googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: February 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Estimating the number of extinct species: Voodoo science

For years, I've heard people reciting the statistic that 99% of all species that have ever lived are extinct. I heard it often enough that I assumed it must have some merit but I never really bothered to look into it at first. When I did investigate the claim, I saw that, like most secular theories of our origins, it was mostly smoke and mirrors. It's sort of like the false claims that human and chimp DNA is 99% similar or that 99% of all scientists believe in evolution. There's an old joke that says 99% of all statistics are just made up on the spot! In this case, that's not far off.

For a while, I looked at the absurd estimates of the number of extinct species in the same light as the scientific evidence for Big Foot: namely, that it's junk science but there's really no harm in it. However, I've been coming around, lately, to the realization that the inflated number of species is being used as evolutionary propaganda. For example, I've heard more than one person ask what's the point of God creating all these species only to have 99% of them go extinct? Such questions seek to cast doubt on a belief in creation. However, there's a far more devious implication in the inflated number that had completely escaped my notice until now.

According to Wikipedia: More than 99 percent of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct. Estimates on the number of Earth's current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described.

I'm not sure who is in charge of checking math at Wikipedia but he's slipping. 10 million is 1% of only 1 billion so I'm not sure where they are getting the 5 billion number. Actually, the whole passage is poorly worded. What do they mean, “... estimated to be extinct”? Are they extinct or not? They mean to say, “an estimated 99% of all species... are extinct.” I know I have misspellings and typos on my blog but jeez!

But I digress.

Anyway, did you notice how even the number of species living currently is only estimated to be 10-14 million? The number actually identified is only around 1.2 million. They're taking a guess – perhaps a reasonable guess but still a guess – as to how many other species haven't been discovered yet. It's almost certain there are species we haven't discovered but another 10 million or so of undiscovered species is probably a little generous. Even so, let's go with that number.

From another Wiki article, we find that, the number of species known through the fossil record is less than 5% of the number of known living species. From that sparse sentence, it's hard to estimate how many species we're talking about. Five percent of 1.2 million is only 60,000. Five percent of 10 million is 500,000. I've heard various estimates about the number of species identified in the fossil record and it's only around 250,000. Again, for the sake of argument, let's say it's more like the 500,000. So, we have 1.2 million named living species and another 500,000 species known from the fossil record. That totals only 1.7 million of species known to exist.

Here's where things start to get devious.

We have identified approximately 1.7 million species yet evolutionists estimate there have been as many as 5 billion that have lived. However, there is no fossil trace for 99.99966% of the species evolutionists have alleged. Why not? Evolutionists claim it's due to the extreme imperfection of the fossil record. In other words, since fossilization is such a rare event, most species that lived never left a fossil. Hmm. That could explain it... or maybe it could be that the other 99.99966% of species never even lived!

How do they get such a high estimate? It all has to do with their assumptions – primarily their assumptions about the age of the earth. It works sort of like this: if life began 1 billion years ago, and if the average species only appears during 5 million years in the geological record, then all species have been replaced around 200 times. If there are 10,000,000 identified species (an inflated number to begin with), that means there must have been 2 billion total species that have lived! Get it?

You might still be asking me what is so devious about this. Well, it's a couple of things. First, if creationists were to believe that 99% of all species have gone extinct, then we're tacitly conceding the long ages assumed by evolutionists. The earth is not billions or even millions of years old. An earth that's only thousands of years old means most of the species that have lived are still alive!

The other thing about the claim is that, if it were true, then the fossil record truly is imperfect and would only preserve less than 1% of the transitions between a modern species and its ancient ancestor. One weakness of evolution is the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record. If we believe so few species are preserved as fossils, we're basically giving evolutionists an excuse for not having fossil evidence for a critical part of their theory.

There is no evidence that billions of species have existed. The belief they existed is merely a consequence of evolutionary theory. It's voodoo science.  The observable, testable evidence is better explained by creation: the earth is thousands of years old, most of the species that have ever lived are still alive, and the fossil record is remarkably complete yet shows a glaring lack of transitional forms.

