Dr. David Menton – What a Difference a Day Makes!

The lyrics of a popular song remind us, “What a difference a day makes—24 little hours.” Nowhere is this observation more profoundly true than in our proper understanding of the Hebrew word for day (yom) which occurs over 2,000 times in the Old Testament. Like our English word “day,” yom can be used to mean an ordinary 24-hour day or an indefinite period of time (such as “in the day of Abraham”). In both English and Hebrew, the intended meaning of “day” is generally obvious by the context in which it is used. For example, in over 100 instances where the phrase “evening and morning” accompany the word yom in the Old Testament (as it does in the days of Creation in Genesis), it always refers to an ordinary 24-hour day. Also, in all the places in Scripture where the word yom is preceded by a number (as it is in the days of Creation), it always means a 24-hour day. Despite these simple and quite obvious rules governing its use, interpretation of the Hebrew word yom in the Creation week of Genesis has become one of the most contested issues among professing Christians and Jews. How could this be, and is it really important?

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Dr. David Menton – Monkeying with the Scopes “Monkey” Trial

There has never been a stranger trial in the history of American jurisprudence than the famous Scopes “monkey trial” that took place in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925. This trial pitted William Jennings Bryan against Clarence Darrow in a classic confrontation over the teaching of evolution and creation in the public schools. Regrettably, much confusion about the important issues raised in this trial has been perpetuated by the frequent production of the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee play Inherit the Wind (and its many film and television versions). Inherit the Wind is clearly based on the Scopes trial, but takes considerable theatrical liberties to portray the trial as a moral triumph of “science” (evolutionism) over Christian “fundamentalism” (creationism).

The gist of the play is that a young biology teacher is jailed and tried by local businessmen and clergy for daring to teach evolution in the high school. Bible-believing Christians, (especially the “fundamentalist” prosecuting attorney) are portrayed as ignorant, mean-spirited, and close-minded hypocrites who seek both legal and divine vengeance against the teacher for his great “crime.” They are opposed by a defense lawyer (a brilliant, broad-minded, and kindly agnostic) who fights courageously to spare the young teacher from this army of ignorance. This is all pretty typical “Hollywood” fare, and would hardly merit our examination were it not for the fact that this scenario has come to be perceived as essentially an historical account of the Scopes trial. The facts show otherwise.

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Dr. David Menton – Species, Speciation, and the Genesis Kind

In his “table talks,” Martin Luther spoke of the Greek scholar Cicero’s proof for the existence of God:

The best argument that there is a God—and it often moved me deeply — is this one that he proves from generation of species; a cow always bears a cow, a horse always bears a horse, etc. No cow gives birth to a horse, no horse gives birth to a cow, no goldfinch produces a siskin. Therefore it is necessary to conclude that there is something that directs everything thus (Luther’s Works, 1967, Fortress Press, p. 423).

As obvious as this principle of “like begets like” is in terms of common experience, a central tenet of Darwinism is that in the course of time, things are very different. Evolutionists seek to account for the origin of all species (past and present) from a single, hypothetical, primordial life-form by means of progressive change and natural selection.

Many think that Darwin solved the problem of speciation (development of new species) with the publication of his book On the Origin of Species. In fact, Darwin didn’t really deal with the subject, much less explain it. This failure to address what was seemingly the central issue of his study stemmed from the fact that Darwin, like many of the other English “transformationists” of his time, did not really recognize the species as a distinct and real category of organisms. Rather, he extrapolated the continuous (but limited) variation he saw among pigeons, finches, dogs, etc., into a limitless and seamless continuum among all organisms.

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Dr. David Menton – The Religion of Nature: Social Darwinism

It has been said that no book, other than the Bible, has had a greater affect on society than Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould wrote that following the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859:

Subsequent arguments for slavery, colonialism, racial differences, class structures, and sex roles would go forth primarily under the banner of science. (The Mismeasure of Man, W.W. Norton and Company, New York, 1981, p. 72)

Darwin himself seemed to approve of the application of his evolutionary ideas to moral and social issues. In a letter to H. Thiel in 1869, Darwin said:

You will really believe how much interested I am in observing that you apply to moral and social questions analogous views to those which I have used in regard to the modification of species. It did not occur to me formerly that my views could be extended to such widely different and most important subjects. (The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, edited by Francis Darwin, D. Appleton and Company, 1896, vol. 2, p. 294).

The feature of Darwinism most often cited by those who attempt to justify their moral and social views with “science” (evolution) is the concept of the “survival of the fittest.” This application of Darwinian dogma to human society and behavior is known as Social Darwinism.

