Below is a series of question asked by a creationist. They are, as usual, kind of dumb (at least most of them are)… but I decided to answer them anyway.
“The test of any theory is whether or not it provides answers to basic questions. Some well-meaning, but misguided, people think evolution is a reasonable theory to explain man’s questions about the universe. Evolution is not a good theory—it is just a pagan religion masquerading as science. The following questions were distributed to the 750-plus people who attended my debate at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota, on January 9, 1993. (The videotaped debate is #6, $9.95.) Questions added since the debate remarked with an asterisk (*).”
This is not the test of a theory. The test of a theory is whether it fits the available evidence, and whether it makes falsifiable predictions. From this perspective, evolution is a good theory. God did it is not a good theory (doesn’t mean it isn’t true, just means it is not a valid scientific theory – it can never be tested)
1. Where did the space for the universe come from?
A: Space is what you have when you have nothing. Space just is.
2. Where did matter come from?
A: Okay, now we have a decent question. Mind you, it has nothing to do with evolution at all. It is cosmology or physics, but not evolution which is strictly concerned with biological life
3. Where did the laws of the universe come from (gravity, inertia, etc.)?
A: Don’t know. Again not part of evolution. Also, they are probably just inherent properties of having matter and energy as we know it.
4. How did matter get so perfectly organized?
A: What? Perfectly organized? I don’t think so. The universe is really pretty haphazard in its organization, and getting less organized every day (second law of thermodynamics… isn’t that one of your type’s favourite laws?)
5. Where did the energy come from to do all the organizing?
A: Same place as the matter, as they are interchangeable. Basically, we don’t know yet, and we may never know, but that doesn’t make a creator the logical choice as there is no evidence to support a creator and you still have the same logical issues with positing a creator that you do with the original question, just one level removed. Still nothing to do with evolution.
6. When, where, why, and how did life come from non-living matter?
A: Over billions of years various chemicals were swirling around on the surface of the earth, in a kind of ooze. That ooze was highly energized periodically (lightning strikes). Eventually various of those chemicals formed nucleic acids (this has been recreated in a lab) and those nucleic acids combined in a certain way that allowed them to reproduce by bonding with other nucleic acids. That was RNA. Mutation of the RNA strand caused assembly of DNA. This is the theory of abiogenesis. Again, nothing to do with evolution.
7. When, where, why, and how did life learn to reproduce itself?
A: It didn’t. Life that didn’t reproduce died out. Reproduction is an inherent quality of life.
Read my answer to question 6. If you can understand it, it answers this question quite handily.
8. With what did the first cell capable of sexual reproduction reproduce?
A: The second cell capable of sexual reproduction. See, they were probably both bacteria, and bacteria can swap DNA. There are other options, like a mutation in a parent that caused its children to be capable of sexual reproduction (and then the parent had multiple children), or a mutation that occurred in more than one creature at around the same time.
9. Why would any plant or animal want to reproduce more of its kind since this would only make more mouths to feed and decrease the chances of survival? (Does the individual have a drive to survive, or the species? How do you explain this?)
A: Read “The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins for a very well argued (and long) answer to this. The short answer? It is in our nature to reproduce. Whenever you have a creature that doesn’t, it becomes extinct quickly.
10. How can mutations (recombining of the genetic code) create any new, improved varieties? (Recombining English letters will never produce Chinese books.)
A: That is a stupid analogy. Take the alphabet, now set it to create copies of itself, only with each copy each letter can create a copy of itself, and the order can change. Now, add in a rule that says combinations with English words will create more copies. How long before you come up with the entire works of Shakespeare? It will take a long time, but eventually it will happen.
11. Is it possible that similarities in design between different animals prove a common Creator instead of a common ancestor?
A: Sure, but there is no reason to think so. A common ancestor fits the facts better than a common designer (when a designer makes something they generally only copy the bits that work well…)
12. Natural selection only works with the genetic information available and tends only to keep a species stable. How would you explain the increasing complexity in the genetic code that must have occurred if evolution were true?
A: This is simply wrong. Evolution through natural selection tends to create stable life forms in stable environments. When there is a change in the environment it changes the life forms. Also, stability is only reached when no better state of adaptation can be achieved. Until then it can go through slow periods, but it is an ongoing process. I don’t think this state has ever been achieved.
13. When, where, why, and how did:
* Single-celled plants become multi-celled? (Where are the two and three-celled intermediates?)
A:Two and three celled intermediates are not necessary or logical. Once the creature is capable of being multi-celled it is likely that it becomes many celled.
* Single-celled animals evolve?
A:There is no difference in single celled plants and single celled animals, those distinctions only exist for multi-celled creatures.
* Fish change to amphibians?
A:Over millions of years in slow, incremental steps.
* Amphibians change to reptiles
* Reptiles change to birds? (The lungs, bones, eyes, reproductive organs, heart, method of locomotion, body covering, etc., are all very different!)
