Once Upon A Time… Plus Chance!

(This originally appeared in the September/October 1998 edition of the MCOI Journal)

Remember the story about the frog who was turned into a handsome prince by the kiss of a (seemingly fairly desperate) princess? Alas, my good friends, it was only a fairy tale. Frogs, no matter how ardently kissed, do not become princes in real life. Add wishful thinking to the mix if you like, but it’s still not gonna happen. Put a crown on its little green head, put a tiny scepter in its little green hand, bestow upon it all the power of the realm, but it will never be anything more than a plain old frog in handsome attire. Trust me, said frog will not make a suitable mate for even the dullest princess. But what if that kiss, rather than being a hasty transaction, lasted for billions of years? Will a real prince be sitting there when the dust of multiplied centuries has lifted?

Of course, silly! Only a fundamentalist would doubt it! Why? Because it is no longer a fairy tale; now its science! What most of us recognize as adults that even “magic” cannot do, time plus chance can effectively accomplish. That frog just sat there and evolved! Some may scoff at this comparison, but I don’t see why. A young woman kisses a frog and through some unexplained mechanism, it is transformed into a handsome prince. It was not the frog’s fault that it happened, nor did the princess have any special powers to bring about the desired change.

Being products of their medieval era, the frog prince and his lady friend probably gave “magic” the credit for the happy outcome, but to the educated 20th century mind, such explanations are, well, medieval. So we have a much more sophisticated explanation today for amphibian-to-mammalian transformations. You see, it all happened by accident. Once upon a time plus chance . . . .

Stephen Jay Gould, professor of geology and paleontology at Harvard University, said in a televised interview on PBS,

“Through no fault of our own, and by dint of no cosmic plan or conscious purpose, we have become by a glorious evolutionary accident called intelligence, the stewards of life’s continuity on earth. An accident is the 60 trillion contingent events that eventually led to the emergence of Homo Sapiens. . . . There was never anything in the history of life that has had such an impact upon the earth, as the evolution of human mind. But that doesn’t mean that it was meant to be. It could still be accidental as I think that it was.” 1

Stewards of Life’s Continuity?

Are we really, as Gould maintains, the “stewards of life’s continuity on earth”? Is it necessary that we “stewards” care for and protect life? Why is life’s continuity important? Stewardship means being caretakers and implies meaning in life. But what meaning can there ultimately be in stewarding a world that is racing towards extinction? If evolution is true, that’s the ride we’re on.

The universe, according to one view, will continue expanding into oblivion, our sun will die out and all of life will become extinct in the icy cold, unforgiving environment known as space. According to the opposite view, the universe will “spring back” and retract to the point that all will explode into one gigantic fireball. In either case, nothing we have ever done will really matter, for it will all simply cease to be. Life, according to evolution, is neither necessary nor important.

King Solomon said, “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14). Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes from the stand point of life without God. He writes from this vantage point, “For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of birds is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to dust” (Ecc. 3:19-20). Human beings long for significance. Without it, we just eat to live, and live to eat. Yet, if there is no God, there is no purpose or meaning to this life, and only an eternal void to follow. Fear of dying may actually be the only reason that many people have to go on living. So folks who hold this philosophy generally participate in what some philosophers call the “noble lie;” they live according to a lie which is necessary to give meaning to life. But if what they believe is true, there is no genuine significance to anything they might accomplish.

If, however, we want to play the game of stewardship, even if it has no ultimate meaning, who among us will decide what “good stewardship” is, as opposed to “bad stewardship”? For example, many believe that it is desirable that we protect species on earth from extinction. Why should we trouble ourselves with that? Species have been going extinct supposedly for billions of years: why start to worry now? What if the campaign to save the whales, snail darters, or whatever, keeps some more deserving species from coming to the fore? After all, we wouldn’t be here, according to Gould, if the dinosaurs had not become extinct. So who is to say that in general, life on earth would not be better served if certain species were helped into extinction? The problem with the no-God view is that someone has to take His place and make His decisions.

