Evolution Part 5 – What Darwin Said Were Problems with His Theory

Today’s post is taken from a paper I wrote about ten years ago for an apologetics class I was taking. The paper took a look at how the theory of evolution was taught in a seventh grade science textbook used in my daughter’s school district. As in this series of posts my main point is that evolution is taught as if all questions and problems with the theory have been answered and that every scientist fully embraces the theory. So let’s look at what Darwin had to say about his theory.

            We will begin our arguments against evolution by looking at what Charles Darwin saw as difficulties for his theory of evolution. We will look specifically at chapter six “Difficulties on Theory” from Darwin’s book The Origin of Species. [1] In this chapter Darwin outlines the problems he saw with the theory of evolution. He puts these problems in four major categories which we will summarize. First, if species have descended from other species in a gradual manner, why do we not see innumerable transition forms? [2] Second, how can evolution account for the transitions of peculiar habits and structures of a new species when they are descended from a species with entirely different habits and structures? It is in this question that Darwin asks how evolution can account for the eye. [3] Third, can instincts be acquired and modified by natural selection? [4] Forth, how can evolution account for the fact that when different species are crossed the offspring are infertile, but varieties within a species are fertile? [5]

Due to space limitations we will address only the first two difficulties. Darwin spends considerable time addressing the third and fourth difficulties and we would not be able to do justice to them in this limited space. The first two difficulties are sufficient to cast doubt on Darwin’s theory. Darwin himself was greatly trouble by the lack of transitional species and how complex organs could evolve gradually.

Darwin’s first difficulty is really two parts. First, why if evolution is the result of constant gradual change, do we not see many, in fact more, transitional species alive than fully formed species? The second part deals with the fossil record. Once again, if evolution is a constant gradual process, then why does the fossil record not show more transitional species than fully formed species?

Darwin answers the first part of this question by supposing that we do not see transitional species because they rapidly become extinct. They are driven to extinction by their better equipped offspring. While this argument would account for why the transitional species do not stay around for long, it does not answer why there are no transitional species around. If Darwin is correct we should still be able to observe the transition from one species to another. Evolution should still be taking place and be observable.

Darwin deals with the second part of the problem, the fossil record, by stating the obvious, that the fossil record is incomplete and that the fossilization process is rare. Since the number of fossils is always going to be much less than the total number of organisms, we should expect there to be gaps in the record. While Darwin’s reasoning on the fossil problem is correct, it still begs the question of why we do not see more transitional fossils than fossils of fully formed species. Since Darwin admits that there should be innumerable transitional forms, [6] it is reasonable to assume that there should be more transitional fossils than fossils of fully formed species. The greater number of transitional forms should give transitional forms a greater chance of becoming fossils. However, not only do we not find a great number of transitional fossils, the fossil record does not hold any clear transitional fossils. In fact, fossils that were once thought to be transitional, the Archaeopteryx is one example, are now recognized as distinct species and not transitional forms.

The second difficulty with Darwin’s theory is the how peculiar habits and structures are transmitted from one species to another. It is in this section of Darwin’s book that he deals with complex organs, such as the eye. We will address this argument later in this paper when we look at irreducible complexity. Darwin’s solution to the transmission of habits is put forth in two parts. His first argument falls back on the transitional forms. Darwin argues that in each transitional form the habits serve a useful purpose and that gradually they evolve into the new habit in a new species. Once again we are left with an argument for which we have no proof. In his first difficulty Darwin argued that the reason we do not have transitional forms is due to extinction. Here he uses these transitional forms to argue for the transmission and change in habits. Unfortunately, we have no transitional forms to prove this as they are all extinct. In this defense, Darwin commits a common mistake defenders of evolution make. Confusing microevolution, change within a species, with macroevolution, change between species. Darwin uses squirrels and woodpeckers to defend his argument. He writes of the different habitats that squirrels and woodpeckers inhabit and that they have different habits depending on their environment. What this shows is the flexibility within a species, not the ability of one species to evolve into another. This very mistake was made by Alan Feduccia in an interview with Discover magazine. [7] While the article is on the bird/dinosaur debate and the number of faked fossils, the last question is

“Creationists have used the bird-dinosaur dispute to cast doubt on evolution entirely. How do you feel about that?” [8]

Mr. Feduccia makes a response that it does not bother him at all, but then gives the change in the corn plant from the original maze plant found in Mexico to the modern corn plant used in today’s agriculture. Lost on both Mr. Feduccia and Discover is the fact that we began with a corn plant and we ended up with a corn plant. Different, but still corn. This is greatly different than starting with a corn plant and ending up with something that is not a corn plant.

Darwin’s arguments for the first two difficulties require us to accept the almost immediate extinction of transitional forms to explain their absence and then in the second argument uses the extent forms to show how habits are transmitted. Darwin also uses microevolution to prove macroevolution without establishing a connection between the two.

That there are still issues and unresolved problems with the theory of evolution should not be disputed. None of the problems that Darwin brought up have ever been sufficiently explained or even addressed. We are just told to shut up and accept what we are told. Fact is there seems to be a fear of even admitting there are problems with evolution let alone put these problems in a textbook and allowing students to decide for themselves. If the problems with the theory were laid out then perhaps some budding scientist would accept the challenge and product research that answered Darwin’s issue. The just doesn’t seem to be much downside for evolution. That is if there are really solutions. Maybe what evolutionists are afraid of is that there really are no solutions to the problems raised by Darwin.

I find it interesting that those that claim to be seekers of rational truth are the ones that insist that evolution be taught in a sanitized version. That problems be brushed aside. That we all wait patiently for some future discover in some future time. That all will be revealed then. So the theory sits ignoring inconvenient facts and refusing to change theory to fit observation. Doesn’t sound like science to me.

Next time we will look at hoaxes and outright frauds that have been put forth in support of evolution. Some of these are still in textbooks today even though scientist and educators have known for years that they are wrong.

Have a blessed day,


[1] , Charles Darwin, On Origin of Species. First published by John Murry 1859, reprinted by Penguin Classic Books 1985. Reprint of first edition, London. All quotes in this paper from this edition.

[2] Ibid., 205

[3] ibid.

[4] ibid.

[5] ibid., 206

[6] ibid, 205

[7] Kathy A. Svitil, “Plucking Apart the Dino-Birds”, Discover, February 2003 volume 24, number 2. 16

[8] ibid

About dwwork

The name of this blog is taken from 1 Peter 3:13 - “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience. This verse became special to me over ten years ago when I was asked to teach an adult Sunday school class on Christian apologetics. This interest grew over the years to the point that I took some graduate level classes in apologetics. I think the best way to be prepared to give and answer to everyone who asks is to know scripture. It is my hope that through these short devotionals the reader will become more familiar with each verse. I have tried when possible to make them personal hoping in some small way to show that God’s word written over two thousand years ago is still relevant today. In the writing of these short devotionals I have been able to better understand how God’s word impacts my life. It is my hope that you too will come closer to our Lord Jesus and develop a closer relationship with Him. Finally, if the reader finds anything in conflict with scripture please let me know. God’s word is the final authority always overrules anything I might write. David
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Comentary, Evolution and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Evolution Part 5 – What Darwin Said Were Problems with His Theory

  1. John Paine says:

    Go David go! We have cross-referenced and discussed your material at http://sharedveracity.net/2013/01/30/accordion-word-at-the-aquarium/
    Thanks for the great work you do!

  2. Freedomborn says:

    Hi David, sorry for the delay in getting back to you, I’m still having Computer problems but have read your previous posts and will comment briefly on a few. I volunteered for Creation Ministries in Queensland, Carl Wieland was the managing Director, a very humble, kind and gentle man, with a strong belief in God of the impossible, his life story is amazing, he should not be alive. All the Scientists I met there were very approachable and humble men, willing to share with the staff and volunteers over lunch and answer questions if wanted. On Tuesdays everyone would met together for prayer, it was a wonderful uplifting experience for me volunteering for them, I felt part of a team and always respected as a person of worth.

    I was taught Evolution at School in fact it was what caused me to loose my childlike faith in Jesus as my best friend, you can read my story on my Blog, it starts with Little girl lost, it is very personal but I felt it needed to be written.

    I was told by my Social Studies Teacher that I had been lied to at Sunday School and that we came from an Ape. Mum who is an agro Atheist agreed and said that Jesus and the stories in the Bible were just made up, it broke my heart, my life ended up in a mess until Jesus rescued me and then as an Adult I came to realise the real Truth as you have discovered and have now no doubts we were indeed Created by a Loving God on the 6th day of Creation.

    Christian Love Anne

  3. Freedomborn says:

    Reblogged this on Freedomborn…set free and commented:
    King David was a man after God’s own heart, he Trusted and believed what God said and I find this also with David author of Reasons for the Hope Blog. David was an Atheist like I was for almost 30 years, at least in my head but not my heart. David like both Ron and I is now a firm believer in Creation as outlined in God’s inspired written word the Bible, I have enjoyed his messages and been blessed by his commitment to God’s Truth both Spiritually and in a practical way.

    Thank you David I look forward to growing in knowledge with you as we share together the Truth of God’s awesome Creation which was created in Love.

    Christian Love from both of us – Anne

  4. Darwin’s theory is interesting but for people who lives on faith, believing in something powerful and divine is the key to why we are here. Today, people create what is convenient for them and has forgotten who is the source of everything. God is the only answer to every question no matter how much others wants to twist it. Thanks for an inspiring post.

  5. Ron says:

    David a much reasoned and well set out argument for an answer to the blind leading blind approach, to” Evolution Theory “, loved the corn plant analogy , and macro and micrc evolution, brilliant ,want to hear more, I was pleased Anne Reblogged, will keep an eye on your Blog.


    • dwwork says:

      Thanks Ron. I have been interested in evolution since I was a child. In fact I bought into it for much of my life taking people’s word that it was correct. It was only when I really started to dig into the facts that I saw Darwin’s theory was really a house built on sand. I have a post today and have about four more posts on evolution.

      Have a blessed day,


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