In part 1 we began exploring the misrepresentations and logical fallacies in the evolutionist article entitled “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense.” We have seen that the critic is very unfamiliar with what creation scientists actually teach. In part 2, we see that this trend has continued. As before, I will put the critic’s article in purple font, with my comments in black.
8. [Creationists claim that] Mathematically, it is inconceivable that anything as complex as a protein, let alone a living cell or a human, could spring up by chance.
Chance plays a part in evolution (for example, in the random mutations that can give rise to new traits), but evolution does not depend on chance to create organisms, proteins or other entities. Quite the opposite: natural selection, the principal known mechanism of evolution, harnesses nonrandom change by preserving “desirable” (adaptive) features and eliminating “undesirable” (nonadaptive) ones.
The critic has simply not thought this through. The objection is that the first cell and its proteins could not reasonably form by chance. The critic tries to invoke natural selection to boost the odds. But this won’t work for two rather obvious reasons. First, natural selection doesn’t operate unless there are competing organisms alive at the time. It refers to the death of those organisms that are not already fit. So how can it possibly account for the first living cell? Second, natural selection does not produce or guide any desirable (adaptive) features at all. It simply refers to the removal of those non-adaptive ones. In other words, natural selection does not improve the probability of favorable mutations or other events even slightly. This is explained here.
Natural selection therefore has absolutely no effect on the probability of the chance formation of the first living cell. The probability of such a cell forming by chance are astronomically small, and natural selection does not improve those odds in the slightest.
As long as the forces of selection stay constant, natural selection can push evolution in one direction and produce sophisticated structures in surprisingly short times.
No, it cannot. The reason is obvious: natural selection is not a creative force at all and cannot “push” evolution in any direction. It simply refers to the death of those organisms that don’t already have the right sophisticated structures to survive. Natural selection has absolutely no effect on the probability of new sophisticated structures forming. None.
As an analogy, consider the 13-letter sequence “TOBEORNOTTOBE.” Those hypothetical million monkeys, each pecking out one phrase a second, could take as long as 78,800 years to find it among the 2613 sequences of that length. But in the 1980s Richard Hardison of Glendale College wrote a computer program that generated phrases randomly while preserving the positions of individual letters that happened to be correctly placed (in effect, selecting for phrases more like Hamlet’s). On average, the program re-created the phrase in just 336 iterations, less than 90 seconds. Even more amazing, it could reconstruct Shakespeare’s entire play in just four and a half days.
Here the critic commits the fallacy of false analogy. He claims that the above computer experiments simulate the effects of natural selection on random mutations. But they don’t. The reason is that natural selection simply refers to the removal of organisms whose traits are not currently conducive to survival. It does not preserve traits that will become useful in the future. But the computer program mentioned above does. It preserves all those changes that will eventually lead to the phrase “ToBeOrNotToBe.” In other words, when a randomly generated letter matches the letter in the phrase at the correct position, the program prevents any further changes. It preserves those changes that will in the future eventually accomplish the goal. But natural selection doesn’t. Natural Selection refers to the elimination of traits that are not currently useful; there is no “goal.”
Furthermore, for this computer program to work, the goal phrase “ToBeOrNotToBe” must already be programmed into the machine, so that it can check the randomly generated letters against the target phrase. Unlike the supposed evolution from single-celled microbes to people, the computer program already contains the information for the goal from the very start! In fact, it couldn’t work without it.
In conclusion, natural selection has absolutely no effect on the probability of the formation of a living cell from inanimate matter. Neither does natural selection improve the probability of mutations that are adaptively useful. Nor does natural selection preserve those mutations that will eventually become useful in the future. It therefore cannot guide Darwinian evolution.
9. [Creationists claim that] The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that systems must become more disordered over time. Living cells therefore could not have evolved from inanimate chemicals, and multicellular life could not have evolved from protozoa.
Although some creationists do invoke the second law of thermodynamics as an argument against evolution, the critic has not stated the argument accurately. The second law of thermodynamics indicates that there is a tendency for systems to become more thermally disorganized over time (an increase in entropy). Entropy is a sort of backwards concept, because it is a measure of thermal disorder. And indeed, entropy tends to increase in a system. However, entropy is only guaranteed to increase in an isolated system – one in which no matter or energy is exchanged with the outside environment. The critic’s misrepresentation of the creationist claim has blurred all these important distinctions.
