by Dr. Esther Ho/ 一心譯
During the 19th century, some thought that the behaviour of animals could cause evolution. They used this theory to explain how giraffes came about: originally, they were deer with short necks, eating grass. When the grass was not enough for all the deer, they would compete, and those who got grass survived. Some deer found that if they ate tree leaves, they did not need to vie for grass. The deer that ate the leaves on the tree were fitter for survival; consequently, they had more opportunities to breed. “Use it or lose it” - the deer often stretched their necks to eat the leaves on the tree, and the more they stretched, the longer the necks would grow. It was similar to weight-lifting: the more often we exercise, the more prominent our muscles would become. The deer that had longer necks then had more opportunities to give birth to long-necked baby deer. The long-necked baby deer were more competitive for survival than other deer, hence had more opportunities to use their necks and live to reproductive age. And their offspring grew even longer necks. As a result, each generation of deer developed longer necks, and after many generations, became giraffes.
You might think this sounds funny, but more than a hundred years ago, there was indeed this kind of theory. It was not completely strange; we did observe some phenomena like this. If we stretch our necks daily, would our necks become longer? The answer is yes. Are the children from long-necked parents more likely to have long necks? The answer is also yes. But the truth is not so simple. The two right answers do not necessarily form a right answer when they are connected together.
There is an indigenous tribe in southwest China that favour long-necked women. They will put brass rings on girls’ necks from childhood. As their necks become longer, more brass rings will be added. Eventually, the adult women will have elongated necks. But what about the daughters born to them? Do they have particularly long necks? The answer is no. Their daughters’ necks are as long as other ordinary girls. If they wish to have long necks, they still will need to add brass coils on their necks.
We Chinese had a similar experience. For several hundred years (some say a thousand years), some regions in China considered small feet to be attractive. They would bind the feet of girls starting from when they were about four years old. This is a fact known to all; some of our own grandmothers or great-grandmothers still have bound feet. Foot-binding had been practiced for almost a thousand years: one would think that with each generation, the girls’ feet should have become smaller and smaller, but in reality it was not so.
Let me give you an even clearer example: if a young person cut off his pinky finger, would his child lack a pinky from birth? Of course not!
On the other hand, we know that the children of tall parents are generally taller, and the children of short parents are generally shorter. The children of darker-skin parents are generally darker. We call this phenomenon “genetics”. Organisms -- animals and plants -- are formed from cells. Every cell contains genes, which determine what the organism is – a human being, cow, dog, fruit, or perennial. As a matter of fact, the characteristics of these organisms are determined by genes. For example, a human cell nucleus contains 23 pairs of chromosomes. Almost all genes are on the chromosomes. We know that chromosomes are very complicated. Even today, there are still a lot of unknowns in the area of genetics, but we know that the characteristics of an organism are determined by the genes on the chromosomes. For this reason, the characteristics of one generation can be passed onto the next generation, since the succeeding generation inherited the genes from the previous generation. If a certain characteristic is not carried by a gene, it will not be passed along to the next generation.
Going back to the giraffe example, its long neck is not due to the frequent neck-stretching of its ancestor. The giraffe’s ancestor is also a giraffe. The offspring born to a giraffe is also long-necked. If giraffes had short-necked ancestors, then even if their necks were stretched, the offspring would still be short-necked. Furthermore, giraffes are not merely deer with elongated necks. Imagine stretching a deer’s neck to as long as a giraffe’s neck, can it live better than other deer? With such a long neck, how far is the distance between its brain and its heart? When a giraffe stands up, its neck is a lot higher than its heart. If a deer only developed an elongated neck, but its heart didn’t change, it would definitely faint. The heart would not be able to pump blood to the brain. Then when it drinks water, it must bend down -- would its blood then flush down to the brain, causing a brain aneurysm?
So we can see that giraffe’s long neck could not simply have been stretched. Its heart, neck, and whole body need to work together in order for it to survive. That’s why giraffes are giraffes, not just deer with elongated necks.
How about the long-necked women in southwest region of China? They are still human, not some other kind. Their genes are human genes, not “long-necked human” genes. Hence, their long necks are not hereditary. Because the children do not have the long-necked genes, they will not receive such genetic data and grow long necks. In reality, under x-ray, we see that it is not that the necks of the women are lengthened, but that their collar bones are compressed!
As far as foot-binding is concerned, everybody knows that it is inhumane. Foot-binding used external force to hinder the normal development of the feet. It distorted and broke the bones, resulting in a disability. This suffering was forcibly imposed on little girls when they were still unable to choose for themselves. My mother-in-law was born in the end of Qing Dynasty. Her feet were once bound, but because she cried so miserably due to the great pain, her father, who was considered more progressive than most, gave up. Her foot-binding wraps were then loosened, but still, her feet were permanently injured, and she was slightly disabled for the rest of her life.
My grandmother was born before the twentieth century, but her feet were healthy. The last time that I saw her, she was in her 90’s, and mobile (she lived until 96 years old). Her feet were not bound; why? My grandmother was an orphan; it was said that all her family died from a plague. The little girl was adopted by American missionaries in China. These Christians knew foot-binding was against God’s original design. God’s design is the best, so they did not bind my grandmother’s feet according to the Chinese custom at the time. God created men and women according to His image, so the Christians did not regard boys as superior to girls, nor did they adhere to the contemporary belief that, “it is a virtue for a woman to have no skills”. They let her go to school, and she became a teacher. (Later, she studied medicine and became a western doctor.)
Having a Creator God makes a big difference in one’s life! In the matter of foot-binding, who knows how many women suffered all of their lives! The people who bound the girls’ feet were not devious, but ignorant. They did not mean to torture the girls; they thought they were doing a good thing for them. According to the custom at the time, if a girl had large feet, she could not be married to a “good” family. “Good” probably meant riches and status. Therefore, they thought they were doing something good for the sake of the girl’s future!
This is why the Creator God does not want us to act on our own and set our own standard – determining good and bad according to our own will. We did not create man and the universe, nor do we know the truth of the universe. We do not know what is good, and what is evil. We should obey God’s standard of good and evil. Whatever He tells us, we should obey and not act on our own.
After the Creator God made everything, His conclusion was that it was “good”, “very good”. If the words of the Bible are reliable, then the scientific facts should agree with this statement that creation was “very good”. This means that everything, including genes, were very good when they were originally created. There should not have been any genetic diseases or unhealthy genes.
This means that any mutations in genes should only cause deterioration, not improvement. Regrettably, after the very-good creation was completed, the Bible describes the spread of corruption. Corruption is caused by man’s self-assertion, self-centeredness, and selfishness: setting our own standard, deciding good and evil for ourselves, and not following the standard of good and evil as set by the Creator. Because of this, all creation is subject to corruption. If the Bible is trustworthy, then we should see evidence of this deterioration in our scientific observations.
History cannot be repeated; we are unable to witness the original creation again. But we are able to observe current phenomena, and they indicate deterioration. The scientific facts show deterioration. If the Theory of Evolution were reliable, we should have observed continual improvement as scientific fact. Do our observations support the Bible or Evolution?