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INDEX

Introduction

1 Evolution only a theory

2 Natural selection is circular reasoning

3 Evolution is unscientific

4 Increasingly, scientists doubt evolution

5 Evolutionary biologists disagree

6 Why are there still monkeys?

7 Evolution can’t explain how life began

8 Mathematically, complexity can’t arise

9 The 2nd law of thermodynamics

10 Mutation can’t produce new features

11 Natural selection can’t explain new species

12 No-one has seen new species evolve

13 Absence of transitional fossils

14 Complex features must be designed

15 Complexity can’t arise via evolution

Conclusion



Scientific American

Special Collector’s Edition - Winter 2017/2018

Assessment by Les Sherlock, March 2018

NOTES





* In future called ‘SA’
** Hover your mouse over the reference to see the verse

Introduction

I often say the best evidence for Creation is the futile attempts of evolutionists to disprove it; and this is no more evident than in the magazine * under review here. The Bible says mankind has been blinded by Satan (2 Cor 4:4 **) and I can think of no better explanation for why otherwise highly intelligent, educated people can make such illogical, invalid or irrelevant statements as found in SA.

For example, on the first page * we read:

“We have learned that bias is a disease and to fight it we need a healthy dose of facts and education.”

* Which quotes from an article on page 15

The foundation of evolution is atheism, and could be summed up as: “Since there is no God, everything must have evolved by natural causes.” That is bias. It is not science. It is not based on observational experimentation. It is based on the preconceived idea that God does not exist, and therefore uses the logic that any theory requiring Divine activity is automatically wrong, regardless of anything else that can be observed.


So this atheistic magazine * is based fair and square on bias; and all scientific evidence is going to be spun to fit the notion that there is no Creator. Anything that could possibly point to a universe less than 13+ billion years old, or all of life forms not beginning in some sort of primordial soup and evolving into what we see today, will immediately be twisted to fit the a priori mantra. However, those doing this are oblivious to the fact that they do so on the basis of their bias, because they think they are not biased! They are blind to their own delusion and therefore write off anyone holding a different view as either stupid, uneducated, or wilfully disingenuous.**

* I call it this because the articles are promoting atheistic concepts.


** On page 109 Richard Dawkins writes:

“It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet someone who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”

Since Dawkins’ thinks that of those who believe what he considers to be untrue, then as Lawrence Kraus claims “the Bible validates the right to sleep with your father if you need a child” (SA page 110), when it actually says the opposite (Lev 18:6–7 - the Bible doesn’t condone all it reports), does he think Kraus is ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked?

Am I biased? Yes, of course I am! As a life-long Christian who has experienced first-hand the working of God in my life, I approach the topic of origins on the basis of what God has said. However, I am not stupid, I can read, and I have spent a life-time determined to follow truth wherever it leads. This is why I have read so many books written by both evolutionists and creationists, in order to ascertain that everything which unquestionably works in a particular way does so in line with my own understanding - and if it does not, then I must change my understanding to match the truth.

There is no such thing as a person without bias: we all come with our own experiences and attitudes because this is what being human entails. As long as we are aware of this and are prepared to be ruthless with our prejudices and submit them rigorously to observational evidence, then we can take account of it and reach logical and truthful conclusions.

Those writing in SA clearly do not take this attitude, however, since they think they are not biased and so everything they believe must be right; * and the many scientific observations that falsify their position must therefore be reinterpreted to fit it. In reality they are as biased as I am: I believe God exists, they believe He does not. The key difference is that they do not know they are biased, and these beliefs have a significant effect. In fact, the first article in SA, on the Einstellung effect, makes precisely the point I am hammering here. Quote:

It is the brain’s tendency to stick with the most familiar solution to a problem and stubbornly ignore alternatives.*


* However, on page 109, Richard Dawkins does admit to a degree of bias:

“The fact that I think religion is bad science and you think it is ancillary to science is bound to bias us in at least slightly different directions.”

* SA page 10

To amplify this, I use part of a quote from Francis Bacon:

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion… draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects or despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects.*




* SA page 11

Of course, typical of the usual arrogance one sees in this kind of literature, the entire thrust of SA is that people who have a different point of view from theirs are simply puppets to the Einstellung effect, while they, the clever scientists,* are not. Well, one way you can be fairly sure people are subject to this, is when they ignore the main arguments of the premise they are attacking. If they are not prepared to look at the alternatives properly, then quite obviously they are doing precisely what Francis Bacon described and therefore are very likely to be wrong.


* Of course, there are many scientists who accept creation, but Dawkins writes them all of off as ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked

OK, well if you are an evolutionist and have managed to read this far, then you will already have me written off as a raving Bible-thumping fanatic. That’s fine; but let me ask you this one thing: if in SA’s 15 answers to creationist nonsense there are any points that are quite obviously spurious, illogical or even down-right untrue, then why have they used them? If their position is so clear-cut and scientifically proven, why have they sunk to this level in order to defend it? To put it the other way around, if you find anything like this, then surely it is evidence they are subject to the Einstellung effect and are deliberately ignoring facts that falsify their position?


The primary reason for this page is to make the point the invalid arguments used in SA proves that they have nothing better to use, which demonstrates that when the smoke and mirrors of evolution are cleared away the only logical conclusion is creation. So here we go.

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15 Answers to creationist nonsense by John Rennie

1 Evolution is only a theory. It is not a fact or a scientific law.

SA Page 97

So the number one argument necessary for John Rennie to counter is the one that claims evolution is only a theory. Really? This shows right from the start the feebleness of the case being presented. I know of no creationist who would base their belief on the above statement. This is not an argument about science but about semantics. It is quibbling about the meaning of the word ‘theory’, and has nothing to do with the validity or otherwise of the claims of creation/evolution.


