Could Life Have Started Without God?

The origin of life is one of the huge questions that scientists must wrestle with.  If the course of nature is an unguided, random process, then life must have arisen spontaneously from non-life without the agency of an intelligence.

So what explanation does science give for the origin of life?  Our discussion must begin with the Miller-Urey Experiments.

In 1953, scientists Stanley Miller and Harold Urey filled a flask with methane, ammonia, hydrogen, and water.  Miller ran an electric current through a closed system containing these gases.  The electric current represented lightning, which may have been quite common on earth’s surface long ago.

The results?  Several different amino acids were found in the products.  This is significant because a variety of amino acids are absolutely essential for life.  They are necessary for the formation of proteins, which along with DNA and RNA, are present in all life forms.

So, we could present the findings this way: “scientists have proven that the essential building blocks of life can be created through natural means.”

Not so fast.  As it turns out, Miller filled his flask with a very unrealistic mixture of gases.  Analysis of ancient rocks indicates that earth’s atmosphere never had anywhere near Miller’s levels of hydrogen or hydrogen-rich gases such as methane.  What if we used a realistic mixture of mostly carbon dioxide and nitrogen gases similar to earth’s actual early atmosphere?  This article in Discover Magazine puts it lightly: “you’d have a hard time finding amino acids in the resulting brew.”

Also, there may have initially been a lot of lightning on earth’s surface, but nothing like the constant supply of electricity that Miller subjected his concoction to.

So it is conceivable that some amino acids resulted from the composition and state of earth’s early atmosphere.  But how close are amino acids to life?  Actually, amino acids are rather unexciting and simple compared to life.  We have already discovered about 90 of them in existence, of which 19 are found on earth.  The rest are out there in space.  So… apparently the presence of amino acids alone doesn’t do much to get a life cycle started.

Here is an illustration that depicts some of these acids.

amino acids

The article linked above cites scientists admitting that “amino acids are old hat and are a million miles from life.”

That’s because amino acids are like tiny little building blocks that must be put together in complex and elegant ways to make the essential elements of life known as proteins.  They also can’t give us DNA or RNA, which are also absolutely essential for life.  We would need nucleic acids for that which are even harder to come by.

But let’s humor the supporters of abiogenesis (spontaneous life from non-life) for a minute.  Let’s say that despite incredible odds and by means mysterious to us, we could get all of the amino acids and nucleic acids that we needed.

Then we would have a pile of acids sitting around doing nothing.

That’s because amino acids don’t spontaneously bond to each other and build themselves into proteins.  This is what a protein looks life, conceptualized in three different ways for your convenience.

Protein

In order to build proteins out of amino acids, you need the environment present inside a cell, complete with some very specific information encoded in RNA, and ribosomes.  A ribosome is a “large and complex molecular machine” made of two subunits that look like this:

ribosome large subunit

Bur ribosomes themselves are built from proteins and RNA.  This creates a “chicken or the egg” scenario in which ribosomes are needed to create proteins but proteins are needed to build ribosomes.

Furthermore, the instructions necessary for the creation of proteins by ribosomes are in RNA.  But nucleic acids don’t spontaneously build into DNA and RNA.  And if they did, they would be doing so randomly, not in a way that encoded them with the complex and beautiful information necessary to direct the life processes of a cell.

So lets review.  It is conceivable that amino acids could have resulted from the conditions in our early atmosphere.  One way to present that statement is this: “we can get the essential building blocks of life from nature without God.”

But what about explaining the creation of enough amino acids and nucleic acids of various kinds, and then explaining their formation into proteins, and the formation of those proteins into ribosomes, and the very presence of the specific information present in DNA and RNA?  And how did all of these pieces build themselves into a cell with a cell wall, a cytoplasm, and at least one chromosome, among other things?  After all, the instructions in DNA teach a cell how to grow and reproduce as a closed-system, not how to build itself from a bunch of pieces that are laying around like a man picking himself up by his own bootstraps.

simple cell

Even when scientists take a simple, self-contained cell with all of these pieces already in it, and pop it, they cannot coax it to come alive again.  Though all of the pieces are there in forms full of the complexity and information that they cannot explain, they still cannot convince the pieces to spontaneously begin cooperating with each other in the form of a cell.  And remember that all life is built from cells.

