This is the tenth post I have written over the past year concerning the theory of evolution. My reasons were two fold. First I wanted to give readers who might not be familiar with the theory the problems that have been ignored in the textbooks our schools use. Second it was to show how I came from someone firmly in the evolution camp to a doubter of the completeness of the theory to explain what we see and know about the biological world today.
The theory of evolution has not kept pace with the scientific discoveries. When Darwin first published On Origin of Species cells were look at as nothing more than building blocks. In fact it is really only the last quarter of the twentieth century to date that we really know how complicated even the most simple cell is. We have gone from the cell as a brick to the cell as a miniature factory. We now know that DNA is the most elegant code ever developed. It contains all the information to build a human or any other living creature. Nothing we have devised comes even close. Today scientists are working on using DNA to store information. Yet we are told that this complex biological language came about due to random events with no outside influence.
Biology textbooks contain examples that are known to be untrue or are at best misleading. They have Hegel’s embryos that have been known to be false since they were first introduced. The Archaeopteryx is still put forth as an ancestor of modern birds even though modern bird fossils have been found in strata older then the Archaeopteryx is found. Then there is the peppered moth photos of which are found in text after text without any indication that the photos were staged and do not represent how the moths are found in nature let alone that no evolution micro or macro is involved. The list goes on and on.
The key concept of evolution, gradualism, just cannot explain the Cambrian explosion where every animal body type suddenly appears on the scene. This is one of the problems Darwin identified in his theory. Darwin expected that in time the fossil record would show life gradually becoming more complex. To date that has not happened. Even died in the wool evolutionist such as the late Stephen J. Gould had issues with gradualism and how it does not jibe with the fossil record.
Then there is the problem of time, there is just not enough. Remember that each mutation in order to be passed along to future generations need to supply some survival advantage else it cannot be selected. Yet almost 98 percent of all mutations are either deadly, harmful or benign. Not only that but this blind watchmaker, evolution, cannot save for the future nor can it plan or look ahead. Evolution is a right now mechanism and if there is no survival value then there is nothing to select for. We are told that in 60 million years mammals went from a small shrew like animal to the vast diversity of animals we see today, filling almost every environmental nook on the land and a number in the water. Now 60 million years may seem like a long time but it is only about 1.3% of the time the earth has existed and is only about 1.7% of the time that life has existed on earth.
Darwin expected that the fossil record would eventually show more transitional fossils than fully formed fossils. Just the opposite has happened. We still only find fully formed creatures whit no indication of their changing into a new creature. The fact is that working paleontologist, that is those whose jobs are to find mineral and oil deposits rely on the fact that fossils remain unchanged from the time they appear in the fossil record to the time they disappear in order to date the geological strata. Yes, paleontologist will line up fossils and say that this one leads to the next and call them transitional but they cannot point to a fossil in transition. The horse is a good example of this stacking of fossils in order to claim a transition.
Bones just do not provide enough information to show one kind transitioning into another kind. As we saw in previous posts bones are subject to interpretation. Bones are assembled based on the current fad in how the individual creature was supposed to act. Whole species are deduced from a few fragments of a skull or a femur. Fossils are often scattered over large areas and most often highly fragments and crushed. It is impossible to tell is you are dealing with a single species let alone a single individual.
DNA does not last long enough to provide the life trees that seem so prevalent today and are used to “prove” evolution. These phylogenetic trees which are used to show the genetic linkage start with the supposition that all life in earth started with a single organism and branched out from there. The trees then show how the various branches diverged from the original. However, since most of the ancestor organisms have left no genetic information the linkage is subjective. We can see this from the enormous number of phylogenetic trees. The lack of DNA calls these trees into question.
The oldest DAN that has been sequenced is 700,000 year old horse DNA. See online article here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/06/130626-ancient-dna-oldest-sequenced-horse-paleontology-science/ . Think about that. Seven hundred thousand years seems like a long time. Until we think that mammals have been around over about two hundred million years. That is 199,300,000 years DNA free. Not a lot to try and recreate a family tree that is over three billion years old.
It is these unanswered question that caused me to move from someone firmly in the evolution camp to a doubter. Getting answers from the evolutionary devotees is next to impossible. They act as if any question to the dogma of Darwin is heresy. In fact the more one asks the louder the opposition gets as if one shouts loud enough the questions and questioners will go away.
About fifteen years ago I set out to reconcile evolution with a belief in God, what is known as theistic evolution. Since I knew evolution to be true and I also knew God’s existence to be true I felt that this would not be hard to do. I started with Darwin and read On origin of Species, when I came to the chapter Darwin wrote about the problems he identified with the theory I assumed that I would find that all had been answered in the over 100 years since.
I was surprised to find out that there were no satisfactory answers to Darwin’s problems. The I bought a copy of Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box and was confronted with the problem of irreducible complexity. I began to see that evolutionary theory had no answers to how the complex mechanisms in the cell could come about through gradualism. An irreducibly complex system cannot function without all its parts. Since for natural selection to work a system need to provide a survival benefit to the organism an unworkable system would not be selected.
The bacterium flagellum has become the poster child for it but for the that bigger problem was when two or more complex systems have to develop in tandem for the organism to survive. It was blood clotting that changed my mind. A circulatory system needs both a clotting protein and a protein to stop the clotting. Both have to be there and both have to develop at the same time otherwise once the clotting starts nothing would stop it and the entire circulatory system would clot leaving us with one dead animal. Of course without the clotting factor an organism would bleed to death from a scratch.
When we look at the chances for a helpful mutation the odds are not in the organism’s favor. But when we need two separate functions to evolve at the same time the odds seem too long. To get from that first cell to humans we need the dice to come up sevens time after time. If that happened in a game we would suspect that the dice have been tampered with. Yet, adherents to evolution see no problem with this 3 billion year run of luck.
So do we just stop teaching evolution? At the start of this series I said that I was not opposed to teaching evolution. I felt that we need to teach the problems that are still yet to be resolved. When one picks up a biology text or listens to someone lecture on evolution you would come away with the idea that all has been answered and there is nothing left to discover. Evolution is settled science and we need to accept it and move on. I think it is far from settled. There are too many questions left unanswered.
If we teach both the theory and the problems we let students use their minds decide what is most likely. If evolution is true then some young mind may come up with a solution to Darwin’s problems. Just maybe they will tell us how an irreducible complex system can evolve. One thing is sure, if everyone is told we have all the answers why would anyone try to find a solution.
The late Stephen J. Gould tried to put forth a theory that adjusted Darwin called punctuated equilibrium but all he got for his trouble was scorn form the evolution establishment. In his book The Structure of Evolutionary Theory Gould lays out what he feels Darwin got right and what he got wrong. Unfortunately too many cannot admit that Darwin was ever wrong.
Evolution cannot explain the origin of matter, how life began, the human mind, self-consciousness or human morality. Evolution cannot create. It makes us have to believe that order can come from disorder and that rather than entropy decreasing it actually increases when it comes to biology. Evolution along with atheism leads to despair as there is no point to life and no escape. You are born, you die and you rot nothing else.
What if evolution is wrong? The naturalist gives us two choices, evolution or Biblical, read Christian creationism. For those people any mention of creationism stops all discussion. You get a smile and maybe a pat on the head that one can be so gullible. There is another choice, intelligent design (ID). In the near future I will take a look at ID and how it fits the scientific data we now have.
Have a blessed day,