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Dr D J Batten (Creation Ministeries International) and Shofar – Creationist talk on campus  @psychohistorian.org

Dr D J Batten (Creation Ministeries International) and Shofar – Creationist talk on campus

posted: 4464 days ago, on Friday, 2008 Mar 14 at 01:46
tags: creationism, Shofar, Maties, CMI, science and religion, Stellenbosch.

On 2008 March 05, Dr D J Batten gave a public lecture at the University of Stellenbosch, hosted by the fundamentalist Christian sect Shofar. What follows is an accurate transcript of the talk. In a separate article, I've analyzed the speaker's rhetorical strategy. But first, a few photos:

(top, left) Audience. (top, right) Mr Sias le Roux (Shofar).
(bottom, left) Hugo van der Merwe asking a pointed question.
(bottom, right) Dr Michael Jarvis.


Key to the table:
{ } description of non-verbal events, actions
[ ] time stamp, minutes:seconds, from audio recording.
< > word unclear, sounds like…


00:23Mr Sias le Roux (Shofar)It's my privilege to welcome um Dr Batten his and let me just share a little bit about his background, he's worked for 20 years as a plant scientist with prestigious research organization in Australia, he's been the author and co-author of a number of research articles in peer-reviewed science journals, and he's joined CMI, that's Creation Ministeries International, in Brisbane, Australia, in 1994, and he's since then spoken around the world uhm in lots of uhm just talks and showing the errors in evolutionary ideas he was taught, and so its important that we just please be respectful today there will be a question time question and answer time afterwards we will exactly explain to you how that's gonna happen um as soon as he's finished we'll ask you to please come to the front and stand in that isle or that isle over there and just raise your question over the microphone and then there obviously lots of people need to leave for class as well um but after that there will also be <…> for individual questions so let us put our hands together for Dr Batten, thank you very much for coming {applause}
01:39Dr D. J. Batten (CMI)OK, its good to be with you, first of all congratulations for winning the world cup in rugby.. {laughter} uh, see Ozzies aren't sore losers … {laughter} we won't mention the cricket of course… {laughter}
01:59 Well, lets first of all define evolution. Because lots.. some people like to narrow the meaning of evolution to just meaning "change" and of course things do change so therefore evolution is a fact. That's known as equivocation, which is a trick used in debating. But what we're talking about here is the idea that everything made itself, without a creator, the big picture of evolution, that there is no need for a creator, because we can explain how the whole universe, the world, life on earth, and everything just made itself by natural processes. Its like the evolutionist Julian Huxley said, uh, he was head of UNESCO for many years,
"in evolutionary pattern of thought, there is no longer even need or room for the supernatural. The earth was not created, it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and soul, as well as brain and body. So did religion."
Well, I'm not going to deal with cosmic evolution, or the evolution of the earth. Being a biologist, I'm going to talk about biological evolution. The basic idea is there that life made itself, from chemicals that made themselves, from the Big Bang when Earth cooled down enough for water to form, and then things like uh microbes formed, and then complex, much more complex organisms like worms formed, and then worms changed into all all the more complex types of living things on Earth, as Simon Conway Morris says: "Once we were worms".
03:30 In fact, if you um look at this big picture, it means elephants and mice had a common ancestor, and they say that um all these creatures and plants and everything just made themselves of a natural process over aeons of time, if you trace the ancestors of elephants and mice, back through the fossil record, supposedly you will find their ancestors, a common ancestor of the two, and not only that, if you go back a bit further you find a common ancestor with us, and <..> back further, you find a common ancestor with bananas, and all the way back to microbes that made themselves uh on the Earth. And so the fossils are supposed to show this process, but in fact they don't.
04:16 As Stephen Jay Gould, a famous evolutionist, said, that, uh, the fact that the fossils don't show evolution, is a trade secret of palaeontology, the study of fossils. If you go uh to the British Museum of Natural History, there is a palaeontologist there, by the name of Dr Collin Patterson, and he he wrote a book about evolution, but in that book he didn't have any examples, like pictures or illustrations, of transitional fossils, of something becoming something else, and he was asked about that, and he replied and said
"I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book, if I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them. Yet Gould and the American museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils. I will lay it on the line: there is not one such fossil for which one could make a water-tight argument."
Well there are a handful that get an airing at University, to convince students that evolution is true. But the big picture is that they are missing. And the ones that have an airing now, in 20 years time, will fall of their perch and will be replaced by some other conjectural transitional fossil.
05:36 Let me show you what happens. This is actually a dinosaur family tree from the Chicago Field Field Museum of Natural History, and we have the dinosaur family tree there. And uh we have all these different types of dinosaurs, uh sauropods, and uh tyrannosaurs and so on, and birds, birds are in there, what are they doing there? Well, of course the latest hypothesis is that dinosaurs evolved into birds, and birds are just a feathered dinosaur. The only problem with that is that archeopteryx, which is a real bird, according to evolutionary dating, actually precedes by a long shot any of its supposed ancestors that are being portrayed in the museums and in popular treatments around the world.
