A bad argument against evolution

Lately I have seen a certain argument against evolution popping up left and right. It seems that many people think that it is reasonable to assume that if humans evolved from apes there should be no more apes. First off, to be technical, evolutionists do not believe we came from apes. They think we share a close common ancestor (on the same branch of the evolutionary tree, so to speak). Second, the argument actually makes very little sense. Evolutionists believe that all life on the planet can be traced back to a single one-celled organism (which itself ultimately evolved from gases and dust particles–I’ll let the reader decide if that sounds reasonable or not). If it was a requirement that the ancestral species go extinct once a new one is born, humans, presumably being the pinnacle of evolutionary change, would be the only species on the planet.

So it really makes no sense to say “if evolution is true, why are there still apes?” In fact, it is a well-observed fact that species adapt to their environments. One species may be better suited for a particular environment than another. It doesn’t make any difference which of the species is older. Natural selection allows one species to thrive while the other decreases in number.

A better argument against evolution and for intelligent design, in my opinion, is simply to point out the existence of digital code in living organisms. Everywhere we see digital code in inanimate objects, we immediately attribute it to an intelligent agent. It’s an unmistakable indication of intelligence. Why then, do we say that we absolutely must find a natural cause when we find digital code in living organisms? What is the logic that goes into that way of thinking?

An evolutionist might argue that “flaws” in the design disprove intelligent design, but that’s not true. We cannot discuss why the intelligent designer chose to use a particular code in scientific terms. The “why” question is outside the realm of science and is better left to theologians. For example, forensic science can establish beyond a reasonable doubt that someone committed a murder (attributing the cause of death to an intelligent agent), but science cannot answer the question of why the murder was committed or why a certain means was used instead of another.

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16 Responses to “A bad argument against evolution”

  1. Sicarii says:

    Excellent, excellent piece!

    I think we now have another way of throwing it back to the evolutionists, by ‘appealing’ to their pride.

  2. Renae says:

    Your rational argument of comparing God’s creation with man-made things seems to be something that evolutionists overlook. I have yet to hear someone say, “What a beautiful watch! I wonder what caused it to evolve.”

    Creation is amazing! Everyone is awed by a sunset. It inspires us to worship. The only question is what we will worship, the rocks and trees, ourselves, or the one who made everything.

  3. casey says:

    The creation truly is amazing and awe-inspiring. Seeing clouds lit up in the evening sky always causes me to ponder heavenly things.

  4. mulledvine says:

    Informative post – thanks. I must confess that the argument by design is not one of my favourites. Fractal images for example are the product of chaos, i.e. no design, yet absolutely stunning. Weather systems are said to be chaotic too – yet sunsets are glorious. Rocks don’t inspire me to worship… I prefer other more rational approaches pesonally (see my blog if you’re interested)

  5. casey says:

    Thanks for stopping by, mulledvine. There’s a difference between mere patterns and true design. You can spill milk and get some interesting patterns, but if the milk spelled out your name you’d immediately realize that somebody (an intelligent agent) had deliberately done it.

    Evolutionists like to refer to what we see around us as “apparent design.” Digital code, however, can never be attributed to random processes. It absolutely requires an intelligent designer. To suggest otherwise is to defy logic.

  6. The distinction between mere patterns and true design is in your mind surely? You have decided one pattern is random and another is designed based on your criteria. The name pattern looks man made because it resembles something man could have done. If an alien designer produced the pattern we might we fail to recognise design? So the argument seems a bit circular to me – we define what it means to have been God-designed and then see it everywhere.

  7. childlife says:

    Casey –

    Great post – I particularly liked the last paragraph.

    Mulledvine/Morschel – Your ponderings are interesting… If you prefer a more rational approach, how about just boiling the debate down to this…

    What is to be gained by choosing to believe that the universe consists of a conglomerate of random patterns and evolutionary moments vs. belief in intelligent design – in a creator?

    What if the theory of evolution is true? What is the price for my failure to acknowledge evolution as truth? As near as I can tell, at some point I will cease to exist and never know that I was wrong.

    Now what if creationism is true? What if the world was formed by intelligent design, by a creator – by God? What if this God governs the universe in the manner laid out in scripture? What is the price for failing to acknowledge such a God? In the book that I read, the price is eternal life.

    So just based on logic alone, from a simple rewards vs benefits / risks vs consequences perspective, belief in intelligent design seems inherently more rational to me.

    Now I’m not the betting sort, but that is one bet I would be willing to stake my life on… and I have, in fact.

    One final thought… If rocks do not inspire you to worship, then you have my sincerest sympathy – for you most assuredly have never seen the beauty of the Pacific Coastline. : )

    I truly wish you success in your search for logic.

  8. casey says:

    Hi Robert,

    You asked, “The distinction between mere patterns and true design is in your mind surely?”

