Greg Bahnsen Critiques Evolution
How can we as Christians respond to the challenge of the evolutionary hypothesis? Before I answer that question, just to make sure you know what I’m talking about in this lecture, I’ll be dealing with what is called macro evolution, rather than micro evolution. And as I’m talking about species transformation, the evolution of living organisms through their progeny whereby one species becomes another species, I’m not talking about alteration of form or function within a species, micro evolution.
And on this question of species transformation, the diversity that we see in the world round about us needs to be accounted for. It is rather remarkable, with tigers and whales and goats and eagles. We have carrots and cockroaches and roses and roosters, grapes and giraffes and gorillas and germs. The plethora of living things is just incredible.
We have to ask, “How did such a profuse variety of species come about?” The idea that they came about naturally by means of gradual transformation from simpler forms, each having its place in a complex, but common genetic tree stemming from a primordial blob of life was proposed prior to the work of Charles Darwin, but it’s usually the name of Darwin that we think of in terms of that particular answer to the question, “Where did the diversity of things come from?”
The point is the diversity of life forms all came in a naturalistic process from a common blob or came supernaturally from a common God. In those who hold to the evolutionary view, therefore, feel that they have refuted the Bible and refuted the Bible at a crucial point: its doctrine of origins, its doctrine of creation.
So, the theory of evolution I believe has become the academic icon of our culture, which provides the basis for repudiating the Bible. And the Bible just doesn’t carry credibility with people anymore because they’ve been convinced that the theory of evolution has been established. So, what should we as Christians, trying to be true to our presuppositions, what should we do to answer the evolutionary challenge?
Let me begin with some embarrassment of the evolutionist. Okay. Evolution says, “Hey, we all know it’s a matter of science. We all came from primordial blob through gradual development over the generations. Life forms being sustained because they fit into the environment better than other life forms. Survival of the fittest. Gradual transformation, and then fixity of species being determined by natural selection.”
Well, I would begin by pointing out, this is not the only way to approach, but I begin by pointing out it’s not just religious people that have opposed this idea, and opposed it in a scholarly way. The mathematical probability that random mutations produce complex living organisms from simpler chemical forms is, in fact, infinitesimally small, even given billions of years. The mutations are almost always harmful to an organism in its natural environment. It turns out that a number of mathematicians in the year 1967 had a conference and published their academic papers. They were published by two editors, Moorhead and Kaplan, under the title Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution. And in that book, one of the articles was written by Eden Murray, entitled “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory.” Okay?
We’re not talking about religious inadequacies. We’re not talking about people going to Genesis and beating the evolutionists over the head with their Bible. But I’m talking about a mathematician saying, “Well, let’s just take what you’re telling us and study it mathematically.” Remember? Internal critique. “Answer the fool according to his folly.” Eden Murray concludes, “It is our contention that if random, if the word “random” is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible, and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws.” End of quote. [Laughter.]
All of you should be laughing, honestly. What an admission! The mathematicians say, See, the mathematicians apply probability theory to this and they say now, “If this is supposed to be random, there is no theistic evolution, this is supposed to be random and you give a serious interpretation to the randomness postulate, there’s not nearly enough time, even in billions of years, for this to have happened.” And so apparently any scientific theory of evolution would rely on discovering new natural laws. Um, you know, If it had been a fundamentalist Christian making that comment without the verification and proofs from math, everybody would dismiss him. But this is pretty embarrassing. The fool answered by fools like him.
Or think about what Michael Denton pointed out in this 1986 book, Evolution, a Theory in Crisis. By the way, that title alone is politically incorrect, right? Most people, well, It turns out when you talk about evolution you really have, I think, probably only three classes of people you talk to.
One, a very, very, very narrow slice of the eggheads in the university. And only a slice of those have any idea what the state of the debate is. And I’m going to quote one of them in just a minute, who knows very well the state of the debate. It’s shocking what he admits here.
But then you have people who are living out the theory of evolution, in a sense, professionally. It’s like it’s their job to apply this. “We’ve got to hold on tenaciously to this as a worldview because my way of doing sociology, my way of doing history or economics depends upon the theory of evolution.” And to these people, they just assume the first group, they all know what they’re talking about and evolution is well-founded. And if you go and you try to talk to them about the problem, what they’ll usually say is, “Well they answer those things in the biology department.”
And then you got another class of people, and they’re your garden-variety next-door neighbor types. The milkman. And for him, since everybody at the University says evolution is well founded, they just say, “Well, I don’t know what the answers are, but somebody that’s a scholar does.”
So you have the vast majority of people in your culture relying upon the opinion of the University professors, of whom only a narrow slice even know what’s going on in the debate. And when you talk to those [University] people, they’re not the ones who say, “Oh yeah this is well-established and all that.” Evolution is in crisis today among those who know what’s happening. But you know they don’t come out and say that to their colleagues. They don’t say, “By the way, maybe you’d better revise your notes in sociology and history because I’m not really sure now what to say about this.” It [evolution] is the reigning dogma in our culture, but the king has no clothes on.
Michael Denton, 1986, Evolution, the Theory in Crisis. Denton points out that to get a cell by chance would require at least 100 functional proteins to appear simultaneously in one place. More than 100, actually, but at least 100. Okay. So if you’re going to get a cell–one cell–one cell ain’t a whole lot, but to get one cell it’s going to require over a hundred proteins by chance to get together in one place. Now the independent probability, he says, of any particular protein appearing, the independent probability is going to be, he says, hardly more than 10 to the minus 20th power.