The Cambridge on-line dictionary defines the word in two ways:

a formal statement of the rules on which a subject of study is based or of ideas that are suggested to explain a fact or event or, more generally, an opinion or explanation:

If something is possible in theory, it should be possible, but often it does not happen in that way:


An example for the second definition is given as:

It was Ptolemy who propounded the theory that the earth was at the centre of the universe.


Most evolutionists would no doubt place Ptolemy’s theory in the same bracket as creationist’s would place Darwin’s theory!


The explanation under this heading claims there is abundant evidence that organisms have evolved through time. This is the usual elephant hurling * evolutionists love, which sounds impressive until you actually get down to the nitty-gritty. Of course there is a vast number of examples of change taking place in living things, and evolutionists love to quote them in support of their theory. But it is all ‘bait and switch,** and the kind of change invariably is that which will never give rise to a different kind of living form. So you can produce lots of change in dogs, for example, but they will never turn into cats.

John Rennie’s number one argument is peripheral to the topic at best and, as can be seen from the dictionary description, invalid.

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* Claiming a large body of evidence in support of an argument without producing it. See here

** Producing evidence for one thing to prove something completely different

2 Natural selection is based on circular reasoning: the fittest are those who survive and those who survive are deemed fittest.


What has this got to do with creationism? Creationists have no argument with natural selection and I have never met one who disputed it. It is a spurious point which, as far as I can see is simply put here to make the numbers up. The big issue creationists have is not over natural selection, but with the evolutionists’ favourite bait and switch tactic of presenting evidence of natural selection as evidence of evolution.

So John Rennie’s number one and two points are almost totally irrelevant to the debate - this does not bode well for the rest of the article!

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3 Evolution is unscientific, because it is not testable or falsifiable. It makes claims about events that were not observed and can never be re-created.


I wonder if John Rennie has ever read any creationist material! From his comments I very much doubt it! He begins this section by saying:

This blanket dismissal of evolution ignores important distinctions that divide the field into at least two broad areas: microevolution and macroevolution.


Contrary to this claim, a significant amount of creationist material homes in precisely on this point. There is overwhelming evidence for microevolution: * dogs turning into Great Danes, Poodles, Spaniels, etc., or the variation seen in horses, cats, birds, and indeed most species on the planet. Conversely, macroevolution is what is required in order for molecules-to-man evolution to have taken place, and as previously mentioned, there is not a single indisputable example of this anywhere on the planet - either dead (i.e. fossilised) or alive! One of the major issues creationists have with evolutionists, is the latter's tendency to present microevolution as evidence for macroevolution. So to accuse creationists of using an argument that ignores the distinction between the two is totally false.

* I prefer not to use this term because it is so easily misunderstood: lots of microevolution = macroevolution. It doesn’t! I prefer to call it what it is: natural selection.

The theory of evolution is dependent on macroevolution, but as Rennie admits in this section:

The historical nature of macroevolutionary study involves inference from fossils and DNA rather than direct observation.


Exactly! Evolution has never been observed and is dependent on assumptions about the fossil record, based on the starting position that it definitely happened. As can be seen in my challenge, it would take an enormous number of transitional populations in order to change one kind of creature into another; so it is reasonable to expect to see in the fossil record a similar proportion of transitional species as are supposed to have existed throughout history. If it really did happen, transitional species would outnumber the rest by many thousands (at the very least) or millions to one in the fossil record. Yet in this section not one such example is mentioned!  Why not? If Rennie is wanting to demolish creation, all he has to do is list a few dozen * examples of fossils clearly at a part-way stage between one kind of creature and another and job done! The fact that he doesn’t is evidence that he can’t, which in turn is evidence that it does not exist!





* Since many billions of such creatures must have existed in order for all living things to evolve from a single-cell, it shouldn’t be difficult to find plenty of examples if it happened - the fossil record would be awash with them!

However, to return to the specific point of item 3, the first part is not something I would ever say. Actually, it is the opposite, since not only is evolution testable and falsifiable, but it has been tested and falsified! The test is: can we observe processes that could increase the specified complexity of the genome by undirected means often enough, and in ways that can be preserved by natural selection, such that all living things could appear within the time-frame claimed? The answer is: no! There is no example of specified complexity increasing by random means, anywhere, in any field of study. Another test is: can we find enough transitional species in the fossil record to be consistent with the massive amount of change required? The answer is: no!

Regarding the second part of this item, it is a perfectly valid claim. Evolution has never been observed or re-created, and the best evolutionists can do is make excuses for this absence of observable evidence: as John Rennie has just said, it is based on inference, not observation.


There is an extraordinary claim toward the end of this section:

Evolution could be disproved in other ways, too. If we could document the spontaneous generation of just one complex life-form from inanimate matter, then at least a few creatures seen in the fossil record might have originated this way. If super-intelligent aliens appeared and claimed credit for creating life on Earth (or even particular species), the purely evolutionary explanation would be cast in doubt. But no-one has yet produced such evidence.


So if we could demonstrate abiogenesis * taking place by unintelligent means, then this would cast doubt on evolutionary theory! That could have been copied from a creationist’s web site! It is precisely the point creationists make: random processes could never assemble all the required elements in the necessary order for life to appear from non-life.

* Life arising from inanimate matter

Of course, the evolutionist would point out that this is referring to a complex life-form, not the simple one that originally arose from inanimate matter. This is really preempting a point that comes later; but the fact is that any life-form capable of living and reproducing is, by definition, complex. If it is simple enough to arise by unintelligent means, it is not complex enough to be able to live and breed.

The first part of what John Rennie claims creationists say is simply wrong - they don’t; and the second part is the simple observation of fact - evolution is based not on observation, but the assumption it happened in spite of contradictory observations.

