Evolution: Fact or Fantasy?

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  • Evolution: Fact or Fantasy?

    by Phillip E. Johnson

    Evolution is a fact only at a very small scale. It is fantasy when it is used to explain how plants and animals came into existence or how human beings supposedly evolved from apelike ancestors. We might summarize the fantasy by saying that, where the theory of evolution is true, it is not very interesting, and where it is most interesting, it is not true.

    If “evolution” merely refers to a process of cyclical (back and forth) variation in response to changing environmental conditions, then evolution is a fact that can be observed both in nature and in laboratory experiments.

    For example, when a population of insects is sprayed with a deadly chemical like DDT, the most susceptible insects die but the individuals most resistant to the poison survive to breed and leave offspring, which inherit the genes that provide resistance. After many generations of insects have been sprayed, the entire surviving population may be comprised of the DDT-resistant variety, and some new form of insect control will have to be applied. When the environment becomes free of the toxic chemical, the insect population tends to revert to what it was before.

    A similar effect explains how disease-causing bacteria become resistant to antibiotic drugs like penicillin, when then are no longer as effective in controlling the disease as they formerly were.

    Almost all illustrations of “evolution in action” in textbooks or museum exhibits are similar to these examples. They involve no increase in complexity or appearance of new body parts or even permanent change of any kind. Small-scale, reversible population variations of this sort are usually called microevolution, although “adaptive variation” would be a better term.

    It is misleading to describe adaptive variation as “evolution,” because the latter term commonly refers also to macroevolution. Macroevolution is the grand story of how life supposedly evolved by purely natural processes from very simple beginnings to become complex, multicolor plants and animals, and eventually human beings, without God’s participation being needed at any step along the way.

    Charles Darwin assumed that macroevolution was merely microevolution extended over very long periods of time. Biology textbooks, museums, and television programs still teach people to make the same assumption, so that examples of microevolution are used as proof that complex animals and even human beings evolved from simpler organisms by a similar process.

    The primary flaw in the story of macroevolution is that all plants and animals are packed with information-- the complicated instructions that coordinate the many processes enabling the body and brain to function. Even Richard Dawkins, the most famous living advocate of Darwin’s theory, admits that every cell in a human body contains more information than all the volumes of an encyclopedia, and every one of us has trillions of cells in his or her body, which have to work together in marvelous harmony.

    The greatest weakness of the theory of evolution is that science has not discovered a process that can create all the necessary information, which can be likened to the software that directs a computer. Without such a demonstrated creative process, evolution is merely a story, because its supposed mechanisms can neither be duplicated in a laboratory nor observed in nature.

    It is true that there are patterns of similarity among living creatures. For example, humans, apes, mice, worms, and even plants have many similar genes. The important question is not whether there are similarities among all living things but whether those similarities came about through a natural process akin to the observable examples of adaptive variation that we find in textbooks and museum exhibits.

    One mistake Christians often make in debating evolution is to take on too many issues at once, rather than starting with the most important problem and solving it first. For example, evolution requires a time scale of many millions of years, while many people understand the Bible to allow for an earth history of only a few thousand years. The evolutionary time scale is debatable, but debating it involves several complex scientific disciplines and distracts attention from the most important defect of the theory of evolution. The only mechanism the evolutionists have is a combination of random variation and natural selection, illustrated by the survival of the insects that happened to be resistant to an insecticide. This Darwinian mechanism has never been shown to be capable of creating new genetic information or new complex body parts such as wings, eyes, or brains. Without a mechanism that can be demonstrated to be capable of the necessary creation, the theory of evolution is just a fantasy with no real scientific basis.

    The Bible teaches, “In the beginning God created” and “In the beginning was the Word.” A simple way of explaining this basic principle is to say that a divine intelligence existed before anything else and that intelligence was responsible for the origin of life and for the existence of all living things, including human beings. No matter how much time we might allow for evolution to do the necessary creating, the evidence shows that the process would never get started, because all evolution can do is to further minor variations in organisms that are already living, without any change in their basic classification. When the Bible says, “In the beginning God created” (Gn 1:1), it is presenting us with a fact, which we need to know to understand everything else, including what we were created for and how God wants us to live.

