Evolution of thought

Recently I posted about whales and how evolution just cannot explain how a dog like animal could transform; evolve, into an aquatic animal such as a whale or orca. I received a comment asking me if I read anything except items that are anti evolution. I other words biology texts and other scientific literature. I answered that I had and gave examples. It seemed to me a good time to write how I went from a believer in evolution to a skeptic. For my longtime followers some of this is a repeat but I wanted to get this down in one place.

In the late 50’2 my parents bought a set of encyclopedias and a Time book on science that was lavishly illustrated. I think I may still have the Time book but the encyclopedia is long gone replaced by numerous others. These two purchases by my parents opened the world of science to a young boy, a love I have never lost. One article in particular caught my eye. It concerned the Miller–Urey experiment to recreate the conditions of the early earth and it was expected to show how life began. Reading that article back then it seemed that man would be creating life within a few years. Of course over 50 years later not only have we not created test-tube life but it seems we know believe the early atmosphere was not a very hospitable environment for life. Still I was hooked on science.

Once I got access to my elementary school library and was allowed in the nonfiction sections I read every book concerned with science. Then I started on the local city library branch and went through every book on science I could find. Oh, occasionally I branched out into history and biographies but science books were my favorite. From junior high on I took every science course offered. I even went to summer school the summer before the sixth grade to take a special course on science offered at the junior high’s new science lab. The only nonfiction I read then was science fiction. I loved Isaac Asimov both for his fiction but more so for the science article he wrote weekly and that were put together as collections. As soon as one came out in paperback I would buy it even though I had already read the hardbound book in the library.

Science nut would have been an apt description for me. But why not? In the sixties science was making great strides. We were in a race with the USSR to be the first nation to put men on the moon. President Kennedy had made a commitment for the US to send a man to the moon and return him safely buy the end of the decade. Then on July 20th 1969 Neil Armstrong put the first footprints on the lunar surface. I thought with science anything could happen.

I was a firm believer in evolution. It seems to me that my textbooks and all the reading I had done showed that evolution was a fact. I also saw no reason that evolution and my faith were in way way in conflict. After all couldn’t God uses evolution to carry out His plan? Of course He could. God can do anything.

Now, let’s flash forward to the 90’s. I find myself a father of two daughters and a son and we are attending a new church where eventually I am asked to teach adult Sunday school classes. Specifically I was asked to teach a class on apologetics. Apologetics, what in the world is apologetics and why in the world do Christians need to apologize about our faith? Of course today it seems the world constantly wants Christians to apologize about our faith but not so much back then. After reading up on apologetics I quickly found that the word apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia, to give a defense of. This was the first time I had really delved into why I believed what I believe and how much evidence there if for the Christian faith. The evidence got me. Being a science nut I loved following the evidence and here all along was a mountain of evidence for my beliefs. I was hooked on apologetics.

However a lot of my Christian friends did not believe in evolution. In about 2000 I set out to show that evolution and the Bible were compatible. I had collected a lot of information about Christian apologetics but my recent information on evolution was limited to reading National Geographic and Discovery magazine articles as well as books by Stephen J. Gould. What I wanted to see was what was new in the field of evolution. Imagine my surprise when I looked at our middle child’s Middle school science book to see the very same illustrations and proofs of evolution that I read in my High school biology text almost 40 years ago.

There were the same picture of peppered moths and the archaeopteryx bones. Darwin’s finches and Haeckel’s embryos as well as the iconic drawing of the evolution from apelike creature to modern man. I thought that over 40 years later something new would have been added. The problem is that all the new information supported microevolution and nothing was there to support macroevolution. Just a quick definition of my terms. Microevolution is changes within a species but the species itself remains. For example, Darwin’s finches where the size of the beak changes but we still have a finch. Macroevolution is the change from one kind of animal to another. Where for example a land dwelling creature eventually changes into a whale or and apelike creature becomes a modern human all through a slow unguided process called natural selection. The sad part is the example of the peppered moth is not an example of evolution at all but just a change in the ratio of black and white moths.

