Monday, September 30, 2013

Explanation or Wishful Thinking?

One of my favorite personal exercises while perusing an evolutionary biology textbook is mentally distinguishing factual explanation from wishful thinking. In the area of (1) the origin of life on earth and (2) the origin of new species, evolutionists are hard pressed to avoid proposing a series of fortuitous circumstances to explain either (1) or (2). The Seventh Edition AP text Biology by Neil A. Campbell and Jane B. Reece, described as “the most successful majors biology text in the world,” speculates how conditions on early earth may have generated life on earth. Predictably, secular biology textbooks do not suggest the possibility that life arose on earth by supernatural means. Rather, they propose a set of naturalistic “What if…?” questions to channel our thinking.

The AP Biology authors propose that life must have arisen when self replicating molecules and a metabolism-like source of life’s building blocks (nucleotides) may have been produced by molecules which already had “…some of the properties associated with life, including simple reproduction and metabolism, as well as an internal chemical environment different from that of their surroundings.” Readers of the Biology textbook are then asked, “How did that happen?” The textbook authors then offer their readers a speculative set of “necessary conditions.” They generously supply phrases like could have formed, can discharge, if…then, probably, can make, provided that, may have occurred, perhaps, might have, must have, would have, and could have.

We shift to a different resource to focus our attention on another origins question. Stephen C. Meyer’s 2013 volume Darwin’s Doubt discusses the origin of novel species along the timeline of Earth’s history. In particular, how do we explain the sudden appearance of the remarkable Cambrian Explosion animals? Such animals appeared in the record from the “top down.” In a word, they lacked precursors. They betrayed the evolutionary doctrine of “descent with modification.”

Meyer’s Chapter 11, entitles “Assume a Gene,” discusses many events to invoke evolutionary scenarios which “postulate that modern genes arose as the result of these various mutational processes—processes that they envision as having shaped genes during a long evolutionary history. Since the information in modern genes is presumably different from the information in the hypothetical ancestor genes, they regard the mutational mechanisms that are allegedly responsible for these differences as the explanation for the origin of genetic information…But an obvious error comes in mistaking a hypothetical scenario for either a demonstration of fact or an adequate explanation.”

Wholesale changes in genes must occur, evolutionists postulate, before new species are produced. One such wholesale change in genes is termed “exon shuffling” which results in production of necessary new protein folding. Even though our readers are not familiar with these processes, they may understand that such processes have not been observed in the laboratory or proven to have occurred in nature. They are hypothetical, but accepted as factual by most professional biologists. Assertions by evolutionists about exon shuffling, like many other statements about postulated mutational mechanisms, blurs the distinction between theory and evidence.

Those searching for the truth concerning the origin of new species are required to search the evidence to judge carefully what is true and what is false. Much evidence comes from the record of fossils. Do we trust the rhetoric of evolutionists? They counsel us that “genes emerge and evolve very rapidly.” Genes are “hypermutable,” they claim, and undergo “rapid, adaptive evolution.” Fancy sounding terms are accepted at face value. Fortuitous juxtaposition of suitable sequences, de novo origination, chimerical gene fusion, retropositioning, or extensive refashioning of the genome do not substitute for contrary evidence. The Cambrian Explosion was a naturalistic event only in the wishful thinking of committed evolutionists.

The unmistakable signature of the Creator is written in Cambrian strata.