Evolutionary Biologist Gets It Right (Sort of)

by Ken Ham on October 18, 2014

For years evolutionists have been repeating the famous mantra of “nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution” in one form or another. Evolutionary biologist David P. Barash is the latest to make statements of this kind. He wrote, “I’m a biologist, in fact an evolutionary biologist, although no biologist, and no biology course, can help being ‘evolutionary.’ My animal behavior class, with 200 undergraduates, is built on a scaffolding of evolutionary biology . . . It’s irresponsible to teach biology without evolution.” He goes on to say, “Many Americans don’t grasp the fact that evolution is not merely a ‘theory,’ but the underpinning of all biological science” and “teaching biology without evolution would be like teaching chemistry without molecules, or physics without mass and energy.” But is evolution really this fundamental to biology?

Now, something that Dr. Barash fails to mention in his article is that naturalistic evolution actually goes against a principal law of biology: the Law of Biogenesis. This scientific law states that “life only comes from other life.” In order for biological evolution to begin to occur, life has to have arisen at least once from non-living chemicals. But this has never been observed, has no support from modern science experiments, and actually goes against everything we know about life. The biblical worldview doesn’t have this problem; the Law of Biogenesis is never violated because all life, including the original creatures God made to inhabit the earth, comes from the Life-giver, our Creator.

Also, when we look at nature we see animals reproducing according to their kinds. Dogs give birth to dogs, bats give birth to bats, and whales give birth to whales. However, biological evolution requires that one kind of creature gives rise to another—something that has never been observed. So evolution is actually going against observational science! Of course, biblical creationists expect creatures to reproduce according to their kinds because this is exactly what the Bible teaches (Genesis 1). The observable evidence confirms biblical creation. Evolution is not fundamental to biology but, rather, goes against the evidence we see in nature.

Dr. Barash goes on to make some statements that are almost right. In his article, he explains how he gives “The Talk” on evolution and religion to his freshman undergrad class. In this talk he explains that evolution and religion are not compatible—both do not easily fit together. He says, “As evolutionary science has progressed, the available space for religious faith has narrowed: It has demolished two previously potent pillars of religious faith and undermined belief in an omnipotent and omni-benevolent God.”

He argues that evolution has shown that human beings are not special; we are not “distinct from other life forms, chips off the old divine block.” Instead we are just animals who are “indistinguishable from the rest of the living world.” Now, while I certainly don’t agree that humans are just animals, Barash has a point here—a point we’ve made before. Accepting evolution and rejecting the biblical account of creation has consequences. If you are going to argue that God used evolution to create mankind, then man is nothing more than an advanced animal that perhaps got some kind of “divine image” stamped onto it. This is completely contrary to what the Scriptures teach! We are specially formed and created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27)—Adam from dust, Eve from his rib. And there are many features that only humans possess that set us apart from the animal kingdom. For example, only humans have a moral conscience, worship God, care about beauty, and are self-aware—these things, among many others, set us distinctly apart from the animal kingdom.

Barash then states, “Although the natural world can be marvelous, it is also filled with ethical horrors: predation, parasitism, fratricide, infanticide, disease, pain, old age and death—and that suffering (like joy) is built into the nature of things.” He argues that evolution destroys the idea of a “benevolent, controlling creator.” I would certainly agree with him! If you believe that God used evolution to create, what you are really saying is that our all-wise, all-loving Creator used a wasteful process of death, suffering, and extinction to create life. This provides no answer to the question, Why is there death and suffering? Death and suffering would just be a natural part of creation. And if death is not the consequence of Adam’s sin—as the Bible says it is (Romans 5:12; 8:18–22)—then why did Jesus have to physically come, and physically die, and physically rise from the dead to defeat death? Biological evolution and the character of God of the Bible are simply not compatible.

Now, I don’t normally agree with evolutionary biologists—and I do disagree with most of the other claims Barash makes in his article—but he is right in saying that evolution destroys man’s special standing as distinct from the animals and that a benevolent God and millions of years of evolution are incompatible. It saddens me that this professor (who appears to be an agnostic) realizes this truth, but most people in the church don’t even see it. We can also pray that Barash will one day recognize that Jesus Christ is the Creator and Savior, and trust in Jesus rather than human ideas as the authority in his life.

I encourage you to equip yourself to answer the skeptical questions of this age as you look to proclaim the hope you have in Christ. You can learn more about these topics by reading Couldn’t God Have Used Evolution? and by watching Dr. David Menton’s “Does Biology Make Sense without Darwin?” You can purchase that at our store or watch it for free here.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,


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