Creationist in an evolution class

21 Jul

So, did completing a university class all about evolution make me discard my creationist beliefs in favour of the more popular theory of evolution?

image courtesy of Smithsonian

image courtesy of Smithsonian

Not. Even. Remotely.

“No scientists believe in Creation,” my lecturer said in one of the very first sessions “the only opposition to evolution comes from the uneducated.”

I should have put my hand up right then and there, but I didn’t.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe nerves.  Maybe because I didn’t want the possibly of being unfairly graded on assignments because of my beliefs.  I don’t know.  But I do know that there are plenty of university accredited biologists, physicists, chemists, etc. most with PhD’s, who believe in Creation.  There are at least two scientific journals written entirely by creation believing scientists (and I highly recommend Creation magazine, which is written so the non-science person can understand it).

As soon as I got home, I checked my textbook.  It at least it said that the majority of scientists believe in evolution.  Which is lucky, otherwise I would have been on the phone to it’s publishers causing all sorts of trouble.

We learned all about natural selection mechanisms like directional and disruptive selection, that lead to evolutionary change. In a lab, directional selection can be replicated artificially by breeding specific pairs of organisms.  Take fruit flies for example.  Scientists  picked out the flies with the most bristles on their abdomens and bred them together, repeating the process generation after generation until the bristle number increased dramatically.  They called this proof of evolution.

But is it really? We’re not seeing fruit flies turning into something else, they just have more bristles on their abdomens.  And the information for making bristles was already in their DNA.  It’s not something new.  Nothing has been added to their genome.

There are two different kinds of evolution though, micro evolution, and macro evolution.  Usually when people say evolution, you think the monkeys to man type.  That’s macro evolution.  But organisms are changing all the time.  You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that.  There are new flu shots every year because of new strains.  Certain dogs have been bred over the years to be smaller and smaller until finally we have a teacup Chihuahua.  But it’s still a dog.  That’s micro evolution.  The fruit fly example is also micro evolution. Creationists have no problem with micro evolution.  In fact, it’s expected when all of humanity came from a single couple and then later from a single family post flood.

It’s expected in animals too.  God told Adam to bring two of each “kind” aboard the ark.  That doesn’t mean that he needed to bring a pair of zebras and a pair of horses and a pair of donkeys, they are all the same “kind,” and they can interbreed with one another.

A Zorse (zebra/horse). Image courtesy of wikipedia

A Zorse (zebra/horse). Image courtesy of wikipedia

Similarly, one pair of dogs would have been aboard the ark, once pair of chickens, and so on.  Yet today we see heaps of different dogs and horses and chickens because they diversified, as they were intended to.  That certainly doesn’t prove macro evolution though, only micro evolution, which, as I said, is to be expected from a biblical point of view.

Speaking of the flood, science certainly doesn’t disprove a global flood.  We find fossils all over the world.  And how are most common fossils made? According to my text book, “the organism must be buried in sediment; then, the calcium in bone or other hard tissue must mineralize; and finally, the surrounding sediment must eventually harden to form rock.”  The process also has to happen “before the remains decay or are scavenged by predators,”  which means very quickly,  i.e. a flood.  I find it most interesting that practically every culture on earth has a global flood story.  All of the crazy and interesting rock formations can be explained by receding global floodwaters and the upheaval we read about during the flood in the Bible.

What about vestigial structures (structures that have “lost the ancestral function”)?  They say the anal/pelvic spur in some breeds of snakes is what’s left of ancestral legs.  The spur is connected to a pelvis.  But the spur is used in mating and also in fighting.  So it does have a use, and saying that legs once grew from said pelvis is a merely a guess.  Also, breeds of snakes with anal spurs are constrictors.  I wonder if the pelvis helps them with their constricting process somehow? It’s not like anyone’s removed a snake pelvis and anal spurs to find out how it would affect the snake (and I don’t recommend it either, that would be pretty cruel)

Let’s pretend for a second that the snakes did once have legs.  According to natural selection, an organisms fitness determines which direction evolution will take.  Basically, if a trait is advantageous, those in possession of the trait will live long enough to breed and therefore the next generation will show more of the desired trait.

Since macro evolution is said to take millions of years, the loss of limbs would take quite some time.  They would need to get gradually smaller and smaller until they were gone.  But how is that advantageous?  If a snake had only half sized hind limbs, it couldn’t walk that well, if at all, but it couldn’t really slither well either, so why would that mutation continue to live on? Wouldn’t those half-legged snakes get predated on more and in turn, not survive long enough to produce offspring, significantly lowering the fitness of the trait, making natural selection select for something else? (a common misconception amongst the layperson is that all organisms of a particular species evolve into something else.  I.e. why are there still apes if man evolved from apes? According to evolution, only some members of a given species would evolve into other species and organisms, even branching out into a couple or more different organisms, meaning that there would still be the ape, but some would eventually evolve into man, although with many organisms, the originals are said to have died after some time. If you believe that kind of thing).

