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David Attenborough’s First Life: Arrival

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Published: 26 February 2013 (GMT+10)

In this BBC-Discovery TV program1 Sir David Attenborough tells us his purpose is to look at the origin of life and for the very first living creature that appeared on Earth. As he presents the evolutionist worldview, we shall examine what he says and compare it with the biblical worldview.

He begins by showing us a rock surface in Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire, England, and he says: “A discovery was made that transformed our understanding of that mystery of mysteries, the origin of life.” In 1957 a schoolboy named Roger Mason found a fossil in these rocks that evolutionists said were 600 million years old [i.e. Precambrian]. Viewers see a computer-reconstruction of this fossil as a leaf-like plant growing on the sea-floor in darkness. It has been given the genus name Charnia.

First life: microscopic single cells

Attenborough continues:

Before Charnia and other complex organisms existed, the only living things were microscopic single cells. They first appeared about 3½ billion years ago when the earth was a very different place. … The land was dominated by volcanoes, hostile and lifeless; but deep in the oceans life had begun. The latest theory is that chemicals spewing from underwater volcanic vents … produced the conditions needed for the first cells to form. Some of these began to harness the energy of sunlight just as plants do today, and form colonies.

It is true that organisms (sometimes called ‘extremophiles’) can and do thrive in the corrosive and near-boiling environments around some underwater volcanic vents and hot springs.2 However, the claim that life originated there does not follow. Such a claim is actually a faith statement, i.e. that an unknown reaction mixture, under unknown reaction conditions, gave unknown products by unknown mechanisms, and these products were somehow alive. So a few questions are in order:

  1. Seeing, Sir David, that every one of the thousands of animals you have depicted in your many TV programs has been the product of biogenesis [i.e. life from life or they all had parents], what actual scientific evidence (as distinct from your evolutionary faith statement) do you offer in support of the above abiogenesis [i.e. life from non-life, or no parents needed], also known as chemical evolution?
  2. What about the fact that high water temperatures around volcanic vents would destroy any biomolecules formed faster than they generate them?3
  3. Plants that harness the energy of sunlight today need a complex chemical molecule called chlorophyll. In photosynthesis, plants break up a molecule of water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen then combines with CO2 from the air to make sugars, which the plant uses for food.4 This has been enormously difficult for science to duplicate—building a molecule that can break water without breaking up itself.5 So how did your first cells develop these requirements?

Nobody knows how a mixture of lifeless chemicals spontaneously organized themselves into the first living cells.—Prof. Paul Davies

In fact, chemical evolution is a massive problem for evolutionists, as evolutionist physicist Paul Davies points out when he says: “Nobody knows how a mixture of lifeless chemicals spontaneously organized themselves into the first living cells.”6

The biblical worldview answers the above problems. It too is a faith statement (cf. Hebrews 11:34), but it involves the “living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them” (Acts 14:15). Jesus said that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). The Bible further says that “In Him [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:4). Jesus is also our Creator God (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). He created our planet with its life-friendly atmosphere, as well as plants, animal life, and man during Creation Week, as described in Genesis chapter 1.

As for extremophiles that live in the ocean, Genesis states:

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures … .” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds … . And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas … .” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day (Genesis 1:20–23).

‘Snowball Earth’

Attenborough next tells us that for some 3 billion years simple microscopic organisms were the most advanced form of life on planet Earth. Then, he says:

“Just before complex life appeared, the world was in the grip of the biggest Ice Age in its entire history … it probably extended from Pole to Pole [hence ‘Snowball Earth’] … it’s likely that those conditions lasted for millions of years.”

We are not told the reason why this Ice Age occurred or why it lasted for the claimed millions of years. But any discussion involves the sun. As the sun shines, the nuclear reaction is four hydrogen nuclei fusing into one helium nucleus. This takes less room, so the core contracts, which makes fusion easier, and the sun shines ever more brightly. This is not noticeable over the biblical timescale, but it does entail that the sun would have been much fainter billions of years ago, if it were that old. This faint young sun paradox is a big problem for the evolutionary worldview, because the evidence favours warmer climates in the past.7

USGS/Cascades Volcano Observatory/D. Burgos

Volcanoes expel huge quantities of ash, blocking the sun and cooling the atmosphere.

Volcanoes expel huge quantities of ash, blocking the sun and cooling the atmosphere.

