Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Evolution Illusion

I wouldn’t consider myself any sort of magician, but I can do some sleight-of-hand. I have seen hundreds of people open their mouths wide in unbelief at what their eyes have just seen. It is true that the eye is easily fooled.

Back in November of 2008 I took a small camera crew to visit the "Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle Grand Galerie de L'Evolution" in Paris, France. I had a sense of excitement because we were going to be able to film actual "evidence" of evolution.

The museum was magnificent. There were thousands of stuffed animals--from pairs of giant giraffes, massive elephants, zebras, lions, tigers--you name it and you could find it. It was awe-inspiring. But there was a problem. There didn’t seem to be anything within the museum to do with evolution, yet it was called the "Grand Gallery of Evolution."

After an hour of searching all we could find was a copy of Origin of Species in a glass case. So we asked an attendant, who kindly took us up some stairs and showed us an ugly-looking stuffed monkey with "Lucy" written on a small piece of card. That was it. There was no "evidence" of evolution. The museum was filled with God’s creation, but all who entered had the wool of evolution pulled over their gullible eyes.

In my home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, the local museum has written in stone across the main entrance: "Lo, these are parts of His ways; but how little a portion is heard of Him." You can be sure that they only remain because they are written in stone.

Neil Geoffrey Turok holds the Chair of Mathematical Physics (1967) at Cambridge University. In speaking of the beginning of the universe, he said:

"It is our job as theorists to push those problems to the limit to see whether they can be cured, or whether they will instead prove fatal for the models. Equally, if not more important, is the attempt to test the models observationally, because science is nothing without observational test."

The theory of evolution is only scientific if it can be observably tested. In response to the objection "Evolution is not science because it is not observable or testable," Berkley University reply:

"Evolution is observable and testable. The misconception here is that science is limited to controlled experiments that are conducted in laboratories by people in white lab coats. Actually, much of science is accomplished by gathering evidence from the real world and inferring how things work. Astronomers cannot hold stars in their hands and geologists cannot go back in time, but in both cases scientists can learn a great deal by using multiple lines of evidence to make valid and useful inferences about their objects of study. The same is true of the study of the evolutionary history of life on Earth, and as a matter of fact, many mechanisms of evolution are studied through direct experimentation as in more familiar sciences."

They say that testable proof is that "Fossils such as Archaeopteryx give us snapshots of organisms as they adapt and change over time." They believe that cold-blooded reptilian dinosaurs evolved into warmed blooded birds. But it is very clear that Archaeopteryx is not a dinosaur, it’s a bird:

"For many years Archaeopteryx has been touted in biology textbooks and museums as the perfect transitional fossil, presumably being precisely intermediate between reptiles and birds. Much has been made over the fact that Archaeopteryx had teeth, fingers on its wings, and a long tail—all supposedly proving its reptilian ancestry. While there are no living birds with teeth, other fossilized birds such as Hesperornis also had teeth. Some modern birds, such as the ostrich, have fingers on their wings, and the juvenile hoatzin (a South American bird) has well-developed fingers and toes with which it can climb trees."

Another reason they maintain that evolution is observable and testable is because "Studying modern organisms such as elephant seals can reveal specific examples of evolutionary history and bolster concepts of evolution." One important key in magic is distraction. Here’s an example of distraction through an overload of irrelevant information:

"Northern elephant seals have reduced genetic variation probably because of a population bottleneck humans inflicted on them in the 1890s. Hunting reduced their population size to as few as 20 individuals at the end of the 19th century. Their population has since rebounded to over 30,000 — but their genes still carry the marks of this bottleneck: they have much less genetic variation than a population of southern elephant seals that was not so intensely hunted.

"A founder effect occurs when a new colony is started by a few members of the original population. This small population size means that the colony may have: 1, reduced genetic variation from the original population. 2, a non-random sample of the genes in the original population. For example, the Afrikaner population of Dutch settlers in South Africa is descended mainly from a few colonists. Today, the Afrikaner population has an unusually high frequency of the gene that causes Huntington's disease, because those original Dutch colonists just happened to carry that gene with unusually high frequency. This effect is easy to recognize in genetic diseases, but of course, the frequencies of all sorts of genes are affected by founder events."

Darwinian ape-to-man evolution is therefore observable and testable because they have observed that northern elephant seals carry less genetic variation than a population of southern elephant seals, and the Afrikaner population are susceptible to genetic diseases.

