by James E. Strickling
Do you ever wrestle with the perceived opposition of science and religion, or science and the biblical record?
Do you ever wonder if creationism and evolutionism can coexist?
If you’re a Biblical Fundamentalist, the answer is “no” – your mind is set. Problem is, however, Biblical Fundamentalism isn’t biblical. Somewhere your mind-set is incorrect. But, typically, your fundamentalism doesn’t allow itself to be challenged.
If you’re a Darwinist, the answer is also “no” – your mind is set. Problem is, however, Darwinism isn’t evolution. Your mind-set is wrong. And Darwinism doesn’t allow itself to be challenged either; i.e., it is Science Fundamentalism. (Any challenge is typically met with ridicule or name-calling or some other derision.)
As for Biblical Creationism (traditionally fundamentalist): Certain key elements are not biblical.
It goes without saying, “The comparison of two wrongs can only produce another wrong.” Rather than struggling with some meaningless comparison, we should be searching for an entirely new world-view.
How do we approach this, and how might we rephrase the initial question?
Following is an abridgment of certain parts of my book MAN AND HIS PLANET – An Unauthorized History, in which the reader can find a more extensive treatment, including sources.
A fundamental tenet and raison d’être of evolution is that God and/or Intelligent Design is unnecessary. Following an inexplicable origin of life, all the varieties of nature’s biology can be explained by the process of gradual speciation by natural selection (adaptation). One short-hand term for this is Darwinism.
Creationists, on the other hand, argue that changes in species range anywhere from extremely limited to nonexistent; they are basically the same as when God made them.
It is obvious that two such diametrically opposed concepts cannot be viewed as coexistent. Moreover, a meaningful evaluation cannot be undertaken in terms of accepted viewpoints. This is because both of these viewpoints are demonstrably wrong; they are based upon belief, not facts.
In my book I have endeavored to prove this argument, supported by evidence and logic. Consider here just a few points.
First, speciation by natural selection: In countless breeding experiments (fruit flies, etc.), where time is artificially compressed, change through the generations can be pushed just so far. The line eventually becomes incapable of survival without ever approaching a new species. The only species change ever observed (plant kingdom) has been from one generation to the next.
So-called proofs of speciation by natural selection stem from meaningless extrapolations.
The geological record reflects many changes. But it offers no objective proof of gradualism.
One also has to ask how gradualism could bring about the process of insect metamorphosis. We could ask the same thing about kangaroo pouches. They just weren’t needed until they were needed. No Darwinist can compose a scenario to explain such as this.
I should also reiterate that Darwinism and evolution are not the same thing. Contrary to Darwinist assertions, Darwinism works to preserve species identity. Species variation can only extend to within certain limits. These limits may be wide, as with dogs, but they are nevertheless fixed.
With all the evidence to the contrary available, why has the notion of speciation by natural selection (so-called Darwinism) not been set aside? The answer: Such is just not allowed.
We see this arrogant attitude in Richard Dawkins’ assertion that “regardless of evidence, it may be possible to show that Darwinian natural selection is the only known force that can explain the existence of organized and adaptive complexity.”
Regardless of evidence! What kind of science is that?
Evolutionary scientists Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin provide convincing support that conventional science ignores evidence not in accord with its fundamental concepts. Paraphrasing their assessment: If one adaptive argument fails, try another. In the absence of a good adaptive argument, attribute failure to our imperfect understanding. It is never conceded that a different kind of explanation might be required.
What can we conclude from this claim and this confession? As previously charged, speciation by natural selection is science’s equivalent of science’s anathema: religious fundamentalism.
Second, Biblical Creationism’s belief that species are immutable (fixed) is based on an incorrect reading of the Genesis record. And there are no other reasons to assume that immutability is necessarily true. (There are also other elements of Biblical Creationism that are refuted by an objective reading of the Genesis account.)
So where does this leave our comparison?
In my book I have suggested that life on our planet has progressed by saltation. In times past, a given biological species gave birth to a new species incapable of breeding with its parents. The term “evolution,” implying slow, on-going change, should be dropped. Sudden and widespread speciation occurred several times in the distant past. This was triggered by biological disturbances resulting from global upheavals when the movements of the earth were externally disturbed. The biosphere was assaulted chemically, thermally, electrically, and by various forms of radiation. Such a scenario explains many of the so-called mysteries of earth’s past.
The geological record was created by catastrophic shifting of the earth’s crust. Myriads of living creatures were displaced and entombed to later fossilize and undergo subsequent exposure and reburial. Ice caps shifted, shrank, expanded. Living species were destroyed and others created – including Man in one of the later disturbances.
It is only within a scenario such as this that we can solve what is probably the greatest of anthropological mysteries: the origin of human speech, which is worth a digression at this point. There is no way this can be explained within a gradualist paradigm.
Given the sudden arrival of Homo sapiens populations from their (presumed) Homo erectus parents, we have a modern example to enlighten us on the experience of Homo sapiens’ first generation.
According to Dr. Derek Bickerton:
. . . when slaves were taken away from different areas of Africa, they spoke different languages. .
. . They were bought on the slave market by owners of different plantations, who also spoke different languages [from those of the slaves]. People can’t stop communicating with each other, and in that process, you develop a lot of languages.
Many slaves . . . fled to form their own communities. It was in these communities that they evolved pidgin speech, an improvised language that had a sparse vocabulary and no real grammar. Pidgin made communication possible among people who had no common tongue. Thus, their children also lacked a true language. By spontaneously bringing grammar to their parents’ pidgin . . . the children created a completely new language in one generation. This language is a Creole.
The adults who make pidgin are not able to provide it with any structure. They’re past the critical age at which syntax develops. The children, however, are not. Syntax develops in them just as naturally as any other . . . part of their bodies. It’s natural, it’s automatic, it’s instinctive, and you can’t stop them from doing it. I think the only explanation you can have for the way syntax works is that somehow, this is built into the hard wiring of the neural circuits of the brain. . . .
Pidgin is the first stage in [an effort] to communicate with each other. Creoles are an order of magnitude different. They are full languages, rich in syntax even if limited in vocabulary.
And such must have been the case with the first languages—spoken by the first generation of Homo sapiens.
Thus, the first speech did not arise from random sounds that gradually developed meaning over centuries or millennia of time to be finally recognized as words. Rather, consistent, non-language sounds used by the parent species were unconsciously transformed into abstract representations (words) by an infantile conscious mind. The young, first-generation Homo sapiens heard the same sounds as his Homo whatever parents, but for him the basis of meaning was of a totally different nature. The physiology and character of the enunciation would likewise have been different. An initially limited vocabulary rapidly grew with peer contact and linguistic innovations.
To continue, we now see a progression of life through time, trending “upward” to a culmination in Man. Each step was a creative progression at some fixed point in time.
The new generation entity had to be complete, functional, and compatible with its environment. Did/does this result from some built-in DNA control that disallows the dysfunctional? Or is it external Intelligent Control at each step?
I’m inclined to lean toward the built-in DNA control mechanism (for which there exists possible evidence). But surely there is no way that this could be self-starting. Environmental compatibility raises other philosophical questions. (See my book.)
Back to our original question with a slight twist: Can creationism and saltation (discrete “evolutionary” jumps) coexist?
They are two sides of the same coin.
Copyright 2011 James E. Strickling , MAN & HIS PLANET – An Unauthorized History by James E. Strickling, Eloquent Books, ISBN: 978-1-60693-099-1.
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