EN9: Debating Creation vs. Evolution

The February 4th, 2014, “Debate of the Century,” on Creation vs. Evolution, was watched live by at least 5 million people worldwide. More millions will watch it in the months and years to come. A plethora of Christian and skeptic pundits and bloggers have already opined. Creationists tend to conclude that Ken Ham won. Evolutionists resonate with Bill Nye. Usually, I try to avoid topics that “the masses” see as “hot.” What I see as “hot” is often uninteresting to western Christendom. But I can’t keep silent on this event, because nobody out there seems to ‘get it’. Just what should be the “takeaway” from the debate?

I wish that the Lord would blog about the debate in order to settle the issues, like . . . Was the Lord pleased with Ken’s attempt to defend Biblical truth? What points should have been made? How much trouble is Bill in for deliberate distortions and lies? And so on.

Well, the Lord has done far more than “blog,” insofar as the Bible has been delivered by the Holy Spirit through His prophets’ hands . . . about 50 different people over the course of 4,000 years from Genesis to Revelation. In this blog I will offer my “takeaway” based on the Biblical pattern for presenting truth and calling out error.

As a Biblical creationist, regarding the scientific validity of evolution, here is where I would have started, and how I’ve been quoted before:

Scientific theories involve quantitative modeling, experimental data, and repeated validation by prediction and observation. In any aspect of the philosophy / fantasy of evolution, there is no ‘theory.’ There is no theory for formation of the first protein, first DNA, first cellular sub-structures, first cell, multi-celled creatures, transitions between kinds, etc. Just stories. There are no genetic data, not a single observed case of mutations and natural selection producing new, complex tissues, organs, or creatures.

Evolution is also not a “hypothesis,” which requires a reasonable explanation of observed facts, consistent with known physical laws, employing experimental data and analysis. A proper scientific hypothesis has been tested at least to some degree to see whether it holds up under specific conditions. A theory arises when a hypothesis has stood up to repeated tests under a wide variety of conditions. A theory is HELPFUL in advancing scientific research. Evolution warrants neither of the terms, hypothesis nor theory.

Evolution qualifies merely as a philosophical, even a religious idea, void of scientific support, and is motivated by hatred for Biblical truth, which is the only rational, sane alternative (and they know it!), and abhorred by self-important academics. Biblical creation, however, even apart from faith in God’s revelation, stands up to a myriad of tests. Yes, there are still mysteries and unlimited opportunities for active research to unpack the details of God’s creation processes and timing, insofar as humanly possible. But for every mystery in creation research, there are a hundred in the propaganda of evolution.

How well did Ken Ham contend for Biblical truth against evolutionary fantasy? He lost the debate and did so miserably. Despite the availability of immense apologetics resources, including all of the Ph.D.-level help he could want, he offered little evidence, chose the wrong strategy, accepted a defensive position, showed less enthusiasm for his position than his opponent did for his, and continually lost sight of the big picture. Since the 1960s there have been hundreds of creation / evolution debates. Reports are consistent that creationists have won virtually every debate . . . even in the opinion of many of the evolutionists involved! That is why such debates have been avoided by the atheistic side since the 1980s. Why should evolutionists debate and be humiliated when they can censor and oppress? But this time, in the most-publicized creation / evolution debate since the days of the Scopes trial, Ken Ham’s performance was perhaps the worst ever since William Jennings Bryan got conned in 1925. That is really aggravating.

I elaborate . . . Ken’s losing strategy began with the framing of the debate question: Is Creation a Viable Model of Origins? Model? Really? You’re on the defensive already. This framework enabled Bill to continually say, “Ken’s Model,” when referring to what in reality is a wealth of scientific and historical evidence consistent with the Biblical history of creation. At least get a neutral title, perhaps “Creation vs. Evolution: Which has more evidence?” And certainly put the challenge on evolution in the debate question.

Ken made a huge error in trying to distinguish between “observational science” and “historical science.” His distinction is quite correct epistemologically. Observational or experimental science involves methods to describe the present universe, create hypotheses and theories, and test them. Theorists make predictions. Experimentalists test them. Got it. Love it. Modern technologies, such as wireless networks, are derived from experimental research on semiconductors and electromagnetics, for example. Historical science, on the other hand, includes fields like archaeology and criminal forensics. Use present observations and physical / chemical tests to infer what happened in the past. You cannot travel into the past to repeat the event, so you must weigh evidence to make your best guess.

