The Evidence for Science and for the Christian Faith.
Scientific evidence indicates that:
- There was a force, currently unknown to science, that was in effect during the creation of the physical universe.
- Life has always existed.
- The evolution of life is not the result of genetic mutations.
Circumstantial evidence indicates that:
- Organisms either descended from a common ancestor or were created according to a common plan.
- Climate change and species extinctions are both necessary in order for biological evolution to occur.
- The God of the Bible is the force responsible for the creation of the physical universe and the creation of life on Earth.
IntroductionThe preceding statements go against the current teachings of modern science. They contradict what is taught in almost every public school and university. And yet they are supported by the evidence. In this paper I will examine the evidence for the origin of both the physical universe and living things. When the evidence is properly examined it will be clear that these statements are both reasonable and logical.
I realize that there are many other well-written sources for the information that is found here. Many have been authored by people more educated than myself. However, I personally find that some of these sources present extremely technical information that only a person well-versed in a particular field could understand. Others present the information with a personal bias where it is often difficult to tell fact from personal opinion. There is nothing wrong with open debate. But any debate should have its basis in factual evidence. This paper is written toward that end.
I will do my best to clearly demarcate what is fact and what is my personal opinion. Each topic may have one or two sections. Each section will be clearly marked as "Fact" or "Observation". In the sections that entitled "Fact" I will do my best to present the accepted fact(s) of that particular topic. The sections that are entitled "Observation" will be my personal viewpoint concerning that topic. I do it in this way so that there will be no confusion as to what is my opinion and what is not.
There is no particular order as to what is written. I do however make an attempt to present the information in a logical sequence. To access different topics it may be easiest to refer to the Table of Contents. There are links to the Table of Contents at the end of each section. As in any discussion it is important to define terms. It is often difficult for people to discuss science and religion at any time without ending up in an argument. This is especially true when using different terminology. As needed I will define the terms used in this paper to hopefully reduce unnecessary, and unprofitable, arguments.
Both science and Christianity claim to know how this universe came into existence. Modern science states that this universe, and life itself, is nothing more than a series of fortunate accidents. Christianity states that the God of the Bible purposefully created this universe of ours. There are some who will claim than science and Christianity are compatible. It will be made clear that these are two opposing, and incompatible, viewpoints regarding origins. As we consider the claims of these two opposing viewpoints it is important to determine just who is telling the truth. But what is truth?Table of Contents
FactWebsters on-line dictionary defines truth as: "the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality". But in actual reality the word "truth" can be very difficult to define. And yet it is vitally important to know whether something is true or not. I have found that in order to determine what makes something true it often helps to start out with what does not make something true. Knowing what does not make something true can often help to determine the actual truth of a claim or statement.
Truth does not depend on intelligence or understanding.
A person may not understand the cause of gravity. The fact that gravity exists is still true.
Truth does not depend on belief.
A child may believe in the tooth fairy. That belief however, no matter how strong or sincere, does not make the tooth fairy real.
Truth does not depend on opinion.
Some people used to think that the world was flat. It turns out that they were wrong.
Truth does not depend on repetition.
"If you tell a lie often enough, loud enough and long enough people will believe it." This statement is often attributed to Joesph Goebbels of Nazi Germany. But falsehood can never become truth simply through repetition.
Truth does not depend on popularity.
Millions of people live and die believing in a god or gods. But having millions of people believe in a god does not prove that god exists.
Truth does not depend on intelligence, beliefs, opinions, repetition or even how many people agree with us.
ObservationIf something is true then there should be evidence to prove it. For example, if someone claims that Santa Claus exists then they should be able to present evidence to prove that this person does in fact exist. No claim of truth should ever be accepted without evidence.
Unfortunately it turns out that many people claim to know the truth without any supporting evidence. There are also others who claim to know the truth based only upon the evidence that they are willing to accept. And then there are those who mis-interpret the evidence and draw conclusions that are patently false. To correctly determine what is true we need to examine all of the evidence. We also need to be honest with our interpretations of that evidence. It is evidence that will be the focal point of this paper.
Table of Contents
FactWebsters on-line dictionary defines evidence as: "something that furnishes proof". There are two very important types of evidence that will be used extensively in this paper: scientific evidence and circumstantial evidence. It is often assumed that any valid evidence should be scientific in nature. But this is certainly not the case. For if it were not for circumstantial evidence many criminals would never be prosecuted.
Scientific evidence:This is evidence that is supported by experimentation and repetition in accordance with the scientific method. Scientific evidence can indicate past events. It can also predict future events based on present outcomes. Scientific evidence is both testable and repeatable.
Testable: Any claim of science must be able to be tested and proved true or false.
Repeatable: This testing must be able to be repeated by others under similar circumstances and with similar results.
An example of scientific evidence would be letting an apple fall. This experiment could be performed repeatedly by different individuals, in different locations and at different times. The results in all cases would be similar.
Circumstantial evidence:This type of evidence involves observations of past events. Circumstantial evidence cannot be repeated or tested as it is associated with an event that has already occurred. There is currently no method by which past events can be re-created in the present. As a result, circumstantial evidence requires an interpretation based on current knowledge and opinion. These interpretations may be modified at any time.
An example of circumstantial evidence would be the discovery of a crime scene. Different people might interpret the findings from the crime scene in different ways. This type of evidence cannot be tested or repeated as it is a one-time event that has already occurred.
In summary:Scientific evidence is both repeatable and testable. It is not subject to public or personal opinion. Scientific evidence can be used to explain past events and it can be used to predict future events as well. Circumstantial evidence can only explain past events. It cannot be repeated or tested. As such circumstantial evidence is often moulded by public and personal opinion and it is liable to be re-interpreted at any time. Circumstantial evidence cannot predict the outcomes of future events. Both scientific and circumstantial evidence have their place in the study of origins. Unfortunately these two very different types of evidences are often considered to be one in the same. This misconception is prevalent in many popular and scientific writings.
ObservationExplaining the origin of the universe and the origin of life is the subject of much scientific research. The problem is that the conclusions drawn from these scientific studies often go against the very evidence itself. As we shall see, the scientific evidence actually shows that this universe could not have come into existence on its own. Current scientific evidence also shows that life could never arise in the way imagined by modern science. And, the scientific evidence clearly shows that genetic mutations cannot be the source of evolutionary change as purported by modern science.
And yet for some reason much of this evidence is either misinterpreted or ignored by both the scientific establishment and the popular media. What we believe to be true regarding origins should be based on evidence. I will begin with evidence from science.Table of Contents
FactThe word science itself can be defined as: "the observation and study of the physical universe". In recent times science has been re-defined to include only those observations that can be explained using natural laws. In other words, science today cannot invoke any type of supernatural, or paranormal, to explain our observations. By this definition, any reference to a supreme being, or force, that can function outside of natural laws is forbidden. Science, as it is defined today, can use only natural laws to explain our world.
ObservationBy limiting science to only that which can be explained naturally then obviously God, or any other type of spiritual force, is left out of the picture. This is acceptable as long as we understand that the definition of science is man-made, can change at any time and has changed over time. There is no reason that science could not, or should not, include a god or higher intelligence that is outside of natural laws. But by the current definition of science this is not the case.
It has not always been this way. In fact, until recently the definition of science included God, a creator, higher intelligence, etc...
Below are two definitions of science from Websters dictionary taken from two different time periods.
Websters 1913: "knowledge of principles and causes; ascertained truth of facts. If we conceive God's or science, before the creation, to be extended to all and every part of the world, seeing everything as it is, . . . his science or sight from all eternity lays no necessity on anything to come to pass. "
Websters 2012: "a: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method b : such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena : natural science"
Now, there are obviously many other definitions of science that could be accepted as well. The point here is that in 1913, according to Websters, the definition of science included God. In the 2012 version there is no mention of God or any other type of spirituality. In less than 100 years the fundamental definition of science itself had changed.
Until recent times most scientists believed in a spiritual realm of some sort. Today those same scientists would be questioned as to their scientific integrity. In fact, with the modern definition of science, some of the greatest scientists of all time would no longer be called "scientists" at all. Issac Newton, Lord Kelvin, Boyle, Kepler, Copernicus, and Galileo are just a few names that come to mind. None of these great thinkers, whose intelligence would dwarf all but a few of our modern-day scientists, would even be considered reputable scientists today. They would not be allowed to teach at any public university. They would not be able to publish their work in any peer reviewed journals. They would be effectively ostracized by the scientific community. All of this because they believed in a spiritual realm.
Now some may object that if these individuals were alive today, with all of our "modern" discoveries, they would probably not believe in God or any type of higher power. This however is an assumption that cannot be verified. Some of them might in fact have more faith not less. Many scientists today have faith in God. They simply cannot talk about their faith in public or invoke the notion of a higher intelligence in their writings. This is a direct result of "modern" scientific thinking and has nothing to do with the reality of God or any "higher power".
People assume that "scientific" evidence is the ultimate in modern thinking. After all if it is not "scientific" then it must be superstition or make-believe. Nothing could be further from the truth. By demanding that we rely only on scientific evidence we in effect put blinders on ourselves and our ability to observe the world around us.
Imagine walking into a room and looking to the left. You see tables and chairs, rugs on the floor and pictures on the wall. It is a nice looking room - that room to your left. But what about the room to the right. You never look to the right. Whether you want to look to the right or not does not matter. The fact is that you cannot look to the right. Is the right side of the room a mirror of the left side? Or is it a hovel with bare cupboards, broken glass and no furniture? Maybe it is a paradise with chandeliers, fine china and oriental rugs. Maybe there is no room to the right. Maybe the left side is all there is. You will never know because you are not permitted to look.
Science, as it is currently defined, functions in much the same way. Instead of expanding our horizons it actually constricts them. Scientific evidence may be only part of the story. Are there things that cannot be explained using only natural methods? Are there things that exist outside of natural observation? Science, as it is currently defined, will never know. It is not permitted to investigate such possibilities by its own self-inflicted limitations.
I personally feel that the modern definition of science is the correct one. Only by distinguishing the natural from the supernatural are we able to reason logically. By defining science as only that which is natural we allow ourselves to differentiate between that which is testable and that which is not. Scientific evidence should be that which is testable and repeatable. Anything else is relegated to the realm of circumstantial or super-natural.
Now that we know, and accept, the modern definition of science we need to make certain that we follow the rules. Too often the terms "science" and "scientific evidence" are invoked incorrectly by both scientists and non-scientists alike. Throughout this paper I will attempt to use these terms in a correct manner.Table of Contents
The Doctrine of Uniformitarianism (uniformity)
FactThe doctrine of uniformitarianism is usually credited to Charles Lyell a Scottish geologist of the 1800's. It is said that Charles Darwin had a copy of Lyell's text while on board the HMS Beagle. As one evidence of uniformitarianism Lyell made note of the slow accumulation of sediment at the mouths of various rivers in Great Britain. Every year the spring rains would cause sediment to be washed into those rivers and then carried to the sea where it would settle out. Lyell noted that this annual flow added just a few 100th's of an inch of sediment each year. Lyell assumed that those same processes had formed those sedimentary layers at the same slow rate over a long period of time. By measuring the depth of the layers, and measuring the rate at which that sediment was deposited, Lyell then calculated the apparent age of those sedimentary layers. This idea is the foundation of the Doctrine of Uniformitarianism.
ObservationThe Doctrine of Uniformitarianism sounds very technical and also very scientific. But it is actually quite simple and is based on common sense. In everyday language this doctrine of science states that what happens today also happened in the past. This idea is often extrapolated to state that what happens today will also happen in the future. Without even thinking about it we accept the outcome of this doctrine every day of our lives. For without the doctrine of uniformity we would even be afraid to get out of bed in the morning.
Take gravity as an example. We assume that the pull of gravity will be the same today as it was yesterday. For if gravity could change from one day to the next we would experience some very strange events. What if during the night the force of gravity had suddenly become twice as strong as it was when we went to bed? As soon as we got out of the bed in the morning we would be pulled to the floor. Or what if gravity had somehow ceased to exist during the night. We would probably float up and hit our head on the ceiling. But no one is afraid to get out of bed in the morning thinking that the pull of gravity might have changed during the night. We assume, and rightfully so, that the force of gravity does not change from day to day. We also assume that it will be the same tomorrow. This is the fundamental concept of uniformitarianism. We, as reasonable creatures, trust in the uniformity of the physical and chemical processes that we encounter everyday of our lives.
The Doctrine of Uniformity is a completely logical concept. It can be assumed that things happened in the past as they happen today. It can also be assumed that things will happen the same way tomorrow. This is the natural outcome of living in an orderly universe. But these assumptions are not science. And, these assumptions may end up being proved false. In the meantime, if the Doctrine of Uniformitarianism is going to be applied to some processes then it should be applied to all. We should not pick and choose only those processes that support some preconceived opinion. Unfortunately science accepts this doctrine for some processes but then reject it for others.Table of Contents
The 1st Law of Thermodynamics
FactThe first law of thermodynamics is considered to be one of the foundational pillars of modern science. This law states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. This law also states however that energy can be changed from one form into another. What this law essentially says is that all of the energy that is present in the universe has always been here and always will be. This energy can be changed from one form to another but the total amount has never changed and it never will. Light can change into heat, heat can change into sound and so on but the sum total amount of energy in the universe never changes.
With the discovery of atomic energy in the 1930's it became apparent that energy could also be converted into matter and that matter could be converted into energy. This change happens in accordance with Albert Einsteins famous equation E=MC2 where E is energy, M is mass and C is the speed of light. Another law of physics known as "The Law of Mass Conservation" states that "matter cannot not be created or destroyed". The Law of Mass Conservation is now often included as part of the First Law of Thermodynamics. The First Law of Thermodynamics is now often stated in these terms: Energy and matter cannot be created or destroyed but can be changed from form to form.
