The Christian Broadcasting Network


Evolution Under The Microscope

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Evolution in its various forms argues for the increasing complexity of life over time. According to Charles Darwin, all living things come from one ancestor.

Science philosopher Stephen Meyer of Whitworth College says, "Darwin's common ancestry thesis < P tree.?< giant a like of kind looks life history the picture that so time over change scale large been there?s and ancestry, common single by related are organisms all>

That, says evolution critic Dr. Meyer, is how evolution suggests bacteria can become people. Darwin proposed a theory with broad implications.

Other critics like law professor Phillip Johnson at the University of California, Berkeley, have analyzed the evidence for evolution as well as its philosophy.

Dr. Johnson says those implications lead to one conclusion. "Nature's all there is: no God in the picture. He's either non-existent or He's so far away it doesn't matter. He might as well not exist -- nature did its own creating by natural mechanisms."

However, Dr. Audrey Chapman of the American Association for the Advancement of Science says evolutionary thought has lots to offer religion.

"A big enough God, a God that is not constrained by the findings of science -- and the vision of the universe 2,000 to 3,000 years ago."

Was Darwin himself a materialist into naturalism?

Dr. Johnson says Darwin left the impression that God could have created through evolution. "Whenever these issues came up more specifically, he was very firm in saying that the whole process is undirected and very cruel and wasteful. And it's just not something that makes any sense to attribute to God."

Dr. Chapman disagrees. "Darwin was not a materialist; I think that's a major misunderstanding."

Dr. Meyer says family dynamics played a role in restraining Darwin, who "was married to a devout Christian. He knew that his work caused her a lot of pain. So, he was very reluctant to state everything that followed from his theory."

Trained in both science and theology, Dr. Chapman finds no conflict between belief in God and evolution. Dr. Meyer says naturalism pervades science to the point God is often excluded. Philosophy aside, Darwin believed that eventually fossils would be discovered to show the gradual transitions he predicted.

Today, the gaps still exist, Johnson says. "When the < P of the that by are about.?< hear you ones only Those way. interpret can some be to got have there -- fossils millions hundreds all, After story. into fit they Darwinists, interpreted>

In addition, there's the Cambrian Explosion, a sudden burst of creatures in the lowest geological levels of life, which left lots of fossils. Johnson comments, "If you look at the areas where the fossil record is most complete, it's also the most anti-Darwinian. It shows variation, but no step-by-step progressive change from one kind of thing into another."

But hasn't science demonstrated, as Time magazine recently reaffirmed, that man is simply a smart ape? Still, human and ape fossils are rare.

Again, Dr. Johnson responds, "They go to the area where the fossil record is most incomplete -- and where subjective interpretation can have the greatest sway. They say, 'Well, we found this, we found that, that proves that we're right, ignore everything else.'"

Jack Cuozzo, an orthodontist and anthropologist, has analyzed and X-rayed several Neanderthal ancestors of man. His conclusion is that man devolved, not evolved, from the ancient Neanderthals. "These people had better teeth from what I saw, they had better eyes, they had much stronger bones and much stronger muscles, they had bigger brains."

Evolutionary anthropologist Colin Groves reviewed Cuozzo's book, Buried Alive, and disagreed with Cuozzo's interpretation.

Mathematician William Dembski, author of The Design Inference, criticizes what's called chemical evolution -- the development of the first biological chemicals on the early earth. His figures find the chances of getting these crucial substances at 1 in 10 to the 60th power -- essentially zero.

And how do the engineering lines of the Chevy Corvette serve as evidence of evolution? One evolutionary zoologist compares biological evolution to the development of the Corvette.

Dr. Dembski finds this odd. "So it's nothing like what's supposed to be going on in Darwinian evolution where you have random processes with no forethought about where it's going."

Biochemist Michael Behe says evolution simply doesn't explain the complex biology of living things -- once we look into Darwin's Black Box -- the complexities of the cell Darwin never imagined.

Comments Dr. Behe, "The cell contains machines, real molecular machine. Much like a mousetrap, they have different parts that work together to allow the function. If you take one of those parts away, the machine doesn't work half as well as it used to. It's completely broken."

So how does that impact evolution?

"It's very difficult to see how things like that could accumulate their function gradually in a Darwinian way as most scientists have thought," says Behe.

So far, Behe's design idea has not caught on with members of the science establishment like Dr. Chapman. "Their evidence is not compelling," she says.

Phillip Johnson takes a different approach. "I always say we ought to teach the young people much more about evolution than the science educators want them to know -- because the science educators don't want them to know about the problems, they want them to think that all you need to have is variation and everything is perfect."

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