Apologetics

Forsaking Truth for Darwin’s Dogma

All this month we are featuring two resources that are revolutionary. One of them is actually called Revolutionary. It is the film, it is the DVD, and it is an absolute must-see. The star is the revolutionary himself, Michael Behe. He was somebody who did not want to start a revolution, but revolution came to him. He embraced it, and the revolution that he started is depicted in this film.

Think about the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, for example. Many people are familiar with this case. The idea here is this: it is unthinkable to teach intelligent design in the public-school system. To do so would be to follow truth wherever it leads. That is thought to be anathema. One might think, “How absurd is that?” But, a judge watches Inherit the Wind, makes a ruling, as a result of cobbled-together statements from the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), he does not even correct their mistakes in his cobbling together, and this judge becomes a folk hero with cult-like status. He even gets on the cover of Time magazine and written about in the New York Times. Why? Because we are no longer allowed to follow truth where it leads; rather, we are to walk lockstep together in the academy.

Do not confuse me with the facts. We have a dogma. That dogma may be illogical. It may fly in the face of the facts, but the dogma is the dogma — do not disturb me.

Well, Revolutionary upsets that whole house of cards. The film is available all this month along with the book entitled Darwin’s House of Cards written by Tom Bethell. He was the Washington editor for Harper’s; he was a contributing editor to Washington Monthly. If you ever read him, he is just fun to read. He is flat-out fun to read.

Let me say this: I think it is critical that people have this kind of information in their hands because the issue of origins is not an apologetic issue; it is the apologetic issue. How one views their origins will inevitably determine how they live their life. If you think you are a function of random chance, you arose from the primordial slime, you are going to live your life in a different way than if you know you are created in the image of God and therefore accountable to Him. This is an issue of transcendent importance.

Think about what “Darwin’s Bulldog,” Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–1895) once boasted. He said that “in the evolutionary system of thought there is no longer need or room for the supernatural.” What did that do for us? Well, we had the sovereignty of self replacing the sovereignty of God. We now become autonomous. We decide what is true and what is untrue based on the size and scope of the latest lobby group.

Then we had the Sexual Revolution. I love the candor of those who are at the forefront of the Sexual Revolution, at least at the beginning. You get rid of God, and you can live according to your own sexual preferences. You can change human anthropology. You can have gender fluidity. I just saw an article the other day; you can now have females passing on the right of giving birth to males. We live in an upside-down world, but once we had the Sexual Revolution, this was the inevitable result when God is relegated to the faint, disappearing smile of the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. Everything becomes permissible.

Then, of course, we had survival of the fittest, which led to atrocities like eugenics. I often think that right now as I am speaking this state in which I reside, North Carolina, is paying reparations for eugenics. Eugenics postulated that the unfit were infecting the genepool with their unfit genes, and as a result of that evolution, was not progressing like it should. What is the solution? Well, we sterilize the unfit. Who decides who is unfit? Well, at that particular epic in time — this is in the shadow of the ghastly consequences of the Second World War and the death camps in Nazi Germany — who decides? Well, in America, we were deciding it was blacks, Jews, people with Down syndrome, and anyone who had a malady, because how can evolution progress with these unfit genes in the genepool? You say, “Well, this had to be pretty fringe.” No, it was not fringe. It was legislated in blue states from California to New York. It was propped up by prestigious universities: Stanford, Harvard, and the list goes on. It was funded by, think about this, the Rockefeller Foundation and many other foundations. Name brands in our culture. Hardly fringe.

This is the problem. This is precisely the problem when you cannot think critically. When you are not allowed to have discussion in the university setting, these kinds of atrocities become inevitable consequences. What do we do? Curse the darkness or light a lamp in the midst of the gathering storm? I say what we must do is light a lamp in the midst of the gathering storm. How do we do that? We equip people. We have to think about these things.

— Hank Hanegraaff

Blog adapted from the July 5, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Am I a Speck, Stardust, or Created in the Image of God?

I remember not that long ago Bill Nye the Science Guy saying, “I’m a speck, on a speck, orbiting a speck, among other specks, among still other specks, in the middle of specklessness;” therefore, “I suck.” Now Bill Nye the Science Guy has become enormously popular. These kinds of statements have made science cool.

Now we have astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. He was in Charlotte the other night. He was communicating something exactly the opposite and it was still cool. In other words, it does not matter what your premise is. You can say, “I suck because I’m just a speck orbiting a speck,” or you can say, as Tyson argued, that we are not insignificant, and the reason we are not insignificant is that our bodies are literally made of stardust. (The same idea about stardust is conveyed in “Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Top Ten Favorite Facts about the Universe.”) Tyson thinks that we are one with the universe, that we share the same DNA as the bacteria that infest our intestines. The same bacteria that may cause infectious diseases. So, Neil deGrasse Tyson is now turning the tables on Bill Nye, and saying, “No, I do not suck, I am significant because I have the same DNA that a bacterium has, and therefore I am very, very special.”

Now what is interesting is you can have Bill Nye with his perspective and the crowds roar, or Tyson with his perspective and maybe they roar even louder. I still remember when evolutionists like Richard Dawkins argued that a boy had no more intrinsic worth than a banana because we all descended from a common ancestor and share the same DNA. He had more of the Bill Nye vibe; in other words, we are not special at all. We are utterly insignificant. But again, Tyson is turning the tables, yet either way, it is all sheer nonsense.

