Origins. The mere mention of the word has the power to evoke deep-seated emotions, because this is one issue on which almost everyone has an opinion. From the very earliest times, men have inquired about their origin, and the question, Whence have I come? has not been far from either their minds or their lips. In our day and age it often is the case that any discussion of origins stirs quite a controversy, as proponents of competing theories battle each other in public debates, in the news media, in the classroom, in the courtroom, and through the printed word.
Such controversy, however, is not always bad. While it is true that at times more heat than light has been generated, this is not necessarily the case. Not infrequently, people who have had the temerity to question have been rewarded by the fruits of their inquiry. In many instances, people have been caused for the first time to consider seriously (or reconsider) their own privately held positions on these matters. They have sought answers, and have been amazed at the evidence (or lack of evidence) supporting their belief systemwhen previously they may have been somewhat complacent about the matter of their own beginnings. Oftentimes, as people have explored the matter of their ultimate origin, they also have discovered, quite inadvertently, certain implications that invariably accompany the suggested scenariosimplications that affect them in their everyday lives as they consider such weighty matters as ethics, morals, truth, and a host of other concepts of real importance to humankind. The controversy over origins (rather, the end results of that controversy) may have proven either a blight or a blessing, but to those who go to the trouble to investigate, one thing is certain: the quest never is dull.
There are two fundamentally different, and diametrically opposed, explanations for the origin of the Universe, the origin of life in that Universe, and the origin of new types of varying life forms. Each of these explanations is a cosmogonyan entire world view, or philosophy, of origins and destinies, of life and its meaning. One of these cosmogonies is known as evolution (often referred to as organic evolution, the theory of evolution, the evolution model, atheistic evolution, etc.). The second alternate and opposing view is creation (often referred to as special creation, the theory of creation, the creation model, etc.).
ATHEISTIC EVOLUTION DEFINED
The term evolution derives from the Latin word, evolvere, which means literally to unroll, unfold, or change. The word evolution may be used legitimately to speak of a buds development into the flower, the metamorphosis of the butterfly, or even the production of new varieties of organisms (see Bales, 1971, 2:1-4). However, this is not what the average person has in mind when he speaks of evolution. In everyday parlance, the word carries quite a different meaning.
In 1960, G.A. Kerkut, the renowned British physiologist and evolutionist, authored The Implications of Evolution. In that small-but-powerful volume, he defined two theories of evolution that are of importance for the discussion here. He termed one of those the Special Theory of Evolution (often referred to as microevolution). This is the kind of evolution to which practically all people subscribe, and over which there is no controversy. It suggests that limited change, within narrow limits, occurs throughout all living things. I know of no one who would deny this point. Creationists agree to its factuality, as do atheistic evolutionists. Years ago (to list just three examples), Brangus cattle, Cockapoo dogs, and 1,000+ varieties of roses did not exist. But today they do. Why? Simply stated, it is because evolution has occurred.
But as everyone recognizes, this evolution produced only small changes that did not cross what biologists refer to as phylogenetic boundaries. That is to say, the Brangus is still a cow, the Cockapoo is still a dog, and (to employ an old adage), a rose by any other name is still a rose. While the Special Theory of Evolution allows for change within groups, it does not allow for change between groups. It is not the Special Theory of Evolution that I will be investigating in the pages that follow; rather, I intend to examine the other theory of evolution mentioned by Kerkut.
In addition to the Special Theory, Dr. Kerkut also identified, defined, and discussed what he termed the General Theory of Evolution (often referred to as macroevolution). He stated: On the other hand, there is the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form. This theory can be called the ‘General Theory of Evolution... (1960, p. 157). This is what is referred to commonly as organic evolution, atheistic evolution, or simply evolution. Through the years, numerous investigators have offered various definitions of evolution. The same year that Dr. Kerkut offered his definitions, Simpson wrote:
Evolution is a fully natural process, inherent in the physical properties of the universe, by which life arose in the first place, and by which all living things, past or present, have since developed, divergently and progressively (1960, 131:969).
This definition has been accepted widely because of: (a) Dr. Simpsons reputation in the evolutionary community; and (b) its succinct statement of what evolution is and allegedly does. Previously, Simpson and his coauthors had defined the theory by suggesting:
First, there is the theory of evolution in the strict sense. This states that all living organisms have evolved from common ancestors in a gradual historical process of change and diversification. The theory rejects the notion that all organisms were designed and created at the beginning of time (Simpson, et al., 1957, pp. 25-26).
Dr. Simpsons Harvard colleague, the famous zoologist P.D. Darlington, reiterated these same points twenty-three years later.
