Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Willful Ignorance

They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth up from the water and surrounded it with water.
-2 Peter 3:5
Ronald Bailey, Reason magazine's science correspondent, regurgitates some of the same old tired, elitist, anti-Christian hate speech that has become so popular of late. This time, it takes the form of calling anyone who advocates teaching the theory of Intelligent Design (ID) along side Evolution, "bigots and ignoramuses".

Ironically, Bailey showcases his own ignorance of the debate in two key areas.

First, that "Science is on the side of evolution" and therefore only it is worthy of being taught in the public education classroom. The problem with this is that evolution, as presently taught, is laughably out of step with current thinking amongst evolutionary biologists. Look at any evolution curriculum, talk to any high school biology teacher and you will learn that the disproved theory of "abiogenesis" (life arising by random chance through the formation of amino acids in the "primordial soup" of the ancient earth which then go on to form proteins which then lead to life) is what students are being spoon-fed every day. Regretably, these kids are being deceived.

A number of years ago, it became obvious that the abiogenesis math wasn't adding up and so the scientific community decided they had to look elsewhere for answers. The best paper I have ever read on this subject was written by one Dr. Dermott J. Mullan. His explosive research on the probabilities of life arising by chance can be found here.

An excellent debate on the paper (wherein Mullan kindly but forcefully blows his critics out of the water) can be found here.

If you don't want to read all 47 pages of the paper or the discussion thread (both of which contains some highly nuanced math), here are the crib notes:

The most time that anyone can reasonably (read "scientifically") claim that life had in order to first evolve is 1.11 billion years. (If you don't know why go to section 3 of his paper). Mullan's area of study seeks to answer the question, "is 1.11 b.y. long enough for a given set of amino acids to form the proteins necessary to build the first primitive cell?" I find his paper compelling because he is errs so far to the side of life arising by random chance in order to give all benefit of the doubt to the promoters of the abiogenesis theory.

For example, he grants, for optimization sake, that the first proteins would be more primitive than any we know of today, containing only 12-14 amino acids (compared with say, a basic protein like insulin, which has 51). There are no proteins in existence today with this low of an amino acid count. But he uses the number anyway so as to give some window of possibility for life to have arisen through random interactions of primordial amino acids into a protein that might have given rise to the first living cell.

After all his calculations he does ultimately conclude that life could have arisen without intelligent intercession:

"With all of these assumptions, we find that the probability of assembly of the RNA required for even the most primitive cell by random processes in the time available is no more than one in 10^79."

Editorially, I have to say that this is about as close to IMPOSSIBLE as it gets in my mind.

The bottom line is, it turns out that life could not have evolved on this planet because the Earth is simply not old enough.

Once the math disproved abiogenesis, researchers began to look elsewhere for a solution that did not involve intelligent design. The current theory (and the one that should be taught in high school if the theory of evolution is going to be taught at all) is that of Necessity. In other words, life HAD to happen. In my next article I will explain this approach in greater detail but for the purposes of demonstrating where Bailey has gone wrong, it is sufficient to say that the theory he wants taught in public schools has long been dropped by those who have studied and grasped the implication of probability theory.

The second area in which Bailey errs is found in his statement:
"What they don't understand, however, is that religious belief and evolution are compatible."

The "they" in this sentence are the promoters of ID, most of whom are Christian. So in this context, the "religious belief" to which Bailey refers is Christian religious belief. The problem is that the Bible specifically teaches AGAINST evolution in numerous places.

What Bailey is referring to in his statement is actually a quaint fiction, that of "theistic evolution". Evolutionists often attempt the tactic of claiming that the Christian faith and the theory of Evolution are compatible by saying "God could have used evolution to create life". Setting aside for a moment that vociferous proponents of evolution usually don't believe in God in the first place, the Bible anticipates this false teaching and constantly reminds the reader of the true nature of the creation.

If the Bible is true (and I'm not talking just about the historicity of Genesis Chapter 1 and 2, I'm also talking about the Gospel message upon which Christianity is based), then evolution CANNOT be the way God created life. If people like Bailey actually understood the foundational beliefs of Christianity then they would never even attempt the theistic evolution canard.

At a doctrinal level, the Bible teaches that Christ died for our sins. Even the marginally informed non-believer knows this. 1 Corinthians 15:21 reads,
"For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man."
This is the central truth of Scripture and the one upon which every thing else hangs.

According to Scripture, a specific man (Adam) committed the first sin and thereby introduced death into the world. To ultimately revoke this curse, another Man had to die a physical death on behalf of everyone who has come since Adam first sinned. The alert reader will immediately recognize the problem then with God using evolution as a methodology for creating life. Evolution (regardless of which theory you subscribe to) REQUIRES millions of years of death before Adam arrives on the scene. If death, as evolutionists assert, existed for millions of years before Adam's arrival 6 or 7 thousand years ago, then Christ was a fool because he died not realizing that death predated Adam. If Adam was the first sinner as the Bible teaches but death existed before Adam as evolutionary science teaches, then death is not a curse but merely a methodology. This is why Christianity and evolution are entirely incompatible with each other. One requires Jesus Christ to be a savior, the other requires Him to be a delusional idiot.

The Bible is replete with references to death being the result of Adam's sin. As a result, the Bible is all about God's plan to keep men from having to face eternal death. Now, the unbeliever is free to dismiss the Bible's teaching that Adam ushered death into this world but they cannot claim that the teaching ITSELF does not exist. Because I Cor. 15:21 is the central thesis of the Christian Faith, "theistic evolution" must be relegated to the status of heavily promoted fiction.

At the end of the day, it is difficult to strip ID of its connection with the Creator described in the Bible. However, because Christaphobes have set the terms of the debate (no mention of God allowed in public school) the only way that the viable theory of ID can be broached is to try to secularize it. This is not deception but merely the only avenue of getting some truth back into the discussion of origins. Consider that if God did create all that we see around us (as all the evidence points to), and yet, mention of God is forbidden in the teaching of origins, what are the alternatives?

Well, the current alternative in the modern American classroom is to teach a lie.


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