I need to review for a minute. Anyone remember what 10 to the minus 20th is? That means 1 over 10 with 20 zeroes following. 1 over 10 or is it 1? Anyway, he had 20 zeroes after it. If you go to Las Vegas, and you gamble and somebody offers you a probability of 1 in 10, you’re probably a fool to say, “Oh yeah, I’d like to play this game.” One in ten is bad odds, especially if you’re putting anything important down.
So that’s one zero. Now, if you have one over ten with a second zero, well, you’ve got one in a hundred. If 1 in 10 is bad odds, how many of you are going to put your money down on one in a hundred? And of course that’s made even worse if you had another zero: one in a thousand. One chance in a thousand.
The probability according to Denton of one protein arising by chance, he says, is hardly more than 10 to the minus 20th. Now you’ve got 20 zeroes down there. One chance, and all those zeros. But that’s only one protein. We need 100 proteins for one cell. And so, he said, the maximum combined probability would be 10 to the minus 2 thousandth power. One with 10 and 2000 zeroes. I mean, that’s a number that just boggles the mind! That’s for one cell.
Other scientists, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, 1981, in their book, Evolution from Space, calculated there are about 2,000 enzymes. So the chance of obtaining them all in random trial is only one part in 10 to the 40,000th power. These are not religious people who have written these things.
Now what do you think? The unbeliever is open-minded, objective, wants to follow the evidence wherever it leads him, right? That’s why I’m doing this all to the theory of evolution. Even though the chances are astronomically small that you can get even one living cell by chance. This is what unbelievers tell other unbelievers.
Let’s think for a minute about the fossil record. The fossil record. If the theory of evolution by gradual mutation and natural selection were true, the fossil record should show any number of connecting links between life-forms. Because there are so many life forms and there are so many fossils, we really shouldn’t have any difficulty finding missing links between the various forms of life. But to the embarrassment of the evolutionists, life appears abruptly in the fossil record and appears in complex forms. And the forms of life we find show gaps systematically between the various kinds of life forms. So you get life abruptly, you get complex life, and you get gaps between the various kinds of life forms. That’s what the fossil record shows us.
You need to be aware that we have at this time hundreds of millions of fossils. Hundreds of millions of fossils. And in the hundreds of millions of fossils, there is not one. It’s nada– zero. Not one provides an intermediary form, what we call a missing link. And, in particular, there are no fossil traces of a transformation from an ape-like creature to man. Now, I realize that, you know, popular opinion has it that the fossils show, you know, all these developments. But there is not any fossil trace of a transformation from an ape-like creature to man.
You might think, “Well then, quite obviously, evolutionists–those who are paleontologists, those who study the fossil record–would be the most inclined to be giving up the theory of evolution.” But the leading mathematician promoting evolution in our culture today is Stephen Jay Gould. G-o-u-l-d. He knows the fossil record. He knows it very well. He knows the dirty little secret that the fossil record doesn’t support Darwinian gradualism. And so in 1977, the leading advocate of evolution in our culture wrote an article in the journal, Paleo Biology. This is volume 3 and page 145. Because you’re not going to believe what I’m going to read. You’re going to say, “He couldn’t have said that.”
The title of the article is “Punctuated Equilibrium.” Punctuated Equilibrium. According to Gould, the fossil record doesn’t support evolution as it’s interpreted in a gradualist Darwinian fashion. But we know evolution took place, so the fossil record must prove to us that evolution took place with punctuated periods of equilibrium, so that, according to him, when evolutionary change happens, it doesn’t happen gradually mutation by mutation over thousands of years. It rather happens very fast. You have a sudden burst of evolutionary activity and then long periods of equilibrium. And that equilibrium– those periods of equilibrium– the equilibria, as he said, are punctuated then by real fast periods of evolutionary change.
Now, what change what causes things to change so fast? Well, we don’t know. Something does. And so it turns out that the fossil record would be expected to show what? Since you don’t have a long period of evolutionary development, you’d have fossils laid down during that equilibrium period, not during the period of punctuated, very fast evolutionary change. It’s unlikely you’d get fossils during that short punctuated period. And therefore the fossil record is exactly what we’d expect, if evolution were true.
As I tell people, a little bit tongue-in-cheek, when I lecture on the subject: That amounts to saying, “The proof of my theory in the fossil record is that there would be no proof in the fossil record. Say I’ve made my theory immune to verification or falsification by the nature of the theory itself.” So when I go out and fossil record looks like special creation, then what I’m saying is. “Well, that’s really punctuated equilibrium.”
But stand back just for a minute for the sake of the fool and say, “See if I understand what you’re saying. What you are saying is that there were really different periods of evolution. But they were very short periods, and there were bursts of creative energy and change in these different periods. Right. And then there are gaps between these bursts of creative evolutionary change. Right. Now, if you recall, the Genesis story says there were periods of creative bursts separated by a gap of a day. But the point is, God, at the beginning of each day, did this work of creation; then there was a gap; did this work of creation; then there was a gap, and so forth. Isn’t that it’s just interesting–you know, just interesting to point out?”
