C Rulon: Biological Evolution: Replacing scientific fact with creationism can border on blasphemy

By | February 8, 2012

By   Charles L. Rulon,  Emeritus, Life Sciences

Long Beach City College

To insist that God abruptly created all of the different major kinds of life can be tantamount to blasphemy in the minds of liberal theists.  Consider:

Violent earth: Doesn’t it border on blasphemy to claim that an all-loving God would purposely place His favorite creations on a planet destined to experience catas­trophic disasters, including gigan­tic vol­can­ic eruptions, ice sheets cover­ing much of the planet, devastating tsunamis and earth­quakes, plate tectonic move­ments that tear apart entire conti­nents and asteroid bombardments that have resulted in global mass extinctions?

 Evolution: Doesn’t it border on blasphemy to claim that God would deceive liter­ally hundreds of thous­ands of dedicated scientists by making it look in every last detail as though evolution via natural selec­tion has been at work for the last several billion years? This includes data converging from a dozen different scientific disci­plines, along with millions of fossils spanning billions of years that all but spell out evol­u­tion. Isn’t it tantamount to blasphemy to even imply that the God of the Jews and Christians would personally carry out such a monumental deception?

Parasites: Doesn’t it border on blasphemy to claim that the all-wise, all-good God of Abraham would have purposely created the overwhelming majority of all His species to be deadly parasites, which they are?  Indeed, the study of our living world is, for the most part, the study of parasites.  To insist that the God of the universe created a parasite that blinds millions of people, or 10,000 dif­fer­ent species of tape­worms, or 2000 different species of disease-spread­ing biting lice, or thousands upon thousands of dif­ferent species of harm­ful bacteria, viruses and protozoa, or dozens of species of mal­aria-transmit­ting mosqui­toes is tantamount to blasphemy.  On the other hand, an abundance of parasites is just what one would expect if only natural selection were at work.

Blood sports: Consider cheetahs: they seem perfectly designed to kill gazelles.  Their eyes, teeth, claws and muscles are all what one might ex­pect if God’s pur­pose in designing cheetahs was to maximize their ability to catch and kill gazelles.  But now look at gazelles.  They also have been optimally designed to escape from cheetahs.  It looks just like cheetahs were designed by one god and gazelles by a rival god.  Either that or God made both because He’s a sadist into blood sports.  So, doesn’t it border on blasphemy to claim that God instantly created cheetahs and gazelles rather than to accept their evolution through natural selection?

Extinctions: Over 99% of all the billions of species to have ever inhabited earth sooner or later went extinct. Also, several mass extinctions in which up to 90% of all species on the planet went extinct have been documented in the fos­sil record.  If this is God’s purposeful handiwork, doesn’t that suggest a god that’s waste­ful, inept, care­less and uncon­cerned with the wel­fare of his cre­a­tions?  But since such thoughts are considered blasphemous, many Christians refuse to accept that ex­tinctions have actually occurred, or try to explain away the evidence with mythologies like Noah’s flood.

Oddities and Defects: The human body defi­nitely seems to be a marvelous ‘feat of engineering’.  For those who don’t understand the awesome power of natural selection working on continuous genetic variability over hundreds of millions of years, it’s easy to conclude that God specially created us.  But then that also means that God Almighty, Lord of the universe, must also be given the credit for all of our anatom­ical oddities such as nipples in males, plus dozens of what appear to be poor engi­neering designs or anatom­ical defects.

Examples of defects include an appendix that can be life-threatening; a birth canal that’s too small in females resulting in ex­tremely painful and often dangerous deliveries, with the deaths of untold numbers of women and new­borns throughout history; a miscarriage rate of over 60 percent; males with a pro­s­­tate gland that enlarges with age, blocks urination and inevitably becomes cancerous; a windpipe right next to our esophagus so that we can choke to death on a bite of food; males with extremely sen­si­tive testes vul­nerably exposed all the time instead of being withdrawn into the body as is done in numerous other mammals; our human brain with enough serious defects to fill neurology and psychi­atric text books and is now endangering the entire biosphere.

Rationalists can’t help but comment that if the above anatomi­cal and physiological ar­rangements really did originate from God, then God is either a sadist, a practical joker with a sick sense of humor, or needs to go back to design school.  On the other hand, if only natural selection is at work, then all of the above oddities and defects have perfectly natural explanations.

Prominent evolutionary biologist (and theist) Francisco Ayala had this to say regarding these apparent designer defects: “Not only can natural selec­tion account for the ‘design’ of organisms, but also it amounts to blasphemy to attribute it to God’s special action.” Ayala adds: “The defective design of organisms could be attributed to the gods of the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, who fought with one another, made blunders and were clumsy in their endeavors. But, in my view, it is not compatible with a special action by the omnis­cient and omni­potent God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.”[i]


[i] “Arguing For Evolution” by Francisco Ayala, The Science Teacher, February 2000 (vol. 67, no. 2), pp. 30-32. Ayala is in the Department of Ecology and Evol­u­tion, University of California, Irvine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *