Saturday, April 3, 2010

Darwin Only Had A Theology Degree!

by Babu G. Ranganathan

There are many who oppose theologians as having any ability to speak on matters of science, even in cases where such theologians also have scientific background and training. The opposition is especially great against theologians who defend the Biblical account of creation and show that science supports faith in God.

It would surprise many to know that Charles Darwin, the founder of modern evolutionary theory, was not a scientist but a theologian. Darwin only had a divinity degree and no formal training in the sciences. Yet, the staunch evolutionists who make fun of theologians using science to defend creation would never criticize the great Darwin on the grounds that he was a mere theologian.

It would further surprise many to know that the founder of the modern science of genetics, Gregor Mendel, was a theologian. Mendel was an Austrian monk whose experiments and study of cross-breeding of plants laid the foundations of the gene theory and our understanding of genetics and biological variation and transmission of biological traits within natural species.

Darwin's and Mendel's works contradict each other. Darwin taught that there were no limits to biological variation and that, if given enough time, a fish could evolve into a human being. Mendel, on the other hand, showed that there are natural limits to biological variations. Variations within biological kinds (such as varieties of dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc.) are possible but not variations across biological kinds, especially from simpler kinds to more complex ones. Mendel showed that evolution is limited to within the "kinds".

The only variations that biologists have observed in nature are variations of already existing traits, but evolutionists believe that random or chance mutations in the genetic code, caused by random environmental forces such as radiation, over time will produce entirely new traits which natural selection can then act upon.

Yes, Darwin did show that natural selection occurs in nature, but natural selection is not a creative force. Natural selection is a passive process in nature. Natural selection can only "select" from biological variations that are possible and which have survival value. Natural selection itself does not produce the biological variations.

When a biological change or variation occurs which helps an animal to survive in its environment then that variation will be preserved and be passed on to offspring. That is called "natural selection". There is, of course, no conscious or active selection on the part of nature as some think. The term "natural selection" is simply a figure of speech.

As was mentioned already, evolutionists believe that random or chance mutations in the genetic code, caused by random environmental forces such as radiation, will produce entirely new traits and variations which natural selection can then act upon. In reality it would require genetic engineering (intelligent manipulation of the genetic code) to produce entirely new traits. But, evolutionists argue that, if given enough time, chance mutations in the genetic code produced by the random forces of nature can accomplish the same as genetic engineering.

However, mutations are accidents in the sequential molecular structure of the genetic code and they are almost always harmful, as would be expected from accidents. Of course, just like some earthquakes that don't do any damage to buildings, there are also mutations that don't do any biological harm. But, even if a good mutation does occur for every good mutation there will be hundreds of harmful ones with the net result over time being disastrous for the species.

For those who are not read-up on their biology, a little information on genes would be helpful here. What we call "genes" are actually segments of the DNA molecule. DNA, or the genetic code, is composed of a molecular string of various nucleic acids (chemical letters) which are arranged in a sequence just like the letters found in the words and sentences of a book. It is this sequence of nucleic acids in DNA that tells the cells of our body how to construct (or build) various proteins, tissues, and organs such as nose, eyes, brain, etc. If the nucleic acids in the genetic code are not in the correct sequence then malfunctioning, or even worse, harmful proteins may form causing serious health problems and even death.

There is no law in science that nucleic acids have to come together in a particular sequence. Any nucleic acid can just as easily bond with any other. The only reason for why nucleic acids are found in a particular sequence in the DNA of the cells of our bodies is because they are directed to do so by previously existing DNA. When new cells form in our bodies the DNA of the old cells direct the formation of the DNA in the new cells.

The common belief among evolutionists is that, if given millions of years, radiation and other environmental forces will cause enough random changes (mutations) to occur in the sequential structure of the genetic code of a species so that entirely new sequences for entirely new genes will develop which in turn will program for the formation of entirely new biological traits, organs, and structures that natural selection can then act upon.

Would it be rational to believe that by randomly changing the sequence of letters in a cookbook that you will eventually get a book on astronomy? Of course not! And if the book were a living being it would have died in the process of such random changes.

Such changes as transforming one book into another or the DNA of one species into the DNA of another, especially one more complex, simply cannot occur by random or chance alterations. It would require intelligent planning and design to change one book into another or to change the DNA of a simpler species into the DNA of a more complex one. Yes, the raw materials and chemicals to make new genes exist in all species, but random forces of the environment (i.e. radiation, etc.) simply have no ability to rearrange those chemicals and biological materials into entirely new genes or into an entirely new genetic code.

What about “Junk DNA”? The latest science shows that "Junk DNA” isn't junk after all! It's we who were ignorant of how useful these segments of DNA really are. Recent scientific research published in scientific journals such as Nature has revealed that the "non-coding" segments of DNA are more than just useful; they are vital in regulating gene expression (i.e. how, when, and where) genes are expressed.

As for repetitive structures in DNA, they're not junk either. They may have a “back-up” purpose, like a spare tire in car, which the organism can utilize should it lose genetic material due to damage from random mutations caused by environmental forces.

Furthermore, a half-evolved and useless organ waiting millions of years to be completed by random mutations would be a liability and hindrance to a species - not exactly a prime candidate for natural selection. In fact, a major problem for evolutionists is how species could have survived over, supposedly, millions of years while their vital or necessary organs were still in the process of evolving!

