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Taking the BBC's Evolution Test

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The BBC’s evolution quiz involved seven questions that had to be answered true or false. So, let’s take the quiz and test the BBC’s understanding of evolution.

The BBC recently put a ‘Quiz: Test your knowledge of evolution’1 on their website. The reason for the quiz is that, even though evolution is seen as a well-accepted scientific principle in the UK, the BBC believes there are still many misconceptions about it amongst people:

“Scientific understanding of evolution is well accepted in the UK, compared with other countries, but past surveys have suggested that at least one in five of people are unsure about it."

The quiz involved seven questions that had to be answered true or false. So, let’s take the quiz and test the BBC’s understanding of evolution.

1. Humans are still evolving. True or false?

TRUE: On the outside, it may look like we haven't changed much, but humans are continuing to evolve, as are other animals, including the apes. We’re still evolving new characteristics that help us survive in a changing world, from drinking milk to fending off diseases.

There are two things wrong with the question and answer. The first thing that needs to be recognized is that it commits the fallacy of “begging the question.” This happens when a person simply assumes what he is attempting to prove, or when the premise of an argument depends upon its conclusion. Although the BBC believes human evolution is seen as a well-established fact, the question that we should ask is: Did humans evolve? The answer of course would be: false as there is not a single piece of evidence that is consistent with humans having evolved from ape-like creatures (see Did Humans Really Evolve from Ape-Like Creatures). The evidence from Scripture and the sequencing of the human genome are consistent with all humans sharing ancestry with one pair of human parents, Adam and Eve. Secondly, the answer to the question equivocates on the term evolution, which is common in evolutionary arguments. The word evolution is often used by evolutionists to refer to descent from a common ancestor. Yet, evolution also refers to change in a generic sense. Even though both definitions are accurate they should not be confused in an argument. The evolutionist is basically arguing: “I know evolution is true (we evolved from a common ancestor) because we see evolution (change within human characteristics) happening all the time.” The fact that human characteristics are changing does not mean we share a common ancestor with ape-like creatures.

there is not a single piece of evidence that is consistent with humans having evolved from ape-like creatures

2. Evolution can only happen slowly, over long periods of time. True or false?

FALSE: Almost everything changes a little over time as genes mutate. Evolution can happen over a time scale of thousands or millions of years, but that's not always the case. For instance, there's been a rapid rise in antibiotic resistance among bacteria. The first bacterium resistant to penicillin was found a few years after the drug started to be used on a large scale.

Antibiotic resistance of bacteria is often used by evolutionists as an argument for evolution in action. However, this is the opposite of evolution and is just another example of natural selection working in conjunction with mutations. The bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics through mutation involves a loss of genetic information, which is the opposite of evolution.2

3. The giraffe's long neck is an example of evolution. True or false?

TRUE: Charles Darwin argued long ago that the giraffe's long neck comes from "natural selection". This is where individuals that have inherited characteristics which help them to survive and reproduce pass on the genes that make them successful. In the case of the world’s tallest living land animals, the giraffes, those with long necks were more likely to survive hard times and pass on their genes to the next generation than their short-necked rivals, who weren't as good at reaching food from high branches.

The uncritical nature of the BBC’s acceptance of evolution is seen in the belief that the giraffe's neck is the product of evolution over millions of years. The giraffe’s genome helps explain its long neck but does not support its evolutionary origin as Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell explains:

The giraffe is a marvel of design, showcasing numerous designs that must work together…It is inconceivable that the massive number of differences needed to build a really big giraffe could have come about through random mutations. However, the fact that God apparently designed the regulatory genes in these animals to affect multiple systems in a coordinated fashion—so that changes in the skeletal and the cardiovascular systems work together—gives us some insight into the way dramatic variations within a created kind can be produced.3

For example, when the giraffe lowers its long neck (which contains seven vertebrae) to the ground, its uniquely designed cardiovascular system (two meters in length in the neck and a blood pressure about twice that of humans) helps prevent a rush of blood to the head. The giraffe's uniquely designed neck shows that it cannot have developed slowly over many generations through natural selection, as its structures and systems need to work together.

4. Evolution can cause an individual to change during their lifetime. True or false?

FALSE: Evolutionary change is based on changes in the genetic make-up of populations over time. Populations, not individual organisms, evolve. Gene changes are produced by random mutation, and over the course of many generations, natural selection may favour those that are advantageous, causing them to become more common in the population. Individuals retain the same genes throughout their lifetime

Here, the BBC answer reveals one of the starkest differences between creation and evolution—the source of the genetic variety that exists among species. Evolutionists attribute all genetic differences ultimately to mutation. In contrast, multiple lines of scientific evidence reveal that most genetic differences stem from the initial creation act.4 Not only does this discovery rebut the foundation of evolution, it leads to an entire scientific research program—one that is actively being pursued.

