Chapter excerpt: Defending Genesis: Chapter 20 – Evolution as Science Fiction

The following is excerpted from my new non-fiction book, Defending Genesis: How We Got Here & Why It Matters:



I write a bit of science fiction in my spare time. I’ve always enjoyed sci-fi. I call it the thinking man’s genre. It’s a great way to explore the human condition as we speculate about where mankind might be going and how technology and new discoveries might influence how we live. Plus there’s time travel, ray guns, robots and all that fun stuff!

I’m actually one of a growing number of Christian authors who write what we call apologetics fiction, books that give a defense for the great truths of Christianity through an entertaining story. The word “apologetics” comes from the Greek word apologia, which means a “reasoned defense of the faith.” This word is found most notably in 1 Peter 3:15:

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer [apologia] to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.

Since sci-fi deals with things like future worlds and future technologies, I liken it to anticipatory apologetics. I get to ask some pretty awesome “WHAT IF?” questions, such as:

·       WHAT IF aliens landed in your backyard? Would they need to be saved? How would you explain them in light of the Bible?

·       WHAT IF robots developed souls? Or were programmed so well that they at least thoughtthey had souls? How might that impact Christianity?

·       WHAT IF we could travel through time? Could we see God creating the world or would our sin natures prevent us from entering His this “very good” period of time?

·       WHAT IF the Rapture came and we weren’t on Earth because we’d colonized Mars? Would we still make the trip?

The list of possibilities goes on and on.

My first novel, Johnny Came Home1, is a superhero sci-fi novel set in the fictional town of Midwich, West Virginia. Noting that microbes-to-man evolution is the preferred explanation for comic book super powers these days, I basically set out to see if superheroes could be explained from a Biblical creationist POV. Editing this Biblically faithful superhero novel took much longer than I originally thought! I had no idea how many typos and grammar errors can creep into a document when you’re not looking!

As much as I hate to admit it, as I began editing Johnny, I noticed a few plot holes. Plot holes are one of my personal pet peeves. I cannot count the times that I’ve been thoroughly engrossed in a book or movie, quite enjoying myself only to encounter a contradiction so glaringly evident that it takes me out of the fantasy and basically ruins the whole experience. While the worlds we create as authors are imaginary, they have boundaries and rules which cannot be violated if we’re to be faithful to our readers. Even historical fiction, where we flesh out the details and dialogue of real events, is really an imaginary world, for we don’t really know if the details and dialogue we’ve just added really occurred. In fact, we can only say that our story is one possible way these events might have played out. You can color the pages but you must stick with a reasonable palette and stay well within the lines. A reasonable palette for a fantasy world can include pink hair; not so for historical fiction set in Colonial America. If you create a scenario which defies the rules of your imaginary world, or a ridiculously fortuitous Deus ex machina[whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object], or [gasp!] a credibility-sucking plot hole, you’ve violated your readers investment in that world.

At some point, I started thinking about world-building in fiction and I realized that it had some bearing on the Origins Argument. We have two competing Origins Claims, two competing worldviews. They are completely contradictory: one demands on pure naturalism while the other allows supernatural agency. How do we judge between them?

We should choose the worldview that is most consistent with the world we observe and with itself. A worldview that either contradicts the facts or contradicts itself is worthless.

Science today is played by the rule of pure naturalism, so in piecing together the history of the cosmos and life here on earth, they can only consider all-natural answers to the evidence of nature. They cannot consider deities, fairies or any other supernatural thing. According to the rules, science deals with things that are observable and repeatable and then extrapolates these observations backwards to events that happened in the historical past. As they say, the present is the key to the past, which is the principle of uniformitarianism. So far, so good, as far as science fiction worlds go. And yes we’re dealing with science fiction here, for barring the invention of a time machine or some other credible witness by which we could verify the events of the past, we can only say that this is one possible way things might have played out. In the case of modern science, we can only say that their story is how things probably played out in answer to the question, “WHAT IF the world came to be by all-natural processes consistent with those we observe today?”

It goes without saying that if the premise is wrong [i.e., if pure naturalism is a false assumption and God actually exists so that He had something to do with the origin and history of the cosmos], the story becomes totally improbable. In fact, it becomes science fantasy!

The problem for the evolutionary fiction we teach our kids is that it contains a few crimes against fiction, things that frankly destroyed its credibility when I stumbled upon them. Keep in mind that we’re answering the question, “WHAT IF the world came to be by all-natural processes consistent with those we observe today?”

Right from the beginning of the story, we have a plot hole whereby either everything came from nothing [not something we observe happening today]. They immediately employ the Deus ex machina of a Big Bang to account for this plot hole, but the Big Bang actually results in a plot hole all its own; namely, what went “bang”? As it so happens, the bang is hyperbole; the Big Bang was the expansion of a pre-existent singularity. When we get down to brass tacks, that singularity cannot account for the existence of the universe because that singularity is to the universe as a zygote is to an adult human. In other words, the singularity is simply the universe at an earlier stage. As the singularity expanded (for reasons unknown), it became more complex until it became recognizable as the universe we observe today. Of course, the careful observer will not fail to note that neither the Big Bang nor the singularity which existed before its inflation are consistent with the premise of “WHAT IF the world came to be by all-natural processes consistent with those we observe today?” We do not observe singularities expanding into universes today. Our available sample size of universes is exactly one. Furthermore, scientists agree that the laws of physics break down in a singularity.

