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Creation Or Evolution? Part 1
Over a century and a half ago, an academic controversy swept the world, as a liberal, materialistic philosophy collected data to give Man a new view of his origins. Strong religious reaction began; foolish and unfounded statements were made by uninformed church people. Science and faith quarreled, and for the first time in a great many years, received a virtual divorce. Early viewpoints became clouded, ignored, or discarded; our century has thus inherited almost wholly humanistic thought. For over a hundred years we have accepted this philosophy and tried to live with it; till again, on the brink of nuclear disaster, we seem to have tried everything from drugs, sex, mysticism, and UFO hunting to find a new future. Now the chips are down, the facts are coming in, and it's time we had a long, hard look at what an idea can do to a world.
The Origin Of Life-The Final Frontier
We've certainly come a long way since the day a researcher stood up to declare there was nothing significant left to discover. (Shortly before the invention of the atomic bomb
, the transistor
, and the laser
.) Yet for all our advances, Life itself is the "final frontier" for a bewildering complex of sciences.
"Indeed, only two major questions remain shrouded in a cloak of not-quite fathomable mystery: (1) the ORIGIN OF LIFE (i.e. the events that first gave rise to the remarkable co-operative functioning of nucleic acids and proteins...) and (2) the MIND-BODY problem (i.e. the physical basis for self-awareness and personality). Great strides have been made in the approaches to both these problems... but the ultimate explanations are perceived very dimly indeed."1
Well, what ARE the options? Really only TWO. It all depends on your premises and presuppositions. Everything comes down to ONE OF TWO ALTERNATIVES, summed up like this:
(1) "In the beginning, GOD CREATED the heavens and the earth..."(Genesis 1:1)
and 'By FAITH we understand that worlds were framed by the Word of God... so that which is seen does not owe its existence to that which is visible." (Hebrews 1l:3 Weymouth Translation)
(2) "Once upon a time... perhaps two and a half billion years ago, under a deadly sun, in an ammoniated ocean topped by a poisonous atmosphere in the midst of a soup of organic molecules, a nucleic acid molecule came ACCIDENTALLY INTO BEING that could SOMEHOW BRING ABOUT the existence of another like itself."2
Two choices. Pick the FIRST, and you see all natural history as divinely guided towards Man's coming; with it the conviction that man has special destiny and moral responsibility (with a probable judgment on the horizon as well). Pick the SECOND, and you are left with no God, Heaven, Hell, or for that matter, any confidence in humanity and its future. The choice is really quite narrow. Of course both sides have their creeds, authorities, and prophets, and both in the final analysis are religious - are matters of faith. The only question is, which one has the facts going for it?
Six-Million Dollar Man?
"A man consists of some seven octillion (7xl0 to the 27th) atoms grouped in about 10 trillion cells (10 to the 13th). This agglomeration of cells and atoms has some astounding properties. It is alive, feels joy and suffering, discriminates between beauty and ugliness, and distinguishes good from evil."3 How much ARE you worth?
Old estimates (from the book Time, Chance & Matter=Man & The Whole Universe)
put your value (with inflation) at around $7.50; the new reckonings are greatly revised. Your proteins, steroids, and hormones alone are terribly complex and costly, and as for LIVING ORGANS, how much is a replacement heart
worth if you need a transplant? The point is, your value has been reappraised because we now appreciate much better the scarcity and sophistication of your molecules. Man IS marvelously complex, and complexity shows one of TWO THINGS: incredible luck or intricate engineering
. The seven system-command computers on the Columbia space shuttle (cross-checking each other's facts and figures, and voting on the result) didn't mutate from some engineer's lost four-function calculator; yet Man's design leaves the computers far behind!
Tackling The Evolutionary Obstacle Course
Naturally enough, since this theory was accepted by so many for such a long time, it takes some courage and conviction to change your position now, especially to the dismay or ridicule of professional colleagues. Evolutionary theory still runs right through many, many sciences, and its collapses in one field are not always heard in others. People seeing real problems in their ONE area assume researchers in OTHER fields have the missing evidences; this forms a series of interdependent "hurdles,"
making it difficult for honest researchers to see the situation clearly. Thus, "Expert Opinion" assumes "The Specialist
is Always Right" - which dismays the poor specialist, who (as careful as he or she can be) is after all, only human. "Specialized Biology
," for instance, may assume "the rocks are as old as the fossils"; while "Specialized Geology
" assumes "the fossils are as old as the rocks." Hopefully, geochronology (dating-methods data) will unhesitatingly confirm the age of both! But if all else fails, won't a majority opinion prevail anyway? (I mean, that's right isn't it? How could so many
be so wrong!... Lie still, and try not to think of Hitler.) Then again, if you are terribly committed to the premise that there "can not possibly be a God" (Who will one day call us into account for all the funny ideas we had about His creation), you would no doubt always find some objections to what Creationists are saying.