Friday, February 19, 2016

10 Evidences for Biblical Creation: Conclusion

#1: The Bible: The best evidence we have for any event from antiquity is not “scientific” evidence but rather it is the historical records written down by people who were witnesses to the event. The same is true for our origins. No one alive today was there to observe the start of the universe. What we have is the revealed word of the Creator Who tells us how it was done. Even if we had no scientific evidence at all about the creation, we could still know with confidence that the world was created recently, that the first man was created miraculously, and that the world was once judged by a global flood. We know this because the details have been revealed to us by God.

Critics, of course, object on the grounds that the Bible could not be considered “scientific” evidence. The irony is that what is considered scientific evidence is usually determined by philosophical reasons. Most of the philosophical underpinnings of science could not pass scientific scrutiny. Even the principle of seeking only natural explanations is a philosophical assumption. Please show me, for example, the scientific evidence that demonstrates all phenomena must have a natural explanation. Nothing about the secular definitions of science precludes the Bible from being true. If God created the universe by fiat, that is the truth regardless of whether or not it is considered scientific.

It's sad but true that way too many Christians trust the shifting opinions of fallible men over the inspired word of the Creator. A tired cliché is that the Bible tells us that God created the world and science tells us how. Really? As I've already discussed in this series, science has no explanation for the origin of matter, or energy, or physical laws, or life. The only thing that secular theories of our origins tell us is that some unknown process caused chemicals to come alive and this unidentified being was our first ancestor which gradually evolved over billions of years to become all the different kinds of life we see now. In other words, “science” tells us precisely that God didn't do it while really having no idea how else it could have been done.

In John 3:12, Jesus said to Nicodemus, If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? I believe the reverse is also true; if we claim to believe the Bible about heavenly things, how can we not believe what it says about earthly things? The Bible is not ambiguous about the creation. Genesis 1 is very clear about the six days of creation. Exodus 20:11 affirms these were ordinary days: For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. Why should I reject the clear words of this passage and seek some obscure meaning of the term “six days”? Because “science” tells us it's not really six days? No, thank you!

Jesus often would chide the Pharisees by reminding them of what the Scriptures say. He would preface His remarks with the stinging words, “Haven't you read...?” Whenever He did this, He always relied on the clear meaning of the passage to make His point. He never appealed to some tortured interpretation of any text. He often quoted from Genesis. When asked about marriage, Jesus responded by saying, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female....?” (Matthew 19:4). Jesus mentioned Abel by name in Matthew 23:35 and spoke of him as a real person. In Luke 17:26, Jesus says His coming will be, just as it happened in the days of Noah. If Noah Flood wasn't a real event, then is Christ's return a real event? Time after time, Jesus spoke of the people and events of the Old Testament as matters of fact.

Is the Bible the revealed word of God? Is Jesus the Word who created all things (John 1:3)? If yes, then how can we not trust what the Bible – and Jesus specifically – tells us about the creation and the Flood? The Bible is – by far – the best evidence we have for the miraculous, recent creation of the universe!

Read this entire series:

Sunday, February 7, 2016

10 Evidences for Biblical Creation: Part 5

#3: The Stasis of Kinds: For evolution to occur, populations must acquire novel traits. To turn a dinosaur into a bird would require it to acquire feathers. To turn a reptile into a mammal, it would have to acquire hair. For a molecule to turn into a man, it would require a billions of years long parade of novel features being added generation after generation. If evolution were true, new traits would have to appear in populations with a fair amount of frequency. They don't.

