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An Argument for Special Creation


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Title: An Argument for Special Creation

An Argument for Special Creation
  • John Oakes
  • Christian Evidences Conference
  • June 12, 2009

Natural Creation
Thomas Huxley, Darwins bulldog
We are as much the product of blind forces as is
the falling of a stone to earth, or the ebb and
flow of the tides. We have just happened, and
man was made flesh by a series of singularly
beneficial accidents.
Special Creation Homo sapiens or Homo divinus?
What are the limits of science? What are the
limits of scripture?
  • Science and religion
  • Science and religion
  • Science and religion
  • Science and religion
  • Science and Religion

  • The use of experiment to test theories about the
    laws of nature.

  • Scientific knowledge is a relationship between
  • Scientific knowledge is quantitative
  • The observations are subject to refinement
  • Scientific knowledge is progressive and tentative
  • Scientific knowledge is neither true nor false,
    but rather consistent with the observations and
    consistent with prior knowledge

  • Religion is a belief in something
  • The belief is not necessarily substantiated by
    physical or material evidence
  • Religious knowledge obtained through holy
    writings, authority, revelations and religious
  • Believers have faith or trust in such knowledge

  • Religious knowledge is qualitative not
  • Religious knowledge is not gotten through
  • In religion knowledge is taken as either true or
  • Religious knowledge is neither progressive, nor

Questions Science Can Answer
  • When?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • How many?
  • By what means?

Questions Science Cannot Answer (That Religion
Does Answer)
  • Why am I here?
  • Is that the right thing to do?
  • How valuable am I?
  • Does God exist? Does God act (theism)?
  • Will that God respond if I pray?
  • Do supernatural events (miracles) happen?

Is prayer simply chemicals moving around in the
brain? If God is love, then is God just the
firing of particular neurons?
Science, being incapable of answering the
question of meaning, will always give the
impression of meaninglessness, even though such a
conclusion requires metaphysics. As Torrance
notes, patterns may be created by science but
not meaning... Naturally, science should not be
forced into answering this question it should
be allowed to perform its task under the guise of
materialism, even if this results in
meaninglessness. Science can never be permitted
to insert supernatural or metaphysical
explanations into its theories
What you see depends on your world view.
  • The Christian world view predicts that a human
    brain will be designed so that those made in
    Gods image can experience love, joy, anger,
    compassion, spirituality, jealousy, empathy,
    oneness and other feelings, some of which have an
    extremely dubious evolutionary advantage.

  • A statement a scientist should not make (if he or
    she is well trained and is not manipulating you)
  • Evolution is true.
  • The Big Bang happened.
  • Better statements
  • The theory of evolution is by far the best model
    we have to explain both the fossil evidence and
    the genetic evidence with regard to the origin of
    all species.
  • The Big Bang model is in dramatic agreement will
    all known facts about the origin and history of
    the universe.
  • Science seeks consistency, not truth. What is
    the simplest and most consistent explanation of
    the observation.

Assumptions of Science
  • There exists a single, unchanging set of laws
    which govern all events in the physical universe.
  • Human beings are able to understand the workings
    of the physical universe.
  • The laws which govern the universe are
    describable by mathematics.

  • Predictions Based on Christian Theology
  • The universe will follow a single, unchanging
    set of laws.
  • The universe will be understandable to human
  • The universe will be describable by mathematics.
  • The universe will be designed so that we can
    observe it
  • - (The Priveleged Planet Gonzalez and Richards)

Basic Assumptions of Science
  • Assumptions are accepted without proof
  • Form the basis of all scientific thinking
  • In other words, the basic assumptions of science
    are accepted on faith.

Conclusions about Science and Religion
  • Religion and science ask different kinds of
    questions and define words differently
  • Religion and science appear as if they were two
    incommensurate paradigms addressing the identical
    information area
  • Are they Non-Overlapping Magisteria? (NOMA) as
    Stephen Jay Gould suggests? No! They inform
    one another to an important extent.

  • Unanswered questions which seem to relate to
  • Origin of life
  • Origin of the universe. Why is there anything
    (as opposed to nothing)?
  • Why is this a Goldilocks Universe?
  • Consciousness
  • What is a person? Am I a body or do I have a
    body? Am I a brain or do I have a brain?

