My Parsons Family

The Blog of Chris and Kerry Parsons

My Parsons Family - The Blog of Chris and Kerry Parsons

Why I Reject Evolution

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.

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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.

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Chris Parsons

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Category: Christianity
  • Chuck Lunney says:

    You say DNA cannot ever “add information”, but that is not true. There are many instances of additions to DNA, from single point insertions (http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Insertion_mutation) to wholesale duplication of massive (many tens of thousands of bases) segments (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534703000338). Not only that, there are plenty of examples of external DNA being directly incorporated into the genome of an organism (http://www.genome.ou.edu/protocol_book/protocol_adxF.html).

    These are not isolated instances, nor do they only occur once. Most of these types of additions have been known about for many decades, so I don’t know why you say you couldn’t find any resources describing such.

    Your simplistic, unrealistic “explanation” of how your children get their DNA is not correct. In fact, it is not even wrong (to quote Feynman). If that’s the best you could find, I suggest you try another search engine, because the one you used was defective.

    May 15, 2013 at 3:28 pm
    • Chris Parsons says:

      Chuck,

      You are correct – there are many instances of additions to DNA, however none of them add information. Feel free to see my question and answers on this in more detail on reddit.

      http://www.reddit.com/r/evolution/comments/1ecg4v/why_i_reject_evolution/c9z8pbi

      May 15, 2013 at 3:59 pm
      • Chuck Lunney says:

        I read your comments there, as well as the numerous responses that rebutted all of your claims and assertions. You have stated, both there and here, that “information” cannot be added to the genome. But shouldn’t you define your terms? What do you mean by “information”? Is adding tens of thousands of duplicated base pairs to the genome more information or not? Why or why not? Is a frameshift mutation which alters a protein’s structure, or even causes a different protein to be expressed, new “information”? Why or why not?

        There are plenty of documented, sequenced examples of these types of mutations throughout the scientific literature.

        I also have to wonder at your rejection of evolution (and almost all of modern science) based on a single “point of failure”. Science doesn’t work like that, it is robust and resilient to challenges and failures. If you don’t recognize the way science works, by replacing or modifying existing explanations with more correct, more detailed and better explanations, then how can you reject any of it? Just because you don’t understand or accept something doesn’t make it wrong.

        I don’t personally care what your religious viewpoint and positions are. But don’t present a misinformed, misguided and mangled version of “science” as if it supports your views. Science doesn’t work like that, and you are being disingenuous to suggest it does.

        May 16, 2013 at 6:55 am
        • Chris Parsons says:

          I have added a definition for new information to the article. By new DNA information, I mean instructions that create a new functionality. This is what has not been observed.

          My rejection of evolution is based on much more than a single point of failure, but a single point of failure was all I chose to focus on here.

          May 16, 2013 at 8:18 am
        • Dip says:

          I agree, I think we are very close to the same page. I think there are certainly good renasos (call them proofs) to use the axioms in place (things like laws of physics, etc.). They must be assumed to be true in order to do science, even though science can not prove they are true. This, to me, is where the faith aspect comes into play. I think we would agree this to be the case.Faith is certainly a term that is often equivocated upon. Sometimes its used one way, other times its used another way. I would agree that faith can be based on renasos or not (rational, irrational). Faith based on renasos, it seems, is not wrong, but necessary. I think the differences people have stem from what counts as renasos. However, within the scientific pursuit itself (that is in its operations), everything is based on evidence, faith would not work here. At the same time we do see that at bottom level (as we’ve been discussing) there is belief.I think it is interesting to ask the question, where to the laws of physics come from? I think here science can’t answer. It should have input in the discussion, but it can’t tell us this (which is why he have to accept them as true axiomatically). This isn’t a problem for science, it doesn’t need to know where they come from to work. But when talking about truth, certainty, and knowledge, that question is important I think. It might be at this point where we aren’t on the same page, but I think the answer, if it can be found, has to come from outside of science because science has to assume them to work. One can hypothesize other closed universes, but science can’t prove (at least not yet) their existence. Even if it did, then, since nothing in nature is uncaused, it would be in need of an explanation for why there were multiple universes. (i.e. why is there something rather than nothing.) Just some more thoughts.

