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The Fool’s Gold Of Evolutionary Thought: It Might Look Bright And Shiny, But It Fails When Tested

Calvin Smith

The term deus ex machina—in English, literally, “god out of the machine”—originated in Greek theater as a convenient storytelling device that generally functioned to resolve an otherwise irresolvable plot situation.

Coined from the conventions associated mostly with Greek tragedy, where actors playing gods were brought on stage using some kind of machine (such as a crane or a riser that lowered actors down or brought them up through a trapdoor), it was used to abruptly overcome a problem or conflict through some unlikely occurrence and bring the tale to a happy ending.

It’s quick, easy, and means the writer can just move on to bigger and better things and not have to explain complicated plot points. It’s a convenient and rather easy way out and is considered by professional writers to be a weak and simplistic storytelling method.

God of the Gaps

Similarly, many times when people invoke God as the explanation for something they don’t fully understand, naturalists will often accuse them of using what is called a “god of the gaps” argument as an easy way out.

As an example, if ancient people didn’t understand how or why lightning strikes sometimes occurred and attributed them to a pagan god like Zeus having a tantrum, that would be ascribing a god’s activity to bridge the gap in their knowledge of certain phenomena and how nature actually works.

And if they thought that the winter god Boreas caused ice to appear—because they didn’t understand how frost forms—they were again using a god-of-the-gaps argument.

The idea extrapolated from this concept of many atheistic types then is “now that we do know how and why lightning works and frost forms (among many other things) because of our understanding of science, we no longer have to believe in a supernatural origin for any natural phenomenon.”

Essentially, it argues that God should never be attributed as the cause of anything in nature—even if we don’t understand something fully—because eventually science will figure it out.

This becomes a convenient way for those who believe in the story of evolution to deal with any kind of intelligent design arguments—no matter how bewildering or complex what we are discovering might be. They can simply say that even if we don’t know right now how certain things came to be, science will eventually catch up and prove God wasn’t required.

Recognizing Design

Firstly, however, it should be obvious that understanding how something works doesn’t mean it wasn’t designed or that it somehow came to be through so-called natural processes. Anyone (even someone living in such a remote part of the world that had never seen a car before) could open the hood of my Honda Civic and rightly conclude, even without understanding how it all works, that it had been designed by an intelligent mind(s).

There are hallmarks of design that humans can rely on to determine whether something has been fabricated through intelligence or random processes. Cars are made predominantly of metals and plastic, but metal originates from rock in the earth, and plastics are derived from crude oil and natural gas—so it is quite obvious these materials would have had to be manipulated, processed, and arranged intelligently to produce a working vehicle. And even if I or someone else dedicated sufficient time to understanding all its components and all of its functionality until we’d mastered its intricacies and could reproduce another one, that in no way would mean the original wasn’t designed—even if I was unaware of who designed and put it together.

Which is why naturalists’ ongoing attempts at creating life in a laboratory to prove that it didn’t take intelligence to produce life originally is actually quite laughable. If they ever did do it, that would only disprove the very thing they are attempting to demonstrate.

A God of Necessity

What many evolutionists who use this argument don’t seem to understand is that biblical creationists are not invoking a god of the gaps to explain certain phenomenon, but rather the God of necessity—the God of the Bible. We aren’t just saying “God did it” because of what we don’t know about things, we’re saying it because of what we do know.

To demonstrate, let’s examine some things in nature that both creationists and evolutionists agree can be observed empirically and then discuss what we know about it scientifically through repeated observation and testing.

Life: Where Does It Come From?

We observe life forms all around us, from micro to macro, and a good question to ask then is, how did life originate? Although many atheists often try to wriggle off the argumentative hook by declaring that the origin of life has nothing to do with the story of evolution, they are being flat-out disingenuous in doing so.

Materialists hold to a naturalistic worldview that declares all of existence is simply the result of matter and energy. And because atheists have to explain their existence without God, they ultimately have to believe in life supposedly coming from nonlife sometime in the distant past. Hence, upon examining scientific evolutionary literature, you will constantly see references to cosmic evolution, geological evolution, chemical evolution, human evolution, etc., not simply biological evolution (how one kind of creature supposedly changes into different kinds).

