We’re going to talk about why I believe in Creation. If you’ll open your notes and follow along, if you ever remember as a kid going on a science field trip, we’re going to go on a science field trip together.
I will admit that I don’t have a Ph.D. in science or biogenetics although I taught this recently and as I taught it, after the first session a Ph.D. student in his last year at Stanford came up and said, I just want to let you know that I’m a Ph.D. in biogenetics and, you know, good research, I’m proud of you.
The next morning, I did the session again and a Ph.D. from Stanford in physics came and we had a talk and then that evening, the next time I taught it we had a Ph.D. who taught chemistry and ecology nearby.
So what I’ve tried to do is be a general practitioner and pull together the best research I could for us to look at creation and evolution from what the scripture says, from what science says, and then you weigh the evidence. And you determine what you believe and why.
Here’s the question. Is it intellectually feasible to believe that the God of the Bible created an ex nihilo, it means “out of nothing”, the world, the universe, and all living things?
Or is evolution a scientific fact that has empirically and logically been proven by means of the scientific method, which is, observation, hypothesis, testing, and predictable results? That life is the product of a purely material universe that came into being by random chance and, or accident. That’s the question.
Did God create it? Or is it random chance? A primordial soup of chemicals that started in one cell that grew to everything that we see today.
We need to define our terms because when you say the world “evolution” it’s loaded. We want to talk about the difference between microevolution and macro-Darwinian evolution. Lee Strobel, in part of his book, gives a quick summary that I thought was excellent. He did it better and faster than I could.
He said Darwin, in the last century, when he sailed to the island of Galapagos, was impressed with the fact that there were fourteen different kinds of finches. We know that there are two hundred variations of dogs, there are various races in the human race, and we know that inside species, we have multiple kinds.
So microevolution is what happens inside of species. He goes on to talk about, we know that we can take a cow and do certain things and have some mild genetic alterations. We know that we can take a donkey and a horse and we can make a mule. We can take a lion and a tiger and make a liger.
We know that’s true, they’ve done that, but, whenever that happens then they’re sterile. They can’t reproduce. We know there are three thousand or more different types of beetles. So, inside a species, no one is arguing that there aren’t changes and mutations inside a species.
Darwinian macroevolution, it states that Darwin’s idea is that without any intelligence guiding, the primitive animals have been transformed over long periods of time. And in this theory, for instance, over long, long periods of time beginning with the season cell, then you go from fish to amphibians, amphibians to reptiles, reptiles then become birds.
All of life on the planet started with some sort of chemical reaction, someday, somewhere, that over billions and billions and billions of years, not only changed inside species but went from one species to another.
They talk about vertical change. And so, that’s what we want to talk about - Darwinian macroevolution. What we need to do is look at that whole concept. There are about three different groups that we’re going to talk about.
There’s classic Darwinian evolution, and probably the most notable spokesman for that was Carl Sagan. Richard Dawkins is probably the most notable today.
Then there were a number of new voices in the 70s especially and the middle 80s - a number of non-Christian scientists, begin to raise a flag and say, whoa, whoa, wait a second. Now, these people aren’t Christians, these people are evolutionists, and they begin to question Darwinian evolution.
And then you have yet another group of people that I’ll call “Christian evolutionists.”
So, I’m going to take you on a little trip and what you need to understand is that in your junior highs, in your high schools, and in nearly every major university, evolution is not taught as a theory. It’s taught as a fact.
Listen carefully. In his work as the past president of the French Academy of Science, Pierre-Paul Grassé, in his book, The Evolution of Living Things and Organisms, states: zoologists and botanists are nearly unanimous in considering evolution as a fact and not a hypothesis. And I agree with this position. He says, why? Because the primary documents that are provided by paleontology, which is the study of the fossil record.
Or take another expert, George Gaylord Simpson, he’s distinguished professor of vertebrae paleontology at the museum of comparative zoology in Harvard. He writes, concerning evolution, ample proof has been repeatedly presented. It is available to anyone who really wants to know the truth. In the present study, the factual truth of organic evolution is taken as established.
