email - January 2007

Marshall’s Big Question

We get lots of strange email, but perhaps none stranger than this one from Marshall.

Subject: My Big Question
From: Marshall

I have nowhere near read every position and argument on your site. But the question that make[s] me a non-evolution believer is: Where is it? If, as claimed, evolution began with a random "happening," why aren't random "happenings" happening everywhere all the time? Why aren't there countless transitional species? Why are there only plants and animals – why not planables? Why doesn't earth look like the Star Wars bar scene? I'm not asking for an answer because I believe I have one. By the way, I also don't believe in creationism where by a human-like god up above made all this happen one Monday through Saturday. What has happened is – science, what else? That, like evolution, will never be explained because we're not supposed to know. I can live with that, in fact, I do.

His “big question” actually contained six question marks, so it wasn’t really one question. He asked the six questions, but he doesn’t want any answers. So, we didn’t give him any. But we did ponder his questions, anyway.

His question, “Why aren't there countless transitional species?” is one that was asked by Darwin himself, and has been asked countless times since then. Darwin recognized that there should be countless transitional species in the fossil record, and that the fossil record was a very strong argument against his theory. He rationalized it away by saying that there were gaps in the fossil record, and that many transitional forms would be found by future paleontologists. The fossil record is much more complete than it was in Darwin’s day, and the countless missing links are still missing.

Furthermore, if evolution were true, there would be countless living transitional species. There would be creatures that were 100% fish, and other creatures that were 99% fish and 1% amphibian, and other creatures that were 98% fish and 2% amphibian, etc. It would be impossible to classify species into the relatively few genera, families, orders, and kingdoms that exist today. Geologists have to create arbitrary, artificial size measurements to classify rocks as silt, sand, pebbles, cobbles, or boulders because the sizes of rocks vary continuously. If evolution were true, biologists would have to do the same thing. There would be so many transitional forms that it would not be possible to have clear-cut biological categories.

Marshall asks, “Why are there only plants and animals – why not planables?” (He probably meant, “planimals.”) The answer is because man arbitrarily created a binary distinction. If a living thing makes all its own food, it is a plant. If a living thing doesn’t, then it is an animal. It has to be one or the other.

There are some sea creatures that look like plants which are technically animals. One might call them planimals, if not for the arbitrary, binary nature of man’s classification scheme.

“Why doesn't earth look like the Star Wars bar scene?” It does! There is an incredible diversity of body plans. Life comes in all different forms, from an onion to an octopus. Some forms are more fantastic than any creature in Star Wars. For the theory of evolution to be true, all these different forms of life had to be the result of freak accidents. The diversity of life and the interdependence of different species are far too complex to have happened by chance.

The most fascinating part of his email is the ending. Here it is again.

I'm not asking for an answer because I believe I have one. By the way, I also don't believe in creationism where by a human-like god up above made all this happen one Monday through Saturday. What has happened is – science, what else? That, like evolution, will never be explained because we're not supposed to know. I can live with that, in fact, I do.

In effect he is saying, “Don’t confuse me with the facts—my mind is made up.” There are good answers to his questions, but the answer he is sticking with is, “we're not supposed to know.” Who is it who decided we aren’t supposed to know? Is it Marshall, or the “human-like god up above”?

His last sentence shows that he really wants to be ignorant. He doesn’t know, and doesn’t want to find out. He trusts in ignorance.

We included his email in this month’s newsletter because it demonstrates trust issues, which was the subject of our feature article this month. He doesn’t trust scientists who tell him things evolved, and he doesn’t trust religious leaders who tell him things were created. He is ignorant of the answers to his scientific questions, and he seems to be equally ignorant of Christianity. (Since he said, “Monday through Saturday” instead of “Sunday through Friday” he clearly isn’t a Biblical scholar.) But he would rather be ignorant about both science and religion than to find answers to important questions.

He trusts in his uninformed self. He is comfortable with not knowing, and knowing that he doesn’t know. Marshall represents the thought process of some portion of the American population. Most just aren’t as honest about their feelings as Marshall is.

Marshall has questions about life, and knows he doesn’t have answers. But despite his claim that he is comfortable not knowing the answers, he felt compelled to send an email to us. Even though we didn’t answer his questions, he sent us a second email in which he explained that he is an “unconventional Christian” who has his own version of the truth.

Marshall doesn’t believe in evolution, and doesn’t believe in creation, but expects us to share his belief that God doesn’t want us to know how life came to exist on Earth simply on the basis of his superior insight alone.

Science deals with facts, not belief. Something is not a fact simply because someone who has been trained as a scientist believes it. Something is a fact because anyone who had adequate laboratory equipment can do an experiment that proves the fact is true. The theory of evolution is not a fact. Nobody has ever done an experiment showing that, given enough time, a fish will become a frog, and a frog will become a prince. Breeding experiments, medical experiments, and origin of life experiments, all demonstrate that the molecules-to-man idea is a fairy tale, not a scientific truth.

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