INTELLIGENT DESIGN VERSUS EVOLUTION

Three important contributions in major scientific publications over the past three years supporting Intelligent Design indicate it is growing in support. The four general areas where ID is forging ahead are : (1) scientific advancements and peer-reviewed papers, (2) failed attempts by critics to suppress ID, (3) ID’s performance in high-level debates against top critics, and (4) a growing community of ID-friendly graduate students and scientists. 

In 2018, a paper was published in BIO-Complexity by computer scientist Winston Ewert. He applied the concept of “common design” to produce a “dependency graph” model of organismal relationships based upon the principle that software designers frequently re-use the same coding modules in different programs. Ewert tested his model by comparing the distribution of gene families in nine diverse organisms to a treelike pattern predicted by Neo-Darwinism versus a dependency graph distribution used by computer programmers. His preliminary analysis showed that a common design-based “dependency graph” fit the genetic data 103000 times better than a Darwinian evolutionary tree!

In 2019, a paper on human origins published in BIO-Complexity. This paper used population genetics to refute those who cite evolutionary models to claim that human genetic diversity indicates we could not have originated from an initial couple.

 In 2020 a major article came out in the Journal of Theoretical Biology which supported “intelligent design” by name, noting that “ID aims to adhere to the same standards of rational investigation as other scientific and philosophical enterprises, and it is subject to the same methods of evaluation and critique.” The authors predicted that we will “establish fine-tuning as a sustainable and fully testable scientific hypothesis, and ultimately a Design Science.”

Flowers that testify of beauty and design

DEBATING INTELLIGENT DESIGN

There’s no better tribute to the power of ideas than a changed mind. Erik Strandness is a physician in Spokane, WA, practicing neonatal medicine. He watched a new exchange between biochemist Michael Behe and computational biologist Joshua Swamidass on the excellent and always thoughtful series Unbelievable? with Justin Brierley. He writes to differ with Swamidass and to describe his own change of ideas, from theistic evolution to intelligent design.

Joshua Swamidass is a biologist and Christian who is strongly critical of ID. He engages with Behe on the Kitzmiller-Dover case and the ID proponent’s most recent book ‘Darwin Devolves’ which critiques evolutionary theory.

The timing and circumstances of Erik Strandness intellectual evolution aren’t totally clear from the article. It preceded the Behe/Swamidass discussion. But his account is a valuable read nevertheless. As Dr. Strandness points out, Professor Swamidass doesn’t call himself a theistic evolutionist, but “he seems to share its favorable stance towards evolution and its opposition to intelligent design.”

God in a Box

Strandness reflects on his Lutheran upbringing. He “always had a place for God in my life, but that was exactly my problem: I had a place for God in my life….Part of the reason I compartmentalized my faith was because I was a science guy and science told me I was just an evolved chemical.” The compartmentalization, characteristic of theistic evolution, was unsatisfying to him. “While Swamidass’ goal is admirably to harmonize Christianity and science, I feel like all he has really done is say it’s OK to live with the tension.”

The theme of disappointment with a theistic evolutionary approach runs throughout his essay:

Interestingly, many theistic evolutionists don’t find God under the microscope but do in the courtroom. It appears they are more convinced of God’s existence by the moral argument than the scientific argument. 

I’m glad that they find assurance for their faith in this minimalist approach, but it leaves a huge chasm between an awe-inspiring Big Bang and the appearance of morality and consciousness in human beings. A gap which they fill with a rather bland series of naturally selected mutations. 

They give God credit for the big-ticket items, but don’t want to bother Him with the mundane task of speciation. Sadly, they reduce the book of nature to a Rorschach ink blot that offers us a vague psychological rendering of God’s subconscious rather than fine biological literature that reveals the sharpness of His mind. 

Common Ground with Intelligent Design

On the other hand, Strandness, as a physician, finds common ground with Professor Behe and his arguments for the irreducible complexity of certain biological structures. Swamidass in the discussion on Brierley’s show says he believes “God was involved in the rise of humans but I don’t actually see any biochemical evidence of God’s design there.” Dr. Strandness does see that evidence, however.

I have to respectfully disagree with him because I treat my patients based on an irreducibly complex physiological template that I didn’t create, but which I dismiss at my own peril. I’m able to successfully practice medicine because my patients are fearfully and wonderfully made, not because they were naturally selected to survive.

