“The Verdict Is In – ‘Science On Trial’ Is Acquitted – The Evidence Can’t Stand Up In Court”

By Michael S. Shelton

Aerospace Engineer

Stafford, VA

February 2000

(Revised June 2005, July 03 2005; July 24 2005)

 

 

Book Review of “Science On Trial: The Case For Evolution,” by Dr. Douglas J. Futuyma (New York: Pantheon Books, Division of Random House, Inc., First Edition, hardcover, 251 pages, 1983)

 

 

Preface

 

This partial book review of the original 1983 edition “Science On Trial: The Case For Evolution,” by Dr. Douglas J. Futuyma was launched as a result of a challenge from an atheistic evolutionist on a debate forum found on the former “Digital City / Kansas City / Kansas City Issues” web site.  This site no longer exists, but I still retain the relevant notes and postings from that debate.

 

A recent Google search of Dr. Futuyma’s material revealed a rich resource of sites pro and con to his writings.  Below are just a few of those:

 

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

http://www.skepticfiles.org/evolut/thermody.htm

 

http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-156.htm

 

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/evolution.htm

 

http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/futuyma.html

(December 2004 interview with Futuyma)

 

http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/ee/futuyma.html

 

http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/marinebio/futuyma.html

 

http://www.fossilmuseum.net/Evolution/evolution%20segues/Futuyma_quote.htm

 

http://home.wxs.nl/~gkorthof/kortho25.htm

 

http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/ee/people/futuyindex.html

 

http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/futuyma_cetacea.html

 

http://www.bostonreview.net/br22.1/futuyma.html

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

My former evolutionist debate opponent cites “Science On Trial: The Case For Evolution” by Dr. Futuyma (1995 Edition) as the single and complete authority that,

(1) there is no God,

(2) evolution is truly the explanation for the origins of life, and

(3) that Futuyma has destroyed my argument that the Second Law of Thermodynamics (SLOT) is the “Silver Bullet” against evolution.

 

I shall show that Futuyma (and his analysis) is profoundly erroneous.  I will expose the deficient scientific and Biblical scholarship that Futuyma displays in his book, and that his treatment of the SLOT is notably incorrect and misleading to the indiscriminate reader.

 

The reader will note that I am an engineer by education (BS / MS Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering) and intimately familiar with the process of the Scientific Method.  I am an evangelical Christian, with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  I believe in a literal Heaven and a literal Hell, for Jesus spoke in detail about both.  The reader should note that after years of struggling / searching for the best approach in the ongoing debate over the six literal 24-hour day span (Young Universe Camp), or whether the Events occurred over a very long period of time (Old Universe Camp), I have finally concluded that the proper Biblical and Scientific agreement and approach is that of Young Universe (Young Earth) Creation.  Modern Creation literature has convincing and powerful arguments presented from both Camps.  I have tremendous respect for most of the orthodox scholarship and writings from both sides.  There are very good and some incomplete Creation Models in both camps.  Any citing in this and any other of my documents of Old Earth material is not necessarily an endorsement of Old Earth conclusions and research – there are honest disagreements between principled and godly people.  Nevertheless, I now find myself firmly planted and comfortably at home in the Young Earth Creationists camp.

 

 

Introduction

 

As for my position that the Second Law of Thermodynamics (SLOT) is a clear refutation of abiogenesis and purposeless descent of life forms, the afore-mentioned evolutionist and self-avowed atheist challenged me to read the book “Science On Trial . . . “ by Dr. Futuyma.  The particular edition cited is a 1995 update of the original book (noted earlier).  The evolutionist states:

 

“…..I have determined that the theory of evolution is the correct explanation for the origin of life and what has followed……...The coup de grace? A single book, by Dr. Douglas J. Futuyma called “Science on Trail (sic): The Case for Evolution” (Sinauer Associates, Sunderland MA, 1995).  Futuyma not only clearly explains the theory, but takes on the creationist arguments for Intelligent Design point by point, showing how all of the creationist arguments fail.” 

 

My debate opponent, who admitted that he had no scientific credentials, continues,

 

“So, Mike, you want my response to your “silver bullet?” Read chapter 10, and you will find it plain as day. Your “silver bullet” is just a tin plated paper weight.”

 

He challenged me to read Chapter 9 of “Science On Trial . . .” for more context.

 

Because I could locate only the first printing, I am limited to responding to the original 1983 Edition.  However, if the 1995 Edition is similar to the 1983 version, then I won’t bother to look any further.  I would not waste good money on this book - it cannot be considered a serious, reliable scientific reference.  (Note: I recently obtained a well-worn paperback copy of the revised 1995 Edition.  The pertinent parts and sections that I reviewed in the 1983 Original Edition have not changed.  It’s still a waste of money. – MSS, 24 July 2005)  The book is a great disappointment in scholarship, little more than a screedy diatribe, railing against poor Creationist dolts who would dare think that Evolution is not good science.  Examples are provided later.  The book’s jacket contains the expected platitudes from other evolutionary dignitaries (Asimov, Pilbeam, Leakey, Lewontin).  I read only the Preface, Chapter One “Reason Under Fire,” Chapter Nine “Scientific Knowledge,” Chapter Ten “Creationist Arguments,” Chapter Twelve “The Social Role for Evolution,” the Appendix “Some Creationist Arguments, and Some Appropriate Responses,” and the Footnotes.  I browsed much of the rest of book.   All page numbers cited are for the 1983 hardback edition (251 pages) of the book.

 

Futuyma states in the preface on page xi,

 

“Evolution has, by now, the status of fact.  It is one of the most important discoveries in science, and one of the most profound concepts in Western thought; so it is a sad irony that, a century after Darwin’s death, the creationist movement is stronger than ever, carried forward by the New Right’s rise to power.”  Later, Futuyma states, “….I shall describe the evidence for evolution, explain how the evolutionary process is thought to operate,…….I hope to show that the attack on evolution is an attack on science in general; that to accept the doctrine of creation rather than the evidence for evolution is to be guided by wishful thinking rather than by reason and sober judgment….” (all emphasis in italics added)

 

Futuyma continues on page xii,

 

“I do not expect to convert fundamentalist creationists to belief in evolution.  Fortified against logic and evidence by unquestioned doctrine, they are not likely to be swayed.  This book is addressed, rather, to the reader who is open to evidence on matters of scientific substance.” (emphasis added)

 

 

Analysis of Two Points

 

Let’s pause here to consider two points: (1) Futuyma is inconsistent with his use of the word “fact,” and (2) he paints all Creationists with the broad stereotypist’s smearbrush, branding Creationists as incapable of “reason and sober judgment” and “fortified against logic.” (emphasis added)

 

Point (1): If a fact is a fact, don’t we know it?  How can a “fact” be “thought to operate?”  Admittedly, it is held that the ‘how’ of many phenomena or laws are impossible to describe (such as gravity, electron orbits, or electromagnetic fields).  Yet the ‘what’ and the ‘wherefore’ and the ‘when’ can be described in concrete physical mathematical laws that are often both elegant and simple.  Gravity and electromagnetic fields are two such clear examples.  Regardless if a person designs / builds a refrigerator or a missile, whether in the United States or in Burma, the principles to build those devices will be exactly the same, but perhaps executed with different styles.  In Chapter Nine and (throughout the book), Futuyma makes statements such as,

 

“good scientists never say they have found absolute “truth”“ (emphasis in the original),

 

“Scientists realize, if they have any sense at all, that all their currently accepted beliefs are provisional,”

 

“Science emphasizes evidence and logical deduction, and is forever uncertain,”

 

“nothing in science is ever proven in this sense.  There are no immutable facts.  Every scientific claim is a hypothesis, however well supported it may be.”

