Exploring the God Question is a set of three DVDs titled 1. The Cosmos;1 2. Life and Evolution; and 3. Mind and Consciousness, each in 2 Parts.2 Various atheist and theist speakers give their personal opinions (mostly without offering any evidence) on God, life and evolution, with evolution regarded as a given by all the scientists (except lone Biblical-creationist Professor3 Andy McIntosh). Consequently this DVD presents a huge promotion of evolution. The contributors are colour-coded as atheists, theists and neutral to help viewers know which side the various speakers are actually on, as otherwise it is not always clear!
Early on, the Narrator states: “For atheists there appears to be no better weapon to derail belief in God than evolution.”
Atheist Prof. David Sloan Wilson (Dept of Biology and Anthropology, Binghamton University, New York) backs this up with the rhetorical question: “Do atheists need evolution?” which he then answers: “Yes! Yes! Yes! The very conception of God has been muscled off the scientific playing field.” There’s nothing new about this, of course; atheist William B. Provine has said: “Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented.”4
The Narrator continues: “Some members of the Christian community also believe that evolution is hostile to God and for that reason oppose it.” One of these is Andy McIntosh (Professor of Thermodynamics and Combustion Theory, University of Leeds, UK). He is author of Genesis for Today: the relevance of the Creation/Evolution debate to today’s society, which argues for the complete accuracy of Genesis and the Bible, and in which he says it is foolish even to try to attempt to marry evolutionary views with Genesis by theistic evolution.5 He has also written:
Narrator: “But a significant number of high-profile scientists reject the idea that they must choose between evolution and God.” And in the rest of the DVD we see the extraordinary situation of various theists (selected by the Producer to participate) propounding arguments in support of the theory that viewers have just been told is the atheists’ best weapon to derail belief in God. For example, according to theist
However, the only way anyone can hold these views is by denying what God has said in the Bible, because the evolutionary view they advocate is totally contradicted by everything God specifically says He did, in Genesis chapters 1–11. See:
Narrator: “Charles Darwin is arguably the most controversial figure in the science-religion debate. In this Programme we [i.e. in the DVD] ask: ‘How has Darwin become the cornerstone of atheism?’”
James Moore (Darwin’s biographer) tells viewers that at the University of Cambridge Darwin had “an all-round gentlemen’s education so that he would be an adornment to parish society.” Moore could have added that as part of his studies, Darwin read and admired William Paley’s renowned argument that just as a watch needs a watchmaker, so design in the universe needs a Designer.7,8 But, reneging on his declared admiration of Paley, Darwin spent most of the rest of his life attempting to explain design in nature without the need for any Creator.
Darwin had two mentors at Cambridge, one of whom viewers are introduced to in the DVD, John Henslow (Professor of Botany),9 who encouraged Darwin to take the position of gentleman naturalist to accompany Captain Robert FitzRoy aboard H.M.S. Beagle. He also recommended that Darwin take with him the first volume of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology (1830). It was this book that gave Darwin the unlimited time he needed for his theory of evolution. See:
The Narrator tells viewers:
The DVD Producer should have checked with Darwin’s biographer, Moore, because the truth is substantially different. Moore wrote:
In all, he [Darwin] shot six types of finches from three islands, and his samples from two of these were mixed together. … he had tagged his specimens in a desultory manner and had rarely bothered to label by island. It had not seemed important.10
He remained confused by the Galápagos finches, believing that they fed indiscriminately together, unaware of the importance of their different beaks. Come to that, he still had trouble identifying the species, or their locations; and he still thought that his collection contained finches, wrens, ‘Grossbeaks’, and ‘Icteruses’ (blackbird-relatives). He had no sense of a single, closely related group becoming specialized and adapted to different environmental niches. The birds did not seem that important when he donated them to the Zoological Society, rather badly labelled, on the 4th [January 1837].11
The expert he turned them over to was the ornithologist, artist, and taxidermist John Gould who quickly realized that Darwin’s Galápagos birds were all finches. Even then this fact meant nothing to Darwin. His only mention of them is in his 1845 Journal of the voyage of the Beagle. 12 He does not refer to the Galápagos finches by name even once in any of the six editions of his Origin of Species.13
Moore also wrote:
Nevertheless, the Narrator announces:
First, the ‘fixity of species’ view was actually an unbiblical theory championed by Darwin’s mentor Charles Lyell. Creationists, even before then, had recognized that the biblical Creation/Flood/Dispersion history entailed much variation within the kinds.
