“Taking Leave Of Darwin”

It is written:

Romans 11:33-36-Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34  “FOR WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD? OR WHO HAS BECOME HIS COUNSELOR?” 35  “OR WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM AND IT SHALL BE REPAID TO HIM?” 36  For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

The genius and magnitude of God may be seen throughout the entire universe, if a person will but open his eyes and see.

Charles Darwin (and his theory of macroevolution) sought to erase the evidence and magnitude of God as displayed throughout Creation. However, Darwin and his theory have fallen on very hard times.

Neil Thomas is a man who provides some of the information which decimates the theory of evolution.

Neil Thomas is an average person, one who for a long time believed in Darwin’s claims that the complexity of the universe may be explained through successive changes over eons of time.

He writes:

“Like many others who “learned about” Darwin in school, I internalized his ascent-of-man narrative without demur, through what in retrospect seems like little more than a passive process of osmosis. By the second half of the twentieth century, Darwinism had become accepted as part and parcel of the mental furniture and indeed the fashionable thinking of the day, such that it would have seemed politically incorrect (and worse, un-hip) to challenge the truth-status of The Origin of Species. I must certainly have thought so since I recollect showing off my (superficial) knowledge of Darwinism to my first girlfriend, and doing so absolutely convinced that what I was saying was uncontestable….Surely, I reasoned, any opposition to Darwin must be confined to the peripheral ranks of Biblical fundamentalists and young-earth creationists. This complaisant (and complacent) stance was rather shaken when more recently I encountered some less easily disregarded opposition emerging from some of Darwin’s latter-day peers in the ranks of scientific academe. Collectively, these publications made me alive to the possibility that the grand story of evolution by natural selection was little more than a creation myth to satisfy the modern age; and I found it impossible to ignore the dispute as being a “merely academic” issue, for if there is one subject which has had huge, often convulsive implications for the generality of humankind, it is Darwin’s theory of evolution. Any dispute concerning Darwin must necessarily have far-reaching implications beyond the guild of the biological sciences….I make no apology for having made the attempt to read my way into a subject for which I have no formal qualifications, since my researches have led me to the conviction that the subject is of too universal an import to be left entirely in the hands of subject specialists, some of whom exhibit an alarming degree of bias and intransigent parti pris unconducive to the dispassionate sifting of scientific evidence.” (Neil Thomas, Taking Leave of Darwin: A Longtime Agnostic Discovers the Case for Design, 101-137 (Kindle Edition); Seattle, WA; Discovery Institute Press)

Thomas goes through a comprehensive study of evolution, beginning with the facts about the origin of Darwin’s theory. The theory of evolution had its’ origins-not in the laboratories of unbiased scientists seeking the truth of the origin of the universe-but in primitive religious belief.

The origin of life is one realm where the evolution debate certainly becomes controversial. In order for the theory of evolution to be true, something known as “spontaneous generation” or “abiogenesis” must have occurred in the past. This is the point at which non-living substances somehow gave rise to life.

In Darwin’s day, life was considered something extremely primitive. The common belief then was that if you throw together some chemicals, add some water and a little electricity, PRESTO! You have life!

Of course, we know today that life is extremely complex and that it cannot evolve by chance.

Thomas notes:

“GIVEN THE presence deep in even educated persons’ collective imagination (which the Germans term “versunkenes Kulturgut”) of a tradition of re-animation, the media interest in the Miller/ Urey experiment is unsurprising. However, the complete chemical pathway devoutly hoped for by many in the wake of the Miller-Urey experiment was not to materialize. In fact, the unlikelihood of such a materialization was underscored in the very same year that the Miller-Urey experiment took place, when Francis Crick and James Watson succeeded in identifying the famous double helix of DNA. Their discovery revealed, among other things, that even if amino acids could somehow be induced to form proteins, there was more to the story. Life also depends on nucleic acids, one of which is deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA, where the vital information needed to replicate and operate any given organism is encoded. Proteins and DNA must be able to work together. DNA is both highly complex and highly specific, to the extent that just small differences in its letter sequences can make the difference between a living, thriving animal and a stillborn. Proteins are indispensable, but they do not have the capacity to store and transmit information for their own construction. DNA, on the other hand, can store information but cannot manufacture anything or duplicate itself. It’s a chicken-and-egg situation, so much so that Francis Crick was once moved to comment that the beginnings of life seemed impossible, barring a miracle, since “so many are the conditions which would have to be satisfied to get it going.” 53 Finally, it had to be conceded that life was unlikely to form at random from the so-called “prebiotic” substrate on which scientists had previously pinned so much hope. (To this day, biochemists remain ignorant of the modalities of a jump from amino acids to proteins, and the origin of nucleic acids is similarly shrouded in darkness.) To complicate things even further, it is now widely disputed whether the early atmosphere of the Earth postulated by Miller and Urey would have been such as they assumed, and so it may not have supported the formation of the organic compounds they identified. Hence the problem appears now to extend to include the origin of the basic building blocks themselves. The hope that life may be somehow “dormant” in chemicals, waiting to be unlocked when the correct combination of chemicals clicks into place, as it were, has clearly suffered a signal reverse. The large claim that life could arise from a reaction within any chemical substrate possessing the requisite prebiotic properties has, in addition, failed to be confirmed by recent space exploration. Had the twentieth-century Viking space mission been successful in finding evidence of even rudimentary life on the Martian surface, it might have been taken as confirmation by analogy that terrestrial life had emerged from a comparable chemical matrix. However, the space searches found no incontestable evidence, and the failure to find evidence of “exobiologies” based on exotic chemistries means that there is less confidence now than there was in the 1980s that some autonomous “cosmic imperative” might prompt the production of life wherever the “right” geochemical conditions prevail. The essential question of how lifeless chemistry might be translated into living biology remains unresolved.” (Neil Thomas, Taking Leave of Darwin: A Longtime Agnostic Discovers the Case for Design, 862-887 (Kindle Edition); Seattle, WA; Discovery Institute Press)

Indeed, the evidence of science is so overwhelming on this point that evolutionists cannot really mount a true defense of evolution!

“Hoyle likened the statistical possibility of life appearing spontaneously on earth to a blindfolded person randomly solving a Rubik’s cube: “If our blindfolded subject were to make one random move every second, it would take him on average three hundred times the age of the earth, 1,350 billion years, to solve the cube.” The spontaneous origin of life on Earth, according to Hoyle, faced odds at least that long, if not longer. Such difficulties, Hoyle ruefully remarked, meant that “the scientific facts throw out Darwin but leave William Paley, a figure of fun to the scientific community for more than a century, still in the tournament with a chance of being the ultimate winner.” 61 In retrospect we can see that there was more at stake in the Miller-Urey experiment than many may have realized at the time. Its implicit promise was that it would extend Darwin’s narrative timeline back to the pre-organic formation of the first cell of life, and so establish the fundamental point of departure for the joint mechanism of random variation (among offspring) and natural selection to go to work. The failure of this and of later, similar experiments have removed an indispensable foundation stone, a sine qua non, for the operation of natural selection.” (Neil Thomas, Taking Leave of Darwin: A Longtime Agnostic Discovers the Case for Design, 938-946 (Kindle Edition); Seattle, WA; Discovery Institute Press)

Other scientists have, of course, pointed out these fundamental problems and issues with Darwinism.

