What about evolution?

Does it make sense to say that a mobile phone evolved by itself; that some plastic and silicon interacted —without any agency— to produce a smartphone? By that logic, if we walk around in the desert of Arabia, where there is sand (silica) and petroleum (which produces plastic), we should find a lot of evolved smartphones in the sand. We can simply pick one up and start messaging! (This is an example from the book, The Man in the Red Underpants, by A.R. Green. (https://iera.org/downloads/the-man-in-the-red-underpants/)

We laugh at the idea of a “smartphone,” with its complex programming and user-friendly functions, evolving from its raw elements, without a designer. Yet we find it acceptable to believe that we evolved without a creator. Amazing, when we consider that the most basic cell in our bodies is more complex than a mobile phone!
You don’t leave clay wet with water and hope that in a year or so you’ll get some bricks…Yet we are asked to believe that intelligent, conscious humans just came together by accident.

From a religious point of view, there are two questions:

  • Is there a God?
  • How did He create?

The theory of evolution is not concerned with the first question but it does address the second.

The Quran details the creation of Man as an honored creation by God:

Have you disbelieved in Him who created you from dust and then from a sperm-drop and then proportioned you [as] a man? [Quran 18:37]

Adam and Jesus were created directly by Divine Decree, while the rest of humanity follows the biological laws which God decreed for human reproduction.

Surely, the example of Jesus (born without father) to Allah is like the example of Adam (born without father and mother). He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: “Be!” and he was. [Quran 3:59]

On the methodology for creation and speciation in the animal and plant kingdoms, the Quran offers no details. In fact, some early Muslims, years before Darwin, hypothesized on the “evolution” of already existing plants and animals.

Thus, from a religious point of view, guided adaptations and biological change over time may have occurred, in the plant and animal kingdom, following a plan by the Creator, but Man is a special creation.

Notwithstanding this theological viewpoint, there is no scientific evidence —thus far— for the evolution of any kind of organism into another.

(https://www.icr.org/home/resources/resources_tracts_scientificcaseagainstevolution/) (https://www.nytimes.com/1989/12/15/opinion/l-theory-of-evolution-has-never-been-proved-151289.html)

Dr. Roger Lewin summarized the main finding of the 1980 “Macroevolution” conference at the University of Chicago as follows:

The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. … At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear ‘No.’ (Dr. Roger Lewin, Evolution theory under fire, Science. Vol. 210, 21 November 1980, pp. 883-887, as quoted by Dr. Grady S. McMurtry)

Thus, the scientific standpoint on macroevolution ­seems to be stuck with the view expressed by Sir Arthur Keith, a Scottish anatomist and anthropologist, a century and a half ago, that evolution is unproved and unprovable and that we believe in evolution because the only alternative is special creation, which is “unthinkable”. (https://www.thesciencefaith.com/dawah/answering-atheism/the-reality/, para. 9)

Believers start from what’s “known”:  innate knowledge, proven science, and authenticated Divine Revelation; then they build upon this knowledge base to get to the unknown —unlike evolutionists who start from an unknown (a hypothesized methodology for speciation); then try to fit scattered observations into their unproven hypothesis.

I did not make them witness to the creation of the heavens and the earth or to the creation of themselves. [Quran 15:81]

The purpose of this section is not to deny evolution, but to put it in its true context: a theory which cannot offer absolute truth.  Even its most ardent supporters, including Richard Dawkins, acknowledge this fact:

“We must acknowledge the possibility that new facts may come to light which will force our successors of the twenty-first century to abandon Darwinism or modify it beyond recognition.” (Richard Dawkins, A Devil’s Chaplain: Selected Writings. London: Weidenfield & Nicholson, 2003: 81)

At best, Darwinian evolution is a disputed probabilistic framework based on philosophical assumptions of naturalism – a working model.

As such it does not present a case for abandoning true religion and should not be presented as a crutch for atheism.

Challenges to Darwinism

There is mounting evidence against the Darwinian theory of evolution and its many subsequent modifications, from a wholly scientific and rational point of view.

  • Any process which has never been observed to occur, fully and unequivocally, in all of human history, should not be treated as an established scientific fact and should not become the main premise to account for the speciation of all creation.
  • Any theory which does not explain how life began should not become a prevailing theory for the origin of life. Darwin titled his book: The Origin of Species, which gives the impression that he is discussing origin, not speciation. Darwin’s theory does not address the biggest question: how dead matter could spring into life. Thus, evolution is a theory of transformation, not of origins.
  • Modern genetics and chromosomal studies indicate that mutation does not create a new kind of organism, nor does it lead to a significant gain of new function within an existing kind.

The 2018 Nobel Prize winners in chemistry were able, in a period of a few months in a lab, to induce a large number of successive mutations —which might normally require millions of years in nature.  Despite the introduction of this large number of directed designed mutations (picking the most beneficial traits), a new kind of organism never did emerge, nor were any proteins produced from scratch to rival the ones we see by the thousands in living cells. As Frances Arnold, 2018 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, said:

“Efforts to date to generate novel catalysts have primarily demonstrated that we are getting good at making bad enzymes. Making good enzymes will require a whole new level of insight, or new methodologies altogether.” (https://evolutionnews.org/2018/10/nobel-prize-in-chemistry-for-intelligent-design/, para. 8)

The problem these efforts face in the lab, continues Frances Arnold, is the same problem faced by Darwin’s evolutionary mechanism in the wild: Nothing can be selected until it already exists. (https://evolutionnews.org/2018/10/nobel-prize-in-chemistry-for-intelligent-design/, last para.)

Furthermore, Lenski, a microbiologist at Michigan State University, spent decades growing cultures of the common bacterium E. coli in his lab. In bacterial terms, this is upward of 70,000 generations and a cumulative population size of hundreds of trillions, roughly the number of generations and population size that it supposedly took for some primate ancestor to evolve into modern humans.

However, despite the many mutations along the way, a new kind of organism did not evolve, nor was a new transport molecule or new enzyme produced. Instead, some silent, previously unexpressed genes were activated :

“Tandem duplication that captured an aerobically expressed promoter for the expression of a previously silent citrate transporter.” (https://www.nature.com/articles/nature11514)

Moreover, the original organism was degraded in some aspects.

This is currently our best evidence of what mutation is capable of.

During one interview, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins had great difficulty naming a single mutation that resulted in new information. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAzndMmnZJk&feature=youtu.be)

…To be continued in Part 16

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Dr. Raida Jarrar

Dr. Raida Jarrar is a Palestinian American who holds a Doctorate of Engineering from Cleveland State University. Following a career of over twenty-five years in the fields of engineering and aviation IT, she worked as a volunteer at one of the largest Islamic centers in the Middle East, where she interacted with visitors of different religious backgrounds and diverse cultures. The series she writes for Al-Jumuah analyzes and encapsulates her discussions with the atheist visitors, presented in a question and answer format for clarity and ease of reference. The answers are sourced from research, discussions with colleagues and mentors, and personal thoughts. Dr. Jarrar also volunteers as a translator for Islamic content and hosts the Aslamt youtube channel, which is dedicated to answering common questions about faith. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiUK0Tcqdb2GNeoqnxIcXtw

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