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
The Bible was written to tell us how to go to
heaven, not how the heavens go In discussions
of physical problems we ought to begin not from
the authority of scriptural passages, but from
the sense-experiences and necessary
Galileo on Revelation
  • For the Holy Bible and the phenomena of nature
    proceed alike from the divine Word, the former as
    the dictate of the Holy Spirit and the latter as
    the observant executor of Gods commands. (the
    debate over this view rages even today)
  • Is there such a thing as Natural
    Revelation/General Revelation? (as opposed to
    special revelation) In other words, can we
    gather genuine knowledge of God from looking at
    his creation?

Evolution and the Bible
  • What does the Bible say? Not much!
  • What does the physical evidence say?
  • Fossil evidence
  • Biogeography
  • Genetic/DNA evidence
  • Irreducible Complexity?
  • Human evolution?

The Wallace Line
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Finches discovered And drawn by Charles
Darwin Evidence of Evolution?
Evolution of whales over time?
Fossil evidence for elephant evolution
Horse ancestry
  • The Cambrian Explosion
  • Punctuated Equilibrium?
  • Theistic Evolution?

Fossils from creatures which appeared in the
Cambrian Explosion
(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
Human chromosome 2 and Great Ape chromosome 2
a, 2b evidence for common descent.
More Genetic Evidence for Common Descent
  • Pseudogenes
  • Vitamin C Pseudogene in great apes and humans
  • Retroposons, SINEs (short interspersed
    elements), etc.
  • Viral insertions

table 1 Gene sequence that codes for protein Random DNA segment between genes
Chimpanzee 100 98
Dog 99 52
Mouse 99 40
Chicken 75 4
Fruitfly 60 0
Roundworm 35 0
Typical random point mutation rates are about
1x10-5 1x10-7 mutations/generation. 5 million
years 250,000 generations. Sufficient for
random mutations to explain the change without
the intervention of a guiding hand?

Some Tentative Conclusions
  • Evolution has happened. Microevolution has been
  • Fossil evidence strongly supports the idea of
    change over time, but that change often happens
    in surprisingly sudden bursts (punctuated
    equilibrium). The Cambrian explosion raises real
  • Genetic evidence gives very strong support to the
    idea of common descent.
  • Like it or not, this is true of humans as well.
  • Statistical and other arguments give support for
    evolution being theistic, rather than deistic,
    but this is not a scientific argument.
  • God invented evolution let us give him credit
    for a great idea.

Here is the big question
  • Is the nearly overwhelming evidence in support of
    common descent strong evidence against special
    creation of
  • Life itself
  • Adam and Eve
  • My answer No! Science literally cannot
    answer the question of special creation.

  • My arguments for special creation are not
    scientific (although they use science at some

Why I believe in special creation
  • Because it is biblical.
  • Because life itself almost without doubt was a
    special creation.
  • I do not buy the God-of-no-gaps argument.
  • Theism vs Deism consistent theology
  • Because miracles have happened.
  • I am cautious about the metaphorical
    interpretation of Genesis.
  • New Testament writers believed in special
    creation of Adam and Eve and their descendents.
  • Because I am biased.

I. Because it is biblical
  • Luke 38
  • John 21-11
  • John 61-15
  • The virgin birth of Jesus

II. Life itself is a special creation
  • Warning! This is a God-of-the-gaps argument!
  • Evolution and the creation of life are completely
    separate issues
  • As a chemist and as a physicist, I am thoroughly
    convinced that life is a special creation.
  • This argument is about as strong as the Anthropic
    Argument itself.

It is mere rubbish to think at this point of
the origin of life. One might as well think of
the origin of matter.
Charles Darwin
Simplest life form break it down
  • E. coli about 1 trillion bits of information.
  • E. coli have 3000-4000 different proteins.
  • DNA and RNA to make and be made by these
  • Lipids (membrane), Carbohydrates, etc.
  • The simplest living cell is an unimaginably
    complex self-regulating nano factory

Fred Hoyle on Living Things
The chance that higher life forms might have
emerged by chance is comparable with the chance
that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might
assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.
The Teleological Argument
Boeing 747 Design or Accident?
Nature creates order, but not information
A House of Cards Order and Information. A much
better analogy for living things.
III. I do not buy the God-of-no-gaps argument
  • Francis Collins In the physical realm, a God of
    no gaps is to be preferred on theological
  • Question Can science answer the question of
    whether there are in fact gaps?
  • Is the Christian wise or well-justified
    scientifically to make a naturalistic assumption
    with regard to the creation of life, evolution
    and the creation of human beings?
  • I say no!!!