ObservationThe first law of thermodynamics essentially states that what is here has always been here and always will be. Some people have a difficult time accepting the idea that God could always exist. A commonly asked question is "Who made God?" A tenant of Judeo-Christianity is that God has always existed. This seems contradictory to what the human mind is comfortable with. We humans think of things as having a beginning and an end. Living things are born and then they die. The very concept of eternity seems unnatural to most people. And yet science itself demands an eternal existence.
The 1st law is a universal statement and as such it cannot be proves. No one knows in fact whether energy can be created or destroyed. Might there be some process somewhere in the universe where energy is being created and we just do not know about it? Will we someday discover that energy can be destroyed after all? It is important to remember that the First Law of Thermodynamics was developed in the 1800's in an attempt to explain the workings of a steam engine. It is a long way from a steam engine to black holes, quasars, living cells and the like. This law may be universal in scope but then again it may not.
The Law of Conservation of Mass - also a universal statement- was being violated at the very same time that the law was being developed. People just did not realize it. When scientists wrote this law they had no idea that nuclear reactions occurred. When nuclear chemistry was discovered in the 1930's the original law was tossed aside and a new law took its place. This law is now often incorporated into the 1st Law of Thermodynamics.
The First Law of Thermodynamics actually has no bearing on how the universe was created. This fundamental law of science simply points out that eternity is real. Although it is difficult to comprehend, things do not need to have a beginning and they do not need to have an end. Not only is eternal existence possible it is actually a requirement of modern science. Whether it is God, matter, or energy - eternal existence is a fact as far as we know.Table of Contents
The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics
FactThe Second Law of Thermodynamics states that "every time energy is converted from one form to another some is lost." This does not mean that this energy is destroyed as that would violate the first law. What is meant by "lost" is that some of the original energy has been converted into an unusable form. In the end this unusable form is heat energy. An automobile needs a radiator to eliminate the heat that is created during the combustion of fuel. (Of course in the cold of winter this heat may not be considered "unusable" by the passengers in the automobile.)
All living things radiate heat as part of life's processes. Whether it is man or machine as much as 75% of the energy used in an energy transformation is lost as unusable heat. All of the heat that is created during energy conversions eventually makes its way into outer-space. Scientists talk of the "heat death", or thermodynamic equilibrium, of the universe. This is thought to be when all of the energy in the universe becomes uniformly distributed. At this point all energy transformations, and therefore all life, will cease.
Another way of stating the second law is with the idea of entropy or disorder. Stated in this way the second law states that every time energy is converted from one form to another the entropy, or disorder, of the system increases. In common language this law states that everything in the universe is winding down or becoming less ordered.
There is a tremendous amount of mathematics and theoretical physics involved with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. All too often this "law" has been misconstrued by well-meaning individuals. Many Christians claim that evolution violates the second law and therefore evolution is not possible. Evolutionists will claim that evolution does not violate the second law of thermodynamics.
ObservationThe Second Law of Thermodynamics has absolutely nothing to do with evolution. Evolution may or may not violate the second law. So what would happen if evolution was indeed shown to violate the second law? It would simply mean that the second law of thermodynamics would need to be revised. The beauty of science lies in its ability to change course whenever the evidence demands it. The first law of thermodynamics was re-written in the 1930's as a result of the discovery of atomic energy. The second law may someday be re-written as well. It may state something like: "in all non-living systems everything tends toward a lower energy state or increased disorder". Do living things and/or evolution violate the second law? In the end it does not really make any difference. The second law of thermodynamics has absolutely no bearing on whether evolution is possible or not. And we always need to remember that scientific laws are developed by humans to describe how the universe operates - not dictate how it operates.
It is in fact impossible to determine whether a living cell, or the evolution of that cell, violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics or not. Scientists can calculate the changes in entropy (disorder) and enthalpy (heat) involved in many chemical processes. They do this in controlled lab environments using precise measurements of individual reactions. A living cell has thousands, if not millions, of chemical reactions taking place all at the same time. It is not physically possible to measure the enthalpy and entropy changes of every reaction that takes place within a living cell. It is therefore currently impossible to determine whether a living cell, or the evolution of that cell, violates the second law of thermodynamics.
The 2nd law is a universal statement and as such it cannot be proved. Does every chemical reaction result in a loss of energy or increasing disorder? In order to make this broad statement one would need to measure the enthalpy and entropy changes in every reaction that is taking place in the universe. This is not likely to happen any time soon. And, it is important to remember that the Second Law of Thermodynamics, just like the 1st Law, was developed in the 1800's in an attempt to explain the workings of the steam engine. It is a long way from steam engines to living cells. The Second Law of Thermodynamics may be universal in scope - but then again it may not.
Evolution may or may not violate the second law. But it does not take any type of scientific background or an advanced degree in mathematics to realize that non-living things tend toward a state of disorder. Whether we can mathematically make sense of it or not makes no difference. The evidence of increasing disorder in non-living systems is all around us. Rooms get dirty, dead bodies decay and buildings fall down. We continually witness the effects of this increasing disorder every day of our lives. The fact every non-living thing tends toward disorder is an ever-present fact of life.
And yet we see order all around us. We can calculate the orbits of the planets with great precision. Scientists are able to predict the outcome of various experiments. Living organisms can be categorized based upon observable traits. It is obvious that we live in a uniform and ordered world that is predictable in nature. So where does all of this order come from?
Scientific evidence indicates that order comes from disorder only when there is an input of energy in conjunction with a directional force. If energy is added to a system without a directional force there will usually be increased disorder. (An exception to this is the formation of crystals.) If you start a house on fire you will get increasing disorder. If you watch a tornado come through town you will see increasing disorder. A tsunami, a volcano or an earthquake will always increase disorder. It is obvious from everyday experience that adding energy without direction results in increasing disorder.
Only living things are able to create order out of disorder. Living organisms can do this because they use energy in conjunction with a directional force. This energy is used either to build things or to build themselves. The directional force organisms use to build things is intelligence or instinct. Humans can build bridges, buildings and spaceships using intelligence. Birds build nests using instinct. The directional force that living organisms use to build themselves is contained in their DNA or RNA. Cells produce proteins using the code contained in DNA/RNA. Non-living matter does not have any intelligence or instinct and it does not contain any DNA or RNA. Non-living matter therefore has no directional force. When non-living matter absorbs energy the Second Law of Thermodynamics is in full force and disorder will always increase.
Modern science claims that this universe, along with all of its well-ordered systems, somehow came about through a huge explosion of energy called the Big Bang. Just as in a tornado, earthquake or tsunami this claim of order coming from disorder goes against all of the scientific evidence. Based on a multitude of repeated observations, the scientific evidence indicates that there was a directional force involved in the creation of the universe. Due to the self-imposed limitations of science this force may never be identified using modern scientific methods.Table of Contents
The Four Fundamental Forces
FactScientists have discovered four fundamental forces that are thought to be responsible for the operation of the universe. These four forces are known as the: weak force, strong force, electromagnetic force and gravitational force. According to modern scientific theory everything in the universe can be explained using a combination of these four forces.
The strong force and the weak force are thought to be responsible for holding individual atoms together. The nucleus of an atom contains one or more protons. Protons are positively charged. As every student knows positively charged particles repel each other. And yet atoms have a nucleus composed of many positively charged protons. So what keeps the nucleus of the atom from flying apart? Scientists have determined that it is a combination of the strong and weak forces that holds the atom together.
Electricity and magnetism were at one time thought to be two distinct forces. Quite by accident it was found that electricity and magnetism are actually related. It is now known that moving charges induce a magnetic field and that a moving magnetic field causes charges to flow. Flowing charges are commonly known as electrical current. These two forces are now combined together and known as the electromagnetic force. The electromagnetic force is responsible for almost all of the electrical tableion taking place in the world today.
Gravitational force is the force of attraction between two distinct masses. Gravitational force is the weakest of the four forces but it is thought to be universal in scope. Every object in the universe attracts every other object no matter how great the distance between them may be. Gravitational attraction is proportional to the mass of the two objects and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. It can be represented mathematically by the equation F=GM1M2/r2. G is known as the gravitational constant.
The strength of each of these fundamental forces has been measured repeatedly since their discovery. While the precision of the these measurements has been improved upon over the years the actual strength of each the forces has never been known to change. The scientific evidence indicates that the strength of these four forces haver never changed and never will. Scientists assume that during the Big Bang the magnitude of these four forces were different. Scientists know that if these four forces had the same strength during the Big Bang as they do now then the Big Bang could never have occurred.
ObservationScientific evidence indicates that none of the four fundamental forces has ever changed. To assume otherwise is not science - it is make-believe. The current view of modern science that at some point in the past the strength of the four fundamental forces was somehow different is pseudo-science at best. Any of the four forces could be used as an example but I will use gravitational attraction as it is the most well-known.
Take a book and put it on a table. That book will not move. You can stare at the book for as long as you like and it will not move. It does not move because there are no unbalanced forces acting upon the book. The book is attracted to the table (and the table to the book) by the force of gravity.
Now suppose that a magician enters the room. He claims that he can levitate the book above the table. After a few magic words the book begins to rise. Would any intelligent person assume that this magician can do what no scientist could do? Would anyone ever assume that this magician could alter the force of gravity? Of course not! You would look for a string, a magnet, an air source or any other outside force that might cause this book to rise. One would never assume that the force of gravitational attraction had suddenly been changed. We all know from everyday experience that gravity is a constant and it does not change.
The force of gravitational attraction has been measured many times throughout history by a multitude of scientists in different locations all over the world. In every experiment ever conducted the magnitude of the gravitational force has been shown to remain constant. Everyday of our lives we live in world of constant gravitational attraction. If it were not so we would be hesitant to get out of bed in the morning. We would wonder: "Am I going to hit my head on the ceiling or be pulled to the floor?" No reasonable person entertains these thoughts because they know that the force of gravity is a constant. Based upon sound logical reasoning we all assume that the strength of gravity has never changed and it never will. This argument holds true for all of the four fundamental forces.
Scientists assume that these fundamental forces were somehow different during the Big Bang. Scientists know that if these four fundamental forces had the same strength then as they do now then the event known as the Big Bang could never have occurred. But this assumption goes directly against all of the experimental evidence. It seems ludicrous to me for scientists to spend so much time performing experiments only to draw conclusions that contradict the very evidence that they obtained. Science should be based on evidence. And just as in the book example, the scientific evidence actually indicates that there had to have been another, and currently unknown, force present during the creation of the physical universe. Due to the self-imposed limitations of science this force may never be identified using modern scientific methods.Table of Contents
The Big Bang
FactThe Big Bang is currently accepted by most scientists as the method by which the physical universe came into being. Before the event known as the Big Bang most scientists assume that there was a Big Squeeze. During the Big Squeeze all of the the matter of the universe was supposedly condensed into a space not much bigger than a human fist. This matter then exploded in the event commonly called the Big Bang. After this explosion all of that matter expanded outwardly away from the center of the explosion. This expansion is thought to be continuing to this day.
The strongest evidence for the Big Bang is the red-shift of light from stars. Light waves behave similarly to sound waves when either the source or observer is in motion. A train whistle goes up in pitch as a train approaches and then it goes down again when the train passes by. The reason for this change is that as the train approaches the sound waves are compressed resulting in a higher pitch. As the sound waves recede they are stretched out resulting in a lower pitch. This is known as the Doppler effect. Light behaves in the same way except instead of changing pitch it changes color. Light from an object that is approaching has its wavelengths compressed and shifted to the blue side of the visible spectrum. Light from an object that is moving away has its wavelengths stretched out and shifted to the red side of the spectrum. The light from most, but not all, stars is shifted to the red side. This is commonly known as the red-shift. This red-shift of light leads most scientists to conclude that the stars are moving away from some central point in the universe. This then leads to the conclusion that at one time back in the past all of the matter in the universe was located at one central location.
Other evidence for the Big Bang is background "noise" or radiation. After every explosion there is the initial noise from the explosion and then there are the after effects, or echoes, from the event. Scientists predicted that if the Big Bang actually happened then there should be some type of after-effect or background noise. This background radiation was subsequently discovered with radio telescopes. The discovery of this background radiation was considered a major vindication for the Big Bang theory. There are many variations on this idea and even the physicists who work in this area do not agree on all of the details. However, the Big Bang is generally accepted as the most reasonable explanation for the creation of the universe.
ObservationThe evidence for the Big Bang is very strong. It seems apparent that at one time all of the matter of the universe was indeed located at one central point. Not all of the evidence agrees with an expanding universe as there are some stars that have a blue shift in their spectrum. This would indicate that these stars are travelling towards us and not away. But for the most part, the overwhelming evidence does agree with the scientific model that is commonly called - The Big Bang.
The question may not be so much as to "what happened?" but "how did it happen?". The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics shows that order never comes from disorder without the input of energy in conjunction with a directional force. Therefore, an orderly universe resulting from the Big Bang clearly indicates that there was an outside force present at the time of its' creation. Due to the self-imposed limitations of science this force may never be identified using modern scientific methods.Table of Contents
The Age of the Universe
FactThe age of the universe is currently thought to be about 15 billions years. This date is based on one main line of evidence: the red shift in the light that is emitted from stars. This red-shift of light was first discovered by Edwin Hubble in 1947. To better understand the redshift of light it is helpful to see the analogy with sound. A train whistle goes up in pitch as a train approaches the hearer. The sound of the whistle goes down in pitch when the train passes by. The reason for this is that as the train approaches the sound waves are compressed resulting in a higher pitch. As the sound waves recede they are stretched out resulting in a lower pitch. This is known as the Doppler effect. This phenomenon is used today to predict the weather and also to catch people who break the speed limit. Light behaves in a similar way. But instead of a change in pitch there is a change in color. Light from objects that are approaching has its wavelengths compressed and therefore shifted to the blue side of the visible spectrum. Light from objects that are moving away has its wavelengths stretched out and is shifted to the red end of the spectrum. The light from most, but not all, stars is shifted to the red side. This is what is commonly known as the redshift. This redshift of light leads most scientists to conclude that the stars are moving away from some central point in the universe.
