Rebuilding the Foundations
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After I found out that the accusations against Dr. Johanson, the discoverer of "Lucy," on Australopithecus afarensis skeleton, were slander, I took a more open attitude to the evolutionists on CompuServe, but not an open one. I was stilled convinced, from my interpretation of the Bible, that they must be wrong. I just wanted to make sure not to present them with lies or slander as evidence against evolution ever again.
Some people may dislike [Rebuilding the Foundations]. It upsets applecarts, slays sacred cows, demands that we 'go back to the Bible' and for all of those reasons all of us must read it.—John Tancock
All the following occurred in 1995, and the discussions with the evolutionists were all online in the CompuServe Religion forum.
I presented various arguments to the evolutionists, the most successful of which was on "symbiosis," cooperation between unrelated species. As an example, "fig trees require fig wasps to make new trees, and fig wasps require fig trees to make new wasps" (reference). How could two completely unrelated species, one a flower and one an insect, evolve to need one another? There would never have been a fig tree without the fig wasp, and there would never have been a fig wasp without the fig tree.
That was not the only argument I came up with, but most of the others were easily answered. It is worth telling the story of the evolution of the eye.
I asked one evolutionist, "How could an organ as complex as the human eye have evolved?"
He answered, "By small steps."
I told him that was not a sufficient explanation. "It's like telling me I can get from New York to Paris by small steps. No, I can't. I would drown on the way." (Of course, I suppose at that time it would have been possible to cross the frozen arctic sea to Russian, then walk to Paris, but that's beside the point. I can't take small steps and arrive at any tropical island.)
I pestered him to give me an answer, and he gave an answer similar to the one Charles Darwin gave in his book, On the Origin of Species. Darwin's answer is too long to quote here, and I can't remember the explanation the evolutionist gave me 26 years ago, so here's an explanation from the New York Academy of Sciences:
In 2007, Trevor Lamb and his colleagues at Australian National University synthesized these studies and many others to produce a detailed hypothesis about the evolution of the vertebrate eye. The forerunners of vertebrates produced light-sensitive eyespots on their brains that were packed with photoreceptors carrying c-opsins. These light-sensitive regions ballooned out to either side of the head, and later evolved an inward folding to form a cup. Early vertebrates could then do more than merely detect light: they could get clues about where the light was coming from. The ancestors of hagfish branched off at this stage of vertebrate eye evolution, and today their eyes offer some clues to what the eyes of our own early ancestors would have looked like.
After hagfish diverged from the other vertebrates, Lamb and his colleagues argue, a thin patch of tissue evolved on the surface of the eye. Light could pass through the patch, and crystallins were recruited into it, leading to the evolution of a lens. At first the lens probably only focused light crudely. But even a crude image was better than none. A predator could follow the fuzzy outline of its prey, and its prey could flee at the fuzzy sight of its attackers. Mutations that improved the focusing power of the lens were favored by natural selection, leading to the evolution of a spherical eye that could produce a crisp image.
The evolutionist who explained the small steps from light-sensitive cells to the human eye was unable to be so detailed, of course, but his explanation was satisfactory. I told him so, and then asked, "Why were you so hesitant to answer me? You just put people off by being so difficult."
His answer struck me to my core. "I have never met nor heard of anyone like you. No Christian I have ever heard of has honestly wanted to know the answers to their questions about evolution."
A few years later, on some sort of social media, probably an internet forum that was around before the social media giants of today, someone asked me, "Are you that guy that kept arguing symbiosis against evolution, then suddenly turned and supported it?"
It wasn't sudden. Two things happened.
The first thing that happened was that a user joined the CompuServe Religion forum claiming to be a graduate of the Institute of Creation Research's four-year college. He posted 15 questions that evolutionists supposedly could not answer.
I was shocked. I could answer all 15 questions based on a couple months of discussion with evolutionists. Was this the best the famed Christian Research Institute could produce? I replied to the user, answering a couple of his questions, telling him that I could answer all of them, and asking him to help me find effective arguments against evolution.
Can you already guess what happened? He accused all of us, even me, of being unable to answer his questions, and he disappeared.
Since I was still stinging from finding out that supposed Christians were purposely and corporately lying in order to slander Dr. Donald Johanson, the discoverer of "Lucy," the Australopithecus afarenis skeleton ("My Evolution Story, Part 1" and this referenced article), I was horrified at the user's behavior. To this day, I pray he was just lying about graduating from ICR's college.
The second thing that led to my "sudden" turn was that I checked out 8 books from the Alcorn County Library (Knoxville, TN), 4 that were pro-evolution, and 4 that were anti-evolution. I tried to pick books pertinent to the evolution/creation debate.
I need to tell you that I strongly dislike using the words "evolution/creation" debate. There is no legitimate evolution vs. creation debate. Evolution does not address creation, nor even the origin of life. The theory of evolution theorizes that all life on this planet descended from a common ancestor. It does not address how that common ancestor came to exist, nor how the universe came to exist.
The Big Bang theory, which was a huge triumph for the Bible until "creationists" came along to say it wasn't, has to do with creation. Prior to the Big Bang theory scientists thought the universe had always existed. The Big Bang theory agreed with the Bible that there was a sudden origin to the universe.
Abiogenesis is the science that explores the origin of life itself. There are theories of abiogenesis, but none of them have strong support. No scientist says that he or she knows how life evolved.
