Were humans created, or did they evolve? This debate continues to rage between science and religion. In Creation or Evolution?, author Michael Ebifegah examines these two worldviews within the framework of science..
He examines the constraints of science as an explanatory framework for the origin of species and compares the contemporary world to a hypothetical world under the influence of evolutionary processes and agency. Additionally, he considers the irrelevance of the earth's age to the creationist/evolutionist controversy. He stresses that knowledge of the intersection between the origin of life and the origin of species is required to establish the latter..
Ebifegah augments the natural selection discussion in light of Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini's work and addresses science's limitations in deploying similarity/dissimilarity arguments in the debate about creationism versus evolutionism. Finally, he focuses on the lack of historical evidence to justify an evolutionary worldview.
Creation or Evolution? discusses how the M-theory and Charles Darwin's paradigm of evolution by natural selection are outside the limits of science. Ebifegah shows that we must look beyond the inadequacy of such theories and address the validity of science as the sole avenue of inquiry.
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Creation or Evolution?Origin of Species in Light of Science's Limitations and Historical Records
By Michael Ebifegha
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Michael Ebifegha
All right reserved.
Chapter OneConstraints in Science
Science knows about objective reality, the mask of matter that our five senses detect. But the mind goes beyond the five senses. And what lies beyond the boundary of the five senses holds enormous mysteries, and it does Dawkins no good to lump the two worlds of inner and outer together. —Deepak Chopra
The appearance of similar abilities in distantly related species, but not necessarily in closely related ones, illustrates that cognitive traits cannot be neatly arranged on an evolutionary scale of relatedness. —Johan J. Bolhuis and Clive D. L. Wynne
I was drawn to Kat McGowan's article titled "Uncovered: How a Brain Creates a Mind" that was published in the special thirty-year-anniversary issue of Discover magazine. I glanced through the article, but there was not much information to justify the title. The nature of the relationship between the brain (matter) and mind (nonmatter) could lead to different philosophical conclusions, so my curiosity led me to search for the web definition of terms in the field of philosophy. We will examine some of these definitions and their implications.
Materialism versus Dualism
We have the choice to believe in either physical reality only (materialism) or in physical reality and spiritual reality (dualism). There are several definitions/designations of materialism and dualism on the Web, but we will stick to the ones that relate to the thesis of this book. Materialism is the philosophical belief that matter is all there is, and all phenomena (including consciousness, thought, feeling, mind, and will) are the result of material interaction. In contrast to materialism, dualism is the philosophical belief that reality is essentially divided into two basic ontological categories such as mental (mind) and physical (brain) stuff, spirit (soul) and matter (body), good and evil, male and female, creator and created.
Religion addresses dualism; for instance, in Genesis 1:2, there is reference to the spirit of God and matter (water, earth) and many references to soul and body elsewhere in the Bible. Many accomplished scientists believe in dualism. Expressing his belief in spiritual reality, Albert Einstein said:
Everyone who is seriously engaged in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that the laws of nature manifest the existence of a spirit vastly superior to that of men, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.
My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.
While religion teaches dualism, our five senses, however, limit the scope of science to the material realm; hence, knowledge of the immaterial or spiritual realm is beyond its legitimate purview. Accordingly, many scientists, especially atheist, stick to materialism only. For, instance Richard Lewontin believes that materialism is absolute and no divine foot must be allowed in the door. Nature limits science, but has nature imposed similar limitations on human experience and perception of the world?
Science is only one unique way of searching for truth. The mere fact that, due to its disciplinary limitations, science cannot detect an immaterial or spiritual world does not preclude the possibility of its existence. For example, science's inability to explain the dynamics of love does not mean that love does not exist. The concept of a spiritual world is a natural experience. According to Paul Bloom of Yale University, "[R]eligion is an inescapable artifact of the wiring in our brain, and all humans possess the brain circuitry ... that never goes away." Olivera Petrovich of Oxford University posits that "[E]ven adults who describe themselves as atheists and agnostics are prone to supernatural thinking." The point is that no human being is devoid of a religiously oriented consciousness. We should, however, respect the fact that people have different levels of religious affiliation, but also accept the fact that because of natural constraints science can only provide partial truth about our universe. However, while spirit (soul) and matter (body) dualism may be excused on the grounds that is not a uniform or regular human experience, the mind and matter (brain) dualism is a common human experience and hence cannot be ignored. The article "Uncovered: How a Brain Creates a Mind" in Discover is accordingly listed as one of the twelve breakthroughs that transformed the world.
According to Bloom, matter and mind are autonomous systems, "leaving us with two viewpoints on the world: one that deals with minds, and one that handles physical aspects of the world." If Kat McGowan is right and a brain (matter) creates a mind, then matter and mind are not autonomous systems leaving us with only one viewpoint of the world. Who is right?
