The Greatest Hoax (1)
Written by Jonathan Sarfati
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Reformed Worldviews - Evolution/Creation

Dr Jonathan Sarfati is the bestselling author of Refuting Evolution (more than 500,000 copies in print), Refuting Compromise and The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution. This last book is one of the most detailed examinations of Richard Dawkins’ views available today. Jonathan was born in Ararat, Victoria, and obtained a PhD in physical chemistry at Victoria University, Wellington. He now lives in Atlanta in the USA and works as a research scientist, speaker and editorial consultant for Creation Ministries International. Peter Hastie of AP magazine interviews him below.

At the 2012 Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne the view of Richard Dawkins, the author of The God Delusion, was again proclaimed that science is essentially anti-God and that no scientist could claim to be both a Christian and rational. How should we respond to such a claim? 

I think Dawkins needs to revisit the history of science and the assumptions that make it work. Science, by its very nature, presupposes an orderly universe. The philosophical basis for modern science was actually derived from a common belief in the biblical God of order. Science would be impossible without presupposing the reality of order in the universe. Without this conviction, we have no basis for assuming fundamental scientific laws. 

Dawkins faces a huge problem in that atheists cannot provide a proper philosophical basis for scientific enterprise in the first place. When he claims that science is anti-God, he is effectively cutting off the branch he is sitting on. 

Is it possible to make any real progress in science on the basis of atheistic naturalism? 

No, not really. Scientists who are committed to the view that the world is largely the result of chance have no logical basis for thinking that we live in an orderly universe. You can’t derive that idea from atheistic naturalism. To the extent that they see the world in this way, they are hijacking the Christian worldview. Loren Eiseley, the American anthropologist and philosopher, said that the foundations of modern science could be traced to belief in a rational designer.  

 Naturalism has a very ancient pedigree. Do cultures that have this outlook have a basis for scientific advance?  

Naturalism itself doesn’t provide any basis for thinking about the universe in terms of order. The Greek philosopher, Epicurus, was a naturalist. He thought about the world in terms of ‘atoms’ that came into being by time and chance. Of course, the problem with his worldview is that a chance universe cannot provide the uniformity that’s required for science. 

Many Christians are convinced that there’s a reasonable basis for believing in the Creator God of the Bible without necessarily relying on the Bible itself to establish their belief. As a scientist, do you see any compelling evidence to establish the existence of the Creator God that we find in Scripture? 

Evolutionary theory is riddled with contradictions. Jonathan Sarfati talks to Peter Hastie For me, one of the most compelling pieces of evidence relates to the origin of the first living cell. Where did it come from? Evolutionists need to be able to explain how that cell came into being. We now know that a single cell is incredibly complicated. It’s got oodles of biochemical machinery and massive amounts of coded information and decoding machines. All these mechanisms are essential for the life of the cell and, on the evolutionary model, they need to be in place for the process of evolution by natural selection to get under way. However evolutionists like Dawkins cannot provide a credible explanation for the existence of this first living cell.  

Antony Flew, who was a leading atheist philosopher, said that Darwinian evolution requires this first living cell for the process of evolution to occur. However, he pointed out that neither Darwin nor Dawkins can provide a reasonable account for the existence of this cell and therefore evolution is effectively dead on the starting-line. I think that’s a very powerful argument for a Creator God—the complexity of even the simplest living things. 

I think another piece of compelling evidence is the incredible fine-tuning of the universe as a whole. In fact, the constants are tuned as precisely as hitting a bulls-eye at the other end of the universe. If just one or two of these laws were varied then atoms couldn’t form. When you consider that some of these leading evolutionary cosmologists suggest that multiple universes may exist, it’s even more amazing that we just happen to live in the universe with the right conditions. Their assumption actually concedes the point that our universe is incredibly unusual and that it wouldn’t arise by chance. So, in fact, the evolutionists are actually confirming that our universe bears all the marks of design by a greater intelligence. 

Richard Dawkins has admitted that his theory of naturalistic evolution is not watertight and has many unsolved mysteries. What are the main difficulties with which scientists like him struggle in attributing the origin of human life to evolution? 

Dawkins has admitted he is, as yet, unable to solve the problem of the origin of life. He also admits that the origin of sexual reproduction is a big mystery to him. He says that one day he might pluck up the courage to solve it. He cannot explain how the first sexual being actually arose and how it mated with another creature of its own kind.

There are other significant difficulties that evolutionists face such as the origin of human language and the existence of morality and ethics. If, according to evolutionists, we are essentially animals, how do we explain the notions of right and wrong that are universally accepted? Evolutionists can’t really justify morality on their own terms. They do talk about certain things having survival advantages, but right and wrong mean nothing in the evolutionary scheme. For instance, two evolutionists wrote a book suggesting that rape was simply a way of men propagating their genes. When one of them was challenged in an interview about the morality of his position, he had no way of explaining why rape would be wrong from an evolutionary point-of-view. 

Do modern discoveries about the genetic code help us to determine which is the better model—creation or evolution? 

Yes, I believe that recent discoveries about the nature of the genetic code point strongly to the existence of a Designer. The reason for this is that our genes consist of multiple codes and these codes can only come from an intelligent source. Just as language and computers operate on various codes, so do the basic building blocks of life. Our DNA contains complex codes which are read by enormously complex machines.  

One problem for evolutionists is that the instructions that create these machines are on the DNA itself. The DNA is meaningless without these decoding machines and, to add to the complexity, you can’t build the decoding machines without the instructions on the DNA. 

Furthermore, not only is there a main genetic code, but there are other codes that overlay it. So, our DNA has at least three different codes on it. It’s hard to think of a sequence of letters that could make sense in English and in French, as well as making sense backwards and by skipping every other letter. However, that’s the sort of thing that we have in our DNA sequence, which means that it makes sense in several different languages. And that’s why we can have 20,000 genes coding for 100,000 proteins, because we’ve got these codes upon codes to enable this to happen. 

So the likelihood of it happening by chance is just non-existent? 

I think even one code by chance is almost non-existent, but codes upon codes makes it inconceivable.  

The interview is continued here.

Jonathan Sarfati obtained a PhD in physical chemistry at Victoria University, Wellington. He now lives in Atlanta in the USA and works as a research scientist, speaker and editorial consultant for Creation Ministries International. This article was printed in AP magazine of the Presbyterian Church of Australia and is republished here with permission.