 

Yet, he provides quotes from at least four people (Andrew D. White, James D. Watson, Theodosius Dobzhansky, and Richard C. Lewontin) that directly state or infer that evolution (i.e., the origin of life from strictly material, natural processes, and the subsequent descent of all life species) is a fact.  So, which is it?  Do we have facts, or are we forever saddled with hypothesis / theories only?  Is it possible that earth’s gravity could possibly end tomorrow?  Is it possible that the next Mars probe will actually go straight to the sun, not because of error, but because gravitational laws will have changed?  Is it possible that the reader’s alternator on his car or truck will next month stop obeying electromagnetic laws and cease its ability to provide the electrical needs of the vehicle?  Futuyma talks out of both sides of his mouth – he wants his cake and to eat it too.  But this is not unusual from an evolutionist.

 

Point (2): Futuyma follows a familiar pattern of other atheistic evolutionists that assume or boldly state that Creationists are all / primarily from the “fundamentalists” camp.  The term ‘fundamentalist’ is a talk-down, sarcastically pejorative term used by atheists and liberal Christians / religious people to describe a sect of Christians who are very woodenly literal and uncompromising in Biblical interpretation.  Unfortunately, the atheistic evolutionists label anyone who acknowledges that God is the Creator of the Universe and The Designer and Builder of life as a “Fundamentalist.”  Futuyma pours it on in his book.  Examples abound – in addition to the sanctimonious put-down goo-goo talk I have already cited in his Preface, we read:

 

“And the fundamentalist assault is not limited to evolutionary biology: physics, astronomy, geology, anthropology and psychology are all under attack.” (page 5 – he cites no examples to this blatantly erroneous blast),

 

“The opponents of evolution who call themselves “creationists” are, almost without exception, fundamentalist Christians” (page 19),

 

“The opponents of evolution, then, are not the religious leaders who understand Genesis to contain symbolic truth, but the fundamentalists who are incapable of recognizing metaphor, and insist on interpreting Genesis literally,” and

 

“Their Biblical analysis is as absurd as are their scientific views; they cannot admit metaphor, parable, or historical scholarship in their reading of the Bible; for to admit that one passage should be read metaphorically is to admit ambiguity in the whole, which would bring into the doubt the passages that serve as authority for their uncompromising moral and social positions.” (page 20).

 

And those are samples just within the first 20 pages.  Much of Futuyma’s book is replete with combative language about Christians who embrace Creation.  For those of us who served honorably in the United States military and obeyed the orders of our Congress and our Commander in Chief, even to the point of combat wounds, such language from a distinguished biology professor and science writer is insulting.  We support the inalienable right of any atheist to his position, but such inflammatory language by Futuyma only serves to cement the notion that this book is not about science, but about the battle of philosophy / worldviews.

 

Additionally, his scholarship, particularly about the Bible, is pathetically lacking.  Furthermore, Futuyma’s anti-Christian rage completely ignores the huge body of intelligent and dedicated researchers in all fields (including biology and microbiology), from a variety of Judeo-Christian faiths and denominations, who are deeply-committed Creationists, based not just on religious or Christian convictions, but based on their analysis of the evidence.

 

Christians pay taxes and operate with the same Constitutional Bill of Rights as the atheistic scientist.  As U.S. Citizens, Christian scientists have equal rights to the public square of scientific debate and inquiry.  If Creationism is so devoid of merit and fact, then open inspection and public debate will bear that out.  If the preponderance of evidence for the evolution side is so great, then what do the evolutionists have to worry about?  Trying to keep the debate out of the public schools and universities, to which all U.S. Citizens should have equal access, only invites suspicions of the agenda of the atheistic scientist.  I say, teach both Creation and Evolution in the schools, and let the student make an informed decision.

 

 

Poor Biblical Scholarship

 

On pages 3 and 4 of Chapter One, after citing a couple of statements by St. Augustine and St. Ambrose, Futuyma states,

 

“And so the fathers of the church established one of the most powerful, lasting beliefs in Christian civilization: the literal truth of the Bible’s every word.” (emphasis added)

 

Conveniently using unnamed sources on page 4, Futuyma goes on to say that the creation story in the Bible was really fashioned after ancient Babylonian and Chaldean myths, and that the story was written by four different authors.  It is unknown what the source of his Biblical consultation is, but it seems apparent that it comes from liberal scholars.  He mentions the two “different” creation stories contained in Genesis chapters One and Two.  Of course, those two different stories are not contradictory at all.  One is a general chronology of the Six Days of Creation, whereas the “second” story in Chapter Two is a recap and a more detailed description of some of the details, including the Creation of man (both male and female) on the Sixth Day.  Further discussion of Scripture passages shows that Futuyma is ignorant of Biblical study and historical facts.  For example, it is true that there were multiple authors of original writings of various parts of Genesis historical events, but the book was finally compiled by Moses during the 40-year period in the Sinai desert following Israel’s escape from Egypt about 1400 BC.  It is most certain that Adam, Noah, Abraham, maybe even Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and others, kept journals of their lives and the significant events, and passed down through both oral tradition and the written record.  Moses, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit compiled not only Genesis, but also most of the other four books of the Pentateuch.  Editor note: For rebuttals to the ideas Futuyama uncritically picks up from what he selects of Biblical scholarship, see: JEDP theory (includes item on "two creation accounts"); stolen from Babylonians/Chaldeans.

 

 

If Futuyma had bothered to do his homework, he would have discovered that the Bible was written by approximately 40 authors on three continents and in three languages, all over a span of approximately 1600 years or so, with an approximate 300-year gap between the last writings of the OT Scriptures and the recording of the NT Scriptures.  I will refute his assertion that the early church fathers established the truth of the Bible and show Futuyma’s errors.

 

[1] Jesus confirmed the accuracy and God-inspired OT Scriptures in verses like Mark 7:10; Luke 5:14; and John 7:19,23.  In John 5:45-47 (NASB), Jesus said:

 

“Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope.  For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

 

It is clear that Jesus was appealing to these pre-New Testament Jews who believed that the Book of the Law (i.e., the Books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible) were inspired by God and spoke directly to God’s truth for the Israelites.  Jesus clearly says here that “Moses wrote” about Him.  The Jewish scribes who were tasked, indeed as full-time occupations, with copying the Law and later books, took extreme pains to ensure that copies were faithfully and accurately made.  A study of the Masoretic scribes of Tiberias, when compared to the important 1947 discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, supports this.  The scribes could tell if one consonant was left out of the book of Isaiah, or even the entire Hebrew Bible.  Safeguards were so painfully built into their copying methodology that they knew when they finished a manuscript, they had an exact copy.

 

[2] Jesus Himself held Scripture in very high regard.  In the gospel of Matthew Chapter 23, verses 34 and 35, we read,

 

“Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.”

