Darwin’s corrosive idea
Published: 19 September 2017 (GMT+10)
First appeared in CMI (UK/Europe) Prayer News, January 2017.
In November 2016, the Discovery Institute published the results of a survey showing the far-reaching impact of evolutionary beliefs across the United States of America.1 They concluded,
“Overall, this survey provides evidence that unguided chemical evolution and the Darwinian mutation/selection mechanism are the most significant drivers of science-related erosion in faith in God…”
By “unguided chemical evolution” it means the belief that first life arose from ordinary chemicals entirely by natural processes, i.e. with no intelligent input. By the “Darwinian mutation/selection mechanism” it means Darwin’s theory of evolution, which states that all of the living world arose from a common ancestor, this being the original life form that allegedly arose by “unguided chemical evolution”. By “science-related erosion in faith in God” the article is referring to what atheist philosopher Professor Daniel Dennett said of Darwinism, i.e. that it is a “universal acid” that dissolves traditional religious and moral beliefs.2
Unguided chemical evolution
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the survey’s findings is that 66% of those who identified as atheists felt that “unguided chemical evolution” made the existence of God less likely (Table 1). This is simply astonishing because leading evolutionists will often freely acknowledge that they have no idea how this could have happened. According to Professor Stuart Kauffman, who is at the forefront of origin of life research, “Anyone who tells you that he or she knows how life started on earth … is a fool or a knave. Nobody knows.”3 When asked in an interview whether he had any idea how life started, Professor Richard Dawkins replied, “No, nor has anybody”.4
The most basic living cell would be anything but simple. It might be described as a complex automated factory, complete with machines, assembly stations and transport systems, all under the control of software stored in the cell’s DNA. If just one of these pieces of hardware were missing, or if the cell lacked just one of the many essential genes making up its software, the organism would die without reproducing. Despite decades of research, scientists have been unable to identify any natural processes which appear remotely capable of putting together such an entity. In fact, all observations to date indicate that unguided chemistry would destroy the components needed for life rather than build them.6 How then can “unguided chemical evolution” be considered a scientific argument against a creator? That the majority of atheists see it this way makes clear the extent of the ignorance prevalent in our supposedly educated generation.
Unguided natural selection
A similar number (65%) considered that “unguided natural selection” also provided evidence against a belief in a creator. Presumably, by this they understand “the Darwinian process”. Yet here there is, again, widespread confusion. While it is true that scientists observe natural selection in action, they do not observe this creating anything new, even when it takes place as a result of mutation (i.e. accidental changes in DNA).7 Bacteria, for example, often acquire resistance to antibiotics by reducing or losing existing functions.8 For microbes to turn into men, new functions, new organs and new structures must be added!
Universal common ancestry
“Universal common ancestry” refers to the view that all life on earth is descended from a first cell which allegedly arose spontaneously in some ‘chemical soup’. However, this is what Darwinian evolution assumes rather than establishes. It is based on the belief that similarities in nature are explained by common ancestry rather than a common designer.9 Again this has nothing to do with science.
The Big Bang
That a life sustaining universe like ours could arise from something akin to a random explosion has no more scientific credibility than a fairy tale, as many secular cosmologists will admit. Despite this, the media leave people with the impression that all knowledgeable scientists accept Big bang theory as established science. This is simply not true.10
Disease and death
That half the atheists surveyed see suffering as a reason to reject a belief in a good God is, at first, understandable. However, the Bible provides a perfectly satisfactory answer. Violence, disease, suffering and death came into the world only after mankind started to sin (Genesis 3). So they are our fault and not God’s fault. Despite this, God so loved mankind that He sent his Son to redeem us (John 3:16).
Poor design/useless features
This argument holds that there are aspects of the natural world that are poorly designed. Hence, unguided evolution appears to be a better explanation for their form. Yet, time and again, what was said to be bad design is subsequently found to be the very opposite. A good example is the human eye, which Professor Richard Dawkins claims looks as if it was conceived by “a complete idiot”.11 However, research has shown that its supposedly faulty, ‘backwardly wired’ configuration actually enables it to function at much higher level than the design preferred by Dawkins.12
Fine tuning of the laws of physics
This refers to the need for many characteristics of the universe to be ‘just right’, i.e. very ‘finely tuned’ to enable life to exist. That atheists should consider this an argument against design is astonishing. It implies the very opposite, as a randomly formed universe could not sustain life. Cambridge University astronomer Professor Fred Hoyle remarked,
“A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”13
Complex design in nature
Again, it is remarkable that nature’s complexity would seem, for some atheists, to support an argument against life having been designed. A typical biological cell, say as found in humans, has been likened to a fully automatic factory the size of London.14 Nobody has ever shown that the Darwinian process could produce something like this, even given billions of years. The belief that natural processes could do this is based on blind faith alone.
