South Dakota Politics blog continues the ongoing blogosphere
discussion of the merits of evolution theory by referring to a
Jerry Coyne of Michael Behe's new book, The Edge of Evolution.
Politics is one of my favorite blogs, but I have to disagree with
Blanchard. He says,
I note only how much ground Behe
is willing to concede to evolutionary theory. From Coyne:
For a start, let us be clear
about what Behe now accepts about evolutionary theory. He has no
problem with a 4.5-billion-year-old Earth, nor with evolutionary
change over time, nor apparently with its ample documentation
through the fossil record -- the geographical distribution of
organisms, the existence of vestigial traits testifying to ancient
ancestry, and the finding of fossil "missing links" that show common
ancestry among major groups of organisms. Behe admits that most
evolution is caused by natural selection, and that all species share
common ancestors. He even accepts the one fact that most other IDers
would rather die than admit: that humans shared a common ancestor
with chimpanzees and other apes.
This is how much ground you
have to concede if you wish to maintain some scientifically
legitimate ground from which to challenge evolutionary theory.
If you allow
your definition of "scientifically legitimate ground" to be defined
by evolutionists, then that might be true. But evolutionists don't
define what is scientifically legitimate and what is not, only what
they consider "scientifically legitimate."
By this same
kind of logic, the Christian must concede that there is no god but
Allah, and that Mohammed is his prophet in order to challenge the
truth of Islam. Now stop and think for a moment: does that make
By this logic,
the capitalist must concede that the rich always oppress the poor
and all wealth must be distributed equally in order for a capitalist
to challenge the truth of Marxism. Again, does this make sense?
does a creationist (or someone who believes merely in Intelligent
Design) have to concede that all evidence points to evolution in
order to challenge the truth of evolution.
merely interpret scientific evidence. They have biases and
presuppositions just like anyone else. Only their biases and
presuppositions have come to be accepted as "fact" in a world
defined by media voices that agree with those presuppositions. And
sadly, too few Christians and believers in creation understand this
or have the courage to swim against the current long enough to
challenge these biases.
For an example
of how evolutionist assumptions are touted as "fact," examine this
excerpt of Coyne's review at the New Republic:
Evolution has been tested, and
confirmed, many times over. Every time we find an early human fossil
dating back several million years, it confirms evolution. Every time
a new transitional fossil is found, such as the recently discovered
"missing links" between land animals and whales, it confirms
evolution. Each time a bacterial strain becomes resistant to an
antibiotic, it confirms evolution.
human fossil "dating back several million years" doesn't confirm
evolution; evolutionists only assume it is several million years
dating techniques that have repeatedly returned verifiably
false results--which they posit to fit their presupposition that
evolution is true.
"transitional fossil" doesn't confirm evolution because they only
assume it is "transitional," rejecting any assumption that maybe
it's only a similar organism (just as the existence of Wordpad in MS
Windows operating systems isn't a "transitional program" that proves
Microsoft Word evolved from Notepad).
bacterial strain becoming resistant to an antibiotic isn't proof of
evolution, just adaptation (God made biological organisms to be
adaptable to changes in environment). No new genetic
information is created. This is no more proof of
evolution than if I learned to swim, or to endure cold weather, or
to fight off hostile invaders. Each of these examples are built upon
assumptions, not facts.
From my years
in law enforcement, I've had the opportunity to investigate a
multitude of crimes, some with witnesses and others with no
witnesses at all. But even if you don't have police experience,
consider for a moment what you've probably picked up from CSI
and Law and Order.
crime scene where you have a crime but no witnesses. No one was
around when the crime was committed to tell you what happened. So
how does the investigator attempt to find out what happened? He
examines the evidence and begins to build a theory.
What if a dead
body was found at the dining room table in the victim's apartment,
with partially eaten food in front of them. The investigator might
theorize that the person was poisoned. But what if that person had a
heart attack while eating supper? You wouldn't know it until an
autopsy revealed the heart damage. And even then, the cause of the
heart damage might not be conclusive.
