|A still from AiG's 'Check This Out' DVD series|
We’re sure you’ve heard this claim before, probably hundreds of times: “Science has proven evolution is fact.” It’s like a strange Darwinian chant that emanates from atheist blogs and secular universities. Too bad (for them) it’s not true.Yes, Ken, it's exactly like that. A "strange Darwinian chant" from atheist blogs and secular universities.
A "strange Darwinian chant" from the world's largest scientific society, with over 130,000 members, and over 262 affiliated societies comprised of over 10 million individuals.
A "strange Darwinian chant" from pretty much every scientist (97%).
A "strange Darwinian chant" from over 90 educational organizations, over 30 religious organizations, and over 100 scientific and scholarly organizations.
A "strange Darwinian chant" from over 1170 scientists named Steve (Steves make up approximately 1% of all scientists).
A "strange Darwinian chant" from over 12,000 American Christian clergy.
What is so explosive about the information in Ken's video that he believes disproves the theory that serves as "the foundation of modern biology?" The video states, "What the bible reveals makes sense of what we see and understand. Evolution does not. 'Nuff said."
Ham's refutation centers on the following two statements:
1. Life has never been observed to come from non-life.
2. There is no known observable process by which new genetic information can be added to the genetic code of an organism.
Let's have a look:
Let's address the first refutation. First of all, the theory of evolution does not depend on how life began. Abiogenesis is another matter altogether, and proof or dis-proof of abiogenesis would not affect evolution in the least. Evolution is defined as "the gradual process by which the present diversity of plant and animal life arose from the earliest and most primitive organisms." As long as there is life, there is evolution. Saying that evolution cannot exist without proof of abiogenesis is like saying the germ theory of disease does not work without first understanding how bacteria first originated.
Secondly, just because science has not observed abiogenesis does not mean that God created all life in its present form. This is a 'God of the Gaps' argument and it's silly. It is true that we have not replicated abiogenesis, but there are many models to describe how life may have originated, and we are learning more and more each day. There was a time when we could not explain where lightning came from, and so we attributed it to the gods. We later gained the knowledge to explain how lightning works, and the gods explanation faded away. Abiogenesis is a little more complex, and may or may not be replicated in my lifetime, but that does not mean that it cannot be explained. Science is closing in on it. This is how science works.
Now on to Ham's 2nd refutation: "There is no known observable process by which new genetic information can be added to the genetic code of an organism." This is, quite simply, a flat out lie. Although creationists never seem to be able to define exactly what they mean by "information," It appears that they keep this definition rather loose, so that they can exclude whatever evidence is put in front of them. Regardless, new genetic information is indeed routinely added to biological systems through various evolutionary mechanisms. You just need to look at the evidence, which is overwhelming. You just won't find it in Creationist sources.
John Rennie writes in Scientific American:
Biology has catalogued many traits produced by point mutations (changes at precise positions in an organism's DNA)--bacterial resistance to antibiotics, for example.
Mutations that arise in the homeobox (Hox) family of development-regulating genes in animals can also have complex effects. Hox genes direct where legs, wings, antennae and body segments should grow. In fruit flies, for instance, the mutation called Antennapedia causes legs to sprout where antennae should grow. These abnormal limbs are not functional, but their existence demonstrates that genetic mistakes can produce complex structures, which natural selection can then test for possible uses.
Moreover, molecular biology has discovered mechanisms for genetic change that go beyond point mutations, and these expand the ways in which new traits can appear. Functional modules within genes can be spliced together in novel ways. Whole genes can be accidentally duplicated in an organism's DNA, and the duplicates are free to mutate into genes for new, complex features. Comparisons of the DNA from a wide variety of organisms indicate that this is how the globin family of blood proteins evolved over millions of years.Nice try, Ken. Sadly, however, there are many parents and churches who will plop their kids in front of your DVDs, and no new factual information will be added to the child's brain. Most of these kids will eventually have evolution explained to them properly. However, some kids will inevitably grow up to be the next Ken Ham.
It's like some strange Creationist chant.