Woe to the earth if an evil god arises and proceeds to do just that! What if someone should decide that human evolution needs to be “stewarded”? What if certain races of men were deemed by powerful individuals to be less than desirable, and a hazard to the gene pool? We don’t have to wonder – it has already happened in our century, and it led to Nazi genocide. The Christian worldview judges Hitler to be an evil man. The evolutionary worldview cannot judge him at all. Hitler was faithful to his biological roots, which is all that evolution can ask of any man.

What About Morals?

If evolution is true, there is no good or bad. There are no moral codes which are absolute and transcendent. Morals cannot be derived from nature, because nature is amoral. Gould admits that morality cannot be taught by nature. He says that:

“Moral questions are questions about oughts. . . . Morality is just not a theme [in nature]; lots of things happen in nature that are horrible by our standards. . . .” 2 He says that we cannot find morality in nature, so we must find it in ourselves.

What’s the problem with this idea of finding morality within ourselves? We all have our own ideas of what is good and bad! Stealing is bad to the person who is robbed, but the thief disagrees. Lying is bad to the person who is deceived, but the liar is merely protecting his own interests. Rape is bad to the victim, but the rapist sees himself as meeting his needs. Abortion is “wrong” to a fetus, but a precious “right” to many women.

When asked how we as human beings are doing concerning the moral consciousness that sets us apart from the rest of nature, Gould opines that we are doing “fairly badly.” But what is “bad”? Since there is no such concept as “bad” behavior in nature, where does Gould derive the yardstick with which to measure badness? Gould, being Jewish, believes that eugenics, 3 which lent “scientific” credibility to the racial hatred of the Nazis, is a terrible evil. And he feels that it is very important to keep such men as Hitler and Mengele out of power. But without a never-changing absolute standard of human behavior, badness and goodness are individual choices. What is bad to Gould seemed “good” to Adolph Hitler and his henchmen. Adolph Hitler and friends were enthusiastic Darwinists who followed the theory to its logical conclusion.

It is true that Hitler humiliated and butchered millions of innocent men, women, and children, but it was all in an attempt to create a new and better breed of man. Besides, we all have to die. Does it really matter if one dies of cancer, heart disease, old age, or a bullet to the head? Yes, from a Christian worldview, alleviating suffering and tending the sick and dying has supreme value, while inflicting pain and intentional indignities upon others is abhorrent and evil. But evolution does not care one way or the other. Mindless processes do not oppose cruelty. Following Gould’s own stated formula for moral decision making, Hitler looked within himself for his morality, and he acted upon what he found.

Does Morality Serve Humanity’s Best Interests?

Gould rejects the moral law-giver, but gives three reasons to be moral. 1) Survival of the human race. “If we are not moral,” he says, “we end up killing each other.” 4

So what? Every species on the planet kills one another for survival advantage. Many times in nature the female has to protect her young from their own father! Ever hear the expression “survival of the fittest”? If we are merely a part of nature, why quibble about that? We are only here today because our ancestors were fit enough to kill their rivals and survive to produce us. If the system works, why fix it?

The genuine predators among us will survive and pass on their superior genetic traits (strength, speed, size, daring, cunning) to their young, who will then survive to carry on the species. In fact, if evolution is true, our laws, court systems, prisons, etc., are only enabling the weaker, more timid, less fit Homo Sapiens to protect themselves from the stronger, bolder ones who have no qualms about acting in their own interests. From an evolutionary standpoint, the best interests of the “fit” should serve the best interests of the human race in the long run.

It is the Christian worldview that teaches us to care for the weak, to seek to do justice, to love one another. The atheistic, evolutionary worldview offers us “kill or be killed,” but squeamish evolutionists like Gould refuse to accept the natural conclusion of his worldview. Most curious! Ideals, such as justice, mercy, and love are the Judeo-Christian “baby” that has yet to be thrown out with the “bath water.” Such ideals have undeniably harmed our gene pool. They just aren’t natural!

