Saturday, July 20, 2013

Evolution's Five Fundamental Assumptions—Are They Scientific or Philosophical? Part Five *

Assumption Five, part three:  Animals Not Part of God’s Original “Created Kinds” Imply Macroevolution.

The Bible reveals that God created animals “according to their kinds” (Genesis one). I believe this can be interpreted to mean that God created the prototypes of all the animals that ever lived. From those original “kinds” emerged all the amazingly diverse and distinct animals found in the fossil record and inhabiting the earth today. This would include animal species that were not part of God’s original created “kinds.”

Now, this raises a question that needs to be answered. If animals species exist today that were not part of God’s direct creation, does it mean that macroevolution is their origin? Or can the existence of new species of animals be accounted for through microevolution? Let me state this a little differently, I want to be sure you understand the issue.

According to the fossil record, animals existed in the past that no longer exist today. For example, horses in the fossil record are different than modern horses. Mastodons no longer exist, but modern elephants do. Saber-toothed cats are extinct, but lions and tigers seem to have taken their place.  So, if macroevolution doesn’t occur, how did the vast menagerie of creatures that inhabit the earth today develop?

In order to answer this, it will be helpful to understand what the Bible means by animal “kinds.” I believe animal kinds closely parallel what taxonomists classify as “family” (e.g. the dog family, canid; the cat family, felid; the horse family, equid, and so on). Certainly the original created kinds may have been broader categories or more restricted categories, but for our purposes here family seems to fit best. So in what follow, when I refer to “families” keep in mind I’m still referring to God’s created “kinds” (animal prototypes) spoken into existence in Genesis one.

When God created the original kinds (or families) of animals, He placed within each of them a gene pool. This is the total number of genes every individual in a particular breeding population of animals possess. A gene pool, then, contains all the genetic potential needed for a particular kind of animal to produce diverse varieties within its own kind. It also allowed them to adapt to different habitats (forests, savanna, deserts, and so on) as they followed God’s mandate to multiply and spread across the earth (Gen. 1:20-25). This included the ability to adapt to major climatic changes, such as the earth’s ice ages and interglacial periods—as well as the geographical transformations that likely followed the worldwide Flood. Animals which couldn’t adapt eventually became extinct, such as dinosaurs and the other extinct animals represented in the fossil record.

As these created kinds of animals multiplied and spread across the earth, groups within the families would naturally become isolated from one another. In doing so, the isolated groups became reproductively separated. Over time, as breeding became limited to just the members within isolated groups, natural selection (microevolution) allowed animals within the groups to develop the particular physical characteristic needed to adapt to their respective habitats. Eventually, genera and species emerged within the different created families. Thus, for example, the dog family today includes forest dwelling graywolves, desert dwelling kit foxes, African wild dogs, Australian dingos, and so on—yet they are all members of the dog family (canid). Dog breeders achieve essentially the same thing artificially when they eliminate (or enhance) certain traits by selective breeding. Although breeds are not the same as species, the outcome is the same in terms of remarkably different varieties—from tiny Chihuahuas to massive Great Danes.

What is crucial to understand here is that all these changes did not require macroevolution, just as it doesn’t in breeding differ varieties of dogs. Rather, it’s animal kinds (families) expressing their full genetic potential as they adapt to changing  environmental conditions—but strictly within the limits of their created gene pool. This is microevolution, and it never produces a new kind of animal. Extinct and modern canines have never been anything but canines. The fossil record does not reveal a half dog/half some other kind of animal. Nor does it reveal a pre-dog ancestor. The same can be said of every other created kind of animal.

In short, natural selection within created gene pools accounts for every change seen in every kind of animal on earth, extinct or modern. All the examples given by evolutionists to prove macroevolution are in reality no more than adaptions within specific gene pools. To say that natural selection requires macroevolution is simply wrong. It is a philosophical assumption of naturalistic evolution motivated by ideology; it’s not demonstrable science.

This concludes my series on “Evolution's Five Fundamental Assumptions—Are They Scientific or Philosophical?” I hope you found them helpful.  Since apologetics is not for everyone or for every witnessing encounter, my next series of blog articles (hopefully beginning in two weeks) will be on when to use apologetics and when not to. There are four approaches to evangelism (apologetics is only one), and we’ll explore all four and determine the right one to apply according to the situation.