The distance to the stars is measured using a variety of methods. The easiest to use is triangulation. If you were to look at an object while alternately closing your left eye and right eyes you would notice the object appear to be in a slightly different location. This effect is known as parallax. And if you could form a triangle with your two eyes and the object being the vertices's you could then geometry to calculate the distance to that object. This process is known as triangulation. Triangulation is a common procedure for surveyors and other physical scientists. To determine the distance to a nearby star scientists view the star at different times in the earths revolution around the sun. By noting the angle at the two farthest distances and knowing the distance between those two points they can use triangulation to determine the distance to that star. Triangulation only works for stars that are relatively close. At larger distances the angles get too small to be measured accurately. Then scientists resort to other methods including Cepheid variables and the redshift itself.
If the stars are all moving away from one central location it is then assumed that at one time they must have all been at this central location. By knowing the rate of travel and the distance scientists are able to calculate how long ago the stars were all this one location. As an example, imagine getting in your car and traveling at 60 miles per hour for a distance of 60 miles. You could easily determine that one hour ago you were at home. Scientists use exactly the same logic. They are able to estimate the age of the universe by using the doctrine of uniformity. It is assumed that the stars have been moving away from central location at a uniform rate.
It is assumed by most scientists that the universe as we know it originated from a giant explosion coming from this one central location. This explosion is commonly known as The Big Bang. Before the event known as the Big Bang there was the Big Squeeze. During the Big Squeeze all the matter in the universe was thought to have been condensed into a space not much bigger than a human fist. This matter then exploded outwardly in all directions. This expansion of the universe is thought to be continuing to this day.
A major piece of evidence for the Big Bang is background "noise" or radiation. After every explosion there is the initial noise from the explosion and then there are the after effects, or echoes, from the event. Scientists predicted that if the Big Bang actually happened then there should be some type of after-effect or background noise. This background radiation was subsequently discovered by using radio telescopes. The discovery of this background radiation was considered a major vindication for the Big Bang theory. There are many variations on this idea and even the physicists who work in this area do not agree on all of the details. But the Big Bang is generally accepted as the explanation for the creation of the universe that we see today.
ObservationThe evidence for the expansion of the universe from one central point is very strong. There are some stars that have a blue shift in their spectrum which would indicate that they are traveling towards us. But most of the current evidence agrees with the idea that all of the matter of the universe was at one time located at one central point. And it seems reasonable that this explosion started with a bang just as scientists believe.
The real question is when did this explosion take place. Scientists estimate the distance to the stars. They measure the rate of expansion. Using the doctrine of uniformity scientists can then estimate that this explosion occurred around 14 billion years ago. But what if the rate of expansion is not constant? Or what if star distances are not as great as believed?
The rate of expansion is assumed to be constant in accordance with the doctrine of uniformitarianism. This doctrine is accepted for the expansion of the universe but it is rejected, without any evidence to do so, for the strengths of the four fundamental forces. This makes for a curious situation. Why is this concept accepted without question in one case and rejected just as easily in another? Simply because if the strengths of those forces were not different in the past then the Big Bang could never have occurred. But this is not science is conjecture.
Measuring the distances to stars is not as easy as it is made to appear. Unlike measuring distances on earth there is no second method by which to verify the calculations. Scientists measure the distances to nearby stars with triangulation. They then build on the triangulation measurements with other methods to estimate the distances to medium range stars. Those measurements are built upon again by other methods to determine the distances to the farthest stars. As a child you may have sat in a circle and whispered a sentence to the person next to you. By the time it came around it was often so full of mistakes that you could not recognize the original. It may be the same with stellar distances. Any errors in measurements will be compounded radically as those measurements go through the different stages. It is entirely possible that the stars are not so far away after all.
Comets provide evidence for a young universe. Comets are basically large balls of gas and dust that revolve around our sun. As a comet gets close to the sun a portion of its mass gets blown away by the solar wind. It is known that comets could never have survived for 14 billion years. In fact, many comets are thought to have been in orbit for less than 100,000 years. So how do scientists explain the existence of young comets in a very old universe? The Oort Cloud.
The Oort cloud is thought to be a region in space where comets reside. Every so often, for reasons unexplained, a comet is thought to leave the Oort cloud and enter into an orbit around the sun. This is how we can have a young comet in a very old universe. But there is one big problem with the Oort cloud. There is absolutely no evidence that it exists. The Oort cloud was proposed by astronomer Jan Oort. Oort had no evidence that it actually existed he only proposed it to explain the existence of comets. But today the Oort cloud has been talked about so many times and in so many different ways that its existence has foe all intents and purposes become a fact. National Geographic magazine recently published a map of the universe with the Oort cloud included. The Oort cloud is yet another example of how repeating a statement or an idea enough times may result in that statement being accepted as a fact. It turns out that the Oort cloud, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy all have the same amount of evidence to support their existence - none. Without any evidence whatsoever the existence of the Oort cloud has been accepted by both scientists and the public as well. The Oort cloud is a classic example of something becoming true simply through repetition.
What is known about the universe is that by any scale it is very large and contains an enormous amount of matter in all types of glorious forms. Who isn't impressed with galaxies, nebulae, quasars, black holes and the rest? There is no argument that the universe is a very wonderful and awe inspiring creation. But to attempt to determine its age with only one line of evidence while ignoring the other is not very scientific. The redshift may argue for an old age and yet the existence of comets indicates a recent creation. So how old is the universe really? The honest answer is that no one really knows.Table of Contents
The Age of the Earth
FactPhysical and chemical evidence is used to determine the age of the earth. Different processes yield different ages. It is currently accepted by the majority of scientists today that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old. This date is based one main line of evidence known as radiometric dating.
Radiometric dating depends on the fact that certain elements will decay at a known rate into other elements. The most well known radiometric decay process is carbon 14. Carbon 14 will, over time, turn into nitrogen by a process known as beta decay. The age of the earth is determined using the "uranium to lead" and "potassium to argon" methods. Radiometric dating is actually a very simple process. If you know how much of an element you start with, the rate of decay and how much of an element you end up with you can then determine how long that decay process took. An everyday example of this process can be demonstrated with a candle. Light a candle and note its height and the rate at which it melts. Let's say that the candle was 12" long and it melts at the rate of 1" per hour. If after a time the candle was 6" tall you could determine that the candle was first lit 6 hours ago. Measuring how much of any element that is present today is relatively easy. Radiometric dating however is dependent on knowing how much of an element there was originally and assuming that the rate of decay that we see today has always remained the same. Radiometric dating is therefore dependent on the Doctrine of Uniformitarianism.
Sedimentation (the original evidence for Lyell) argues for a relatively old earth. The thicknesses of different layers of sediment can be physically measured. The current rate at which those layers are laid down today can also be measured. If it is assumed that the rate of sedimentation has remained constant over time then the age of those layers can be determined. Sedimentary layers are evidence for a 100,000+ year old earth. Using sedimentation to determine the age of the earth depends on an acceptance of the Doctrine of Uniformitarianism.
There are many other dating methods that are used in an attempt to determine the age of the earth. Almost all of these methods are dependent upon the doctrine of uniformity. Some of these methods argue for either a very old earth or a relatively old earth. Others indicate a relatively young earth or a very young earth.
ObservationEvidence that indicates an old earth is accepted while the evidence that indicates a young earth is rejected. The reason for this is the theory of evolution. Much of the debate that occurred when Darwin published his theory had to do with the age of the earth. At the time Darwin published his book the prevailing view among the vast majority of scientists was that the earth was either very young or relatively young. At that time there also were scientists who argued for a relatively old earth. But descent with modification takes a very, very long time. And so the search was on for evidence that would show a great age for the earth.
There are many times when the Doctrine of Uniformitarianism is used to explain past events. But there are also times when this doctrine is assumed to be false. But science is based upon observation and repetition. As such the doctrine or uniformity cannot be used selectively. Science must assume, due to its own self-imposed limitations, that what happens today also happened yesterday. Therefore the doctrine of uniformity should be used across the board. When using this doctrine we find that there is evidence for a very old earth, a relatively old earth, a relatively young earth or a very young earth. It all depends on the evidence that one will accept.
Let us assume for a moment that there is no theory of evolution and no requirement for a very old earth. If this was the case then the age of the earth would still be up for debate. The evidence itself actually supports a very old earth, a relatively old earth, a relatively young earth and a very young earth. Without the theory of natural selection the debate over the age of the earth would still be ongoing. But because the theory of evolution requires such a long period of time it is then assumed that the earth must be very old. But this assumption is not based on science. Science is all about observation and repetition. Based upon the available evidence the earth may be very old, relatively old, relatively young or very young. Using the scientific method we may never determine just how old our planet really is.Table of Contents
Star and Planet Formation
FactThe accretion model is the currently accepted method by which the stars and planets were formed. It is thought by most scientists that following the Big Bang there were clouds of gas and dust left swirling around in the universe. These clouds of gas and dust then began to be pulled into distinct masses due to the force of gravitational attraction. If the total amount of mass was great enough then these masses would eventually become stars. The other less massive clouds became planets. (It is thought that the planet Jupiter was close to becoming a star but it lacked "just enough" mass.) Using the Hubble space telescope scientists have found what they claim to be "star nurseries". These "star nurseries" are areas of gas and dust that are currently thought to be producing new stars.
ObservationThe accretion model can be proved false by any observant person taking a ride at an amusement park. If you were to get on a merry-go-round you would feel pulled toward the outside - not the inside. When we spin in circles, whether on a ride or on a swing-set, we feel a pull toward the outside. The assumption that spinning clouds of gas and dust were pulled inward goes against all of the scientific evidence and everyday experience as well. In every experiment ever conducted, spinning objects are pulled outward by inertia - not inward. In order for the accretion model to have any success in computer modelling the four fundamental forces must be given values different from what they have today. As we have just seen, this assumption goes against all of the scientific evidence. The accretion model is accepted by scientists only because they have no other, natural, alternative. The scientific evidence actually indicates that there was a force, currently unknown to science, that was present during the creation of the stars and planets. Due to the self-imposed limitations of science this force may never be identified using modern scientific methods.
It turns out that so-called "star nurseries" have no scientific evidence to support their existence. Contrary to popular opinion, no one has ever observed a star forming. The time frame over which a star is assumed to form is too long for a human to observe. A simple analogy would be with trees. It is impossible to observe the growth of a tree in a one minute time period. And yet we know, from experience, that trees do indeed grow. So why can't we observe, and record, that growth? It is because of the time frame involved. A tree grows too slowly to have their growth be observed in a one minute period. It is the same with stars. It is impossible to observe in 100 years an event that supposedly takes 20 million years to occur.
We know that trees grow because we can observe their growth in our life-times. But we cannot see stars form in our life-time. The assumption that stars are being "born" in "star nurseries" is pure conjecture. It is not based on any type of scientific evidence. Of course this does not mean that stars aren't forming after all. And it does not mean that stars nurseries do not in fact exist. It only means that, based on the available evidence, we do not know how, or when, stars form.Table of Contents
The Origin of Life
FactThe title of this section is misleading as there is no evidence that life ever had an origin the first place. In fact all of the scientific evidence indicates that life has always existed. People assume that life must have started somewhere and they spend a lot of time trying to figure out just how it happened. For many years people assumed that life came from non-living things. This concept is known as spontaneous generation. To prove that spontaneous generation was possible people performed many different types of experiments. Some would put a piece of meat out in the hot sun. Soon there were maggots on the meat. It was then assumed that the maggots had "generated spontaneously" from the meat itself. Some would leave a pile of wheat out on the ground. Within a short period of time mice would be in the wheat. It was thought that the mice had "spontaneously generated" from the wheat. But there were also those who did not believe that life came from non-living matter. They believed that life came only from living things. The controversy over the "origin" of life raged on for many, many years.
In the 1800's a crisis occurred in the French wine industry. Wine makers noticed that their wine was spoiling. It was thought that some type of living organism had "generated spontaneously" in the wine and was causing it spoil. This event eventually became an economic disaster for the French economy. In despair the French government spared no effort to find both the cause and a cure. They called in Louis Pasteur who was possibly the greatest French scientist of his day. Using his now-famous swan-necked flasks Pasteur proved, at least to most peoples satisfaction, that the wine was being spoiled by unseen living organisms present in the air. We now know those unseen organisms were fungal spores, bacteria and viruses. But not everybody was convinced. The concept of spontaneous generation lived on for many more years. It was only after many, many years of experiments and observations that people accepted the fact that life never comes from non-life. This conclusion was incorporated into a scientific law known as the Law of Bio-Genesis. The Law of Bio-Genesis states that: life comes only from life. This scientific law has been accepted by modern science for over 100 years.
But if life comes only from life then where did the original life-form come from? Scientists began to question how life could have arisen from non-living material. It is currently accepted by modern science that life somehow originated in a warm pond back in the distant past. Scientists theorize (not really a theory as we shall see later) that in this pond, under just the right conditions, living organisms did indeed spontaneously generate from non-living matter.
In the Urey-Miller experiments scientists tried to simulate the conditions that could lead to the spontaneous generation of life. Flasks filled with different chemical broths were subjected to electrical sparks. Over time some of these flasks began to accumulate amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins. Many scientists hailed the experiments as proof that life could arise spontaneously from non-living matter. The Urey-Miller experiments are currently mentioned in almost every science textbook as proof of spontaneous generation.