The outstanding evolutionary mystery now is how matter has originated and evolved, why it has taken its present form in the universe and on the earth, and why it is capable of forming itself into complex living sets of molecules. This capability is inherent in matter as we know it, in its organization and energy.... It is a fundamental evolutionary generalization that no external agent imposes life on matter. Matter takes the form it does because it has the inherent capacity to do so. This is one of the most remarkable and mysterious facts about our universe: that matter exists that has the capacity to form itself into the most complex patterns of life (1980, pp. 15,234).
While disavowing its factuality, creationists agree with evolutionists about the definition of their theory. One creationist publication defined evolution as:
...the hypothesis that millions of years ago lifeless matter, acted upon by natural forces, gave origin to one or more minute living organisms which have since evolved into all living and extinct plants and animals, including man. The theory of evolution has to do with the origin of life and the origin of species, and should not be confused with the ordinary development or natural history of living plants and animals which we see all around us and which is an entirely different phenomenon. In its wider aspects, the theory of evolution embraces the origin and development of the whole universe... (Evolution, n.d., p. 7).
Wilbert H. Rusch, a creationist, defined evolution as:
...the theory that large groups or kinds of basic organisms change with the passage of time. Then it is held that their descendants will now be as different from them as they were different from their ancestors. It would follow that, given the passage of a sufficient time span, the life forms at any given point in time will be radically different from the life forms present at any time during the past. It really involves what might be termed transspecific change. According to this theory, modern plants and animals are all the modified descendants of plants and animals from the past. All present taxa are then somehow descended from a common ancestry over vast periods of time. This would call for a continuum from the beginning of life to the present, with no distinct groups. This continuum would be made up of all fossil as well as present forms of life... (1991, pp. 13-14).
Notice the common thread running through each definition. First, evolution is a fully natural process. Second, no external agent (i.e., Creator) is responsible for inanimate matter becoming animate; evolution rejects the notion that all organisms were designed and created.... Third, all life descended (evolved) from a common source, which owes its own existence to inorganic matter. Fourth, evolution is a process of change and diversification which ultimately produces living organisms that develop divergently and progressively. In summary then, by definition evolution precludes the supernatural, a Creator, any divine guidance of the natural processes involved, and the creation of organisms as separate and distinct entities not having descended from a common ancestor.
IS ATHEISTIC EVOLUTION POPULAR?
Although atheistic evolution is not nearly as old a viewpoint as creation, it has amassed to itself a rather large following among the peoples of the world. R.L. Wysong, in his book, The Creation-Evolution Controversy, commented that It is downright hard to find anyone who does not believe in evolution in one form or another (1976, p. 63). Conway Zirkle stated that practically every educated man believes in evolution.... [E]volution is incorporated in the thinking of our time (1959, p. 19). A university biology textbook used widely for almost two decades began with these words:
Organic evolution is the greatest principle in biology. Its implications extend far beyond the confines of that science, ramifying into all phases of human life and activity. Accordingly, understanding of evolution should be part of the intellectual equipment of all educated persons (Moody, 1962, p. 1x).
For the past century, evolution has been in the limelight. And for the past quarter of a century or more, it has been taught as scientific fact in many elementary, junior high, and senior high schools, as well as in most colleges and universities. As Stephen J. Gould of Harvard put it: The fact of evolution is as well established as anything in science (as secure as the revolution of the earth around the sun)... [1987, 8:64, parenthetical comment in orig.]. There can be little doubt that belief in evolution is popular. But why is this the case?
WHY DO PEOPLE BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION?
As we make our way through the pilgrimage called life, on occasion we invariably stop to reflect upon the nature and meaning of our own existence, because such matters variously enthrall, excite, or intrigue us. Nowhere is this more evident than in regard to our ultimate origin. Few there must be who do not pause, at some point in their earthly sojourn, to ponder such topics as the origin of the Universe, the origin of planet Earth, the origin of various life forms on the Earth, the possibility of life on other planets, and even their own origin and destiny.
One of the most mind-numbing mysteries for those who do not believe in evolution is trying to understand the people who do. [Perhaps evolutionists feel the same exasperation in regard to creationists beliefs, but on that point I am less qualified to judge.] This observation is not intended to be derogatory, but is offered merely as a statement of fact. As one who writes and lectures often on the topics of creation and evolution, I frequently am asked the question: Why do people believe in evolution? Often the question is phrased in what are intended to be complimentary terms: Why is it that so many obviously intelligent people believe in evolution? Neither question is easy to answer because generally the querist wants a simple, concise response. It is difficult for him to understand why people whom he accepts as obviously intelligent believe a concept such as evolution that he, personally, considers so unworthy of acceptance or recommendation by intelligent people. It has been my experience that rarely is there a singular reply that can provide an answer to such a question, because rarely is there just a single reason that can explain adequately why a person believes what he does. Especially is this true in regard to belief in evolution.
