Five Questions About Evolution that Charles Darwin Can’t Answer
At no time in the history of the modern evolutionary movement (i.e., since the publication of Charles Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species, in 1859), has the world of evolutionary thought been in such a state of utter chaos.
Theories hoary with aged respect are now under assault by a new breed of scientists, who can no longer live with the absurdities and inconsistencies of evolutionary propaganda.
They are asking questions—questions that Charles Darwin can’t answer.
In fact, a cannibalism of sorts has developed among evolutionists who bite and devour one another over changing notions regarding the origin of life and the alleged development of the world of living creatures.
Some dramatic examples of this “evolution revolution” are worthy of consideration.
How Did Life Originate?
George C. Simpson of Harvard University declared: “Virtually all biochemists agree that life on earth arose spontaneously from nonliving matter” (1964, 771).
Some biochemists, while accepting a naturalistic origin of life, have great difficulties with this concept. A. I. Oparin, who is widely regarded as the “father” of the modern theory of chemical evolution, wrote:
“Even the simplest of these substances [proteins] represent extremely complex compounds, containing many thousands of atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen arranged in absolutely definite patterns, which are specific for each separate substance. To the student of protein structure the spontaneous formation of such an atomic arrangement in the protein molecule would seem as improbable as would the accidental origin of the text of Virgil’s ‘Aeneid’ from scattered letter type” (132-133).
Reading such a statement reminds one of the comment made by Princeton professor Edwin Conklin:
“The probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of the unabridged dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop” (92).
Almost twenty years later, Sir Fred Hoyle, the eminent astrophysicist of Great Britain, wrote:
“The chance that higher life forms have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein” (105).
Where Did Life Originate?
Most evolutionists would argue that life fortuitously originated in some ancient slime pool here on Earth more than three billion years ago.
However, Hoyle and his colleague, Chandra Wickramasinghe, have argued that man’s ultimate ancestors fell to Earth from space after having evolved from the warm, wet nucleus of a comet (see Gribbin, 14).
Such an idea disturbed popular science writer Isaac Asimov, who contended that “we have absolutely no evidence that any such phenomenon as life on other worlds exists” (36).
Sir Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, has suggested that life evolved on this planet and that certain DNA-bearing bacteria should be rocketed into outer space in order to generate life there (82ff).
Evolutionists are fond of saying that there is no controversy among them as to the fact of evolution—it is only the “how” about which they disagree.
Not so. They can’t even agree on the where life began!
How Rapidly Does Evolution Occur?
For decades evolutionists have argued that the process of change and development, from the simple to the complex, occurred slowly, over a lengthy period of time, by means of natural selection in concert with genetic mutations.
In the early 1940s, however, evolutionist Richard Goldschmidt of the University of California argued (because of the huge gaps in the fossil record) that existing organisms could not be explained on the basis of small, gradually accumulating mutations. He thus postulated “systemic” mutations, which produced what he called “hopeful monsters” (1940, 7; 1955, 485-486).
Goldschmidt speculated, for example, that the first bird hatched from a reptilian egg. Of course, no one has ever seen such a thing; it is strictly science fiction.
The “rapid evolution” postulated by Goldschmidt was largely rejected by his fellow scientists. Geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky of the Rockefeller University described the notion as being characterized by “imaginary phenomena” and he declared that no one “has ever observed the occurrence of a ‘systemic mutation’” (as quoted in Flanagan, 131), which certainly reveals that the concept is not scientific.
Within recent years, however, some evolutionists have tried to resurrect Goldschmidt’s hopeful monsters. The gaps in the fossil record continue to haunt the Darwinians.
Though the fossil record has been characterized as “unmanageably rich” (see George, 1), there are still vast, inexplicable fossil “links” missing in the evolutionary chain—links that should be there if the evolutionary scenario is true.
Accordingly, men like Harvard’s Stephen J. Gould have argued that “major structural transitions can occur rapidly without a smooth series of intermediate stages” (24, emphasis added).
On the other hand, evolutionist Robert Jastrow, who is considered by many to be one of the greatest science writers of our generation, has ridiculed such an idea, and acknowledged: “It is in the nature of biological evolution that it always proceeds slowly” (emphasis added). Further, he has remarked:
“For a greatly improved eye or brain to appear suddenly, a thousand such changes must occur at once in a single animal, all accidental, and yet in a favorable direction. That would be as unlikely as to toss a coin in the air and have it come up heads a thousand times in a row” (86).
Has evolution advanced quickly, or slowly? Take your pick. Neither Darwin nor his disciples can answer the question.
What Is the Mechanism of Evolution?
If there has been a dramatic proliferation of living organisms from the simple to the complex, there must be some mechanism by which this explosion has occurred.
One of the explanations offered to explain this diversification is that of genetic mutations—that is, the alteration of an organism’s genetic material, producing a change in its development. The importance of this concept has been stressed by evolutionists both in scientific and popular writings.
For example, in their biology textbook, Life: An Introduction to Biology, Simpson, Pittendrigh, and Tiffany stated: “All evolutionary change depends in the final analysis on mutations” (322).
In an article published in the Saturday Evening Post, professor William S. Beck of Harvard Medical School affirmed that random mutations are the “only source” of evolutionary change (92).
Although these quotations date to the 1950s, the sentiment they express remains true even today.
