It is rare to see college professors be nuanced enough to challenge their own beliefs, understand where they fall short, and rethink certain things with new information given, at least in this day and age. But David Gelernter dared to challenge Darwin’s theory of evolution, at least in the aspect of macro-evolution, in an essay he titled: “Giving Up Darwin.”
The essay is rather long and pretty technical, so I will have to skip a decent bit of it, but here are the main points:
“Darwin’s theory predicts that new life forms evolve gradually from old ones in a constantly branching, spreading tree of life. Those brave new Cambrian creatures (what are considered the first-ever animals in an event called the Cambrian Explosion) must therefore have had Precambrian predecessors, similar but not quite as fancy and sophisticated… Each must have had a closely related predecessor, which must have had its own predecessors… All those predecessors must have come together, further back, into a series of branches leading down to the (long ago) trunk. But those predecessors of the Cambrian creatures are missing… The Cambrian explosion had been unearthed, and beneath those Cambrian creatures their Precambrian predecessors should have been waiting – and weren’t. In fact, the fossil record as a whole lacked the upward-branching structure Darwin predicted.”
In other words, the sort of Darwinian chain of gradual improvement from one creature to the next isn’t there in terms of macro-evolution. The first-ever animals that popped up half a billion years ago seem to have pretty much come from out of nowhere, with no noticeable predecessor to them being fossilized and discovered. And it’s not like it was a matter of how hard their bodies were. Soft-bodied fossils have been found in the past.
But that’s not Darwin’s only problem, nor is it the biggest. Mathematically-speaking, Darwin’s theory surrounding evolution through mutation is virtually impossible. Avoiding getting too technical, it is mathematically-impossible for a mutation of an amino acid (the things inside DNA) to carry on to future generations and make an entirely new species. The mutation would have to be early enough in the genetic sequence to do it, but there hasn’t been a case when a mutation in that stage of the sequence wasn’t fatal to the organism. These mutations are not mutations that make improvements upon a new organism. They are deficiencies and malformities that kill the organism with that mutation before it can mate.
Gelernter also writes against the idea that simple chance is what does the trick:
“Neo-Darwinism says that nature simply rolls the dice, and if something useful emerges, great. Otherwise, try again. But useful sequences are so gigantically rare that this answer simply won’t work…”
While he doesn’t really dive too much into that particular aspect, I think I should.
The biggest problem, in my opinion, with the theory of evolution as Darwin describes it and as scientists take it is that they have a simple formula that doesn’t work. That formula is Matter + Chance + Time = Everything.
This is really what fuels theories like Darwin’s: that something has to be there in the first place in order for something else to eventually, probably, be there. But one can see the cracks pretty much immediately. It alludes to the illogical idea that something can come from nothing and thus, that everything can come from nothing.
Of course, one might ask: “But if matter is already there, isn’t that already something?” Yes, but then where did that initial form of matter come from? It had to have come from somewhere, surely! If it is there now, it had to have been there before in some sort of way. But there are people who will argue in favor of self-creation. Such an example comes from the Big Bang Theory. That theory is a theory based on the idea that something can come from nothing. That the universe created itself. That an explosion, an effect, came from nothing, no cause. It is an argument that there is an effect without a cause, which is entirely illogical. It also doesn’t help that chance doesn’t have any actual power to do anything, as I have explained time and time again, given it is nothing more than a mathematic calculation of the probability of an occurrence, but has no actual say as to what happens.
So when it comes to the Big Bang Theory and the theory of evolution, reasonable people will point to the idea of intelligent design being a good answer, at least in the abstract. Since something can’t come from nothing, and since we are here and since animals are here in the way they are with no Precambrian ancestry to note, the only logical answer then is the idea that an intelligent, or conscious, presence affected the way things are and the way things were.
This presence – this being – has to have had the power to affect these things down to the molecular level and has to have been separate from the actual chain of life. In other words, it had to have been an omnipotent, omniscient, self-existent and omnipresent being – someone who exists outside of this realm of reality and has the power and knowledge to affect things within it – in order for matter, for life and everything in the universe, or at least on this planet, to have gone the way things went.
Of course, scientists like Gelernter don’t immediately jump on to Christianity and the Bible. They understand that intelligent design is a serious theory that makes more and more sense as time goes on and as more information is made available, but that does not inherently mean that the God of the Bible is inherently the intelligent designer of this world, at least in their minds. Man’s desire to avoid the things of God is there, even if it is forced to acknowledge through reason His existence.
However, it is impossible to divorce the Intelligent Design theory with Scripture, as the Intelligent Designer being described in the theory fits the God of the Bible to a tee. The theory requires an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent being to exist. God is an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent being. Matter of fact, He’s the ONLY omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent being in existence. And He's self-existent - He has the power of being within Himself. He's the first cause of everything.
Do you want to know what the Big Bang Theory, the theory of evolution and the Bible have in common? They all require the existence of God.
The Big Bang Theory, if interpreted by rational people, insists that there is a self-existent being who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent to cause the literal explosion and creation of the cosmos. The theory of evolution, going all the way back to the first life form, requires that there have been a self-existent, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent being for there to be life in the first place. Again, something can’t come from nothing, and that includes life. Life can’t come from out of nowhere, at least in the natural.
And Genesis 1:1 states: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible assumes and requires the existence of a self-existent, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent being that literally creates everything.
I find it rather funny that, in Man’s desire to avoid the things of God to the point it wishes to DISPROVE God, all he manages to do is further prove His existence and further drive people to the understanding of His existence. Darwin had to assume, even if unconsciously, that there is a God in order for his theory regarding macro-evolution to make sense. The Big Bang Theory has to assume that there is a God in order for it to even logically work.
As more of this world is made known to us, we only find more and more evidence of God’s existence through His creation. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, wrote: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
Paul is saying here that God reveals Himself through nature, so Man doesn’t have any excuse not to have been made aware of His existence and His presence. As scientists discover more and more about the world we live in, this is made all the more apparent. God has already proven His own existence. Scientists continue to prove His existence through their discoveries of the creation. Man has no real excuse not to understand and believe that there is a God.
I fully give credit to Gelernter in his understanding that Darwin’s theory of evolution, at least regarding macro-evolution, is full of holes and is essentially outdated and impossible. I also give him credit for understanding that the theory of Intelligent Design is sound and serious and shouldn’t be attacked by fellow scientists who seek to find the truth about the universe and who seek further understanding of its truth. But one has to also come to the understanding that you can’t just stop at the theory of Intelligent Design and try to divorce that from the God of Scripture.
All signs point towards God as He is described in His very own Word. Still, this is at least a step in the right direction and shows the guy’s ability to reason instead of following the religion of Darwin, which even Gelernter admits is basically a religion itself and anyone who dares challenge it or question it must be silenced or eliminated.
“I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.”
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