What About Creation and Evolution?
What About Creation and Evolution? is an article written by A.L. Barry, in his former capacity as president of the Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod (an officially creationist Confessional Lutheran denomination in the United States) in support of creationism.
Like most Lutheran groups, the LCMS holds to the doctrine of the two kingdoms, which has it that, inter alia, churchmen are generally supposed to stay out of politics. Hence, this article is nearly free of the political claptrap generally associated with creationist polemic. Confessional Lutherans are almost the exact opposite of charismatic whackjobs, so it also contains very few attempts to use the Bible to shore up the point.
In summary, this is probably the most honest and secular pro-creationist statement in existence. In this side-by-side, we show why it is, notwithstanding, highly erroneous.
|Evolution: fact or theory? Many people assume it is simply a fact.||Which it is. It's also a scientific theory--science uses these terms differently than most people do day to day. A scientific fact is something which has been observed, which evolution has on various levels (such as the Lenski experiment). A scientific theory isn't an assumption or a hazy idea, but a solid explanation for a phenomenon which is backed up by multiple lines of evidence. Since we're comparing the two ideas in this piece, it's worth noting that creationism is not backed up by multiple lines of evidence.|
|Christians who by faith accept the truth of God's Word about Creation, as it is recorded for us in Genesis and elsewhere in the Scriptures, sometimes wonder how they can help others consider the possibility that there is a Creator.||Note the false dilemma here: that either Genesis is a literal account, or life originated exactly how Richard Dawkins says it did. No room here for theistic evolution—sorry, mainstream Christians.|
|The purpose of this pamphlet is to provide a starting point from which to evaluate the claims made by advocates of Evolution.|
What is the point of Evolution?
|In 1859, Charles Darwin, in his book, On The Origin of Species, proposed a theory that the various species of animals resulted from a process of "natural selection," with the "favored races" being preserved in the "struggle for life." Is this merely a scientific theory, or is there more?||When someone starts Just asking questions like this, you can tell there is a bullshit storm ahead. And, speak of the devil...|
|This is so not even wrong you just know it had to come from CMI. Firstly, Darwin specifically wrote in a letter of his "inward conviction" that "the Universe is not the result of chance." Secondly, of course Darwin's primary inspiration for evolution theory came from observation of nature; at the time he set off on the Beagle, he was very much a subscriber to the arguments of William Paley, of "watchmaker analogy" fame.|
What challenge to Darwin is found in the details of life?
|Evolutionary theory proposes that life forms start out at a very simple level and then, by natural selection, eventually become more and more complex as changes occur.||Not precisely accurate; mutations can also make life forms less complex, but this is an accurate enough description to explain the basic idea.|
|However, biochemical and molecular biological research continues to gather convincing evidence that the living cell is totally useless unless, and until, it reaches its final form, and then, having reached that form, any change at all actually destroys, not enhances, its function.||A couple of inaccuracies here. Firstly, there is no such thing as a "final form"; cell populations are constantly evolving, which is how evolution works. Secondly, the work of Richard Lenski and others indicates that "beneficial" changes are possible.|
|Darwin's greatest challenge comes from the question of how the individual cell developed. Scientists studying this issue have described the living cell as "irreducibly complex." More and more scientists are reaching the conclusion that living organisms, even the most "simple," show clear evidence of a creator because of their incredible complexity at even the most fundamental levels.||Which scientists may have said that the article doesn't say, but few biologists would agree with that statement, and their numbers certainly aren't growing, since the evidence shows otherwise. See our article on irreducible complexity.|
|The scientific literature is strangely silent when it comes to the question of how these molecular structures, the basis of life, developed. How could all this have evolved?||Of course, the "scientific literature" is far from silent on this topic. For example, a recent paper in BioEssays challenges the current theory of "primordial soup" abiogenesis in favor of another one involving hydrothermal vents.|
Has science accepted Intelligent Design?
|Proponents of Intelligent Design have made great headway in recent years.||Yes, they have made headway among the lay public, who aren't too keen on science to begin with, but they haven't made any progress with the scientific community, largely because they haven't been doing any actual science to try to earn their place there. Getting actual scientists to notice them would be "great headway" for cdesign proponentsists, especially now that they have been laughed out of court.|
|Their findings have added muscle to the long-held Creationist arguments on the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which, simply put, says that the way of all things, both living and non-living, is to go from a state of order to various states of increasing disorder, not the other way around.||Creationists have always had a vast misunderstanding of entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. While it is true that entropy can not decrease without external energy, there is an external source of energy.
Want to find it? Easy! Just go outside on a sunny day and look towards the sky (we don't recommend you look too closely, though).
