I Don’t Believe in Atheists

A good friend of mine sent me a link to the article, I Don’t Believe in Atheists, and asked for my opinion. My initial response was to say the author obviously has no understanding of the theory of evolution. However, that statement doesn’t address the errors in the article, so I decided a more thorough response was needed.

To begin with, the author confuses acceptance of evolution with atheism.  These are two wholly separate concepts.  An atheist is someone who does not accept claims about the existence of deities. Atheists can’t, by definition, believe in “Special Creation”, because they don’t believe in gods, however they can be atheists and not believe in evolution. Also, there are millions of religious people who accept evolution. A notable example is Francis Collins, head of the human genome project and devote Christian.  Collins acknowledges the truth of evolution but believes it was the tool chosen by God.  The author of the article is simply wrong if he thinks refuting evolution is the same as refuting atheism.

The rest of the article is the authors attempt to show problems with evolution. He posits special creation as a better alternative while providing absolutely no evidence for creationism.

I am not a biologist, nor do I work in that field.  I will discuss his points from a layman perspective. If you want to see thorough arguments showing evidence for evolution and the problems with creationism, I recommend watching the Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism video series from AronRa on YouTube.

Now on to the article:

I have issued three public challenges (not to mention several private ones) to the more than 215,000 followers on my Facebook page for atheists to provide specific qualified evidence for Darwinian evolution. Each time, my challenge has been met with deafening silence.

I have not seen his Facebook page but I doubt that his challenge has been met with deafening silence.  A simple Google search will provide millions of scholarly articles from numerous and diverse scientific fields providing evidence for evolution.  If I were to speculate, I would guess he has had his challenge met numerous times but he has rejected the responses.

Yet, when I say something about faith in God or the wonder of His creation, I am met with hostility, insults and mockery from outspoken atheists who say I am unscientific and stupid.

I doubt he is holding himself to the same criteria he demands of atheists, mainly “specific qualified evidence” for his claims about faith in God or creation.  If not, mockery may be the correct response.

If you didn’t see my challenge, here it is again. I am asking for one example (just one) that meets these five criteria:

  1. It must be a random mutation that has occurred naturally
  2. It must have been observed (aka science)
  3. It must have added NEW information to the genome
  4. The mutation must also benefit the host
  5. Don’t resort to citing silly examples of E. Coli or other microorganisms.

There are several problems with his challenge.  Lets look at the first two criteria. If you provide an example of evolution observed in a lab he will reject it because it will fail the first requirement, because anything that occurs in a lab couldn’t have occurred naturally. If you provide an example from nature it will violate the 2nd requirement because it wasn’t “observed” scientifically in a lab. The first two criteria essentially cancel each other out, making his challenge meaningless.

The third item seems arbitrary.  What qualifies as “new” information?  Technically any change will be “new” in the sense that it is different from what was there previously.  Thousands of books have been written in the English language but they all use the same 26 letters in the alphabet.  Do the books published this year count as “new information?” Does an author need to make up new words or add new letters to the alphabet for “new information” to be present? I’m not sure what he is looking for here, and I doubt that he knows what he is looking for either.

As for the 4th criteria, evolutionary scientists agree that the vast majority of mutations are neutral (not helpful or harmful to the organism), others are harmful, and a very few are helpful.  Limiting “evidence of evolution” to beneficial changes would be like asking for proof of a poker game while ignoring any hand that isn’t a royal flush.  There can be plenty of examples of beneficial mutations, but they are not the ONLY examples of evolutionary changes.

The last requirement shows his bias.  Humans have a limited lifespan so most of the evolutionary changes we will be able to observe will be in organisms with a significantly shorter lifespan.  Examples of evolution in E. Coli or other microorganisms are not “silly” they are some of the easiest things we can observe due to their rapid rate of reproduction and the limitations of the human lifetime.

Every Christian, no matter how conservative, believes that organisms do adapt and speciate… But the Darwinian claim that organisms can evolve into different “kinds” (as opposed to species) by gaining complexity through the addition of new genetic information has NEVER been observed…not even once!