The Eye
The illusion continues on Berkley’s "one-stop source for information on evolution":

"Eyes are clearly incredibly useful, but where did the eye come from? How did so many animals evolve eyes and why do they look so different? This case study answers these questions.

"Here you will investigate how eyes evolved and why the eyes of different organisms are similar in some ways but not others. Specifically, you will see how the concept of homology — similarities inherited from a common ancestor — can crop up in surprising places, and how homologies illustrate both the diversity and unity of life."

After showing graphics of the eyes of various animals, they ask:

"How are these eyes related? Though the eyes we've seen so far differ in many ways, they all share the ability to sense light. They all have light-sensing cells (called photoreceptor cells) that relay information to the brain or nerve mass — and some of the eyes are laid out in similar ways. But why are they similar?"

They say it’s because they came from a common ancestor:

"Homologies are similar characteristics shared by two different organisms because they were inherited from a common ancestor."

A single engine plane has wings. So does a massive 400 seat passenger plane. The only relation between the two is that the makers used similar blueprints. Wings have the ability to lift planes, and eyes have the ability to sense light. That’s how they work.

The following thoughts about the eye are from a Christian who once believed in the theory of evolution:

"We need to revisit (again and again) what Darwin said about eye evolution:

'Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound.'

"If we like, we can continue to quote the next (and the next) paragraph but his case for evolution just gets weaker.

"Darwin is using the simplistic method of picking and choosing various eyes from various animals and 'demonstrating' gradations of eye development, all the while not showing the fossil evidence which actually and scientifically demonstrates this actually happened. 'How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us...' '...facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light.'

"What? Glossing over something like that is ridiculous. We have light-sensitive nerves (both rods and cones), a lens, focusing muscles, another nerve network to pick up that info, send it to the brain and invert the image, and Darwin explains the general principles of how it all came into being in one (excuse me, two) paragraphs? And that's supposed to be convincing to us? Wow.

"Let's be honest -- all this really takes faith. A blind leap. I know because I used to believe it myself. Until I started to ask some REAL questions to my biology professor and he shut me down. Romans 1:25: 'They exchanged the truth of God for a lie...'"

Let’s Make an Eye
If you lost your sight in one eye, the very best medical science could do is replace it with a fake eye. It may look as good as your other eye, but it certainly won’t look as good. You would be blind in that eye. This is because we don’t know how to create its interrelated system of about forty individual subsystems, including the retina, pupil, iris, cornea, lens, and optic nerve. Nor do we know how to make the retina’s 137 million light-sensitive cells that send messages to the brain. The eye is a nightmare of complexity beyond words for those who hope to imitate it.

A special section of the brain called the visual cortex interprets the pulses as color, contrast, depth, etc., which then allows us to see “pictures” of our world. Incredibly, the eye, the optic nerve and visual cortex are completely separate and distinct subsystems. Yet together they capture, deliver, and interpret up to 1.5 million pulse messages a millisecond!

Russell D. Fernald, Professor of Biology at Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences, said:

"At present, we do not know whether eyes arose once or many times, and, in fact, many features of eye evolution are still puzzling. How did eyes evolve? Darwin, the great English naturalist who first brought the systematic explanatory power of evolution to bear on the bewildering biological complexity of our planet, felt that eyes offered a special challenge to evolutionary thinking because they are such '...organs of extreme perfection and complication...' (1859). He was quite explicit on this point, saying '...that the eye....could have been formed by natural selection seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree'. More than a century later, with new insights that reach from molecular to macroscopic levels of analysis, new mysteries reinforce Darwin's prescient writing. We still have much to learn from the evolution of eyes, both about the existing eyes as well as the processes of evolution that produced them."

He then explained the supposed evolution of the eye:

"First was the production of simple eye spots which are found in nearly all the major animal groups and contain a small number of receptors in an open cup of screening pigment. Such detectors cannot play a role in recognizing patterns but are useful for distinguishing light from dark. The second stage in eye evolution is the addition of an optical system that can produce an image."

Kenneth R. Miller, Professor of Biology at Brown University, adds:

"Critics might ask what good that first tiny step, perhaps only five percent of an eye, might be. As the saying goes, in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king. Likewise, in a population with limited ability to sense light, every improvement in vision, no matter how slight, would be favored -- and favored dramatically -- by natural selection."

