Evolution is Darwin's theory on how complex organisms came to being.
It is widely accepted by the general public, but it is also inconsistent
with the Biblical account. This discussion will focus on the problems
with evolution and challenge its validity as a scientific "theory."
Basics of Evolution
Darwin's theory of evolution is based on some seemingly very straightforward
ideas. First, organisms compete for survival, and those who can survive
better will win. This is called natural selection. Organisms
change gradually to increase their chances of survival. These gradual
changes come from adaptations and mutations. Adaptations are processes
in which organisms gradually become more suitable to survive in the environment.
For instance, humans who move to an environment with more sunshine will
gradually have darker skin to help prevent skin damage from excessive sun
radiation. Mutation are random changes in the genetic makeup of an
organism. Usually this comes from a mistake in the copying of the
DNA, the genetic blueprint of organisms. Though most mutations are
harmful, a few can be beneficial to the organism's survival. Accumulation
of these beneficial mutations can make an organism better survivors.
Over millions of years, these adaptations and mutations help form newer
and better organisms, e.g., from amoebas to humans.
Problems with Evolution
The probability approach of scientific analysis is used when something
cannot be replicated exactly in a lab 100% of the time. For instance,
we speak of the probability of someone getting killed on the road today,
and although the outcome will eventually be either yes or no, we can only
look at the probability to decide whether to drive or not. Well,
a biologist once said that the probability of evolution bringing forth
complex organisms such as humans is like having a warehouse of printed
characters having an explosion and the debris fall together to form an
unabridged English dictionary. Is this possible? The probability
is so small that most will say it's impossible.
The Needed Time Span
Some scientists challenge evolution after conducting a statistical study
of the rates of mutations and adaptations. They concluded that for
evolution to bring out the current complex organisms, the age of the Earth
will have to be a whole lot longer than the current accepted value of 5.5
billion years. Evolutionists contest this by saying that there have
been periods of accelerated mutations, caused by the stronger sun radiation
of the past. Someone said that given long enough time, anything can
happen. Well, many scientists believe that the time span is too short
for this highly improbable development to occur.
Adaptation, being a rational process, can be easily evaluated with our
own eyes. If adaptation is one of the prime forces behind evolution,
we should expect to see complex organisms highly able to survive.
Yet this has not proven to be the case. Amoebas are fully functional
right after division. New born goats can stand up and begin running
usually within hours after birth. Yet humans are incapable of walking
for months after birth, let along being able to survive all alone.
If human beings were the result of millions of years of adaptation, why
are they so incapable of survival when they are young? Shouldn't
they be even more able to survive than goats? Or are we the results
My favorite example is our lack of tails. Many scientists believe
that human beings used to have tails when they were still primates, but
tails evolved away. Are tails really useless so they evolved away?
If they are useless, then why did they appear in the first place?
If early human beings really lived in forests as primates, then tails are
extremely beneficial. Tails can help them climb trees, carry more
food, and fight off undesirable bugs. In all respect, I would like
to have tails even today. If, as someone may claim, that the disappearance
of tails is the result of mutation that happened to one single primate
who happened to evolve into human beings. Why, then, do we not find
some humans or semi-humans with tails?
The second prime force of evolution is mutation. Mutations are the
results of erroneous copying of the DNA. Beneficial mutations accumulate
into evolutionary changes. Since most mutations are harmful, it's
not hard to see the low probability of such accumulation of beneficial
mutations. Some biologists also have problems with the mutation's
contribution to evolution. If mutations were an instrument of evolution,
shouldn't our biological system encourage mutations. Though this
means more harmful mutations, it also means more beneficial mutations so
evolution can be faster. Yet they found three different enzymes in
humans that "verify" the copying of DNA to prevent erroneous copying, so
the number of mutations is actually much smaller than it could have been.
Why is our biological system trying to prevent mutations and thus our own
evolution? It seems to be listening to God's command: "each according
to its kind" (Gen. 1:24).
The Analogy of an Unending Voyage
There is strong evidence, however, to support the idea of adaptation helping
a species to better survive in the environment, although many do not believe
that such adaptations are enough to be driving evolution, especially evolution
leading to a distinctively different species. The existence of adaptations
is not violating the command given by God in Gen. 1:24 at all. Indeed,
it is very likely that God built in some flexibility into our biological
systems so we can survive better. Scientists know that our genes
contain much more information than we need, and many of these unused genes
contain blueprints for functions that we are not currently using.
It is quite possible that these unused genes contain information that would
be useful if we move to a slightly different environment that requires
some adaptation. For instance, the darker pigment of our skin is
not needed in a cold environment but is quite crucial in a tropical setting.
God may have built some adaptive capacities into our genetic code, and
those blueprints will be activated when needed. This is best explained
by the analogy of an unending voyage. When designing a ship that
would never return to port once it embarks on her journey, the designer
would probably leave more blueprints than what is needed at the time --
blueprints for functions and parts that may one day prove useful.
He may also put in extra parts and tools to make additional parts within
the ship. The ship may look more burdened than she needs to be, but
she is better equipped to deal with the endless voyage than one that is
not equipped as well.
This lesson was developed by George Huang. Got a question or want
to publish this lesson? E-mail
Last updated: 2/10/2000