The Co-inherence, Reciprocity, and Mutual Self-Destruction of Evolution, Long Ages, and the Big Bang – Part 1

Though often fragmented and treated by Christians as separate issues, biological evolution,[1] long ages and the Big Bang are three facets on one naturalistic picture of the universe.[2] Each of these facets is needed to maintain the whole picture: without evolutionary process, the age of the earth, and so the universe and its origins, needs to be reevaluated to explain the fossil record, the deposits of carbon under the earth (oil and coal), and the origin of life—especially humanity. If the Big Bang were to be thrown out, then the nature and age of the earth need to be reevaluated, as well as the supposition of naturalistic development over long ages. This of course affects biological evolution, which requires long ages to function. Lastly, if the earth were younger than suggested, evolution and the cosmic evolution described by the Big Bang would have to be radically reevaluated in terms of their time scale—especially, in the latter case, the coalescence of planets (Nebular Hypothesis).

If this is true, then some things need to change. On the one hand, those Christians who reject naturalistic evolution would have to abandon or produce radically different explanations for long ages and the Big Bang. On the other, it would no longer be reasonable to prop up the failings of one part of this worldview with the supposed “proof” for the others; for if one piece fails, they all fall down. A brief examination of suggested flaws in these theories and the resulting self-destruction of the worldview should serve to bolster this point. Beginning with the weakest piece, we will look at the two of the bigger scientific flaws of naturalistic evolution and their effect on the whole structure (Part 1); then, a few of the historical, theological, and scientific flaws with the old earth (Part 2); and conclude with a few of the many problems plaguing the Lambda Cold Dark Matter (ΛCDM) model of the Big Bang (Part 3).

Naturalistic Evolution

Two of the biggest problems facing naturalistic evolution are the problem of origin of life and the evolution of information. Naturalism has no explanation for how life first began; the best theories lack any evidence, idealize the conditions of the earth that would be highly destructive to life—according to their own worldview—, and lack a mechanism for evolution—for natural selection is based on reproduction which itself must evolve.[3] Theistic Evolution can avoid this issue by the supposition that God began the process, but when one assumes that God is active in His creation in this way, the presupposed naturalistic worldview that drives evolution—the attempt to seek a non-theistic explanation for all that we observe in the natural world—falls apart. That shift in worldview demands a reevaluation of the evidence presented by naturalistic sciences through a theistic lens—namely that furnished by God’s revelation in Scripture. If one allows this divine foot in the door, the atheistic presuppositions propping up long ages and the Big Bang fall apart and so the evidence there also demands a reevaluation (these presuppositions include, but are not limited to, the belief that earth has no special place in the universe, that there is no special place for man, and that death is a natural and even key part of the universe).[4]

 

Even if, somehow, the origin of life—whether on this planet or another—were explained, the greater dilemma of how random processes such as natural selection can produce the information needed for the evolution of new organisms remains (i.e., single-celled life to multicellular life, a dinosaur to a bird…).[5] The charge that evolution cannot produce new information is sometimes misunderstood, so it deserves to be clarified. If information is considered as brute data, the number of symbols regardless the meaningfulness of these symbols (known as Shannon Information), then evolution does indeed produce new information. However, it does not produce the information naturalistic evolution requires. A demonstration of the inadequacy of Shannon information can be easily demonstrated by the comparison of two lines of symbols: “Socrates is a man” and “1220100003450000100926.” Now, what group of symbols has more information content? Our first assumption would be that the answer is the former—for it is a proposition that makes grammatical sense and conveys truth—, but according to Shannon theory, the answer is the latter. Shannon information weighs symbol quantity, here 17 vs. 22. But in biological life, the number of symbols does not determine the viability of an organism, the function of the symbols does. Natural selection is able to shuffle the information found in DNA, but it is not able to introduce brand new information that is not already in the genetic mix of the parent organisms. So to explain the emergence of new information in DNA, scientists introduce mutations. This affirms the inability for natural selection to produce information: “When they begin to talk about mutations, evolutions tacitly acknowledge that natural selection, by itself, cannot explain the rise of new genetic information.”[6] However, mutations likewise only work with existing information; they can produce new traits by causing corruptions in existing DNA but cannot create new information.[7]

