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Answers to my Evolutionist Friends  ·   by Thomas F. Heinze

Answers to my Evolutionist Friends
Appearance of Design
by Thomas F. Heinze   (March 2007)


It was Harry’s first day in his new biology class. To introduce the subject, the teacher said that the theory of evolution ties biology together by showing how each kind of animal became what it is now. Then he looked over the class and asked, “Do any of you doubt evolution and claim that God created the various kinds of animals?”

Harry’s arm shot up full length! He had been expecting the question and was ready to take a stand.

The professor looked at Harry and said, “This is a science class. We follow the evidence and the principles of science. We come in with different religious viewpoints, but in this class we must be objective. In biology our conclusions can’t come from our opinions. We are bound by the evidence. We must carefully and objectively observe the evidence and draw rational conclusions based on hard facts and evidence.” He then returned to his planned lessen until the class ended.

As Harry got up and turned to leave, a girl stopped him. “I wasn’t brave enough to put up my hand, but I believe in God too. I came across something at the library the other day that you will want to read.” They walked out together as she explained. “It was by Richard Dawkins, the famous atheist. You aren’t going to believe this, but he said that biology is the study of complicated things that appear to have been designed for a purpose. I put that together with this lecture on how we must follow the evidence when we study biology, and  I couldn’t leave without telling you. Dawkins, the most anti-creationist atheist in the world, admits that if you take the evidence at face value, it looks like things were designed for a purpose.”

Harry was really enjoying their short walk together, but when they passed the library, he said, “See you tomorrow,” went in and checked out the book.
 

The evidence

At this point, we say goodbye to our two representative students to take a closer look at that book ourselves. Richard Dawkins put his statement about biology right there on page one: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” {Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1996, p. 1}

He enlarges on this thought: “We may say that a living body or organ is well designed if it has attributes that an intelligent and knowledgeable engineer might have built into it in order to achieve some sensible purpose… any engineer can recognize an object that has been designed, even poorly designed, for a purpose, and he can usually work out what that purpose is just by looking at the structure of the object.” {Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1996, p. 21}

Dawkins added that if anyone saw a machine on some other planet, he would know life had existed on that planet because machines are designed by intelligent beings. {p.2.} I must add, there are many molecular machines in living things. Their moving parts work together to do the work of every cell. Most of us would interpret all this as telling us that living things really were designed. Dawkins admits that living things look like they had been designed, but he does not believe they were. He goes on to use imagination, speculation, philosophy, and his wonderful story telling ability to undercut the evidence.

The Bible speaks of people who see evidence that God created but still reject the designer/creator: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. (Romans 1:20-22)

Every one of us recognizes things every day that were designed. How do we do that? People in the intelligent design movement have studied that question: “We infer design when we see that parts appear to be arranged for a purpose. … The more parts that are arranged, and the more intricately they interact, the stronger is our confidence in design.” {Testimony in the trial Kitzmiller vs. DASB} An illustration will make the meaning clear. If you see airplane wings attached to an airplane body, you will say that it appears to have been designed to be an airplane. Why? Because it was. When you examine it further, and find that it has thousands of other airplane parts all in the correct positions to work together to form an airplane, you will be even more convinced.

True, but we make judgments on a lot less evidence than that. If we see three rounded river rocks stacked in a column one on top of another on the bank of a river, we know someone stacked them.

If we will let ourselves think rationally about living creatures, the same is true. Statistics taken in a number of polls indicate that most people believe God created living things. Some evolutionists read the results of these polls, and beat themselves up with guilty thoughts: “We have not been doing a good enough job teaching evolution! We need to explain it better and more often.” Or, “Too much creationist teaching is getting to our students. More lawsuits must be filed to keep creation out of the schools.” The problem is another. When normal people see clear evidence for design, they conclude that evidence for design indicates design!