"Now Just A Minute...!"
Pick up almost any magazine today to see how hot the Creation-Evolution debate has become. Creationists openly challenge Evolutionists to packed, public debates in university forums around the world. There is a growing body of creation-favoring research and literature, thousands of procreation scientists, and many Evolutionists willing to carefully and honestly consider both possibilities. Yet almost without exception, the secular media (accepting evolutionary theory uncritically for decades) has been deeply threatened; their "rebuttal" articles sound increasingly shrill, or are based on the idea, "say it often enough and people will keep on believing it - despite the facts."
Many of the biased articles say:
(1) Creationists "misuse the word 'theory' to convey the false impression that Evolutionists are 'covering up the rotten core' of their premise." Translation: It is "not fair" to point out well established rules of science, especially if according to these rules evolution doesn't even qualify as a scientific THEORY much less as proven FACT. (The key to the scientific method is to SEE it and REPEAT it; with macro-evolution you can do neither).4
(2) Creationists "misuse a popular philosophy of science to argue they are behaving scientifically in attacking evolution." (Really? Improper to criticize an idea in the light of DIRECT SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE - such as the fossil record, laws of probability, thermodynamics, and laws of genetics?) Current media tactics also repeatedly CALL evolution "a fact" then discuss how it is BOTH fact AND theory, getting fact and theory hopelessly (purposely?) confused.5
Stanley Weinberg recommends that Evolutionists do not publicly debate, as they will not win. He says this is mainly because Creationists use "selective quotations"; "They put them together in such a way as to make an argument which the writer had no intention of making."6
Creationist authors usually do two things: quote directly from evolutionist sources and document everything, so the quotes can be checked out in context.
"Watch Them Sneaky Creationists!"
Gould says the Evolutionists' best approach is to say: (a) "creation isn't 'science' as it is universally defined today"; (b) "tearing down a scientific theory doesn't make that critics' program scientific"; and (c) "a scientific argument against evolution is not automatically an argument for creation."7
Is creation really not "science" as it is "universally defined today"? The whole world of research is undergoing tremendous change; once again it appears science is rapidly moving AWAY from materialistic world-views as new discoveries break down our last centuries' limited and totally inadequate picture of reality. Much of the life-sciences, locked into a century of old physics, are now under intense scrutiny and challenge. What is significant about all this is one fact - the cutting edge of research today points DIRECTLY TOWARDS THE SPIRITUAL.
On Mollusks To Monoliths In Media...
Some magazines' editorial policies seem peculiarly devoted to evolutionary thought, like Time/Life, Science Digest,
and of course, Scientific American.
Evolution is a basic idea in popular movies of the past like "King Kong," "Planet of the Apes," and its sequels. More recently in the sci-fi field, the theme develops still further: Man may eventually reach a "God-like" state, as in the conclusion of what A.C. Clarke called "the first ten and a half million dollar religious film" - the classic "2001: A Space Odyssey," and more recently, "Star Trek-The Motion Picture."
On TV we had "Battlestar Galactica" with its city of lights, and Carl Sagan's multimillion dollar "Cosmos" TV series. It seems there is too much evidence for design
on Earth, but since we can't go on talking about God
, we might as well come up with a novel solution to the design problem: "There IS intellect and personality behind Man's creation all right - super-beings from space!" Bring on Eric Von Danniken and his Chariots of the Gods
or Gods from Outer Space.
(And let's not talk about how THEY got there, shall we? Perhaps "long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." If we move the problem back far enough and long ago enough, maybe it'll go away.)
Do Christian researchers "bring in God" just to explain what cannot currently be explained? Is He invoked to "fill gaps" for faulty theories, perhaps to be squeezed out by the next scientific advance? No way. We honor Him as Creator God, evident in His Universe NOT because other explanations fail, but because studies point to His mind, His purpose, and His planning. Can there be "gaps" about origins? To acknowledge God as Creator is to honor Him where science reaches its limits and cannot ever expound. A lot depends on your PREMISES
. A "premise" is an idea you start with (a "presupposition") before you collect facts to try to answer questions. Very often it is not the facts that cause arguments; conflicts come because two people start with very different BASES by which they interpret what they see.
