Yale university professor renounces Darwinism!

But what does he believe now instead?

by and Robert Carter

Published: 5 September 2019 (GMT+10)

Introduction

Gelernter
Prof. David Hillel Gelernter, Yale University.

Professor David Hillel Gelernter is a writer, artist and professor of computer science at Yale University. He is a senior fellow in Jewish thought at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem and was also a member of the American Enterprise Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is also chief scientist at Mirror Worlds Technologies. He has published widely in numerous newspapers and written several books. Professor Gelernter has caused quite a buzz recently by publicly renouncing his “faith” in Darwinism, which he describes as a “replacement religion” for troubled souls who desperately need one instead of God.1

Gelernter says that he was swayed by the scientific evidence into abandoning the materialistic theory of Darwinism. Interestingly, most of the evidence that changed his mind falls into three categories of science: natural selection, genetic mutations, and the fossil record, which are three of the five top pieces of evidence that college students use to justify their belief in evolution. Interestingly, our Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels covers these three subjects in depth (chapters 1, 2, and 4, respectively). Notable Intelligent Design (ID) publications which influenced Gelernter’s about-face include Darwin’s Doubt, by Stephen C. Meyer, The Deniable Darwin, by David Berlinski, and Debating Darwin’s Doubt, edited by David Klinghoffer

Some of the arguments that convinced Gelernter

The following are some of the arguments that Gelernter believes discredit Darwinism, taken from his online review of the three previously mentioned works by ID authors.2

The origin of life

Mathematics is the bane of evolution. Probability, specifically, tells us that believing in evolution is akin to believing in miracles. For example, there are only approximately 50,000 known protein families,3 but certain proteins are essential for all forms of life. Most proteins are composed of hundreds to thousands of amino acids. Let’s pick one of these proteins and say that only 150 of the amino acids are necessary for it to work. What is the probability that this one, short protein would evolve in the primordial soup? You can think of the amino acids in a protein like beads on a string. Each position along the string can hold any of the 20 amino acids. Thus, there are 20150 ≈ 10195 possible proteins of this length. This number is much, much larger than the estimated 1080 atoms in the universe.

But bacteria need more than one protein. I published some calculations in 2015 that estimated the probability of a “simple” bacterium evolving with only the very basic essential proteins. The probability of a bacterium evolving from the chemical soup with a mere 1,340 proteins was 10–167,500. We can’t even represent that number with words. That’s smaller than 1 chance in a trillion trillions, and even that is nowhere close. In other words, there is virtually no chance that life evolved; it had to be created. This short exercise gives us the idea of how futile chemical evolution is, and this is only the beginning of probability calculations.

Developmental mutations

human-brain
Figure 1. The Antennapedia mutation, which involves the mutation of a so-called homeobox gene, causing legs to form in the place of antennae on the head of a fruit fly.

Mutations that affect the later stages of the development of an organism achieve only small adjustments in the organism, affecting only local structures. Examples include mutations that influence the density of fur, the shape of a bird’s beak, or the color of a flower. Such mutations occur frequently and are often not detrimental. In contrast, there are no known mutations which occur very early on during embryonic development. These would fundamentally affect the body plan. From everything we have seen, such mutations are always lethal, leading to a premature death, usually before the organism is even born. At best, they produce a monstrous organism that is inviable in the wild, such as the antennapedia mutation that produces legs in the place of antennae in fruit flies (figure 1). Yet these are the kinds of mutations which are necessary for large-scale evolutionary changes, such as transforming invertebrates into vertebrates. This field of “evo-devo” (short for evolutionary development) has been looking into this for decades, but they have drawn a blank. Tinkering with the fundamental building blocks of living organisms only produces catastrophic results, so evolution can’t even get started. This is where Darwin failed. He noticed changes. But his mechanism for change cannot get over the hurdle of genetics, a field he knew nothing about.

The fossil record

Darwinism is a step-by-step process, yet we see a striking variety of organisms suddenly appearing on the scene during what is called the Cambrian explosion. During a short window of only “a few million years” all major animal groups suddenly appear in the fossil record without any predecessors. This means that life appeared very suddenly on Earth—it makes much more sense if life was instantaneously created, as the Bible says.

The reception in insecure secular academia

Although not completely ostracized by all parties for his change of beliefs (perhaps due to his prestige and his not being a biologist), Gelernter describes the extreme anger and hostility that evolutionists have for anyone who denies their worldview. The reason ‘rational’ scientists, who supposedly apply nothing but impassioned logic to their work, transform into fist-shaking, angry people is, as Gelernter says, that evolution goes beyond science and serves as the basis of their atheistic worldview. According to Gelernter, “You take your life in your hands to challenge it intellectually. They will destroy you if you challenge it.”1 Furthermore, “…what I have seen in their behavior intellectually and at colleges across the West is nothing approaching free speech on this topic. It’s a bitter, fundamental, angry, outraged rejection [of intelligent design], which comes nowhere near scientific or intellectual discussion. I’ve seen that happen again and again.” 1

www.claremont.orgtwo-commandments-evolution
Cartoon depiction of Darwin’s “Two Commandments of Evolution”: Mutations and Natural Selection.

