I hear all the time that evolution has disproven the Biblical account of creation. For some, this even leads them to discount Christianity or even theism all together. But is the evidence really so strong for evolution?
have a master's degree in biology from a secular university. I've studied
evolution in depth, and the evidence simply doesn't add up. It's not that there isn't
any evidence. There is, but a lot of it depends on your interpretation. There
are alternate interpretations that also make sense of the same exact data - and
often some data that are more difficult for evolution to explain as well.
That's why, overall, the creationist explanation fits better with the evidence.
When you actually study the data and understand both frameworks well, you can
evaluate which fits better. I've done that.
main problem is that too many people evaluate the data with an incorrect view
of the creation framework. They think, for example, that evolution is about
change and creation is about staying the same. So when they see evidence of
biological change, they think it's evidence for evolution and evidence against
creation. But the truth of the matter is that both frameworks agree to a large
extent on what we should see today. Both incorporate change. So you have to dig
into the details of HOW that change occurs to really tell the difference.
Here is a very brief and simplified overview of the two views:
Evolution claims that organisms can
become more complex over time and that information can be added to the genome
through random mutation and natural selection. Evolution also claims that all
organisms originated from a common ancestor and have gradually diverged into
the many forms of life we have today through the buildup of these mutations.
Creation, on the other hand, claims
that organisms were created by God as separate kinds that reproduce only within
their kind. Creation also claims that random genetic changes, while they
certainly do occur, will generally be neutral or degradative with respect to information
content (though degradative changes aren't necessarily harmful to the organism
and may sometimes be a good thing in some environments) and that some genetic changes
may occur due to directed or programmed mutation rather than random mutation.
That’s not as simple as change versus no change.
that to determine which of these frameworks is correct, one has to dig into the
genetic mechanism for each observed change rather than going on more
superficial characteristics like whether it is helpful to the organism.
For example, in the case of antibiotic resistance in bacteria (which is widely
touted as strong evidence for evolution), in nearly every case, the actual
genetic mechanism that confers resistance to the antibiotic involves
dismantling or turning off some component of the cell. In some cases, for
example, it's a pump in the cell membrane that, in normal bacteria, brings
substances into the cell, which allows the antibiotic to enter the cell and
kill it. In resistant bacteria, the pump doesn't work and thus the antibiotic
isn't pumped into the cell. This is very beneficial to the bacteria, of course.
But the kind of change that provided the benefit isn't the kind of change that
explains how the bacteria got there in the first place. It doesn't explain how
bacteria might develop into a more advanced organism. It doesn’t even explain
how the pump in the cell membrane could have developed. The bacteria didn't add
new information. It didn't develop a super power that dissolves antibiotics. It
didn't grow stronger. In fact, in most environments, the non-resistant bacteria
have the advantage because they have a working pump that does what it's
supposed to do. That's why, in the absence of antibiotic pressure, bacterial
populations become non-resistant again. The normal, non-resistant bacteria
outcompete the broken ones that are antibiotic resistant. The actual change in
the resistant bacteria was a degradative one at the genetic and cellular level.
This also explains how antibiotic resistance occurs so easily. There are lots
of ways to break cellular components and, thus, lots of individual mutations
that will have the same effect.
when you look deeper, you'll see that antibiotic resistance is actually good
evidence for the creation framework because it isn't the kind of change that would
produce upward evolution or create new structures. Instead, it's actually a
degradative change on a genetic level, just as creation predicts, which happens
to be beneficial to the bacteria in some circumstances.
Another good example of something that is thought to be evidence for evolution
is speciation. Many people mistakenly believe that the creation view involves
fixed species. This is not the case. What the Bible says is that God created
organisms to reproduce after their kinds.
Assuming that “kinds” and “species” are the same thing is a common mistake. The
modern species concept is useful as far as it goes, but it is largely
subjective where you draw the line. There is no reason to suppose that the
species reflects an actual divide between significantly different organisms.
Thus, there is no reason to think that there could be no speciation events
within Biblical kinds.
The Biblical kind is actually thought (by creation scientists) to be roughly
equivalent to the Family level of taxonomy, although it may vary in different
organisms because the man-made taxonomic system may not always reflect the
difference in kinds consistently. Thus, while speciation has been observed and
there are also many other cases where the evidence for speciation is good, none
of those cases provide any evidence against the creation viewpoint. We
creationists expect speciation and variation within the Biblical kinds. What we
don’t expect (or observe) is evidence of common ancestry for all life.
There are many examples like these where something looks like evidence for
evolution at first glance, but on deeper investigation turns out to be
consistent with creation or even supports creation better. For those who don’t
understand the actual creation framework, it can look like evolution has
mountains of evidence to support it. When you understand what the creation models
actually predict, you realize that it’s more complicated than that. And when
you start evaluating the real creation framework versus the evolutionary one,
you start to see the evidence tip in favor of creation.