Evolution: Science or Philosophy?

Kara Braun

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“Science, you might say, has discovered that our existence is infinitely improbable, and hence a miracle.”   John Horgan, science journalist

“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”    Francis Crick, who helped discover the molecular structure of DNA.

“Scientists who utterly reject evolution may be one of our fastest growing controversial minorities… Many of the scientists supporting this position hold impressive credentials in science.”
Larry Hatfield, writing in Science Digest

These quotes taken from Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for a Creator, illustrate a tiny sample of what one man found in his search for the possibility of a Creator for the universe. As a journalist with a love for investigation, Strobel personally interrogated scientific authorities from numerous fields of study to find out what science’s most current findings had to say about the origin of the universe and of living things. He began his journey as a skeptic with a lot of difficult questions, but was quickly forced to change his position. What amazed him repeatedly was that science itself points toward God! The experts were aware of it. Of course, there were many loyal atheists in the ranks of science, but they were having a hard time finding theories to explain away the weaknesses in Darwinian philosophy. Some were atheists because that was more “scientifically” acceptable–they feared to be censured by scientific colleagues or to voice objections that were not politically correct. Some doubtless refused to acknowledge God because of the inconvenience of being accountable to Him. But scientific evidence itself was farther away than ever from explaining the existence of the universe apart from God. And the men who were most advanced in their fields were the ones most aware of this problem.

One scientist whom Strobel interviewed pointed out the hypocrisy in biology textbooks of the day. Common “icons of evolution”–images used widely in textbooks to stamp evolutionary theory upon the minds of American students and cited by almost any scientist to describe the evidence for evolution–were all either false or misleading. These icons included Darwin’s tree of life, which depicted a branching tree as the pattern by which complex life forms developed and branched off gradually through natural selection from a single common ancestor; Haeckel’s embryos, which showed the similarities of various creatures in their earliest stages; the archaeopteryx, which was supposed to be a missing link between reptiles and birds; and Miller’s experiment, which used electric sparks to produce amino acids from a supposed early-earth atmosphere.

Investigation overturned every one of the icons mentioned. Darwin’s tree of life was a theory contradicted by the fossil evidence. Rather than showing a gradual change in life forms from a few simple organisms to gradually more complex forms over a long range of time, the fossil record shows a remarkably fast appearance of major groups of animals all at the same time with characteristics widely differing from each other. Haeckel’s drawings of embryos had been accused of fraud over one hundred years ago. Besides picking out only examples that supported his theory and ignoring those that didn’t, Haeckel had apparently used the same woodcut for embryos of different classes and had falsely represented the drawings to be at different developmental stages than they really were. When recent biologists brought the fact to light, expert scientists showed no signs of surprise. They had known about the discrepancy for years, and yet it was still being published as fact in science textbooks!

Another evolutionary icon was the archaeopteryx, a beautiful creature but no more of a missing link than the duckbill platypus or any other unusual animal we see in existence today. It had the essential body structure of a bird and did not overcome the problem of how a transitional form with a body structure between that of a reptile’s and a bird’s could have survived.

Finally there was the Miller experiment. It began, scientists agreed, with the wrong atmosphere, and it produced only amino acids, something far short of life even in its simplest form. The scientist whom Strobel was interviewing used an example to describe the impossibility of creating even one living cell by mere electricity. If you put an existing cell into a test tube with a sterile salt solution and poke a hole in it so that the contents leak out, you have all the components of life, which is already more than Miller’s experiment was able to do. Still, no scientist in his right mind would try to put them back together again in just the right way to produce a new cell. The process is simply too complicated. In reply to Strobel’s question of why examples like these were still published in evolutionary textbooks, the scientist acknowledged: “It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that this is materialistic philosophy masquerading as empirical science. The attitude is that life had to have developed this way because there’s no other materialistic explanation. And if you try to invoke another explanation–for instance, intelligent design–then the evolutionists claim you’re not a scientist.”

Lee Strobel went on to interview learned men from the fields of cosmology, physics, astronomy, biochemistry, and more. Everywhere the evidence piled up in favor of God. Not only did science show that the universe had a beginning–which fact implies something greater than the universe to have given it a beginning–but science also showed that this first Cause was an intelligent cause. Strobel found that physical laws which govern the universe are fine-tuned with stunning precision to make life possible. If the force of gravity were set on a dial that spanned the entire width of the universe, and that dial were moved by just one inch in either direction, the universe could no longer support life; and gravity is merely one of more than thirty unrelated physical laws and parameters which require such infinitesimal precision that a slight change in their numerical values would mean disaster for us.

Design is also evident in the extreme complexity of the information stored in the human DNA molecule. This information is spelled out in computer-like code using only four letters which have no chemical attraction to each other and therefore no inherent force ordering them into a certain sequence. Their arrangement is ordered by something outside the system–leading Strobel to marvel “It’s almost as if the Creator autographed every cell.” There has obviously been a purposeful mind at work all over creation. If the universe were put on trial for how it originated, Strobel says there would be more evidence for God being “guilty” of creating it than the DNA evidence that is used in modern courtrooms to convict a thief or murderer of his crime.

Walter Martin, in a lecture entitled “Common Campus Curses,” supports the argument of design with the example of a beautiful new automobile rolling off the end of an auto manufacturing assembly line. You look at the automobile and exclaim, “Wasn’t that an amazing assembly line to have produced such a remarkable automobile!” The people around you start wondering if you are crazy because they know that it takes an engineer to produce an automobile; the assembly line can do no more than put it together. In the same manner, evolutionists try to ascribe the wonders of the universe to nature, but nature has no creative, designing power–it is only a mechanism used to put the design together. We cannot say that chance brought the universe about with so much beauty and precision. Chance, if given enough time, can produce momentary order, but it does not have the power to sustain that order. You can throw down a box of alphabets and end up with “abc,” but the next throw will invariably scramble the letters again. In Martin’s words, “What chance creates, it almost instantaneously annihilates.”

Science has never proved that there is no God. Science, by definition, cannot prove how the universe came into existence. It cannot prove that God created it, nor can it prove that God did not create it. Why? Because science can only prove things that can be observed and repeated. No scientist was there when the universe began. Nobody observed and documented how it happened. Nobody can repeat the creation of the universe. Chance and natural selection themselves are not repeating any creative process beyond slight, predetermined variation within a species (determined, in other words, by information that was already there and not by added information). What has not been observed and cannot be repeated cannot be proved to have happened. People can propose theories, but they will remain theories. To conclusively affirm how the universe came about is outside the realm of science and, in that sense, a decision of faith (whether faith in God or faith in nature). All we can do is look at the evidence that is there and judge which conclusion is the most reasonable. Where does the evidence point? Toward creation! God has left fingerprints all over Creation–on the stars, the rocks, and the oceans; on complex systems and individual atoms; and most of all on living man with his will, his mind, and his personality. These fingerprints are difficult to ignore.

What if God does exist? The mere chance that God exists should inspire a person to seek for Him. The mere chance that we may have to give account to Him should make us find out what He requires of us. To ignore the possibility of His existence and dare to meet Him unprepared is too risky when the evidence of His handiwork is undeniably strong.

Information used in this article has been taken from the following sources:
“The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel; published by Zondervan, copyright 2004
“Common Campus Curses,” a lecture by Walter Martin (date and place unknown)

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