What Do You Really Know about Evolution?
What do you really know about evolution? Not much, I assure you!
Dr. Colin Patterson, who was senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History, delivered a speech at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City on November 5, 1981. He began by saying:
I’m speaking on two subjects, evolutionism and creationism, and I believe it’s true to say that I know nothing whatever about either.
For over twenty years I had thought that I was working on evolution in some way. One morning I woke up, and something had happened in the night, and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for twenty years, and there was not one thing I knew about it.
I tried that question on the geology staff in the Field Museum of Natural History [Chicago], and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all I got there was silence for a long time, and then eventually one person said: “Yes, I do know one thing. It ought not to be taught in high school.”
This is a remarkably strange statement in view of the fact that almost every evolutionist on the globe—from the professors at Harvard to your children’s elementary school teacher in many cases—is absolutely certain that he knows virtually all of the “facts” that support the evolutionary hypothesis. But it would be highly interesting to hear them attempt answering some very fundamental and specific questions.
Something from Nothing
Here is a most interesting problem. How does something come from nothing? Some years ago I debated an atheist, Professor Paul O. Ricci, in southern California on the question of the existence of God. One of the arguments I pursued was this.
Something cannot come from nothing. But something is. Thus, something always has been. That “Something” that always has been is not matter (as demonstrated by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which implies that matter is not eternal). Thus, there is a non-material “Something” that always has been, that produced the “something” that now is. The argument was further expanded, but this is sufficient for the purpose of this article.
Mr. Ricci protested; he alleged that something can come from nothing. I asked him to explain how that is possible. All he could say was, “Read the literature.” I pressed that I wanted him to explain the process to our audience. (I was not debating “Professor Literature,” but Mr. Ricci!) Again he repeated: “Read the literature.” Regrettably, I was forced to point out that the nearest thing I had ever observed of “something coming from nothing,” was his attempt to respond to my question as to how “something can come from nothing”! The audience got the point and my opponent did too! If there is nothing, there will always be nothing. Something cannot come from nothing.
Some attempt to avoid this question by suggesting that it is not germane to the evolutionary issue, for evolution deals with “development,” not origin. There has to be “origin” before there can be “development.” The question is entirely germane, and Darwinists simply cannot deal with it!
The Living from the Non-living
A second non-knowable proposition from the evolutionary vantage point is this: how can something non-living produce a living creature? Centuries ago scientists demonstrated that the theory of spontaneous generation, i.e., life bursting into existence on its own, is without supporting evidence. Francesco Redi (1626-97) and Louis Pasteur (1822-95), through careful experimentation debunked the notion that life can generate itself.
Even renowned Harvard evolutionist, Dr. George G. Simpson (1902-84), familiarly known as “Mr. Evolution,” conceded that though “most biologists think it probable that life did originally arise from nonliving matter by natural processes . . . spontaneous generation does not occur in any known case” (1957, 261).
Sir Fred Hoyle, one of Britain’s prominent scientists, likened the accidental creation of life to a vast conglomerate of blind men (10 to the 50th power, i.e., one followed by fifty zeros) simultaneously solving scrambled Rubik’s cubes (1981, 521ff). This is an illustration signifying never!
Scientists (e.g., Miller and Fox) have been trying to create life for the past half-century, and have failed miserably. If human intelligence cannot create life, does it seem reasonable that raw, non-intelligent “nature” could have done so?
The Organized from the Disorganized
Here is another “don’t know” problem for evolutionists. How did a highly organized, fully integrated body with cooperating parts (and all cells are highly organized; see Jackson 2000, 6-14) develop from a mass of mere matter?
Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902), a German pathologist, popularized the “cell theory,” namely that “every cell originates from another cell like it.” Virchow wrote that “where a cell exists there must have been a pre-existing cell” (Simpson, Pittendrigh, and Tiffany 1957, 39). Simpson characterized this as one of the “great foundations of modern biology.” Yet none of them knows how a non-cell produced a cell.
One evolutionist described the cell as a “microuniverse” that abounds with discrete pieces of life, each performing with exquisite precision" (Gore 1976, 358). In his book on the cell, John Pfeiffer wrote that “all cells are built according to a fundamental design which provides them with certain common features apparently necessary to life” (1964, 10). Built? Designed? Can there be something built without a builder, or designed without a designer?
Paul Ricci, an evolutionist (see above), in his book, Fundamentals of Critical Thinking, concedes that “everything designed has a designer” (1986, 190). His rationalization is that nothing in nature bears the evidence of design; things just have “order.”
Who was the Orderer of the order?
From “Kind” to “Kind”
The Bible teaches that God made living organisms each after its “kind.” Recall Virchow’s statement that every cell originates from another cell like it. The “creation-according-to-kind” principle is stressed no fewer than ten times in Genesis 1. The Hebrew word for “kind” (
min) is a comprehensive term, broader than the more prolific “species.” A “species” generally is defined as a group of similar creatures that can cross breed and produce a fertile offspring. The falcon is designated as a “kind” in Leviticus 11:14, yet there are more than forty species of falcons.
The term “kind” represents segments of biological organisms that are separated by unbridgeable gaps that no evolutionist can supply. Charles Darwin acknowledged that this is “the most serious objection which can be urged against the theory” of evolution (1859, 313).
It is commonly claimed that the evidence was sketchy in Darwin’s day, but now it is different. Wrong. There are fossils representing some two hundred fifty million species in the various museums of the world, and the “missing links” are still missing. The evidence is even more pronounced than in Darwin’s day.
Professor Simpson confessed that there is a “regular absence of transitional forms” in the fossil record (1944, 107). The late Stephen J. Gould of Harvard acknowledged that there exists “precious little in the way of intermediate forms,” and the “transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt” (1977, 24).
Mark Ridley, a professor of zoology at Oxford University, wryly noted that “no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favor of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation” (1981, 831).
Evolution is a story of “gaps,” not “links”—of “questions,” not “answers.”
- Darwin, Charles. 1859. The Origin of Species. London, England: A. L. Burt Co.
- Gore, Rich. 1976. National Geographic, September.
- Gould, Stephen J. 1977. Natural History, June/July.
- Hoyle, Fred. 1981. New Scientist, November 19.
- Jackson, Wayne. 2000. The Human Body: Accident or Design. Second edition. Stockton, CA: Courier Publications.
- Patterson, Colin. http://www.creationdigest.com/summer2005/Patterson_Can_You_Tell_Me_Anything_About.htm
- Pfeiffer, John. 1964. The Cell. New York, NY: Time, Inc.
- Ricci, Paul O. 1986. Fundamentals of Critical Thinking. Lexington, MA: Ginn Press.
- Ridley, Mark. 1981. Who Doubts Evolution? New Scientist, Vol. 90, June 25.
- Simpson, George Gaylord. 1944. Tempo and Mood in Evolution. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
- Simpson, George Gaylord, C. S. Pittendrigh, and L. H. Tiffany. 1957. Life: An Introduction to Biology. New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace and Company.
About the Author
Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.