5- Science, Part 2
I thought we should touch on the question of ‘What is true?’ when it comes to the way we assess scientific data. It matters for the purpose of implication(s) as well as for accuracy’s sake. Christian’s are notoriously critiqued for not being advocates of science, but quite to the contrary, science is the nuts and bolts for the Biblical account of creation. Evolution has been the only textbook maintained theory, however its come under such heavy scrutiny now that scientist across the board recognize the inconsistencies and are at work answering the question, “well what now?”
‘If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Darwin
Have you ever wondered how long it took our evolutionary system to develop blood clotting? How did we come along at all without it while it was developing?
Natural Selection is quite the theory to dissect, and it should be the aim of any Christian to properly understand the engineering of this theory and how it fleshes out. Since it is now common knowledge that the fossil records do not thoroughly demonstrate the transitional continuity of Natural Selection, but instead only reflect specific time period slight adaptation, it only makes sense that we then study the only other applicable scientific factor that Darwin claimed to render Natural Selection true. To do this we need to pour into the basics of molecular biology to understand the gist of what is essential to life.
Molecular biology is defined as:
the branch of biology that deals with the structure and function of the macromolecules (e.g., proteins and nucleic acids) essential to life.
After 1953 with the discovery of DNA and the years following, as the technology has advanced to look within the cell, we are able to dissect the information bearing properties of DNA. The cell is full of mini machines; turbines, rotary engines, walking robots that move material from one cell to the other.
Intelligence only can cause intelligence, which challenges the mainstream claims of materialism which essentially states that we are nothing more than matter and energy.
Present in each and every cell is this incredible nanotechnology and information. We hear about this in Biology 101, right? It’s not new information at this point. However, if we are being honest, in our own experience of life, everything that we know about the presence of intelligence in living systems suggests an intelligence that preexists us/it that is responsible for all of that nanotechnology and information. It is the idea that the things that are clearly designed have a purpose.
It is mind boggling to perceive such a finely tuned apparatus as the cell, and such an immensely complex molecular realm of genetic information processing. It’s exactly this new realm of molecular genetics that we see the most compelling evidence of design on the earth. It is for this reason that we can no longer conclude that a chemical attraction brought things together.
Dr. Francis Crick discovered DNA, and was a Nobel prize winner and Evolutionists. He spoke to how complex this issue is for him at the fundamental level of life.
He says,“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions that have had to be satisfied to get it going.”
What has now occurred with the discovery and use of the electron microscope is that it is now crystal clear that slight modifications over time are unable to form the DNA nanotechnology. The reason for this is that what we now know about the individual cell is that this complex system of coordinated, interlocking parts like this can only operate after all the pieces are in place-which means that they must appear simultaneously, not by any gradual, piece by piece process.
We refer to Behe’s term of Irreducible Complexity to refer to the minimum level of complexity that must be present before such a tightly integrated system can function at all. Irreducible complexity is not a statement about what is psychologically possible to imagine; it is a logical argument about how wholes are constructed from parts.
As a result of what we now understand about the cell, the implication is that it would be impossible for life, comprised of billions of cells, to have adapted, or impossible to have evolved over billions of years here on earth.
Natural Selection works on tiny, random improvements in function-which means it does not kick into gear until there is at least some function to select from. This means that those parts themselves cannot be a products of natural selection.
The older broad stroke of fins becoming legs won’t cut it anymore because of the electron microscope which opened up the big black box of the cell. Today, any theory of life’s origin must explain molecular systems.
The logical question then, is whether living structures are aggregates or organized wholes. Within each and every cell, living structures are incredibly complex organized wholes. The most feasible theory then is that the pieces were put together according to a preexisting puzzle.
To Darwin, the cell was a “black box.” Its inner workings were utterly mysterious to him. Now, the black box has been opened up and we know how it works. Applying Darwin’s test to the ultra-complex world of molecular machinery and cellular systems that have been discovered in the last 40years, we can say that Darwin’s theory has ‘absolutely broken down.’
So as honest people, how do we contrast this above with the common assumptive language that says that “Evolution is fact.” As technology has advanced, it has made things much more plain to us than it had ever been before. Scientists who now have changed course to be in favor of intelligent design after these more recent discoveries typically use the example of the Bacterium Flagellum as the most pointed data.
The Bacteria flagellum is likely to be the best and most provocative explanation of the defeat of Evolution as fact.
The illustration is best understood if you think about the machinery in the cell, beginning with the Protein. As the bacterium swims around in a cell, the bacterium Flagellum whips around just like a propeller. It is essentially a rotary motor with a hook joint, a drive shaft, O-rings, a stator, and a bi-directional acid-powered motor that can hum along at 100,000 revolutions per minute. Genius, right?
