Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #125

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

Spanish language versions of 4 of my talks are now available at our website. Those talks are:
“Sacraments and the Bible,” “One Church,” “Sola Fide,” and “Sola Scriptura.” “Mary and the Bible” will be available in Spanish very soon – possibly later today.

By the way, I’ll be in McKinney, Texas at the beginning of the week and then in Wichita at the end of the week, so no newsletter next week. I’ll be back the week after, though.


I decided to do something a bit different this week. Instead of having fun with some apologetics topic, I decided to have some fun with a different sort of topic – evolution. I guess you could say this would be simply my musings on this particular topic. More blog-like than newsletter-like. I hope you enjoy it and I hope it causes you to stop and think. And, before anyone sends me comments about me being crazy or being some sort of fundamentalist, or some such thing, I hope you read what I write very carefully.


Okay, this week’s newsletter is about why I do not believe in evolution.  Or, to clarify, why I do not believe in inter-species or "macro" evolution.  I do, however, believe in micro evolution – evolution within a species that accounts for the many variations one can find within any given species.

Now, why do I say that?  Why do I not believe in macro evolution?  Is it because of my fundamentalist, literalist reading of the Bible?  No, not at all.  I do not read the Bible in the same way as a literalist or fundamentalist does.  Is it because my religion teaches me that evolution goes against the Bible and against God?  No, not at all.  My religion leaves open the question of macro evolution.  It says you can believe in it (with one qualification that I will point out below) or you can not believe it.  So I am not bound by my religious beliefs to reject evolution.  Then why do I reject one of the most sacred teachings of the atheist faith?  Statistics.  Statistics and common sense.

Before getting into the statistics and common sense part, though, I wish to make a few general comments here.  First, I am wide open to having someone prove to me that evolution (and from here on in, when I use the word "evolution," I will be referring to macro evolution – one species evolving into another species) is actually true.  However, I believe as the Church teaches – if evolution is true, then at some point, God stepped into the evolutionary process and, in a unique act, created Adam and from Adam created Eve.  This is the one "qualification" I mentioned in the paragraph above.  I would also add that I do not believe evolution is possible without God pre-programming it into our genetic code.  More on that later.

Second, I readily admit that I am not a scholar or expert in any way, shape, or form when it comes to biology, physiology, anthropology, genetics, statistics, or any other scientific realm that deals with this issue of evolution.  I have arrived at my current position mostly through what I call a common sense approach.  I readily admit that I need to do more research on the subject and I hope that by writing this, I will receive good suggestions as to where to look for good research on this topic. 

Third, while I do not believe in evolution, I do indeed believe that the earth is many millions, or even billions, of years old.  So I am not a "young earth" believer.  The young earth theory is directly related to a literalist reading of Scripture that involves counting backwards to the moment of creation by adding up all the spans of years mentioned in the early chapters of Genesis and coming to the conclusion that the Earth, indeed the entire universe, is only about 10 or 12-thousand years old.  (For more on a literal, or Catholic, reading of Scripture vs. a literalist, or Fundamentalist, reading of Scripture, go to: www.biblechristiansociety.com and order the free CD or mp3 download entitled "Catholics and the Bible.")  Evolutionary theory and young earth theory are two separate areas.  They are related in the sense that if young earth theory is true, then evolutionary theory cannot be true.  However, if evolutionary theory is false, then it does not necessarily follow that young earth theory is true. 

Fourth, I wish to emphasize that this position I hold has nothing to do at all with my religion – I am a Catholic, as all the readers of this newsletter know, but those of you who had this forwarded to you may not know.  The Catholic Church has not pronounced definitively one way or the other on the question of evolution – so, as a Catholic, I am open to believe as I see fit on this matter (again, with the one "qualification" mentioned above).

So, this is not a theologically-based position, but rather a scientifically-based and statistically-based and common sense-based position.  If someone wishes to change my thinking on this, which I am quite open to having happen, they cannot do so by appealing to the Bible and to theology, but rather they must appeal to science and statistics and common sense.  

Now, exactly what was it that caused this former evolution-believing, sorta intelligent, relatively well-informed person to no longer believe in evolution?  I will readily admit that I was first introduced to the idea that evolution might not be true by my reading of books and articles written by those who were indeed coming from a fairly fundamentalist theological background.  These books and articles would sometimes argue against evolution based on a literalist reading of the Bible.  Arguments which I would immediately discount as not being convincing. 

They would also, however, often use scientific arguments.  But I found their scientific arguments to often be so esoteric that they were basically useless to me.  For example, they would argue that carbon-14 dating techniques, that were used to prove dinosaur bones were millions of years old (as opposed to only several thousand-years old), were actually not good science.  And they would use what were supposedly scientific principles to advance their argument.  