2) Stability of our society. Says Gould, “Take a simple moral principle like the golden rule. Basically it is a negative feedback principle that allows society to be stable enough so we can continue on.” 5

Do we have any reason to suspect that stability is necessary to our survival as a race? The natural world marches on quite happily in chaos and turmoil. The golden rule? Do unto others as you would have them do to you? How anti-Darwinian can you get? Are we not merely a part of the natural world? An evolutionist can only appeal to nature. That’s where he comes from and that’s where he’s going. Where do you find anything resembling the golden rule in nature? Now, Mr. Lion, would you want that caribou to eat your baby? Don’t you see how unfair and mean it is for you to eat hers? Tsk, tsk, Mr. Hyena, that carcass is Mr. Lion’s dinner. Would you like someone stealing your dinner?

Gould here appeals to a Christian worldview, which is based on a belief in God and moral absolutes. He can see that there is no real reason for morals in the evolutionary worldview, so he borrows from one he rejects. I do not doubt that Gould believes in the golden rule, and I have no doubt that he attempts to live by it. But he does so inexplicably. Gould suggests that we look to philosophers and theologians for moral guidance not found in nature. The problem is that secular philosophers have no better answers than Gould, and theologians, if there is no God, are empty vessels with no moral authority to command any respect for their views. Morality without authority boils down to every person doing what is right in his own eyes.

3) Moral questions cannot be avoided. Says Gould, “Once you have consciousness for whatever reason, you can start thinking about those things and there is really no way to avoid it. John Stewart Mill said it was better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied. The pig’s happier but we can’t avoid being what we are. . . . We might as well make the best of it and find it exhilarating.” 6

We can’t avoid having consciousness because we have it. We think certain actions are wrong because we think they are wrong. Gould’s answer here reminds me of conversations I have overheard between small children and their parents. WHY did you do that, Johnny? Because. Because WHY??? Just because. Human beings should be moral “just because.” There is no transcendent reason. I’m not implying that Gould lacks intelligence. On the contrary, I see Gould as a very bright individual. I use this illustration to demonstrate that highly intelligent men and women are reduced to infantile reasoning when they try to find natural explanations for spiritual issues. Not all will agree that it is “better” (another word implying that there is some absolute standard) to be a thinking person dissatisfied than a happy pig. I think there are many people going the way of the “happy pig” today, and who is to say that their way might not be the “better way.” What should we do – take a vote?

Isn’t Evolution a Fact?

We often hear about “the fact of evolution.” But is it a fact or simply an alternative faith? Let us look to the evolutionists for the answer to that question. L. Harrison Matthews writes,

“The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an unproved theory – is it then a science or a faith? Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to the belief in special creation – both are concepts which believers know to be true but neither, up the present, has been able to prove.” 7

Evolutionists and creationists use the same body of evidence to make their case. It is like a mystery story with no eyewitnesses. You arrive at the scene and find a body. The body is bleeding from a wound in its head. There is no weapon found on the scene. You look around for signs of a struggle. Was this an accidental death, or has a crime been committed? All of the evidence must be carefully brought together and analyzed in an attempt to reconstruct the event and find answers. In the evolution/creation debate, we have the same scenario—lots of evidence but no eyewitnesses to what happened or why.

Does the Evidence Point to Evolution?