Atheistic evolutionists must explain everything without God—including the universe, the earth, and life itself.

Abiogenesis?

The terms chemical evolution, abiogenesis, and spontaneous generation are often used when attempting to explain how the first life supposedly appeared through natural processes. However, this whole concept is a huge problem for naturalists as it disagrees with one of the most established scientific laws—the law of biogenesis.

That well-established law, which was long ago accepted as doing away with the concept of spontaneous generation, refers to the principle that life has only ever been seen to originate from preexisting life and never from nonliving material.

As a Britannica article discussing several origin-of-life hypotheses (surrounding the great creation scientist Louis Pasteur’s experiments in relation to this issue) says, “Pasteur’s experimental results were definitive: life does not spontaneously appear from nonliving matter.”

It goes on to discuss how even after Pasteur had seemed to definitively put the matter to rest, ideas concerning chemical evolution were then proposed from the evolutionary community as if a distinction was to be seen between it and the idea of spontaneous generation.

But the fact is, although you can contrive all sorts of different nomenclature or time variance as to how long it took for it to supposedly happen (in an attempt to make it sound as if you are proposing something other than life emerging from a nonliving state), in the big picture it all amounts to the same thing.

The atheistic, evolutionary belief that life came into being from a nonliving entity sometime in the unobserved past is a faith-based position, certainly not a science-based one, because the law of biogenesis has never been overturned and disagreeing with a scientific law is by definition unscientific.

However, to support their worldview, atheistic evolutionists have to believe that this scientific law was once broken in the distant past and that life did in fact come from nonliving matter at some point. But that would mean that this law of science isn’t actually a law! Even a single exception to any scientific law renders it falsified.

To believe it must have happened—not just in spite of it never having been observed, but in actual contradiction to repeated experimentation that was directly and purposefully performed to test it—goes way beyond any kind of god-of-the-gaps-type argument. It is an “evolution did it no matter what” type of declaration. It is certainly not science. Evolution ex machina.

Evolutionary Gaps Are Everywhere!

The famous atheistic champion of evolution, Professor Richard Dawkins, has discussed the origin of life saying,

We have no evidence about what the first step in making life was, but we do know the kind of step it must have been. It must have been whatever it took to get natural selection started . . . by some process as yet unknown.

Did you hear it? We have no evidence, but we know evolution did it. Evolution of the gaps. He admits there’s a gaping hole in what evolution can explain about the origin of life, then he invokes the god of evolution to fill in the gap and asserts that natural selection “must” have gotten started somehow (despite the lack of any evidence).

And as an aside, for any skeptic out there that wants to contact me to inform me of the plethora of supposed good theories and scientific proposals you’ve heard from the evolutionary community as to how life could have come from nonlife—why don’t you just send them to Richard Dawkins instead? As the former Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, I’m sure he’d love to hear about them and perhaps even include them in his next book about evolution. Perhaps you could give him a tip or two to include, as you must obviously know far more than he does about the topic.

Face it. You can have all the ideas or faith in its occurrence you want, but you have no evidence of it happening. All of it is in contradiction to the entire history of human scientific experience.

Evolutionary Faith

Naturalists are constantly claiming “evolution did this” and “natural selection did that” when discussing the supposed origin of features like feathers, fins, wings, hearts, and lungs, but they never seem to actually explain how evolution did it.

Case in point: Dawkins was once asked by talk show host Jonathan Miller how natural selection could have changed something as useless as a pimple on a lizard-like creature into a feather (on the creature’s way to becoming a bird), asking if there was some kind of way natural selection could pause until the changes became more useful to the creature’s overall survival.

Dawkins’ response was typical of evolutionary storytelling.

It doesn’t happen like that. Er, there’s got to be a series of advantages all the way in the feather. If you can’t think of one, then that’s your problem not, not, not natural selection’s problem. Natural selection um, err, well, I suppose that is a sort of matter of faith on my part since the theory is so coherent and so, and so powerful.