Yes there was work on single celled organisms and the workings within a cell but once again what one started with was what one ended with. I could find nothing to tell me why macroevolution had seemingly stopped. Why did we not see new kinds of organisms coming into existence? Since man has appeared there just aren’t any new creatures coming into existence. I was getting nowhere on the evolution side so I decided to look at what the critics were saying. Maybe if I attacked the problem from their side I could make my case.

Then I really ran into a problem. There were real issues with what I had been taught all these years. I read that Haeckel’s embryos had been faked. I thought surely this could not be the case. After all they have been in text books for decades. Guess what I found? There were indeed faked and even one of my favorite authors Stephen J. Gould said so but since they taught a truth, that evolution was true; they were done for a good cause. Really, faked science is okay as long as the intentions are good. The peppered moths and finches did not show macroevolution and there is now some question if the archaeopteryx was an ancestor or a contemporary of modern birds.

Then there is the fossil record. Even Darwin recognized that the fossil record was a problem for his theory. If one reads chapter six “Difficulties on Theory” from Darwin’s book The Origin of Species we find problems Darwin identified. He puts these problems in four major categories which I will summarize. First, if species have descended from other species in a gradual manner, why do we not see innumerable transition forms?   Second, how can evolution account for the transitions of peculiar habits and structures of a new species when they are descended from a species with entirely different habits and structures? It is in this question that Darwin asks how evolution can account for the eye.   Third, can instincts be acquired and modified by natural selection?   Forth, how can evolution account for the fact that when different species are crossed the offspring are infertile, but varieties within a species are fertile?

I though surely after all this time we would have found the numerous transitional fossils. But no, after over 150 years of looking we still have a lack of these types of fossils. I found out that this is a problem recognized by Gould. Gould in his book The Structure of Evolutionary Theory said “Anatomy may fluctuate through time, but the last remnants of a species usually look pretty much like the first representatives… Paleontologists have always recognized   the   long-term stability of most species; we had become more than a bit ashamed by this strong and literal signal, for the dominant theory or our scientific culture told us to look for the opposite result of gradualism as the primary empirical expression of every   biologist’s favorite subject–evolution itself.” p. 749 You can find more quotes from Gould in my post Evolution – Science Trapped in the Nineteenth Century Part 2 https://dwwork.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/evolution-science-trapped-in-the-nineteenth-century-part-2/

Gould had proposed a modification to Darwin called punctuated equilibrium to account for the sudden appearance of new kinds of organisms such as happened during the Cambium explosion. He was met with fierce resistance. It seems that anything but what was handed down by Darwin is considered blasphemy.

Finally I came to the book Darwin’s Black Box written by Michael Behe which introduced me to the concept of irreducible complexity. That is that some parts of an organism in order to function has to have every part in place else it serves no useful purpose. An example from the mechanical world is a mousetrap. Without all its parts a mousetrap just will not trap mice. Two biological examples are the bacterium flagellum and the ability for blood to clot. I have gone into this in my series on evolution.

It seemed that the more I looked into evolution the more problems I found, Problems that either were ignored or glossed over with lame explanations or an appeal to the future. What I have found is that evolution is to be accepted as fact and not challenged. That is not science as I know it and love. Science is the search for answers; it is questioning the status quo and looking for the next breakthrough.

I started to read about intelligent design and found even more questions about evolution but I also found why a creator makes even more sense. While I always believed in the creator God and still do, my belief in evolution has been horribly shaken. Biologists have let believers in evolution down as they have given up the search for answers and are content to live in the past.

Somethings will never be known as there is just so much one can tell from disarticulated bones. To quote a sign in the American Museum of Natural History in New York, “All these ideas are controversial, because they are based on scientists’ interpretations of fossil bones that are often incomplete, or that have become distorted over millions of years. We may never have all the evidence needed to support these ideas.” The fossils we see displayed in museums are how someone thinks they should look. When I was a kid the brontosaurus was displayed with its legs on the side like a lizard. Today what was called a brontosaurus is displayed with the legs under it similar to an elephant. The bones did not change just the interpretation of how they should be displayed. The funny thing is they fit in both places. When we come to the popular conceptions of extent animals such as the Jurassic Park movies and the covers of magazines, we have no idea what colors they are or how fast they move or really how they looked with flesh on.