One of the five lies spoken by evolutionists is that microevolution over time leads to macroevolution. The most famous example of microevolution, by far, is the peppered moth. Due to changes in the environment, the ratio of dark and light coloring in the moth population changed over time. The lie is that the tiny changes (microevolution) we observe can accumulate over millions of years to become drastic changes (macroevolution). Let me ask you a simple question: how long would birds have to eat one color of moth before new colors will appear in the population? Obviously, you cannot add new colors by continuously removing colors no matter how long it continuous. In the end, you will only have fewer colors. In the 100+ years since the famous, peppered moth experiment was first published, we still have light and dark peppered moths. There has not even been microevolution in the peppered moth species.

Let me offer another example – dogs. Most people are familiar with dogs. We see dogs in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. I have a golden retriever but let's pretend I wanted a green retriever. Can I selectively breed dogs to create a green one? What if I did it for 50 years? 100 years? 1,000,000 years? Dogs may come in a lot of colors but they don't come in new colors. Though there are a variety of dogs, they can never evolve past becoming dogs because nothing new is ever added to the dog-kind.

I've seen a hundred examples of critics calling natural selection, evolution. Natural selection is the opposite of evolution. It can only select from traits already present in a population. Over time, natural selection makes animals become well adapted to their environments by continuously removing traits not suited to that environment. The result is a species that is less diverse than the kind. There is a lot of variety among bears (ursa-kind), for example. There is less variety among polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Observing how bears can become polar bears does not explain how dinosaurs could become birds.

I've heard evolutionists suggest how mutations could add new traits to a population but we don't have any examples of it actually being done. Like I've said, if evolution were true, it necessarily must happen frequently. Why don't we see any? What we do observe are moths staying moths, dogs staying dogs, and bears staying bears. We see changes happening, of course, but we've never seen a change in the direction that could turn one kind of animal into another.

The Bible says God created the plants and animals “after their kind” (Gen 1:21, et al). We observe populations changing. We don't see kinds changing. What we observe is more consistent with the Bible than with evolution.

#2: Design and Purpose: Suppose you're walking along and you see a rocky cliff overlooking a beach. How did the cliff get there? It's probably the result of plate tectonics pushing the land up then the wind and waves eroded some of it away exposing the rocks. It might be a beautiful scene but nobody created it to be that way. It just happened.

Next you're walking in another place and you see another cliff. On this cliff, however, you can sort of make out what looks like a profile of an old man. “Interesting,” you think, “but it still looks like the random result of wind and erosion.” Again, it might be a beautiful scene but it's just a coincidence that it resembles a face.

Still later, you're walking again. This time you see four distinct faces in the cliff. You recognize them immediately. “Wow,” you say to yourself, “how did the wind and rain erode these rocks to look just like former US Presidents?!” Actually, no. You don't say that.

We can see design, almost by instinct. The more complex it is or the more purposeful it is, then the more sure we are of it. We are certain, in a moment, if something is an accidental jumble of rocks or an intentional arrangement. Don't you agree? The same thing, then, that we can see in a pile of rocks is also true when we look at complex living systems. We can see, for example, that the DNA molecule is not simply an accidental jumble of amino acids but a purposeful arrangement.

Richard Dawkins said, The complexity of living organisms is matched by the elegant efficiency of their apparent design. If anyone doesn’t agree that this amount of complex design cries out for an explanation, I give up. I don't have to spell out the complexity and design found in nature. Even the devout atheist, Dawkins, sees it and admits it “cries out for an explanation.” Actually, it only demands an explanation if you dismiss the most obvious one – namely that complexity, design, and purpose are the characteristics of created things.

The most reasonable explanation for the “apparent” design we see in nature is that the complexity of living organisms is the product of design.

Read this entire series

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

10 Evidences for Biblical Creation: Part 4

#5: The Second Law of Thermodynamics: In a nutshell, the second law of thermodynamics says that, in any system, the amount of energy available for work will decrease over time. Put another way, the amount of useless energy (entropy) will always increase over time. The result is that systems tend to become more disordered over time. In the secular theories of our origins, the Big Bang created hydrogen, uneven pockets of hydrogen became stars, the stars fused hydrogen atoms into higher elements, the higher elements arranged themselves to become amino acids and proteins, these chemicals became alive, and a “simple” single cell evolved over countless generations to become all the very complex life forms on earth. It all sounds like a very uphill process where as the second law suggests things should run down hill.

