THE WORLD TODAY SERIES #6

EVOLUTION PART ONE

Evolution is not a fact

The theory of evolution is precisely that: a theory. It is not a natural law like gravity, but merely a proposition, because it is unproven and unverified in accordance with the standard that science itself has erected for differentiating a law from a mere theory.

A belief in evolution requires more faith in the secular paradigm than in God and Scripture. The enormous complexities and interdependencies of life recently uncovered by science are so contradictory to the causal explanations of evolution that those who embrace evolution must do so on faith alone, ignoring their own intellects and common sense. Moreover, they have suspended normal standards of proof, which for evolution are nonexistent, and have disregarded the numerous outright frauds associated with the futile search for the proof of evolution. Such individuals must place more stock in current ‘science’ than in God, believing without reservation that if eminent people say something must be true, that it must be true. Regarding this issue of secular faith, philosopher/mathematician William Dembski says it well in reminding his readers that the Intelligent Design approach to the origin of life is not only more compatible by far with Scriptural theology, but is of itself a more up-to-date and intellectually satisfying alternative to evolution, being more acceptable than evolution according to the standards that science itself has established for the evaluation of a theory. He claims that Darwinism is on its own terms a failed scientific research program.

It is a fact that evolution as proposed by Charles Darwin, with its baggage of modifications up to the present time, does indeed work under some very limiting constraints. It has been demonstrated recently to work at the micro-evolutionary level by Dr. Michael Behe, the science professor who wrote the controversial book The Edge of Evolution, in which he described his detailed study of the interactive evolution of both malaria and the human body’s response to it. He chose the malaria parasite as a research subject because of the very short lifetime of the parasite and the ancient history of its infection of humans, furnishing a substantial framework for the evaluation of evolutionary principles. In that work he demonstrated that micro-evolutionary changes occur at the cost of information loss. He further demonstrated the complete failure of Darwin’s theory and its more modern expressions to account for changes beyond one or at most two tiny steps. Dr. Behe’s work is not a singular effort, but is supported by the works of a growing number of professionals in the fields of molecular biology, mathematics, and philosophy.

Informational literature in some quasi-official publications, including National Geographic Magazine, school textbooks, governmental placards located in National Parks and other popular tourist attractions, do indeed present evolution as fact in denial of the embarrassing reality that every so-called ‘proof’ of evolution to date, including the numerous ‘missing links’, has subsequently been exposed as either an intentional fraud or a misapplication of scientific tools or knowledge.

Interestingly, the principle of uniformity, out of which enormous geologic time frames have been proposed in support of a chance-based development of life on earth, represents such a necessity to the viability of Darwin’s theory of evolution that uniformity and evolution may be considered to be two halves of a common philosophy.

The reason why uniformity is so key to the viability of evolution is that evolution is an intrinsically weak process. Given the readily-acknowledged extreme unlikelihood of even one ultimately beneficial mutation, the process demands for viability truly enormous quantities of time. This necessity, in turn, demands a uniformitarian view of the processes that have shaped the world we live in.

However, there is no logical justification whatever for the claim that uniformitarian processes governed the earth’s history. The ‘standard geologic column’ as developed out of uniformitarian presuppositions, does in fact exist in its entirety nowhere on earth. The fossil basis for its construction shows circular reasoning, generating absolutely nothing but false information.

The theory of uniformity, as a matter of fact, has already been overtaken by the acceptance within the scientific community of facts that contradict it. These facts include the well-known discovery by the Alvarez team of the extinction of the dinosaurs by an asteroid impact event. Recently, science itself has been backtracking away from the evolutionary notion.

The intellectual retreat from evolution has been slow and quite reluctant, to be sure. Many scientists who privately reject the theory continue to espouse it publicly for the simple reason that they fear for their careers if they don’t go with the flow. Eminent professors, despite the safety net of tenure, have lost their positions by politically being on the wrong side of this issue, as have competent scientists.

Evolution lacks the ability to anticipate

The theory of evolution, in its vehement rejection of design of any sort, demands change unguided by thought, either human or otherwise. It relies on chance as the prime mover: the random process of tiny mutationally-driven changes. Although the tiny and all-but insignificant microevolutionay process is indeed workable, evolutionist insist upon applying this same weak process to macroevolutionary changes, where such tiny modifications collectively sum to large-scale functional variations in living creatures, and even to the production of living creatures from nonliving matter. But in attempting to perform this extrapolation, they make the fatal error of refusing to consider the problem of anticipation.

Naturalistic processes are, by intrinsic definition, non-intelligent. A fundamental feature of non-intelligent processes is that they are unable to anticipate. They can’t form a priori an objective or goal for a system. If a system function or feature doesn’t yet exist, a non-intelligent process cannot envision it, for to do so demands intelligence.

