God as Magician in Evolution

I have now finished Miller's book "Finding Darwin's God" and can say that I recommend this as a starting point for anybody interested in finding, as he calls it, "common ground between God and evolutioin." While I do have some issues with his attempts at reconciliation, some are based on a Mormon application some not, these will be dealt with later on. While I have already considered some of his arguments against the those who hold out for a young earth, I would like to address his points against those who deny the common origin of species.

While he considers that God of the young earthers to be a flat out charlatan, he considers the God of those who deny the common origin of species a magician which really isn't all that bad but certainly isn't that good. While "young-earth creationism requires a full frontal assault on virtually every field of modern science" (p. 81) the Magicianists do not find themselves in a near as uncomfortable conflict with well established fact. Nevertheless, Philip Johnson (the main Magicianist) still finds himself at odds with boat loads of well established scientific reasoning.

Johnson claims that there are no credible evolutionary sequences. Wrong. There are lots of them and more are turning up every year. He claims that there are no credible evolutionary mechanisms. Wrong. The actual rate of morphological change in the biological world can be measured and turns out to be 10-100 times faster than is needed to produce the impossibilities he sees in the world. Obviously he isn't a scientist nor is he familiar with the relavent data.

He is, instead, a defense lawyer who has only one objective: to establish reasonable doubt. This isn't a bad thing, but it's not science. Not by a long shot. He offers no theories of his own, no alternatives, nothing but criticism. Again, not bad, but not science.

Well let's consider two theories which he could put forth, but, of course, doesn't. How do species appear if not by common descent? 1) A puff of smoke which could means either a special creation right then and there or tranplatation in our tradition. 2) A new species is born of another species, for example, a chicken hatches from a triceratops egg.

Number 2 isn't going to be maintained by too many Creationists since it is basically what they think that evolutionists believe, which they don't. Animals multiply according to their own 'kind' and can never transcend those barriers. What's interesting is that that is almost exactly what Darwin himself would have taught. We cannot have 'hopeful monsters' popping up since they would over shoot the selective focus. Instead, mutation from one generation will be very limited giving a relatively gradual course for evolution to follow as it were. Neither the scientists nor the religionists accept number 2.

What about number 1? Mormons will tend to reject the 'puff of smoke' idea (I hope) since we have traditionally felt that God created the world by natural means, nothing being more natural than sexual reproduction. Thus we speak of transplantation. Miller has a little bit of fun with this idea based on is total rejection of a global fall.
The appearance of new species out of thin air doesn't seem to happen anymore, even if it happened on a recurring basis in the geological past. These newly designed organisms continued to appear on a regular basis right up to the present day. Then for some reason, just as we became able to observe it, this remarkable magic stopped. Makes you wonder why, doesn't it? (p. 100)

"I'll tell you why," we can hear the creationist shout back, "because the Lord finished the creation of the sixth day a pronounced it good. There was no need for more once we were here. In fact, isn't it the Darwinians who believe that new species should be cropping up out of nowhere?" (No they don't, since speciation events can only be defined, by very definition, with the hindsight of 1,000's of years.)

In Miller's second critique of the Magician he calls into question the Magician's competence.
To adopt the explanation of design, we are forced to attribute a host of flaws and imperfections to the designer. Our appendix, for example, seems to serve only to make us sick; our feet are poorly constructed to take the full force of walking and running; and even our eyes are prone to optical errors and lose their ability to close focus as we age... Whatever one's views of such a designer's motivation, there is one conclusion that drops cleanly out of the data. He was incompetent... The average length of time a species survives after its first appearance is around 2 million years. Two million years of existence, and then extinction... In simple terms, this designer just can't get it right the first time. Nothing he designs is able to make it over the long term. (p. 101, 102)

He brings in an amusing analogy.
As a visitor walked past one of the cages at the zoo, he marveled at the sight of a lion and a lamb sleeping peacefully nest to each other. Amazed, he sought out the zookeeper. "That's incredible!" the visitor said. "How do you make them get along so well?" The zookeeper smiled. "It's easy. All we have to do is to put in a new lamb every day." (p. 102)

99% of the species which have inhabited the earth have been destroyed. Special creation is starting to look a bit ridiculous. Assuming that all those fossils came from animals which live and died on this earth, why would our Magician create these totally unnecessary species only to have them go extinct before anybody could admire them? This is an especially poignant point when considering the numerous 'links' which are no longer missing. Fish/amphibians, Amphibian/reptiles, Reptile/dinosaurs, Dinosaur/birds, Reptile/mammals and Land-mammal/whales have all been found. Are we really going to think those creatures were special creations, destined to live and die for no apparent reason?
Intelligent design advocates have to account for patterns in the designer's work that clearly give the appearance of evolution. Is the designer being deceptive? Is there a reason why he can't get it right the first time? Is the designer, despite all his powers, a slow learner? He must be clever enough to design an African elephant, but apparently not so clever that he can do it the first time... Intelligent design does a terrible disservice to God by casting him as a magician who periodically creates and creates and then creates again throughout the geologic ages. Those who believe that the sole purpose of the Creator was the production of the human species must answer a simple question... Why did this magician, in order to produce the contemporary world, find it necessary to create and destroy creatures, habitats, and ecosystems millions of times over? (p. 127,128)

This question applies to those who believe the fossil record to have been supplied by other planets full of animals, transition forms and even hominids indistinguishable from modern man. Why was their planet which seems to have been almost EXACTLY (even IDENTICAL) like ours destroyed? We don't think this planet will be destroyed, why would this other hypothetical world complete with its ecosystems be dismantled? These criticisms coming from a strong Christian scientist should not be dismissed as easily as they have been. God is not a magician who only appears powerful as long as we don't look very close.

Summary: Having considered the false idea of a young earth, Miller continues his attack on the creationists who dismiss the notion of common descent. Such an idea is alos bad science and terrible theology since it depicts the Magician Designer as being utterly wasteful, incompetent and deceptive.



Joseph F. Smith vs Ernst Haeckel?

In reading the 1909 First Presidency statement, The Origin of Man, part of an oft-quoted section stood out to me.
True it is that the body of man enters upon its career as a tiny germ or embryo, which becomes an infant, quickened at a certain stage by the spirit whose tabernacle it is, and the child, after being born, develops into a man. There is nothing in this, however, to indicate that the original man, the first of our race, began life as anything less than a man, or less than the human germ or embryo that becomes a man.

Continue Reading at LDS Science Review.


Creationists Sound Off!

s promised, this is the rather long paper which I wrote a few years ago when I was still an Intelligent Designer of sorts. Don't worry, there never was any 'part 2' that got put into any coherent format so this is all there is. Anybody who has read any of my evolution posts will instantly recognize that I don't think the arguments I present here hold any water, and as such I will spend a few posts critiquing my own former arguements.

The Evolutionary Theory: Part 1

In a debate recently held at Stanford University between Phillip Johnson, professor of Law at UC Berkeley, and William Provine, professor of Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University (1), the three most prominent philosophical positions held regarding Darwinism were staked out. Toward the end of the discussion Dr. Provine decided to take a vote with the audience to see what the general opinion was as to each view. “On the count of three I want everybody who feels that the earth was created about 10,000 years ago and that the theory of evolution is a complete fraud to make noise. 1-2-3!” There came a generous amount of cheers from the crowd. He then repeated the scenario with respect to a God-guided version of Evolution, which was followed by a scanty number in the audience applauding. “Evolutionary Theists are few and far between,” Provine chuckled to himself. “Now, who believes that evolution is the most logical explanation for life and that God had little, if anything, to do with it?” As with the creationists, there arose a loud roar from the audience. And there I was, still awaiting other possibilities for which I could cheer. My personal beliefs, as those of many Latter Day Saints, do not conform unequivocally to any of these positions.

The 10,000-year theory has various versions, some, in my opinion, more plagued with unnecessary leaps of faith than others. One of the oldest, and currently least accepted is the idea that God created the earth and the universe exactly one week before Adam’s creation more or less 4,000 years before the advent of Christ. Many have humored themselves at the notion of God waking up early the fourth day, after getting a good rest from his third day endeavors, and giving a great stretch accompanied by a loud yawn. He gives a few cracks to his knuckles and then says “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky!” snaps his fingers and POOF! A cloud goes up and as the dust clears the sun, moon and all the stars are magically in place. He sees this it is good and continues resting until the next days work. A rather extreme and quite ridiculous theory indeed.

Another, more accepted description of the creation is the idea that since 1,000 years to man is but one day to the Lord (2) the creation of the earth, complete with a fossil record, was commenced more or less 7,000 years before the creation of Adam. This, however still leaves us with the same humorous story, because although the process was extended a few thousand years according to us, it too, seemingly leaves God with not much to do in that week of creation, aside from long naps occasionally interrupted by the quick snaps of the fingers. Why was all of that intermediate waiting necessary? What was happening during this time? While there are answers proposed for most of these questions and other versions of this theory, which will be discussed later, one grasps the basic underlying idea.

