This silly old canard? Once again LePage has not done his homework—see the
Do Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other? See also the
previous instalment refuting New Scientist’s claim
of Bible contradictions.
If someone tells you that creationism provides a better explanation for life on
Earth than the theory of evolution, ask them which version of creationism.
creationists, there is an
extraordinary range of beliefs about how life came to be. A few creationists
accept that evolution produced the great diversity of life on Earth—apart
from humans. Others think all life evolved but that the process was guided by a
This would normally be called
But such appeasement doesn’t impress misotheists
like the New Scientist writer or Richard Dawkins.
Other creationists accept that evolution can lead to minor changes (microevolution)
but deny that lots of little changes can result in new species or even new groups
of organisms (macroevolution).
We advise against this distinction in our
Use page, the eighth most widely read page on our site:
These terms, which focus on ‘small’
changes, distract from the key issue of information. That is, particles-to-people
evolution requires changes that increase genetic information, but all we
observe is sorting and loss of information. We have yet to see
even a ‘micro’ increase in information, although such changes should
be frequent if evolution were true. Conversely, we do observe quite ‘macro’
changes that involve no new information, e.g. when a control gene is switched
on or off.
I.e. it’s not that the changes are too small, but that the change is actually
going in the
opposite direction to what evolution requires—see The evolution train’s a-comin (Sorry, a-goin in the
Some think a deity created the very first life but then left it to evolve by itself.
Once again, this is a form of theistic evolution, not biblical creation. But it
intractable problem of the origin of
first life by any supposed chemical evolutionary process, since natural
selection can’t be invoked till there is already a self-replicating entity,
as leading evolutionist Dobzhansky pointed out.
Then there’s the vexed issue of timing.
Young Earth Creationists regard the Genesis account as ‘inerrant’
despite its contradictions (see
Evolution is wrong because the Bible is inerrant),
And we showed in a
previous instalment how contextually
ignorant the New Scientist writer is, easily explaining the alleged contradictions.
and claim the planet was created about 6000 years ago. ‘Old Earth Creationists’
meanwhile accept the hundreds of lines of evidence suggesting otherwise.
vast evidence for a younger world
and butchering the text of Scripture.
In any case, all the above
New Scientist paragraphs comprise a disingenuous
tactic: lump a whole lot of mutually incompatible beliefs under a single broad label,
then crow about how this label encompasses so much contradiction!
The same of course can be done with evolutionists, given the differences between
atheistic evolutionists, theistic evolutionists (whom atheists co-opt as ‘
useful idiots’ but
regard with complete contempt), New Age evolutionists, astrology-believing
evolutionists (New Age astrologers nearly all have an evolutionary mindset), crystal-power–invoking
evolutionists, undirected panspermists who think spores
came from outer space naturally, directed panspermists
like Crick who think aliens seeded us, those who propose the Gaia hypothesis
(that the earth is a living organism that has an innate natural tendency to form
life), gradualist evolutionists (like Darwin and Dawkins) versus saltationists (such
as Goldschmidt and Gould), and even flat-earth–believing evolutionists such as the leader of the Flat Earth Society …
Of course, logically the differences merely show that they can’t all be right;
they don’t show that they are all wrong. And any true proposition might have
thousands of similar-sounding propositions that are wrong, but it is crass to use
these wrong ones as an argument against the right one. Or does
think that 3745 x 921 can’t possibly be 3449145, because other students gave
answers like 3449144, 3449146, 3449135 etc.?
This schism is just the beginning. Some don’t dispute the earth’s apparent
age but believe it is an illusion (the
The Greek word for ‘navel’, after a strange theory of the leading 19
century naturalist and very popular writer Philip Gosse, who was also a devout Christian.
New Scientist, like many critics, doesn’t understand what exactly
it was that Gosse proposed. Gosse’s failure was unfortunately to invent the
unbiblical idea that time moved in a circle, which God interrupted
when He created. The time of real history since creation he called ‘diachronic’,
while ‘before’ creation, the cycling time was unreal, ‘virtual’
time he called ‘prochronic’. Thus Adam and Eve would have been created
with a navel to reflect a prochronic history of growing from a mother’s womb,
even though there was no real ‘diachronic’ history of such a thing.