But a good scientific question to ask about this is, what is the evidence? Is that a scientific question? What's the evidence, for this, the family tree for dinosaurs? Well, here's the fossil evidence for this family tree. In fact, here's the fossil evidence in museums around the world for all the different tips of the branches. Things like sauropods, 287 fossils represented there, tyrannosaurs, 78 fossils, uh when we look at the common ancestors in the rest of the family tree, though, how many fossils represent that? {audience laughter} None, absolutely none. And that's the picture for all the family trees, in fact, there are fossils for the tips of the branches, but not for the supposed family tree. In fact, this is an exercise in story telling, imagination, and uh, in fact its part of what's called historical science and uh so uh this is part of historical science, where you have a fossil in the present, and you make up a story about the past, trying to explain how the fossils got in the present. Now, this story about the past is a story, its not a fact, but they're taught in science classes as if its a fact. The stories are always stories. In fact, the stories are driven by the belief system of the person telling the story. <..> I have the same facts, so I can determine a different story to explain the facts we have in the present.
This contrasts with operational science, or experimental science, where we can do experiments on things directly. So you can do experiments on the fossil in the present, do all sorts of measurements and tests and things, and uh what not, but you can't do an experiment on the past. That's a story about the past. And its acceptability is determined by its plausibility, and whether it fits with the world view of the predominant numbers of palaeontologists, and the world view of most palaeontologists is, there is no god, to be accountable to, god didn't create things, everything everything made themselves, evolution is a fact. So that is the framework within which the fossils are interpreted. Operational science, now if I said to you water starts to boil at 110 degrees Celsius at sea level, of course y ou all know that is incorrect. But is it scientific? I submit to you it is scientific to say such a thing. It is incorrect but it is scientific because but you can do an experiment to check it. That's what makes it scientific. There is no experiment you can do to check an age of dinosaur 65 million years ago. Someone says oh but you can radioactive date things, no you can't, because all those dating techniques rely on assumptions about the past that you cannot prove are true.
All systems that deal with the past, depend on assumptions that you cannot prove are true. That includes any system. It doesn't matter which system y ou are talking about. This historical science is actually day-dreaming about the past, based on evidence we have in the present. Its not the same as the technology and the wonderful inventions and discoveries of modern science, that tells us how to cure cancer and different things like that.
In fact, one of the palaeontologists said this, Dr Wilfred Wolpof, a well known palaeo-anthropologist,
"I believe a philosophical framework is not something that can be eliminated in order to provide objectivity. In my view, objectivity does not exist in science. Even in the act of gathering data, decisions about what data to record, and what to ignore, reflect the philosophical framework of the scientist"
and he speaks as a palaeontologist, someone dealing with historical science. {comments about outside noise}
This this really isn't that important in experimental science, it doesn't matter if you're an , or or post-modernist or whatever, water still boils at 100 degrees Celsius at sea-level. So, ah, of course if you're post-modernist believe that science is a construct of the western mind-set, maybe you don't worry about doing experiments, and maybe if you're a real true eastern mystic, who believes that the universe and the world around us, is just a figment of our imagination, some sort of illusion, you wouldn't bother doing experiments on it either. So, in fact that's one of the reasons science developed in a Christian framework, not in another framework.
11:13 Well what about biology, we got a lot of a lot of biological science is experimental science, but there's a whole element of it that's historical science, that's the whole evolutionary idea that everything made itself over millions of years. But what about real biology? Living things that we studied, and things that I've studied? Is there design or evidence that they are made by an intelligent designer? Or is the evidence consistent that they are made by uh natural processes?
Well, Richard Dawkins says, that uhm
"biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having being designed for a purpose."
Well, Richard Dawkins has written several books, quite a few books, trying to explain away the design that we see, try and explain how natural processes could produce things that look like they were designed.
But perhaps a good scientific approach would be to suggest, that because they look like they were designed, maybe they were designed. Maybe we don't shouldn't be trying to explain away design, but recognize it and deal with it.
Well, what do we mean by design? Intelligent design concept is that life is too complex to have arisen by natural processes, and the evidence demands the involvement of intelligence. Well, were told that science can't deal with intelligent design, that its outside of science, its religion. But in fact, where is suits scientists, scientists are ready to recognize design. For example, in forensic science, we find somebody with strychnine in their stomach, it didn't happen by chance, somebody is responsible, an unseen intelligent agent was responsible for the strychnine being in a persons food or drink. So consequently we recognize an unseen intelligent agent. You can't do experiments on the intelligent agent, but you can see the effects of the intelligent agent. You see, when it suits scientists, they are willing to recognize intelligent agents.
13:21 Another example is archaeology, where you find these axe heads here, and we say, well, they're not the sort of thing that would happen because a stream rumbling rocks along the bottom of the stream. That would demand intelligent agent. Somebody did it. An unseen intelligent agent was responsible for this. Now, if we're kooky, we might suggest that they are Little Green Men. But most archaeologists would suggest that they are humans who did this. No ape would be expected to do it. Humans did it. In the past, some humans were involved in creating these axe-heads.
<..> the SETI program, listening in outer space for a signal on the radios beams, which says this comes from an intelligent source. If science can't detect intelligence, or <..> intelligent source, or something which results from intelligence, how would you ever know that the radio signal from outer space came from an intelligent source. What is it about things that indicate that intelligent source?