And as I’ve said, probably the strongest spokesman over the years is the Cornell University professor, Carl Sagan. Many of you remember the television show, The Cosmos. His book, The Cosmos, probably the bestselling science book of all time, it was on the New York Times Bestseller list for seventy weeks.
He just says, flat out, evolution is a fact. Richard Dawkins makes the comment that, even if there was not research to back it up. You need to understand that in the science community, the idea of the supernatural, the idea of something outside that’s not a naturalistic explanation is taboo. You can’t go there.
In fact, as I was teaching this, a lady in our church said, I invited my niece to come to church. And she said, well, what are you talking about? She goes, oh, I think you’d really like it because of your major. It’s going to be on creation and evolution. She said, I can’t come to church, I don’t believe in God, I’m a scientist.
Now, think of that. In other words, I can’t believe in God because I’m a scientist. If I believe in science and I think everything is empirical and naturalistic. Listen to Richard Dawkins’ admission. Very excellent book, I think he’s a new and up and coming apologist. Dinesh D’Souza, quotes Dawkins and says, “Dawkins puts his cards on the table by saying, the theory of evolution, by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is, in principle, capable of explaining the existence of organized complexity we call life.” Now listen to this. “Even if the evidence did not favor it, it would still be the best possible theory.”
Now, think of this! Even if the evidence did not favor it, it would be the best possible theory. D’Souza says, “this is a revealing admission”.
Steven Pinker makes pretty much the same point when he says, “Because there are no alternative explanations, we have to accept that natural selection is the explanation of life on this planet, even if there were no evidence for it at all.”
What you need to understand is what our kids are being taught. I was taught this in junior high and I was taught this in high school. This is what I was taught in graduate school when I took biomechanics and all the science courses.
We’re taught that the only option is Darwinian macroevolution and you are a narrow, anti-intellectual if you don’t believe that. In other words, it’s a proven fact, there’s science and there’s intellect and then there are these people that need these religious crutches and we jump to supernatural something to explain life.
Now, we’re going to walk on our science field trip. In about mid to late 70s, a number of non-Christian scientists began to look at Darwinian evolution and come to some very surprising conclusions.
You’ll notice in your notes, we have Colin Patterson, Michael Denton, later, a law professor will actually be starting a movement, Phillip Johnson. And then Michael Behe a little bit later.
I want to take you on a journey and some of this is very technical and because this is not my forte, I’ll read a little bit more than usual because I don’t want you to hear my opinion or what I think. I want you to hear what these non-Christian scientists are saying.
The growing number of scientists and intellectuals that are abandoning Darwinism and their faith in evolution is absolutely stunning. Recent advances in biology and other sciences have dealt heavy blows to evolution that scientists now are saying it’s coming apart at the seams.
In 1981, British paleontologist, and if you’re like me, you don’t use those words every day, that’s a guy who studies fossils, okay?
Colin Patterson started asking scientists to tell him one thing, one fact, they knew for sure about evolution. Lecturing to biologists in the American Museum of Natural History in New York, he said, I tried that question out on a group of geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History.
The only answer I got was silence. The question is, tell me one thing you absolutely know for sure. He said, so I tried it on members of the evolutionary morphology seminar at the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists and all I got there was silence for a very long time.
Finally, someone says, I don’t know one thing as a fact about evolution. Patterson says, modern science assumes a rationalistic view of nature, which is evolution, and has replaced an irrational one, a god, or some type of creation. He said, I made the same assumption until 1980. And then, I woke up and realized one day that I’d been duped into taking evolutionism as a revealed truth in some way.
He said he had an experience, he said, I had a shift from evolution as knowledge to evolution as a faith. Patterson says, one of the main reasons for his skepticism is there are no real transitional forms anywhere in the fossil record.
Transitional form, it goes on to say, is like a leg’s forming on a fish that gradually turn into arms and legs that turn into land animals. He says, I don’t think we’ll ever find or have access to an evolutionary tree, which we can actually call factual.
Now, get this, though. Although Patterson still believes that evolution has occurred, he hasn’t abandoned evolution. He emphasizes that belief in Creation or belief in evolution is equally a faith commitment. This is the heart of the Darwinian heresy.
The greatest inroads have been made through critics that have widely accepted chemical evolution - that the first cell was the beginning of it all and how it occurred.