    Actually, no. The distinction is clear in that intelligent design cannot logically be attributed to chance. William Dembski noted,

    Many special sciences have already developed such methods for drawing this distinction–notably forensic science, cryptography, archeology, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Essential to all these methods is the ability to eliminate chance and necessity.
    …Intelligence leaves behind a characteristic trademark or signature?what within the intelligent design community is now called specified complexity. An event exhibits specified complexity if it is contingent and therefore not necessary; if it is complex and therefore not readily repeatable by chance; and if it is specified in the sense of exhibiting an independently given pattern. Note that a merely improbable event is not sufficient to eliminate chance?by flipping a coin long enough, one will witness a highly complex or improbable event. Even so, one will have no reason to attribute it to anything other than chance.

    http://www.designinference.com/documents/2003.08.Encyc_of_Relig.htm

  9. casey says:

    childlife,

    Robert is a fellow Christian. He’s just trying to help establish an air-tight argument. I’m sure he has made the same wager. ;)

  10. childlife says:

    Glad to hear it – I’m all for air-tight : )

  11. flippertie says:

    Childlife,

    You have just restated Pascals wager – God exists or he dosent, I believe or I don’t – 4 possible scenarios. You might want to look it up.

    Some points for your further consideration –
    – Just because its rational and self-serving to choose to believe in god ‘just in case’ does not in any way form proof of his existence or non existence.
    – Mankind has worshiped thousands of gods over history. Being ‘rational’ you need to accept that the chances of your choosing the correct one out of those thousands is very remote.

    Blessing of Athena be with you,

    flip

  12. childlife says:

    Hello Flippertie –

    Glad you took the time reply. I am quite familiar with Pascal’s Wager with no pressing need of looking it up, however I do appreciate your point: The statements that I made in no way conclusively proves that God exists or that he doesn’t and you would be accurate in labeling belief based solely on this premise to be of a self-serving variety. I was not entertaining any delusions that my statement provided conclusive proof or disproof of God’s existence. Nor was I in any way implying that it was the sole foundation for my personal belief in Christianity. It was simply an offering of an additional perspective for viewing a question.

    While I realize that what I said was basically a paraphrase of Pascal’s Wager, it was actually C.S. Lewis’ Essays on Theology and Ethics, ‘God in the Dock’, that I had in mind as I was writing.

    C.S. Lewis states, “…Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

    This statement, like Pascal’s Wager, again proves nothing in and of itself, however both present a good starting place – a place to begin contemplating what one chooses to believe or disbelieve.

    Interestingly enough, the same essay put forth by C.S. Lewis has a thought-provoking response to your statement that “Mankind has worshiped thousands of gods over history. Being ‘rational’ you need to accept that the chances of your choosing the correct one out of those thousands is very remote.”

    One passage in Lewis’ essay states, “…There isn’t really, for an adult mind, this infinite variety of religions to consider. We may salva reverentia divide religions, as we do soups, into ‘thick’ and ‘clear’. By Thick I mean those which have orgies and ecstasies and mysteries and local attachments: Africa is full of Thick religions. By Clear I mean those which are philosophical, ethical and universalizing: Stoicism, Buddhism, and the Ethical Church are Clear religions. Now if there is a true religion it must be both Thick and Clear: For the true God must have made both the child and the man, both the savage and the citizen, both the head and the belly. And the only two religions that fulfill this condition are Hinduism and Christianity. But Hinduism fulfills it imperfectly. The Clear religion of the Brahmin hermit in the jungle and the Thick religion of the neighboring temple go side by side. The Brahmin hermit doesn’t bother about the temple prostitution nor does the worshiper in the temple about the hermit’s metaphysics. But Christianity really breaks down the middle wall of the partition. It takes a convert from central Africa and tells him to obey and enlightened universalist ethic: it takes a twentieth-century academic prig like me and tells me to go fasting to a Mystery, to drink the blood of the Lord. The savage convert has to be Clear: I have to be Thick. That is how one knows one has come to the real religion.”

    While I do respect your opinion, I like my own odds just fine.

    Blessings to you as well.

    (Casey – So sorry for unintentionally derailing your topic into the land of apologetics :P )

  13. mulledvine says:

    Thanks Casey. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some great rocks. I was just picking on the more ordinary sort in order to play devil’s advocate. Great discussion, particularly the C.S.Lewis quotes – my favourite author.

  14. casey says:

    Don’t worry, Robert. I knew where you were coming from. I like C.S. Lewis, too. My favorite is Mere Christianity.

  15. childlife says:

    Robert – You play a truly convincing devil’s advocate!
    Glad to hear you’re a Lewis Fan – instantly puts you in my likable category. Sorry I picked on you about the rocks. To be honest, I don’t find much inspiration in bits of gravel either : )

  16. We’re going to have a group hug in a minute. ;-) Mere Christianity is my absolute favourite book.