FrogDarwinian evolution is based on a theory that gradual changes occur over vast amounts of time, so that one species, bit by bit, changes into another species. For example, if Froggie really did evolve into Prince Charming,* we would expect to find transitional fossils – lots of them – showing us the clear lineage between the two. We need those missing links. Is there evidence of one species evolving into another species in the fossil record? Charles Darwin noted the lack of evidence for his theory, but believed that such evidence would be found in time. He wrote,

“Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.” 8

Darwin said that if no evidence was found once the geological record was thoroughly examined, his theory should be rejected. Well, 147 years have passed since then. The evidence has never been found. Dr. David M. Raup, the curator of geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History stated,

“Darwin’s theory of natural selection has always been closely linked to evidence from fossils, and probably most people assume that fossils provide a very important part of the general argument that is made in favor of Darwinian interpretations of the history of life. Unfortunately, this is not strictly true.” 9

Gould agrees with Dr. Raup on this point.

“The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of the branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.” He calls the missing transitional forms “the trade secret of paleontology.” 10

Perhaps this “secrecy” is the explanation for the ignorant allegiance of the public to an utterly unproven theory.

Concerning Darwin’s theory of gradualism, Gould states,

“The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.” 11

What have Gould and others come up with to explain away the missing links? They postulate something called punctuated equilibrium. This is the view that one species went along for a while, suddenly gave birth to some new species and immediately died off. Instead of the gentle incline of small changes that Darwinists posits, Gould envisions more of a staircase. One species became another species, virtually overnight. A lizard laid an egg and out hatched a bird. Froggie got pregnant, gave birth to prince. Such a scenario, is of course, completely unverifiable. It cannot be proved true or falsified; it can only be accepted on blind faith. In other words, we have a frog fossil and a living prince. We have no frog/prince fossil to offer as evidence, but we believe that prince evolved from froggie, and so should you. You just gotta have faith.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Dr. Richard Dawkins thinks gradualism is absolutely necessary to the theory of evolution, and refutes the idea that changes in species can happen as Gould envisions.

“{Darwin’s} theory was largely aimed at replacing creationism as an explanation of how living complexity could arise out of simplicity. Complexity cannot spring up in a single stroke of chance: that would be like hitting upon the combination number that opens a bank vault. . . . Gradualism is of the essence. In the context of the fight against creationism, gradualism is more or less synonymous with evolution itself. If you throw out gradualness you throw out the very thing that makes evolution more plausible than creation.” 12

The Appearance of Design

Dr. Dawkins says,

“Biology is the study of complicated things that give us the appearance of having been designed for a purpose. Natural selection is the Blind Watchmaker; blind because it does not see ahead, does not plan consequences, has no purpose in view, yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker.” 13

How can Dawkins and other evolutionists be overwhelmingly impressed with the appearance of design, and yet reject the proposition that it appears designed because it was designed? The notion of a designer is repugnant to them philosophically. Evolution from the first has been man’s attempt to escape from his creator. To find the creator in the evidence cannot be countenanced. There cannot be a creator . . . there must not be a creator; therefore, no matter what we find, it will not point to a creator. It’s simple logic. One candid scientist wrote,

“One is forced to conclude that many scientists and technologists pay lip-service to Darwinian Theory only because is supposedly excludes a Creator from yet another area of material phenomena, and not because it has been paradigmatic in establishing the canons of research in the life sciences and the earth sciences.” 14

The fact is, when the evidence is considered, creationism is much more plausible than evolution. The fossil record, as Gould points out, shows that everything appeared suddenly and fully formed, giving the overwhelming impression of having been designed for a purpose. If we revisit our crime scene, we find that the evolutionists are ignoring the evidence. They postulate that the victim died from a fall down the staircase, even though we find no staircase in the room. (They have been searching high and low for that staircase for 147 years, but it obstinately refuses to present itself.) It was an accident, they dogmatically insist, as they ignore the bullet found lodged in the victim’s forehead that appears to have been placed there intentionally and for a purpose.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Rom. 1:20-23, NIV).

There is clear evidence from creation of God’s existence. We know that from nothing, nothing comes. Anything that came to be, had a cause. On the evolutionary view, there is no first cause. In the beginning was nothing which exploded into everything. Is this really rational science or is it faith?