Gelernter also views ID as a viable scientific theory capable of replacing Darwinism. It should not be rejected out of hand in a bigoted manner by evolutionists. He states that design is the most obvious explanation for the complexity of life and says that Darwinism was formulated to explain how seemingly designed organisms assembled themselves by evolution. According to Gelernter, the question of intelligent design, “…is one of the most important intellectual issues of modern times, and every thinking person has the right and duty to judge for himself.”2

Evolution does not have a monopoly over theories of origins, and academia is not the exclusive playground of atheists. Such monolithic thinking on the part of secularists kills critical thinking.

What does Gelernter believe now instead of Darwinism?

Based on his rejection of Darwinism, is Gelernter now a biblical creationist? What does he believe now that he has rejected evolution?

It does not automatically follow that, just because someone gives up Darwinism, they become a biblical creationist. According to Gelernter, he still claims that evolution is a beautiful and brilliant scientific theory, because it can explain large processes in the history of life with a simple mechanism, natural selection. He thinks that the legacy of Darwinism will never truly disappear and that only a Darwinist “heresy” will take its place. At the same time, even though Gelernter admits that living organisms show evidence for intelligent design, he claims that the world is a mess, and that humans are prone to do evil. If left to him, Gelernter would fail the intelligent designer for making such a world. Gelernter doesn’t go the extra mile to accept biblical creation (oddly despite his Jewish roots), because he thinks that the two creation accounts in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 are contradictory. However, we have already dealt with this alleged contradiction in detail.

But Gelernter contradicts himself. How can he fail the intelligent designer who created this world, yet at the same time call evolution a beautiful theory? This is because, according to evolution, nature is ‘red in tooth and claw’. It is all about selfish struggle; the stronger species crushes the weaker species. Death is a necessary element in the endless process of struggle, suffering, and extinction.

As opposed to evolution, the Bible calls death the last enemy (1Cor. 15:26). God is a God of the living and not of the dead. This is why Jesus Christ rose from the grave, conquering death. Death and suffering were never part of God’s original, good design. God is not an ogre to use suffering and death to create life. How opposite life is from death! God did not use evolution to create.

Conclusion: the insufficiency of Intelligent Design

Sadly, the evidentialist approach of the ID movement does not often bear much fruit. We have written much about ID before (our position statement on ID is available here).

As Christians, we should preach the full Gospel. If we convince a person that evolution is inviable, we must also replace this defunct worldview with something else which better explains the origin and meaning of life. Many proponents of ID even believe in a form of guided or ‘theistic’ evolution. The ID movement notoriously tends to leave the Bible out of their discussions, by design. But what do we gain if we prove the existence of a “god”, who may turn out to be Zeus or Allah in some peoples’ minds? Indeed, not all members of the ID community, or the flagship of ID, the Discovery Institute, are professing evangelicals. One famous ID advocate (Jonathan Wells) is well-known for being a member of the Unification Church of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon (a.k.a. the “Moonies”), which most evangelicals consider a cult. ID is not enough for saving faith. Rather, we need special revelation–the Bible. As mentioned previously Gelernter doesn’t even believe that the Old Testament is fully historical. In comparison, when we look at the conversion of the famous atheist Anthony Flew to theism in 2004, we also see that Flew ended up as a deist. Flew did not believe in the Trinity or the Resurrection of Christ. Rather he believed in what he describes as Aristotle’s God, a philosophical, rationalistic type of God.

ID attempts to deal with theism first, then Christianity later. However, the big problem is that those ID proponents who happen to be Christians are not necessarily attempting to prove a distinctly Christian brand of theism. It would thus make much more sense to deal with Christianity and theism as a unit, and not two separate issues. ID proponents are in effect appealing to human reason alone to build their case, which is the same method atheists use. What is worrisome is that if their starting point is outside the Bible, their endpoint might also well be the same, as Van Til noted.4 Clearly, we must base our thinking on the Bible as the sole highest authority (Sola Scriptura).

According to Psalm 19:1:

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

There is ample evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible. We can trust the eye-witness accounts of the Bible. His Word is enough for us (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to guide us unto all truth (John 16:13), not just a partial truth. Thus, while we applaud Professor Gelernter for his bold stance in rejecting Darwin, we plead with him to take the next logical step and accept that Jesus Christ, the Creator of the world, is also his Saviour.

References and notes

  1. Kabbany, J., Famed Yale computer science professor quits believing Darwin’s theories. thecollegefix.com/famed-yale-computer-science-professor-quits-believing-darwins-theories, 30 July, 2019. Return to text.
  2. Gelernter, D. Giving Up Darwin. claremont.org/crb/article/giving-up-darwin, 1 May, 2019. Return to text.
  3. Orengo, C.A., Thornton, J.M., Protein families and their evolution—a structural perspective, Annu Rev Biochem. 74:867–900, 2005. Return to text.
  4. Van Til, C., The Defense of the Faith, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., Phillipsburg, NJ, 1967, pp. 114–122. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
From
US $17.00
The Creation Survival Guide
by Paul Price and Gary Bates
US $3.50
Soft cover
The Creation Answers Book
by Various
From
US $10.00

