A recent article appeared on the Biologos website titled “10 Misconceptions about Evolution.” The author, Jim Stump, writes, “One of the difficulties people have with coming to accept the science of evolution is that they have absorbed incorrect or only partially correct information.” He then goes on to list 10 supposed misconceptions people have about evolution in order to encourage them to accept evolution. But what this latest article on the BioLogos website really points out are the misconceptions the senior editor of Biologos has about biblical creation!
Biologos is an organization that “invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.” Basically, they promote evolution to Christians and churches and encourage Christians to add evolution and millions of years into God’s Word. Sadly, they are leading many Christians astray by encouraging them to trust man’s opinion about the past over God’s trustworthy eyewitness account.
The first and second misconceptions about evolution that Stump points out are two that we’ve written about before: “evolution claims that we evolved from monkeys” and “if we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys around?” Many well-meaning Christians have unknowingly perpetrated these misconceptions by using these faulty arguments. These are arguments creationists definitely shouldn’t use. Evolutionists don’t believe humans evolved from monkeys. Rather, they think that humans evolved from an ape-like ancestor and that monkeys and apes are our cousins. Of course, this directly contradicts God’s Word that teaches that humans were specially designed in God’s image, separate from the animal kingdom (Genesis 1:26–27, 2:7, 2:21–22).
Second Law of Thermodynamics Disproves Evolution
The third supposed misconception that Stump digs up is the argument that “the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics disproves evolution.” The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics can be defined as when “energy is transferred or transformed, more and more of it is wasted [entropy]. The Second Law also states that there is a natural tendency of any isolated system to degenerate into a more disordered state.” So when evolutionists say that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics doesn’t disprove evolution, what is generally meant by this, according to the evolutionary paradigm, is that the Earth and living organisms are open systems, not closed, and entropy can be checked in an open system; therefore, evolutionists believe the 2nd law does not disprove evolution.
According to astronomer, Dr. Danny Faulkner,
The second law of thermodynamics applies to the universe as a whole. The entropy of the universe cannot decrease, though it may increase, and it often does. Thus, the universe has an ever-increasing entropy burden. An important manifestation of entropy is that it measures the amount of disorder. Since entropy continually increases, or at least cannot decrease, it follows that disorder must increase, or at least not decrease, and therefore order cannot increase. It is this version of the second law of thermodynamics that leads to discussion of the naturalistic origin of life and biological evolution.
Evolutionists have offered various theories of how the naturalistic origin and development of life does not violate the second law of thermodynamics. One approach is to note that the second law of thermodynamics applies only to isolated systems. An isolated system exchanges neither matter nor energy with its surroundings. A closed system exchanges energy but not matter with its surroundings. An open system exchanges both matter and energy with its surroundings. Living things are continually exchanging both energy and matter with their surroundings, so they clearly are open systems, and are not isolated systems. However, merely being an open system does not automatically mean that entropy decreases. Life depends upon a huge number of complex biochemical reactions continually operating. These biochemical reactions operate opposite to the direction that they would naturally proceed. That is, living things synthesize simpler molecules into more complex ones. The inputs are matter and energy (required to bond the more complex molecules), which is why living things are open systems. However, these inputs are insufficient in themselves to circumvent the second law of thermodynamics. The direction of the chemical reactions normally is decay from the more complex to simpler molecules, the opposite of what living things require to exist. Given this, the appeal to an open system to rescue the day for evolution is not demonstrated and amounts to hand-waving and gross extrapolation.
Stump then argues that it’s a misconception that “no new information can be added to DNA through natural processes.” But this isn’t a misconception at all. It’s just true. There is no known process that is able to create brand-new information of the type necessary for molecules-to-man evolution. There are processes that shuffle, delete, duplicate, or mutate information, but no processes that create brand-new information necessary for evolution. Information only comes from other information and, ultimately, from the Information-giver, God. He argues that genetic mutations and gene duplication can create new information, but they don’t. All they do is work on already existing information.
He then moves onto the misconception that “evolution is a theory in crisis” (ironically, this was the title of a 1985 book by Dr. Michael Denton, an evolutionist). Now, we don’t argue that evolution is on its way out because it’s “in crisis.” This would be silly—the vast majority of scientists are evolutionists (although some do doubt evolutionary ideas) because they’ve been indoctrinated to think that way. They interpret the evidence through the lens of evolutionary ideas because they have an evolutionary worldview. What we do point out are the huge problems with evolutionary ideas that should make it a theory in crisis! The evidence is much better explained through the lens of God’s Word and is consistent with a biblical worldview.
He then moves on to say that it’s a misconception to say that “there are no transitional fossils.” He argues that there are “gobs of these in the fossil record.” But what there really are in the fossil record are billions of fossils that need to be interpreted. And how you interpret them depends on your worldview. If you approach the fossils with the idea that life evolved slowly over millions of years and the fossils provide the record of this, then that’s how you will interpret the fossils. We see this time and time again with new fossil discoveries. A fully formed and functional creature is discovered, and it’s labeled a “transitional” or “intermediate” creature because it’s interpreted that way based on assumptions about how life formed and how old the fossil is. A biblical creationist will go and look at the exact same fossil and reach an entirely different conclusion, that this is a fully formed organism that belonged to one of the original kinds God created, because we have an entirely different starting point—the true history revealed in God’s Word.
