Evolution: Bacteria to Beethoven
Angelology 14. The Works of Satan. John 13:27
For a century Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has been as unquestioned as Newton’s theory of gravity. But science never stops asking questions. Or at least it’s not supposed to. Stephen Meyer, Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, takes up the challenge in this video. Are there questions about the origins of life that Darwinism can’t answer?
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You learned about it in high school.
It goes like this: Life started out with very simple forms and then gradually, over hundreds of millions of years, morphed into all the forms we see today. Bacteria to Beethoven. Not a straight line, of course…but that’s roughly how it went.
This was the theory proposed by Charles Darwin in 1859, and, with some modification, it has been embraced as unassailable by the science community over the last century. As evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins says, “If you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is either ignorant, stupid or insane.”
But is that right? Are there no scientific reasons to doubt the evolutionary account of life’s origins?
In November 2016, I attended a conference in London convened by some of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists. The purpose: to address growing doubts about the modern version of Darwin’s theory.
Let’s look at just two scientific reasons to doubt this theory.
First, the Cambrian Explosion. A weird and wonderful thing happened 530 million years ago: A whole bunch of major groups of animals—what scientists call the “phyla”—appeared abruptly within a geologically short window of time—about ten million years.
These novel animal forms—exhibiting proto-types of most animal body designs we see today—emerged in the fossil record without evidence of earlier ancestors.
Did you catch that? A huge number of diverse animals appeared, with no discernible antecedents.
So where did they come from?
This question really bothered Darwin. And he acknowledged that he could give it “no satisfactory answer.” Nor can scientists today.
The renowned biologist Eugene Koonin, of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, describes the abrupt appearance of the Cambrian animals and other organisms such as dinosaurs, birds, flowering plants and mammals as a pattern of “biological Big Bangs.”
So what caused all these new forms of life to arise? That question leads to a second big doubt: the DNA enigma.
In the 1950s, James Watson and Francis Crick made a startling discovery: The DNA molecule stores information as a four-character digital code. Strings of precisely sequenced chemicals inside the DNA helix store the instructions—the information—for building the crucial proteins that cells need to survive. Unless the chemical “letters” in the DNA text are sequenced properly, a protein molecule will not form. No proteins; no cells. No cells; no living organisms.
Bill Gates has said, “DNA is like a software program.” Let’s think about that for a second. For computers to run faster and perform more functions, they require new code. Well, the same is true for life: To build new forms of life, the evolutionary process would need to produce new genetic information—new code.
But this raises questions about the creative power of natural selection and mutation. Natural selection is a simple sorting process. Species keep favorable mutations that allow them to survive but eliminate bad mutations that cause their members to die out. No one doubts that natural selection is a real process and that it produces minor variations, but many biologists now doubt that it produces major innovations in biological form.
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