Readers’ comments

Philip U.
Gelernter seems to be ignorant of the materialist/humanist philosophy upon which he stands. ID is a pantheistic or idealistic form of materialism, after the manner of the Greek universal 'form' which provided their ultimacy, rather than the atomic 'substances'. But he clings to evolution as a theory because, like the Greeks, he cannot look beyond the natural world for ultimacy, for that would dethrone the human mind. Evolutionists are realists, chasing after the atomic facts of things in a universe of pure chance. The evolutionists will not allow their philosophical opposites to take the floor, although opinion will inevitably move against them, as materialist philosophy continuously and necessarily swings between realism and idealism because they are both incomplete explanations of reality. Enter Biblical creation, which begins with supernatural ultimacy. There is an infinite gulf between Christianity and humanism, which is the gulf between the supernatural and the natural. That is why proponents of ID theory will never cross the gap to creationism, unless they accept God first. It is also why we should take these secular 'conversions' with a pinch of salt, albeit they do help the anti-evolution argument.
Gabriel S.
No doubt professor Gelernter lives up to the German 'gelernter' [learned] - not believing in Darwinism though does not make him a Christian and as such he stays a fool not believing in the Triune Godhead, the plural supreme oneness, אֱלֹהִים elohiym Psalm 53:1 "...A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God..."
Lost in the wilderness... or is one of his names Caleb :-)
God bless in Christ!
gabriel
Henri D.
Very interesting, thank you for the article. It is clear Professor Gerlenter has been caught in a very common trap, the trap of humans denying the fall into sin. They have to believe that the Creator created the failings and evil in the world from the beginning, because they are in denial about their own sin and the sin of the people around them. But as soon as they understand the curse that followed the fall, they begin to understand. Crucial to this is the individual's realisation of sin, that he or she cannot do anything to achieve salvation from own effort and that he or she needs the saving grace of Christ on the cross. The world is full of Satan's propaganda that people are generally good, that their charity and good deeds in general make them earn a place with God. So, no matter the evidence or the argument, each person needs the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts to realise the truth. We need to pray for this professor, who clearly is open to the truth.
Peter H.
From my perspective, in order for the various fields of scientific investigation to have any integrity as academic disciplines, investigators must be encouraged to do exactly as Gelernter did - look at the evidence on its own merits. This may not lead all the way to saving faith, at least not in one step, but at least it has the potential to level the playing field by calling into question obviously untenable but widely popular hypotheses which don't stand up to rational scrutiny. Any thinking person ought to be able to come to the conclusion that Darwinism doesn't "add up". This may not lead all the way to saving faith but at least it removes one of the obstacles that the currently dominant worldview puts in the way of theistic belief. Apologetics and biology both have their place but they can't simply be merged. One can't legitimately expect a university biology department in a secular university to teach Biblical creationism but one could reasonably expect it to give respectful treatment to Intelligent Design (even though this may seem unlikely in the current academic climate). I believe the ID people have done us a great service by presenting powerful arguments for design, limiting themselves mostly to the disciplines of biology, mathematics and philosophy. I have several atheist scientists in my family, and I'm thankful to be able to offer them the contributions of the ID community as an intellectually credible alternative to Darwinism. Christian apologetics may make use of insights from many disciplines, and it's up to explicitly Christian ministries like CMI to connect the dots for people and point out the remaining contradictions in the sort of "hybrid" thinking that Gelernter seems to have adopted - as your article does.
Matthew Cserhati
Hello Peter,
Thanks for your comments. The problem is that we cannot operate on a two-step evidentialist basis. Evidence does not speak for itself, but is interpreted according to our worldview. As you can see, Gerlernter rejects evolution on the basis of the evidence, but as you can see, it doesn't lead him to saving faith. We need to put something in place of evolution, but sadly ID doesn't fully measure up to this. Since people are sinners, they will continue to form idols in which to believe. We need to remove these idols (including evolution), and show people the truth, which is Biblical six-day creation all at the same time. This is because the facts simply prove Biblical creation in a much more powerful way. The reason why evolution is the sole theory of origins at secular universities is simply because it's a religion, as Gelernter points out. By the way, there is a small handful of Christian universities where the Biblical creation model is taught in the science departments (i.e. Liberty, Bob Jones, Cedarville, Truett McConnell).
Gerry F.
Thank you for this excellent article. As a young Christian, Creation Science was a blessing to my confused thinking. I was unable to reconcile my faith in the inerrancy of the Bible and the teachings of evolution. I had received this faith as a gift from God. My intellect did not bring me to this understanding of inerrancy. It was truly a revelation by the Holy Spirit. However my intellect had been poisoned by evolution and needed to be enlightened. I struggled to share my faith even though I had been supernaturally converted. Creation scientists have given me the ammunition to refute the false science warring in my own mind. The end of this "war" in my mind has freed me to share the Good News with people without the dread of "What about evolution" questions. My salvation occurred before the realization of the absurdity of evolution but I still needed the product of your hard work to better walk this mortal road. I haven't totally understood why, I and not others, receive this gift but I know that it takes the Holy Spirit to impart life to people. My clever arguments have never succeeded but He can take the modest, halting words of a believer to bring life to those he chooses.
Matthew Cserhati
Hello Gerry,
Thank you so much for your encouraging testimony! Blessings!
Peter H.
(in response to Matthew Cserhati's reply to my original comment) Yes, I know that there are Christian universities where the Biblical creation model is taught.