He then moves into a few more supposed misconceptions that are obviously direct attacks against what AiG teaches. And here Stump makes enough straw man arguments to make a scarecrow army! He says it’s a misconception that “evolution is merely ‘Historical Science’ and therefore can’t be tested or confirmed.” He says this “perpetuates massive misunderstanding about science” and that “there are lots of different ‘sciences’, and lots of ink has been spilled attempting to give a precise definition of what it is to be science . . . And there is no one sanctioning body who has the authority to determine what counts as real science and what doesn’t.” No creationist or creationist organization is attempting to be a “sanctioning body.” All we’re doing is pointing out the obvious difference between doing the scientific method in the present and trying to reconstruct what happened in the unobserved and unrepeatable past. He goes on to attempt to show how evolution follows the scientific method and how therefore there shouldn’t be a division between historical and observational science. But what he fails to point out is the role of presuppositions in interpretation of what happened in the past. You see, with observational science you are dealing with the present. It’s directly testable, observable, and repeatable. Any scientist should be able to do the same experiment and get the same result. But historical science is very different. It deals with the unobservable, unrepeatable, and untestable past. Sure, you can observe and draw hypotheses from the evidence (e.g., fossils and rock layers). But you can’t test or repeat it, and you can’t observe how it actually formed because you weren’t there. So what you believe about the past—millions of years or biblical creation—will directly influence how you interpret the evidence.
He then states that it’s a misconception that “evolution is man’s word, Creationism is God’s word.” He then makes this bizarre red herring argument: “First, it should be noted that there are lots of women working on evolution too.” This is just a silly thing to say. Obviously when creationists say “man’s word,” we don’t mean the word of males alone. We mean the words and ideas of humanity as a whole juxtaposed against God’s Word. He then says, “if the claim is that Young Earth Creationism . . . is God’s Word, that is dangerously close to blasphemy.” This is a ridiculous claim. If by “young earth creationism” he means that God created in six, literal, 24-hour days, only around 6,000 years ago and that the world was destroyed by a global Flood and the nations were dispersed at the tower of Babel then, yes, this is God’s Word. Anyone can open the Bible, as countless Christians before us have, and get this exact picture of Earth’s history because it comes directly from the pages of Scripture. What’s “dangerously close to blasphemy” is to say that you know more than God, ignore what His Word says, and instead listen to the ideas of fallible, sinful humans. Now, if by “young earth creationism” he means the models we build based on the Bible’s revealed history (i.e. the Flood caused the Ice Age), then anyone who has read our literature knows that we would never say that these models are “God’s Word.” They are subject to change as more evidence is uncovered. But the basic truths of history that come from God’s Word are not subject to change because they come directly from the One who was there.
His ninth supposed misconception is that “The plain reading of Scripture clearly supports six day Creationism.” He says, “If ‘plain reading’ means ‘what the words clearly mean in my language and culture’, then I suppose Exodus 20:11 could be used to support six day Creationism.” Here he fails to acknowledge the vast amount of work that creationists have done in the original biblical languages and fails to explain how “for in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea and all that in them is” could mean anything but the obvious in English or Hebrew—God created in six days. He then moves into an argument we’ve heard many times before and that really is just a straw man that shows an ignorance of how to read the Bible: “But if that is really how we’re supposed to read Scripture, then 1 Samuel 2:8 means the earth is set on pillars, and Deuteronomy 21:21 means we should stone our rebellious sons, and John 15:5 means Jesus is a plant, and Roman 16:16 means we should kiss everyone we meet.” This is nonsense and he knows it when he says “there are reasons we don’t take the plain meaning of those other verses as the best interpretation of Scripture.” First Samuel 2:8 is a poetic prayer and is obviously using a metaphor to describe how God upholds the universe, Deuteronomy 21:21 is Old Testament law, John 15:5 is unmistakably a metaphor, and Romans 16:16 is set in an entirely different cultural context but finding a direct equivalent (i.e. handshaking) is not difficult at all. All Stump has done here is constructed a straw man argument that insinuates that we ignore basic biblical interpretation (which a quick search on our website will debunk) rather than actually addressing any of the arguments that biblical creationists really make or even the relevant biblical text itself.
Lastly, he says “Christian scholars accept the Evolutionary Creation position out of the desire for professional advancement.” Neither we nor any other reputable creation ministry we know makes such a claim. There are many different reasons a Christian might accept evolutionary ideas but, really, it all boils down to either not knowing there is another option or compromise with man’s word instead of trusting in God’s Word.
The supposed misconceptions about evolution that Stump highlighted largely weren’t misconceptions about evolution but were actually misconceptions about creation! Instead of fairly presenting what creationists teach, Stump, as with so many others who espouse evolutionary teaching, chose to ignore our actual arguments and wrestle with straw men that they created themselves. If you would like to learn more about some actual myths and misconceptions about evolution, you can read “Top Ten: Myths About Evolution.”