Chapter 30

What Are Some Good Questions to Ask an Evolutionist?

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The Bible instructs believers to have answers when challenged by any and all who oppose the Word of God.

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A football coach recruited the best defensive players he could find. His strategy was to have the best defense in the conference. All through the season the opposing teams were unable to score many points. When the season was over his team posted a record of zero wins, ten losses, and two ties. How could this happen? The answer is they had no offense.

A Christian Game Plan

This is where many Christians are in their efforts to witness to unbelievers. The Bible instructs believers to have answers when challenged by any and all who oppose the Word of God (defense—1 Peter 3:15). The Bible also instructs believers to bring down all strongholds and anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (offense—2 Corinthians 10:4–5). Sadly, while many Christians lack the knowledge to challenge unbelievers (offense), they also lack a defense.

What is meant by defense and offense in Christian witnessing? Defense means that the Christian can answer questions such as: How do you fit dinosaurs into the Bible? Where did Cain get his wife? How could Adam name all the animals in one day? What about carbon-14 dating? Does God really exist? Couldn’t God have used evolution?

Offense means the Christian can ask the unbeliever questions that challenge his or her worldview. The strategy of asking good questions can be used to demonstrate to unbelievers that their belief in evolution is a sort of “blind” faith and is not something derived from empirical science. They can also illustrate to the compromised Christian (a person who professes to believe in both the Bible and ideas such as evolution or millions of years) that God’s Word is a completely accurate record and is not to be modified by secular opinions of what is possible.

Offense means the Christian can ask the unbeliever questions that challenge his or her worldview.

There are several different types of questions that are useful in apologetics; we will cover four general categories of questions in this chapter. Questions can be used to help us assess and clarify the worldview of the critic. What does he really believe, and how is he using the terms? We will call these “clarification questions.” We can ask “foundation questions” about the most basic laws of science, and the beginning of first things. There are “textbook questions”—questions that can expose inconsistency in common textbook claims. These are particularly useful in public school settings. And finally, there are worldview questions—questions that can be used to show that the evolutionary worldview is utterly, intellectually defective.

Clarification Questions

These questions are used to help explain the meaning of words or terms. A definition in science needs to be clear and precise. It should include all the attributes that distinguish it from all other entities. If any of these attributes are missing, then the definition becomes ambiguous.

  • What do you mean by evolution?
  • What do you mean by theory?
  • What is meant by a fact in science?

Let’s examine some examples of the importance of establishing definitions.

“Evolution is change over time.” This is not a legitimate definition because it includes everything in the universe.

“Evolution is genetic change in a species over time.” While this may be one definition of “evolution,” it is not the claim at issue in the origins debate. Such a definition includes all forms of change, including changes that both creationists and evolutionists believe in (e.g., information-decreasing mutations). Therefore, this does not adequately define the type of evolution relevant to origins; that is, Neo-Darwinian evolution that suggests that an amoeba can change into a man over millions of years.

“Evolution means both micro and macro changes.” This is a common use of evolution in textbooks. Dog varieties or different beak sizes of finches thus become examples of evolution. This definition includes both variety within the kinds and Neo-Darwinian evolution (molecules to man). The definition tacitly implies that small observed changes, sometimes referred to as microevolution, will lead to large unobserved changes (macroevolution), which begs the question at issue.

From these examples we see that it is important to establish definitions of terms prior to any discussion.

Foundation Questions

These questions aim at the core, or foundation, of the unbeliever’s evidence.

In this chapter we will analyze the cause of the universe question. Analysis of the other questions can be found in the New Answers Books 1 and 2.

Question: What caused the universe to come into existence and where did the original energy or matter come from?

This is an important question because it aims at the very foundation or beginning of the entire evolution worldview. Without a cause (and a mass/energy source) there can be no big bang, evolution of stars, or life. Some evolutionists may scoff at such a question by stating it is not a legitimate question. Others might state that science does not deal with such questions or we can’t know such things. In either case this is a “brush-off” to avoid the question. There are only three possible responses to this question:

  1. The universe created itself.
  2. The universe has always existed.
  3. The universe had to be created.

Response 1: The universe created itself.

For something to create itself it would have to both exist (in order to have the power to act) and not exist (in order to be created) at the same time. This is a contradiction—an illogical position to take. Based on all known scientific understanding and logic we know that from nothing, nothing comes. Therefore, this is not a legitimate response. A person arguing this way has violated the law of non-contradiction and is ignoring good science. This now leaves two possible choices.

Response 2: The universe has always existed (no beginning).

In order to analyze this response we need to understand some basics about the second law of thermodynamics. The second law is concerned with heat—the flow of thermal energy. Everything in the universe is losing its available energy to do work. To illustrate this concept we will use the example called “No Refills.”