The possibility of a God-guided evolution has its strong and weak points as well. While it does explain how chance was able to overcome huge odds and produce a wide diversity of life forms, it seems to raise more questions than it answers. Is man a God-guided product of evolution from primates or rather set apart descendants of Adam, a being created expressly in the image of deity? If the former is true, why is he so special in God’s plan? If the latter holds valid, what was the point of the billions of years preparatory to Adam’s coming? If life can be explained away by evolutionary methods, just how involved is God in our lives?

Provine gave a fairly accurate description of the “unavoidable implications” of a naturalistic evolution in his presentation, which he summed up as follows:

1) No gods or purposive forces
2) No life after death
3) No ultimate foundation for ethics
4) No ultimate meaning in life
5) No free will

Not only does this outlook on life leave one feeling utterly empty, but it also discredits virtually all of the evidence and studies that have been performed that provide convincing evidence in favor of the existence of some type of divine being. Furthermore, it is also not very hard to see that the fact (assuming the theory to be true) of evolution among species does not directly lead to any one of Provine’s concluding points.

While the atheistic setting is not as humorous as the satires derived from a creatio ex-nihilo (creation from nothing) it does make for a fascinating paradox when the scientist, who has renounced anything concerning religion, dedicates many hours to writing books and giving lectures on “Science and Religion.” Hugh Nibley pointed out this popular train of logic followed by altogether too many scientists:

1) The secret of the Scientist's superiority and success is that he pays strict attention to the problem at hand; limiting himself to the laboratory situation, he rejects all else as extraneous and irrelevant.
2) This means that the problem at hand is everything that counts.
3) If that is so, nothing else counts—Science is all in all.
4) Therefore Science alone can give the answers to the ultimate problems of life.
5) But the ultimate problems of life are exactly what Science must renounce in order to be Science! (3)

While I am not at all opposed to science (I am in fact fascinated by it), I do not hold people who twist the facts in order to force their atheism upon others in high-esteem. This, however, is not anything new to the world. Nibley has noted in an essay, which I would recommend to any Latter Day Saint interested in the subject of evolution, that
Long before the time of Christ the ancient Sophists, supplanting religion by naturalism, came up with a scenario very close indeed to what we think of as evolution. And so we get at an early time … the sight of an apostate religion squaring off against an always-inadequate science. And the issue is never the merits of the evidence but always the jealous rivalry of the contestants to see which would be the official light unto the world. (4)

The Book of Mormon gives an example of an anti-Christ named Korihor preaching a doctrine similar to that of a naturalistic survival of the fittest:
“Ye cannot know of things which ye do not see (5)…these things which ye call prophecies…are foolish traditions of your fathers…it is the effect of a frenzied mind…every man fares in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospers according to his genius, and…every man conquers according to his strength; and whatsoever a man does is no crime…when a man is dead, that is the end thereof…I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God.” (6)

Evidence supports the supposition that Korihor himself might very well have been a scientist, or at minimum well acquainted with science, by the way that he was apparently able to carelessly explain away phenomena such as “the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form.” (7) He did not consider these prodigies to be evidence of God, but rather as natural occurrences. This dogmatic assertion of not believing in things one cannot see was, ironically, what eventually led the ancient Americans into false scientific convictions. (8)

Today we coexist with many people who, similarly to Korihor, are bent on badgering the uninformed into accepting, for moral reasons, the very principles that destroy moral standards. Perhaps the most ardent advocate of Atheistic Darwinism is Richard Dawkins who has written that
It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that). (9)

With acclaimed scholars unleashing ultimatums of this caliber it would be very comforting to most of the religious masses to hear an intellectual put forth some line of secular defense in their favor. Fortunately, such statements are not hard to find at all. No less an educated man than Sir Fred Hoyle, an avowed atheist and therefore uninfluenced by religious bias, has been very open in speaking out against orthodox Darwinian Evolution
Statements one frequently hears, to the effect that the Darwinian theory is as obvious as the Earth going around the Sun (another quote from Dawkins (10) are either expressions of almost incredible naiveté or they are deceptions. (11)

Clearly the argument is far from as settled as many would have us believe.

Worth mentioning is the fact that there are indeed fossils that have been found. They are not few in number, and these animals, whose remains are being unearthed, must have existed at one time or another. One theory that accounts for such discoveries is that since the earth was made from fragments of other earths (12), the animals must have existed on other earths and their remains were preserved. This theory rests on no less than two assumptions. First, it requires that some God, at one time or another was not able to resurrect some of His living creations and has, as a result, left remains from his failed kingdom. And second, when the fragments were reused in the creation of this earth, it was in a manner sufficiently gentle in order to preserve these fragile remains, and sophisticated enough to leave the remarkably ordered fossil record that we find today.

When dealing with the creation of the world one should exercise a fair amount of care not to jump to premature conclusions. Very little has been revealed with respect to the time, place, manner, and the characters involved in the creation of the earth. And if these obstacles were not enough, we cannot be totally sure how literal or allegorically we are meant to interpret the revelations that we currently possess. (13) This, unfortunately, has been the greatest downfall for Christians of all ages. Too many have declared that their own interpretation of what the prophets have reported God to say to them (the prophets), a second hand account at very best, to be the infallible and final word on the subject. For this very reason a number of astronomers were imprisoned and persecuted for teaching that the earth was not, in fact the center of the universe. (14) And again, for this reason many scientific intellects have criticized the Pope for having discouraged the study of what might have happened before the Big Bang. (15)
Whenever I start talking about this creation business, people fly apart like glass. They can't stand the fire. They will stick to their old traditions. I can't even bring it up. They want to string me up to the nearest tree if I start talking about that because their prejudices are so deep and so established. (16)

He believed that the world “was made by a natural process, and the almighty knew exactly how to do it.” (17) All things considered, our traditional interpretation of the first two chapters of Genesis is likely to be quite erroneous.

In order to help us understand matters such as the creation of the earth, the Lord revealed through Joseph Smith the following:
Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand; Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass. (18)

Related to this verse, the prophet also taught, “one of the grand fundamental principles of "Mormonism" is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” (19) Of all things researched, most Christians would agree that the study of things in and under the world have resulted most vexing to their faith.

Does the existence of dinosaurs (20) automatically imply the non-existence of a supreme being? By no means. Joseph has taught that there have existed (on this earth if the 130th section is to hold true (21) many animals of which the saints of his day had no concept.
John saw beings…of a thousand forms…strange beasts of which we have no conception… John learned that God glorified Himself by saving all that His hands had made, whether beasts, fowls, fishes or men… We are not told where they came from, and I do not know; but they were seen and heard by John. (22)

But, on the other hand, does the existence of dinosaurs automatically imply the existence of Darwinian Evolution? Again, not necessarily. As we shall see, the theory of evolution has many problems.

First of all, what is natural selection? It is a tautology and nothing else. This point alone has subjected Darwinists to quite a helping of criticism. It is basically saying that “If among the varieties of species there is one that survives better in the environment than the others, then the variety that survives best is the one that best survives.” (23) How much information does that sentence really convey to a reader? What else can be said as a fact in the field of evolution, aside from the obvious? Colin Patterson, a senior paleontologist at British Natural History Museum said in a lecture:
Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing… that is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all I got then was silence for a long time and eventually one person said, “I do know one thing- it ought not to be taught in high school”. (24)

Very little is known with a certainty about evolution, especially with regard to past life forms.

This creates a dilemma for our friends the scientists. Even if they were to unearth a stunningly complete record of fossils equipped with all the transitional forms they could ever hope to amass in their favor (which they have not), the hardheaded creationist could still claim that each form was a different creation from God, and the scientist could never really prove otherwise. Short of building a time machine to go back and watch it happen, there is virtually no way for the theory of common descant to be proven 100% true. Campbell, formerly of UCLA, has made this point clearly:
We know that we can never do more than present hypotheses on the basis of the presently available evidence. As time-bound creatures, no ultimate truth about the origin and evolution of mankind can ever be known to us. (25)

This truth should not be bothersome to anybody, for this is the very definition of a theory. Take, for example, Newton’s theory of gravity. It was accepted as true for centuries until Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity were conceived. Stephen Hawking acknowledged this line of reasoning as follows:
Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis. You can never prove it. No matter how many times the result of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory. (26)

Even if we saw new species popping up at the same rate at which species are going extinct (27) (which they are not), I imagine that some would still reject the idea of common descent out of faith that the counterevidence would still come.

And so it is, Darwinism can never be thoroughly proved (though staggering amount of evidence can be amounted in its favor) yet may be quickly refuted. With this in mind, one becomes deeply suspicious of those proclaiming the case to be closed when a Distinguished University Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Lynn Margulis, declares, “History will ultimately judge neo-Darwinism as “a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology.” (28) What is it that is causing many renowned scientists to reject the current theory of evolution? (29)

It is my intent to present a range of current arguments used against the Neo-Darwinian interpretation of earth’s past. Although in the future some might eventually come to naught, as noted, only one solid contradiction is needed to at minimum force revision of the current theory.