In recent years, however, evolutionists have expressed their doubts about the mechanism of evolution. Pierre-Paul Grassé, past president of the French Academy of Sciences, noted: “No matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution” (88).
“A mutation doesn’t produce major new raw material. You don’t make a new species by mutating the species . . . That’s a common idea people have; that evolution is due to random mutations. A mutation is not the cause of evolutionary change” (as quoted in Sunderland, 106).
The second mechanism for alleged evolutionary change is the process of natural selection. This idea was the major thrust of Darwin’s 1859 book, The Origin of Species.
Evolutionists argue that:
- organisms within each species vary;
- these variations may be inherited;
- organisms produce more offspring than can possibly survive; and
- offspring whose variations best fit the environment are the ones that continue to survive and reproduce.
It is alleged that over millions of years this process resulted in the progression of ancient life forms to the complex world of modern creatures. The importance of this concept to the evolutionary scheme cannot be overstated.
In his popular book, The Meaning of Evolution, Simpson characterized natural selection as “the decisive, the orienting, process in continuing adaptation”—hence, the ultimate mechanism of evolutionary change (1961, 224).
Now, however, natural selection as a means of explaining evolution is under vicious attack—by evolutionists themselves!
In 1971, Norman Macbeth, a Harvard-trained lawyer, authored the book, Darwin Retried, in which he bluntly announced that “classical Darwinism is dead.” He declared that while many evolutionists still act confident in public, “the inner circles are full of doubt” (Foreword).
Macbeth included in his book a blistering chapter on natural selection, in which he argued that it is nothing more than a meaningless “tautology”—a game of words involving circular reasoning.
“My studies of natural selection had begun with no forebodings, but by this time, I was becoming puzzled and skeptical. A process that operates invisibly, with an intensity that cannot be observed and with no ability to explain specific problems, an impersonal process that is continually given personal qualities—this sets my teeth on edge” (Macbeth, 46).
And what of the indictment from Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History in London? In a radio interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation on March 4, 1982, Dr. Patterson confessed:
“No one has ever produced a species by mechanisms of natural selection. No one has ever gotten near it and most of the current argument in neo-Darwinism is about this question.”
In his book, The Bone Peddlers, William Fix also has “blown the whistle” on this line of argumentation.
“Thus like the other Darwinian concepts, the natural selection of favorable adaptations has not proven to have pervasive explanatory power either. It is not that supportive examples cannot be found, but that an equal or greater number of contradictory instances can also be cited. Scientists at the forefront of inquiry have put the knife to classical Darwinism. They have not gone public with this news but have kept it in their technical papers and inner counsels. Many second-rank evolutionists, on the other hand, continue to repeat that minor miracles . . . were accomplished by natural selection working in a step-by-step manner; but the steps are never shown. They do this largely because they feel compelled to say something
- anything is better than admitting ignorance-and they don’t know what else to say” (Fix, 179-180).
In view of this well-known turmoil in inner evolutionary circles, why is it that evolutionists continue to speak of natural selection as if it were an uncontested and immutable law of nature?
They simply cannot provide any reasonable answer to the question: “How did evolution occur?”
Does the Fossil Record Prove Evolution?
In the fall of 1980, presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, campaigning in Texas, told an audience that he “had a great many questions about evolutionary theory.” He went on to suggest that evolution “is not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was believed.” Those comments, coming from such a public and prominent source, angered the evolutionary community.
On January 6, 1981, a spokesman for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) issued a response (via Dan Rather’s CBS Evening News program). Characterizing Reagan’s statement as “tremendously unfortunate,” the AAAS representative asserted that there are 100 million fossils identified and dated in the world’s museums, and that these fossils “constitute 100 million facts that prove evolution beyond any doubt whatever.”
The statement was ludicrous on the very face of it. A fossil per se proves nothing except that some creature died and left its imprint behind. His grandiose claim even aroused the indignation of some who were inclined to believe in evolution.
William Fix (no creationist by any means) expressed it this way:
“To say that 100 million fossils in the world’s museums constitute ‘100 million facts that prove evolution beyond any doubt whatever’ has about as much credibility as an election in one of those theoretical ‘democracies’ where 99 percent of the vote goes for the party leader and the other 1 percent are taken out and shot” (xv).
The plain truth is, paleontologists know very well that the fossil record represents one of the greatest obstacles in accepting the theory of evolution.
Mark Ridley, professor of zoology at Oxford University, has written that it is a “terrible mistake” to assert the “false idea” that “the fossil record provides an important part of the evidence that evolution took place.”
He suggested that evolution must be proven elsewhere, and went on to comment 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” (830-831).
Ronald West, professor of paleobiology at Kansas State University, has agreed:
“Contrary to what most scientists write, the fossil record does not support the Darwinian theory of evolution because it is this theory (there are several) which we use to interpret the fossil record. By doing so, we are guilty of circular reasoning if we then say the fossil record supports this theory” (216).
Yes, there is warfare in the land. But it is not just a conflict between creationists and evolutionists. There is a revolution occurring among the Darwinians themselves, who cannot answer these five simple questions.
Let no one tell you that all is well. Do not be persuaded by the propaganda line that no “true scientist” questions the “fact” of evolution, because many are critical of numerous aspects of the “monkey-to-man” dogma.
The public needs to be aware of this, and of the fact that evolution is far from proven.
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