The ICR’s Acts and ‘Facts’ – May 2012

Brian Thomas | pg. 17 | link

Four Scientific Reasons That Refute Evolution

Brian Thomas’ contribution to this month’s newsletter is similar to Johnson’s. Thomas begins:

Some claim that evolution is unbiblical and unscientific. Others claim that science proves evolution. Which view is right? Four clear observations show why evolution—which asserts that fish became fishermen by nature’s provision of new biological information—is utterly unscientific.

The trouble, you see, is that the examples in no way show that evolution “is utterly unscientific.” They’re not even aimed in that direction – they attempt to prove evolution wrong (to ‘refute’ it per the title) but in the same way that a wrong argument is not automatically a straw man, an incorrect theory is not automatically unscientific. I get the impression that the creationists are just parroting words and concepts back at us without quite understanding their meaning.

To begin:

1. Fossils do not show evolution.

Many undisputed fossil lineups should show transitions between the unrelated creatures that evolutionists insist share common ancestry. But the few fossil forms claimed by some evolutionists to represent transitions between basic kinds are disputed by other evolutionists on scientific grounds.

Yes, your first PRATT is “no transitional forms.” Yeah, right. Will dinosaurs-to-birds do? Or how about the evolution of mammals?

2. Living creatures do not evolve between kinds.

Experiments designed to detect evolution should have caught a glimpse by now, but they have not. When researchers simulated fruit fly evolution by systematically altering each portion of fruit fly DNA, they found only three resulting fruit fly categories, published in 1980: normal, mutant, or dead. A 2010 study found no net fruit fly evolution after 600 generations. Similarly, microbiologists watched 40,000 generations of E. coli bacteria become normal, mutant, or dead. None truly evolved.

Big-picture evolution did not happen in the past, and it is not happening now. Other evidence excludes evolution from real science.

Kinds, on the other hand, are truly unscientific in that they mean whatever you want them to mean. I mean to say, if we did indeed manage to evolve something that wasn’t a fruit fly, all that would prove to a creationist is that fruit flies do not make up an entire ‘kind’. “But they’re still insects,” they will say, “and anyway doing it in a lab makes it design.” Oh, and read this.

The E. coli allusion is indeed to the Lenski studies, if you were wondering, and his citation for the “None truly evolved” line is a Behe paper you can see reviewed here.

3. Genetic entropy rules out evolution.

Population geneticists count and describe genetic mutations over many generations in creatures like plants and people. Mutations are copying errors in the coded information carried by cells. The overwhelming majority of mutations have almost no effect on the body. Also, far more of these nearly neutral mutations slightly garble genetic information than any others that might construct new and useful information.6 Therefore, many more slightly harmful mutations accumulate than any other kind of mutation—a process called “genetic entropy.” Each individual carries his own mutations, plus those inherited from all prior generations.

Cells are left to interpret the damaged information like scholars who try to reconstruct text from tattered ancient scrolls. Ultimately, too little information remains, resulting in cell death and eventually extinction. Genetic entropy refutes evolution by ensuring that information is constantly garbled and by limiting the total generations to far fewer than evolutionary history requires.

My problem with the entropy argument is that it rests on the entirely unfounded premise that you’re starting off with a ‘perfect’ genome. Then, yes, any mutation would be downhill – you can’t improve on perfect.

But note that if you start out at zero – using a genetic algorithm of course, you can’t quite do that with biology – things will go the other way. I should make a demonstration program some time and put it up here to prove it…

4. All-or-nothing vital features refute evolution.

Finally, transitioning between basic kinds is not possible because it would disable vital creature features. For example, the reptile two-way lung could not morph into a bird’s unique one-way lung. The reptile lung would have to stop breathing while it waited for evolution to either construct or transfer function to the new bones, air sacs, and parabronchi required by the new bird system. Such a creature would suffocate in minutes, ending its evolution.

This is, to begin with, a flawed picture of evolution – animals don’t evolve while it’s alive!

More to the point, the bird lung is not actually unevolvable. For one, theropod dinosaurs seem to have had the same set up – read more here.

Similarly, to transition from an amphibian’s three-chambered heart to a mammal’s four-chambered heart would require either a new internal heart wall that would block vital blood flow, or new heart vessels that would fatally disrupt the amphibian’s vital blood flow.

All this is just a failure of imagination on Brian’s part. Mammals, by the way, didn’t evolve from amphibians – though our ancestors would have had similar hearts. There is a page on the NCSE’s website, part of a review of a textbook, devoted to this subject. It says:

The shift from three chambers to four chambers is not as large a leap as it might seem. The ventricles of the mammalian heart are separated by a thin muscular septum (wall) which grows out of the muscular sides of the heart. There is a similar septum in the reptilian and amphibian hearts, and as the figure above or even the figure in Explore Evolution illustrates, the transition from three chambers to four would not be at all problematic for the organism. The septum would grow longer, until it entirely separates the two sides. This change prevents oxygenated blood returning from the lungs from mixing with oxygen-depleted blood from the body. In species with slower metabolisms, or which (like amphibians) can exchange gases through their skin, the separation of oxygen-rich and oxygen-depleted blood is less critical, while in species with higher metabolic requirements, there is more intense selection acting on variations which improved oxygen flow to the body. Species with lower metabolisms can go for long periods without breathing, and in those settings, can restrict flow to the lungs, and use the full power of the heart to circulate the blood through the body. For those species, a three chambered heart allows needed flexibility. Mammals with high metabolic requirements cannot go as long without breathing, so there is no need to limit blood flow through the lungs in the same way.

Brian concludes:

These four observations show why the unbiblical evolutionary idea that creatures change without limits is unscientific. If creatures evolved through nature—and not God—then Scripture is not trustworthy, since from beginning to end it credits God as Creator. But science clearly confirms the Genesis creation account.

Again, it doesn’t even come close to proving evolution ‘unscientific,’ and fails even as a refutation.

One thought on “The ICR’s Acts and ‘Facts’ – May 2012

  1. I’m enjoying this post. I particularly like your discussion on page 3. The fact is that, as you say, “good isn’t the same thing as perfect.” Too often, YECs hold that “very good” means the universe had been made as some kind of cosmic playground for humans. I don’t see this in the text at all. The theology of YEC is very skewed in that they hold God’s purposes are all about making things great and wonderful for us. It’s very anthropocentric, and it doesn’t seem to reflect Biblical teaching.

Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s