I doubt that this will change the mind of anyone who believes in evolution as the base belief for most is that there is no God. If there is no God then one needs an explanation for why everything is here. For those who wish to explore more check out my series on evolution and the arguments for God. I close with this observation, evolution can be true and God can still exist, there are many who hold both views. However, if evolution is false then God must exist. Today I believe evolution to be false and the evidence for God to be overwhelming, the universe shows all the attributes of design.

Have a blessed day,

David

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About dwwork

The name of this blog is taken from 1 Peter 3:13 - “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience. This verse became special to me over ten years ago when I was asked to teach an adult Sunday school class on Christian apologetics. This interest grew over the years to the point that I took some graduate level classes in apologetics. I think the best way to be prepared to give and answer to everyone who asks is to know scripture. It is my hope that through these short devotionals the reader will become more familiar with each verse. I have tried when possible to make them personal hoping in some small way to show that God’s word written over two thousand years ago is still relevant today. In the writing of these short devotionals I have been able to better understand how God’s word impacts my life. It is my hope that you too will come closer to our Lord Jesus and develop a closer relationship with Him. Finally, if the reader finds anything in conflict with scripture please let me know. God’s word is the final authority always overrules anything I might write. David
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12 Responses to Evolution of thought

  1. jlafan2001 says:

    “What I wanted to see was what was new in the field of evolution. Imagine my surprise when I looked at our middle child’s Middle school science book to see the very same illustrations and proofs of evolution that I read in my High school biology text almost 40 years ago.”

    I don’t think you have been keeping up on the new evidence for common descent at all. We have gained more evidence since the late 50’s. Have you looked into human chromosome 2 fusion, ERV’s, junk DNA, DNA similarities, embryology, biogeography, fossil discoveries like Homo Naledi, Lenski’s long term experiment? All point to common descent.

    Irreducible Complexity has been debunked in the form of co-option and some IDists don’t use it anymore. Even Michael Behe accepts common descent because he recognizes the evidence for it. I would suggest that you stop reading outdated creationist and ID arguments and start reading on the new science literature. You might be surprised at what you find there.

    • Perhaps jlafan2001 it would help you to read the basics of Creation instead of worldly man’s understanding of Evolution, that many times has been proven to be in error and will be again. I was an Atheist for almost 30 years because of their foolishness but I have no doubt now in the reality of God’s Creation as recorded in The Bible, which has undeniable evidence that only God could have known when it was recorded.

      But to help clarify a simple but profound Truth for you which is often overlooked or kept hidden by Secular Scientists, please follow my link below.

      Evidence for Creation- https://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2015/10/03/wow-a-new-missing-link-has-been-found/

      Kind regards – Anne.

  2. Reblogged this on Freedomborn … Aussie Christian Focus and commented:
    I’m sure like me, you will appreciate very much reading David’s journey from belief in Evolution to his rejection of it and how he than came to full acceptance of God’s Creation as recorded in Scripture..

    Thank you David it was a blessing to read and very informative, it confirmed what I have discovered and also gave added valuable information .

    Christian Love Always in our Unity in Christ Jesus – Anne.

    • dwwork says:

      Anne, thanks for re-posting. I have not had time to respond and write as we are in the middle of looking at insurance for my family as I wade through the many government regulation pertaining to medicare and social security here in the USA. Glad you are back up and running and as always my prayers are with you and Ron. have a blessed day, David

  3. dwwork says:

