99. God. Part three
And then came Charles Darwin. In 1858, the two separate works of Darwin and Alfred Wallace (who independently arrived at the theory of evolution) were published in the same journal. In 1859, Darwin published his famous book; “On the origin of species by natural selection…………..” laying out the details of his theory with an immense amount of data. I have relied heavily on the well written Fowler and Kuebler book “the evolution controversy” in writing about evolution, although I have read many books on evolution including Darwin’s own account of his voyage on Beagle, in 1831-36.
One hundred and fifty years have passed since Darwin’s publication. All the essential elements of his theory have been accepted by large majority of scientists. Most importantly, no evidence in fossil data has been discovered which would demolish his theory.
What are the important components?
1. All life forms descended from a common ancestor. Potato and monkey had a common ancestor
2. Random mutation and natural selection are the two processes by which new species are formed. It is a slow and gradual process of modifications.
3. Long time spans are required, from microbe to man it took almost 4 billion years (remember one thousand million make a billion, so these are 4000 million years). This directly contradicts the Biblical view of earth, merely 5-10 thousand years old. Our species Homo appeared approximately 2 million years ago (one million dollars are ten thousand, hundred dollar bills).
As biologists have observed during the last 50 years or so, spontaneous random mutation in the DNA (genetic code) of cells take place all the time ( off course, Darwin knew nothing about it. DNA was discovered almost a hundred years later. ). Cells make errors while copying DNA. Billions upon billions of cells multiply every day (see blog 95 for just RBC’s). Most of the errors are deleted, but some escape destruction. This is the process, the engine; random mutation, through which, in my view, God created all creatures. Therefore Darwin’s theory of evolution is not against God.
Mutations can also occur from external sources, like radiation and chemicals
The role of natural selection is to filter the mutations. Beneficial changes are preserved and favored. Therefore the mutation which favors deer to run faster, and thus outrun its predator, gives a selective advantage to that deer population. They will live longer. Such changes are passed on to posterity and get established in a population. It is the survival of the fittest.
For a scientist, was supernatural intervention or help needed anytime for the progression to humans from microbe? Most scientists will say NO
Therefore Darwin’s theory is a crushing blow to the need of God to make plants, animals and humans. God could certainly have made them, but it is not incumbent upon us to believe so, it could have happened without God.
Let us examine the evidence supporting evolution.
One has to familiarize oneself with terms such as radiometric dating, geologic columns and fossils, intelligent design, common DNA triplet, TCA cycle, irreducible complexity, and Cambrian explosion. I will try to keep it simple and brief.
Radiometric dating is fairly accurate in telling us the age of rocks and fossils (of animals). Isochron method is even better. When one dates a sedimentary rock column, the oldest rocks are at the bottom, and the youngest on top.
When we look at the fossils of animals found in a geologic column, we always find simpler life forms in the oldest rocks. Thus we may find only animal such as jelly fish, comb-jellies, and sponges, in rocks over 550 million years old (pre-Cambrian period). These animals don’t have shells, or dorsal notochord, or vertebral column, or wings, or gills, or hand, or feet, or mammary glands. Vertebrates (with vertebral column) appear later (birds, reptiles, and amphibian). We don’t find reptiles in rocks dating Silurean period (420 million years old) or older, but we find them in rocks dating 260 million years and younger. We don’t find mammals before 250 millions, birds before 160 millions, apes before 30 million years, and man before 2 million years.
These bones of animals provide strong evidence of a stepwise progression, from simpler life forms to more complex and advanced (bigger relative size of brain). The complexity is evident in organs, such as eyes, also. Darwin studied the eye. Eye is a very complex organ. How could such an organ emerge spontaneously? If theory of evolution was correct, it must have progressed from simple to complex. As it turns out there are various types of eyes. Some mollusks have just pigmented spot of photoreceptor cells. Next two improvements are invagination (forming of cup) and restriction in the size of the aperture. These two changes impart better resolution. We find animals with just these changes. Next is formation of lens for better focusing. We have animal with a proto lens. And so on, till we reach the mammalian eye. . Darwin himself recognized the importance of gradual improvement and presence of intermediate forms. He wrote:
“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not have formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down”
We have never found the fossils of advanced animal such as a horse, or a rat or a tiger, in rocks older than 250 million years old. Dinosaurs roamed the earth from approximately 200 million to 65 million years ago. There were wiped from the face of the earth about 65 million years ago, never to come back.
To sum up. The evidence shows that there is no evidence that God exists and there is no need for God to exist. Life could have emerged, on planet Earth, without God.
Keep in mind what I said before; there is no evidence that God does not exist.
To be continued