For Instance, a fish
and a submarine
are alike in some ways; they both have tails, move underwater, and so on. The FACTS are: they are SIMILAR in many ways. Now assume the PREMISE: "Similarity equals COMMON ANCESTRY."
With all the right FACTS (the noted similarities), we decide therefore that "the fish is a highly-advanced, miniaturized great-nephew of the submarine." This is no doubt offensive to fishes as well as common sense, but "facts are facts!" CHANGE your PREMISE
to "Similarity equals common DESIGN,"
and with the SAME SET OF FACTS you see something very different: 'Both fish and submarines were DESIGNED TO WORK UNDERWATER" (one by Man, one by Man's Creator). With the right FACTS but a wrong PREMISE, you can come Up with the WRONG answer for all the RIGHT reasons.
Some Of The Facts
Great fussing is going on today about "the origins of life." We had Miller
experiments, shooting little sparks through organic gases in concentrations carefully picked to favor the formation of some of life's building blocks. Not surprisingly, some were formed. Never mind that Earth's original atmosphere couldn't hold HEAVY gases like xenon and krypton (shades of Superman!) let alone the LIGHTER ones used in the experiments (like methane and ammonia), or that a REAL lightning bolt would effectively FRY a darling little amoeba-in-the-making. It is bothersome also that ultraviolet light from our sun knocks out ammonia faster that it can form, and old sedimentary rocks ought to show significant amounts of organic stuff in them if this is the way it was, but they don't.8
A Left-handed Creation?
Add to that what Louis Pasteur, Linus Pauling,
and Francis Crick
(evolutionist co-discoverer of the DNA structure) all pointed out: The amino acids of life, from mold up to Man, are all of ONE SPECIAL FORM. John Maddox, English biologist, calls this "an intellectual thunderbolt
": Randomized experiments always give a "racemic" mixture,9
approximately EQUAL proportions of D- and L-, right-handed and left-handed amino acids (chemically identical, but "mirror images" of each other) - whereas life proteins consist of LEFT-HANDED MOLECULES ONLY!10
Now why in the world should that be so ACCIDENTAL? It's enough to drive poor scientists batty trying to dig up some exotic catalyst that might shift the yield in some tiny way (to date always less than 10%) in the "right" direction (left!).11
What is even more disappointing is that NO high-order, information-carrying molecules like those life uses EVER arrive in the soup, let alone anything remotely looking as if it could move, eat, or reproduce itself.
Then there is Sidney Foxes' ingenious "microsphere" idea. "Perhaps," he thinks, "volcanoes did it." Cook a dry mix of L-amino acids and you get a "thermal pan-polymer" or "proteinoid." Drop these amino acid chains into water and they clump into little groups he calls "microspheres." Since these little shapes look and act physically in many ways like living things, Mr. Foxe believes this is the way it happened. Top marks for ingenuity, but proteinoids resemble life like a junkyard resembles a Ferrari, and they grow like a wet toilet roll, not like an orange. Real life proteins are unique because of their structure and information-carrying sequence. "ProteiNOlD" is not at all protEIN; the name looks the same to the innocent, but they lack tertiary12
form, their structural mix of amino acids is hopelessly different, and they are essentially random, too fragile, and too simple. Other than superficial, physical similarities, they have nothing complex enough going for them inside or outside to ever grow up to be real proteins.13
Life In A Test-Tube?
"But didn't scientists make life in a test-tube somewhere?" No Virginia, they did NOT. (Some have TRANSPLANTED little lives - the 'test-tube babies" - but that is another story.) Neither DNA nor protein are molecules that can duplicate themselves; DNA is the servant of the cell. Likewise the view is absolutely dependent on the cell for its survival, and either came AFTER the cell or was created WITH it.14
Gary Parker, an ex-evolutionary biologist and geologist (whose excellent little book Creation-The Facts of Life,
along with Wysong's detailed volume was one of the best resources for this article), has written DNA: The Key to Life,15
a programmed textbook on the subject. He asks, "What does it take to make a living cell alive? The answer is something every scientist recognizes and uses in his laboratory, something every scientist can infer from his observations of DNA and protein... CREATIVE DESIGN and ORGANIZATION. What we know about the DNA-protein relationship suggests that living cells have the CREATED KIND of design."16
Frankenstein Had A Better Idea:
People have shot long-suffering pools of chemicals with everything they can think of - sound, light, heat, gamma-rays, even bullets, but naturally enough, they stay dead.17
All this with the express and intelligent PURPOSE of creating life by ACCIDENT.