When science claims to understand how the “essential building blocks of life” could have arisen without God, don’t be ignorant about the very limited scope and implications of that claim.

Additional sources:

http://people.chem.duke.edu/~jds/cruise_chem/Exobiology/miller.html

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The Media: What Effect is it Having on our Minds?

Media

The contemporary world is one absolutely saturated with media.  If you are reading this article then you are in fact currently consuming public media.  It seems that in almost every pocket, living room, bedroom, bar, and classroom in the modern world there is a piece of technology that connects us to the media.  By “the media” I mean simply the public broadcast of rhetorical or entertaining material.

There is really no historical precedent for this level of media saturation.  Historical peoples have had circuses, gladiators, theater, the opera.  But these pastimes were not available 24/7, on demand, on private devices.  More recent generations had the newspaper, then then the awe-inspiring radio.  But even these were not attended to for hours each day, in living color, or produced as part of an enormous, multi-billion dollar industry.

I’d like to give a scientific, a philosophical, and a Biblical principle to help us understand how to feel about these strange times.

Science: Mirror Neurons

Mirror neurons were not discovered until the early 1990’s, but they have incredible implications concerning our social behavior.  Scientists have discovered that when we observe behavior performed by someone else, our own brain activity mirrors that of the actual participant.

This is what can make video-based media so engrossing.  When we see someone smile, our own brains behave as though we were smiling.  When we see someone using a hammer, our own brains behave as though we were using a hammer.

When we see television or movie characters performing sexual acts…  You guessed it, our brains behave as though we were having sex.  When we see acts of graphic violence and revenge, the same principle applies.

Now couple this principle with the fact that our brains go into a low alpha brain wave state when we stare at a screen.  This means that we become considerably more suggestible because the parts of our brains that evaluate and criticize are being turned off.

What you get is a superhighway of ideas that pour into your brain and effect it as though it were having real experiences of… whatever you choose to watch, be it pornography, graphic violence, etc.

In light of these principles, recent mass-murder sprees and their correlation with the technology saturated world, are not surprising.

If you wouldn’t do it, think twice before you watch it.

Philosophy: Distortion of Perspective

Søren Kierkegaard lived in a time before television, but his analysis of the media was very telling:

“On the whole the evil in the daily press consists in its being calculated to make, if possible, the passing moment a thousand or ten thousand times more inflated and important than it really is. But all moral elevation consists first and foremost in being weaned from the momentary.”

Malcom Muggeridge put it this way:

“Now can this really be, as the media continually insists, what life is about–this worldwide soap opera going on from century to century, from era to era, whose old discarded sets litter the world?”

Both men are pointing out a basic principle.  The media tells us what to view as important.  It tells us that everyone else, “the public,” is very concerned or interested or entertained by exhibit A, and that we should be, too.

In this way, it inflates the importance of subjects that only distract us from our own personal talents, responsibilities, and the great themes of human existence that aren’t directly involved with the violent shooting last night, the latest celebrity gossip, etc.

Bible: Intentions of the Heart

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”  

Jesus is pointing out for us that something as simple as visual stimuli is capable of opening the door to very damaging mental processes.

He goes on to tell us later in the sermon that “the eye is the lamp of the body.”  Jesus knew what contemporary psychology and neuroscience is telling us, that what we see has a profound impact on us.

I urge Christian readers, consider the motives behind your consumption of media.  Consider the effects that television and movies may be having on your values.  And I urge us all to meditate on great themes and do great things in this world.  Do not sacrifice your mind to the media.

Is the Bible a Reliable Source of History?

greek_text

1) We know with surprising accuracy what the books of the Bible originally said.

It amazes me that I still hear people claiming “the Bible has been retranslated and rewritten so many times, we can’t really know what it originally said.”  The example of a game of “telephone” is given, as if the Bible was translated from Greek to Latin to German to French to English in a series of translations that each may have substantially altered the meaning.  Those who make this argument reveal their ignorance.

The truth is that all of our newest translations, and the vast majority of translations throughout history, have been translated directly from manuscripts in the original language.  For the Old Testament, this is predominantly Hebrew with some sections of Aramaic.  For the New Testament, this is Koine Greek.

