Answering Evolution’s Claims
This page deals with common claims made by evolutionists. Click here to view a complete list of answered evolutionists’ claims. You may also view the page regarding problems with evolution or browse our common-sense evidence index.
Age of the Earth
First, evolutionists often criticize the Bible because they claim that science has proven that the earth and universe are much older than the biblical 6,000 years. They cite ice cores, radiometric dating (including carbon dating), rock layers, and tree rings as support that the earth is too old for a biblical timeline. Furthermore, they say that distant starlight demonstrates that the universe is billions, not thousands, of years old.
Their arguments are flaws for a couple of reasons. First, they ignore most dating methods, which actually give maximum dates which are too young for evolution (but whose minimum dates are usually consistent with young-earth creationism). For instance, if we dated the earth based on the salt in the sea, we would get a maximum age of 62 million years, much to young for an evolutionary timeline, but consistent with a biblical one. Other examples abound: agriculture, bent rock layers, carbon-14 found in fossils, coal, and diamonds, DNA in ancient-dated bacteria, the earth’s slowing rotation, radioactivity in fossils, helium in radioactive rocks, human history, the decay of the earth’s magnetic field, the erosion rate of Niagara Falls, the number of “stone-age skeletons,” the earth’s population, seafloor sediment, and soft tissue in fossils are consistent with a biblical timeline but difficult to explain with (or directly contrary to) an evolutionary one. Thus, evolutionists cite a few dating methods that they believe support an old earth while ignoring the majority of dating methods which contradict an old earth.
Second, the dating methods that evolutionists cite are subject to much doubt. For instance, radiometric dating has given very wrong dates for known ages. It has dated a known 11-year-old rock at 0.5-2.8 million years old, and it has even dated some items as having negative ages (i.e., they supposedly haven’t been formed yet)! Additionally, as we stated earlier, carbon-14 has been found in fossils, coal, and diamonds, setting the maximum age of these items to 100,000 years (carbon-14 has a very short half-life), whereas evolutionists believe these items should be much, much older. Other methods like ice cores and tree rings are also questionable. Scientists do not simply count tree rings and ice cores as they would have the public believe to get these very old ages. Rather, they must make guesses about the age. In any case, the dating methods they have cited have problems with them.
Regarding distant starlight, creationists have come up with models to explain this (namely anisotropic synchrony convention and relativistic time dilation), although the topic has not yet fully matured. However, evolutionists have their “distant starlight” problem, too: something known as the horizon problem, which is the fact that there has not been enough time (even with evolution’s billions of years) for the universe’s heat to have travelled at the speed of light back and forth enough to be so evenly distributed or homogeneous. Thus, evolutionists have their own distant starlight problem.
Evolutionists often state that cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) provides evidence for the big bang (an “echo”). However, as we mentioned earlier, the horizon problem deals specifically with the fact that the CMBR is so evenly distributed that a “big bang” doesn’t make sense. This CMBR is more of a problem for the big bang than an evidence for it.
Evolutionists claim that biology provides strong support for evolution.
Evolutionists claim that every living thing on earth descended from a single ancestor via undirected mutation and natural selection. They claim that natural selection (with mutations) can create new types of animals. However, the whole idea of natural selection is stated in four different ways, each with its own pitfall: lame, metaphysical, special, and tautological.
The “lame” formulation of natural selection simply states the obvious (and does not explain adaptions): Some organisms survive, others do not. The metaphysical formulation requires an infinitely complex analysis, which is impossible and thus not scientific. The special formulation requires case-by-case analysis, and thus it is not a single formulation but countless separate formulations. The tautological formulation repeats itself in a play on words: The fittest survive, and the fittest are those best suited to survive. Really, it merely says, “The survivors survive,” which is obvious, but it does not explain adaption.
Evolutionists often say that macroevolution is simply a lot of microevolution. This is just a play on words, however. “Microevolution” is either (1) variation of pre-existing genetic code, or (2) mutations, which never create brand new information, though sometimes they help by destroying something which is inconvenient at the time; for instance, cave fish “evolved” blindness because eyes were unnecessary, but this is the opposite of evolution. We have never observed mutations increasing the information in a genome, ever. Thus, macroevolution (molecules-to-man change) is certainly not just a lot of “microevolution” (variation of built-in settings or mutations).
Evolutionists claim that “we observe evolution today.” For instance, they claim that blind cave fish, cane toads, Darwin’s finches, dog breeds, E. coli, fruit flies, germs, Italian wall lizards, lactose tolerance, mussel shells, peppered moths, and three-toed skinks are living examples of evolution.