At times, the controversy that centers on the topics of creation and evolution has generated more heat than light. This does not necessarily have to be the case, however. In an open society, the topic of origins, and the varying views that people hold on origins, ultimately will be discussed; in fact, they should be discussed. But because the subject matter has to do with deeply held convictions, emotions often run high. One good way to avoid emotional entanglement, and the more heat than light syndrome that generally accompanies it, is to work diligently to comprehend the other persons position as completely as possible, and therefore to discuss it as accurately and calmly as possible in any given situation. That task is made easier if there existsat the beginning of the discussiona basic understanding of why the person believes as he does. Again, especially is this true in regard to belief in evolution.
While it may seem somewhat of a truism to suggest that people believe in evolution for a variety of reasons, realization of this fact, and a legitimate exploration of the reasons people offer for believing what they do, can go a long way toward a better understanding of opposing views found within the creation/evolution controversy. With better understanding comes improved communication. And with improved communication comes increased opportunity for dialoguewhich can set the stage for the presentation of other viewpoints that perhaps have not been considered previously (e.g., in this particular instance, persuading the evolutionist to consider the evidence for creation).
As I respond to the question, Why do so many obviously intelligent people believe in evolution? I hope to be able to provide a better comprehension of the system of organic evolution, and of the people who accept it. Included among the reasons why people believe in evolution are the following.
There can be little doubt that many today believe in evolution simply because it is what they have been taught. As I stated earlier, for the past quarter of a century or more evolution has been taught as scientific fact in most educational settingsfrom kindergarten through graduate school. Marshall and Sandra Hall noted:
In the first place, evolution is what is taught in the schools. At least two, and in some cases three and four generations, have used textbooks that presented it as proven fact. The teachers, who for the most part learned it as truth, pass it on as truth. Students are as thoroughly and surely indoctrinated with the concept of evolution as students have ever been indoctrinated with any unproven belief (1974, p. 10).
In their book, Why Scientists Accept Evolution, Bales and Clark confirmed such an observation. Evolution, they wrote, is taken for granted today and thus it is uncritically accepted by scientists as well as laymen. It is accepted by them today because it was already accepted by others who went before them and under whose direction they obtained their education (1966, p. 106). People believe in evolution because they have been taught that it is true.
To suggest that many people today accept evolution as true merely because they have been taught to believe it does not tell the whole story, however. Intellectual pride enters into the picture as well. Who among us does not want to present at least the appearance of being smart and well educated? Over the last century, we have been led to believe that if we wish to be considered intelligent, then we should believe in evolution, because intelligent people all over the world believe in evolution. As Henry Morris well stated the issue: The main reason most educated people believe in evolution is simply because they have been told that most educated people believe in evolution! (1963, p. 26).
Consider the hypothetical example of two college students discussing their professors and courses. One of the students, Joe, asks his friend, Mark, the following question: Hey, Mark, do you believe in evolution? My professor says all smart folks do. Honestly, what is Mark supposed to say? If he says, No, Joe, I dont believe in evolution, by definition he has admitted to being outside the sphere of all the smart folks. On the other hand, if he says, Yes, Joe, I do believe in evolution, he may be admitting to a belief based not on an examination of the evidence, but on the idea that he does not wish to be viewed by his peers as anything but smart. Undoubtedly, many people today fall into this category. They do not accept evolution because they have seen evidence that establishes it as true. Rather, they believe it because doing so places them in the same category as others whom they consider to be intelligent.
Further exacerbating the problem is the fact that evolution has been given a stamp of approval by important spokespersons from practically every field of human endeavor. While there have been those from politics, the humanities, the arts, and other fields who openly have defended evolution as factual, in no other area has this defense been as pronounced as in the sciences. Because science has seen so many successes, and because these successes have been so visible and well publicized, scientists have been granted an aura of respectability that only can be envied by non-scientists. As a result, when scientists champion a cause, people take notice. After all, it is their workings through the scientific method that have eradicated smallpox, put men on the Moon, prevented polio, and lengthened life spans. We have grown used to seeing experts from various scientific disciplines ply their trade in an endless stream of amazing feats. Heart surgery has become commonplace; organ transplants have become routine; space shuttles flying to the heavens have become standard fare.
Thus, when evolution is presented as something that all reputable scientists believe, there are many who accept such a statement at face value, and who fall in line with what they believe is a well-proven dictum that has been enshrouded with the cloak of scientific respectability. As philosopher Paul Ricci has written: The reliability of evolution not only as a theory but as a principle of understanding is not contested by the vast majority of biologists, geologists, astronomers, and other scientists (1986, p. 172).
Such statements leave the impression that evolution simply cannot be doubted by well-informed, intelligent people. The message is: All scientists believe it; so should you. And many do, because, as Marshall and Sandra Hall have inquired: How, then, are people with little or no special knowledge of the various sciences and related subjects to challenge the authorities? It is natural to accept what ‘experts say, and most people do (1974, p. 10).