I’ve had the privilege of  learning enough Koine to personally translate portions of the New Testament.  Our translations are produced by large teams of linguists and scholars from various backgrounds and accurately convey the ideas of the original authors.  The Bible has been put through no game of “telephone.”

In fact, our manuscript attestation for the New Testament is far better than that of any other work of antiquity.  Here is a table to illustrate.

Biblical Manuscript Evidence

To throw out the Bible and remain consistent we must throw out… every historian and piece of literature in antiquity.  If you have been using this argument against the Bible, please reconsider.  If you hear this argument being used, please kindly correct the confused cynic.

2) The Bible is consistent and historically accurate.

There are countless examples given of alleged inconsistencies or inaccuracies in the Bible.  To address them all would be impossible.  Rather I will give several examples in order to illustrate various principles to bear in mind when considering these allegations.

Many supposed inconsistencies that were once concerning have been debunked by emerging historical knowledge.  

Take for example the discrepancy between Daniel 1:1, which states that Nebuchadnezzar became king of Babylon in the 3rd year of Jehoiakim  king of Judah, and Jeremiah 25:1, that states that it was the 4th year.

Much was made of this problem until scholar R. Thiele highlighted two different systems for counting reigns in the Ancient Near East: (a) the accession year system and (b) the non-accession year system. Jeremiah counts the accession year, Daniel doesn’t.

Take for another example the existence of the Hittites.  Though mentioned more than 50 times in the Bible, there was no archaeological evidence of their civilization until a series of discoveries beginning in 1876.  Until that time, their inclusion in the Biblical narrative was used as proof of the fabrication of much of the historical narrative of the Israelites.  We now know that the Hittites were a prominent Near Eastern civilization in the 15th and 16th centuries B.C.

Those purporting these kinds of inaccuracies ought at least have the courtesy to admit that we don’t always know enough to authoritatively invalidate the text.

Many claims about inconsistencies are the result of narrow minded thinking.

Googling “Inconsistencies in the Bible” reveals embarrassing results.  These lists are comprised by people who have no desire to actually understand what the Bible is saying or use simple logic to reconcile passages.

Here are just a few examples:

Matthew 27:5 says that after betraying Jesus, Judas hanged himself.  Acts 1:18 says that he fell headlong, his middle burst open and his entrails gushed out.  Under what kind of circumstances does someone’s middle burst open and entrails gush out?  Randomly?  Or after they hang themselves and decay?

When a woman anoints Jesus with precious ointment:
In Matthew 26:8 the disciples reproach her.
In Mark 14:4 “some” reproach her.
In John 12:4-5 Judas Iscariot reproaches her.

If the disciples reproached her, was that not “some” of those present, and was Judas not among them?  Perhaps Judas was the most vehement and thus received a highlight in John’s account.  What would be concerning is if all of the gospel accounts matched word for word.  The fact that they describes such events with details that don’t contradict but do highlight different aspects lends credence to their individual, non-collaborated work.

Many claims about inconsistencies are a result of incomplete Bible knowledge.

Take two examples:

In Luke 22:17 Jesus supposedly gives the Lord’s supper in the opposite order (wine, then bread) of the other accounts, but if simply read until verse 20 we see that He didn’t actually pass the cup around until after the meal.

In Luke 12:4 Jesus says not to fear men.  In several passages he hides, escapes, or goes away secretly.  But is it not revealed in scripture that rather than being afraid of what is going to happen to Him, Jesus knows that He must wait until the appropriate time to face His execution boldly?

I’d also like to point out as a general principle that some inaccuracies are purported because no other work of ancient history validates what the Bible is saying by restating it.  But do we require other ancient histories to be repeated in other places in order to be validated?  If the content of the Bible were not so emotionally charged, I doubt its historical value would be questioned so adamantly.

The massive lists of “inconsistencies” in the Bible are the result of narrow mindedness and lack of basic knowledge about ancient historiography and Biblical teaching.

Speaking With Authority About Origins

demolition

In an ingenious slam poetry performance, Taylor Mali addresses the trend in intellectualism for the past several decades of doing the easy work of tearing down ideas without doing the hard work of building cohesive new ones.  The last line of his humorous performance suddenly takes a turn for the serious as he pronounces:

“Contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker, it is not enough these days just to question authority, you gotta speak with it, too.”

