Tipsy Theories

I was traveling recently through Eastern Europe, when I spotted a highway billboard for Finlandia vodka. The billboard showed a row of primates, from a chimpanzee to a gorilla to—you guessed it—a human being. But wait. After the human emerged, something even more advanced came along: a bottle of Finlandia vodka. The message? Finlandia stands at the pinnacle of evolution—the spirit of the age. In the U.S. the same ad campaign might have flopped. A Gallup poll taken a few years ago shows that most Americans reject evolution. Forty-seven percent believe God created fully developed human beings about 10,000 years ago. Another forty percent think the time span was millions of years, but they still believe God directed the process. Only nine percent believe in evolution by strictly natural law. Yet, ironically, naturalistic evolution is what public schools and universities are teaching our young people. And the vast majority of Americans don’t know how to counter it. We know what we believe, but we can’t explain why we believe it. Yet there’s an argument against evolution that is simple to grasp, that has been known for centuries, that you can use when you talk with friends and teachers. You see, evolution assumes that change in the living world is unlimited. Obviously, anyone who wants to derive elephants and octopuses and butterflies all from an initial one-celled organism has to assume that biological change is virtually unlimited. The trouble is, all the changes we have actually observed are limited. Farmers can breed for sweeter corn, bigger roses, or faster horses, but they still end up with corn, roses, and horses. No one has ever produced a new kind of organism. What evolutionists do is take these small-scale changes and extrapolate them: They speculate what might happen if minor changes were added up and extended millions of years into the misty past. Now, there’s nothing wrong with extrapolation per se, but this particular attempt is unsound. The variation induced by breeding does not continue at a steady rate through each generation. Instead, it is rapid at first and then levels off. Eventually it reaches a ceiling that breeders cannot cross. If they try to cross it, the organism grows weaker and more prone to disease—until it finally becomes sterile and dies out. So you can breed for bigger roses, but you’ll never get one as big as a sunflower. You can breed for faster horses, but you’ll never get one as fast as a cheetah. Darwin believed nature could select among organisms the way a breeder does, which is why he called his theory natural selection. But whether it’s done by breeders or nature, selection produces only limited change—not the unlimited change needed for evolution. So don’t be intimidated when everyone around seems to be promoting evolution—from public schools to vodka companies. If scientists stick to actual observations, all they have ever seen is the modification of existing categories of living things, not the rise of new categories. As Genesis puts it, God created living things to reproduce “after their own kind.” In modern language, they were created to remain true to type—just as the breeders show.


Chuck Colson


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