So, do creationists believe that the second law of thermodynamics disallows evolution? The answer is that some do, and some don’t. It is a debated issue. Yet, the critic has stated this as though it were the unified position of creation scientists. It isn’t.
This argument derives from a misunderstanding of the Second Law. If it were valid, mineral crystals and snowflakes would also be impossible, because they, too, are complex structures that form spontaneously from disordered parts.
Here the critic makes another serious mistake. He has confused order with specified complexity. Snowflakes and mineral crystals do have order. They do not have specified complexity – they don’t have complex interdependent parts that work together for a common goal. Mineral structures do not contain any information in the sense of an encoded symbolic message. But living cells do. Cells have instructions encoded in their DNA, and have many interdependent parts that work in concert.
No one denies that the simple repeated order found in snowflakes and minerals happens naturally in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics. But no one has seen a complex machine with interdependent parts develop spontaneously. Complex machines are always produced either by previous complex machines, or by an intelligent agent.
The Second Law actually states that the total entropy of a closed system (one that no energy or matter leaves or enters) cannot decrease.
Actually, it is in an isolated (not “closed”) system that entropy can never be decreased. An isolated system allows neither matter nor energy to be exchanged with the environment. A closed system allows energy, but not matter to be exchanged with the environment. When your refrigerator door is closed, it is a closed system in which entropy can be locally reduced.
Entropy is a physical concept often casually described as disorder, but it differs significantly from the conversational use of the word.
More important, however, the Second Law permits parts of a system to decrease in entropy as long as other parts experience an offsetting increase. Thus, our planet as a whole can grow more complex because the sun pours heat and light onto it, and the greater entropy associated with the sun’s nuclear fusion more than rebalances the scales. Simple organisms can fuel their rise toward complexity by consuming other forms of life and nonliving materials.
Again, the problem with evolution is not that low-entropy energy is unavailable. No one disputes that the sun provides earth with low-entropy energy, and that life has the ability to harness energy and grow. Biological cells have the genetic instructions that tell them how to do that. The problem for evolution is, and always has been, how to get those genetic instructions without a Creator. There is no known process that can cause brand new information to originate in matter apart from a mind.
10. [Creationists claim that] Mutations are essential to evolution theory, but mutations can only eliminate traits. They cannot produce new features.
Sadly, this is yet another straw-man fallacy. The argument that most creationists believe to be quite strong is that mutations cannot generate brand new information, at least not in the amounts necessary to drive evolution. But creation scientists are well aware that mutations can lose information, and that this sometimes results in a new trait, like blindness, loss of pigmentation, etc. In some cases, these loss mutations can even result in traits that improve an organism’s probability of survival in a particular environment – such as antibiotic resistance in bacteria. But these changes are the opposite of evolution as documented in Dr. Lee Spetner’s book: Not by Chance.
On the contrary, biology has catalogued many traits produced by point mutations (changes at precise positions in an organism’s DNA)–bacterial resistance to antibiotics, for example.
Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is a great example of variation within a kind. And it is due to a loss of genetic information. It is therefore the exact opposite of Darwinian evolution. For a single-celled microbe to eventually become people, it must gain brand new genetic instructions. This is because human beings possess a lot of genetic information that microbes lack. But antibiotic resistance is due to a loss of information.
The bacterium H. pylori can be killed by the antibiotic clarithromycin. This antibiotic binds to the internal machinery of the bacterium, which inhibits protein production, resulting in the death of the bacterium. However, there is a mutated form of H. pylori in which damaged genes produce altered internal machinery. The damaged machinery is unable to bind as well to the antibiotic. Therefore, the mutated bacteria are better able to survive in an antibiotic-rich environment than their healthy counterparts. It is a great example of adaptation, and of natural selection. But since the bacteria have lost information, such a change is in the wrong direction to drive evolution. And of course, the bacteria remain bacteria.
Mutations that arise in the homeobox (Hox) family of development-regulating genes in animals can also have complex effects. Hox genes direct where legs, wings, antennae and body segments should grow. In fruit flies, for instance, the mutation called Antennapedia causes legs to sprout where antennae should grow. These abnormal limbs are not functional, but their existence demonstrates that genetic mistakes can produce complex structures, which natural selection can then test for possible uses.
It should be immediately obvious that damaged Hox genes do not show that “genetic mistakes can produce complex structures” because mistakes in Hox genes do not produce new complex structures. They simply scramble the locations of where the already-designed complex structures should go.