Well, not being a physicist or a chemist or some such thing, I had no way of possibly knowing if their arguments were on the money or were baseless.  Same thing with their arguments about the properties of some radiation field encircling the sun that supposedly proved the solar system was only a few thousand years old, and about why the Hubble telescope wasn’t really picking up light from stars that were millions of light years away and so on.  Not being a trained astronomer or mathematician or such, I had no way of knowing if these arguments were valid or not.  So, I simply dismissed them.  I reasoned that since I had to rely solely on the experts’ knowledge in these matters, and that the majority of scientists – Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, atheist, etc. – did not hold to these views, then I was not going to be convinced by them. 

But all of this got me to thinking…to asking questions.  The question that kept popping into my mind was: "Why do I believe in evolution?"  What evidence had I seen that made me believe in evolution?  Well, when I thought about it, I realized that I believed in evolution because I had seen a chart in one of my high school textbooks that showed a little monkey evolving into a bigger monkey evolving into an ape involving into a bigger ape evolving into a man.  And when I thought about it even more, I realized that I had always read about the "theory" of evolution.  I had never read about the "proof" of evolution…always the theory of evolution.  There is a big difference between the two.

All this got me to start asking questions of friends, particularly liberal friends for whom evolution was a dogma of their religion.  I would ask, "Okay, so the monkey evolves into an ape that evolves into man; so, what evolved into the monkey?  And, what evolved into what evolved into the monkey?"  I kept thinking about how I had seen the chart about the evolution of ape into man, but I could not recall ever having seen a chart of what evolved into the monkey.  And I most certainly did not recall seeing any chart that traced man’s specific evolution back to a one-celled amoeba or any such thing.  Yes, there were charts that had a fish with an arrow pointing to an amphibian and an arrow going from the amphibian to the reptile and one from the reptile to the mammal on one side and the bird on the other, but these were very, very general.  I wanted specifics. 

Not one of them could answer my questions.  Not one.  They didn’t even attempt to answer my questions.  Which made me realize that for most people, the belief in evolution is more about faith than it is about knowledge.  They believe it because someone they trusted taught them about it and they have never ever seriously questioned that belief.  

I started looking for such a comprehensive evolutionary chart on the internet.  I’m not saying there isn’t one out there, but I couldn’t find it.  I did not spend hours and hours looking, but it wasn’t just one short google search either.  It seemed to me that if such a chart existed, I should be able to find it pretty quickly as I would imagine it would be on just about every website that pushed evolutionary theory.  Couldn’t find one.

So for me, the "common sense" notion of evolution which I had developed by looking at this chart of ape to man, started to not make a whole lot of sense.  I even tried to construct an evolutionary chart of my own, but I never could come up with even the first step backwards…what animal evolved into the monkey?  Was it a dog?  A cat?  A badger?  A raccoon?  What was it? 

Then I started having all these other questions…what animal evolved into a dog?  Into a cat?  Into an octopus?  Into a cow?  Into a pig?  And this is where I started asking about the fossil records for evolution.  Turns out the fossil records in regard to evolution, as best I can determine in my research (again with my limited knowledge of paleontology and such), have very large holes in them. 

I also started wondering, "Why have I not heard of species currently in existence that are in various stages of transition to another species?"  I mean, if evolution is an ongoing process, which everyone says it is, then why do we not hear about the critter that’s currently walking around that seems to be the next evolutionary stage, or is in the process of developing into the next evolutionary stage, of some other critter that is currently walking around? 

Again, my friends for whom evolution is a religion could not provide any answers.  They did not even attempt to answer any of my questions.  As they say, the silence was deafening.  So, all of this led to my "common sense" belief that evolution actually is not true. 

Some other questions had to do with reproduction.  If species that reproduce sexually with two parent organisms – male and female – evolved from species that reproduce with just one parent organism, how exactly did that happen?  I could not come up with a process by which tiny genetic aberrations could result in sexual reproduction involving a male and a female evolving from a process of reproduction that involved just one parent organism.  I mean think about it.  There had to be some sort of process where an organism that had reproduced asexually for millions of years, within one generation started reproduced bisexually (or with two parents vs. one parent).  In other words, one line of mutations had to result in a female of the species and one line of mutations had to result in a male of the species and the mutations had to be such that the male parts fit perfectly into the female parts.  What are the odds of that?  In other words, if these mutations occurred, it seems they had to be directed, or pre-programmed, mutations. 