What you [the evolutionist] are really doing is getting back to the anatomy of a creationist view of origins, but you don’t want it to be a personal, supernatural God who does it. And what do you prefer in place of a supernatural God who gives these bursts, these punctuated bursts of creative energy? Nature, or yes, better, we don’t know. We would rather have in our worldview, “I don’t know. It just happened. Punctuated,” than to say God punctuated it, because day by day he created things.
And so, in Paleobiology, 1977, page 145, Stephen Jay Gould explains to us why gradualism has been preferred. And I quote, “The general preference that so many of us hold for gradualism is a metaphysical stance embedded in the history of Western cultures. It is not a high order empirical observation induced from the objective study of nature.”
Nail him to the wall! But praise God! Because we’ve been saying that for years. And here’s the leading advocate, now admitting, “It’s not because we studied nature objectively. It’s not a high order empirical observation. Because We don’t prefer evolution because we’ve studied nature empirically. it’s our preference, metaphysical in character, embedded in the history of Western culture.” He said, “Hey, the wave of the future is secularism. That’s why our metaphysic is secular. If our metaphysic is secular, then we hold to impersonal forces being the source of life gradually developing the way they are describing.” And then he says, “You shouldn’t have the idea that this is an empirical observational study of nature that led us to this. This is a philosophical pre-commitment.”
Already in 1874, John Tyndall had said, “The basis of the doctrine of evolution consists not in an experimental demonstration but in its general harmony with scientific thoughts.” The basis for the doctrine of evolution doesn’t come from experimentation. It comes from, “This is our concept of science.”
Louis Venour, in The Advocate, 1984, you know, he’s the president of the Biological Society of Strasbourg, wrote, “Evolution is a fairy tale for grown-ups. This theory has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is utterly useless.” Here’s the president of the biological Society of Strasbourg, a man who became the director of research of the French Center of scientific research. He says, “It’s just a fairy tale. It doesn’t help anything, It’s useless.”
You see what I mean? Only a narrow slice of people in this world have any idea of the state of this argument. So if you ask your next-door neighbor, your next-door neighbor most likely is going to say, “Oh yeah, we know evolution has been proven and it’s proven scientifically.” The difficulty is, the scientific evidence is strong against the gradualist theory of evolution.
Let me talk a bit more about that. A natural clock–that’s a metaphor. They’re trying to date how old the earth is from certain indicators in nature itself. Natural clocks show us that there has not been enough time in Earth’s history to accommodate the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution requires that there be between 15 and 25 billion years here. Of course the mathematicians have already blown that apart. I started with that. But just looking at natural clocks, it takes roughly a thousand years to produce an inch of topsoil by erosion, by the forces of wind and rain. And so the topsoil on the Earth’s crust, if we’ve been here fifteen to twenty five billion years, should be a rather thick layer, shouldn’t it? As a matter of fact, around the earth, the topsoil depth is between six and nine inches.
People will say, “Oh, well, then it must have washed into the ocean.” Well, if it’s washed into the ocean, the sediment on the floor of the ocean should be miles deep. The sediment on the floor of the ocean is about 0.56 of a mile thick on average.
Given the present rate at which meteor dust is settling on the Earth’s surface… Meteor dust settles in here from collision with the Earth’s atmosphere. Meteors collide with our oxidated atmosphere, then they disintegrate and the dust dissipates and it settles on the earth. You’ve heard of gravity right? Given the present rate at which meteor dust settles on the Earth’s surface, if the earth is billions of years old, then the dust from meteors should now be about 50 feet thick. You can go outside and ask yourself whether that’s what you observe. There’s only enough salt in the ocean to explain thousands of years of mineral erosion in the ocean.
The Earth’s magnetic field would have passed away already if the earth had been here billions of years. What I’m saying is, choose your clock. Whichever one you look at, there’s not enough time for evolution to have taken place. Look at the fossil record. The fossils don’t support the gradualist theory. And evolutionists have to kind of sneak around that, revise their theory to accommodate it, so that all evidence supports their theory, because no evidence could be found anyway. Look at the mathematical probabilities of life arising from non-life. The mathematical probabilities of evolution taking place if the randomness postulate is given a serious interpretation. Why does anybody hold to the theory of evolution?
The theory of evolution has other problems too. According to it, things developed gradually over many years. And those life forms which were most adept to the environment survived, and those which, being different life forms, were not as adept for survival, died out. That’s what we’re told. That means that evolution, positive evolution, natural selection evolution, would be preferable would prefer those life forms which multiply or reproduce readily early in life and with great security.
I don’t know if you are familiar with the term differential reproduction, but the Darwinian hypothesis has been pretty much redefined to this day. It amounts to the claim of differential reproduction. Some life-forms leave more progeny than other life-forms. And if you leave more progeny, more children, then that kind of life form, that version of the cockroach, is more likely to last under the natural environment in which it finds itself.
okay Well, if that is true, then one has to wonder why anything evolved beyond the bacterial stage. Because bacteria multiply readily, early in their lifespan and with great protection. It’s not hard to get bacteria to grow. I mean, children in elementary school do it in a petri dish. That’s really easy. Why then do we have fish that swim upstream? Why do we have advanced animals, reptiles and mammals that mate in the most awkward of ways? Why do we have any kind of copulation as a form of reproduction at all?
