What Evolution Cannot Explain

imagesIn a recent post, I asked readers to consider the marvelous complexity of the human hand, one of a host of complex and interdependent parts that make up the human body. As Christians, we make sense of this stunning intricacy by recognizing that the human body was designed by an all-powerful Creator. Atheists, by contrast, insist that there is no God, and therefore no designer, and so they seek to explain the complexity of nature by appealing vaguely to “evolution.” With sufficient time, they argue, and natural selection, complex life just emerges from more simple forms.

This atheist viewpoint seems to be increasingly accepted, due perhaps to the way “evolution” is taught as a fact in high schools and colleges. So a comment on my post came as no surprise. After encouraging me to talk to a biologist (actually, I have), the writer said: “I don’t think this challenge would cause any biologist to scratch his head and agree that evolution is washed up. In fact, I think they’d have a ready explanation. Given that this argument wouldn’t convince someone in a position to know (a biologist), why should this convince a layperson?”

In a courtroom, where evidence gets tested, this question would be objected to as “assuming a fact not in evidence.” After all, it assumes, without offering any evidence, that biologists “have a ready explanation” for such things as how life sprang from non-life and how the complex emerged from the simple, when nothing of the kind has yet been shown. This reliance on “science,” without examination or critical inquiry, makes me wonder whether science has become the new secular religion, whose adherents have such faith in the pronouncements of its high priests that they don’t even question what is being said.

But I digress. Lay people should be convinced that there is a God who created us because common sense and reason support such a conclusion. For a mindless, undirected process like “evolution” to explain how we arose from inert matter, scientists must prove their theory in some observable and objective fashion and not simply assert that nature is all there is and someday we’ll have the answers. That requires, first of all, clarity in language. “Evolution” can mean one of two things: “micro evolution” involves modifications over time in an already existing species (a fact that no thoughtful person disputes). “Macro evolution,” by contrast, relates to how life first arose from non-life and continued to become increasingly complex (a theory and not a fact). Understanding how DNA responds to environmental challenges is a worthy pursuit and much knowledge is being accumulated. Patterns have been detected that could be an indication that life forms today are related to life forms that existed millions of years ago. But to jump from that evidence to a conclusion that there was no original designer, that this incredibly complex information-rich DNA assembled itself, does not follow. To do so, one would have to rule out the competing alternatives – that similarities exist because a designer used common parts, the way human designers do; and that relationships exist between species at distinct points in time because such evolution was programmed into the original DNA. It is not good science to presuppose that neither possibility exists, because the “rules of the game” require an assumption that nature is all there is.

Recognizing the distinction between “macro” and “micro” evolution is compelling. In other areas of science, testing of hypotheses is accepted and encouraged. But as many others have pointed out, the presupposition that nature is “all there is” underlies all of evolutionary biology, eliminating from consideration the possibility that all-powerful Creator designed us. Biochemist Fuz Rana from Reasons to Believe makes the case that the problem with evolutionary science is not that it is completely false, but that it doesn’t allow for testing. And there are other biologists who disagree with the philosphical underpinnings of evolutionary theory. Biochemist Michael Behe has written extensively on the issue of “irreducible complexity” which presents a substantial challenge to evolutionary theory.

Perhaps someday science will make its case; only time will tell. But in the best traditions of the scientific method, I will await that showing before accepting on faith the secular view of human origins. 

Posted by Al Serrato

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