Structures like this require tons of precisely tailored, delicately interacting parts, which could not emerge by some sort of gradual process. For someone or something to build this fine motor, it would require an ingrained feedback system that says ‘ok no more of that component, or this component.’ On top of that, the degree of bend in the propeller would have to be fine tuned to precision, the shut off timing of the valves flawless, adding in components for the propeller in their precise sequence.
How does natural selection do this?
Before anyone asserts The Cooption argument which basically says that apparently irreducibly complex systems can evolve from simpler precursors which serve other unrelated functions. Co Option does not satisfy the flagellum example. In order to construct this mechanism in the cell, it requires other machines to regulate the assembly of it. To assemble the flagellum motor is itself irreducibly complex. In fact irreducible complexity all the way down. There’s no explanation of how this complex molecular machine was ever produced by a Darwinian mechanism. It’s almost as if somebody designed it. (Hmm…)
The co-option argument tacitly presupposes the need for the very thing it seeks to explain — a functionally interdependent system of proteins.
The Fossil Record
People often refer to the fossil record to demonstrate the reliability of evolution over time. However, the assertion is incomplete and the most up to date data on the fossil record amplifies that. If gradual changing of species into the next is the answer to how life evolved, why don’t we see this everywhere then in the fossil record? The fossil record does not indicate this whatsoever, and we have not even been able to observe this tangibly within the last several thousand years of our own human story.
“The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, must be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every startup full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graded organic chain; and this is perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.” Darwin
Dr. David Berlinski, Senior Fellow at The Discovery Institute speaks about the long, gradual process and the number of changes that must have had to occur in order to achieve the complexity we witness in species. He asserts that the fundamental question we have to ask in order to properly address the likeliness of the evolution of species is this; How many changes are required to change from one specie to another, and how do they compare to the fossil record?
He talks about the Evolutionary Sequence, where he is essentially asking, what exactly are the predictive properties that one could plan to find as one passes from a land dwelling creature to a water dwelling creature?
“The most modest estimate, is that an organism requires roughly 50,000 morphological (numbers in the sequence) changes to adapt itself to the open ocean.” Berlinski
This quantitative estimate introduces a great deal of puzzlement. If Darwinian changes are incremental and small, a creature MUST have these changes to survive. But that number of changes is so much greater than any in the transitional record. What is the proper explanation for this? No one has this answer.
If a change from one specie to another requires 50,000 changes there ought to be evidence of that somewhere. These transitions are not existent in the fossil record. Evolutionists would still claim that there is no water tight argument here. They would likely assert the concept of Intermediate Varieties of species, and raise the fossil findings of the Archaeopteryx. But we still have to ask the question, does the fossil finding actually support the theory, or are these two simply unique species?
David Raup is the Director at the Field Museum of Natural History which holds one of the largest fossil collections in the world.
He says, “We are about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky, and ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time.” Rapp
“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and endnotes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of the fossils.” Stephen Jay Gould
Darwin’s Galapagos Finches are the primary claim for the ‘evidence that evolution is true.”
Most of you know the story:
The finch evolved from a common ancestor from having to eat different food in different islands. When the drought came there were dramatic changes noted in its beak, known as ‘selected pressure.’ The finches with the larger beaks were the only ones to have survived. This represented slight variation.
However the follow up data shows that when the rain came back, the finches beaks went back to their former size and shape; back to normal. Back and forth with no evolutionary change, albeit slight variation dependent on environmental variables. The evidence was thus exaggerated because the years documented after the drought were not properly accounted for in the broader context of natural selection and how it was used to proport evolution as fact.
What those variations actually concluded versus what was implied of their conclusions were very different. It’s not as if the finch then became a bald eagle-it returned to its former state when the rain returned. However, classroom textbooks, now dated, claim this as solid evidence of the defense of Darwinian Evolution, but it does not align accurately with the most honest evidence in the fossil records as well as the molecular date we now know to be true.
The thing about Evolution is that we are not just dealing with a scientific truth claim; its philosophical. Evolution is a fundamental worldview based on a notion that scientific evidence allows us to leave god out of my worldview equation. Nowadays students and professors face shame and belittlement if Darwinian theory is questioned in the classroom, which is absurd when you hold a lamp up to the most modern scientific date.
I love when people claim “but science…” as a case against God or against Intelligent Design, because I just want to say to them, “Yes, you’re so right! Let’s talk about the science!”