Indeed, no evidence in the present could differentiate features produced in diachronic
or prochronic time:
‘ … we cannot avoid the conclusion that each organism was from the
first marked with the records of a previous being. But since creation and previous
history are inconsistent with each other; as the very idea of the creation of an
organism excludes the idea of pre-existence of that organism, or any part of it;
it follows, that such records are false, so far as they testify to time; that the
developments and processes thus recorded have been produced without time, or are
what I call “prochronic”.’
which some summarise as ‘God faked it’).
As shown above, that was not Gosse’s
intention. However, he won not
a single convert to his views at the time, precisely because it would make
God a deceiver. Nor has any modern creationist ever accepted the idea of God faking
it, or planting evidence to test faith or such rubbish—which is a rather dishonest
misotheistic caricature. But under an atheistic morality,
what’s wrong with deception— evolutionists
are even on record claiming that it’s OK to deceive kids into believing in
Note also, most creationists today believe that Adam and Eve would have lacked navels
precisely because they didn’t have mothers—see
Did Adam have a belly-button? Creationists also realize that the Bible teaches
a real linear history, and this was one feature that led to the blossoming
of modern science in Christianized Europe. Conversely, a cyclical view of history
goes back to the pagan Greek philosophers and it still followed by Eastern religions.
Yet others claim that the planet itself is billions of years old but that life on
it was created only recently.
The ‘soft gap theory’ is indeed incoherent on both biblical and scientific
Soft gap sophistry. It’s
hardly a reflection on biblical creation that some people have strange ideas.
Creationists do at least all believe in a creator. But who is it: God, Allah, Yahweh,
aliens or a
Which one of these religions has a live resurrected Saviour instead of founders
who rotted in their tombs?
So which one of these religions has a live resurrected Saviour instead of founders
who rotted in their tombs? Of course, this would mean that LePage would have to
deal with the
evidence, instead of generalities and elephant hurling and
attempts at ‘guilt by association’ (see Did
Jesus Christ really rise from the dead? and Holy books?
Which one are you going to trust?). Merely mentioning these beliefs
is silly without analysing the specific arguments for or against them. Indeed, God
= Yahweh anyway, and the other deities can be seen as arising from the corruption
of the true knowledge of the Creator of all.
Those who have studied our planet and the life on it, however, have come to very
clear conclusions: the Earth is around 4 billion years old and all the life on it
gradually evolved from much
I doubt that the
New Scientist writer LePage has studied much of this,
but some of those who have studied it come to very different conclusions. See for
example Young age of the Earth & Universe Q&A.
There is no evidence of any kind of outside intervention, and no need to invoke
it to explain what is known.
The evolution of flight in bats is a matter of conjecture. A bat
wing is irreducibly complex at the macro, the micro and the molecular levels in
spite of evolutionists’ protestations to the contrary.
Ipse dixit, common among misotheists to rule out theistic explanations
by decree (see The rules of the game),
since as Lewontin admits, ‘tolerance of just-so
stories’ is better than ‘allowing a divine foot in the door.’
Yes, there are many debates among biologists, geologists and cosmologists over the
finer details, but these will be resolved sooner or later by new discoveries or
experiments. Reality is the ultimate arbiter.
But we would go further and say that
contingent reality is dependent on
a necessary reality: God knows all true propositions, while we know only
a part. Systematic theologian Louis Berkhof approvingly explained about the views
of some leading theologians:
‘… Since the entrance of sin into the world, man can gather true knowledge
about God from His general revelation only if he studies it in the light of Scripture,
in which the elements of God’s original self-revelation, which were obscured
and perverted by the blight of sin, are republished, corrected, and interpreted.’
Berkhof’s own view was:
‘Some are inclined to speak of God’s general revelation [i.e., ‘nature’]
as a second source; but this is hardly correct in view of the fact that nature can
come into consideration here only as interpreted in the light of Scripture.’