When I’m out speaking more popular more popularly to audiences, especially if we have young people in the audience, one of the ways in which I like to show the absurdity of the theory of evolution is by saying “Can you really imagine that you as a human being –and you know how your mother and father had babies right? You know how human beings copulate in order to have offspring. Can you really imagine that originally you were a life-form that was a blob like amoebas? And how did they reproduce? How did how? Division. Cell division, right? Okay, and we’re supposed to believe that somehow there’s a pathway from cell division as a way of having offspring to copulation as a way of having offspring? And all of that by chance over billions of years.”
well that I mean, I don’t believe you can account for the development of life-forms at all in this way. But let’s just play with this. Let’s give the fool his folly for a moment and see what happens.
If– whatever you want to call it the amoeba level–if life at that level reproduced by cell division and then there were other mutations and developments and finally you get fish in the sea and then reptiles on the land and mammals and so forth, the point is, somewhere along the line you have the development of genitalia in the life forms, okay, in the living organisms. Why did genitalia develop, when they weren’t being used for reproduction? And not only that, the genitalia that evolved by chance for no apparent, you know, advantage in the environment, so they they weren’t being used for reproduction, the genitalia that devolved that evolved were of male and female forms. Not sure what that would be but it’s even worse. because, as you know, there’s a limit to the fertility of the female–to the male, too, but we usually think of female menopause. OK. What is the length of time that most human women are able to get pregnant? What is the length of time before they start having their period periods and they go through menopause? Anybody?
Audience: 35 years.
Speaker: Ok, 35, 40 years. I’m going to be generous. I’m going to say a hundred. Most women would shudder. But nevertheless, I will say it’s a hundred. Now, you have to remember that if you evolve these life forms from the amoeba level, cell division reproduction, and these life-forms have genitalia that are going to be any good for reproduction, you’re going to need to get a male form and a female form together in the same 100 year generation, aren’t you? I don’t have to rehearse the obvious, right? You get a You get a male human humanoid form and no female out there, he’s not going to give her any babies. There’s no “her” there. If you can get a female who shows up, and she looks around 100 years and there’s no male to mate with, she’s not going to have babies.
So again, I’m just being a philosopher. Who am I? You know I like playing silent and I’m just so ignorant. Let me let me ask you about this: Now, what you’re telling me is, we started out as amoeba, we were reproducing as amoeba pretty well, cell division, but then mutation started up and somehow over billions and billions of years we got a male humanoid and a female humanoid in the same narrow window of 100 years (I was being generous). And they knew how to make babies and they did so.
Give me a break. Evolution is a fairytale for grown-ups. It’s worse than what I’ve just described, because according to the theory of evolution, which is based upon differential reproduction, there shouldn’t have been any advantage for the development of genitalia anyway. There shouldn’t have been any advantage to copulation. You notice what happens to life-forms once they become more complex: they leave less children behind. Bacteria are very fecund, let me tell you that. But moose (meese?) mooses are not. You may think dogs are, but dogs are nothing in comparison to bacteria. Human beings are even less. And yet we’re supposed to believe that we get to moose or meeses, mooses or meece, mooses or whatever, and we get them, and we get frogs and we get dogs and we get human beings by differential reproduction.
See, the theory’s at war with itself. Nothing should have evolved beyond the bacterial stage. And then there’s the difficulty of how is it if life-forms are preserved the various life forms are preserved by reproduction methods, that some life forms, some flowers, for instance, have evolved in such a way that there’s only one species of insect that can pollinate them? That should never have happened. Because the flowers that are going to be most likely to leave more offspring are going to be those that can have many insects pollinate them. Does that make sense to you? And yet there are some flowers, many more than I can give you examples of right now, but many flowers that are pollinated by only one kind of bug. Only one. That doesn’t make any sense given the theory of evolution.
In fact, one of the flowers gives off the smell of rotting carrion. And that’s as a defense mechanism. Most insects won’t even go close to it. There’s only one kind of insect, I wish I could remember what it is, there’s only one kind of insect that is drawn to carrion, and so it goes to this flower thinking it’s going on carrion and it carries the pollen from flower to flower. Now what is the advantage of developing such a horrendous smell if it cuts down the chances of your being pollinated?
Differential reproduction–this theory, it’s just got all kinds of difficulties. Well, there’s also the difficulty that according to it–I’m still doing my internal critique–according to it, life-forms develop gradually. And the reason why certain life-forms are preserved is because of their advantage in the environment. But if the development is gradual, and the preserving of a change is determined by being advantageous or fitting into the environment, then we have to ask ourselves, “Why do life-forms stick around in a dis-advantageous environment and then change so they adapt to it?”
You know that isn’t what we find when we study animal behavior. You put animals in a in an environment that is not conducive to life; they don’t stick around to evolve for 100 million years. You know what they do? They migrate, they migrate to the environment where their style of life, their particular type of coating or fur, whatever, is going to fit into that particular environment. Evolution would have us believe, silly though it may be, that sometimes life forms just stuck around and said, “Well, you know we’re not really going to fit into this environment. I guess we’ll have to die out.” No, life-forms migrate to a more favorable environment. So it’s not as though the environment determines which ones will survive. Life-forms look for the environment where they will survive. So the theory turns in on itself. Then again, it’s supposed to be a gradual development .
How you like this? you know How are we doing? How’s the theory looking? Well, I’m not saying this out of pride. I’ve learned most of this from other people, so it’s not me personally. But, you know what, my opponent has been on the mat for a long time here. He’s bleeding profusely and I’m still pounding on him. I got some more I want to tell you.
