- In a MORI poll asking 2,000 Britons what best described their view of the origin and development of life, 22% chose creationism, 17% intelligent design and 48% evolution theory.
- In an Opinionpanel Research poll asking the same question of university students, 14% expressed support for ‘creationism’, 22% for ‘intelligent design’ and 56% for ‘evolution theory’.
- There is no creationist ‘movement’ in the UK. Rather (according to a report commissioned by Theos), creationists encompass a wide spectrum of scientific beliefs. Creationism there is primarily a theological position.
- In his book The Blind Watchmaker evangelist for atheism Richard Dawkins defined biology as ‘the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose’ (p 1). In a newspaper interview he admitted that the appearance of design was ‘overwhelming’. It would be hard to disagree. Nonetheless, on behalf of Darwinian biology his agenda is to persuade people that the appearance is illusory, by imputing the creative powers of the apparent designer (God) to agents within nature (random mutation and between-species competition). Hence his statement: ‘Evolution by natural selection produces an excellent simulacrum of design, mounting prodigious heights of complexity and elegance.’ A quasi-religious belief-statement if there was one.
- To get an idea of what ‘design’ means in biology, go no further than your own body, from its saliva glands to its toe nails, from its digestive system to its ability to identify and repair any cut or bruise. An organism’s DNA is its software for bringing the fertilised egg into a state of multicellular, fully functioning adulthood. According to one recent estimate, a 16-metre-high printout of this program at a density of 1000 base pairs per square centimetre would stretch at least 30 kilometres long.
- One of the ways in which the concept of design is discredited is to suggest it is inconsistent with the adaptedness of organisms to a particular environment. That is not so: an organism capable of adapting to a change in environment requires more inbuilt information – more power in the genetic program – than a hypothetical organism incapable of adaptation. The world is in continual flux, and a foreknowing Creator would have had to provide for organisms to change (‘evolve’). Enabling the organism to adapt to a changing world is thus another function of DNA.
- The Bible reveals God as one who sees all things from the beginning, because he is outside time. He thus has perfect foreknowledge. He also has ultimate control of his creation – history has a fore-ordained beginning, middle and end. Since nothing is impossible for him, there are no limits to what he could have packed into the genetic instructions of an organism.
- It used to be that kingdom was the highest level of biological classification, and organisms were classified into just two kingdoms, plants and animals. Now the highest level is the domain, of which there are three: eukaryotes, comprising all organisms with nuclei in their cells, and two very different groups of microbe: bacteria and archaea. The eukaryotes comprise four kingdoms: plants, animals, fungi and protists (unicellular algae and protozoans).
- ‘How the eukaryotic cell came to be is one of the greatest enigmas in biology’ (Nature 446:983). This relates to the biggest of all classification gaps, between one domain and another. Evolution theory assumes that the gaps arise through former intermediate forms becoming extinct, but in the fossil record intermediates between domains, between kingdoms and between phyla – i.e. the biggest, most fundamental gaps – are lacking.
- Efforts to infer what kind of organism the last common ancestor might have been before it branched into different domains and kingdoms have ended in frustration, for genetic analyses do not support tree-thinking. Ignoring the possibility that their belief in common descent might be misplaced, biologists therefore try to visualise close to the beginning a thicket of gene transfers, thereby obscuring – helping to explain, if you will – the vast difference between one domain and another.
Darwin did not and could not test the reality of the tree pattern. Indeed, one is hard pressed to find some theory-free body of evidence that such a single universal pattern relating all life forms exists independently of our habit of thinking that it should.
W. F. Doolittle & E. Bapteste, 2007. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104:2045.
- The story of that disaster is in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, and there the word used is mabbul, occurring 12 times and referring exclusively to the first 40 days of the year-long inundation. Thereafter the term occurs again only once, in Psalm 29. When the Bible refers to floods, it uses other Hebrew words. Flood as a rendering of mabbul is a mistranslation.
- The proper translation is ‘cataclysm’, from the term used in the New Testament to refer to the event. The disaster was like no other, requiring a word that was uniquely reserved for it.
- Similarly, in planetary geology there is one event that stands out above all others – the ‘cataclysm’ at the end of the Hadean period when the Earth and Moon were bombarded by solar system fragments so big that some of the impact craters exceeded 1000 km across.
- The mention in Psalm 29 is no exception. The God of Israel is ‘enthroned over the cataclysm’, just as in the book of Revelation there is a rainbow around the throne and before the throne a sea of glass, symbolising the waters of the cataclysm. The rainbow and the sea are eternal reminders that he who created all things once destroyed his creation. The biblical cataclysm and the Hadean cataclysm are one and the same.
- The earliest signs of organic activity go back some 3.5 billion years in geological time, and all three domains are attested by 2.7 billion years ago. However, organisms more complex than microbes and plankton do not appear until 600 million years ago, with the mysterious ‘Ediacaran fauna’.
- Complex multicellular life does not appear until 545 million years ago, with the ‘Cambrian Explosion’, when organisms of astonishing diversity appear out of the blue. As Dawkins admits, ‘It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history.’ (The Blind Watchmaker, p. 229)
- The first chapter of Genesis refers to ‘kinds’, not species. It does not list or define what the kinds of plants, trees, marine animals etc were, and says nothing about whether, by virtue of being kinds, their forms were fixed.
- The third chapter speaks of the ‘snake’, a kind that originally had legs. Although it was condemned to creep on its belly, we should not assume that this happened all at once.
- There is compelling scientific evidence that snakes evolved from lizards, i.e. they once did have legs. The earliest fossils of snakes show the remnants of hind legs. Lizards and snakes share the same toxin types and have a venom system that goes back to the time before some lizards lost their legs.
- The earliest fossil lizard is an iguanian from the Triassic period. The fossil record does not suggest an evolution from any non-lizard kind of animal.
What we have learned about lizards is applicable to nearly every conceptual area in modern biology, entire fields of biology had their origins in the study of lizards.
Eric Pianka and Laurie Vitt, Lizards: Windows to the Evolution of Diversity, 2003.
- Ever since an influential Science paper by Wilson & King in 1975, it has been asserted that humans and chimpanzees are genetically 99% the same, but in the same journal that figure has recently been described as a ‘myth’. ‘Human and chimpanzee gene copy numbers differ by a whopping 6.4%’, and researchers are finding that chunks of missing DNA, extra genes, different connections in gene networks and the very structure of chromosomes confound any quantification of ‘humanness’ versus ‘chimpness’. In the case of the brain cortex, 17.4% of connections have been found to be specific to humans. In short, there isn’ one single way to express the genetic distance between two complicated living organisms.’
- Even if the 99% figure had been meaningful and accurate, a 1% difference would still have meant that they differed in 30 million places along their respective 3 billion pairs of nucleotides.
- It is not thought that humans evolved from ancient chimpanzees anyway, but along a separate lineage – consisting of extinct apes – that branched off from an unknown common ancestor around the same time as the African great apes (including chimpanzees) branched off.
- Ever since the fall of Darwin-inspired Nazism, the term ‘racist’ has been a term of abuse: frequently applied to ideological opponents, never regarded as applying to oneself. Nonetheless, palaeo-anthropology – the study of fossil man – is inherently racist, for its ideological commitment to the idea that modern man descends via a branching series of intermediate species from the apes requires that our ancestors be divided up into different species: Homo habilis, H. erectus, H. georgicus, H. heidelbergensis, H. rudolfensis and so on.
- ‘Neanderthals’ were also given a separate species name: Homo neanderthalensis. They were aliens, culturally primitive compared to their Homo sapiens contemporaries – in short, not one of us. It is thus rather shocking to find that H. sapiens has Neanderthal DNA in his own genome. “Are you telling me,” asked one member of the Royal Society audience who heard the news, “that these different species copulated with one another?” (Nature 506, 30) Since they interbred, they were clearly not different species.
- The same is true at the other end of the chronological spectrum. The recent discovery of a fifth skull at Dmanisi, a site dated to 1.8 Ma ago, has highlighted how the shape of the head can vary greatly even amongst humans living as one community (who clearly did not share the prejudice of their latter-day descendants). According to the scientific reports authors (Science 342, 346) the much larger than expected variability implies ‘a single evolving lineage of early Homo, with phylogeographic continuity across continents’.
- In short, man appears to have been only one ‘species’ throughout the human fossil record.