Editor's Note: Dr. Van Dyke is Professor Emeritus of Botany at North Carolina State University, having taught there 38 years. He is a cofounder of TASC and has served in several positions, including chairman. In this article, Dr. Van Dyke relates how his academic and spiritual histories reflect God's faithfulness. As the scripture teaches: "for them that honor me I will honor" (1 Sam 2:30).
The TASC newsletter article Fossils examined the fossil record as evidence in support of the theory of evolution. 1 The conclusion of that article, as well as of several evolutionists themselves, was that the fossil record did not provide evidence to support the theory of evolution. We might think, "Well, that doesn't matter, since evolution is so strongly supported by the genetic evidence." However, is it really? Let's look and see. We will look primarily at the genetic evidence.
Is abiogenesis irrelevant?
The idea of life arising from non-life is known as abiogenesis. It might be argued that abiogenesis is not evolution and thus is irrelevant in a discussion of evolution. The line of reasoning is that evolution deals with how life evolves from pre-existing life via natural selection, or how more complex life arises from simpler life, which does not involve the origin of life. This is still life giving rise to more complex life, not life arising from non-life. Therefore, the argument goes, the question of how life arose from non-life is not part of evolution, and is therefore excluded from any discussion of evolution as not being relevant.
As biblical creationists, we are often thought of by most Christians as purveyors of a “side bar” or less important doctrine. The criticism goes something like, “Why get so worked up about creation and the Flood? After all it’s only Genesis—it’s the Old Testament. The gospel is what’s really important. It’s all about Jesus, right? Besides, science disagrees with Genesis, and we don’t want to be seen as ignorant and anti-science! The really intelligent people won’t listen to the gospel and be saved if we say we believe Genesis.”
As many Christians interested in the science of creation know, Dr. Mary Schweitzer is the paleontologist who published a 2005 article in Science magazine, “Soft-tissue vessels and cellular preservation in Tyrannosaurus rex,“ 1
The creation/evolution debate is a critical battle ground for the hearts and minds of everyone. What we think about our origins impacts everything we think about the world and ourselves. If human beings are merely the result of natural law working over billions of years as materialists claim, then any action we “choose” can be justified since we become the arbiters of right and wrong. Our culture is becoming increasingly secular in its thinking and policies. Moral relativism, situation ethics, sexual permissiveness in all its forms, abortion, theft, senseless mass murders, tolerance and even justification for dishonesty, are on the rise. We are at a critical time, a tipping point, in the history of our nation.
In today’s world, both the book of Genesis and the Biblical creation model of origins that flows from it are mocked by the main-stream media and the scientific establishment as nothing more than fairy tales. These entities have no more connection to reality than do Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. They are never given serious consideration as alternatives to the ruling paradigms of the Big-Bang theory for the origin of the universe, spontaneous generation for the origin of life, or of some form of biological evolution for the progression of life from molecule to man. Why is this? Is it due to the overwhelming scientific evidence in support of the ruling paradigms?
Those who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s lived through a revolutionary transformation of Western culture from a Judea-Christian worldview to the prevailing secular views of today.