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4 Increasingly, scientists doubt the truth of evolution.

SA page 98

The claim is made here that:

Serious scientific publications disputing evolution are all but nonexistent.


While lip-service is given to the creationist point that any articles supporting creation are automatically barred from publication in the secular, scientific journals,* the excuse is made that this is because they are not submitted.

* For example, Robert Gentry, the evolutionist who became a creationist due to his scientific research, authored or co-authored over twenty research papers in scientific publications, such as Science, Nature, Geophysical Research Letters, Annual Review of Nuclear Science, and Earth and Planetary Science Letters. However, in his book, Creation’s Tiny Mystery, he describes how, after it became known his research pointed toward creation, he found it increasingly impossible to be published.


* For example here, here, here (an archive going back several decades) and here.

The true facts about this are well-documented. Scientists daring to raise their heads above the parapet and confess to a belief in creation can find funding and employment in universities significantly restricted. Scientists who previously had their research published, suddenly find their work is no longer welcome in these publications. So it is hardly surprising if they keep their evolutionary reservations under covers.

In support of his claim that there are no serious creationist publications to be found, Rennie sites a survey undertaken by George W Gilchrist in the mid-1990’s, when he found none. That is over 20 years ago! A great deal has happened since then and ignoring all the publications since that date is hardly evidence of careful research! As a matter of fact, there are regular, creationist, technical articles being published * by highly qualified scientists  - but because the secular media is closed to them it has to be in the medium of publications produced by such organisations as Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries, etc. There’s a huge amount of stuff out there if you want to look for it, not least on the Internet.

Of particular note is the recent, very technical book published by Nathaniel Jeanson,* showing how the observable mutation in nuclear and mitochondrial DNA totally falsifies the evolutionary position and fully supports a ‘recent’ creation of life forms. Of course, as is always the case with evolutionary attacks on creation, facts like these are completely ignored. I wonder why? If there is an alternative explanation to the obvious one that John Rennie is unable to counter them, I would be interested to hear it.

* ‘Replacing Darwin: The New Origin of Species’, published in the Autumn of 2017. See here

Another point to bear in mind is the fact that most, if not all, creationist scientists have been trained in secular universities where evolution was promoted as the only viable explanation of origins. Yet they all came to opposite conclusions as a result of further study. People like Dr. Günter Bechly,* an atheist who, as a result of his scientific work, realised life forms without an Intelligent Designer were impossible, and became a Roman Catholic as a result.


* This is not to claim he has abandoned all his evolutionary baggage: like many in the Intelligent Design movement, he presently holds the self-contradictory view that on the one hand the observable scientific processes were incapable of creating life from inanimate matter so an Intelligent Designer must have used processes we cannot see in order to do it; but on the other hand insists that the Intelligent Designer must have used the scientific processes we can observe to create the universe. I have had correspondence with him on this, but while he was very friendly and courteous in his response, he refused to give me any kind of answer to this key point. I presently trust and pray that sooner or later those who take this position will confront this contradiction and accept that the Intelligent Designer in whom they believe might just know a little more than they how He did it all, and accept His version of events!

Another example is Antony Flew, a British, Oxford professor and philosopher, who, after over 50 years as an atheist, renounced this belief in 2004 in response to the clear evidence for intelligent design.

I have given three examples of people who have turned from atheism as a result of careful study of the facts (Robert Gentry, Günter Bechly, Antony Flew), but there are many scientists who accept creation as the only valid possibility for everything around us. However, in view of the stranglehold evolutionary thinking has over educational establishments and the media, it is hardly surprising there is a large number of scientists still going along with it; but nevertheless, John Rennie’s claim in SA that…

No evidence suggests that evolution is losing adherants

…is quite evidently based on wishful thinking rather than reality.

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5 The disagreements among even evolutionary biologists show how little solid science supports evolution

Notice we have now reached argument number five and have still not looked at a single genuine argument used by creationists to falsify evolution! In this point we are told:

…dishonest creationists take scientists' arguments out of context to exaggerate and distort…*



* More elephant hurling - there is not a single example of this in the piece; so we just have to take his word for it!

It’s the usual, “Creationists are stupid, they don’t understand how science works, and are wilfully lying to support their misunderstandings,” that is the attitude I have met frequently when debating the issue with evolutionists. Of course, we are all human, we all make mistakes and/or have different ideas, within the general framework of our belief - whether we are creationist or evolutionist. So debate within any framework of ideas is to be expected and welcomed.

He gives here as an example, statements taken from Stephen Jay Gould, who co-authored the punctuated-equilibrium model, claiming:

…creationists delight in dissecting out phrases from Gould’s voluminous prose to make him sound as though he had doubted evolution…


Since we are given no examples, I have no way of knowing to what he is referring here; but I have never read any creationist literature where it is claimed that Gould doubts evolution. Nor have I seen any quotes from his writing where the meaning has been changed as a result of being taken out of context. However, it is perfectly valid to quote from people claiming expertise in the sciences, since this is the only way we can give an accurate picture of what they are saying - and is the reason I am using quotes from SA, along with page numbers so you can check it out, if you wish, to ensure I am not taking anything out of context.


With regard to punctuated equilibrium, it is very obvious that the reason the theory exists is because of the total lack of evolutionary evidence in the fossil record - excused by claiming change took place too quickly for it to be preserved in this way. So it is valid to draw the logical conclusion that the theory is simply a tactic to get around the lack of evidence. Furthermore, the amount of time required to change one kind of creature into a different kind is absolutely enormous, as can be seen in my challenge, but punctuated equilibrium massively multiplies the problem, since there is not enough time, even by evolutionary reckoning, for it all to happen.