Second, if these finches are now paraded as evidence for evolution, as in this DVD, what did they evolve from? Which fossil reptilian creature was their ancestor? If no evolutionist can say, how can they then be evidence for anything other than that finches vary, and that they eat the diet most appropriate to their beak shape? See:
The DVD refers to evolution as “Darwin’s theory”. This overlooks the fact that, for Darwin, evolutionary theory was quite a ‘family affair’; he also built on the views of many others, particularly Lamarck. See:
So what did Darwin himself actually contribute? Surprisingly, the DVD does not quote a single full sentence from any edition of Darwin’s Origin.17 Viewers should not be surprised at this omission. Darwin wrote the first edition in a great hurry to forestall Alfred Russel Wallace getting the credit for what he considered to be ‘his’ theory (see Alfred Russel Wallace), and then spent the next 13 years revising and correcting what was a literary monument to indecision, uncertainty, and obfuscation. Consider:
a) Thousands of changes
Researcher Morse Peckham compared the six editions of the Origin and wrote:
Another researcher, Barbara Bordalejo, counted a total of 15,000 changes in words and phrases in all sentences.19 Many changes dealt with counter-arguments raised by others, and in the new Chapter VII, Miscellaneous Objections, in the 6th edition (1872), Darwin mostly addressed George Jackson Mivart’s many contra arguments (1871).
b) Hundreds of equivocations
Far from being a definitive work, the Origin is saturated with conjecture. In the final 1876 printing20 of the 1872 sixth edition, Darwin employed the word “may” 642 times, “if” 493 times, “might” 203 times, “probable” or “probably” 182 times, “tend” or “tendency” 153 times, “suppose(d)” 141 times, “perhaps” 63 times, “no doubt” 58 times, and so on.21 “I believe” occurs 58 times, and “I think” 43 times; down from 97 and 81 times respectively in the 1st edition, because Darwin’s correspondents complained!19
Here’s a sample of Darwin-speak from p. 100 of his 6th Edition: “variations in a single species inhabiting an isolated station might be beneficial, and thus the whole mass of individuals might be modified, or two distinct forms might arise.” (Emphases added.) But equally, they might not … might not … might not. Darwinian conjecture does not constitute scientific evidence.
c) No actual evidence of anything
In Chapter 4 on Natural Selection, under the heading: “Illustrations of the Action of Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest”, Darwin wrote: “In order to make it clear how, as I believe, natural selection acts, I must beg permission to give one or two imaginary illustrations.” 22 (His words, emphasis added.) Why “imaginary illustrations”? Well, when you can’t cite a single real-life example of natural selection producing anything new, the only resources left are imaginary ones!
The first of these is about wolves chasing their prey. Darwin wrote:
Actually, the facts about wolves are substantially different, as Sir David Attenborough has demonstrated in several of his nature-study TV films. Wolves prefer to hunt in packs rather than singly, and whatever their prey group is, they don’t choose the strongest and fleetest individual to attack but the weakest and slowest, which may be injured or sick or old or a juvenile.
So, not only could Darwin not produce a single real-life example of natural selection producing anything, even this imaginary case was contrary to the facts. The Origin is all speculation, ad hoc assumptions, and special pleading. See:
d) Lots of problems
There are some things that Darwin does discuss in the Origin, such as the problems, to which he devotes three chapters in the 6th Edition. The best-known of these is probably the eye. 23 We only mention it here to show the guile of his ‘solution’. First he attempts to disarm his readers by claiming that it seems to be a huge problem, then he gives an imaginary scenario.
His solution was to begin with “an optic nerve, surrounded by pigment cells and covered by translucent skin, but without any lens or other refractive body”, and then to say: “… when we bear in mind how small the number of living forms must be in comparison with those which have become extinct, the difficulty ceases to be very great in believing that natural selection may have converted the simple apparatus of an optic nerve, coated with pigment and invested by transparent membrane, into an optical instrument as perfect as is possessed by any member of the Articulate Class.” 23
This is hardly a conscientious answer as to how his basic starting components for an eye arose from non-components (i.e. no optic nerve, no pigment cells, and no transparent membrane) in the first place. In reality, he doesn’t start from simplicity, but must presuppose the enormous complexity of the most rudimentary light sensing equipment. See:
Another major problem for Darwin was the absence of transitional fossils in the geological record. His solution was to blame “the extreme imperfection of the fossil record” and to say that soft-bodied animals would not be preserved. However, today, over 155 years later, the needed transitional forms are still missing, and many soft-bodied creatures have been found as fossils, such as jellyfish. See Hundreds of jellyfish fossils!
