…Asteroids, asteroids, we all fall down.
“Evolution is so ‘out there’ that it’s on its way out,” a friend told me. She had many reasons to conclude that it is irrational of some scientists to proclaim that macroevolution is fact. But I’m unable to agree that it is on its way out. After all, since when has being wrong ever warranted removal from discussion in contemporary science and media? There is a sort of philosophic necrophilia permeating the evolutionary realm – evolutionists will cling to the dead body of their hypothesis like William Faulkner’s eccentric character Miss Emily did in A Rose for Emily just because it is too desirable to give up. One atheistic scientist interviewed by Ben Stein said that he couldn’t imagine anything more boring than to believe that the world was created. Au contraire, but have it your way if you must.
But you have no reason to assert that Evolution is science and Creation is not. They are two different models offered to explain what we see in the natural world today. We must admit that a broad generalization is in this mix, as there are different flavors of creationism (i.e., old earth, young earth). Beneath these scientific worldviews are different hypotheses pertaining to specific areas of study. The idea is to see which model best explains the data that we have from research. An example of this method in action is that of the theories used to explain where the electrical current in the earth’s core comes from. The dynamo theory states that the rotation of the earth and other random processes naturally occurring in the core contribute to its movement, which then generates an electrical current. The rapid decay theory states that the electrical current is a result of how the earth was formed, and that over time the electrical current would begin to slow down. Indirect observation is what we have to rely on while studying the core of the earth, and these theories account for the data in different ways. The dynamo theory has the edge in explaining the likely reversals of the magnetic field over time, while the rapid decay theory has the edge in explaining the weakening of the magnetic field.
But never has the hypothesis of macroevolution garnered a fraction of those theories’ credibility. I once said that I have yet to see any archaeological or paleontological evidence of macroevolution that hasn’t been proved to be a hoax. Allow me to rephrase that: Maybe not all the supposed transitional fossils that I’ve learned of have turned out to be hoaxes, per se. But many have turned out to be jokes. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time being convinced by a portrait of my supposed ancient ancestor when I know that it was based upon the tooth of a pig (Nebraska man) or a tiny jawbone fragment (Ramapithecus). Neither am I convinced of a supposed transitional ape-to-human fossil when the crucial piece of evidence is a knee joint found a mile and a half away from the rest of the skeleton (Australopithecus afarensis, or “Lucy”). Nor am I encouraged to believe such fanciful interpretations of fossils when I learn that a medical illustrator was ordered to alter his artist’s impression in order to make it look convincingly transitional. I find that particularly disappointing, since Ronald J. Ervin’s field of illustration is one that I, being artistically and scientifically inclined since childhood, have been interested in. But I digress…
I said that I have yet to see any evidence of transitional fossils that convinced me of macroevolution. That is true to this day. One commenter attempted to enlighten my eyes and failed miserably. The link that he gave me lists the names of many fossils, but not one photograph. Well obviously, showing the fossils would reveal that the ones in controversy aren’t very transitional at all. Take the notion of Australopithecus, for instance (by the way, the name means “southern ape,” which is what it looks like). Another questionable reason why it was considered a transitional species between ape and man (besides Lucy’s mile and a half away knee joint) is because near some of their bones were tiny pieces of stone that looked like they could be tools. Richard Leakey, the son of the researcher who discovered Zinjanthropus bosei actually removed Australopithecus from his evolutionary chart leading to Homo sapiens. Later examination of the skulls has revealed gorilla-like anatomy on the mandibles, which has led to further skepticism of it being a transitional fossil.
Besides, that TalkOrigins article is supposed to be disputing claims against transitional fossils made by creationists. Why then are nearly half the transitional fossils heralded not even ones that creationists dispute? The transitions between species and genera are evidence of microevolution, not macroevolution.
The obsession of searching for ape-to-man links is epitomized in the tragic story of Ota Benga, a man from Africa who was put on display at the Bronx Zoo in 1904. Once an African Pygmy living in Congo with a wife and two children, he eventually found himself living in a cage with a gorilla, orangutan, and a few chimpanzees.
Ota Benga was exhibited at the St. Louis World Fair as the “closest transitional link to man.” Why? Because he wasn’t quite five feet tall and of African descent? He certainly doesn’t look half-ape, half-human in photographs. But I’m sure evolutionists have an explanation. It’s probably just my untrained, illogical eye that causes me to believe that intelligent human beings are created in the image of God and that there is sanctity of life.
The data revealing the intricacy and variety of life is exactly what the creation model predicts. The evolutionary model has not explained how new information can be added (since when has a mutation been positive?), whereas the occurrence of microevolution shows how great variety within species can result from natural selection as genetic information is eliminated.
My friend’s father also thinks Evolution is going down. He said it doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Well, since when did chopping the arms and legs off a hypothesis do any damage?
King Arthur: Your arm’s off!
Black Knight: No it isn’t!
King Arthur: What’s that then?