Perhaps an analogy will reveal the critic’s error. Imagine an automated assembly line at car-manufacturing factory. Suppose a glitch occurred in one of the computers, and the machinery began attaching engines where the wheels of a car are supposed to go, and put a wheel where the engine is supposed to go. “See”, says the critic. “A simple computer glitch can result in highly complex structures!” Hardly. All of the complex structures were already programmed into the system. The computer glitch simply caused the wrong number and positions of the car’s features.
Moreover, molecular biology has discovered mechanisms for genetic change that go beyond point mutations, and these expand the ways in which new traits can appear.
Unfortunately for the critic, these other types of mutations are utterly irrelevant to Darwinian evolution because they do not (even in principle) add brand new genetic information to the organism’s genome. They simply scramble or remove existing information. Microbes cannot gain the genetic information to become people by losing information. Deletions, frameshift mutations, inversions, and repeat expansions clearly cannot add brand new genetic information. Evolutionists sometimes claim that duplications do. This is when a segment of DNA is accidentally repeated. But having a second copy of the DNA segment does not add even a tiny amount of new information. It would be like someone buying a second copy of the same book, thinking that he will learn twice as much.
At best duplications merely provide space for the point mutations to work, while maintaining a copy of the original gene. And so it will be left to the point mutations to generate the new information, which, as far as anyone has observed, they do not. Biophysicist Dr. Lee Spetner has stated that all point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information, and not to increase it. Yet, there should be thousands of examples of information-gaining point mutations if Darwinian evolution were true. So again, the critic is supposed to be producing evidence for evolution, but instead supplies evidence of variation within a kind as predicted by biblical creation.
Functional modules within genes can be spliced together in novel ways. Whole genes can be accidentally duplicated in an organism’s DNA, and the duplicates are free to mutate into genes for new, complex features.
Unfortunately for the critic, we don’t have any observed examples of new complex features arising from mutations. We do have observations of duplications, and point mutations. But we don’t have examples of these mutations developing into brand new, complex features as Darwinian evolution would require. The critic must take it on blind faith that such information-gaining mutations frequently happen.
Comparisons of the DNA from a wide variety of organisms indicate that this is how the globin family of blood proteins evolved over millions of years.
Actually, comparisons of DNA from various organisms shows that globins appear to be well-designed for the organism in which they are found. Even within the human genome, there are slightly different versions of hemoglobin that are used at different stages of life. Fetal hemoglobin has a somewhat higher affinity for oxygen than adult hemoglobin, which helps the unborn infant access the oxygen in the mother’s bloodstream. This has all the characteristics of a well-thought-out design, not Darwinian evolution.
11. [Creationists claim that] Natural selection might explain microevolution, but it cannot explain the origin of new species and higher orders of life.
Sadly, this is another straw man fallacy. First, as a creation scientist, I advise against the use of terms like “microevolution” since they are irrelevant to the issue of the direction of change. Second, as a creation scientist, I am on record as claiming that natural selection along with created heterozygosity can indeed explain the origin of new species, and perhaps higher orders of life. Where we disagree with evolutionists is whether natural processes can lead to a fundamental change in the kind of organism. Creation scientists agree that speciation occurs, as shown here.
Had the critic written this 200 years ago, he might have had a legitimate complaint. Many creationists of the past may have held to the idea of fixity of species. Although, in many cases, this may be due to changing definitions rather than confusion over the actual science.
In any case, modern creation scientists recognize that there is a difference between a species (in the modern taxonomic sense) and the created-kind. We do not believe in fixity of species, but we do believe in fixity of kinds. For example, there is more than one species of dog (canid), but only one dog kind. All canids are biologically related to each other, even those classified as a different species. However, they are not biologically related to other kinds of animals.
The Bible was not written using our modern taxonomic system. Therefore, we should not expect the biblical term ‘kind’ to necessarily correspond to one particular level on the man-made classification system. The study of the taxonomic levels at which various kinds are distinguished is called baraminology. Currently, creation scientists believe that kind often lines up with the family taxonomic level. But there are exceptions.
Evolutionary biologists have written extensively about how natural selection could produce new species.
Creation biologists have also written about this. See On the Origin of Eukaryotic Species’ Genotypic and Phenotypic Diversity.
