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Evolution: A Published Obituary

by Kevin Ford
Photo by John Thomas on Unsplash
 

The theory of evolution has been the fundamental basis of scientific thought for the last century and a half, but its influence extends far beyond science.

Evolution lies at the very core of atheism, for to account for the existence of the incredibly complex and awesome creation that is all around us, the atheist must somehow do away with the need for a Creator. Evolution is his essential bastion of belief, and its demise would be a prospect too appalling to contemplate. The Christian, on the other hand, can derive great comfort from the apostle Paul’s statement in Romans 1:20, “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, even his eternal power and Godhead….” This is as true today as in the first century. Creation is truly one of the great proofs of God’s existence and power.

As the world’s leading secular religion, evolution has come under increasing attack in recent years from within the scientific community. Critics traditionally include the so-called “creation scientists,” those professing fundamentalist Christianity and a belief in divine creation, but now include an increasing number of noted scientists who have attacked the theory on purely scientific grounds. Included in this latter group is Michael A. Behe, Professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University (Pennsylvania), who in 1996 published a book entitled Darwin’s Black Box (Simon & Schuster).

Although Dr. Behe seems determined to maintain a clear boundary between science and religion, he claims that the evidence presented in his book proves the impossibility of life having evolved. He does list a few examples of creationist writers getting their facts wrong, but considers that in general the response of evolutionists to the creationist arguments has been totally inadequate.

The title of the book is based on the fact that biochemistry is a branch of science little more than 50 years old, and that to Darwin, the workings of the cell were a complete mystery – a “black box.” Evolutionists had to concede that for their theory to be credible, science had to show that life, as least at the cellular level, was relatively simple. In fact, the diametric opposite has been found. Here is a partial example of the author’s description of how the eye sees (biochemically speaking):

“When light first strikes the retina a photon interacts with a molecule called 11-cis-retinal, which rearranges within picoseconds to trans-retinal. The change in the shape of the retinal molecule forces a change in the shape of the protein, rhodopsin, to which the retinal is tightly bound....” (Darwin’s Black Box, pages 18-19)

This mind-numbing description continues for two and a half more paragraphs, but the explanation is not finished yet! He devotes another two paragraphs to the cell’s procedures to turn off the proteins and revert to its previous state. This, he says, is “a sketchy overview” of the biochemistry of vision. According to a footnote, readers who want a fuller version are directed to pages 938-954 of a biochemistry textbook!

Prospective readers should not be put off , however, by the foregoing. For the most part, the text is surprisingly readable and often quite entertaining. He makes liberal use of everyday analogies to explain his points, some of which are quite colourful, such as how a man’s neighbour claimed to have jumped across the hundred foot chasm separating their properties! He uses the construction of a mousetrap to explain the concept of an “irreducibly complex system.” And he scoffs at one evolutionist’s attempt to explain a supposed evolutionary development by likening it to an attempt to explain the workings of a stereo system as “plugging a set of speakers into an amplifier, and adding a CD player, radio receiver and tape deck.”

In the second part of the book, phenomena such as blood clotting and antibodies are discussed in detail. Part three includes a presentation of many aspects of scientific history such as the Big Bang theory. Although the author is not a creationist, he appears to offer a very even-handed evaluation of the debate between evolution and its critics. He states, for example, that theologian William Paley’s nineteenth-century work Natural Theology is generally considered to have been thoroughly discredited by evolutionist Richard Dawkins and others, yet in his opinion none of Paley’s arguments against evolution were ever really answered!

In the concluding paragraph of his book, Dr. Behe hints at the startling conclusions of biochemical research:

“The simplicity that was once expected to be the foundation of life has proven to be a phantom; instead, systems of horrendous, irreducible complexity inhabit the cell. The resulting realization that life was designed by an intelligence is a shock to us in the twentieth century who have gotten used to thinking of life as the result of simple, natural laws” (ibid, page 252, emphasis mine).

D r. Behe is one of a new breed of scientist willing to break the conspiracy of silence within the scientific community on Darwin’s flawed theory. As a result of his research, we as Christians can echo more than ever the words of the Psalmist: “For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well” (Psalm 139:13-14, NRSV).

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