September 2, 2008

The Four Fold Proof Against Darwinism

I would like to begin this post with a definition of Darwinism and evolution. Evolution (biologically speaking) is the small anatomical changes which occur within biological life that eventually lead to greater changes. This has been demonstrated to happen through genetic mutation which directly causes proteinic changes. The likelihood of these proteinic changes lasting is determined by whether or not the organism manages to produce children, causing overall improvements within the organism's species itself if its children survive better than the rest. This process is a biological fact.

Darwin noticed this process and then proposed further some philosophical thoughts about it:

  1. He stated (and assumed) that evolution always produces progress: positive change.
  2. The ultimate fate of humanity is to evolve into something superhuman.
  3. All lifeforms have a common ancestor and the diversity of life is explained by the process of evolution.

I consider Darwinism, namely these three points, to be wrong.

It is the basic assumption of most Darwinists that evidence of evolution equates evidence of Darwinism. This just isn't the case. It is my attempt here to produce 4 arguments against Darwinism.

Each argument is capable of dismantling the theory on its own within its own field. The purpose of using four is more for breadth than force. Different people are convinced by different kinds of evidence (some can't be convinced regardless of evidence). Thus, having arguments that pertain to various fields of study and forms of thought allow for a fuller arsenal, which allows the creationist a form of "adaptation" for the person with which they are arguing.

The order of these arguments isn't based upon strength, but based upon my own life experience. I came across them in this order, and thus, this is the order that they affected me. Here is the list:

The Physical Argument: Argument from Entropy

Entropy is one of the most fundamental laws of science in every field with the exception of biology. The exact definition of entropy varies from field to field, based upon convenience, but the simplest definition is disorder.

It is a general tendency to reduce this to notions of anarchy or chaos. This tendency must be resisted. In fact, a perfectly entropic system is very... static. Indeed, there is an inability to do any work at all: no available energy. Entropy is categorized by:

  • Random activity
  • Unstable energy systems (or none at all)
  • Highly disorganized matter (Iron ore as opposed to iron bars, for example)

According to the Law of Entropy, entropy is always increasing within a closed system. Thus, activity flows from organized to random, energy becomes unusable, energy systems fall apart, and organized matter erodes. This is the natural order of things. And this runs completely against the first premise of Darwinism: evolution produces progress.

Now I am not saying that entropy is a bad thing, but entropy certainly doesn't lend itself to life, where there are complex ecological activities that sustain biospheres, organic bodies which are highly organized with particular elements (most notably O, H, and C), and that these bodies are complex machines running on stable energy systems.

Now, for your amusement, I offer you academia's solution to this problem:

An interesting example of the increase in entropy relates to the theory of biological evolution and to the growth of organisms. Clearly, a human being is a highly ordered organism. The process of evolution from the early macromolecules and simple forms of life to Homo sapiens represents increasing order. So, too, the development of an individual from a single cell to a grown person is a process of increasing order. Do these processes violate the second law of thermodynamics [entropy]? No, they do not. In the processes of evolution and growth, and even during the life of an individual, waste products are eliminated. These small molecules that remain as a result of metabolism are simple molecules without much order in comparison to the macromolecules of life such as DNA and proteins. Thus they represent relatively higher disorder and entropy. Indeed, the total entropy of the molecules cast aside by organisms during the processes of evolution and growth is greater than the decrease in entropy associated with the order of the growing individual.
-Giancoli, Douglas, Physics for Scientists and Engineers, ed 3, Prentice Hall, 2000, pp. 534

Now, what this guy is talking about is basically a bunch of crud, literally. Because life produces waste product: entropy is increasing. OK, technically he isn't j.ust talking about fecal matter, but dead corpses as well. However, there in lies another problem. You see, dead biological waste is cleaned up by other lifeforms. Though I agree with the statements above in regards to organism growth, it doesn't really follow from evolution itself.

In order for the entropy argument to really work, what you have to do is look beyond individual organisms. There can always be a claim that the entropy went somewhere else. Instead, look at the entire ecosystem. Compare the primordial world to the present one. Rock composition was primarily igneous (highly disorganized), and a great ocean filled with random elements that eventually form the basic building blocks of life. Now actually compare that to the biosphere of today. Look at the whole world. Is entropy up or down? Its down, and that just isn't right. According to the quote above, even life processes follow the laws of entropy. So why is this world more organized, more advanced, than the one that came before it?

[personal note: it was this evidence that made me doubt the scientific integrity of Darwinism. However, because I assumed it was proved in other areas, I just basically assumed that God took care of the entropy issue. Thus, I became more convinced of my Theo-evolutionary stance, thinking that atheistic evolution was just illogical]

The Theological Argument: Argument from Original Sin

There are some who ask, "Why do Christians make such a big deal out of this? Why can't Christians just say that God created life using Darwin's process?" Well, this would be a good question if God as Creator was the only issue at stake. One could say that it doesn't matter how God created, as long as it is affirmed that he did. But there are certain methods of creation that we can easily rule out, even if one doesn't reference Genesis 1. There are essential issues at stake which get to the core of Christianity: why am I here? Why is there pain in the world?

When God created the world, He made man in His image. This means that man was God's representative in creation. It was man's role to love the Lord and to take care of his creation. When Adam sinned, man lost his righteousness, which meant that he became more inclined to evil than good. He passed this trait on to his children. Because of this, we no longer can commune with God the way in which we were designed. Additionally, we no longer treat each other rightly, and have lost the ability to take care of the world. Because of this, death, destruction, and despair entered into the world, none of which was there before. There was no death, at all, before Adam, and even creation itself was less hostile. Things like hurricanes and tornadoes are a result of man's inability to take care of creation.

