Local Argument - Worldwide Battle
© 4.1.05 By D. Eric Williams
Over the past several weeks a Creation vs. Evolution debate has been raging in the “Letters to the Editor” section of our local paper. Recently the discussion moved beyond the opinions of laymen when Don Matteson, professor of chemistry at Washington State University, weighed in with his learned view. In an effort to rout the anti-intellectual opposition in one fell swoop, Professor Matteson reminded his readers that we are collectively a monkey’s uncle - or something like that. Matteson’s secret weapon is the fact that there are “great chemical similarities and small differences between humans and apes.” Supposedly this is irrefutable proof of Darwinian evolution.
However, the issue is not whether or not humans are related to apes; it’s the nature of that relationship that is the point of contention. For instance, it’s common knowledge that the DNA sequences of Men and Apes are strikingly similar (in fact, DNA structure is comparable over a broad range of species). If I remember correctly, the DNA sequences of Humans and Chimpanzees diverge at only one base in a hundred. However, to suggest that this indicates a familial relationship is like saying my Visa bill and a letter from my aunt Mae are related because both are printed on paper. DNA is really nothing more than a carrier of information. The “sheet of paper” - as complicated as it may be - is not the issue. Instead, it is the information written or coded on the paper that makes all the difference in the world. And when separate sheets of paper are manufactured by the same entity, then of course there will be similarities - a relationship if you will. Yet this is no proof of an ancestral convergence somewhere in the distant past.
Professor Matteson is also convinced that “the approximate random mutation rate, and …the time it would take for us to diverge from [apes] is in reasonable agreement with the fossil record." This is simply not true. The fossil record does not support the Darwinian theory of gradual trans-species change over a long period of time, a fact Stephen Jay Gould was fond of pointing out. Instead, it shows us that there has been a remarkable stability among species over the course of history, whether one chooses to believe that history spans billions of years or only thousands. And please, Professor Matteson et al, don’t bring up the tired examples of finch beaks, fruit flies, etc. No one disputes the fact that change is possible – probable even – within a species. Again, the point of contention is the claim that one species (apes), can, given enough time, evolve into another species (man). By the way, the only reason that the Darwinians insist on billions of years of evolutionary process is to hide the fact that there has never been a case of observable trans-species evolution. No one has ever seen it take place. The fossil record does not provide evidence of it ever taking place. Thus the need for billions of years; hide inconvenient facts in the mind numbing expanse of seemingly infinite time and maybe no one will notice that the Emperor has no clothes. Nevertheless, your average person does notice. That’s why 55% to 90% of Americans (depending on the poll), accept the notion of intelligent design. I’m not saying that 90% of Americans believe in the God of the Bible; I’m saying that 90% of us cannot accept the idea that the level of complexity seen in nature came about by accident. A person of average intelligence looks at the world in which we live and recognizes that life is a phenomenon not adequately explained by Darwinian dogma (as someone once said - I believe it was G.K. Chesterton - a miracle that takes place over a million years is still a miracle).
But what really bugs me is when a smug Darwinian (I know, I’m being redundant), pretends to know something about the Bible that your typical uneducated fundamentalist doesn’t. Once again we turn to Professor Matteson as a prime example:
I now realize that entomologists are ignorant to claim that beetles have six legs, because the Bible says that they creep on four feet (Lev. 11:20-25). The silly notion that the circumference of a circle is approximately 3.1415926 times the diameter and that the exact number cannot be written digitally proves that mathematicians, not the number, are irrational, because the real ratio is exactly three (I Kings 7:23).
Before Matteson attempts to use the Bible against itself he should brush up on the original languages. According to the Hebrew original, the insects listed in Leviticus 11:21-22 (the section where the King James version mentions "beetles"), are all types of locusts and are described as having four legs to walk on along with a pair of legs for jumping. As for his citation of 1 Kings 7:23, all I can say is that Matteson is too sophisticated by half. Even children understand that round figures are acceptable in non-technical documents. Apparently children also comprehend the wonder of creation in a way that a your average professor of chemistry cannot.