Reality Check

Time for a Reality Check
by Jim Bendewald

There has been much news lately about what should be taught in public schools regarding evolution. This subject is contentious partly because it is misunderstood and poorly defined.  What exactly is biological evolution?  In popular culture evolution is not just characterized by adaptation within a species but by growth into more advanced species.  A small business evolves into a large business.  A timid local basketball player evolves into a national star.   It happens by growing, changing, adding information and experience into something new, something that is far beyond what it was.

Evolution implies growth, as in evolving from invertebrates to vertebrates, amphibians to mammals and dinosaurs to birds. 

Could natural selection produce these kinds of results?  Natural selection often stated as the “survival of the fittest”, is a scientific principle that can be tested and verified in the laboratory.  Microbiologists see its workings as antibacterial drugs are applied to cultures of bacteria.  Through studies it is observed that certain strains of bacteria survive the harsh invasion of the anti-bacterial substance.  They survived, but is that real, vertical evolution or just minor variation?   Is it evolution if they survive other antibacterial drugs?  Evolutionists would say this is an example of evolution in action.  Certainly it is an example of natural selection in action, but do the bacteria grow into a higher-level organism?  No!

Natural selection, mutations and genetic drift bring but minor change, not new information; not growth as in bacteria becoming something other than bacteria.  The first reality check for the promoters of evolution is to provide examples of growth such as, testable examples of bacteria that evolved into multi-cellular organisms.  Bacteria are single celled; they’re asexual and reproduce quickly, E. coli reproduce approximately every 20 minutes.  If vertical evolution is real, it should be observed in the laboratory through the countless worldwide experiments being performed with bacteria.  How do we know that evolutionary growth has never been observed?  If such an incredible process was observed and could be reproduced again and again in the laboratory, it would be front-page news for a very long time!

A second reality check is that proponents of evolution claim that this debate is between science and religion.  But in reality, once evolution leaves the laboratory, the hard science of observation and testing is over.  What is left is open to interpretation and whether the public believes it or not, scientists committed to evolution are biased (since no one is all knowing we all are biased).  Evolution is based on the philosophies of materialism and humanism.  It would be refreshing if the evolutionists would stop claiming the higher ground of “science against religion” when in reality, they interpret the evidence through their own philosophical convictions.  Evidences not subject to empirical research should be open to healthy debate.  Outside of hard laboratory evidence, one side is no more scientific than the other despite the demonstrative expressions of evolutionists.  The quest to show real, vertical evolutionary growth has never been demonstrated in the research laboratory.  Until it can be clearly shown in the laboratory, the remaining evidence should be open for rational discussion for both creationists and evolutionists. 

A third reality check is that proponents of evolution claim that creationists are trying to bypass the normal peer review process.  In reality, papers in favor of creation submitted to peer-review journals are almost always rejected outright.  Those who think that the secular scientific process is objective need to keep reading.  To illustrate, do a Web search on “Richard Sternberg” the previous managing editor of Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, a peer-reviewed journal from the Smithsonian Institute.  Sternberg, an evolutionist who holds two Ph.D.’s, approved for publication an article by Stephen Meyer in favor of intelligent design.  This paper created a huge sensation and the response include articles written by scientists around the world blasting Sternberg. With his career all but shattered, what would other managing editors of peer-reviewed journals do with papers in favor of creation or intelligent design?

So, should creation evidences be taught along with evolutionary ideas in public schools?  I hope your answer is yes.  There are many scientists who favor creation with Ph.D.’s in every branch of science.  They would like to have a reasonable voice in this debate given the opportunity without fear of termination or discipline.  If public schools allow students to hear both sides, then possibly future generations of all scientists could get their papers peer-reviewed in the major scientific journals.  When students understand the difference between observing natural selection in the laboratory versus philosophical claims which lack reproducible evidence, then they will be better scientists.  With this kind of honesty and integrity students will truly understand the difference between empirical science and scientific interpretations biased by philosophy and belief systems.  With clear and fair definitions creation evidence needs to be brought into the science class as an alternative to evolution.  

Jim Bendewald is a co-author of Evolution Shot Full of Holes and the CD-ROM program Evidence the Bible is the True.  Jim can be contacted at (608) 233-5556.    

© Jim Bendewald