However, in some of these cases (e.g., germs evolving resistance to antibiotics), something is actually destroyed, not created, though it happens to benefit the animal at that time. As an analogy, sometimes citizens of a city burn their own bridge to keep the enemy out, and although this helps the city survive, it is not evolution, it is destruction. Likewise, germs destroying a part of themselves that antibiotics use to kill them is not evolution either. Neither is fish evolving blindness or fruit flies evolving legs on their heads.
In other cases, evolutionists are simply pointing to variation of built-in genetic settings. God created animals with the possibility of lots of variety in their genes. When they express this variety, they are not evolving; in fact, usually, when they express more variety (speciation), they lose genes for the other variety. For instance, short-haired dogs have often lost genes for long hair. Obviously, dog breeders can create amazing new breeds of dogs by mixing and matching particular dogs, but there are clear limits. A dog breeder could never breed a dog into an elephant, no matter how much time he was given. Dog breeders must be careful to maintain what little variety is left in some dog breeds. And so in some cases, evolutionists simply cite variation of built-in genetic settings, which is not evolution at all.
Evolutionists claim that all living organisms are descended from a single organism and that there is evidence of this “family tree.” Perhaps the most common argument made for evolution is that life is arranged into hierarchical groups, or groups within groups within groups, which evolutionists say we should expect from a family tree. While this overall hierarchical pattern may be consistent with evolution at a distance, it is actually not evidence for it at all.
First, we could argue that an orderly Designer would also organize His creation into hierarchical groups. We humans do this all the time. Transportation vehicles and areas of study fall into a natural hierarchy. Second, God placed clear “stop signs” for anyone trying to interpret this nested group structure as evidence for evolution. He placed into this tree something called convergence. This is where two animals in distantly related parts of the tree share striking similarities with each other. For instance, the camera-eye of a human is strikingly similar to the eye of an octopus, though they are only distantly related on the tree. Other examples throughout nature abound: crocodile a-hemoglobin, echolocation, flight, hemoglobin in general, human lysozyme, the ladder web, and prickles, as well as especially convergent animals like the platypus and Tasmanian wolf. Thus, we see that the hierarchical arrangement of animals (the “tree”) is not evidence for evolution but, when examined a little more closely, is actually evidence against it.
A variation of the “tree of life” argument is that animals share similarities, which demonstrate their relatedness. They say that we can examine similarities in the DNA of animals and, like detectives at a crime scene, determine how closely related these animals are (using molecular “clocks”). The problem with this type of reasoning is that evolutionists are merely assuming that similarity means animals are related. If God created every animal completely unlike any other animal in the world, we would have an extremely bizarre world (if this is even possible). Only one animal could have any DNA, because if two had DNA evolutionists would say they were related. Only one animal could have a backbone or eyes or blood. This simply would not work. Humans design transportation vehicles with similarities; both trains and cars have wheels, but this shows that they are related by design, not by ancestry.
Evolutionists then claim that biogeography (how life is spread over the world) provides evidence for evolution. For instance, continental islands represent continental species, introduced species often outperform native ones, oceanic islands are unbalanced, and similar habitats have different organisms. Typically the argument goes, “If God created animals in their current locations, then why do continental islands (even ones with drastically different environments than the continents themselves) have continental species? Why didn’t God create animals better adapted to their current environment?” The answer is, God did not create animals in their present location. Noah’s Flood destroyed every living thing, and animals dispersed from a singular location (Noah’s Ark) to all over the world, which fits what we find in biogeography. (These arguments are usually not for young-earth creationism but show up in books about the evidence for evolution.)
A related question is, “How did kangaroos get to Australia?” There are a couple of possible ways. First, animals have been known to float on vegetation rafts and arrive on a new island. Second, the Ice Age that probably occurred after Noah’s Flood would have reduced ocean levels enough to create land bridges which animals could cross.
Another place that evolutionists attack biblical creation is in design. They claim that a perfect Creator would not use bad design, and that nature has bad design. However, they forget that life was not originally created for survival, it was created for God’s glory. The original creation did not have death, and so it did not have survival. Additionally, God is not simply a good Engineer, He is also a good Artist. Artists must use unique and curious designs to demonstrate their personality, not just their rigid adherence to strict design “perfection.” Additionally, God’s curse on creation corrupted much of the original good design, and so deterioration is a result of this curse.
Evolutionists also say that some designs in nature are leftover (vestigial) from evolution. For instance, they claim that the human appendix, the laryngeal nerve in mammals, penguin flippers, human sense of smell, ability to produce vitamin C, and leg bones in whales point to evolution, not creation. However, evolutionists forget that many of these “leftover” features play an important role (e.g., the human appendix, “leg bones” in whales, penguin flippers). Second, some features today may be deteriorated from the way they were originally created as a result of the curse, and in that sense be partially “leftover” from creation, not evolution.