To cover this plot hole, they employ the Deus ex machina of the multiverse, but being outside our universe and therefore unobservable and indistinguishable from supernatural, the multiverse ends up being yet another plot hole in the sci-fi premise, “WHAT IF the world came to be by all-natural processes consistent with those we observe today?” As no further Deus ex machina are available to fill this plot hole, the question has really been adjusted to “What If the world came to be by some miraculous event or by some unobservable multiverse straight out of a science fiction novel, but then developed by all-natural processes consistent with those we observe today?”

Again, we have a problem – several in fact! The evolutionary science fiction tale requires other things we never observe, special one-time events that are quite simply miracles: they propose specified, complex information without an intelligent source [though our experience teaches us that such information is always the product of intelligence], life from non-life, [when no one has ever observed any such thing] and the gradual development of one kind of organism into another [viz. fish to amphibians, dinosaurs to birds, ape-like ancestors to humans]. None of these things have ever been observed. There is no present process that can account for them. They require Deus ex machina to move the plot along.

Some might object here that evolution occurs by the gradual adaptation of an organism via mutation and natural selection and that no Deus ex machinais required since the fossil record confirms this. Except it doesn’t. The fossil record shows stasis and sudden appearance. The fossil record shows phyla that are full formed. Dogs are still dogs and recognizably so, whether a wolf, Australian shepherd or English bulldog. Observable nature confirms the Biblical claim of variation within created kinds, as does the fossil record.

In fact, when the late evolutionist Dr. Stephen Jay Gould came up with punctuated equilibrium he underscored another plot hole in the all-natural Just So Story: the gaps in the fossil record. Punctuated equilibrium, or punk eek, is the idea that organisms speciate, adapt and mutate as we observe today [facts which Creationists likewise affirm], but then undergo rapid [geologically speaking] evolution periodically which causes one type of creature to change into a completely kind of organism; conveniently, these changes occur in the gaps in the fossil record, so that he’s extrapolating from the lack of evidence for Darwin’s predicted transitional forms rather than evidence supporting his theory! In fact, we might call punk eek the “Darwin of the gaps.”

Neither is this the only plot hole in the all-natural just-so story of the cosmos. Co-evolution is proposed to explain the contradiction that bees [and other pollinators] need pollen to survive and flowers need vectors [pollinators] to survive. Homology is touted as evidence for common descent, except when they know that the organisms did not share a common ancestor, in which case homology is evidence of convergent evolution. When an organism ceases to leave fossils in the geological record, this is said to be evidence of its extinction, yet “living fossils” like the Coelecanth and the Wolemi pine are admitted to leave absolutely no fossil traces over alleged millions of years despite their living existence in the present. Polystrate fossils, extending over several strata which would normally be interpreted as several long ages, are admitted as evidence of geologically quick, catastrophic processes, yet such layers elsewhere sans polystrates are unquestionably regarded as evidence of long ages. And so on and so forth.

Genetics was to be their salvation, but they started with a lame duck. As previously noted, Mendel believed that his studies in heredity demonstrated that there could be variation but that this variation had limits. Neo-Darwinists ignored the limitations implied by Mendel’s experiments and arrogantly presumed that over vasty amounts of time they could be overcome or transcended by beneficial mutations. Even a cursory examination of genetics presents a problem for evolution. Namely, whence came the information? Our DNA contains more specified information than all the world’s libraries. Like the notes on a symphony score or the letters which form this sentence, we recognize such specified complexity as language. Furthermore, information of such specified complexity is observably always the work of an intelligent agent. It is ironic that SETI scans the heavens for a simple code signal so that we might confirm the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence, yet we deny any intelligent causation for DNA which well exceeds the criteria SETI has set for an intelligent source.

The problem for evolutionists is two-fold:

[1] Again, whence came the information? DNA reads its own coding, carries out its own instructions and goes on to create more coding that read itself and so on. But where did it originally come from?

[2] And where are the increases in orders of information required in order for molecules-to-man evolution to work? They’ll spin you a desperate yarn if you’ll give them your ear. Hopeful mutations, though few mutations are beneficial and none result in the sort of increases of information required for what they propose. For example, a beetle may lose its wings to adapt to a windswept island. This is beneficial to the beetle since now it won’t get blown out to sea, but it has now also lost the ability to fly and is less adaptable overall.