All of the above is true and is a nice introduction, especially for young people, on the philosophy of science. But this is a debate with eternal consequences! Millions of people – including skeptical lost souls – are watching to see who’s got the right stuff! Ken is talking philosophy of science and so Bill beats him up by deliberately misunderstanding the point (like evolutionists do in public) and insisting that “science is science” and there is no such thing as “historical science.” Despite the continual stream of archaeological documentaries on the Discovery Channel and the explosive success of CSI-like shows, which are all about the distinction between inference-based historical analysis, as opposed to here-and-now hypotheses which can be validated by here-and-now experiments!

The total debate time was 2.5 hours. So each speaker had a bit over an hour to make his case. Ken not only wasted time on a point of philosophy, but hurt his cause even more by repeating a catchy canard about events in the ancient past: “You weren’t there.” Once again, this is true, but it’s oh so weak! It sounds like the creationist defense is that nobody was there, so you guys can’t be sure any more than we are! Yuck and false. Neither creationist nor evolutionist “were there.” The creationist trusts God’s word implicitly because God “was there.” But we can’t insist that the evolutionist trust God’s word a priori. Ken kept saying, “We have a book,” knowing that Bible believers would enjoy that. But this debate is not about convincing Bible believers! Bill rejoined by demanding, “Why should I trust your book,” and mentioning that there are other books out there. To the skeptic, Bill’s point is valid.

Ken’s quips, “You weren’t there,” and “We have a book,” are simply not a helpful apologetic defense, nor helpful to assist the atheist in examining the weakness of his own position. What the creationist can do is use scientific analysis to show that we can certainly infer that our position is validated by observations and their position is not. (I’m not talking about street evangelism here. I have much to say about that on this web site. Check out my essay, “How to Witness to an Atheist.”

Bill Nye kept demanding examples of scientific predictions that creationists have made. Ken actually offered a few, but without much fervor. His low key recital of evidence was distressing, but I’ve seen that in a variety of creationist speakers over the years. They have spoken so much in church auditoriums to friendly crowds, that they become laid back and matter-of-fact in listing facts. Hey, camp on the big issues! Use exclamation points, not commas to separate monotoned phrases! Also, Ken didn’t realize that he could make the same demand of Nye. Evolutionists get it wrong every time when they predict.

I’m happy to start a debate with an evolutionist straight up and say, “Yes! Let’s talk science.” I don’t need to distinguish between observational and historical science. When you make that the issue, you sound like you’re begging to be taken seriously; also, that the two positions are merely different takes on an essentially unknown history. Bleecchh!! Don’t beg. We can know the essential history! And we can demonstrate that evolution is bogus and anti-scientific!

I’ll simply affirm the following, and do so with emphasis and passion, pounding the podium when necessary to ram home the points:

1. Let’s look at the sciences of astronomy, geology, paleontology, genetics, and biochemistry. In every field and with overwhelming data it is obvious to a rational mind that Biblical creation is validated at every point and that the fantasy of evolution is sunk without a trace. It’s not even a fair fight. Evolution is all story and no science at all!

2. The Big Bang story is filled with impossibilities, in that nothing somehow created everything, that the early universe somehow (it’s called “inflation”) had to accelerate its expansion far beyond the speed of light just until a condition of radiative equilibrium could occur, and then magically decelerate. Furthermore, no one has even a glimmer of an explanation for the “fine tuning” problem – look it up, it’s too much to explain here. Evolutionists predicted that distant galaxies should “look much younger” than those nearby because stars would have evolved less. Creationists predicted that distant galaxies should show stellar diversity akin to nearby galaxies. Creationists were right. Evolutionists were wrong.

3. A few stars might conceivably form occasionally from cold and dense pockets of hydrogen gas, but billions and billions of times in each of a trillion galaxies, and in precisely stable orbits? How about barred spiral galaxies? And the “wind-up” problem? Galaxies are gorgeously designed machines. A machine comes from a Creator, not from an explosion. If a lumpy universe-sized mass of gas collapsed naturally, why so many stars and galaxies, instead of galactic-sized black holes? Why such nicely stable orbits instead of collapsing galaxies? What about supernovas? Creationists predict that the number of supernova remnants visible in our galaxy should be consistent with an age of thousands of years, not billions of years. And they are right! Evolutionists are shocked about “the missing supernova remnants.”