John Rennie’s claim here is therefore untrue: quotes are not taken from evolutionary scientists in order to pretend they do not believe in evolution, or to use them out of context, but in order to demonstrate that their claims are not consistent with its requirements.

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6 If humans descended from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

SA page 99

This question is called “surprisingly common” in this article; but I cannot recall ever seeing it in any of the serious creationist literature or web sites * (and I have read a lot of them). It is certainly nothing I would ever say and you won’t find it anywhere on my web site. Some creationists may have used the argument in the early days of their study, but if they do it will demonstrate their misunderstanding of how things work.

The evolutionary theory is that humans and chimps branched off from their common ancestor around 4-6 million years ago, so today’s monkeys would not have existed at that time. However, most imaginary depictions of the common ancestor * show it to be more ape-like than anything else. This being the case, more change needed to take place in the human branch than the chimp branch, which creates even more problems for evolutionists in the challenge, since it means greater change had to take place in the human branch than is allowed for in the calculations.

Once again, this claim from John Rennie is spurious.

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* For example Answers in Genesis, Creation Ministries International and Creation



* They have to be imaginary because no-one has ever found fossil remains of one

7 Evolution cannot explain how life first appeared on Earth.

So finally, almost half-way through the article, we reach an argument that creationists actually use! Not just only old argument, though, but arguably the most important one: if I were to list the arguments in order of importance, then I would put this first. However, it is interesting that having gone to some lengths to speak to some of the previous points of minor importance, this one merits just 16 lines of text - having taken about 160 lines for the previous six. I wonder why it is skipped over so quickly? John Rennie is forced to begin by admitting:

The origin of life remains very much a mystery…

Exactly! They have absolutely no idea how it could have taken place, because they know very well that the requirements for life demand a significant amount of information; and even if it could be shown that a simpler form of information than the present DNA/RNA system seen in all living things were possible,* it would still be far too complex for any non-intelligent means to produce from inanimate matter.

He claims that biochemists have learned about primitive nucleic acids, amino acids and other building blocks of life, this being the starting point for solving the problem. However, as a scientist-friend of mine once said to me, “You may be able to produce bricks, but it is a totally different thing to assemble them into a house!” Finding nucleic and amino acids, etc. arising by natural causes is one thing; but getting them all into the right place and the right order at the right time by non-intelligent means stretches credulity beyond breaking point. I admire his faith!



* Dawkins claims it would have been a simpler system than this; but even if such a thing were possible, step-by-step change from that to what we presently see could never work because at least some of the transitional stages would be unable to code for everything necessary for life to be able to continue and the unfortunate mutant would immediately become extinct.

Indeed, he blows his cover at the end of this short section by saying:

But even if life on Earth turned out to have a nonevolutionary origin (for instance if aliens introduced the first cells billions of years ago)…


The only possible reason to mention aliens introducing life is that there is no observable, scientific process known to man that could have worked the miracle on Earth. If there were, he wouldn’t recourse to aliens in this way. So this is a clear admission that science is unable to answer the question of the origin of life. Of course, evolutionists reply this it is only because science hasn’t advanced far enough to discover it, and it will do one day. This is not a scientific argument, though, but faith - belief that what cannot presently be seen will one day appear, based on the faith that God does not exist. But if it were aliens who were responsible, then science will never be able to show how it happened on Earth; and there is as much evidence for aliens as there is for evolution; * so I think we’ll be waiting a long time!

However, the point must be made that the laws of physics are the laws of physics. Trying to solve the problem of abiogenesis by suggesting origin from elsewhere in the universe simply does not work: if there are no laws that could create life on Earth, then there are no laws anywhere else in the universe that could create aliens!





* As SA points out in an earlier article on page 23, where the existence of aliens is sneered at as totally without evidence.

Another point to be made is that evolutionists have constantly been trotting out the mantra: ‘abiogenesis is not evolution, so it is not relevant’. What they mean by this is evolutionary theory concentrates on the changes taking place in living things, while abiogenesis is about life appearing from non-life. I quite agree it involves two different aspects of the debate; but nevertheless to claim that abiogenesis is not relevant to evolution is ludicrous - if you can’t show how the process of evolution began you have fallen at the first hurdle. However, now, John Rennie turns the evolutionary argument on its head and claims abiogenesis on Earth would have an evolutionary origin. A case of having your cake and eating it! Presumably he will be happy for me to quote him that evolution is involved in abiogenesis when replying to evolutionists who claim it is not; or is he going to say I am taking him out of context if I do this?


He claims that evolution is:

…robustly confirmed by countless microevolutionary and macroevolutionary studies.


We have already seen that microevolution has nothing to do with the Darwinian idea that all living things evolved from a simple cell; and macroevolution, even if it were proven, which it is not, would also be irrelevant to the specific point about abiogenesis, since, as previously stated, it is about things that already exist changing into other things, not how inanimate matter turned into a living cell. So he is clutching at straws here, trying to bolster a lost cause in this topic by switching to a different aspect.

Let me conclude this section by reminding you of what John Rennie said in section 2:

 If we could document the spontaneous generation of just one complex life-form from inanimate matter, then at least a few creatures seen in the fossil record might have originated this way.

Quite clearly he accepts the impossibility of a complex life form spontaneously arising from inanimate matter; but even the simplest form capable of independent life has to be complex by definition (see later), so by his own reasoning evolution could never have got off the ground.

Therefore this key creation argument that John Rennie is trying to counter is shown to be valid.

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8 Mathematically, it is inconceivable that anything as complex as a protein, let alone a living cell or a human, could spring up by chance.


In order to try to prove that complex things can arise easily by chance he gives the analogy of the 13-letter sequence:

TOBEORNOTTOBE


He tells us that a computer programme was written in the 1980’s that generated phrases randomly and produced this one, on average, in 336 iterations. He admits that the programme was designed to preserve letters that were accurately placed,* but nevertheless claims this demonstrates how complex information can arise by non-intelligent means.