I agree with all of your points. Your position is an entirely appropriate one for a Christian creation science and apologetics ministry. I'm simply saying that in the pluralistic climate in which we live, I'm grateful for the contributions of the intelligent design movement, and I don't expect secular institutions to teach a Biblical worldview. I do expect them to allow and encourage critical thinking. If they do this, then reason will lead at least some people to become open to the truth, and they may then be willing to consider the more explicitly Christian position presented by CMI, ICR, AIG and so forth. Reason is not enough by itself but I believe it's part of the process. Romans 1:20 states that God has given evidence of himself in the creation. I agree that full conversion can only happen by the Holy Spirit's work. Lots of prayer needed for sure.
Tommy S.
To most atheists, it doesn't matter how small the chance is for life to have evolved. The chance could be 1 in a googolpex and they simply smile and say that the fact we are here proves it happened. So, the slim chance doesn't sway them at all. Because they've already rejected the alternative. No evidence will convince them.
Raymond M.
Dear Matthew,
Thank you for your instant reply.
I see your point. Thank you Matthew.
In the Lord,
Meagan R.
Well, what started out as excitement quickly turned to, "Of COURSE that's what he thinks" by the end of this read. The unsaved who think that they are "good people" and will manage to swing an eternal heavenly existence by their own works cringe at the idea that they just might not be as good as they think making them as inexcusably qualified to need Jesus just like the rest of us, and their PRIDE then becomes their greatest foe. I had this thought when reflecting on thoughts of witnessing to the lost with the tools of Biblical Creation apologetics and really searching my heart as to why it makes me nervous. It shouldn't, I am overjoyed to be part of the bride of Christ headed for an eternity with my Savior and I am NOT ASHAMED to say it to anyone, but the thought of a long drawn out debate makes my tummy flip-flop. I have all the knowledge parts down and know how to show proof from the Bible, but I think it had nothing to do with any of that. We shouldn't be afraid of rejection because people who scoff at our convictions and beliefs aren't rejecting us, they are rejecting HIM. And ultimately He is the one who must convict and convince them, not me, so I just need to be a willing participant and let His Spirit work through my testimony... nothing more, nothing less. That realization took SO much pressure off of my shoulders! Thank you Lord!!!
Egil W.
When hearing such news - a professor in a secular university renouncing Darwinism - what does one hear; what to get from it? What I hear is a person who openly admits there are huge problems with the theory of evolution, and openly describes how evolutionism has taken on a role of substitute-religion for many of its proponents. If the discussion is whether the arguments for evolution are trustworthy or not, whether academia is a neutral sphere, or not, I find all this very enlightening, even a tad revealing. If the question is: what is (then) the particular reality of the origin of the Universe and life and the meaning of it all, then of course, this news of one more Darwin-doubter cannot be the full answer. Was ID ever meant to try to give all the details? Giving a ‘full story’ would involve giving also the most necessary data on the most important other incidents in the history of Life-on-Earth. That would include using finds from fields like history, archaeology, and geology and paleontology enlightened by the Flood-models, moreover; theology and Biblical exegesis, and the history of why the narrative Bible-texts are historical and reliable. Hearing about this Gelernter dropping Darwin, gave good insights in ‘behind the evolutionary facade’. And of course its good to see one more intellectual/academic who hasn’t found the arguments for evolution... solid enough to believe.
Andrew B.
As much as we can lament that he is not saved (and we should), we can certainly celebrate his rejection of a delusional evidence-defying belief. Thanks for encouraging us with this. I prefer presuppositional arguments but find myself making evidentialist ones with atheists. Curious, but I think they all have value. The evidence for the resurrection is a strong capstone on any witness because it's Biblical, Gospel-proving and overwhelming. I have so many times experienced the "Ok, you've proven God exists, but why the God of the Bible?" To which I have learned to get to the above resurrection argument. Perhaps though I need to adjust my approach.
Peter G.
I read with interest the article below about Prof. David Hillel Gelernter's attraction to Old Testament themes and doubts about traditional evolutionary theory, by CMI's Matthew Cserhati and Robert Carter. It is weakly argued, don't you agree ? Firstly there is obvious bias by Prof. David Hillel Gelernter as he is a practicing Jew with vested interests in religion. And Gelernter himself calls evolution a religion, which is like saying those who believe going to the gym is a very healthy lifestyle have made it a religion. Secondly CMI's conclusions show the circular arguments that expose your assumptions as unnecessary. It leads me to conclude that agnostic position is still the most reasonable. For example CMI says in the concluding remarks: - "There is ample evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible". But the amount of suffering and injustice in the world is also ample evidence, if not more, of the lack of a God, or at least of the loving God of the Bible. Unless of course we choose to believe that the Bible is the word of God and that he did give his only son as a propitiating sacrifice etc. that justifies or explains the suffering. You still believe that, but I no longer do. - "We can trust the eye-witness accounts of the Bible". Again, why would you assert that as 100% accurate, unless you assume your position in the first place ? - "His Word is enough for us (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to guide us unto all truth (John 16:13), not just a partial truth". Using the Bible to prove itself is a circular argument, not valid evidence. I respect your right to revere the Bible, as I once did, but I reserve my right to point out poor reasoning. I am not beyond persuasion to return to faith, but will need sound evidence or an encounter. Best wishes.
Matthew Cserhati
Hello Peter,
Thanks for your comment. To reply to your question of why is there suffering, our ministry has written extensively on this. This is one such article that you can peruse. My personal take is that God is both all-powerful and all-knowing. If you really think about it, it is humans who are killing each other, committing acts of racism, polluting the plant. We are to blame, not God. God permitted man to fall into sin. But also "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31, ESV) Despite our constant sinning against God, He chose to forgive us if we trust and believe in His Son Jesus if we repent of our sins.
As to the point about Gelernter being a Jew, that is not really a point at ll because there are millions of professing Jews who in reality do not practice their religion, just as there are millions of nominal Christians who don't practice theirs.
Why is the Bible my starting point? Because God is omniscient, He knows everything. That's why what He says is objective truth. That is what He revealed in His word. But as opposed to this what advantage does an atheist have? He has a huge disadvantage. Having a finite mind the atheist cannot know everything. In fact, since the atheist denies God, he has even cut himself off from even possibly knowing any objective, absolute truth. The only thing that an atheist can say is something which is relative. In fact, since atheists doubt everything (since they are skeptics) in all truth they know nothing. The fear if God is truly the beginning of knowledge.
Jean P.
Give him time. It is often a slow process from dyed-in-the-wool evolutionist to full-on 6 day creationist. Pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide him into all truth.
David M.
Frequent reference is made by Creationists with regards to chance - and yet we all are here! Consider: your mother was born with 3 - 4 million pre-cursor eggs, which later matured. Your father will have produced billions of sperms. What are the chances of one particular sperm fertilizing one particular egg? Is an imaginary, supernatural SkyGod being proposed as the reason for your fathers sperm meeting your mother's egg? Consider: our bodies are made of 50 trillion cells, and at any moment in our lives, each cell is producing the proteins, hormones, enzymes etc that keep us alive. Once again, is Yaweh (or Allah) being held as the orchestrator of these naturally occurring chemical events, and if so, where is the Creationists evidence that God exists in the first place? Could it be that naturally occurring geochemistry gives rise to naturally occurring biochemistry which gave rise to naturally occurring life? Yes! In the 150 years since Darwin published his great work on the origin of species, the scientific evidence for evolution has shown his basic premise to be true, and while he did not get everything right, evolution by means of natural selection is a scientific fact.
