The Problem with Evolution

Faith in God or Trust in Science?

A recent television piece produced a graphically updated synopses on evolution and how life developed on earth. This covered the beginning of “life” in a primeval slime and over hundreds of millions of years produced modern humans. It is no secret that the theory of evolution is taught in virtually all levels of school classes and is considered to be a law or a given. The vast majority of the public have never researched even 1% of this subject and have merely accepted by faith and trust what “scientists” claim. In watching this program it became apparent that there were some big problems with evolution. This prompts a few thoughts on the subject.

When we here speak of “evolution” we mean that progressive development of the life forms from the first simplest types through ever increasing more complicated types to modern humankind. We speak of “evolution” as mere random chance. That is, life’s beginning was just a matter of luck and that this “luck” continued to happen over and over throughout hundreds of millions of intermediate changes.

We do not mean to say that some form of mini or macro evolution has not occurred among species to produce a wide variety. For example, it is understood by many that all of the thousands of varieties of modern dogs came from one common wolf-type. These variations have largely occurred with the domestication of the dog into different sizes and types intended for specific uses.

The Science of “Chance” or Probabilities

There is a science of mathematics called Probabilities. It deals with random “chance” or what some call “luck.” In other words, out of 100 throws of dice how often will "snake-eyes" come up? If we view atoms and molecules in a similar manner, how much volume and how much time are needed to randomly and by pure chance cause “life” to occur?

Any honest person will have to admit that we have no proof whatsoever that such a lucky chance occurred - on a planet just so situation from the sun - with just the right atmospheric mix of toxins and complicated molecules - with just the right amount of water mixed with just the right amount of a chemical soup - with just the right lucky lightning strike in just the right spot at just the right time. Even if we assume this random chance event - or, events - occurred, there is absolutely no proof whatsoever that the next two-thirds of evolutionary life took place.

There is another problem that occurs early in this primitive soup with its “life.” Was this plant-based or animal-based. The difference between the two is a matter of magnesium-based chlorophyll versus iron-based animal blood. There is no proof either way. Also, why did sexual reproduction - as opposed to asexual reproduction - take place at all? What are the chances that these two gigantic divisions could occur as a matter of random luck?

One French biologist considered this matter of random chance as the engine behind hundreds of millions of years of evolution: “All our scientific laws at present rest on chance.” [Human Destiny, Lecomte du Nouy] The scientist - though believing in a form of evolution - continues to examine such “chance” to prove that the whole panorama must have had a pre-ordained goal and a Prime Mover. He states the purpose of his work: “We will make use of the calculus of probabilities to demonstrate mathematically the impossibility of explaining today the bird of life by means of pure chance, that is to say, by our actual human science. The calculus of probabilities is nothing but the combination of rules which make it possible to express the laws of chance mathematically.” [page 30]

He uses the analogy of the through of dice as an example. Using just one dice what are the chances of throwing a certain number? One in six. So there would be a high probability of calculating which number might show up. However, what are the chances of throwing the single dice and getting the number 5 twice in succession? One in thirty-six. What are the chances of getting 5 ten times in a row? One in 60,466,176 throws. As he writes, “It can be seen that the chances decrease rapidly.” [page 32]

How long would it take a dice-thrower to throw the single dice and have 5 ten times in a row? He calculates it would take two years throwing the dice full time to have just one chance. Such would be consider “practically impossible.”

The biologist continues with a much more complex matter of chance with the analogy of a mixture of 1000 white particles and 1000 black particles mixed into a gray mass. Imagining this in an hour glass, despite the number of times and number of shakings, what are the chances that finally only white or black particles all come out successively? The figure is one out of ten to the 600th power [10600]. That is, one followed by 600 zeros. In other words, impossible, for there would never be enough time to make this happen.

The author moves on: “It is impossible because of the tremendous complexity of the question to lay down the basis for a calculation which would enable one to establish the probability of the spontaneous appearance of life on earth. However, the problem can be greatly simplified and we can try to calculate the probability of the appearance, by chance along, of certain essential elements of life, certain large molecules, proteins for instance. …If chance alone is considered [the figure is one out of] 10321 [or one followed by 321 zeros].

“The volume of substance necessary for such a probability to take place [to produce by chance a simple protein] is beyond all imagination. It would be that of a sphere with a radius so great that light would take 1082 years to cover this distance. The volume is incomparably greater than that of the whole universe including the farthest galaxies. … In brief, we would have to imagine a volume more than one sextillion, sextillion, sextillion times greater than the Einsteinium universe (Charles-Eugene Guye).