Let's say a
dead body is found on a park bench. If there are obvious injuries,
the investigator might develop the theory that the victim was
murdered. But what if the victim was climbing a tree, fell out and
was fatally injured, but managed to crawl onto the bench and sit
down before succumbing to internal bleeding?
If there were
no obvious clues from the crime scene or from forensic examination,
the investigator could still ask questions of friends and family.
They would provide some insight into what was going on in the
victim's life, what he might have been doing at the crime scene, and
provide information about potential suspects.
But what if
there were no friends, relatives, associates or co-workers to talk
to? What if this person had just arrived from China and rode a bus
into town...and you had no clues to even tell you this much? There
would be no one at all to provide insight into the victim or what
happened. I can't think of a single crime I investigated where I
didn't talk to people who knew or had seen those involved--even when the victim was alive and could
talk to me. Without witnesses, I could develop a theory--maybe
several theories--based on the evidence available, but I would have
no way of knowing with certainty whether I was right. I could only
make a good guess...and hope.
that not only do you not have any witnesses, not only do you not
have any associates to interview, not only do you not have any
tissue samples, you only have fossilized bones (i.e. bones that have
essentially turned to minerals) that were buried at an indeterminate
time in the past. What evidence do you have to go on? Imagine a
crime scene several thousand (or several million?) years
old--consider for a moment the potential for contamination of the
evidence and how incredibly far off that could throw you. Do you
have more evidence than you have theory? Or is it the other way
around? How much would such a situation be subject to
You dig up a
human bone and there are scratches and gouges in it which you
surmise to be from the teeth of some carnivorous animal. You develop
a theory that this human was killed long ago by a wild animal.
Another person looks at the bone and theorizes the human died of
natural causes and the teeth marks were produced by a wild animal
who ate the flesh of the dead body. How dogmatic can you really be
about your theory, as opposed to the other person's theory? Can you
logically and reasonably demand that the other person must first
concede that an animal killed the human before they can argue that
the human died of natural causes? Again, stop and think about that
for a moment and let it sink in. Is there any logic at all in that
over creation and evolution is a debate built upon assumptions and
presuppositions--on both sides. One of the most striking differences
between the two sides--other than their conclusions--is that
creationists will usually admit their presuppositions, while
evolutionists doggedly deny any presuppositions...just like the
emperor when he sported his new clothes. In reality, the violation
of scientific principles necessary for evolution to be possible
means evolutionists have to exercise at least as much faith as
creationists in order to believe their own theories.
objective course to take when you lack witnesses (no one was around
thousands--or millions--of years ago for us to ask, and there is no
documentary evidence of what happened thousands--or millions--of
years ago) is to examine what evidence is available and develop
theories based on what could and what could not have
I believe the
multitude of problems with evolution theory (the problem of
irreducible complexity; the fact that materialistic theories for the
Big Bang, star formation, life from lifelessness and so on violate
the laws of physics and other natural laws; and so on) point most
strongly to the idea that an intelligent designer had to be involved
in the creation of the universe. Sir Fred Hoyle, an atheist, was
eventually forced to conclude that the odds of the universe coming
to be as we see it were too astronomically high to have happened
without an intelligent designer.
traditional position of evolutionists that everything must have a
naturalistic cause (i.e. that no supernatural force such as God
could possibly be involved with the origins of the universe) is not
only closed-minded in the extreme, it is a presupposition of the
presuppose that someone or something does not exist merely because
you haven't seen it, but your lack of experiential data is not proof
of nonexistence. In the 16th Century, scientists thought only seven
planets existed; their disbelief did nothing to negate the reality
of the existence of the other two planets.
presuppose there is no God (or no intelligent designer), then any
theory which required the existence of an intelligent designer would
appear unsupportable. But if you presuppose the existence of an
intelligent designer (or even allow for the possibility of the
existence of an intelligent designer), then theories involving
creation science then become very supportable. The mechanics of the
evidence fit any definition of science, regardless of their natural
or supernatural origin.
In fact, if
you objectively examine the clues available to us all, you might
just find that the bulk of the evidence is hard to explain without
an intelligent designer.
presupposes objectivity in the first place.