Modern evolutionary theory has been formulated against the backdrop of existing highly developed biological diversity. Evolutionists work backwards, presupposing naturalism and materialism, looking for a mechanism to account for what they see.
They don’t begin with the evidence; the evidence, such as it is, is forced to fit into an already structured materialistic paradigm. The evidence is made to fit the theory.
The first step to take when you are engaged in an argument is to understand that neutrality is impossible, even among scientists:
Beware of the man who tells you that he will explain—fully explain—any complex human action or event by resort[ing] to “coldly objective,” “empirically verifiable,” “statistical data.” He is deceiving himself, and perhaps seeking to deceive you. For in the first place we do not all see the same event in exactly the same way, let alone interpret it the same way—not even events which do not involve the complicating factor of human purpose. ((Sylvester Petro, The Kingsport Strike (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1967), 27–28.))
Archeological, biological, astronomical, and geological evidences do not speak for themselves. Observational evidence and non-existent “evidence” (the origin of life) are always interpreted in terms of the operating assumptions of the interpreter. Before an argument begins, it’s necessary to flush out the operating assumptions of the person you are engaging with so not as to fall into the trap that somehow facts and evidences brought to the debate are neutral:
Facts do not come with interpretation tags, telling us how to view them…. Both sides haggle over the facts. Both sides search for new facts to add to their arsenals. Both sides raise accusations, yet it’s a rare day indeed when both sides acknowledge that their differences stem from something much more basic than facts. Their differences are rooted in opposing worldviews, which in turn are permeated with philosophical assumptions and commitments.” ((William D. Watkins, “Whose Facts Anyway?,” Christian Research Journal (24:2), 60.))
This approach makes evolutionary theory more of a philosophy or a made-up religion than science.
Evolutionists would do better in making their case to start with the most primordial elements of their version of “creation” to account for the mechanism that brought about so much biological complexity and diversity. “The difficulty [in defining evolution] arises because the word evolution can be used in different senses, and equivocation can easily confuse people. In one sense evolution just means common descent—that living creatures are all related to a common ancestor…. In another sense evolution is sometimes used to mean Darwin’s particular theory” of natural selection that results in one species evolving into another. ((Michael Behe, “Darwin’s Breakdown,” Signs of Intelligence: Understanding Intelligent Design, eds. William A. Dembski and James M. Kushiner (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press/Baker Book House, 2001), 91.))
The most basic definition of evolution, when not identified with biology, is “the process of change or development over a period of time.” With this definition, anything can be said to evolve.
Tim Berra, professor of zoology at Ohio State University, compares biological evolution to the technological evolution of the Corvette and things in general. They are not the same:
Everything evolves, in the sense of “descent with modification,” whether it be government policy, religion, sports cars, or organisms. The revolutionary fiberglass Corvette evolved from more mundane automotive ancestors in 1953. Other high points in the Corvette’s evolutionary refinement included the 1962 model, in which the original 102-inch was shortened to 98 inches and the new closed-coupe Stingray model was introduced; the 1968 model, the forerunner of today’s Corvette morphology, which emerged with removable roof panels; and the 1978 silver anniversary model, with fastback styling. Today’s version continues the stepwise refinements that have been accumulating since 1953. The point is that the Corvette evolved through a selection process acting on variations that resulted in a series of transitional forms and an endpoint rather distinct from the starting point. A similar process shapes the evolution of organisms. ((Tim Berra, Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: A Basic Guide to the Facts in the Evolution Debate (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999), 118–119. ))
Berra is equivocating. The word evolution is being used in two different ways. Their meanings are not equal. Corvettes are conceived, designed, and manufactured by human beings.
According to an evolutionist like Berra, there is no designer or the stuff necessary to build any type of life. The probability of cellular life arising from non-living matter (abiogenesis) is about one-in-1040,000.
Fred Hoyle (1915–2001), who was not a creationist by any stretch of the definition, used the following analogy to explain the impossibility of life emerging spontaneously even if all the elements for life were present:
A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing 747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there? So small as to be negligible, even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards to fill the whole Universe. ((Fred Hoyle, The Intelligent Universe: A New View of Creation and Evolution (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winton, 1988), 19.))
