23 February 2009

Darwinian Evolution

Some scientists are convinced that the Darwinian theory of evolution provides a satisfactory explanation for the origin of different life forms, including the human race. Richard Dawkins says: “The theory is about as much in doubt as the earth goes round the sun.”

Other scientists are not so certain. Molecular biologist, Michael Denton, responds to Dawkins: “Now of course such claims are simply nonsense. For Darwin’s model of evolution is still very much a theory and still very much in doubt when it comes to macroevolutionary phenomena.”

An example of such doubt is given by David Raup, one of the world’s most respected paleontologists. He writes: “Darwin predicted that the fossil record should show a reasonably smooth continuum of ancestor-descendant pairs with a satisfactory number of intermediates between major groups. Darwin even went so far as to say that if this were not found in the fossil record, his general theory of evolution would be in serious jeopardy. Such smooth transitions were not found in Darwin’s time.”

150 years after the publication of the Origin of Species, we now possess a rich body of fossil knowledge. Did paleontology discover the “missing links”? Raup answers: “We actually may have fewer examples of smooth transitions than we had in Darwin’s time, because some of the old examples have turned out to be invalid when studied in more detail... if Darwin were writing today, he would still have to cite a disturbing lack of missing links or transitional forms between major groups of organisms.”

The scientific study of fossils should be the prime witness to Darwin’s case, but contrary to popular opinion, it is not. Prof. Steven M. Stanley of Johns Hopkins University wrote in 1979, "The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid."

In other words, the Darwinian model is not supported by fossil evidence.

Yet despite the evidence to the contrary, modern biologists must continue to defend evolution. They cannot do otherwise as long as materialism (or naturalism) remains their basic presupposition. Simply stated, materialism is the belief that everything that actually exists is material, or physical. God is excluded a priori. The materialist believes that reality is confined to nature’s box, and there is absolutely nothing outside. Some of us still remember Carl Sagan declaring: ‘The Cosmos is all there is, or was, or ever will be.’

Thus, even if the evidence points towards intelligent design, the materialist cannot even consider the possibility of an intelligent Creator. He must explain away the incredible complexity of life in terms of chance and the blind physical forces. He has no alternative if the cosmos is all there is.

I choose not to be so narrow minded. I believe in God. To me, the wonderful design of a microscopic cell and the vast information coded in DNA – more complex than any computer software – do not point to blind chance and random processes, but to an Intelligent Designer.