*  This and the other blog articles in this series are copyrighted material and may not be reproduced electronically or in print. But feel free to link this blog to your own website, personal email list, or Facebook friends and groups. I explore the topic of this article in my books, Defending Your Faith (Kregel Publications) and The Christian Combat Manual (AMG Publishers). My sources are documented there.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Evolution's Five Fundamental Assumptions--Are They Scientific or Philosophical? Part Five *

Assumption Five, part two:  Transitional fossils demonstrate the “fact” of evolution.

If macroevolution is true (see part one), if simple life forms evolved into complex life forms, the fossil record should contain an enormous number of transitional fossils—intermediate stages between major groups of plants and animals. In particular, there should be a plethora of transitional fossils between classes of animals: between fish and amphibians, amphibians and reptiles, reptiles and birds, and reptiles and mammals. This should include countless examples of distinct body parts in the process of change, such as reptile scales evolving into bird feathers and mammal fur, or legs evolving into wings—or some other easily identifiable  intermediate stage. But no such fossils have been found.

Consider for a moment what such physical changes would require, even among animals within a particular class. A widely held macroevolutionary scenario is that whales evolved from an ancestral land mammal fifty millions years ago. For this to have happened, it would require, among other things, forearms evolving into fins, nostrils moving to the top of the head, and the emergence of tail flukes—not to mention all the changes that would have to take place simultaneously with internal organs. Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, David Belinski, calculated (his “most modest estimate”) that it would take 50,000 intermediate transitional stages for a land-dwelling mammal to evolve into a sea-dwelling marine mammal! Where are they? The fossil record has yet to reveal them.

The fact is, despite the accumulation of many tons of fossils over more than a hundred and fifty years, paleontologists have yet to produce credible fossil specimens of any intermediate stage between any of the major groupings of animals. Fossil specimens that evolutionists claim are intermediate stages always turn out to be extinct species of fully formed fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and so on. A classic example of this is the alleged evolutionary link between reptiles and birds, Archaeopteryx. Evolutionists once considered Archaeopteryx their fossil ace-in-the-hole—a perfect example of an intermediate species. It turned out, however, that Archaeopteryx was just an extinct species of bird with an odd assortment of bird and reptile-like features. ( I document this in The Christian Combat Manual)   

Archaeopteryx isn’t unique. Other creatures possess characteristics common to various classes of animal. The duckbilled platypus is a fury mammal with mammary glands, but it lays eggs like a reptile and is venomous. The lungfish has fins and gills like other fish but also lungs and a larval stage like an amphibian. In both cases, none of their organs are transitional—they are fully developed. Lungfish organs that resemble a fish are typical of ordinary fish, and those that resemble an amphibian are like those of other amphibians. Yet the lungfish is a fish and the platypus a mammal. No paleontologists believe either creature represents intermediate stages. They are just odd—but unique—species of their respective groups.   

But what about the transitional fossils portrayed in high school and college textbooks, magazines like National Geographic, museums, and television documentaries? They are merely artists conceptions of what such transitional stages would look like if they did exist! This is nowhere more evident than in so-called human evolution, which has a long history of fossil fakes, frauds, and fanciful drawings of alleged pre-human ancestors. Henry Gee, British paleontologist and senior biological editor of the scientific journal Nature, points  out “that all the evidence for human evolutionbetween about 10 and 5 million years ago . . . can be fitted into a small box.’” Gee adds that the Darwinist portrayal of human evolution is “a completely human invention created after the fact, shaped to accord with human prejudices.”

The fact is the fossil record actually works against Darwinism and supports creation. In an evolutionary timeline there should have existed billions of transitional specimens. Yet the scarcity of even contested specimens in the fossil record is widely acknowledged among Darwinists. When animal kinds first appear in the fossil record, they are fully formed with no fossil evidence they evolved from ancestral species. Indeed, as I pointed out, there are not even examples of gradually evolving body parts. Insect wings, for example, are well-developed and complex when they first appear in the fossil record. Likewise there is no evolutionary evidence that feathers or fur evolved from scales; both are fully formed when they appear in the fossil record.

So, what does the fossil record really reveal—even on an evolutionary timeline? I’ll let it speak for itself.