4. Evolutionists with Ph.D.s claim that their expertise on science authorizes them to proclaim Big Bang cosmology to be true. But 95% of the universe is allegedly either dark energy or dark matter. And evo-cosmologists are clueless about what dark energy and dark matter are, other than catch phrases to hide mysteries. The origin of the other 5%, mostly stars, is still a theoretical mystery for astronomers who seek only atheistic solutions. So essentially, from a naturalistic point of view, you know squat. Don’t be so arrogant. Many creationists have Ph.D.s, too, and trace a creationist heritage through such historical giants as Isaac Newton, Johann Kepler, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, Lord Kelvin, Lord Rayleigh, William Herschel, Leonardo da Vinci, Matthew Maury, Louis Pasteur, Gregor Mendel, Georges Cuvier, Ambrose Fleming, and Charles Babbage.

5. Planets and solar systems are obviously designed and not happenstance. When asked where the orrery came from, creationist Isaac Newton pointed to the mechanical model of our solar system on his desk and told a skeptic that it just came together by chance. The skeptic said that Isaac was being ridiculous. Newton asked then how his friend could claim that the actual solar system, far more majestic and complex, was happenstance. Look at the large number of wacky evolutionary speculations for how our moon arose, how our Earth’s orbit, atmosphere, and structure are so wonderfully conducive to life, how unusually stable our sun is in light output, how retrograde satellites arise, how our sun’s orbital angular momentum can be so different from that of the planets. From a naturalistic point of view, it’s all mystery.

6. A creationist physicist, Russell Humphreys, predicted the strength of the magnetic fields of Mercury, Mars, Uranus, and Neptune before they were measured by NASA probes. He got them right, starting with the presupposition of a young solar system. Evolutionary predictions, based on planets billions of years old were simply wrong. Evolutionist astronomers were shocked to discover “hot Jupiters,” gas giant planets, in close orbits about other stars. Gas giants simply cannot form naturally in tight orbits, and then persist for billions of years. But young gas giants around young stars certainly can persist happily for a few thousand years.

7. Creationists carefully predicted that Carbon 14 would be found in coal and diamonds. Evolutionists NEVER EVEN LOOKED FOR CARBON 14 IN COAL AND DIAMONDS. You see, C14 decays with a half-life of 5,700 years. It simply cannot exist for millions of years in anything! Not only have evolutionists been proven wrong about the age of the Earth, but their matter-is-everything religion hinders the progress of science. I challenged a world-famous paleontologist after his presentation on 3.5 billion year old algae-like fossils. He measured C13 to C12 ratios to estimate the date. I asked him if he had tested for C14 / C12 ratios. He said no, it would be ridiculous to try, because C14 couldn’t last billions of years. I pointed out that if he actually looked, and found C14, his research would be proven wrong. He refused to look. I, a creationist, predicted that he would find C14 if he looked. His evo-philosophy produces bad science.

Creationists have constructed a model, catastrophic plate tectonics, which explains the relative sizes of the Hawaiian islands and seamounts, and the cause of the relative spread of the radio-dates of volcanic rocks. In this context, creationists predicted that absolute radio-dates would be dead wrong, grossly inflated, and have experimentally demonstrated that by radio-dating rocks from volcanoes that have erupted in recorded history. For example, rocks from volcanoes that have erupted within the last two centuries have been dated at millions of years. Creationists also predicted why the rocks are dated incorrectly, showing how evolutionary dating schemes have gross methodological inconsistencies.

8. Creationists precisely predicted the diffusion rate of Helium, formed from the radioactive decay of Uranium, escaping from zircon crystals buried in deep rocks. Experiments proved them right, proving that Helium has been trapped in such crystals for merely thousands of years. If the evolutionists had been right about a billions-of-years-old Earth, the creationists would have been humiliated. The predicted diffusion rates differed by a factor of 100,000. If you’re a scientist, recognize that a rate difference of 100,000 is extraordinary, because rate coefficients occur in exponentials that describe the observable concentrations. Creationists nailed the prediction. Evolutionists should have been humiliated, but refused to admit conclusions staring them in the face. Rather, evolutionists must resort to name calling, since the science does not support their religion.

From \”Transcontinental Rock Layers\”

9. Creationists predict that evidence will continue to show that virtually all of the fossil-bearing sedimentary rock layers were laid down during the single year of the Genesis Flood. Evolutionists believe that the layers were established, for the most part, oh-so-gradually over billions of years. If the truth is just one year, evolution is sunk without a trace, and they know it. Evolutionists insist that many layers were laid down in river deltas, and some by gradual silt hitting the bottom of evaporating seas. Bottom line: if creationists are right, the layers will show extremely widespread, even global characteristics. Evolutionists expect to see more local effects.

Here is just a sampling of the most dramatic observations: A 30-meter-thick layer in western Canada covers 470,000 square kilometers. A thin, 1-meter thick layer is found throughout Europe’s Alpine mountain chain. The Dakota formation is a 30-meter-thick sandstone covering 815,000 square kilometers in the western US. Western Australia has bands 2 centimeters thick that are correlated over 52,000 square kilometers? Are you thinking globally yet?

More spectacularly, the famous fossilized chalk beds of Northwest Europe are found along England’s coast . . . and Northern Ireland, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Poland, Bulgaria, and Georgia (south of Russia)! Identical chalk beds are found in Turkey, Israel, Egypt, and across the Atlantic in Texas. Distinct strata have been correlated across England, Spain, and Bulgaria. I could go on. What do you think? River deltas, evaporating lakes and seas? Or global flood?

A typical ‘tree of life.’ As always, no evolutionary ancestors. The branch points have no fossils!

10. The fossil record . . . oh my! We need a shelf of tomes to get started! Let’s summarize this way . . . I’m sure you’ve seen evolutionary “trees of life” in textbooks, documentaries, and museums. Darwin’s only diagram in his Origin of Species was speculative and predictive, showing only the concept of branches of species diverging up from some hypothetical life form at the root. He wasn’t bold enough to include named species at the branch points where evolution supposedly occurred. Modern diagrams attempt more boldness. In Benton’s book, Vertebrate Paleontology, for example, although he’s an evolutionist he makes a strong case for creation. He shows 8 phylogenetic trees in his book, including trees for fish, birds, and mammals. Look it up. You see fossils named at each tree’s tips, and only hypotheticals at the branch points. Ergo, he cites zero fossil evidence for evolution, and his trees represent powerful, slam-dunk evidence for distinct kinds — creation.

Creationists predict that fossils discovered in the future will continue to be placed on those tips and not at plausible branching points. Thousands and thousands of new fossils are discovered every year, and the gaps – the branch points – are still missing, scientifically absent. The faith of the evolutionist defies all probability! Since evolution would predict scores, if not hundreds, of distinct fossil forms between observed types, and new discoveries pop up simply to add to already discovered types, the improbabilities become more impossible than what I will mention in the next section. (Completely unique fossils only add to the problem. They get their own tree tips, just creating more problems due to more hundreds of gaps to explain where they came from!

11. Hey evolutionist, where is your “theory” for how proteins originated naturally, and how could proteins evolve as new species form with startling new complexity? The same problem arises for DNA, of course, which codes for proteins plus a host of other nano-machines and processes. The bacterium flagellum, for example, is an incredibly complex, finely tuned machine, requiring a host of specially designed proteins arranged perfectly for it to work first time, every time. The argument is a bit long for this “short” blog, so I refer you to my Short Course article on the subject.

In short, the advancement of physics and chemistry in the last century has PROVEN that DNA and proteins do not form naturally, that it’s even more impossible to get to a cell from chemical ground zero, and that random processes can never bridge the genetic information gap between separate kinds of living organisms.

12. Creationists predicted that Neandertals would be proven completely human, and that they shared ancestors with us, before going extinct, just a few thousands of years ago. They provided genetic evidence to support the claim, going directly against the long-held evolutionary position. Years later extensive DNA research, combined with archaeological finds, forced evolutionists to capitulate and admit that Neandertals were only human, and certainly bred with humans who have descendants alive today. Thus the Biblical worldview of creationists was not only RIGHT, but evolution was shown to be a science-hindering trouble-maker.