14:22 Look at DNA for example. A tiny little pinhead full of DNA. It's an information storage system like we can only dream about. In fact, that pinhead full of DNA, if you stored books on that DNA, which you could do, it would take that pile of books, from here to the moon, over 240 times, would fit in a pinhead full of DNA. And if you bring it up to date with CDs, you're looking at pile of CDs 18 hundred km high would fit into a pinhead full of DNA.
Where did DNA come from? Oh it just made itself in a warm pond on Earth {audience laughter}.
Well, think about this, with the SETI program. A simple message on a radio signal would indicate an intelligent source, it wouldn't take too much, just like something SOS or something like that, something which couldn't be explained by natural process.
Well, what about the information on the DNA? Surely that speaks of much much more int uh incredible intelligent source.
Look at these ah mountains here (slide of Mount Rushmore, USA), you know, I look at that, and I say, look at what the rain and the wind and millions of years have created {audience laughter}. Well, of course not. But what is it about those rocks, those mountains, that specifies its intelligent design? The rocks actually specify something that is actually not possible for the matter itself to create. It stands for something, is stands for something, I'll get back to this in a few minutes, the concept of intelligent design.
But Darwin said, that, if <..> something existed, if it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly be formed by numerous successive slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down, he said, I can find no such case. Then following on from him, famous evolutionist from the last century, one of the formulators of the modern theory of evolution, J B S Haldane, acknowledged that various mechanisms such as the wheel and the magnet, would not arise by natural processes, because they wouldn't, ah, they wouldn't be any use until they're fairly perfect.
The idea of evolution is that a lucky accident can create a little bit of functionality and a little bit of information, and then uh natural selection selects it, ah, or just by chance, by genetic drift, it happens to get fixed in the population, but it gets fixed there, and then another little lucky accident adds another little tiny bit more, you know, its preposterous to suggest that a whole swag of information that codes for muscle, for example, or bones, or something, to come into being just like that, so there has to be some series or sequence of lucky little accidents that add up to complexity. And J B S Haldane recognized that a wheel or a magnet wouldn't arise by this process, because they'd have to have, well for example, if you had the spoke arise.. if the spoke arose, just the spoke, you wouldn't have uh any functionality, you need a full wheel, the whole thing has to be present.
Well in fact magnets have been found in living things, and wheels have been found in living things, in fact incredibly complex wheels, like the bacterial flagellum, uh, a rotary motor like, uh, we can only dream about duplicating in terms of its miniaturization and efficiency, and uh this is incredible, about 30 different protein components make it. There are other rotary motors, bacteria have, some bacteria, have this one, but there's another one, ATP synthase. And ATP synthase is in all living things, and its a rotary motor, and its spinning around inside you right now. In fact I know that your motor is working fine because if it wasn't you'd be dead, and I see most of you look rather alive {audience chuckle}. Now this this ATP synthase is made up of proteins, its opened up so you can see the action in the middle, and its 10 nanometers across, and you can't imagine what a nanometer is, neither can I, but if I tell you that 100 thousand of these motors could sit side by side in a millimeter, you starting to get a concept of how small this is.
Now, those of you who are not scientists, I'm just going to give a brief explanation of how these components are made [19:00] … [19:47] and generates ATP, which is the energy currency of all living things, from bacteria to humans. Now indications are, that in fact the first life had to have this functioning right at the start. Because if you're going to actually manufacture proteins, you need ATP; if you're going to copy DNA you need ATP; if you're gonna blink your eyelid, move your muscle, you need ATP. But the first living thing had to have this, along with a whole suite of other complex biochemical pathways.
Now its actually preposterous to suggest such a thing could make itself, by natural processes, step by step or any other way. It had to go "boomp", its already there.
A Japanese scientist suggested this was a rotary motor and he was scoffed at by the establishment, the scientific establishment. Why was he scoffed at? Because they said it couldn't evolve. A rotary motor couldn't evolve, therefore its not a rotary motor. This is why I believe evolution is actually anti-science.
20:47 In fact, evolutionists also said, years ago, that no more than 1 or 2 percent of the human DNA could be functional, because even with their best possible scenarios, the best possible assumptions, they couldn't account for more than 1 or 2 percent of the functional DNA. So <198> 98 or 99 percent of the human DNA must be junk.
And this was believed for many years, and impeded the understanding of this so-called junk DNA. Well, when people started investigating cancer and various genetic diseases and so on, have started to find that mutations in the so-called junk actually cause disease. And little bit by little bit, people started to realize that the junk wasn't junk after all, and bit by bit, more and more of it started to realize, more and more people started to realize that it wasn't junk.
In fact, a big project, called the encode project, published ah a lot in the last six months, shows that 90 percent of the so-called junk DNA is functional. So what's this say about the evolutionary reasoning that said it's junk? In fact, evolution is anti-science.