Life Is Unique

Perhaps the greatest challenge to the idea of utterly random mutations is the question as to how life began on earth in the first place. On one hand, in order for natural selection, or nature for that matter, to have existed, a self-replicating organism of some kind was needed. On the other hand, for something as complex as a self-replicating organism to have come about without inherited mutations would be nothing short of a miracle.
The old school said that rabbits had been created by God using methods too wonderful for us to comprehend. The new school said that rabbits had been created from sludge, by methods too complex for us to calculate and by methods likely enough involving improbable happenings. Improbable happenings replaced miracles and sludge replaced God, with believers both old and new seeking to cover up their ignorance in clouds of words, but different words. (30)
Either scenario seems to me like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

In 1953 Stanley Miller, a graduate student at the University of Chicago, conducted an experiment where he took the materials thought at the time would have been present in the primeval earths atmosphere and subjected his apparatus to a simulated lightning storm for a few days. Soon a reddish slime developed on the edge of the flask and, upon analysis, was revealed to contain amino acids, the building blocks of life. Many scientists had a heyday publishing the obvious implication: life was nothing but a haphazard accident in chemical reactions.

Not all informed researchers, however, were so thrilled.
Miller and Urey’s experiment only works as long as oxygen is absent and certain critical ratios of hydrogen and carbon dioxide are maintained… Scientists are now learning that the atmosphere of the early earth probably was not of the strongly reducing nature required by the Miller-Urey apparatus. Oxygen was likely present in the early earth atmosphere. (31)

To assume that there was no oxygen in the earths atmosphere is indeed a bold claim since "solar effects on the earths water may provide our primary supply of oxygen, and not photosynthesis (the synthesis of oxygen from carbon dioxide by plants) as is generally believed." (32) But why would they assume that oxygen was not present on the earth? The answer, obviously, was that that was the only way it could happen. (33)
In the presence of oxygen any organic compounds formed on the early Earth would be rapidly oxidized and degraded. For this reason many authorities have advocated an oxygen-free atmosphere for hundreds of millions of years following the formation of the Earth’s crust. (34)

The proposal of an absence of oxygen, while avoiding a few problems, only creates others. Without oxygen in the atmosphere there would exist no ozone layer. Any sort of organism miraculously assembled in the prebiotic soup would be subjected to a lethal dose of ultraviolet radiation in approximately .3 seconds. (35) Alternative methods of producing life have been purposed, but
the big problem is that each nucleotide “building block” is itself built up from several components, and the processes that form the components are chemically incompatible. (36)

In short, the production of amino acids is remotely improbable.

But there is yet another problem. Amino acids are not life! They must combine in a highly complex pattern in order to form a single protein. Well, how probable is that?
Joining many amino acids together to form a protein with a useful biological activity is a much more difficult chemical problem than forming amino acids in the first place… Because water is so abundant on the earth, and because amino acids dissolve readily in water, origin of life researchers have been forced to propose unusual scenarios to get around the water problem.(37)

To firmly believe that such was the beginning of life requires more faith than Job ever could muster. (38) When one denounces others for exercising faith in unseen things while maintaining such improbabilities in their own heart one begins to question that person’s motives. (39)

Particularly unhappy with the situation have been the mathematicians. They have compared the odds of any form of life emerging from the chaotic blob of stuff to the possibility of an army of monkeys strumming away on their typewriters over an indefinite length of time and actually producing one of Shakespeare’s sonnets.
No matter how large the environment one considers, life cannot have had a random beginning… There are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in (1020)2000=1040,000 (40) an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup. If one is not prejudiced either by social belief or by a scientific training into the conviction that life originated on the earth, this simple calculation wipes the idea entirely out of court. (41)

In other words, if the whole universe were made of monkeys, and if they had billions of years to accomplish the feat, those monkeys could still never produce anything comparable to the complex and intricate organization of life. In case the odds of life some how forming out of indiscriminate coincidences in the four billion years that the earth has been calculated to exist (or the 15 billion years of the universe) (42) were not in itself a stretch of common credulity, consider the powerful evidence which suggests that life appeared only one to three hundred million years after water (which is necessary for life to exist) formed on the earths surface. Where time was once considered to be “the hero of the plot” (43), it has now become the villain. Such a setting has forced many to speculate about the possibility of transplantation of life from other planets. (44) But, as Elder Talmage has pointed out,
To explain the origin of a rose-bush in our own garden by saying that it was transplanted as an offshoot from a rose-tree growing elsewhere, is no answer to the question concerning the origin of roses. (45)

But surely there must be some evidence in support of a primordial soup. Even if it’s existence does not concur with theoretical logic, perhaps there is a clue to be found in the fossil record, else why the insistence upon it’s existence?
If there ever was a primitive soup, then we would expect to find at least somewhere in this planet either massive sediments containing enormous amounts of the various nitrogenous organic compound, amino acids, purines, pyrimidines, and the like, alternatively in much meta-morphosed sediments we should find vast amounts of nitrogenous cokes (graphite-like nitrogen-containing materials). In fact, no such materials have been found anywhere in earth. (46)

Why then, in direct violation of Ockham’s Razor (47), do scientists persist in declaring that there must have been some organic mess lingering around? The answer is simple. Naturalistic philosophy and uniformitarianism are assumed and, some might argue, required in all science. Such logic, however useful for producing theories and relative predictions, is insufficient for conclusive proof in matters with such weighty ethical consequences.

Unlikely Evolution Of Irreducibly Complex Systems

In Darwin’s writing of “The Origin of Species” he provided a number of hypotheses as to how certain traits, organs, and characteristics of a variety of species could have evolved. So important was this point to his theory that he admitted,
If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. (48)

This bold statement requires an immense amount of supportive research, which he readily attempted to supply. He did remarkably well at explaining away many derivations of organs, considering his 19th century knowledge.

We, however, do not live in the 19th century. Since the time of Darwin many scientific advances have been made in various fields, particularly that of molecular biology (which was nonexistent at his time).
Molecular Biology has shown that even the simplest of all living systems on earth today, bacterial cells, are exceedingly complex objects. Although the tiniest bacterial cells are incredibly small, weighing less than 10^-12 grams, 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 non-living world… The recently revealed world of molecular machinery, of coding systems, of informational molecules, of catalytic devices and feed back control, is in its design and complexity quite unique to living systems. (49)

With the discovery of proteins, their building blocks amino acids, and their building blocks nucleotides, much skepticism has been centered on whether Darwin’s criterion for failure has been met.

Michael Behe in his award winning book “Darwin’s Black Box” has addressed this very problem by mentioning a number of irreducibly complex systems that, he feels, could not have been produced by a non-directed evolutionary process.
A single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning, cannot be produced directly by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. (50)

Nearly identical to the concept of spontaneous generation of life, this is the notion of a spontaneous generation of functional organs.

There are many illustrations of this principle in the biological world around us. Take for example the bat with its echolocation. To have it, many things must evolve in a simultaneous manner. Bats need a specialized apparatus to make sounds, specialized ears to hear echoes, specialized brains to interpret the sounds, and specialized bodies to dive and swoop and catch insects. If all these things don’t evolve simultaneously, there is no advantage (51). If there were no advantage then why would natural selection not discard the unnecessary baggage?

In the microscopic world, probably the most classic example of a complex organ presenting a challenge to the evolutionary theory is that of the eye. Darwin addressed this organ in “The Origin of Species”, showing that our highly intricate sense of sight, complete with color vision, could have evolved from less complicated versions of the same thing. He gave examples of many animals that have colorless vision, to a not-solid lens vision, ultimately to a light sensitive spot, which some animals have. That was very convincing logic for a world that knew nothing of what made an eye. But,
The arguments… fail because they never discuss what is contained in the systems over which they are arguing. Not only is the eye exceedingly complex, but the “light-sensitive spot”… is itself a multi-celled organ, each of whose cells makes the complexity of a motorcycle or television set look paltry in comparison. (52)

The question of how the light-sensitive spot came to be is rarely mentioned for lack of explanation.