Gradual development of a life form, well, we’re supposed to believe that by mutation after mutation after mutation, we have the gradual development of the eye, right? But remember that when you have a mutation, the change in the life form that the mutation brings about will only stick (if I can be metaphorical) will only hang around for more generations if that particular change is advantageous to the environment. And so we have to believe that the eye gradually evolved and every stage, the gradual change was advantageous to the organism in its environment. Well, I’ll just put it to you. What’s the advantage of a one-third developed eye? you see you can’t account for well, You may be able to account for some kind of mutation that’s on the road to being an eye. I don’t think you can; I’ve never seen anybody write it up in a convincing way. But you have to account for how every stage along the way before it’s an eye became advantageous.
I’ve got a better one for you. What good is half a heart? Let’s double the problem for the guy on the mat. It’s not just that you need to have a heart; you won’t have a living form if you don’t have lungs to support the heart and vice versa. And so now we have to believe that hearts evolved gradually, lungs evolved gradually (neither one of which makes any sense). AND we’re supposed to believe that hearts and lungs evolved simultaneously. Well, you need kidneys, too, so really, you just increased the magnitude of the problem, you know, 100 times more. I’m not doing this because I just want to smirk and feel proud about my Christian position. I’m doing this because I want you to be fully convinced of what the Bible says. People who disagree with the Bible are made fools. But if you get enough fools together, they’ll all complement each other and say, “Oh, we got a wonderful theory here.” The theory, it’s absolute garbage intellectually. It’s contrary to what we know.
Let’s talk about reptiles becoming birds. We’re supposed to believe that happened. You know. Somehow the reptile or some form of reptile began to develop looser skin. Looser skin, lost its scales, developed feathers and enabled this new life-form to fly. Yeah right. Remember every change along the way is only preserved in differential reproduction because of its advantage in the environment. Okay. You should study sometime–and really, if you want to know the wonder of God’s wisdom and power in the creation of the world, study in a very, very detailed way the development of a bird’s feather. The flight feather of a bird is wondrous. The way in which the various barbs of an–each one of which is so soft, can’t do anything– and yet they are so interlaced that they become impervious, therefore can support the bird on the air.
But we have to believe that the loose sagging skin of the reptile developed the intricate pattern of interweaving of the various farms of the flight feathers of the bird, and that every step along the way was somehow advantageous. Well, at some point the loose skin of the reptile would not enable it to fly right, because loose skin is not impervious to air. Well then, if the advantage of developing a flight wing is that you can fly, get away from predators and so forth, what advantage was the loose skin of the reptile before it was impervious to air? And how do we get from the loose skin to the delicate feather of the– just doesn’t make any sense.
But it’s much worse if you look at the lungs of a bird. The respiratory The avian respiratory system is unique in all the living organisms of the world. All those that have lungs anyway. By contrast, think of your own lungs. I’ll give you an amateur account of this. As you know, when you breathe air in, it comes into your lungs. Your lungs are made up of various chambers (bronchial trees) that break down into smaller and smaller tubes until we finally get to the end. Now, when air comes into your lungs and then goes down to the bottom of a bronchial tree, it’s got to get out as well, right? How does it get out? Well, it turns around at the end of the bronchial tree and comes back out. So again, this is amateur, but I’m going to call that the two-way lung model. That’s because air flows two ways in our lungs: in and then back out through the same channel.
Birds are the only creatures we know that have a one-way respiratory system. They do not have air come into their lungs, make a U-turn, and come back out. They have air–it’s a complicated sort of thing, but they have air that comes in, filters through a kind of web and then goes out. Now, we’re supposed to believe in the evolutionary hypothesis that we have a slow gradual development of WHAT? Two-way lung into one-way lungs over a long long period of time. Well, the only problem with that is that you got to eventually put an end to the two-way and have the one-way one system functional. Now, how long can most creatures last without air? what are we Three, four minutes I think is the upper limit for any creature. Well, I guess maybe it would be longer if you think about whales. But as we know, birds don’t last very long without breathing. Maybe four minutes. Let’s be generous. Just say it’s five. That means we have got to have a changeover from the two-way system of the reptile’s lung to the one-way system of the avian lung in a five-minute period. So, if you don’t have that, the creature that we’re talking about dies.
There are other problems, too, with this idea of gradual development, where every step along the way is supposed to be advantageous. I brought with me in my notes today a particular illustration that’s so gross that I can’t memorize, and I have to read this to you. I want to read to you about the metamorphosis of a particular parasite called the liver fluke. And I believe I’m reading from Michael Denton here. He says, “Consider the life cycle of the liver fluke. Remember every stage along the way, every change is supposed to be advantageous, according to the environment in which the life form finds itself. The adult lives The liver fluke adult lives in the intestines of a sheep. After the eggs are laid, they pass with the feces of the sheep onto the ground. The eggs then hatch, giving rise to small ciliated larvae which can swim about in water.
If the larvae are lucky, they find a pond snail. They must do this to survive, for the snail is the vehicle for the next stage in the lifecycle of the liver fluke. Having found a snail, the larvae find its way into the pulmonary chamber or lung of the snail. Here, it loses its cilia and its size increases. At this stage, it is known as a sporocyst. While in this condition it buds off germinal cells into its body cavity, which developed into a second type of larvae known as radii. These are oval in shape, possessing a mouth and stomach and a pair of protuberances which they use to move about. Radii eventually leave the sporocyst, entering the tissue of the snail, after which they develop into yet another larval form known as the cercariae, which appears superficially to resemble a tadpole. Using their long tails, these tadpole-like larvae work their way through, and eventually out of, the snail and onto blades of grass, where each larva sheds its tail and encases itself in a sheet. Eventually, they are eaten by a sheep.
