If you feel like “Evolution” is a 4-Letter Word… Read This

The other day I was sitting across the table from a retired missionary couple. They were eating their lunch and we were discussing evolution.

They were Young Earth Creationists. I took up the challenge of trying to persuade them that maybe there is some goodness to be found in evolution after all.

The guy said, “I wish someone would invent a different word. Evolution sounds so… secular.

I said, “Have you ever noticed that evolution is a

household word? Regular folks use this term all the time in everyday conversation and most of the time they’re not talking about biological evolution at all. They’re talking about the evolution of iPhones and technology and pop music and politics and art and language and everything else.”

He nodded. I said, “So.. whenever we talk about that kind of evolution, it’s always intentional. Everyone knows iPhones and technology and art and language don’t evolve by random purposeless accident. Evolution is: chaos resolved by intent.

“The only time “evolution” means “random and purposeless” is when Neo-Darwinists talk about Darwinian evolution. But biological evolution isn’t random or purposeless either. It’s controlled by the incredible intelligence of cells.

“So – ALL evolution is purposeful. It’s never nihilistic or meaningless. The atheists have hijacked evolution and turned it into something it’s not. And… the Christians fell for it!”

Still he continued to object. “Dr. Sanford says genetic entropy is a one-way ticket to decay and degradation. Evolution can’t happen. It’s impossible.”

He had attended a Young Earth Creation conference in Chicago where geneticist John Sanford was explaining why evolution is necessarily impossible, because of genetic entropy.

Well I understand exactly what Sanford was talking about. Better than 99.5% of people. Why? Because I’m an electrical engineer and wrote an Ethernet book. I know all too well, once you degrade a signal you are never getting it back. Ever.

That’s what information entropy is. And in genetics, corrupting genes produces birth defects. Not evolution.

“But,” I said, “There’s something Dr. Sanford left out. And that is that cells actively re-engineer their own DNA. When information is destroyed, they rebuild it. When faced with threats, the re-engineer it. We really have no idea how they “know” how to do this; we just observe that they do it. You can perform specific experiments that generate new species at will.

I described Barbara McClintock’s corn experiments, where corn plants repaired damaged DNA in minutes and went on to reproduce. I described Kwong Jeon’s Symbiogenesis experiment, where he obtained a full merger-acquisition between two cells in 18 months.

Humans have no idea how to build technology that does this. Heck, we still have yet to even make a self-replicating machine. This means living things are exponentially more capable than man, or any man-made technologies.

So… how does evolution get rid of God?

And which is more impressive?

Door #1: Beaming a zebra onto the savanna, fully created an intact in an instant, where it appears and starts eating grass,

-OR-

Door #2: Building a universe that gives rise to a cell that builds an entire ecosystem, including zebras and grass?

I don’t know about you… but I think Door #2 is WAAAY more impressive than Door #1. By light years.

I also reminded him about Noah’s ark. There’s a strong case to be made for an ark and a local flood in the Middle East, somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago (we have good evidence for this). But I don’t think it was the extreme global catastrophe that Young Earth Creationists espouse.

Nevertheless, this gentleman does believe that all animals were saved by Noah in the flood. So let’s run with that.

If that’s true, then every species we have today traces back to a large herd of animals on a single boat. Which means the number of species they had then has multiplied by 100 or 1,000 or maybe 10,000 today.

1000:1 multiplication of new species in 5,000 years requires a LOT of evolution. And I mean a LOT.

And not accidental evolution, either. Purposeful, finely-engineered evolution. Massive and rapid.

Therefore EVERY way of viewing history requires evolution – yes, even if you are a traditional Christian of the most conservative possible variety.

So please, someone tell me – why are conservative Christians fighting against evolution with such ferocity?

Christians should be embracing it and exploring the purposeful, adaptive systems that make it possible. Christians should not be fighting it!

Could it be that clever atheists have set up Christians to hate evolution – through a clever straw-man argument – and thus succeeded in making Christians look like fools?

Could it be that Christians and Christian leaders have taken the bait… then gone tilting after windmills in a vain quest to “debunk” something that even the most conservative reading of Genesis still requires to be true?

And if we took the time to ask the question how and why are cells able to evolve at such high speed, would we uncover important new discoveries about the cosmos God made?

If you are a conservative Christian who feels like evolution is a 4-letter word, I hope you will think hard about that. Maybe evolution is not a 4-letter word after all.