After the Heaven’s Gate cult suicide, we received calls from many newspaper and television news reporters. They all asked the question, “Why did those rational and very intelligent people believe the irrational things that Applewhite taught them?” The answer we gave them was a simple one – they believed what Applewhite said because they believed in Applewhite. He was their authority. To help these secular reporters understand the faith in authority principle, we asked them if they believed in the theory of evolution. Invariably, these secular journalists answered in the affirmative. We then asked them WHY they believed it. For this, they had no answer, other than to say that scientists believed it. Virtually none of them had checked out the evidence for himself or herself. They merely believed what had been brought down from on high. There is no more empirical evidence to believe that macro evolution 15 actually happened than to support that there is, in fact, a spaceship behind the Hale-Bopp comet! These reporters generally consider themselves to be hard-boiled skeptics, yet they, too, have uncritically accepted whatever “truth” their authorities of choice have preached to them. Ultimately, anything we believe, we believe by faith. But real faith should be based on reason and an examination of the evidence.

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. . . . And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him“ (Heb. 11:3, 6, NIV).

That’s why this issue is so important. It is possible to be deceived about many things in this life, without terrible cost. This is not one of those things. If you are deceived into believing God does not exist, you will never know God. That is indeed a loss too great to bear – a loss resulting in desolation for all eternity. If you are unsure whether God exists or not, seek Him out. Look at the evidence of His existence in the overwhelmingly impressive design of His creation. Then look for the evidence of His love for you in the gift of His Son who died for you and rose again. If you earnestly seek Him, He will find you! It is your choice. Believe the fairy tale of evolution or embrace the One who created you.

Don and Joy Signature



*The frog-Prince connection is fictitious. We are unaware of any theory touting that mankind evolved from frogs, but you have to admit, there is just as much evidence for that as there is for any other interspecies evolution!

  1. Stephen Jay Gould, A Glorious Accident, Producer Wim Kayzer.
  2. Ibid.
  3. “The term ‘eugenics’ was coined in 1881 by the British naturalist and mathematician Francis Galton and described by the leading American eugenicist, Charles B. Davenport, as ‘the science of the improvement of the human race by better breeding.’ Eugenics developed within the larger movement of Social Darwinism, which applied Darwin’s ‘struggle for survival’ to human affairs. Recruited from the biological and social sciences, or what today might be called the life sciences, eugenicists firmly believed that just as the Mendelian laws governed the hereditary transmission of human traits like color blindness or particular blood group, these laws also determined the inheritance of social traits.” Henry Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995),
  4. Stephen Jay Gould, A Glorious Accident, Producer Wim Kayzer.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. L. Harrison Matthews, FRS, Introduction to Darwin’s The Origin of Species, (J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1971), xi.
  8. Charles Darwin, “On the imperfection of the geologic record”, Chapter X, The Origin of Species (J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London), 292-93.
  9. Dr. David M. Raup (Curator of Geology, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago), “Conflicts between Darwin and paleontology.” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, vol. 50(1), January 1979, 22.
  10. Stephen Jay Gould, “Evolution’s Erratic Pace,” Natural History, vol. 86 (May 1977), 12-16.
  11. Stephen Jay Gould, Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging? Paleobiology, vol. 6(1), January 1980, 127.
  12. Dr. Richard Dawkins, (Department of Zoology, Oxford University, UK) “What Was all the Fuss About?” Nature, vol. 316 (August 22, 1985), 683-684.
  13. Dr. Richard Dawkins, (Department of Zoology, Oxford University, UK)
  14. Dr. Michael Walker (Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, Sydney University), “To have evolved or to have not? That is the question?” Quadrant, October 1981, 45.
  15. Insistence by evolutionists that adaptation within a species proves evolution (horses becoming larger through selective breeding, etc.), even though there is no evidence that one species has ever transitioned into another species, has made it necessary to distinguish the former, called “micro evolution”, from the latter, called “macro evolution.”

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