This produces three problems: first, because there is no known mechanism for the introduction of gross amounts of new information, we find that evolution is a process of specification.[8] Under the influence of natural selection, a group of creatures once having a large capacity for variation is continually specified and each specified creature loses information, with the result that it is often unable to breed with the same degree of variation as its ancestor. This loss of information explains all observed cases of “evolution” (speciation) in nature and labs, even the prized examples presented by evolutionary popularizer Richard Dawkins.[9]

The second problem has been called genetic entropy: as mutations build up in an organism, it will eventually reach a point of critical mass where every successive generation will receive debilitating and deadly defects.[10] An illustration of this point can be seen from the world of dogs and man. With dogs, specialized breeds are plagued with disease, for they have been interbred to the point where destructive mutations are shared by both parents and are inevitably passed on to descendants. With humans, it is well known that the children of incestuous relationships have a much higher chance of suffering from serious diseases; this is because both parents share a similar gene pool and harmful mutations found in both parents are much more likely to be passed on. Information lastly challenges evolutionary naturalism because of the very nature of information.

DNA is highly complex and efficient system for storing information, but like all information storage systems, the information is useless without an interpreter. A naturalist does not just have to show how DNA, in all its efficiency and complexity, emerged randomly, but he has to explain how the mechanism needed to interpret the code found in DNA emerged simultaneously. That is, DNA is useless without the machinery in cells that unfolds its programming: they must appear together or they each are useless. Now, explaining the evolution of DNA is hard enough itself, for DNA is the best storage system known to man. Jonathan Sarfati illustrates its capacity like this,

To illustrate further, the amount of information that could be stored in a pinhead’s volume of DNA is staggering. It is the equivalent information content of a pile of paperback books over 300 times as tall as the distance from earth to the moon, each with a different, yet specific content. Putting it another way, a pinhead of DNA would have the equivalent information of a pile of CDs 1,000 miles high, or 40 million times as much as a 100-gigabyte hard drive.[11]

How much more difficult is it to explain the evolution of DNA and its interpreting equipment simultaneously! Furthermore, the only known source of information that we know is intelligence, and the only things we know that can interpret information are intelligent beings or their creations (such as computers).[12]

Again, this affects the other perspectives on naturalism; if the naturalistic worldview fails to address the biggest issues facing biological evolution and so allows a divine foot in the door, the effort to keep God out of cosmological and geological evolution will also fail. A failure of biological evolution again entails a reevaluation of all our assumptions about the fossil record and the long ages entailed by evolution, which will affect our timeline of the universe and the formation of planets.

 

The pattern should now be obvious; a reevaluation of so-called evolution entails a reevaluation of the whole of the naturalistic worldview it represents. For Christians, their evaluation of evolution must affect their opinion on long ages and the Big Bang, but it also goes the other way. Accepting evolution means accepting other presupposed facets of the secular worldview, especially death before the fall—if one accepts the fall at all. There can be no doubt that Scripture teaches animal death—and not just human death—as a terrible evil that has resulted from sin, yet evolution requires millions of years of animal and pre-human death by the most horrific means.[13] If natural death is normal, sin, in the end, can only result in spiritual death, but this gives us no hope for the coming new heavens and the new earth. There Eden is to be restored and the effects of Adam’s sin are to be undone; the creation that groans as in the pains of childbirth (i.e. the horrible effects of the curse, Gen. 3:16, Rom. 8:18-25) is to find relief (Rom. 8:23-25, Rev. 21:3-4). Yet, if death is part of God’s good creation, then we can expect the new earth and heavens to be full of death, pain, and cancer: these were never bad things, but parts of God’s good creation. Why should we expect them to be undone?[14] If God could call them good in his first act of creation, why cannot they be considered good in His recreation?[15]


[1] Evolution, unless otherwise specified, refers in this and following posts to the Grand Theory of Evolution, that natural processes have produced the vast variety of organisms we see from a single ancestor. There is good evidence for evolution in the sense of speciation, adaptation and specification of existing information in creatures—how all the dog species we have come from the same ancestral species. Creationists call the group of related species a created kind. Created kinds don’t necessarily line up with the taxonomy of contemporary biology.