The simple fact is, however, that truth is not determined by popular opinion or majority vote. A thing may be, and often is, true even when accepted only by the minority. Believing something based on the assumption that everyone else also believes it often can lead to disastrous results. As the late Guy N. Woods remarked: It is dangerous to follow the multitude because the majority is almost always on the wrong side in this world (1982, 124:2).
Without a doubt, there are many who believe in evolution because they have rejected God. For those who refuse to believe in the Creator, evolution becomes their only escape. They generally make no pretense of believing it based on anything other than their disbelief in God. Henry Fairfield Osborn, one of the most famous evolutionists of the early twentieth century, suggested: In truth, from the earliest stages of Greek thought man has been eager to discover some natural cause of evolution, and to abandon the idea of supernatural intervention in the order of nature (1918, p. ix). Henry Morris has noted: Evolution is the natural way to explain the origin of things for those who do not know and acknowledge the true God of creation. In fact, some kind of evolution is absolutely necessary for those who would reject God (1966, p. 98).
Sir Arthur Keith of Great Britain wrote: Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it because the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable (as quoted in Criswell, 1972, p. 73). Professor D.M.S. Watson, who held the position of the Chair of Evolution at the University of London for over twenty years, echoed the same sentiments when he stated that evolution itself is accepted by zoologists, not because it has been observed to occur or can be proven by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is incredible (1929, 123:233). Almost seventy years later, evolutionist Richard Lewontin wrote:
Our willingness to accept scientific claims against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to naturalism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen (1997, p. 31, emp. in orig.).
These kinds of statements leave little to the imagination, and make it clear that those who make them believe in evolution not because of the evidence, but instead because they have made up their minds, a priori, that they are not going to believe in God.
In his text, Mans Origin: Mans Destiny, the late, eminent United Nations scientist, A.E. Wilder-Smith, observed: Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism, rightly or wrongly, have been used everywhere in the East and West, in the hands of the atheists and agnostics, as the main weapon against the biblical doctrine of origins (1975, p. 31). For the person who stubbornly refuses to believe in God, belief in evolution becomes automatic. Similarly, opposition to God, the Bible, and the system of origins the Bible describes, becomes just as automatic. Whenever a person rids himself of God, he simultaneously (even if unwittingly) embraces evolution. By his disbelief, he has eliminated creation as an option regarding his origin.
Another reason people offer for their belief in evolution has to do with the fact that there is so much evil, pain, and suffering in the world. No rational, well-informed person can deny the widespread and unmistakable occurrence of bad things that happen, often engulfing those who seem undeserving of such tragic events. To some, no explanation from religionistsregardless of how elaborately stated or elegantly defended that explanation may beever will provide an adequate answer to the conundrum of how an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God can allow atrocities to fill His specially created world (see Thompson, 2000, pp. 95-105).
Evolution, on the other hand, provides what appears to be a perfectly logical explanation for such a scenario. According to evolutionary dogma, throughout the history of the world various species (including man) have been engaged in a struggle for survival and advancement. Charles Darwin (borrowing a phrase from his friend, English philosopher Herbert Spencer) referred to it as survival of the fittest. The evolutionistbecause of the nature of his theoryis forced to view the Universe and everything within it as the end result of numerous purposeless accidents. All living things, including man, exist on the Earth not because of any Grand Plan, but because of fortuitous occurrences that resulted from chance happenings in nature. And, to surviveand thrivein such a world may seem to justify a might makes right/strong subjugates the weak/to the victor go the spoils attitude. Its a jungle out thereand in the jungle it is the law of tooth and claw that prevails.
Since man is viewed as little more than a naked ape, why should he somehow be exempt from the perils that continually befall other species of animals? These animals live their entire lives with one eye looking over their shoulder, as it were, because they exist in a dog-eat-dog world with no set moral standard. Man, according to evolutionary theory, is no different. His claim to fame lies in the fact that (so far) he occupies the last rung of the evolutionary ladder.
But nature confers on him no special rights, privileges, or protection. In a world where evolution is considered as true, and survival of the fittest is touted as natures way of weeding out the weak, it should be no surprise that evil, pain, and suffering exist. In fact, from the evolutionary vantage point, whenever competition occurs for such things as food supplies, adequate shelter, reproductive advantages, etc., humanity has to learn to cope with evil, pain, and suffering. Granted, at first this may sound harsh, but from the evolutionists perspective it is consistent, and offers an attempted explanation for the undeniable existence of bad things in our world. Unfortunately, all too often the answers offered by religionists for the problem of evil, pain, and suffering have fallen short of the mark, and as a result people have accepted evolution as providing a legitimate explanation for a very real problem in their lives.
As unpleasant as it is to have to admit it, some people believe in evolution because they have heard about, witnessed, or experienced firsthand the mistakes of religionists through the ages. Whether it is the offering of young virgins to an imaginary deity, the burning of alleged witches at the stake, or the adultery of a highly visible televangelist, the truth of the matter is that on occasion believers in God have set a very poor exampleone that sensitive, thinking people naturally would have difficulty following.
