BUT WHAT ABOUT EVOLUTION?
by Bob Wheeler
So far we have argued that the appearance of design in nature points back to an intelligent Designer. But many scientists will retort that the appearance of design is just that – only an appearance. They go on to argue that plant and animal life, at least, came about through a blind, impersonal natural process. The Theory of Evolution, it would seem, has destroyed the argument from design.
But has it really? Can science really prove that humans evolved from apes? The answer is, no.
Science, true science, is based on observation and experiment. Observations are made, a hypothesis is formulated. Experiments are then conducted under controlled conditions to see if the hypothesis is true.
But evolution, at least not macroevolution, has ever been observed. No one has ever observed a higher form of life evolving from an lower form of life, and it has never been reduplicated in a laboratory. Evolution is a scientific “fact” that has never actually been observed.
Part of the difficulty here, of course, is that evolution is alleged to have been a slow, gradual process that has taken place over hundreds of millions of years. But there were obviously no human observers around hundreds of millions of years ago. How, then, do we know that evolution actually took place? We do not. The theory is largely based on circumstantial evidence – the fossil record, vestigial organs, etc.
But based on what we can actually observe in nature now, evolution does not take place. All living things occur in identifiable species. The species reproduce according to clearly defined laws of heredity. The heredity is determined by DNA in genes and chromosomes. Granted, mutations and genetic drift do appear, but the mutations almost always result in physical anomalies which are eliminated by the process of natural selection, which does occur. Genetically it is virtually impossible for a lower form of life to evolve into a higher one, since that would involve simultaneous beneficial mutations in complex organ systems, and the creation of all new genetic material. It is hard to see how this could happen even in a few isolated cases, let alone account for the appearance of all of the millions of different species in existence.
Moreover the fossil record itself does not really support the idea that all of life has evolved through a slow, gradual process from a single primordial molecule. What we find instead is that almost all of the animal phyla appeared almost simultaneously during the Cambrian period. There were several major extinction events and huge gaps in the fossil record.
How, then, can scientists be so adamant that evolution is a scientific fact? The answer is that they are interpreting the evidence on the basis of an a priori philosophical assumption. Prof. Jerry Coyne, in his book Why Evolution Is True, put it this way: “The message of evolution, and all of science, is one of naturalistic materialism” (p. 224). Naturalism, he tells us, is “is the view that the only way to understand our universe is through the scientific method.” And materialism, he says, is “the idea that the only reality is the physical matter of the universe, and that everything else, including thoughts, will, and emotions, comes from physical laws acting on that matter” (ibid.). In other words, according to him science is implicitly atheistic. And based on the assumption of naturalistic materialism evolution would be virtually the only possible explanation of the origin of the species. But whether or not physical matter is the only reality and the scientific method is the way of studying that matter is the whole question under discussion. What Dr. Coyne is doing, in effect, is presenting us with a circular argument: he is assuming his conclusion in his premise. While naturalistic materialism may seem scientifically possible, is raises serious philosophical questions. Can all of reality and human life really be explained in terms of atoms and molecules?
The bottom line is that Darwinists did not use the scientific method to prove that evolution is even possible, let alone that it actually happened. It is “science” only in the broad philosophical sense of naturalistic materialism, and it can be argued that naturalistic materialism gives us an inadequate explanation of reality.
Prof. Coyne tells us in his book that
“For the process of evolution – natural selection, the mechanism
that drove the first naked, replicating molecule into the diversity
of millions of fossil and living forms – is a mechanism of
staggering simplicity and beauty. And only those who understand
it can experience the awe that comes from realizing how such a
straightforward process could yield features so diverse as the flower
of the orchid, the wing of a bat, and the tail of a peacock.” (p. xvi)
What this statement amounts to is that Prof. Coyne is confronted with nothing less than the evidence of design, and yet he refuses to acknowledge the Designer. A blind, purposeless natural process cannot produce such a vast array of forms of life. What we are dealing with here in the Theory of Evolution are not the hard facts of natural science, but mankind’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge God as the Creator.