So in summary of this section, we suggest that it is no wonder the DVD avoids giving any quotations from Darwin’s Origin; presumably the Producer couldn’t find anything to quote that was legitimate evidence of anything! In the DVD, Prof. Carol Cleland (University of Colorado, Boulder) with great gusto calls Darwin “the Newton of biology”; however, we suggest that, if one of her students were to plagiarize any section of the Origin and hand it in to her as his own work for an assignment, her first reaction might well be to mark it F for Failure. How could anyone today read any chapter of the Origin and still want to call him/her/self a Darwinist? (See also Would Darwin be a Darwinist today?)
The DVD makes it clear that Darwinism is an atheistic theory, as the Narrator says: “In Darwinian evolution, no creature can will itself those features it needs for survival. It must rely on random biological changes taking place; then natural selection can go to work.”
Indeed, Darwin in a letter to Charles Lyell in 1859 specifically says: “I would give absolutely nothing for theory of nat. selection, if it require miraculous additions at any one stage of descent.”24 And in the same letter, Darwin also wrote: “I entirely reject as in my judgment quite unnecessary any subsequent additions ‘of new powers, & attributes & forces’; or of any ‘principle of improvement’ … . If I were convinced that I required such additions to the theory of natural selection, I would reject it as rubbish.”24
This view against the Biblical Creator God was something Darwin held for the rest of his life. To a correspondent, Frederick McDermott, who in 1880 wrote asking him about his beliefs, Darwin responded: “I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.”25 See:
It is true, as the DVD says, that Darwin left speaking in defence of his ideas to others, and in particular to biologist and agnostic Thomas H. Huxley. The DVD mentions the oral clash between Huxley (aka Darwin’s Bulldog) and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce (son of the leading anti-slavery abolitionist William) at Oxford University on 30th June 1860. Much misinformation has been written on this subject over the years, so here is an account of what really happened based on a paper in The Historical Journal: What did Wilberforce really say to “Darwin’s Bulldog”?
Sadly, much of the Anglican Church (Church of England), both then and now, has put more credence in Darwin’s Origin of Species than it has in God’s Word, the Holy Bible. See:
In the DVD segment on fossils, viewers are shown stromatolite fossils in the rocks near Loch Torridon, Scotland, which the DVD describes as “evidence of the earliest forms of life to have existed on earth … little dark bubbles which are of course cells [he means colonies] living, in this case, on a beach 3.4 billion years ago”. Martin Brasier (Prof. of Paleobiology) tells viewers: “The further back in time we go, the smaller and simpler the organisms get.”
Stromatolites are regarded as the remains of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) that have united to form colonies. They are found alive today, virtually unchanged! It stretches credulity to breaking point to believe that the alleged 3.4 billion years of mutations have not affected them in a more visible way. According to neo-Darwinism, the simpler the creature the faster its evolution should be. Stromatolites have been found alive on opposite sides of the world today, in Australia and the Bahamas, so (if evolution is a fact) they should have been subjected to serious environmental changes throughout geologic time, including the evolution of consumers—all the more reason for evolution. Yet it did not happen.26 See: Controversial claim for earliest life on earth.
The Cambrian explosion
Viewers are then introduced to the so-called Cambrian explosion, which Prof. Andrew Parker (Research Leader, Natural History Museum, London) calls “the big bang of evolution, where all the different groups of animals which were previously soft bodied suddenly evolved their hard parts”. Geologist Wayne Ranney adds: “The animals suddenly—within a matter of just 10 or 20 million years—developed eyes [Darwin would have dearly liked to have known how, but Ranney doesn’t disclose the secret], developed appendages, developed mouths, and internal organs.”
