Famous TV/nature/evolution guru, Sir David Attenborough, has launched an appeal for £3.2 million to save Charles Darwin’ house, calling it ‘a place of pilgrimage’.
Down House, the Darwin family home in Downe, Kent, is indeed threatened by dereliction. The roof has already fallen in on Darwin’ laboratory, which is a virtual ruin. The main house has a leaky roof, and the walls of the study are being attacked by damp and woodworm. Without a great deal of effort, the rest of the home where Darwin lived for 40 years until his death in 1882 really will live up to its name as a ‘down’ house—fallen into a decrepit heap.
There is more than a touch of irony in what is happening to Darwin’ former home. Darwin’ ‘dangerous idea’ (as atheist philosopher Daniel Dennett puts it)1 has caused countless millions to believe that everything has made itself, and therefore that nature has, on a grand scale, organized matter from simple to complex, from chaos to cosmos.
Yet virtually every single scientific observation confirms that the very opposite is the case, starkly illustrated by what is happening to Darwin’ old house. There is a relentless tendency for all systems of matter/energy, if they are left to themselves without some form of inherent, prepatterned program or applied intelligence, to run down and decay,2 not to grow more complex. Houses never build themselves from piles of rubble, but will naturally and spontaneously become piles of rubble if left without any intelligent input.
When challenged by this, many evolutionists say that there are obvious examples in which things get more orderly and more complicated spontaneously. A favourite one is to point to a seedling growing into a tall, spreading tree under the influence of the sun’ energy.3 However, it can only do this because all the programmed machinery, guided by the detailed instructions in the DNA code, is already there. Placing a dead seedling (i.e. one with non-functioning machinery) into sunshine will not cause growth, but will hasten its inevitable disintegration.
Imagine that the incredible complexity required for any biological, reproducing mechanism just ‘evolved’ requires faith in properties of matter which have never been observed.4
The relentless expression of this ‘bondage of corruption’ (Romans 8:21) can be seen in the tendency for our own biological machinery to eventually break down, causing our death and a physical return to the dust. We see it also in the fact that audio tapes become garbled if repeatedly copied; similarly, when the DNA message is copied during reproduction, the errors (mutations) cause biological ‘noise’; gobbledygook or defects, not new designs.
We see ‘order to disorder’ on a grander scale, too. The sun is burning up its nuclear fuel at some 4 million tonnes per second. Stars are seen exploding, dying, fizzling out. So far, the best theories of how they could form from a collapsing cloud of material require the death (explosion) of another star nearby. If we did not have God’s promise of a future New Heavens and Earth, natural processes would cause everything in the universe to die and ‘fizzle out’. In time, every atomic clock would tick its last tock, as the universe reached the ultimate ‘heat death’, the state of maximum disorder.5
This means that all energy would have been dissipated or evenly spread out (not lost) into the most averaged-out, useless, disordered and dead form — that is, heat. With the whole universe at the same (rather cool) temperature, there would be no tendency for any flow of energy from one place to another (like from the sun to earth) so no processes of any sort could work.
As a whole, then, the natural world can be likened to a great clock unwinding relentlessly, with no ability to wind itself up. This makes perfect sense if it was ‘wound up’ (created) supernaturally in the first place.
“Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end”
No natural law can make this universe stop its ‘tumbling down’. For it to be renewed as the Bible promises, will, like Darwin’ house, require intelligent input from outside of itself.
References and Footnotes
- Dennett, an ally of Richard Dawkins in his efforts to get people to face up to not only the ‘truth’ of evolution but its inevitable elimination of any serious notion of God, likens Darwinism to ‘universal acid’. It ‘eats up’ every other notion of history, culture, religion, purpose, morality and meaning. Return to text.
- It is this overwhelming tendency to disorder (caused by the fact that molecular arrangements will always tend to the most probable) which gives rise to the observations formalized as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It is the tendency to greater molecular disorder which causes heat to flow from hot to cold, available energy to always decrease in the universe as a whole, everyday things to deteriorate without maintenance, and information to decrease when it is copied or transmitted. Though the Second Law is usually defined in terms of isolated systems, the same tendency is there in open systems and is expressed unless intelligence, or some mechanism programmed to give an inevitable result in the opposite direction, is operative. The whole universe is usually regarded as an isolated system, since by definition it does not exchange matter/energy with anything else. Return to text.
- Less informed evolutionists occasionally cite crystal growth, but most do not, because they are aware that a crystal does not exhibit complexity (of a sort comparable to the information-bearing sequences needed for living things), but regularity. Its structure is ‘programmed’, as a preordained result, in the properties of the constituent atoms. Amino acids, however, have nothing requiring them to line up in just the right sequence to form, say, haemoglobin. Amino acids only make haemoglobin if manipulated/constrained to do so by human intelligence or by biological machinery operating under the appropriate instructions ‘written’ on DNA. Some turn to the work of Ilya Prigogine on systems far from equilibrium, such as whirlpools, or the hexagonal patterns which form on the surface of oil heated to a certain temperature. However, these ephemeral systems too exhibit regularity, but not complexity, and the minute there is an appropriate disturbance of the conditions (e.g. flow rate), they once again vanish in a sea of improbability. Return to text.
- This is why many evolutionists, having lost faith in ‘random shuffling’ to explain their ‘first cell’, are now searching for some principle of self-organization in matter which they admit has yet to be discovered, and which they hope will overcome this ‘famously depressing’ tendency to dis-organization (see ‘Science, God and Man’, Time, January 4, 1993). Return to text.
- Whether it were to collapse gravitationally or not would not really affect the argument — a ‘Big Crunch’ would scarcely be an increase in order. Return to text.
Plant growth ... no proof of evolution
Evolutionists like to say that the sun’s energy pouring into an open system (the earth) causes seedlings to grow into big trees, so it could obviously cause upwards evolution as well.
However, raw energy will always cause greater disorder unless it is harnessed by a specific, programmed mechanism. Plants have this — the incredible photosynthetic machinery, under the control of the DNA code. On the evolutionist’ imaginary ‘primitive earth’ there were no such codes/mechanisms, so the analogy breaks down from the very beginning.