September 15, 2011

Things Evolve, But How Much?

The purpose of this blog is not really to support evolution of any kind, but rather to elucidate the veracity of the Bible by showing that the evidence in creation is consistent with the Bible. If a form of designed evolution is true, then that must glorify God in some way. I am convinced that Genesis 1 leaves room for some kind evolution of life. However, considering some of the marvels of nature, I cannot help but wonder if even a designed evolutionary process can account for all the complexity. It is fully possible that God has been creating new life forms for hundreds of millions of years. I would leave that door open. What should be intuitively obvious, though, is that a designed evolutionary process is exceedingly more plausible than an un-designed one.

It seems clear to me that there are countless small evidences that macroevolution of some kind has happened through the ages. All of these small evidences seem to amount to a significant pile of evidence. Yet even so, I would not be shocked if these evidences are wrongly interpreted and God has simply been taking existing designs in nature and tweaking them and creating new species at His leisure. The apparent macroevolution could be nothing more than miraculous redesigns by God. That seems a bit strange to me, but I really don’t know God well enough to say He would not do that. Who has known His infinite mind, anyway? The fact that there is so much genetic similarity between all living organisms does not prove evolution, only that there has been a common origin for all life. The common origin may be nothing more than God’s mind. Who is to say that God could not have intentionally left a sort of fingerprint on all living things? Common designs could just as easily indicate a common Designer. (Now, Reasons to Believe is the place to go to find resources pertaining to this basic idea of old-earth creationism.)

There are other possibilities that fall somewhere in between the two ideas—designed evolution and old-earth creationism. There may have been a good measure of limited macroevolution occurring through the ages and instances of new creations by God. It is clear that God has made animals capable of microevolution and some speciation.

There is definitely potential for some kinds of evolution in all life. There is even an example of a strain of bacteria that was shown to be able to re-evolve the ability to metabolize the sugar lactose in a unique way. I hesitate to show these kinds of examples because I—again—am not trying to prove evolution on this blog. Michael Behe tries to explain why this is a bad example of macroevolution resulting in an irreducibly complex feature [1], but much of his explanation is apparently shown to be inaccurate or insufficient [2]. However, even this example of evolution does not show an “unlimited evolutionary potential” even according to the godless evolutionists. All it shows is that organisms are really good at changing genetically to survive, which could show design as much as anything else. Did the bacteria really randomly mutate, or was it programmed to genetically reorganize and “intelligently change” as needed? I do not know if there was any investigation into whether or not the bacteria truly “mutated” randomly. I believe the evolutionists merely assumed that the bacteria randomly mutated the necessary new pathway to metabolize lactose. From what I have heard, it looks as if chance and randomness cannot explain the efficiency of the adaptation. Evolution, whatever the scope, is designed and efficient. (See Answers in Genesis' analysis of this example of evolution for more info and what appear to be good reasons why this does not support un-designed evolution [3].)

I’m not comfortable agreeing with Michael Behe’s concept of irreducible complexity, partly because I believe that designed evolution may be so brilliant and efficient so as to allow for the evolution of “irreducibly complex” components. The key question to answer, in my opinion, is do purely chemical processes explain the origin of DNA-based life and the rest of the complexity in life? The answer seems to be a resounding “no!” Pure chance—luck of the draw—could never explain the immense complexity of cellular life. It is so complex that our understanding of “simple” cells has only just begun. Random evolution also should not have resulted in an overabundance of complexity in designs among all living creatures. Randomness and evolution completely fail to explain all of life. And as best I can tell it hasn’t been getting any better at explaining it, only worse the more complex we understand everything to be.

In the end, however, it all boils down to faith. Proof of God is impossible, just like proof of Him not existing is impossible. Proof of the Bible is also impossible. But, there are plenty of reasons to believe in Him and His Word. It isn’t proven, but regardless of the nature of evolution, the Bible has plenty of support from the evidence.



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