The molecule of DNA, the most famous of the nucleic acids, is made up of four kinds of nucleotides: A, C, G, and T. When the “A” nucleotide is not connected to a polymer, in can take on several forms: ADP, ATP, and the first form synthesized in the cell and an essential ingredient in metabolism, AMP. The metabolic system, and AMP in specific, is very far from simple, and a suitable idea for their evolutionary pathway that might have been taken in their formation has not been conceived. Nearly all of the current theoretical explanations involve the scientist drawing
A figure, in which arrows point from the words abiotic syntheses to the letters A, B, C, and D. But, breaking new ground, he has arrows pointing from A, B, C, and D to M, N, S, T, and W, and from there to P, O, Q, R, and U. Besides each of the arrows he has written Cat (as an abbreviation for “catalyst”) to show how the letters originated, but that is no explanation: the only “evidence” for the scheme is the figure! Nowhere does he or any other researcher attach names of real chemicals to the mythical letters…No one has a clue how the AMP pathway developed. (53)

Another example of an elaborate system found within organisms that presents a problem to the unsystematic development of life is the immune system. Various characteristics had to be acquired in this system in a synchronized and timely fashion so as to save many species from certain doom before the first disease (or in other words, a need for it) had evolved. Recognition of foreign and potentially hazardous bacterium, destruction of the danger while tolerating the harmless and helpful, reproduction, and diversity (54), to name only a few, must all be synthesized in order for the system to be of use. “Whichever way we turn, a gradualistic account of the immune system is blocked by multiple interwoven requirements… The complexity of the system dooms all Darwinian explanations to frustration.” (55)

Another bodily system that presents a formidable challenge to Darwin’s ultimatum is the coagulatory system. Russell Doolittle from the Center for Molecular Genetics at the University of California, San Diego, has said,
Blood clotting is a delicately balanced phenomenon involving proteases, antiproteases, and protease substrates… How in the world did this complex and delicately balanced process evolve? … The paradox was, if each protein depended on activation by another, how could the system ever have arisen? Of what use would any part of the scheme be without the whole ensemble? (56)

Even such a simple routine as blood clotting requires many proteins and enzymes in order to form clots, limit the clotting before dangerous lumps form in the blood stream, strengthen them and remove them. Where as in other systems, difficulties or lack of one of its components will only yield the scheme unprofitable, in the case of the coagulation cascade such obstacles result in serious health problems or death from a stroke or blood loss. (57)

Other examples could be given, such as the cilium (the waiving tail found on many cells which help sperm swim and push mucus up to the throat), which requires microtubules to slide, connectors to convert sliding to bending, and motors to move it. Or take into account the vesicular transport system, which entails six interacting components (58). There are many, but where “Richard Dawkins can simplify to his heart’s content, because he wants to convince his readers that Darwinian evolution is “a breeze”, in order to understand the barriers of evolution” (59) one has to elaborate more than space here is available.

Complex Animals Appeared Suddenly

In an outright onslaught of attacks to creationism, one of the scientists did manage to acknowledge this imperfection in the conventional theory of evolution.
Darwin predicted that the fossil record should show a reasonably smooth continuum of ancestor-descendent pairs with a satisfactory number of intermediates between major groups. Darwin even went so far as to say that if these were not found in the fossil record, his general theory of evolution would be in serious jeopardy. Such smooth transitions were not found in Darwin’s time, and re-explained this in part on the basis of an incomplete geologic record and in part on the lack of study of the record. We are now more than a hundred years after Darwin and the situation is little changed… We actually may have fewer examples of smooth transitions than we had in Darwin’s time, because some of the old examples have turned out to be invalid when studied in more detail. (60)

This is basically the argument that animals changed too fast, which, though it seems to be, is not a contradiction of the following point, that animals changed too slow. The two arguments are two forms of evidence against the uniform, gradual, series of mutations predicted by evolutionists.

Perhaps the most often used evidence from the fossil record by anti-Darwinists is the Cambrian explosion. Until relatively recent times the evolutionists have assumed (and logically so by their own theory) mutations and natural selection to be slow and gradual processes. But “The most thorough study yet of species formation in the fossil record confirms that new species appear with a most un-Darwinian abruptness after long periods of stability.” (61) Where the previous conception of the earths past was more or less that of an evolutionary tree, steadily branching a little by little, scientists are now confronted with more of an evolutionary bush, a burst of diversity followed by very slight changes. At the beginning of the Cambrian era, a mere 530 million years ago, the record gives strong evidence to this eruption of life.
The fossil evidence that challenges this classic concept of evolution has been found worldwide: in western Canada, near Chengjiang in southern China, in Africa, Greenland, and Sweden. The Cambrian explosion of life encompassed the globe. Jointed legs, food-gathering appendages, intestinal structures, notochord, gills, and eyes with optically perfect lenses- all these “evolved” simultaneously. Sponges, rotifers, annelids, arthropods, primitive fish, and all the other body plans represented in the thirty-four animal phyla extant today appear as a single burst in the fossil record. And it happened 530 million years ago. Those are the data. No one disputes them. (62)

There are no intermediates. There are no “missing links” coming forth. It is not even a question of the missing link, because nearly all of them are missing. Alan Cheetham, after his excursion to amend this lack of evidence “came reluctantly to the conclusion that (he) wasn’t finding evidence for gradualism.” (63) He was not just speaking of the Cambrian era, but everywhere. There are very few intermediates being found anywhere at all.
In such an absence of supporting proof many have turned to inventing common ancestors between different species and presenting them as fact (64). If I were to accurately draw the fossil record as the data suggests, I would not draw a tree, or a bush, but rather a number of reeds sticking out of the ground. This just goes to show, as Geerat Vermei of University of California Davis has admitted, “Those who have looked hard, and that’s not a large number, have tended to find punctuation.” (65)

Change In The Past Has Been Limited

With such giant jumps found between species in the fossil record it is not unreasonable to suppose that there exist many instances of small skips from one life form to the other that could be considered a mutated form of a former species. And yet, as reasonable as that assumption may be, if evolution has in fact occurred to all of the estimated 50 billion species that have existed on this planet, it has proven to be false. The famous biologist, Lynn Margulis,
At one of her many public talks asks the molecular biologists in the audience to name a single, unambiguous example of the formation of a new species by the accumulation of mutations. Her challenge goes unmet. (66)

While some life forms, which Darwinists are always quick to label “intermediate forms”, have been uncovered, there is absolutely no reason why these could not be a unique species in and of themselves. Just because the do not fit into the traditional “Kings Play Cards On Fat Green Stools” (67) labeling system that we have created is no definite reason to suspect mutation. Even in the case of these examples, which scientists love to through in any unsuspecting creationists face, all but one of the links in the connecting chain between species is missing.
This goes directly against what has been taught to every high school student for the past few generations. Where most biologists are afraid to mention such difficulties, with their theory (mostly out of fear of giving the creationist ammunition) (68), it is comforting to know that some die-hard evolutionists are willing to fess up.
A large number of well-trained scientists outside of evolutionary biology and paleontology have unfortunately gotten the idea that the fossil record is far more Darwinian than it is. This probably comes from the over simplification inevitable in secondary sources: low-level textbooks, semi-popular articles, and so on. Also, there is probably some wishful thinking involved. In the years after Darwin, his advocates hoped to find predictable progressions. In general, these have not been found -Yet the optimism has died hard, and some pure fantasy has crept into the textbook. (69)

In summary, the fossil record is replete with various explosions of life forms, which seemingly come out of nowhere. No intermediate species have been found, and therefore no satisfactory explanation has been provided for such bursts. Also noted in the remnants, is the fact that between these break outs of new species, there are few examples of change either. The animals were always either mutating too fast to be considered indiscriminate mutations in a game of survival of the fittest, or they were mutating too slowly too account for any major change between species.
No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seems to happen. Assiduous collection up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change- over millions of years, at a rate too slow to account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the fossils did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on somewhere else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution. (70)

Change In The Present Is Limited

On our planet there are currently 50 million species of plants and animals. This represents one part in a thousand of the species estimated to have lived here. Thus 99.9 percent of all the species that have ever lived on earth have become extinct, an average of about 1 species every three or four days. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to see that, assuming the theory of evolution to be true, new species could be expected to be popping up at about the same rate to maintain a relatively stable equilibrium. Over the past six thousand years of recorded history surely man must have observed at least one new species come into existence. And yet,
In spite of the intense pressure generated by artificial selection (eliminating any parent not answering the criteria of choice) over whole millennia, no new species are born… This is not a matter of opinion or subjective classification, but a measurable reality. (71)

Artificial selection was Darwin’s favorite source of evidence in support of his theory. From pigeons to dogs, his Origin of Species is filled with examples of mutations induced upon domesticated animals. He pointed out, and rightly so, that the animals always adapted to certain situations in a rather effective way. This is microevolution, the small mutations found in the same species under different environments. In all fairness, it should be stated that microevolution is, without a doubt, true to a great extent. To ignore the fact that a fish will grow in proportion to the size of its container would be comparable to an ostrich thinking an enemy disappears because he sticks his head in the sand.

Domesticated animals, dogs for instance, have been subjected to severe conditions in hopes of producing the extremes, a Chihuahua or a Saint Bernard. While a great variety has been developed certain plateaus (72) of change have been met. And even so, after such variations have been accomplished, the end product is still a dog.
From all this it is quite clear that dogs selected and kept by man in a domesticated state remain within the boundaries of species. Tame animals that have reverted to the wild state lose the characteristics produced by mutations and fairly quickly resume the original wild type… This demonstrates, as we knew before, that artificial and natural selection do not work in the same way. (73)

In other words, at least halt of Darwin’s book is irrelevant. Not only are there no solid examples of evolution in the past, there are none in the present.