A “kind” is a biblical term, it has no meaning to the scientific community.  No scientific paper on evolution has EVER claimed organisms change into different “kinds” because there is no scientific definition saying what a “kind” is. However, since the author already agrees that organisms adapt and evolve into different species, I guess he believes in Darwinian evolution afterall!

This means that the kind of mutations we have observed cannot change organisms into different or more complex kinds. They will adapt, but they will never be anything other than what they are:

  • A dog’s genes may be manipulated to produce many different breeds but they will always be dogs.
  • Fruit flies may grow a second pair of wings, but they will always be fruit flies.
  • Finches may grow longer beaks, but they will always be finches.
  • Bacteria may find new food to metabolize will always be bacteria.

… There is not one shred of evidence to suggest that bacteria are becoming dogs and flies are becoming finches. This means that Darwin’s cult is a matter of faith not science.

The theory of evolution by natural selection does NOT predict that flies will turn into birds or bacteria will become dogs.  The theory states that offspring will be different from their parents, and that offspring with beneficial traits will be more likely to survive and pass on those traits to their own offspring. Changes happen slowly, one generation at a time, and changes build on what is already there.  Insects will ALWAYS be insects.  Humans will ALWAYS be apes.  AronRa explains it best in his 11th Foundational Falsehood of Creationism video, quoted below:

To comprehend evolutionary Theory, one must first understand that it’s only ever a matter of changing proportions –altering or enhancing existing features to build on what is already there.  Developmental biology, genetics, and comparative morphology combine to confirm many of these taxonomic stages such that organs do not seem to have appeared abruptly or fully-formed as if out of nowhere, because there is an implied evolutionary origin evident in every case.  Even the transition of fish-to-tetrapods, dinosaurs-to-birds, or apes-to-men are each are just a matter of incremental, superficial changes being slowly compiled atop successive tiers of fundamental similarities. These represent monophyletic clades which will forever encompass all the descendants of that clade.  This is why birds are still dinosaurs, and humans are still apes, and both are still stegocephalian chordates.

No matter how much you or your heirs may change, you obviously can’t outgrow heredity.  The very concept of common ancestry is a multi-tiered and intertwined complex phylogenetic system which shows why there can’t be any distinctly separate “kinds” to begin with!  At the same time, the act of speciation splits the population presenting an eventually impassable boundary between them.  We often see this demonstrated live in the form of “ring species”, where different evolutionary stages exist all at once in a geographic rather than chronological distribution.  Subspecies (A) may breed with subspecies (B), and (B) may breed with (C), and (C) with (D), but (A) and (D) cannot interbreed because by the time their territories overlap again, they’ve grown too distant genetically, and can’t come back.  This is when we see the formation of new features, organs, or skeletal structures, each examples of new genetic “information”.  What all these show is that even though a new species of perching bird (for example) is “still” a finch, it is now a different “kind” of finch, a distinct descendant species proving there is no “boundary” against macroevolution.

The author ends the article by changing his subject to atheism and claiming victory for God:
My bottom line – I don’t believe in atheists. They are at war, not with God, but with themselves. They are as conflicted as a child denying its mother. This is why their resistance seems painful and passionate – not what you would expect from someone denying a fairytale. They are rejecting the inner witness of their own souls, the testimony of nature and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. It must be an extremely itchy existence “kicking against the goads.” My heart is broken for the atheist. I’m praying for you today (sincerely). I don’t pray that you would come to any religion (I hate religion as much as anyone). But I pray that you would come to know the love of God through Jesus Christ.

The author’s flawed understanding of basic evolutionary principles is not evidence for Jesus. In order to refute evolution, he should find out what it actually is first.  Then, if he was successful, he would still need to provide “specific qualified evidence” for his alternative (i.e.: Creationism).  Until he has done that, no one is justified in believing it. And, even if evolution were proven false it would not be evidence that the world was created by the Christian God or that he tortured and killed himself as his son in order to persuade himself not to torture and kill all of us for the crime of being born.

Whether you believe in atheists or not is irrelevant.  And no, it isn’t an “extremely itchy existence” to say stories about talking animals are too silly to believe without evidence.

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