Some of these characteristics may have profited some individuals over others through the struggle to survive the current environmental conditions and this competition altered the general population of that specie. Darwin hypothesized that competition for food, space, mating as well as climate, geography, predation and other external factors would have selected for the individuals most fit within a population. Their survival being statistically more favorable meant a better and more frequent chance to reproduce and therefore pass on those favorable characters to their offspring. Death of the less fit exerts the pressure that then shapes the form and features of those beings having the greater advantage to survive at least to the point of successful reproduction.
Extending this hypothesis to thousands of generations would potentially result in a creature, plant or fungus uniquely fit (adapted) to specific conditions; functionally built into an ecosystem of life forms that intertwined and are codependent in the circle of life. In this way, living beings come to be so vastly different from their ancient parentage that they represent unique species. Thus, “On the Origin of the Species by means of Natural Selection” seems a feasible hypothesis by which all life came to be and in such diversity and so specialized that they hold only the appearance of being deliberately designed for their existence.
In the forward to his work, Darwin knew that his observations could just as well support the idea of special creation.
“For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this cannot possibly be here done.” (Darwin page 2)[ii].
His conclusion was a process of evolution and the direct opposite of that conclusion was special creation.
Darwin admitted the problems of discovering both how and where variation in living forms came from as well as lack of hard evidence for any specie changing over time. With the exception of the breeding of domesticated plants and animals he was at a loss as to argue, except by extrapolation, using facts to support evolution by natural means. He said,
“In considering the Origin of Species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist, reflecting on the mutual affinities of organic beings, on their embryological relations, their geographical distribution, geological succession, and other such facts, might come to the conclusion that each species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties, from other species. Nevertheless, such a conclusion, even if well founded, would be unsatisfactory, until it could be shown how the innumerable species inhabiting this world have been modified, so as to acquire that perfection of structure and coadaptation which most justly excites our admiration.” (Darwin page 3).
He went on to apply what he understood of domestication of varieties of living beings to the natural world and found, essentially, the Linnaean classification system a useful tool in describing natural life forms into types and subgroups; Family, Genus, Specie, as exemplifying a type of proof of generic (Genus) characteristics giving rise to specific (specie) characteristics adapted to unique environmental conditions. Carl Linnaeus (1710-1778) who developed the classification system, by the way, had no intention of using his system as a tool to demonstrate evolution.
The rest of Darwin’s book is mostly insightful descriptions of the interplay of animal species in its environment, discussions of how frequent a new variation might arise, how minute and undetectable nuances in these variations might be important to overall survival of an individual, some fossil finds and the supposition that the rock layers may reveal intermediate species. One example of a possible scenario to evolution is a story of seeing a bear swimming in a lake and opening his mouth to eat the insects on the surface of the water. He reflected on how the generations of bears to come might specialize in this feeding habit and through time, develop a larger mouth, specialized means of swimming and essentially turning into a freshwater whale, though he does not call it such.