Interestingly, a whole field of science called biomimetics has emerged that takes the superior design of irreducibly complex biological machines and tries to replicate them at the macro level. It appears that rather than dismissing design, science is beginning to imitate it as the sincerest form of divine flattery. 

Swamidass made the case that biological machines are not machines in the traditional sense. However, I think he would get some push back from the biomimeticists who know that nature has given them a template for a better mousetrap, which, if successfully replicated, will inspire the world to beat a path to their door. 

Strandness concludes:

Richard Dawkins famously said that Charles Darwin made it possible for him to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist, but I found that [intelligent design] made it possible for me to be an intellectually fulfilled Christian.

For me, it was sad to observe that both Behe and Swamidass were comfortable with man evolving from some apelike creature, and yet both claim to be Christians. It is obvious from this belief that both do not believe in the inerrancy of God’s Word nor do they spend much time reading God’s Word. It is difficult to comprehend how Swamidass believes that man is made in God’s image and at the same time could have evolved from an ape.

ORIGIN OF FIRST SELF-REPRODUCING CELL?

A huge problem for naturalistic evolution is how life with its complex coded information could have arisen spontaneously in evolution’s very first living cell. I would suggest it is adequate proof for an Intelligent Designer and a good reason to take a look at the Bible’s account of Creation in Genesis. We learn God created a perfect world and humans made in the image of their Creator. Man’s SIN is the reason for death and suffering in this world. The Good News is that our loving Creator has provided the solution to restore our relationship with Him and overcome death. Jesus is His name.

Image result for picture of dna replication

Extract from editorial in Creation Magazine Vol 30 No.4 2017.

We have previously written about how scientists have attempted to determine the simplest self-reproducing cell (see creation.com/simple). This hypothetical cell was said to require a minimum of 256 genes. The problem for
evolutionists is that they cannot appeal to natural selection to explain the first cell. That’s because natural selection requires a living, reproducing cell to pass on any trait selected for! Further research in 2006 increased this figure to 387 protein-coding and 43 RNA-coding genes.
In 2016, the minimalist genome was once again increased with the creation of a synthetic self-reproducing bacterium: this time, to 473 genes (531,560 ‘letters’), including 65 whose function are unknown but which were essential for the survival of the cell. This is not much less than Mycoplasma genitalium (482 genes, 582,970 letters)—which itself is a parasite of even more complex organisms.

How then can evolutionists explain the origin of the very first self-reproducing cell? It is a mathematical impossibility for just one gene to have arisen by chance—much less 473.

The Bible says in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the WORD” and of course we now  know that every living thing has at its nucleus, DNA, a word of thousands of letters controlling all the functions of each cell. What follows in John 1:1  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Research highlights, Nature 439(7074):246–247, January 2006 | doi:10.1038/439246a.
Glass, J.I. et al., Essential genes of a minimal bacterium, Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 103(2):425– 430, January 2006 | doi:10.1073/pnas.0510013103.
Hesman, T., Scientists build minimum genome bacterium, sciencenews.org, March 2016.

DESIGN IS ALWAYS TOP DOWN IT DOES NOT EVOLVE

Taken from the new bible study for “Is Genesis History?” The full bible study is available here: http://bit.ly/ighbiblestudy

Dr. Stuart Burgess completed an engineering apprenticeship with Stothert and Pitt Cranes in Bath while completing a degree in mechanical engineering. After completing his PhD in the area of machine design he worked for the European Space Agency for five years mainly working on the ENVISAT earth observation satellite which is the largest earth observation civilian satellite in the world. He designed the solar array deployment mechanism including inventing a new type of gearbox – the double action worm gear set. He spent three years at Cambridge University as an Assistant Director of Research and Bye-Fellow of Selywn College. He led the design of the chain drive on the bicycles used by Team GB in the Rio Olympics where the cycling team won 6 gold medals and broke two world records. He has been at Bristol University since 1997 mainly working in the area of design optimisation of mechanical systems and bio-mechanical systems. I hope this in depth background on Stuart convinces you he has something worthwhile to say on a topic which determines where you will spend eternity.

HOW OLD IS THE EARTH?