Chance Cannot Account For The Highly Complex Ecosystem

Recently, much research has been performed at the Santa Fe Institute regarding a complexity theory. One of the main problems they have attempted to tackle, and unsuccessfully at that (74), is how such an extremely complicated system as the world’s ecosystem could have evolved by chance. While many have accused their “science” of being more mathematical that biological, the question they raise is significant. One author, who supports the theory said,
Think of the interaction of life forms on the planet to make an ecosystem. That’s even more complex than a single animal. All the arrangements are very complicated. Like the yucca plant… The yucca plant depends on a particular moth, which gathers pollen into a ball, and carries the ball to a different plant- not a different flower on the same plant- where it rubs the ball on the plant, fertilizing it. Only then does the moth lay its eggs. The yucca plant can’t survive without the moth. The moth can’t survive without the plant. (75)

Or consider the similar interactions between flowers and bees. The whole “circle of life” is a huge community of interrelated elements (76). How could such intimate interactions, and there are many, have come to be? “A balance of species in a community cannot be produced and maintained by competition alone.” (77)

Some have wondered how many advantages, which natural selection is claimed to have “forced” (does that sound like a mindless haphazard word to you?) upon species, could have arisen at all. To have any real effect or give any real advantage the mutations would have to be freakishly large by our standards. Think of that, how many freakish mutations have really helped a person to survive? Though, there may be some, the odds are quite low as to whether a mutation would help at all.
"Rare favorable mutations…cannot free themselves from the more frequent unfavorable ones, because an offspring to whom a rare favorable mutation occurs is inevitably saddled with all the unfavorable mutations which have afflicted its parental line." (78)
"When genes are tied to each other, as they are when reproduction from generation to generation follows an asexual binary fission model or a budding model, there can be no positive evolution. Rare advantageous mutations are swamped by more frequent deleterious mutations. The best that natural selection can do subject to a specified environment is to hold the deleterious mutations in check." (79)

With such relations full of twists and turns one can reasonable argue, as did perhaps the most intelligent scientist ever that, “To compare and adjust all these things together in so great a variety of bodies argues the Cause to be not blind and fortuitous, but very well skilled” (80) in the sciences.

Naturalistic Interpretations Of Genetic Molecules Cannot Account For The Information Contained Therein

With the discovery of the double-helix-shape of the DNA molecule by Francis Crick and his associates, many scientists became quite excited. At last, solid information of how evolution works and the history thereof could be studied. Their excitement was not, however, justified. It soon became apparent that not all the DNA molecule was used, and the majority of it was evidently neutral.
The result of the last 20 years of research on the genetic basis of adaptation has led us to a great Darwinian paradox. Those (genes) that are obviously variable within natural populations do not seem to lie at the basis of many major adaptive changes, while those (genes) that seemingly do constitute the foundation of many, if not most, major adaptive changes apparently are not variable within natural populations. (Emphasis not added) (81)

Biochemistry has revealed that although they can now study genetic codes directly, they tell little about how that species evolved. Perhaps the most mysterious riddle is (as we have already discussed briefly) how the very structure of the helix and the information within was formed.
The sequence of bases that spell out a message in the DNA molecule is chemically arbitrary. There is nothing intrinsic in the chemistry of any base sequences that makes it carry a particular meaning. In fact, there are many base sequences possible besides the ones actually used in the cell-all of them equally probable in terms of chemical forces. By merely examining the physical structure, you could not detect any difference between these useless base sequences and those necessary for life. There is nothing in their physical make up that distinguishes the two sets of molecules. Out of a vast number of possible base sequences, somehow only a few carry meaning. (82)

Those who have studied the molecular structure of DNA have not had the foggiest idea where the shape came from, nor why it is produced. Equally vague is why that particular structure should contain such a vast quantity of information and, some might argue, intelligence. As one author has described the intelligence of the microbiological system,
A single fertilized egg has a hundred thousand genes, which act in a coordinated way, switching on and off at specific times, to transform that single cell into a complete living creature. That one cell starts to divide, but the subsequent cells are different. They specialize. Some are nerve. Some are gut. Some are limb. Each set of cells begins to follow its own program, developing, interacting. Eventually there are two hundred and fifty different kinds of cells, all developing together, at exactly the right time. Just when the organism needs a circulatory system, the heart starts pumping. Just when hormones are needed, the adrenals start to make them. Week after week, this unimaginably complex development proceeds perfectly- perfectly. (Probably M. Crichton)

Science has shown that life is made up of the same stuff as “the dust of the ground” (83) but it has had a relatively difficult time defining the difference between living and inanimate matter. They have not been able to figure out how something that is metabolic, self-reproducing and eventually capable of rational thought (a process still not fully understood) could come into being time and time again from merely chemical reactions that arose spontaneously. Where does the information for this unparalleled process come from? How can inert matter contain such information? There appears to be no explanation.

I sincerely hope that in my showing the errors and holes found in the theory of evolution I have not portrayed the scientists as evil villains who spread nothing but rubbish and devious doctrine. Such has not been my intent. I very much approve of scientists and hope myself to become one in the future. It is my belief that God himself is nothing short of a scientist. It is, however, important to remember that the current theories in science are just that, theories.
The scientist readily admits that he was wrong yesterday, but dogmatically insists that he is right today. We can believe him when he says he was wrong, but can we believe him when he says he is right today? He said that yesterday, too. (84)

I feel that the current evolutionary theory is a remarkably intelligent theory and has been reached a great deal of correct conclusions. It has been shown that life forms on this planet have become gradually more and more complex through out time. It has shown that species are very interrelated and have a remarkable ability to adapt to their environment. It might have even shown how life has developed its huge range of diversity. But, it must be admitted that other sciences have provided quite convincing evidence against a blind, naturalistic, and utterly haphazard version of this theory. I do not disapprove of the theory of evolution being taught in school, for it is the most descriptive and apparently accurate model that science has to offer. The evidence against the theory is, nonetheless, just as scientific as the evidence in favor of it, and should be presented as well. The ad hominem argument (85) of labeling all dissention as superfanatical, religious ranting will never help anybody learn the absolute truth.

I do approve of the naturalistic interpretation of scientific evidence, but there are limits, which should not be crossed in such analyses. When one assumes that what has been observed is all there is to work with, this is logical and much truth can be discovered by this method. When such a method is used to develop a theory, I do not believe that the theory should be used to prove that there is no more than what is observed. That is a circular argument from which there is neither escape nor progress. On the flip side, “God did it and that is that,” offers little forward advancement as an explanation.

So, the question that should be on every person’s mind is how did it happen. Were there a snap of the fingers and a poof of smoke on each of the seven creative days? That is just the question.