Then Attenborough tells us that finally Snowball Earth began to warm due to volcanic activity that spewed carbon dioxide into the air, producing a greenhouse effect, so that the earth warmed and the ice melted.

There is another, major problem with this evolutionary worldview. Volcanoes don’t only spew carbon dioxide, they also belch huge quantities of ash and aerosols into the atmosphere. These shade the earth from the sun, and the net effect is a cooling of the earth rather than a warming of it. E.g. scientists generally believe that Krakatoa is still keeping the earth cool today due to the amount of rock, pumice and ash ejected from it in 1883.

Creationists too believe there was one main Ice Age, but we say it occurred shortly after Noah’s Flood rather than 3 billion years ago, because the post-Flood conditions provided the reason for it. Following the Flood, much water evaporated from the warm oceans, and at the same time airborne volcanic ash caused cooling of the land, and this combination of features caused the precipitation of enough snow over the land to cause the Ice Age.8 For further details see the Creation Answers Book, chapter 16.

Sponges, multicells and collagen

Back to the TV program, where we are told:

As the glaciers retreated, so nutrient-rich melt-water flooded into the oceans. … Cyanobacteria and other oxygen-producing microbes began to bloom across the globe … and it was this increasing oxygen that was the key to the rise of the animal kingdom. … Up to this moment, living cells that had been produced by division simply drifted away from one another. But now, with the aid of increasing oxygen, some cells were sticking together. Some of these clumps ultimately evolved into animals.

To illustrate how oxygen drove this process, Attenborough shows us a sponge, which he calls “a living fossil” that “has survived virtually unchanged for around 600 million years”. We are told that the cells of this:

Are held together by collagen. You need oxygen to manufacture collagen, and with the rising amount of oxygen in the atmosphere at the end of Snowball Earth, cells were able to manufacture it.

Illustration by Caleb Salisbury

Question:

Collagen is a protein that is made up of the amino acids glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine arranged in a triple-helical structure; so just how did the first single cells obtain the information to synthesize these amino acids and arrange them in the right sequence to give their necessary structure?9

Next, viewers are shown a laboratory experiment in which a sponge is cut into miniscule pieces that then slowly reconstitute themselves into a miniature sponge. Marine biologist Prof. Bernard Degnan tells us that we can infer from this that 600 million years ago cells could interact to give rise to something that’s bigger and greater—a large macroscopic multicellular animal.

Question:

So, fully formed, individual sponge cells can regenerate themselves as a multicellular sponge, but how does this relate to non-sponge single cells?

The fossils at Mistaken Point, Canada

Viewers are then shown fossils at Mistaken Point, Newfoundland, Canada, claimed to be over 565 million years old. They include hundreds similar to, and many larger than, the Precambrian fossil Charnia, first found at Charning Forest, England. We are told that “none of these fossils could move, nothing had a mouth, nothing had muscles”. Attenborough refers to them as ‘creatures’ and ‘proto-animals’, with the caveat that “they are not like anything that exists on Earth today”. He calls them fractal organisms,10 and says that they “grew by a series of branches with each branch exactly the same as its predecessor from the microscopic level upwards … so ‘animals’ using it grew large for the first time in the history of life on Earth”.

Paleontologist Dr Guy Norbonne tells us:

It takes a minimum of genetic programming in order to make one. You could probably do it with six to eight commands on your PC [personal computer] to make something that was fractally branching. And then combining to make up larger elements is literally child’s play, like a toddler might take Lego blocks and put them together to make up a larger structure.

Hold on a minute! “Six to eight commands on your PC” is in the context of a sophisticated programming system that can interpret those commands! Furthermore, even the child’s play still involves intelligence, which is not part of Attenborough’s story, which is that physics and chemistry gave rise to the diversity of life, not intelligence of any form.

Finally we are told that they all vanished, and have no living descendants, because “their fractal way of growing meant they were incapable of evolving things like guts and brains and muscles and teeth”.

These are interesting speculations, but they don’t really help answer the question put by evolutionist physicist Prof. Paul Davies concerning life’s origin: “How did stupid atoms spontaneously write their own software … ?” His answer is “Nobody knows … .”11

The fossils at Ediacara, South Australia

Viewers then see the Ediacaran Hills in South Australia, where there are fossils of soft-bodied creatures that paleontologist Dr Jim Gehling tells us were squishy things that lived flat on the shallow sea floor, and which had begun to move.