Microbiological processes like protein production involve complex, highly-interactive molecular machines. Yet the machines themselves are complex proteins. This relationship between proteins and the machines necessary for their production goes beyond the mere suggestion that planning was involved in the development of these systems: it demands planning and foresight, basic attributes of anticipation.

Dr. Michael Behe, in his earlier work Darwin’s Black Box, captured the essence of this need to anticipate that is so prevalent in living systems through ‘irreducible complexity’, a term he coined to encapsulate a very important principle. A system that requires several parts all present, correctly configured for interaction, and working together to produce a specific well-defined function, to paraphrase Dr. Behe, is ‘irreducibly complex’. If any of its necessary components is absent or improperly configured to make its contribution to the function, the function itself cannot be performed; all of the parts must be present and working together for the system to work at all. An irreducibly complex system, to continue to paraphrase Dr. Behe, requires so many mutually-supportive subsystems that the very existence of the top-level system without the input of anticipation is out of the question; yet the existence of such systems is so ubiquitous in living entities that such input must be acknowledged as having been present.

Dr. Behe’s development of the notion of irreducible complexity is now several years old. A few years back, one of the more liberal bookstores (no longer in existence) carried more than one book that claimed, in a pro-evolution stance, to rebut Dr. Behe’s notion. They did so by noting that in one of Dr. Behe’s irreducibly complex systems, the flagellum that serves as the motive device of a bacterium utilizes a microbiological component that is virtually identical to the corresponding component of a completely different functional entity. “Foul!” the books cried at the perceived offense. The similarity of these components, to paraphrase the books, meant that they weren’t unique to one specific function.

All but the most superficial of thought processes can see through the flaw in this line of reasoning. Dr. Behe never claimed uniqueness for the components of his irreducibly complex systems. That simply wasn’t the thrust of his argument, which was to claim that all the components had to be present and working together for the system itself to work. Whether or not a component was borrowed from another system is irrelevant and misses the point; it’s a shabby, logically sloppy red-herring argument that serves simply to throw the reader off-track from the real issue.

At the top end of the functions of life, each of the functional modifications that would be required for large-scale evolution, such as the transformation of a land animal into a creature capable of flight, involves very large numbers of changes that have to be coordinated in the proper sequence. This requirement for a large number of sequentially-supportive steps, all mutually compatible over a variety of different subordinate functions to the end of achieving flight, virtually demands the quality of anticipation or goal-setting, a feature of which evolution is incapable virtually by definition. In addition, during the time frame over which these changes are supposedly accomplished, there would be of necessity several periods in which the unfortunate beast would be struggling with intermediate forms, such as arms that are developing into wings. In this transitional stage, the creature must continue to survive within its environment and to eat, mate and nurture offspring. It must do so while suffering the disadvantage of limb that functions less well as an arm than it used to, and is not yet functional as a wing. At this stage, it is suited far more as a food source for some other less-advanced animal.

At the other extreme, some supporters of evolution who have come to understand such implications of large functional changes have proposed that such changes must have occurred quite suddenly. The ‘punctuated equilibrium’ offshoot of Darwinian evolution, first proposed by evolutionist Stephen J. Gould attempts to avoid the consequences of prolonged transition periods. The problem with this notion’s supporters is that in the process of forming their opinions, they also have avoided doing the math: the odds against all these coordinated modifications occurring all at once are so astronomically huge and the numbers against even one instance of such an event having taken place are so vast that they outweigh by an enormous margin all the time available even by the most far-fetched uniformitarian assumptions of the age of the universe.

Dr. William Dembski did the math that evolutionists refrain from performing. In his book Intelligent Design, he picked a real-life example of a well-investigated biological subsystem, the bacterial flagellum that Dr. Behe had made famous, and calculated the probability of its various components having been assembled together by chance to implement the function of motation. The numbers are greater by a huge ratio than what outspoken evolutionist Richard Dawkins’ admitted was an upper limit for the operation of chance. As quoted by Dembski, Dawkins had written:

“We can accept a certain amount of luck in our explanations, but not too much. . .In our theory of how we came to exist, we are allowed to postulate a certain ration of luck. This ration has, as its upper limit, the number of eligible planets in the universe. . .We [therefore] have at our disposal, if we want to use it, odds of 1 in 100 billion billion as an upper limit (or 1 in however many planets we think there are) to spend in our theory of the origin of life. This is the maximum amount of luck we are allowed to postulate in our theory. Suppose we want to suggest, for instance, that life began when both DNA and its protein-based replication machinery spontaneously chanced to come into existence. We can allow ourselves the luxury of such an extravagant theory, provided that the odds against this coincidence occurring on a planet do not exceed 100 billion billion to one.”

The number 100 billion billion amounts to 1020. Dembski imposes a far more generous upper limit for chance, 10150, which, as he notes, represents the number of particles (not planets) in the observable universe. Yet, he claims that the mere flagellum, a relatively simple subsystem within the scheme of life, is far more complex than that value represents.

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