Evolution from a Jewish Perspective, Part 3
Note: Asher (Roland) Norman is an author, attorney and Orthodox Jew, living in California. He also lectures on the subject of “The Scientific Case Against Random Macro Evolution (and for Intelligent Design).” He also lectures on the subject of Jewish holiness, explaining the organizing principle of Jewish holiness in separating between life and death regarding food, (kosher laws) intimacy (family purity laws) and time (Shabbat).
This is Part Three of a three-part series on evolution from a Jewish perspective.
The Pre-Biotic Soup
Neo-Darwinists propose first life began from a hypothetical “pre-biotic soup” that contained the necessary raw materials for first life to spontaneously begin its existence from inanimate matter. The pre-biotic soup theory is Darwinist’s primary theory for the origin of life.
There is a problem with this hypothesis. There is no physical evidence for its existence. Such “soup,” according to researchers, would require an oxygen-free environment, since oxygen would react with and destroy the mixture’s essential chemicals. But the absence of oxygen and therefore ozone, a heavy form of oxygen that coats the Earth’s atmosphere in a protective layer, would leave the earth’s surface unshielded from deadly ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Therefore, any ‘new’ life would be instantly and mortally irradiated. Nucleic acid compounds, which form all genetic material, are strong absorbers of ultraviolet light, and are sensitive to damage and mutation. A lethal dose would occur without oxygen in 0.3 seconds to today’s organisms. This helps explain why there is no life on Mars. Also, such a mixture would need many complex organic compounds. But these are unstable and quickly dissolve into solution, so this mixture would not last long enough to breed new molecules.
Finally, there is no evidence this soup ever existed.
Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe stated in 1984:
It does not follow logically that one can start from an organic soup and end up with a living system. There’s no logic that drives you to that conclusion at all. And when we looked at the probabilities of the assembly of organic materials into a living system, it turns out that the improbabilities are really horrendous, horrific in extent, and I concluded along with my colleague (Sir Fred Hoyle) that this could not have happened spontaneously on the earth. In accepting the “primordial soup theory” of the origin of life, scientists have replaced the religious mysteries which shrouded this question with equally mysterious scientific dogmas. (“Lifecloud,” Hoyle and Wickramasighe)
In 1991, the Scientific American summed up the current state of origin of life research quoting Crick,”The origin of life appears to be almost a miracle.”
The Darwinist’s Explanation for the Soup
Miller simulated the supposed early earth atmosphere of methane and ammonia in a glass flask. He then introduced electricity into the flask. The intent of the experiment was to prove life wasn’t a miracle, it was bound to happen.
The result was two amino acids. Other experiments produced other amino acids and compounds needed for life. But scientists were never able to get beyond the simplest amino acids in their simulated primordial environment, and the creation of proteins began to seem not a small step or couple of steps, but a great, perhaps impassable, divide.
The Program of Volcanoes
In the 1970’s scientists concluded the earth’s early atmosphere was nothing like the mixture of gasses used by Miller and Urey. Instead of being what scientists call a “reducing” or hydrogen-rich environment, the earth’s early atmosphere probably consisted of gasses released by volcanoes. There is now a near consensus among geochemists on the point: but put those volcanic gasses in the Miller-Urey apparatus, and the experiment doesn’t work. No building blocks of life. But the textbooks ignore this inconvenient fact and continue to use the Miller-Urey experiment to convince students scientists have showed an important first step in the origin of life. (“Molecular Biology of the Cell” by Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences)
Even if the Urey and Miller experiments did produce the touted results, the conceptual problem with their experiments would remain: they are the result of intelligent design and are not random or the result of chance as would be required by nature. If they prove anything, they prove a designer is necessary. (Note: With the discovery of DNA, there was an additional realization—for more complex structures to appear there must also be an exchange of information that is lacking from this experiment.)
Finally, amino acids are a vast distance from life that can replicate itself. The first living being would need DNA, a biological information system of unbelievable complexity, or there would not be a second living being.
Neo-Darwinist Arguments for Macro-Evolution
The Phylogenetic Tree
Darwinists claim describing animals based upon similarity of their limbs, digestive systems or their blood circulatory systems shows Darwinian descent. They use hypothetical phylogenic tree diagrams to demonstrate this approach. However, organ similarities are not “proof” because the same evidence would also be consistent with intelligent design. It neither “proves” evolution nor design because it is consistent with both. However, the ability to construct a unique tree is required to show macro evolution. Has a “unique tree” been demonstrated by Darwinists? Absolutely not.
There are many instances where the same trait or character appears in independent lineages. For example:
- The auditory system of mammals and insects has the same elements.
- Whales, dolphins and bats all have echolocation systems enabling them to “see” by means of sound waves, like naval sonar systems.
- The taste cells in the tongues of insects and mammals detect the same basic sensations (sweet, bitter, etc.)