A gap argument Intelligent Design
  • Irreducible Complexity Does this disprove
  • Beware of God of the Gaps arguments.
  • Is ID scientific? Do they do experiments?
    Are their conclusions refutable by an experiment?

IV. Theology (cont.) Deism or Theism?
  • Is Gods relationship with history deistic or
  • Is Gods relationship with individual humans
    deistic or theistic?
  • Is Gods relationship with nature deistic or
  • Do we have two different Gods here?

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) The
Mechanical Universe Is God merely the primary
mover? Is naturalistic deism a slippery slope?
Statue of Joseph Priestley Founder of the
Unitarian Church
LaPlace (1749-1827)
About God I have no need of that hypothesis
V. Because Miracles Happen
  • Apparently, God DOES intervene and break the
    laws of nature at times.
  • Is there some scientific, philosophical or
    religious principle which precludes even the
    possibility that God did this with regard to how
    life progressed?
  • Is it established by science that God did not
    miraculously intercede to create Homo divinus?

Miracles of timing? John 6 Miraculous
generosity? Mark 435-41 Calming the
storm. What about Lazarus? What about
Jesus? Did God really create Adam and Eve?
So Miracles Happen
  • It being established that miracles happen, why
    the problem with the miraculous creation of life
    and of Adam and Eve? Does science prove that
    this did not happen?
  • Why the naturalist assumption?

VI. Is Genesis 1-10 historical or metaphorical?
  • Biologos The Everyman Reading.
  • The Fall did not happen.
  • The story of Adam and Eve is the story of all of
  • So, what did happen?
  • Were Adam and Eve the first Homo sapiens?
  • Did God create Adam and Eve, later releasing them
    into a world populated by intelligent primates?
  • Did God take evolved Homo sapiens and change
    them into Homo divinus? (making them into his
  • I dont know, and as a scientist, I cannot know!

VII. New Testament Writers Believed in Special
Creation and the Historicity of Genesis
  • Luke 337 Adam and Seth (and David and Jesus)
  • Romans 514 Adam
  • 2 Corinthians 113 Eve
  • Luke 1151, Hebrews 114 Abel
  • I John 312 Cain
  • Hebrews 115 Enoch
  • 2 Peter 36 Noah. The second coming is as real
    as the flood.

A counter-argument
  • Dont you take Genesis 11-31 Metaphorically?
  • No I take it non-literally, but not
  • Arent Adam and Eve symbols?
  • Yes! Absolutely! So are Abraham, Isaac, Moses
    and David, but they are also historical.

VIII. Because I am biased.
  • When in doubt, I lean toward accepting the
    obvious implications of scientifically-derived
  • However, I do not give the benefit of the doubt
    to naturalism.
  • When in doubt, I lean toward accepting the Bible
    literally and historically, not metaphorically.

The Conservative Christian Reaction
  • Scopes monkey trial 1925

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan
1940s and afterward Creationism Movement Very
Bad Science!
Can Science and Religion peacefully coexist?
  • The Language of God

Reasons Collins believes in God
  • 1. There is something instead of nothing.
  • 2. The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics.
  • 3. The Big Bang.
  • 4. Nature does not solve the problem of why.
  • 5. The existence of time.
  • 6. Fine tuning of the universe. The Goldilocks
  • 7. Ockhams Razor.
  • 8. The existence of moral law.

