I once gave a creationist book to a friend who was an unbeliever. A couple of days later he’d read the whole thing. His only comment was that the book was entirely negative-that it effectively attacked and cast great doubt upon the concept that all of life had evolved, but that it “didn’t prove creation”…
My friend seemed to think that any book of negatives (though it really wasn’t all negative) is fatally flawed. I respectfully suggested that if we didn’t evolve we must have been created-or at least designed-since there are no real alternatives. You could opt for the third possibility if you wish-the notion that we aren’t really here, we only think we are. If you subscribe to that idea why are you thinking that you’re reading this, and exactly what is doing the thinking, and what is thought?
One of my favorite creationists was Dr. Duane Gish, who had a Ph. D. in biochemistry from the University of California, and worked in biochemical research for eighteen years before giving himself to creationism. One of his tactics was to highlight the lack of evidence for evolution in the fossil record, and although this method was “negative” in the sense that it was all about what isn’t there to support evolution, this lack of evidence for evolution heavily supports the idea that life was created in “kinds” of animals and plants, and didn’t evolve from nothing via the first single-celled organism after all.
While evolutionists will link various creatures distributed across the fossil record by pointing out that these organisms have one or two similar features, Gish’s answer to this claim was simply that they all had the same designer and lived on the same earth. He would then go on to stress that there is no museum in the world where you can go to see a series of fossils in which, for example, legs gradually get shorter and disappear, which would be a seemingly necessary evidence that a cow evolved into a whale. As he would say, with all the billions of fossils in the world, you ought to be able to see at least a few fossil series in which one creature is clearly seen to be changing into another.
I’ve been to the natural history museum in London. There you can see fossils-and some of them are very impressive; you can see “artist’s impressions” of how they think things changed over millions of years, and you can read stories of how evolutionists believe things happened, but you cannot see any actual, real, fossil-evidence transformations.
This is one of the many “positive negatives”of creationism: if we did not evolve, we must have been created or at least designed.
I was recently reviewing a book I read called “Darwin’s Doubt” by Dr Stephen Meyer*. Meyer, a well-known proponent of “Intelligent Design”, effectively and powerfully documents the weaknesses, flaws and the holes in Neo-Darwinian theory, and mentions some of the secular scientists who now are questioning it or even calling for a new theory of evolution. No, you aren’t likely to hear about that on TV or read about it in educational text books-nobody wants to lose their job.
Intelligent design people, many of whom are well qualified to join the scientific debate, don’t openly refer to any form of creationism, God, gods, scripture or “religion” to make their point, even if they do privately have faith in a creator. Instead they determine to “go wherever the evidence leads”, rather than doggedly attempting to shore up Darwin’s flawed concept. It’s their conviction that the evidence leads to the fact that we, along with all of life, were designed. Just for the record, I consider myself a Biblical creationist.
Meyer’s book could be said to be “negative” by those with an axe to grind, a grant to secure, a job to keep, a conviction to defend or a lifestyle to justify and promote. However, its discussion of the complexities of life is most uplifting and far from negative, and its message that we are not the product of randomness, fantastic chance, mutations and natural selection, but must have been designed by an incredible mind is, to the unbiased, exciting, stimulating and inspiring.
One of the major “positive negatives” in “Darwin’s Doubt” (my term not Meyer’s) concerns the building of body plans during an organism’s embryological development, and a process vital to neo-Darwinian theory known as “mutagenesis”, by which the genetic information of an organism is changed resulting in a mutation. The problem is that beneficial mutations are all but impossible to observe or induce, and mutating the genes that regulate body-plan construction only destroys animal forms as they develop from an embryonic state.
Neo-Darwinism relies on the idea that untold millions of beneficial mutations, along with natural selection, have given rise to life as we know it today with all its many intricate and successful forms. But scientists-developmental and evolutionary biologists-don’t yet know just how mutations could positively affect the regulatory genes during embryological development. Biologists know that these genes would have to be successfully altered “very early” on in the development of the embryo in order to build a new body plan and so produce macro-evolution: any later and the body plan is already established and being built.
More importantly, even if new proteins and genes were able to arise via mutation and natural selection, there’s a far bigger problem remaining for the theory of macro-evolution, writes Meyer. To build a new animal and establish its body plan for its offspring, something would have to organize these new proteins and genes to play their parts in distinctive cell types. In turn these distinctive cell types would have to be organized to form distinctive tissues, organs and body plans. However, Meyer documents that up to the present time:
“…developmental biology has shown that mutations affecting body-plan formation expressed early in development inevitably damage the organism”.
Meyer gives a simple analogy for the layman to grasp what he’s saying. He writes that if in the manufacture of a car an engineer changes the length of the piston rods in the car’s engine, but does not modify the crankshaft accordingly, the engine won’t run. As this process relates to an organism, Meyer states that one change early in the development of an animal will require a host of other coordinated changes in separate but functionally interrelated developmental processes and entities later in the organism’s development.
Meyer gives the example of a fruit fly acquiring by mutation an extra pair of wings. The fly will not be better off: it will be crippled because it lacks, among other things, a musculature to support the use of its new wings.
The kind of mutations the evolutionary process would need to produce new animal body plans-early in development-don’t occur. It seems to me that if they did, by now we would be seeing all kinds of weird and wonderful new creatures on TV created by scientists. The kind of mutations the organism doesn’t need which make only very minor and not macro-evolutionary changes-later in development-do occur. Of course, natural selection-variation-is also at work, but only within kinds of animals: finches remain finches, big beak or small.
I’ve written a few examples of how negatives in the subject of origins can actually be positives: positive evidence for the only possible alternative to the evolution of all life from nothing, which is creation or at least design. You can find some of these negatives yourself, without being scientifically trained. For a starter, go to the museum and ask to see a series of fossils clearly showing one creature turning into another
*“Darwin’s Doubt” by Stephen C. Meyer, published by Harper One.