[Written July 14, 2011]
I have wanted to record my thoughts pertaining to evolution and creation, and so it is time. I have delayed this endeavor because I don’t really know where to start. Well, here is a start. For the purpose of just addressing scientific claims, I am not going to dispute the age of the earth or universe and will assume “old earth.” This paper is meant to record facts from books I have read, and provide a spring board into other research and reading to determine, for myself, what I believe concerning evolution.
First of all, concerning Darwin; he based his theory of evolution of observation of what we now call “microevolution.” It is logical to suppose that the small changes observed in animals from off spring to off spring could, over a large period of time, lead to larger changes, or “macroevolution.” He did not base his theory directly on the fossil evidence available at the time, though. In fact, he said “natura non facit saltum”or “nature does not make jumps.” It was believed that the fossil record would eventually demonstrate the fact of evolution when the transitional species were unearthed and examined. But, according to Niles Eldredge, curator of the American Museum of Natural History, “the fossil record we were told to find for the past 120 years [since Darwin] does not exist (1980).”
What the fossil record does show is amazing. It has been determined that water formed on the earth 4.2 billion years ago. The first bacterial fossil has been found in rock 3.8 billion years old. This means that there was only 400 million years to go from inorganic, noncomplex molecules to ordered, complex, self-replicating organic cells. This amazing feat of abiogenesis will be either discussed later or in another paper. Fossils of simple globular forms of life (Ediacaran fauna) have been found at 650 million years, amounting to ~3.15 million years for bacterium to live and thrive. During the Cambrian period, between 500-600 million years ago, the basic anatomies of all the major species appear, highly specialized and fully developed. 1-4 Over 60K fossils from this period were discovered by Charles Walcott in 1909, then director of the Smithsonian Institute which were subsequently not analyzed. He buried them in his drawers. These fossils were rediscovered in the 1980’s and completely contradict the concept of gradual evolution. Not only is there NO evidence in the fossil record for macroevolution, the record challenges it.
These references are from the 1990’s. It would be interesting to see if any more literature has been published to either support or deny slow macroevolution. There is a book out that I would like to read called “Why Darwin Matters” by Michael Shermer. Has Darwin been forgotten, so that we need to understand his contribution? I do not know, but I will read this book.
In the book “The Science of God,” Gerald Schroeder makes the point that the Genesis account does not suggest that there is a thing as “special creation,” or the act of creating each species of plant and animal individually. He believes that God, to very roughly paraphrase, created the basics forms of life or phylums and then let microevolution take over. “Inter-phylum development has proven to be fantasy.” Can God, infinite in power, do it? Yes, I say. Did He? Does God involve himself with actively managing nature? He says no, and gives some examples from the Bible where God appears to let nature run it’s course, the course that God designed from the beginning.
One example is taken from Dt 7:20, 22. God uses hornets to drive out nations little by little because if He did, the wild animals would multiply around them. God uses a species of animal to accomplish his will for the people, but he does not control the multiplication of the wild animals. He could, surely, but does not. Another example is from Lev. 21:17-23. The Lord gave instructions to the Levites or priests, and in these verses lists all the birth defects that would exclude a priest from duty. Could God make it so every priest was born without defect? Certainly. Does He? No. He allows the people to mate and allows the genes to do follow their programming, even if errors do occur and defects result. Another example is the choice God endows on mankind, that which to choose good or evil. Such evil had the men of Noah’s day chose, without any intervention from Him that He decided to destroy mankind. A final observation Schroeder has is from Gen. 1. He observes that as each day finishes, God looks and saw that it was good. This suggests God watches his design unfold and takes pleasure in it.
These examples are, to me, compelling evidence that viewing God as all powerful does not necessarily imply his constant work at holding the natural world in order. It shows that God, indeed, could have designed the natural world to be self-sustaining and then He rested. It is reasonable to suggest that God created the laws of nature, created the rules of DNA and gene expression and protein production within the cells, and let them loose to reproduce and vary as designed.
Notes & Sources for further research:
1J. Levingtion, “The Big Bang of Animal Evolution,” Scientific American, Nov 1992
2S. Gould, “The Evolution of Life on Earth,” Scientific American, Oct 1994
3M. Nash, “When Life Exploded,” Time, 4 Dec 1995
4R. Kerr, “Timing Evolution’s Early Bursts,” Science 267:30, 1995