I really don’t know why anyone agrees to go on Bill Maher’s show. For years it’s been the same old routine: gang up on the conservative, everyone! This time it’s Congressman Jack Kingston being attacked because he doesn’t believe in macro-evolution.
For one thing, I’m not quite sure what “believing” in evolution have to do with performing his job as a congressman? How is that relevant in regards to him creating, promoting and passing laws to help his country? And seriously, I would take a qualified lawmaker who believes that people are made in the image of God over someone who has a reductionist, materialistic view of humanity any day of the week.
Yet this attitude against those who question or reject Darwinism is pervasive in the culture today and so I’d like to address it. I’m here to say that rejecting the neo-Darwinian theory of origins does not automatically equate one being some anti-intellectual, backwoods yokel that believes the earth is flat. And sorry, Huffington Post, but believing in creation doesn’t mean one has to believe God created the universe in six literal days. (And to be clear, there are some people like Francis Collins who believe God guided the process of evolution. Believing in the evolutionary story of origins doesn’t mean one will automatically be an atheist.)
When Kim Campbell, the former prime minister of Canada, brought up that surviving bacteria have evolved as proof of the evolutionary theory, Rep. Kingston rightly didn’t deny that sort of occurrence happens. That would be idiotic. But here is where we go from science to story. Surviving bacteria remain bacteria. Antibiotic resistance involves only minor changes within existing species, and we knew about them long before Darwin. Darwin’s mechanism, natural selection, has never been observed to produce a new species. The idea of common descent involves a massive extrapolation from evidence of tiny ranges to conclusions beyond the evidence, in my opinion.
Another (ahem) monkey wrench in the Darwinian machine are irreducibly complex systems, such as the ATP synthase. The ATP synthase is a molecular machine that is called “the energy currency” for life. ATP-driven protein machines power almost everything that goes on inside living cells, including manufacturing DNA and RNA. This nano-motor was needed for the first living cell to exist, and yet it needed all of its parts to work. The ATP synthase is a nifty dare I say…design. Evolutionary scientists have suggested that the head part of ATP synthase evolved from a class of proteins used to unwind DNA during DNA replication. But how on earth could ATP synthase “evolve” from something that needs ATP, manufactured by ATP synthase, to work? I’m not a scientist, so correct me if I’m misunderstanding.
Here’s a clip of it in action.
Such specified complexity we see in such systems is amazing, let alone what we see in the human cell. Yet Richard Dawkins, a biologist and a vociferous atheist, say that biologists must constantly remind themselves things like the complexity of the cell are not design even though they give such an appearance. So no matter how compelling the evidence, no matter how much it stares the naturalist in the face, it doesn’t matter.
Finally, Kingston is probably right for bringing up the lack of the fossil record revealing transitional forms. This is a valid question given Darwin’s own statements. For example, for a bat and a whale to have a common ancestor there should be literally millions of transitional forms in the fossil record. Maher bleats on about how one day we’ll find these fossils. Atheists bring up God of the gaps as a fallacy of theists, but there’s such a thing as a naturalism of the gaps, too.
Moreover, I find that the ‘particles to people’ through an unguided, blind process view is a metaphysical belief, not a scientific one. Harold Urey, a founder of origins research and a Nobel Prize winner said
All of us who study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we feel that it is too complex to have evolved anywhere. We believe as an article of faith that life evolved from dead matter on this planet. It is just that its complexity is so great, it is hard for us to imagine that it did.
And there are philosophical, not scientific reasons, why anything other than naturalistic explanations of origins are dismissed out of hand. Geneticist Richard Lewontin, one of the world’s leaders in evolutionary biology made this telling admission
We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
I wish more people were this honest. So being skeptical of the naturalistic, neo-Darwinian story of origins does not make one idiotic or narrow-minded. Rather, the theist can be open to follow the evidence wherever it leads them. For the atheist, Darwinism is the only game in town. And in my case, and in the minds many scientists who are a lot smarter than myself, common descent is not an open and shut case. And the idea of abiogenesis, frankly, I find to be absurd and mythical.
Feel free to disagree with me, I know people can get rather hot and bothered about this issue. I just don’t think the evidence is so overwhelming that you have to be an idiot to reject, or even just be a bit skeptical, of Darwin.