22:03 Going back earlier, we had 150 uhm so-called vestigial organs, left-overs of evolution. Yeah, you probably heard in biology class that your tonsils are a left-over of evolution, or your appendix is a left-over of evolution. This is absolute rubbish. It doesn't even fit an evolutionary pattern. But this is the idea… they had 150 organs which were supposed to be left-overs of evolution, and that impeded research into what they did. Things like the thymus gland, when.. oh, you don't need this, we'll take it out, the person died, woops, its important. {laughter}22:44
Well also have not only linear motors but oh sorry not only rotary motors but linear motors. This is kinesin, this is on the Harvard Medical School website, and you can look up the Inner Life of the Cell animation, its about six minutes the full one, go and watch it, and ask yourself, is this something that you expect to rise arise by natural processes, or does this speak of intelligent design? In fact, this is made up of about 300 amino acids and it walks along road networks inside your cells, made of microtubules. This needs one ATP ah molecule for each step, and each step is 8 nanometres. So its 125 thousand steps for a millimetre. It drags this big bag behind it. What's the bag? It's a bag of proteins. That bag of proteins is assembled in the Golgi apparatus. When I was a student, an undergraduate student at <..> University Golgi apparatus no one had any idea what it did, it was just this sort of funny folds in the cell when you looked at it under <..> under a electron microscope. But in fact, Golgi apparatus assembles these bags of proteins and puts a label on them which says take this to a particular destination. This guys like the postman doing a delivery, or a stevedore. And all this just made itself by natural processes.
Folks, it defies logic. It defies logic. How did this come about by some step-wise process, to use a pun. It had to be all functional for it to be working. And it had to run the right run the right direction. I mean, if its sortof woops I'm going the wrong direction it's not gonna help much, is it?
So, in fact when you look at living cells, you find that func function after function after function requires whole suites of proteins, enzymes, all working together. You take one part of it out, it doesn't work. There's no step-wise process by which you can get one of the proteins, let alone all of them, working together. Things like ah apoptosis, by which you get fingers uh in the embryo. You form a plate, and then apoptosis, death of the cells in-between the fingers, results in the fingers being separate, toes begin separate. But apoptosis is also involved in avoiding cancer, when cells go haywire, our bodies, normal bodies, have a way of detecting they gone haywire and they self-destruct. They send up a flag and say, I'm out of control, get rid of me {laughter} And uh and the killer T-cells, and all that incredible complex uh immune system, that actually keeps us healthy, if you have mutations, in one of the several different uh systems involved there, you can end up getting cancer. Cancer is an indication, in fact, that you have something wrong with your systems which eradicate cancer.
Uh, blood clotting, a whole suite of different things required. Protein synthesis, incredibly complex, about a 100 different proteins, enzymes, involved in manufacturing proteins. Cell division itself, requires incredible suite, just mind boggling, numbers of things involved. And of course reproduction, the simplest cell is not simple. Its far more complex than the most complex machine mankind has ever made.
Sometimes, there's candour amongst uh evolutionary scientists, about the difficulties in explaining these things. Just sometimes. Very rarely at university undergraduate courses, because they're interested in making you making sure you believe the status quo, generally speaking. Of course, university is supposed to be about critical thinking skills and questioning and things like that, but in fact if you question, in most courses, you get marked down, not rewarded, specially if you question the materialistic status quo.
But here's a statement by Franklin Harold, The Way of the Cell, he's an evolutionist, and he said
"we should reject as a matter of principle, the substitution of intelligent design, for the dialoge of chance and necessity, evolution. We must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations."
But we are told at university that evolution is a fact. That only an idiot, an uneducated idiot, like a creationist, like Dr Batten, would think otherwise.
27:20 Here's another statement, Scott Todd, Kansas State University.
"Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic."
Who decided that science can only speak of naturalistic things? The atheist decided that, that's who.
Well, we see there's plenty of evidence that scientists <..> accept design where it suits them. But what about biology? Uh-uh. Not allowed to have design. No intelligence allowed in biology. No, no, never. Why? Because the intelligent designer for biology must be super natural. Not just a human. Not just a little green men. But someone far beyond our capacity is involved in <…> the designing of life, its incredibly complicated, incredibly complex.
So science, what is it? Is science the search for naturalistic explanations, or is it the search for logical explanations? I would suggest that a creationist, someone who believes there is a creator, actually has a much more open mind than a materialist. Because we are allowed to follow the data wherever it leads. If it leads to the idea there is an intelligent designer behind something, we can recognize that. If it says that natural natural things are responsible for it, we can recognize that. But an atheist can only allow there to be natural processes. Its a closed mind, in fact.
28:58 I want to show you why evolution is an impossible process. Here we have a bacterium, and if your going to specify a bacterium, you'd need about one book of information written on the DNA to specify a bacterium, a simplest bacterium, very complex coded information but about one book of information.
But if your going to change a microbe into say a horse or a human, you have to add stacks of information. A horse, how much, well, perhaps a thousand books. Humans? I'll mention that in a minute.
What do I mean by information, though? Information specifies something.You see, you look at a pile of sand, and that's complex. If you're going to describe that uh pile of sand in detail, it would take an enormous amount of information in the sense of describing the shape and uh position of every sand grain. Now that is complexity. But its not specified complexity, because it doesn't say anything, it doesn't specify anything, it doesn't stand for anything. There's nothing about the pile of sand which which suggests that its other than a natural thing. Except that its a cone, that might suggest that somebody was responsible for pouring it out <..> in a heap. But other than that, it doesn't say much at all.
But if you look at a silicon chip, which you make from sand, and you look at the pattern on a computer chip, there's something about that specifies something which is not intrinsic to silicon. Silicon doesn't arrange itself into that pattern. It has to be imposed upon it by intelligence. It stands for something which is actually over and above the silicon.
30:49 You think about language for example. And I know its probably most of you speak Afrikaans I'm afraid my knowledge of Afrikaans is fairly limited. But let's stick to English.
