Evolution Encyclopedia Vol. 3
Chapter 38 Appendix
In an entry entitled, "Blind Chance," in his Encyclopedia of Evolution, *Milner explains why "blind chance" (which is what so-called "natural selection" in relation to DNA coding really is) can produce all the marvels we see in the plant and animal kingdoms. His reasoning is fairly standard among evolutionists. Let us first consider his thinking on this matter, and then analyze its logic:
"Many critics of evolutionary theory point to the intricate mechanisms of organisms, such as the vertebrate eye or the eagle's wing, as being explicable only by some sort of conscious design.
"Most people misunderstand the mathematical concept of chance. It does not mean that a few thousand cells got together by accident to form a frog, that everything is random in nature, or that a roomful of monkeys typing for a thousand years will come up with the works of Shakespeare.
"What it does mean is that natural forces and probabilities, given enough time, can account for the seeming designs [in nature] without the direct intervention of a deity. If it appears highly unlikely that such a thing as a human being could be created in this way, no mathematician would disagree. On the other hand, he might point out that the chances against almost anything in history happening just the way it did are almost infinite . .
"From a statistical perspective, any individual human being is the highly improbable result of an unlikely sequence of events. In order to exist just as he is, his father and mother had to each have had the parents they had on both sides, going back thousands of generations. Some of his forebears may have had to travel to far distant lands to meet their eventual mates; some may have met under very unlikely circumstances. .
"It has been calculated that a bridge hand containing all the spades in the deck comes up about once in 800 billion deals. But, the amazing thing is, so does any other hand. It may happen to be a winning hand, but the cards don't know that.
"Except from the point of view of the winner, there's really nothing incredible about a longshot bet coming in or most of them losing. That rare big winner is as unremarkable as the thousands of losers; in a casino, both kinds of events happen all the time.
"The paradox of the extremely unlikely being not only possible, but inevitable, is one aspect of chance in evolution. Another key concept is how natural selection keeps changing the odds. It is a two-step process. In the first step, pure chance prevails; while the second step is directed, and anti-chance. In effect, it keeps throwing out the 'losing' cards and returning spades to the deck until the chance of drawing all spades becomes more and more likely. As geneticist Sir R.A. Fisher put it, 'Natural selection is a mechanism for generating an exceedingly high degree of improbability.'
"To many—even to mathematicians and physicists—it is distasteful to accept any element of blind chance as a creative force, perhaps shaping human consciousness as well as anatomy. Sir John Herschel disdainfully referred to natural selection as 'The law of higgelty-piggelty.’" —Milner, "Blind Chance," Encyclopedia of Evolution (1990), p. 51.
In the above quotation we have before us several basic errors repeatedly found in the writings of evolutionists. They want to believe something so much, that they are willing to accept errors of logic in order to do so.
1 - The article is entitled, "Blind chance," but partway through it, *Milner has changed it to something else.
"Most people misunderstand the mathematical concept of chance. It does not mean that a few thousand cells got together by accident . . , that everything is random in nature." —Ibid.
Thus "blind chance" is said to be not an accident, nor random. Yet, in truth, blind chance is totally random and can only produce the equivalent of accidents.
2 - The illustration of the parents and the deck of cards is meant to say this: "There are millions of possible combinations, and every event is only one of millions that could have occurred. In addition, each event had a long history of additional millions of random occurrences preceding it. THEREFORE, given enough time, evolution of complex living creatures from sand and seawater is not only possible, but certain."
Each event in the parent illustration (a childbirth) and in the card illustration (a hand of cards) is not difficult to accomplish. There are millions of possible combinations or alternatives, and each one can be done, in most cases, without too much difficulty. It is easy to reach down and pick up several cards. To do so requires no scientific ability or laboratory equipment. But the making of a "vertebrate eye or the eagle's wing," mentioned in Milner's first paragraph, is on a totally different level than picking up several cards. Not even the most intelligent person, working purposely for millions of years could, from water and chemicals, produce a living human eye! There is no comparison between picking up some cards, and producing a living heart!
3 - It is implied that, since every possible card combination comes up every 800 billion times, it is as easy for all spades to appear, as for any other. That statement proves nothing. The point is to achieve a certain combination, not every combination. It is the obtaining of a special combination by chance that is almost totally impossible.
4 - In Milner's illustration, that 1-in-800-billion combination is the correct combination of factors for a living being. Yet, one in 800 billion is only the odds for a few playing cards pulled at random out of a deck. The odds for the millions of factors needed to produce a living creature would be billions times billions times billions more remote.
5 - The thought is presented that, if given enough time, chance will "toss out" all the less useful combinations and save all the good ones! ("It keeps throwing out the losing cards.") That is in error. Unthinking chance cannot do that! It would (1) save all the combinations, (2) throw them all out, or (3) save a random number of good and bad ones.
6 - *Milner suggests that, by tossing out all the bad combinations, eventually only the good ones will remain. But, in a deck of cards (as in the formula for a living creature) there are only a very few really good combinations. Yet if only a random number of combinations are saved, then the ones randomly saved are unlikely to include hardly any good combinations. And a few good combinations with many bad ones will not accomplish the needed task.
