Laying the Foundations: Evolution vs Design - Part 2
Introduction: In the last two articles, I have made the contention that the so-called science of evolution has no basis in fact. Natural selection has a real but minimal impact on increasing the success of the specie within an ecosystem but only because the genetics available are from a pre-existing design. It is in the process of sexual reproduction when these genes can be randomly rearranged by several well-known, but highly complex preprogrammed mechanisms, that produce the egg or sperm cells. It is at the fertilization of the egg from which variation may arise in the new individual. Our breeding programs can select for the many combinations that give rise to differences in shape, size and ability for that specie. This has been seen within a very short time within breeding programs or in animals and plants that have gone feral. A very few cases of this limited form of evolution have been documented to have occurred in nature. It is through the genetics of sexual reproduction that differences occur that make you different from me. This process does not have the ability to make a human being into anything other than a human being. This is the only real evolution that science knows anything about.
A brief overview of Darwin's work, entitled "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection" demonstrated that Darwin himself had only a working hypothesis of natural selection as did all naturalists of the day. He could see the variability in living beings that he thought could give rise to change but he labored to extrapolate those effects to a much grander scale; not knowing the limits of genetic variation in all living things. In his book he never proved how species originate hence the title "On the Origin of Species…" not "The Origin of Species…" for it was a speculation not evidence of his form of evolution. Facts for his extended evolutionary speculations did not exist. His process would take millions of generations. His work was filled with supposition, imagination, and creative stories to illustrate the potential by which this hypothesis might work to create completely new types of living beings but he never proved it. It could not be tested and science is still in the dark as to the origin of species by materialistic means. Today molecular geneticists, of whom I am one, know that new traits do not arise from anything other than pre-existing genetic information. Some of us continue to ponder, where did the genetic information come from? What or who is the originator of the species?
In this installment and the next, I wish to look more closely at those things that were clearly comprehended by the naturalists established in that day; established from astute observation, actual measurements, and the hard cold facts of population studies. Philosophical arguments from logic, whether by biblical believers or not concluded that there must be a Creator.
The Naturalists: Since most naturalists of the day had derived their education from the theological seminaries, colleges and universities of the time, they approached the study of the observable world through what we might consider the bias of the divine perspective. While at first glance it might seem that any bias is bad, we must remember that we all approach life from the bias of our own experiences, upbringing and education. Indeed, a naturalist’s studies had at its roots a metaphysical foundation. This bias reasonably argued that all things living, the world itself and the cosmos could be studied through human reasoning, logic, and common sense to the praise of the Creator. After all, things that seemed designed, the complexity of the interplay of living things with the inanimate world and the human ability to synthesize an understanding of such things, even from a child's perspective, did not just suggest purpose but demanded such a verdict.
In the development of a foundation for the arguments between evolution and design theories that will proceed in future articles, a brief account of the historical development of the natural sciences is appropriate.
The Dark Ages: The close of the dark ages, which lasted from about 500 A.D. to the 13th century, saw the beginning of an enlightenment in human thought and reasoning a good example of an early naturalist, a priest from the Catholic Church, Thomas Aquinas by name (13th century), becomes for us a historical bridge between those dark ages in the scientific revolution to follow. We must admit that the dark ages were not completely devoid of serious students of nature and literature and of the Bible in particular. From out of the superstition, the filth, the torture, the wars, the rivalries, the murders, the greed, the plague, the fornication's and the adulteries of those dark ages, the students of the word of God (monks and priests), sheltered in many respects from the real world, represented an enlightened elite, though until the 13th century, relatively useless to the betterment of mankind. Such was the nature of the failings of Christianity as a religion in the hands of men. Still, it was the freedom of thought given men like Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) who through a comprehensive study of the Scriptures inaugurated what we today would consider design theory. For Aquinas argued that the empirical observations of nature, the existence of order, the appearance of intent, and the apparent direction or goals of the natural world were indicative of design and design can only be imposed on nature intellectually. This has become known as the teleological argument.
In the centuries to follow, leading into the scientific revolution men like Nicholas Copernicus, Tyco Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Rene’ Descartes, Isaac Newton, and many others establish the fundamentals of our current sciences including physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry, fully convinced that of nature could be understood by an application of human intelligence to that which was obviously designed by an intelligent creator. It was Galileo who established what we have come to know to be the scientific method. The method, when applied, considers material observations and measurements from which hypotheses could be formed. From such “best guesses” experiments could be planned and carried out to establish, disqualify or modify the hypotheses and in time, allow the researcher to arrive at a theoretical basis for understanding life. It is from the unalterable proofs of some theories that led to the discoveries of the laws of the universe, physics, chemistry and mathematics.
The dark ages led to the Renaissance and what became known as the Age of Reason. In part 3 a brief history of this period leading up to Darwin's day should set the stage for a better understanding of how a hypothesis such as evolution could have captivated Western thought leading up to the acceptance as fact a hypothetical postulate for which no proof could be found.