For instance, in the model called allopatry, developed by Ernst Mayr of Harvard University, if a population of organisms were isolated from the rest of its species by geographical boundaries, it might be subjected to different selective pressures. Changes would accumulate in the isolated population. If those changes became so significant that the splinter group could not or routinely would not breed with the original stock, then the splinter group would be reproductively isolated and on its way toward becoming a new species.
This is true, and is a prediction of biblical creation – not evolution. The new species is always the same created kind as the original. This is variation within a kind.
Natural selection is the best studied of the evolutionary mechanisms, …
Natural selection is not an evolutionary mechanism because (1) it is not evolutionary but was discovered by the creationist Edward Blyth and is perfectly consistent with biblical creation, and (2) it is not a mechanism for change. Recall that natural selection merely refers to the removal of organisms that are not already suited to their environment. It does not produce organisms that are well-suited to their environment. Nor does it alter existing organisms in the slightest.
…but biologists are open to other possibilities as well. Biologists are constantly assessing the potential of unusual genetic mechanisms for causing speciation or for producing complex features in organisms.
Known genetic processes along with created heterozygosity can account for speciation. But natural processes cannot account for the origin of “complex features in organisms.” The DNA contains specific genetic information necessary to build the organism. And natural processes do not account for the origin of information. As far as we have observed scientifically, information always originates from a mind. Therefore, genetic information is consistent with biblical creation, but not Darwinian evolution.
In any case, no informed creationist denies that natural selection is very real, refers to the removal of unsuccessful organisms, and therefore has nothing to do with evolution in the Darwinian sense.
Lynn Margulis of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and others have persuasively argued that some cellular organelles, such as the energy-generating mitochondria, evolved through the symbiotic merger of ancient organisms.
The mitochondrion is an organelle (a specialized structure within a living cell) found in most cells of animals and plants. It is the powerhouse of the cell, providing the rest of the cell with adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – the fuel necessary to power the other organelles. Unlike most organelles, mitochondria contain their own DNA. Evolutionists have proposed that the mitochondrion once existed as an independent organism, but got absorbed into the cell of another organism, and formed a symbiotic relationship.
It is a fun story. But where is the evidence for this conjecture? There is no scientific evidence that mitochondria were ever independent organisms from the cells in which they reside, but there is evidence that strongly challenges this idea. First, mitochondria cannot survive outside a cell because they require the machinery of the cell in order to operate. And cells depend on the mitochondria to supply ATP. They are codependent. Evolutionists might conjecture that they have lost the ability to survive independently since the ancient merger; but where is the evidence of this?
Second, many of the proteins used in the mitochondria are not encoded in the mitochondria’s DNA, but are encoded in the nuclear DNA of the cell. Indeed, mitochondria have only 37 genes and encode 13 proteins. All the other proteins necessary for the mitochondria are found in the nucleus of the cell. It is as if the mitochondria and the rest of the cell were designed to work together from the beginning.
Thus, science welcomes the possibility of evolution resulting from forces beyond natural selection. Yet those forces must be natural;…
Here is the source of the critic’s problem. The critic’s objection to creation is not scientific at all. It arises from a philosophical presupposition. The critic has a philosophical bias that will not allow him to even entertain the thought that God might have designed and created the original organisms. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how much scientific evidence we have for this. He insists that the forces responsible for the origin of organisms “must be natural.”
Why? What if the scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicated a supernatural origin of life? This critic would dismiss such evidence out of hand because he has already arbitrarily decided that he will only accept explanations that are natural. Notice that the critic makes no argument for this position; it is completely arbitrary. Is this science? Is it scientific to dismiss a possibility out of hand before any investigation of evidence?
…they cannot be attributed to the actions of mysterious creative intelligences whose existence, in scientific terms, is unproved.
Earlier the critic seemed to at least entertain the possibility of extra-terrestrial intelligence creating the first life on earth. Recall he mentioned the hypothesis that “aliens introduced the first cells billions of years ago…” which is something that indeed some evolutionists believe. Such hypothetical aliens certainly constitute “mysterious creative intelligences, whose existence, in scientific terms, is unproved.” And yet, evolutionists allow such an explanation. Why not at least consider the possibility that God created just as He said He did?
 Jeanson, N., & J. Lisle, On the Origin of Eukaryotic Species’ Genotypic and Phenotypic Diversity, Answers Research Journal, 9, (2016): 81-122. [answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/on-the-origin-of-eukaryotic-species-genotypic-and-phenotypic-diversity/]