“The probability for a single molecule of high dissymmetry to be formed by the action of chance and normal thermic agitation remains practically nil. … However, if this happened and we maintained our confidence in the calculus of probabilities it would be equivalent to admitting a miracle, and the result would be: ONE SINGLE MOLECULE, or at most two or three. … Now, one molecule is of no use. Hundreds of millions of identical ones are necessary. … If the probability of a living cell could be expressed mathematically the preceding figures would seem negligible.

“Events which, even when we admit very numerous experiments, reactions, or shakings per second, need an infinitely long time than the estimated duration of the earth in order to have one chance, on an average, to manifest themselves can, it would seem, be consider as impossible in the human sense.” [pages 35, 36]

His conclusion on this matter of random chance producing even the simplest of molecules to even begin “life”? He writes: “… we are brought to the conclusion that, actually, it is totally impossible to account scientifically or all phenomena pertaining to Life. [page 37] … An explanation of the evolution of life by chance alone is untenable today.” [Page 41]

The “Luck” of Evolution

Suppose we assume that the above chances turned out against all the odds - against all the impossibilities and improbabilities - and that we believe that the first hundreds of millions of years did produce the rudimentary foundation. Now thinking of such random probabilities, think of this:

1] Evolution did not first begin on earth. From the perspective of some it began with the Big Bang - an original cosmic explosion of a super compressed creative proto-type. Some think this first produced hydrogen and then as the mass spread out other atoms and sub-atomic particles formed. The time it took to form the ever expanding universe with its mass of atomic materials took billions of years.

Discussing the problems involved is an article in a UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-SANTA CRUZ NEWS RELEASE titled “How did matter come to dominate the universe?” [Posted: February 25, 2001]

The seemingly unremarkable fact that the universe is full of matter turns out to be something physicists can't quite account for. According to the big bang theory, equal amounts of matter and antimatter were created at the birth of the universe, but precious little antimatter is to be found in the universe today. Everything we see, from our bodies to our cars to the stars in distant galaxies, is made of matter. Cosmic rays and high-energy physics labs routinely create antimatter particles, but they soon interact with particles of matter and vanish in bursts of pure energy.

Somehow, within a fraction of a nanosecond after the big bang, matter gained the upper hand. Physicists believe subtle differences in the behavior of matter and antimatter led to a slight excess of matter in the very early universe. While most of the matter and antimatter created in the big bang quickly disappeared in a blaze of mutual annihilation, about one out of every billion particles of matter survived.

"Until the 1960s, the laws of nature were thought to be completely symmetric between matter and antimatter," says Michael Dine, a leading theorist and professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "We now know that the symmetry is not quite exact, but our ideas about where the asymmetry comes from remain somewhat speculative."

Two new accelerators, one at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in Palo Alto and another in Japan, have begun to yield results that could reveal exactly how the symmetry between matter and antimatter is broken. The challenge for theorists like Dine will be to incorporate the new experimental results into a theoretical framework that satisfactorily accounts for the observed asymmetry.

In a talk entitled "Why the Universe is Made of Matter," Dine will discuss various ideas put forth to explain the source of the asymmetry that enabled matter to dominate the universe. The talk is part of a session on matter and antimatter on Friday, February 16, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Francisco. The latest results from accelerator experiments designed to measure the effects of the asymmetry will also be presented in this session.

Evidence that the laws of nature are not completely symmetric with respect to matter and antimatter first emerged in 1964, when a violation of the so-called charge-parity (CP) symmetry was observed in ephemeral particles known as K mesons, or kaons. Researchers discovered a tiny discrepancy between kaons and anti-kaons in the way they decay.

In 1967, Soviet physicist Andrei Sakharov laid out the basic principles needed to understand this asymmetry and how it led to the dominance of matter in the universe. Sakharov showed that the violation of CP symmetry is just one of three conditions that must be satisfied to explain how an imbalance arose between matter and antimatter. There must also be violation of a conservation law, called the "conservation of baryon number," and the early universe cannot always have been in thermal equilibrium.

The prevailing theory of particle physics, called the Standard Model, readily accommodates the minute CP violation seen in the decay of kaons. But the violation of CP symmetry allowed by the Standard Model is too small to account for the amount of matter observed in the universe.

However, let us suppose that such an evolution of atomic elements occurred and then formed the necessary molecules to form our solar system. This would require a “planet” near a star for just the right temperature, just the right distance from the earth, just the right rotation, just the right inclination - all by chance. Given these multitude of chances, let us assume we can move on the next big step --the appearance of “life” itself.