How could the male of the species and the female of the species evolve independently of one other, and in a supposedly random manner, and yet have such perfect sexual and reproductive complementarity?  The male of the species, and the female of the species, through thousands of supposedly random "mutations," occurring over millions of years, evolve in such a way that they are perfectly complementary of one another sexually and reproductively?  Thousands of mutations – random and accidental changes – in thousands of separate males and females of a species, occurring over millions of years, moving in perfectly complementary directions, at pretty much the same times over those millions of years.  Does it require science or faith to believe that?

Then I ran across an article talking about the evolution of a system.  It used a specific example of the eye as a system that involves the cornea, retina, optical nerve, particular sensory apparatus within the bran, and so on.  All parts of the system would have to evolve at the same time, in the same direction, thousands of times, over the course of millions of years.  What are the odds of that?

That’s where my admittedly limited statistics knowledge came into play.  I’ve had all of 4 Statistics courses in my life.  But, it seemed to me that all the parts of a single system, like the eye, being genetically mutated, at the same time, in the same direction, thousands of times, over millions of years, was statistically impossible. 

For example, try to re-create the mutation from something like an ant’s antennae into something like the eye of a fly.  In order to go from the antennae, which receive various sensory inputs from the environment, but which do not "see," to the eye of the fly, which does in fact, "see," each part of the ant’s antennae system – the antennae, the nerves leading to the brain or central portion of the nervous system, the sensory receptors in the nervous system and so on would all have to evolve in the direction of the eye, at the same time.  And, according to evolutionary theory, this evolution would have to occur thousands of times over millions of years – so each part of the system has to randomly genetically mutate, in the exact same way, at the same time, thousands of times over millions of years.  The odds of that happening once are miniscule.  The odds of it happening thousands of times are pretty much impossible. 

Then, at some point, you would have to have a situation where you have a non-seeing parent giving birth to a seeing child.  At some point in the process there has to be this huge leap within one generation.  From single parent reproduction one generation, to two parent reproduction in the next generation.  From a non-seeing parent to a seeing child.  From a non-flying parent to a flying child.  From a parent that hatched from an egg, to a child that was birthed without an egg.  None of these things made sense to me. 

Now, again, I admit my limitations in Statistics, Paleontology, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Physiology, etc., which is why I stated at the outset that I am open to believing in evolution, but someone needs to make the case to me.  So far, none of my friends who believe in evolution have been able to make even a start.

All of which is why I no longer believe in evolution, and why I believe that if evolution did in fact take place, I believe it could have only happened if it had all been pre-programmed into our genetic code by the Author of life.  Think about this.  How can an amoeba, with just a certain amount of genetic code, eventually evolve into a man which has a genetic code that is orders of magnitude more complex than the amoeba’s?  Can a computer add to its own programming unless it has been pre-programmed to do so?  No. 

How can you add to genetic code?  What we experience in our lives is not somehow imprinted on our genes so that our genetic code is then added to and made more complex.  I don’t think it works that way.  We inherit our genetic code from our parents, and it does not change.  So, if what we experience in our environment does not add to our genetic code, how could the much simpler genetic code of an amoeba evolve billions of years later into the more complex genetic code of man?  If evolution is true, how was the genetic code of the amoeba added to in order to eventually beget man?  

To close, I will simply re-iterate that I acknowledge my lack of expertise in the scientific fields that are applicable to these questions, and that I am open to hearing the opposing arguments should anyone wish to change my mind on this matter.  I will not be taking up any such opposing arguments in this newsletter, but will certainly contemplate and research those arguments – if sources to research are provided.

Anyway, these are just my musings on the question of evolution.  I have had a number of people ask me questions related to this over the years, so I’m hoping this has provided at least a certain level of interesting reading.  If not, don’t worry, I’ll come back in the next issue with more apologetics.  Just thought it would be a nice diversion and thought that it might provide an example of how one can use common sense to ask questions in areas that you are not necessarily expert in.  So don’t get bowled over by someone else’s "expertise" (for example, about the Bible) or by someone’s loud and repeated claims (for example, as to what a paticular Scripture passage means) – step back, give it some thought, see if something doesn’t quite make sense to you, and, using some good ol’ common sense, ask some questions. 

In Conclusion

Again, no newsletter next week as I’ll be out of town for a few days. I hope all of you have a great weekend!

How to be added to, or removed from, the list

If this newsletter was forwarded to you by a friend, and you would like to be added to our distribution list, all you have to do is go to www.biblechristiansociety.com and click on the “Newsletter” page to sign up. It will take you about 10 seconds.


Apologetics for the Masses