How Can People Believe All Life Evolved by Chance?

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When I describe the human eye and other natural wonders during my talks at the Creation Museum near Cincinnati, guests often ask, “How can people believe that all life evolved by natural processes?”

They marvel that anyone could deny any trace of intelligent design. Ultimately, evolutionists believe that an expanding cloud of hydrogen (from the big bang) turned into people and every other marvel of nature, over a period of 12 to 14 billion years. Why do so many intelligent people find the idea of molecules-to-man evolution compelling (even inevitable), while others consider it outrageously improbable?

It all depends on our starting assumptions, or worldview. Either the natural world is all there is, or the natural world has a supernatural cause. Atheists and agnostics take the naturalistic view, while most people who believe in God look to a supernatural cause. Our starting assumptions influence not only how we interpret the natural world, but even what questions we ask. If you assume a natural cause, you don’t ask about a supernatural cause!

By convention, most scientists have adopted a principal called methodological naturalism. They limit their explanation of all natural objects and phenomena to purely natural mechanisms and causes. This approach does not necessarily deny the supernatural, but it arbitrarily limits science to considering only natural explanations and causes. Science itself does not demand this absolute limitation, nor is this approach based on empirical scientific evidence; rather, naturalism is a philosophical view, sometimes also called scientism.

Methodological naturalism may be adequate for observational science (the study of observable, repeatable, and testable objects and phenomena), but it is inadequate for explaining the unobserved and unrepeatable origin of living things. For example, we can explain the structure and function of the human eye in purely natural terms (at least to the limits of our knowledge). But when we ask, “How did we come to have eyes?” we leave the realm of observational science.

Similarly, we can explain the structure and function of a digital camera in purely materialistic terms. But if we ask how the camera came to exist, we must enquire as to its designer and builder. While we can describe both eyes and cameras and their function in materialistic or natural terms, we cannot explain their design and origin in this way.

The worldview of most evolutionists excludes the possibility of divine intervention and intelligent design. From that starting point, the most compelling evidence for evolution is “How else?”—there is no other way in a naturalistic world.

But Christians are not limited by their natural senses to discover what really happened. We have the Creator’s own eyewitness account, which explains that he made all things, including the human eye, by his supernatural power to bring him glory (Proverbs 20:12).

Dr. David Menton holds his PhD in cell biology from Brown University and is a well-respected author and teacher. He is associate professor emeritus at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

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