You have just been given a new car for FREE! All expenses for the lifetime of the car are paid. Sounds like a good deal. However, there is one catch. You are only allowed to have one tank of gas and never allowed to refill the tank. Once you have driven the car and used up all the gas, the car can no longer be used for transportation. In other words, the gas (energy source) has been used up and cannot be reused to propel the car. This is what the second law of thermodynamics deals with. Usable energy is constantly becoming less usable for doing work. Unless the car obtains new fuel from an outside source, it will cease to function after it exhausts its first tank of gas.

Likewise, the universe is constantly converting useful energy into less usable forms. As one example, stars are fueled by hydrogen gas that is used up as it is converted into heavier elements. But the problem is this: for any given region of space, there is only a finite amount of available energy. There is just only so much hydrogen available per cubic meter. This means that unless the universe obtains new useable energy from an outside source, it will cease to function in a finite amount of time. Stars will no longer be possible, once the hydrogen is gone.1

The fact that the universe still contains useable energy indicates that it is not infinitely old—it had a beginning.

However, there is no “outside source” available. The universe is everything, according to the secular worldview. Like the car, the universe would cease to function after its first “tank of gas” is exhausted. But if the universe were infinitely old, it should have used up that energy a long time ago. Putting it another way, if stars have eternally been processing hydrogen into heavier elements, then there would be no hydrogen left! But there is. The fact that the universe still contains useable energy indicates that it is not infinitely old—it had a beginning.

Response 3: The universe had to be created.

Since the universe could not create itself and it had to have a beginning, the only logical solution is that the universe had to be created! This leaves us with the original question to the evolutionist, “Where did the matter come from to create the universe?” Any reply not recognizing that the universe was created ignores the laws of science and good logic.

When asking this question, be prepared to answer the challenge, “Where did God come from?” This question indicates a misunderstanding of the nature of God. It suggests that God is within (or “bound by”) the universe and that God is part of the chain of effects within time—all of which require a cause. We should be prepared to correct the misunderstanding, and point out that God does not require a cause since He has always existed, is beyond time, and is not part of the physical universe. God is a spirit, not a sequence of energetic reactions, and so the laws of thermodynamics (which place a finite limit on the age of the universe) do not apply to Him.

Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me (Isaiah 46:9).

Textbook Questions for the Classroom

These questions are used to help students in the classroom critically think through information in a textbook or further explore statements made by a teacher.

  • While some molecules do combine to form larger structures such as amino acids, it has been shown that this always results in a mixture of left- and right-handed amino acids that is not used in life. Since this is true, is there some other explanation for how the molecules useful for life might have formed? (Be prepared for an answer involving “given enough time it could happen.”)2
  • Since oxygen is known to destroy molecular bonds, and since the lack of oxygen in the atmosphere (meaning no ozone) would cause all potential life to be destroyed by ultraviolet rays, how could life have formed? (Be prepared to follow up with a question about hydrolysis—water decomposing molecules.)
  • Since water breaks down the bonds between amino acids (a process called hydrolysis), how could life have started in the oceans?
  • The National Academy of Sciences defines a theory as “a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence” and science as “the use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena.”3 Does this mean scientists can reproduce how life originated or test any step of the process for how life evolved? If not, then how can evolution qualify as a theory?
  • Microsoft uses intelligent programmers and complex codes to create the Windows operating system. However, information in DNA is millions of times more dense and complex. How could the process of evolution, using natural processes and chance, solve the problem of complex information sequencing without intelligence? (Be prepared for an answer involving “given enough time it could happen.”)
  • Bill Gates (founder and former CEO of Microsoft) recognized that the processing capabilities of DNA are “like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.”4 Using all their intelligence and all the modern advances in science, have scientists ever created DNA or RNA in a laboratory through unguided naturalistic processes? If not, then isn’t the origin of life still an unverified assumption?
  • DNA, RNA, and proteins all need each other as an integrated unit. Even if only one of them existed, the many parts needed for life could not sit idle and wait for the other parts to evolve because they would dissolve or deteriorate. Is there any compelling (observable) evidence for how all these components evolved at the same time or separately over time?
  • Isn’t it true that whenever we see interdependent complex structures or codes we automatically assume an intelligent person had to put them together? So why do we assume that DNA, or RNA, or a cell, which is more complex than any computer ever designed, happened by chance? Doesn’t that seem to go against good science and logical thought?
  • Is there any observed case where random chance events created complex molecules with enormous amounts of information like that found in DNA or RNA? If not, then why should we assume it happened in the past?
  • A living cell is composed of millions of parts all working together and is considered more complex than any man-made machine. Then, since the process of evolution has no blueprints (cannot plan for the future) for building something, since over time things tend to deteriorate unless there is a mechanism in place to sustain them, since virtually all known mutations decrease genetic information (or are neutral), since natural selection would not be operating until the first cell formed, how could the process of evolution ever assemble something as complex as a living cell with all its information content?
  • Since we started with finches and the finches stayed finches, isn’t this just an example of variety within a kind?
  • Since we started with bacteria, and the bacteria that became resistant to the antibiotic remained bacteria, isn’t this just another example of variety within a kind?
  • What naturalistic evidence could actually disprove that evolution is the explanation for life on earth (or the formation of the universe)?