Inside the sheep, they find their way to the liver, where they develop sexual organs and mature into the adult state. They finally leave the sheep’s liver and migrate to the intestine, where they mate, and so complete their extraordinary life cycle. Lovely, right? And then Denton comments, “In the case of many of the more dramatic invertebrate metamorphoses, not even the vaguest attempts have been made to provide hypothetical scenarios explaining how such an astonishing sequence of transformations could have come about gradually gradually and as a result of a succession of small beneficial mutations.”
Well, should we let him up off the mat? I’m sorry. I’m not done. The fool wants to talk about these things, and I’m going to answer him according to his folly. The year 1953 saw the publication of two momentous scientific reports, which thereafter received very wide acceptance, but, ironically, much different in effect.
It was 1953. James Watson and Francis Crick published their article about the double helix model for DNA. Of course, DNA is the key to life’s diversity. Hereditary information is transmitted across generations by means of a code that’s resident in the specific sequence of certain constituents of the DNA molecule. In the same year, Stanley Miller offered experimental support for the first step toward confirming the theory of prebiotic evolution. See, if you’re an evolutionist, you’d have to hold not only that the liver fluke develops gradually and so forth, that the eye and the lung and the heart, and so forth all developed gradually, and take care of all these other problems, but you also have to explain where life came from. The answer is prebiotic, pre-life evolution: the chemical stage in evolution.
And Miller offered what he thought was experimental support for the first step toward confirming prebiotic evolution, both of these in 1953. One was a discovery about life structure. The other was a discovery, allegedly about life’s origin. Little does the scholarly world at that point stop to recognize or appreciate the tension that was implicit in the two new insights. Because any secular theory of evolution requires an account of prebiotic evolution.
Where chemical evolution causes life to originate without supernatural intervention, there must be a preamble to biological evolution. it’s plausible Is it plausible that unassisted matter and energy organized themselves into living systems? Is that plausible? Now, Stanley Miller, using an electric discharge apparatus, identified several racemic protein-forming amino acids. Subsequent simulation paradigm experiments, or an environment that was thought to be similar to the primitive Earth’s precursor to the first living cells, yielded some detectable amounts of most of the major kinds of biochemical substances.
Presto! It seems like we’re on the verge of being able to develop a prebiotic theory of evolution. But since 1953, most all of the hope of doing that has been really deflated. Current laboratory and theoretical research has reached an absolute impasse on this matter, and that according to Dean Kenyon, who in 1969 wrote the book biochemical predestination. He said it’s not going to work. There’s an enormous gap between the simplest living cells (which by themselves have an amazing structural biochemical complexity), and even the most complex protocell model systems which have been produced in laboratories. “Moreover,” he points out, “What’s the pathway for prebiotic synthesis of the relevant organic substances? Moreover, the experimental conditions in the studies of prebiotic evolution have been so artificially simplified as to be irrelevant to the processes on the primitive earth.”
I have other details here about polypeptides and the presence of oxygen and so forth. The assumption that the early Earth was anoxic, without oxygen, has been pretty much discredited. And so, if you have to have an oxygen-less environment for these chemicals to get together and do this, the fact that there was oxygen on the early Earth, from all that we can tell, indicates there couldn’t have been prebiotic evolution. He points out, “There’s no explanation even remotely possible or plausible, even after prodigious years of effort, for the optical isomer preferences that are found universally in living matter.”
That is, an isomer is two things that have the same number of atoms, the same elements but in a different structural arrangement. And in all living matter there’s an isomer preference for L amino acids rather than D amino proteins or D sugars. what What accounts for that if it’s all by chance? Why is it that all living things, I mean, we have the same number of molecules and so forth, it’s an isomer, but it’s always the L, not the D version.
“What’s the origin of genetic biologically relevant information in biopolymers?” he asked. “No experimental system yet devised gives the slightest clue as to how these biologically meaningful sequences of subunits might have come about, and prebiotic poly nucleotides or polypeptides.” So what we’re talking about is the sequencing, minimal sequencing units in DNA. How did that come about? And if you don’t have the sequence, if you don’t have information, as it were, stamped into the DNA of that form, it won’t work for replication. So the scientists are just, well, you know, just–This is going to blow your mind.
Charles Saxton, Walter Bradley, Roger Olsen, in the book, The Mystery of Life’s Origin, published in 1984, 1984 pointed out that based on geochemical assessments, both the atmosphere and the various water basins of the primitive earth contained destructive interactions which would have vastly diminished, if not all together consumed, all the essential precursor chemicals. Moreover, the soup would have been too diluted for direct polymerization to have occurred. Moreover, no geologic evidence indicates that any organic soup, even the smallest organic pond, ever existed on this planet. They point out faulty assumptions about the anoxic condition of the early earth atmosphere. They point out that the experiments that have been done have got to be disqualified by illegitimate interference: that is, information interference from the investigator in the laboratory situation. They say, “The notion that the earth was an open system with energy and mass flow, to take care of the second law of thermodynamics, still cannot adequately account for the configurational entropy work necessary for coding the early chemical, something that would be valuable for the reproduction of life.”