By contrast, there is no way to resolve the often vast differences between the numerous
forms of creationism. Anyone can come up with their own version of creationism (and
many do). How do you convince the followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, for
instance, that his noodle is not the real creator?
How about providing some serious
arguments for this viewpoint that are
enough to convince you to become a devotee, before expecting the rest of
us to take them seriously? E.g. can it provide as good an explanation for the survival
of Christianity in the ancient world in the face of 17 major hurdles, as indisputable
evidence of the resurrection of Jesus does (see
The Impossible Faith). This in turn validates Jesus’ claims, e.g.
about Scripture and the history it provides.
Indeed, Christian apologist William Lane Craig points out another problem in
God and the Flying Spaghetti Monster:
Moreover, it’s plausible that any ultimate explanation must involve a personal
being which is incorporeal. For any being composed of material stuff will exhibit
precisely that specified complexity that we are trying to explain. The old “Who
designed the Designer?” objection thus presses hard against any construal
of the Designer as a physical object (see my “
Dawkins Argument for Atheism in The God Delusion” in the Question
of the Week Archive [or see CMI’s answer, The old
Who created God? canard revisited]). That immediately rules out the Flying
Spaghetti Monster as a final explanation.
Half a wing is no use to anyone
Just as objects designed for one purpose can be used for another, so genes, structures
and behaviours that evolve for one purpose become adapted to do another
Ever used a newspaper to light fires or mop up spills? Stood on a chair to reach
something? Or swatted flies with a rolled-up copy of
New Scientist? Just
as objects designed for a specific purpose can be co-opted for something quite different,
so features that evolved to do one task can be used for another – and often
That brings up a point in a
It’s not surprising that complex machinery could be adapted to simpler uses;
e.g. a TV with a blown CRT tube could still be used as an audio system like a radio,
but it wouldn’t mean that a TV evolved from a radio. Similarly, using
a rolled up copy of New Scientist to swat flies (an appropriate use for this issue)
means merely using the material substrate while dispensing with the information
(or misinformation in this case) therein. It would be quite another thing to find
the opposite: information (e.g. a Shakespearean sonnet) somehow encoded the cross-hatching
of a purpose-built fly swat.
But what use is half a wing? It’s a question that those who doubt evolution
first asked more than a century ago. When it comes to insects,
rowing and skimming could be the answer. Stonefly nymphs have flapping gills
for extracting oxygen from water. When standing on the water’s surface, early
insects could have used these gills for getting oxygen and propulsion
rowing simultaneously. Some stoneflies still stand on the surface and
row across water using their wings. The origins of insect flight are shrouded in the past, and studies of the fossil
record and extant insects have provided few answers. Speculations abound with no
hard facts to check them, and we are left in a rather unconvincing muddle.—C.P.
Ellington, evolutionary entomologist.
Hmm, nice little switch from gills to wings when no one was looking. And lots of
‘could be’, ‘could have’, then on to ‘may have’
into the next paragraph. But all these just-so scenarios are then taken to be actual
evidence. But the fossil record indicates that the earliest (by evolutionary ‘dating’)
winged insects were already capable fliers; there is no evidence to support this
story. Nor is there any fossil support for the
rival story that flight evolved from gliding silverfish-like ancestors who evolved
flattened bodies then new membranes. Expert evolutionary entomologist Ellington
The origins of insect flight are shrouded in the past, and studies of the fossil
record and extant insects have provided few answers. Speculations abound with no
hard facts to check them, and we are left in a rather unconvincing muddle.
Much evolutionary propaganda commits a basic fallacy in modal logic: if p is (imagined
to be) possible, then p happened, and not-p is thereby disproved.
Over time, flapping could have replaced rowing as the main means of propulsion,
allowing insects to skim across the water’s surface: low levels of friction
on this scale mean proto-wings would not have had to generate much air flow to be
useful for skimming.
Yet now we know that insects
breathe actively through their spiracles and
don’t have to rely on diffusion—see Insect
inspiration solves giant bug mystery. With such a good system for obtaining
oxygen, the reliance on hypothetical gills that supposedly became wings becomes
even less plausible.