Evolutionists attribute all genetic differences ultimately to mutation. In contrast, multiple lines of scientific evidence reveal that most genetic differences stem from the initial creation act

5. Humans are descended from monkeys. True or false?

FALSE: It's a common misconception that humans evolved from monkeys. In fact, we both evolved from a common ancestor, which lived millions of years ago. Humans and chimps share more than 90% of their genetic sequence. Thus, they are our closest living relatives, but they are not our great-great-great ancestors.

It is false to say that evolutionists believe we evolved from monkeys because what they believe is that humans descended from an ape-like creature. It is this assumption, however, that leads to the conclusion that humans and chimps are more than 90% genetically identical. However, recent genetic discoveries show that this is not the case as “…they are only 84% identical, which means that the two species differ by nearly 400 million (400,000,000) DNA letters!”.5 Evolutionists have offered many examples of our supposed ape-man ancestry: Neanderthal Man, Nebraska Man, Cro-Magnon Man, and so on. Today, Exhibit A in the attempt to show that humans evolved from an ape-like creature is Australopithecus afarensis, more popularly known as Lucy, who is dated at 3.2 million years old. Lucy’s bones, however, are far from being human; they are more like those of chimpanzees. The truth is that she was a knuckle-walker, similar to a baboon or gorilla.

6. Evolution results in progress; organisms are always getting better through evolution. True or false?

FALSE: We tend to think of evolution as a process whereby species improve and become less primitive. But that's not always the case. Natural selection does produce improved abilities to survive and reproduce; but this does not always produce living things perfectly suited to their environment. Natural selection is limited by natural variation that appears by chance in a species. And once living things have gone down a certain evolutionary path, some improvements are impossible. For example, wouldn't be great if we could get food from light, like plants? It's too late now for humans.

This BBC answer accurately reflects how evolutionists think change has happened over millions of years of evolutionary history. But does it reflect reality? Natural selection is indeed “limited by natural variation that appears…in a species.” But, as we’ve just discussed, the vast majority of this natural variation is not the result of chance but, rather, the result of the initial creation act by God. This dramatically changes how we view the progress or regress in species over time, and it changes our outlook for species’ progress/regress in the future.

7. Evolution and religion are not necessarily incompatible. True or false?

TRUE: Evolution is not about the origins of life, but how animals and plants change over time. People of some - but not all - different faiths and levels of scientific training see no contradiction between science and religion.

This is true and false. It’s true in that evolution is only consistently compatible with the religion of humanism.6 One cannot help thinking, however, that by religion the BBC really has Christianity in mind. If this is the case, then, it is true that evolution is incompatible with Christianity. The irony of trying to make evolution compatible with the Christianity is that the first person to differ with it would have been Charles Darwin.7 In Darwin’s understanding of the world there never was a time that it was very good. Darwin realized somewhere along the line you have to ask the question: What kind of God would deliberately use a process of death, disease, famine, and struggle to make the world, and then declare it to be very good (Genesis 1:31)? Toward the end of his life Darwin described himself as an agnostic8 who rejected Jesus as the Son of God.9 Because the BBC accepts evolution as scientific fact, the answers given to the questions were understandable. However, the questions and answers were filled with logical fallacies and only show that the evidence when properly understand contradicts evolution.

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Footnotes

  1. Briggs, Helen. "‘Quiz: Test your knowledge of evolution’" BBC. September 25,2018. Accessed September 28,2018. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45564594.
  2. Please also see Terry Mortenson’s online video: Origin of Species, particularly parts 3 and 4 where he discusses natural selection and mutations (the mutations discussion begins at 13:45 in part 3, and at 8:40 in part 4 he discusses an example of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, showing that it is not evolution). Of course, readers would benefit from watching the whole lecture.
  3. Mitchell, Elizabeth. "Genes Hold the Giraffe's Head up High." Answers in Genesis. May 26,2016. Accessed September 28,2018. https://answersingenesis.org/mammals/genes-hold-giraffes-head-high/.
  4. For full documentation, see here: https://answersingenesis.org/store/product/replacing-darwin/ For lay-level summaries see here: https://answersingenesis.org/creation-science/baraminology/getting-enough-genetic-diversity/.
  5. Tompkins, Jeffrey P. "Comparison of 18,000 De Novo Assembled Chimpanzee Contigs to the Human Genome Yields Average BLASTN Alignment Identities of 84%" Answers Research Journal September (2018) Pages 205-209.https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/dna-similarities/comparison-chimp-contigs-human-genome.
  6. "Humanism as a religion-Sir Julian Huxley." Answers in Genesis. Accessed September 28,2018 https://answersingenesis.org/world-religions/humanism/humanism-as-religion-sir-julian-huxley/.
  7. In 1831 Darwin graduated from Cambridge University with a bachelor’s degree in theology and so could see the incompatibility of his theory with the biblical account of creation.
  8. Understanding the implications of his evolutionary theory led Charles Darwin to become an agnostic. See Charles Darwin, “Darwin, C. R. to Fordyce, 7 May 1879,” Darwin Correspondence.
  9. Darwin replied to a correspondent, “I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the son of God.” Charles Darwin, “Darwin, C. R.to McDermott, F. A. 24 Nov 1880,” Darwin Correspondence Project, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-12851.

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