In other words, creationist arguments about the Second Law have never had any muscle, since they're based on a false idea of what the Second Law actually says.
|Other arguments being put forward are based on dubious dating-methods used by evolutionists, and on the fossil record--the latter still showing no conclusive transitional stages in types or kinds (one would think every fossil would show a transitional stage).||Ah, the depths of wishful thinking. Fact is, carbon dating and radiometric dating are tried and true methods that correlate quite well with known historical data and have formed the basis of many accurate scientific predictions. The fossil record is packed with transitional forms. It's just that transitional fossils look more like a gradual progression from, say, fish to reptile over thousands of generations rather than the "crocoduck" type chimeras the creationists talk about as "transitional fossils".|
|Together, these evidences, along with many others, form a convincing case for the idea of Creation and Intelligent Design.||This is an argument from ignorance and a false dilemma. Lack of support for evolution does not imply creationism.|
What stands in the way of Intelligent Design?
|Evolutionists appear unwilling to address the findings of biochemistry and other related fields.||A rather stupid thing to say, given the number of notable creationist biochemists.|
|They are quick to say they are defending science, yet when confronted by an Intelligent Design paradigm that explains the data better than their own (such as on the human eye, a bird's wing or the processes of blood-clotting), they offer no scientific defense at all.||Uh, right; certainly a Goddidit paradigm originating in a prophet's large intestine, involving the violation of most theories concerning the laws of physics and chemistry by positing that matter behaved in ways it has never been observed to behave, "explains the data better" than a uniformitarian paradigm working within said theories, which have been established based on voluminous amounts of data and fit it like a glove.|
|Instead, they lash out, ridiculing the Intelligent Design paradigm as nothing more than "religious."||If cdesign proponentsists wish their paradigm to be anything more than "religious," they ought to stop insisting that a supernatural Intelligent Designer is an integral and necessary part of said paradigm. A lack of such an Intelligent Designer is not an integral and necessary part of evolution theory, after all.|
What is happening in the scientific community?
|Those who prefer the Creation and Intelligent Design explanation for life cannot be conveniently stereotyped as backward, ignorant, flat-earth fanatics.||When most vocal proponents of them are wingnut fundamentalists who also subscribe to New World Order conspiracy theories, or have been called out for patent dishonesty and even criminality, or the rest behave in a manner suggesting that they are not firing on all their cylinders, it is difficult to draw any other conclusion.|
|To the contrary, believers in special Creation and Intelligent Design are discerning, rational people--tens of millions of them--who, upon weighing the evidence, have dismissed evolutionary theory as untenable.||Said tens of millions of people would not know the evidence if it bit them in the tush, owing to a lack of expertise in the relevant fields.|
|And these millions are being joined by growing numbers of biologists, geologists, paleontologists, physicists, medical doctors, mathematicians and other professionals in the pure and applied sciences.||A mathematician's opinion on biological or geological matters is of no more value than his medical opinion. Also notice the lack of statistics to back this up.|
|A molecular biologist explains that evolutionary theory has an influence "far removed from biology" and is one of the "most spectacular examples in history of how a highly speculative idea for which there is no really hard scientific evidence can come to fashion the thinking of a whole society and dominate the outlook of an age" (Denton, p. 358).||More denial of the copious amounts of hard evidence, in particular the evidence that ensured evolution theory's acceptance in an era when creationism was the rule.|
|As one biochemist puts it, "To a person who does not feel obligated to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the law of nature, not by chance and necessity; rather, they were planned. Their designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed, then took steps to bring the systems about. Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity" (Behe, p. 193).||Right, fellows; on the one hand, cite the Catholic Michael Behe as a reliable source; on the other, call the Pope the Antichrist.|
Is there room for Intelligent Design?
