By John Clarke
June 28th, 2008
Are natural forces working alone enough to explain the origins, the complexity and the diversity of life on Earth?
To most scientists, it is simply unscientific to consider possibilities other than natural forces. To consider a supernatural origin for life is the same as believing in a flat Earth, simply ridiculous for any thinking person. They say any theory of a special creation must be rejected, no matter how strong the evidence for it must be, and the best natural explanation must be accepted, no matter how weak the evidence for it may be.
When Darwin produced his book The Origin Of Species, he proposed a system in which species change over time through minor variations, which built up over millions of years to create new species. Natural selection occurs where the environment favours certain traits. These get passed on to offspring, while those without those traits die off without offspring. This is survival of the fittest, with the traits that made them the fittest becoming the norm of the species.
Then (as now) that idea gave a creation story to atheism. While before it was impossible for an atheist to answer the question “How did we get here?” Darwin now provided an answer: we came from simpler creatures (which themselves formed from chemical reactions) that improved themselves generation after generation until we emerged.
So the Bible informs us that man was created without fault, but fell from his glory, and introduced pain and death to the world – a corruption of what should be; while Naturalism says man is the result of millions of years of steady progress, each version better than the previous generations, with us improved over our ancestors, and flaws in our species simply undesirable traits yet to be weeded out (as those advanced thinkers, the Nazis, tried to do).
Opposition to naturalism first came from what is known as Young Earth Creationism. They believe in the literal interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis in the Bible, where God created the world in six days. Now this was originally considered an “ignorant” point of view in face of scientific evidence, until Dr. Henry Morris and Dr. John Whitcomb published The Genesis Flood in 1961, which argued that such geological features as the Grand Canyon was not caused by a small amount of water over a great deal of time, but rather a great deal of water over a short amount of time (such as that caused by a world-wide flood). It was this book that kicked off the modern Scientific Creationism movement, and as Morris, and later Duane Gish and others from the Institute for Creation Research won debate after debate against materialists, and a reasonable scientific doubt had been raised against Darwinian Fundamentalism.
Old Earth Creationism is also Bible based, but differs from the Young Earth version by interpreting the word “day” to mean eon (as is possible in the original language of the Book of Genesis).
We also find there are those who believe in evolution, but God directed it, and those that believe that God is the original cause but has been not been involved since the Big Bang, kind of like a master billiards player who breaks, and then watches as the balls go where he intended.
But there is one idea that is common to all these theories and more, but also stands alone: Intelligent Design.
Intelligent design advocates believe that certain natural features give the appearance of being designed, so perhaps they were.
This movement started from the evidence that natural forces working alone were not enough to explain the complexity of life, in particular two types of complexity:
1: Specified Complexity (as theorized by Dr. William Dembski). If you were on a beach, and saw “Sue loves Rob” formed in the sand, you would not guess it was created by the movements of the waves, but rather that it had an intelligent cause. The letters in a sentence are neither random nor repeating, they are what we call specified complexity and like the words in this article, morse code, Microsofts' Windows NT, the German language, or ancient cave drawings, they have an intelligent cause. And along with those other examples, I must include a code written with four letters which contains more information than the Encyclopedia Brittanica and can be found in each cell of your body: DNA.
2: Irreducible Complexity, (as theorized by Dr. Michael Behe in Darwins Black Box). Take a mousetrap: It has 5 working parts, and utterly fails to function if any one of those parts are removed. You can add and improve it, but you must always keep those five parts. Now when we look at the human eye, we see that it is like the mousetrap in that we can reduce some of the parts, but not all, we are left with several interconnected but separate parts essential for the working of the eye. Take one of these parts away and you don't get an eye that works at diminished capacity, you get an eye that doesn't work at all. Complex features such as the eye, the cell, the blood clotting system and others might have improved over time, but there is no good theory about how they came about in the first place.
Both Naturalism on one side and Creationism or Intelligent Design on the other draw on the same evidence, but interpret it in wildly different ways. The fact is that evolution does happen, but only on a small scale. It can modify species, but it can never create new body plans, new organs, or new creatures. But a Darwinist must claim it can because of his dogma, not evidence.