Christian Responses: Faith and Science (Part 3)

Faith and science p3:

Molecular biologist Michael Denton stated that even the tiniest of bacterial cells, weighing less than a trillionth of a gram, is “a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of 100 thousand atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world.”

Many would say that micro-evolution cannot bear the weight that is often put on it. Recent work on the E coli bacterium back this up. In this research no real innovation changes were observed through 25,000 generations of E. coli bacteria. Biochemist Micheal Behe pointed out that now more than 30,000 generations of E. coli have been studied, equivalent to about 1 million human years, and the net result is that evolution has produced in his words, “Mostly devolution. Although some marginal details of some systems have changed during that thirty thousand generations, the bacterium has repeated thrown away chunks of its genetic patrimony, including the ability to make some of the building blocks of RNA. Apparently throwing away sophisticated but costly molecular machinery saves the bacterium energy. Nothing of remotely similar elegance has been built. The lesson of E. coli is that it’s easier for evolution to break things than to make things.”

Since all species are in transition due to natural selection, the very term “transitional fossil” is essentially a misconception. But this also is a misconception as there is not even one complete transitional fossil record.

The biological evolutionary facts that fall outside the margins of Darwin’s theory include, “the origin of complex RNA molecules and protein folds; major groups of virus; archaea and bacteria, and the principle lineages within in each of these prokaryotic domains; eukaryotic supergroups; and animal phyla.” ~ Eugene Koonin – National Center for Biotechnology
That is, pretty much everything.
Koonin goes on to say, “In each of these pivotal nexuses in life’s history, the principle ‘types’ seem to appear rapidly and fully equipped with the signature features of the respective new level of biological organization. No intermediate ‘grades’ or intermediate forms between different types are detectable.”

“The general foundations for the evolution of ‘higher’ from ‘lower’ organisms seems so far to have largely eluded analysis.” ~ Emile Zuckerkandl – biologist (considered one of the founders of the field of molecular evolution)
The phrase eluded analysis conveys a current of intellectual optimism at odds with the facts. Something that has so far eluded analysis can hardly be assigned to a force that has so far eluded demonstration.

“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of palaeontology.” ~ Professor Stephen Jay Gould (atheist)

“We palaeontologists have said that the history of life supports [the story of gradual adaptive change] knowing all the while it does not.” ~ Niles Eldridge ~ American Museum of Natural History

“I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil [a fossil which is ancestral or transitional] for which one could make a watertight argument.” ~ Colin Patterson, FRS

“Evolution is accepted by zoologists, not because it is observed to occur or… can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.” ~ Professor D.M.S Watson

Robert Wesson, Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institute in Stanford, California put it this way, “Large evolutionary innovations are not well understood. None has ever been observed, and we have no idea whether any may be in progress. There is no good fossil record of any.” By contrast, micro-evolutionary variations due to mutation and natural selection have been and are observed.

A detailed and continuous record of transition between species is missing. Robert Carroll observed quite correctly that “most of the fossil record does not support a strictly gradualistic account” of evolution. But a “ strictly gradualistic” account is precisely what Darwin’s theory demands: It is the heart and soul of the theory.

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“There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason.” ~ Physicist Steven Hawking
While Mr Hawking’s statement on religion is wrong, it is interesting to state that science is based on observation when evolution (macro) has never been observed.

To use the anthropic principle against the inference of design is a false logic in two ways. All the anthropic principle does is to tell us that for life to exist, certain necessary conditions must be fulfilled. But what it does not tell us is why those necessary conditions are fulfilled, nor how, granted they are fulfilled, life arose. This would be to make an elementary mistake of thinking that necessary conditions are sufficient. But they are not; in order to get a first class degree at a university it is necessary to first get into the university; but, as many students know, it is certainly not sufficient. The anthropic principle far from giving an explanation of the origin of life, is an observation that gives rise to the need for such an explanation.