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Creation vs. Evolution Primer: What to keep in mind
This is some starter information for you. When talking with people, it's important to remember that people believe in evolution as a given. As if it's a settled matter and that's it. The fact is is that the nature of science is to question everything. Especially hypotheses, theories, and laws. If someone ever says, "evolution is a fact, everyone knows that, your information is just wrong." This flies in the face of science. Because science is always changing to conform to new evidence and new interpretations. Many many many ideas people used to believe as "fact" and "truth" in science have been thrown out due to new evidence or ways of thinking. This shows the irrationality of anyone clinging to any part of science as true because in 100 years what is "true" today could just as easily be "false" tomorrow. So it's important to get the person your talking to to simply see that it's madness to believe than any part of science is established fact and will last forever since it can, and has, been proven false before and it will again. This is because science is a system, a methodology that is dependent on evidence (facts) and fallible (imperfect) human interpretation. Science is only as certain as the faulty humans that use it and form conclusions from it. So to hold so rigidly to something that's merely the current idea of how things are when it could be proven untrue years from now is illogical.
Secondly, it's important when discussing evolution with irrational people (which would be all of them) to define what evolution is. Most people think evolution simply means "change over time." That's ridiculous. Any theory that simply means change over time isn't providing any meaningful information at all. Besides, all people since the beginning of human history have recognized that animals change. That's OBVIOUSLY not in dispute or what the controversy is about. Creationists have always recognized that things change. The entire debate is the nature of that change, what changes, how, and how much.
Secondly, the debate is not about whether any part of evolution is true. Scientists have recognized two distinctions: Microevolution, and Macroevolution. Microevolution is change within a species. This is evidenced by such things as the various dog and cat breeds, the various human ethnicities, and the various varieties of different types of flowers. This change is always within a species. All the cat breeds are still 100% cats. All dogs breeds are dogs. All ethnicities are still humans. And all types of roses and tulips are still within their respective species. So this type of "evolution" is agreed upon by everyone. That is not in dispute. Species change within their own species.
Macroevolution is what's the problem. Macroevolution is change between species. This is what has never been documented. The evidence people show "proving" evolution is just showing the different breeds of cats or dogs and say "here, see, evolution." But microevolution is NOT macroevolution. There is a huge difference. The difference is as follows:
Note: it's important to remember that it's not the evidence that's in dispute it's the INTERPRETATION of the evidence. obviously every person is going to interpret evidence based upon their preconceived ideas, philosophies, and theories. When evolutionists look at fossils for example, their interpretation is based upon figuring out how the fossils fit into evolution. The motivation in the first place is to find evidence to support their theory. So every piece of bone is interpreted in light of that. Of course the evolutionist can turn it around and claim that the same is true for creationists. But of course that's not the point. The point is to show that both camps are interpreting evidence according to their already existing assumptions and theories of how they think things are.
Now for macroevolution to be true one has to show several things to be true:
1. That species can produce new information through some mechanism.
2. That this change can become fixed within the population
3. That these small changes can accumulate to build every biological structure.
First off, people think that macroevolution is just microevolution over longer periods of time. But this is obviously false. The problem is that microevolution (changes within a species) has shown that there is something called "biological homeostasis." This is an observation in biology that species tend to remain static. There is a "barrier" that cannot be crossed which can easily be seen through breeding animals. No matter how much you breed dogs, they will never breed anything but a dog. There is an inherent mechanism within species that resists changing over a certain amount. This was most seen in the experiments with fruit flies. Scientists knocked out the genes for eyes in one generation of flies. They then kept breeding "eyeless" flies. But after several generations the scientists observed that the flies regained their eyes again. The flies DNA corrected the aberration. There's just a boundary that we see cannot be crossed. This is evidence against macroevolution.
Secondly, new information is REQUIRED in order for the original "simple" organisms to evolve into more and more complex creatures. Microevolution deals with the reshuffling or loss of preexisting information. You cannot build a more complex computer by losing information or reshuffling current information. You cannot build a business by losing a little money at a time. Similarly, you cannot change from "simple" lifeforms into more "complex" lifeforms unless NEW information is added.
For the theory of macroevolution to hold water a mechanism must exist, AND BE DEMONSTRATED (not just give stories), that produces new information. Most people cite mutations as the source of new information. Whereas it is possible for new information to be created this way it has been repeatedly demonstrated to be rare. Moreover you have another problem. Not only do you have to demonstrate that there exists a mechanism to create new information, but that it can become fixed in a population, and that over time can create the various complex biological systems we see (examples: the eye, blood clotting system, the Krebs cycle). It's not just that it "can" happen but that it's probable and that the evidence compellingly points to this. Mere stories of "well it could have happened like this" are not science. If you want to adhere to science than you have to show the evidence, not just stories.
Moreover, it's important to realize that the evidence for evolution in the fossil record is AT BEST inference. You can only infer what you believed happened or what the fossils mean. This is called circumstantial evidence. This is in opposition to direct evidence (example: watching a species change into another species). I'm not saying that circumstantial evidence isn't good, it is, but it's not a smoking gun. And it's certainly not science as most people would claim it. Science deals with experiments and repeating those experiments. You cannot repeat anything on fossils. You can certainly try to date the fossils or study the morphology, but there's no experiment. You can only interpret what you believe it means based upon your preexisting theories and ideas. So when people say, "man descended from an ape-like ancestor in such and such a way..." this is what we call a "just so" story. Meaning it "just so" happened like the way we think it did. But there's no direct evidence and it could be easily argued the opposite way. That fossils don't show common descent but a common designer. So why should the evolutionist "just so" story trump the creationists? Because they say so?
One of the most popular theories of why macroevolution isn't supported by the evidence is that many biological systems appear to only work provided all the necessary parts existed all at the same time for the express purpose of making that system work. It's called irreducible complexity and it demonstrates the implausibility of complex biological systems being created over time through successive slight changes. Because irreducible complexity posits that these systems will not work unless all the parts are in place. The most popular example of this is the eye. Without all the parts in place it is useless. Why would an organism be "more fit" with an incomplete biological system? Does the organism "know" it's working on building an eye so each generation waits patiently with a non-functioning system waiting to be complete?
These are not just trivial questions. These are MAJOR problems with the core aspect of the notion that macroevolution is true
Points to remember when talking with people:
1. Define the problem. Evolution is not just “change over time.” We all agree on microevolution. It’s macroevolution (change between species) that’s in dispute and which there appears little support.
2. The “facts” or “evidence” is not in dispute. It’s the INTERPREATION of that evidence that is. ALL evidence needs to be interpreted. The issue is which interpretation is most probable. Most scientists start out all their experiments and interpret every single piece of data with the a prior (prior) ASSUMPTION that things happen naturally. Well what if they don’t? Someone might say, “well the scientists would figure that out.” Unfortunately naturalistic evolutionists have made this impossible since their starting bias would reject such a conclusion. It’s equivalent to the universe being made of marbles, and the evolutionist saying that no marbles exist so let’s see what the universe is made out of.
3. New information is necessary to change from simple organisms to more complex. A mechanism must exist and be demonstrated to do this. This change must be able to become fixed (or part of) the general population. And this process must be able to accumulate to account for every complex biological structure. The simple fact is that there are NO papers, journals, essays, or books that explain and demonstrate a step-by-step process of ANY complex biological structure evolving over time. There are none. And there are no experiments, data, or observations demonstrating this. You cannot say that the eye “just so happened” to have formed this way or that way without showing ANY evidence. Stories are great in philosophy or English class, but they don’t cut it in science.
4. Even if it can be shown that one or a few biological systems did in fact arise through successive slight modifications by the addition of new information by some mechanism, this DOES NOT mean that it is always the case. Of course I don’t believe it’s ever happened nor could it. I’m just stating that even if someone demonstrated, for example, that a certain species of bacteria that had no flagella gradually produced one over time where there was no information that coded for it previously, this does not therefore prove that man descended from ape-like creatures or that common descent is true. It would still have to be demonstrated that what happened in that bacteria species can account for every biological system and that it’s a common event.
5. Biological homeostasis resists any type of macroevolutionary theory. And irreducible complexity demonstrates that many systems show evidence of design because various parts that are unrelated need to work together in order to function. Showing it had to be designed like that at the start, not happen gradually.
6. The clearest “proof” of the problem of evolution is the start of it, namely, how did the first lifeform originate? Since DNA codes for the creation of the cell, and the cell is necessary to create the DNA, how did one appear before the other one? You cannot have one without the other. And the origin of DNA has no bearing upon the origin of the cell. Because the information that exists has nothing to do with the origin of the medium by which it’s expressed. Meaning, DNA is literally a code, a language, that contains volumes of encyclopedic information. The origin of the information contained within an encyclopedia for example has nothing to do with the origin of the ink or the paper on which it’s written. So the origin of the information within DNA has nothing at all to do with the origin of the cell itself. Both would have to be explained, and as of yet has not.
Understanding the Importance of Worldviews
- War of the Worldviews - Answers in Genesis
How are we to know if we have an accurate worldview? Is there any reason to think that our most basic assumptions about reality are correct?