- The eye is said to have evolved independently at least 40 times and as many as 65 times.
Darwinists argue somehow these similarities are “proof” for evolution. However, for evolution to work there must be an enormous number of potentially beneficial mutations. Therefore, the possible evolutionary paths from any stage would be extremely large, making a repetition of a previous macro-mutation rather highly unlikely. If there are enough adaptive mutations at each stage to allow evolution to work, convergent evolution must be impossible. Darwinists haven’t explained convergent evolution, they have only labeled their ignorance.
Darwinists point out that different versions of the same animals or plants can be found in various places on earth. Darwinists claim “a Creator would not do it that way.” Ironically, they make a theological argument:
- If animals were specially created, why would the creator produce on different continents fundamentally different animals that nevertheless look and act so much alike?
- Why would an all-powerful creator decide to plant his carefully crafted species on islands and continents in exactly the appropriate pattern to suggest, irresistibly they had evolved and dispersed from the site of their evolution?
This is a weak “theological” argument and is not a scientific argument. Secular scientists are hardly in a position to know what God would or would not do. Further, Lee M Spetner has provided an answer: he has showed independent populations of animals and plants can change and adapt to new environments in response to environmental input.
Darwinists make another “theological” argument that “a Creator would not put useless organs into His Creatures.” Once again, theological arguments are not science. This argument is also flawed because it is not possible to tell an organ has no use because its use may not have yet been discovered. 120 years ago, a list was published with 86 human organs believed to be vestigial. One by one, they were found to have be functional. The appendix is still touted as “the most famous” vestigial. It turns out it is not only functional but lit plays a critical role. It is a storage place for gut bacteria that repopulate the gut after diarrheal illness. When gut bacteria are depleted during a diarrheal illness, pathogens present would have free reign and could cause serious illness. This catastrophe is prevented by the bacteria stored in the appendix and it could save your life.
No Time for Evolution: The Burgess Shale Fossil Discovery
Charles Doolittle Wolcott was a Paleontologist and the Director of the Smithsonian, Washington DC. He discovered in the Burgess Pass, 8000 feet high in the Canadian Rockies, shale rocks that reveal the origin of life. (Cover Story, Time magazine Dec. 4, 1995)
Walcott shipped 60–80,000 fossils to the Smithsonian in Washington DC which proves the significance of this discovery to him. He made the discovery in 1909. He suppressed the significance of the discovery until he died. Finally, 80 years later, graduate students released the news of the discovery. In 1989 it was published in a book by Jay Gould, “The Wonderful Life.” In November 1992, it was published in the Scientific American and in Dec. 4, 1995, as the cover story in Time magazine (Evolution’s Big Bang):
Life has occupied the planet for nearly four billion of its 4.5 billion years. But until about 600 million years ago, there were no organisms more complex than bacteria, multicelled algae and single-celled plankton. The first hint of biological ferment was a plethora of mysterious palm-shape, frond-like creatures (Ediacaran fauna) that vanished as inexplicably as they appeared.
Then, 543 million years ago, in the early Cambrian, within the span of no more than 10 million years, creatures with teeth and tentacles and claws and jaws materialized with the suddenness of apparitions. In a burst of creativity like nothing before or since, nature appears to have sketched out the blueprints for virtually the whole of the animal kingdom. This explosion of biological diversity is described by scientists as biology’s Big Bang.
Since 1987, discoveries in China, in Greenland, Sweden, Siberia and in Namibia have shown this period of biological innovation occurred at virtually the same instant in geologic time all-around the world.
These discoveries have shown it was during the Cambrian Era “nature” invented the animal body plans that define the broad biological groupings known as phyla, which encompass everything from classes and orders to families, genera and species. For example, the chordate phylum includes mammals, birds and fish. The class Mammilla, in turn, covers the primate order, the hominid family, the genus Homo and our own species Homo sapiens.
There is no fossil record of life above the single cell and the brief appearance of the Ediacaran Fauna before the Cambrian explosion. There is no record of new phyla emerging later on, not even in the wake of mass extinction that occurred 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period.
This explains the absence of transitional fossils. There was not a transition, in geological terms, all the body types were created “at once,” which is profound evidence of design.
Evidence for Design in the Universe
The Anthropic Principle
According to a growing numbers of scientists, the laws and constants of nature are so “finely-tuned,” and so many “coincidences” have occurred to allow for the possibility of life, the universe must have come into existence through intentional planning and intelligence. In fact, this “fine-tuning” is so pronounced, and the “coincidences” are so numerous, many scientists have come to espouse The Anthropic Principle, which contends the universe was brought into existence intentionally for the sake of producing mankind.
In his best-selling book, “A Brief History of Time,” Stephen Hawking (perhaps the world’s most famous cosmologist) refers to the phenomenon as “remarkable.”