In Darwin's system, what determines whether or not a particular trait is passed down to later generations is whether or not this trait makes it more likely to survive. This is called natural selection. It is through this process that life advances and is sustained.

Now, let us reduce these two systems so we get a more direct comparison.

  • Christian: Man causes death
  • Darwin: Death causes man

I do not see how these two systems are compatible when they are reduced as such. Which is it: Is death the result of man's disobedience, or is it the method through which God does away with the weak to create stronger and superior beings? Which one sounds like the Christian God?

Now, I am not saying that natural selection doesn't occur. It does: within a sinful world. However, how can a Christian justify natural selection as the normative means of God's creative activity?

[Personal note: It is through this argument that I rejected theoevolution]

The Biological Argument: The irreducible complexity of proteinic systems

I do not believe I can do this argument justice, so everyone who finds this interesting, read Darwin's Blackbox by Michael Behe. The true appeal of this argument is that it deals with evolution on its most fundamental level.

The idea of irreducible complexity is important. Just because something is complex, it doesn't mean that it couldn't have been produced through gradual changes. Something is irreducibly complex when the entire system shuts down and becomes useless if any element of the system is removed. Such a system could not be produced gradually because it can have no precursors.

To be honest, I do not think that it is possible to overstress irreducible complexity in this argument. It is the focal issue. For further clarification, let us consider a mousetrap:

A mousetrap is composed of 5 components: hammer, latch, base, spring, and the bar to hold the hammer down. If any of these components are missing, the entire trap becomes useless. This is Behe's example of a rudimentary irreducible complex system. The ones in biology tend to be a lot more complicated, with far more difficult names.

The existence of irreducibly complex protein systems makes Darwin's theory impossible. Since evolution is caused by genetic mutation, and genetic mutation alters proteins, the irreducibly complex proteinic systems could not have evolved into being. Basically It is the gradualness of evolution that makes it impossible. If it evolved, then there were simpler versions of the system that came before it. Irreducible complexity rules out the possibility of predecessors. Considering that there are millions of these systems in biology on every level of life, Darwin cannot account for the origin of species.

[Personal note: This argument didn't affect me as dramatically as the preceding two, but I it gave me a more profound sense of confidence, because Darwinism could not even make sense within the confines of biology]

The Historical Argument: Separating philosophy from science

It is through recent study that I began to consider this argument, so it is not fully formed, and would probably require more research to propose in full force. The basic attack is not so much on the actual ideas of Darwinism, but the originality and objectivity of the idea.

If one examines the 19th century, one finds that the prevalent thoughts were the remnants of the Enlightenment. People believed in the absolute supremacy of human logic. They believed that humans could master the world, and the notion of God, by merely figuring things out. It was in this atmosphere that science first began to be worshipped, and it was seen as the primary means of interacting with the divine.

A more important feature of Enlightenment thought is the overall notion of progress. 'Humanity is in a constant state of progress, and as such, all other cultures before modern Western culture are inferior and savage'. Because of this, novelty began to be equated with improvement, and change with progress.

Because of this, Christianity was already looked down upon as archaic and irrelevant. It wasn't really because it was irrational, but because it was old and counter-intuitive to the ethos of the day. Christianity spoke of revelation over science, human depravity over human omnicompotence, and faith over reason. It wasn't that Christianity didn't like science or reason, but only if they are used to further demonstrated God, which is of superior importance. On top of that, there was an over all sense of rebellion which came out of the Reformation that viewed Christianity and the Bible itself as an institution that man had to be freed from. One can see that a lot of these ideas haven't really gone away, though they have been disproven.

The notion of progress is the most important aspect of all of this. All of the scholars of this period sought to incorporate the concept into their area of study: Hegel did it with history, Marx did it with economy, Freud did it psychologically, Nietzsche did it theologically, and Darwin did it biologically. Even though the only one of these figures which proceeded Darwin was Hegel, it is important to note that the same basic philosophies can be seen in all of them.

The point is that Darwin didn't exist in a vacuum. The relevance of progress that "resulted" from the notion of evolution is just as strongly stated in the writings of Thomas Jefferson (who was a deist, and wrote considerable amount of philosophical works using enlightenment categories). Deism (the belief that God created the world, but never interjected afterwards) was already making God irrelevant to the lives of westerners. All Darwin really added, philosophically, was that he allowed deists to become atheists.

This is my proposal: Darwin looked at the world and noted natural selection occurring (oh the glorious finches). Then, based on the prejudices of his day, he added that evolution is positive change, that humans are continually progressing, and that all living things can traced to a common ancestor. The data itself wouldn't have lent itself to these conclusions if the overall progressive prejudices did not already exist in his mind.

This brings me full circle back to my introduction. Darwinism does not equal evolution. Darwinism is the projection of Enlightenment philosophy onto an actual biological process. Ironically, it was this same Enlightenment philosophies that brought us the world wars, communism, and all the various atrocities of the 20th century. It is these Enlightenment philosophies that have become outdated and rejected. Why are we still holding on to a man's conclusions based off of premises that we have proven to be wrong?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The reason evolution is considered science is because it's the best theory you can formulate without postulating hidden entities (God). It is not very good when you get down to it but it's the best you can do with methodological atheism. It's so plausible it doesn't need evidence ;-)

Evolution is indeed a process in nature - so much is fact. The question is whether this process can produce new biological mechanisms, machines and species. The answer, briefly, is no. Behe does an excellent job of showing empirically what darwinian evolution can and cannot do in his latest book "The Edge of Evolution".

Of course you can scale a mountain by taking tiny steps but this assumes a smooth mountain with friendly steps. Nature's organisms and mechanisms are not so obliging. It's more like scaling smooth, steep cliffs and jumping across crevices and valleys. Not conducive to Darwin's baby steps.