But how did these animals originate? We have only been told of single-cells, sponges, and fractal organisms that left no descendants. So what were the parents of these squishy things? Evolutionary biology, it seems, has no answer.

Instead, Attenborough introduces us to Dickinsonia, “a cushion-like creature that lay flat on the sea floor, crept from one feeding place to the next, perhaps with the help of hundreds of tiny tubular feet, as starfish do today”. Again, instead of telling us how Dickinsonia acquired the genetic information to grow hundreds of tiny feet, Attenborough tells us that “animals everywhere were on the move, actively seeking food”. And “this new mobility was only made possible by a major change in the layout of animals’ bodies”, namely bilateral symmetry. This is “a body with the head at one end, a tail at the other, and almost identical halves if you split it down the middle”, and in between, “segments on which you can add appendages”.

He continues:

Between the head and the tail there are numerous segments, so these animals could increase in size by simply adding more segments; what is more, each segment could do a particular job. … On the front end that’s where you need sense organs—eyes, feelers. On the appendages you can modify them to be hooks and claws so you can catch things. And at the back end there will be a pore from which you excrete the waste products. And that is the basic body plan of almost all the animals that are alive on the earth today.

Well, that’s a nice evolutionary story, but we have not been told how any of this occurred. E.g. how did any animal acquire the genetic information needed to grow eyes and feelers? Or hooks and claws? Or an excretory organ? How is it that the first time a fossil appears it has all the design features that make it special, whereas the theory of evolution postulates the gradual accumulation of body parts through random mutations? In short, how was it that animals had suddenly become so complex? This ‘Ediacaran explosion’ is actually another huge problem for evolutionists.12

Origin of sex

Attenborough’s answer to the last question is that animals acquired the ability to change with the changing environment by exchanging genetic material with other individuals, i.e. by reproducing sexually instead of by cell division. Paleontologist Dr Mary Droser enthusiastically tells us: “Sexual reproduction is why we have the diversity we have; it’s the story of the birds and the bees.” However, neither she nor Attenborough tells us how this or any other organism gained the genetic information to do this.

Sexual reproduction is another huge problem for evolutionists.

Sexual reproduction is another huge problem for evolutionists. Evolving a male without the female would be useless, so how did the transition from asexual to sexual reproduction evolve simultaneously in each sex and at each biological level? The fact that it gives diversity once it is already in place does not explain how it originated, because all transitional forms, e.g. half a sex organ, would be highly disadvantageous, and natural selection would eliminate them. Also in any stable population there is on average one surviving offspring per parent, so asexual reproduction is twice as efficient at passing on genes to the next generation.13

No such problems exist for the creationist worldview. On Days 5 and 6 of Creation Week God created sea-life, bird-life, and land animals, all with the organs necessary to multiply. In the case of the first human beings, Adam and Eve, the record specifically says that God created them “male and female” (Genesis 1:27). Furthermore, since the first of all of these animals and humans were originally created by God’s command, none of them needed to have parents.14

Predators

The TV program closes with paleontologist Dr Phillip Donoghue using an X-ray microscope to look inside a fossil of a tiny marine worm called Markuelia that we are told “lived just 20 million years after the animals of Ediacara”. It had teeth, and Attenborough says: “The fact that it had teeth suggests that it had a new diet—other animals.” Donoghue goes further than this cautious suggestion and says: “The fact that it’s got rings of teeth around its mouth that it would have ejected out of its mouth to grasp prey items tells us that this thing was a predator.”

This is an interesting speculation, given that Donoghue fails to name any animal alive today with a similar circular tooth structure, and among today’s animals, fruit bats have extremely sharp teeth but use them to eat only fruit.

Attenborough continues:

For the first time there were hunters in the oceans [do you mean this microscopic marine worm?], and that had enormous evolutionary imputations. There was about to be an explosion of life that would lay the foundations for modern animals. In another wave of evolution, the animal basic body plan became more and more elaborate. Fearsome predators appeared in the seas, great monsters on the land, and animals became masters of the earth.

So did the microscopic Markuelia evolve into these? If not, how did they form? Saying that various animals “appeared in the seas” or “on the land”, “in a wave of evolution” is mere hand-waving and gives no indication that they arose via random mutations and natural selection from any mutual ancestor.