But not everyone was convinced. Some scientists questioned the methods of Urey and Miller. They pointed out the many flaws in those experiments. For example, amino acids come in both right-handed and left-handed forms. Life is based almost exclusively on left-handed amino acids. But the experiments produced both right and left amino acids in equal measure. And, the scientists performing the experiments continually removed the toxic chemicals that were forming along with those amino acids. Without the continuous removal of those toxic chemicals the amino acids themselves would have been destroyed.
Some scientists find the spontaneous generation of life on Earth to be so incredibly impossible that they assume life must have come from outer space. One such scientist was Francis Crick - the Nobel Prize winning co-discoverer of DNA. Dr. Crick thought that a living organism is far too complicated to have ever arisen by itself in some warm little pond. He postulated that space aliens seeded the early earth with single-celled living organisms. These single-celled life forms then evolved into you and me. Other scientists have proposed that early life arrived here on the surfaces of meteorites. The idea that the first life-forms came from somewhere in outer space, whether by aliens or meteorites, is known as Transpermia.
ObservationThe Law of Bio-Genesis states that: life comes only from life. In multitudes of experiments conducted over hundreds of years by scientists from all over the world it has been shown that life never comes from non-life. On the contrary, all of the scientific evidence indicates that only living things can produce living things. Every day millions of living things are created from other living things through sexual and asexual retableion. Never does a living thing come from non-living material. Using proper scientific reasoning we can say with confidence that life never never comes from non-living matter.
Why then do scientists assume that life came from non-life? Why all the talk about this "warm little pond"? It is because without that first "primordial" life-form evolution could never have occurred. No reputable scientist doubts the truth of the First Law of Thermodynamics. This law, which is overwhelmingly supported by evidence, states that matter and energy have always existed - they did not have a beginning. The evidence for the Law of Bio-genesis is just as strong as that for the First Law of Thermodynamics. It should therefore be an accepted fact of science that, just like matter and energy, life has always existed. But for some reason modern science once again accepts the idea of spontaneous generation. That same myth which was dis-proved many years ago.
But what about Transpermia, the idea that life arose on some distant planet and was brought here by aliens? Transpermia only takes the problem of spontaneous generation and sends it somewhere else. It does nothing for the problem of life coming from non-life. The scientific evidence is clear: life comes only from life.
So how did life get to be present on planet Earth? There is much circumstantial evidence that our planet had a beginning at some point in time. There is no scientific evidence as to how that event occurred (see Star and Planet Formation). There is also circumstantial evidence that life was present at some time in the past. Yet all livings things that we observe today are dependent on water. Was water present at the creation of our planet? Was life present at the creation of our planet or did it come about at some point later in time? Scientific evidence shows that life comes only from life. Based on the evidence scientists can conclude that life has always existed - but they have no absolutely no clue as to how it came to be present on planet Earth.Table of Contents
Evolution can be defined as change over time. Most people, when they hear the word evolution, tend to associate it with Charles Darwin and his idea of descent with modification. But the word evolution itself has a much broader meaning. Anything that has changed over time can be said to have evolved. Computers have evolved over time as they have changed in form and function. Automobiles today do not look the same today as they did 50 years ago. Both the form and function of the automobile has evolved over time.
There is no argument that evolution occurs. But when it comes to the evolution of living things it gets a little more complicated. Therefore it is important to properly define the term evolution. The word evolution as it relates to living things has in recent times been broken down into two distinct categories: micro-evolution and macro-evolution.Table of Contents
Macro-evolution and micro-evolution
FactMacro-evolution is evolution on a large scale. It is essentially the evolution of one species into another. For example, it is thought by most scientists that dinosaurs evolved into modern day birds. Micro-evolution on the other hand is small scale evolution. It is the evolution that takes place within a species. It is also known as adaptation. For example, a snowshoe hare that lives in Canada may have smaller ears than one that lives in the U.S.A. This is thought to be because smaller ears lose less heat than large ones and the snowshoe hare with small ears has a retableive advantage in cold climates.
ObservationIf macro-evolution has taken place in the past then why do we see such differences between species? It seems to me that if species slowly change over long periods of time then what we should see are blended species. In fact I do not think that we would actually see what we call species at all. As one organism changes slowly through time there should not be such distinctive differences between species.
Micro-evolution appears to have much more evidence that we can actually record with our senses. There are many examples of a species adapting to changes in its environment. Common examples include the different ear sizes of snowshoe hares, hibernating patterns of bears or even humans getting a suntan in the summer. However, one the most commonly cited examples of micro-evolution may not be so well documented after all. Let's look at the evolutionists favourite example of micro-evolution: antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
The story we are always told goes like this. Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria. At first these antibiotics are very effective at killing bacteria. Over time, as the bacteria reproduce at rapid rates, there are mutations in some of the bacterial cells. These mutations give those individual bacteria resistance to that particular antibiotic. Those bacteria then reproduce and there is then an entire population of bacteria resistant to that antibiotic. That is how the story is told.
But here is another story. I put a potted plant on a window sill and then opened the window. I fertilized and watered the plant. Soon the plant grew really tall. Now, what caused the plant to grow? Was it the sun coming in through the open window? Was it the water? How about the fertilizer, the fresh air or even the birds that were singing in the trees? How do I find out? I use the scientific method that I learned in fifth grade. I do an experiment. I vary just one of the possibilities. Through a series of controlled experiments I can determine that water, fertilizer, air and sunshine are all necessary for the plant to grow. I can also determine that bird songs, beautiful though they are, have nothing to do with plant growth. At least nothing that I can detect scientifically.
Now, back to our bacteria. How would I go about determining whether a genetic mutation was responsible for the bacteria becoming resistant to an antibiotic. I would have to do controlled experiments. The first thing I would have to do would be to sequence the DNA in every bacterial cell in the culture. Without that baseline as a starting point how would I know whether a mutation had actually taken place? Now that every bacterial DNA is accounted for I would administer an antibiotic to one culture but not to another. I would then test those cultures for antibiotic resistance. Let's say that the culture that was given the antibiotic does indeed show resistance to that particular antibiotic. Now what? I would then need to sequence the DNA in every bacterial cell until I found a mutation. Let's say I find one. Now what? How do I determine that the mutation was indeed the cause of the antibiotic resistance? I would need to separate the bacteria in that culture into two different cultures. One culture would contain the bacteria with the mutation and one would have bacteria without the mutation. I would then administer the antibiotic to the two cultures. If the culture without the mutation was destroyed and the culture with the mutation was not I could reasonably assume that the mutation was responsible for the antibiotic resistance. But to be certain I would have to identify the protein that the mutated gene produced. I would then have to isolate that protein and see if it rendered the antibiotic harmless to that particular bacteria. Of course, if there was more than one mutation occurring at the same time things would get much more complicated.
How do scientists so quickly determine that antibiotic resistance was caused by a mutation? Do scientists actually sequence the DNA in every bacterial cell and then try to put it back into the cell without killing that cell? Highly unlikely. When the DNA (or RNA) in a single bacterial cell is sequenced the cell is destroyed. Without knowing the original DNA sequence there is no possible way to determine whether a mutation actually took place. So why do scientists so freely assume that a mutation took place and that this mutation is responsible for antibiotic resistance? They assume this only because it agrees with what is already believed to be true: that mutations are responsible for evolution. This is not science. Science is based on observation and repetition
One more story should do. When I was young I got chicken pox. I was sick for a little while and then I got better. Later when my own children got chicken pox I was not afraid to be near them. I had no fear of getting chicken pox again. Had I mutated to "become" resistant to the chicken pox virus? No, the DNA in my cells already had the code required to produce proteins known as antibodies specifically made for the chicken pox virus. These antibodies recognized the virus responsible for chicken pox and rendered it harmless. My cells could do this even though they had never before encountered that particular virus. There were no mutations involved in this process.
Could it be the same with bacteria? Maybe. Maybe not. How do we find out? We do controlled experiments just like scientists should. Until that happens we can never be sure of the cause of antibiotic resistance. Claiming that antibiotic resistance is the result of genetic mutations is not science. It is conjecture pure and simple.
I will make one more observation on the terms macro and micro-evolution. Micro-evolution is defined to be small changes within a species. Macro-evolution is the long term accumulation of micro-evolution that results in a new species. When I was in school (many years ago) the terms micro-evolution and macro-evolution were not even used. When I was in high-school biology the terms used were adaptation (or adaption) and evolution. Today it is micro-evolution and macro-evolution. The term adaptation (or adaption) is be synonymous with micro-evolution. It is my opinion that the term evolution caused such an uproar within our mostly conservative population that evolutionary scientists coined the term micro-evolution to replace adaptation. The reason for this is because micro-evolution (adaptation) can be readily observed. Therefore the term "evolution" becomes an accepted part of our vernacular and does not seem so threatening. The prefixes macro- and micro- do not mean much to a non-scientific person and so the term evolution becomes acceptable where it otherwise might not. It is my opinion that the term micro-evolution came about only because of opposition to Darwin's evolutionary ideas.Table of Contents
FactCharles Darwin was born in England in 1809. Darwin is considered by most historians to have been a very good scientist. He was meticulous in his record keeping and had a keen eye for observation. He is also considered by most to be the originator of the theory of evolution. Darwin was not however the first to come up with the idea of the evolution of life from a common ancestor. The idea of organic evolution was common knowledge among the scientists of Darwin's day. Jean Baptiste Lamarck was a French naturalist who had developed his own ideas of evolution long before Darwin's time. Lamarck had three theories (these are actually more examples of the misuse of the word theory : see "Is evolution just a theory?") to explain the evolution of life. Theory of need: Lamarck believed that animals would acquire the characteristics they needed to sustain life. His most popular example was the giraffe. Lamarck believed that as a giraffe stretched out its neck to reach up into the trees to forage its neck would get longer. Theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics: Lamarck believed that parents passed their newly acquired traits to their offspring. A baby giraffe would have a longer neck if its parents got one by reaching up into the trees. Theory of use and disuse: If a trait was no longer needed or used then it would slowly disappear from the population. This would result in vestigial organs and tissues that no longer had a necessary function in the organism. Examples commonly cited as vestigial organs or tissues in humans are the tonsils, appendix and tail bone. Even the pituitary gland was at one time listed as a vestigial organ.
While Lamarck's idea that a giraffe could get a longer neck by stretching seems almost humorous to us today the fact is that Darwin accepted Lamarck's ideas. Darwin knew of Lamarck and accepted his ideas but never gave any credit to him in his writings. Darwin never acknowledged Lamarck's influence upon his idea of descent with modification.
Much has been said about the phrase "survival of the fittest". This phrase actually says absolutely nothing. The reason is that to be fit in an evolutionary sense means to leave offspring. But for a species to survive also means to leave offspring. So in effect this statement can be rephrased "survival of the survivalist" or "the fitting of the fittest". This is what is known as a tautology. A tautology is stating the same thing but in two different ways. A tautology really says nothing at all. Survival of the fittest sounds good, has been recited ad nauseum and yet serves no purpose whatsoever. Most people are under the assumption that Darwin uttered that famous phrase. It was not Darwin however but Herbert Spencer who first published those words. Yet Darwin's theory essentially makes the same argument. In his book Origin of Species Darwin stated that "Generally, the most vigorous males, those which are best fitted for their places in nature, will leave most progeny."
Charles Darwin did not know about gene mutations. He lived before the discovery of the DNA molecule. When Darwin proposed his theory of natural selection he had no idea what could be responsible for the transmission of acquired characteristics. He proposed something called a "pangene". (A pangene should not be confused with actual genes which are sections of DNA that code for a particular protein.) Darwin believed that pangenes were in the blood and that they were passed from parents to their offspring thereby transmitting the variations that could then result in evolutionary change. Darwin had no actual evidence for the existence of pangenes. Pangenes were Darwin's attempt to explain the inheritance of acquired characteristics. He believed in the concept of descent with modification without any scientific evidence regarding how it actually occurred.
No reputable scientist today believes in either pangenes or Darwinism. In 1953 the DNA molecule was discovered. Gene mutations, not pangenes, were then claimed to be the mechanism by which natural selection could occur. Darwinism then gave way to Neo-Darwinism (new Darwinism).
ObservationThis whole episode of history leads to an interesting side-note regarding the scientific community at large. Alfred Wegener was a scientist who also proposed a radical new idea for his time. Wegener developed the idea of continental drift to explain the shape and locations of the continents. He believed that in the past there was a super-continent (pangea). He thought that over a long period of time this super-continent broke up and the resulting pieces drifted slowly around the globe.
Wegener proposed that what we see today are the continents drifting ever so slowly across the planets surface. With quite a bit of circumstantial evidence to support his claim Wegener laid out his ideas and tried to get published in scientific journals. What Wegener lacked was a method by which something as large as a continent could be moved. As a result, his ideas were not just dismissed by other scientists but were ridiculed extensively. But today Wegener's ideas are now accepted as fact. Continental drift is used to explain the shape and location of the continents, how mountains are formed and even why and where earthquakes occur.
Darwin had circumstantial evidence for his claims. Wegener had circumstantial evidence for his claims. Darwin's ideas regarding natural selection were accepted as a fact by the scientific community even though he lacked a method by which it could actually happen. Wegener's ideas were rejected by the scientific community because he lacked a method by which it could actually happen. Why were Darwin's ideas accepted and Wagner's rejected? Could it be that with Darwin's ideas science no longer needed God? I think that the scientific community in general was looking for naturalistic explanations for the existence of life. Darwin's ideas provided a "scientific" explanation and were eagerly accepted. Wegener's ideas, though implicating an old earth, had nothing to do with God and therefore underwent much more scrutiny before being accepted as well.Table of Contents
FactThe prefix homo- means "same as" or similar. It is where we get our terms homosexual and homogenized milk. Homology in science is concerned with the similarity of body parts between different organisms. Darwin, like many others before him, observed the similarities between fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. All of these animals have bilateral symmetry - they have a left and a right. They all have pairs of appendages, similar bone structure, similar digestive systems, etc... This evidence is used to support the notion that all of these organisms had a common ancestor.