How old is the earth? Six to ten thousand years old? Older? How precisely can a creation date be calculated? Does the Bible teach a six thousand year old Earth? Why do most scientists believe the earth is old? This Creation Ministries video explores one of the most controversial issues in the church, and answers these and many more questions regarding when God created.

WHY AN ATHEIST CHANGED HIS MIND

“To continue in atheism, I would need to believe:

Related image

nothing produces everything,

non-life produces life,

randomness produces fine-tuning,

chaos produces information,

unconsciousness produces consciousness, 

non-reason produces reason,”

I had to add: goo produces you by way of the zoo 

Lee Strobel wrote. “I simply didn’t have that much faith.

While not everyone agrees with Strobel’s assessment, “The Case for Christ” author saw a slew of people who were moved by his framing of faith and belief.

 

 

DEATH IN ADAM, ALIVE IN CHRIST

“Sin came into the world, through one man (Adam) and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” Romans 5:12

God’s love conquers all: “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.Romans 5:17

We may not like this crucial truth about God and sin, but we live in a universe that has been corrupted by the effects of the curse placed upon creation by God the Creator, due to the disobedience of the first man, Adam. Death is an intrusion upon God’s creation due to sin. 

Satan, the Prince of this world, has blinded the world to the reality of this truth with the lie of EVOLUTION and there is no God. The truth of Noah’s worldwide flood and God’s judgement of mankind has also been removed from history with the lie of EVOLUTION.

In Genesis 1:31 God’s word tells us, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” In the Genesis creation narrative, we see the Hebrew word for good used six times, and then the author summarises the entirety of creation by using a term for “very good”, to drive home the point that no evil or death is found anywhere in all of creation! Here, we find a major theological truth; you cannot have death before the fall of Adam!

What amazing love, God the Father sent His son, Jesus, to pay the penalty of our sin so that we can be restored into a right relationship with our Him, but only if we are prepared to acknowledge and repent of our sin and accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. If we do, God the Father then sends the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer to be comforter, counsellor and teacher so we are capable of living the Christian life.

Jesus reversed the curse by his perfect obedience, taking upon himself the due penalty of sin, which is death, for all who believe in him. Jesus faced the ultimate fiery trial of death, and he was the only man who didn’t deserve it, as he was perfectly obedient to the Father and totally righteous, without sin. This is grace in fullness, and amazing love!

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. Christianity is the only basis for true love, trust and compassion. The Bible tells us that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9. Once believers are saved by grace from sin, the process of sanctification occurs, the Holy Spirit takes control of our hearts, and we die to the flesh and are reborn by the Spirit of God. We are now able to fully understand what love is. We are able, though not perfectly, to have compassion, and serve others out of gratitude for what Christ has done for us. This is why we can heed the command of Christ in Matthew 5:44–45 to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”

People who claim to be atheists, to be consistent with their beliefs, would have a nihilistic worldview. They could never truly know the love or compassion imparted by the Spirit of God. What took place recently at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas , when a church family gathered in a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, was massacred by Devin Patrick Kelley, is a horrible tragedy performed by someone who was living out his worldview.

SCIENTISTS BUILD DNA FROM SCRATCH TO ALTER LIFE’S BLUEPRINT

Scientists have long been able to make specific changes in the DNA code. Now, they’re taking the more radical step of starting over, and building redesigned life forms from scratch. Boeke, a researcher at New York University, directs an international team of 11 labs on four continents working to “rewrite” the yeast genome, following a detailed plan they published in March.

I wonder how God views man’s efforts to be the Creator. Is this another “end time” indicator?

Scientists build DNA from scratch to alter life's blueprintNYU School of Medicine Professor Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Jef D. Boeke speaks during an interview in his office at the Alexandria Centre for Life Sciences in New York.
Their work is part of a bold and controversial pursuit aimed at creating custom-made DNA codes to be inserted into living cells to change how they function, or even provide a treatment for diseases. It could also someday help give scientists the profound and unsettling ability to create entirely new organisms.

The genome is the entire genetic code of a living thing. Learning how to make one from scratch, Boeke said, means “you really can construct something that’s completely new.”

The research may reveal basic, hidden rules that govern the structure and functioning of genomes. But it also opens the door to life with new and useful characteristics, like microbes or mammal cells that are better than current ones at pumping out medications in pharmaceutical factories, or new vaccines. The right modifications might make yeast efficiently produce new biofuels, Boeke says.