Tree trunk fossils that cut across several geological layers, like these at Joggins, Nova Scotia, Canada, are evidence for fossil formation by the global Flood recorded in the Bible. See creation.com/polystrate-fossils-evidence-for-a-young-earth. Pictures from Ian Juby.

Conclusions

  1. Discerning viewers of the TV program will have noticed that Attenborough has been unable to say how life began, or how fractal organisms appeared, or how squishy things formed in the sea, or how any animal acquired complex organs, or how his first predator either originated or changed into any other predator.
  2. We have not been shown a single transitional fossil of one organism partly changing into a more complex organism. The missing links are still all missing.
  3. The most sensible and scientific reason why we don’t find fossils of the ancestors of the Ediacaran creatures is that they did not evolve from anything, but were created by God in the beginning.
  4. Attenborough quotes millions of years to support his thesis, but a better timeframe is that given by the Genesis Flood, where the unproven evolutionary deep-time sequence is replaced by the order in which the fossils were deposited during the Flood.
  5. The fact that many fossils are of soft-bodied creatures means that they were buried quickly (and thus avoided scavenging or oxidation), all of which is a problem for billions of years and uniformitarianism, but what we would expect as a result of the Flood 4,500 years ago.
  6. Evolutionary story-telling is no substitute for hard facts.

Related Articles

Further Reading

References

  1. Shown in the UK and USA in 2010 and in Australia on ABC1 in Dec. 2012. Return to text.
  2. Catchpoole, D., Life at the extremes: It shouldn’t be there. But it is. Evolution struggles to explain … , Creation 24(1):40–44. 2001; creation.com/extreme. Return to text.
  3. Sarfati, J., Hydrothermal origin of life? J. Creation 13(2):5–6, 1999; creation.com/hydrothermal. Return to text.
  4. Sarfati, J., Green power (photosynthesis): God’s solar power plants amaze chemists, J. Creation 19(1):14–15, 2005; creation.com/greenpower. Return to text.
  5. Catchpoole, D., In pursuit of plant power, creation.com/plantpower, 25 September 2012. Return to text.
  6. Davies, P., Born lucky, New Scientist 179(2403):32, 2003. Return to text.
  7. Oard, M., Is the faint young sun paradox solved? J. Creation 25(2):17–19, 2011; creation.com/young-sun-paradox. Return to text.
  8. The evidence for this post-Flood Ice Age is accepted generally, but it is not the one that Attenborough is talking about. Return to text.
  9. See also Doyle, S., Evolution of multicellularity: what is required? J. Creation 23(1):5–7, 2009; creation.com/multicellularity. Return to text.
  10. A fractal is a self-similar repeating geometrical pattern. See Blakefield, M., Order or chaos? Creation 20(3):46–48, 1998; creation.com/order-or-chaos. Return to text.
  11. Davies, P., Life force, New Scientist 163(2204):27–30, 18 September 1999. Return to text.
  12. Doyle, S., Ediacaran ‘explosion’: Another thumping headache for evolutionists, creation.com/ediacaran-explosion, 5 March 2008. Return to text.
  13. See Sarfati, J., Refuting Evolution 2, Chapter 11, Argument: Evolution of Sex, Creation Book Publishers, 2011. Return to text.
  14. See also Harrub, B. and Thompson, B., The Origin of gender and sexual reproduction. J. Creation 18(1):120–127, 2004. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments
C. M., Australia, 26 February 2013

The problem with analysing the past, is that there are gaps. In the world today, we are still coming across thousands of new species every year. In 2009 there was 19223. In 2010 there was 18225. When we are looking are something that is hundred of millions of years old, extending to over one billion, the percentage of fossils found to species living is even slimmer. What has been found so far gives us a glimpse into the past, a footprint.

We may never have a full understanding of our origins, however with every passing discoverory the evolutionary theory is strengthened. Conversely. the evidence supporting creationism is already documented, and has been this way for hundreds of years.

The argument of "a lack of evidence or understanding provides proof of creationism" is null. It just means the the theory of evolutionism, is just that. A (scientific) theory. That being a well substantiated explanation based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed. Given that the data required is upwards of a billion years old, of course there will be mission data points.

If you can provide a well substantiated explanation off facts that have been repeatedly confirmed, that I will be open to the view of creationism. Until you are able to confirm your statements through observable evidence, whilst open to your opinion you theory is no more substantiated than Ancient Aliens.