To some, the very history of religion makes it suspect from the outset. Attempts to force people to accept a certain religion (as in the Crusades), or misguided attempts to squelch open discussion of important issues (as in the Catholic Churchs censure of Galileo), have left a bitter taste in the mouths of many. Add to that the hypocrisy of, or word spoken in anger by, a person who wears the name Christian, and the damage may be such that even in a lifetime it cannot be repaired. The result is that those who have been offended want nothing whatsoever to do with the God of the Bible, and as they reject Him, they also reject His account of the creation of the world in which they live.
While it is undeniable that some reject creation because of inappropriate conduct on the part of those who advocate it, likewise it is true that some reject God, and creation, to excuse or legitimize their own inappropriate personal conduct. In other words, they believe in evolution because it allows them to avoid any objective moral standard of behavior. It keeps them out of reach of any deity. It provides a subjective climate of situation ethics where any and all behavior, no matter how absurd or perverse, is acceptable. It nourishes a do your own thing attitude that precludes rules and regulations, in a vain attempt to circumvent the guilt that inevitably comes from doing wrong.
In the evolutionary scenario, humans are merely the last in a long line of amoebas, crocodiles, and orangutans resulting from fortuitous cosmic accidents. In such an arrangement, it is futile to speak of personal responsibility. There exists, in the grand scheme of things, no reason why one ought or ought not to act a certain way, or to do/not do a certain thing. Aldous Huxley stated the matter succinctly in his article, Confessions of a Professed Atheist?
I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently, assumed it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find reasons for this assumption.... The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics; he is also concerned to prove there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do.... For myself, as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom (1966, 3:19, emp. added).
If Huxley and his cohorts had abandoned belief in evolution and accepted the existence of God, it would have interfered with their sexual freedom. Realizing that, they chose instead to abandon belief in God. That left them with only one optionbelief in evolution. It was not something they did because of the weight of the evidence. Rather, it was something they did because they desired to avoid personal accountability to the Creator. Their actions belied their motives. As Woods remarked: Convince a man that he came from a monkey, and hell act like one! (1976, 118:514).
Lastly, we may state that some people accept evolution because they are convinced that it is the correct answer to the question of origins. They have examined the evidence and, on the basis of their examination, have concluded that evolution is the only plausible explanation for the Universe and all that it contains. These people generally are both sincere and open-minded. They are not attempting to rid themselves of the idea of God. They do not feel the need to be intellectually correct. They are not reacting to unkind treatment at the hand of religionists. They are not searching for a way to justify worldly behavior. They simply believe the evidence favors evolution, and thus have accepted it as the correct view of origins.
IS EVOLUTION A FACT OF SCIENCE?
When we talk about the origin of the Universe and those things in it, we cannot speak as eyewitnesses or firsthand observers. None of us was present when the origin of the Universe occurred. Therefore, any scientific discussion must be based on assumptions, hypotheses, and theories put in place after the fact.
An assumption is something taken for granted, and represents a legitimate starting point for an investigation. A hypothesis is an educated guess or tentative assumption. A theory is a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles to explain phenomena.
It generally is alleged by the more spirited evolutionists that evolution has been proven, and therefore must be spoken of not as theory, but fact. As far back as 1944, evolutionist W.W. Howells wrote in Mankind So Far that there is also the mystery of how and why evolution takes place at all.... Evolution is a fact, like digestion... (p. 5). On May 2, 1966, Nobel laureate Hermann J. Muller circulated a manifesto that affirmed:
It has for many years been well established scientifically that all known forms of life, including man, have come into being by a lengthy process of evolution. There are no hypotheses, alternative to the principle of evolution with its tree of life, that any competent biologist of today takes seriously. Moreover, the principle is so important for an understanding of the world we live in and of ourselves that the public in general, including students taking biology in high school, should be made aware of it, and of the fact that it is firmly established even as the rotundity of the earth is firmly established (1966, p. 2).
Affixing their names to Dr. Mullers manifesto to signify their agreement were 177 of the worlds most eminent evolutionary scientists.
In this day and age, most evolutionists no longer speak of the theory of evolution, but refer instead to the fact of evolution. The widely accepted Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, financed by the National Science Foundation, organized the entire treatment of biological science around the fact of the evolutionary framework of life history. Almost all books on biology published by secular publishers for at least the past two generations have been written as though evolutionary presuppositions were fact instead of theory. In introducing the papers in the three-volume work on evolution stemming from the 1959 Darwinian Centennial Convocation in Chicago, Sir Julian Huxley eulogized Darwin as follows:
Charles Darwin has rightly been described as the Newton of biology; he did more than any single individual before or since to change mans attitude to the phenomena of life and to provide a coherent scientific framework of ideas for biology, in place of an approach in large part compounded of hearsay, myth, and superstition. He rendered evolution inescapable as a fact, comprehensible as a process, all-embracing as a concept (1960a, pp. 1-2).