Evolutionists claim that violence in the animal world points to evolution as well, or the defense/attack structures like snake fangs, lion teeth, or the ability of some hornets to deceive and kill bees. God placed His curse on creation, which included placing things in nature that were not there before (like the thorns). Other features may not have changed except in function (sharp teeth do not necessarily imply a carnivore). The Bible tells us that the whole creation suffers today as a result of the curse (Romans 8:22), and so we believe these defense/attack structures are part of the curse on creation.
Evolutionists claim that fossils support evolution and not creation. First, they say that the fossil record is in sequence with evolution, and that not one fossil is out of sequence. This argument is dishonest, because they do find fossils out of sequence but have ways of explaining this. For instance, perhaps the “older” strata were deposited on “younger” strata, perhaps the rock layers were turned completely upside down, or perhaps the rocks were contaminated, giving wrong dates. Additionally, evolutionists use circular reasoning to get dates of some fossils. They also base their evolutionary timeline on fossil data, making “out of order” fossils impossible: whenever they find a fossil out of order, they can tweak their evolutionary timeline to match the new data.
They also cite examples of what they believe are transitional fossils, or fossils that demonstrate the intermediates between types of animals. Common examples include Archaeopteryx and Tiktaalik. Sometimes evolutionists intentionally deceive, drawing series of transitional fossils as if they were the same size when they were actually drastically different in size. Other times, they reconstruct most of the skeleton from a few pieces that don’t even determine whether the animal was transitional or not.
In the case of Archaeopteryx, an expert evolutionist showed that it is simply a bird, and Tiktaalik is dated after tracks of tetrapods, meaning that it could not have been a transition to tetrapods. For a complete list of examples, please see the section on transitional fossils.
Evolutionists have various philosophical arguments they give to reject a Creator. The first we will discuss is mostly defensive: the anthropic principle. The anthropic principle tries to answer the question of why the universe seems so finely tuned for life. It is stated in various ways, the most common being the tautological formulation: “The universe is so finely tuned for life because if it were not, we would not be here to observe it.” This is basically a play on words; after reading it carefully we realize that it actually avoids the question.
The second way of stating the anthropic principle is with the metaphysical formulation, which basically assumes that there are countless other universes out there which are not finely tuned for life, and ours just happens to be finely tuned. Because we cannot see or test these other universes, and since we have no evidence of any other universes, this statement is speculation, not science.
The final way of stating the anthropic principle is the lame formulation, which just states the obvious: We are here, and the universe is finely tuned for carbon-based life. While we agree, and while this statement is scientific, this does not answer the question of why the universe is so finely tuned.
Evolutionists have many claims they make about chance. One of their most popular is that given enough time, anything can happen. This claim is faulty for a couple of reasons. First, even if true, they neglect to specify how much time and what can happen. For instance, the twelve-line poem “The Arrow and the Song” could not have been generated purely by chance if our entire universe were filled in every direction with supercomputers and running around the clock since the supposed big bang. In fact, this poem could not be generated by a trillion other universes running a trillion times longer than the age of our universe. Improbability can become a very real problem very quickly, and when evolutionists cannot simply ignore these numbers.
Second, this claim is faulty because some things are impossible with chance alone, not just improbable. For instance, waves beating on a clear sandy beach would never produce a neatly written sentence in the sand. Water, waves, gravity, and sand just do not work that way. The writing is not only improbable via ocean waves, it is impossible in this scenario. Some things can never happen by chance, no matter how much time is allowed.
Related arguments include the belief that all mutations have occurred at least once by chance and that improbable things occur regularly. With mathematics we can be sure that not all mutations have occurred at least once. Improbable things may occur regularly (e.g., if you flip a coin a hundred times, the exact sequence of heads and tails that you get will be very improbable), but this does not mean that meaningful improbable things occur regularly by chance. Flipping a weird combination of “heads-tails-tails-heads-heads-heads-tails…” may be improbable, but it is not meaningful. Flipping a hundred heads in a row is meaningful, and things like this do not happen all the time. Life requires improbable but highly meaningful things to occur, not just improbable chaos.
Another argument is that evolution is not chance, it is natural selection plus chance. However, this does not eliminate the chance problem in a few scenarios: the origin of life, the universe’s fine tuning, and beneficial mutations themselves (on which natural selection can then work).