Matthew Cserhati
Hello David,
Natural selection does not lead to full-scale macroevolution. We have written about this extensively on our website. For example, you can read chapter two of Refuting Evolution (even the whole book as well). Basically natural selecion only preserves genes, phenotypes or characteristics which already exist. In other words, survival of the fittest doesn't explain the arrival of the fittest. You might argue that mutations cause new phenotypes, but no mutation has been shown to create new genes. This is simply unobservable. On he other hand, they have observed thick geological layers being laid down in less than a day (see articles on Mt St Helens). Or, soft tissue in dinosaur bones shows that dinosaurs din't evolve over millions of years.
Tim S.
If Scientists were to INTELLIGENTLY design even one complex cell (fat chance!) would that DISPROVE INTELLIGENT DESIGN?
Matthew Cserhati
Hello Tim,
That would actually prove intelligent design. Think about it, intelligence is needed for it, not random chance.
Mark Z.
Does someone really already have the ability to manipulate the creators development language to place legs for antennas?
Matthew Cserhati
Hello Mark,
I would say that for scientists to do such a thing, they are using their own intelligence in taking genes already in existence in order to create a mutation which doesn't help the animal at all. No proof for evolution here.
Thomas J.
There is nothing in Gelernter's background or his published works to suggest that he has any expertise in geology, biology, biochemistry, or any other area related to the study of evolution. I suspect that he rejects evolution through a combination of religious belief and ignorance about evolution. The reference to the "primordial soup" is, by the way, not really relevant to evolution, IMHO. The primordial soup is related to the theory of how the first life forms appeared, and is not related to how we know that various life forms developed from the simplest living things. Evolution is not a theory -- it is fact.
Matthew Cserhati
Hello Thomas,
Do you really know evolution to be a fact? If it is a fact, then it should be observable! Have you personally witnessed the formation of the first cell? Have you observed geological layers forming slowly over millions of years? Have you witnessed animals going extinct and slowly turning into fossils over long periods of time? The problem is that evolution does not stem from natural selection, neither can it explain the formation of the first cell. Just think about it - if the first cell is not able to form from random chemical processes, then neither can life forms develop from it. How can you watch your favorite sports team play on TV if you don't even have a TV to begin with? Natural selection does only that - it selects from already existing things, but it doesn't explain how organisms or the first cell even formed. Evolution dies before it can even get itself going. Evolution is not a fact, it is a poorly supported theory.
Chuck R.
Even though Gerlenter may not be a Creationist, his acknowledgment that Darwinian evolution is seriously flawed, by a guy from the prestigious ale, is refreshing to see. A few years ago there was a video about how academics who reject or question evolution are quickly ostracised, it would be nice to follow up and see how and if Gelernter survives his decision.
STEVEN M.
Darwinism is just so passé.
Joe D.
I'd like to inject a message of pragmatism into the discussion. Of course there is an element of society that has an ideological commitment to materialistic atheism, because it justifies their experience and their choices. What needs to be demonstrated (which, incidentally, as I have heard first hand from real practitioners of science been shown many times but not properly brought together to demonstrate that this reality can actually stand on its own merits) is that a scientific process acknowledging biblical creation can actually make more scientific progress than the "red tooth" process that the ruthless like to choose.Yes, we do want people to come to a saving faith, but I won't join the grifter circus. Let's out-science the atheistic scientists. Find out how to annihilate cancer in the body, or heal developmental disorders at the root, make the current generation of current pharmaceuticals obsolete, create healthy clean lifestyles affordable for all, etc. the Gospel transformed the world and will still do so in tangible ways that are not merely commensalist, or even parasitic but actually beneficial. If you want me to believe that God cares, show me that YOU care. The early Christians did this in spade, and no challenge is too big for God in Christ Jesus.
Matthew Cserhati
Hello Joe,
Thank you for your comment. CMI has actually written about Dr. Raymond Damadian, who invented MRI, which is useful in medical diagnosis. Dr. Damadian would have received the Nobel prize for it, but was denied because of his belief in biblical creation.
Skippy M.
I take a very positive view of Dr. Gelenter’s work, and I am extremely disappointed at the negative comments by other readers of this website. No one sees it my way. Dr. Gelenter’s work is being at least tolerated, if not “totally accepted” by Yale. His videos on Youtube are impressive. He has opened a door, or at least a crack in the wall. If one professor can make this gigantic headway, it is hopefully paving the way for more. We should be looking (hoping, praying) that the time is coming when scientists can 1) get their work published in standard journals in the field of “Darwinism Criticism” and 2) this work be tolerated by their employers, especially universities. This could include both ID and Creation Science views. The next step is that if ONE professor, especially of the stature of Dr. Gelenter at Yale, can do this, then we can anticipate a few more. And more and more. Once this becomes a TREND, and there are TEN or FIFTY THOUSAND Scientists being tolerated, this can open up a new FIELD called “Darwinian Criticism” or “Evolution Criticism”. We can hopefully look forward to the time when there will no longer be only ONE Politically Correct Worldview for scientists which says. “Evolution is a 100% proven fact, and only an uneducated idiot would criticize any aspect of this truth.” Check out Youtube David Gelernter: The Danger of Crusading Atheists, [link deleted per feedback rules]WUizSPviI Instead of criticism, we should applaud Dr. Gelenter’s work -- Maybe this is the Berlin Wall for Evolution!
Matthew Cserhati
Hello Skippy,
Yes, we do applaud Dr. Gelernter's brave stand. We do accept his criticism of evolution. But creation science is much more than criticism of evolutionary theory. For example, the creationist science of baraminology is a scientific discipline in its own right. (in Hebrew, barah=created, min=kind, and in Greek logos=science, knowledge). Baraminology is the science of biblical taxonomy. It has its own competing models, its own methodology and statistical framework. Programs have been written which determine the baraminic relationships between different species. While the results of ID are useful in a way, biblical creation can far surpass it. Not only is there no basis for evolution in reality, science proves the Bible instead! "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork." (Psalm 19:1)
Bob S.
Gelernter isn't a biologist. Who cares what he says about biology? He's an outsider critiquing the scientific consensus. I'll go with the consensus, thanks. I've written more here: [link deleted per feedback rules]
Matthew Cserhati
Hello Bob,
The fact of the matter is that these things go both ways. Scientists outside the field of biology have claimed evolution to be true, why can't Gelernter make the inverse of this statement? There are scientists who have made considerable contributions to two separate areas of science. For example, Linus Pauling was productive in the areas of biology and chemistry. John Sanford has worked in the areas of both biology and mathematics. You can read about the waiting time problem in a hominin population here. The sciences aren't isolated from one another, they all work together to describe nature in a holistic fashion.
Frank S.
The beyond astronomical numbers herein are quite fascinating. If I take our Lord’s comment regarding our hairs are numbered I recognize, in principal that given complete knowledge of our DNA, then every bit of our body is determinable - no problem at all for an All-Powerful Creator. All is the biggest word of all I can conceive of and perhaps impossible to fully understand in human terms.