Huxley maintained that after Darwin it was no longer necessary to deduce the existence of divine purpose for the facts of biological adaptation (1946, p. 87). Compare also Huxleys categorical statement at the Chicago convocation: In the evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer need or room for the supernatural. The earth was not created; it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind, and soul as well as brain and body. So did religion (1960b, pp. 252-253). Jacques Barzun, in his book, Darwin, Marx, Wagner, raised this question:
Why was evolution more precious than scientific suspense of judgment? Why do scientists to this day speak with considerable warmth of the fact of evolution, as if it were in the same category as the fact of combustion, which may be observed by anyone who will take the necessary trouble? (1958, p. 65).
Barzun went on to point out why evolution is accepted as a fact, by stating that it gave scientists complete freedom over everything in heaven and earth without restriction. He also observed that it put everything under one cause (1958, p. 65).
The codiscoverer of the DNA molecule, James Watson, is on record as stating: Today the theory of evolution is an accepted fact for everyone but a fundamentalist minority (1987, p. 2). Joining Dr. Watson in that assessment is Harvard paleontologist, Stephen J. Gould, one of the evolutionary establishments fieriest apologists, and an indefatigable crusader on behalf of organic evolution. He is a cogent writer, a gifted speaker, and a tireless worker for the cause. He also is one of sciences most prolific and best-read authors (along with such late colleagues as Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov), and is highly regarded in many scientific circles (the January 1982 issue of Discover magazine voted him Scientist of the Year). Through the years, Dr. Goulds articles have appeared not only in refereed scientific journals (e.g., Nature, New Scientist, Science, et al.), but in popular science magazines as well (Discover, Omni, Science Digest, Science Digest, et al.). Therefore, when Dr. Gould speaks, many people listen. To quote him directly: When we come to popular writing about evolution, I suppose that my own essays are as well read as any (1987, 8:65). And therein lies the problem.
In the January 1987 issue of Discover, Dr. Gould authored a lengthy article titled Darwinism Defined: The Difference Between Fact and Theory. In this particular article, Gould expressed his extreme agitation at the inability of certain people (who should know better, he said) to properly address evolution by its rightful designationas a fact, not a theory. The specific cause (this time) for his discomfiture was an article in the September 30, 1986 issue of the New York Times by Irving Kristol (Room for Darwinism and the Bible). Dr. Gould acknowledged both his dismay and dissatisfaction at the apparent inability of people like Mr. Kristol to distinguish (to use his own words) the central distinction between secure fact and healthy debate about theory (p. 64). Dr. Gould then explained himself when he noted:
Facts are the worlds data; theories are explanations proposed to interpret and coordinate facts. The fact of evolution is as well established as anything in science (as secure as the revolution of the earth about the sun), though absolute certainty has no place in our lexicon. Theories, or statements about the causes of documented evolutionary change, are now in a period of intense debatea good mark of science in its healthiest state. Facts dont disappear while scientists debate theories (p. 64, parenthetical comment in orig.).
Later, Gould commented that ...evolution is also a fact of nature, and so do we teach it as well, just as our geological colleagues describe the structure of silicate minerals, and astronomers the elliptical orbits of the planets (p. 65).
What could be clearer? Dr. Gould wants everyone to know that evolution is a fact. How evolution occurred may be considered by some to be merely a theory, but that evolution has occurred is a fact not open for further discussion. Gould even commented, I dont want to sound like a shrill dogmatist shouting rally round the flag boys, but biologists have reached a consensus...about the fact of evolution (p. 69). [In a guest editorial in the August 23, 1999 issue of Time magazine, Dr. Gould boasted that evolution is as well documented as any phenomenon in science, as strongly as the earths revolution around the sun rather than vice versa. In this sense, we can call evolution a fact (1999, 154:59).] Dr. Gould is upset because there are those who refuse to acknowledge evolution as a fact. According to him, Evolution is a fact, like apples falling out of trees (as quoted in Adler, 1980, p. 95). Goulds colleagues could not agree more. In the March 1987 issue of Natural History, Douglas J. Futuyma wrote in his review of Richard Dawkins book, The Blind Watchmaker:
In the last ten years or so, evolution has been under severe attack, especially in the United States. It is important here to recognize the distinction between the proposition that evolution has occurred and the theory that describes the causes of evolutionary change. That evolution has occurredthat diverse organisms have descended from common ancestors by a history of modification and divergenceis accepted as fact by virtually all biologists. Fact here means a proposition, like the proposition that the earth revolves about the sun, supported by so much evidence that to disbelieve it would require disbelieving a large, successful edifice of scientific achievement. The historical reality of evolution is doubted chiefly by creationists, mostly on doctrinaire religious grounds (96:34).