Atheism claims that there is no reason to believe in God anymore because we do not need Him to explain the existence of the world around us.  In science, we are told, we do not assume that something exists unless its existence is necessitated by the evidence.  The burden of proof is placed on the believer.

It really is so much easier to tear down an idea than to build one up.  To place the burden of proof on your opponent.  To point out all of the things that we can’t know.  This is really the essence of the argument against God.

In light of this principle I would like to address the use of the studies of physics and macroevolution by the atheistic movement.

In my limited understanding and exposure to the world of contemporary physics, I find it to be a substantial, respectable field.  Much of it is speculative, but much of it is also well documented and speaks with authority in describing the world around us.

I’ve got my own problems with the theory of evolution.  I don’t think it holds water.  But I will say in its favor that the theory of evolution speaks with authority about something.  It isn’t about shifting the burden of proof onto someone else.  It isn’t about pointing out all of the things that we can’t know or can’t prove.  

I don’t believe in the theory of macroevolution, but I can respect the fact that it seeks to explain, rather than to tear down.  What I can’t respect is the arrogance with which atheism takes these theories and others and uses them to tear down the idea of God.  Let me explain why.

Concerning macroevolution:

To claim that because we have a plausible theory (which I would claim is actually very weak) about how life could have evolved from a single cell into man, has little to do with the incredible questions of the universe’s existence or order.  It even leaves the question of the origin of life unanswered.

Concerning contemporary physics:

I said earlier that science claims not to need God to explain the existence and order in the cosmos.  But science has not explained why the universe exists or why it is the way it is.

The general vague idea is that the laws and constants that govern our universe are eternal and that they called the universe into existence.  For starters, this does’t explain where the laws themselves came from.  Secondly, it doesn’t explain why they happen to be so beautifully and incredibly fine-tuned.  And thirdly, this is a very primitive and unsubstantiated view of natural laws.

As philosopher and author Jim Holt points out, “physical laws are actually generalized descriptions of patterns and regularities in the world.  They don’t exist outside the world… they can’t call a world into existence out of nothingness.”  He points out that even Stephen Hawking asks what breathes fire into the equations and gives them a universe to describe.

Why does something exist instead of nothing?  Physics, which merely explains the behavior of our universe, has no answer.

Why is there so much fine tuning in the universe?  The best atheistic answer is that there are an infinite number of universes and that we happen to live in an amazingly orderly one.  So let’s see, the chances of that are about… 1 in infinity.

Where did the first life come from?  Investigate the atheistic theories for yourself.  Panspermia simply dodges the question, and all other proposals are embarrassing and contrived.

Where does consciousness come from?  The best atheistic answer is that it is a fundamental constant of reality.  Which borders on and honestly encroaches on the existence of the supernatural in its implications.

In conclusion:

Macroevolution makes pronouncements and theories about the way things are.  Physics describes our universe with elegance and precision.  But atheism wrongly uses these studies to tear down ideas which it has no ability to replace.  It questions authority without the ability to speak with it.

If you want authoritative, substantial answers, consider a Biblical worldview.

Evidence For Intelligent Design: The Beautiful 10,000 RPM Motor Inside Our Bodies

British scientist William Sturgeon invented a direct current electric motor in 1832.  Since that time, such motors have fostered the development of countless amazing machines that aid us in our daily lives.

But a surprisingly similar motor has actually always existed.  Inside our bodies.  It wasn’t discovered until 1929.  We didn’t know much of anything about it until 1941.  And we are still learning about it today.

I’m talking about ATP synthase.  First a brief lesson on ATP and then we’ll investigate this amazing piece of nanotechnology in more detail.

ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is a molecule used by ALL living cells to carry energy, from the smallest life forms up.  It is considered by scientists as the “energy currency” of life.  Our bodies use it constantly in all daily processes.  No ATP means no life.

In fact, rather stunningly, our bodies create almost there entire weight in ATP molecules every day!  This seems unbelievable until we consider that when the energy in ATP is used, it is simply converted down to ADP and waits to be upgraded into ATP again.  It remains astounding that out bodies are generating such vast amounts of ATP every day.

atp and adp

So how is so much ATP possibly created?  By a 10,000 RPM “biomechanical power generator found almost ubiquitously across life” (source here).  This video released by Discovery Institute provides a beautiful and informative animation of the motor at work.