"She has an automobile" has 21 letters in English, including the spaces. And in Shannon information, which evolutionists like to talk about like Ri-Richard Dawkins, that's 85 bits and but the specificity or meaning of this sentence is fairly low because and but its even lower if we randomise the letters, So we randomise the letters, we still have 21 letters, we still have 85 bits of Shannon information, but zero specificity, because it means nothings.
We can go further and say, "She has a red automobile." Now we've actually added a bit of specificity, haven't we? Not just an automobile, but it's a red one. So we've increased the specificity, higher specificity, higher meaning, uh Shannon information now 97, well it's gone up, so it's the right direction, the number of letters is 24. So the evolutionists have argued, there you are, see Shannon information measures information.
Shannon information, by the way, is it was devised a concept devised to determine uh what was the minimum number of bits required to transmit information electronically. That's the idea. And uh but if you look at this, "She has a red Porsche" – who'd like to own a red Porsche? Ah, the're only a few, uhm, you have 21 letters, same as up here, but you have a lot more information, because you specified its red and you specified which what sort of automobile, so its the highest amount of information, but its still the same Shannon information. See, Shannon doesn't measure actual specificity of complex complex information at all, of specified complexity.
And "She has a car" that's actually less letters than here, 13, less Shannon information, but it actually is the same amount of information as the first sentence here. So in fact Shannon information doesn't measure information, so don't let people fool you with that.
What we're talking about is specificity, the more specificity, the more information there is. Well, how much information in the human DNA because the human DNA DNA specifies the order of the amino acids on the proteins. And not only that, it specifies the sequence of events during embryo development, and much else that we're yet to discover. We have the equivalent by the way information is independent of the carrier or the medium, so you can write information on paper, you can write it in CD, you can write it on a flash drive, there are all sorts of ways in which you can store information, it's independent of the medium. Like you can take the DNA information, you can store it electronically, you can store it in books, uh, its information, independent of the medium, there's nothing about the DNA that assembles itself into information, its independent of the DNA, uh the chemistry of it.
33:51 Uhm, How much information in a human? We're talking about a thousand books, a wonderful achievement of modern science to decode the human DNA. Well how do we get from one book in a bacterium, to a thousand books in a human? Well they say the mutations created all the new information. What are they? They're copying mistakes when you copy the information from one generation to the next. Now you'd expect copying mistakes to actually wreck the information, that's what they do. In fact, here's an example of a mutant, a TNR mutant, this is very technical, for you art students, its "totally naked rooster" {laughter} A mutation in the information to make the feathers results in a rooster that can't make feathers. Now mutations are good at doing that sort of stuff. In fact there's a whole there's a website devoted to the mutations that cause human disease. There are over ten thousand mutations that are known to cause human disease, things like cystic fibrosis, and haemophilia, and stacks of others. Mutations cause disease. They wreck the information. Now, evolution doesn't need mutations to wreck things, it needs mutations to create things, to add 999 books of information to a bacterium to make it into a human. But mutations don't create that sort of information, they wreck it. Sometimes, they are beneficial, but they wreck the information.
You know, if you got a mutation that put feathers on reptiles, which is supposed to have happened in the past, that would be impressive evidence for evolution. But you don't find those sorts of mutations.
In fact, Carl Sagan, who was an evolutionist until he died, said,
"mutations occur at random and are almost uniformly harmful – it is rare that a precision machine is improved by a random change in the instructions for making it."
Yet, he was an atheist, so he had to believe that evolution worked.
35:57 Dr Lee Spetner, was a information bio a bioinformatics expert, that's on how to store all the biological information and deal with it, and he studied at Johns Hopkins University, he said
"All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not increase it…"
It's going in the wrong direction. You can get dogs with mutations which create all sorts of varieties but they are mutant dogs. You can get mutant bacteria which are antibiotic resistance, for example, but its due to loss of control in enzymes production, its due to a loss of a cell <..> transport function. Or its due to transfer of DNA from other species that already have it.
36:45 What about natural selection? Does it help? Well, natural selection doesn't create any information, it just sorts it out.
But let's have a look at this. Uh, we have these two friendly looking wolves here, dogs, bears, whatever you like {laughter} but uh these little red things here represent the genes, the pair of genes, that determine hair length. So I've drawn them here with uh one .. one here produces long hair, this one produces short hair, of course they look nothing like this but it makes it easier to understand. Uh and uh of course with recombination, which evolutionists often say helps evolution, uh you can get uhm different combinations of these genes, up to 20 thousands pairs of genes, but only a couple of pair perhaps determine hair length, and this one here says make long hair, .. make short hair, if you're a geneticist these are co-dominant, if you're not a geneticist I didn't say anything {laughter} and so we get a combination of a short-haired gene and a short-haired gene, from mum and dad, and you get shorter hair than the parents. Now Darwin saw that sort of variation and thought that was evolution in action, because you had something present here that's not present in the parents. New information – wonderful! But in fact, Mendel, the creationist, geneticist, showed that in fact the genes were already present in the parents, there's no new information involved. So Darwin was confused by that. And then you can get genes just like mum and dad, the same combination as mum and dad, which gives you medium length hair. And then you can take the two long-haired genes can get together and you get a longer-haired wolf {laughter} And then of course you get ice age where <…> at high latitude and cold air you're better adapted with long hair, the ones with the short and medium length hair get killed off in the cold and so then we only we're only left with the long haired wolves and they can reproduce and they can only produce long-haired offspring and you have a variety of wolf, or a species of wolf, which is adapted to cold conditions. But you lost the gene for short hair. In fact, natural selection gets rids of genes. So mutations destroy the information, and natural selection destroys the information. They're the two heroes of the plot.