The truth of the matter is substantially different. The fact that all the major animal groups appear abruptly without any known transitional forms preceding them, and have remained the same ever since (or until their extinction), is a massive problem for evolutionists. It shouts “NO EVOLUTION!”, and it is sheer spin to try to turn what is such a huge problem for evolutionists into alleged evidence for evolution. CMI’s Dr Jonathan Sarfati writes: “when geologists say life appeared suddenly during the Cambrian explosion without transitional forms, they’re making a backhand admission of the paucity of transitional fossils.”27 And: “Furthermore, no new phyla have appeared since, i.e. no new major body plans (according to evolutionary dating). Jeffrey Levinton, Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the State University of New York, calls this evolution’s ‘deepest paradox’28.”29 Note: ‘paradox’ is evolution-speak for ‘fatal problem’.
The alleged Cambrian explosion is not an argument that God did it, but that evolution is not true. God says how He created the earth and everything in it, in Genesis 1, and it wasn’t over millions or billions of years, but in one week. He created the fish and the birds on Day 5, and the land animals and the first two humans on Day 6 of Creation Week, which (according to the Bible’s chronological data) was about 6,000 years ago. The fossils contained in the world’s rocks do not “provide a biography of life, showing relentless progress from simple to more complex forms”, as claimed in the DVD. Rather, they show the order of deposition by the worldwide Flood of Noah’s day, described in some detail in Genesis chapters 6–9. See:
Prof. Ken Miller tells viewers: “The interesting thing is that 150 years of palaeontology, since the publication of Origin of Species has given us scores if not hundreds of transitional forms.” Despite this grandiose claim, he did not reveal even a single one.
However, the DVD does offer one example, Acanthostega, that the Narrator says: “appears to show species in transition”, and “the fins of this creature are believed to have developed into limbs which eventually allowed creatures to move onto land”.
However, the feet of Acanthostega had eight digits, so it must have lost some, not gained any, to form the common ‘pentadactyl’ pattern of five digits on the feet (or hands) of many amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals today. This is important, because many evolutionists point to the pentadactyl homology as evidence of evolving from a common ancestor with five digits, but their main candidates for this ancestor don’t have five digits!
Cambridge University palaeontologist Prof. Jennifer Clack, who unearthed the remains of the Acanthostega specimen shown, in Greenland, tells viewers: “The one that I’ve worked on shows combinations of fish-like characters and characters of things which now have legs so they have fingers and toes but they are not like any of those that you see around today.” So what’s the connection? See:
The DVD says that Acanthostega is dated at 360 million years old (Ma by evolutionary reckoning), but this is younger than the previously claimed transitional fossil, Tiktaalik roseae (375 Ma), although Tiktaalik is more fish-like. But even more deadly to these transitional claims are fossil footprints found in Poland dated by evolutionists at 397 Ma. In other words, land animals existed before their supposed transitions, according to the evolutionists’ own story. See:
Next, viewers are introduced to Dr Stephen Meyer (Intelligent Design Theorist), as “one of many scientists who argue that the very complexity of living things shows direct evidence of intelligent design”. Yes, indeed. But curiously he does not say Who he thinks the Intelligent Designer might be. Nor does fellow ID-speaker and theorist Dr William Dembski.
Dembski says: “The idea that Intelligent Design theorists reject evolution as a package is simply incorrect.” And Meyer says: “The theory of intelligent design is not challenging the idea that all organisms have evolved from a common ancestor.” So if they should say the Designer is the God of the Bible, they would then need to affirm what the God of the Bible has actually said in the Bible. I.e., not just how God says He created (in Genesis 1), which was not through any evolutionary process. But also, referring to Jesus Christ, the Personal Word of God, the written Word of God says: “All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3). So the Designer is the Second Person of the Trinity, the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ.
DNA is considered next in the DVD, with various speakers discussing it and mutations. Atheists are not able to say how it developed, but claim that, because different species share large amounts of DNA, this shows all species (including us) have a common origin. For our response to these matters, see
We call the attention of viewers of this DVD to four facts:
Here are some words from God for those who claim to speak on behalf of God in this DVD and yet attribute the atheistic doctrine of evolution to the mind of God:
“You have not spoken of me what is right” (Job 42:7–8).
“Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:6).
“Should you help the wicked and love [or form an alliance with] those who hate the Lord?” (2 Chronicles 19:2).