Friday, August 9, 2013

Evolution: A Religion of Faith

It was Karl Marx, the infamous atheist and father of communism, who referred to religion as “the opium of the people.” Marx’s contention was that religion gives people artificial, illusory happiness—like opium does to a drug addict—and freeing people from that unrealistic illusion was part of building a better society. Religion is nothing more than an emotional crutch for weak-minded people, or so the atheist claims. The underlying message is that those who have finally embraced atheism have evolved past man’s petty and childish need for a Supreme Being and can now move forward into a bright future of rational thinking, enlightenment, and scientific progress.  

What is ironic about this movement is that in killing God, the skeptic has merely replaced Him with another religion—the cult of science, more specifically Darwinism. The parallels between today’s scientific cult and organized religion (which they so loathe) are quite striking. Evolution is their god, Charles Darwin is their founder, The Origin of Species their Bible and the cult has its prominent evangelists—Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking Sam Harris and the late Christopher Hitchens.

Darwinism is appealing for several reasons. First, the theory of evolution gives skeptics the ability to explain the origin of life without bringing God into the picture. With no need for God they are free to live however they want without the threat of moral accountability. If atheism is true, and there is no God, then everything really is all about me, and what I want, and what I can get. Man now becomes God and makes the rules.

Second, Darwinism makes its disciples seem so rational, intelligent and superior to those who are still living in the stone ages praying to an invisible God. Today’s atheist is an intellectual oozing with sophistication. Doesn’t everyone want to be counted among such giants as Fredrick Nietzsche, Ernest Hemingway, and Bertrand Russell?  Moreover, the skeptic is armed to the teeth with scientific facts and data, while the believer merely takes a blind leap of faith.   

In his most recent documentary, God vs.Evolution1, Christian author and speaker, Ray Comfort, infiltrates several college campuses where Darwin’s theory is dispensed like soma to the masses. Through a series of impromptu interviews with students and professors, Comfort shows the bankruptcy of evolution as a scientific fact, as well as, showing how Darwin’s disciples surprisingly exercise faith in a theory that has zero evidence of being true.

The film brings to light some of the glaring problems with evolution that Christian apologists have been pointing out for years. Let’s examine just three.

First, there is the problem of creation. By this I mean that evolution cannot solve the problem of how the very first stands of amino acids and proteins originated. Naturalistic evolution begins with the untenable premise that somehow life came from non-life, that matter gave rise to mind, that randomness is the mother of design and that chance somehow produced the complexity of life. The technical term for this is abiogenesis. The only problem is that there have been no experiments demonstrating abiogenesis in action. It has never been observed in a natural or artificial environment. Even the famous, Miller-Urey experiment of the 1950s which filled biology textbooks has been abandoned or discredited by modern scientists. Biologist Jonathan Wells said:

“Put a sterile, balanced salt solution in a test tube. Then put in a single living cell and poke a hole in it so that its contents leak into the solution. Now the test tube has the all the molecules you would need to create a living cell, right? You would already have accomplished far more than what the Miller experiment ever could—you’ve got all the components you need for life…The problem is you can’t make a living cell…So even if you could accomplish the thousands of steps between the amino acids in the Miller test—which probably didn’t exist in the real world anyway—and the components you need for a living cell—all the enzymes, the DNA, and so forth—you’re still immeasurably far from life…the problem remains of assembling the right parts in the right way at the right time and at the right place, while keeping out the wrong material is simply insurmountable.”2

Second, there is the problem of complexity. We know a lot more today about the complexity of the cell and DNA than Darwin ever dreamed about knowing in the mid-nineteenth century. Information theory has now unveiled the impossibility of DNA assembling itself without the infusion of intelligence. If we believe that words in books, codes in computers, or archeological inscriptions were made by an intelligent source, how much more the 3.1 billion genetic letters found in the human body? How about the 2.5 petabytes (2.5 million gigabytes) of information which could be stored in the neurons of the human brain?

Let’s take the example of a house. In order to have a house you need a set of blueprints and the basic materials—cinder blocks, wood, nails, etc. The information necessary to build the house is not inherent in the materials. Leave the building materials sitting in the elements and they will never assemble themselves into a townhouse. However, additional foreign information must be imposed upon the building materials to achieve the configuration of a house. Thus, the relationship between homes and blueprints, hardware and software is the relationship between mind and matter. Both are needed. Similarly, the chemical components needed for DNA do not possess the set of instructions necessary to build an amoeba or a man. So the question for evolutionists is where does the information come from?

Paul Davies reinforced the point that obtaining the building blocks of life would not explain their arrangement: “Just as bricks alone don’t make a house, so it takes more than a random collection of amino acids to make life. Like house bricks, the building blocks of life have to be assembled in a very specific and exceedingly elaborate way before they have the desired function.”3

Third, there is the problem of corroborating evidence. If evolution were a scientific fact then shouldn’t the fossil record be replete with examples of transmutation from one species to another? Yet when we start digging we find out that the fossil record has no such data to support the idea of gradual change  of molecules into man. A common example that is often given is Darwin’s finches which shows how the birds’ beaks changed according to their environment and need. However, this is more like adaptation than evolution. The birds always stayed birds, they never cross over to another life form.

Evolutionists today are echoing these same thoughts.  Steven Jay Gould from Harvard University said, “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record is the trade secret of paleontology.”4 Professor Ronald West made a candid admission when he said, “Contrary to what most scientists write, the fossil record does not support the theory of evolution, because it is this theory which we use to interpret the fossil record. By doing so we are guilty of circular reasoning if we then say the fossil record supports this theory.”5

In fact, since 2001 over 500 doctoral scientists have now signed a statement publicly expressing their skepticism about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution. The Scientific Dissent from Darwinism statement reads: "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."6

The list of 514 signatories includes member scientists from the prestigious US and Russian National Academy of Sciences. Signers include 154 biologists, the largest single scientific discipline represented on the list, as well as 76 chemists and 63 physicists. Signers hold doctorates in biological sciences, physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, computer science, and related disciplines. Many are professors or researchers at major universities and research institutions such as MIT, The Smithsonian, Cambridge University, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, the Ohio State University, the University of Georgia, and the University of Washington.

So let’s put this all into perspective. In order to ascribe to Darwinism I would have to:
1) Adhere to a theory that goes against reason and science (that life came from non-life)
2) Believe that complete randomness accounts for information in DNA (yet we don't believe than an explosion in a print shop could produce the Declaration of Independence)
3) Subscribe to a theory that cannot be observed scientifically and has no evidence to support it

I don’t know about you, but that would take an incredible amount of faith to subscribe to Darwinism. That would be belief in spite of the facts.

2 Jonathan Wells quoted by Lee Strobel, Case for a Creator, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), 39.
3 Paul Davies, “Life force,” New Scientist 163 (2204):27–30, 1999; p. 28.
4 Steven Jay Gould, Natural History (May 1977), 14.
5 Ronald R. West, Compass, vol. 45 (1968), 216.

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