39:05 Somebody will say, what about genetic drift? Well, genetic drift is a lot of hand-waiving, uh, based on probabilities. But it doesn't explain the origin of complex biological information. Genetic drift can be a factor in small populations, but the trouble is with small populations is the probability of getting any mutations to do the right thing are even less than a big population, if you got a big population then you increase the chances of getting a mutation that does the right thing, then genetic drift doesn't work. So, uh, there's a bit of a problem for the whole scenario.
Uh, so, we get lots of genes. So you get varieties of people, varieties of frogs, horses, things, but you don't get things changing one into the other. Its just like the Bible says, in Genesis chapter 1, god made different kinds of things to reproduce after their kind. So as George Gable Miklos, uh an evolutionist said,
"We can go on examining natural variation at all levels … as well as hypothesising about speciation events in bed bugs, bears and brachiopods until the planet reaches oblivion, but we still only end up with bed bugs, brachiopods and bears. None of these body plans will transform into rotifers, roundworms or rhynchocoels."
Whatever rhynchocoels are, you might say.
40:19 It's like this. The evolutionary story is there's a big tree, going back to a common ancestor of all living things that made itself in a warm pond on Earth or by some other mechanism. And in biology classes they caricature what creationists believe by saying, 'We believe that God created everything just as you see it today back in the beginning", which is a lie.
So you've got this creationist <..> caricature idea, um, but in fact creationist biologists believe that God created different basic kinds of animals and plants which are capable of adapting to different environments, and so you have variation within a kind, you have speciation within a basic kind. The kind is usually at the level of family. And so studies of mutations, natural selection, and things, work well at that level. But go beyond that, they don't work.
Well, someone says, well, given enough time, anything's possible? That's the usual argument, isn't it? Probably running out of time for doing all that because I want to leave some time for some questions, um, the um, but let's let me just show you quickly, um, how much time would you like, 14 billion years? If there are 10^80 atoms in the universe, how many experiments are possible?
Well lets assume every atom is an experiment. Is that enough experiments for you? Every atom in the universe is an experiment, over every millisecond of 14 billion years, is that enough experiments? Of course, that's totally unrealistic, there can't be that many, but just just for the sake of the exercise, given enough time, anything is possible.
OK, that's, if you want to check that maths, and you'll have to use logs unless your calculator does powers to power of a 100, 4.4 x 10^100 experiments, that's a few experiments. OK, look at one protein by chance. One average protein, say 300 amino acids, which is probably understating it but lets say 300, assume there are only 20 amino acids present, 20 different ones, actually stacks of them, hundreds of them, but only 20 different ones available, which is impossible to get by natural processes, but let's humour the evolutionary story by assuming they only had 20 different ones, and the right ones there, assume they are all optically pure, which you can't get by natural processes without enzymes, we don't yet have enzymes remember. Assume they amine bonds without enzymes which they won't, but lets make all these assumptions favourable for formation of one protein. How many possibilities are there? 10 to the power of 390. How many experiments do we have? 10 to the power of 100. We're a long way short of having any possibility of getting even one protein, even with that wholly unrealistic scenario. Folks, it is the height of wishful thinking to suggest that natural processes produced any protein, let alone life, let alone the complexity of life that we see in the world today. You can talk about whatever evolutionary process you like. Natural processes will not produce the incredible information we see in living things.
43:34 I would submit, this. People say, how can you be a scientist and be a Christian? I would say, how can you be a scientist and not be a Christian.
In fact, look at this vase of flowers. No-one would suggest that the vase made itself, but we are told that the flowers in the vase, which are far more complex, did.
Dja.. The Bible says in Romans chapter 1 verse 20, for the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, that is god, being understood by the things that are made, in his eternal power and godhead, so they, that is we, are without excuse.
Why don't people accept that? Because it requires if god owns us, if god made us, he owns us, if god owns us, we're accountable to him and therefore, we cannot possibly accept that there is a creator.
In fact, C S Lewis said…, this, C S Lewis was an atheist who became a Christian, and he said this, he said
"Does the whole vast structure of modern naturalism which permeates our University environment depend not on positive evidence, but simply on an a priori metaphysical prejudice? Was it devised not to get facts in, get in facts, but to keep out god?"
I'll leave it open to questions.