1 Darwinism: Science or Naturalistic Philosophy? On VHS video cassette by Phillip Johnson
2 (Abr. 3:2-4; Facsimile 2 Fig. 1, 4; 2 Peter 3:8; Psalms 90:4)
3 Hugh Nibley, Of All Things! Classic Quotations from Hugh Nibley, page 244
4 Hugh Nibley, Old Testament and Related Studies, pages 49 – 50
5 It is interesting to note that though many claim that it is foolishness to believe in things that one cannot see, that is exactly what scientists are beginning to claim in regards to astronomy. In the January 2002 edition of Discovery the author points out that astronomers are sure that there is matter that cannot be seen, and this in order to account for gravity holding galaxies together with so little visible matter.
6 Alma 30:14-18, 48
7 Alma 30: 40-44
8 Many sources, both canonical and non-scriptural, indicate that the ancient Americans and Easterners at one time knew that “surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun” (Helaman 12:13-15), a belief which eventually was abolished and ultimately loathed by the church and state. We see in an ancient account of Mark 16:3 reads “In the third hour of the day there came darkness throughout all the globe of the earth.” Clement of Alexandria, a second century Christian, wrote, “the ocean is impassable to men; and there are worlds which are on the other side of it, which are governed by these same arrangements of the ruling God.” In Mesoamerica, the entire Mayan city of Teotiuacan is, to a remarkable degree of accuracy, a scale model of the solar system. See “Mysteries of the Mexican Pyramids pg. 215, 221, and 266-9.
9 Richard Dawkins has written many books, The Blind Watchmaker and Climbing Mount Improbable for example, with the sole purpose in mind of destroying creationism.
10 Dawkins 1989 New York Times, April 9, 1989 sec. 7 p. 34
11 Fred Hoyle in “The Mathematics of Evolution” page 30
12 Joseph Smith, Jan. 5, 1841, Words of Joseph Smith pg. 60 “This earth was organized or formed out of other planets which were broken up and remodeled and made into the one on which we live.” Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses 1:275 “When the elements in an organized form do not fill the end of their creation, they are thrown back… to be made over again.” Hugh Nibley taught, “How fascinating to realize that the surface of our planet must be strewn with matter from other solar systems." Well, the more recent report here is that our earth is almost totally made up of matter brought to it by comets. That's Parley P. Pratt's old theory. Remember, he used to defend that…. "So the cosmic debris streams out from galaxies and begins to form a bridge between them [we actually have a photograph of that going on]. This matter [that is brought by comets] tears down and builds up all objects, providing new raw materials for new creation. This metabolism resembles the metabolic process of organic life, a new combination, a new creation." Oh, what a shocking thing to say! How unchristian. Haven't I heard the expression, "We have a new world, like unto the other worlds that were created." Hugh Nibley, Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price, page 5
13 Elder Bruce R. Mc Conkie has written, “We do not know how the fall was accomplished anymore than we know how the Lord caused the earth to come into being and to spin through the heavens in its paradisiacal state.” A New Witness for the Articles of Faith pg. 85-86.
14 Copernicus was sentenced to a kind of house arrest for his “preposterous” theory, which many felt went in outright opposition to the written Word, that the earth was not at the center of the universe. Carl Sagan spoke very cynically of examples such as these in his book Pale Blue Dot. He thought that such instances in history some how prove that there was no God (A conclusion which I emphatically disagree with) and that we humans should get off of our high horse, humble ourselves, and study things out (conclusions which I whole-heartedly endorse).
15 Stephen Hawking in “A Brief History of Time”
16 As quoted in Hugh Nibley, Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price, page 2
17 As quoted by Franklin Richards in Timeless Questions, Gospel Insights lecture 1 by Truman G. Madsen.
18 Doctrine and Covenants 88:77-80
19 Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 313.
20 One wonders if Abraham knew of dinosaurs judging by figure 16 in Facsimile number 2.
21 Doctrine and Covenants 130:5
22 Joseph Smith commenting on the Book of Revelation, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page. 291
23 Fred Hoyle in “the Mathematics of Evolution” pg. 2
24 As quoted in “Darwin on Trial” page 10 by Phillip Johnson from UC Berkeley
25 Campbell, Bernard Conceptual Progress in Physical Anthropology: Fossil Man,” Annual Review of Anthropology 6:27
26 Hawking in “A Brief History of Time”
27 Estimates have it that over the history of the earth an average of one species has gone extinct every day. This in itself is strong evidence against evolution since science has yet to record the creation of a separate, and distinct species. If evolution is so slow, why are there so many species in existence now?
28 Lynn Margulis as quoted by Mann, C. in 1991, Science 252, 378-381
29 It should be noted that while many scholars are rejecting Neo-Darwinism, this does not imply that they are necessarily leaning toward creationism. Many, in fact, still believe in the mutation of species, but realize that random mutations and natural selection alone are not enough to give us the current biological situation observed today. Other theories to account for this are Complexity Theory (which is studied very thoroughly at the Santa Fe Institute), Symbiosis, Gaia and others.
30 Hoyle in “The Mathematics of Evolution”
31 A Case Against Evolution pg. 41 by Overman
32 G.R. Carruthers and Thornton Page Science 177:788 Carruthers afterwards calculated that approximately 1% of the primitive earths atmosphere was oxygen. In “The Mystery of Life’s Origin: Reassessing Current Theories pg. 79-80 the estimate is that the earths atmosphere was about 25% of the amount observed today.
33 This line of reasoning is made painfully clear by the circular argument: “The very fact that life sprang up on earth constitutes conclusive proof of a primary reducing environment since the latter is a necessary prerequisite for chemical evolution and spontaneous origin of life.” Manfred Schidlowsky quoted by Shapiro pg. 112
34 Denton pg. 261
35 C. Sagan in “Ultraviolet Selection Pressure on the Earliest Organisms” in the Journal of Theoretical Biology 39:197
36 Behe 171
37 Michael Behe in Darwin’s Black Box pg. 169-70
38 “In so far as chance plays a central role the probability that even a very short protein, not withstanding a genome, could emerge from a primordial soup, if it ever existed, even with the help of a deus ex machina, for 10^9 years is so small that the faith of Job is required to believe it.” The Journal of T. Reil by H. Yockey pg. 91,14
39 Believing in the improbable is not frowned on in my train of thought but rather the intolerance of others to do so. Reporting beyond the facts with the intent of discrediting a Creator is, lamentably, an all too common occurrence. “I now admit… That in the earlier editions of my Origin of Species I probably attributed too much to the action of natural selection or survival of the fittest… I had two distinct objects in view, firstly, to show that species had not been separately created… If I have erred in giving to natural selection great power… I have at least, as I hope, done good service in aiding to overthrow the dogma of separate creations.” The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin
40 To understand how remotely minute this chance is, consider the fact that you have a 1 in 1060 chance of shooting at random a 1 inch target from 20,000,000,000 light years away! There are only an estimated 1080 atoms in the known universe!
41 Hoyle and Wickramasingle in “Evolution From Space” pg. 148, 24, 150, 30, 31
42 “Can we really form a biological cell by waiting for chance combinations of organic compounds? Harold Morowitz, in his book “Energy Flow and Biology,” computed that merely to create a bacterium would require more time than the Universe might ever see if chance combinations of its molecules were the only driving force.” Scientific American special publication 1979
43 G. Wald wrote in his article “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, August 1954 the following: “However improbable we regard this event, or any of the steps which it involves, given enough time it will almost certainly happen at least once. And for life as we know it… once may be enough. Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time the “impossible” becomes the possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles.” In a 1979 Scientific American special publication C. Folsome said regarding this statement, “Although stimulating, this article probably represents one of the very few times in his professional life when Wald has been wrong. Examine his main thesis and see.”
44 Francis Crick, Nobel Laureate, wrote, “Given the weakness of all theories of terrestrial genesis, directed panspermia should still be considered a serious possibility” Scientific American February 1992.
45 Talmage in “Articles of Faith” page 31
46 J. Brooks and G. Shaw in “Origin and Development of Living Systems” pg. 73 or consider this statement “Rocks of great antiquity have been examined over the past two decades and in none of them has any trace of abiotically produced organic compounds been found.”
Denton (1985) pg. 261
47 “When a proposition comes out true for things, if two things suffice for its truth, it is superfluous to assume a third.” Interestingly enough, Carl Sagan quotes it differently in his novel “Contact” as an argument against God: “All things considered, the simplest explanation tends to be the most correct… Which is more likely? There is a magical god who created us in his own image but decided to leave us without a shred of proof, or that we made him up in our minds to comfort us.” It seems to me that though the second description sounds simpler, the first scenario is less complicated.
48 Charles Darwin in Origin of Species page 154
49 Michael Denton in Evolution: A Theory in Crisis pg. 250,71
50 Behe page 39
51 Michael Crichton in the Lost World pg. 207-9 though this is a science fiction novel, the ideas presented there in are an excellent non-fictional sources of counterarguments against Darwinism. The book contains a number of illustrations of an irreducibly complex system.
52 Behe pg. 46
53 Ibid 152,9
54 If the FBI only had two fingerprints on file, how much help would that provide?
55 Ibid 139
56 Doolittle in the journal “Thrombosis and Haemostasis” 70, 24-28
57 Behe pg. 88-89
58 Ibid 110
59 Ibid 48
60 Raup in Scientist Confront Creationism by Godfrey pg. 156
61 Science 267:1421-22
62 G. Schroeder in The Science of God pg. 88-9
63 Alan Cheetham of American Museum of nation History
64 Take for example the “Hard Facts Wall” as it has become known in San Francisco where, not only are there invented fossil records presented, but the time line has been skewed as well so as to beguile any non-suspecting spectator. See “Darwinism: Science or Naturalistic Philosophy”.
65 Geerat Vermeij of UC Davis Science 262:1421-2
66 Darwin’s Black Box pg. 26
67 Kind, Phyla, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species
68 Behe 30
69 David Raup in Science 213 pg. 289
70 Eldredge, N. in Reinventing Darwin, pg. 95
71 French Zoologist Pierre Grasse
72 Many anti-Darwinists would call them limits, while the Darwinists will throw up their hands and scream, “Who says that’s the limit? Who says that we have gone as far as we can?” Whether or not we have reached the absolute limit, it is apparent that there are no dogs the bulk of elephants, nor the size of a baby rat.
73 Pierre Grasse in Evolution of Living Organisms pg. 124
74 Stuart Kauffman, the main pioneer in the project, has been accussed by his old mentor, Maynard Smith, of practicing “fact-free science”. “Life at the Edge of Chaos?” New York Review, March 2, 1995 pg.28-30
75 Michael Crichton in the Lost World pg. 309-11
76 Worth noting here is the coincidence that a representation of this perfect system is found in the second Facsimile of the Book of Abraham, Figure 6, which depicts a leaf, a herbivore, and a carnivore. See Hugh Nibley in “Facsimile 2 Figure 6”.
77 D. Boberg in Evolution and Reason- Beyond Darwin pg.88
78 Pg 10
79 Hoyle in the Mathematics of Evolution pg. 135-6
80 Issac Newton, in a letter to Dr. Bentley 1692
81 Mac Donald, J. “The Molecular Basis of Adaptation,” Annual Review of Ecology and Systematic 14,93
82 M. Greene “Knowing and Being” pg. 241
83 Genesis 2:7
84 Hugh Nibley, Of All Things! Classic Quotations from Hugh Nibley, 244
85 An ad hominem argument is one that attacks the person presenting an idea rather than the idea itself. Accepting a scientists argument while rejecting the very same point given by a layman is illogical and inconsistent. It is appealing to prejudice rather than reason in an argument.



Mormons, Evolution & a Young Earth

I have now almost finished what is perhaps the best book on reconciling evolution with God that I have ever read. Kenneth Miller's "Finding Darwin's God: a Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution" really lays out the issues involved in such a clear way that one really comes to appreciate both many of the pit falls of both creationism and the more evangelical naturalists such as Dawkins. While I have yet to reach the final chapters where he finally reveals his attempt at reconciliation, I have already covered his chapters regarding the two camps.

