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Author Roger Patterson, AiG–U.S., continues his evaluation of a public school quiz given to identify what students knew about biologists’ thoughts about evolution.
Editor’s note: This is the second half of Roger Patterson’s point-by-point analysis of a survey that was given to ninth-grade biology students in a New York public school. The survey instructed students to answer “in terms of how you think biologists use and understand the term ‘evolution’ today [emphasis original]” regardless of whether the students personally agreed with those answers. After each question we have noted whether the teacher expected an answer of “true” or “false.” Please read part one to better understand the context of these questions.
9. Evolution is something that happens to individual organisms. (False)
Since an organism only lives for a short time, it can adapt to its environment but it cannot change to form a new species or kind through major adaptations. For example, our bodies can adapt to lower oxygen concentrations at high altitudes, but that trait will not necessarily be passed on to our offspring to bring about change in the future. To add major adaptations like a fish gaining lungs, the process would take much longer in the evolutionary view, so it is common for them to say that populations or species evolve over time, not individuals. In general, creationists would agree, but within the limits of kinds. Performance Indicator 3.1f says that “species evolve over time” and goes on to explain that process. From a biblical perspective, we know that molecules-to-man evolution never happens since God has created fixed boundaries for His creatures (Genesis 1:11–13, 20–25).
10. Evolution is a totally random process, or a series of “accidents.” (False)
Again, from a naturalistic process, everything is “random” because there is no purpose within any process that follows natural laws. While evolutionists believe that the laws of nature dictate the process of biological evolution, many try to argue that the overall process is not random, yet it is not directed. How exactly does a series of unguided laws produce a non-random outcome? To label this statement as false is to be inconsistent at best. One website explains that random mutations bring about differences in organisms and then “natural selection sorts out certain variations.”1 But natural selection is not guided by anything other than the laws of nature that happened as the result of a random universe. The NYSED standards also make it clear that natural selection is not guided. From a biblical perspective, we know that God established certain natural laws that govern our universe (e.g., Genesis 1:14; 8:22), which is why logic and order exist. A naturalistic evolutionary worldview has no valid explanation for the existence of ordered complexity.
11. Evolution was developed in order to destroy or undermine religion. (False)
While this statement is said to be false, this is a very subjective statement. Part of the motive of Charles Darwin hinged on his distaste for a God who would allow death and suffering. The geologist who greatly influenced Darwin, Charles Lyell, thought of himself as “the spiritual savior of geology, freeing the science from the old dispensation of Moses.”2 In his own words, Lyell wanted to “free the science of geology from Moses,”3 removing the Bible and the teachings of Moses on the origin of the earth to pursue uniformitarian science apart from God’s special revelation. Many others also believe that Darwin has made it possible to have an explanation of life that does not include religious myths like the Bible. This does not mean that every evolutionist rejects the idea of a god or religion, but many evolutionists have clearly stated that they embrace the religion of evolutionary thinking (humanism) to set aside other religions, particularly Christianity. However, biological evolution is absolutely incompatible with the clear teachings of Genesis 1–3 particularly, as well as the rest of the Bible. The Christian knows that evolution is another worldly philosophy (Colossians 2:8–10) that attacks God’s Word (Genesis 3:1) and exalts man and nature above God (Romans 1:20–25).
12. Evolution tells us that there is no God. (False)
Evolution does not require any concept of God. The science textbooks used in public schools explain evolution as an absolutely natural process and reject any notion of supernatural initiation or intervention! Many people attempt to add the idea of a god to evolution, but that is an inconsistent approach for any Christian who says they trust in the Bible as the Word of God. In fact, as presented in public schools, any suggestion that there was a god of any sort involved in the evolutionary process or origin of life could land a teacher under discipline. This attitude has been demonstrated in many court cases despite the fact that a majority of Americans believe God created mankind or, at the least, God-directed evolution. While evolution may not tell us there is no God, it certainly has no use for one. In fact, the NYSED standards even teach the students that their “behaviors have evolved through natural selection” and “resulted in greater reproductive success” (Performance Indicator 3.1i). From a moral perspective, Judges 21:25 demonstrates the danger of removing God and His moral absolutes from our daily lives, allowing everyone to do “
what [is] right in his own eyes.”
13. Evolution can be compatible with all the world’s major religions. (True)
This can only be true for Christianity by adding “if we ignore, reinterpret, or rearrange major portions of the Bible.” The order of creation described in Genesis 1 is absolutely incompatible with the order of events of the evolutionary view of life, even if the “
days” are viewed as long ages.
14. Evolution simply means “change.” (False)
While this is surely one of the definitions, those who embrace biological evolution mean ”evolution” to be understood as “the diversity of life on Earth today is the result of natural selection occurring over a vast amount of geologic time for most organisms” (Key Idea 3).
15. “Evolution is only a theory.” (False)
By placing this in quotes, it seems this is aimed at those who make this claim in an erroneous manner. When most people make this statement, they are mixing the common use of the word “theory” with the scientific usage (see statement 1). This is an argument that Christians should not use against evolution, since it is a misuse of the scientific term “theory.” I would suggest that evolution should not even be considered a theory under the scientific meaning; rather it is a hypothesis at best. The millions of years required for evolution means that it cannot even be scientifically tested or observed.