7 - In real life, it is not enough to obtain even a few good combinations of several traits. There must be massive numbers of them. To put it in simple terms, every creature in the world has at least 990,000 good combinations out of every 1,000,000 (with only 1 out of 1,000,000 flawed by mutations). Even if there was only a 50-50 chance of disorganization, or failure, in the selection, a living form could not result. In reality, it is more like one chance in billions that even ONE correct factor—out of the billions needed—could appear.
8 - The good combinations must all be there instantly, or death to the species comes just as instantly. It is not enough to say that if we wait long enough, a good combination of several traits will turn up. Millions of inter-networked traits and organs must be there, and all at once.
9 - Milner may have in mind, when mentioning "tossing out the losing cards," that the flawed creatures die off, while the viable ones continue to live. (circular reasoning, by the way: The dying ones die, and the living ones live.) But the problem here is that millions of right factors have to be bunched together, even in the smallest flawed creature, in order for it to live even a short time.
10 - That points us to the fact that, even if 100 percent of good combinations could instantly be had—and just as instantly put into place,—yet failure would still be the result. The best that could be produced will not be a living creature. It may be a fine specimen of a dead creature. But it still will not be alive. LIFE is something else that must be added, and that is not a factor in any deck of biological cards.
11 - An underlying error throughout this—and all—evolutionary reasoning is that, given enough time, anything can be done by chance. But no amount of time can accomplish that which cannot be done. Let us forget about chance, and only work with human-level intelligence. No number of laboratory workers, laboring forever, could put together raw materials and make a living dog,—or even a living cricket. It cannot be done. Time is not a god that it can impart miracles to chance.
12 - Last but not least, chance is unthinking. Randomness never produces complex organization. It never has, it never does, it never will. Evolutionists say, "it can do it after all! Just give it enough time!" Tell that to Lord Kelvin, or to any scientist who understands the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Everything, unattended to, goes to pieces; it never produces complex organization. It takes a thinking mind to do the attending, make the repairs and replacements. The only opponent of decay is intelligence, continually applied. Chance cannot do the job. It cannot maintain, much less construct.
This chapter dealt with logic and fallacies. Before concluding, there is a well-known point of logic which it would be well to consider. It is called "Occam's razor."
William of Occam (or Ockham) lived over 600 years ago (c. 1285-1350). He was an English theologian and logician. Although not so named in his writings, he came up with the principle known as "Occam's razor." The idea here is that Occam's principle is like a sharp razor and it cuts away the errors and leaves truth. Another name for this principle is "the law of parsimony; " in other words, economy of explanation. The more complicated, involved, and multitudinous the explanations and subsidiary theories needed to prop up and adapt a main theory so that it explains the facts of nature—the more likely that theory is incorrect.
"He [Occam] is best remembered in science for the principle that became known as 'Occam's Razor': In other words, a well-constructed theory about nature is the simplest possible explanation consistent with the facts. The 'razor' shaves off any unnecessary flourishes or complications. Its usual formulation is given nowhere in Occam's writings. Philosopher-historian Bertrand Russell supplies the actual version: 'It is vain to do with more what can be done with fewer.' " —*Richard Milner, Encyclopedia of Evolution (1990), p. 336.
For over half a millennium people have thought Occam provided us with a good way to test possible explanations. Let's try out his "razor":
In chapter 24 we discovered riblets. These are very small lateral grooves on the side of certain fast-moving marine creatures, such as sharks and porpoises. Scientists at NASA tried to figure out why they were there and, after months of careful research, made the startling discovery that those tiny grooves enable the water to flow more smoothly along the sides of those marine creatures, enabling them to swim faster and with less effort. Remarkable!
(Frankly, it is astounding) How could those creatures be intelligent enough to redesign their skin to fulfill a purpose that it took NASA scientists months to unravel?
Let us now analyze the possible causes of those riblets. A collection of scientific statements in chapter 31 (Scientists Speak) confirms that there are only two alternative explanations: evolution or creation. First, we will turn to evolution for the answer:
Evolution: "The riblets came about by chance. After millions of years, a certain porpoise grew riblets by accident. His descendants could swim a little faster, so the other porpoises died off from hunger. That is how riblets came about."
It is well-known that porpoises spend much of their time playing in the water since there is so much food for them to eat, so one might wonder why riblets would keep them from starving to death, but, all that aside, let us now turn to the creation view:
Creation: "God created the porpoise."
That is the other explanation. "Well," someone responds, "sounds too simplistic." Perhaps so, but it agrees with the razor, and exactly fits all the facts about the porpoise.
Let us now go deeper into the matter. The evolutionary view is that the riblets just came about by chance, but there is much more to the evolutionary explanation than that. Let us examine both views more closely:
The creation explanation: The creationist view is that a super-powerful Intelligent Being made the riblets when He made the porpoise. He designed the entire creature, knowing in advance exactly the problems it would encounter in the water. Millions of living cells with incredible numbers of parts and functions were assigned to the creature. It was given a heart and blood vessels so it could continually nourish its body by means of blood. Mouth, teeth, and a stomach to digest were needed. But something to connect the mouth to the stomach had to be there—so an esophagus was included. No part was left out. A liver and gall bladder, many endocrine glands to trigger important activities, and kidneys to filter the blood. A skeletal structure and a brain was included, as well as a complete reproductive system so offspring could begin to be produced, without waiting for several million years for those organs "to evolve." It was all there to begin with, for it all had to be there to begin with.