The reason we are special is not the composition of our DNA. We are special because we are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26–27). It is this fact that ensures that a Down Syndrome baby is afforded the same dignity given a distinguished scientist. In any case, Tyson has long ago made the departure from knowledge into the dangerous world of antiknowledge, and people applaud. He has departed the world of science and waded into an illusory world of science fiction all under the guise of making science cool.

Why do I bring this up? I bring this up because it is high time that we learn discernment skills, which is precisely what this ministry is all about. Teaching you to discern between wheat and chaff, heat and light, so that when you hear these kinds of statements, and the roar of the crowd dies down, you do not just go on as though you got new information. You process, you think, you discern. Then you become always ready to give an answer for the reason for the hope that lies within you, with gentleness and with respect (1 Pet. 3:15).

There is another article in USA Today, and this article I was very, very pleased to read. The title of the article was “Womb with a View: Fetuses Can Recognize Faces While Still inside Mom.” This is an example of how fearfully and wonderfully we are made (Ps. 139:13–14). The findings come from the journal Current Biology, and they demonstrate “it’s possible to explore sight and cognition in babies before birth.” Kristy Dunn of Lancaster University says, “It turned out that [the preborn] responded in a way that was very similar to infants.” Think about this. You can take the picture of a mom and the baby is going to react to it differently if it is right side up or upside down. In other words, they are responding the image with cognition. They also discovered that the baby’s eyes are not tightly closed, there are times when the baby’s eyes are open and blinking. So, there is a lot we are finding out about human embryology. The more we find out, the more horrendous the crime is the sin of aborting those made in the image and likeness of God.

We must remember that embryos are not potential persons. They are actual persons with potential, as written in a fantastic article in the Christian Research Journal entitled “The Human Embryo: Potential Person or Person with Great Potential?” written by Clinton Wilcox. It is an article that took me a couple of times to completely process. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is worth mastering. The reason for this is because human embryology becomes more and more plain, average, and out of the ivory tower and into the everyday vernacular. We are learning that human beings made in the image of God in the womb are sacred, they are special, just like infants and just like old people. Just remember that embryos are not potential persons; they are actual persons with potential. “I am the same individual I was when I was an embryo and, as such, if it is wrong to kill me now, it was wrong to kill me then.”

— Hank Hanegraaff

This blog is adapted from the June 13, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Decoding the Lucy’s Death Narrative

CRI-Blog-Hanegraaff, Hank-Lucy's DeathI want to say just a word about a newspaper headline that caught my attention this morning. It was in USA Today written by Doyle Rice with the headline: “Cracking an ice cold case: Nearly 3.2 million years ago, Lucy died. Now we know how.” That last phrase really caught my attention. “Now we know how” Lucy died 3.2 million years ago.

The article purports,

Lucy, the iconic human cousin whose skeleton was discovered in Ethiopia in 1974, died shortly after she fell out of a tree, according to a new study published Monday in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature.

According to John Kappelman, the lead author of this study,

A hominid is a member of the evolutionary family that includes great apes—such as gorillas, chimps, and orangutans, humans, and their ancestors, some of which are extinct.

The article does mention that,

Scientists dubbed her Lucy from the Beatles song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,’ which was played at the archaeological camp the night of her discovery, according to Arizona State University (ASU) Institute of Human Origins.

This is the accepted narrative of what happened.

Scientists analyze the breaks in Lucy’s bones and they determine that she probably fell out of a tree. Again the headline indicates that’s how she died. So we now know how. But, you get towards the end of the article and you read that,

Other experts who are familiar with Lucy aren’t so sure of the findings. “I think the methodology falls short of providing a realistic explanation for the majority of breaks in Lucy’s bones,” said paleoanthropologist William Kimbel of ASU’s Institute of Human Origins. “We see this kind of damage frequently in a wide variety of animals that did not fall from trees,” he said.

This is a great example of how a narrative works. The headline offers a dogmatic assertion:  “3.2 million years ago, Lucy died. Now we know how.” But the text demonstrates that in all reality this is just a dogmatic assertion. It does not really comprise a defensible argument. As has been well said there is simply no business like the bone business.

Think back to 2009 when Darwinius masillae, which was affectionately nicknamed “Ida” was dubbed the eighth wonder of the world—the link between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom—the most important fossil discovery in 47 million years; but, what about today? Well, today, evolutionary scientists are uniformly convinced that Ida plays no role whatsoever in human evolution. In other words, Ida like Lucy was a dogmatic assertion and hardly a defensible argument.

The illustration of a knuckle dragging ape evolving through a series of imaginary transitional forms into modern man has appeared so many times in so many places and today the picture has evolved into the proof. We would do well to remember that past candidates have bestowed fame and fortune on their finders, but they have done very little to distinguish themselves as prime exemplars of human evolution.

Another point is that as the corpus of human fossil specimens continue its become increasingly evident that there is an unbridgeable chasm between hominids and humans in both composition and culture. The distance between and ape who cannot read or write and a descendant of Adam who can compose a musical masterpiece or send an astronaut to the moon is the distance of infinity. I would conclude by simply saying this: Evolution cannot satisfactorily account for the genesis of life, the genetic code, and the ingenious synchronization process needed to produce life from a single fertilized human egg. Neither can evolution satisfactorily explain how physical processes can produce metaphysical realities like consciousness and spirituality.