Genesis Chapter One Creation
  • Young Earth Theory
  • In agreement with science
  • With an appearance of age (disagrees with
  • Day/Age Theory
  • Framework Theory
  • Literary rather than historical account. Days
    1-3 and 4-6 are parallel triads describing how
    God created the heavens (1,4), the seas and
    land(2,5) and life (3,6)
  • Gap Theory
  • A huge gap of time between Genesis 11 and 12
  • Its all just a myth
  • Each view has its problems

A Quick Summary of Genesis One
  • a. God pre-existed the universe
  • b. God created the universe Let there be
  • c. God created the earth
  • d. God created life
  • e. Last of all, God created mankind

A More Detailed Summary of Genesis One From the
Viewpoint of an Observer on the Earth
  • a. The earth created and is spinning night and
    day. Day 1
  • b. Water covers earth, Very thick atmosphere
    forms. Day 2
  • c. The earth cools, land appears out of the
    water. Day 3
  • d. Life appears on the earth. Day 3
  • e. (Photosynthetic life dramatically changes the
    chemistry of the atmosphere from reducing to
  • f. Finally, the heavenly objects appeared in the
    sky Day 4
  • g. More advanced life forms first in the water,
    later on the land Day 5
  • h. Even more advanced life forms. Last of all
    human beings Day 6
  • Where is the scientific error in this?

Is Genesis 11 a Myth?
  • Yes! It is a true myth.
  • A myth is a simplified story, given to explain
    the gods (or God) to common people.

Creation Myths
  • Babylonian Creation Myth
  • Primeval swamp. Marduk kills Tiamat. Blood
    mud humans
  • Egyptian Creation Myth
  • Primeval ocean Nun from which arrises a
    Primeval hill.
  • Greek Creation Myth
  • Prometheus and Epimetheus form clay molds. Earth
    supported by Atlas.
  • Iroquois Creation Myth
  • Enigorio and Enigohahetgea Good and evil
    brothers battle
  • Genesis One is an obvious exception to this

Babylonian Creation Myth Marduk kills Tiamat
Egyptian Creation Myth
Iroquois Creation Myth Enigorio and
Enigohahetgea Battling the Ronnongwetowanca
(Stone Giants)
Is the Metaphorical Day a Reasonable
Interpretation? Pre-Science Theologians Who Said
  • Philo 1st century
  • Origen early 3rd century
  • Augustine early 5th century
  • Thomas Aquinas 13th century

Translations of yom in the Old Testament (NIV)
  • 1181 times as day (but with several different
    connotations of the word, some not being literal)
  • Isaiah 42 In that day the Branch of the Lord
    will be beautiful
  • 67 times as time
  • 30 times as today
  • 18 times as forever
  • 10 times as continuously
  • 6 times as age
  • 4 times as life
  • 2 times as perpetually

The Anthropic Principle
  • The laws of nature are what they are and the
    fundamental constants which underlie them have
    the values they have by design in order that
    advanced life forms, such as humans, can exist in
    the universe.
  • Aristotle ? Copernicus ? Herschel ? Hubble
    ? Aristotle?
  • Is the universe getting smaller again?

Two Versions of the Anthropic Principle
  • WAP Weak Anthropic Principle. The
    properties of the universe must be extremely
    precisely fine-tuned so that galaxies, stars,
    planets, life, and especially advanced
    self-conscious beings can exist. In fact, the
    universe has these necessary finely tuned
  • SAP Strong Anthropic Principle. WAP is true
    and this is not a coincidence. It must be
    because there exists a purposeful designer who
    intentionally created the universe we live in so
    that we could experience it.

Richard Dawkins
  • In the universe of blind physical forces and
    genetic replication, some people are going to get
    hurt and other people are going to get lucky and
    you wont find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any
    justice. The universe we observe has precisely
    the properties we should expect if there is at
    the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no
    good. Nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.
    DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we
    dance to its music.

Accident or Design? The Anthropic Principle
William Paley
Antony Flew Considers God...Sort Of?
  • Flew is increasingly persuaded that some sort of
    Deity brought about this universe. He says he has
    in mind something like the God of Aristotle, a
    distant, impersonal "prime mover." It might not
    even be conscious, but a mere force. In formal
    terms, he regards the existence of this minimal
    God as a hypothesis that, at present, is perhaps
    the best explanation for why a universe exists
    that can produce complex life

Physics The Finely Tuned Universe
Fine Tuning of the Gravitational Constant
  • Dominant force on astronomical size scale.
  • Need very close balance of gravity and cosmic
    expansion for stable universe.
  • If gravity weaker by 1 in 1060, universe expands
    too quickly, no galaxies or stars.
  • If gravity stronger by 1 in 1060, universe
    collapses without forming galaxies or stars.
  • Gravity is fine-tuned to 1 part in 1060.