Of course, such renowned scientists as Gould and Futuyma are not even willing to concern themselves with creationists. In fact, Dr. Gould commented:
I dont speak of the militant fundamentalists who label themselves with the oxymoron scientific creationists, and try to sneak their Genesis literalism into high school classrooms under the guise of scientific dissent. Im used to their rhetoric, their dishonest mis- and half-quotations, their constant repetition of useful arguments that even they must recognize as nonsense.... Our struggle with these ideologues is political, not intellectual. I speak instead of our allies among people committed to reason and honorable argument (1987, 8:64).
This point should not be overlooked. Gould suggests that his concern is about people who are committed to reason and honorable argument. That, by his definition, would eliminate any and all creationists.
The purpose of the writings of Gould and Futuyma (and other evolutionists) is to convince people to stop speaking of the theory of evolution, and to speak instead of the fact of evolution. But, in order to accomplish this, they have to redefine the word fact as it is used in science. I might note here that they are by no means the first to attempt such a redefinition. Simpson and Beck tried the exact same thing in their biology text, Life: An Introduction to Biology, and ended their redefining section by claiming that theories ultimately
...may be just as certainmerit just as much confidenceas what are popularly called facts. Belief that the sun will rise tomorrow is the confident application of a generalization. The theory that life has evolved is founded on much more evidence than supports the generalization that the sun rises every day. In the vernacular, we are justified in calling both facts (1965, p. 16).
A fact usually is defined as an actual occurrence or something that has actual existence. With that standard-usage definition in mind, consider the following.
Charles Darwin, in his Origin of Species, stated: Long before the reader has arrived at this part of my work, a crowd of difficulties will have occurred to him. Some of them are so serious that to this day I can hardly reflect on them without being in some degree staggered (1859, p. 158). Theodosius Dobzhansky, the late, eminent geneticist of the Rockefeller University, stated in his book, The Biological Basis of Human Freedom: Evolution as a historical fact was proved beyond reasonable doubt not later than in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. Yet two pages later he stated: There is no doubt that both the historical and the causal aspects of the evolutionary process are far from completely known. ...The causes which have brought about the development of the human species can be only dimly discerned (1956, pp. 6,8,9, emp. added). Notice Dobzhanskys admission that both the historical (what Gould refers to as the fact of evolution) and the causal (what Gould refers to as the theory of evolution) are far from completely known.
In other words, on the one hand evolution is declared to be a fact, yet on the other hand it is acknowledged that the process is far from completely known, with its causes only dimly discerned, and the difficulties staggering. Evolutionist W. LeGros Clark wrote: What was the ultimate origin of man? ...Unfortunately, any answers which can at present be given to these questions are based on indirect evidence and thus are largely conjectural (1955, p. 174, emp. added). Kerkut, as an evolutionist, stated:
...I believe that the theory of Evolution as presented by orthodox evolutionists is in many ways a satisfying explanation of some of the evidence. At the same time I think that the attempt to explain all living forms in terms of evolution from a unique source...is premature and not satisfactorily supported by present-day evidence.... [T]he supporting evidence remains to be discovered.... We can, if we like, believe that such an evolutionary system has taken place, but I for one do not think that it has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt. ...It is very depressing to find that many subjects are being encased in scientific dogmatism (1960, pp. vii, viii, emp. added).
After listing and discussing the seven non-provable assumptions upon which evolution is based, Dr. Kerkut then observed: The first point that I should like to make is that these seven assumptions by their nature are not capable of experimental verification (p. 7, emp. added).
This stinging rebuke of the alleged factuality of evolution is not an isolated instance. W.R. Thompson, while Director of the Commonwealth Institute of Biological Control in Canada, penned the Introduction to the 1956 edition of Darwins Origin of Species, in which he wrote:
Darwin did not show in the Origin that species had originated by natural selection; he merely showed, on the basis of certain facts and assumptions, how this might have happened, and as he had convinced himself he was able to convince others.... On the other hand, it does appear to me that Darwin in the Origin was not able to produce palaeontological evidence sufficient to prove his views but that the evidence he did produce was adverse to them; and I may note that the position is not notably different today. The modern Darwinian palaeontologists are obliged, just like their predecessors and like Darwin, to water down the facts with subsidiary hypotheses which, however plausible, are in the nature of things unverifiable (pp. xii, xix, emp. added).
