Scientists estimate that the common ancestor shared by humans and chimpanzees lived some 5 to 8 million years ago. Humans and bacteria obviously share a much more distant common ancestor, but our relationship to these single-celled organisms is no less real. -Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
Statements written from evolutionist standpoints, such as this one, remain relatively common throughout our world today. However, many people wonder whether or not time, chance, and the process of natural selection are sufficient for explaining the origin of life on Earth. Then again, many remain skeptical regarding the theory of intelligent design as well. Questions such as these that have caused years of controversy in the scientific field. Even today, the two main explanations for the origin of life remain evolution and intelligent design.
Many respected and infamous evolutionary thinkers in history, such as Francis Crick, James Watson, and Richard Dawkins, believe that all living things arose from a single, unicellular organism that experienced gradual changes over time to produce the diversity in living things today. Most credit Charles Darwin, a naturalist that lived during the 19th century, for this concept. Those who support this type of evolution, commonly known as neo-Darwinism, believe that all living things undergo gradual changes resulting from natural selection acting upon random genetic mutations. Natural selection, frequently referred to as the “survival of the fittest”, receives basis upon the idea of functional advantages within an organism. Basically, mutations within an organism that benefit the organism remain to pass onto future generations. Unfavorable variations then, are rejected and never passed on (since not enough of the organisms survive to keep on reproducing). Neo-Darwinism states that life results from purely natural and random forces, thus removing all ideas of an intelligent designer from the progress of life. This means, according to the theory of evolution, that there is no ultimate meaning or purpose in life, no afterlife, and no foundation for morals or ethnics. In addition, evolutionists believe that free will simply remains a human myth. Asides from natural selection, evolutionists have also brought up a theory known as co-option. Co-option basically revolves around the idea of borrowing pre-existing parts already found in an organism in order to make a better, more advantageous system. Time, chance, and natural selection are all credited for the biodiversity of our world.
Two different types of evolution exist today: microevolution and macroevolution. According to Lee Strobel in his book The Case For a Creator, “Microevolution [refers to] gradual changes within a kind of animal (for example, [changes] over several generations of dogs. Macroevolution [refers to] gradual changes from one kind of animal to another (for example, from fish to amphibian to reptile)”. Unlike in macroevolution, evidence of microevolution exists everywhere. An example of microevolution would be a certain type of cat developing a slightly longer tail, due to the effects of cross-breeding. However, there currently remains no hard evidence supporting macroevolution. Neo-Darwinists believe in both microevolution and macroevolution.
Darwinists and naturalists also share a very different view from intelligent design supporters regarding the beginning of life. Neo-Darwinists believe that all life arose from a single cell created in a “primordial soup” purely by chance. Many also uphold the concept of prechemical destination, which states that the chemical composition of certain amino acids causes them to naturally attract and link together to form proteins, which in turn, form cells. These cells supposedly go through gradual variations, creating all the different species existing on Earth. This concept is, indeed, extremely different from those of intelligent design upholders.
On the other hand, according to the theory of intelligent design, life as we know it results from an intelligent cause: a designer or creator. As in evolution, many respected and esteemed scientists believe in intelligent design. Intelligent design supporters, such as Michael Behe, Dean Kenyon, and Philip Johnson, argue that evolution remains insufficient for explaning the origin of life, due to irreducible complexity. Irreducibly complex systems are systems that cannot be simplified any further, or they will simply cease working. Unlike evolution, the theory of intelligent design is based around the cry of “design”!
In addition to irreducible complexity, electrical currents surrounding the Earth and the Cambrian explosion provide powerful evidences for creationism. These currents, produced by the magnetic outer core, remain responsible for protecting the Earth from harmful solar rays. After much careful monitoring for the past 160 years, scientists conclude that the currents gradually weaken. Based on this speed of decline, scientists estimate that the Earth cannot support life for much over 10,000 years. Although evolutionists estimate that the Earth is billions of years old, the rough estimate of dates from the Bible added up until present day nears 10,000 years. Plus, during an early era on Earth, as many as 35 of the 40 phyla on our planet suddenly appeared, fully formed. Many refer to this abrupt appearance of so many animals as the Cambrian explosion, which remains more consistent with the idea of creation, rather than evolution. Both electrical fields and the sudden appearance of life support creation.
Another fact intelligent design upholders point out is that humans recognize intelligence through improbability and specification (recognizable pattern). A single strand of DNA contains around 3 billion characters, all of which follow a specific order using four different nitrogen bases. As George Sim Johnson once stated,
Human DNA contains more more organized information than the Encyclopedia Britannica. If the full text of the encyclopedia were to arrive in computer code from outer space, most people would regard this as proof of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. But when seen in nature, it is explained as the workings of random forces.
In addition, DNA remains absolutely necessary for the assembling of proteins, and evolutionists cannot explain the origin of DNA. The probability of amino acids linking together by themselves to form even the simplest protein is 1 out of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000! Even if a protein somehow assembled, between three to five hundred more remain needed to make a cell. Now, more and more people are beginning to see the reasoning and logic behind the idea of an intelligent designer.
Personally, I believe in the theory of intelligent design, not simply based on my religion, but also due to the prodigious amount of evidence raised against evolution (and for intelligent design). First off, no transitional species exist, living or fossilized! If evolution remains consistent, shouldn’t we still be able to witness it today? As I stated before, another problem with the neo-Darwinist explanation of the origin of life is the sheer improbability of the event! Darwin himself stated that, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not have possible been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down”. Many irreducibly complex organs have been discovered since Darwin’s time, and his theory is indeed beginning to crumble!