          December 28, 2013 at 3:30 pm
          • Vinay says:

            Thanks Abouna for the conclusions. I emialed the head educator for Catholic Schools in Brisbane, because I was worried that some of my brothers and sisters in school have been criticised for being fundamental, when they held that the first 11 chapters (I think) are not Myths.I was wondering if you could understand the response; I can’t really get to you by email. I don’t think it is ethical for me to disclose the email contents so publically, but I think it is alright for me to disclose a few things it revealed about Catholic scholorship. I was directed to a book (rather a segment from), How to Read the Old Testament, by Etienne Charpentier. It was argued that, Myth does not mean untruth . Myth, as it relates to the Creation Narratives reveals a large truth- Creation is a Divine selfless act from ex nihlo, an outpouring of God’s graciousness and abundance upon all of creation .It was also brought to my attention that they believe that Chapter One and Two are different versions (I am not sure if they mean complementary or contradictory etc.) of the Creation story, with a 500 year gap between its authorship.I just thought you might like to know. And perhaps you have a comment from your pastoral experience that can be invaluable to me to understand and share with my Christian brothers and sisters.

            April 6, 2014 at 7:35 pm
  • Richard Russell says:

    There’s no reason why you can’t accept the scientific evidence for evolution and also take a literal interpretation of Genesis. See http://postcardsfromrichard.blogspot.co.uk/p/essay-on-science-and-faith.html

    August 27, 2013 at 11:47 am
    • Chris Parsons says:

      And many people do, Richard. I’ve pointed out the theological issues with this, but it really comes down to – I personally believe that if you review both sides of the evidence, science actually does not support current macroevolution theory.

      Macroevolution is pure speculation, with the defense that we “can’t know” because it takes millions or billions of years to occur and that’s it’s the ONLY possible scientific explanation. I, on the other hand, do not have to make such speculations or offer an alternative scientific explanation. God created life (in it’s current form, more or less). I don’t know how He did it. I just know that He did.

      And I believe that it happened according to the way Genesis describes it. I found this very, very difficult to believe. But it’s also very difficult to believe that God had a Son who died for the sins of the world and was resurrected providing eternal life for those that believe in Him. On the surface level, this is a preposterous concept that defies any sense of logic or cohesiveness with the world we’ve personally experienced.

      And yet as a Christian you are convicted of it’s truth because when you study the word of God it actually makes perfect sense and harmonizes so many things you’ve seen and experienced in your life. I don’t think interpreting Genesis literally is any different.

      August 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm
  • Otto Lofink says:

    I admire what you have done here. I love the part where you say you are doing this to give back but I would assume by all the comments that is working for you as well. Do you have any more info on this?

    April 2, 2014 at 1:40 pm
  • MIchael Scott says:

    “In order for bacteria to become a plant”

    ROFL!!

    April 5, 2014 at 2:49 am
  • Piotr says:

    And even if any unknown intelligence created us and everything around – why do You believe it was God as described in bible ? Of course there is something behind it, but it has nothing to do with Jesus, bible, hell or paradise – it is cool for 3 years old children – not for an adults. Religion gives no answer, it just takes advantage of the big mystery that no human being know answer to, and takes advantage of people need to believe in “something”
    So sipmle – no need for story telling.

    May 19, 2014 at 6:01 pm
    • Chris Parsons says:

      I agree, Religion does take advantage of people. But that really has nothing to do with whether Jesus really existed or was the son of God. “Religion is man reaching up for God. Christianity is God reaching down to man.” Christianity presents a perfectly rational world-view.

      May 20, 2014 at 10:50 am
  • Carl says:

    You haven’t defined what you mean by “information”. You claim that transcription and duplication errors do not represent new information yet this is clearly the case for any scientific definition of “information”.

    August 1, 2014 at 6:30 pm
    • Chris Parsons says:

      See earlier – I have added a definition for new information to the article. By new DNA information, I mean instructions that create a new functionality. This is what has not been observed.

      August 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm

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