* Which is supposed to duplicate natural selection

I am astounded that an intelligent man could make such a claim in all seriousness! Bearing in mind we have just been looking at abiogenesis, it is impossible for natural selection to play any part in the assembly of information for the first living cell and the amount of information required would be far more than the 13 letters used in the above sequence. Additionally there is no naturalistic process that could gradually assemble them all step-by-step in inanimate matter; but even in living things the problem is insurmountable. So let us look at the chances of it arising by genuinely random means.


There are 26 different alternatives for the first letter. When you add a second letter to it, there are 26 different alternatives for each of those letters;* so the chances of getting any particular two-letter sequence is 26 x 26 = 676. For a 13-letter sequence you must multiply 1 by 26, 13 times, which equals 2,481,150,000,000,000,000 different alternatives. So the odds of getting the above sequence by random means are 2,481,150,000,000,000,000 to 1 against! If you tried one sequence every second and had a different one each time, it would take 78,622,990,126 years to go through them all - that is over 78 billion years, which is over five times longer than the supposed age of the universe.

* i.e. If the first letter is A, there are 26 possibilities for the letter that follows it. If it is B, once again there are 26 possibilities for the second letter. Therefore the total number of possible two-letter sequences is 26 x 26.

This means the quoted computer programme is a fraud. It is not evidence for evolution but for Intelligent Design! Obviously, if it generates random letters and preserves each one that happens to be correct, then it will find the sequence fairly easily; but this can only happen as a result of the intelligence put into the system by programming in the required sequence and preventing any further change to any letter that happens to be correct. This is nothing like the mutation taking place in DNA, which is genuinely random, and since just one letter mutation is the cause of sickle cell syndrome (for example), it is obvious that while the computer could change every letter in the sequence every time until it hit one it was aiming for, if this happened in real life the resulting damage would make life unviable. The idea that, with many letters needing to change, every time a letter mutates ‘correctly’ it would produce enough advantageous change for natural selection to preserve it is cloud cuckoo land.* Remove the intelligence, let the computer simply generate sequences of 13 letters randomly, and, as we saw in the previous paragraph, you are likely to be waiting a very long time for it to arrive, if it ever could - with those kind of odds, most mathematicians would rate it as impossible.






* It also assumes that without intelligent guidance, it can preserve single-letter changes for a future complex sequence that did not previously exist and which will only create a functional new feature when complete.



* Nucleotides are the ‘letters’ in DNA, conventionally called A, C, G, T.

** Natural selection is no help here, because it can only preserve what is there: it cannot create what does not exist.

Of course, in DNA there are only four different letters, not 26. So for a 13-letter sequence there are 268,435,456 different alternatives. However, when it comes to abiogenesis, no-one in their right mind would claim the first living organism would only require such a tiny amount of information. The smallest living organism known to man, capable of independent life, is a microbe called Pelagibacter. At www.genome we are told it has 1,308,759 nucleotides,* with 1,354 protein genes and 35 RNA genes. Although there are smaller organisms, these are incapable of independent life: they require higher organisms in order to survive. The odds against randomly finding any specific sequence with a tiny fraction of this - just 100 letters - are astronomically huge:** 1,606,940,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1 against! Even if there were one billion viable sequences, the odds would still be 1,606,940,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1 against finding one of them by random mutation!

If you were able to try one billion different sequences every second, it would take 50,920,800,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years to have produced every one. Since the Earth was only supposed to have formed 4.6 billion years ago and life begun 3.8 billion years ago, this gives less than one billion years for random processes to have assembled coding for the first living thing against such massive odds it is difficult for the mind to comprehend them.


To put it more simply, there is more chance of winning the jackpot in the UK lottery in six consecutive draws with the same single entry than finding a viable combination of 100 nucleotides by chance processes: * and this is calculating with an amount of information massively less - orders of magnitude less - than that which would be required for the fictitious, first, living organism to be able to live and breed. You could have an infinite number of universes and it would still be just as impossible, because the odds against it happening would be the same in every one of them. All the calculations used in this section can be seen here.


* The chances of this happening once are 1 in 45,057,474; so six consecutive draws works out at 1 in 8,367,600,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

However, evolutionists blithely ignore the fact that the first living organism required information in its DNA, RNA or whatever control system it had, which had to code to enable it to take in energy and breed and at the same time be capable of evolving into the present DNA/RNA system. The idea this information could be contained in as few as 100 ‘letters’ would be ludicrous. Yet Brian Cox, another well-known atheist, says in the March 2018 issue of National Geographic:*



* Page numbers are rather sparse in this publication. As far as I can tell, this appears four pages before page number three, and five pages after the index! The article is headed, ‘The Value of Perspective’.

There are competing theories as to how life began: to my mind the most compelling is that it emerged in deep-sea hydrothermal vents 3.8 billion years ago. The early appearance of life, not long after the oceans formed on the cooling young planet, suggests that the transition from geochemistry to biochemistry is probable, given the right conditions.

Bearing in mind it is impossible for any living thing to exist without any kind of coding to enable it to live, and the huge amount necessary for the simplest living thing * ever observed, then taking into account the vast odds against a viable sequence not 320,000 long but only 100 long appearing by random means, how on Earth (or anywhere else in the universe!) could this be described as ‘probable’? You have to admire his faith in atheism!

* This is the Carsonella ruddii, which has 320,000 nucleotides but is incapable of independent life and has to live symbiotically on more complex things. The obvious inference here is that it is impossible for anything to be able to live with a smaller genome than this.