Existence of God
One of the most popular evolutionary arguments against God is that science makes Him a “God of the Gaps.” In other words, what we do not yet understand, we attribute to God, and the more we understand, the less we need God to explain things. First, however, there is the difference between the origin of something and describing how it works. It is one thing for science to describe how an animal works, but doing this does not explain where it came from. Additionally, science often opens new gaps as it closes others (in fact, it opens more than it closes). We have more reason to believe in God now that science has shown us the greater complexities of DNA and animal life, not less.
Another common argument is, “Who created God?” In other words, if design implies a Designer, then the Designer must imply yet another Designer, and so on, forever. This logic does not hold for several reasons. First, as Christians, we know that God is supernatural and above nature. Natural design requires a Designer, but God Himself doesn’t. Furthermore, for evolutionists to say that creationists need to explain ultimate origins while evolutionists do not is a double-standard. Evolutionists cannot explain ultimate origins; where did the universe come from? Where did consciousness come from? What was before the big bang? Thus, evolutionists cannot answer the same questions but apply a double-standard.
Another popular argument is that religion justifies evil. Some religions do. However, not all religions are the same, and Christianity teaches us to love our enemies, the opposite of violence. Additionally, atheism has been used to justify much evil (e.g., the Soviets). Thus, violence is not a necessary result of “religion,” nor is it a unique result of religion, and we could make the same arguments against atheism.
Other arguments claim that belief in God is immature or lazy. Many Christians will tell you that their belief in God causes them to have a greater joy for discovery and a greater excitement for finding out more. Another argument is that atheism is just a logical progression from polytheism (belief in many gods) to monotheism (belief in one God) to belief in no gods, or saying, “As an atheist, I believe in one fewer gods than you do.” This is more of a silly argument and not a serious one, though it is used sometimes. Atheism, by definition, is directly opposed to theism, and so there is no logical progression.
Nature of Science
Evolutionists make claims concerning the nature of science. First, they attack creationism. They claim that creation is just religion, that it is unscientific and untestable, and that creationists are not scientists. Creation does make testable predictions, especially biblical young-earth creationism. Creationists have many solid scientific arguments, and if these arguments are false, evolutionists should attack the evidence rather than attacking creationists personally. In the past and today, there have been many reputable scientists who were also creationists.
Evolutionists also promote evolution. They claim that evolution is science in the same way as chemistry or physics is science. They also claim that evolution is vital to understanding biology and that most scientists accept evolution. The idea that molecules evolved into man over millions of years (molecules-to-man evolution) cannot be tested over and over again like laws of chemistry of physics. Therefore, if evolution is scientific at all, it is not scientific in the same way that chemistry or physics is. Belief in molecules-to-man evolution is certainly not vital to understanding biology as some excellent qualified biologists are creationists, not evolutionists.
True, most scientists accept evolution. However, truth should be determined not by the numbers but by the evidence. In the past, the majority have been wrong, and there is more at play than simply science; there are often anti-religious motivations as well. In any case, even evolutionary scientists have documented serious problems with evolution, and many reject it altogether.
Evolutionists claim that if anyone found a single piece of evidence that disproved evolution, science would embrace that person as a hero similar to Einstein or Newton. However, evidence demonstrating that evolution is false abounds, but many scientists do not want to accept this fact for various reasons, some anti-religious. Additionally, many reputable scientists (including evolutionists) have documented serious problems with the theory; have scientists embraced these people as heroes?
Evolutionists often mock the Bible, claiming that it is full of contradictions, approves immorality, and is not viable scientifically. For instance, some have claimed that the Bible was handed down to us as in the game of “telephone.” On the contrary, we have over 25,000 manuscripts of the New Testament in various languages, including over 5,500 extant Greek manuscripts, more documentation than for any other ancient book. Compare this to Homer’s Iliad, for which there are only 643 extant manuscripts. Evolutionists cannot possibly attack the Bible from a historical manuscript standpoint.
Perhaps one of the most cited claims is that the Bible is full of contradictions. However, this is false. Most of the alleged contradictions are simply the failure of the critic to read carefully. Others take more research to figure out but end up verifying the Bible even more. Fairy tales are simple, but the Bible is full of real history—the kind of history that is often confusing unless we pay careful attention to the details. For a list of answered Bible contradictions so far, click here.
Another thing critics often mock is the Bible’s account of Noah’s Flood. For instance, they cite that the Ark was too small to fit all the necessary animals, sometimes citing how many animals per acre zoos house. But the Ark was certainly not a floating zoo, it was a survival boat. Only two representatives of each land-dwelling, air-breathing kind had to board the Ark (not species). They also claim that there was not enough water for a global flood, but the mountains were not as tall as they are today. The earth is covered in water, evidence for a global flood in the past. See a complete list of evolutionary arguments about Noah’s Flood.