4.13.2009

Evolution

I feel fully justified placing this essay in this, my "humorous" blog, even though it lacks any attempts at humor, irony, satire, or exaggeration. The reason for this is the absurdity of evolution. It is, itself, the sharpest irony that can be painted.

I've been reading quite a bit lately about the evolution/creation debate. There are several particularly sad things about this debate that I must draw attention to before I begin. First, I find it extremely sad that evolutionists accuse creationists of many of the same logical fallacies and poor arguments that they themselves use, including circular reasoning, faulty causality, assumption of givens, equivocation, straw man arguments, skewed mathematics and many others. Second, I find it very sad that, for the most part, Christians are "losing" in these debates. What I mean is, Christians often form very poor arguments for what they believe. For heaven's sake (literally!), if you're going to believe in something, you had better know why! Third, I find it almost inexcusably sad that we teach evolution as fact in high schools, and "conveniently" leave out the vast amount of data that contradicts evolution. Even if evolution were true, wouldn't it be good "science" to present the full case for a theory, including the "problem areas that scientists are still looking into"? This just goes to show that Americans are not being taught in public high schools: they are being indoctrinated. They are being told to believe something based only on the evidence that supports that thing.

This essay will probably have to happen in several parts. There is just too much to say, and given the time of night, I don't have that time right now. But let me begin with a couple observations.

1. Old earth vs. young earth. This issue is, perhaps, the most neglected aspect of the debate in high schools. Because evolution requires a very old earth, it is generally listed as a "given." Students then assume that the earth is old, and base their understanding of evolutionary theories on that assumption without ever considering its validity. For example, one website (man, I wish I could find it again . . . it is not my intent to present "facts" without support) indicates that there are more than three times as many indicators for a young earth as for an old earth. But these indicators are never taught in schools. The biggest "indicator" for the old earth needed for evolution to work is the radioactive dating method. Here's how this works in fairly simple terms: scientists have observed the rate of decay in certain elements. When certain elements decay, they become other elements by virtue of losing some of their electrons and protons. Those other elements are then released into the air. Thus, they assume that they can calculate the age of things by assessing how much of the element remains and calculating the time it would take for the element to decay to that point using the known rate of decay. But this presupposes many things, most of all that we know how much of the element was present to begin with. Here's an equivalent illustration. Chuck observes that a glass of water is evaporating at the rate of one inch per hour. Using this observation, Chuck works backwards to figure out when the glass was first filled with water. But Chuck has overlooked a few things: 1) he doesn't know how full the glass was to begin with. If the glass was full to the brim, his calculation may be correct, but if someone filled the glass only halfway, he will be way off. 2) The rate of evaporation is always the same. This is almost universally untrue, and it is possible to speculate that the same can be said of radioactive decay. 3) No other outside influence has affected the amount of water in the cup. There's no way Chuck can know that part of the water was not consumed by a person, or a cat, or was spilled, unless he was there from the moment the cup was filled observing the evaporation of the water (which would be equivalent to watching paint dry or grass grow). I think we can safely say that no one has been there since the beginning of the earth (whether thousands or billions of years ago) observing the radioactive decay. Of course, evolutionists assume that the cup was full to the brim. Strictly speaking, this is a logical assumption, but it's nothing more than that: assumption. It can't be proven. This is not, in itself, proof of creationism (more on proof of God later), but it does at least show that radioactive dating has its flaws. Creationists usually argue for what is called "apparent age." In this scenario, apparent age means that God filled the glass half full to give the impression of previous drinking. I suppose you could ask, "Why would God create rocks only partially filled with given elements?" but it's also easy to ask, "What the deuce do you mean by full?" When we deal with glasses of water, it's easy to know what full means. When we talk about the amount of carbon present in a particular rock or fossil, "full" has very little meaning. How can we possibly know how full a rock can be? And besides, the concept of apparent age is not so ludicrous. If there is a God and if He created the world as Genesis records, all animals, trees, humans . . . essentially all LIFE . . . would have to have been created with apparent age. If they weren't, Adam and Eve would have been new-born infants completely incapable of caring for themselves. Ditto all animals. Trees could theoretically grow from a seed on their own, but since all the bees died in infancy, there would be no pollination to replicate the procedure. If God created all life in this way, why not create everything else in the same manner?

Which leads to the "proof of God": there is none. And God seems to have wanted it that way. The true answer to that last question (why not create everything else with apparent age) is "To provide proof of Himself as creator." If God wanted to be provable, why would he make the earth appear to be old? Isn't that one of the problems evolutionists have with creationism? If he could foresee the difficulties an old earth would create for people in terms of belief, wouldn't He have done it differently? I fully believe that God (and here that subsumes all Christianity) is "truth." Meaning, I believe God exists. However, that does not make Him fact. By definition, "facts" are observable, producible, repeatable phenomena. Sure, nature, the complexity of the human body, the vastness of space, and other observable facts give evidence of a creator, but God himself cannot be observed (physically I mean). He cannot be produced (as far as I know, they have yet to discover the "God" molecule through laboratory testing). And for those who question such logic, just ask yourself, "What would faith be if God could be empirically proven?" I believe that God made the earth in such a way that it would indicate His presence without scientifically proving His existence because He wants followers who "believe," who "have faith." And let's face it, it doesn't take faith to believe in facts. When I walk outside, I don't have to have faith that gravity will keep me attached to the earth. I know that it will because it's an observable phenomenon. If God could be proven, if God was a fact, we wouldn't need faith. I believe this is VERY important for Christians to grasp because one of the attacks often made against creationists is that they make arguments for an empirically absent God, that they try to mix religion (or theology) with science. Don't. Just don't. I do not believe God wants to be proved. If He wanted that, He could do quite easily, and without our feeble help. Evolutionists are, in some ways, right. We mix science and religion when we try to prove God. Of course, they do the same thing. Evolution requires at least as much faith as creationism, and I would say infinitely more than creationism. They believe in something they have not proven. They claim as fact that which is only a theory. However, if you want to be respected when you tell an evolutionist that he believes only in a theory, then you ought to admit that what you believe in is, likewise, a theory, a belief system. That's not weak. We should be embracing our faith, acknowledging that God doesn't need us to prove He exists.