The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers (i.e., the constants of physics) seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life. For example, if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium, or else they would not have exploded. It seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers (for the constants) that would allow for development of any form of intelligent life. Most sets of values would give rise to universes that, although they might be very beautiful, would contain no one able to wonder at that beauty.
Hawking then goes on to say he can appreciate taking this as possible evidence of “a divine purpose in Creation and the choice of the laws of science (by God)”
Professor Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in high energy physics (a field of science that deals with the very early universe), writing in the journal “Scientific American,” reflects on how surprising it is the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe should allow for the existence of beings who could observe it. Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quantities had slightly different values.
Although Weinberg is a self-described agnostic, he cannot but be astounded by the extent of the fine-tuning. He goes on to describe how a beryllium isotope having the minuscule half-life of 0.0000000000000001 seconds must find and absorb a helium nucleus in that split of time before decaying. This occurs only because of an unexpected, exquisitely precise, energy match between the two nuclei. If this did not occur there would be none of the heavier elements. No carbon, no nitrogen, no life. Our universe would be composed of hydrogen and helium. But this is not the end of professor Weinberg’s wonder at our well-tuned universe.
One constant does seem to require an incredible fine-tuning — The existence of life of any kind seems to require a cancellation between different contributions to the vacuum energy, accurate to about 120 decimal places. This means if the energies of the Big Bang were, in arbitrary units, not:
0000000000000000000000000000000000000000, but instead:
there would be no life of any sort in the entire universe because as Weinberg states: ‘the universe either would go through a complete cycle of expansion and contraction before life could arise, or would expand so rapidly that no galaxies or stars could form.
Michael Turner, the widely quoted astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and Fermilab, describes the fine-tuning of the universe with a simile: “The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bull’s-eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side.”
Roger Penrose, the Rouse Ball professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, stated:
“The likelihood of the universe having usable energy (low entropy) at the creation is even more astounding, namely, an accuracy of one part out of ten to the power of ten to the power of 123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full, in our ordinary denary (power of ten) notation: it would be one followed by ten to the power of 123 successive zeros.” (That is a million billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion zeros.) (That’s a million followed by 13 billion zeros.)
Professor John Wheeler was most eloquent in his summation of this issue:
To my mind, there must be at the bottom of it all, not an utterly simple equation, but an utterly simple idea. And to me that idea, when we finally discover it, will be so compelling, and so inevitable, so beautiful, we will all say to each other, “How could it have ever been otherwise?
The overriding supremacy of the myth of Neo-Darwinism has created a widespread illusion the theory of (macro) evolution was all but proved one hundred years ago and all subsequent biological research — paleontological, zoological and in the newer branches of genetics and molecular biology — has provided ever increasing evidence for Darwinian ideas. Nothing could be further from the truth. (“Darwin on Trial”, Phillip E. Johnson 2010)
The fact is the evidence was so patchy 100 years ago that even Darwin himself had increasing doubts as to the validity of his views, and the only aspect of his theory which has received any support over the past century is where it applies to micro-evolutionary phenomena. All the evidence for macro-evolution which is required to produce a new species is based upon micro-evolution, but micro-evolution cannot produce a new species.
Charles Darwin’s General Theory of Evolution that all life on earth had originated and evolved by a gradual successive accumulation of fortuitous mutations, is still, as it was in Darwin’s time, a highly speculative hypothesis. It is still entirely without direct factual support and very far from that self-evident axiom some of its more aggressive advocates would have us believe.
Darwin believed in “macro-evolution” but that GOD was the designer behind it. He stated in Origin of Species, (sixth ed.) page 408 1862 in the final sentence in his book:
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one, and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Stephen Jay Gould, in his book, “Eight Little Piggies: Reflections in Natural History,” The Harvard professor (and a follower of Darwin) falsified the final sentence of Darwin’s book:
- Gould purported to “quote” Darwin saying, “There is grandeur in this view of life…whilst this planet has gone cycling…” (“Eight Little Piggies,” Norton, 1993)
- On pages 179 and 217 of Gould’s book he twice deleted “having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one…” from Darwin’s conclusion in order to eliminate Darwin’s reference to GOD.
This falsified “quote” by Gould perfectly captures what Darwinists have done. They have turned evolution into a materialist, secular religion.
Macro-evolution is faith based and is not based upon evidence or provable facts. In other words, Neo-Darwinism is religion pretending to be science.
Evolution from a Jewish Perspective – Part 1— Koinonia House
Evolution from a Jewish Perspective – Part 2— Koinonia House
The Miller-Urey experiment— Truth in Science
Topical Bible Study: Creation/Evolution — Koinonia House
Judaism: Judaism and Evolution— Jewish Virtual Library
The Theory of Evolution – A Jewish Perspective— US National Library of Medicine
– FROM: KHouse.Org