That is why there is no legitimate evolution vs. creation debate. I believe God created the universe, and I believe that the evidence that life on this planet, including Homo sapiens, evolved from microbes is irrefutable. Millions of Christians agree with me. In fact, the majority of Christians agree with me. (I should mention that protestia.com disputes this claim.)
Those books had various premises, but one thing stood out to me.
There is a unique property of iron and larger elements that causes them to consume energy during nuclear fusion. Let me explain that as simply as I can.
Nuclear fission, like the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, splits atoms. Nuclear fusion combines them. Fusion produces even more power than fission. Our sun is fusing two hydrogen atoms into one helium atom. In about 5 billion years, the sun will run low on hydrogen and start fusing three helium atoms into one carbon atom. After that our sun will burn out, but larger stars progress to fusing carbon into larger elements. When iron and elements larger than iron are produced, the energy in the star is consumed, creating a vacuum. The huge star then collapses in on itself and explodes. This is called a supernova, and the result is that carbon-based molecules spewed far across space.
Carbon-based molecules have a name. They are called "organic molecules" because all life on our planet is made of carbon-basesd molecules.
In other words, we are made of stardust.
I have often heard Christians point out one of water's unique features as evidence of God's intervention on earth. Unlike any other liquid water expands as it becomes a solid (freezes). As a result, ice is lighter than liquid water, and it floats. Because of this lakes freeze from the top down. The ice on top insulates the water below from the freezing temperatures in the air; ponds and lakes do not freeze all the way to the bottom; and fish survive winters.
Wow, what an amazing thing, that God made water so that unlike all other substances, its solid form floats on its liquid form!
I want to add, with the exact same reasoning, wow, what an amazing thing, that God made iron, unlike all the lighter elements, to consume energy during nuclear fusion so that the product of supernovas is production of the molecules of which we are made!
I found the arguments of the four books that supported evolution to be stronger than the four books that opposed it, but that was not the real impetus for giving in to the evidence for evolution. Deep in my spirit, I was confident that it was God that made supernovas to produce the stardust that he used to make us, even if it took billions of years for that stardust to evolve into me. The evidence was now not just physical, but also spiritual. My Christian heart was satisfied.
The process of becoming convinced that evolution happened was much, much easier than working up the courage to tell my wife. I would often print the debates I was having on CompuServe and show them to my wife and a friend of mine. When the evolution debate started, I printed the evolutionist claims and my responses to them. When I began asking questions of the evolutionists rather than arguing against them, I stopped printing the discussions. I had stopped printing the discussions for more than a month before I went to the library, and took those library books to work rather than home to read. I just could not tell my wife, nor my friend, that I was giving in to the evidence for evolution.
My life has been filled with having to tell my Christian brothers and sisters that some of their most cherished beliefs have no basis in the Bible, but are the traditions of men. I have been given the cold shoulder by many a saint and several churches. Evolution, however, really took the cake. Evolution is not taught in the Bible. It is not part of the "sole rule of faith and practice" that I adhere to. I could hardly bear to tell my wife.
I only remember that it took two months to tell her. I do not remember her reaction, though it certainly was NOT initially positive. Fortunately, I already knew that the ancient Hebrews did not understand "truth" the same way Western Christians do. A story can be true because it teaches a true lesson or principle. It did not have to be an actual historic occurrence to be true. While the Bible does not teach evolution, with honest and solid interpretation, it does not disallow it, at least not from a scholarly standpoint.
I have always found the argument expressed in this thesis, published on Stanford University's website, compelling. The student got a B from Crozer Theological Seminary's professor of the Old Testament, but only because of careless editing, not content. "[sic]" means a spelling or grammatical error was in the original work.
For [sic, should be "Far"] from attempting to destroy the unefulness [sic] of the Old Testament, archaeologist [sic] are attempting to give a better understanding of the contents of the Bible. They realize that religion, as for [sic] as possible, must be scientifically tenable. It is my opinion that "Biblical criticism" and "Biblical archaeology" will serve to justify the position of the church in modern culture, especially in the face of modern youth who are taught to "weigh and consider."
Second, we must conclude that many of the things which we have accepted as true historical happenings are merely mythological. They are merely modified links connected to the wide chain of mythology. Again this conclusion will shock many. But why so? One needs only know that a myth serves the purpose of getting over an idea that is in the mind of the author. Therefore, it becomes just as valuable as the factual.
If the typos diminish your confidence in the author, let me point out two things. The author's professor of the Old Testament agreed with the thesis, so you can lean on his authority. Also, the author of the thesis was Martin Luther King, Jr., so we can be assured that he got his spelling and grammar under control. There is no denying he was one of the great thinkers of the modern world.
I have learned a lot since 1995. I have watched dozens of videos that people have recommended, each of those people convinced that their video will make me "see the light." All the videos say the same basic thing, and all of the videos have been worse than the ICR graduate's claim on CompuServe. As an example, in the next post, I will discuss a video against evolution by a man I highly respect: Sean McDowell, which, like all the others, is worthless. I respect Sean for his defenses of Christianity and for a very honest and powerful defense of Jesus' resurrection, but on evolution, his video is terrible, and I will show you why.
I do want you to understand that I do not care at all whether you agree with evolution. Understanding evolution is extremely interesting, but it will not help you at all on the day of judgment. On the other hand, I do want Christians to stop lying, stop deceiving, and stop slandering scientists, especially if they, or you, are mostly ignorant of the subject. That will affect you on the day of judgment (Gal. 5:19-21).