* (Note added in April 2018.) New Scientist, 7 April 2018 reported a project to map the entire genome of every living thing on the planet, and said:

“Sequencing all life will also let us retrace evolution and see where each species sits in the family tree.” (Page 43)

I predict that if they place chimp and human genomes alongside each other they will find the number of viable changes to take them back to the supposed common ancestor will exceed the number of changes possible within the evolutionary timeframe by many orders of magnitude.


When it comes to change in living things - evolutionary change - things are no better. The computer programme could make any kind of change to the letters and continue to progress until the correct sequence had found. In real life, every sequence not only must work, enabling the living thing to survive, but be an improvement on what was there previously in order for it to be selected for. I would challenge any molecular biologist to produce a sequence of such changes to DNA * that would be possible to arise through random mutation, each of which would function better than the previous one, and turn one kind of creature into a different kind. I am absolutely certain that such a sequence will never be produced; but without it, the notion it could ever happen is based entirely on blind faith.

So once again, a key creation argument that John Rennie is trying to counter is shown to be valid.

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9 The second law of thermodynamics says that systems must become more disordered over time. Living cells therefore could not have evolved from inanimate chemicals, and multicellular life could not have evolved from protozoa. (SA page 100.)

There is little point in me going into great detail about this. You can call it ‘the second law of thermodynamics’ or you can just call it ‘stuff happens’; the label is of little importance. The one thing every one of us knows is that things never, never, ever become more orderly over time without intelligent input. We see it all around us every day. Evolution is based on the premise that, left on their own, simple things become complex and disorderly systems become orderly. You can talk about open and closed systems, as John Rennie does here, but we all know very well what is in front of our eyes.

The stock answer is that the energy from the sun, pouring heat and light onto the Earth, enables things to become more complex. Well, the sun could shine on a dead body for eternity, it will not bring it back to life again! The sun can shine on a car with an empty fuel tank forever, it will never start until someone puts petrol in the tank again. The sun shining on inanimate matter will never create life, because, as we all know very well, without a mechanism to turn the sun’s rays into energy, all it will do is make it hotter! * Vegetation turns the sun’s rays into energy by means of photosynthesis, and we gain energy from the sun by eating vegetation or things that eat vegetation or things that eat things that eat vegetation. However, photosynthesis requires some very sophisticated equipment that must all be in place and fully functional before it can operate.** The sun shining on chemicals is never going to turn them into such a mechanism, and since nothing ever becomes more orderly or complex on its own, it is never going to happen.



* More on this here


** An example of irreducible complexity.

We are given snowflakes as an example of complex structures that arise spontaneously. Well, if you could demonstrate snowflakes evolving into something other than what we always see when we examine them closely, then perhaps this might be valid. Since you can’t, we know they are simply following the laws of physics and that is the way it works when moisture in the air freezes.

To claim that natural processes which produce complex structures can go on continually to make them more and more complex is the identical error that Darwin made when he assumed the changes he observed due to natural selection could continue indefinitely to produce all living things from a single cell. We now know that it is only increasing the specified complexity of DNA that can create new features, and there is no known mechanism capable of doing it. Likewise, the complexity we can see arising from natural processes can never develop into increased specified complexity

Therefore John Rennie’s complaint about this is invalid.

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10 Mutations are essential to evolutionary theory, but mutations can only eliminate traits. They cannot produce new features.


While John Rennie claims many traits have been catalogued as a result of mutation, the best examples he can give is bacterial resistance to antibiotics and legs in fruit flies growing where antennae used to grow. The actual creationist claim on this topic is that mutation can only produce either damage or apparently neutral change. In the case of these two examples, the ability to ingest bacteria that otherwise would cause harm has been damaged, so the result is advantageous, but it is still damage to the original system; and nothing new has appeared in the flies, but damage has been caused because the legs that would otherwise be useful are now a hindrance. So in both cases, the mutation has caused damage,* and a succession of damaging mutations is never going to produce a useful new feature that was never previously seen in a species.





* Albeit advantageous damage in one case

This is the typical bait-and-switch argument; here giving evidence of damage as evidence of evolution. It is rather like producing before and after photos of a coastal village destroyed by a tsunami as evidence that sometimes a tsunami can create a coastal village. Or rainwater running down a hill as evidence that sometimes rainwater can run up a hill. For new kinds of living things to evolve, new information must appear in the DNA to code for novel features not previously seen in the species. No-one has ever given a single clear-cut example of this taking place - all they can do is speculate about the way it could work, as John Rennie does here with his claims of ‘mechanisms for genetic change that go beyond point mutation’. As with other aspects of evolutionary theory, the absence of evidence is made up for with long descriptions of how it ‘could work’, sometimes accompanied with diagrams and tables. Well, show me photos and examples of how it has happened, and I might be prepared to believe you. Until then I write it off as more faith in an unsubstantiated theory.

Indeed, the work Lenski has been conducting for nearly 30 years, monitoring E. coli on a daily basis for the whole of this time, is often cited by evolutionists as evidence for evolution. However, he has now reached the landmark of observing 60,000 generations, yet the E. Coli is still 100% E. Coli, and there is no sign of it even starting to turn into anything else. You can read about the real implications of his research, including the possibility that it is reaching the stage where it is so mutation-saturated that it may not be able to continue to survive, in the link at the beginning of this paragraph.

John Rennie has shown here his inability to produce any examples that falsify the creationist claim that mutation cannot produce new features,

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11 Natural Selection might explain microevolution, but it cannot explain the origin of new species and higher orders of life.


I am at a loss as to why this section is here at all. There are just two paragraphs, the first of which simply talks about natural selection and the second speculates as to what might happen to enable macroevolution. Since this has already been covered, there is little point in spending time on it.

A spurious point from John Rennie that is so close to the following one it is pointless including it!

