By: Jim Virkler
Stephen C. Meyer’s interview series with John Ankerberg on the JAShow in July and August presented a conceptual and descriptive outline of the broad subject of popular evolutionary theory birthed by Charles Darwin. Meyer is primarily an advocate of the Intelligent Design paradigm. He reviewed the evolutionary proposal that earth life has progressed from simple ancestral forms to intricately complex contemporary forms. This concept grips a majority of bio-scientists owing to its creative scope and majesty. Evolutionary biologists self-congratulate in their ability to “see” the process of evolution as it has unfolded throughout life’s history on earth. Life first appeared in the waters of earth’s oceans and is now found in virtually every segment of our planetary environment. Bio-scientists’ ability to “see” evolution in the fossil record is the source of the frequently repeated mantra that “evolution is a fact.” According to this standard, who could deny that “evolution is a fact?” Evident life forms have changed substantially. But do evolutionary biologists suffer a secret crisis of confidence?
Woven into Meyer’s primary topic of the Cambrian Explosion of sudden life were discussions of two main tenets of evolutionary theory: The theory of evolution is a bottom-up proposal of life’s development, in keeping with traditional evolutionary theory. That is to say, life advances from simple to complex. Evolutionists search for species inferred to be transitional forms. When they position their putative transitionals on theorized “tree of life” graphics (a main trunk diverging into many branches) they imply evolutionary changes are “bottom up.” Meyer disputed the concept of bottom up in the fossil record by documenting the startling results of Cambrian Explosion studies: Multiple diverse phyla appear fully formed without transitional precursors. These anomalous findings strike at the very heart of evolutionary theory. Instead, they suggest a creation event.
Another crisis of confidence may result from increasing doubts that mutation and natural selection, taken together as another pillar supporting the evolutionary model, is the driving force behind macro-evolutionary speciation. Macro-evolution is defined as the production of a new biological species. According to evolutionary theory, each of earth’s present 10 million separate species originated with the confluence of favorable mutation and natural selection. Uncounted millions of extinct species also arrived on earth through the dubious creative force of this two-segmented evolutionary support pillar. Mutation and natural selection does not enjoy its former explanatory power. Mutation is known to degrade the genetic code. It is not a beneficial, creative building process. The hypothesized operation of natural selection paired with mutation to generate speciation is uncertain at best.
Naturalistic evolution permeates the science profession and has gripped our culture. The theory’s anomalies apparently are insufficient to deflect either naturalistic or theistic evolutionists toward a creationist or intelligent design perspective. Theistic evolutionists believe in bottom-up development of life and endorse the theorized driving process of mutation and natural selection. They claim God, the Creator of all things, endowed life with the freedom to evolve. Evolutionists of either stripe are untroubled by the evidence of top down appearances of life forms in the Cambrian and subsequent periods or the degrading propensity of mutation.
Our ruling science and educational culture is firmly gripped by belief in evolution. When we take origins beliefs in overview, many theistic commentators have stated that evolutionary origins beliefs do not impair their belief in an omnipotent God, nor are those beliefs an issue of doctrine. One friend has inquired why the issue is so important to me. I responded the same way Stephen Meyer and others have characterized belief in ID: Ultimately, the most important characterization is whether ID is true. We are constantly informed that evolution is good science. But a similar question recurs: Is evolution true?
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Jim Virkler, a retired New Jersey public school science educator, now devotes his time investigating the harmony of scientific discoveries and Christian faith. He and his wife, Eleanor, now reside in the mid-west near their children and grandchildren.