[2] These facets could also be considered as different perspectives on a single naturalistic picture of the origins of our universe. Considered from the perspective of evolution—unguided and purposeless change driven by naturalistic material forces—, long ages describes the period through which the universe and especially life evolves and the Big bang describes the origin of this process. Considered from the perspective of long ages, the evolution of life describes the progression of biological life forms through time and the Big Bang the unraveling of physics on matter through time. Considered from the perspective of naturalistic origins, long ages marks the beginning of the universe long ago and provides the period within which all things came to exist, biological evolution describes the origin of life within the cosmic evolution unfolding from the Big Bang, the ultimate beginning. So the big bang describes origins, complemented by the nebular hypothesis (origins of star systems) and abiogenesis (the origin of life); the Grand Theory of Evolution describes the process by which variation in life emerges, complemented by cosmic evolution (physics acting on matter in the universe) and geology (the naturalistic processes producing the features of our world); long ages describes time, and so the period within which evolution unfolds and the supposedly distant origins of our universe.

[3] See Jonathan D. Sarfati, “Loopholes in the Evolutionary Theory of the Origin of Life: Summary,” accessed March 15, 2016, http://creation.com/loopholes-in-the-evolutionary-theory-of-the-origin-of-life-summary; Jonathan D. Sarfati, “Origin of Life: Instability of Building Blocks,” Journal of Creation 13, no. 2 (November 1999): 124–127; Jonathan D. Sarfati, “Origin of Life: The Chirality Problem,” Journal of Creation 12, no. 3 (December 1998): 263–266; Jonathan D. Sarfati, “Origin of Life: The Polymerization Problem,” Journal of Creation 12, no. 3 (December 1998): 281–284; Jonathan D Sarfati, The Greatest Hoax on Earth, First Edition. (Atlanta, Ga.: Creation Book Publishers, 2010), 223–248; Swee-Eng Aw, “Origin of Life Critique,” Journal of Creation 10, no. 3 (December 1996): 300–314.

[4] The desire to exclude God drives this naturalistic worldview, the refusal to allow the divine foot in the door: “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.” Richard C. Lewontin, “Billions and Billions of Demons,” The New York Review of Books, accessed March 14, 2016, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1997/01/09/billions-and-billions-of-demons/. Emphasis in bold added. Cf. Rom. 1:20-23: “20For 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. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (ESV)

[5] For the most thorough discussion of information and the dilemma it poses for evolution, see Werner Gitt, In the Beginning Was Information: A Scientist Explains the Incredible Design in Nature (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2005); Werner Gitt, Without Excuse, trans. Bob Compton and Jorge Fernandez, 1st ed. (Atlanta, Ga.: Creation Book Publishers, 2011).

[6] Jonathan D. Sarfati, Refuting Evolution. 2 (Green Forest, Ariz.: Master Books, 2002), 79.

[7] Cf. Ibid., 102; Sarfati, The Greatest Hoax on Earth. Alterations to the genes of flies have produced legs in the place of antennae, but these legs were functionless and impaired the creature. The new legs did not demonstrate new information, but were merely the result of the misapplication of existing information—the information for legs was already there; the altered gene only caused them to be grown in the wrong place.

[8] Evolution unfolds the potential for diversity in DNA, it doesn’t create it.

[9] See especially, Jonathan D Sarfati, Refuting Compromise : A Biblical and Scientific Refutation of Progressive Creationism (billions of Years) as Popularized by Astronomer Hugh Ross (Green Forest, Ariz.: Master Books, 2004); Sarfati, The Greatest Hoax on Earth; Sarfati, Refuting Evolution. 2; Jonathan D. Sarfati, Refuting Evolution (Green Forest, Ariz.: Master Books, 2001); Jonathan D. Sarfati, By Design, First Edition. (Atlanta, Ga.: Creation Book Publishers, 2008); Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, 1st Free Press trade pbk. ed. (New York: Free Press, 2010).

[10] Robert Carter, “Genetic Entropy and Simple Organisms,” Creation.com, accessed March 15, 2016, http://creation.com/genetic-entropy-and-simple-organisms; Royal Truman, “From Ape to Man Via Genetic Meltdown at Theory in Crisis,” Journal of Creation 21, no. 1 (April 2007): 43–47; David Catchpoole, “Time—No Friend of Evolution,” Creation Magazine, July 2012.