|As much compelling evidence as there is for a young earth and a worldwide hydraulic cataclysm (the Noahic Flood, which explains much about our planet's geology and paleontology), Intelligent Design, on its own merits, can be argued effectively without a single reference to the Scriptures.||On the contrary, there is NO evidence for a young Earth or a worldwide flood. The author is right, though, that Intelligent Design can be argued effectively without reference to the Scriptures. However, it cannot be argued within the scientific framework (unless they can provide some solid evidence for it, which they haven't so far), and those who argue for it tend to quote the Bible when they think no one is looking, thus revealing the actual basis for their take on the theory.|
|This natural knowledge of a Creator is not the same as advancing a set of specific theological and doctrinal beliefs about that Creator. If evolutionists persist in saying that creation cannot be divorced from religion, then they themselves must be prepared to admit that their orthodoxy--that life in all its beauty, organization and complexity arose from random mutations and other Darwinian speculations--is just as dogmatic, just as much a religion, really, as what they scorn.||There is no "orthodoxy" among evolution supporters; the scientific community endlessly examines the theory and debates its finer points and sometimes reforms it drastically. Not even all evolution supporters agree that "random" mutations were the building blocks; theistic evolutionists have it that the mutations in question were not random at all, but had their outcomes predetermined by God. Not to mention that saying "evolutionism is a religion" completely ignores the fact that while evolution theory can be stated without any reference to the supernatural at all—even to deny it—the supernatural is integral to creationism.|
|If Creation is theistic, calling for an intelligent, purposeful Author of Life, then naturalistic Evolution is atheistic, denying the existence of that Author and any supernatural acts wrought by His hand.||A colossal non sequitur. Creationism is necessarily theistic, but evolution is compatible with both theistic and atheistic worldviews. It only contradicts a literal interpretation of Genesis (or of the creation stories of Hinduism, the Native American religions, etc.).|
|For generations, Evolution, with all its weaknesses and unexplained gaps, has reigned unchallenged in American public life in our zoos, science centers, museums and mass media, and yes, perhaps most clearly in our schools. The theory of Evolution is simply handed down as fact. Only now, finally, is Evolution being contested on its own terms: objective science. On the blackboards of America's public-school science classrooms, and in the pages and on the screens of the media, the time has come for the words "Evolution," "naturalism" and "neo-Darwinism" to make room for "Intelligent Design." Anything less, based on the evidence, would be intellectually dishonest.||Although it would be excellent for more creationists to accept this idea, that creationism must stand or fall on its own merits rather than on the mere fact of its existence, and that evolution theory may only properly be falsified by "objective science," it is plain that on these grounds, evolution is the winner: one can only suppose there to be "weaknesses and unexplained gaps" in the theory if one misrepresents certain points as "weaknesses" and ignores the explanations for the gaps.|
Can we "baptize" evolutionary theory?
|It would be a mistake on our part to think that simply by presenting the evidence for Intelligent Design, a person will become a Christian. Believing that God is our loving heavenly Father who created the heavens and the earth is an article of faith. Believing that there is an intelligent designer is a far cry from believing that we are sinful human beings in need of a Savior and then trusting in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is our Savior from sin, death and the power of Satan.||So much for protestations that Intelligent Design isn't really about religion. Still, these are words of truth rarely admitted by creationists, evangelists, etc., etc.|
|Such a living hope is a gift of God, given by the Holy Spirit. It is not a matter of scientific study or analysis. Faith is as miraculous an event in our life as is God's work of Creation in the world. In fact, it is no accident that those who are in Christ are called "new creations" (2 Cor. 5:17).||Now if certain other creationists could just be convinced of this...|
|The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod believes, teaches and confesses that Adam and Eve were real historic individuals and that the Genesis account of Creation is true and factual, not merely a "myth" or a "story" made up to explain the origin of all things. We would also be making a very serious error simply to accept the theories of science without question. Many aspects of evolutionary theory are directly contradictory to God's Word.||No intellectually honest scientist accepts any scientific theory without question. If by "God's Word" here is meant a literal reading of the Genesis account, that is quite correct; if on the other hand the moral principles of the Bible are being referred to, the theory of evolution is completely silent on that point, as science is ultimately silent on all moral questions and other value judgments.|
|Evolution cannot be "baptized" to make it compatible with the Christian faith. Those who attempt inevitably wind up watering down the teachings of the Bible.||The Catholic Church accepted evolution as compatible with Christianity without watering anything down. Lutherans and other mainstream Christians accept evolution as entirely compatible with their Christian faith. On the other hand we see creationists who have watered Christianity down a great deal.|
|Christians have no need to fear the findings of science, nor do they have any reason to give "science" more credence than they give the Word of God.||Christians who show some common sense, such as St. Augustine, have realized that if the Bible is held to be infallible, and if sound reason and observation appear to contradict it, it is only one particular interpretation of the Bible that is being contradicted. Case in point: Much of the impetus behind young earth creationism comes from a particular theological position called dispensationalism, which includes an allegorical (not literal!) interpretation of the Bible holding that the entire period when the universe exists will be a symbolic week, with the (pre)millennial kingdom of Jesus representing the Sabbath of this week. For this to line up, the world has to be precisely six thousand years old, thus enabling the dispensationalists to prophesy that Jesus is making his Second Coming tomorrow and bouncing the True Believers up into heaven, so people had better line up with their particular interpretation of the Bible.|
|As scientists continue to study and explore the wonders of God's creation we join the ancient Psalmist in saying, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well" (Psalm 139:14).||Again with the non sequiturs. What does this have to do with evolution?|
For Further Study:
- Michael Behe, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (New York: The Free Press, 1996).
- William Dembski, Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology (Downer's Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999).
- Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Chevy Chase, Md.: Adler & Adler, 1985).
- Carl Wieland, "Darwin's Real Message, Have You Missed It?" Creation Ex Nihilo (14(4):16-19, Sept.-Nov. 1992).