Evolutionists rejoinder with DNA comparisons of man and chimpanzees. We’re allegedly 96% similar in our encoding and this somehow proves common ancestry, right? We share 50% of our DNA with bananas; no one’s saying we descended from those! Creationists note that we’re not at all surprised that creatures that look similar would necessarily have a more similar blueprint [said DNA blueprint being necessary to replicate said creations] but that doesn’t prove flu-to-you evolution so much as it speaks of design efficiency. Both a unicycle and the landing gear have props and wheels, but no one proposes that a unicycle has evolved into a jumbo jet – or even just its landing gear! Their respective designers used what they knew would best work for the situation. Wheels are good for getting around on the ground. A prop supports weight above a wheel. The designer of the jumbo jet didn’t re-invent the wheel, he simply used what best suited his needs. This is design efficiency.

This brings up another important point. The evolutionists wish to reduce homologous elements to trivialities. They wish to pretend as if a wing and an arm aren’t really so different after all. In fact, in pointing out homologous elements, they dearly hope that we won’t notice that, as a property of design, form follows function, so that the homologous bones in a whale’s flipper is actually quite different from the same bones in a bat’s wing; and that this arrangement is essential to their function.

G.K. Chesterton commented upon this habit of homologous reductionism in the final chapter of Orthodoxy:

“That man and brute are like is, in a sense, a truism; but that being so like they should then be so insanely unlike, that is the shock and the enigma. That an ape has hands is far less interesting to the philosopher than the fact that having hands he does next to nothing with them; does not play knuckle-bones or the violin; does not carve marble or carve mutton. People talk of barbaric architecture and debased art. But elephants do not build colossal temples of ivory even in a roccoco style; camels do not paint even bad pictures, though equipped with the material of many camel’s-hair brushes. Certain modern dreamers say that ants and bees have a society superior to ours. They have, indeed, a civilization; but that very truth only reminds us that it is an inferior civilization. Who ever found an ant-hill decorated with the statues of celebrated ants? Who has seen a bee-hive carved with the images of gorgeous queens of old?

The creationist can easily explain this great chasm between man and the brutes. We note that, while the brutes were spoken into existence at the Word of God, man was created by God’s own hand in His image. There is a distinct difference between man and the beasts. Only an evolutionists attempts the hand-waving necessary to reduce this wide chasm of difference to a handful of trivialities. For example, humans and apes differ in the number of chromosomes they possess: humans have 46 while apes have 48. Evolutionists claim that the reason for this disparity is because human chromosome 2 was fused together end-to-end from two ape-like chromosomes in a pre-human ancestor. He speaks of these fused chromosomes, hoping we won’t notice that no the purpose of telomeres at the ends of chromosomes is to prevent such fusions – in fact, this end-to-end formation of human chromosome 2 would be the first ever documented case of such. (Another plot hole!) He also hopes we will turn a blind eye to the fact that he’s presuming said fusion based on a passing similarity because he believes molecules-to-man evolution is true to begin with!

Tongue-in-cheek, one could well note that the evolutionist argument from DNA similarity is also an example of design efficiency. That is, they’ve found that their argument from homology is convincing so long as no one examines it too closely. DNA similarity is simply the argument from homology revisited.

In the end, the all-natural science fiction story of the universe just needs too much duct tape to keep it patched together. Rather than a simple question of “What if the universe came about by all-natural processes consistent with those we observe today?” it becomes a convoluted premise of “What if the universe came to be by some miraculous event or by some unobservable multiverse straight out of a science fiction novel, but then developed by all-natural processes consistent with those we observe today, until life miraculously sprang from non-life and a frog became a prince after all after several million years by processes we don’t observe today or even in the fossil record?” And even that monstrous question doesn’t do the dilemma justice!

Meanwhile, creationists ask, “What if the Bible is true and the universe came about at the will of a Creator about 6000 years ago, a once-perfect creation which has in the meantime suffered the effects of the Fall and a world-covering Flood in the days of Noah, but continues now by largely uniform processes at the promise of that Creator given in Genesis 8:22?”

Which do you find most consistent with itself and the world we observe?

Notes:

1.      You can find out more about my fictional works at http://TonyBreedenBooks.com or http://LonelyOgreBooks.com.

2.      G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy. John Lane Company (1908), reprinted by Ignatius Press (1995), pp. 150-51.


Defending Genesis: How We Got Here & Why It Matters deals with the theological and philosophical issues of the Origins Argument, demonstrating why science chained to pure naturalism fails as a worldview, especially when contrasted with a worldview in which one’s views, including historical and scientific views, are informed by the Bible’s truth.

Johnny Came Home deals with the flaws of evolution, the superior interpretation of Biblical Creation and the evils of racism, wrapped in an action-packed superhero epic full of surprises, humor, mech suits, flying saucers, hover crafts, zombies, clones and epic battles – all from a Biblical worldview!

If you’re interested in finding out more, visit http://TonyBreedenBooks.com or visit our Facebook Page at http://facebook.com/tonybreedenbooks. If you share this on Twitter @creationletter don’t forget to include the hashtag #tonybreedenbooks! Both books are available on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/tonybreeden.


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