ObservationEvolutionists believe that similarity in form between organisms proves common ancestry. Creationists believe that similar structures were created for similar tasks. As an example we will use automobiles. Most cars have four wheels, a windshield, engine, tail-lights, etc.... This not because they all came from the same factory but because a particular design makes sense in light of a particular purpose. This same concept could also hold true for living things. The leg of a man and the leg of a dog may have similar structure because they both serve basically the same purpose. Homology is circumstantial evidence and as such it cannot be repeated or tested. Homology could support the idea of a common ancestor or of a common designer.
FactScientists know that the embryos of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals have much in common. If one were to look at the embryos of these different organisms it would be very difficult (unless you were an embryologist of course) to identify them. This similarity in the structures of the embryos was used by Darwin, and is still used by scientists today, as proof of a common ancestor. By comparing the similarities between embryos of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals it is thought that all of these organisms must have come from one common ancestor.
A contemporary of Charles Darwin, the famous embryologist Ernest Haeckel, speculated that the human embryo went through all of its evolutionary stages while still in its' mothers womb. Haeckel believed that the human embryo first resembled a fish, then an amphibian, and then a reptile before finally becoming fully human. He made drawings of the individual stages of development of various embryos. He then used these drawings as evidence that these different embryos all had a common ancestor. This concept was known as "ontology recapitulates phylogeny". The idea that a human embryo goes through its evolutionary past while in the womb was endorsed, accepted, and used as evidence for evolution, by Charles Darwin and others.
ObservationEvolutionists believe that the similarity between the embryos of different organisms implies a common ancestor. Creationists believe that the similarity implies a common designer. The circumstantial evidence provided by embryology could be used to support either viewpoint. Because the evidence provided by embryology is circumstantial it can never be repeated or tested. Scientists can look at the embryos and discover new things about them but they can never replicate the past formation of them. Therefore the evidence provided by embryology is subject to personal opinion.
It has been known for a long time that the drawings of Ernest Haeckel were fraudulent. Haeckel modified his drawings to make the embryos look more similar than they really were. His idea that ontology recapitulates phylogeny was long go discarded by science as nothing more than a lie. The sad part is that this concept is still being published in science textbooks, especially high school texts, to this day. Another piece of misinformation is the poor naming of embryonic structures. The term "gill slit" is still used today to describe the pharyngeal pouches that form the ear in the human embryo. Calling them gill slits leads many to believe that the human embryo does indeed go through a "fish stage" on its way to becoming human. Most people do not realize that this concept was discarded years ago as bad science. And then there is the "tail bone" which implies that humans had tails. Most people do not realize that this bony protrusion is for muscle attachment and that without it we could not stand up.
There are many similarities between the embryos of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. This similarity could imply a common ancestor. It could also imply a common designer. Lets take our automobile example again. If we were to visit different auto manufacturing plants they would look very similar. Most cars are built in much the same way using parts that look very similar. Embryology turns out to be nothing more than homology of the unborn. Embryology could support the idea of a common ancestor or of a common designer.
FactPaleontology is the study of fossils and the fossil record. Fossils are considered to be any preserved remnant of life from the past. Fossils can include bones, imprints, hair or even insects that have been trapped in amber. Any physical evidence of life from the past can be considered to be a fossil.
Darwin acknowledged in his book Origin of Species that the fossil record did not support his idea of the evolution of all living things from a common ancestor. The fossil record of Darwin's day supported the idea of distinct species. Darwin knew that the transitional forms between modern species were absent from the fossil record. These missing transitional forms came to be called "missing links". Darwin thought that the fossil record was incomplete. He wrote that he was confident that these missing links would eventually be found as more fossils were discovered. Today many such fossils are thought to have been discovered. Many scientists believe that a lot of these "missing links" are no longer missing.
ObservationCarol Linne was a Swedish botanist who cataloged (classified) living things in the 1700's. Linne (aka Linnaeus) was able to separate all of the living things he saw based on morphological differences. How could he classify organisms so distinctly? Even a small child knows that a cat and a dog are different. If everything evolved slowly over long periods of time it seems logical that there should be small differences between individual organisms and not the distinct differences that we actually see. Yet we see clearly the demarcations between different species.
When scientists talk about transitional forms they are always looking at the fossil record. Why not just look around? See anything transitional? Maybe the duck-billed platypus. Hardly a transitional form. More of an odd duck if anything. Looking at life today tells us that organisms are not a blend of their ancestors but rather distinct individuals - separate and unique.
There are many similarities between the fossils of fish, and the fossils of amphibians, and the fossils of reptiles and so on. These similarities could imply a common ancestor. They could also imply a common designer. Lets take our automobile example one more time. If we were to visit an auto wrecking yard all of the cars found there would look very similar. Whether it was a new car or an old car would make no difference. Most cars today look very similar to the first cars ever built. They look similar because they all have a similar function. Paleontology turns out to be nothing more than homology of the dead. Paleontology could support the idea of a common ancestor or of a common designer.
FactDifferent life forms are found in different parts of the world. Darwin, and others, claimed that these life forms evolved to fit into their particular niche over long periods of time. The most famous examples of this are Darwin's finches of the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Chile. These finches are found on different islands. The shape of their beaks vary from island to island. It is commonly believed that the beak changed over time as the birds foraged for different food sources on the different islands.
ObservationHaving unique life forms in different locations around the globe could be considered as evidence for a common ancestor. It could also be used as evidence for a common designer. These organisms could have been designed for their particular location. The evidence of bio-diversity is circumstantial and therefore based on opinion. There is currently no way to replicate what happened in the past. It can be asked that if these organisms were designed to be where they are then how did they get there in the first place? I myself do not have a clue. But not knowing how something happened does not in itself become evidence for another viewpoint. It is simply means that something is currently unknown. There are many unknowns in the world today.
Almost every car made in the world looks much the same. In Italy they have the Fiat, in Sweden the Saab and in Japan the Subaru. These cars all have differences but they are all essentially the same. They look the same because they have a similar function. They look different because they are manufactured by different companies in different countries. Bio-diversity is simply homology on a broader scale. Bio-diversity could support the idea of a common ancestor or of a common designer.
FactDarwin died before the discovery of DNA. DNA is one more piece of evidence that some scientists use to support his idea of descent with modification. The DNA of different organisms is known to be similar. This similarity is used classify living things. This concept is known as the molecular clock. It is thought that because humans and chimpanzees have similar DNA then they must have had a common ancestor.
ObservationThe molecular clock is often heralded as some of the strongest evidence that supports the idea of descent with modification. But just which particular clock should we use? Most people are unaware that there are many molecular clocks. By using various proteins scientists have developed a multitude of different molecular clocks. Each one of these "clocks" has a different time-line for the evolution of species. Imagine being in a store with hundreds of clocks on the walls. Each one of these clocks shows a different time. Which one is correct? Does any one of them show the correct time? It is the same with the molecular clock(s). Each clock tells a different "time" with no agreement even among scientists as to which one is right.
ConclusionCharles Darwin had four main lines of evidence for his theory of natural selection. DNA is considered to be a fifth line of evidence. It is popularized today as "the evidence that Darwin never knew". And it is often considered to be the strongest evidence yet for common ancestry. But as it turns out the similarity in DNA is the only evidence for common ancestry. Instead of five evidences there turns out to be only one. The reason for this is very simple. If you build car parts using blueprints that are similar you will get similar parts. If you then build a car using those similar parts you will get cars that are similar. If you visit a junkyard composed of cars that were similar when new you will see old cars that are similar as well. And if you look at cars built from similar blueprints anywhere in the world you will see similar cars.
What we now know is that because organisms have similar DNA all of Darwin's four evidences will naturally follow suit. Darwin's evidences are the natural outcome of using similar plans. I think that if Darwin had known about DNA then his book would have been a lot shorter. His four evidences are simply repeats of the molecular clock using different effects. It is like trying to prove that Santa Claus is real because someone ate the cookies. Need more proof? Well, the milk is gone too. Not a very convincing argument - unless you are six years old. Homology, embryology, paleontology and bio-diversity are all natural outcomes from having organism with similar DNA. This similarity of DNA can be considered as circumstantial evidence for the common ancestry of all living things. It can also be considered as circumstantial evidence for the creation of all living things using a common plan. The molecular clock could support the idea of a common ancestor or of a common designer.Table of Contents
Genes, Gene Mutations and Neo-Darwinism
FactDeoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is found in the nucleus of almost every cell. A gene is a section of DNA that code for a particular trait. DNA is composed of a long series of what are called nucleotides. Each nucleotide is itself composed of a sugar (deoxyribose), a phosphate and one of four chemical bases- guanine, cytosine, adenine, and thymine. The four bases are usually abbreviated by their first letter: G, C, A and T. Three nucleotides in a row are known as a codon. Each codon "codes" for a particular amino acid. The bases GCT might code for a different amino acid than say GGG. The different amino acids bond together like the beads on a string. A particular string of amino acids that has a function within the cell (such as eye color) is known as a protein. Each protein has a particular three dimensional shape that determines is function. The proteins three dimensional shape is dependent upon the order of amino acids that make it up. Proteins are the workhorses of the cell. They can form the structure of the cell or they can control the chemical reactions that take place within the cell. They are even responsible for our bodies ability to defend itself from disease.
If you change the order of the amino acids then you change the function of that protein. It is the code contained within the DNA molecule that determines the order of the amino acids making up each protein. A gene mutation is a change in the order of the DNA bases, or nucleotides, which results in a different order of amino acids which then causes a change in the shape of the protein. When the shape of the protein changes its function also changes. As an example consider the following: "thedogran". If this "code" is read three letters at a time it spells out: "the dog ran". But if you were to add a letter (addition), change a letter (substitution) or subtract a letter (subtraction) from the series then it would say something very different. This is how a gene mutation can change a proteins function. Mutations can occur naturally over time as cells make copies of their DNA. Gene mutations can also be caused by mutagens such as ultraviolet radiation and chemicals.
The current thinking regarding evolution is that it is the slow build up of mutations that make physical changes to an organism. Those physical changes are then acted upon by the environment to naturally select some individuals for survival and some for death. Those organisms that survive and reproduce will pass those changes on to their offspring. It is in this way that the changes to the organism will be retained in the population. Over time as these different changes add up the organism will no longer be able to breed with the original population and a new species will have been created. This concept is known as neo-Darwinism. Neo-Darwinism is really Darwinism with gene mutations replacing pangenes as the method by which Lamarck's acquired characteristics are passed from parent to offspring. Neo-Darwinism is accepted by most scientists and is taught in most schools.
ObservationLet's first consider the mathematical probability that mutations could be responsible for the evolution of living organisms. We will start with single celled organisms that reproduce asexually. We will then consider multicellular organisms that reproduce sexually.
For asexual organisms, such as bacteria, the concept of mutational change seems simple enough. Bacteria are single celled organisms that reproduce by a process known as binary fission. In a bacterial cell the DNA will make a copy of itself. The bacteria cell will then divide into two new cells. Each new cell has a complete DNA code identical to its parent. Any change in the DNA of the bacteria will he passed directly to the offspring. If these bacteria survive then the mutation will become part of the population. If these bacteria do not survive then the mutation will be eliminated from the population.
But what about sexually reproducing organisms? Of all the mutations that may take place the only ones that can have any effect on the offspring are the ones that take place in the sex cells - egg and sperm. The vast majority of mutations have absolutely no effect on the species. They affect only the typical body (somatic) cells.
Let us now assume that a mutation does occur in one of the sex cells. The odds are that it has no effect at all. If it does have an effect the odds are that it will to produce an odd protein. This mutation may even kill the cell. But for the sake of argument let us assume that against all the odds this mutation successfully gets passed on to the offspring. What now?
If this organism were to die before reproducing, as almost all organisms do, the mutation would disappear from the population. If this organism did reproduce then the mutation would be passed on to the offspring. The offspring would however have only one copy of the mutation (remember genes come in pairs). When, or if, this offspring reproduced there would be only a 50/50 chance that their offspring would acquire this particular mutation. Very few mutations ever become established in the population. Those that do are often eliminated in a just a few generations.
The vast majority of mutations have no effect whatsoever. This is simply because the vast majority of DNA within a cell is not active. Most of DNA present in a cell has no known purpose. This DNA is known by the the very misleading name of "junk" DNA. But like vestigial structures, just because we do not know what it's function is does not make this DNA "junk".
But lets get to the DNA that we know does have a purpose. It turns out that almost every cell of the body has exactly the same DNA. (Mature red blood cells do not contain DNA) An eye cell has the same DNA as a toe cell, a liver cell or a brain cell. The eye cell uses only the DNA that an eye cell needs. The toe cell uses only the DNA that a toe cell needs. If a mutation were to affect the DNA in a toe cell that is used for the eye there would be no effect. This is because that particular DNA is not active. Toe cells do not need any DNA for vision as toe cells cannot see. Almost all of the DNA in a any particular cell is in an inactive state. Therefore almost all mutations will have absolutely no effect on the cell.
A simple way to think about all of this is to compare DNA to a cookbook. Every cell has a complete cookbook (DNA code) inside itself. This cookbook has recipes for peanut butter cookies, tomato soup, carrot cake and so on. If you wanted to make peanut butter cookies all you would need is the recipe (a section of the DNA) for peanut butter cookies. If the carrot cake page was ruined (mutated section of DNA) it would not make any difference for you only need the peanut butter cookie recipe, not the carrot cake recipe.
