Natural Selection: Superpower? … or Kryptonite!
Fanatical atheist Richard Dawkins, (one of the leading champions of evolutionary ideas), has revealed his faith in the non-observable. He stated in an interview that:
‘Evolution has been observed. It’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening.’1
This is like saying you are a super-hero and your ‘power’ is that you can turn invisible. However, you can only turn invisible when no one is looking, not even yourself!
Perhaps the most revealing portion is the admission that ‘ … it hasn’t been observed … ’!
According to naturalists, millions of years of chance random processes produced all the various life forms that have ever lived on earth through a process called evolution.
When Darwin proposed his version of evolution, he cited one mechanism (hinting there might be others) over and over again: natural selection.
Darwin’s book The Origin of Species … has been touted as second only to the Bible on its influence in western culture.2 The concepts it proposed did radically change society. The over-arching implications were that God was not necessary to explain our origins and that the creation account in the Bible was false.
There was only one problem with the idea that natural selection was the answer to where we came from. It didn’t work …
Relatively soon after his theory became popular it was pointed out that any selection process (whether natural or not) can only choose from things that already exist. For example, if I take my wife out to a buffet dinner we may both choose different things on our plates, but the food we choose was already present. Also, the food we end up with on our plate is less than the amount that it started from (the buffet). So selection tends to reduce the amount of variation, not increase it.
Natural Selection is no Superpower
While the fictional Clark Kent could change into his ‘Superman’ clothes, neither natural selection nor mutations can be clothed with the superpower needed to change pond scum into people. Just as kryptonite crippled Superman, evolution’s own supposed driving forces actually cripple it, leaving Darwinian ideas bereft of any mechanism to generate the needed increase in genetic information. And there are no clothes options left for the Evolution Emperor to change into—superpower or otherwise.
Similarly, living things have built-in variation and the environment may select for certain traits, but natural selection does not produce new genetic information. Evolutionary scientists realized that in order for the theory of evolution to remain plausible, they needed a new ‘mechanism’. They needed something to produce brand new genetic information that could lead to different features in living things (like the code to manufacture feathers, muscle, bone, etc.). These new features (i.e. greater variety) could then be selected from.
The new mechanism was mutation. (Mutations are genetic copying mistakes that occur when DNA produces copies of itself.) This led to ‘Neo-Darwinian Theory’. This basically says that mutations provide variety while natural selection sorts out the new genetic information. This one-two punch was supposed to explain away any opposition to a naturalistic view of life’s origin.
But note the key word: ‘new’—i.e. for this scenario to work, mutations would have to add new genetic information, i.e. it would require an uphill change. But this is the opposite direction to all observed mutations today.3,4
So given that mutation is an information-losing mechanism, it cannot generate the gains that goo-to-you evolution requires (and upon which natural selection can operate). So when evolutionists invoke mutation as a key evolutionary mechanism, it’s akin to saying that scrambling the information in a computer program can result in better software! But, in reality, corruption of the DNA code results in chaos—the worse the corruption, the greater the chaos—not the kinds of changes necessary for pond scum to have given rise to people.
Christians are often accused of having ‘blind faith’, meaning there is no observable evidence to support our beliefs in Christ as Lord and Saviour, or the Bible as credible. While it is true that historical events cannot be ‘proven’ with the scientific method (repeatable experiments), the historical, eyewitness accounts in the Bible can be powerfully defended.
Evolution is often claimed to have the same credibility as any other scientific theory (gravity etc.). However, evolution is entirely theoretical, with no repeatable experiments possible, because it is fundamentally a theory about history.5 It is an attempt to come up with a history that fits the present evidence. And, as we have emphasized many times (see e.g. Faith and facts), the evidence is open to diverse interpretations.
Faith in the Bible and origin of man as revealed in the book of Genesis, witnessed by the Creator himself, is far more realistic and rational than a ‘theory’ with no historical or observable support. The present is not the key to understanding the past; rather, an eyewitness account of the past is the key to understanding both the past and the present evidence. The Bible is that key, and it tells about the future as well—for the benefit of anyone willing to take notice.
- December 2004 Interview Bill Moyers ‘Now’ Transcript
transcript349_full.html#dawkins. Return to Text.
- ‘The Origin of Species has had more influence on Western culture than any other book of modern times. It was not only a great biological treatise, closely reasoned and revolutionary, but it carried significant implications for philosophy, religion, sociology, and history. Evolution is the greatest single unifying principle in all biology.’Prosser, C.L. 1959. The ‘Origin’ after a Century: Prospects for the Future? American Scientist, 47(4):536–550, Dec. Return to Text.
- Wieland, C., The evolution train’s a-comin’ (Sorry, a-goin’—in the wrong direction), Creation 24(2):16–19, 2002; <www.creation.com/train>. Return to Text.
- No mutations have ever been observed which build up the DNA strand with new previously non-existent information. However, there are designed (i.e. created) mechanisms for generating limited new information under strict cellular control. See, e.g., Batten, D., The adaptation of bacteria to feeding on nylon waste, Journal of Creation 17(3):3–5, 2003, <www.creation.com/nylon>; and Truman, R., The unsuitability of B-cell maturation as an analogy for neo-Darwinian theory. Return to Text.
- Batten, D., It’s not science, 28 February 2002. Return to Text.