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Dr. David Menton – The Dating Game

Much of the controversy between evolutionists and creationists concerns the age of the earth and its fossils. Evolution, depending as it does on pure chance, requires an immense amount of time to stumble upon anything remotely approaching the integrated complexity we see in even the simplest living things. For over 100 years, geologists have attempted to devise methods for determining the age of the earth that would be consistent with evolutionary dogma. At the time Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published, the earth was “scientifically” determined to be 100 million years old. By 1932, it was found to be 1.6 billion years old. In 1947, geologists firmly established that the earth was 3.4 billion years old. Finally in 1976, they discovered that the earth is “really” 4.6 billion years old. These dates indicate that for 100 years, the age of the earth doubled every 20 years. If this trend were to continue, the earth would be 700 thousand-trillion-trillion-trillion years old by the year 4000 AD. This “prediction,” however, is based on selected data and certain assumptions that might not be true. As we will see, selected data and unprovable assumptions are a problem with all methods for determining the age of the earth, as well as for dating its fossils and rocks. It has all become something of a “dating game” in which only the evolutionarily correct are allowed to play.

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Dr. David Menton – What Do the Fossils Say?

Most evolutionists insist that the occurrence of evolution is an indisputable fact, even if its exact mechanism must remain speculative. Since evolution is believed to occur far too slowly to be discernible in the time frame of human observers, we must examine prehistoric evidence in the fossil record if we are to observe the “fact” of evolution. In his book Historical Geology, evolutionist C.O. Dunbar said:

Fossils provide the only historical, documentary evidence that life has evolved from simpler to more and more complex forms.

But what does the fossil evidence say, and does it really support the evolutionary view of origins—or is it perhaps more consistent with Creation?

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Dr. David Menton – Can Evolution Produce an Eye? Not a Chance!

The human brain consists of approximately 12 billion cells, forming 120 trillion interconnections. The light sensitive retina of the eye (which is really part of the brain) contains over 10 million photoreceptor cells. These cells capture the light pattern formed by the lens and convert it into complex electrical signals, which are then sent to a special area of the brain where they are transformed into the sensation we call vision.

In an article in Byte magazine (April 1985), John Stevens compares the signal processing ability of the cells in the retina with that of the most sophisticated computer designed by man, the Cray supercomputer:

While today’s digital hardware is extremely impressive, it is clear that the human retina’s real time performance goes unchallenged. Actually, to simulate 10 milliseconds (one hundredth of a second) of the complete processing of even a single nerve cell from the retina would require the solution of about 500 simultaneous nonlinear differential equations 100 times and would take at least several minutes of processing time on a Cray supercomputer. Keeping in mind that there are 10 million or more such cells interacting with each other in complex ways, it would take a minimum of 100 years of Cray time to simulate what takes place in your eye many times every second.

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Dr. David Menton – Natural Selection and Macroevolution

Darwin’s only observable evidence for “evolution in action” was the great variation that occurs within species of animals and plants under domestication. Darwin, who knew nothing of genetics, assumed that there was virtually no limit to this variation among the individuals of a species, though any breeder could have told him otherwise. In the first edition of his book On the Origin of Species, Darwin said that he had no difficulty imagining a race of bears entering the water to catch fish and then slowly developing wider mouths, shorter legs, and longer tails, until they evolved by chance into the great whales. Thus, Darwin extrapolated the observable but limited variation that occurs among the individuals of a species, into the unobservable evolution of fundamentally new animals.

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Dr. David Menton – The Human Tail and Other Tales of Evolution

In the May 20, 1982, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Fred Ledley, M.D. presented a clinical case report titled “Evolution and the Human Tail.” Ledley’s report concerned a baby born with a two-inch long fleshy growth on its back, bearing a superficial resemblance to a tail. Ledley strongly implied that this growth (called a caudal appendage) was essentially a “human tail,” though he admitted that it had virtually none of the distinctive biological characteristics of a tail!

All true tails have bones in them that are a posterior extension of the vertebral column. Also, all true tails have muscles associated with their vertebrae, which permit some movement of the tail. Ledley conceded that there has never been a single documented case of an animal tail lacking these distinctive features, nor has there been a single case of a human caudal appendage having any of these features. In fact, the caudal appendage Ledley described is merely a fatty outgrowth of skin that wasn’t located in the right place on the back to be a tail! Still, Ledley saw his caudal appendage as providing compelling proof for the evolution of man from our monkey-like ancestors. He said that

even those of us who are familiar with the literature that defined our place in nature (Darwinism)—are rarely confronted with the relation between human beings and their primitive ancestors on a daily basis. The caudal appendage brings this reality to the fore and makes it tangible and inescapable.

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Dr. David Menton – If We Resemble Apes, Does That Mean We Evolved from Apes?

Anyone who has ever watched the monkeys and apes at a zoo couldn’t help but notice their resemblance to humans. By comparison, the bears in the zoo are not nearly as similar to humans as are the apes. Still, bears are warm-blooded mammals and thus are more similar to humans than are cold-blooded reptiles like the alligators. Alligators, however, do have legs and true lungs and thus are more similar to humans than are the fish. But even fish have bony vertebrae and thus are more similar to human than are the insects. And even insects are made up of many specialized cells and thus are more similar to humans than are the bacteria. Finally, all living things, including bacteria, have basically the same type of molecules that appear to be essential for life itself and share a common genetic code mechanism for their reproduction.

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