Does it matter?
Acceptance of the view that ‘evolutionary science’ shows that there was no designer has done much to erase Christian beliefs and attitudes from society.1 The late Harvard University palaeontologist Professor Stephen J. Gould argued that Darwinian “biology took away our status as paragons created in the image of God.” Incredibly, Princeton University bioethicist Peter Singer invokes evolutionary theory to argue that handicapped human newborns are less valuable than healthy pigs and dogs. According to former Earth First! activist Christopher Manes, “Darwin invited humanity to face the fact that the observation of nature has revealed not one scrap of evidence that humankind is superior or special, or even particularly more interesting than, say, lichen.” Given that the western world’s most influential academics teach such views as ‘science’, is it really surprising that so many are so hardened to the Gospel?
The good news, however, is that there have never been so many scientific facts pointing to the truth of biblical creation—and a vast array of these can be found on creation.com. All these articles can be accessed freely!
References and notes
- West, J.G., Darwin’s Corrosive Idea, Discovery Institute, Seattle, USA, November 2016; discovery.org/id/o/survey. Return to text.
- Dennett, D.C., Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, Simon & Schuster, 1995. Return to text.
- Kauffman, S., At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organisation and Complexity, Oxford University Press, New York, USA, p. 31, 1995. Return to text.
- Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, DVD, Premise Media Corporation, 2008. Return to text.
- Ref. 1, p. 7. Return to text.
- Carter, R., ed., Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels, Creation Book Publishers, ch. 3, 2014. Return to text.
- Wieland C., The evolution train’s a-comin’ (Sorry, a-goin’—in the wrong direction), Creation 24(2):16–19, March 2002; creation.com/train. Return to text.
- Wieland, C., Superbugs not super after all, Creation 20(1):10–13, December 1997; creation.com/superbugs. Return to text.
- Statham, D., Homology made simple, Creation 34(4):43–45, October 2012; creation.com/homology-simple. Return to text.
- Wieland, C., Secular scientists blast the big bang: What now for naïve apologetics?, Creation 27(2):23–25, March 2005; creation.com/big-bang-blast. Return to text.
- Dawkins, R., The Greatest Show on Earth, Transworld, UK, p. 354, 2009. Return to text.
- Sarfati, J., Fibre optics in eye demolish atheistic ‘bad design’ argument, Creation 31(1):45–47, December 2008; creation.com/fibreoptic. Return to text.
- Hoyle F., The universe: past and present reflections; in: Engineering and Science, p. 12, November 1981. Return to text.
- Denton, M., Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Adler & Adler, USA, pp. 328–9, 1986. Return to text.
Good article. I can only agree with a previous correspondent who points to "willing ignorance". Yes, indeed, it is my experience that people cling desperately to these beliefs in order to convince themselves there is no God and that they are not sinners. I was there myself at one time. I too hoped like crazy that there was no Creator or afterlife. I praise God for not letting me win.
Atheists see fine-tuning/design as proof against God because they see it as proof of a Multiverse. In 2012 BioLogos was against the Multiverse. (See for example their video 'Deeper'.) But they now follow the atheists. Their president Deborah Haarsma said in her talk 'God and the Multiverse' 6/5/2015 that the Big Bang inflation model predicts a Multiverse and God could have used a Multiverse to create a fine-tuned universe. The atheists understand better than BioLogos that Big Bang and a Multiverse are against God's Word.
A great article! I have long said that molecules to man evolution is incredibly bad science. It's belief, pure and simple. Thank you, CMI, for showing forth this truth so clearly!
Regarding “unguided chemical evolution” as a belief of most atheists, the author writes, “That the majority of atheists see it this way makes clear the extent of the ignorance prevalent in our supposedly educated generation.” The Bible seems to take this one step further in a related topic and in 2 Peter 3:5 calls it “deliberate” or “willing” ignorance. “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water” (KJV) or “For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God” (ESV).
It reminds me of the ostrich’s reputation of burying its head in the sand pretending that whatever is ignored doesn’t exist. Fortunately, in the ostrich’s case, the reputation is undeserved.