David H.
Thank you for your excellent article. I agree with Peter H. Romans 1:20 declares that "they are without excuse". What does that mean? It means that the God of creation has so clearly identified Himself "by the things that are made," that His attributes manifested therein will not allow a logical deviation from the conclusion that the honest observer will see a profile of the Creator consistent with the verses preceding Romans 1:20. The transformation of Paul (vs.1), the trustworthiness of prophecy (vs. 2), the tree of Christ's genealogy (vs. 3), the triumph of Christ's resurrection (vs. 4), the wrath (judgments) of God foretold and fulfilled in the earth (vs. 18), the inner testimony of conscience and a consciousness of God (vs. 19), and the external witness of God's attributes by His handiwork in creation (vs. 20). It is no surprise that Gelernter stopped short of connecting the dots that would have revealed that the ONLY reasonable Author of the DNA code is also the Author of fulfilled Scripture, the Lord Jesus Christ. Francis Crick illogically decided that aliens were deserving of the credit that belongs to our Lord. We have a ministry here in San Diego called Science, Scripture, Salvation Outreach. We use CMI materials extensively (e.g., Question Evolution). Evolution is a stronghold that must be dealt with honestly. The desire of the true, humble seeker (Psalm 10:17) will not be disappointed by the 7-layered evidence of Romans 1:1-4,18-20. Soli Deo Gloria!
Brad W.
"there are no known mutations which occur very early on during embryonic development. From everything we have seen, such mutations are always lethal, leading to a premature death" Which is it? None, or always lethal?
Matthew Cserhati
Hello Brad,
We can assume that mutations can arise anytime during development. The fact that mutations that occur early on during development always lead to the death of the individual proves that evolution cannot happen. They are always lethal. No such mutations lead to the improvement of the species.
Christopher W.
Surely as Christians we are all missing the tremendous contribution ID bring to the origins debate. ID is the sledgehammer that destroys Darwinism and it does so using the God of this world; an appeal to logic and common sense. When Elijah was on the mountain and instructed the false prophets to build an alter but required that they asked their god to light the fire, he did so to prove to the people that their gods were "make believe". He then poured water all over his alter to prove it had not been lit as a trick, and called on the true God to consume the Alter, a demonstration that lead to the Children of Israel turning back to God. ID is exactly this. ID is this first step whereby we demand the evolutionist justify the ridiculous claims made; ID exposes those as the lies that they are. Used properly, people are forced to choose. Like Elijah, as the false gods of the day were exposed as bankrupt, evolution is shown also shown by ID to be bankrupt. the ground is laid bare and the inevitable question becomes "well who designed and built that then". Of course for many it is about worldview and their choice of which worldview to adopt; many will still refuse to believe, hence ideas of panspermia, and creation by Aliens etc, but ID forces people to choose. Without ID many will never question evolution, we just need to remember that ID is not the saving step in-of-itself but merely another step along the road to salvation.
Matthew Cserhati
Hello Christopher,
I agree that ID is partially useful tot he Christian apologetic. But it is not nearly as effective as Biblical creation. You say fist: "ID is the sledgehammer that destroys Darwinism and it does so using the God of this world; an appeal to logic and common sense.", but then in your next sentence you refer to worldview, the Scripture: "When Elijah was on the mountain and instructed the false prophets to build an alter but required that they asked their god to light the fire, he did so to prove to the people that their gods were 'make believe'." You see, we all start out from our own worldview. We use logic to interpret facts and evidence according to our presuppositions. This is not a one-step process. We have to shift people from atheism to a fully Biblical worldview. The Bible has the answers and not human reason, Islam, or any other man-made religion. Biblical creation is just as capable as ID in pointing out the fallacies of evolutionary theory, but we offer something to replace it.
Kevin C.
with all due respect to Gelernter, why do we care what he believes? As stated, he is neither a biologist, archeologist, or learned in anything having to do with evolution. He is a professor of computer science, which while laudable and certainly respectable, renders his opinion on matters regarding biology to be of no more import than my mailmans. Argumentum ad verecundiam.
Matthew Cserhati
Hello Kevin,
Gelernter may not be a biologist, but sciences do not exist in a vacuum, they are not isolated from one another. All sciences work together to form a holistic view of nature. That's why there are so many multi-disciplinary sciences, such as computational biology.
Graeme T.
"What is the probability that this one, short protein would evolve in the primordial soup? You can think of the amino acids in a protein like beads on a string. Each position along the string can hold any of the 20 amino acids. Thus, there are 20 to the power of 150 ≈ 10 to the power of 195 possible proteins of this length". Surely this gives the probability of somebody correctly sequencing the 150 amino acids by chance. That isn't the same as the probability of the protein spontaneously arising (or evolving). That probability must be zero since there is no mechanism whereby 150 amino acids could join themselves into proteins in any kind of soup. Similarly if 1340 essential proteins were placed in a soup there is no mechanism by which they would form themselves into a bacterium. Again the probability of life spontaneously arising is zero.
Douglas R.
When talking about "the next step" toward faith in Christ, it must be repentance, or the revelation that you have been wrong and are incapable in yourself to come up with the truth. Only the humble(d) man can admit his wrong and have his eyes opened to the truth. Only the Holy Spirit can do this work in a man or woman or child. Seeking, asking, and knocking are all part of the humble man turning to God for help. Simple knowledge about Christ will not produce faith. Only repentance, which is obedience to the gospel, will bring forth true faith. There are millions of professing Christians who claim faith, but have never repented. There's is a mental faith or dead faith. There are no works of grace attached (faith without works is dead, being alone). Repentance is the first work of grace God does in every soul that comes into the new birth. It precedes saving faith. There is a beginning faith that is working through that process, but without full repentance a soul will be like the seed on rocky soil, or planted among weeds. It will not bear the true fruit of living faith and the new birth. Both of those types of souls start on the road of faith and repentance, but stop short and are lost.
David H.
I appreciate the point made by Graeme T. The probability of life spontaneously arising is ZERO. This is a mathematically correct assessment that rightly brushes aside all of the hypothetically "given" scenarios that never existed in the first place. Life begets life. Period. Non-life begets nothing. Any discussion about the probability of life arising spontaneously should have a reality check against the Law of Biogenesis. Only our awesome Creator and Law-Giver, the Lord Jesus Christ, can supersede the laws that have no exception apart from His intervention. "Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast" (Psalm 33:8,9). "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him" (Colossians 1:16). REAL Science belongs to God. We shouldn't diminish its value, since God has deliberately ordered His observable handiwork with the purpose of displaying His attributes which are "clearly seen by the things that are made" (Romans 1:20). True science includes the forensic science that validates the prophetic and historical reality that our God and Savior came into this world to save us as He promised. This is the valid exercise of "thinking God's thoughts after Him" as Johann Kepler wisely acknowledged. Any imaginary probability that removes or diminishes the Lord Jesus Christ in the equation of true Science, Scripture, or Salvation begins and ends with ZERO.
Mark Z.
The way the Atheists have come here and commented speak two things by the tongue expressed:
1. They do not read your material and lack understanding because the conversation would be different on their part.
2. They are cut from a familiar mold with the workers I’ve seen on yahoo answers religion channel.