2 Responses

  1. Bob Thomson says:

    We are not all fighting it. We are just confused. If we read the Apostles Creed, God can create and allow change. But how much change and how long did it take for DNA coding to illustrate its great mystery?
    I am not a micro biologist or geneticist. I am an old farmer and I am trying to learn. In my laymans thinking, micro evolution is occuring and it is essential to explain the diversity of life. Why would we want to limit a God – stating he created and stopped the process.
    DNA re-coding at the cellular level is occuring and gene splicing/enginering shows it is reality. We can put pink toenails on bull dogs by adding algae DNA during the initial cellular mitosis. We can and do make puppies or race horses from three different parents.

    I would greatly appreciate if someone please help me figure out, does countless micro-evolution steps/events actually = potential macro evolution beyong the family taxa? How many millions of years do the paleobiologists and paleobotanists believe it should theorectically take to modify organisms beyond the family taxa (hence the genus and species)? It is interesting that some taxonomic family members such a shark, turtles etc have not changed for millions of years. Why is this? Is it merely because they were successful, the medium of water disallowed geographic isolation and they could repopulate as is? Yet birds on a geographically destinct habitat (i.e. island) can modify their beaks, feathers, the ability to loose flights and alter other physiological parts in a matter of a few hundred years. And supposedly Equines can modify into quagga, horses or zebras in a few thousand years. Ditto for bear family members world wide via continental plate tectonics and species drift/geographic isolation. On the North American continent we had Short-faced bears, Sabertoothed lions (and other lions), several species of pronghorn “antelope” and on. How long did it take to make them distinct from their cousins in Eurasia or Africa? Ditto for mamoths and mastadons diverging from Indian and African elephants? And bacteria can micro evolve or become resistant by altering its DNA and keeping the traits within a day-all with 100X fewer genes than us. Every year Agricultural researchers are creating different varieties of corn, beets, wheat with less gluten etc… The trouble is, I never see the real evidence of macro. A wrist bone on a whale or a skink with legs is not evidence. It could be evidence of a common creator but not necessary anymore than genetic changes from original DNA.

    The world’s incredible diversity is amazing. Tens of millions of species with DNA code and its handy dandy ability for cellular fixes shows drive to thrive. But is this diversity of life from cellular breakdown (entropy of the initial DNA) or enhancement (micro evolution), or both? Which ever, it seems we can’t put God and his creation/changes to life in a puny, human-made, neat box.
    Lastly, why wouldn’t genetic entropy occur simultanous to that of cellular micro-evolution. Isn’t that supernaturally natural?

    It seems God loves diversity/gives cells (and us) the ability to learn and respond. Meanwhile genetic entropy (from everything from Cosmic wave radiation to nasty new viruses) is busy in the background. I believe this is symbolic to us all – currently flawed yet progressing until made righteous for paradise perfection through Christ? I am not certain if metaphors are permitted in these discussions.

    • Bob,

      Great questions. Macro evolutionary events are only the result of symbiotic mergers, hybrid mergers, or massive genomic rearrangements at the chromosome level such as what you see for example in radical cancer adaptations. There’s a chapter in Evolution 2.0 which discusses symbiogenesis, i.e. agae + eukaryote = plant cell with chloroplast.

      It appears from the genetic record that sea squirt + tunicate [both invertebrates] = hagfish [vertebrate] through a doubling of chromosomes.

      There is another genetic doubling of chromosomes, at which we then see jawed vertebrates.

      Sexual reproduction in populations creates a tremendous amount of stability and resistance to major change. Charles Darwin did not understand this and the mechanisms he describes in his book – well, they will technically get you new species (minor changes) but will not result in the kind of large changes that you are looking for. Ordinary mutations will never get you from a snake to a bird – not in any length of time.

      One of the ways to get a major species change is to hyridize two species together, which normally won’t happen in healthy populations but is much more likely to happen in severe drought, earthquake, volcano where animal populations are greatly reduced and animals cannot find a mate in their own species.

      I recommend the movie “Symbiotic Earth” which you can get on Amazon video.

      The real evidence of macro is symbiotic and hybrid mergers which are already successful. Most attempts fail, a few succeed. You don’t need very many over millions of years, because they are quantum leaps. (Which explains why the fossil record is stasis most of the time + punctuated equilibrium.) I have numerous articles on this website as well as chapters devoted to this in Evolution 2.0.

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