(This was originally my reply to an internet discussion about the claims made by Lee Strobel in “A Case for a Creator”, where he interviews supposed experts and uses several examples to “debunk” evolution, such as Haeckle’s Embryos and the Archeopteryx. I decided to modify it into a blog post since it was almost that long anyways lol.)
I was a creationist for most of my life, it was a very serious interest of mine because I am incredibly passionate about truth and facts. I strongly supported Kent Hovind, Ken Ham and others like them, I loved Answer in Genesis and I had a big binder full of what I thought was proof against evolution, including the exact examples mentioned in “A Case for a Creator” (my copy of that book was dog-eared and highlighted).
Until I actually studied evolution from a non-creationist source.
When I started being open enough to question things, I started questioning creationism too. I was shocked at what I found- and then I got angry. I felt utterly betrayed.
Creationism had grossly misrepresented evolution to me, in some cases drastically. I was led to believe that there was significant scientific opposition to evolution, even though there isn’t. I was told that there wasn’t sufficient fossil evidence for evolution, when in fact there are thousands of fossils and biological links that prove evolution beyond any reasonable doubt. Even if the Archeopteryx was debunked, which is isn’t, it wouldn’t change the other mountains of evidence for evolution in the fossil record, biology, genetics, and so much more. I was told to ask questions that makes no sense, like why we still have monkeys if we evolved from them (we didn’t evolve from them, we had a common ancestor).
Scientists debate the details, as they do in every branch of accepted science, but there is no real scientific debate on whether evolution itself is a fact or not.
Scientists use evolutionary biology every single day to understand how viruses evolve and change so they can treat it. Without understanding evolution, we would not have vaccines and cures for many diseases. That’s why we have to get a new flu shot every year, because the virus is constantly evolving. Scientists have figured out evolution so well that they can predict evolutionary patterns in the fossil record, which has been confirmed over and over again by fossils we discover.
Here are some sources about the basics of evolution:
Excellent 10 minute description of evolution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdddbYILel0
Great youtube series on the basics of evolution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85diEXbJBIk&list=PL0201355430A94385
Evolotion 101: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_01
Answers to Creationist arguments: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/15-answers-to-creationist/
Creationist sources tend to rely on fundamental misunderstandings of evolution and by ignoring the scientific rebuttals to their criticisms. Lee Strobel’s book is a perfect example of this.
There are some major problems with Strobel’s book, A Case for a Creator. For one, he uses Haeckle’s Embryo’s as an example of evolutionary proof even though they were debunked as frauds long ago. No scientist uses that as evidence to prove evolution, there’s plenty of accurate information without needing to use forgeries. So why do Strobel and other creationists specifically use an example that evolutionary scientists today don’t even accept as factual or relevant? It’s incredibly misleading and dishonest. It’s cherry picked to make evolution look unreliable. This alone should call Strobel’s journalistic credibility and competency into question. No truly unbiased author would use such a bad example of evolutionary proof unless he either didn’t understand evolution or was grasping at straws to debunk it and was willing to blur the lines a little.
Another problem with his book is his very biased choice of “experts” to interview.
“And in order to obtain the “hard facts of mathematics” and the “cold data of cosmology,” Strobel interviewed Dr. Craig, who doesn’t even have an undergraduate degree in mathematics or cosmology! Dr. Craig’s credentials are purely in theology and philosophy. While Dr. Craig is indeed qualified to publish on related topics, such as the philosophy of science, he is not among the first people one should approach with questions about mathematics and cosmology–unless one already has an underlying agenda.” http://pleiotropy.fieldofscience.com/2009/02/strobels-case-for-creator.html#sthash.XfHUYuiu.dpuf
“Strobel is frankly misleading about his experts’ qualifications. While spending paragraphs touting each of his interviewees’ “doctorate-level” educations, he fails to point out that most of them do not have doctorates in the fields dealing with the issues on which they were interviewed. Rather, most of them have doctorates in philosophy or theology, and perhaps undergraduate degrees in a related science. Strobel clearly meant to insinuate that he picked doctorate-level experts in the fields dealing with the issues they were interviewed about; but, with a few exceptions, this is not the case. This does not bode well for his claim of standing “in the shoes of the skeptic.” Further, the opinions expressed by his experts are minority opinions in their fields. Of course, minority opinions can and do become majority opinions. But if you are conducting an investigation concerning a particular field of study, you don’t simply interview those with minority opinions and treat their opinions as representative of that field. This provides further evidence that Strobel’s pretense of playing the skeptic is a complete farce.” http://infidels.org/library/modern/paul_doland/creator.html
As for the other examples in Strobel’s book, scientists have debunked those issues many times. I could go into details, but I encourage you to research those claims for yourself.
I strongly encourage you to study science from scientific sources.