One prominent skeptic is British astronomer, Sir Fred Hoyle, famous for his research on the origins of the universe. Hoyle claims that believing the first cell originated by chance is like believing a tornado swept through the junkyard and out came a 747.
Now, what I want you to get is that what I was taught, what most of you were taught, what your students were taught. These are non-Christian, brilliant scientists, who are saying, wait a second. It doesn’t add up. Remember our thesis of this whole series? You don’t have to throw your brains in the trash to be a Christ follower.
In 1984, former evolutionist, with doctorates in chemistry, material science, and geochemistry, wrote the first comprehensive critique of chemical evolution. And just so you don’t get lost. Chemical evolution is just, all those little chemicals in the very first cell, of how life began, okay?
So, these three guys get together and they write this book and it’s called, The Mystery of Life’s Origin. With pages on mathematical equations and chemical formulas, it dealt serious blows to the theory that life started by chance.
Now, despite its Creationist, and by Creationist, don’t hear God created. What you’re going to find, the people that believe in Intelligent Design, very few of them believe that God, the God that we know, is the intelligent designer. But what they’re saying is that the theory that this just came about by time and random chance just doesn’t fly.
The most surprising, I love this because I’m in the Bay Area, the most surprising endorsement came from Dean Kenyon of San Francisco State University, who himself is the co-author of Biochemical Predestination, which is a work on chemical evolution of the first cell.
After he read the book, Mystery, Kenyon offered to write the book’s forward. Get that. In it, he says, the book is so full of fresh ideas and original critiques of chemical evolution, that he’s puzzled that other scientists have not voiced similar criticism.
And then, in a moment of candor, here is this scientist from San Francisco. According to Kenyon, many scientists hesitate to admit or study the theory’s problem, because they would open the door to the possibility or the necessity of a supernatural origin of life.
Okay, so, here’s what I want you to get. There’s a lot of science stuff and I’m going to give you more. Alright? Hang in there.
But what I want you to get, we need to be thinking Christians. Why does the Bible say, love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind. Sometimes we need to learn to concentrate and to think and to follow with our minds.
And what I want you to hear is that macro-Darwinian evolution is a faith construct. Not a scientific factual, absolutely no holes in it.
Twenty years ago, evolutionists would have never seriously considered any book criticizing chemical evolution and advocating some type of creation. Yet, listen to this. Even the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine and the Journal of College of Science Teaching have given this book Mystery high remarks.
The volume as a whole, the Yale Journal writes, is a devastating blow to the relaxed acceptance of the current theories of a bio-genesis, which is chemical evolution.
A Yale biophysicist, Harold Morowitz, no friend of Creationism, called the book “an interesting start with considerable scientific thrust.” Several of the world’s authorities on chemical evolution have described the book as a brilliant critique and an important contribution.
You getting the idea? These are people that aren’t opening their Bibles in the morning and sayings, God speak to me. These are people that are looking at the facts that see a theory that’s been based for years and years and years and are looking now, especially, we’re going to look, at, later on as well, to what actually happens inside that cell. How complex that cell is.
Since we’ve learned about DNA, what it is and just the amazing intricacy inside a human cell. They’re looking at this and saying, the evolutionary hypothesis does not hold up. I want you to get a movement - you have this Colin Patterson and then now we have an Australian, Michael Denton. He wrote a book called, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.
He shows that the evolution’s intellectual foundations have been steadily eroding and that only a philosophical will to believe in Darwinism remains. Denton writes, the new findings of biology are bringing us very near to a formal, logical disproval of Darwinian claims. And this guy is an avowed agnostic.
Citing evidence from fossils, embryology, taxonomy, and molecular biology, Denton shows that Darwin’s grand claim that all life are interrelated and evolved from a single cell has not been supported by one empirical discovery since 1859.
The final little bit of documentation. Many scientists, though, rejecting Creationism have repudiated Darwinian evolution. Nobel laureate, Francis Crick, now if that name rings a bell, Watson Crick, the people who discovered DNA, proposed that the problems of life originating on earth are so great, that life must have arisen elsewhere in the universe and then been transported here.