Some rare mutations may have an effect on the DNA that is being used by that particular cell. These mutations may result in the tableion of an odd-shaped protein. This odd-shaped protein may have a small effect on the cell. But it also may not affect the cell at all. A person with blue eyes may have one cell out of a million that is green in color. If you were to look that person in the eye then that one cell would be very difficult to identify.
Some very rare mutations that do have an effect may result in the death of the cell. The protein that is produced, altered or not produced may cause that particular cell to die. But every day millions of cells in the human body die. Humans loose thousands (if not millions) of cells each and everyday. I myself have never noticed the death of any one particular cell.
Some of the very, very rare mutations that do have an effect may result in the death of the organism. Cancer, cystic fibrosis, and sickle-cell anemia are just a few of the diseases caused by mutations. These mutations, with their resulting odd proteins, or uncontrolled cellular retableion (mitosis), may lead to the death of the organism.
But what about the offspring? A fundamental tenant of evolution is that mutations are passed on from generation to generation. It is this inheritance of mutational change that results in "decent with modification".
To recap: The vast majority of mutations will have no effect on the cell or the organism. The few mutations that do have an effect will do one of three things. They will: lead to the tableion of an odd protein, kill the cell or kill the organism. And, the only mutations that can have any affect on the population are the ones that take place in the sex cells.
But what about those mutations that are good for the organism? What about all those "beneficial" mutations? Well, there aren't any that are known of. The closest we can come to a beneficial mutation is the one that results in a disease known as sickle-cell anemia.
Sickle cell anemia is a disease where the red blood cells have a sickle shape rather than the bi-concave shape that they should. As a result these red blood cells cannot carry as much oxygen as they normally would. This results in a type of anemia. But this "sickle" shape also hinders the cells from being invaded by the plasmodium that causes malaria. Individuals that are heterozygous (only one section of DNA coding for the trait) for sickle cell anemia are more resistant to contracting malaria than people without the mutation.
At first glance this mutation would seem beneficial. After all millions die every year from malaria. But lets look at it more closely. If an individual was homozygous for the trait (both sections of DNA coding for the trait) they would die - of course "they" are your son or daughter - before their 3rd birthday. If your son or daughter were heterozygous (both alles code for the trait) they would be physically tired for most of their life. They would live to about 30 years of age and then die.
If this so-called "beneficial" mutation is one of the causes of evolution then the theory itself is in a lot of trouble. Sickle-cell anemia is a disease not a cure. But the problem of mutations do not end here.
If your eye or toe cell mutates it affects only you. Almost every mutation, if it has any affect at all, affects only the individual. These mutations do not get passed on to the offspring. Only two cells, just 2, get passed to the offspring. One egg cell from the mother and one sperm cell from the father unite to form the new individual. Only those mutations that take place within these two cells can be passed on to the offspring. There are over 2,000,000,000 cells in the human body. Only one cell is passed to the child. What are the mathematical chances that this one cell had one mutation that was beneficial for that child? Just about zero.
In spite of the overwhelming mathematical odds against it some may still insist that mutations are responsible for Darwin's decent with modification. Let us now look at what the scientific evidence has to say regarding the effect of mutations on the species. Fruit flies are used to study mutational effects because they have four important properties essential to scientific experiments: they are small and easy to contain, they are easy to feed, they have a very short retableive cycle and they have a relatively small number of chromosomes. These four properties make fruit flies ideal for studying the effects of gene mutations. Fruit flies were originally chosen for study by Thomas Hunt Morgan for these very reasons.
Morgan was a pioneer in mutational studies. His personal home in Woods Hole, MA has morphed into the now world famous Woods Marine Laboratory. Scientists from all over the world come to Woods Hole. Students of science aspire to get a apprentice position at Woods Hole. Morgan first studied fruit flies at Woods Hole. Morgan and his associates cataloged millions of fruit flies and mutational changes at Woods Hole. It can be said without reservation that Morgan's fruit flies laid the foundation for mutational studies and evolution.
This same line of fruit flies that Morgan worked with is still being studied at Woods Hole to this day. These fruit flies, with their 21 day retableive cycle, are the descendants of the original fruit flies studied by Morgan. And yet, if Morgan were alive today he would not be able to distinguish the fruit flies presently in the laboratory from his the one he studied over 100 years ago.
These fruit flies have been intentionally mutated many times over many years. These flies have been subjected to heat, chemicals, radiation and a whole host of other mutagens. These same fruit flies have been raised in hot, cold, light, dark and who knows what else types of environments. And yet I do not think that Morgan would not be able to see any difference between his fruit flies and the ones here today.
So what were the end effects of all these mutations? Fruit flies that are born with legs sticking out of their heads. Fruit flies that are born with no legs at all. Fruit flies that are born dead. After all these mutations what was the end result? Many poor, sickly individuals. Individuals that have no chance of reproducing. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that indicates any type of benefit for the fruit fly resulting from these repeated mutations. On the contrary, the effects of these mutations seems like something out of a horror movie.
After 100 years of fruit fly retableion with thousands of offspring, with multitudes of mutations we are left with the same fruit flies that we started with. Let us now consider the Beluga whale. This mammal produces one offspring every three years. How many millions, no it would be billions, of years would it take for Beluga whale retableion to be equal that of the fruit flies or bacteria? And yet we are lead to believe that it is by the slow accumulation of mutation that we evolved from single celled organisms. This idea has no scientific basis.
There is no doubt that mutations do occur within individual organisms. Mutations happen more frequently when there are more mutagens around. A mutagen could be U.V. radiation, nuclear decay, X-rays, gamma rays, chemicals, etc... In some cases mutations are caused by the incorrect copying of individual genes during mitosis (cell division) or meiosis (tableion of sex cells).
Mutations are said to be the driving force behind biological evolution. Most scientists believe that without mutations all living things, including the human race, would not be here. This leads to a very interesting question. Does anyone intentionally subject themselves to mutations? Do we send our children outside into the sunshine without sunscreen? Does the dental hygienist stay in the room with us when our teeth are X-rayed? Does someone ever desire to build their home next to a nuclear energy plant? Why not?
The answer is obvious to anyone who reasons logically. We all know that mutations cause disease and death. We do our best to avoid mutations at all costs. Mutations do not make us better they make us worse. Everyone know that this is the case. Everyone except for evolutionists of course. They claim that without mutations life would never have evolved.
Tell your children that they need to eat their vegetables to grow strong. Then tell them that if they eat those same vegetables they will get sick. Which is it they say? Should we eat our vegetables or not? It is the same with gene mutations. We are told that they are the cause of evolution from a single celled organism into all of the beauty we see here on earth. Trees, butterflies, lions, whales and every living thing is here by the power of some gene mutations that happened in the distant past.
Yet somehow today we see people dying agonizing deaths due to mutations. We see our friends suffer terrible genetic diseases. We witness the suffering caused by emphysema, Crohn's disease, hemophilia, Downs syndrome, cystic fibrosis, colon cancer, Alzheimer's, Turner's syndrome, and the list goes on and on and on. These diseases, and many, many more are all caused by gene mutations.
Mutations replaced Darwin's mythical pangenes as the carrier of acquired characteristics. Mutations have been proved to cause disease and death. Evolution can still be accepted as the method by which life arose but genetic mutations cannot be the cause. If evolution is true then there must be some cause other than gene mutations. Mutations do not bring life they bring death and disease. Whatever may cause evolution, if it is in fact true, the evidence is clear: it cannot be mutations.Table of Contents
FactThere are many scientists who do not believe that small changes in an organisms DNA can result in the wide variation of species we see no matter how much time is allowed. These scientists believe that major changes took place in short periods of time. Evolution would take place, then stop for a while, and then take place again. This type of evolution is known as punctuated equilibrium. A well known proponent of this idea was the late Harvard biologist Steven Jay Gould. Although not as widely accepted as Neo-Darwinism, punctuated equilibrium is also taught in schools as one possible method by which natural selection can occur.
ObservationThe only evidence for punctuated equilibrium is the lack of evidence for neo-Darwinism. As such, punctuated equilibrium is not science and should not be taught in the science classroom. Science is based on evidence not the lack of it. To say that the missing transitional fossils imply that evolution happened too quickly to leave any evidence is mere fantasy on the part of scientists such as Stephen J Gould and Niles Eldridge.
The fact that this idea is presented in scientific journals as hard science should be embarrassing to any respectable evolutionary scientist. Punctuated equilibrium only serves to show that many scientists agree that the fossil record does not record slow changes in organisms over long periods of time. The fossil record shows fully developed life forms without any earlier transitional forms. A fantasy does nothing to change that fact.Table of Contents
Isn't Evolution Just a Theory?
FactComplaints often come from people, most notably Christians, that evolution is "just" a theory and therefore does not prove anything conclusive. Evolutionary scientists will readily point out that saying "just" a theory is incorrect. They will rightly state that theories are an integral part of the scientific method and one of the foundations of modern science.
The term theory as used in science is actually the result of many observations, empirical testing and the accumulation of vast amounts of data. As such, to say that evolution is "just" a theory only shows ignorance of the scientific method on the part of the commentator.
ObservationI personally do not think that the theory of evolution is "just" a theory. In fact I do not think it is a theory at all. From a typical dictionary: "Theories are intended to be an accurate, predictive description of the natural world." Note the word "predictive". A scientific theory should be able to explain past and current events. It should also be able to predict future events as well. The "theory" of evolution claims great prowess in explaining what has happened in the past but is impotent in predicting what may happen in the future.
The theory of evolution is often compared to gravitational and atomic theory. There is however one big difference between these different theories. Gravitational and atomic theory are both explanatory and predictive but the theory of evolution cannot predict anything.
Atomic theory explains the spectrum of individual atoms, the bond strength between different elements and a whole host of other observations. Atomic theory was also used to design the first atomic bomb. When that first bomb went off in the New Mexico desert what happened was not a surprise. Scientists had a pretty good idea of what would take place based on the current atomic theory of the day. No doubt some things were different than expected but all in all atomic theory was used successfully to build the A-bomb.
Gravitational theory explains the motions of the planets, the path of projectiles and even why we fall down. Gravitational theory was also used to put a man on the moon in 1969. When Apollo 11 left the ground the scientists that designed the rocket didn't just push a button and hope for the best. They knew how much fuel was needed, how fast the craft had to go and where the ship should land. They also knew exactly what was needed to get the astronauts back home alive. All of this was based on the predictive power of gravitational theory.
Evolutionary theory on the other hand is like taking a car ride and spending the whole time looking out the rear window. You see where you've been but you have no idea of where you are going. You can never anticipate what will happen next because everything you see has already happened. Evolutionary theory attempts to explain past events based on circumstantial evidence. But it is powerless to predict any future events. A classic example of this inability to predict future events is antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotics were first developed in the 1940's. They proved to be so effective that they became known as miracle drugs. The Surgeon General of the United States even went so far as to predict that all infectious diseases would "soon be a thing of the past". And yet in just a few years doctors were stunned to find that bacteria were no longer as susceptible to antibiotics as they were at first. Some bacteria had become resistant to these new "miracle" drugs. This antibiotic resistance is often used as evidence of evolutionary theory. And yet evolutionary theory could not predict antibiotic resistance beforehand so that it could have possibly been avoided.
Evolution was claimed to be the cause of antibiotic resistance only after this resistance had already occurred. Darwin published his theory of evolution in 1859. Antibiotic resistance was first observed in the 1960's. This means that the theory of evolution had been around for more than 100 years. So where was evolutionary theory when we needed it most? It was too busy trying to explain what happened to the Trilobite 400 million years ago. Evolutionary theory attempts to explain the past but it has absolutely no bearing on the future. Therefore evolutionary theory is really no theory at all. It is in fact just an idea (one of many) that is used to explain past events. Calling it a theory gives this idea more stature than it deserves.Table of Contents
Is it Really That Important to Teach Evolution?
FactIt may be considered some kind of scientific heresy even to ask such a stupid question. After all, "evolution is the cornerstone of biology". And "nothing make sense in biology except in the light of evolution". Famous quotes by famous people whose names I cannot remember. On the popular PBS television show "Evolution" the last episode had two biology teachers stating that if they were not allowed to teach evolution they could not continue to teach. They would not be willing to do that type of "dis-service" to their students.
In the movie "Flock of Dodo's" school board members in Kansas are criticized for even questioning evolution. It would be safe to say that the vast majority of scientists alive today would wholeheartedly endorse the teaching of evolution in our public schools. And so would I. Evolution is accepted by almost all scientists and therefore should be taught in science classes. Evolution is the most well documented and thoroughly researched "scientific" idea on how life came about. But is accepting the theory of evolution really all that important after all?
ObservationIt will be obvious to anyone reading this paper that I do not accept evolution as it is currently being taught. But another question comes to mind even if the current model of evolution were proved to be true. Is accepting the theory evolution really necessary to understand biology? Articles continually appear in magazines, news reports and op-ed pieces bemoaning the poor education of American students. One of the causes that is often mentioned is that students do not accept evolution as the basis of life on earth. But is accepting evolution really all that important? Is evolution really the "cornerstone" of biology?
The word biology literally means the "study of life". Is it necessary to understand, and accept, evolution in order to study life? When I taught science I often had guest speakers come in to give the students some real perspective on why they were in school in the first place. One of my speakers was an anesthesiologist from our local hospital. I asked him to talk about his education and his career. He knew that we were currently studying mitosis (cell replication). When he came in to speak he talked about chromosomes and genes. After class I talked to him and found out that he had studied for several hours trying to remember how chromosomes functioned. It would be hard to understand evolution without knowing about chromosomes. Apparently being an anesthesiologist, which requires a tremendous amount of education, does not require an understanding of evolution.