“Louis Pasteur proved experimentally over a century ago that nonlife cannot produce life, that dead objects cannot produce living ones, that each organism requires parents, and that only parents produce the new life. It has been universally held, since Pasteur, that life always arises from life of the same kind. This is the law of biogenesis. The vast majority of the world’s most respected and honored scientists recognize this law. Many of these totally reject the theory of spontaneous generation. Others continue to grapple with their own inconsistencies. Spontaneous generation is said to have been a random, chance event, with no outside, purposeful influence. Let’s examine what “chance” looks like. If you flip a coin, the probability of heads is one in two. Rolling a six on a die has the probability of one in six. Rolling nine straight sixes would be one chance in ten million. Who would bet $ 100 that you could roll 50 straight sixes (probability of 1 in 1039) or flip a hundred straight “heads” on a coin (probability of 1 in 1030)? British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle calculated the probability of spontaneous generation: The likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter is 1 to a number with 40,000 noughts after it (1040,000). . . . It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence. 22 Sir Fred Hoyle further explains his position, using the example of a Rubik’s cube: At all events, anyone, even a nodding acquaintance with the Rubik’s cube will concede the near impossibility of a solution being obtained by a blind person moving the cubic faces at random. Now imagine 1050 (that’s a number 1 with 50 zeros after it) blind people, each with a scrambled Rubik’s cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have the chance of arriving by random shuffling at just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends. The notion that not only biopolymers but the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the earth is evidently nonsense of a high order. 23 Sir Fredrick Hoyle vividly illustrates the probability of spontaneous generation like this: Supposing the first cell originated by chance is like believing a tornado could sweep through a junkyard filled with airplane parts and form a Boeing 747.24 Professor Harold Morowitz puts the chance of spontaneous generation as being much less than even that of Sir Fredrick Hoyle: The probability for the chance of formation of the smallest, simplest form of living organism known is 1 to 10340,000,000. This number is 1 to 10 to the 340 millionth power! The size of this figure is truly staggering, since there are only supposed to be approximately 1080 electrons in the whole universe! 25 To further illustrate, this is approximately the same ridiculous probability that an entire high school gym filled with dice could instantly explode and every one of the dice would land on the number one! The renowned atheist of the latter 20th century, Dr. Carl Sagan, estimated that the mathematical probability of the simplest form of life emerging from non-living matter has the unbelievable odds of one chance in ten to the two billionth power (a 1 followed by two billion zeros after it)—even less probability than predicted by Sir Hoyle or Dr. Morowitz. The enormity of this figure is revealed by the fact that it would take 6,000 books of 300 pages each just to write the number! 26 Just how likely is an event like this? Dr. Emile Borel, who discovered the laws of probability, says: The occurrence of any event where the chances are beyond one in ten followed by 50 zeros is an event which we can state with certainty will never happen, no matter how much time is allotted and no matter how many conceivable opportunities could exist for the event to take place. 27 Dr. Emile Borel explains, in essence, that anything with a chance of less than 1 in 1050 would never happen, no matter how much time there is. So how could an event with a probability of 1 in 10 to the two billionth power ever happen? It is absolutely, emphatically impossible! Distinguished chemist and physicist Dr. John Grebe explains how remote is the possibility that functional DNA itself—let alone a functioning cell—could randomly come together on its own: The 15,000 or more atoms of the individual sub-assemblies of a single DNA molecule, if left to chance as required by the evolutionary theory, would go together in any of 1087 (1 in 10 to the 87th power) different ways. 28 In other words, there are trillions times trillions times trillions of different ways that a single gene could have come together. Yet only one way would lead to a functional DNA molecule. Evolutionists claim the universe is about five billion years old. There are less than 1017 seconds in 20 billion years. Therefore, even if a trial and error combination occurred every second from the beginning of time until today, the odds still appear hopelessly high against the natural assembly of even this single molecule. Take 1070 combinations: 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 minus 100,000,000, 000,000,000 seconds that a single DNA molecule could be formed by mere chance, and the remaining “odds” are 1 in 9,999,999,999,999,999,999,999, 999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,900,000,000,000,000,000. This means that the odds of a single functional DNA molecule coming together at random are about the same odds that you could fill a billion universes with golf balls and put a small red dot on the bottom of one ball and somehow a blindfolded baby could find that ball while rummaging through the hundred billion galaxies on the very first try. Pierre-Paul Grassé of the University of Paris and past-president of the French Academy of Science, echoes this view: To insist, even with Olympian assurance, that life appeared quite by chance and evolved in this fashion, is an unfounded supposition which I believe to be wrong and not in accordance with the facts. 29 Dr. Wilder-Smith, a chemist and former evolutionist, concludes: It is emphatically the case that life could not arise spontaneously in a primeval soup of any kind. 30 And Dr. Wilder-Smith goes on to say, Furthermore, no geological evidence indicates an organic soup ever existed on this planet. We may therefore with fairness call this scenario “the myth of the pre-biotic soup.” 31 Michael Denton, Ph.D., a noted molecular biologist, agrees: Considering the way the pre-biotic soup is referred to in so many discussions of the origin of life as an already established reality, it comes as something of a shock to realize that there is absolutely no positive evidence for its existence. 32 Dr. Denton also says, The complexity of the simplest known type of cell is so great that it is impossible to accept that such an object could have been thrown together by some kind of freakish, vastly improbable event. Such an occurrence would be indistinguishable from a miracle. 33 Nobel Prize winner Ilya Prigogine likewise declared: The idea of spontaneous generation of life in its present form is therefore highly improbable even on the scale of the billions of years during which prebiotic evolution occurred. 34 According to Monod, another Nobel Prize winner and biochemist at the University of Paris, the possibility of life arising spontaneously “was virtually zero.” 35” (Joe White with Nicholas Comninellis, 308-362 (Kindle Edition); Green Forest, AR; Master Books)

