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Creationism and Science 2

QUESTION: Creationism and Science - Presuppositions


It may be clear that an evolutionary development of the different species of plants and animals is impossible if the earth would not be at least millions of years old, since the emergence of new life forms would require long periods of time. But the theory of evolution is facing several other problems.
  • The origin of life - The origin of life itself is still an enigma. The complexity of a relatively "simple" living bacteria is incredibly high. None of the "primordial soup" experiments that have been conducted in the past 50 years have produced much more than a small number of amino acids.1 It is striking that today the attention is focused on other planets: is it possible life came to be elsewhere and subsequently was deposited on earth by comets or even aliens? This train of thought shows the growing uneasiness with the complete lack of evidence for a spontaneous emergence of life on earth.

  • Intermediate fossils - A gradual evolution of plant and animal species suggests that we should find numerous intermediate, transitional fossils in between the main groups. Darwin himself recognized that the lack of intermediate fossils was "perhaps the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory," and now, after 150 years of extensive research, these intermediate variations are still nowhere to be found. A non-creationist fossil expert now openly claims that the lack of intermediates is the best kept secret among paleontologists. A new supporting hypothesis has been formulated to explain this lack of evidence.2 This hypothesis assumes that long periods of time with relatively stable species alternated with very short periods in which new species were formed very rapidly and in remote locations. The brevity of these periods would explain the lack of transitional fossils. But did these transitional forms ever really exist? There is no proof. In fact, this theory acknowledges the fact that fossils cannot be used as evidence for evolution, since the transitional variations are nowhere to be found.

  • An evolutionary mechanism - An important question is the following: how could plants and animals, according to the theory of evolution, develop into increasingly complex species? It is a fact, as Darwin discovered, that variation and selection are real phenomena. But this is not the question. The question is: is it really possible that over time newer and more complex attributes develop from which a selection can be made? If so, what is causing this? For the longest time it was thought this was caused by mutations. Mutations are changes in the genetic material, caused by chance and supposedly capable to produce actual improvements. But decades of research have shown that mutations can only produce weakened or nonviable individuals, not improvements or novel structures.3

    At present, a relatively new avenue is being explored: scientists are researching the influence of dramatic changes in environment, such as temperature, chemical compositions, and air pressure. These have been observed to produce large variations in physical appearance: they cause food preferences and body structures to change, and new defensive and offensive mechanisms to emerge. Apparently DNA has a built-in potential for variation, which is activated under the appropriate environmental conditions.4 The most interesting aspect is that the genetic material itself is not changing. This is the reason we cannot make a connection with the concept of macro-evolution. Therefore these new insights in genetics provide no support for the theory of evolution. On the contrary, they fit very well in the biblical creation concept. It indicates that the genetic material of the created kinds ("baramins") of plants and animals is very stable.
Creationism and Science - Conclusion: No Evidence.
The conclusion is obvious. The theory of evolution and the supposed old age of the earth are built on a shaky foundation of presuppositions (preconceived ideas) and assumptions:
  • The millions of years of earth history are mostly tucked away in the geological 'ghost eras' which supposedly occurred in between the individual layers of the earth.
  • Radiometric dating is based on a large number of unproven assumptions.
  • All available knowledge indicates that the spontaneous generation of life is impossible (see also the online book Evolution: Possible or Impossible?). Still it is assumed that at some point in time a living cell arose spontaneously out of lifeless chemical matter.
  • Fossils that could be characterized as transitional forms between different species of organisms have never existed. Instead it is suggested that these developed very rapidly.
  • Beneficial mutations, with the capability to create new biological attributes, have never been observed.
The growing embarrassment over the lack of clear evidence for the theory of evolution is itself evidenced by the many secondary hypotheses formulated in attempts to explain away this very lack of evidence. Examples are the theories of "punctuated equilibrium" and "panspermia" (life came to earth from outer space). However, these proposed solutions cannot be subjected to direct observations. Scientifically speaking this is extremely weak: the reliability of these theories cannot be tested, proven or falsified, and can thus be classified as dogmas.

Creationism and Science - Presuppositions
One can only wonder if one day mainstream science will admit that the theory of evolution is incorrect and that evolution never took place. This seems highly improbable. It is more likely that deviating data will be set aside as "inexplicable at this time" or will be dealt with by proposing secondary hypotheses, in an attempt to keep the paradigm of an autonomous evolution alive. Partly this is caused by the presuppositions that play a role in this subject matter. Let's compare these presuppositions with those of Christianity:
  • The atheist presuppositions - Many scientists know very well that the theory of evolution is far from proven. But to them the possibility that there was no evolution at all is inconceivable, because they refuse to consider the only conceivable alternative. "In science of course we cannot start considering a God who created." But this is the basic motive. Human intellect is elevated to a position higher than God's revelation. This is not a conclusion based on scientific findings. No, this is in fact a religious starting point. The ultimate "presupposition" of secular science is that God and the Bible are not allowed to play any role in our explanation of the world and its origins. The worldview of the theory of evolution is horizontal: naturalistic and materialistic. Efforts are made to explain things using only the mind, observations, natural laws and natural processes.5 Nature is autonomous and functions without any supernatural involvement.

  • The Christian presuppositions - Christians have a different religious starting point: God's revelation provides reliable knowledge; more reliable than our mind. God Himself was an eyewitness to the origin of the world and has given us an account of this creation in His Book, the Bible. The difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is not a difference between beliefs and science, but between beliefs and beliefs. This has far-reaching consequences for Christian geologists and paleontologists. We will discuss these consequences in the fourth and final part of this series.

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[1] This is only a minimal small step in an extraordinary complex series of steps required to form a living cell. See Junker, R. and S. Scherer, 2006, Evolution, ein kritisches Lehrbuch (in German), Weyel Lehrmittelverlag Giessen.
[2] This supporting hypotheses is called "punctuated equilibrium". See the work of S.J. Gould and N. Eldredge.
[3] In very rare cases a mutation has a beneficial side effect, for example bacterial immunity against an antibiotic.
[4] This phenomenon is called differential gene expression. See the second article in this series. M.W. Kirschner and J.C Gerhart, 2005, The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma, and: Borger, P. 2009, Terug naar de oorsprong (Back to the Origin), or "How the new biology is ending Darwin's era", De Oude Wereld, Urk, The Netherlands.
[5] A distinction can be made between methodological naturalism, which means that attempts are made to offer explanations solely based on natural laws, particularly in experimental science, and philosophical naturalism, in which any involvement by God is considered impossible.

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