We could save a lot of trouble and revisit Dr. Frankenstein who had a better idea. All the material we need is in the morgue. Why bother battering around poor old amino acids when there are all the cells, DNA, enzymes, and proteins you need ready assembled in the proper order in your local cemetery (or even the supermarket?). Save the taxpayers millions; hit, burn, and shoot sparks into corpses or chicken gizzards. When all is said and done, there's a great deal more said than actually done. "Chemistry is not then our ancestor
, it's our problem
. When cells lose their biological order and start reacting in chemical ways, we die... what's lost at death is balance and biological order that otherwise uses food to put us together faster than chemistry can tear us apart! "18
If the ultimate computer/researcher interface successfully synthesizes an egg, no self-respecting hen will touch it. Life is not merely chemical complexity, but a gift from the Living God.
Dust Or Destiny
Take your pick. We are either (1) the product of a cosmic crap-game; or (2) imagineered by Wisdom, Love, and Power beyond comprehension. Those are the options; accident or design, chance or creation. You either have three impersonals: Time, Chance, and Matter, adding up to Impersonal Man and an Impersonal Universe; or you have Pre-existent Personality imposing order on creation, giving meaning to love, truth, and dignity. These options have profound implications for the way you feel about yourself and others in this world. What, for instance, do you do when overwhelmed by the beauty and awesome, orderly arrangement of a flower? Vote scenario two and say "Thank You God!" Vote scenario one and be stuck with "Praise and honor be to Gases, Geology, and Genes." And did you ever think it odd that a brilliant man could spend fifty years of his life in a lab trying to duplicate life to show NO INTELLIGENCE WAS NECESSARY to form it in the beginning?
1) Biology and the Future of Man - Ed. Philip Handler.
2) Isaac Asimov, science-fiction author: The Well-Springs of Life.
3) Genetics of the Evolutionary Process-Theodosius Dobzhansky.
4) As opposed to micro-evolution, which means changes within kind, or “species” - as in the development over the centuries of different breeds of dogs, cattle, etc., which of course, obviously occurs. Macro-evolution would involve one species evolving into another-like a lizard evolving into a bird.
5) S.J. Gould: DISCOVER Magazine, “Evolution As Fact & Theory,” pp. 34-37, May 1981.
6) Stanley Weinberg: Science Council of New York, Dec. 1980.
7) Jim Adams: St. Louis Post Dispatch-“Evolution-An Old Debate With A New Twist”, May 17, 1981.
8) P. Abelson: “Some Aspects of Paleobiochemistry, “Annuals of New York Academy of science, 69:275,1957; “chemical Events of the Primitive Earth, “Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 55:1365, 1966.
9) A mixture of both right and left-handed molecules.
10) Francis H. C. Crick: Molecules and Men, Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1966, p.60; John Maddox: Revolution in Biology, New York, Macmillan Company, P. 59.
11) James F. Coppedge: “the Mystery of Left -Handed Molecules in Proteins”; Evolution-Possible or Impossible?, p.p. 55-79.
12) A technical term involving a three-fold arrangement of molecules.
13) S. L. Miller & H. C. Urey: “Organic Compounds Synthesis on the Primitive Earth,” Science, 130:247, 1959; Fox, Harada, Woods, & Windsor: Archives of Biochemistry & Biophysics, 102:439, 1963; H. Holter: “How Things Get Into Cells,” Scientific American, 205:167-180,1961; M.&L. Hokin: “The chemistry of Cell Membranes, “op. Cit. 213:78-86, 1965.
14) R.L. Wysong: “Is Life Definable?,” The Creation-Evolution Controversy, inquiry Press, 1978, pp. 190-220.
15) Educational Methods Inc., Chicago.
16) Parker: Creation-The Facts of Life, pp. 14-15.
17) J. Keosian: The Origin of Life, N.Y. Reinhold 28, 68, 1968.
18) Parker, op. cit. pp. 8-10.
(Author: Winkie Pratney
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