 

Zechariah was the son of Berechiah.  This murder is recorded in II Chronicles 24:20-22.  Berechiah was the father of Zechariah, whereas the famous Jehoiada was his grandfather.  This is not the prophet Zechariah (though his father was also named Berechiah) – this is a different Zechariah.  Since Abel’s death is recorded in Genesis, and since II Chronicles is the last book in the Hebrew Bible, Christ was saying, in effect, “from the first to the last murder in the Bible.”  I find it significant that Jesus was saying to the Pharisees and Scribes that from the first murder to the last murder in the OT (from the first book to the last), the righteous blood spilled by Abel and Zechariah were going to be counted as guilt against them.  Implied, between the lines, could be the blood of all the righteous men in between.  Because the Pharisees were very well-versed in the Law and the Prophets, they would have understood what Jesus referred to, for they also held the Lord Yahweh’s word in high regard.  It is significant that Jesus thought these Scriptures to be accurate and trustworthy.  Why else would he refer to them? (See more on this issue here -- Editor.)

 

[3] Jesus quoted / referred to Genesis 2:24 about the historicity of Adam and Eve, and marriage (Matthew 19:5).  Jesus noted Adam and Eve as real historical figures in space and time.

 

[4] The “mythical tale” of manna and quail given to the ancient Hebrews wandering around in the desert for 40 years, led by Moses, is one of the biggest targets of skeptics and atheists.  Yet Jesus referred directly to these God-supplied foods in John 6:49.

 

[5] What about Jonah?  The book of Jonah is held in utter contempt and ridicule by liberals and atheists, but Jesus again makes due and high regard of OT Scripture by referring to the three days that Jonah was in the belly of the great fish (Matthew 12:40) as described in Jonah 1:17.

 

[6] Jesus Himself said that not one jot or tittle of the Law were going to be changed (Matthew 5:18) until all was accomplished.  I think here he was referring to the Septuagint and its Greek lexicon.  So, even though Jesus knew that the Septuagint was a TRANSLATION, and we know it probably had copyists errors, He still regarded it as extremely trustworthy, because He had to have been thinking of the ORIGINAL autographa of the authors.  Inerrancy, as applied to the original autographs, was also implied here.  After all, the Holy Spirit guided the human authors about Jesus (John 8:56, 58; John 5:47-47; John 6:69; Hebrews 11:39) as they wrote the OT.  Jesus was THE WORD (John 1:1)

 

[7] Romans 10:13-18 (KJV) says:

 

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”

 

{Verse 17 from the New International Version (NIV) says, “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”}.  Here, the Apostle Paul is reinforcing that the Word is reliable and trustworthy.  Paul upholds both the preacher AND the Word of God.

 

[8] King David, the second King of Israel, who ruled for 40 years commencing about 1000 BC, states in Psalm 29:10,

 

“The LORD sat as King at the flood; Yes, the LORD sits as King forever.”

 

In this passage, the particular Hebrew word for ‘flood’ (mabbuwl) is used only here and in Genesis Chapters 6 to 11.  “Mabbuwl” is the term that connotes a massive deluge, and refers directly to Noah’s Flood, the Great Deluge that destroyed the world.  “Mabbuwl” is never used anywhere else in the Old Testament except this particular verse in Psalm 29 and in the Genesis chapters of the Great Flood.  This indicates that David believed God’s Word to be literal and true about the Flood.

 

[9] The physician and author Luke records in Acts Chapter 17, verses 10-12, the event where Paul has been run out of the town of Thessalonica and has established teaching about Christ in the town of Berea.  Luke writes these words,

 

“And the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.  Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.  Many of them therefore believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.” (NASB)

 

‘Prominent Greek men and women’ is significant here.  In that area and that age, the term ‘Greek’ was applied to the educated and upper crust of society (both Jews and Gentiles, but primarily the Gentile race).  They spoke the Greek language and tended to be the movers and shakers in their community.  The fact that these people were already attending the synagogue indicates they believed in the Jewish Scriptures.  Paul’s preaching stirred them to study those Scriptures (which would have been written in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible).  They “examined the Scriptures” daily.  Bible manuscripts were not cheap and generally not available to the poor layman except in the rare libraries.  Thus, we see that educated, critically-thinking “Greek’ people believed in Christ.  Belief in the Creation would naturally follow.

 

[10] The Apostle Peter wrote these words in II Peter 1:20-21 (NASB),

 

“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

 

Just before that passage, he also wrote from the first-person experience of actual witness these words in II Peter 1:15-16 (NASB),

 

“And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you may be able to call these things to mind.  For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”

 

 

Thus, Futuyma deeply errs when he states that the early church fathers “established” the truth of the Biblical word.  Jesus, David, Paul, Peter, and the Jewish scribes, among others, had already testified to that.  Certainly, the early church fathers validated the truth of the Bible.  The next time that Futuyma wants to comment on Biblical concepts, I would advise him to pick up a commentary and actually read it, or call real Biblical Scholars for proofing his manuscript.

 

Further analyzing his inadequate Biblical scholarship, on the topic of metaphoric interpretation, Futuyma is vitriolic and demonizing of the Christian believer.  He does not cite any particular passage where he gets down to the nitty gritty, although his references to the Flood and the Creation story are certainly implied.  If Creationists are incapable of metaphor, then perhaps he would like to comment on how Christians would handle the following three verses:

 

“Like a slug melting away as it moves along, ………”  (Psalm 58:8, NIV)

 

“But Jesus said unto him, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.”  (Matthew 8:22, KJV)

 

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”  (Luke 14:26, NASB)

 

The above verses, only three of many, are meant to be read as metaphoric in context and not taken as literal.  How can a dead man bury another dead man?  How does a slug melt?  Futuyma is searching for nonexistent strawman arguments.

 

In summary, before I address specific scientific points in Chapter Ten, I conclude that Futuyma’s book is little more than a sarcastic and inflammatory slam against good people of the Christian Faith.  Futuyma would like to demonize Christians within the framework quoted in the splendid satirical “How the Bible was Prepared,” By Philbert P. LaPhlem (a.k.a., the famous J.P. Holding (Conan the Librarian) of Tektonic Ministries),

 

“The Bible is a bad book.  The people who read it are morons who drool on their shoes, wear mismatched socks, can’t make up their minds on anything, think that throat lozenges are gourmet food, and stare at cans of frozen orange juice because they say “concentrate” on them.  People who like the Bible are called Christians, and there are three kinds: those who can count and those who can’t……..” (for the reader, the rest of this hilarious rendition can be found at http://tektonics.org/parody/insane2.htm.)

 

Futuyma would completely cast aside distinguished Christian / Bible-believing men of science / engineering, such as Pascal, Maxwell, Newton, Pasteur, Faraday (Michael Faraday was a London Baptist pastor and discoverer of the electromagnetic principles I mentioned earlier), and even the Father of our Modern Space Program and designer of the Saturn 5 launch vehicle that took men to the moon six times, the late Werner von Braun.  At Auburn University, where I earned my BS in Aerospace Engineering in 1977, I had two devoted Christian PhD professors in the Aerospace Department (both are now retired and Professors Emeritus of Aerospace Engineering).  One is a member of the Technical Advisory Board for the Institute for Creation Research.  The other professor is highly respected in high-speed missile aerodynamics and is probably among the top five to ten persons in the nation in theoretical computer modeling for low-speed aerodynamics and high-speed missile dynamics.  To insinuate that those two distinguished men are incapable of “…sober judgment….” And are “…..Fortified against logic and evidence by unquestioned doctrine…..” is simple rudeness.