Natural selection leading to evolutionary change makes perfect sense when we’re talking about micro evolution, but when we’re talking about macro evolution, it doesn’t make sense at all because when you get an in between organism, it’s not advantageous, and therefore wouldn’t be selected for.  Plus, we’re talking about many, many mutations which just so happen to compliment each other over millions of years in order for the eventual animal to be realised, with some things, such as wings,  multiple times in different animals. Hardly seems likely.

I remember my lecturer saying “and what does a plant do when it needs nitrogen? It evolves a way to get it.” Like the genes themselves have the intelligence to transform themselves they way they need to go.

We were shown the infamous cladogram of horse evolution which shows that horses originated from a very small, 4 toed thing, to what we see today.

Horse evolution?

Horse evolution?

The top horse and second horse could easily be the same kind.  Don’t let the tail fool you, it’s just their depiction.  As it is, the modern day horse has about a foot of bony tail that all the long hair grows off of.  With a proper tail drawn on, because, let’s face it, the drawings are only interpretations of the bone structure, the difference is minimal.  Who is to say from some bones that the other three are the origin of horse? Isn’t it completely likely that they are entirely different animals? So many animals have become extinct throughout the life of earth, why wouldn’t the “first horses” instead be a fossil of some other extinct animal?  Besides, if we’re going off similarities, the Eohippus is way more like this one, which still lives on today, so why was it lumped with the horse only based on some fossils? (I’m not saying the Hyrax came from Eohippus, I’m just making a point):

Image courtesy of Flickriver

Image courtesy of Flickriver

Evolutionists argue that because of the layers of earth the fossils were found in, we can conclude that one evolved from another.  Can we really trust the “fossil record” though?  In north-eastern Oregon, the three-toed Neohipparion and one-toed Pliohippus were found in the very same layer. They say that the layers of earth correspond to different time periods, but there have also been many instances of animals, and trees found upright, some even upside down, through many different layers that represent “millions” of years. All that the supposed “horse” fossils prove is that an organism with those particular bones lived a long time ago.  All the rest is merely speculation, assumption, and interpretation.

The closeness of our genomes with that of other organisms is another major argument of evolution.  From a creation viewpoint though, it makes perfect sense: one creator, similar functions of structures, similar DNA sequences, etc.  If you design a forearm in one creature that works really well (and of course it would, this is God we’re talking about), why would you change it just because you’re making a different creature?

Homologous structures. Image courtesy of idc

Homologous structures. Image courtesy of idc

When you get right down to it, we’re all made of the same thing.  Not just us, but everything.  Elementary particles.  Everything is made up of elementary particles.  When you make a large house with lego, it looks like a house, and (depending on how much detail you put in), functions as a house.  When you make a car out of lego, it looks like a car, and functions like a car.  But when you take it all apart, the blocks are all the same.  It’s the same with us.  Not because of evolution and a big bang, but because we’re all designed and created by the same thing. God.

On origins of the earth, it all comes down to the same thing.  But how did that get there?  That can be either God, or the non-living matter that went bang.  Either way, we are talking about something supernatural.  Life out of non-life.  Why is it so much harder to think the supernatural was God, rather than a big bang that brought life out of the non-life?

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6 Responses to “Creationist in an evolution class”

  1. AlisonStanley July 21, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    A very well articulated article. I totally agree. I think a lot of people want to believe in macro evolution because it is an explanation for how this world came to be without having to acknowledge that there is a God. But for myself, I think it is far more logical to believe what the Bible says – that we have a loving creator who designed each creature according to their kind – than in a random chain of events over millions of years that has led to the diversity of species we have today.

  2. LBcruiseshipblogger July 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Horses may be able to breed with donkeys, but the resultant offspring (mules) are sterile.

    Wasn’t there a serpent in the Garden of Eden whose punishment for its role in offering Eve the fruit (which was not an apple) was that all serpents lost their legs and became snakes?

    • Mommy Adventures July 21, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

      Good point, and that just goes to show that the micro evolution can only go so far. When it gets to a certain point, the offspring are sterile. My textbook had an example of “evolution proof” which had a lab bred organism that could no longer breed with other organisms of it’s species (after many, many generations), but when I read the fine print, I found out it was because it was sterile. Hardly proof of evolution, more like proof it can only go so far.

      There was a serpent in the Garden of Eden, whom God told: You will crawl on your belly
      and you will eat dust
      all the days of your life.
      15 And I will put enmity
      between you and the woman,
      and between your offspring[a] and hers;
      he will crush your head,
      and you will strike his heel.”

      Maybe all serpents lost their legs and became snakes and the pelvis and spurs are reminders of that, but maybe not. Hard to say. Maybe it was just that one serpent. I’m not sure on that one, and no one could be certain.

  3. Amy July 24, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    This was a wonderful article! My pastor once said… “Go home and take the back off of your television and ask yourself…. Is it more reasonable to believe there was a designer of this television, or is it more reasonable to believe it’s the result of a random explosion at an electronics factory.” Will stick with me forever.

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