February 2003 Issue
by L. Russ Bush
Darwinian evolution is the most
widely held theory of biological change. Small changes in living
organisms supposedly happen naturally and randomly and frequently.
These small changes (if favorable to the organism) supposedly
accumulate, and over time it is thought that these small changes
result in larger changes, even to the point of transforming one
species into another. This process of accumulating small "beneficial"
changes and eliminating "non-beneficial" changes is
called natural selection (as opposed to divine selection).
No doubt, biological organisms do change over time in response
to environmental stimuli and these changes sometimes seemingly
accumulate so that new groupings of animals appear. The Stickleback
fish seem to have gone through such a change (there are now two
varieties of these fish where there use to be only one), and the
so-called Walking Stick insects apparently have recently developed
a new variety. A strain of bacteria may develop a resistance to
certain anti-biotic medicines. For some, these are convincing
examples of "evolution."
For most scientists the term "evolution" means that
these kinds of changes are inevitable and persistent, and they
believe that these changes illustrate how all biological change
occurs. Darwinism is the theory that all of these small, natural
changes have been added up over time so that original single-cell
life-forms eventually transformed into all the multi-cellular
life-forms known on earth today. According to Darwin's theory,
by the accumulation of small changes invertebrates became vertebrates,
reptiles became birds, and the amoeba eventually changed into
There are several problems with this theory, however.
First, the Darwinian theory
of evolution does not explain how life began. In the laboratory,
we can "spontaneously" generate large quantities of
amino acids, the building blocks of life, but even our carefully
designed efforts result in useless mixtures, not the uniform series
of amino acids that are necessary for life. The stereo-chemistry
is always wrong when we make these molecules by chance processes.
Even if we could get all the chemicals right, we still would not
have life. At the moment of death, the chemicals are all still
there, but life is not. Life requires a certain level of chemical
complexity, but that chemical complexity is not the same as nor
does it explain life, it only permits life. Life does not spontaneously
arise from non-life even if all the necessary chemicals are there.
Second, the fossil record does
not show the gradual changes predicted by the Darwinian theory
of evolution. Fossilized transitional forms simply do not appear
in the fossil record, though, if Darwin were right, there should
be millions of such forms.
Third, the organized complexity
of even the simplest living cell is such that it cannot be built
up by small accumulated changes. Life is not found in the parts
but only in the whole, and even the simplest whole is made up
of many complex parts that would not arise and/or combine in the
necessary specified manner through random, non-living, natural
Fourth, a genetic code is found
within the DNA molecule of the cell. This DNA molecule is not
merely chemistry. It is an encoded message that provides the blueprints
for building all of the proteins necessary to make the living
organism. Encoded information is evidence of intelligent design.
Fifth, there are numerous systems
that are essential for life and yet are hard, if not impossible,
to account for on Darwinian premises. The ozone layer is one of
those systems. The ozone layer, high in the atmosphere, acts as
a filter for deadly radiation, thus making life possible on the
earth. Yet, ozone is a by-product of living things. Without ozone
already being there, living things could not exist. Life must
exist in order to form and replenish the ozone layer. Naturalistic
theories have a difficult time explaining the origin of this relationship.
Sixth, the earth is an open
system, but even the sun's energy is not alone sufficient to account
for the necessary rise in complexity required by evolutionary
theory. In reality, things tend to simplify and wear out. The
rise in complexity proposed by evolutionary theories simply does
not happen in nature unless there is a plan and a mechanism to
capture and organize the available energy. Neither of these are
inherent within nature.
Seventh, the Bible says that
God made the heavens and the earth, and that He made all of the
animals and established that they would reproduce after their
kind. All of the evidence is consistent with this claim. Stickleback
fish and Walking Sticks now have two varieties, and bacteria have
become resistant to some drugs, but the fish are still fish, the
insects are still insects, and the bacteria are still bacteria.
There is simply no evidence that one kind of creature has ever
naturally transformed itself into some other kind of creature.
Darwin was simply wrong.
The Bible says the world is not the source of life. The living
God created the life we know and have, and the same everlasting,
all-powerful God sustains that life for His own purposes and for
His own glory. The best and most consistent claim is the one God
made Himself. He told us that He created all things and that He
saw that everything He finished was good.
L. Russ Bush is Academic Vice President/Dean
of the Faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in
Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Atlanta's Education Balance
The Atlanta-area Cobb County school board adopted a policy
for "balanced education" addressing "disputed views
of academic subjects" last September, in an action that refused
to buckle to pro-Darwinian scientists and the American Civil Liberties
School board chairman Curt Johnson, in a prepared statement
he read at the meeting, said, "...we are not willing to cater
to any particular viewpoint where genuine doubt exists, be it
scientific or religious. We expect our science instruction to
be broad-based, factual, and respectful of all views."
The two-paragraph science curriculum policy adopted Sept. 26
"It is the educational philosophy of the Cobb County School
District to provide a broad-based curriculum; therefore, the Cobb
County School District believes that discussion of disputed views
of academic subjects is a necessary element of providing a balanced
education, including the study of the origin of the species. This
subject remains an area of intense interest, research, and discussion
among scholars. As a result, the study of this subject shall be
handled in accordance with this policy and with objectivity and
good judgment on the part of teachers, taking into account the
age and maturity level of their students.
"The purpose of this policy is to foster critical thinking
among students, to allow academic freedom consistent with legal
requirements, to promote tolerance and acceptance of diversity
of opinion, and to ensure a posture of neutrality toward religion.
It is the intent of the Cobb County Board of Education that this
policy not be interpreted to restrict the teaching of evolution;
to promote or require the teaching of creationism; or to discriminate
for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, religion
in general, or non-religion."
The board had come under pressure from the president of the
National Academy of Sciences, Bruce Alberts, who had written to
academy members in Georgia urging them to draft opinion pieces
for local newspapers and send e-mails or letters to the Cobb County
school board in opposition to the deliberations involving the
Alberts described the deliberations as an effort to introduce
"intelligent design" into the curriculum.
Intelligent design, according to its proponents, many of whom
hold Ph.D. degrees from leading universities across the country,
utilizes science itself in reasoning that living matter is too
complex to have resulted from random chance, thus some entity
must have purposefully created it.
Alberts, however, described intelligent design as "a recent
permutation of 'creation science.'"
Alberts' letter was subsequently countered by a group of twenty-eight
scientists from the University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of
Technology, Emory University and other institutions in the state
who sent a letter to the school board appealing for academic freedom
to teach scientific controversy over Darwinian evolution.
The Georgia scientists, joining 130-plus other scientists nationwide,
signed a statement that originated last fall called, "A Scientific
Dissent from Darwinism." The statement urged "careful
examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory" in the
classroom, while also expressing skepticism toward the Darwinian
claim that "random mutation and natural selection account
for the complexity of life."
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