[11] Sarfati, Refuting Evolution, 121.

[12] Gitt, In the Beginning Was Information; Gitt, Without Excuse. Someone may object that animals communicate all the time. We could include animals as “intelligent” or, better, we can make the point that no animal can master an abstract language as even a human baby can. Animals are unable to learn a true system of language, were symbols and sounds don’t point to external referents or contain their meaning within themselves but are arbitrary conventions used to convey inter-syntactical relationships that only sometimes refer to extralinguistic realities. E.g., “Socrates is a man”: there is nothing inherent in the symbols M-A-N making it necessary that they refer to a male human; they could as easily refer to a banana. Further, “is” only has meaning within the sentence in that it is a syntactical marker indicating that the person Socrates is a male human being; it has refers to no extralinguistic reality (so with conjunctions, e.g., “for”).

[13] The sacrificial system requires that animal death be something unnatural, a consequence of sin. The first instance of permission to eat animals is with Noah, Adam and Eve were only instructed to eat of the fruit of the garden. The first mention of animal death is when God slaughters an animal to cover their nakedness, after the fall and to deal with its consequences. Romans 8:18-25 and similar passages also suggest as much. In the new heavens and the new earth, the peace that will exist is pictured as a restoration of this state, with animals living in peace and the animosity between serpents and man removed (Isa. 11:6-9, 65:25; cf. Rev. 21:3-4). Plant “death” and insect “death” are never so regarded.

[14] See coming blog post on the theological ramifications of importing the secular worldview implied in Evolution, long age geology, and Big Bang cosmology.

[15] This is of course inconsistent with the biblical picture, but imagery such as the lion and the lamb in harmony are meant to image glory by the pre-fall world. Both go inseparably together.

Selected Bibliography

Aw, Swee-Eng. “Origin of Life Critique.” Journal of Creation 10, no. 3 (December 1996): 300–314.
Carter, Robert. “Genetic Entropy and Simple Organisms.” Creation.com. Accessed March 15, 2016. http://creation.com/genetic-entropy-and-simple-organisms.
Catchpoole, David. “Time—No Friend of Evolution.” Creation Magazine, July 2012.
Dawkins, Richard. The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. 1st Free Press trade pbk. ed. New York: Free Press, 2010.
Gitt, Werner. In the Beginning Was Information: A Scientist Explains the Incredible Design in Nature. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2005.
———. Without Excuse. Translated by Bob Compton and Jorge Fernandez. 1st ed. Atlanta, Ga.: Creation Book Publishers, 2011.
Lewontin, Richard C. “Billions and Billions of Demons.” The New York Review of Books. Accessed March 14, 2016. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1997/01/09/billions-and-billions-of-demons/.
Sarfati, Jonathan D. The Greatest Hoax on Earth. First Edition. Atlanta, Ga.: Creation Book Publishers, 2010.
———. By Design. First Edition. Atlanta, Ga.: Creation Book Publishers, 2008.
———. “Loopholes in the Evolutionary Theory of the Origin of Life: Summary.” Accessed March 15, 2016. http://creation.com/loopholes-in-the-evolutionary-theory-of-the-origin-of-life-summary.
———. “Origin of Life: Instability of Building Blocks.” Journal of Creation 13, no. 2 (November 1999): 124–127.
———. “Origin of Life: The Chirality Problem.” Journal of Creation 12, no. 3 (December 1998): 263–266.
———. “Origin of Life: The Polymerization Problem.” Journal of Creation 12, no. 3 (December 1998): 281–284.
———. Refuting Compromise : A Biblical and Scientific Refutation of Progressive Creationism (Billions of Years) as Popularized by Astronomer Hugh Ross. Green Forest, Ariz.: Master Books, 2004.
———. Refuting Evolution. Green Forest, Ariz.: Master Books, 2001.
———. Refuting Evolution. 2. Green Forest, Ariz.: Master Books, 2002.
Truman, Royal. “From Ape to Man Via Genetic Meltdown at Theory in Crisis.” Journal of Creation 21, no. 1 (April 2007): 43–47.

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