Science teachers hear about creation from a biochemist
August 17, 2005
A medical school professor at a secular university in Ohio invited me, a creationist, for a discussion with high school science teachers. He said I had the right “pedigree” (a Ph.D. in biochemistry).
When I arrived at the university, the professor told me that in the past he had two post-doctoral fellows who were creationists. It seems the Lord had prepared him for this time, showing that the witness of Christians can carry down the timeline. Here’s a summary of the talk that I gave.
I recalled how science changes, giving examples of my vitamin B12 research. I mentioned that Einstein replied, when asked why he studied relativity, “I challenge an axiom." I stated that Darwin's theory originally “explained” some things (e.g., natural selection, although it is not a mechanism to drive molecules-to-man evolution; see Muddy Waters: Clarifying the confusion about natural selection), but after a century and a half of research, Darwinian evolution no longer holds up. I gave them a handout, which discussed three topics:
Problems with the formation of a cell by naturalism include:
Laws of probability: The odds of correctly forming an average 200 amino acid protein are 1 in 10260, but statisticians state that odds over 1 in 1050 are impossible. (Bliss, Parker, Gish, Origin of Life, 1979.)
Laws of chemistry: All amino acids in proteins are “L” which would not occur randomly. DNA would not form in a water solution. My master’s thesis was in the area of DNA synthesis.
Irreducible complexity: For many biological systems to properly function, all parts must be present at the same time. (Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, 1998.)
Information: You do not obtain useful information from random processes. Have you read a good book authored by a computer lately, I asked tongue in cheek? I mentioned that the formation of the first cell is now recognized by many evolutionists as not possible by naturalism (i.e., I argued that this means supernaturalism had to be involved: a Designer).
Difficulties for a cell developing into advanced life-forms:
Dr. Duane Gish, ICR biochemist, while visiting the Smithsonian Institution, was told they had no undisputed intermediate fossils.
Mutations do not increase useful genetic information. A teacher at my lecture mentioned he had read a book that stated that the universe could not be old enough for life-forms to develop by genetic mutations. I added that I had read a scholarly book by an Israeli scientist (Spetner, Not by Chance, 1996) confirming that view.
Where does all the information in the human cell come from? If you typed the four letter alphabet for the DNA code for a bacteria, it would take 2,000 8”x11” single-space pages. However, for a human cell, the length of the code would require a million pages.
I then told the science teachers that this is what I think has happened in science history:
Modern scientific thought began to develop about the time of Copernicus (1473–1543), the father of modern astronomy who discovered that the earth rotated daily and revolved around the sun yearly. Subsequently, Kepler discovered laws of planetary motion; Newton (1642–1727) discovered gravitation and laws of motion; Boyle showed gas volume varies inversely with pressure; Priestley discovered oxygen, and Lavoisier (1743–1794) identified the composition of water founding modern chemistry.
Scientific discoveries and laws were giving science great credibility, and then Hutton (1785) wrote the Theory of the Earth, claiming the earth was old and governed by the principle of uniformitarianism. Hutton was a physician and not a geologist, but his opinion, following on true scientific discoveries, was also accepted as truth. In 1814, theologian Thomas Chalmers proposed the gap theory in the Bible by inserting millions (and later billions) of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. This additional time then gave Darwin the needed years to propose his theory of evolution (published in 1859).
We then discussed the book The Design Revolution by Dembski and whether intelligent design could be tested. The professor noted Dembski has Ph.D. degrees in both math and philosophy.
I gave the biblical view of history. Genesis clearly states a six-day creation by using the Hebrew word “yom” with a “number” and/or the phrase “evening and morning,” which can only mean a 24-hour period. Therefore, the time can be calculated from the beginning of creation to the death of Joseph (2,369 years). The historical date of 586 BC for the fall of Judah to Babylon is also well established. Using these dates, the age of the earth can be calculated to be about 6,000 years (within hundreds of years, not thousand or millions).
I then brought in current secular DNA studies. The female passes down mitochondrial DNA, and the male the Y chromosome. Thus by looking at the DNA mutations, the age and past location of ancestors can be predicted. Olson, in Mapping Human History (2002), notes every human descended from a mitochondrial “Eve” who lived about 150,000 years ago, Sykes (in The Seven Daughters of Eve, 2001) suggests 45,000 years ago humans set foot in Europe, and Science News, (2005, p. 339) reports 70 adults populated North America about 10,000 years ago. More recent estimates indicate the possibility that a mitochondrial “Eve” appeared on earth as recently as 6,000 years ago (Gibbons, Science 279:28–29, 1998). Although most of these dates are not according to the biblical timescale, they are far closer to the Bible’s age of the earth than they are the evolutionary timescale.
I continued with the comment about biblical history that Abraham was able to marry his half-sister and Jacob his cousin, but Moses prohibited marriage to a close relative because DNA mutations were accumulating. Human beings develop about 100 mutations per generation; a single one can be lethal (Ridley, Genome, 1999). Approximately 8% of liveborns by age 25 will be diagnosed with a disorder that has a major genetic component, and birth defects are the leading cause of death among infants, as noted in an article entitled: “The Human Genome Project: What it Means for You” by Lupski, M.D., Ph.D. Thus, the rate and accumulation of mutations in DNA support the biblical age for humans.
In the end, the science teachers were very interested and intrigued. The professor said the discussion was obviously successful, having run over the one-hour period by 30 minutes. Let’s pray that these teachers, and the professor who graciously hosted me, will look at the Genesis record more fully now, and thus be more open to the Gospel message as they see that Scripture can be trusted from Genesis … to the Gospels … to Revelation.
About the author
Dr. Eric Norman has a B.S. in physics, B.A. in chemistry, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in biochemistry. He is a long-time active member of Cincinnati’s Creation Research Science Education Foundation (CRSEF), and currently volunteers at the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky on a regular basis. Return to top.
To read more about the fascinating research of Dr. Norman, see our Creation magazine article Evolution ‘unscientific’.
Jeremiah 10:12: “It is he who made the earth by his power …”