Also on the horizon is redesigning human DNA. That’s not to make genetically altered people, scientists stress. Instead, the synthetic DNA would be put into cells, to make them better at pumping out pharmaceutical proteins, for example, or perhaps to engineer stem cells as a safer source of lab-grown tissue and organs for transplanting into patients.

Some have found the idea of remaking human DNA disconcerting, and scientists plan to get guidance from ethicists and the public before they try it.

Still, redesigning DNA is alarming to some. Laurie Zoloth of Northwestern University, a bioethicist who’s been following the effort, is concerned about making organisms with “properties we cannot fully know.” And the work would disturb people who believe creating life from scratch would give humans unwarranted power, she said.

“It is not only a science project,” Zoloth said in an email. “It is an ethical and moral and theological proposal of significant proportions.”

Rewritten DNA has already been put to work in viruses and bacteria. Australian scientists recently announced that they’d built the genome of the Zika virus in a lab, for example, to better understand it and get clues for new treatments.

At Harvard University, Jeffrey Way and Pamela Silver are working toward developing a harmless strain of salmonella to use as a vaccine against food poisoning from salmonella and E. coli, as well as the diarrhea-causing disease called shigella.

A key goal is to prevent the strain from turning harmful as a result of picking up DNA from other bacteria. That requires changing its genome in 30,000 places.

“The only practical way to do that,” Way says, “is to synthesize it from scratch.”

The cutting edge for redesigning a genome, though, is yeast. Its genome is bigger and more complex than the viral and bacterial codes altered so far. But it’s well-understood and yeast will readily swap man-made DNA for its own.

 

Last year, Boeke and others announced a separate effort, what is now called Genome Project-write or GP-write . It is chiefly focused on cutting the cost of building and testing large genomes, including human ones, by more than 1,000-fold within 10 years. The project is still seeking funding.

In the meantime, leaders of GP-write have started discussions of ethical, legal and social issues. And they realize the idea of making a human genome is a sensitive one.

“The notion that we could actually write a human genome is simultaneously thrilling to some and not so thrilling to others,” Boeke said. “So we recognize this is going to take a lot of discussion.”

 

DID HUMANS EVOLVE FROM APES?

Humans did not evolve from chimps, gorillas, or orangutans. However, according to Darwinian evolution, humans are related to modern apes in that we shared a common ancestor.

This informative article by Dr Don Batten and Warren Nunn of Creation Ministries will equip you to explode this commonly held notion.

ape-man

Artists’ impressions of Homo erectus have most often depicted some really primitive, subhuman ‘ape-man’. However, the evidence that these were people (that should even share our species name) is mounting. So artists’ renditions are gradually shifting toward a much more obviously human appearance, as here.

Since Charles Darwin first proposed the basis for such ideas in the 19th century when he wrote On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, molecules-to-man evolution has increasingly been taught as fact. Later, he fleshed out the idea of human evolution from a common ancestor with apes in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.

The concept that humans and apes share a common ancestor contrasts with what we read in the Bible, because on the sixth day God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26) Further, in verse 27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” In Genesis chapter 2 it gives us more details, including that God made Adam from ‘dust’ and fashioned Eve, the first woman, from part of his side.

The two contrasting explanations for our existence—and for apes—have obvious philosophical/faith starting points because neither side can go back in time and observe how everything came into being. Both sides can only examine what we have in the present and draw conclusions from that.

Biblical creationists accept the Bible as an eyewitness account of that—for us—unobservable beginning. Thus, we can expect that by examining anything from germs to giraffes, that the data will best fit the presupposition of a perfectly created life-form that now exists in a world that is imperfect because of the Fall (Genesis 3). Therefore, we can expect (predict) that all life-forms now are not as genetically ‘perfect’ as their first parents.

So, ‘Did humans evolve from apes’ is really part of the bigger question, ‘Did humans and apes, and everything else, evolve?’

The answer is no, nothing ‘evolved’ in the sense that Darwin proposed through naturalistic, unguided processes. Instead, God created everything (including Adam and Eve) in six, 24-hour days and it was very good, as we are told in Genesis 1:31.