My wife had to go in for knee surgery one day. The orthopedic surgeon was very intelligent. He also did a great job during the surgery. But he never once mentioned the evolution of the knee from a common ancestor. Apparently being an a orthopedic surgeon, which requires a tremendous amount of education, does not require an understanding of evolution.
My nephew has a "lazy" eye. He has had eye surgery and a lot of physical therapy. The ophthalmologist never mentioned the evolution of the vertebrate eye by small incremental steps from an ancient ancestor due to random chance mutations. All he did was perform a very delicate surgery on a five year old boy. Apparently being an ophthalmologist, which requires a tremendous amount of education, does not require an understanding of evolution.
And how about: veterinarian, podiatrist, RN, dendrologist, marine biologist, ornithologist, botanist, X-ray technician, and the list goes on and on. All these people can perform their tasks without ever hearing or using the word evolution. The fact is, the only scientists that need to know or understand evolution are evolutionary biologists. I don't think that the proportion of scientists who are actually evolutionary biologists is all that great. Everyone else can get along just fine whether they believe we got here by evolution, God or a cabbage patch. Evolution has nothing to do with what most scientists do or what they need to know in order to do their job.
"Evolution is the cornerstone of biology." and "Nothing make sense in biology except in the light of evolution." Sounds good. Sounds scientific. But it is just not true.Table of Contents
FactCurrently in the news is the idea of Intelligent Design. Some people assume that life is so complicated that it could never have arisen naturally. These people insist that living things had to have been created by some "intelligent designer". A current proponent of this idea is Michael Behe the author of Darwin's' Black Box. In his book Behe describes a mouse-trap as being unable to be come about by small incremental steps. A mouse-trap either works as a complete design or it doesn't work at all. In his book Behe uses the term "irreducible complexity" to describe something that cannot be broken down into individual working parts.
In nature Behe uses the bacterial flagellum and blood clotting as two examples of this idea of irreducible complexity. The bacterial flagellum either functions as a complete unit or it does not function at all. Blood clotting is an extremely complex process that needs every step in order to properly function. He makes the claim that these structures could not have developed by a slow step by step process such as required by evolution. Another major player in the intelligent design movement is Stephen Meyer and the Discovery Institute located in Seattle, Washington.
The intelligent design movement is not really new. Many people believe that the Intelligent Design movement had it beginnings with a man named William Paley who lived in the 1700's. Paley developed the idea of a watchmaker. He though that if you were walking through the woods and you found a watch lying on the ground you could infer that it must have been made by a watchmaker. He thought that a watch was a complex structure that could not have arisen on its own. Paley thought that to have a watch you must have a watchmaker or as they say today - an intelligent designer.
Most scientists scoff at the idea of "Intelligent Design" because it is not considered science. There is no way to identify the designer or to determine how it functions. Scientists claim that the Intelligent Design movement is only another attempt get God into the public schools. Other scientists state that if life was designed by an intelligent designer than that designer must not have been very intelligent after all. They will cite the the human eye or the heart as examples of imperfect design.
ObservationThe intelligent design movement did not begin with William Paley. It began with God. In the Bible it very clearly states that the heavens declare the glory of God and that men are without excuse. The idea that we were designed did not begin with Paley and it will not end with Michael Behe or the Discovery Institute. David declares in the Psalms that he was fearfully and wonderfully made in his mother's womb.
I believe that the Intelligent Design movement is for the most part an attempt to get God back into the public schools. Its claims cannot be tested or repeated as required by modern science. Therefore I do not believe that Intelligent Design should be included in the science curriculum. Science has recently been defined to include only natural and testable ideas. An Intelligent Designer is not natural and it is not testable. It is therefore not science.Table of Contents
Conclusions from Science
Natural Outcomes Resulting from Evolutionary Theory
There are many outcomes that result from the idea of descent with modification as proposed by Charles Darwin. I find that many who are proponents of evolution are unwilling to accept these consequences. In this section I would like to discuss just some of those consequences.
Environmental Change and Species Extinction
FactAccording to Charles Darwin, environmental change and species extinction are both necessary in order for biological evolution to occur. As Darwin himself stated: "As natural selection acts solely by the preservation of profitable modifications, each new form will tend in a fully-stocked country to take the place of, and finally to exterminate, its own less improved parent or other less-favoured forms with which it comes into competition. Thus extinction and natural selection will, as we have seen, go hand in hand. Hence, if we look at each species as descended from some other unknown form, both the parent and all the transitional varieties will generally have been exterminated by the very process of formation and perfection of the new form." (emphasis mine) Darwin proposed that environmental changes, and the resulting competition for resources, would result in the survival of the best fitted individuals. It was this competition, and the subsequent extinction of less favorable forms, that would result in the formation of new species. Darwin knew that environmental changes, and species extinction, were foundational to his theory.
For the individual organism environmental changes may take one of two forms: the external environment of the organism may change or the organism itself may move into a changed environment. In the first case environmental changes may include changes in temperature, pH, intensity of sunlight, etc.... These changes take place where the organism resides. In the second case the organism moves into an area where the conditions are different from where it used to live. In both cases the organism is in an environment different from what it had originally. It is the organisms response to these differences that forms the foundation of natural selection.
According to Darwin, as individuals face these changing environmental conditions only those that are the best "fitted" will survive. These "fit" individuals reproduce thus passing on their acquired characteristics to their offspring. As a result other less fit populations will lose out in the competition for food and other resources. Over time these less fit populations may become extinct as the more "fit" species take their place. It is this process that results in descent with modification and the formation of new and improved forms. Again from Charles Darwin: "The extinction of species and of whole groups of species, which has played so conspicuous a part in the history of the organic world, almost inevitably follows on the principle of natural selection; for old forms will be supplanted by new and improved forms."
Environmental changes can lead to extinction in one of three ways. As the environment changes a species can lose out in the competition for resources to better fitted individuals. Over a period of time these "better fitted" individuals will replace their inferior competition. This type of extinction takes place slowly over a long period of time. Environmental changes can also be so dramatic that an entire species is exterminated in a short period of time. This then allows other species to take their place. This type of extinction happens very rapidly. An example would be the extinction of the dinosaurs. In the third case, as individuals move into new, and different, environments they may out compete the resident species for food and other resources. Eventually these invasive individuals may drive the previous residents to extinction. This type of extinction may take place over a long period of time.
In all three cases extinction is the natural outcome of the evolutionary process. Evolution depends on descent with modification resulting in more improved forms which will then cause the extinction of less improved forms. As Darwin himself said: "Thus, as it seems to me, the manner in which single species and whole groups of species become extinct, accords well with the theory of natural selection. We need not marvel at extinction; if we must marvel, let it be at our presumption in imagining for a moment that we understand the many complex contingencies, on which the existence of each species depends."
ObservationSave the whales. Save the turtles. Save something. Why is it that we are so concerned with saving all those species that evolution is evidently willing to exterminate. Global warming, the growing ozone hole and melting ice caps strike fear into so many. But why? According to evolutionary theory these environmental change will only result in the "better fitted" individuals surviving. Over time new species that are "better fitted" for the new environment will result. For some reason those who profess to accept the idea of evolution are appalled at the natural consequence of extinction. As we have seen, extinctions are a requirement of the evolutionary process. Beside this fact let us consider what would happen if extinctions could somehow be prevented.
It is accepted by modern science that the dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago. This extinction is thought to have been the result of a large meteor striking the earth. This meteor-strike sent up a huge cloud of dust into the atmosphere. This dust-cloud prevented sunshine from hitting the earth. The lack of sunshine then caused a shortage of oxygen and also a cooling temperature. These changing environmental conditions resulted in the extinction of the majority of dinosaurs. Scientists believe that it was the extinction of these dinosaurs that allowed mammals to prosper. Evolutionary theory teaches that these primitive small mammals eventually developed, over millions and millions of years, into the human race.
But let us imagine for a moment that 65 million years ago some space aliens came to earth and witnessed the devastation caused by this meteor. Instantly these aliens sprang into action. They started a campaign to collect money to "save the dinosaurs". What would have happened if they had been successful? According to evolution we, the human race, would not be here. According to accepted evolutionary process the only reason that mammals, of which we are one, even had a chance to evolve was that most dinosaurs had gone extinct.
It is estimated that only 1% of the species that have ever lived are still here on the earth today. What happened to the other 99%? They went extinct of course. But would have happened if we could have prevented all these extinctions from occurring? The earth would be covered miles deep in plants, animals, bacteria, fungi and every other life form that has ever lived. It was obvious to Darwin, and it should also be obvious to us, that extinctions are necessary in order for the evolutionary process to take place. Without extinctions evolution cannot occur.
So-called "invasive species" is another popular topic for conservationists. The introduction of the sea lamprey into the Great Lakes and the rabbit into Australia are only two of many cases of species introductions that are claimed to have wreaked havoc on "natural" ecosystems. Every year millions of dollars are spent trying to prevent living organisms from moving into new environments. And yet, just as with other environmental changes, these changes agree completely with the evolutionary process.
What if Darwin's' finches had never migrated from the mainland to the Galapagos Islands? Or what if Darwin had killed these birds in an attempt to prevent them from driving to extinction the species that were already present? If he had then we would not today have what are known as Darwin's' Finches. These are the very same finches which are so often used as proof of evolution. Darwin proposed that as species move into different areas they very well could out-compete the resident species. The original species was then driven to extinction and replaced by a "better fitted" species. Species migration, and the resulting extinctions, are just one more aspect of evolution. And yet this natural outcome of evolution is derided by most modern day scientists, the media and also popular opinion. We spend millions of tax dollars every year trying to undo what evolution requires.
Preventing environmental change and species extinction is more in line with creationism than evolution. A creationist believes that the species that are here on the earth were created by God. Creationists believe that when a species goes extinct it is gone forever. An evolutionist on the other hand believes, or at least should believe, that every species that goes extinct is simply replaced by, or is making room for, one that is "better fitted" for its environment.
Some may claim that humans are changing the environment at a faster rate than nature does. This turns out to be a false claim. For humans have been discussing global warming, the depletion of the ozone layer, invasive species and many other environmental changes for a long period of time. And yet it is hard to imagine any environmental change taking place faster than what happened when that giant meteor struck the earth 65 million years ago. The eventual result of that very sudden environmental change was the human race. Evolution demands environmental changes and species extinction. Charles Darwin knew that extinctions were part of the evolutionary process. The conservation movement is totally opposed to the process of evolution. An evolutionist who supports conservation is like an atheist giving to their local church. It is a contradiction in terms.Table of Contents
FactCharles Darwin is most famous for his book often referred to as "The Origin of Species". The full title of the book however is: "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life". In this book Darwin lays out the argument that different races of a species will compete for the same resources. Those races that are "better fitted" will survive and reproduce. Darwin did not include humans in this argument. Darwin stated in the first edition that "light would be thrown on the origin of man and his history". Darwin's' ideas were very controversial at the time and he was hesitant to include human beings. Darwin eventually wrote another book titled: "The Decent of Man" where he did speak of the evolutionary development of the human race. It is important to note that when Darwin spoke of "races" he used the term with various meanings. In some cases he used the term to mean species and at other times sub-species, breeds or varieties. In any event, Darwin did speak of the development of the human race from some original ancestor. What follows are some quotes from Darwin's book "The Descent of Man":
"The great break in the organic chain between man and his nearest allies, which cannot be bridged over by any extinct or living species, has often been advanced as a grave objection to the belief that man is descended from some lower form; but this objection will not appear of much weight to those who, from general reasons, believe in the general principle of evolution. Breaks often occur in all parts of the series, some being wide, sharp and defined, others less so in various degrees; as between the orang and its nearest allies between the Tarsius and the other Lemuridae- between the elephant, and in a more striking manner between the Ornithorhynchus or Echidna, and all other mammals. But these breaks depend merely on the number of related forms which have become extinct. At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked,* will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla."
"The American aborigines, Negroes and Europeans are as different from each other in mind as any three races that can be named; yet I was incessantly struck, whilst living with the Feugians on board the Beagle, with the many little traits of character, shewing how similar their minds were to ours; and so it was with a full-blooded negro with whom I happened once to be intimate."
But the inheritance of property by itself is very far from an evil; for without the accumulation of capital the arts could not progress; and it is chiefly through their power that the civilised races have extended, and are now everywhere extending their range, so as to take the place of the lower races.
A most important obstacle in civilised countries to an increase in the number of men of a superior class has been strongly insisted on by Mr. Greg and Mr. Galton,* namely, the fact that the very poor and reckless, who are often degraded by vice, almost invariably marry early, whilst the careful and frugal, who are generally otherwise virtuous, marry late in life, so that they may be able to support themselves and their children in comfort. Those who marry early produce within a given period not only a greater number of generations, but, as shewn by Dr. Duncan,*(2) they produce many more children. The children, moreover, that are borne by mothers during the prime of life are heavier and larger, and therefore probably more vigorous, than those born at other periods. Thus the reckless, degraded, and often vicious members of society, tend to increase at a quicker rate than the provident and generally virtuous members. Or as Mr. Greg puts the case: "The careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman multiplies like rabbits: the frugal, foreseeing, self-respecting, ambitious Scot, stern in his morality, spiritual in his faith, sagacious and disciplined in his intelligence, passes his best years in struggle and in celibacy, marries late, and leaves few behind him. Given a land originally peopled by a thousand Saxons and a thousand Celts- and in a dozen generations five-sixths of the population would be Celts, but five-sixths of the property, of the power, of the intellect, would belong to the one-sixth of Saxons that remained. In the eternal 'struggle for existence,' it would be the inferior and less favoured race that had prevailed- and prevailed by virtue not of its good qualities but of its faults." Man has multiplied so rapidly, that he has necessarily been exposed to struggle for existence, and consequently to natural selection. He has given rise to many races, some of which differ so much from each other, that they have often been ranked by naturalists as distinct species.