Intelligent design proponent Michael Behe explained in an Op Ed article in the liberal New York Times that we all see the same evidence. He wrote: “The 18th-century clergyman William Paley likened living things to a watch, arguing that the workings of both point to intelligent design. Modern Darwinists disagree with Paley that the perceived design is real, but they do agree that life overwhelms us with the appearance of design.” {Design for Living By Michael J. Behe Published: February 7, 2005, New York Times Op Ed.}
 

Getting around the evidence

Atheist Dawkins saw the evidence: Living things look like they were designed for a purpose, and was struck by the problem this presents to people like him who believe there was no designer. Someone needed to face it from an evolutionary viewpoint, and Richard Dawkins stepped up to the plate with a different solution: Natural selection! Dawkins wrote, “Natural selection is the blind watchmaker, blind because it does not see ahead, does not plan consequences, has no purpose in view. Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the illusion of design and planning.” {Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1996, p. 21.}

Natural selection is also called the survival of the fittest. It is the idea that in the competition to live, the unfit will be eliminated and the fit will survive to reproduce. Dawkins picked the solution that evolutionists from Darwin on had been using to explain their belief that all the complex living creatures around us today evolved from one first cell.
The cells of living things have two strands of DNA. When a cell reproduces, it divides into two cells. In the process the two strands of DNA separate. One copy stays with the old cell and one goes to the offspring. Then each reproduces the missing strand. In the process sometimes copying errors are made called mutations. Many schoolbooks teach students that natural selection works on these mutations unguided by any intelligent designer, and that this has caused all the forms of life around us to evolve from a first cell. Dawkins proposes this same process as the reason living things look designed. He speculates that the appearance of design that everyone sees was actually caused by natural selection.

Some students, after years of being taught that only naturalistic explanations are scientific, accept Dawkins’ explanation. Dawkins is particularly effective in making it sound reasonable. He is a brilliant biologist and a wonderful story teller. What evidence does he present? He already presented it. Living things, “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

Dawkins is attempting to get us to look at this evidence thinking, “Natural selection could do that!” Some evolutionists have been claiming for years that natural selection could do almost anything God could, so this is just one more thing natural selection is claimed to be able to do.

Some accept the idea easily, but if Dawkins is right, there is a sense in which evidence no longer counts, and science is on its way to the dumpster! The evidence does not suggest natural selection, but intelligent design! Dawkins cannot accept both the evidence for design and his supposition about natural selection, so he puts the evidence aside, and backs up his viewpoint with story telling and speculation.

Is natural selection really a better explanation of why things look designed? At this point we need to consider some huge areas in which natural selection cannot explain appearance of design at all.
 

Natural Selection Cannot Explain The Universe

The universe looks like it was designed, but atheists claim that it was produced by a completely undirected explosion called the “Big Bang.” All undirected explosions that have been observed have brought disorder instead of order, but those who believe in the Big Bang have faith that it was different. It moved in the opposite direction of all other explosions, producing an ordered universe that appears to have been designed. Trying to avoid the problem of an explosion unlike all other explosions, some atheists say, “The Big Bang was not really an explosion, it was just rapid expansion, like when you blow up a balloon.” Sure! All it lacked was the balloon! Either view of the Big Bang is contrary to fundamental laws of science. Neither can it be observed or reproduced in the laboratory. It is simply held by faith.
 

Natural Selection Cannot Explain the Earth

To us, the earth is the most important part of that universe that many believe resulted from the Big Bang without the involvement of God. This idea directly contradicts the Bible which says that God formed the earth to be inhabited:

“For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:18

Does the earth give evidence of having been designed to be inhabited by living beings? You decide!

Liquid water is necessary for life. Most of the universe consists of flaming gasses or frozen desolation and has no liquid water. If water in liquid form exists elsewhere, it is rare. It not only exists on earth, it exists in an amount that permits life, even human life.

"If earth had just a little more water, c"

“…The oceans contain enough water to cover a spherical Earth to a depth of about 4000 meters. If the surface of the planet varied only a few kilometers in elevation, Earth would be devoid of land. … Continents would not extend above sea level.”

To keep the land up out of the water: “required the formation of land masses made of relatively low-density materials that could permanently “float” on the denser underlying mantle while parts of them extended above the sea.”
{Peter D. Ward, Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, 2000, p. 51-54}

The moon has the right mass and distance from the earth so the tides help keep nutrients circulating in the water, but don’t cover the continents at high tide.

The correct temperature is essential to life. If we were  closer to the sun, or had longer days we would fry. If earth were farther from the sun or if the nights were longer, we would freeze and earth would have no liquid water.

The correct atmosphere is necessary for life. If earth had a bit less gravity we would loose our atmosphere. To much gravity and it would crush us. Too much CO2, or several other gasses and earth would have been more like Venus, too hot to host life.

Earth is also protected from deadly radiation. It is situated at the right distance from the center of our galaxy. Closer to the center, there are too many deadly gamma rays and X-rays.

The gravity of a big planet nearby sweeps up much of the space trash that might otherwise crash into the earth with devastating force.

The earth’s metal core produces magnetism which is helpful in protecting earth from harmful radiation. {Peter D. Ward, Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth, Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, 2000, p. 28-29}.

I could go on. One evidence after another shows that the earth was purposely designed to sustain life. Do atheists also see this evidence for design? Yes, we all see it. The book in my reference above was written by atheists. Some atheists refer to this evidence as “appearance of design.”

Remember their knee jerk explanation for what causes the appearance of design? It’s natural selection, but natural selection only exists among living things that can pass their genes on to their children. Natural selection has no effect whatsoever on the evidence that the earth was intelligently designed to sustain life. When this weakness to the natural selection solution is pointed out, some say earth was self organizing like a hurricane. To say this they must to ignore the precision control of the water, temperature, gravity, atmosphere, radiation, etc. Skeptics understand the evidence that the earth was designed to sustain life, but refuse to believe it because they are in rebellion against God, their judge. It is a bit like a driver loudly cursing the cop who is deciding whether to give him a ticket or to let him off with a warning.
 

Natural Selection Cannot Explain Life

Atheists say that chemicals came together, and by unguided chemical reactions eventually made a first living cell. This imaginary process was called spontaneous generation, but is now usually called abiogenesis. Intelligent scientists have been trying without success for years to form life in the laboratory. If they had been able to, that life would have been formed by intelligent designers, but they can’t do it. Why? Both life in a test tube and abiogenesis are contrary to the scientific principle of biogenesis which says that all life comes from previous life. Chemicals, which are claimed to have produced the first life, do not have life to pass on.

Natural selection can not help explain the first living cell because it could not have operated until there were at least two living cells to select between.

Here is another startling fact: The hypothetical first living cell that abiogenesis is claimed to have produced would have to have popped up with an already fully functional reproductive system. Otherwise there could never have been a second cell.

At this point we have seen that there is no way that natural selection could have had anything at all to do with most of the things which appear to have been designed; the universe, the earth, and life itself. Dawkins’ speculation that natural selection made things look like they had designed for a purpose, at best could only apply to a small percentage of the things that appear to have been designed.

David, a prophet of the Old Testament wrote: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. (Psalm 2:1-5)

Hopefully your mind has been opened by understanding two facts:

 

Back to biology

Michel Behe reminds us: “…it's important to keep in mind that it is the profound appearance of design in life that everyone is laboring to explain, not the appearance of natural selection or the appearance of self-organization.” {Design for Living By Michael J. Behe Published: February 7, 2005, New York Times Op Ed.}

Mutation and natural selection can’t account for most of the evidence for design. Can they account for any of it? First let’s check out an example that will help us understand the problem: the coded information contained in every cell that directs its construction and function is found in the DNA. That is the same place where the mutations that natural selection works on happen, so it will help us understand what natural selection working on mutations can do.

DNA is the most miniaturized information storage system that exists. Its two strands, twisted tightly together like the strands of a rope contain many times more information in much less space than anything the minds of mortal men have been able to design. Let’s compare it for a moment with another, simpler coded information system that is not nearly as miniaturized: bar code. Without a bar code reader, bar code would be useless. If bar code had evolved instead of having been designed, it would have been of no use without the bar code reader. Natural selection eliminates useless things, so which ever evolved first would have been eliminated. This did not happen because both arrived at the same time. How could they? They did not evolve,  they were designed. Like DNA!

DNA does not really make anything. Like bar code or a book of instructions, it stores encoded information. Even if both the code and the reader were available, they still would have been of no use until useful information had been encoded. In the case of DNA, something else also had to be in place, something to do with the information. DNA, after a section is read by RNA, sends directions for making proteins to the molecular machines that make them. These machines also had to be available. Take out any one of the parts we have mentioned and the whole system would have been worthless. People who believe that all came together at the same time because some chemicals got together, either have a lot of faith, or are gullible.

Here is another problem, a very small one compared to the ones we have been considering. When one-celled animals reproduce, microscopic machines with moving parts unwind the two strands of DNA and separate them, keeping one strand and giving the other to the new cell. How many generations would it have taken for natural selection to evolve the unwinding mechanism? None! Had that ability not been a part of the first living cell, there would never have been a second cell, so natural selection could not have started.
 

Evolution

You are much more complex than any single celled creature. You have a liver, ears, and thousands of other organs that no one-celled organism has. If the coded instructions for making all these had been provided by mutations and natural selection, helpful mutations must have added millions or billions of lines of code: all the instructions for making every plant and animal that is more complex than a single cell, and all the organs that a single cell does not have.

Mutations are constantly sending new genetic diseases out into the world, but where is the evidence that mutations also provide huge amounts of new information for increasing complexity? Mutations are generally harmful. At best some are neutral. The example of a beneficial mutation that books promoting evolution usually use is the mutation that causes the dreaded, often lethal, genetic disease called sickle cell anemia. This is a mutation in which some of the information for making a red blood cell is lost, producing deformed red blood cells. If millions of uphill evolutionary steps brought us up from the bacteria, why do the schoolbooks promote evolution with a downhill example that loses information? The books illustrate with sickle cell anemia because it does have a beneficial side effect. It confers an immunity to malaria. Evolutionists can find no good examples of mutations that add information to make upward changes or they would use them. They even find it difficult to find mutations that are beneficial. Textbooks use sickle cell anemia, a downhill mutation as their number one example because it is the best mutation they can find. The billions of uphill mutations that produce new information only exist in the faith of evolutionists. If mutations ever produce any uphill evolution, it must be very, very rare.
 

Genes read backward and forward

Here is one fascinating newly discovered reason evolutionists can’t find examples of mutations that write code for better DNA: The same stretch of DNA codes for more than one gene! Read the sequence forward and it codes for one gene. Read it backward and it codes for another gene. Sometimes reading every other, or every third letter, codes for another gene. {J.C. Sanford, Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome, 2005, p. 131-133} Sit down and try to write out a long set of instructions that, when read other end first, has another message that makes equally good sense. Then make a change that improves the instructions when read in one direction, and see what it does to the instructions that are read from the other direction. If God had wanted to show us that genes were planned rather than having evolved from copying errors, how could He have made it any more plain? God knew how stupid and stubborn humans can be, so He left this very clear evidence for design where it would eventually be found!

Most chromosomes come in two copies which are compared with each other to find and repair mutations. The Y chromosome of the human male can’t do that because there is only one copy so many scientists felt that mutations must be causing it to degenerate rapidly. Then they found that it contains a series of eight sections that read the same from either direction. (Things that read the same backward and forward are called palindromes.) The Y Chromosome compares the forward reading with the backward reading to correct its copying errors!

Jesus said: “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” (Mark 10:6) God, made the two sexes. I think the male chromosome looks designed because it was.
 

The Bible – Designed for a Purpose

Why should we trust Christ’s words in the Bible? One reason is that the Bible appears to have been designed for a purpose by God who from the beginning knew what would happen in the future. In the Old Testament He revealed around 700 years before Jesus was born, the name of the small town where it would happen (Micah 5:2), that Jesus the Messiah would be a descendent of king David (Jeremiah 23:5-6), that He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), that He would die for our sins (Isaiah 53:4-6, 8, 12), in his death, Christ’s hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16), and His side as well (Zechariah 12:10), but his bones would not be broken. (Psalm 34:20), the soldiers would divide up His clothes (Psalm 22:18). The New Testament verifies that these things took place just as had been pre-announced.

The oldest currently existing copy of Isaiah was one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, hidden in a cave 100 to 150 years before Christ’s birth and not found until 1947. The prophesies from Isaiah in the Scroll are the same as in our Bibles. You can’t get around it. These are real prophesies, and they are specific. There is much more evidence that the Bible is the word of God, but this makes it clear enough so that if you wish, you can trust God’s word, accept Christ and know God for yourself. Romans chapter 3 explains how: No one can save himself by his works, because all have sinned. God’s law shows us our sin (Read Romans 3:20-23). Jesus’ death on the cross paid for our sins (3;24-26). Through His grace God declares those who trust Jesus as their savior justified (3:26-28). Trust Him!

We have seen that both living things and the Bible show evidence of having been made by God, the original intelligent designer. If you don’t know him yet, try Him, you’ll like Him. Don’t honor the accusations and speculations of the critics above the evidence. If you follow the critics you will end up where they are going. Follow our Lord Jesus Christ and be with Him.
 
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)


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