As these proto-wings became more efficient and specialised, early insects may have
taken further steps towards flying. While some skimming insects keep all six legs
on the water’s surface, faster skimmers keep just four legs or two legs on
the water. This
surface-skimming hypothesis concerning the evolution of insect flight shows
how flapping gills could gradually have turned into wings while remained useful
at every stage.
Notice again the ‘could have’ and ‘may have’, etc. There
is no evidence whatever for this conjecture. It might sound superficially fancy,
but not with what we now know about insect flight and the incredibly intricate wing
movements required to sustain the
essential for lift. See for example Why a fly can fly
like a fly and Why a butterfly flutters by.
From T-rex to sparrow
What about the wings of birds? In
some dinosaurs, the scales covering their bodies evolved into hair-like
feathers, most likely to insulate warm-blooded bodies or help keep eggs warm.
LePage should have been aware that modern feather research has largely discounted
the scale origin of feathers, because they come from follicles not folds in the
Scientific American admits creationists hit a
sore spot: Need for a new paradigm in bird evolution.
Also, when feathers are not needed for flight, as in flightless birds, they tend
devolve and lose much of their structure, and become
hair-like. Indeed, downy feathers, well known as very good insulators (cf. eiderdown),
lack the hooks that are needed for flight feathers. See more on
Those dinosaurs with feathers on their limbs might then have started to exploit
the aerodynamic properties offered by feathers, perhaps gliding between trees or
running faster along the ground. Fossils show a gradual transition from downy, hair-like
feathers into the rigid flight feathers that form the key part of birds’ wings.
idea that is gaining favour is that flapping forelimbs helped the ancestors
of birds to
run up steep slopes or climb trees—a technique many birds still
Yet there are many things wrong with this idea (of Kenneth Dial), as I explained
Yet another flap about dino-to-bird evolution:
Here, Dial uses undoubted birds to postulate a theory about their origin. It makes
sense that birds, which already have the musculature and great control over flying
wings, should also have programmed instincts to use them to aid traction. But it
makes no sense that natural selection for traction should lead to flight. Rather,
on the face of it, traction would require the
opposite force to lift, so
the selective direction would be away from flight. So Dial proposes that
somehow the motions that lead to traction must be redirected to produce the
movement required for flight.
However, if running up slopes were a major selective factor, then one would expect
increased musculature in the hindquarters to drive the legs. Then greater slopes
could be scaled simply by momentum. Also, the extra weight of the muscles would
increase traction automatically. These effects are probably the main reason the
older birds are better slope climbers. However, increasing the weight on the hindquarters
of a dinosaur is precisely the wrong way to turn it into a bird.
In fact, the heaviness of dinosaur hindquarters is a major argument, even by evolutionists,
against the theropod ancestry of birds. 5
Without a time machine it is difficult to prove exactly what early birds or insects
used ‘half a wing’ for. But it is now clear that half a wing can have
all sorts of uses. Indeed, there are numerous examples of physical structures and
behaviours that evolved for one purpose acquiring another one, a process called
Evo-devo—evolutionary developmental biology—is even starting to identify
the precise mutations that underlie such changes. For instance, the forelimbs of
the ancestor of bats turned into wings partly thanks to a change in
a gene called BMP2 that made its ‘fingers’ far longer than normal. Antennapedia is caused by a mutation that caused the information for legs to be
expressed where an antenna’s information should have been expressed instead.
It doesn’t at all explain where the information for legs or antennae came
from in the first place.
This would be very
harmful in its alleged transitional state, because it
would be a fragile hindrance to movement. And the oldest known
bats (by evolutionary dating) were fully-formed fliers (and even echolocators,
as documented in a previous instalment). See also
Pterosaurs and bats have always been pterosaurs and bats!
The webbing between the extra long digits that makes up the bat wing is a
reappearance of a long-lost feature: as embryos, all tetrapods initially
develop webbed digits, a hangover from our fish ancestors. Normally, this webbing
kills itself off at an early stage, but in bats
this cell suicide is blocked.