David Catchpoole responds

The problem with analysing the past, is that to know definitively what happened, you need reliable eyewitness testimony. In other words, an account of history. The creation account in the Bible is not a 'theory', it is history.

Now, if you rule out using historical accounts when practising science, then that dramatically limits the ability of science to tell you anything about what happened in the past. E.g. you can't use the 'scientific method' to tell you that the Second World War was a real event, and the date it started and the date it finished.

You want evidence in line with the Bible's account of history? It's everywhere—but you have to know how to see it!

P. B., Korea, Republic of, 26 February 2013

How can they say the things found at Mistaken Point were simple? Especially since they have no decendants today. Surely not being able to observe them in this present day, their DNA and functionality makes much of their observations merely speculative. I on the other hand am positive that if we could find their descendants today, they like the so-called simplest bacteria known to exist today, would be incredibly complex, more so than anything Man has ever made.

Mark D., Australia, 26 February 2013

The entire geologic column is found in 26 basins around the world, piled up in proper order. These basins are well documented if you care to look them up. (Robinson Group 1989). Also the existence of desert deposits is quite hard to place in the context of a global flood.

Salt beds found in Mississippi are up to 200 feet thick. The top Mississippian salt is 96% pure sodium chloride. Since they are sandwiched between other sediments, to explain them on the basis of a global, one-year flood, requires a mechanism by which undersaturated sea water can dump its salt. If the sea were super-saturated during the flood, no fish would have survived.

Fossils mammals are not found with the earliest dinosaurs, and no primates are found until the Ft. Union formation also no full dinosaur skeletons are found in the Tertiary layer This implies strongly that the column was not the result of a single cataclysm. If the column was an ecological burial pattern, then whales and porpoises should be buried with the fish. They aren't. The order of the fossils must be explained by processes over extended time periods well in excess of even 10000 years

You discount the use of uniformitarianism in the interpretation of the fossil record therefore you need to show how uniformitarian methodology is inappropriate. You also need to show why the laws of physics (Stokes law) does not apply to the deposition of 2 micron chalk particles, and demonstrate what laws do apply in order to explain the supposed rapid sedimentation of these beds.

The data shows that there is no strata which can be identified as the flood strata and there is no way to have the whole column be deposited in a single year. I've read through many articles on your site and not one addresses the above robustly.

Tas Walker responds

Hi Mark,

You have raised lots of issues and there are articles that deal with these on our site to various levels of detail. If you are open to seeking answers you could use the search box at Creation.com with the following key words:

"geologic column global sequence"

"geologic column general flood order"

"Shifting sands"

"Navajo Sandstone not a desert deposit"

"salt evaporites"

"dino demise mammal evolution"

"whales chile"

"mud experiments overturn"

On your last statement, it is not appropriate to look for a stratum as the Flood stratum because the Flood was much larger than that. The article about "geologic column general flood order" will clarify that. The signature of the Flood becomes very clear once you know what to look for.

It seems to me that you have lots of questions and objections but you are not aware that these have been answered, some for decades, others only recently. I'd encourage you to read up on the issue, finding relevant articles using the search engine on our website. That will make the picture clearer for you.

Robert S., Australia, 26 February 2013

Many of these programs seem to get around the lack of evidence by hiding behind an attitude that says, "We will explain what happened, but not how it happened, because the science would be too lofty and difficult for you (the audience) to grasp."

R. R., United States, 26 February 2013

"It takes a minimum of genetic programming in order to make one. You could probably do it with six to eight commands on your PC [...]"

Nothing like a Paleontologist making assertions unrelated to his field --i.e. the field of Computer Science. Leaving aside the topic of genetic programming (which supposedly emulates the mindless/unguided 'evolutionary processes', yet required guidance and minds to be developed) he also does not seem to notice that the number of commands that you need to do something useful correlates to the language being used, among other details.

For example, something as simple as a program that searches a list to see if a particular item exists will vary in length, complexity, and other details depending on language (e.g. x86 assembly vs C++ vs SQL), and even the structure used to represent the list, which may themselves require specific algorithms of varifying degrees of complexity, among other details.

For a quick comparison, just writing a useless program that prints "Hello" to a black console screen in x86 assembly can take ~14 lines, and a useful one would be too long to post here.