Well, on and on and on it goes. And I’m only talking about, you know, an amateur scratching the surface of the scientific evidence. This is all out there, available. Stanley Miller was the one that encouraged all of us to say, “Well, since we’re not doing so well in the laboratory, maybe we’ll find, you know, that there has been a chemical development of life in outer space.” And so in 1974, he stated, “We are confident that the basic process of chemical evolution is correct; so confident that it seems inevitable that a similar process is taking place on many other planets in the solar system.” And on the evening of the first Mars landing in 1976, NASA’s chief biologist, Harold Klein, asserted that if their theories of origins were correct, corroborative evidence for them would be found on Mars. Your science at its best. Making a prediction, finding out if the prediction is true. Guess what, no life on Mars. Likewise, in the Voyager 1 flybys of Jupiter and Saturn, no evidence suggests life-generating conditions.
And then people turn attention to one one of the moons of Saturn, Titan, which might be more hospitable to life. But then it was found that the atmosphere of Titan was cold and dead. Indeed, it had a terrible atmosphere: 85 percent nitrogen, nearly 15% argon, less than 1% methane.
Okay, so where is the grand evidence for evolution? We’ve been disappointed in space, disappointed in the laboratory, disappointed with the mathematicians, disappointed when it comes to the development of the pathways for diversity and life forms. The theory of evolution has been held tenaciously by people, will be held tenaciously by many of the unbelievers to whom you speak. But if you’ll stop and do an internal critique of it, all the evidence points away from does not support it.
And yet this is a reigning dogma in the scientific field. Listen to Julian Huxley, 1959: “The evolution of life is no longer a theory. It is a fact.” Dedicated evolutionists are very intolerant people, certainly as intolerant as religious fundamentalists. Those who question their sacred cow are coincidentally blocked from graduate school admission and success in graduate school. I can tell you story after story of just a few graduate students I know. Those who question their sacred cow are not invited to present papers at their colloquiums. Their books are not reviewed. They’re not hired at the university. Is that all by accident?
Scientific evidence contrary to evolution may not be taught nor may alternative theories be presented in most public schools in America today. I was slated to be one of the “expert witnesses” in the Louisiana case of equal treatment, and never finally got adjudicated. The judge just said, “You cannot teach alternative theories. That would be religious in motivation.”
In 1981, the British Natural History Museum presented an exhibit on Darwin’s theory and it labeled it in part of the text, “one possible explanation.” It admitted that the concept of natural selection “is not strictly scientific since it hasn’t been empirically demonstrated.” And just those two expressions,
one possible explanation that is not strictly scientific”– that caused sufficient anger and political pressure that the museum had to remove any acknowledgement of the problems in Darwinianism.
So much for the myth of neutrality. So much for the myth of the autonomous man following the evidence wherever it goes. Philip Johnson writes in his book, Darwin on Trial, 1991, “What first drew my attention to the question was the way the rules of argument seemed to be structured to make it impossible to question whether evolution is really true.”
So, what is the theory of evolution when all is said and done? The theory of evolution tells us is that the fittest mutations of a biological form are going to be the most fit. No, no, it tells us they’re going to survive, right? The fittest versions of a biological form are going to survive. Well, now, how do you test that hypothesis? How can you tell which proved to be the most fit?
Let me give you an example. Perhaps we have two versions of a wolf, you know, and the mutational difference between them is one version of the wolf has stronger hind quarters, stronger back legs. Now you might at the outset, think, “Well, that’s going to make that wolf more fit for survival.” What? Because it’s going to get to the kill more often first, it’s not going to be the part of the, you know, flock of wolves that doesn’t get fed enough, and so forth. It’s going to leave more offspring. On and on it goes.
Well, the problem, though, is that because biological forms have a delicate balance within them, other things have to be considered. It’s also possible that the mutated hindquarters, the stronger back legs, are going to put too great of a strain upon the heart, which has not grown to accommodate that kind of muscular strength in the legs, so that over time, when you do an analysis, that particular kind of wolf may tend to die earlier from heart attacks. And so knowing that these are possibilities–this is very plausible, by the way; you can go either way– stronger hindquarters means you get the food first. Stronger hindquarters means And over time, that kind of wolf dies from heart attacks.
So in order to test the hypothesis of survival of the fittest, you have to be able to identify which forms are the fittest. And then, you say by prediction these should be expected to survive; let’s wait and see. But it turns out the only way you can identify those which are the fittest is to what? Wait and see. And so the theory which Darwin gave to the world– it’s great hope, the survival of the fittest –turns out to be nothing more but a tautology. All Darwin taught us is that those creatures that survive are the ones that will survive. Now I’m not playing any debate tricks with you here. Again, unbelievers have published this stuff in philosophy journals for years. The theory is simply not a scientific theory. It’s a way of looking at the world. And it’s not defended by scientific evidence. Gould already admitted that. Philosophers have known this for years. All the evidence is enlisted in favor of evolution is evidence that is interpreted by the theory of evolution.