Take, for instance, if good creates bad, then the good and bad dualism becomes nonfunctional, so if the natural processes of the brain create the mind, the mind and brain dualism is compromised and we expect radical changes in the functioning of the mind. For instance, because the mind will now depend on the brain, the only way we can change our minds is when the activities in the brain change. In contrast, a mind independent of the brain can change at will, and this is consistent with our experience. A mind that depends on the brain for its creation will also be subject to the laws of matter and may function in a mechanical fashion, similar to a computer that is run by a program; emotions, desires, beliefs, and free choice may cease to exist.
Since science does not understand how the mind works, I searched the Scriptures for information on brain and mind. Nothing was on brain, but there were several references to the human mind. The Scriptures posit that God searches human minds (Ps. 7:9) and will put his law in their minds (Jer. 31:33). These verses, therefore, suggest that human minds are reservoirs of nonmaterial information similar to a computer software package. Since the software is independent of the central processing unit, the mind should be independent of the brain. Mapping consciousness is not the same thing as a brain creating a mind; it likely means a brain (CPU) detecting or processing a mind (software). Accordingly, this discourse will stick to Bloom's assertion that mind and body are autonomous systems.
Evolution and the Mind
The focus of evolutionary biology is on species and their development through the ages. To be credible, any scientific theory pertaining to the origin of living things in the universe must consider both their material and immaterial aspects.
The fact that matter and mind are distinct, which Bloom calls "common-sense dualism," limits the validity of theories such as Charles Darwin's based on limited circumstantial evidence in the material realm, especially as concerns the disputed origin of species based on homologous physical traits. Species, however, are dissimilar in their immaterial nature. Darwin himself alludes to this fact in the following declaration: "There can be no doubt that the difference between the mind of the lowest man and that of the highest animal is immense." He continues, "The difference would, no doubt, still remain immense, even if one of the higher apes had been improved or civilized as much as a dog has been in comparison with its parent-form, the wolf or jackal." Darwin further affirms, "The difference in mental power between the highest ape and the lowest savage is immense. And also the difference in mental power between an ant and a coccus is immense." Because of the remarkable differences in the immaterial realm, Darwin was concerned that the conclusion derived from the material realm could be wrong; he wrote:
[M]an bears in his bodily structure clear traces of his descent from some lower form; but it may be urged that, as man differs so greatly in his mental power from all other animals, there must be some error in this conclusion.
Darwin was fully aware of the immense limitation his theory suffered, but his will to put religion aside prevailed over reason. When it comes to the subject of life's origins, no person thus can claim to be neutral; scholars will always have a philosophical preference. The National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine (NASIM), in its 2008 booklet titled Science, Evolution, and Creationism, affirms the following: "Because biological evolution accounts for events that are also central concerns of religion—including the origins of biological diversity and especially the origins of humans—evolution has been a contentious idea within society since it was first articulated by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace in 1858." Darwin and Wallace came up with similar scientific information on evolution and natural selection but differed in their philosophical inferences. Darwin's views were limited to the material realm, but Wallace focused on both the material and immaterial realms and concluded that natural selection was not an all-sufficient cause of man's evolution.
For over a century, scientific evidence has consistently pointed to an immaterial and creative intelligence in line with Wallace's unpopular views. Wallace's offense was his opinion that "natural selection was not an all-sufficient cause of the evolution of man—particularly as regards the higher human faculties (moral, artistic, and mathematical abilities, etc.)." The bad news for the scientific establishment is mounting evidence against natural selection as a designing instrumentality for the origins of life. Darwin's views on mind are now widely challenged by some biologists. Johan J. Bolhuis and Clive D. L. Wynne in their essay "Can Evolution Explain How Minds Work?" wrote:
Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is broadly accepted among biologists, but its implications for the study of cognition are far from clear.... In The Descent of Man, Darwin proposed that there is "no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties" on the basis of his belief that all living species were descended from a common ancestor ... [F]indings have cast doubt on the straightforward application of Darwinism to cognition. Some have even called Darwin's idea of continuity of mind a mistake. ... Another major stumbling block is that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to identify the factors that originally drove the emergence of contemporary animal and human traits. ... For comparative psychology to progress, we must study animal and human minds empirically, without naïve evolutionary presuppositions.
Marc Hauser is a Professor of Psychology and Evolutionary Biology, and co-director of the Mind, Brain, and Behaviour Program at Harvard University. Hauser in his essay "Origin of the Mind" wrote:
Before Charles Darwin argued in his 1871 book The Descent of Man that the difference between human and nonhuman minds is "one of degree and not of kind." Scholars have long upheld that view, pointing in recent years to genetic evidence showing that we share some 98 percent of our genes with chimpanzees. But if our shared genetic heritage can explain the evolutionary origin of the human mind, then why isn't a chimpanzee writing this essay, or singing backup for the Rolling Stones or making soufflé? Indeed, mounting evidence indicates that, in contrast to Darwin's theory of a continuity of mind between humans and other species, a profound gap separates our intellect from the animal kind.