On the other hand, one in C++ (or Python, or Perl) would take less for *me* to write, but I must rely on a lot of code that was previously written/tested by others, including those who developed the language (called libraries), which can easily span 100K+ lines.

This is part of what the author correctly points out as the "sophisticated programming system that can interpret those commands!". Just to give you an idea, the Linux kernel (i.e core of O.S.) alone had ~15 million lines of code in ~37K files by the end of 2011.

Reality is far from the rather simplistic "explanation" that was given by someone not qualified to speak on the subject, i.e. a Paleontologist.

Hans G., Australia, 26 February 2013

No doubt, Attenborough makes wonderful films and when I select mute I am alone with God and his creation. The creation would bite Attenborough if it was a mosquito so close is he but can't see it.

Beside the Big Bang and so on, when evolutionists start to explain something, they always have programs, guidelines and directions at hand to jump to the next level.....and the worm became teeth to eat others......and the others lost their legs so they couldn't run away from the worm........?

Who arranged all those fitting events?

I say it in a humorous form: A scientist argued with God: "God we don't need you. We split atoms and we fuse them, we transplant organs we clone animals, we modify seed and influence the DNA, we look to the end of the universe and dive to the lowest point in the ocean, we change the weather and irrigate the dessert, we have birth control and we live longer, so God, we don't need you anymore". "Ok", said God, "lets start again" and He bent down to pick up some dirt. The scientist also bent down for some dirt but God said: "Oh no,no, you get your own"!

Joseph Allen K., United States, 26 February 2013

SCIENCE, by definition, is a body of knowledge that has been established by means of, and ONLY by means of, the SCIENTIFIC METHOD.

I am equally frustrated by (1) people like Attenborough who think the SCIENTIFIC METHOD can be replaced by "a political consensus among Scientists" and (2) people at CMI who think the SCIENTIFIC METHOD can NOT be applied to Hypotheses involving past events.

Attenborough and CMI need to return to the basics of the SCIENTIFIC METHOD. Please do NOT promote any Hypothesis to the status of SCIENCE until it has been established by means of the SCIENTIFIC METHOD ... !!!!

David Catchpoole responds

Joseph, are you aware that we're aware of the classic debating strategy: "Whoever (re)defines the terms, wins the debate"? Perhaps you are not aware that the secular evolutionary propagandists have endeavoured to hijack the term 'science' to suit atheistic ends. See: "It's not science".

peter H., United Kingdom, 26 February 2013

it seems to me that CM from australia ,s message is really just so much handwaving typical on discussion blogs.he should express specific objections if he really has anything objective.

on the other hand mark did raise specific objections [and apparently repectfully] so i was a little disappointed that tas did not adress these directly though providing links.maybe it is because of my own limited grasp of science that i had hoped some short answer would be supplied,if that is possible.i have no doubt that the articles suggested do give good answers to objections but i wonder if tas might be charged [albeit falsely] of evasion

David Catchpoole responds

Have you tried doing as Dr Walker suggested? I.e. enter those search terms into our search box, and carefully read through at least one or two of the articles listed as a result.

You'll see that many of those articles are indeed written by Tas himself—you can hardly charge him with 'evading' the topic! (See also his Biblical Geology site, too: http://biblicalgeology.net/)

Note that our article commenting rules and feedback rules specifically stipulate checking our website first using your key search terms before submitting questions—because 99% of the time those questions are indeed already answered by the more than 7,000 articles on our website.

Philip K., United Kingdom, 26 February 2013

In his narrative David Attenborough uses the word "theory". I thought that in science one went from hypothesis to theory to law and that hypothesis can only go to theory with evidence and then law when the theory is demonstrable and repeatable.

I am paraphrasing here and I must admit I have never read in full Darwins book "Origins..." but didn't Darwin say that for his (hypothesis) to work there had to be countless numbers of transitional fossils and that if they are not found the (hypothesis) would fail. 150 years on....?

I am not a scientist but would you please correct me if I am wrong in any of the aforementioned statements.

David Catchpoole responds

Re hypothesis-to-theory-to-law, you're quite right, in the sense that such a progression is indeed taught to university science students. However, Attenborough (like many other evolutionists) sometimes uses the terms as a layperson might, to suit his message. Yet evolutionists cry 'foul' if/when Christians do that. See Arguments we think creationists should not use.

Re "Origins", for the benefit of other readers, here indeed are Darwin's own words:

"Why is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory."