Genetic information, like other forms of information, cannot arise by chance, so it is far more logical to believe that the DNA and biological similarities between species are due to a common Designer rather than common ancestry through evolution by way of random mutations. The Creator simply designed similar functions for similar purposes in all the various forms of life.

DNA similarities within a true species can be used to establish relationship because within a true species the various individuals can interbreed, but this not the case across true species. Therefore, similarities across true species cannot be used for establishing biological relationships.
The greatest problem for evolutionists is the origin of life itself. It is amazing how many in society, including the very educated, believe that scientists had already created life in the laboratory. No such thing has ever happened.

All that scientists have done is genetically engineer already existing forms of life in the laboratory, and by doing this scientists have been able to produce new forms of life, but they did not produce these new life forms from non-living matter. Even if scientists ever do produce life from non-living matter it will only be through intelligent design or planning so it still wouldn't help support any theory of life originating by chance or evolution.

If the cell had evolved it would have had to be all at once. A partially evolved cell cannot wait millions of years to become complete because it would be highly unstable and quickly disintegrate in the open environment, especially without the protection of a complete and fully functioning cell membrane.

Although it has been shown that the basic building blocks of life, amino acids, can come into existence by chance, it has never been shown that the various amino acids can come together into a sequence by chance to form protein molecules. Even the simplest cell is composed of millions of protein molecules.

Without DNA there cannot be RNA, and without RNA there cannot be DNA. And without either DNA or RNA there cannot be proteins, and without proteins there cannot be DNA or RNA. They're all mutually dependent upon each other for existence! The cell is irreducibly complex. It could not have gradually evolved! Evolutionists generally believe that it took one billion years for the first life form or cell to have evolved. That belief, although still taught as gospel in many elementary and secondary schools, cannot be sustained by modern science.

Once there is a complete and living cell then the genetic program and various biological mechanisms exist to direct the formation of more cells from random raw materials in the environment. The question is how could life have come about naturally on Earth when there were no directing mechanisms.

If humans must use intelligence to perform genetic engineering, to meaningfully manipulate the genetic code, then what does that say about the origin of the genetic code itself!

The great British scientist Sir Frederick Hoyle has said that the probability of the sequence of molecules in the simplest cell coming into existence by chance is equivalent to a tornado going through a junk yard of airplane parts and assembling a 747 Jumbo Jet!

We tend to judge something as being simple or complex by its size. So many of us assume that because the cell is microscopic in size that it must be simple. Not so! Size is relative, but not complexity. If you were as big as the Empire State building you would probably think that the tiny cars and automobiles on the street were simple and could easily happen by a chance combination of parts. However, we know that is not so.

What if we should find evidence of life on Mars? Wouldn't that prove evolution? No. It wouldn't be proof that such life had evolved from non-living matter by chance natural processes. And even if we did find evidence of life on Mars it would have most likely have come from our very own planet - Earth! In the Earth's past there was powerful volcanic activity which could have easily spewed dirt containing microbes into outer space which eventually could have reached Mars. A Newsweek article of September 21, 1998, p.12 mentions exactly this possibility.

Science cannot prove how life originated since no human observed the origin of life by either chance or design. Observation and detection by the human senses, either directly or indirectly through scientific instruments, is the basis of science and for establishing proof. The issue is which position has better scientific support. Both sides should have the opportunity to present their case.

If some astronauts from Earth discovered figures of persons similar to Mt. Rushmore on an uninhabited planet there would be no way to scientifically prove the carved figures originated by design or by chance processes of erosion. Neither position is science, but scientific arguments may be made to support one or the other.

Natural laws are adequate to explain how the order in life, the universe, and even a microwave oven operates, but mere undirected natural laws can never fully explain the origin of such order.

Just because the laws of science can explain how life and the universe operate and work doesn't mean there is no Maker. Would it be rational to believe that there's no designer behind airplanes because the laws of science can explain how airplanes operate and work?

All of this simply means that real science supports faith in God. Science cannot prove that we are here by chance (evolution) or by design (creation). However, the scientific evidence can be used to support one or the other. It is only fair that evidence supporting intelligent design be presented to students alongside of evolutionary theory, especially in public schools which receive funding from taxpayers who are on both sides of the issue. Also, no one is being forced to believe in God or adopt a particular religion so there is no true violation of separation of church and state.

Belief in neither evolution nor creation is necessary to the actual study of science itself. One can study and understand how the human body works and become a first class surgeon regardless of whether he or she believes the human body is the result of the chance forces of Nature or of a Supreme Designer.

What we believe about life's origins does influence our philosophy and value of life as well as our view of ourselves and others. This is no small issue!

As a religion and science writer, I encourage all to read my Internet article "The Natural Limits of Evolution" at my website where various issues (i.e. the origin of life, the fossil record, mutations, natural selection or survival of the fittest, genetic and biological similarities between species, arguments from embryology, the subject of vestigial organs or structures, the age of the earth, etc.) are examined in much greater depth.

Dr. Walt Brown (MIT scientist and author) has made available on line his thorough and comprehensive book: In the Beginning: Evidence for Creation and the Flood at Some other excellent resources for answers to many questions readers may have on science and the Bible are and There are many highly-qualified scientists who believe in creation!