Think about it

by Gary Parker

"Think about it!" What a sane and yet sensational idea. What a rallying point for both creationists and evolutionists.

The Scopes trial showed it was foolish to teach only creation; is it any wiser to teach only evolution? A detailed doctoral study by Richard Bliss {28} demonstrated that students using a two-model (creation - evolution) approach to origins showed more improvement in inquiry skills than those using the now traditional evolution-only approach. (And, by the way, the two-model students learned evolution concepts better than those taught evolution only.) Furthermore, a two-model approach cannot be accused of indoctrination; can evolution only? Surely, the only way students can "think about it" is when they have access to all the relevant data and the true academic freedom to explore both models of origin.

 Marvels of adaptation are described under the heading "Nature's Challenges to Evolutionary Theory" in a Scientific American book edited by Garrett Hardin. Even though he is an evolutionist, Hardin asks, "Is the evolutionaryl framework wrong?" Then he goes on to ask, "Was Paley right?" when he said the kind of design we see in the living world requires a Designer. Then, in an expression of open-ended fairness that everyone can appreciate, Hardin concludes, "Think about it" Think about it.

As Garrett Hardin so perceptively observes, the challenge to evolution does not come simply from a few religious fanatics. The challenge to evolution comes from the study of nature itself: "Nature's Challenges to evolutionary Theory", he calls it. Even if various pressure groups (ironically operating under the guise of "academic freedom") succeed in censoring and suppressing all views except evolution, the case for creation will still be studied in science classes. The case for creation will be evident in sets of adaptations working together, such as we see in the woodpecker; in the growth and birth of a baby; and in the fantastic molecular integration within cells, such as the relationship between DNA and protein. Because of the way things have been made, the case for creation will always be present in the subject matter of science itself, especially in lab and field work.

We can differentiate the stone implements produced by human creative effort from those shaped by time, chance, and erosion. Similarly, we can distinguish created relationships among living things, such as those among the parts of a woodpecker, a growing baby, or a living cell.

One other special feature of creation is so obvious we often fail to notice it: its beauty. I once took my invertebrate zoology class to hear a lecture on marine life by a scientist who had just returned from a collecting trip to the Philippines. Toward the end of his lecture he described the brightly colored fish he had observed at a depth where all wavelengths of light were absorbed except for some blue. In their natural habitat, the fish could not even see their own bright colors, so what possible survival value could the genetic investment in this color have? Then he challenged the students to pose that question to their biology professors.

When my students asked me, I couldn't help thinking of Genesis 2:9, where God is described as creating plants both "pleasant to the sight and good for food". We normally expect to find aspects of beauty as well as usefulness in the artifacts of human creation; perhaps we should expect to find beauty in God's creation of life as well.

Remember, though, that I'm not trying to convince you of all these things in one short book. I used to teach evolution in university biology classes, and it took me several years to change my thinking from evolution to creation. And let's face it, there is much to be said for evolution. In fact, I still present the case for evolution to my classes, then let them bombard me with questions which I answer as an evolutionist. That certainly surprises some of my students, but it stimulates all of them to "think about it".

And that is my purpose in this book: to stimulate your thinking. The case is not all one-sided in favor of creation, but it's certainly not one-sided in favor of evolution either. When it comes to origins, we cannot appeal to direct observation, nor can we run experiments on the past. We're stuck with circumstantial evidence, i.e., evidence subject to more than one interpretation. Our goal must be to weigh all the relevant evidence, asking ourselves which is the more logical inference from the weight, on balance, of our scientific observations.

The case for creation I've presented so far is based on what we do know and can explain in the areas of molecular biology, homology, embryology, and adaptation. But what about Darwinian natural selection and the fossil evidence? Well, let's dig in. All you need is an inquiring mind, a sharp eye, and a willing heart. "Think about it!" What's the more logical inference from our scientific observations of genetics and the fossil evidence: time, chance, and the evolution of matter, or plan, purpose, and irreducible properties of organization pointing to special acts of creation?