Okay, okay – I like that title for it’s shock value, but it’s not exactly true.
[UPDATE - I had some scientific counter-arguments made, and have updated my post to address them]
I was taught that evolution was a fact in school, and never really questioned it (which is weird because I question everything). I mean, after all, they had the pictures of the skulls evolving lined up all nice and pretty - of course it was true! Oh, and I was an atheist – so I had no reason not to believe it.
Then, after Kerry & I got married, we went to watch this little video put on by a local high school Biology teacher (at a Christian school) about how special life was… Despite being a Biology teacher, he rejected Darwinian Evolution, and because he was a Biology teacher - had a good argument for it. I had never heard a good argument against evolution, so it sparked my interest…
I began researching like crazy, trying to disprove every point on each side of the evolution debate to find the truth.
Evolution is defined as:
The change in a gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.
I do not deny that gene pools change from generation to generation, or that mutation/natural selection/genetic drift (random sampling of gene variants) occur.
A perfect example is Chihuahuas and wolves. Both evolved from a wolf-like animal.
To explain, let’s start with a basic (way over-simplified) understanding of DNA. You have 100 pieces of DNA, and your wife has a different 100 pieces. When you have a child, he or she gets 50 pieces from each of you. Thus, each generation has less DNA than the generation before it, which gives more and more conformity in groups (similarities between Chihuahuas), and yet more and more disparity between groups (big difference between Chihuahuas and wolves).
The Russian experiments to create a domesticated silverfox is a perfect example.
This understanding of DNA/evolution accounts for:
- Natural Selection - the animal with the most well-suited DNA survives and procreates.
- Gene Mutation - mutations can be passed onto offspring as it affects DNA (however these are irrelevant the vast majority of the time and usually a bad thing if they make a difference).
- Genetic Drift - because DNA transmission to offspring is unstructured, certain DNA can be lost or become popular randomly.
This is referred to as micro-evolution. It is a wonderful phenomenon and is observable in nature.
Here’s where things start getting interesting… when Charles Darwin observed this, he theorized that this same mechanism could be responsible for all life forms evolving from a single source aka ‘Macro-evolution’.
Macroevolution essentially says that all life formed from a simple organism (likely bacteria or a precursor such as nucleic acid), and over billions of years this organism evolved into plants and animals.
Some would try to argue that there is no difference between macro and micro evolution. Keep reading for my response to that, but first – a true story:
There was a Biology Professor at Tulane University who was outraged about having to give creationism equal time (he was an Athiest), he gave an emphatic speech at the school about why Evolution was true, but could not answer some questions from a Christian student, so he set out to find hard evidence of macroevolution, but after years of genuinely searching – found nothing. He ended up declaring evolution a bankrupt theory, and became a Christian.
The arguments and points against evolution are many, but rather than get mired in the details, it ultimately comes down to this:
In order for bacteria to become a plant, or an ape-like animal to become a human, it would need a massive amount of new DNA information (meaning: instructions for new, novel functionality – such as feathers, wings, etc). Referring to the above example with Chihuahuas, microevolution is the loss/segmentation of DNA, while macroevolution requires the addition of DNA information.
There is no known mechanism that would allow an organism to introduce additional DNA information. The mechanism isn’t known because no one has ever observed it happening.
Quick counter-argument: The “best” resource I can find that attempts to counter this and prove macroevolution is by Talk Origins (whose stated purpose is “to [refute] assertions of those advocating intelligent design or other creationist pseudosciences”). It’s strongest points are presented here:
- ‘Universal Common Ancestry’ proves common characteristics amongst species (for instance birds & dinosaurs), which is assumed to show that they came from a common ancestor and evolved new/different characteristics. The fact that different species share common characteristics proves nothing of macroevolution, since this could occur from microevolution and/or be “coincidental” (ahem – perhaps designed that way).
- There is much evidence for gene mutations (including gene duplication – the purported mechanism that would be responsible for new information), which do change DNA, even add additional DNA, but do not add any new DNA information to it. These gene mutations can even on occasion produce new features, but this isn’t new information as assumed, but is rather due to the loss of information. Sorry X-Men fans, no gene mutation will make you grow wings.
- The ‘observed speciation’ is no different than the microevolution example I gave comparing Chihuahuas and wolves. This is in no way evidence of macroevolution. Breeding fruit flies to pronounce differences to the point that they no longer mate still gives you two types of flies.
After coming to this conclusion, I hadn’t yet rejected macroevolution (despite the evidence – I had believed it so long that it was tough to change my mind on), but I was certainly stunned by my new found knowledge – especially shocked that I had never heard this side of the debate before, or even known that there was a debate!
It was the beginning of a turning point in my personal faith…
After all, the theory of macroevolution makes God unnecessary – not untrue, but unnecessary. Without it, what else are you left with for the existence of mankind?
Without Evolution, God doesn’t just seem likely, but imperative.
And what if macroevolution were true? What would that mean for Christianity? When I first became a Christian, I would argue that God used macroevolution to bring about his purpose – that it was possible to believe in both the Bible and macroevolution.
But according to the Book of Genesis: God created the Universe in 6 days, less than 10,000 years ago.
Well, that certainly doesn’t leave any room for macroevolution… And so, in order to believe in both (called Theistic Evolution), you had to view Genesis as a story intended to teach, rather than be taken literally… which I did.
But there are issues with attempting to reconcile believing in both macroevolution and Christianity.
- Firstly, macroevolution leaves no room for the guiding hand of God. But more importantly, if macroevolution is true, then human-kind is a temporary phenomenon - bound to be surpassed by a more evolved creature at some point in the future.
- And if Genesis is not literal – how do we know what parts of the Bible are literal? If we are deciding what parts to take literally based on our scientific reasoning then we would never literally believe Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
- Further, if macroevolution created mankind, there would be no original sin - and if original sin is also “just a story”, then why would we need a savior?
I can no longer reconcile Darwinian Evolution with Christianity. I do not believe that both can be true. Therefore, I believe Genesis is literal, and reject macroevolution based on this, which is further supported by the lack of evidence behind it.
PS: In order to reject Darwinian Evolution, you must accept the concept of a higher being (God). Since Atheist do not accept this, they will never reject macroevolution – regardless of any scientific argument I could make.
I welcome questions and friendly debate on this subject, but not attacks.