While giving an apt analogy of why non-directed evolution is impossible, Hoyle equivocates by using the word “creation” with “evolution.” Creation is an act of a person. Forces, theories, and laws do not create.
Equivocation is derived from the Latin for “equal” (equi) “voice” (vox). A word is used univocally “if it has the same meaning throughout a given context.” A word is used “equivocally if one or more other meanings are equally possible…. Fallacies of equivocation are arguments in which two different senses of a key word or phrase are confused. The word or phrase remains the same but the meaning carries shifts in the course of the statement or argument.” ((S. Morris Engel, With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies, 5th ed. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994], 96, 98.))
For example: No one who has the slightest acquaintance with science can reasonably doubt that the miracles in the Bible actually took place. Every year we witness new miracles of modern science such as cell-phone technology, computers, antibiotics, heart transplant operations, space travel, to name just a few.
Technological progress is not a miracle in the same way that turning water into wine or a man rising from the dead are miracles.
Long before Charles Darwin published his On the Origin of Species, dog, horse, and cattle breeders ((William Warfield, The Theory and Practice of Cattle-Breeding (Chicago: J. H. Sanders, 1889), 85. Quoted in Mark A. Noll and David N. Livingstone, eds., Evolution, Science, and Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 28.)) knew about the positive and negative effects of acquired traits in selective breeding. In fact, as with “natural selection,” Darwin formulated his theory with this practice in mind.
Darwin had extrapolated the power of artificial selection in producing breeds to the power of natural selection in an extended geological time producing unique creatures with new genes and body structures. But neither artificial selection nor natural selection can ever extend beyond the confines of the closed permanent boundary of a distinct creature. And this was Darwin’s mistake. (Source)
We see small changes within our own families, but these can hardly be described as “evidence for evolution.”
Given evolutionary assumptions, supposedly microevolution took place from inanimate matter (which must be accounted for) to animate matter—chemical microevolution to biological evolution. We are back to spontaneous generation.
By evolution, I mean something-from-nothing, molecule-to-man transformation. If a scientist can’t demonstrate something-from-nothing evolution, then the entire theory is scientifically suspect. Small changes in species over time does not prove the molecule-to-man hypothesis.
Macroevolution is the occurrence of large-scale changes that result in one species evolving into another. Macroevolution is said to be “the result of a lot of microevolution over a long period of time.”
The fossil record does not show incremental changes from one species into another new species. “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology…. [T]o preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.” ((Stephen J. Gould, “Evolution’s erratic pace,” Natural History (1977), 86:14.))
Niles Eldredge, the co-developer along with Gould of the evolutionary theory they’ve described as “punctuated equilibrium,” writes, “No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seems to happen.” ((Niles Eldredge, Reinventing Darwin (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1995), 95. Quoted in Philip J. Sampson, 6 Modern Myths About Christianity and Western Civilization (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 59.))
Francis Crick, who co-discovered the structure of DNA with James Watson, for which they received a Nobel Prize, also believed in something called “directed panspermia.” ((Francis Crick, Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981.) )) Crick, a serious and well-respected scientist, believed “that life on earth may have begun when aliens from another planet sent a rocket ship containing spores to seed the earth.” ((Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (New York: The Free Press, 1996), 248.)) Here’s the theory in a nutshell:
Crick and [Leslie] Orgel also suggest that the universe is sufficiently old that other intelligent civilizations could had arisen elsewhere. One of these other intelligent civilizations could have built a spaceship and seeded the universe with life. One can easily imagine a not too distant future where humans accept that our planet and all that lives within it will perish. In the unlikelihood that this is the only planet that harbors life in the universe its demise would leave a lifeless universe. … Crick and Orgel were careful to point out that Directed Panspermia was not a certainty; but rather a plausible alternative that ought to be taken seriously. ((Christian Orlic, “The Origins of Directed Panspermia,” Scientific American (Jan. 9, 2013): https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/the-origins-of-directed-panspermia/))
Such a theory only takes the origin of life back a step. Where did that extraterrestrial life come from that seeded Earth? What was its origin?