    Actually irreducible complexity has not been debunked as co-option is only a theory without any real world examples or any observation of same. This may well happen in microbes and viruses but has yet to be seen in multicellular organisms. As the junk DNA, there seems to be a lot less of it every year. So called junk DNA is just DNA we don’t yet know its function. As the Behe, he has always been a believer in evolution but if you had taken time to read his book you would see that when he talks of common decent he also believes that God steps in at certain points to make changes in an organism. No natural selection but theistic selection. This is one area I do not agree with Behe. But even if he is correct what he proposes is not evolution or at least not what Darwin’s theory calls for. You might take your own advice and actually look into what is going on in the Intelligent Design (ID) field. Perhaps you might read some of the books written by Hugh Ross or check out the Reasons to Believe site (http://www.reasons.org/). I would be willing to bet I am more up to date on what is more recent in the field of biology that you are in the field of ID. Of course I realize that it is difficult to read material that is inconsistent with one’s world view. To quote you, “You might be surprised at what you find there.”
    Of course the bottom line I suppose is that you do not believe in God, correct me if I am wrong. Perhaps you might want to look into the arguments for God. Two strong arguments are the Kalam Cosmological argument and the Teleological argument which convinced renowned atheist Antony Flew that God in fact does exist.

    Have a blessed day,

    David

    Some books by Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Fazle Rana “More Than a Theory”, “Why the Universe Is the Way It Is”, “Origins of Life”, “The Cell’s Design” and “Creating Life” in the Lab Dr. Ross is an astronomer and Dr. Fazel is a biochemist.
    Additional reading: “I Don’t Have enough faith to be an Atheist” by Norman Geisler and “The Kalam Cosmological Argument” by William L. Craig

  4. I appreciated David your above response to jlafan2001 but having Ministered to Atheists I found that they rarely follow links or read suggested Books, especially the Bible but they may use Scripture out of context and without understanding but than so do some deceived Christians.

    As we know David, when Christ is within us we don’t need proof of The Godhead’s reality or of His Creation, which also shows His reality, that is why God says they will be without excuse who reject Him, but it’s not His will they suffer Eternally, it’s their choice and they choose to Trust in their own fleshy Pride instead of Seeking, Asking and Knocking as Jesus asks us all to do and if we are known by God as His own we will do this not because we have to but because we will want to but it’s important where we Seek and what we Ask for, rubbish in, rubbish out and Knocking without True Heart repentance which will be shown in our lives, means the Door will not be opened even if we say Lord, Lord, yes some will be sent away because their lives do not show God’s indwelling Spirit even though they claim to know Him. Matthew 25:31-46

    Blessings – Anne.

    • dwwork says:

      Anne, I know. For people who pride themselves on reason and an open mind I find their minds closed to reason and especially closed to Christianity. Still, I will keep trying and just maybe a seed will eventually germinate. Have a blessed day, David

      • Yes very True David but as you shared we are planting good seeds for the Kingdom, yes some will blossom in the hearts of those we share with that are not hardened beyond change but we may never know till Eternity if they received and accepted what we shared, that is why we are not to judge anyone’s Eternal Destiny although we can know if they are walking in the Spirit now but if they don’t repent we won’t know or we would have sorrow and there is none in Heaven.

        Blessings -Anne

  5. Ron says:

    Thanks David for an excellent discourse of Evolution and Intelligent Design showing your discovery and deductions, its a wonderful treatise, I enjoyed it immensely. Loved your closing paragraph ” Evolution is false and the evidence for God to be overwhelming, the Universe shows all the attributes of design .” I couldn`t agree more .

    Blessings
    Ron

  6. So good… coming from a belief in Evolution and a detailed explanation which for some details that we don’t understand, but speaking to a believer in Evolution no doubt, they do. I read something recently which really in a nutshell, said so much; that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is full of quotes like perhaps this is what happened, or maybe, or this could be etc. etc. Nothing definitive as he couldn’t replicate anything, and to me as being scientific.. was sadly lacking… It takes more faith to be a believer in Evolution as nothing is provable, and yet the Bible has been found historically relevant as well as ‘faith evident’…. Diane

    • dwwork says:

      Diane, thanks for dropping by and your spot on comments. What the believers in evolution that comment on my posts just do not see is the lack of proof for evolution. Have a blessed day, David

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