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12 Nobody has ever seen a new species evolve.

SA Page 101

In the two paragraphs under this heading, there is nothing that contradicts the statement. However, I should take the opportunity to point out that main-stream creationism would probably not use the above statement, since change through natural selection is not necessarily restricted to species. It can go further into one or two higher classifications.* So to be more precise, the creationist would use the Biblical word ‘kind’. God made everything after its own ‘kind’. Within each of the ‘kinds’ that He made there is variation due to the richness and variety of information in their DNA - different breeds of dogs, etc. - but one ‘kind’ can never evolve into a different ‘kind’.


* The classifications are: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species. The creationist would define ‘kind’ as probably more than just species, but with distinct limitations. In other words, mutation, natural selection and genetic drift could take living things beyond the narrow definition of ‘species’, but could never produce different ‘kinds’. So, for example, if the scientist claims that inability to interbreed has produced a new species (or even genus), the creationist would point out that this has not given rise to a new ‘kind’ of creature - it is just the original one with the inability to breed with some of its former species - and this limited change cannot go on to produce a new kingdom, phylum, class or order.

* i.e. new kingdom, phylum, class or order.

The only example of new species evolving given here, is where some organisms and fruit flies became unable to breed with others. Since this has resulted in nothing new, it may be that a new ‘species’ has appeared when ‘species’ is defined by living things that are able to interbreed, but it certainly has not produced a new ‘kind’, and therefore is not an example of evolution.

John Rennie’s claim here is something of a straw man argument, since creationists refer to new ‘kinds’ being unable to arise, rather than new ‘species’. Since he has given no example of new kinds arising,* the creationist point is shown to be valid.

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13 Evolutionists cannot point to any transitional fossils - creatures that are half reptile and half bird, for instance.


As usual we are subjected to the usual elephant hurling, with Archaeopteryx * being the first on the list. At least he has the grace to report creationists would say this was nothing more than another extinct bird. However, it must surely be an embarrassment that, after claiming a sequence of fossils from Eohippus supposedly revealing the evolution of the horse,** the Tiktaalik is next in the list.

* See here for detail on this (Archaeopteryx is covered toward the end of the piece)

** See here for detail on this.

Evolutionists have been dogmatically telling us that the Tiktaalik is the first transitional form that left the sea and took to the land. However, footprints have been discovered, dated 18 million years earlier (by evolutionary reckoning) than the Tiktaalik’s appearance (see here). So now they have to revise their dates yet again, since it is obvious that footprints could not appear before there were any land creatures to make them, and they have no transitional sea/land creatures dated to the time of the footprints.

The main point though, as I stated in an earlier section, is that with such a tiny handful of disputed fossils for evolutionists to show in support of their theory, it is clear there is a better explanation for them than that 99.999% * of transitional creatures lived and died without trace. One example of a better explanation is that a significant number (perhaps as many as one-third) of dinosaurs have been reclassified since it was discovered that some species were later discovered to have been juvenile versions of other ‘species’! Another is that mutation causing damage or disease could have altered the fossilised structure.** If there were thousands, hundreds, or even just dozens of undisputable transitional fossils, then it would be another matter; but there aren’t.

Since John Rennie accepts the punctuated equilibrium theory as fact, this is an admission that transitional fossils do not exist, since it is an argument to explain their absence!

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* Keep adding 9’s here, as literally billions of transitional things were required for evolution to have taken place.

** For example, some Neanderthal remains have the appearance of rickets.

14 Living things have fantastically intricate features - at the anatomical, cellular and molecular levels - that could not function if they were any less complex or sophisticated. The only prudent conclusion is that they are the products of intelligent design, not evolution.

SA Page 102

The only answer John Rennie gives to this argument is the claim that eyes have evolved independently in various families of organisms, along with the old chestnut that even a primitive eye only able to perceive light vaguely is an advantage over something without an eye at all. However, this is the same error that Darwin made when he assumed the first living cell would be a simple blob that could easily arise. We now know it would have to contain a complex arrangement of information to enable it to live and breed. Likewise, John Rennie tells us that a light-sensitive cell, which by definition is irreducibly complex, could easily appear.

No-one has ever seen a skin cell turn into a light-sensitive cell, so the notion is entirely speculation based on the faith that a Creator does not exist; but even if the miracle were to happen, it would still be useless without a nervous system to transmit information from the cell to the brain, receptors in the brain to receive that information, and a brain adapted to interpret the previously unknown information.* In other words it is an irreducibly complex system, the information for which all would have to appear simultaneously in the DNA in order for it to have any function at all and be preserved by natural selection. As I am not a molecular biologist I have no idea how many nucleotides would be required for this, but to create one protein, hundreds or thousands of amino acids are required, and amino acids are produced from three nucleotides.** Bearing in mind the problem in producing just 100 nucleotides shown under item 8, I think it is blindingly obvious that even this ‘simple’ light-sensitive cell could never arise through random mutation.***

The topic of irreducible complexity appears in the final heading, so I’ll leave any further comments to there. However, since items 14 and 15 are virtually identical, I can only assume they have been split up in order to bring the number up to 15. Presumably he couldn’t think of any others! Once again, John Rennie has failed to answer the topic.

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* Not to mention other factors like protection for the cell (eyes have eyelids) and lubrication for the cell (eyes have tears to wash away anything that might land on and damage them).

** See here and here

*** See here for an animation showing how the information in DNA produces protein - an irreducibly complex system that could not work unless every stage is fully functional. There is no step-by-step evolutionary process that could create this protein building system - it must appear fully functional in order to be preserved by natural selection.

15 Recent discoveries prove that even at the microscopic level, life has a quality of complexity that could not have come about through evolution.