For more on this, see: The links are missing

Jeremy W., Canada, 26 February 2013

I felt like Spock from Star Trek. With each paragraph of quotes from 'first life' one eyebrow went a little higher.(Yes I am aware of the irony of using an 'evolved' alien species character in my comment.) Eventually I was pulling a muscle so I had to stop reading, and then come back. It is simply amazing how much we are told, and are just supposed to 'accept' on faith. Who says Christianity is a blind faith.

I liked R.R. in the United States comment about computers. I'm a CS graduate myself, and when I looked at the quote of 'a few commands on your computer' I laughed aloud. The user interface is exponentially higher level and extensive than 0, and 1. C++ and other object oriented languages are called 3rd generation high level programming for a reason. That interface you programmed your commands into on your pc started as C++, which started as assembly which started as machine architecture, which started as AND,OR, and NAND, which started as 0 and 1, which started as power on and off, which started at the creation of an electrical current. So those 'few' commands are actually in the millions. Kind of like how they have to use millions to get around the evolving issues.

Great write up. Thanks.

Chuck J., United States, 26 February 2013

I think I've seen Attenborough's tale on TV and am currently dreading the tale advertized by the History Channel coming on March 3 titled The Bible. I am confident that they will misrepresent The Bible just as they have done in the past. Their past record shows that they have little to no understanding. As long as Attenborough and the History Channel do not start with believing the Bible, they will continue to misrepresent creation and science. Thank you for your work.

David Catchpoole responds

As it turns out, the program series to be broadcast on the History Channel gets a "worth watching!" recommendation from CMI writers Lita Cosner and Scott Gillis, who were kindly supplied a pre-broadcast video of it for review. See A review of the TV series The Bible

Richard M., United Kingdom, 27 February 2013

The extraordinary thing is that David Attenborough actually believes this stuff. (So did I once). Incredible!

David Catchpoole responds

Actually, sometimes I have my doubts as to whether Sir David (and other outspoken proponents of evolution such as Richard Dawkins) really do believe what they spruik. But in any case, your comment brings to mind 2 Thessalonians 2:10b-12

They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

Carl S., Australia, 27 February 2013

"Pat Robertson, the controversial televangelist and host of the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club," is said to have stunned many of his viewers on Tuesday when he dispelled the idea -- held dear by many Bibical creationists -- that Earth is only 6,000 years old."

Does that make him a heretic now? Creation "Science" is an oxymoron. What have these "scientists" contributed to the pool of human knowledge other than say, oh, a book written 2000 years ago says it all.

David Catchpoole responds

If Pat Robertson, or anyone else, is willing to take God at His word, then there's no room for billions of years. Our Lord Jesus said that people were around from the beginning. As did the Apostle Paul (Romans 1:20). Maybe some readers would like to alert Pat Robertson to this article: Drawing power—People get the point when they see these two pictures (which has the very simple shortcut: creation.com/drawing-power).

What Bible-believing scientists have contributed to the pool of human knowledge? Try Isaac Newton for a start. And there's plenty of others.

Rose R., United Kingdom, 28 February 2013

I really fail to see why anyone with a modicum of intelligence and reasoning power, in this day (I mean today not millions of years from now)and age can believe in evolution. The more we learn about how complex things are, even so called 'simple' organisms, & DNA for example, surely is enough to make anyone seriously question evolution.

Even allowing the ridiculous idea of life developing from non-life how could creatures that reproduce by asexual means possibly change to sexual reproduction and all on their own? If you think about it for even a few minutes surely it is obvious that it is impossible, however many millions of years it allegedly took. For a start the organisms would have to stay of the same kind, to be able to reproduce, but gradually develop two different sets of internal & external sexual organs which at the same time would have to be compatible with each other to allow conception to take place. Also the DNA would have to divide itself so that half from the 'male' and half from the 'female' were united in the offspring. And what about about when the organism was part of the way through the change? How would it reproduce at all? Even if mutations could add information (which they don't) what are the chances of them causing different mutations in the same creatures which would allow completely different organs to develop in at least two of them which were also capable of together creating a viable offspring? And all this without any outside help or intelligence - just time and chance!

Natural selection would be no help as it can only select from what is already there and if an organ isn't there it can't be selected for can it.

Anyway keep up the good work. Your site is such a blessing. God bless you all.

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