Indeed, webbing can be the result of information loss for the
designed process of that normally clears
the webbing to make the digits separate. This would explain the apoptosis (programmed cell death)
webbing in polar bears. But bat wings are far more than webbing. As we have
pointed out in Going batty over evolution: Flexible, highly
articulated wings leave bats without evolutionary ancestors:
The stretchy skin on a bat’s wings interacts with air differently compared
to the firmer wings of birds and insects. This elasticity, combined with dozens
of joints (even more than in a human hand), allows bats to generate unusual wing
shapes and motions, e.g. that give more lift at higher angles of attack—the
angle at which the wing meets the air on the downstroke. This may allow bats to
fly at low speeds with less risk of stalling.
And the bats’ multiple-jointed wings not only allow for subtle adjustments
to the wing shape during flight—thus improving efficiency—but can also
be folded very close to the body to reduce drag. This means that the upstroke of
a bat’s wing is very different to that of birds. ‘The bat almost completely
collapses its wings,’ said one of the researchers, Kenneth Breuer of Brown
Repurposing a structure does not have to involve the loss of the original structure.
Reptilian jaw bones turned into mammalian ear bones, without the loss of the jaw.
The neural circuitry that allows us to make fine limb movements may have been
adapted to produce speech as well.
again … Indeed, the reason for our manual
dexterity is that we can quickly switch the muscle coordination pattern from motion
to force, as in tapping a surface where we first move then press—see
Fingertip control. But where is the evidence that
the language centres in the brain are related? See the
difference in human and ape minds and origin of language.
In fact, almost every feature of complex organisms can be seen as a variation on
a theme. Switching off one gene in fruit flies, for instance, can turn their antennae
antennapedia is caused by a mutation that caused the information
for legs to be expressed where an antenna’s information should have been expressed
instead. It doesn’t at all explain where the information for legs or antennae
came from in the first place. Similarly, one could plug a TV into a socket normally
used for a computer, but this doesn’t explain how the TV and computer arose.
On the shoulders of fish
Sometimes just one aspect of a feature can be co-opted for another use. The first
hard mineralised structures to evolve in our ancestors were the teeth of early fishes
conodonts. Once the ability to form hard hydroxyapatite had evolved, it
could be exploited elsewhere in the body and may have been the
basis of the bony skeletons of all vertebrates.
Model of osteocalcin (OC) engaging an hydroxyapatite (HA) crystal based on a Ca
lattice match. The OC-bound Ca 2+ (small circles in big ones) and HA Ca 2+
(small circles) on the crystal surface align perfectly (from Hoang et al.)
No hint here of the
complexity of bone formation,
including the protein osteocalcin, precisely tuned to the
As these examples show, there are all kinds of routes by which structures and behaviours
that evolved for one purpose can contribute to new structures and abilities. Just
because it is not immediately obvious how something as complex as a bacterial flagellum
The bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex) does not prove
it did not evolve.
We dealt with this in a
previous instalment: evolutionary
propagandists claim that they evolved from a secretory apparatus, yet even evolutionary
experts argue that the flagellum came first and the secretory apparatus evolved
(or rather, devolved) from it.
This section is devoid of evidence of any kind; it is a good example of the ‘just-so’
story telling that now afflicts biology and historical geology because of the hegemony
of the evolutionary
“The Flat Earth Society is an active organization currently led by a Virginian man named Daniel Shenton. Though Shenton believes in evolution and global warming, he and his hundreds, if not thousands, of followers worldwide also believe that the Earth is a disc that you can fall off of.” Wolchover, N.,
Ingenious ‘Flat Earth’ Theory Revealed In Old Map, Live Science, 23 June 2011. Return to text. L. Berkhof,
Introductory volume to Systematic Theology, p.
60. Return to text. Berkhof, Ref. , p. 96.
Return to text. C.P. Ellington,
Aerodynamics and the Origin of Insect Flight, Advances in Insect Physiology
23, 1991. Return to text. Feduccia, A.; cited in Ann Gibbons, A., New Feathered Fossil
Brings Dinosaurs and Birds Closer, Science 274 :720–721,
1996. Return to text.
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