2] According to the theory of evolution “life” began in some chance chemical soup under the chance influences of chance electrical charges and chance atmospheric chemicals billions of years ago. The complexity and probabilities for this is beyond description with numbers that become meaningless. It must be kept in mind that when random chemicals and electrical charges [lightning is almost always destructive and not creative] evolved into actual “life” two extraordinary events had to occur:

  1. the formation of the animal from the vegetable. For if algae and moulds occurred first as a primitive flora that lived as chlorophyll magnesium based entities, these would have to cross the gap to iron based animal blood.
  2. Second, from the asexual the sexual had to develop. Of course, every bit of this evolution occurring over billions of years is complete and pure speculation, not science at all. For there is not a drop of proof for any of it. As the author of Human Destiny puts it: “We must not forget that any descriptive chronological plan of evolution is extremely questionable.” [page 53]

But suppose we assume that all the above could have occurred purely by random chance, what then?

3] Over the next hundreds of millions of years 30 proto-type forms developed by chance and produced through random chance all ["all"] of the current 50 million species on earth today. This includes, not just animal kinds, but vegetation also which also had to evolve as contemporaries [and the food] of animals. But let us suppose that the original chance chemical soup could evolve by random chance into such limited original forms, what then?

4] From among these 30 proto-types one of them by chance crawled onto the land and this one [one!!] species evolved by chance into all ["all"] life - including reptiles, birds, insects, mammals, etc - all came into existence through hundreds of millions of years of slow evolution along with some sudden "leaps" and chance lucky mutations. Now there is no proof that any of this took place.

Now all is well and good - if you have the faith or trust in millions of random chance probabilities. Just a pause to say that while some think it impossible for Noah's Ark of about 30,000 species [already defined and developed] could ever produce the 50 million today, while one out of 30 of the proto-types could!

We must understand the extreme complexity of this random chance evolution. Let us say a primitive salamander scrambled onto some ancient beach. From this single species all present life originated. If one thinks for a moment on the multitude of tiny evolutionary changes that had to occur for this salamander to become a reptile. In schools and museums the graphic drawings demonstrating this deal only with major links separated by millions of years. Even if we were to accept this elementary graph we must still deal with the intermediate transitions. There is no proof for any of these, but let us suppose these transitionally forms did take place.

5] Now here comes the first Big Wrinkle: at some point a great "cataclysm" [Greek for "wash-down-much" = Deluge] killed off 96 percent [!! ninety-six] of all this progress with its infinite probabilities [10 followed by 200 zeros]. Now was this just a little set back? Well, it wouldn't be the only one.

6] This 4% of the survivors now started over as it were and over the next millions of years evolved to produce the present 50 million species. But, more was to come.

7] Another "cataclysm" struck the earth in the form of a meteor that sent 500-foot tsunamis around the earth several times. This changed the environment with its atmosphere into a dangerous place to live. The result was the killing off of two-thirds of all life produced by the original 1 of 30 and then the remaining 4%. Two-thirds of four percent. Someone figure out the math?

8] Now with all this catastrophe [evolutionists never render the word "cataclysm" as Deluge (more on Plato's Atlantis and his use of KATACLYSMOS some other time)] the remaining one-third of 4% were yet to face the great ice ages which killed off all of the remaining big mammals such as the wooly mammoth. Earth's "temperate zone" - where delicate things like orchids, butterflies and hummingbirds live - was almost non-existent near the equator.

Now, we are to believe this fairy-tale of the 1 out of 30 and then the two-thirds of 4% some how produced Beethoven, Einstein, Gandhi, and Mother Theresa!! - let alone the Big Mac!! Is there anything wrong with this picture?

I find it much easier to believe that an Infinite Mind ["God is a mathematician."] created this process of the grand panorama of Life. How much He used "mini-evolution" is pure speculation, but in time we will learn all the creative details to His "wondrous works."

Not only is the above on evolution hard to swallow, but we are also told that we must swallow an unknown number of individual little miracles to evolve 50 million from the original 30. It is not just a matter of 50 million little changes. It is a matter of 10 followed by 200 zeros little changes to produce 50 million from 30 proto-types while the whole thing must survive three major global catastrophes. We are told to believe that a caterpillar crawling across a busy freeway or autobahn while metamorphosing into a butterfly will somehow make it to the other side! And that is just one change.

How could the precise lineage to humankind survive that just by dumb luck? These are just a few of the problems with evolution.

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Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller

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