 

 

For the sake of brevity in the remainder of this review, I will respond to only two topics in Chapter Ten {Thermodynamics (Argument #2, pages 183-184, also page 223 of the Appendix)} and {Complexity / Natural Selection (combined arguments #3, #6 and #7, pages 184, 191-195)}.

 

Scientific Refutations of Thermodynamics and Complexity

 

My previously-mentioned evolutionist opponent claimed that my “Silver Bullet” analogy of the Second Law of Thermodynamics was reduced to a “tin plated paper weight.”  He was erroneous and uninformed, and I shall show why.

 

 

Thermodynamics

 

In the first paragraph of this section where he refers to Thermodynamics (Argument #2), Futuyma briefly and correctly summarizes the First Law of Thermodynamics and the Second Law of Thermodynamics (FLOT and SLOT).  The reader should know that both FLOT and SLOT are at work in either closed or open systems (a perfect closed system, by definition, will have no mass or energy transfer across the adiabatic boundary that seals it from outside energy and mass influence).  SLOT simply states that processes in the global sense tend to flow in a manner that is more random and / or more probable (entropy increases).  In a closed system, entropy continues to irrevocably increase until all energy / matter conversion processes are exhausted (maximum entropy).  For example, a sand castle on the beach is an improbable event – it had to be built by a designer.  Left on its own and with the effects of wind, storm, and tide, the sand castle will again become a random distribution of sand granules on the beach.  Within a perfectly sealed and impenetrable area of the beach (a completely uninhabited island would suffice, simulating a kind of closed system), a sand castle will never be built through completely random processes.  After summarizing FLOT and SLOT, Futuyma states,

 

“Creationists take these laws of physics to mean that organized living systems could not have evolved from less organized matter, and that complex organisms could not evolve from simpler ones.”

 

The reader should note the irony here – for a PhD who repeatedly states throughout his book that

 

“….there are no immutable facts….” and “… every scientific claim is a hypothesis….”

 

or words to that effect, he nevertheless refers to FLOT and SLOT as “laws.”  Yes, Futuyma correctly states the Creationists’ position, whereas he would stick to mindless chance, given sufficient time and space.  Futuyma seems to subscribe to the philosophy, “Beginning with the impersonal, everything, including man, must be explained in terms of the impersonal plus time plus chance.” {as Francis Schaeffer states in his book ‘He Is There And He Is Not Silent’ – MSS}.  This is why Futuyma is adamant in stating elsewhere in his book,

 

“Science is science only if it limits itself to determining the nature of reality.” (page 161)

 

By this, the atheist simply defines God / the Supernatural out of the picture.  Unfortunately, Christian apathy has allowed the secular humanist crowd to get by with this.  The ‘there is no science if God is allowed’ is now deeply entrenched throughout all facets of our society – the schools, the universities, the think tanks, government, and regrettably, in great former bastions of orthodox Christian training, such stalwart schools as Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton, and many others.  For a PhD who asserts that

 

“The best scientific education encourages skepticism, questioning, independent thought, and the use of reason.” (page 18),

 

Futuyma is simply guilty of the crass hypocrisy he labels against the Creationists.  Physician, heal thyself. 

 

Futuyma quotes from the article ‘Scientific Creationism’ (P. Cloud, The Humanist, January-February 1977), Cloud’s Creationist interpretation of SLOT,

 

“For the evolution of a more advanced organism, however, energy must somehow be gained, order must be increased, and information added.  The Second Law says this will not happen in any natural process unless external factors enter to make it happen.”

 

I most strongly and vigorously agree with this quote, although the “evolution” term clouds the issue – for example, cars don’t evolve, they are designed and built using intelligent processes.

 

 

Enter Severe Foot-In-Mouth Disease

 

But then, Futuyma makes a fatal series of statements:

 

“But order arises from disorder all around us.  A human body arises from the relative formlessness of a fertilized egg; disordered water molecules form ordered ice crystals in our refrigerators.  The reason, of course, is that neither an organism nor anything else except the universe as a whole is a closed system {ah, another “fact” from the man who says “….there are no immutable facts….” – MSS}: the earth and its organisms are open systems that acquire energy from the sun to build complexity from simple precursors.  As Isaac Asimov has said, the creationist argument from the second law is “an argument based on kindergarten terms [that] is suitable only for kindergartens.”

 

This paragraph is a complete misrepresentation of the Creationist position he shows in the previous paragraph.  It is smoke and mirrors and completely disingenuous.  Before I dissect this paragraph, let me quote the first two sentences in his next paragraph: “Organisms are programmed by the information in their DNA to synthesize complex molecules with the help of the sun’s energy.  The information changes by mutation, which if unopposed would break down the order in a living system.”

 

I shall now analyze some of the above Futuyma statements:

 

“But order arises from disorder all around us.”

{My response} This is true.  And how does it happen?  In the case of complex processes, only through an exchange of energy that also requires a code or information (blueprints, dialogue, handshakes, DNA, etc.).

 

“A human body arises from the relative formlessness of a fertilized egg; disordered water molecules form ordered ice crystals in our refrigerators.”

{My response}

(1)   The fertilized egg (embryo) is already a very complex organism (a human being) with all present and future physical characteristics and demeanor already defined by the DNA code.  The DNA will instruct the embryo to develop over the next nine months into a baby ready for birth and entry into the world we know.  Hair color, teeth strength, height and gender are already programmed into the little critter, with timers, triggers, and switches all embedded in the DNA.  Information, plus outside energy (food for Mom) will develop that human body.  After birth, outside energy (food) continues the cooperation process with the DNA’s information to grow the child into adulthood.

(2)   Ah, the old water freezes into ice story.  This is another sorely abused and smoke / mirrors example used by atheistic evolutionists.  The reader will please note that the water becomes more orderly when energy is lost, not gained.  Additionally, no information is needed to freeze water.  An intelligently-designed refrigerator or the North Pole will suffice.  Finally, ice cubes have not been known to teach school or build hospitals or design hydroelectric dams.

 

“The reason, of course, is that neither an organism nor anything else except the universe as a whole is a closed system: the earth and its organisms are open systems that acquire energy from the sun to build complexity from simple precursors.”

{My response}

(1)   True, the Universe is closed.  In fact, for illustration purposes, a good case can be made that our solar system out to about a two or three light-year radius will suffice to make it a closed system.