As John Rennie states, it was Michael Behe who put ‘irreducible complexity’ on the map in his book, Darwin’s Black Box. In that book, Behe mentions several highly complex systems found in living things that are made up of multiple parts and could only function when complete.


In particular, the flagellum is one that has probably taken more attention than most, since it is made up of 42 structural protein parts, all of which must be in place before it will function. Of course, John Rennie claims there are simpler forms than this and that evolutionary biologists have answered all Behe’s observations. What he is careful to avoid mentioning, though, is Behe’s follow-up book, The Edge of Evolution, printed several years after the first, in which not only does he point out the evolutionary lobby’s total inability to give a satisfactory evolutionary explanation for the flagellum, but also that they are completely at a loss to explain how the complicated step-by-step process in assembling the flagellum could have evolved.*

Dembski’s specified complexity receives a brief mention, with John Rennie trying to disprove it with examples of complexity. This is a straw-man argument, because the issue is not ‘complexity’ but ‘specified complexity’. At the heart of the matter is the fact that DNA contains information for the creation of everything in every living body. No-one, including John Rennie, is able to give any example of information in any form that could arise, or become increased with more information, by random processes. It would be like shuffling a pack of 52 playing cards * and finding every one of them in a specific order of suit and rank;** then taking another pack, shuffling them, adding them to the first, and still finding them all in a specific order.***




*  See here for a brief animation showing this.




* Complexity
** Specified complexity
*** Increase of specified complexity

The best example I can give of this is the photo I took of a Derbyshire dry stone wall.* In theory it could have happened as a result of a rockslide from a nearby hillside or mountain, with the stones bouncing into position. You know it must have been created by an ‘intelligent designer’ though, because the specified complexity of the wall, with many correct rocks in the right position to enable it all to lock together, could never happen by random causes.

Common sense tells you that the creation and/or increase of specified complexity will never happen without intelligent design, and the inability of John Rennie or anyone else to give an example, proves the fact.

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* A dry stone wall has no mortar or cement: the stones are carefully chosen for shape and size, and positioned on top of each other so they hold together and enable the wall to stand for many decades.

Conclusion


John Rennie is the former editor-in-chief of Scientific American, so one presumes he is the best person they could find to tackle this subject. I have been complaining that he has largely avoided the main creationist arguments, but it is conceivable he could reply that the topic is “Answers to creationist nonsense,” not “Answers to creationist arguments,” and these are things that creationists have said in the past. Well, some with incomplete understanding may have said some of them, and Answers in Genesis have a page on their web site explaining precisely why these arguments should not be made because they are not valid.* But in what is supposed to be a serious, scientific magazine covering such topics as climate change, gun control, vaccines, and food, as well as the creation-evolution debate, with “The science behind the debates” and “Definitive evidence and expert opinion about today’s most controversial topics” on the cover, one expects to find the important issues tackled properly rather than easy shots taken at peripheral issues. The four he did briefly mention were abiogenesis, specified complexity, the fossil record and irreducible complexity. However, what is more telling is what he didn’t write about. He padded his 15 points out with minor issues of little relevance, while ignoring key creationist arguments like:




* See here; but evolutionists are just as guilty (if not more so!) for using invalid arguments and here is a page of some they should avoid, which includes some used by John Rennie in SA.

  • Nathaniel Jeanson’s research * into nuclear and mitochondrial DNA
  • Discoveries of soft tissue and blood vessels in dinosaur remains, proving they could only have become extinct tens of thousands of years ago at the very most
  • The RATE project that better explains the fossil record and the fossils it contains than the evolutionary narrative
  • Measurable variation in C14 and C12 levels in the atmosphere, which significantly effects carbon dating
  • The lie of ‘junk DNA’, which for 40 years was promoted by evolutionists as evidence for evolution, and its exposure that has resulted in massive problems for evolution
  • The Mount St Helens eruption that demonstrated geological layers, and therefore fossils within them, forming very rapidly - in days, weeks or months.
  • Problems for abiogenesis with the Miller-Urey experiment and chirality

* This was published in March, 2013, with a technical paper published in December 2013, so SA cannot make the excuse it didn’t have the information in time for it to be included.

Well, I could go on with more key arguments that have been ignored, but there’s little point as these issues and more can be found on my web site here as well as other sites like Answers in Genesis, Creation Ministries International and Creation. Why have they been ignored, though? John Rennie is supposed to be exposing the fallacies of creationists, but he could only do this by addressing what they actually say, not by taking selected bits he fancies and ignoring the rest.


The reason my web site exists is because after reading Dawkins’ ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ and Pigliucci’s ‘Denying Evolution’, both books purportedly exposing the fallacy of creationism, I realised that with such a high dependence on straw-man, bait-and-switch, and duck-and-dive * arguments, there was nothing to fear for any Bible-believing creationist from them. John Rennie’s article in Scientific American follows them by using the same tactics, and therefore, although he is far higher in science than I ever will be, I have no hesitation in tackling the piece. My authority comes from rather higher, and it is to my Father, who knows exactly how He did it all, that I must answer - no-one else.


* Avoiding the issue

And this is my last word. What I think, what John Rennie thinks, what anyone else thinks, is of no importance whatsoever, because truth is truth, and man-made opinion will not alter that one jot. What is very important though, is if I am wrong, then in 100 years’ time no-one alive today will know, one way or the other. If I am right, then those who choose to ignore their Creator will have already spent up to a century deeply regretting their decision.


Jesus Christ came to Earth to suffer and die in order to make the way open for us to be united with our Creator. I pray everyone reading this will turn to Him in order to appropriate the relationship with Him that is offered to them.*


* More on this here

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.



There is more chance of winning the jackpot in the
UK lottery in six consecutive draws with the same
single entry than finding a viable combination
of 100 nucleotides by chance processes (point 8).

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