The insatiable drive to produce a missing link has sadly substituted selling, sensationalism, and subjectivism for solid science. Here’s the deal. You see an

Dave Einsel | Getty Images

Dave Einsel | Getty Images

article like this in the paper and immediately, if you don’t have discernment skills, you think, “Wow! Science has discovered something about our ancestor and exactly how she died,” and our ancestor is often times pictured. You know, she’s got that face with the eyes of a philosopher and that slightly worried look like she just seen her tax accountant. But, the picture again forwards the narrative. The narrative that this is our human ancestor, and that half-a-million years ago our father’s, father’s, father’s father was in fact an ape.

Now, there’s precious little, other than the picture, to substantiate these kinds of mythologies. We’ve been through this so many times we ought to have learned. Mental digestion should have gotten better. We had Pithecanthrous erectus, we had Piltdown man, we had Peking man, we have Nebraska man—one tooth found on a farm in Nebraska but with a little imagination the tooth was attached to a jawbone, the jawbone to a skeleton, and by the time the story hit the newspaper they not only had the Nebraska man but also the Nebraska mom. All of that from a single tooth. Then a year later—you don’t find this part of the story communicated very often—but a year later they find another tooth. This time attached to a jawbone, a jawbone to a skull cap, and the skull cap to a skeleton, and they find out that Nebraska man is in reality just the skeleton of an ancient pig. Here you have scientist trying to make a man out of a monkey and the monkey makes a laughing stock out of the scientist.

The sad reality is that people, particularly in universities, they fall for the skin of the truth stuffed with a great big lie over and over and over again. The narrative gets communicated so many times that the narrative takes on real flesh and bone. So we have to be those who exercise our discernment skills.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please access the following equip.org resources:

Can We Be Certain that Evolution is a Myth? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Did Humans Evolve from Hominids? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Are Ape-Men Fictions, Frauds, and Fantasies? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Why Natural Selection Cannot Explain the Origin of Animal Development (Paul Nelson)

Adam and Eve Redux (Ann Gauger)

Evolution’s Achilles’ Heel? (R. Scott Smith)

Darwin vs. Beauty: Explaining Away the Butterfly (Jonathan Witt)

More answers to the most common and controversial questions about the origin of life can be found in The Creation Answer Book (B1056) by Hank Hanegraaff

Adapted from Hank’s prologue to the August 30, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics, In the News

Unproven Assumptions with the Story about the Universe Teeming with Life

Hanegraaff-Hank-Universe-Teaming-with-Life-Story

I wrote the forward to Doubts about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design by Thomas Woodward. In the forward, I point out that it was Thomas Kuhn, who was the philosopher of science that popularized the concept of paradigms. A paradigm is a way of seeing reality. What Kuhn showed is that dominant paradigms, prevailing metanarratives, or master stories, appear to possess infallibility in their fields. The difficulty whether for scientist, philosophers, theologians or laypeople is that we do not think about our paradigms nearly as much as we think with our paradigms. In subtle, powerful, and almost always unconscious ways our paradigms filter and frame our perceptions, and that ends up blinding us to disconfirming data.

Imagine in this context the audacity of Michael Denton, who was the founder of what became known as the Intelligent Design Movement. He dared to attack Darwinian dogma as an empirically empty shell propped up by the sociological forces of a paradigm. The reality is this: neither pf the two fundamental axioms of Charles Darwin’s macroevolutionary theory—the concept of the continuity of nature and the belief that all of the adaptive design of life has resulted from a blind random process—neither have been validated by one single empirical discovery since 1859, the time of Darwin.

I say all of that because I was reading a guest blog in Scientific American. It was titled “Maybe Life in the Cosmos is Rare After All.” It got my attention because the narrative you read not only in academic journals but also in popular media is that life is teeming in the cosmos. But this piece written by Paul Davies, a theoretical physicists at Arizona State University, specializing in applied quantum physics, astrophysics, cosmology, and astrobiology, points out as the title of the article indicates that maybe life in the cosmos is rare after all. The conclusion being that the universe is teeming with biology only on the basis of theory and unproven assumptions. He is an agnostic, concerning the existence of God, he has no qualms whatsoever about Darwinian Evolution, once life begins, but he’s questioning how life can begin in the first place. He thinks that is a significant obstacle. He writes,

When I was a student in the 1960s almost all scientists believed we are alone in the universe. The search for intelligent life beyond Earth was ridiculed; one might as well have professed an interest in looking for fairies. The focus of skepticism concerned the origin of life, which was widely assumed to have been a chemical fluke of such incredibly low probability it would never have happened twice. “The origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle,” was the way Francis Crick described it, “so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.” Jacques Monod concurred; in his 1976 book Chance and Necessity he wrote, “Man knows at last that he is alone in the indifferent immensity of the universe, whence which he has emerged by chance.”

Today the pendulum has swung decisively the other way. Many distinguished scientists proclaim that the universe is teeming with life, at least some of it intelligent. The biologist Christian de Duve went so far as to call life “a cosmic imperative.” Yet the science has hardly changed. We are almost as much in the dark today about the pathway from non-life to life as Darwin was when he wrote, “It is mere rubbish thinking at present of the origin of life; one might as well think of the origin of matter.”

A common argument is that the universe is so vast that there just has to be life out there somewhere. But that argument is dwarfed by the odds against forming even simple organic molecules by random chance alone. “If the pathway from chemistry to biology is long and complicated it may well be less than one-in a trillion trillion planets ever spawns life,” thus concludes theoretical physicists Paul Davies, “If life really does pop up readily, as [Carl] Sagan suggested, then it should have started many times on our home planet” and “It would take the discovery of just a single “alien” microbe to settle the matter.” But, we don’t have that.