Fine Tuning of the
Universe   Constant A Little Bigger A Little
Smaller   1. Gravitational constant very
short-lived stars no stars 2. Ratio of
electrons to protons no stars or galaxies no
stars or galaxies   3. Strong Nuclear
Force no hydrogen, fusion only hydrogen   4.
Weak Nuclear Force all H2 ? He at big bang no
He at big bang no heavy elements   5.
Electric Force no chemical bonding no chemical
bonding   6. Expansion rate of universe no
galaxies universe collapses quickly 7. Ratio
of matter to antimatter too much radiation for
life not enough matter for galaxies to
form   and many more.
The Strong Force
  • Holds nucleus together.
  • 5 weaker, no deuterium, stars wont burn
  • 5 stronger, diproton stable, stars explode
  • The strong force is tuned to 5 on the basis of
    these considerations alone.

The Weak Force
  • Holds neutron together.
  • Few weaker, few neutrons, little He, few heavy
    elements even these stay trapped in stars.
  • Few stronger, too many neutrons, too much He,
    too many heavy elements but these, too, stay
    trapped in stars.
  • The weak force is tuned to a few percent.

  • Both repulsive attractive, due to existence of
    positive negative charges.
  • and charges must be almost exactly equal in
    number, to better than one part in 1040.
  • Yet protons () and electrons (-) drastically
    different in mass, and froze out at quite
    different times in the early universe.
  • If not for this equality, electromagnetic forces
    would dominate gravity, so no galaxies, no stars,
    no planets.
  • Electromagnetic forces tuned to one part in 1040.

Summary on Fine-Tuning
  • Combining these cases gives fine-tuning of better
    than one part in 10100.
  • Do we really have any evidence for 10100
    universes to make this likely merely by chance?
  • How big is 10100?
  • There are estimated to be some 1080 elementary
    particles in our universe.
  • So we need to 1020 universes to get 10100
  • Imagine the chances of randomly picking one
    marked particle from all these universes!

A finely-tuned instrument built by humans. Good
to one part in a billion?
Fred Hoyle on Fine-Tuning
a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics,
as well as with chemistry and biology.
The Right Kind of Galaxy
The Right Galaxy
  • Our galaxy is a spiral, which produces stars over
    much of its history.
  • Not an elliptical, where star formation ends
    before there are many heavy elements.
  • Not an irregular, where radiation events would
    have destroyed life.

The Right Sun Location
  • Right distance from center of galaxy
  • Closer too much radiation, disruptive gravity
  • Further too few heavy elements
  • Right relation to supernovae
  • More or closer exterminate life
  • Less or further too few heavy elements
  • Right number of stars in system
  • Zero pretty cold!
  • Two or more unstable orbits if planets at all.

The Right Kind of Star The Goldilocks Star
The Right Sun Character
  • Mass in right range
  • Heavier luminosity changes too quickly
  • Lighter life zone too narrow, tidal forces too
  • Temperature (color) in right range
  • Redder insufficient photosynthesis
  • Bluer insufficient photosynthesis
  • The Suns main radiation is right in the region
    where our atmosphere is transparent.

The Right Kind of Planet
Right distance Rocky planet with plenty of
oxygen and water Thin, light planetary
crust (allowing for plate tectonics) Huge moon
for stable planetary rotation Tilted axis to
spread energy around
The Right Planet Temperature
  • Varies substantially on Earth, but
  • Only a few spots above boiling
  • Some below freezing
  • Contrast Venus, about 900 oF (500 oC).
  • Contrast Mars, barely above freezing in midsummer
    at the equator.
  • Earth is warm enough for water to be liquid, cool
    enough not to destroy biomolecules.

The Right Moon Size Distance
  • Our Moon is unique in the Solar System, one of
    the largest, and by far the largest compared with
    its planet.
  • If it were smaller (or further away), Earths
    climate would be unstable, and tides too small
    for mixing.
  • If it were larger (or closer), tidal effects on
    Earths rotation, ocean atmosphere too large.