Instead of lumping creationism altogether in one camp (after all, by the strictest of definitions he would be a creationist as well) he separates them by according to how much science each version rejects. Those who, like Behe, accept common descent but think that God played a significant role in the matter, such as overcoming 'irreducible complexity' he calls their God, "God the Mechanic." The God of those who allow for an ancient earth, but reject common descent he calls "God the Magician." And the God of those who believe that the earth is more or less 10,000 years old, he calls "God the Charlatan." It is this last God which I would like to address in this post.

This is the God of those who claim that the earth isn't really that old and that the dating of all those fossils and the like simply aren't any where near right. This is principally due to the fact that before the fall of Adam the laws of the universe were quite different. This is what our friend Gary has been suggesting. Before we get to a Mormon critique of this version, let's first review what Miller has to say on the subject about Christians in general who believe this.

First of all, he states that such people are not really intested in science or what they have to say at all. It's not that they think that the finding are merely off, but that they really don't want science done at all. (Of course this accusation doesn't apply across the board.) This can be seen in that if their beliefs that all the animals we see in the fossil record really lived at the same time, then we should be able to see quite a few things which would completely destroy evolution. For instance, if we found within the petrified feces of Tyrannosaraus Rex (and we do have quite a few specimens of it) bones or seeds from animals of plants which were supposed to have lived well after them, this would spell disaster for the evolutionists. Not only has this not played out, but the Young Earth Creationists don't even try to investigate such things. They don't want evidence of any kind. Of course this make one wonder why. (Where is their faith?)

He talks a bit about radiometric dating and clearly shows why we believe the earth to be 4.5 billion years old. He puts the dating of the earth in its original context. Darwin stated that the earth had to be MUCH older than was believed at his time. He stuck his neck out saying that if the earth was not millions of years old, his theory would be absolutely wrong. Everything was literaly on the line. Then cam along nuclear physics which showed that not only was the earth millions of years old (something which was well beyong what anybody at the time thought), but it was in fact BILLIONS of years old. What a brilliant score for Darwin! (And people believe that evolution is untestable.)

He goes on to talk about using nuclear decay in the solar system to date it as well. He clearly show that if the solar system were less than a billion years old, it could very easily be shown, but such has not been the case. What he could have also mentioned, but didn't really, was how our dating of the geological record is not based exclusively on radiometric dating, though that method is by itself enough to thoroughly destroy doubt in most reasonable people's mind. We could suggest that the rates have changed in the past but there are three problems: 1) we would have be believe that ALL of the rates changed together (something which is practically impossible) 2) we can look back in time by observing distand stars and galaxies which are millions of light years away from us and see that they obeyed the same laws as we do now and 3) the radiometric dates match VERY well with our non-radiometric dating techniques, and there are many.

The only way that any person can really maintain that this solar system, this earth and all its fossils are not as old as they appear to be, would be by suggesting that God changed them to look old. Coincidence, or accident is simply not an option. God must have created the 'appearance of age' as the creationists call it. God created things to specifically look not only older, but to look like they were 4.5 billion years old. How can this be viewed as anything but deception? Thus, not only is this view of the universe bad science, but it makes for bad theology as well.

Let's move this toward a Mormon perspective where things are even worse for a number of reasons. Why does God admonish us to seek learning in the heavens and in the earth if He knows these things in no way depict reality as it really is/was? Is He commanding us to believe a lie? We believe that God didn't create the universe, He organized it. Did he organize all those photons apparently coming from distant galaxies for any particular reason?

But wait. We don't even believe that it was God who caused these changes, it was Adam by his sinning. Isn't this the popular version of the fall which is being clinged to so tenaciously? 'We have to believe that we are in a fallen existence in order to believe in atonement. We have to believe that we are fallen because of Adam, not God. Therefore, the world is as it is because of Adam, not God.' Are we going to believe that Adam was somehow able to give the appearance of a specific age to the universe in his fall?

But wait, it gets worse. The physical laws are eternal. God didn't create them, instead He works in accordance with them. He can't break or change them and this is why all miracles are in accordance with natural law according to Mormon doctrine. Thus God not only didn't change the physical laws in order to give the appearance of a specific age, He couldn't have done it. He couldn't change the physical laws of the unverse at all.

'But clearly the pre-fallen existence was different somehow,' some will protest. That's true, but even in this protest we are supposing that it was a different existence, not the same existence only changed. Adam fell from an immortal spiritual world to this telestial world, a world which has always had the same basic physical laws. And since the laws have always been more or less the same, the dating of the solar system, the planet and the fossils are all accurate. Clearly there has been death on this planet for a long time.

To finish, let's consider a story. Suppose we have a man who was raised Mormon on trial for murder somewhere in Utah. There is a mountian of physical evidence which clearly points to his guilt. In comes the defense lawyer who argues as follows:
Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury. We all know that the past is behind us and we simply cannot be absolutely sure what happened unless we were there. Were any of you there? Of course not. How do we know that all of that evidence used by the prosecution is not, in fact, misleading? How we know that the laws of the universe were not different in the room he was in and at that particular time? Can we be sure? No, we can't be positively sure.
Of course we need at least some reason to believe that such might have been the case. I have here in my hand this man's patriarchal blessing. It clearly says that he would always be strong in the faith. Ladies and Gentleman, is murder something that people who are strong in the faith do? Of course not. Therefore, if we accept that this man actually did commit the murder, then this patriarchal blessing which was given by revelation was in fact false. This would mean that the church is false. The ver existence of God is called into question. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, are you prepared to accept that?
I want you to know that I am positive that that evidence is all misleading. God or someone else, only gave it the appearance that it does in order to try our faith. We simply have no clue what the laws of the universe were at the time of that murder, if in fact there really was one at all. After all, there is only one alternative, and I don't think any of us wants to accept those consequences. My client is clearly innocent.

Would any of us really buy that? I don't think even the most faithful of Mormons would ever go for that.

Summary: The evidence for an ancient earth, complete with death before the fall is simply over whelming. To suggest that God anybody else has altered reality to give it the appearance of age is not only bad science but terrible theology as well.



Transplanting, Evolving and Sealing

In his chapter which might as well have been titled "Contra Evolution" Joseph Fielding Smith uses the doctrine of transplantation as the 'true' mechanism of creation used by the Lord. "The Lord has given us the information regarding his creations, and how he has made many earths, for there never was a beginning, never was a time when man did not exist somewhere in the universe, and when the time came for this earth to be peopled, the Lord, our God, transplanted upon it from some other earth, the life which is found here." Let's talk a little bit about this doctrine of transplantation.
Hyrum Andrus in his "Doctrinal Commentary of the Pearl of Great Price" dedicates a couple of pages to it so lets follow his lead. His primary defense of the doctrine comes from quoting authorities, namely JFS2 (as we have just quoted) and Brigham Young. This is interesting because while JFS2 was certainly the most vocal authority about the doctrine, BY seems to have been the originator, he being the first person to extent the principle of transplantation beyong Adam. Those who are relatively familiar with the doctrinal developments of the 19th century probably all think the same thing at this point: how does this relate to his other doctrinal 'renovations'? I don't say this as an excuse to bring in, as Greg called them, the philosophies of 19th century men mingled with scripture. I do it to show what the underpinnings of the doctrine are.
Shall I say that the seeds of vegetables were planted here by the Characters that framed and built this world—that the seeds of every plant composing the vegetable kingdom were brought from another world? This would be news to many of you. Who brought them here? It matters little to us whether it was John, James, William, Adam, or Bartholomew who brought them; but it was some Being who had power to frame this earth with its seas, valleys, mountains, and rivers and cause it to teem with vegetable and animal life.
Here let me state to all philosophers of every class upon the earth, When you tell me that father Adam was made as we make adobies from the earth, you tell me what I deem an idle tale. When you tell me that the beasts of the field were produced in that manner, you are speaking idle words devoid of meaning. There is no such thing in all the eternities where the Gods dwell. Mankind are here because they are offspring of parents who were first brought here from another planet, and power was given them to propagate their species, and they are commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. - JD 7: 285-6

Thus we can see the two principle doctrines on which transplantation is based. The first is Joseph's doctrine that there is no such thing as a son without a father. "Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Wherever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way."

The second is the idea that Adam came from another world. This has taken on a number of forms: 1) Adam was a literal son of God, He obviously coming from a different sphere or planet. 2) Adam was God who came from another planet. 3) Adam was some unnamed person's son, this person dwelling on another planet, since Adam was the first one on this one. Either way we know that Adam was created and THEN introduced into the garden and that this world was patterned after a world were he used to live.

Let's deal with the first doctrine, the impossibility of men being created without a father. This is exactly what evolution says. There are no special creations out of nothing. Every creature has parents, from which it differs very slightly but which is still close enough to be of the same "kind". No animals never gives birth to anything which is not of the same kind, but given enough time new kinds can be created.

What about the spontaneous generation of life? Isn't this exactly what Joseph is preaching against? Kind of, but not really. Obviously beavers aren't going to be popping out of nowhere, but what about proteins, RNA or viruses? What is life and when/how did it start? Well, according to evolution the line gets blurry, and quite frankily we don't know too much about it. Stuart Kauffman in his book "Investigations" says that life is "a self-reproducing system able to perform at least one thermodynamic work cycle."