The Cambrian Explosion
In an evolutionary timeline, the oldest and most primitive life forms to inhabit the earth were single-celled organism (such as bacteria and algae), which allegedly evolved out of inorganic chemicals several billion years ago. Then, some 550 million years ago, these primitive organisms were thought to have somehow evolved into multi-cellular life, initiating biological evolution. We saw in a previous blog article, however, that there is no evidence that singled-celled organisms evolved out of some kind of mythical prebiotic soup (chemical evolution). Nor is there any fossil evidence to support the assumption that complex, multi-cellular life forms evolved from single-celled organisms. This is supported by what evolutionary paleontologists call the “Cambrian explosion”. 

 Around 550 million years ago, representative fossils of nearly every phylum of invertebrates that ever lived (animals without backbones) suddenly appeared in the fossil record—without a trace of pre-Cambrian ancestors. This massive surge of new life occurred within five to ten millions years—merely minutes on an evolutionary timeline!.  Some of these ancient creatures became extinct, but others have remained virtually unchanged through all the millions of years of their assumed existence on earth.  

This same absence of fossil ancestors is a characteristic of every other stage of alleged animal evolution. Insects, for example, supposedly evolved over a period of 250 million years, yet no pre-insect fossils have been found anywhere in the fossil record. They are all fully formed when they first appear, and are basically the same as their modern counterparts (except for size—extinct insects were generally much larger). In other words, these highly complex invertebrates not only have no evolutionary past, they have no evolutionary future. Similarly, other members in the phylum Arthropoda—including crustaceans, spiders, dragonflies, cockroaches, centipedes, and myriad others creatures—have changed little or not at all throughout their entire hypothetical evolutionary history.

Continuing on the evolutionary timeline, we come to vertebrates (animals with backbones). The earliest vertebrates were fish, which supposedly evolved some hundred millions years after the Cambrian invertebrates. Have any pre-fish fossils from that hundred million year period been found? Not one. Fish appear in the fossil record fully developed with fins, scales, and gills. Next, amphibians are said to have evolved from fish, and later reptiles from amphibians. Although some reptiles have skeletal features similar to amphibians (an example of common design), in all cases they appear suddenly and without transitional predecessors in the fossil record.

I could continue on to birds and mammals, but I’m sure you get the picture. The fossil record consistently shows the sudden appearance of animal phylum and classes without evidence of intermediate transitional species. Clearly, this disqualifies gradual, random, mutation-drive macroevolution. On the other hand, the lack of intermediate, transitional species fits perfectly in a creationist’s model. God created the original “prototypes” off all the animals that every lived on earth. How they adapted and changed to become the myriad varieties we see today is the subject of my next (and final) blog article in this series.

*  This and the other blog articles in this series are copyrighted material and may not be reproduced electronically or in print. But feel free to link this blog to your own website, personal email list, or Facebook friends. I have a chapter on the lack of transitional fossils in my book The Christian Combat Manual (AMG Publishers). My sources are documented there.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Evolution's Five Fundamental Assumptions--Are They Scientific or Philosopical? Part Five

Assumption Five, part one:  Transitional fossils demonstrate the fact of evolution. *

Of the five evolutionary assumptions we are examining, the fossil record is the only one that is empirical rather than predominately philosophical in nature. The reason is because fossils can be dug up, studied, compared, and analyzed. Evolution’s other four assumptions are almost entirely conjecture: (1) something (i.e. the universe) came from nothing, (2) order evolved from disorder, (3) life emerged from non-life, and (4) complex life evolved from an ancestral single-celled organism (see previous blogs). The only exception is big bang cosmology (part of assumption one), which has been demonstrated scientifically through astronomy and physics—and it points directly to intentional design!  

Most evolutionists (Darwinists in particular) claim the fossil record reveals primitive live forms gradually evolving, via genetic mutations and natural selection, into increasingly complex life form (e.g. fish to amphibians, amphibians to reptiles, and reptiles to birds and mammals). This is the standard Darwinist party line—the scenario widely disseminated in high school and college text book, television documentaries, magazines, and other popular avenues used to broadcast naturalism as an ideology.