I’m going to stop my list here, rather than detail arguments on, for example . . .
a. junk DNA – a terrible, science blocking evolutionary prediction!
b. whether mutations and natural selection increase complexity (Not!)
c. whether chemical processes can produce information like the genome (They can’t.)
d. how evolutionists can explain millions of clear examples of irreducible complexity (They don’t and can’t and you’ll laugh at their frustrated bluster.)
e. how new developments in epigenetics show that much of the inherited structure of organisms is INDEPENDENT of their DNA, making mutations and natural selection IRRELEVANT to explaining life’s diversity. This ‘little subject,’ all by itself vaporizes the phony ‘science’ of evolution.

And so on. I have much more in my Short Course articles and educational notes. I’ve written a book, Creation vs. Evolution? No Contest! There are libraries of books and videos available through other creation sites. There really is no contest.

In a verbal debate, I wouldn’t actually spend much time on astronomy. I would save astronomical cases to respond to challenges in the rebuttal portion. Astronomy tends to be a more difficult grasp for most laymen. If the fence-sitter gets educated on the overwhelming superiority of creation over evolution in biology, other areas will follow easily. In short the case for creation against evolution is easily established in biology, due to the spectacular complexity of life. So camp there!

In my listing above, I could be accused of “elephant hurling.” That’s the debating tactic of throwing out many conclusions with just brief supporting arguments, knowing that the opponent cannot possibly take the time to address each one. But of course “elephant hurling” is precisely what Nye and other evolutionists do in debate. It’s an “offensive” tactic. I like going “offensive.” Let the evolutionist defend. The asymmetry in the two sides enters in because the creationist knows that he can back up his conclusions. Fence sitters should be challenged to do more research to investigate where the truth lies.

If you, O reader, are a fence sitter, you should realize that any argument a creationist makes will be met with some counter from an evolutionist who has time to think. The other team never admits to being wrong. Your responsibility is to decide whether you buy the rebuttal. For example, when C14 is found in rocks they believe are millions of years old, they will claim that C14 got into the rocks by contamination. If you research the details, you will discredit their claim. The same apologetics issue arises in contending with cults. Even when the Christian evangelist slam-dunks the Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon or Roman Catholic, you can be sure that with some effort the committed cultist will come up with some answer. But it’s not hard to tell when someone is blowing smoke.

Personal recommendations from me to you Bible believers out there who care about souls . . .

The stakes are infinite. This is not a mere political disagreement or a philosophical debate. The stakes are Heaven or Hell, whether your children become part of God’s family or drones in a New Age socialist state, whether a child is made in the image of God or just a blob of tissue that can be ripped out of a mother, and whether you and everyone you love has purpose in life or believes – amorally – that anything you choose to do is just the result of physics and forces . . . brain chemistry.

Don’t make Ken Ham’s biggest mistake . . . His presentation of the Gospel was anemic. He failed to explain how God’s certain judgment will fall on willfully rebellious sinners. He neglected repentance, without which no man can be saved. He failed to look his audience in the eye and plead with them to repent and trust their Creator, who is also their one and only Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Analyze his presentation yourself. Did the skeptic’s worldview get slam-dunked? Did the skeptic hear compelling arguments to make the connection between Creator and Saviour, and between sin and judgment? Would even the religious lost, like Catholics, or Mormons, or false-convert evangelicals understand what a man must do to be saved . . . other than to merely believe a few facts, like Ken’s 7-C’s cartoon? My conclusion is that Ken, like many others in creation ‘ministries,’ don’t get out on the street and engage in 1-2-1 evangelism. So they don’t know how to communicate passionately or clearly, probing to penetrate the stubborn delusions of a lost man, eyeball to eyeball. And if you don’t do 1-2-1 as a way of life, you don’t know how to preach to crowds. It’s the same message requiring the same passion.

Man up and study up so you can be helpful to a lost skeptic. It’s not about winning a debate when you engage in 121 evangelism. It’s about trying to undo the confused fellow’s stumbling blocks. So learn a few things. Lock down a couple of solid examples you can use in conversation. You don’t need more than one or two! You just need something to get a thought started in his skull. Most atheists are shocked to find a Christian who can actually contend with logic and with specifics . . . who don’t merely say, “We have a book.” You can then refer him to this web site and to others, promising that you will keep in touch and that you want to talk again. If you get stumped, admit it (that’s hard), and do some homework. You’ll learn something new. That’s good. Serve God. Love others. Work at it.

– drdave@truthreallymatters.com

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