Evolutionists sometimes claim that the argument from design in the universe pointing to God is arrived at because people already have a preconceived belief in God. However, as Thomas points out, this argument does not hold water!

“Even if one is unwilling to cease motive mongering, there are those against whom it is very difficult to wield such a rhetorical weapon. Paul Davies, for instance, explains in his book The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning (1992) that he is not religious but that “through my scientific work I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact.” 25 In other words, the scientific evidence, rather than any religious motivation, led him away from regarding our finely tuned universe as only a mindless accident. The late humanist philosopher and doyen of the British Rationalist Association, Professor Antony Flew, described a similarly science-based motivation in his book There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (2007). For decades, he had been a world authority on the philosophy of religion and an influential atheist philosopher, but as he explained in the book, his conversion from atheism was precipitated by his grappling with fresh scientific evidence not available in his youth. This evidence, Flew explained, stemmed largely from the sheer intricacy of microbiological structures, which can only now be fully appreciated by analogy with the miniaturizations enabled by advanced nanotechnology. He wrote in 2010, “It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.” 26” (Neil Thomas, Taking Leave of Darwin: A Longtime Agnostic Discovers the Case for Design, 1610–1622 (Kindle Edition); Seattle, WA; Discovery Institute Press)

Antony Flew had been one of the greatest skeptics in the history of the world. Then, as he began to reconsider the philosophical arguments for God along with the evidences being discovered by modern science, he had to admit that the only way to explain the existence of the finite universe is by the existence of the infinite God.

“In the video of the symposium, the announcer suggested that of all the great discoveries of modern science, the greatest was God. In this symposium, when asked if recent work on the origin of life pointed to the activity of a creative Intelligence, I said: Yes, I now think it does… almost entirely because of the DNA investigations. What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together. It’s the enormous complexity of the number of elements and the enormous subtlety of the ways they work together. The meeting of these two parts at the right time by chance is simply minute. It is all a matter of the enormous complexity by which the results were achieved, which looked to me like the work of intelligence. This statement represented a major change of course for me, but it was nevertheless consistent with the principle I have embraced since the beginning of my philosophical life—of following the argument no matter where it leads.” (Antony Flew & Roy Abraham Varghese, There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, 74-75 (Kindle Edition); New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishing Inc.)

In his book, Flew discussed the need to follow the evidence wherever it led.

“Moving on now from the parable, it’s time for me to lay my cards on the table, to set out my own views and the reasons that support them. I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite Intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science. Science spotlights three dimensions of nature that point to God. The first is the fact that nature obeys laws. The second is the dimension of life, of intelligently organized and purpose-driven beings, which arose from matter. The third is the very existence of nature. But it is not science alone that has guided me. I have also been helped by a renewed study of the classical philosophical arguments. My departure from atheism was not occasioned by any new phenomenon or argument. Over the last two decades, my whole framework of thought has been in a state of migration. This was a consequence of my continuing assessment of the evidence of nature. When I finally came to recognize the existence of a God, it was not a paradigm shift, because my paradigm remains, as Plato in his Republic scripted his Socrates to insist: “We must follow the argument wherever it leads.” (Antony Flew & Roy Abraham Varghese, There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, 88-89 (Kindle Edition); New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishing Inc.)