45:15Mr Sias le Roux (Shofar)Thank you, any any questions, if you need to leave, quickly leave, but there's lots of people, lets start from this side
45:24Dr Michael JarvisThanks, thanks very much, as as a zoologist, actually, whose a believing Christian, I don't have any problem with the facts you presented, what I'd just like to say is that, um, the creationists that I've come across tend to suggest that the interpretation of the Bible, and Christian theology, has to be one, specific, interpretation based on these facts. As I say, the facts I have no problem with, but in search of truth, I would like to ask you the question, Sir, and everybody else, that, um, I've written a book, called "God by Evolution" based on the Bible, uh full acceptance of the Bible, and I would really ask you as Christians who want to know how to answer non Christians, to look up the web page, its called godbyevolution dot com, godbyevolution dot com, and I would ask you Sir to please read it, because, as I say I don't disagree with any of your facts, I am a trained zoologist from Cape Town University, I am a believing Christian if you like, I claim to be a born-again Christian, I claimed to be filled with the holy spirit, so we have a common basis there, but please do, as Christians you're seeking truth and answers to those who do not believe, look up godbyevolution dot com, please do.
46:39Mr Sias le Roux (Shofar)Thank you, we just allow for questions, not for advertising, but would you please answer the gentleman.
46:46Dr D. J. Batten (CMI)Yeah, uh, I only have 50 minutes here and I can only deal with so much, and uh all the other talks Ive been giving around uh the churches and things around Cape Town, I've been dealing with exactly what you're talking about, frankly Sir, while I respect what you've said, I don't believe its possible to marry the Bible with an evolutionary scenario about the origins of things, or its time scale, or anything, and I'll tell you why, you said you're born again, I guess that means you believe Jesus died for your sins. Well the New Testament says that Jesus is the last Adam, first Corinthians chapter 15, and the last Adam came to undo the work of the first Adam. The first Adam brought death into the world, and the last Adam brings life because he took upon himself that curse of death upon himself up on the cross. If the first Adam is some sort of metaphor, which you have to say if the evolutionary scenario is correct, then the last Adam has no need to die for us. It's a fundamental problem with any marriage of evolution with the Bible. Ah, there's a book up there on the table, "Fifteen reasons to take Genesis as history" which I assume you don't
47:55Dr Michael JarvisI do
46:56Dr D. J. Batten (CMI)You take Genesis as history? So says, evening morning one day, there's evening morning second day, evening morning third day, they're not days
47:55Dr Michael Jarvis<..> interpretation of days <..>
48:04Dr D. J. Batten (CMI)I'm sorry, there's no interpretation involved, because when you have an evening and a morning, a number, you have a day, an ordinary day, a long period of time doesn't have an evening and a morning, does it?
48:15Dr Michael Jarvis<..> I'd love actually love to have a debate with you
48:18Dr D. J. Batten (CMI)I'd love to have a debate to, but that'd be another time. … I'm actually aware of your website
48:25Dr Michael Jarvis…hundred percent I accept the Bible, I accept what you said, the science there, but the two theories, and it's a major stumbling block…
48:33Mr Sias le Roux (Shofar)OK, can we just, sorry, we're not here to argue today, we're here to ask questions, next question please, anybody who'd like to ask a question, please everybody's open to thinking and asking questions, but we're not here to argue today, thank you
48:56Hugo van der MerweThe way I understand the evolutionary perspective, uh, before original sin, there was no death, right?
49:02Dr D. J. Batten (CMI)The evolutionary perspective?
49:04Hugo van der MerweSorry, the creationist perspective.
49:06Dr D. J. Batten (CMI)Yeah, that's right, yeah.
49:08Hugo van der MerweSo I'm just, uh, the lions and tyrannosaurus rex, and that kind of thing, ate plants, something along those lines. I'm just curious if you really believe, that, uh, <..> what things died, what things didn't? Because if the animals eat plants, and the plants are dieing, so, where do you draw the line between what dies and what doesn't die.
49:31Dr D. J. Batten (CMI)The Bible talks about life, this is if you like sentient life, conscious life, and plants aren't do not have that conscious life, or that sentient life, so there's a clear demarcation between plants and other life. But, uhm, in terms of, uhm, where you draw the line, that can be debated.
50:02unidentified maleI just want to know about, uh, someone asked me about, uh, where does different races come from in the world.
50:09Dr D. J. Batten (CMI)Good question. Uhm, in fact its interesting that uhm evolutionary ideas actually, uhm, gave impetus to racism .. and not to suggest that racism didn't exist before evolution, no-one would suggest that, but Stephan Gould, who was who was an evolutionist, said
biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1850 but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory.
Of course that found its uh ultimate uh outworking in Hitler's uhm white white <..> white supremacy ideas, which you can read about Richard Weikart professor of history at California State University but I'll leave you to look up that for yourself.
But where do races come from is a good question. You know, we all have the same skin colour. You know that? No no no you got black and white and that sort of.. No, we all in fact have the same skin colour which is called melanin. Its a brown pigment and if you have a lot of it, you're black, if you don't have much of it, you're a pale face like me, if you got a moderate amount, you're in the middle somewhere. Its the same colour, same pigment. So people major on this issue of skin colour, but skin colour as somebody said, is skin deep.
And genetically speaking actually if you can take the DNA of a sort of a black African and a sort of a Scandinavian like a like a blonde blue-eyed Norwegian and you gave it to a molecular biologist, and said, tell me which race it belonged to, they couldn't actually tell you with certainty which race they belonged to from the <..> from the biology, from the molecular biology. They could give you a probability but they couldn't actually def definitely say which race they came from.
And this is <..> this is actually consistent with the Biblical history that we are actually all descendents of Noah and his family not that long ago. But if we'd been separated by hundred thousands of years or something then you'd expect I think bigger differences between so-called races. But um the racial differences are trivial.
