Summer is coming to an end, and my family and I went to Elko speedway for the first time last night. I had no idea of what to expect, but we had a blast. They have a great community feel to it, where it seems like there are a lot of people who know each other, who support their drivers, and who enjoy partying. On to today's post, which is my attempt to explain the main difference between those who believe in unguided evolution (Darwinism) and those who believe in Intelligent Design. So let's get started:
- Intelligent Design. Most of those who believe in Intelligent Design start with the foundation that there is some sort of Creator responsible for our universe, Who I will refer to as God. All evidence is then viewed in light of the assumption of God's existence and direct responsibility for the creation of our world and life around us. With this foundation, we have the following evidence to support our acceptance of the Intelligent Design position:
- Big Bang. The universe has a start, and the best explanation for this start is that there is a Creator God who caused this to take place. The massive amount of energy squeezed into an impossibly small space sounds like a supernatural event to most people. Energy doesn't just appear out of thin air, right? And the resulting order that came out of the Big Bang which led to the creation of a life-sustaining planet, again points to God. Anyone who looks at the start of our universe and does not assume God's Hand as the cause of it, must do some serious mental gymnastics to get around all of the surrounding problems where random forces are assumed as the cause;
- Fossil Record. Sudden appearance, sudden disappearance. No intermediate transitions. This is the fossil record. And this is the record that caused the now departed Harvard Professor /Darwinist Stephen Jay Gould to come up with his theory of punctuated equilibrium. Darwinism is supposed to make small changes over great periods of time, resulting in things even as great as a species change. But Professor Gould's theory looked at the evidence and postulated that some unknown force caused a great deal of change to take place in a very short period of time, which could explain the creation of new structures (like an eye or brain) and even new species. The fossil record evidence is a serious problem for anyone who holds to traditional Darwinist beliefs;
- Mutation Rate / Complex Structures. E Coli has been studied for over 44,000 generations by Professor Lenski. Malaria infects 500 million people a year, and the malaria replicates in an ill person until there are 1 trillion malaria cells. And science has thoroughly studied what happens when these cells reproduce over their short life-spans. Especially with malaria, given the number of these cells and the number of people effected, it is an easy analogy to make for those who hold to an Intelligent Design viewpoint that over the whole lifespan on Earth, we are able to see in the battle against malaria what the Darwinist force of random mutation can actually do, as if the history of life was being replayed before us. And the result? Not much. Mutation can create a resistance to an anti-biotic designed to fight malaria. But the mutation rate is far too low to do anything useful. As an example, in order for the malaria cell to develop resistance to chloroquine ( a common early drug used to fight malaria), it takes a change in just two amino acids. How easily does this take place? Oh, about 1 in 10²⁰ of the malaria cells that have reproduced. Infinitesimally small, right? There just isn't enough mutations taking place to cause what Darwinists think evolution can do.
And the problem of complex structures was analogized by Professor Behe to a mousetrap. Darwinism believes small changes take place that can lead to create something new. But inside the cell, even the simplest of structures require many parts, self assembled, and all working together at the same time. And the addition of 1 piece provides no benefit to the organism, until all 10 (or however many are needed) pieces are put together. Darwinist belief is that any improvement or benefit will be passed on to the next generation. But without a benefit, the change will be lost. You know, like a mousetrap. You can't catch a mouse with just a board and a spring. It takes all of the parts assembled before there is a working mousetrap. In other words, there is no benefit to a creature to just having 2 of 10 pieces. Adding this to the extremely low mutation rate, and it is hard to see why anyone would believe in random mutation as the creative force behind Darwinism.
- Darwinism. Which leads me to Darwinism, which has the following foundation:
- Naturalism. According to Darwinists, every cause has a natural effect. Claimed Supernatural events are unproven, and cannot be repeated.
- Similarities in Structure / Chromosomes. You look at an ape and it kind of looks like a less 'evolved' human. A fin looks like a wing which looks like a hand. I get it. And there is similarity in the chromosomes of humans and other animals. For example, humans have one fewer pair of chromosomes than chimpanzees – a human has 23 pairs, while a chimpanzee has 24. Scientists can look at the chromosomes and say that the chimpanzee chromosome 2 a and 2 b somehow fused together into a large chromosome 2 in humans. And this genetic evidence supported the Darwinist's belief in common descent, that in the Tree of Life all species came from one ancestor. And the crowning claim of Darwinism that humans are nothing but evolved monkeys.
But the Darwinists were tied to the theory Darwin's mechanism for change by Random Mutation, which science has shown to be impotent. The mutations in the genome take place too slowly, and certainly cannot account for the large differences in life. And so, this is the essence of the differences between Darwinists and Intelligent Design – Darwinists see similarity and assume a natural, non-supernatural connection will be found that accounts for this similarity, and all of the changes in the life around us. While in Intelligent Design, we see the evidence before us, and make the claim that natural mechanisms cannot account for these changes. Darwinists have theory, and rely on circumstantial evidence. While in Intelligent Design the evidence of the fossil record and the limitations of change within the genome show that something else is responsible for the difference between a monkey and a human, as well as the other life in the world around us. And although it is not part of Intelligent Design, most assume it can point to God as the responsible Agent.
So that is my conclusion, Darwinists have theory, and rely on circumstantial evidence. While in Intelligent Design the evidence of the fossil record and the limitations of change within the genome show that something else is responsible for the difference between a monkey and a human. And although it is not part of Intelligent Design, most assume it can point to God as the responsible Agent. Let me know if you would like to add or correct anything for either of the positions discussed. Thanks. /s/Tom Wolff