I salute Scientific American for publishing this guest blog by Paul Davies. It’s honest, forthright, and really calls into question the evolutionary paradigm. That’s one of the reasons we offer Doubts about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design because Intelligent Design as a movement wants truth to lead wherever it will.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please consider the following:

Ten Urgent Questions and Answers about Origins (Hank Hanegraaff)

JAF9351 – Would Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life Spell Doom for Christianity? (Guillermo Gonzalez)

Thinking Clearly About God and Evolution (Jay Richards)

Objections Overruled: Responding to the Top Ten Objections against Intelligent Design (William A. Dembski & Sean McDowell)

Unlocking the DNA Enigma (Stephen C. Meyer)

Darwin’s Doubt and the Case for Intelligent Design (Stephen C. Meyer)

God and the “Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics” (William Lane Craig)

See also these recommended e-store items:

The Creation Answer Book (Hank Hanegraaff)

Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (Stephen C. Meyer)

Darwin’s Dilemma DVD (Illustra Media)

The Privileged Planet DVD (Illustra Media)

Unlocking The Mystery Of Life DVD (Illustra Media)

Icons of Evolution DVD (Illustra Media)

This blog was adapted from Hank Hanegraaff’s monologue on the May 27, 2016 edition of the Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Evidence Leading to Doubts about Darwinism

Hanegraaff, Hank-Intervies Thomas Woodward-Doubts Darwinism

Hank Hanegraaff invited Thomas Woodward onto the May 3, 2016 edition of the Bible Answer Man broadcast. The following is a highlight from their discussion.

Hank Hanegraaff: Life and truth matter indeed, and when truth is vanquished, there are dramatic consequences. Think about this. Other than the Bible, Darwin’s magnum opus, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection could well be said to be the most significant literary work in the annals of recorded history. I remember Sir Julian Huxley calling the evolutionary dogma the most powerful  the most comprehensive idea that has ever arisen upon the earth, the most fundamental of all intellectual revolutions, and the father of the intelligent design movement, Michael Denton, saying that the twentieth century could not be comprehended apart from the intellectual revolution that the theory produced. The far reaching consequences of that cosmogenic myth are felt in virtually every field, in every discipline of study, every level of education, and every area of practice. I think the most significant consequence is that it undermines the very foundations of the Christian faith, because if indeed macroevolution is reflective of the laws of science, then Genesis must be reflective of the flaws of Scripture, or so it is thought. If the foundation of Christianity is flawed, then the superstructure is designed to fall.

Now all of that is just prologue to something that I want to impress you with, and that is a book by Thomas Woodward. It is titled Doubts about Darwin. It’s a history of the intelligent design movement, a movement that allows truth to lead wherever it will. This book ought to be one of the great classics of literature, and CRI has republished this book because we have a deep and abiding confidence that this book can make a dramatic paradigm shift in the way people think about Darwinian evolution.

If you think I am excited about this subject, I always have been. From the very beginning, I’ve said how one views their origins will ultimately determine how they live their life. So we’re not talking about an apologetic issue here, we’re talking about the apologetic issue. The author of Doubt’s about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design, Thomas Woodward joins me now. Hi Tom!  

Thomas Woodward: Hi, great to be with you, thank you so much for that very warm welcome…

Hank: You know, I am so delighted that we’ve had the opportunity to republish this book because I do think it is a classic. You’re a professor at Trinity College in Florida, you teach history of science, communication, systematic theology, and the significance of systematic theology, you’re a founder and director of the C.S. Lewis Society, and you lecture in universities around the world, but this book, I think, could be a lasting legacy, because it pointing the finger squarely at doubts about Darwin and why we ought to have them.

Thomas: I think that your opening there is so on target. I mean talk about hitting the nail on the head. This is where the departure from truth hinges. It kind of sprouts from here and heads everywhere. One of the main theorist today has described Darwin’s theory is like a universal acid. It eats through any preexisting major paradigm, theory, concept, worldview, partial or in full, and leaves in its wake a revolutionized worldview, which has at its core this new god substitute—Darwin’s meandering blind process. You know, of course, natural selection we can go into the details, but I think that what really struck me is when I presented some of the accounts of the challengers of Neo-Darwinism to my agnostic professors, at the University of South Florida here in Tampa Bay, they were engaged. Here were scientists, here was a law professor Philip Johnson at Berkley, here were top biochemists who were challenging the theory, and my agnostic professors saying this is really interesting, give us more. They were not theists, they were not interested in, you know, in any kind of defense for the Bible. They were saying, this is genuine, there is something new under the sun, give us more. And they egged me on to write the history. So that’s kind of a strange background but I thank my, you know, kind of secular, skeptical, and agnostic professors for lighting the fire that allowed this book to be written.

Hank: I think what’s important at the very outset to talk about is the terrible price that is paid when you try to counter what is thought of in academia as settled science. You’re telling people look put on a different pair of glasses and what you see will be entirely different as well. So, one of the things that I love about this book and I really commend you for is that you have underscored and underlined and emphasized the people who have taken a hit professionally and personally to follow truth wherever it leads.

Thomas: Well that’s been my focus I would say from the get go as I began to hang out with some of these amazing, spectacular, researchers, and thinkers, many of them scientists, some of the professors at elite universities. They have stuck their neck out. I mean, you talk about the apostles. I’m not saying I’m going to put them in the rank of Peter, Paul and others in the Book of Acts, but these guys in their own way have as you said paid the price. Michael Behe at Lehigh University, you know kind of a quasi-Ivy League school, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Behe has suffered the ongoing shock or dismay, you might say, of having a disclaimer on his own biology department web site or webpage saying we do not subscribe to Michael Behe’s views, they are religious. Of course, that is so painfully and mistakenly absurd because he doesn’t use one religious argument in his book Darwin’s Black Box; it’s all empirically driven, but he labors on and others with him. I mean it’s really a moment of marvel for me to see the courage of these gentlemen.

Hank: I want to quote something that you have written Tom, and have you comment. You say the cultural stakes of the Darwinian design debate are high. The debaters are contending over the fundamental cultural story of human kind, and those who succeed at crafting and telling the most convincing story of origins, hold in their hands supreme cultural authority. If any group, religious or scientific, gains the authority to present its own story, as uniquely true, and then label other stories as mythological, that group functions as the high priesthood of our time. That I think is a powerful statement.

Thomas: That’s where I think so many people do not realize that if they subscribe to Neo-Darwinism and all its trappings and all its variations, they are embracing, something that has never really since Darwin’s day been supported by empirical evidence, a powerful idea. I can say the same thing about many powerful ideas that can be traced all the way back to Epicurus, Lucretius before Christ. The ideas of evolution has been floating in the air, have been floating in the air for twenty, or twenty-twenty-two centuries  before Darwin came along and came up with this new mechanism. He even admitted, you know, I cannot offer any direct evidence, but I can reasonably extend from what we see going on with animal breeders. Wow, now that’s quite a leap. Animal breeders make minor tweaking. They back and forth, you know, variations of the size, or shape or color of some organ, some wing, some fur on a sheep, but they do not fundamentally change those animals, and yet that’s what Darwin’s theory has to account for. It’s been struggling. It’s been a theory in search of evidence. I like to use that phrase. I got it from Philip Johnson, our common friend. A theory in search of evidence ever since it came out in 1859 and now defenders are turning really, how shall I put it, brittle and defensive and almost vindictive, ferocious at times, if you dare to question their theory, when Darwin himself was really welcoming those kinds of responses or critiques.

Hank: Let me pick up on that because this is one of the points that you make that doubts about Darwin are not relegated to those who doubt Darwin but Darwin himself had doubts about his own theory. In other words, he was open to evidence to the contrary.

Thomas: Yes and I have to qualify that, I think that doubts about—he’s wondering why is the evidence so terrible in so many areas where I want it to be splendid? So in that sense they were bracketed, you know, doubts here doubts there, why is the evidence not supporting me. Of course, the most blatant example is the fossil record, which was dead set against Darwin. He admitted it in his chapter on problems with my theory, admitted it again in his discussion of the geological record, and I think we would say today it is ten to a hundred times worsts than it was in Darwin’s day. The evidence, and we can go into this in more detail, for the expectation of Darwinism verses what we see in the fossil record is an overwhelming loud embarrassment. Darwin said if it could be presented, any complex organ’s existence, this is a quote from his book, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive slight modifications; my theory would absolutely break down. And of course that’s quite a statement. He is opening up himself for testing. I would say based on what we see now in the micro-machinery of a cell, his theory has again overwhelmingly broken down. We can credit that, of course, to Michael Behe, and before him, Michael Denton, and Phil Johnson brought out those points, but this was even evident in Darwin’s day. There were contrary evidence and he was receiving letters all the time from scientists. Well that’s part of the story that’s never told.

Hank: What I’d like you to do is to just take a minute or so and explain the transcendent importance of this particular topic.

Thomas: I would be delighted to tackle that exciting opportunity. Darwin’s theory is the reigning paradigm. It’s not just a theory. It’s a whole worldview. It’s like a broad structured thought that sort of links everybody together looking that the same issues raising the same possibility, but excluding certain possibilities ahead of time, and that’s a betrayal of science. So what we’re dealing with in the Neo-Darwinism period—if there’s an opportunity at some point today or another day I can share about some huge cracks that have opened up in the edifice in the last two or three weeks—but Darwin’s theory is now the reigning like determination of what is to be admitted within the scientific community. If it’s not materialistic, if it deals with intelligent causation, it’s ruled out ahead of time. Well, that’s not scientific at all. Darwin’s theory is the tip of a very bleak kind of situation where science has come under the control primarily of a worldview. A worldview that goes by a couple of different names but naturalism, the worldview of naturalism is probably the most common label. It means that you rule out ahead of time that anything non-material exists such as souls, spirits, God and certainly anything above the universe. As we see this triumphant theory aging and cracking it’s quite an exciting time of history.

Thomas E. Woodward is a research professor and department chair of the theology department at Trinity College of Florida. He is also the founder and director of the C.S. Lewis Society and lectures in universities on scientific apologetics and religious topics. Doubts about Darwin is one of the most significant works of Woodward for out times.

To get your copy Doubts about Darwin of click here.

Apologetics

Fat Chance: The Failure of Evolution to Account for the Miracle of Life

Hanegraaff, Hank-Eye

This article first appeared in the Christian Research Journal, volume 21, number 1 (1998). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org 


SYNOPSIS

No rational person looking at Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper would suggest that this masterpiece came into being through blind chance. Incredibly, however, many blindly believe that chance operating through natural processes can account for the masterful precision and design of the universe in which we live. The eye, the egg, and the earth are but three examples of organized complexity that can not be accounted for apart from the existence of an omniscient designer. As the science of statistical probability demonstrates, forming even a protein molecule by random processes is not only improbable; it is indeed impossible.