David J. Buller's article titled "Four Fallacies of Pop Evolutionary Psychology" signals serious misunderstanding about the prospects of how the human mind could have evolved since the Stone Age.
Darwinists are aware of science's limits, but in order to compete with religion, they delve wittingly into the domain of pseudoscience. However, in order to remain under the umbrella of science, they dishonestly characterize events that amount to miracles in religion as lucky chances, hypotheses, or theories in evolution science. For example, evolutionary science views the biblical evidence of a transition from nonlife to life as impossible and hence a miracle or myth. However, in order to rule out the premise of intelligent causation and the need for a creator, the scientific establishment, without any shred of evidence, endorses a comparable transition from nonlife to life (abiogenesis or the spontaneous generation of life) as a theory. Why are such scientists inconsistent? Denouncing this tendency of biological evolutionists, Nobel laureate Ernst Boris Chain in 1971 expressed the following concerns:
These classical evolutionary theories are gross oversimplifications of an immensely complex and intricate mass of facts, and it amazes me that they were swallowed so uncritically and readily, and for such a long time, by so many scientists without a murmur of protest.
We do not need to be expert zoologists, anatomists, or physiologists to recognize that there exist some similarities between apes and man, but surely we are much more interested in the differences than the similarities. Apes, after all, unlike man, have not produced great prophets, philosophers, mathematicians, writers, poets, composers, painters, and scientists. They are not inspired by the divine spark, which manifests itself so evidently in the spiritual creation of man and which differentiates man from animals.
To say that man has left the apes behind in the evolutionary scale because he managed, for various reasons, to develop a bigger brain is really no explanation at all; it is only a statement covering up ignorance by an ill-defined term.
Chain's views might be construed as religiously motivated, but in reality they are not. In 2009 anthropologist Owen C. Lovejoy justified Chain's concerns in his remarks about the scientific discovery of the fossil Ardipithecus ramidus.
For years, because of the genetic similarity of chimps and humans, it's been presumed that our ancestor would have been chimplike. Ardi (Ardipithecus ramidus) tells us that's not the case.
In other words, Ardi tells us that Darwin's tree of life is not the case. We shall next consider why analysis of brain size is not a sufficient guide in evolutionary science.
The Inadequacy of Brain Size as Evidence for Evolution
Unable to provide laboratory demonstrations of Darwinian bacteria-to-human evolution, scientists resort to measuring brain sizes and reconstructing skeletal remains, but these data cannot prove either creation or evolution. Based on circumstantial evidence in the material realm, NASIM summarizes the significance of brain size in human evolution as follows:
Based on the strength of evidence from DNA comparisons, the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees lived approximately 6 to 7 million years ago in Africa. ... About 4.1 million years ago, a species appeared in Africa that paleontologists place in the genus Australopithecus, which means "southern ape." ... The brain of an adult of this genus was about the same size as that of modern apes, and it appears to have spent part of its life climbing in trees, as indicated by its short legs and features of its upper limbs. But Australopithecus also walked upright, as humans do.
About 2.3 million years ago, the earliest species of Homo, the genus to which all modern humans belong, evolved in Africa. This species is known as Homo habilis ("handy" or "skillful man"). Its average brain size, as determined from skulls that postdate 2 million years ago, was probably about 50 percent larger than that of earlier Australopithecus. The earliest stone tools appear about 2.6 million years ago.
About 1.8 million years ago, a more evolved species, Homo erectus ("upright man") appeared. This species spread from Africa to Eurasia. The subsequent fossil record includes the skeletal remains of additional species within the genus Homo. The more recent species generally had larger brains than the earlier ones.
Evidence shows that anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens—"wise" or "knowing man") with bodies and brains like ours evolved in Africa from earlier forms of humans. The earliest known fossil of a modern human is less than 200,000 years old. The members of this group dispersed throughout Africa and, more recently, into Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas, replacing earlier populations of humans then living in some parts of the world.
Excerpted from Creation or Evolution? by Michael Ebifegha Copyright © 2011 by Michael Ebifegha. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Constraints in Science....................11
Chapter 2 Creationism and Evolutionism Compared....................33
Chapter 3 The Irrelevance of the Earth's Age to the Creationist/Evolutionist Controversy....................47
Chapter 4 The Origin of Life and Species Limitations....................53
Chapter 5 The Natural Selection Limitation....................61
Chapter 6 Similarity/Dissimilarity Limitations....................66
Chapter 7 The Natural History Limitation....................78
Chapter 8 Writing Off Darwinism....................87
Chapter 9 The Myth of the Grand Design by Chaos....................103
Chapter 10 The Historical Record of God's Patent and Seal on Creation....................115