And so it turns out that the theory of evolution doesn’t explain how different species came about in the first place at all. It only tells us the ones the ones that came about came about. They had more progeny than others. Moreover, natural selection, upon analysis, proves not just to be a convenient way of speaking. Evolutionists cannot get away from talking about personal attributes in what they call “Nature.” When Christians or anti-evolutionists do a cross-examination of some of the arguments and evidence for evolution, they’ll often ask questions about how can you expect Nature to have been so creative as to do these various things? And the come back, well They’ll say, “How could blind random chance have done this?” And the comeback is, “Maybe Nature’s more creative than you thought.”
You talk about natural selection. Well, as you know, blind forces don’t select anything, do they? I find it fascinating that when I was studying logic early on as a student in college many years ago, the illustration that I was given of what’s called the fallacy of reification is talking about what Nature does. Reification is turning a set of unconnected events into a personal form. It reifies, makes a substance out of something that is not a substance. When Bill Clinton was elected president, people said, “The winds of change are blowing through our culture.” Well, we know the winds of change is a reification of the events which are different from previous events. There are no real winds of change. So that’s a way of speaking.
When it’s taken seriously, used as an argument, it’s the fallacy of reification. You’re treating an abstract personification as though it were a concrete substance. And yet evolutionists are found to repeatedly talk about what nature does: the creativity, the selection that takes place there. Moreover, whenever evolutionists want to explain their theory, you will find they always use analogies to things like animal breeders. Well, the problem with the analogy should be obvious. There is no animal breeder for the whole world, unless of course you’re Christian, you’re a creationist. And that’s what they’re trying to get away from.
The notion of a purpose purposeless natural process which by chance develops mutations that gradually change life forms that fit in, adapted more, to the environment is a theory that has been thoroughly discredited philosophically and scientifically. Why then does your next-door neighbor hold to it? Why then do the professors at the University? At this point, it’s usually helpful to go into the history of the theory of evolution. For people to realize the theory of evolution didn’t arise with Charles Darwin. It didn’t arise with scientists at all. The theory of evolution arose with the philosophers. Anaximander, one of the earliest Ionian philosophers, was an evolutionist. We have other Greek philosophers that were evolutionists. The notion of gradual change, as accounting for the world in which we live, was already in the philosophical world thanks to Hegel, before Darwin wrote. Karl Marx, who took Hegel and turned it on his head, teaching dialectical materialism rather than idealism, sought to dedicate his one Das Kapital to a man working in England at the same time he was there. His name was Charles Darwin.
Evolutionary hypothesis did not arise from science, and science only gave it a cosmetic of respectability. The theory of evolution was refuted within 18 months of Darwin’s book being published. But Darwin had captured the wave of where culture wanted to go. Darwin’s bulldog, Huxley, openly admitted, “As we studied the natural world we always came up against a barrier that had written upon it, ‘no further exploration by order of Moses.’ Darwin gave us a way around the barrier.” That’s what he said.
So the theory of evolution, what is our refutation of it? First of all, people need to know and be embarrassed by answering the fool according to his folly. It’s not good science. Secondly, it’s not science at all. It’s philosophy. And it’s desire-motivated speculation. It’s speculation that is held on to. It’s a worldview that’s held on to. A perspective on how things happen in the world, held onto because it’s the way which we get around the doctrine of special creation by a personal God. Well, Dr. Bahnsen, is there any internal critique that can be made of the theory of evolution, now that we know that it’s a worldview, that it’s a philosophy, that it’s not good science at all? I’m going to give you a very quick one before we take a break.
The theory of evolution as a worldview tells us once there was disorder, and we don’t know why, but the disorder became order. And this ordered matter was inorganic. And we don’t know why, but the inorganic matter between living. And then this living matter, which was all made up of identical form, began to diversify. And then from these diversified living forms, for reasons we can’t explain, they became varied, although unintelligent. But then the unintelligent life forms became intelligent and articulate. And then, for reasons we can’t explain, the intelligent articulate life forms became language-using but not moral. And then the language-using life forms, for reasons we can’t explain, became intelligent articulate moral men.
And after I finished that, that is at every step a huge leap of faith from nothing to something. That looks like creation out of nothing to me. It’s just we don’t want to say God did it. Nature did it? Did it on its own? Where’d the Big Bang come from? I want to know. What went “bang” in the Big Bang? You know what you’re told? That all of energy was condensed down to a mathematical point without dimensions. That sounds like nothing to me. And nothing went bang and then we had the development of the world. Isn’t that incredible? It’s aping the christian story but not giving credit to the creator.
But anyway. Once it was something, then, I mean, once there was nothing, then there was something and then the something began to develop. And we don’t know where life came from, then it became alive and we don’t know where diversity came from, but then it diversified. We don’t know where intelligence came from, but then it became intelligent, and then it became linguistic, and then it became moral. And now we have man.
You know what the theory of evolution has going against it philosophically? It just requires far too much faith. I guess that’s my problem as Christian thinker, because that is the Sunday School simplistic notion that an all-powerful all-knowing God can create the world. And that makes sense out of my experience. What doesn’t make sense of my experience is this idea of, “We can’t tell you why, but some from nothing to something, something to life, life to diversity, diversity to intelligence, intelligence to language, language to morality. But at every major step from equality becoming its opposite, matter is not intelligent in itself and yet we’re to believe that matter materially evolved into intelligence. opposites become I mean Things develop from their opposites and without any explanation. Well, that’s not a rational worldview at all. When all is said and done, this is the worldview you held on incredible faith and contradictory faith and that is the end of the story. Evolution is a worldview that makes no sense and cannot make sense out of life. Let’s take a break.