Every time a creationist mentions the second law, a chorus of groans rise up from evolutionists. They sigh in frustration, roll their eyes, and attempt to educate the creationists by saying the second law only applies to closed systems. The earth, they say, is not a closed system because it receives energy from the sun. Blah, blah, blah.

I will first remind them that the universe is a closed system! There is no energy being added to the universe (per the first law of thermodynamics). So, strictly speaking, the universe would have been the most ordered at its beginning. From a Big Bang of hydrogen to the grand design we see now still seems to contradict the downhill process we would expect. Furthermore, our solar system would be considered a closed system since there is virtually no exchange of heat from other stars. So for our sun to form, our planets to form, water to form, and life to form in the closed system of our solar system, would also seem to go against what we would expect from the second law.

But here is the dirty secret of the second law – it even applies to open systems. The addition of energy is not some magic ingredient that suddenly creates order out of disorder. If I apply heat to chemicals, for example, the chemicals will tend to break down faster. But you've seen this for yourself; the sun will destroy the roof of your house, fade your furniture, and ruin the paint on your car.

To create order from energy, there must be some mechanism that can convert energy to work – like an engine. Pouring gasoline on my car and igniting it will destroy my car; putting gas in the tank and sending it through a combustion engine will make my car go. But my car is not perfectly efficient. I have to continuously add fuel. I have to maintain it and replace worn out parts. Yet in spite of all my efforts, my car will eventually succumb to entropy and become scrap. In both open and closed systems, the second law wins every time.

Though machines can convert energy into work, adding energy doesn't explain the origin of machines. Plants can convert sunlight to food (photosynthesis) but the sun shining on lifeless chemicals will never create plants. Our bodies convert food into energy. Plants and animals are like machines; we're open systems that can seem to stave off the second law but only for a while. Organized systems like our universe, our solar system, or our bodies argue against mindless, purposeless origins. It is entirely consistent with a universe that was created with order and design but is now running down.

#4: Soft Tissues in Supposedly Ancient Fossils: About a decade ago, Dr. Mary Schweitzer – entirely by accident – discovered red blood cells in a t-rex fossil believed to be 68 million years old. At first, her discovery was met with disbelief by the majority of the scientific community. However, since her initial find, other specimens have been found. From Student Science we read, Researchers from London have found hints of blood and fibrous tissue in a hodgepodge of 75-million-year-old dinosaur bones. These fossils had been poorly preserved. That now suggests residues of soft tissues may be more common in dino bones than scientists had thought.

Think about that quote: soft tissues may be more common in dino bones than scientists had thought. What exactly do you think scientists thought about the possibility of soft tissue being found in dino bones? Obviously they thought it was impossible for soft tissue to be preserved for 65 million years! In an article about Dr. Schweitzer's find, wondered, “If particles of that one dinosaur were able to hang around for 65 million years, maybe the textbooks were wrong about fossilization.” In the same article, paleontologist Thomas Holtz Jr. said that Schweitzer's work is “showing us we really don’t understand decay.” Hmmm. Maybe they were right to believe it's impossible for red blood cells to hang around for millions of years. Maybe they really do understand decay. Maybe they are wrong about the 65 million years! Did they ever think about that?

What about squid ink that was supposedly 150 million years old but was reconstituted and used to paint a picture? What about microbes trapped in salt crystals believed to be 250 million years old yet still revive in a petri dish? Finds like these have caused scientists to question their assumptions about fossilization. Shouldn't more of them question their assumptions about the millions of years?

Even “young-earth” creationists still believe in an earth that's thousands of years old. I'm surprised soft tissue and microbes could survive even that long. Common sense, though, tells us that it's far more reasonable to believe these things are only thousands of years old rather than millions.

Read this entire series