We have a um situation in Australia where a Australian aborigine Aboriginal man received a kidney transplant from a while fellow and the doctors never blinked an eyelid about the idea of a tissue match because none of the uh none of the Aboriginal man's close relatives had any tissue match for him, they didn't have a tissue match for a kidney transplant, but his good mate, from the war days, they were in the Korean War together, actually was a good tissue match so he donated a kidney to his black friend. So, uh, this is just a demonstration of how similar we are biologically and how little difference there is between so-called races.
52:55Mr Sias le Roux (Shofar)Lets give chance for two more questions, enigiemand wat vrae het?
53:03unidentified female #1Uhm, I'm not very knowledgeable on any of these topics, but I've always wondered, uhm, God created the dinosaurs, right?
53:10Dr D. J. Batten (CMI)Yup
53:11unidentified female #1Why did he?
53:20Dr D. J. Batten (CMI)Sorry? Why did he create the dinosaurs? {laughs, audience laughter} So you think dinosaurs are all horrible creatures and you wouldn't
53:24unidentified female #1I just wondered why?
53:26Dr D. J. Batten (CMI)Yeah uhm of course, there's about fifty different basic kinds of dinosaurs and most of them aren't like T. Rex, most of them are quite benign, um, in fact they range in size from Psitticasaurus which you can sit on your shoulder through to uh huge herbivores like uh Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus and so on, so uh, in fact I think that they they would reveal the glory of god I mean look at the huge animals, some of the huge ones particularly, and uh speak about in fact there's a description of an animal in Job chapter 40 which is one of the oldest uh books in the Bible, of an animal called called uh Behemoth and the description there of Behemoth sounds like Apatosaurus, or Brachiosaurus, or one of those huge dinosaurs. And if that was the case, uhm, that would be uh incredible, you know, like looking at this you'd say wow isn't the creator of this incredible, you know, the power of this animal, look at the power of the creator. So uhm, so this is .. you look at a whole spectrum of things, you looking at things revealing different aspects of god's glory. You look at the carnivory and dog-eat-dog thing, and uh, that this something that I believe arose with Adam and Eve's sin, when they rebelled against god, then the paradise that existed then was spoiled. And that's the perspective I believe the Bible teaches. Romans chapter 8 talks about the whole creation's in bondage to decay, because of the rebellion of mankind against god.
54:54,unidentified female #1OK, but there was no, uhm, there weren't people alive when the dinosaurs were around.
55:00Dr D. J. Batten (CMI)OK, so there weren't people around when dinosaurs were around. That's the usual story, you see, and that's the idea that 65 million years ago dinosaurs died out, and <..> this is a story about the past. I could speak for an hour about dinosaurs, but some of the evidence, historical evidence, that people have seen dinosaurs, but in the past they are called dragons. And um, for example, <..> take too much time, come and see me afterwards I'll show you a picture of a relief on a Buddhist temple in Cambodia, for example, which is clearly a stegosaurus. And these people, other than, this is 12 hundred AD, uh this was uh constructed, and other than suggesting that they had palaeontologists back then who uh dug up stegosaur bones and worked out what this thing looked like, uh you'd have to say people actually saw a saw a stegosaurus. And there's much other evidence, history like that, that people have seen dinosaurs. So the idea of Fred Flintstone isn't so far wrong.
55:58 And by the way, the scientific evidence of uhm, like for example you get T. Rex bones with blood cells in them, soft tissue, all sorts of stuff like that, and the people looking at them marvel at how they can be millions of years old and you can still see these things, like Dr Mary Schweitzer (see Fields 2006). And of course, uh, you can say, well, uh, if they weren't that old, it would be much easier to understand how those things could still have blood cells and soft tissue and things like that still in them.
56:22 Most of dinosaur bones are not actually hard, mineralised, they're actually still bone.
56:28Mr Sias le Roux (Shofar)OK I think we're gonna call it a day there, we just wanna give your attention to the Creation magazine…
56:35Dr D. J. Batten (CMI)Sorry yes sorry on the back of Creation magazine <..> you can have a look at it the table, a picture from the the uhm Buddhist temple of the stegosaurus, yeah, and uh check out the table there's two things I'd like to mention, there's three things, one is a brochure there, 'Do you know the difference between natural selection and evolution', there's a question at the back there, 'Do you know the difference between natural selection and evolution', a little free brochure, there's also a book, uh, 'Refuting evolution', it's not a very thick book, but very logical, uh, have a look at that, and uh, also, the 'Creation Answers' book, which answers a lot of these questions about dinosaurs, and where do bad things come from, all that sort of stuff.
57:11Mr Sias le Roux (Shofar)<..> just allow some time afterwards if you want to ask some personal questions, there lots of books and information, and please go to their website Creation Ministeries International dot com, and um please go and search there go and look at all these questions and answers, there's lots of stuff, and its important that you ask the questions uhm, go to the website, its wonderful, I'd want to encourage you to do that, and um there it is, creation on the web dot com. And if there any other questions, lets just give a final just applause for Dr Batten for coming all the way from Australia… Kyk bietjie na die boeke daar op die tafel, kom vra vrae hier voor.


  1. Dinosaur Shocker by H. Fields. Smithsonian Magazine, May 2006. Retrieved 2008 March 14 from

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