ATP_synthase

A recent scientific article remarks that “the rotational mechanism of the ATP synthase demands ingeniously designed interfaces between rotor and stator subunits.”  It is amazing the language that you will here the scientific community using when describing the mind blowing examples of design in nature honestly.  I agree that the mechanism is “ingeniously designed” in the full meaning of that descriptive phrase.

Another article states that this is a “unique energy transmission mechanism… not found in other biological systems” and “although there are other similar man-made systems like hydroelectric generators, F0F1-ATP synthase operates on the nanometer scale and works with extremely high efficiency.”  The speed and accuracy of this mechanism is indeed unparalleled by man-made motors, and this intricate machine preceded man’s invention of the motor unbeknownst to him.

ATPase

So we actually know from experience that this kind of a design is likely to result from intelligent designer.  And yet when we find it in nature we refuse to admit that it has a designer?

Attempts to explain how the incredibly elegant and efficient motor found across all of life on earth was assembled by random chance are, predictably, quite contrived.  The few weak attempts currently proposed are discussed briefly but in substantial technical detail here.  Science honestly has no good explanation.

The truth of the matter is that an extremely high number of “ingeniously designed” motors of incredibly small size are responsible for creating the ATP necessary to sustain the life we see around us, and the contrived explanations for its unguided evolution require processes that, on top of being embarrassingly unsatisfactory, would also require the use of large amounts of… guess what?  ATP!

It is analogous to saying that the very first electric power generator was produced by machines plugged into high amounts of electricity.

God has set in motion processes with so many interconnected, dependent, fine-tuned and intricately designed pieces that suggesting that they spontaneously built themselves by sheer chance is at least unsatisfactory if not ridiculous.

Additional sources:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/plant-terms/adenosine-triphosphate-atp-info.htm

Sarfati, Jonathan D. The Greatest Hoax on Earth?: Refuting Dawkins on Evolution. Atlanta, Ga.: Creation Book, 2010. Print.

How Do We Decide What is Right and What is Wrong?

good and evil

Regardless of varying religious beliefs or the lack thereof, we live in a world of moral values.  There is a sense of moral obligation that we all possess which compels us to label some behaviors as good and others as evil.  I’m not arguing in this post that this morality is universal or objective or God given.  I’m simply establishing that we virtually all feel it.

Our sense of morality affects us individually to guide our behaviors, for instance, compelling us to tell the cashier when they give us too much change.  It affects us as a society to create laws against everything from arson to false advertising to murder.  It even prompts militant atheists to cry out against the existence of a God that would allow the things that they see around them which are morally objectionable.

My question today is not why we have this moral sense.  Some say it came to us through millions of years of evolution because it fostered the safety of the individual in the context of the group.  Some say it was given to us by God or is determined by His nature.  Some say it is actually all an illusion, completely constructed in human minds.  There is plenty to say on these matters, but my question is more universal and more practical.

How do we determine what is right and wrong?  This is an extremely practical question because we will all be required to make countless personal decisions, to formulate numerous opinions, and as members of society to collectively create laws and enforce them, all in light of moral principles.

At this point we could all immediately begin disagreeing about how to determine morality.  One could claim that we should get it from the words of the Bible.  Another that we must all decide for ourselves and can make no universal pronouncements.  Another that a set of principles such as love or tolerance should be systematically applied to human behavior.

But I’d like to zero in on the nature of our disagreement for a moment and see if I can’t give a general answer that we can all agree on: morality is determined by purpose.  One of my favorite speakers, Dr. Ravi Zacharias identifies this core principal of morality in many of his talks.  That which violates the ultimate purpose of a thing is morally wrong.

So if men are meant to live in harmony, if they are intended to live in freedom, if the goal of their existence is to live in joy and peace, then violating these purposes is morally wrong.

The reason why I think we can at least all agree on this principle is because it allows either God or man to do the purposing or intending or goal setting.  It simply reveals the inextricable link between purpose and morality.  The desired end of our existence determines how we ought to live.

This is where we must part ways.  If we differ in our opinions of our purpose, we will differ in our opinions on morality.

