Friday, April 2, 2010

Worldview Class #2 – Part 8 – Secular Humanist Biology

While teaching a Sunday morning class on the topic of various worldviews, I plan to share some of the more significant findings which our class is learning. The main text for the study is The Battle for Truth by David Noebel. A good deal of this class is also based on personal research.
Much of our world seems to revolve around science. This tendency has increased dramatically over the last hundred years as we gain more knowledge about our surroundings, and as technological leaps have enabled us to witness, measure, and create wonderful things. Indeed, for some, the wonders of science have almost become a cause for worship…

Among the many scientific areas of interest, the field of biology generates a greater intersection of scientific discovery and emotional response than any other. Topics touching how we got here, and whether we were created by God or formed through random chance, are usually accompanied by a passionate belief.

For the secular humanist, the guiding principle behind their opinion on biology is Darwinian evolution – the theory that matter was created from nothing and that man is continually evolving into a more capable being. The Humanist Manifesto I says “Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process,” while the Humanist Manifesto II claims, “Science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces.” It is interesting that in the forty year period between these two documents, humanists migrated from “Humanism believes” to “Science affirms”. Is that indeed a fact?

Facts are funny things – they are supposed to be unimpeachable. Yet most objective scientists who take a look at evolutionary science will admit that there are serious flaws.

First, where did it all come from? For matter and energy to become a living, breathing life form after “millions of years”, there had to be a start. That is, where did the original matter and energy come from? To answer that question, evolutionary scientists rely on the concept of spontaneous generation – the creation of something from nothing. Yet with all of our knowledge and advanced lab equipment, science has not been able to duplicate this theory in any fashion – not even on the smallest scale. So, how does “science affirm” this very important piece of evolutionary theory? So far, it has not.

Skipping past this obvious difficulty in the theory so far, evolutionists next claim that natural selection, through the mechanism of beneficial mutations, allows life forms to evolve over time – nature will select those mutations which give the life form a benefit over competing animals and organisms. Again, do science and observation bear this out? In discussing this with a medical friend, his observation is that nature actually appears to frown on mutations. Many fetuses with a genetic mutation do not make it to birth. And those that are born with a mutation typically have a much shorter life expectancy than average. Consider it – when was the last time anyone ever demonstrated a mutation in an animal or a human being that gave an advantage to that being? Could it be that mutations are actually detrimental, and that a living being with no mutations is actually the one most likely to survive (from the Christian perspective, does God’s creation require a mutation to be “improved”?) What does objective science and real observation say about this piece of evolutionary theory? Again, the proof seems to be against this hypothesis.

Finally, evolutionists point to the fossil record as proof that their theory is correct. Carl Sagan went so far as to say that “evolution is a fact, amply demonstrated by the fossil record.” But is this true? If evolution were to be proven by the fossil record, two things would have to occur. First, fossilized organisms need to become increasingly more simple, the farther down one digs into the earth. The most complex organisms should be nearer to the surface, because they “evolved” later in history. Add to this that there needs to be a plausible ancestor relationship that can be constructed between the fossils that are found in these layers. Second, transitional forms need to found in the fossil record – these are the “missing links” that must have occurred between species. You should be able to find a multitude of examples that appear to be somewhere between a fish and a frog, or that are part bird and part-dinosaur. Yet, do fossil discoveries bear this theory out? In fact ,they do not. So, scientists modify their theory to include unprovable new ideas like punctuated equilibrium (where inter-species evolution occurs very quickly, leaving little time for fossils of these “between species forms” to be deposited). How convenient.

But evolutionary science fails to display proof of any of these three theories (spontaneous generation, beneficial mutations, and the fossil record of evolution). That leaves them with an empty, unproven theory – open for debunking.

Evolutionary scientists could recover from this had they not made one far greater mistake at the very outset of their philosophy. Humanism rejects the possibility that a Divine Creator could have existed to create matter, guide genetics, and create all of the species ever needed in just a few hours. Julian Huxley, famous humanist of the twentieth century, spelled this out when he said, “Modern science must rule out special creation or divine guidance.”

To which I respond with a few questions:

1) Is it good science to initially reject the possibility of a supernatural Creator, without any experimentation or proof to make such a sweeping claim?

2) Are the theories of spontaneous generation and beneficial mutations, coupled with the lack of evidence of evolution in the fossil record, the best science that you can come up with? Don’t these theories require a great deal of faith, since the evidence doesn’t support them?

3) If we’re going to rely on faith, why not consider a “theory of creation” instead?
To me, the last question is intriguing. “Good science” is supposed to be objective. Most of us were taught in science class to assume nothing before conducting an experiment. Wrong assumptions lead to incorrect conclusions. By casting aside a very relevant possibility – that of a Divine Creator – humanism is painted into a very dangerous corner. The idea of humanism is built on two shaky foundations – one of Darwinian evolution, and one of atheism. If either of these foundations were ever to crumble, humanism would have its downfall.

I believe that science is beginning to question the reality of the theory of evolution. It seems possible that a new class of objective scientists will rise up to debunk the theory. Will they allow “the theory of creation” into the discussion? Romans 1:20 tells us that, “since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse”. This tells us that science – real science – can actually prove the existence of God. I can’t wait.

Finally, Romans 1:23 tells us,

“Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Could it be that this scripture, especially the highlighted part, is fulfilled in the common textbook progression below?

Next: Worldview #2 - Part 9 – Marxist Biology
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