16. There is actually very little evidence for evolution. (False)
A common misunderstanding of evidence is in view here. There is not a battle over evidence—everyone has the same evidence; it is simply interpreted differently. Evolutionists don’t have more fossils than biblical creationists. Everyone has the same sun and stars to examine. It all comes down to the interpretation of the evidence. Evolutionists look at all of the fossils, molecular evidence, and other factors and, based on the doctrines of uniformitarianism and naturalism, conclude that all of the evidence can be interpreted to support evolution. Biblical creationists look at the same evidence, starting with the Bible, and conclude that God created everything. When examining the universe we live in, biblical creationists also interpret the evidence in light of the effects of the Fall and Curse as well as the Flood. These influences are automatically rejected by the “open-minded” scientists who are allowed to present their ideas in the public school textbooks.
17. One indication that evolution has not occurred is the total absence of “transitional organisms” (those with traits intermediate between two different groups). (False)
The answer to this question lies in the presupposed interpretation. If you already believe that fish turned into amphibians, then you will interpret an animal that seems to have some characteristics of a fish and an amphibian as an intermediate form. This is the evolutionist’s view of the Tiktaalik fossils. From a biblical perspective—rejecting the evolution of fish to frog—the fossil is interpreted as a kind of fish created by God that was buried during the Flood.
18. Fossils provide many problems which evolution cannot explain. (False)
To suggest that no new discoveries ever challenge the evolutionary understanding is quite an odd claim. The very nature of scientific discovery is to expect that new findings may change previous explanations. The discoverers of new fossils often claim that they will have to change what they have previously thought regarding their explanations of evolution. However, no fossil would ever cause them to reject their evolutionary claims, but to simply adjust their models. This was demonstrated recently when a rock containing what is clearly fossilized feathers was found in a layer that is supposed to be older than the dinosaurs from which birds are supposed to evolve.4 The evolutionary “model” is so plastic that it can accommodate any data, regardless of how contradictory it is to previous interpretations. Among evolutionists, there is a zealous religious commitment to evolution that is comparable to the way Christians view the Bible.
19. Most biological and medical and agricultural research assumes evolution is real. (True)
Really? Please name one technological advance in medicine or agriculture that is dependent upon an evolutionary explanation. Before you answer, consider that bacterial resistance to antibiotics and the pesticide resistance in plants are not examples to bolster evolutionary claims. And don’t take my word for it, but listen to an evolutionist on the topic:
Darwinian assumptions are not needed for the day-to-day work of science. If you look at the biochemical literature for scientific papers that try to explain how biochemical systems developed step-by-step in Darwinian fashion, there aren’t any. It’s startling. Most biologists completely ignore evolution in their work, and the ones that think about it simply look for relationships and don’t bother with Darwinism. My University of Georgia colleague in biochemistry, Professor Russell Carlson, has expressed the same sentiment to me privately.5
20. Evolution theory has been tested many times, and has always been supported by the evidence. (True)
This is such a broad statement that it is absolutely meaningless. Many particulars of the evolutionary explanations have changed, often quite radically, as new evidence has come to light. The only way this statement can be true is to assume that evolution means some vague notion of “change over time,” the very idea refuted in number 14 above. This self-contradictory statement points to the flawed and arbitrary nature of the evolutionary worldview.
21. Dinosaurs lived during the time of early humans. (False)
Evolutionists demand that dinosaurs died out over 60 million years before humans even began to evolve form an ape-like ancestor. This denies all of the biblical explanations of man and dinosaurs being created on the same day as well as much evidence that supports man living alongside dinosaurs. Here is another example of the incompatibility of Biblical Christianity and evolutionary theory, even though item number 13 demanded their compatibility.
22. Evolution involves individuals changing in order to adapt to their environment. (False)
See the explanation for item number 9 above.
23. There is actually considerable observable evidence against evolution. (False)
This is simply a negative restatement of item number 20. There can be no observable evidence for evolution since there was no one there to observe it happening over millions of years. Again, the flaw in the overall worldview of evolution is apparent since the description of evolution from the NYSED standards demands it happened over vast ages of geologic time during which there were no humans.
24. Science can properly infer what has happened in the past, based on evidence. (True)
See the distinction between observational science and historical science in item number 1. Evolutionists will say that the present is key to the past, but actually the past (as given in the Word of God) is key to the present (why there is so much death and suffering, for example). Christians must put their trust in the Bible, which reveals God’s eyewitness account of history above any manmade explanations.
25. The formation of complex structures, like the eye, can be readily explained by evolution. (True)
This statement does a little hand waving to make the evolutionary changes needed to form an eye from some other form of cells a simple affair. A statement like “readily explained” is intended to sway the reader to think that evolution is simply a fact. Saying that something happened doesn’t make it so. In fact, evolutionists must assert that the eye evolved multiple times and in multiple forms in the past. However, the Bible calls us to trust that the hearing ear and the seeing eye have been made by the Lord (Proverbs 20:12), not the blind watchmaker of evolutionary storytelling.
All of these explanations should give us great hope in knowing that the Bible has the answers to questions in every area of life. If the Bible has so much to teach on these physical issues, how much more can we trust it for our spiritual benefit (John 3:12)? While we can offer answers to these questions, we cannot put our hope in answering scientific questions alone. We must ultimately use these questions as opportunities to point to Jesus Christ as the Creator and Savior of the world. As we answer objections to the Bible’s explanations of life on earth, we must be pointing to the hope that we have in Christ or we are not practicing apologetics as Peter directs us in 1 Peter 3:15–17. Let us do this trusting that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God to salvation to free hearts, minds, and souls to worship Christ as Lord.