* How did the intermediate forms live?
A:Depends on the intermediate form really. For example, there are many fish now that can survive some period of time on land (note, not amphibians… they can’t breathe). A reptile that changed to a bird is a bit of a misnomer, as dinosaurs are the common ancestor of both, and birds may actually be closer to dinosaurs than reptiles are. Likely the ancestors of the birds at one point developed a good jump, then a slight glide, then a longer glide, etc.
14. When, where, why, how, and from what did:
* Whales evolve?
A:Whales evolved from a shore based mammal.
* Sea horses evolve?
A:Don’t know all of the details, many, many possibilities
* Bats evolve?
A:A jumping rodent with webbed feet.
* Eyes evolve?
A:Eyes evolved in small pieces, first the ability to tell light from darkness, then directionality of the light, then detail in gradually increasing amounts, then colour in gradually increasing amounts. This has been discussed ad-nauseum on many forums and is so well addressed that it just makes me sad now.
* Ears evolve?
A:First with the ability to detect vibrations, then frequency of vibrations, then directionality of vibrations, then differentiation of vibrations. See my answer for eyes.
* Hair, skin, feathers, scales, nails, claws, etc., evolve?
A:First you get a hard nub that protects the end of an appendage, then that nub mutates and becomes sharper, or more flexible, etc. First you get a membrane that protects inner parts, allowing for more complexity. There are answers for all of these questions and very little research is needed.
15. Which evolved first (how, and how long; did it work without the others)?
A: I am going to hit all of these at once. They all developed in fits and starts. More detail after the points I felt needed addressing the most.
* The digestive system, the food to be digested, the appetite, the ability to find and eat the food, the digestive juices, or the body’s resistance to its own digestive juice (stomach, intestines, etc.)?
A: A creature was born with a slightly more acid stomach. It allowed that creature to absorb more nutrients from their food, so they were stronger. However, they might have lived a slightly shorter life as an individual because of ulcers, so a descendant of theirs who had a more acid resistant lining in the stomach survived better than its generation, leading to the propogation of that trait, then another generation had a slightly more acid stomach so it got more nutrients out of the same food, lather, rinse, repeat for several million years…
* The drive to reproduce or the ability to reproduce?
A:The ability and the drive are inseparable.
* The lungs, the mucus lining to protect them, the throat, or the perfect mixture of gases to be breathed into the lungs?
A:What perfect mixture? Evolution means that the gases were there and life evolved to match them, then changed them, then evolved some more.
* DNA or RNA to carry the DNA message to cell parts?
A:RNA – See my answer to question 6
* The termite or the flagella in its intestines that actually digest the cellulose?
A:Mutually evololved in fits and starts.
* The plants or the insects that live on and pollinate the plants?
A: Again, this is fits and starts. Probably insects developed, and then some plants developed the ability to take advantage of the existence of the insects, but not in one go like that.
* The bones, ligaments, tendons, blood supply, or muscles to move the bones?
A: Muscles probably, since amoeba’s have a rough analogue of them.
* The nervous system, repair system, or hormone system?
A: Most likely the an early precursor of the hormone system, though again, development is in fits and starts, its not a case of a creature being born one day with a modern nervous system.
* The immune system or the need for it?
A: The immune system and the need for it developed in pieces.
16.There are many thousands of examples of symbiosis that defy an evolutionary explanation. Why must we teach students that evolution is the only explanation for these relationships?
A: Name a single example. I have never heard of one.
16. How would evolution explain mimicry? Did the plants and animals develop mimicry by chance, by their intelligent choice, or by design?
A: Not by chance, by natural selection. Natural selection is not chance, it is a rules based system. Chance meant the mockingbird developed the desire to leave it’s eggs in another nest, ongoing survival meant it kept happening. Chance made a species of snake (I believe the coral snake) look like a poisonous snake (I believe the king snake), ongoing survival meant there were more coral snakes. This isn’t actually that hard to figure out.
17. When, where, why, and how did man evolve feelings? Love, mercy, guilt, etc. would never evolve in the theory of evolution.
A:Yes, yes they would. Love is a form of enforced pair bonding that benefits the offspring. Since the theory of evolution simply posits that the behaviour that leads to the most living offspring will tend to persist, of course love would exist. Mercy? Tends to evolve because (believe it or not) socialization tends to result in more living offspring… make sense?
18. *How did photosynthesis evolve?
A: A creature evolved the ability to take energy directly from light, probably in very small amounts… that made it
19. *How did thought evolve?
A: In bits and pieces. The first animal that was able to figure out that eating that thing made it not die might be the first example of thought. Again, this is not even slightly difficult to figure out
20. *How did flowering plants evolve, and from that?