Now, can you imagine the courage it takes in today’s scientific community, the courage that it takes to say there are other books and a lot of research out there that, when you depart from Darwinian macroevolution, it’s hard to be tenured in your university. Your articles don’t get published anymore.
These are heavyweights that are coming out and saying, the evidence doesn’t support it but since they’re scientists and they’ve been trained to believe that all the answers have to be naturalistic, the logical conclusion is, if it couldn’t happen on this planet, something or someone or somewhere from the universe, life occurred, and then it was transplanted.
That’s a very logical conclusion. And so, when we talk to people, we have to be careful as Christians because we have a faith worldview of God being creator that we don’t poo poo and laugh in certain ways because, actually, that’s a very courageous statement.
I mean, by the guy who discovered DNA to come out and say, you know what? What I’ve learned and studied… This is a very, very smart guy with lots of degrees and lots of schooling to say among professionals, it must have come from somewhere else.
In fact it goes on to say, Australian Michael Denton called Darwinian evolution the greatest cosmogenic myth of the 21st century. Now, think of that. I can imagine R.C. Sproul or someone saying this but, but these are non-Christian scientists saying this.
Swedish embryologist, Soren Lovtrup, in his book Darwinism: the Refutation of a Myth, wrote, “I believe that one day, the Darwinian myth will be ranked as the greatest deception in the history of science and when this happens, many people will pose the question, how did this ever happen?” The new voices, as you see, Colin Patterson, Michael Denton, I’ve talked about. A little bit later we’ll talk about a movement that emerged called Intelligent Design.
And when you hear Intelligent Design, the thesis of it is, that if it didn’t happen just by chance, is there had to be some intelligence behind it. And there’s been a movement to teach this in schools, it’s been very controversial, actually, it’s controversial in the scientific community, it’s also controversial among Christians, and it’s controversial among non-Christian and Christian scientists.
I live in a very smart part of the country. I learned when I moved there in San Jose, that it has the highest education level of any city in America. So, when I preach and teach, I really do my research like this. You know? Because lots of smart people out there are going to come up and say, wait a minute. You said this, but…
In fact, when I taught on this, another guy walked up and said nine months ago Francis Collins actually debated Richard Dawkins at Stanford. It was very interesting. And I’m going; we’re supposed to love God with all of our heart and mind, soul and strength. So, we need to do our research.
Now what I want you to hear is this is a classic position by Sagan. Dawkins picks it up and carries it. Now you have these new voices, not necessarily saying that the God of the Bible created, but there must be an intelligent designer or it came from another planet or it didn’t happen just by chance. But what they’re really saying is that all of Darwinian evolution is a faith construct.
And then the last group, and I want to really try and be fair to everyone, is Christian evolutionists. Dennis Alexander, Francis Collins, and Kenneth Miller are probably the three leaders. And these are people that take God seriously, the Bible seriously, evolution seriously, and they talk about God as the creator and they weave in various principles of evolution. There’s a lot going on out there in the world today in the Creation/evolution debate.
The only point I want you to get is that it is a faith construct and part of the faith construct is we, as followers of Christ, have some presuppositions that we believe by faith and we look at evidence through this lens. Others have a presupposition of a lack of faith or even out of wounded-ness or bad experiences with God and church and Christians, and they actually look at the scientific data through this lens.
In fact, let me make a final quote here before we jump into me putting some stuff out there for you to weigh. Biologist Francis Crick admits that his commitment to materialism and hostility toward religion motivated him to enter his field of science. “I went into science because of these religious reasons. There’s no doubt about it. I asked myself, what were the things that appear inexplicable and are used to support religious beliefs”? Then Crick sought to show that those things are purely, have a material foundation.
Do you hear what I’m saying here? He’s basically saying, I had a really bad religious experience and I had all these religious kooks and they’re leading people astray and so I went into science with the presupposition that, how can I show through science, these religious people are nuts?
One of his fellow workers goes on to say, Steven Weinberg confesses that he hopes science will liberate people from religion. It’s one of the things, in fact, it’s a fact that absolutely drives my life.
The fact of the matter is, everyone tries to be so cool and so objective. Nobody’s objective. We all have presuppositions.