And this included the "melon" in the porpoise's head, so it could receive sonar signals it sent out by mouth and, by means of this sonar station in its head, "see" as it sped along through the darkest water. Yet, in addition, it also had excellent eyesight. And, oh, yes, riblets were added; just an added detail in view of all the other wonders inside its body. So the design was made, and when it was completed, everything had to be made, put in place, and set in operation instantly. There was not even time for a two-minute delay from start to finish)
The evolution explanation: Water and sand randomly changed itself into living amino acids, DNA, and similar things. These managed to keep undissolved and alive long enough to eventually fashion themselves by chance into a living cell, with over a hundred vital parts to begin with, which routinely did thousands of crucial functions, and made thousands more of chemical compounds. These cells managed to remain alive for hundreds of thousands of years until their food evolved into existence, and the atmosphere acquired enough oxygen so they could begin breathing.
Then, by merest chance, these cells changed themselves into bacteria, which by more chance, accidentally changed themselves into fish. Then, one day, a fish walked out of the water and liked the fresh air and sunlight on land so much, it stayed there. Eventually after thousands of years, its descendants began changing into reptiles. Millions of years later, some of them grew feathers and wings—as well as making the hundreds of thousands of other changes necessary—and became birds! Other reptiles gradually, by merest chance, changed themselves into mammals. One of these (a horse or cow or some such creature) went swimming in the ocean one day and liked it so much, it stayed there and eventually became a whale. Later still, one of the whales changed itself into a porpoise. And, oh, yes, awhile after that it made riblets on its body.
Which view agrees with the razor better?
On one hand, we see a marvelously-designed creature—it had to be marvelously designed! and by a thinking Mind; and then instantly made. The amount of fabulous technology packed inside a porpoise is proof enough of the immense wisdom needed to plan it and make it. And every part of it had to be made at once, with nothing left out till ages later. Every organ had to be there to begin with. An intelligently-designed creature was made by an Intelligent Person, and all at once.
According. to the alternate theory, we are presented with a lot of ludicrous stories, not one of which could ever happen. That high-technology porpoise was not made by random accidents, and over an extended period of millions of years.
With porpoises in mind, now think about this:
"Criteria 1: Process - If we can uniquely explain many diverse observations, then our confidence in that explanation increases. However, if these starting conditions and the operation of physical laws (or known processes) would cause
things that we should see but do not, then our confidence in this explanation will decrease . .
"Criteria 2: Parsimony - `Parsimony' here means 'the infrequent use of assumptions.' If a few assumptions allow us to explain many things, then our confidence in our hypothesis will be great. Conversely, if many starting conditions only help us explain a few observations, or if we must often add new assumptions as new observations are made, then we will have little confidence in our hypothesis . .
"Criteria 3: Prediction - If our hypothesis allows us to predict unusual things which we should soon see if we look in the right places and make the right measurements, then this explanation becomes a testable hypothesis. Our confidence will be greatly increased or decreased by its confirmation or lack of confirmation. Such predictions are the most important test of any scientific theory." —Walter T. Brown, In the Beginning (1989), p. 87.
By the way, the highly-trained NASA scientists at Langley Research Center knew it would be worth their time to learn the secret of riblets. After learning how well they worked, they made their own riblets on sheets and tested them in wind tunnels. Then they arranged for 3M Company to manufacture the riblets in large, flat vinyl sheets. Because those sheets are now glued to the outside plates of jetliners, the resulting savings have been immense. It now costs the airline companies a lot less in fuel to fly a jet liner a given distance. So much so that U.S. airlines are now saving $300,000 a year because of those riblets! All because of amazing grooves on the sides of porpoises. But where did they come from? Well, that brings us back to Occam's razor, and back to where we started. Since scientists agree that there are only two alternative explanations (creation or evolution), apply the razor for yourself to each of those explanations. And keep in mind what Brown said: "If a few assumptions allow us to explain many things, " or as *Milner put it: "the simplest possible explanation consistent with the facts. "
FALLACIES OF EVOLUTION
STUDY AND REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 - Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" How do we arrive at the truth?
2 - Thoughtfully prepare your own version of the "scientific method" of arriving at correct scientific conclusions.
3 - Using inductive thinking, we start with facts and end up with general conclusions. But deductive thinking begins with rules and normative values. Why are rules and norms as important as specific facts in making decisions, determining better conduct, and arriving at right conclusions?
4 - Select 3 of the 18 fallacies of evolution, and research out additional instances in which evolution falls into those errors of logic.
5 - Which one of the 18 fallacies do you think is most commonly used by evolutionists? Defend your choice.
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CHAPTER 39- CHRONOLOGY
OF THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST