Due to my growth & multiple changes in my worldview over the years, this post is considered “archived” and is offered here for historical purposes only. Opinions offered above may not necessarily reflect my current beliefs, though you're still more than welcome to participate in the comments, discussing anything from the post. Thank you for understanding.
This is part three in an ongoing series dealing with Matt Slick’s Apologetics Notebook, a binder full of a variety of Christian apologetics, mostly pertaining to the so-called cults. If that’s all it was, i’d have no issue with the book—Christian in-fighting distracts them from evangelism, which saves the rest of us time. However, Slick includes a section called simply “Evolution,” wherein he sets out to explain to Christians why evolution is wrong. We’ve already seen that Matt Slick doesn’t understand science & that he relies upon out-dated, irrelevant name- & quote-dropping.
We now come to a subsection which Slick has titled, “There Are Many Problems with Evolution.”
First, there is the problem of life spontaneously forming out of nothing.
Right off the bat, here is a serious problem: the origin of life has nothing to do with the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution describes how life changes through time; in other words, it assumes the existence of life and is a framework for understanding how life works.
If you want to discuss how life initially came about, you want to discuss abiogenesis, and far from having no idea how life came to be, there are a number of competing hypotheses among scientists. In time, as evidence accumulates, these hypotheses will be weeded out until one which best fits the evidence remains, which will no doubt become an accepted theory of abiogenesis.
For life to form by chance (see page 197 on the mathematic impossibility of this occurring), there would have to be an incredible amount of time and an incredible amount of combinations of molecules.
Do you know what else is equally unlikely? That you’re reading these words right now. There are hundreds of millions of websites — and hundreds of billions of web pages. But you’re on this one. Statistically, that would never happen. After all, if you visited one page a second for every second of your life, you’d need 3,171 years to visit 100 billion web pages. But you didn’t have to browse that many to arrive here.
And nature didn’t have to randomly try every single one of the possible combinations of chemicals & energy for life to form. All it takes is that one right combination, and given that a good mix of chemicals & energy could have existed in any of thousands (if not millions) of places on Earth, it was simply inevitable that life would form.
Though many scientists say both qualifications have been met on earth, mathematically speaking, it is impossible. this is why many evolutionists are divorcing themselves from the origins issue. I will discuss this later.
If evolutionists are “divorcing themselves” from the issue, perhaps it’s because they’d rather the appropriate experts handle an issue that’s unrelated to evolution? You’ll note that evolutionists aren’t divorcing themselves from the theory of evolution. Despite undergoing intense scrutiny, the theory of evolution has held fast.
As for abiogenesis being mathematically impossible, well, that’s not how “impossibility” works. If you’re allowing for the fact that some random combination of chemicals & energy can create life, then you’re allowing that it is possible, no matter how improbable.
“Impossible odds” events happen all the time, just ask the winners of a jackpot. Or to borrow an example from Matt Slick’s own camp, there are Christians who claim that it would be impossible for one man to fulfill all of the messianic prophecies in the Old Testament.
Yet Christians believe that one man did fulfill those prophecies. (As an aside, i’m unconvinced that several significant “messianic prophecies” were no such prophecy at all, until it was labeled as such after the fact by New Testament authors.)
So either extremely improbable events are possible… or they’re not. And given that it makes very little sense to label any event that has a possibility of occurring as “impossible,” i’ll go ahead and move on to Slick’s next point.
Second, there is the problem of the continued formation of new genetic material. The development of new genetic material within organisms is also a very serious problem. The DNA molecule is so complex that a random appearance of one basically can’t happen. See the quotes by scientists on this problem on page 198 for more information.
I could write a simple program that would output a random number a million characters in length. The probability of any one number appearing would be . This number is “impossibly large,” yet every time the script is ran, a number would be output, despite the unbelievable odds against that number being chosen.
My point is, just because something is unlikely, doesn’t make it impossible. At all.
As for the development of new genetic material (new genes), well, musing about the likelihood of such a thing is academic: science has observed the appearance of new genetic material.
Third, there is the problem of the human ancestor line which is riddle with holes. From what I have seen, the historical evidence for the human ancestor line (hominid line) falls into three categories: pure ape, pure man, and fakes. That means that the evolutionary line of man is non-existent. The human ancestor line is riddle with gaps. You’ve heard the term “missing link.” What you haven’t heard is “found link” or “discovered link.” That’s because they are all still missing.
Let’s make the evolutionary party even more interesting: let’s just start at 4 billion years ago. As it happens, we have fossil evidence for a great deal of the evolutionary tree, and while there have been fossils presented which have turned out to be fakes or otherwise wrongly presented, scientists rightly ignore those. (Indeed, in my experience, the creationists are the ones that like to bring them up.)
As for the human ancestor line being “riddled with gaps,” well, i can only guess that Slick will only accept an archaeologist unearthing an animated fossil that shows a smooth change from one species to another.
I also want to point out (because i’ve rarely seen this mentioned by others) that we are a transitional species (as are all species). We, as humans, exist as an intermediate species between what came before and whatever will come after. Each of us is a living, breathing example of a “missing link,” full of leftovers from our evolutionary past, leftovers which the next step in our evolution may lose completely (or start using again!).
If, however, we were created as a species complete, one-hundred percent human from day one, why then were we created with so many unnecessary features—features which are readily explained by evolutionary theory but which call into question the efficiency of any so-called creator god(s).
Fourth, there is the problem of the missing links of all other species. None of the evolutionary lines of any of the animals, birds, fish, nor plants is established. They are all up for grabs.
In the sidebar of this post, there is an image of a tree of life, one of many such diagrams available online which depict the evolutionary lines of just about any form of life you could think of. For Slick to say that none of the evolutionary lines are established is poor scholarship at best and outright dishonest at worst.
That is why a theory came out called punctuated equilibria. It stated that the reason there aren’t fossilized evolutionary links between species is because evolution took huge sudden jumps…in 100,000 to 300,000 year increments or so during different periods of earth’s history. This is revealing because it is an admission by scientists that the fossil record is so incomplete that a theory explaining huge regular gaps had to be formulated.
The theory of punctuated equilibrium was not developed because none of the evolutionary lines were known; rather, the theory was developed as an alternative to phyletic gradualism in an attempt to better explain the fossil record of speciation. Either speciation was gradual (phyletic gradualism), or it is more jerky (punctuated equilibrium).
Additionally, yes, the fossil record is incomplete. For it to be complete, at least one of every possible species would have to have been fossilized & recovered by archaeologists.
Unlike a biblical worldview — which would have the only fossils being formed in the aftermath of the Deluge — the fossil record fits what evolutionary theory predicts (and yes, that includes the gaps). If the biblical account of the Deluge were true and it were the cause of fossils, then we’d see a mix of modern species with ancient species such as dinosaurs throughout the fossil record (which we don’t). Instead, the fossil record has ancient fossils in ancient rock strata, more recent fossils in more recent rock strata, and so forth.
So then, where is all the evidence that proves evolution is true?
If you want proof, stick to mathematics. However, if it’s evidence you want, it’s not exactly hidden, and i encourage anyone reading this to spend some time reading through as many of those links as you find interesting. In so doing, you’ll come to appreciate life even more, recognizing it as the wonder of nature that it is.
So that’s Matt Slick’s list of problems with evolution, and as you can see, they are not problems at all.
The next section in the Apologetics Notebook is “Theistic Evolution,” wherein Slick points out that attempting a doctrinal compromise between biblical creation & evolutionary theory just doesn’t jive with the Bible. I’ll be skipping this section simply because i agree with Slick in it: the Bible makes even less sense once you compromise it to the point that Genesis refers to naturalistic origins of life which are somehow aided by God.