A few years ago, for example, National Geographic published an article titled, “Was Darwin Wrong? NO.”  The subtitle went on to claim that “The evidence for Evolution is overwhelming?” What kind of evidence did this lengthy article propose? The two most people are familiar with were (1) alleged modern examples of evolution in progress: selective breeding, bacteria and insect resistance, Darwin’s study of finches, experiments with fruit flies, and so on. And (2) the fossil record itself. But do these examples really support Darwinism? In my last three blog articles in my series of “evolution's five fundamental assumptions,” we’ll see that the answer is no. This article will focus on number one, alleged modern examples of evolution in progress. My next blog will examine the fossil record.

Microevolution, Yes! Macroevolution, No.

As the National Geographic article acknowledged, one of Darwinists’ most widely used arguments for naturalistic evolution is their claim that evolution can be observed taking place in nature and duplicated in a laboratory. Darwinists are simply wrong. The reason is because they confuse microevolution with macroevolution.

Microevolution is the ability of an organism to adapt to changing environmental conditions, which can result in minor physical differences among various kinds of animals. (In part three, I’ll explain how God designed animals for this very purpose.) For example, foxes in North America exhibit various colors and sizes. The Arctic Fox can be almost pure white in the winter, while the diminutive Kit Fox, which inhabits southwest deserts, is silver above and buff below—and not much larger than a house cat. 

Microevolution can be observed in nature and duplicated under controlled conditions, such as breeding dogs, livestock, vegetables, and ornamental plants. But microevolution has never been observed—naturally or artificially—to produce new varieties of plants or animals, and researches, especially experimenting with fruit flies, have attempted to do so for many years. All varieties of foxes are just foxes. All the hundred-plus species are roses are still roses (and by any other name). All three hundred-plus breeds of dogs are still just dogs—from tiny Chihuahuas to huge Great Danes. And all fruit flies, in spite of hundreds of mutated generations, are still just fruit flies—although grossly deformed and unable to survive.

Macroevolution, on the other hand, claims that through random mutations and natural selection animals will develop new organs and other body parts (or restructure existing organs) that become increasingly complex (or specialized). Eventually, over many, many millions of years, the accumulation of these evolving structures result in entirely new varieties of animals. Thus, within individual families—for example the cat family—there are extinct saber-toothed cats as well as modern lions, tigers, bobcats, and tabbies. And on a larger scale, fish evolved into amphibians, amphibians into reptiles, and reptiles into birds and mammals.

The reason Darwinists erroneously conclude that one type of animals can evolve into an entirely different kind of animal is because they mistakenly assume that microevolution is a stepping stone to macroevolution. In other words, the same mechanism that powers microevolution is extrapolated by Darwinists to power macroevolution. The fact is there is a fundamental and categorical difference between the two. In particular, microevolution, as we saw, is observable and repeatable and thus scientifically legitimate. Macroevolution is pure speculation. It’s not observable in nature or reproducible in a laboratory. There is no empirical evidence to demonstrate that macroevolution has ever—or could ever—happen.   

Contrary to the National Geographic article, and without exception, every worn-out example that Darwinists use to support macroevolution turns out to be examples of microevolution. Bacteria that has become resistance to antibodies is still bacteria. Cockroaches and mosquitos that have become resistant to pesticides are still roaches and mosquitos—not new species. Pepper moths on the British Isles, which have changed from a light to dark color due to pollution darkening the tree on which the alight, are still pepper moths. They did not become a different species of moth. And Darwin’s finches in Galapagos Islands, which exhibit cyclical changes in beak structure due to different available foods and weather conditions, are all still finches. They did not evolve into a new species of bird. None of these cases are examples of macroevolution—one kind of animal evolving into an entirely different kind of animal. Instead, all are perfect examples of microevolution!

The sad and deceptive fact is, because evolutionists are unable to give examples of genuine macroevolution, they rely on examples of microevolution and shamelessly tout them as macroevolution. Macroevolution is little more than a philosophical assumption; a ruse to support a rapidly failing naturalistic worldview that is unwilling to consider legitimate evidences for creation by intentional design.

So, macroevolution has never been observed in nature or created in a laboratory. But what about the fossil record itself? Can macroevolution be “observed” in the fossil record? This will be the subject of my next blog article.

*  This and the other blog articles in this series are copyrighted material and may not be reproduced electronically or in print. But feel free to link this blog to your own website, blog, or Facebook. I explore this and other evidence for creation by intentional design in my book The Christian Combat Manual (AMG Publishers). My sources are documented there.