(2)   The earth and “its organisms” can’t build anything without a code.  With a code but no sunlight, we can survive if we cleverly utilize all the internal earth resources (oil, uranium, thermal sources, etc.) until exhaustion.  But we’re goners after that.  With sunlight but no code, nothing happens.  One can pour all the sunlight wants into a warm pond of exotic chemicals, but no life form will spontaneously form.  Shine warm sunlight all you want on fallen leaves – they merely dry out sooner.  Energy input is not the only ingredient – a plan is also needed to decrease local entropy.  Futuyma claims in his book that evolution is testable and repeatable.  This is one area that has been tested a zillion times, and failed a zillion times.  The world’s vaunted atheistic evolutionary scientists have NEVER, I REPEAT NEVER, been able to “randomly” generate a living organism from non-living matter.  (Sorry, amino acids don’t count)  Scientists already know what an organism looks like – they have largely mapped DNA and understand the roles of RNA and proteins.  But they can’t build life themselves (not yet, at least).  Futuyma, the late Asimov, the late Sagan, and others come up empty in this area.  Nada.  Zip.

 

“As Isaac Asimov has said, the creationist argument from the second law is “an argument based on kindergarten terms [that] is suitable only for kindergartens.”

{My response} More put down, desperate talk from the former atheist Asimov who simply never could prove evolution was true.

 

To wrap up the Thermodynamics topics (FLOT and SLOT), I refer the reader to my other thermodynamic essays / commentary found elsewhere on this site.  The reader will note that my evolutionist opponent completely ignored my exposures of his outrageous claims concerning theory, gravity, thermodynamics, and the heliocentric model of our solar system.  He never technically and scientifically refuted a single item of my treatise on SLOT.  He merely referred to Futuyma’s discussion in Chapter 10 as a torpedo in my rowboat, but I have just finished showing what a sham that Futuyma made of the topic.  I would also refer the reader to the very excellent response of Timothy Wallace (“Thermodynamics vs. Evolutionism” found at www.trueorigin.org) to Frank Steiger’s article (“The Second Law of Thermodynamics, Evolution, and Probability,” Copyright © 1995-1997 by Frank Steiger found at www.talkorigins.org).  Wallace even quotes the scientist and distinguished Isaac Asimov:

 

“Another way of stating the second law then is: ‘The universe is constantly getting more disorderly!’ Viewed that way, we can see the second law all about us. We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily. Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our bodies in perfect working order: how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself -- and that is what the second law is all about.” [Smithsonian Institute Journal, June 1970, p. 6]

 

Wallace continues later in his treatise:

 

“Evolutionist theory faces a problem in the second law, since the law is plainly understood to indicate (as does empirical observation) that things tend towards disorder, simplicity, randomness, and disorganization, while the theory insists that precisely the opposite has been taking place since the universe began (assuming it had a beginning).”

 

“Beginning with the “Big Bang” and the self-formation and expansion of space and matter, the evolutionist scenario declares that every structure, system, and relationship—down to every atom, molecule, and beyond—is the result of a loosely-defined, spontaneous self-assembly process of increasing organization and complexity, and a direct contradiction (i.e., theorized violation) of the second law.”

 

“This hypothesis is applied with the greatest fervor to the evolutionists’ speculations concerning biological life and it’s origin. The story goes that—again, in violation of the second law—within the midst of a certain population of spontaneously self-assembled molecules, a particularly vast and complex (but random) act of self-assembly took place, producing the first self-replicating molecule.”

 

“Continuing to ignore the second law, this molecular phenomenon is said to have undergone multiple further random increases in complexity and organization, producing a unique combination of highly specialized and suitably matched molecular “community members” which formed what we now know as the incredibly efficient, organized self-sustaining complex of integrated machinery called the cell.”

 

“Not only did this alleged remarkable random act of self-transformation take place in defiance of the second law, but the environment in which it happened, while itself presumably cooperating with the second law’s demand for increased disorder and break-down, managed (by some further unknown random mechanism) to leave untouched the entire biological self-assembly process and the self-gathered material resources from which the first living organism built itself.”

 

“Perhaps the reader should be reminded (or informed) at this point that not one shred of unequivocal evidence exists to support the above described self-creation myth. Yet very ironically, it’s the only origins account treated in the popular and science media, nicely blurring in the public mind the distinction between bona fide science and popular beliefs.”

 

“But simply adding energy to a system doesn’t automatically cause reduced entropy (i.e., increased organized complexity, or “build-up” rather than “break-down”). Raw solar energy alone does not decrease entropy—in fact, it increases entropy, speeding up the natural processes that cause break-down, disorder, and disorganization on earth (consider, for example, your car’s paint job, a wooden fence, or a decomposing animal carcass, both with and then without the addition of solar radiation).”

 

“Speaking of the general applicability of the second law to both closed and open systems in general, Harvard scientist Dr. John Ross (not a creationist) affirms:

 

“...there are no known violations of the second law of thermodynamics. Ordinarily the second law is stated for isolated [closed] systems, but the second law applies equally well to open systems ... there is somehow associated with the field of far-from equilibrium phenomena the notion that the second law of thermodynamics fails for such systems. It is important to make sure that this error does not perpetuate itself.”  [Dr. John Ross, Harvard scientist (evolutionist), Chemical and Engineering News, July 27, 1980, p. 40]”

 

“So, what is it that makes life possible within the earth’s biosphere, appearing to “violate” the second law of thermodynamics?”

 

“The apparent increase in organized complexity (i.e., decrease in entropy) found in biological systems requires two additional factors besides an open system and an available energy supply. These are:

 

1.   a “program” (information) to direct the growth in organized complexity

2.   a mechanism for storing and converting the incoming energy.”

 

Bingo.

 

 

Complexity / Natural Selection (and let’s add “Chirality”)

 

Rigorously, SLOT involves intricate and, for the layman, intimidating mathematics.  However, the broad concept of SLOT is quite simple – all potential forms of energy normally are convertible to kinetic or thermal energy, sometimes reversible almost to its original state.  “Reversibility” and “irreversibility” are standard word tools in the analysis of SLOT.  A simple coiled spring, when released, is capable of powering a watch or launching a steel ball.  If the steel ball were to fall back to earth and be perfectly captured by the spring again, the ball, depending on the design, may be able to reset the spring closely back to the original position.  This would be an example of a “reversible” process (or nearly so – our real world conditions of friction and other losses don’t allow perfect recovery).  Another potential energy conversion example is the burning of a gallon of gasoline to power a riding lawn mower.  However, once the gasoline is depleted, the thermal energy released during combustion has been completely depleted and is 100% unrecoverable – all the energy has been expended into the atmosphere via combustion exhaust and heat or in kinetic / vibration / cutting / propulsion energy to cut the grass.  The grass residue, practically speaking, cannot be restored to its original state.  All heat from the combustion and friction processes has been radiated away into the local atmosphere and eventually away from the earth into space.  In this example, we have attained a state that is now maximally useless in the utilization of the energy that is still there (The First Law of Thermodynamics) but cannot be restored to its original form.  This is an “irreversible” process.  We speak of going from one state of order to a more random state of order, i.e., things have wound down, the battery is dead, the powder has all burned, etc., similar to the idea of a grandfather clock that eventually stops when the weights reach the bottom of the case.