One of the primary dilemmas of naturalistic evolutionary theory is that it forces scientists to conclude that the cosmos in all of its complexity was created by chance. As biologist Jacques Monod, a Nobel prize winner, puts it, “Chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, [is] at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution” (emphasis in original).2 Noted theologian R. C. Sproul explains, for the materialist chance is the “magic wand to make not only rabbits but entire universes appear out of nothing.”3 Sproul also warns that “if chance exists in any size, shape, or form, God cannot exist. The two are mutually exclusive. If chance existed, it would destroy God’s sovereignty. If God is not sovereign, he is not God. If he is not God, he simply is not. If chance is, God is not. If God is, chance is not” (emphasis in original).4

THE COMPLEXITY OF LIFE

Chance in this sense refers to that which happens without cause.5 Thus, chance implies the absence of both a design and a designer. Reflect for a moment on the absurdity of such a notion. Imagine suggesting that Christopher Wren had nothing whatsoever to do with the design of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Imagine asserting that the majestic Messiah composed itself apart from Handel. Or imagine claiming thatthe Last Supper painted itself without Leonardo da Vinci.

Now consider an even more egregious and absurd assertion — that an eye, an egg, and the earth, each in its vast complexity, are merely functions of random chance.6 Ironically, Darwin himself found it hard to accept the notion that the eye could be the product of blind evolutionary chance, conceding that the intricacies of the human eye gave him “cold shudders.”7

Eye

In his landmark publication, The Origin of Species, Darwin avowed, “To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree possible.”8 He called this dilemma the problem of “organs of extreme perfection and complication.”9

Consider for a moment the incredible complexity of the human eye. It consists of a ball with a lens on one side and a light sensitive retina made up of rods and cones inside the other. The lens itself has a sturdy protective covering called a cornea and sits over an iris designed to protect the eye from excessive light. The eye contains a fantastic watery substance that is replaced every four hours, while tear glands continuously flush the outside clean. In addition, an eyelid sweeps secretions over the cornea to keep it moist, and eyelashes protect it from dust.10

It is one thing to stretch credulity by suggesting that the complexities of the eye evolved by chance; it is quite another to surmise that the eye could have evolved in concert with myriad other coordinated functions. As a case in point, extraordinarily tuned muscles surround the eye for precision motility and shape the lens for the function of focus.11

Additionally, consider the fact that as you read this article, a vast number of impulses are traveling from your eyes through millions of nerve fibers that transmit information to a complex “computer center” in the brain called the visual cortex. Linking the visual information from the eyes to motor centers in the brain is crucial in coordinating a vast number of bodily and mental functions that are part and parcel to the very process of daily living. Without the coordinated development of the eye and the brain in a synergistic fashion the isolated developments themselves become meaningless and counterproductive.12

In Darwin’s Black Box, biochemist Michael Behe points out that what happens when a photon of light hits a human eye was beyond nineteenth‐century science. Thus, to Darwin, vision was an unopened black box.13 In the twentieth century, however, the black box of vision has been opened, and it is no longer enough to consider the anatomical structure of the eye. We now know that “each of the anatomical steps and structures that Darwin thought were so simple actually involves staggeringly complicated biochemical processes” that demand explanation.14

Behe goes on to demonstrate that one cannot explain the origin of vision without first accounting for the origin of the enormously complex system of molecular mechanisms that make it work.15 Phillip Johnson, author of Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds, has aptly summarized Darwin’s dilemma regarding the eye: “Evolutionary biologists have been able to pretend to know how complex biological systems originated only because they treated them as black boxes. Now that biochemists have opened the black boxes and seen what is inside, they know the Darwinian theory is just a story, not a scientific explanation.”16

Egg

In Darwin’s Black Box, Behe further notes that there are black boxes within black boxes. As science advances, more and more of these black boxes are being opened, revealing an “unanticipated Lilliputian world” of enormous complexity that has pushed the theory of evolution beyond the breaking point.17

Evolution cannot account for the astonishingly complex synchronization process needed for, say, the shell of a developing egg to form from the calcium that is stored inside the bones of a bird’s body.18 This shell not only provides a protective covering for the egg but also provides a source of calcium for the developing embryo and a membrane through which it can breathe.19

Furthermore, evolution cannot account for the complex synchronization process needed to produce life from a single fertilized human egg. “The tapestry of life begins with a single thread.”20 Through a process of incredible precision, a microscopic egg in one human being is fertilized by a sperm cell from another. This process not only marks the beginning of a new life but also marks the genetic future of that life.21 A single fertilized egg (zygote), the size of a pinhead, contains chemical instructions that would fill more than 500,000 printed pages.22 The genetic information contained in this “encyclopedia” determines the potential physical aspect of the developing human from height to hair color. In time, the fertilized egg divides into the 30 trillion cells that make up the human body, including 12 billion brain cells, which form over 120 trillion connections.23

In Darwin’s day, a human egg was thought to be quite simple—for all practical purposes, little more than a microscopic blob of gelatin. Today we know that a fertilized egg is among the most organized, complex structures in the universe. In an age of scientific enlightenment, it is incredible to think that people are willing to maintain that something so vastly complex arose by chance. As Dr. James Coppedge, an expert on the science of statistical probability, puts it, “Chance requires ten billion tries on the average in order to count to ten.”24

In an experiment using 10 similar coins numbered one through 10, chance will succeed on the average only once in 10 billion attempts to get the number one followed in order by all the rest. Coppedge explains that if a person could draw and record one coin every five seconds day and night, it would still take over 1,500 years for chance, on average, to succeed just once in counting to 10.25 He goes on to demonstrate the difference intelligence makes by documenting that a child can do in minutes what chance would take a millennium to do. “Chance doesn’t have a chance when compared to the intelligent purpose of even a child.”26 Even more revealing is the fact that a child playing with the party game Scrabble can easily spell the phrase, “the theory of evolution,” while chance requires five million times the assumed age of the earth to accomplish the same feat.27

Earth

Like an egg or an eye, the earth is a masterpiece of precision and design that could not have come into existence by chance. Astronaut Guy Gardner, who has seen the earth from the perspective of the moon, points out that “the more we learn and see about our universe the more we come to realize that the most ideally suited place for life within the entire solar system is the planet we call home.”28 King David said it best:

The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they display knowledge.

