Thursday, January 1, 2009

Similarities Among Living Things

(This is part 7 in a series of posts critiquing Dinesh D'Souza's reasons for accepting evolution.)

Many modern evolutionists claim that similarities among living things are evidence that the macroevolutionary tale is true. Darwin himself didn't emphasize this fact about living things. He knew that his opponents--those who understood all living things as the result of a creative process--knew about, acknowledged, and could account for such similarities as well (or better) than he could. So, as I stated in the last post, his theory was not an attempt to explain the similarities among living things but rather an attempt to explain (away) the differences.

Unfortunately, modern evolutionists are not as able to think clearly about such issues, and so they appeal to similarities--whether anatomical, biochemical, or genetic--as evidence in favor of their theory and against the idea that life was designed. In a rather famous example of such clouded thinking, evolutionist Tim Berra asks us to think of the similarities among living things as analogous to the similarity among Corvettes...
If you compare a 1953 and a 1954 Corvette, side by side, then a 1954 and a 1955 model, and so on, the descent with modification is overwhelmingly obvious. This is what [paleontologists] do with fossils, and the evidence is so solid and comprehensive that it cannot be denied by reasonable people.
Of course, reasonable people recognize that Corvettes are designed and manufactured by intelligent beings, and are not the product of naturalistic evolution. Far from supporting the theory in which Berra believes, his analogy nicely highlights the point of this post... that the existence of similarities among living things does not effectively differentiate between the theory that all life is connected by evolution and the idea that living things are all the product of a single intelligent Creator.

Simply put, the Christians who birthed modern science were well aware of the similarities among living things, and this similarity fits perfectly with the Judeo-Christian understanding that God created all living things. It is disingenuous for evolutionists to claim that their theory predicts such similarities and opposing theories do not. At the biochemical level (where this similarity argument is most commonly made today), the Bible has all along declared that all living things are made of the same 'stuff' (Gen. 2:7 and 19).

And so, we have critically examined--and dismissed as fallacious, false, and/or invalid--each of the four reasons given by Dinesh D'Souza for his acceptance of evolution.* To repeat, D'Souza himself denies the naturalistic component of modern evolutionary thought. But my point has been to demonstrate that he offered not a single compelling reason to accept macroevolution at all (even in a theistic sense). But now that you know that his thinking on this one issue is jaded and inferior, let me say once again that on the whole What's So Great About Christianity is a book well worth reading. In order to make up for slamming him on this particular (evolution) chapter, I'll try to remember to give some of his other chapters a positive plug from time to time.

* There's a seemingly stronger sort of argument offered by evolutionists, one that D'Souza didn't make. It represents a special case of the argument from similarity. For these evolutionists, it is the presence of the same non-functional ("junk") DNA in, say, chimps and humans that provides the ultimate proof that evolution is true. The Darwinist who commented on my blog the other day offered endogenous retroviruses (one form of "junk" DNA) as just such a proof. So in a coming post, I'll explain why such evidence is not a problem for a design or creationist view of the origin and diversity of life on Earth.

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