..The Intuitive Times
Spirituality Articles


Creationism vs Evolution: A False Debate

by Paul Von Ward

Back | Next | Contents | Home

The recent Kansas Board of Education decision to remove knowledge of macroevolution from statewide student tests has re-energized debate about the "fact" of evolution versus the "truth" of creationism. The search for understanding of tangible evidence is lost in the cacophony of sound bites. The scientific establishment and religious fundamentalism, symbolized by the National Academy of Science and the Institute for Creation Research, mix facts with their "yearnings." Both institutions shape theories of human history for their own ends.

The strict creationism view is well known: The Christian God directly created the universe and modern humans in less than a week about five thousand years ago. The conventional scientist's belief is that all life initiated from a singular chance event on Earth 4 billion years ago, then evolved by random mutations from single cell bacteria to more and more complex species. The Academy's 1998 teacher guidelines reads, "There is no debate within the scientific community over whether evolution has occurred and there is no evidence that evolution has not occurred." That statement artfully overlooks the lack of evidence showing it occurred and ignores the opposing views of many scientists. In fact, the information quoted to counter the lack of fossil evidence is circumstantial and very illusive (tables of genetic similarities and amino acid sequences).

What's wrong with each side's argument? While there is evidence that life forms adapt to diet, climatic, and other physical changes (microevolution), there is no evidence of adaptations that result in new speciation (macroevolution). For example, bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics, but that does not result in different types of organisms. While there is evidence of natural selection in the survival of individual characteristics within a species, there is no evidence that such strengths lead to new types of plants or animals.

Darwin himself said that in the absence of transitional forms (his 1850's hypothesis was based on the assumption they would soon be discovered) his whole theory would be invalid. In fact it may be impossible to fill that gap as fossils can never disclose whether they were ancestors of anything else (per Colin Patterson, British Museum of Natural History). Unknown to Darwin, and most scientists today, is the existence of imprinted genes that control the timing sequences of all cell processes. Called carpenter genes by author Lloyd Pye, their control of timing is crucial to normal development. Mutations to these species-specific genes result in cancer, developmental defects, or the embryo's death. This mechanism appears to lock a species into its own spiraling path of development (microevolution).

The creationist falls in the face of evidence that a living Earth has been around for a long time (carbon dating, tree rings, ice cores, etc.) and that homo sapiens sapiens have at least a 250,000 year-old history (fossils and mitochondrial DNA). The increasing evidence that life (including highly evolved beings) exists elsewhere in the universe also undermines the strict creationists who see humans as their God's special creatures.

What are the tangible facts? Organic life remains have been embedded in the earth for at least a few billion years. The plant and animal kingdoms comprise separate hierarchies, from simple life forms to more complex ones. The fossil record does not show transitional forms (between two distinct species) and it shows no introduction of major new groups since the Cambrian Explosion of 93 million years ago. The record reveals that species appear full blown, remain fundamentally unchanged, and become extinct for any number of reasons.

The human history of social and technological progress does not square with the long slow process of evolution. Shortly after humans appear on the scene, there is evidence of their activities around the globe. Many historical accounts credit advanced beings (AB's) with involvement in the creation of plants, animal, humans and the Earth within the universe. Thus both sides seem to be partially right, and partially wrong.

Actually, there are plausible theories that better fit the evidence. One is the "Seed-bed Earth" which assumes life is pandemic in the universe. It posits that some, if not all, planets are born with inherent energetic patterns for multiple life forms, ready to spring forth at the right time. (An analogy is that one human cell has the potential -- with the right DNA instructions -- to create all parts of the body.) As scientists discover more evidence of extraterrestrial life forms, water which supports life, and other physical conditions conducive to life, this possibility becomes more likely. "Panspermia," another common theory, says live spores in hardened casings (from comets, meteors or asteroids) fertilized all of the Sun's planets and blossomed on Earth. Two theories involve the postulation of off-planet AB's as carriers. In one, the AB's would have initiated life here, while in the other, the AB's (or gods) would have only intervened in its development.

Why are such alternatives dismissed? Stephen Jay Gould, representing the establishment view, said (Time, August 23, 1999), "...we can call evolution a fact...a proposition affirmed to such a high degree that it would be perverse to withhold one's provisional assent." Religious fundamentalists assert their "facts" even more baldly. Quoting Shakespeare, "(they) doth protest too much, me thinks!" How does one explain why people remain so hard-line when new evidence indicates otherwise?

The answer seems to be that each side has boxed itself into a corner. Clarence Darrow, at the 1925 Scopes trial in Tennessee, said, "If Evolution wins, Christianity goes." That's what the creationists fear. Establishment science believes the obverse: "If Macroevolution falls, then Science will be undermined." It's the same fear. I believe science would be better able to carry on its work if it rid itself of an out-dated millstone.

Unfortunately, institutions who build their authority on dogma put themselves in a take-or-leave-it position. Unquestioned beliefs are essential to their respective strategies to control human thought, and consequently behavior, in order to stay in power. They would lose out in the synthesis of opposing views that defines a new reality.

Back | Next | Contents | Home