It should be observed that the amount of difference between the mammals of the several zoological provinces does not correspond with the degree of separation between the latter; so that it can hardly be considered as an anomaly that the Negro differs more, and the American much less from the other races of man, than do the mammals of the African and American continents from the mammals of the other provinces.
Even if it should hereafter be proved that all the races of men were perfectly fertile together, he who was inclined from other reasons to rank them as distinct species, might with justice argue that fertility and sterility are not safe criterions of specific distinctness. We know that these qualities are easily affected by changed conditions of life, or by close interbreeding, and that they are governed by highly complex laws, for instance, that of the unequal fertility of converse crosses between the same two species. With forms which must be ranked as undoubted species, a perfect series exists from those which are absolutely sterile when crossed, to those which are almost or completely fertile. The degrees of sterility do not coincide strictly with the degrees of difference between the parents in external structures or habits of life. Man in many respects may be compared with those animals which have long been domesticated, and a large body of evidence can be advanced in favour of the Pallasian doctrine,* that domestication tends to eliminate the sterility which is so general a result of the crossing of species in a state of nature. From these several considerations, it may be justly urged that the perfect fertility of the intercrossed races of man, if established, would not absolutely preclude us from ranking them as distinct species.
ObservationAnyone who accepts evolution should read The Descent of Man from cover to cover. In this book Darwin applied his theory of descent with modification to all living things. He stated that certain populations of organisms will develop traits that "better fit" them for their environment. The success of this particular population of organisms may then result in the extinction of the original population. For example, there are bacteria alive today that are thought to have evolved millions of years ago. And there are also bacteria that have long ago gone extinct. Some bacteria are thought to have evolved into more complex life forms. This is the basis of descent with modification. Different populations, or groups of organisms, develop different traits that eventually lead to new species. Darwin applied this same process to all living things - including humans.
The words "All men are created equal" were not uttered by Charles Darwin. Evolution results in some very serious consequences and racism is just one of them. Adolf Hitler embraced evolution and took it to its logical end. There have been many others who, using the doctrine of Charles Darwin, have advocated the idea of a superior race. And why shouldn't they? Darwin himself advocated the superiority of certain organisms over their inferior relatives. Those who accept the idea of evolution need to be accept the outcome as well.Table of Contents
Non-scientific EvidenceWe have already seen that much of what is called "scientific evidence" is actually circumstantial evidence instead. There is nothing wrong with circumstantial evidence. It is actually quite useful. And in the following sections I will discuss circumstantial evidence in more detail. In addition, there are two more types of evidences that are available to us. One is eye-witness tesitmony. The evidence provided by an eye-witness in court can be the deciding factor in whether the defendant is found guilty or innocent. The second one is prophecy. Now prophecy will be derided by anyone who does not believe in the super-natural. But as we have already learned - truth is not defined by belief.
FactReligion is defined by Websters as "the belief in a god or a group of gods". There are many religions in the world today. Millions of people profess to believe in God or some type of supernatural power. Some religions claim to have one god while others have many. Some of the more prominent religions are Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. Throughout the history the worship of a god or gods has been a dominant force in human existence.
ObservationI do not believe that there is scientific evidence to support any religion. Most of the evidence for, or against, any particular religion will be circumstantial in nature. In some situations eye-witness testimony also plays a part. There is also evidence that is supernatural in nature.
Most people, whether they are religious or not, have little or no evidence to support what they believe. Most people believe, sometimes very fervently, only because that is what their family, friends, educators, or neighbors believe. I think that very few people could actually provide any evidence at all for what they believe. This is not to say that religious people are not sincere in their faith. On the contrary, many religious people will kill, or be killed, in defense of their faith. But this paper is not about faith. It is about the evidence to support that faith. It is about knowing what you believe and why you believe it.
Of all the worlds religions only Judaism and Christianity present evidence to support their claims. This does not mean that the majority of Jews and Christians are knowledgeable regarding that evidence. I believe that most religious people, like all others, have little or no evidence to support their beliefs. In the following paragraphs I will do my best to outline the evidence for the Christian faith. I choose Christianity because it incorporates all of the evidence for Judaism and then some. Much of the evidence for the Christian faith is contained in one book: the Bible.Table of Contents
FactThe Bible is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. To most Christians the Bible is the very word of God. There are many versions of the Bible available today. There are also many different interpretations of the text. Some Christians take the entire Bible literally as the inerrant word of God. Others will pick and choose what parts they are willing to accept. But in spite of these variances it can still be stated unequivocally that the Bible is foundational to the Christian faith.
The Bible itself claims to be the very word of God. It claims to be Gods written word to man. The Bible itself asserts that it is a supernatural book and not just words written on a page. The Bible claims to be "living and active". It also professes to be able to predict future events including the end of times. The key to the Christian faith is the Bible. But what evidence is there that the Bible is what it claims to be?
ObservationThere is no scientific evidence that I know of that will back up the claims of the Bible. The evidence for the Bible is circumstantial and prophetical in nature. In the following outline I will briefly summarize that evidence.
1. The Bible was written over a four thousand year period of time, on three different continents, by some 20 different authors and in three different languages. And yet the Bible tells a unified story from beginning to end. What is spoken of in the book of Genesis comes back again in the book of Revelation. I myself cannot even remember what I wrote in this essay a week ago let alone a thousand years later. Yet the Bible tells a unified story over a 4,000 year period. That is nothing short of miraculous.
2. The Bible speaks of things that are going to happen before they actually do. The Bible is so accurate in predicting future events it is assumed by some that the predictions were written after the events occurred. There is no evidence for this assumption whatsoever. And, unlike some other so-called seers, the people that prophesied in the Bible were either correct or they were killed.
3. The Bible contains what appears to be contradictions. For example, in one Gospel there are two demon possessed men but in a different Gospel there is only one. For some this proves that the Bible is not God's word. They claim that if God had written it then He would surely know whether there were one or two men. But I find the evidence to be exactly the opposite. For if the Bible were written to please men the authors could have easily changed the two accounts to agree with each other. The scribes who copied the manuscripts down through the years could also have easily changed the stories so that they agreed with each other. These scribes were highly educated and they read the same words that we do today. Why did they not just make a few adjustments as they found necessary? Because they knew that these were the words of God and they copied them exactly word for word.
4. The Bible has more original manuscripts to support it than any other written book in history. People assume that Homer wrote the Illiad. This assumption is based on just a few original documents. The Bible has thousands of manuscripts dating back thousands of years. In fact the Bible has more original manuscripts to back it up than any other book ever written.
5. These same manuscripts have been accurately copied, word-for-word, for thousands of years. The scribes that copied the manuscripts were highly educated men. They worked diligently to ensure that the copies that they made were accurate - word-for-word. If a mistake was made the entire manuscript was destroyed and the process was begun again. One can hardly read a newspaper today without finding a multitude of errors. I myself do not know where I would be without spell-check in writing these words. Yet these copies were made by humans, using home-made paper, animal skins and ink, for thousands of years. And the oldest manuscripts are almost identical to the ones that we have today.
6. The Bible is accurate in history, genealogy, anthropology and geography. Throughout history the Bible has been ridiculed as being a book riddled with errors. And yet over time these "so-called" errors have been found to be true after all. The Bible tells a more accurate history of Egypt than do the Egyptians themselves. The Bible was criticized for speaking of a people called the Hittites. Scientists assumed that the Hittites never existed because the only place that they were mentioned was in the Bible. Then one day evidence was discovered showing that the Hittites did indeed exist. Now we know that they were one of the most powerful societies to have ever existed. The Bible proclaimed the history of this people all along.
7. The events recorded in the Bible changed peoples lives. The Bible claims that Jesus Christ was killed and then rose again. The disciples who lived with Jesus were completely changed by this event. If they knew that Jesus did not really rise from the dead then why would they have allowed themselves to be killed? There are many people who will die for what they believe in without any evidence whatsoever. These people either knew Jesus had risen or that he was in fact still dead. And if they actually knew that he was dead they would not have gone to their death claiming otherwise.Table of Contents
Objections to Christianity
FactThere are many common objections that people have regarding Christianity. These objections are often used to reject the Christian faith in full or in part. I will list just a few of them here along with my opinions.
- Christians are hypocrites and do not live out what they believe.
- Christians are just as unhappy as non-Christians.
- Christianity is accepted by faith and has no evidence to support it.
Observation1. Christians are hypocrites and do not live out what they believe. True. Most, if not all, Christians are hypocrites some, or all, of the time. But then so are non-Christians. No one it seems is able to live life as they would like. We all fall short of our ideals. Being a hypocrite has nothing to do with what someone believes. It has everything to do with character. I would assume that most Christians do want to live out their faith. I know that I do. But I also know that I struggle to live my life as I would like. But the truth of God's existence is not dependent on my behavior. God either exists, or He does not exist, regardless of how I, or anybody else, behaves. 2. Christians just as unhappy as non-Christians. True. There seems to be as many unhappy Christians as there are unhappy non-Christians. Most people appear to be dissatisfied with their lives. But if that is the case then the question becomes: Why would anyone want to spend their lives feeling guilty for what they have done? Why not enjoy life and then when you die you die? There was a popular song in the 1970's by Billy Joel. One of the lyrics stated that "I would rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints". It was a good song and I still like it to this day. Unfortunately it was based upon poor logic.
Sinners and saints all cry. There is no one who laughs their way through life. Christians and non-Christians alike struggle with the affairs of this world. People do not get divorced, abuse alcohol or food or drugs because they are satisfied with their lives. Most of us continually strive to get more "stuff" because we are not content with what we have. Christians are called to a higher standard and should know better but often this is not the case. But if the Bible is true after all then what really counts is what happens next - when we die.
Scientific evidence indicates that there was a force involved in the creation of the physical universe. Circumstantial evidence indicates that this creator is the God of the Bible. Circumstantial, eye-witness and prophetic evidence shows that the Bible is God's word. The Bible states that we will live forever - either in Heaven or in Hell. If this statement is true then our lives here on earth are relatively short.
To demonstrate this brevity try to remember what happened in your life exactly one year ago today. Was it a good day or bad day? Did you laugh or did you cry? If you are anything like me you cannot even remember that day at all. And yet at the time that day was the most important day of my life. But now I cannot even remember what I did that day not to mention whether it was good or bad. But if the Bible is true then we are going to live forever, either in Heaven or Hell. This means that this life is only a shadow of reality. Like everyone else I have my share of bad days. But when I do I know that I would rather cry with the saints in Heaven than cry with the sinners in Hell.3. Christianity is accepted by faith and it has no evidence to support it.
False. The existence of an unidentified force involved in the creation of the physical universe has strong scientific evidence. The fact that life has always existed has strong scientific evidence. The fact that the God of the Bible was the creative force is supported by strong circumstantial evidence. The Bible has a tremendous amount of circumstantial, eye-witness and prophetic evidence showing it to be the very words of God.Table of Contents
- The Bible (God)
- On the Origin of Species (Charles Darwin)
- The Descent of Man (Charles Darwin)
- Evidence That Demands a Verdict (Josh McDowell)
- Know Why You Believe (Paul E. Little)
- The Biotic Message (Walter J. Remine)
- The Case for Christ (Lee Strobel)
- Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis)
If you came here expecting a list of citations for the content on this page you are most likely disappointed. I have very few, if any, citations for this site. The reason for this is that all of the information listed in the "fact" sections of each topic is common knowledge to anyone familiar with the topic. I did not consult any particular source for the information contained here (at least not one that I can remember). If I do use any particular source I will refer to it in the body of the text. I strongly encourage anyone interested in this subject to do their own research. With information so freely available today there really is no excuse for people not being informed on such an important subject. This site is intended to be only a starting point and not an end in itself.Table of Contents
1. Those who seek evidence for what they believe. This group includes mainly the scientifically literate. In actual numbers this group appears to make up a very small minority of the human race.
2. Those who are confident in what they believe but have little or no evidence to support those beliefs. This group includes most of the worlds religious and many scientifically enlightened as well. In actual numbers this group appears to form the largest segment of the worlds population.
3. Those who do not seem too concerned one way or the other. The members of this group may ask themselves those questions but they do not appear to spend too much time worrying about the answers. Some in this group will move into one of the other two groups as death draws closer. In actual numbers this group appears to be dominant mainly in the Western world and other material oriented cultures.
There are two distinct viewpoints concerning the answers to those three fundamental questions - science and religion. Of all the worlds religions only Judaism and Christianity make any effort to back up their claims with evidence. As Christianity can be considered the culmination, or continuation, of Judaism it has been the religious focus of this paper.
If you would like to contact me please use the contact form at Jeften LLC. I appreciate all nice comments, questions or corrections. I make every attempt to present the material truthfully and honestly. If I make a mistake in content, presentation or even spelling I will do my best to correct it. My observations and opinions of course are my own and I offer no apology for those. This page will be continually updated with new information, corrections and/or opinions as I find the time. As can be easily ascertained from even a cursory reading this site is a work in progress.Table of Contents
Table of ContentsIntroduction
The Doctrine of Uniformitarianism
The 1st Law of Thermodynamics
The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics
The Four Fundamental Forces
The Big Bang
The Age of the Universe
The Age of the Earth
Star and Planet Formation
The Origin of Life
Macroevoultion and microevolution
Genes, Gene Mutations and Neo-Darwinsim
Isn't Evolution "Just a Theory?"
Is It Really That Important to Teach Evolution?
Conclusions from Science
Environmental Change and Species Extinction
Objections to Christianity