I think atheists should take a course in software development so they could clearly see and relate the design and complexity. The medium the creator used is superior to our designs that break within a few years. The arrogant would have mocked the design within the living with software which would provide a real look into what is possible if they could prove fact. It is obvious evolution took advantage of what creation can do and added lies onto what was seen.
David M.
Matthew Cserhati, thank you for your reply above. I never mentioned natural selection, so unsure as to why you did - it doesn't deal with my points regarding chance. I think perhaps this is a lack of understanding of evolution on your part and perhaps also on the part of some of your correspondents too. The shortest and most succinct definition of evolution is that it is 'the non-random selection of random mutations.' In the 160 years or so since Darwin published his great work On the Origin of Species, all the scientific evidence shows that evolution is a scientific fact. By contrast, there is no scientific evidence for the existence of (any) god, which is precisely the reason that religious groups of all persuasions invariably refer to themselves as being 'faiths' - ie in order for an individual to be a member of a particular religion, they must have faith in the existence of something for which there is no scientific evidence, namely, God. Unfortunately, many believers forget this basic tenet of their religion, and blithely state that 'God exists'...!
Matthew Cserhati
As a PhD biologist who attended university where all classes were taught from an evolutionary perspective, I hardly think I misunderstand what evolution is all about. "The non-random selection of random mutations" is not the definition of evolution. It seems even you don't know what evolution is all about. Evolution is also not defined as 'change over time'. These are terms which the creationists accept. Instead, your definition must include the phrase 'common ancestry of all organisms'. What you just defined is natural selection. Natural selection is a term described by creationists long before Darwin.
If evolution is a fact, perhaps you could disclose to us the entire process of bacteria evolving into humans -- 'seeing is believing' according to what the skeptics say, so I want to be able to shake the fish-frog's hand. According to Ockham's razor, the more simple answer is most likely the better one. Why presuppose a lengthy, complicated, unobserved, hypothetical evolutionary process that flies in the face of all aspects of mathematics, when we see that the evidence that the natural world is designed is so obvious? Even Dawkins himself acknowledges the fact that the natural world seems to be designed, yet because of his religious atheistic convictions he is forced to come up with some sort of evolutionary explanation. Is evolution a fact? By now there are 11,444 articles on this website which argue otherwise.
Philip R.
There have been a few comments about how useful ID is or has been. And I agree—it has produced some very useful arguments and evidence.