There’s got to be an advantage, even if you can’t think of one—evolution of the gaps. You just have to have faith in the story of evolution, even if you haven’t seen it happen! Evolution ex machina.

Even aside from not having observed life coming from nonlife, Dawkins has admitted evolution by natural selection hasn’t really been observed either. When asked on another talk show whether evolution was fact or theory, he replied, “Evolution has been observed. It’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening.”

Which is like me saying I’m a superhero with the power of invisibility. The only problem is, it only works if no one is looking at me when I use it!

However, since evolution has no credible evidence, evolutionists still constantly tout examples of adaptation such as Darwin’s finches, peppered moths, and resistant bacteria as supposed examples of evolution, even though they are not examples of evolution at all. They simply involve shuffling of existing genes, not the creation of never-before-seen (de novo) forms, functions, and features. Examples like this are the fool’s gold of evolutionary thought. It might look bright and shiny, but it fails when tested.

Techno Babble

As an analogy to how evolutionists often use these evolution of the gaps tactics, writers of the famous (and very evolutionary-based) Star Trek the Next Generation science fiction TV show would often simply write the word “tech” between sections of their dialog drafts.

This was because characters often needed to say pseudo-scientific jargon for things that didn’t exist, such as actor Brent Spiner’s character, Data, saying things like, “It appears to be a multi-phasic temporal convergence in the space-time continuum.”

This kept the writers able to move along with their writing while the science advisor, André Bormanis, would later come up with some appropriate filler terminology. This came to be known as techno babble, so writers could simply carry on with their real work and dictate “insert techno babble here” to piece the dialog together.

Similarly, evolution has in fact made zero useful contributions to any of our scientific or technological advances. However, what you’ll often see (either laced periodically throughout scientific literature or tacked on to the very end of papers even on topics not even remotely linked to evolution) is how whatever is being discussed was somehow the result of evolution.

Evolution of the gaps has become the techno babble of the scientific world in much of its literature and lectures. Evolution has become akin to a godlike figure in many a materialist’s mind.

Bowing to the God of Evolution

The story of evolution basically declares the universe is simply a mindless machine that has ended up producing mind-blowingly complex biological systems (such as humans) through naturalistic processes that ultimately came from a random accident (the big bang).

And so complex are the things nature (having no mind) has produced, scientists have freely admitted that many of them are completely beyond our ability to comprehend, let alone reproduce.

As just one example, here is a scientist describing the kinesin motor protein, basically the mail delivery person found in all living things: “It is still far superior to all the efforts of modern nanotechnology and serves as a great example to us all.”

Jack Szostak, another evolutionist from Harvard Medical School, admitted,

We aren’t smart enough to design things, we just let evolution do the hard work and then we figure out what happened.

Aren’t those amazing admissions from seemingly intelligent men? We could perform miracles if our minds could comprehend what nature (with no intelligence) created. We just aren’t smart enough—the most intelligent minds on the planet can’t produce what a non-intelligent agency has.

When you really think about it, it’s truly amazing that people still believe in the story of evolution which states that matter (with no mind) created minds that could study what no mind created and determine that the things no mind created are in fact so much more sophisticated than any of the things that minds (that no mind created) have created and that the most brilliant minds (that no mind created) cannot create what no mind did. (Try saying that five times real fast!)

Evolution ex machina—just say evolution did it. It’s the easy way out, but it’s not science. It’s merely weak, simplistic storytelling.

The Bible’s History Stands as Written

Biblical creationists can hold their heads high and affirm that what we observe in God’s world matches what we see in his Word. God, the Creator and Sustainer of life, is where life came from. This explains how life has the unfathomably intricate design required to be able to reproduce “according to its kind” as per the historical Genesis account.

Revelation 4:11 KJV – “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”


Calvin Smith is a speaker, host of the Creation Basics program and the Great Conversations podcast, and is the Executive Director of Answers In Genesis Canada.

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