There is no speech or language

where their voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out into all the earth,

their words to the ends of the world. (Ps. 19:1‐4)

Let’s take a few minutes to explore the miracles that demonstrate life on earth, which a benevolent Creator designed and which could not be directed by blind chance. First, consider plain old tap water. The solid state of most substances is denser than their liquid state, but the opposite is true for H20, which explains why ice floats rather than sinks. If water were like virtually any other liquid, it would freeze from the bottom up rather than from the top down, killing aquatic life, destroying the oxygen supply, and making earth uninhabitable.29 Furthermore, ocean tides, which are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon, play a crucial role in our survival. If the moon were significantly larger, thereby increasing its gravitational pull, devastating tidal waves would submerge large areas of land. If the moon were smaller, tidal motion would cease and the oceans would stagnate and die.30 Finally, consider the ideal temperatures on planet earth — not duplicated on any other known planet in the universe. If we were closer to the sun, we would fry. If we were farther away, we would freeze.31

From the tap water to the tides and temperatures that we so easily take for granted, the earth is an unparalleled planetary masterpiece. Like Handel’s Messiah or da Vinci’s Last Supper, it should never be carelessly devalued as the result of blind evolutionary processes. Yet, tragically, in an age of high technology and supposed scientific enlightenment, many are doing just that. Consider the following introduction to “The Miracle of Life,” an Emmy‐award‐winning PBS NOVA broadcast on evolution:

Four and a half billion years ago, the young planet Earth was a mass of cosmic dust and particles. It was almost completely engulfed by the shallow primordial seas. Powerful winds gathered random molecules from the atmosphere. Some were deposited in the seas. Tides and currents swept the molecules together.

And somewhere in this ancient ocean the miracle of life began….The first organized form of primitive life was a tiny protozoan [a one‐celled animal]. Millions of protozoa populated the ancient seas. These early organisms were completely self‐sufficient in their sea‐water world. They moved about their aquatic environment feeding on bacteria and other organisms….From these one‐celled organisms evolved all life on earth. (emphases added)32

CHANCE DOESN’T HAVE A CHANCE

The real miracle of life is how so many people could stand for such nonsense in the twentieth century. First, how could the protozoa be the first form of primitive life if there were already organisms such as bacteria in existence? Molecular biology has demonstrated empirically that bacteria are incredibly complex. In the words of Michael Denton, “Although the tiniest bacterial cells are incredibly small, weighing less than 10‐12 gms, each is in effect a veritable micro‐miniaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the nonliving world.”33

Furthermore, far from being primitive, the protozoa that were thought to be simple in Darwin’s day have been shown by science to be enormously complex. Molecular biology has demonstrated that there is no such thing as a “primitive” cell. To quote Denton again, “No living system can be thought of as being primitive or ancestral with respect to any other system, nor is there the slightest empirical hint of an evolutionary sequence among all the incredibly diverse cells on earth.”34 Finally, as Coppedge documents, giving evolutionists every possible concession, postulating a primordial sea with every single component necessary, and speeding up the rate of bonding a trillion times: “The probability of a single protein35 molecule being arranged by chance is 1 in 10161 using all atoms on earth and allowing all the time since the world began…..For a minimum set of the required 239 protein molecules for the smallest theoretical life, the probability is 1 in 10119,879. It would take 10119,841 years on the average to get a set of such proteins. That is 10119,831 times the assumed age of the earth and is a figure with 119, 831 zeroes.”+

To provide a perspective on how enormous a one followed by a hundred and sixty one zeros is, Coppedge uses the illustration of an amoeba (a microscopic one‐celled animal) that sets out to move the entire universe (including every person, the earth, the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, millions of other galaxies, etc.) over the width of one universe, atom by atom, at the slowest possible speed. (The universe is 30 billion light‐years in diameter — to calculate the number of miles multiply 30 billion by 5.9 trillion.) The amoeba is going to move one angstrom unit (the width of a hydrogen atom — the smallest known atom) every 15 billion years (the supposed age of the universe). Obviously the amoeba would have to move zillions of times before the naked eye could detect that it had moved at all. At this rate the amoeba travels 30 billion light years and puts an atom down one universe over. It then travels back at the same rate of speed and takes another atom from your body and moves it one universe over. Once it has moved you over, it moves over the next person until it has moved over all five billion or so people on planet earth. It then moves over all the houses and cars, the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, and the millions of other galaxies that exist in the known universe.

In the time that it took to do all that, we would not get remotely close to forming one protein molecule by random chance.37 If, however, a protein molecule is eventually formed by chance, forming the second one would be infinitely more difficult. As you can see, the science of statistical probability demonstrates conclusively that forming a protein molecule by random processes is not merely improbable but impossible. And forming a living cell is beyond illustration. As King David poignantly put it, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Ps. 14:1).

