Saturday, September 8, 2012

Evolution, Science and Evidence

As you might suspect, I am a Bible-believing Christian and I will freely admit that I am influenced in my view of the origins of the world and universe by what I believe the Bible says.

On the other hand, I am also still pretty open to examining the physical world to see if that evidence agrees with what I believe. Among many scientist, especially biologists, evolution is taken as a given truth, not just one possible theory. There are many reasons for this including a progressive fossil record where the best evidence does seem to suggest a progression for less complicated beings to more complicated beings over time. Also, there do seem to be similarities among groupings of animals that suggest they are related and modern genetic evidence points to specific similarities in the genetic code. Now while these evidences are consistent with the evolutionary theory, I have always been troubled with the fact that the suggested mechanism for change in the evolutionary theory, namely natural selection acting upon random mutations, was not sufficient to explain all the changes and improvements necessary for evolution to be true.

The more I study the issue, the more I am convinced that natural processes are not only inadequate for the task, but could never be adequate to create new genetic information that would be necessary to create new features that differentiate species and families of plants and animals.

Douglas Axe, who co-wrote a book called Science and Human Origins with Ann Gauger, wrote this in response to a critique of his book,

"My challenge to McBride, and everyone else who believes the evolutionary story of human origins, is not to provide the list of mutations that did the trick, but rather a list of mutations that can do it. Otherwise they're in the position of insisting that something is a scientific fact without having the faintest idea how it even could be. That's just not what scientists should be doing." (emphasis mine)

Here are a couple of articles with this quote.

Christian Post article

Axe's response

This is exactly my problem. I am told by various professors (biology professors in college) and atheists that science demands that we not consider special creation and that evolution must be true, but then when challenged to present evidence for how evolution could happen using mutations they have no answer. Axe and Gauger suggest that mutations cannot create the necessary change and have experimental evidence to back up that claim.

Michael Behe's book Darwin's Black Box suggests that certain types of biological structures are so complex and interrelated that chance mutations could never account for them because it would require multiple mutations at the same time for the structures to work.

Also, Stephen Meyer's book Signature in the Cell makes it clear the DNA contains specified information like computer code, and the only other examples of this type of information are products of human minds, suggesting that DNA is also the product of intelligence.

Now as a Christian I have no problem with the fact that natural processes are not capable of producing everything or with the idea that science may in fact point us toward an intelligence outside the physical universe, because I do not have a worldview that demands that all explanations must come from within the physical universe. What happens though when someone is committed to only natural explanations? Do they even consider explanations outside their worldview? Generally they do not. They are not allowed to challenge their assumptions. Many scientists have a prior commitment to philosophical naturalism that demands that regardless of what the evidence may suggest they cannot possibly consider that evolution is false. They cannot consider it false because there is no other natural explanation given, and they must have a natural explanation.

As I see it the best testable scientific evidence we have leads to the conclusion that natural selection based on random mutation, which does in fact happen in limited cases, cannot create the types of changes necessary to explain the origins of new information that leads to new body structures. This means that the proposed mechanism for evolution does not work. Furthermore in examining the structure of DNA we see information that looks just like the type of information that we use in language, and we already know that type of information comes from human minds. Therefore, one explanation for what we see does not work, while another explanation, namely an intelligence, fits exactly what we see.

I have seen it written and heard it said by atheist, "there is no evidence for God," but that is only true if you start with a commitment to a philosophy that excludes the possibility of God. From my perspective, the physical world clearly points to God and the more I study, the more convinced I become.