On top of all this, evolutionists can't agree about the age of the earth, and they "conveniently" change it to suit their theory when new evidence surfaces. If the earth needs to be 10 million years old, let it be 10 million years old. If it needs to be 30 million, let be 30 million. That doesn't really sound like science. Shouldn't science work to calculate the age of the earth, and then shape its theories around that, rather than establish the theories and make the age of the earth conform accordingly?

2. Transitional fossils/observation of evolutionary cycles. Even if people want to believe in evolution, I don't see how they can claim that it is a proven fact, beyond any doubt, when the total amount of species evolutions observed is zero. Scientists have never found any fossils of species "in transition." In fact, every fossil we have ever found can be accounted for among species of which we already know. If fish really did evolve to birds and then to primates and then to humans, there should be ample fossil evidence of these transformations, and there isn't. We have also never observed a species evolving, except in a micro-evolutionary way. Micro-evolution, what Darwin observed when he coined the term "natural selection," has been observed in our history. Micro-evolution is evolution within a species to better adapt to living environments. It makes sense if you think about it. If a certain bird needed a long beak to be able to access food, those with short beaks would quickly die of starvation, so that only the long beaked version would remain. When those birds reproduced, they would produce more long beaked birds. Recessive genes might create some short beaked birds, but of course, they would die of starvation as well. This process would repeat until eventually the genetics required to produce a short beaked bird were completely absent. Macro-evolution, evolution that leads to changes between species (e.g. a fish growing wings and becoming a bird), has never been observed in any form. If evolutionists want to claim that Christianity is religion and not science by virtue of the lack of observable evidence, then they are really forced to accept the same for themselves. 

3. Odds of evolution. We've all heard the outrageously small odds for evolution. A couple that I've heard include: 1) Evolution is the equivalent of a monkey sitting at a typewriter and randomly smashing keys and producing the entire written works of William Shakespeare, and 2) Evolution is the equivalent of flipping a coin 50 times in a row (not sure what the actual number is here - I think it's actually quite a bit more than this, but I was being modest since I couldn't remember) and having it land perfectly balanced on its edge every time. One argument against these statistics I've seen made (which drives me crazy . . . talk about illogical arguing) is that, regardless of how unlikely or improbable evolution was, it happened because the world is what it is. Evolutionists actually make this claim. Surely, the circular reasoning is readily evident. You cannot argue that statistics are wrong because evolution is true when the validity of evolution is still in question. This is like eating something and then saying, "I must have been hungry because I ate something." Evolutionists try to justify it by demonstrating equally unlikely odds that did happen. For example, the chances of winning the lottery are something outrageous like 1 in 20,000,000 and yet, from time to time, someone does win the lottery. Another example I've seen relates to cards. If you shuffle a deck of 52 cards, the resulting order of cards is statistically less probably than 1 in 10^50 (the cutoff for a statistical impossibility), and yet, the cards are in that order, defying statistical improbability. Or if you take 5 decks of cards and throw them up in the air, the resulting layout of cards is a statistical impossibility and could not be duplicated even if you repeated the attempt forever. (See http://radaractive.blogspot.com/2006/06/odds-against-evolution-beginnings.html.) Thus, evolutionists claim that the extremely poor odds of evolution are inconsequential because statistical impossibilities happen. The problem is, the chances of evolution are far worse even than the 5 decks of cards falling a certain way. Compared to evolution, throwing 5 decks into the air to achieve a particular sequence is downright likely. Evolution is more the equivalent (and here I must give credit to the writer of the blog listed above, for this is his analogy) of throwing 5 decks of cards into the air and having them fall into "One neat stack, sorted by suit and consecutively by value." This analogy actually demonstrates what is missing from most estimations of the odds of evolution: order. Throwing 5 decks into the air and having them land in a precise pattern may have terrible odds, but the result either way is chaos. Landing in a neat and sorted stack demonstrates the kind of order we can observe in the universe. According to the second law of thermodynamics, entropy (or disorder) always increases. This law has been observed and can be tested in your own home. Just stop sweeping, dusting, washing dishes, putting things away, etc. and see if your house gets messier or less messy. And yet, evolution is proposing exactly that, if left to its own devices, your house would eventually clean itself. The Big Bang (and many other theories of origins) pivots on the concept of order erupting out of chaos. Nothing we have ever observed supports this, so I am at loss to see how we came to this conclusion. Actually, that's not true. I'm not at a loss at all. The biggest reason people believe in evolution is to keep from admitting there is a God. People are looking for any reason, regardless of how impossible, to disbelieve in a God. 

More on statistical improbability next time. I need to go to bed.

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