Finally, it should be noted that philosophical naturalism—the world view undergirding evolutionism—can provide only three explanations for the existence of the universe in which we live. One: The universe is merely an illusion. This notion carries little weight in an age of scientific enlightenment. As has been aptly put, “Even the full‐blown solipsist looks both ways before crossing the street.” Two: The universe sprang from nothing. This proposition flies in the face of both the law of cause and effect and the law of energy conservation. It has been well said, there simply are no free lunches. The conditions that hold true in this  universe prevent any possibility of matter springing out of nothing.38 Three: The universe eternally existed. This hypothesis is devastated by the law of entropy that predicates that a universe which has eternally existed would have died an “eternity ago” of a heat‐loss death.39

There is, however, one other possibility. It is found in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In an age of empirical science, as in any age, nothing could be more certain, clear, or correct.

NOTES

  1. This article is taken from Hank Hanegraaff’s forthcoming book, The FACE (Word Publishing), which uses the acronym F‐A‐CE to reveal the farce of evolution (the “C” in FACE represents Chance).
  2. Jacques Monod, Chance and Necessity (New York: Vintage Books, 1972), 112–13, as quoted in John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Darwin’s Leap of Faith (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1998), 21.
  3. R. C. Sproul, Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994), 9.
  4. Ibid., 3.
  5. Chance as an ontological entity does not exist. So, when it is appealed to as an agency of cause, it is utterly impotent and meaningless. This sense of chance as a causal agency is what one gropes for in order to assert that universes appear out of nothing. On the other hand, chance can quite usefully refer to formal mathematical probabilities, not at all signifying something that happens without a cause. In common parlance, when we say something has happened by chance, we don’t mean that the event had no cause, but that the actual cause is unknown to us. (See Sproul.)
  6. Perhaps we should be generous and give evolutionists the benefit of the doubt at this point by assuming that when they refer to chance they do not mean an ontological causal agency (referring to the illogical notion of uncaused effects). Instead, we can assume that chance is used as the formal term for mathematical probabilities. The evolutionist presupposes the existence of the material universe with its attending properties and suggests that atoms randomly bumping into one another produce (cause) living things. As we will see, life cannot be accounted for in this way either.
  7. James F. Coppedge, Evolution: Possible or Impossible? (Northridge, CA: Probability Research in Molecular Biology, 1993), 218.
  8. Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, chap. 6, “Difficulties of the Theory,” sect. “Organs of Extreme Perfection and Complication,” in Robert Maynard Hutchins, ed., Great Books of the Western World, vol. 49, Darwin (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952), 85.
  9. Ibid. Of course, Darwin’s life work intended to show that all biological organisms, with their attending “organs of extreme perfection and complication,” were indeed formed through natural selection.
  10. Eye description adapted from Gordon Rattray Taylor, The Great Evolution Mystery (New York: Harper & Row, 1983), 101–2.
  11. See ibid., 98–103.
  12. See Coppedge, 218–20; Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Bethesda, MD: Adler & Adler, 1985), 332–33.
  13. Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (New York: The Free Press, 1996), 18. “Black box” is Behe’s term for a device that accomplishes a purpose but whose inner workings remain mysterious. For the average person, computers are a good example of a black box (p. 6).
  14. Ibid., 22 (see 15–22).
  15. In ibid., 18–21, Behe describes the biochemistry of vision.
  16. Phillip E. Johnson, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), 77.
  17. Behe, 8–9.
  18. Coppedge, 216, citing T. G. Taylor, “How an Eggshell Is Made,” Scientific American, 19 March 1970, 89–94.
  19. Christopher Perrins, Birds: Their Life, Their Ways, Their World (Pleasantville, NY: Reader’s Digest Association, 1979), 118–19.
  20. The Wonders of God’s Creation: Human Life, vol. 3 (Chicago: Moody Institute of Science, 1993); videotape.
  21. Ibid.
  22. A. E. Wilder‐Smith, The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of Evolution (Costa Mesa, CA: T. W. F. T. Publishers, 1981), 82.
  23. A. E. Wilder‐Smith, The Origin of Life, vol. 3 (Gilbert, AZ: Eden Communications, 1983); videotape.
  24. Coppedge, 50–51.
  25. Ibid., 51.
  26. Ibid., 53.
  27. Ibid., 52. Coppedge explains the problem of trying to produce such a phrase by chance. The phrase, “the theory of evolution,” contains 23 ordered letters and spaces. Thus, we need to randomly pick in an ordered sequence 23 specific objects out of a set of 26 letters of the alphabet and one “space.” That means for the first “t” in our phrase there is a one out of 27 chance of drawing it. The same holds for all the other letters in our phrase – each has a one in 27 chance of being drawn at any given time. But since we need the letters and spaces to come in a sequential order, we must multiply their separate probabilities. Since there are 23 letters and spaces to pick, and each has an individual probability of one out of 27, we must multiply 27 by itself 23 times (i.e., 2723), which means we would expect to succeed in spelling our phrase by chance only one time in over eight hundred million trillion trillion draws. Now, suppose we use a super computer to produce a billion draws per second. At this incredible rate we could expect to find only one successful spelling of our phrase in 26,000,000,000,000,000 years. This number of years is five million times as long as natural science estimates the earth to have existed. (Adapted from Coppedge, 52.) If chance is so unproductive at producing such a simple phrase as “the theory of evolution,” it is just inconceivable to think that chance could have produced something as organized and complex as a single cell, let alone the unfathomable, organized complexity of the human brain.