How could any sane person believe that the eye simply evolved? Easily. The necessary ingredient to believe, is "time." Scientific America explains:

"Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time, the 'impossible' becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles."

Richard Dawkins said, "Given sufficient time, the non-random survival of hereditary entities (which occasionally miscopy) will generate complexity, diversity, beauty, and an illusion of design so persuasive that it is almost impossible to distinguish from deliberate intelligent design." Time performs miracles. Look at how his child-like faith in time causes Professor Kenneth R. Miller to abandon all sense of reason:

"Intelligent-Design advocates content that evolution could not have produced such complex structures and processes because its instrument, natural selection, simply isn't up to the task. Such advocates agree that natural selection does a splendid job of working on the variation that exists within a species. Given a range of sizes, shapes, and colors, those individuals whose characteristics give them the best chance to reproduce will pass on traits that will increase in frequency in the next generation. The real issue, therefore, is whether or not the 'input' into genetic variation, which is often said to be the result of random mutation, can provide the beneficial novelty that would be required to produce new structures, new systems, and even new species. Could the marvelous structures of the eye have been produced 'just by chance?'

"The simple answer to that question is 'no.' The extraordinary number of physiological and structural changes that would have to appear at once to make a working, functioning eye is simply too much to leave to chance. The eye could not have evolved in a single event. That, however, is not the end of the story. The real test is whether or not the long-term combination of genetic variation and natural selection could indeed produce a structure as complex and well-adapted as the eye, and the answer to that question is a resounding 'yes.'"

"Long term" (time) performs the impossible miracle for the wide-eyed professor. When Richard Dawkins was asked how an eye could possibly have evolved, he simply said, "Audiences nevertheless appreciate an answer, and I have usually fallen back on the sheer magnitude of geological time." No one was back in time to see the unseen do its impossible work, but those who believe don’t need to see. They simply believe.

Richard Dawkins, in A Devil's Chaplain says:

"The evolution of the vertebrate eye must have been progressive. Ancient ancestors had a very simple eye, containing only a few features good for seeing. We don’t need evidence for this (although it is nice that it is there). It has to be true because the alternative—an initially complex eye, well-endowed with features good for seeing—pitches us right back to Hoyle country and the sheer cliff of improbability. There must be a ramp of step-by-step progress towards the modern, multifeatured descendant of that optical prototype.

"Of course, in this case, modern analogs of every step up the ramp can be found, working serviceably in dozens of eyes dotted independently around the animal kingdom. But even without these examples, we could be confident that there must have been a gradual, progressive increase in the number of features which an engineer would recognize as contributing towards optical quality. Without stirring from our armchair, we can see that it must be so."

Yet we now know that mutations can only modify or eliminate existing structures, not create new ones. In our genetic blueprint, the DNA letters that define these features can occasionally be rearranged or lost through mutations, but will not explain the additions needed by evolution. Scientists have yet to find even a single mutation that increases genetic information. The fact is that there is no evidence showing that mutations have ever created any new features:

S. G. Scott doesn’t speculate. He says, "There are no examples of natural inorganic (non-living) materials ever forming themselves into living (organic) material, let alone organizing themselves to the level of being able to duplicate themselves; not to mention developing a system that could store and retrieve the information on how to do it so that their offspring could also duplicate themselves, and could also pass the information on to their offspring, and so on, and so on, and so on..."

"...mutations do not lead to an increase in information. Indeed, reducing the number of legs may alter the body plan, but it does not explain the origin of legs in the first place. Nor does it explain where the genetic information to produce wings came from."

"Successful macro-evolution requires the addition of new information and new genes that produce new organs and systems."

Scientific American, March 2003 issue:

"Although evolutionary theory provides a robust explanation for the appearance of minor variations in the size and shape of creatures and their component parts, it does not yet give as much guidance for understanding the emergence of entirely new structures, including digits, limbs, eyes and feathers."

Still, it’s up to you. If you want to continue to believe, you will. Such is human nature.

Job 26:14.
A collaborative project of the University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education.
George Wald, Scientific American (1954), http://www.yukoncofc.org/creationvsevolution.pdf
River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, Richard Dawkins, 1995, page 78.
NY: First Mariner Books, 2004, p. 212, italics added.