Because we can trust the Bible as real history, we know that

(a) all life was created about 6,000 years ago,
(b) there was a global Flood of judgment on the world, which only eight humans and a limited number of creatures survived, and that
(c) all air-breathing land animals are descendants of those that walked off Noah’s Ark about 4,500 years ago.

The DNA evidence

Chimpanzees are said to be the closest relatives of humans. There is an oft-repeated claim that human-chimp DNA is 98% (or more) similar. This figure was based on rather primitive comparisons published in 1975. These early reports were popularized by evolutionists, but this was long before even the initial drafts of the human and chimp genome that were announced in 2001 and 2005, respectively. As explained in Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels, and other places, with our modern understanding of genetics, we now know that “98%” is simply not the case.1 Even with genes that are similar between chimps and humans, the similarity is closer to 80%. If we consider the genes that chimps have that humans don’t and vice versa, the similarity drops to 70% or even less. However, the 98% myth persists.

An objective analysis of the claimed ape-men fossils shows that there is loads of wishful thinking involved.

Not enough time!

For the sake of the argument, let’s assume that the human and chimp genomes derived from a common genome in the six or seven million years since evolutionists say that humans and chimps split from the common ancestor. Then there is a need to account for 35,000,000 single-letter (base-pair) differences that had to arise and become fixed in the two genomes (i.e. the original letter in that location was replaced completely from the line to humans or the line to chimps); tens of millions of chromosomal rearrangements also had to occur, spread, and fix; as well as tens of millions of base-pair (‘letter’) insertions and deletions. (See Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels chapter 2 for more details). In short, there is simply insufficient time for evolutionists to account for the differences between chimp and human DNA, even with highly unrealistic assumptions in favour of it happening.2

Evolutionary time is measured in generations, not years. In six million years, there would only have been a few hundred thousand generations since chimps and humans were supposedly the same species. How then can there be enough time for so many brand-new genes to arise and be integrated? Each generation would have to select and retain an unbelievably huge number of mutations. This problem has come to be known as Haldane’s Dilemma. Despite claims to the contrary, Haldane’s Dilemma has never been solved. Modern knowledge of the genetic differences between chimps and humans shows that the problem is far greater for evolutionists than even Haldane imagined.3

Adam and Eve?

Studies of mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited from your mother, show that all humans had a single female ancestor.4 Likewise, studies of the Y-chromosome, which is only inherited from your father (to son!), show that all humans had a single male ancestor.5 Of course the evolutionary time scales attached to these individuals don’t match the Bible, but recalculations based on measurements of mutation rates in today’s world show that the biblical time frame is consistent with the data.

The world-wide genetic evidence in humans is consistent with the Bible’s history, that we are all descendants of Noah’s family, beginning some 4,500 years ago.6

Genetic decay

The number of mutations added to the human genome each generation is now known to be so high that it is inevitable that the human genome is deteriorating. This points back to a created perfection in the recent past.7 The same problem applies to all other complex creatures. This is another serious problem for the evolutionary idea that mutations and natural selection created humans and chimps from a common ancestor 6–7 million years ago. As the Russian geneticist, Alexey Kondrashov, remarked, “Why aren’t we dead 100 times over?” (he was assuming the evolutionary time frame).8

Fossils?

Are there really ‘ape-men’? An objective analysis of the claimed ape-men fossils shows that there is much wishful thinking involved, which is driven by the desire to ‘prove evolution’, or to justify the funding from National Geographic (e.g.), given to find ‘ape-men’.

There are a range of Homo species, including Neandertals. These are all descendants of Noah’s family. One exception is Homo habilis (‘handy man’), which prominent evolutionary anthropologists acknowledge is a ‘mixed taxon’, meaning that the fossil bones came from both apes and humans (hence it not surprisingly looks like an ‘ape-man’).

Other than that, objective numerical analysis shows that Australopithecus (‘southern ape’), supposedly the ancestors of humans (Homo spp.), are just types of apes that are not intermediate between chimps and humans.

That is, based on the fossils, there is no coherent story of human evolution from a common ancestor with apes, which is not surprising, considering the genetic evidence that shows they never existed.9

Conclusion

By reading the associated links to this article and books such as Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels, or by searching creation.com, you can learn more about this subject and when next someone asks you about any human-ape connection, you too will be able to gently suggest that they perhaps should take a closer look at the evidence.