He then goes on to unpack this definition for the majority of the book. Now I don't want to get too technical, and his book is quite technical indeed for a popular science book, but Kauffman goes on to give a "Just-So Story" for how life probably came about. He says that due to the non-ergodicity of the universe, auto-catalyitic systems were a near inevitability on this planet given its environment. The line between an auto-catayltic system and a "self-reproducing system able to perform at least one thermodynamic work cycle" is blurry at best and could easily have been over come through purely natural means. Thus, there was no definite place were a life-form was created from a non-life-form. This fits quite well with what Joseph taught.

Now as to Adam, it isn't entirely clear which of the three options listed above is the one Joseph endorsed. It was definitely the first one for most of his life, but Brigham claimed that it eventually became the second one. I don't think he even considered the third. He have already discussed a number of viable options as to what we can believe about Adam. So I won't go into too much detail here. Suffice it to say that Evolution doesn't require that Adam be born of man.

Now what happens when we combine these two doctrines? Not much actually. While we clearly understand Adam to have created the earth and then stayed there, nowhere do we hear Eloheim say "Jehovah, Michael, take sheep with you to earth." Instead it is "go down and create animals." The transplantation doctrine is a forced conclusion only when we maintain the immutability of species, an idea that wasn't overthrown until Darwin's Origin of Species. With this new view of life and 'kinds' we are no longer forced to accept the transplantation of numerous 'kinds' to give us the wide variety of life we now observe.

The doctrine of transplantation was never a revelation. It was instead seen as a forced consequence and corollary of those other two doctrines. Now that such a conclusion in no longer forced (indeed there is much evidence against it) we should feel no need to accept such a doctrine as binding. Every animal did have a progenitor. Adam could have been transplanted somehow. This is all in perfect harmony with evolution.

Now we come to the point, for this is where Elder Packer takes issue:
An understanding of the sealing authority with its binding of the generations into eternal families cannot admit to ancestral blood lines to beasts.
Let me repeat: An understanding of the sealing authority with its binding of the generations into eternal families cannot admit to ancestral blood lines to beasts. That should be reason enough for any endowed and sealed Latter-day Saint!

This, in my opinion, is a rather desperate argument despite the apparent logic used. For one, we don't actually believe that everybody will be sealed. Only those who qualify for the celestial kingdom, which will hardly be a majority, will have the "Holy Spirit of Promise" seal their sealing. Thus, not only are animals excluded, but most humans are as well.

Secondly, I should ask who am I sealed to? I am sealed to my family. Am I sealed to my ancestors who lived 1,000 years ago? Yes, but very indirectly. What about those who lived 5,000 years ago? Even more indirectly. And those who lived 5,000,000 years ago? Who cares! Even if I am, they won't have anything to do with me. Nobody here will be sealed in any significant way to a Cro-magnon.

If the gradualness of evolution doesn't match with how clear cut we imagine our sealings to be, it is our idea of sealings which is in trouble not evolution. If only those who are worthy will be sealed, then THERE is some gradualness which simply must be dealt with. And if that gradualness can be accommodated in the sealing tree, then I see no problem with evolution either. Just as there are some people who will go the the telestial kingdom and will be deprived of a 'sealing', so there are hominids who will not be worthy of a sealing either. Where the cut-off line in either one is, I don't presume to know, nor do I particularly care.

Summary: The doctrine of transplantation was a pre-darwinian forced conclusion based on two doctrines which are themselves compatible with evolution. While the gradualness and the mutability of species inherent in evolution seems to pose a problem for temple sealings, such a reading is based on our ignorance of the sealing process.



Evolution of Spiritual Meaning

Continuing with my response to Elder Packer's "The Life and the Light" we come to the issue of evolution and the fall. We have already delt with this topic in our consideration of Mc Conkie's doctrinal objections to evolution so I will not dedicate another post to that topic. I do, however, wish to point out how comfortablly our take on the fall fits in with how Elder Packer describes the fall:
It is easier for me to understand the word "fall" in the scriptures if I think both in terms of location and condition. The word fall means to descend to a lower place... The fall of man was a move from the presence of God to mortal life on earth. .. Fall may also describe a change in condition. For instance, one can fall in reputation, or from prominence. The word fall well describes what transpired when Adam and Eve were driven from the garden. A transformation took place which made them "a little lower than the angels."... The bodies formed for mankind became temporal or physical bodies... After the transformation caused by the fall, bodies of flesh and bone and blood (unlike our spirit bodies), would not endure forever.

This is exactly how we view the fall in our 'reconciled version.' Thus, while we agree on most of Elder Packer's description of the fall, we do not accept both evolution and his definition of the atonement: "Many who perceive organic evolution to be law rather than theory do not realize they forsake the atonement in the process." This is not the case as we have already shown.

After this he goes on to show the interrelatedness of physical laws and what he has been calling spiritual laws by mentioning art, mathematics and music. It's difficult to tell if he is speaking out against evolution in this part of the talk, or if he is speaking out against a purely naturalistic evolution. The latter is not what we have been considering in our quest for reconciliation for I don't feel that his views really need to be refuted from a Mormon Evolutionist's point of view. We have not denied that there is a spirit to man which existed before birth. If we denied this we could hardly consider this to be a reconciliation of any kind. Both "The Evolution of Spirituality" and "The Evolution of the Light of Christ" fit in particularly well with Packer's ideas.

Where he might go a little too far, however, is when he says "There are too many interconnections uniting the physical and the spiritual in man to suppose that they came at random or by chance--not in a billion years or a billion times a billion years! It is against the law! What law? The law of common sense!" It would seem that by 'the spiritual' he means 'the abstract.' Music, art and mathematics only arise from the meaning which we give to or recognize in them. Could meaning have evolved?

Yes! This is actually the main question which Dennett's book "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meaning of Life" is meant to address. Meaning, according to Dennett, comes directly from our adopting the intentional stance toward that phenomena which surround us. (Remember, there is the physical stance where we see things as atoms and forces, the design stance where we see leaves designed for absorbing sun light and the like, and the intentional stance where we see plants seeking out the sun light.) "There is no substitute for the intentionaly stance [in evolution and survival]; either you adopt it, and explain the pattern by finding the semantic-level facts, or you will forever be baffled by the regularity - the causal regularity - that is manifestly there." With the adoption of the intentional stance, not only by humans but by any organism, emerge reasons, not just apparent reasons, but real ones. With reasons, eventually come interests. With reasons, interests and recognition comes meaning. "Real meaning, the sort of meaning our words and ideas have, is itself an emergent product of originally meaningless processes."

Michael Ruse and E. O. Wilson approach the topic from the Epigenetic view (see Ruse's "Taking Darwin Seriously" or Wilson's "Human Nature"). Mathematics evolved in humans due to the advantage which the basic axioms of mathematics conferred upon those who could better adopt them. This eventually lead into more complex mathematics (undoubtably Dennett would claim that memes played a large part in this process) which also contributed to our species survival. With the advanced math we eventually developed technology, a super-weapon for survival.

Art is entirely contingent upon the human recognition of certain colors, sounds and compination of these which provided a biological advantage. We can only see and hear certain wave-lengths for the reason that we didn't evolve the ability to see or hear others. Color sensitivity is clearly influenced by genetic contingencies, not only in humans, but in many animals (especially birds). Certain patterns really do convey certain emotions, and this because of our genes. The same can be said for our tastes in what our ancestors ate, contingencies which would eventually contribute greatly to what would be the culinary arts.

Thus, notions of beauty and art or highly subjective, not just from person to person, but from species to species. I can easily imagine some "children of God" on another planet reacting somewhat differently to certain color, sound or taste combintions than we do. This would not be because either of us has a bad taste in art or beauty. It would only go to show the amount of contingency which is inherent in evolution.

Can abstract meaning evolve by itself? Yes. Can abstract meaing as we know it evolve by itself? I would say yes with some qualifications. Did abstract meaning as we know it evolve by itelf? Mormons answer 'no' based on their faith. God almost certainly played a part in the evolution of our sensitivity to inspiration and creativity. Thus we can ask the second question again: Can abstract meaning involving the inspiration of God as we experience it evolve by itself? By definition no, we can't. Can abstract meaning which seems to involve the inspiration of God as we experience it evolve by itself? It most certainly can. Thus, our saying that God directed the evolution of our artisitic tendencies is also a faith claim which we should not wave around as if it were a scientific argument.

We believe that God played a part in the developing of our particular tastes in art, mathematics and music. Similarly, we believe that God guided evolution toward "humans". Could evolution have produced intelligent beings by itself? Of course. Could it have produced humans by itself? Yes. Did it? We don't believe so, based on our faith. The two claims are exactly analogous to one another.

Summary: Evolution could have produced intelligent agents with affinities for art, math and music all by itself. This means that humans, along with our meaningful experiences, could have been produced by blind evolution alone. It is our faith, not scientfic necessity, which persuades us to believe that such was not the case.