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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Debating Evolution (A preview of Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye)

Recently, Answers in Genesis, the Christian organization devoted to teaching “the relevance of a literal Genesis to the church and the world,” announced an upcoming (February 4) debate between Ken Ham, founder and president of the Creation Museum, and Bill Nye of TV’s “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” Such a rare public debate, given the celebrity of both participants, will certainly garner much media attention. This event should be welcome by all who love the free exchange of ideas. However, for a variety of reasons, many evolutionists are opposed to Nye’s participation.

This is no surprise. Just as in the matter of anthropogenic (man-made) global warming (AGW), when it comes to how man came to inhabit the earth, for those who are devoted to a godless worldview, “the debate is over.” Certainly there are many committed conservatives (Charles Krauthammer, George Will, and so on) and even many sincere Christians who have accepted Darwinian evolution, however, along with abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, and AGW, Darwinian evolution (DE) is a tenet of today’s liberalism.

It is also quite unsurprising that liberals have united behind both the “science” of AGW and DE. The worldview behind DE in almost every way agrees with those who have turned their eyes toward “Mother Earth”—worshipping and serving “created things rather than the Creator.”

After all, DE teaches that since all life sprang from the same single-celled source, all living things are related. Darwinian evolutionists see humans, along with all other living things, strictly as a product of nature and natural processes. Therefore, to see humans on equal footing with all other life and owing our very existence to the earth are very logical conclusions for such a philosophy. Thus, the earth-worshipping environmentalist is almost always a Darwinist, as well. Again, with both DE and AGW we are often told “the debate is over.”

Nevertheless, evolutionists are right to fear debating Ken Ham, as they should be with anyone who has a significant knowledge of science, is skilled at debate, and most of all, is devoted to the truth of Scripture. They should be especially fearful if Nye tries trotting out some of the familiar, but easily (and often) discredited arguments in favor of evolution.

This is likely to happen, as even those cautioning Nye (with some even urging him to back out), who claim to be well versed in debating evolution, are using these tired arguments. “Evolution is all around us, all the time. Evolution is why we need to get a new flu shot every year,” claims Benjamin Radford. This sounds suspiciously like the “antibiotic-resistant bacteria is evidence for evolution” argument. (Even Doonesbury got in on this one.)

Whether it’s antibiotic-resistant bacteria, insecticide-resistant bugs, or genetic variations within a virus, the genetic information for these changes was already present in some of the creatures. They then reproduce more resistant creatures, but this is not an example of one kind of creature changing to another. In other words, an event such as bacterial resistance to antibiotics is the result of a horizontal transfer of pre-existing information. Such activity is in no way a demonstration of what needs to happen in molecules to man evolution.

Another favorite argument in favor of DE that we are likely to hear from Mr. Nye is that mutations are the “engine” of evolution. However, in almost every case, mutations are either genetically neutral or they yield a loss of information. As Dr. Gary Parker points out, “[M]utations are moving in the wrong direction to support the advancement of complexity required by evolution. Almost every mutation we know of has been identified based on the disease it causes.”

Perhaps the most dangerous and deceptive line used by Darwinists is that evolution (meaning molecules to man evolution) is nothing more than “change over time.” This is dangerous because many people have been duped into believing that because in certain situations (but always within the same species) we sometimes observe “change over time,” and this equates to creatures changing into other creatures over billions of years.

This “change over time” is nothing more than natural selection. Natural selection always “selects” from existing information. In other words, no new information results that would allow for creatures to change into different creatures over a long period of time. Not only that, but through natural selection, a loss of information results, as unfavorable (or unlucky) genes are removed from the population.  

The phrase “natural selection” gets tossed around a lot in support of DE. This is similar to the mutations argument, and just as mistaken. Just as with mutations, we see natural selection occurring all around us, and natural selection does result in variations within species. But what we never see with natural selection is evidence for one kind of creature changing into another.

In fact, natural selection may not even always result in the “strongest” surviving. The fastest mouse may be able to flee any cat, but the patient mouse that is able to hold still is less likely to get eaten by a soaring hawk. Whichever survives longer to pass on its DNA, mice beget mice, cats beget cats, hawks beget hawks, and so on.

Another popular position taken by Darwinian evolutionists is that evolution is the “foundation of biology,” or the “foundation of modern medicine.” As Bill Nye put it in his popular YouTube video (that played a role in leading to the February 4 debate), “Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology.” Nye implies that without evolution, “you’re just not going to get the right answer.”

It seems that Louis Pasteur didn’t have a hard time “getting the right answer.” Known as “the father of microbiology” and operating from a biblical worldview—while strongly rejecting Darwin’s theory—Pasteur did amazing work in a variety of scientific areas. Pasteur, a microbiologist and chemist, who, along with giving us the process of pasteurization, disproved the theory of spontaneous generation (which put him at odds with Darwin and his work) and was a pioneer in the battle against infectious diseases (leading us to the process of vaccination).

At times it seems that the (ridiculous) implication is that nothing in science can get done unless it is done from an evolutionary worldview. This is certainly the case in fields related to biology, but many Darwinian evolutionists would have us believe that everything from anesthesiology to zoology rests upon DE. Given that Darwin proposed his theory just over 150 years ago, it’s a wonder that anything at all was accomplished in science prior to 1850.

Of course, much was. Generally considered the greatest scientist who ever lived, Isaac Newton—inventor of calculus, and famous for his laws of motion and universal gravitation—was a devout Christian and performed his work from a biblical worldview. On gravitation he noted that, “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.”

For DE to be a tenable explanation of all life on earth, extremely long periods of time are necessary. Nye verifies this when he declares that, “The idea of ‘deep time,’ of billions of years, explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that [the idea of billions of years], your worldview becomes crazy…untenable…inconsistent.” The supposed age of the earth (according to DE, about 4.5 billion years) is often used as a “test” by secularists—especially those in the liberal media—to determine the intellectual capacity of (or to attempt to embarrass) targets. (Remember the question to Marco Rubio by GQ?)

When it comes to the age of the earth, both Newton and Johannes Kepler calculated the earth to be only a few thousand years old. Kepler calculated a creation date of 3,992 B.C. Newton stated that, “For an educated man…any suggestion that the human past extended back further than 6,000 years was a vain and foolish speculation.”

The fact is that even in today’s world it is possible (and has been demonstrated literally millions of times over) to reject completely DE and millions/billions of years and still operate perfectly well in any scientific field. I personally know individuals from virtually every field of science—engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, medicine, and so on—who (just as Pasteur, Newton, Kepler, and the like) obtained their degrees and practice in their area of science completely unhindered, all the while operating from a strict creationist worldview.

Even with all that I have presented here and all that we will hear on February 4, the thing that we all need to consider most when weighing evolution against creation is that when the theories of man are in conflict with the Words of God, it is most certainly man who is in error.

Copyright 2014, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

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