Black Knight: I’ve had worse.
King Arthur: You liar!
King Arthur: What else are you going to do, bleed on me?
Black Knight: I’m invincible!
King Arthur: You’re a loony.
I have more evidence that a commenter is resorting to using the name of one of my old family members to argue about definitions than I have evidence to believe in macroevolution. One of the best old Read family stories is about cousin Deborah marrying the famous Dr. Franklin. Not like that means anything, of course. [Insert Red Herring, et al. fallacy accusation here]
Dude, if your name really is Benjamin Franklin…that’s hilarious.
Speaking of definitions, I think there was something else I needed to clarify. Oh yes, the definition of the name Peleg. The commenter Chris misunderstood me and thought that I said the definition of the name is “he was born in the age when the worlds divided.” Actually, I meant to restate what the Bible says:
“Two sons were born to Eber; the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.” – Genesis 10:25
This genealogical record shows that Eber gave one of his sons the name Peleg, which means division, because when Peleg was born the earth was divided. Some scholars think this is a reference to post-Deluge civilization witnessing the break up of the continents. Others assert that it is a reference to the division of families after the lingual break up at Babel.
I think I’m running out of time and space in this article and will have to address other arguments later. But one more important note has to be made. The Creation model and Evolution model continue to vie with each other, and I think that the scientific data often reflects creation more than macroevolution [Click here to watch a recent debate between a creationist and evolutionist]. But the main source of contention is often the Bible (or more specifically, Jesus Christ). Some people may believe that the universe was intelligently designed without believing in the Creator of the Bible. Let us remember that science is only one piece of the picture. History is another. The reasoning behind the God of the Bible – in fact, Jesus Christ – being the Designer of the universe is one deducted from sound historical observation. Faith is another aspect, of course. I don’t have enough faith to believe that the universe made itself, or that a chimpanzee can evolve into a human.
Richard Dawkins says that the beautiful thing about evolution is that it grants the illusion of design. Of course, I always knew that the beautiful thing about me is that I grant the illusion of actually being me.
UPDATE -03/18/10: Because of the gross confusion and grotesque misunderstanding taking place in the comment zone, allow me to summarize the core issue here. I will do so as delicately as possible so as to not upset the delicate internal chemistry of my readers (telling someone they over-complicate logic and over-simplify science is “personal abuse”?). Allow me to clear up another definition I pronounced. I implied that most all “skeptics” are hasty and sensitive in their argumentative style. What I should have said is that most all “skeptics” that I HAVE PERSONALLY WITNESSED are that way, not most all that exist. Also, I put quotes around the word “skeptics” because although colloquially (goodness, I’m having to use that term a lot) it is used to label thoughtful unbelievers, I think that few actually use real skepticism. It seems they are not looking for answers. They are playing a game with themselves and others in order to find an unanswerable question. Perhaps that’s what that one evolutionist meant when he said that he couldn’t imagine anything more boring than to believe that the earth was created. His favorite game is ended if a Creator exists to explain it all!
Anyway, my claims were totally ripped apart until they were unrecognizable in the Comment Wars. This is because of a hasty desire to state that science is not on my side, before defining what science it is that we are talking about. Creation and Evolution could be defined as the two hypothetical scientific worldviews – every scientist believes or leans towards one or the other, and there is no such thing as an unbiased scientist. NEITHER CREATION NOR EVOLUTION CAN BE FALSIFIED SCIENTIFICALLY. There are also subcategories of these overarching scientific worldviews – i.e., young earth creationism, old earth creationism, theistic evolution. Only the predictions these subcategories make can be scientifically falsified. Thus, we take into account what the dynamo theory predicts vs. what the rapid decay theory predicts, or what macroevolution predicts vs. what microevolution predicts, etc. The list that Chris got from TalkOrigins* is dealing with certain predictions of sub-hypotheses in the Evolutionary worldview. That list deals with how macroevolution can be falsified, not the Evolutionary worldview (though I’ll admit that to knock out macroevolution takes at least a leg off of the Evolutionary worldview). If macroevolution were found to be occurring, then that would shake up some of the Creation worldview, but not all of it, because there are different types of creationists who don’t see a problem with macroevolution.
Furthermore, Creation and Evolution have sub-worldview categories pertaining to particular historical beliefs. Thus, their individual stories and predictions need to be proved reliable by historical science tests more so than mere scientific tests. For instance, whether or not the Bible is a reliable historical document means a great deal to the young earth creationist view.
In short, I have not “lied through my teeth.” One must be patient and pay attention in order to understand such things.
*NOTE: If you haven’t already noticed, “Ring Around the Origins, a Pocket Full of Folly” was written as a response to a comment made on the article, “A ‘Kernel of Historicity’ vs. the Faith of a Mustard Seed” that referenced the TalkOrigins article about transitional fossils. I sought to explain how shady that article is. I try to focus on responding to one claim at a time.