It is important to remember that whenever asking questions of a teacher or instructor, asking the questions at an appropriate time and in a respectful manner is extremely important. More questions related to specific topics can also be found in the books Evolution Exposed: Biology5 and Earth Science6 by Roger Patterson.

Worldview Questions

These are the questions that can stop people in their tracks. A series of well-stated worldview questions can expose the inconsistency of non-biblical worldviews. It is the Christian worldview alone that makes science, knowledge, and ethics possible. We can help unbelievers see this by asking the right questions.

  • How do you account for the existence and nature of laws? In particular, how do you account for (1) laws of morality, (2) laws of nature, and (3) laws of logic? (Laws of morality make sense in the Christian worldview where God created human beings in His own image [according to a natural reading of Genesis] and therefore has the right to set the rules for our behavior.)
  • If we are simply chemical accidents, as evolutionists contend, why should we feel compelled to behave in a particular fashion?
  • If laws of morality are just what bring the most happiness to the most people, then why would it be wrong to kill just one innocent person if it happened to make everyone else a lot happier?
  • If laws of morality are just the adopted social custom, then why was what Hitler did wrong? (Laws of nature make sense in the Christian worldview; God upholds the entire universe by His power. God is beyond time, and has promised to uphold the future as He has the past [Genesis 8:22].)
  • In your worldview, why do the different objects in the universe obey the same laws of nature?
  • Do you have confidence that laws of nature will apply in the future as they have in the past? If not, then why did you bother to answer my question? You assumed your vocal cords and my ears would work in the future as they have in the past, otherwise I could not understand your answer.
  • Since you have not experienced the future, how do you know that the laws of nature will behave in the future as they have in the past? The answer “it’s always been that way before” is not legitimate because it assumes that the future will be like the past, which is the very question I’m asking.
  • In the Christian worldview, it makes sense to have universal, immaterial, unchanging laws of logic. These are God’s standard for correct reasoning. How do you account for the existence and properties of laws of logic?
  • Do you believe laws of logic are universal (applying everywhere)? If so, why (since you do not have universal knowledge)?
  • Why do we all believe laws of logic will be the same tomorrow as they are today, since we are not beyond time and have not experienced the future?
  • How can you have immaterial laws if the universe is material only?
  • Why does the material universe feel compelled to obey immaterial laws?
  • How does the material brain have access to these immaterial laws?

If you ask these questions properly, and are prepared for the common unsound responses, you can dismantle the evolutionary worldview. There is simply no good rebuttal to the Christian position, though many will make attempts. See The Ultimate Proof of Creation7 by Dr. Jason Lisle for more information on worldview apologetics, and for examples of using these kinds of questions in actual dialogues.

Conclusion

The importance of asking questions is an essential part of Christian apologetics. Jesus often used the technique of asking questions. In Mark 11:29–33 Jesus refutes the chief priests, scribes, and elders by asking them a question.

But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men? Answer Me.”

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men’”—they feared the people, for all counted John to have been a prophet indeed. So they answered and said to Jesus, “We do not know.”

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Jesus used good questions to show the foolishness of those who attempt to argue with God. We can do the same, by learning to think biblically, and knowing just a few of the many inconsistencies of the evolutionary worldview.

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Footnotes

  1. Some stars are thought to be powered by fusion of heavier elements, eventually resulting in iron. But eventually, these heavier elements would be used up as well. Nuclear reactions of elements heavier than iron are endothermic, and cannot power a star.
  2. For responses involving “given enough time it could happen,” see chapter 16, “Does Evolution Have a . . . Chance?
  3. National Academy of Sciences: Institute of Medicine, Science, Evolution, and Creationism (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2008), p. 10–11.
  4. Bill Gates, The Road Ahead (London: Penguin Books, 1996), p. 228.
  5. Roger Patterson, Evolution Exposed: Biology (Petersburg, KY: Answers in Genesis, 2009).
  6. Roger Patterson, Evolution Exposed: Earth Science (Petersburg, KY: Answers in Genesis, 2008).
  7. Jason Lisle, The Ultimate Proof of Creation (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2009).

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