 

This begs the questions of Complexity and Natural Selection, but particularly of Complexity.  Perfectly complementing the pursuit of Complexity is the idea of Chirality.  Chirality is easily searchable and open to scrutiny on many web sites and in the chemistry / organic chemistry literature.  At this point, allow me to direct the reader to the excellent book “The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of Evolution,” by A.E. Wilder-Smith (T.W.F.T. Publishers, 1981, paperback).  The late Dr. Wilder-Smith, on pages17-36, gives a detailed and comprehensive description of chirality, which I will summarize in a moment.  He was a devoted and very convincing creationist.  Again, quoting Futuyma as branding Creationists as incapable of “reason and sober judgment” and “fortified against logic” (emphasis added) would be laughable here.  The late Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith. {http://www.wildersmith.org/index.htm} was hardly ignorant.

 

I’ll cover Chirality first, then move back to Complexity.

 

Complexity infers design (intelligent design, or ID) and is not chaos nor mindless, purposeless material action.  It takes (a) energy and (b) a plan.  SLOT and chirality are intertwined.  Both SLOT and chirality pose enormous hurdles to the evolutionist who must explain the Universe and biological life without God or some Maker who could not be allowed to help.

 

For information to be viable, it must have Completeness, have Correctness, have Currency, have High-Level of Accuracy and Precision, and have Consistency.  Across different command centers, the information must be applicable to any and all functions that tie the command centers together.  One of the important drivers for Accuracy, Precision, and Consistency is the reality of Chirality, which concerns the left-hand orientation (laevorotary) versus right-hand orientation (dextrorotary) of carbon-based amino acids.

 

Summarizing the topic in “The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of Evolution” by Dr. Wilder-Smith referred to earlier, chirality is the mirror-image of chemically-identical molecules that are different spatially.  Our hands are identical in construction and function but different spatially.  As applied to molecules, we have noted that there are over 100 amino acids in nature that are involved in the formation of proteins and enzymes.  Only 20 are observed in biological life.  Without them, life as we know it would not exist.  Carbon is an ingredient of all of them.  With very few exceptions, these 20 amino acids have left-hand orientation (laevorotary) versus right-hand orientation (dextrorotary).  This is determined by passing polarized light through the “optically pure” tetrahedron structure of the amino acid and observing if the plane of light is rotated left or right.  Only left-hand oriented amino acids are components of the building blocks of proteins.  Purely left-hand oriented amino acids DO NOT occur in nature, nor can they be randomly formed in the lab.  Random formation always results in a 50/50 mix of both left-hand and right-hand oriented amino acids.  This is the biggest single blow to random spontaneous formation of the biogenesis of life.

 

Any discussion of chirality must include the early 1950s experiments by Stanley Miller and his colleague Harold Urey (the famous Urey-Miller experiments), who conceived of an experiment to try and re-create some of the organic compounds that make up life on Earth.  By simulating the conditions of the primitive Earth they were able to create a number of organic compounds, specifically the amino acids Glycine, α-alanine and β-alanine were identified.  The Urey-Miller experiments produced a number of compounds, including amino acids, from sparking a mixture of CH4, NH3, H2O and H2 (there was no nitrogen gas and carbon dioxide).  {Ref. “A Production of Amino Acids under Possible Primitive Earth Conditions,” Stanley L. Miller, Science, New Series, Vol. 117, No. 3046, May 15, 1953}  See also http://astrobiology.philipholtom.co.uk/.  (Click “Presentations” in the navigation bar on the left side, then click on the Urey-Miller Experiment link on the next page)

 

But contemporary models suggest that the primitive atmosphere of the Earth was not as Urey and Miller thought at the time.

 

Even the Hare Krishnas (obviously, not quite the Christian fundamentalists that Futuyma bashes in his book) don’t buy this stuff

 

http://science.krishna.org/Articles/2000/07/00059.html

 

“In 1953 Urey and Miller, (sic) performed their famous experiment.  Many say they proved life can come from chemicals. Their work ties in very nicely with the Big Bang Theory arising from Albert Einstein's work and Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.  Starting with some elements presumed to be present in the primordial atmosphere (carbon dioxide, water, ammonia, hydrogen, methane, etc.), Miller and Urey were able to produce some amino acid precursors.  From the Urey/Miller experiment it has been hypothesized that random combinations of chemicals present in the atmosphere of the primordial earth, helped along by lightning, produced the chemicals which are the building-blocks of the amino acids.  Of course we still have a very, very long way to go before producing life!  The experiment did not produce amino acids, only some chemicals which may lead to the development of amino acids... And amino acids are not life either... {note – this is incorrect, for some amino acids were indeed produced, not all 20 needed for biological life, but some, and only in 50/50 mixes of left and right-handed orientation. - MSS}

 

“We can observe the chemicals were not produced by chance combination.  The whole experiment was carefully supervised by the scientists.  The chemicals were measured and added at the correct time and the electric spark was administered at the right moment.  Therefore, it does not prove precursors of amino acids can be created by random combination of chemicals.  It only indicates they may be able to be created in a controlled laboratory experiment carefully supervised by intelligent beings.

 

“The chemicals didn't mix themselves.  The scientists mixed them.  Proving scientists can manufacture the precursors to amino acids from chemicals they have in their laboratory does not prove that life can come from matter simply by random chance...

 

“One scientist has offered this explanation: “In the stages of the early earth, ammonia, hydrogen and water vapor were more abundant, so they were likely to already be in close proximity (i.e. “combined”) during a lightning storm.  There's your Urey/Miller experiment with no scientist, no gods, and no spiritual touch. Satisfied?””

 

 

So, let’s finalize the treatment of Chirality with this note (Wilder-Smith, pages 25-26):

 

“Over the years various scientists have tried to optically resolve racemates and to separate the l- from the d-forms, by producing amino acids through chance chemical processes on optically active surfaces which are optically active without the presence of an atomic asymmetrical center . . . . .Yet all the experiments were more or less fruitless – only negligible amounts of optical activity were observed.  It must be borne in mind that for the synthesis of life to occur, practically 100% optical purity is required in as many as 20 different amino acids.  Never has an optically pure specimen been obtained by any inorganic random reactions.  For these and other reasons, spontaneous biogenesis has remained an experimental (emphasis in the original) impossibility to the present day . . . .

 

“So we can only conclude that the actual building blocks of life at biogenesis – approximately 20 optically pure amino acids – were not (emphasis in the original) synthesized by means of inorganic, random processes.  Accordingly, Miller’s experiments have little in common with real biogenesis, although text books describe the experiments as if they provided the last link in the chain of evidence for chance biogenesis.  To claim that Miller has provided the first step for spontaneous biogenesis involves a willful misleading of the uninformed general public in the interests of biased materialistic philosophy.  The facts are purposely concealed in order to render plausible a materialistic philosophy of life.  Thus science is manipulated in the interests of popular materialistic philosophies.”

 

Can we thus assume that Dr. Douglas Futuyma is pretending to be a real scientist?  I’ll assume that is true.  He is actually promoting the religion and philosophy of evolution, without real science to back it up.  He can’t do it.

 

By the way, “racemates” normally refers to equal 50/50 mixtures of l- and d-forms.  Spontaneous biogenesis is also known as abiogenesis.