A: In bits and pieces. A possible path: after the evolution of the eye (covered earlier) a type of plant may have had a random mutation that put a purple fringe on the top of its seeds. Because animals were attracted to the purple fringe they checked it out, which spread the seeds, meaning more purple fringe plants. A few million years and mutations later, you have a clover.
21. *What kind of evolutionist are you? Why are you not one of the other eight or ten kinds?
A: There are not kinds of evolutionists. Not eight, not ten, not one. There is no such thing as an evolutionist. It isn’t a religion, it is just the answer to one question.
22. What would you have said fifty years ago if I told you I had a living coelacanth in my aquarium?
A: Not much, I wasn’t born yet. However, science accommodates new data, that is the basis of science.
23. *Is there one clear prediction of macroevolution that has proved true?
A: That is not really a valid question. There is no theory of macroevolution, just as the boundary between species much looser than you believe. Macroevolution is a term for the cumulative effect of evolution over time. That having been said, speciation has been observed many times now.
24. *What is so scientific about the idea of hydrogen as becoming human?
A: The fact that it is based on observable, falsifiable evidence.
25. *Do you honestly believe that everything came from nothing?
A: No, I just don’t claim to know what the universe (meaning the matter and energy within the universe) came from. I do tend to subscribe to the big bang theory, but I don’t know what came before. Neither do you. There is nothing I have ever seen that makes god a likely answer.
After you have answered the preceding questions, please look carefully at your answers and thoughtfully consider the following questions.
26. Are you sure your answers are reasonable, right, and scientifically provable, or do you just believe that it may have happened the way you have answered? (Do these answers reflect your religion or your science?)
A: Yes, I am sure. I have done research.
27. Do your answers show more or less faith than the person who says, “God must have designed it”?
A: Far, far less.
28. Is it possible that an unseen Creator designed this universe? If God is excluded at the beginning of the discussion by your definition of science, how could it be shown that He did create the universe if He did?
A: I do not say it is not possible, merely that there is no reason at all to assume it over any other explanation.
29. Is it wise and fair to present the theory of evolution to students as fact?
A: Yes, although they should be taught the scientific method and critical thinking skills so they can examine the evidence themselves.
30. What is the end result of a belief in evolution (lifestyle, society, attitude about others, eternal destiny, etc.)?
More people who believe the evidence, a higher level of morality (after all, are you really a moral person if you do good to avoid being punished?) and more rationality, less persecution of minorities, lower rates of disease, lower rates of crime.
31. Do people accept evolution because of the following factors?
* It is all they have been taught.
* They like the freedom from God (no moral absolutes, etc.).
* They are bound to support the theory for fear of losing their job or status or grade point average.
* They are too proud to admit they are wrong.
* Evolution is the only philosophy that can be used to justify their political agenda.
No, they accept evolution because it makes sense.
32. Should we continue to use outdated, disproved, questionable, or inconclusive evidences to support the theory of evolution because we don’t have a suitable substitute (Piltdown man, recapitulation, archaeopteryx, Lucy, Java man, Neanderthal man, horse evolution, vestigial organs, etc.)?
A: No, you should never use disproved data for any theory. The only parts of this that fall into that category are Piltdown man and Java man. Neither of those is used in the establishment of evolution at this time.
33. Should parents be allowed to require that evolution not be taught as fact in their school system unless equal time is given to other theories of origins (like divine creation)?
A: No, because those are not theories, they are stuff someone says. You need to back theories up with evidence to get them accepted. As soon as you can back up divine creation with evidence it can get time in school, of course if that happens evolution may still be the accepted theory of method… and I aint holding my breath for you folks to come up with your first ever piece of evidence.
34. What are you risking if you are wrong? As one of my debate opponents said, “Either there is a God or there is not. Both possibilities are frightening.”
A: Nothing more than you are. What if Zeus is a jealous god and he wants you to be punished forever in the pits of Tartarus for your worship of the odd Jewish carpenter zombie.
35. Why are many evolutionists afraid of the idea of creationism being presented in public schools? If we are not supposed to teach religion in schools, then why not get evolution out of the textbooks? It is just a religious worldview.
A: Evolution is not a world view at all. Teaching it in text books is reasonable because it is the answer to a question, and it is well established. Teaching religion in school is fine, but teach it in a comparative religion class (without any claims of truth). I allowed my own child to decide on his own if religion made sense. He is a more militant atheist than I am.
36. Aren’t you tired of faith in a system that cannot be true? Wouldn’t it be great to know the God who made you, and to accept His love and forgiveness?
A: So, now that we have examined the facile, moronic attempts to mischaracterize science and the theory of evolution we move into the emotional manipulation. Predictable, but very, very low. Even hypocritical.
37. Would you be interested, if I showed you from the Bible, how to have your sins forgiven and how to know for sure that you are going to Heaven? If so, call me.
No, I would not be interested in anything you have to show me from the bible.