However, please don't overlook that ID's approach is to use the argument from design, which was actually pioneered by creationists. And indeed the ID people acknowledge the precedence of people such as Arthur Wilder-Smith and William Paley in putting forward arguments from design. Both preceded the ID movement, and both were creationists.
Philip R.
A couple of critics have said that Gelernter's qualifications are not in biology or anything to do with evolution. But that begs the question of whether biology is the correct field to be assessing the evolutionary claims in the first place. Living things display evidence of engineering and of possessing information, and abiogenesis is about how non-biological materials became biological organisms. And all this relies on chance processes (yes, even natural selection, as it selects according to the chance of what the environment is). It seems to me that a professor of computer science is at least as well qualified to comment on such things as a biologist.
Richard P.
Well, here we have a mystery! Could it be that the David M (GB, 13th September) who writes "I never mentioned natural selection, so unsure as to why you did" and the David M (GB, 6th September) who wrote "evolution by means of natural selection is a scientific fact." are not the same person?
To the one who wrote later, I would say that all the scientific evidence, when interpreted through the atheistic presupposition of naturalism and evolution, shows that evolution is a fact. Well it would, wouldn't it? Any evidence that casts questions on this has to be reinterpreted to fit the theory.
How can you know that there is no evidence for the existence of a God? This website is full of evidence. Millions upon millions of lives changed is also evidence. Millions upon millions of prayers answered is further evidence. You may disagree with the conclusion, but not simply by claiming the non-existence of the evidence. And for those of us whose lives have been changed by the Gospel, there is proof, from experience. I recommend you seek it before jumping to conclusions.

Comments are automatically closed 14 days after publication.