 

With this background, let’s move on to Complexity.  If we are intelligent beings, how did that intelligence develop?  Why do humans have a very sophisticated speech computer and physical traits that allow us to compose music, sing it, shout, whisper, and communicate with one another with an incredibly complex word and letter set?  Did this all evolve by random chance?  Evolution a priori requires a mindless, purposeless, and strictly materialistic view.  It assumes no Deity is required or exists.  This requires FAITH:

 

“Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind.  He was not planned.  He is a state of matter, a form of life, a sort of animal, and a species of the Order Primates, akin nearly or remotely to all life and indeed to all that is material.” {George Gaylord Simpson, 1971}

 

The late respected paleontologist Dr. Colin Patterson posed the following question several times to different audiences, “Can you tell me anything about evolution,” he asked his listeners, “any one thing, that is true?”  At an Evolutionary Morphology Seminar at the University of Chicago, after posing this question, and following a long silence, a member of the audience replied, “Yes, I do know one thing.  It ought not to be taught in high school.”  But I disagree with the distinguished late Dr. Patterson.  Let’s teach both Evolution and Intelligent Design (call it Creationism if you want) and let the student make an informed choice.

 

For the moment, let’s lay aside the religious stuff – let’s disregard God or any ID source.  Utilizing a strict science and math application, let us arbitrarily select a 320-unit protein chain.  Proteins come in many lengths and complexities.  There are thousands of them.  Of the over 100 known amino acids, only 20 are used in biological life.  Our protein uses eight of those 20 amino acids.  Using straightforward permutation statistics, we arrive at a probability that our protein example through “a purposeless and natural process” self-assembled itself of 2x10-30 (that’s a decimal point followed by 29 zeros and the numeral 2).

 

Chirality is bad enough a vote against evolution, but can one imagine the abiogenesis of the thousands of proteins need in biological life processes?  Never mind the incredibly complex Mother of All Proteins – the DNA molecule.

 

Defining evolution:

 

Evolution (emphasis in the original) is a flexible word.  It can be used by one person to mean something as simple as change over time, or by another person to mean the descent of all life forms from a common ancestor, leaving the mechanism of change unspecified.  In its full-throated, biological sense, however, evolution (emphasis in the original) means a process whereby life arose from non-living matter and subsequently developed by entirely natural means.  That is the sense that Darwin gave to the word, and the meaning it holds in the scientific community.  And that is the sense in which I use the word evolution (emphasis in the original) throughout this book.” [Michael J. Behe, “Darwin’s Black Box:  The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution,” New York, NY, The Free Press, 1996.]

 

Behe’s book (along with many of his published articles) is an excellent treatise on the concept of irreducible complexity.  Behe received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Drexel University in 1974 and the Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978.  After doing postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health he became assistant professor of Chemistry at the City University of New York/Queens College.  In 1985 he moved to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, where he is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.  In other words, darn solid credentials for an ignorant Creationist “fortified against logic” as Futuyma would label him.

 

A favorite distortion of SLOT against complexity is the evolutionist’s canard that Creationists believe that highly improbable events violate the Second Law.  A great example I’ve seen is the old “flip a coin” trick.  Citing one source (“The Second Law of Thermodynamics in the Context of the Christian Faith,” Allan H. Harvey, last revised: August 1, 1996), for example, if you “flipped a coin 1000 times and came up “heads” each time, it would be highly improbable but would not violate any laws of thermodynamics.”  Sorry, hate to break it to anyone else who subscribes to this “explanation,” but this is an invalid argument because there is no information in 1000 consecutive heads.  Why 1000?  Why not 1200?  Why not 10,000?  Scientists like thought problems, so let’s illustrate using one.  For a moment, pretend that you are playing a game of Hearts.  Let’s further pretend that you have just been dealt the highly improbable hand of ALL  hearts.  Not only that, but pretend further they were unbelievably dealt to you consecutively, the Deuce through the Ace.  (The reader will note that this is an extremely, very improbable event.)  Further, let’s say your pet dog Fido, pet parrot Pete, and pet hamsters Jake and Martha all were watching and “witnessed” this incredible improbability.  Tell me – does this hand mean something to all these “witnesses?”  Or just to the humans at the game?  You see, Fido and the rest of the animal gang have no inkling or appreciation of what just happened.  1000 consecutive heads or a straight consecutive hand of hearts means nothing to them.  It’s like reading Gulliver’s Travels to a cow.  The blueprints and technical specifications of a bored-and-stroked Chevy small block might elicit a urination event by Fido or worse by the parrot, but the blueprints contain usable information only for the mechanically-inclined gear-head human.  Information is detectable and usable only with intelligence.  The human brain’s intelligence and its complex speech computer are orders and orders and orders of magnitude above that of our fellow animals.

 

For brevity in an already long-winded response, I will simply summarize what Futuyma says in these three sections (combined arguments #3, #6 and #7); that is, complex organisms could have simply occurred sometime in the past; that the very first RNA sequences could have been any combination, then replicated themselves and evolved through natural selection into DNA, then into man; that the human eye evolved from the earliest “light sensitive” spots in an organism, and so on.  No evidence is given, not one shred of peer reviewed scientific study I know of shows this.  Merely, this just had to have happened.  After all, here we are.  Timothy Wallace very thoroughly addressed these areas in the material immediately above.  Going further,

 

Let’s talk about sequences – take the following 16-digit number:

 

0000000000000001

 

Now, let’s rearrange the 16 digits:

 

0010000000000000

 

The reader will note that we still have exactly the same digits, but the digits are now significantly different in arrangement (sequence).  The first number is simply “1,” whereas the second number could be either 10 trillion (10E12), or it could represent the binary number for 65,536 in hexadecimal format.  The sequence is quite important to an Intelligent Agent.  A crow or a cat or a moose that walks by would not see anything significant about these numbers, but a human would.  It takes an Intelligent Agent to recognize the numbers.

 

Similarly, flipping a coin 50 billion times and looking for the number of events that one has 100 consecutive heads would be interesting only to an Intelligent Agent.  Chimpanzees and fruit flies would not qualify as Intelligent Agents.  However, flipping a coin 50 billion times is merely an interesting mental exercise in probabilities.  This exercise would have nothing to say about the DNA gene sequences needed to program black hair and dark skin to a native Hawaiian.

 

Let’s take some words and rearrange / substitute letters in the alphabet:

 

beer / mere

cat / bat

watch / catch

couch / ouch

nurse / purse

water / later

mesa / same

provide / proviso

establish / setablish (misspelled “establish,” which is an error, a mutation, if you will)

 

As one can see, with very minor letter changes or change of sequences, we often change the entire meaning of the new word, which has absolutely zero relation with the former word.  It is said that the DNA of chimpanzees is about 98% common with humans, yet humans and chimps are orders of magnitude apart in complexity, intelligence, technical capabilities, etc.  Has anyone ever seen a chimp shoot a Category III approach to Kennedy International Airport in a B747?  Has anyone ever see a chimp perform open-heart surgery?  Genetic sequences and any possible commonality are utterly meaningless except to the Higher Design mechanism involved.  The atheist would adamantly opine that impersonal time plus chance plus mutations built all the DNA codes for all currently existing life forms, including those cute little chimps.  Additionally, evolutionists have yet to establish conclusive proof that chimps and humans have come from a common ancestor.  Futuyma cannot point to a specific historical event where he could conclusively point the branching event where the modern human became a new species from its different ancestor.  It is mere speculation, wishful thinking, and faith.

