Megan (jehoshabeath) wrote,

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Evidence for Evolution; Evidence for Intelligent Design

I finally got around to writing out my notes from the video Where Does the Evidence Lead. We saw this at the Search The Scriptures retreat on Feb 10 and I found it to be fascinating. I hope my attempts to explain it are clear and interesting, too.

Evolution is a theory that explains the variety of organisms that we see around us. There is clear and strong evidence that the varieties within species are caused by natural selection. Natural selection relies on these two criteria:
1. "gradualism" - the changes are gradual from generation to generation
2. "functional advantage" - only changes that prove to be beneficial are preserved to the next generation

While these factors prove to be no problem when applied to reproducing species, they are problematic when considering the first cell. Since we are dealing with the time before the first cell existed, we cannot rely on the successive generations to offer slight modifications. We would need to find a fully functioning cell appear at one time.

A cell is a very complex system. There are thousands of pieces that make up each cell, and all of these need to be working cooperatively in order for the cell to function. It is "irreducibly complex". In other words, all the pieces need to be present and operating for the cell to live.

Even if we consider one unit of the cell, this is not an easy thing to achieve. Take for example, the flagellum. This is a kind of tail that allows the cell to move around. The flagellum is made of 40 pieces (which I believe are proteins). These pieces all need to be just the right shape and in just the right place for the system to work. It is really like a machine. By the criteria of natural selection, we would need to have the flagellum offer some functional advantage to the cell in order to be preserved to the next generation, but it can only offer advantage if the entire system is functioning and working.

One theory (called co-option) believes that the pieces of the cell get shared, and thus it is more likely for the cell to assemble the right way. However, in the case of the flagellum, 30 of its 40 parts and unique and found nowhere else in the cell.

Science once thought that "chance" could assemble all of the cell pieces in the right way so as to meet the criteria for natural selection and produce the first living cell. However, the scientific community no longer believes that chance could be responsible. They have been looking for other theories besides chance and here is why:

Our speaker gave us the following scenario to estimate how probable it would be for a single cell to assemble itself by chance alone.
We assumed that a cell is made of 1500 parts (this is a low estimation - some cells have many more parts than this)
Then, we gave "chance" a 50% rate of success in assembling each piece in the right order.
We allowed nature to try matching each piece to the next 10 million times per second
With every atom in the universe (10 to the 80th power)
for 10 trillion years.

The chance that a cell will assemble in the correct fashion given these figures is 1 in 10 to the 350th power. It is simply not plausible to believe that the cell came about by chance.

One theory that was published int he 70's to explain the origin of life and cells was chemical evolution. Chemical evolution says that amino acids (the building blocks of proteins, which are the building blocks of cells) were said to be naturally attracted to one another in the right way. However, later experiments have proved this to be incorrect. Amino acids are not naturally attracted to one another. In order to form proteins, they require DNA assembly instructions.

The simple fact is that we do not know where DNA information came from. According to science, information is characterized by "improbability" and "specification" and is produced by intelligence. This is why many scientists have been led to the idea of intelligent design, including the man responsible for the chemical evolution theory.

Here is a quote from Darwin that was shared in the film:
"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."
-Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species: A Facsimile of the First Edition, Harvard University Press, 1964, p. 189.

Intelligent design believes that scientific evidence points to an intelligence which created all things. This intelligence both "created" and "organized" materials in the universe. In Genesis 1, we see the phrase, "And God said," which shows God speaking and providing that information which science has not found an origin for. Also, the Genesis account describes the creation of the world in a very orderly way.

Day 1: Creation of light Day 4: Ordering of heavenly bodies (sun, moon, stars)
Day 2: Waters separated into sky and sea Day 5: Fish and birds created
Day 3: Land and plants created Day 6: Land animals and man created

In each case, the environment was provided before the organisms, each matching the other in an orderly way.
This follows the general order that science proposes: Earth covered in seas, then plants form, then creatures develop. I think all of this evidence deserves to be considered seriously by everyone, since we all live in this marvelous and amazing earth.

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world." -Psalm 19:1-4
Tags: conference, creation, genesis, student of creation

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