Like many controversial topics, the term “evolution” can have different meanings to different people. In this article, I am not referring to the micro-evolution definition of “If a furry animal is in a cold climate, its descendants will grow thicker fur.” That is simply adaptation among existing characteristics, and to my knowledge is not controversial. I’m addressing the generic macro-evolution definition expressed in popular culture as:
Everything in the natural realm exists without intentional action or direction.
The material universe just happens to exist as it does, with no external source behind it.
Life happened spontaneously, arising by chemical processes from the “primordial slime”.
The different species are caused by unintentional mutations that get selected as being more beneficial.
There is no need for any reference to a Creator.
There is no reason to expect humans to be anything more than an advanced animal.
Note that I am aware of how broad and over-simplified the above definition is. However, these are the kinds of concepts that I see being taken for granted in any conversation that assumes evolution to be true. As to why these concepts bother me……
My “spiritual” answer is that it is an insult to God. It is another symptom of our general rebellion against Him, another way of trying to avoid being responsible to Him. If He didn’t create the world, then we are free to do our own thing without deferring to Him.
My non-spiritual answer that it just doesn’t make sense. For instance, the information that creates this website didn’t happen by itself. It took me as a developer, using software tools created by other developers, running on an Internet created and maintained by yet other developers, on hardware designed and built by even more developers. To believe that the intelligence in all those human developers evolved by mindless un-directed processes, when the software and hardware that they built did not, takes more faith than I can muster. I wouldn’t appreciate it if you said that I don’t exist, that this website would be here anyway because it just happened to build itself over time as bits and bytes bumped into each other in cyberspace!
I also note that even those who claim to believe the popular definition of evolution don’t stand by it. They say things like “Nature made a way for …. ” or “Animal X evolved to match its eco-system” or “This trait is perfectly designed to suit the environment”. Do you catch what that is saying? It’s ascribing intent in advance of the reality, something that only a directed process can have. So, who is that director?
The more I learn about the physical and biological world, the more I see evidence that it requires a Creator. Now, whether that Creator is the God of the Bible vs. some other vastly powerful, intelligent Designer, may be a topic for a different article. But the existence of something (or someone) with the desire and ability to cause the universe to happen seems to me to be self-evident.
Here are links discussing some of the things that I don’t believe could happen spontaneously or by default.
- The incredible detail inside a single cell 1 2
- The immense power of a super-nova 3 4
- The amount of information in DNA 5 6
- The fine-tuned design of the universe 7 8
- The Cambrian Explosion, and the lack of intermediate species or fossils 9 10
- Irreducible Complexity (multi-part biological functions that cannot be built gradually, one mutation at a time, best articulated by Michael Behe 11 12 13).
Besides the physical/biological world, generic macro-evolution gives no good explanation as far as I know for our inner psychological/emotional/moral world. That includes intangible (but real) things like:
- Our search for meaning (An animal doesn’t appear to wonder “Why am I here? What is my purpose?”)
- Our ability to care about things well beyond ourselves (An animal doesn’t worry about another species going extinct.)
- Our sense of justice (An animal may not like being prey, but it doesn’t think “That’s not fair!”)
- Our sense of morality (We may not like to see the predator animal in action, but we don’t think it’s “wrong” and “should” behave differently.)
- Our sense of beauty (An animal doesn’t appear to enjoy art, or spend time creating something with no practical use.)
- Our negative emotions: anger, envy, hatred (Animals don’t plot revenge).
- Our sense that the world shouldn’t be this way. People shouldn’t go hungry; children shouldn’t get sick; no one should be oppressed. Any “should” is a comparison to some un-realized ideal situation, that would not even be a consideration in a mindless, mechanical world.
Footnotes and Scripture References
- Genesis 1:1
- Romans 5:12