 

 

A Matter of Sight

 

Let’s further explore the relationship of complexity and natural selection.  Michael Behe, the microbiologist professor at Lehigh University and author of “Darwin’s Black Box,” makes the very clear case that organisms are irreducibly complex.  A foot has no function unless it is attached to a mobile and ambulatory leg that functions on an animal.  A mousetrap will not work if the spring is missing.  The eye will not work (or work properly) unless all of its elements are in place and cooperating with the brain.  How does the evolutionist prove that the cornea needed the retina?  How does the evolutionist prove that optic nerve had need of a blood supply to keep it nourished?  The lens’ need for an iris to change the focal length?  How did it know?  If natural selection is completely unguided and has no goal, then how did the need arise for the eye to develop?

 

Michael Behe describes how the eye “sees” (this gets very deep and technical), an excerpt from (“Molecular Machines: Experimental Support for the Design Inference.”  This paper was originally presented in the Summer of 1994 at the meeting of the C.S. Lewis Society, Cambridge University):

 

The Eyesight of Man

 

“In general, biological processes on the molecular level are performed by networks of proteins, each member of which carries out a particular task in a chain.

 

“Let us return to the question, how do we see? Although to Darwin the primary event of vision was a black box, through the efforts of many biochemists an answer to the question of sight is at hand.4  When light strikes the retina a photon is absorbed by an organic molecule called 11cis retinal, causing it to rearrange within picoseconds to trans retinal. The change in shape of retinal forces a corresponding change in shape of the protein, rhodopsin, to which it is tightly bound. As a consequence of the protein’s metamorphosis, the behavior of the protein changes in a very specific way. The altered protein can now interact with another protein called transducin. Before associating with rhodopsin, transducin is tightly bound to a small organic molecule called GDP, but when it binds to rhodopsin the GDP dissociates itself from transducin and a molecule called GTP, which is closely related to, but critically different from, GDP, binds to transducin.

 

4{Behe’s Reference 4 is: Devlin, Thomas M. (1992) Textbook of Biochemistry, pp. 938-954, Wiley Liss, New York.}

 

“The exchange of GTP for GDP in the transducinrhodopsin complex alters its behavior. GTP transducinrhodopsin binds to a protein called phosphodiesterase, located in the inner membrane of the cell. When bound by rhodopsin and its entourage, the phosphodiesterase acquires the ability to chemically cleave a molecule called cGMP. Initially there are a lot of cGMP molecules in the cell, but the action of the phosphodiesterase lowers the concentration of cGMP. Activating the phosphodiesterase can be likened to pulling the plug in a bathtub, lowering the level of water.

 

“A second membrane protein which binds cGMP, called an ion channel, can be thought of as a special gateway regulating the number of sodium ions in the cell. The ion channel normally allows sodium ions to flow into the cell, while a separate protein actively pumps them out again. The dual action of the ion channel and pump proteins keeps the level of sodium ions in the cell within a narrow range. When the concentration of cGMP is reduced from its normal value through cleavage by the phosphodiesterase, many channels close, resulting in a reduced cellular concentration of positively charged sodium ions. This causes an imbalance of charges across the cell membrane which, finally, causes a current to be transmitted down the optic nerve to the brain: the result, when interpreted by the brain, is vision.

 

“If the biochemistry of vision were limited to the reactions listed above, the cell would quickly deplete its supply of 11cis retinal and cGMP while also becoming depleted of sodium ions. Thus a system is required to limit the signal that is generated and restore the cell to its original state; there are several mechanisms which do this. Normally, in the dark, the ion channel, in addition to sodium ions, also allows calcium ions to enter the cell; calcium is pumped back out by a different protein in order to maintain a constant intracellular calcium concentration. However, when cGMP levels fall, shutting down the ion channel and decreasing the sodium ion concentration, calcium ion concentration is also decreased. The phosphodiesterase enzyme, which destroys cGMP, is greatly slowed down at lower calcium concentration. Additionally, a protein called guanylate cyclase begins to resynthesize cGMP when calcium levels start to fall. Meanwhile, while all of this is going on, metarhodopsin II is chemically modified by an enzyme called rhodopsin kinase, which places a phosphate group on its substrate. The modified rhodopsin is then bound by a protein dubbed arrestin, which prevents the rhodopsin from further activating transducin. Thus the cell contains mechanisms to limit the amplified signal started by a single photon.

 

“Trans retinal eventually falls off of the rhodopsin molecule and must be reconverted to 11cis retinal and again bound by opsin to regenerate rhodopsin for another visual cycle. To accomplish this trans retinal is first chemically modified by an enzyme to transretinol, a form containing two more hydrogen atoms. A second enzyme then isomerizes the molecule to 11cis retinol. Finally, a third enzyme removes the previously added hydrogen atoms to form 11cis retinal, and the cycle is complete.”

 

 

Futuyma needs to show that the above known operation of our sight mechanism evolved from purely materialistic processes, purposeless, unguided, and with no goal.  While he’s at it, perhaps Futuyma can also explain the evolutionary processes that allow blood clotting, speech, facial recognition of friends and enemies, catching a fly ball, and the digestion of a wide range of foods (such as burritos, fried rice, refried beans, nachos, and fried ice cream in the same sitting, all washed down with root beer and a coffee chaser).  I mean, fair is fair.  As the good Dr. Futuyma would say, “The best scientific education encourages skepticism, questioning, independent thought, and the use of reason.”

 

I am skeptical, I am questioning, I am using independent thought, and I am using the power of reason.

 

Finally, Futuyma displays, at the minimum, an honest crack in his armor when he leaves open the question of complexity by addressing evolution and creation as likely explaining all things of origin between the two philosophies.  In the first paragraph of Chapter Eleven, page 197, he states:

 

Creation and evolution, between them, exhaust the possible explanations for the origin of living things. Organisms either appeared on the earth fully developed or they did not. If they did not, they must have developed from preexisting species by some process of modification. If they did appear in a fully developed state, they must indeed have been created by some omnipotent intelligence, for no natural process could possibly form inanimate molecules into an elephant or redwood tree in one step…..”

 

Of course, he does not believe the case for Creation is better than the case for Evolution, but at least he does share some honest moments.  However, it would be great if both sides of the issue would allow open and honest discussion within the great halls of academia, public schools, government, and the media.

 

 

Conclusion – Futuyma is Proven Innocent of Trying to Write a Book of Science

 

To conclude, I have shown that my evolutionist opponent’s assertion that Futuyma has turned my silver bullet against evolution into a “tin plated paper weight” is just so much hot-air pontification.  My opponent does not possess the engineering and scientific acumen to truly discern the finer points of the thermodynamics (FLOT) and (SLOT) debate. (I have similar misgivings about Futuyma, in fact).

 

My evolutionist opponent is an atheist.  He hates God, does not believe that God exists anyway, and thus must resort to parroting the evolutionists’ party line that we exist from pure chance.  I have conclusively shown that Dr. Douglas Futuyma, despite his impressive credentials and stature as distinguished professor and science author, is little more than an anti-God sycophant, chanting the mantra of secular humanist reasoning and scientific materialism.  It’s a matter of faith.  Yours versus mine.  It’s one religion (secular humanism) against the proven fact of a historical risen Savior who also is the Creator of the Universe.