    The Bible also says that God created men and women in His own image. That, too, is a fact. If it were not true, there would be no science, because no theory of evolution can demonstrate how intelligence came into existence, including the intelligence of misguided people who misuse science to try to explain creation without allowing any role to God.

    “In the beginning was the Word.” The Bible says it and, properly understood, the evidence of science confirms it. Anyone who says otherwise is peddling fantasy, not fact.

  • #2
    I think evolution is a fact, but like everything, we still have to study way more. But I do think it's the most plausible answer to where we come from. There are so many fossils that prove how our species have changed over the years, and how animals evolved differently because they migrated to different areas of the world. It's plausible to say that polar bears evolved to be polar bears because it gave them an advantage with the environment. Of course we can't just affirm something because everything is possible, but I do think evolution is the closest theory we've discovered yet.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by cecejailer View Post
      But I do think it's the most plausible answer to where we come from.
      Even more plausible than the belief that God created us?
      Clyde Herrin's Blog
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      • #4
        Originally posted by cecejailer View Post
        I think evolution is a fact, but like everything, we still have to study way more. But I do think it's the most plausible answer to where we come from. There are so many fossils that prove how our species have changed over the years, and how animals evolved differently because they migrated to different areas of the world. It's plausible to say that polar bears evolved to be polar bears because it gave them an advantage with the environment. Of course we can't just affirm something because everything is possible, but I do think evolution is the closest theory we've discovered yet.
        Polar bears might well have become polar bears because of where they migrated to; but they still were BEARS. The polar bears didn't evolve from penguins, as an example. They were some type of bear before they migrated into the cold climate, and then they devloped into a kind of bear that was better adapted to their environment; but they certainly didn't evolve into being a bear once they got there.

        Atheist scientists have tried to drive a wedge into the belief system of Christians, and some people (even Christian people) have started believing the atheist lies over the holy Word of God that we are given in the Bible.
        I believe that the world is just exactly what God and the Bible tells us that it is, so I believe in an earth created by God, and animals that were created as animals, and not that they developed from bacteria or even sea creatures, over millenia. Obviously, if we were created in the image of God, we didn't start out looking like monkeys and develop into what we are like now.
        If you are willing to look into the facts with an open mind, cecejailer, you will find that people have been indoctrinated with scientific lies about many things.
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        • #5
          The best evidence for the Hand of the Creator can be seen in the pre-Cambrian explosion where, by the fossil record, almost all phyla 'spontaneously' ( < 5 million years) came into existence beginning around 542 million years ago which directly conflicts with Darwin's evolutionary theory on the evolution of species. Certainly species have evolved since then to account for the change in the environment, climate, atmospheric content and solar output to survive to reach the current day but there appears to be significant evidence of a "Prime Mover" to put this process into place. That being said, I certainly disagree with those people who claim the earth is only ~8,000 years old as given by a strictly literal translation of the Bible as there are organism and historical objects that exceed that age on Earth so I agree that Earth is about 4.5 billion years old.
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          • #6
            There's no denying that evolution is a very real thing. It's hard for someone to argue creation over evolution, simply because the evidence towards evolution is so dominant. The idea of evolution doesn't completely diminish the idea of God, but it doesn't exactly help it. There's a reason that evolution is brought into our education. There's a reason why we've collectively made the decision to teach our children about evolution. Although not every animal has evolved, we have still changed immensely over the years. We are evolving as we speak, changing and adapting to the world around us.
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            • #7
              The thing about evolution is that it doesn't actually contradict the Bible unless you believe the Bible to be literal all the time. It has been the scientifically held theory for a long time and unless you have significant evidence to dispute it, you're going to come off as being a bit silly. As people often say, the church used to at one point condemn people who claimed that the earth revolved around the Sun. Nowadays we know that to be true and can clearly see that it does not contradict Christian belief at all. The same process is likely to happen with Christians who don't think evolution is true.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by rootle View Post
                It has been the scientifically held theory for a long time and unless you have significant evidence to dispute it, you're going to come off as being a bit silly.
                There is significant evidence against it but most people aren't aware of it. One reason for this is that the whole world is under Satan's power and he suppresses any evidence that can lead people to the truth.
                We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
                (1 John 5:19 ESV)
                Here ate three sites where you can find out about some of this suppressed evidence:

                Answers in Genesis

                Evolutionary Truth by Piltdown Superman

                Creation Manifesto – ApoloJedi
                Clyde Herrin's Blog
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                • #9
                  I don't understand how Phillip E. Johnson can accept micro-evolution but reject macro-evolution done over a long period of time. He fails to understand that mutation allows for genetics to gain more variation that allows for animals to slowly transform over time. Since the circumstances needed for fossils to be preserved are rare, we might never know the full 99% of it and get the complete picture. But if we could, it would only show the greatness of God's creativity when it comes to animal and plant design.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by theophilus View Post
                    There is significant evidence against it but most people aren't aware of it. One reason for this is that the whole world is under Satan's power and he suppresses any evidence that can lead people to the truth.
                    We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
                    (1 John 5:19 ESV)
                    Here ate three sites where you can find out about some of this suppressed evidence:

                    Answers in Genesis

                    Evolutionary Truth by Piltdown Superman

                    Creation Manifesto – ApoloJedi
                    When it comes to science, which I haven't studied beyond high school, I'd like to trust the words of the majority of scientists. If conclusive evidence were found for a young earth and all the evolutionists admitted that they had made a mistake, I'd have to apologize and believe in a young earth. But as it stands right now, these Creationist Scientists are on the same standing as the academics who believe aliens helped build the pyramids. It's a crazy idea and they don't have enough evidence to back it up. Maybe it is Satan's work, but I don't see why he'd bother himself with convincing people of something that doesn't contradict Christianity. Belief in a young earth is not Biblical but is a tradition that has developed.
                    I am reading a book called "Why Science doesn't disprove God." by Amir Aczel. It's probably a good book to read for Christians and non-christians alike.
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rootle View Post
                      I am reading a book called "Why Science doesn't disprove God." by Amir Aczel.
                      I was thinking of buying it just the other day. What are your overall thoughts on the book?
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                      • #12
                        I'm a believer in the young earth and the flood account helped me to understand a lot about the science of a young earth as the fossil records, coal and oil as examples.

                        I also take Genesis very seriously now after studying it along with creation or young earth science or proofs for a young earth.

                        God said time and time again that the seed was to be after its own kind.

                        And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
                        Again
                        And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
                        The entirety of the Genesis account of creation continues that each thing He created was to multiply according to its own kind not evolve from grass to tree or fish to frog. These are not of their own kind.

                        In my personal belief if I can't agree that God is giving an accurate account of His creation why would I expect all the rest of what's written to be accurate as well. After research into it I agree that the earth is young and no macro evolution ever happened. Species as in a horse gives birth to a horse and variation of species I agree with and the adaptation of species.

                        For me evolution on the macro level does not agree with the creation account in Genesis for multiple reasons.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rootle View Post
                          If conclusive evidence were found for a young earth and all the evolutionists admitted that they had made a mistake, I'd have to apologize and believe in a young earth.
                          There is evidence of a young earth but evolutionists aren't willing to admit it. The missing navels | clydeherrin
                          Clyde Herrin's Blog
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Originally posted by theophilus View Post
                            There is evidence of a young earth but evolutionists aren't willing to admit it. The missing navels | clydeherrin
                            Fully agree there is ample evidence
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              Originally posted by theophilus View Post
                              There is evidence of a young earth but evolutionists aren't willing to admit it. The missing navels | clydeherrin
                              That navel analogy doesn't really seem applicable. As to the several claims of evidence against evolution, as I said earlier I don't have the expertise to refute them although if I were to search around the internet I wouldn't be surprised if I found alternate explanation. There may be things that evolution can't explain but I'm sure they are working to find answers. My point is still the same, since the majority of scientists consider evolution to be correct it must be the best explanation that they have. I don't understand why you think they have sufficient evidence for a young earth but aren't willing to admit it. What do you think is motivating them from concealing the truth? Surely the whole point of their research is to try and discover the truth. I also don't understand why you want to believe in a young earth so badly that you are willing to oppose most academics.
                              Comment>
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