For those who do not believe in the supernatural, any ultimate purpose is an illusion.  Our lives have personal purpose and meaning, but objectively speaking these purposes are meaningless.  It follows that for atheists, morality simply must be boiled down to a matter of opinion, chance, or personal preservation.  There is no universal morality if we do not all have the same purpose.

It should not be surprising, then, when great minds attempt to systematically derive a universal morality from materialism and fail.

Now let me take you a step further down this road.  If morals are literally a matter of opinion with no higher authority to call upon because there is no ultimate purpose in the universe, then majority opinion goes.  Or, in a less democratic system, the strongest and bravest prevail in establishing their own wills.

The believer, on the other hand, believes in a supernaturally determined universal purpose, and thus he can honestly appeal to this universal purpose in order to determine universal moral principles.

Two closing observations.  1) For the atheist, there are no moral authorities more final than personal opinion and personal power.  2) The moral argument against God is self-defeating.  When an atheist claims that there is no God because of the evil in the world, he is by necessity sharing an opinion, not a proof.

Do Scientific Dating Methods Support Macroevolution?

jungle

Christians believe that God’s creation of the universe ended just 6,000 years ago.  Thus, human history goes back only 6,000 years, to a real man named Adam and a real woman named Eve, and macroevolution has not occurred.  How can this be true?  Does this view not contradict good science?

First, remember that Einsteins demonstration that time and space are a part of the same fabric.  In light of this, it is logical that when God stretched out the space in the universe, he was stretching out time with it.  Thus, in a very literal sense, there could be 14 billion years of the dimension that we call time between us and that event, just as there appears also to be a great deal of the spacial dimensions between us and that event as well.

This view would allow for astrophysicists and cosmologists to see evidence for a universe that was, technically speaking, billions of years old.  The material in our earth would also be very old in a technical sense.  But there would be no evidence for life existing on earth more than about 6,000 years ago.  So, is this view even possible, or is it absolute nonsense?

It is time for a basic review of scientific dating methods.  There are two types of dating methods: relative, and absolute.  

Relative dating means we take objects that we already know the age of, and use them to evaluate the ages of other objects that we know came before or after them, or were contemporaneous of them.  So basically, if we find a fossil in a rock that we believe to be 2 billion years old, the fossil is assumed to be 2 billion years old.  Or, if we find a fossil that we believe to be 2 billion years old in a rock, we will assume the rock to be that age as well.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that this kind of dating will spread inaccurate dates like wildfire through the scientific community if incorrect assumptions are made about the ages of objects that we do know.  This illustrates the great importance of the second kind of dating method, the absolute, which according to the UK’s Natural History Museum, gives us an item’s “exact age.”

There are a handful of categories that absolute dating methods can further be divided into, but the most widely used and trusted are radiometric dating methods.  Most objects in nature contain radioactive isotopes.  In very basic terms, these are elements that decay into different elements, or different isotopes of the same elements.  Since they decay at a steady rate (or at least they have since we started paying attention,) if we know the amount of an isotope in something when is was formed (or in the case of a living thing, when it died,) we can determined its age based on the amount of the products of its decay in our sample.

But the problem, as many have pointed out, is that in the case of non-living objects such as rocks, there is so much room for contamination during the time between the objects creation and our sampling of it.  To make matters worse, we can only speculate about the amount of isotopes in the original.  Perhaps this is why samples of fresh lava from Mt. St. Helens were dated to between 340,000 and 2.8 Million years old only a few years after its creation.

But with living things the method is much more reliable, right?  Not in all cases.  Not unless living mollusks died 2,300 years ago (“Radiocarbon Dating: Fictitious Results With Mollusk Shells,” Science , Vol. 141, p. 634).  We are making too many assumptions about initial quantities of isotopes, constant rates of decay, lack of contamination, and precision of measurement.

I’m skeptical of the dates that the scientific community is putting on fossils.  If rocks are being dated to be extravagantly older than they really are, and we are then using relative dating to determine the age of the fossils in those rocks, then our entire timescale for living things on earth is reduced to rubble.

Even scientists admit that carbon-14 dating is “not generally reliable for finds that are more than 40,000 years old,” and the rampant use of relative dating leaves the door open for widespread error.  Evolution does indeed need millions and billions of years between the appearance of the first living organisms and the appearance of man, and we simply have no reliable way of validating those kinds of numbers.