The Right Moon Earths Crust
  • If Earths crust thicker, it would eat up the
    atmospheric oxygen.
  • If Earths crust thinner, too much volcanism and
    plate movement.
  • The Moon apparently formed from the Earths
    crust, when we were struck by a Mars-sized
    planet, a very flukey event!

  • Ideal solvent to support life (dissolves ions and
  • Right boiling and melting points
  • High specific heat
  • Solid floats on liquid
  • Contracts from 0 to 4 degrees centigrade

Designed Elements?
Carbon The Central Element of Life
3-D molecules
Large, complex yet flexible molecules
Iron an essential element
The Ozone Layer Is oxygen a designed element?
No uranium, no plate tectonics
Scientific Materialism
  • Only that which can be observed and measured
    through the technique of Scientific Method is
    real, and everything else is unreal. 

  • Scientism is the acceptance of scientific theory
    and scientific methods as applicable in all
    fields of inquiry about the world, including
    morality, ethics, art, and religion

Scientific Materialism
  • Scientific Materialism accepts only one reality
    the physical universe, composed as it is of
    matter and energy.  Everything that is not
    physical, measurable, or deducible from
    scientific observations, is considered unreal.
    Life is explained in purely mechanical terms, and
    phenomena such as Mind and Consciousness are
    considered nothing but epiphenomena - curious
    by-products, of certain complex physical
    processes (such as brain metabolism)

  • We exist as material beings in a material world,
    all of whose phenomena are the consequences of
    material relations among material entities." In a
    word, the public needs to accept materialism,
    which means that they must put God in the trash
    can of history where such myths belong.
  • Richard Lewontin
  • Retrospective essay on Carl Sagan in the
    January 9, 1997 New York Review of Books,

  • If Materialism/Naturalism is right then
  • I do not exist. Consciousness is just random
    moving around of chemicals.
  • No soul, no spirit, no non-physical reality.
  • Belief in God is just a meme the unfortunate
    accidental result of brain evolution.
  • Life has no value. Human beings have no value.
    What is value?
  • Love is chemicals moving around (vs. God is love)

Scientific Materialism
  • There is no God,
  • No angels
  • No Devil
  • No good
  • No evil
  • No survival of physical death,
  • No non-physical realities, and
  • No ultimate meaning or purpose to life
  • No Heaven
  • No afterlife

A Response to Naturalism/Materialism/Scientism
  • It is a faith/religious belief based on circular
  • It is patently and demonstrably false.
  • It is dangerous. It is very bad philosophy.

Circular Reasoning
  • Unprovable assumptions of science
  • There exist universal and inviolable natural
  • The universe is observable and understandable.
  • The universe is governed by mathematically
  • laws.
  • None of these assumptions can be proved by
    experiment. In
  • a sense, science is not scientific.

A recent BBC broadcast forum
  • Questioner How do you know that physical
    reality is all there is that there is no God?
  • Response of a vehement materialist (after much
    prodding) I simply believe it to be true.
  • Questioner Well, now we at least have it out on
    the table!
  • In other words, the strongest argument I have
    that physical reality is all there is is that I
    believe physical reality is all there is.

Materialism is Patently False Because.
  • The universe was created.
  • Life was created.
  • The Anthropic Principle. The universe is
    ridiculously well fine-tuned for us to exist.
  • Even the materialist believes in good and evil
    (for example, religion is evil)
  • The Bible is inspired by God.

If the Materialist is right, then
  • Religious thought is absolute nonsense. Prayer
    is chemical moving around in your brain.
  • Art, Literature, Music have no intrinsic value.
  • Justice is a meaningless word.
  • Human rights have no basis.
  • Etc.

Naturalism is a Dangerous (Evil?) Philosophy
  • If the naturalist is right then
  • Good and evil are meaningless ideas.
  • Stealing is not wrong.
  • Any kind of sexual behavior as right or wrong as
    any other.
  • There is nothing evil about genocide.
  • Racism is not only acceptable, it is supported.

If the Materialist is Right Then
  • Violence and greed are acceptable behavior.
  • Justice is a meaningless construct.
  • The words ought and should are meaningless.
  • There is no such thing as sin or wrong behavior.
  • Consider the only societies in human history
    controlled by atheists. USSR, Communist China,
    Khmer Rouge.
  • Is this where human beings want to head?