Flew’s conclusions certainly left no doubt as to where he stood:

“But the three items of evidence we have considered in this volume—the laws of nature, life with its teleological organization, and the existence of the universe—can only be explained in the light of an Intelligence that explains both its own existence and that of the world. Such a discovery of the Divine does not come through experiments and equations, but through an understanding of the structures they unveil and map. Now, all this might sound abstract and impersonal. How, it might be asked, do I as a person respond to the discovery of an ultimate Reality that is an omnipresent and omniscient Spirit? I must say again that the journey to my discovery of the Divine has thus far been a pilgrimage of reason. I have followed the argument where it has led me. And it has led me to accept the existence of a self-existent, immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, and omniscient Being.” (Antony Flew & Roy Abraham Varghese, There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, 155 (Kindle Edition); New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishing Inc.)

Sadly, Flew never became a Christian (to my knowledge). One author described his problem with the God of the Christian religion:

“British philosopher Antony Flew, a former champion of atheism, renounced his atheism during the past decade, citing the complexity of the universe and his belief in the overwhelming evidence for intelligent design. Flew did not, however, convert to the Christian faith, but only to deism. Why? He couldn’t get past the problem of evil. He believes God must have created the universe, then abandoned it.” (Randy Alcon, The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering, 3 (Kindle Edition); Colorado Springs, Colorado; Muktnomah Books)

How sad that Flew did not see that the ultimate answer of God to the problem of evil, pain, and suffering is in God’s own Son: Jesus Christ!

“We were clearly moving toward the climax of our discussion. The clues Kreeft had mentioned at the outset of our interview were converging, and I could sense an increasing passion and conviction in his voice. I wanted to see more of his heart—and I wouldn’t be disappointed. “The answer, then, to suffering,” I said in trying to sum up where we’ve come, “is not an answer at all.” “Correct,” he emphasized, leaning forward as he pleaded his case. “It’s the Answerer. It’s Jesus himself. It’s not a bunch of words, it’s the Word. It’s not a tightly woven philosophical argument; it’s a person. The person. The answer to suffering cannot just be an abstract idea, because this isn’t an abstract issue; it’s a personal issue. It requires a personal response. The answer must be someone, not just something, because the issue involves someone—God, where are you?” That question almost echoed in his small office. It demanded a response. To Kreeft, there is one—a very real one. A living One. “Jesus is there, sitting beside us in the lowest places of our lives,” he said. “Are we broken? He was broken, like bread, for us. Are we despised? He was despised and rejected of men. Do we cry out that we can’t take any more? He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Do people betray us? He was sold out himself. Are our tenderest relationships broken? He too loved and was rejected. Do people turn from us? They hid their faces from him as from a leper. “Does he descend into all of our hells? Yes, he does. From the depths of a Nazi death camp, Corrie ten Boom wrote: ‘No matter how deep our darkness, he is deeper still.’ He not only rose from the dead, he changed the meaning of death and therefore of all the little deaths—the sufferings that anticipate death and make up parts of it. “He is gassed in Auschwitz. He is sneered at in Soweto. He is mocked in Northern Ireland. He is enslaved in the Sudan. He’s the one we love to hate, yet to us he has chosen to return love. Every tear we shed becomes his tear. He may not wipe them away yet, but he will.” (Peter Kreeft in Lee Strobel, The Case For Faith: A Journalist Investigates The Toughest Objections To Christianity, 45-52 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan)

Nevertheless, Flew came to realize that there is a Creator.

Like Flew, Thomas was amazed at the amount of evidence which ambushed his unbelief. Indeed, the findings of the universe point undeniably to the existence of God!

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

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