Evolutionists dogmatically assert that evolution is a fact, yet admit that it: (a) is based upon non-provable assumptions that are not capable of experimental verification? (b) bases its conclusions upon answers that are largely conjectural? (c) is faced with evidence adverse to the available facts; (d) must continually be found guilty of watering down the facts? and (e) has both historical and causal aspects that are far from completely known. Little wonder Dr. Kerkut stated concerning the theory of evolution: The evidence that supports it is not sufficiently strong to allow us to consider it anything more than a working hypothesis (1960, p. 157). Robert Millikan, Nobel laureate in physics, opined: The pathetic thing is that we have scientists who are trying to prove evolution, which no scientist can ever prove (1925). What a far cry from the assessments of Gould and his colleagues in the modern evolutionary camp.
Someone might object, however, that the quotations I have employed (from evolutionists such as Dobzhansky, Clark, and others) to document the nonverifiability of evolution were written during the 1950s and 1960s. Much scientific research on evolution has occurred in the decades that followed, and thus it might be considered unfair to rely on such dated critiques of a concept like evolution that changes so rapidly and that has been studied so intently.
My response to such an objection would be to point out that I used the quotations from the 1950s and 1960s intentionally, in order to document that the situation over the past four decades has not improved. By the 1970s, for example, little had changed. At the height of his professional career, Pierre-Paul Grassé was considered by many to be Frances greatest living zoologist. In fact, Dobzhansky wrote of him: Now one can disagree with Grassé, but not ignore him. He is the most distinguished of French zoologists, the editor of the 28 volumes of Traité de Zoologie, author of numerous original investigations, and ex-president of the Academie des Sciences. His knowledge of the living world is encyclopedic (1975, 29:376). In 1977, Grassé wrote in The Evolution of Living Organisms:
Today our duty is to destroy the myth of evolution, considered as a simple, understood, and explained phenomenon which keeps rapidly unfolding before us. Biologists must be encouraged to think about the weaknesses and extrapolations that theoreticians put forward or lay down as established truths. The deceit is sometimes unconscious, but not always, since some people, owing to their sectarianism, purposely overlook reality and refuse to acknowledge the inadequacies and falsity of their beliefs.
Their success among certain biologists, philosophers, and sociologists notwithstanding, the explanatory doctrines of biological evolution do not stand up to an objective, in-depth criticism. They prove to be either in conflict with reality or else incapable of solving the major problems involved (pp. 8,202, emp. added).
Three years later, in 1980, British physicist H.S. Lipson produced a thought-provoking piece in the May issue of Physics Bulletin, a refereed science journal. In his article, A Physicist Looks at Evolution, Dr. Lipson commented first on his interest in lifes origin and, second, on his non-association with creationists. He then noted: In fact, evolution became in a sense a scientific religion; almost all scientists have accepted it and many are prepared to ‘bend their observations to fit with it. Dr. Lipson went on to ask how well evolution has withstood the years of scientific testing, and suggested that to my mind, the theory does not stand up at all.
After reviewing many of the problems (especially from thermodynamics) involved in producing something living from something nonliving, he asked: If living matter is not, then, caused by the interplay of atoms, natural forces, and radiation, how has it come into being? After dismissing any sort of directed evolution, Lipson concluded: I think, however, that we must go further than this and admit that the only acceptable explanation is creation. Like other evolutionists who have voiced similar views, Dr. Lipson hardly is ecstatic about his conclusiona fact he made clear when he wrote: I know that this is anathema to physicists, as indeed it is to me, but we must not reject a theory that we do not like if the experimental evidence supports it (31:138, emp. in orig.).
Just a little over a year later, on November 5, 1981, the late Colin Patterson (who at the time was the senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History in London, the editor of the professional journal published by the museum, and one of the worlds foremost fossil experts) delivered a public address to his evolutionist colleagues at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. In his speech, Dr. Patterson astonished those colleagues when he stated that he had been kicking around non-evolutionary, or anti-evolutionary, ideas for about eighteen months. As he went on to describe it:
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. Thats quite a shock to learn that one can be misled so long. Either there was something wrong with me, or there was something wrong with evolution theory (1981).
Dr. Patterson said he knew there was nothing wrong with him, so he started asking various individuals and groups a simple question: Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing that is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History, and the only answer I got was silence. He tried it on the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar at the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all he got there was silence for a long time and eventually one person said, ‘I do know one thingit ought not to be taught in high school. He then remarked, It does seem that the level of knowledge about evolution is remarkably shallow. We know it ought not to be taught in high school, and thats all we know about it.
Dr. Patterson went on to say: Then I woke up and realized that all my life I had been duped into taking evolution as revealed truth in some way. But more important, he termed evolution an anti-theory that produced anti-knowledge. He also suggested that the explanatory value of the hypothesis is nil, and that evolution theory is a void that has the function of knowledge but conveys none. To use Pattersons wording, I feel that the effects of hypotheses of common ancestry in systematics has not been merely boring, not just a lack of knowledge, I think it has been positively anti-knowledge (1981; cf. Bethell, 1985, 270:49-52,56-58,60-61).
Dr. Patterson made it clear, as I wish to do here, that he had no fondness for the creationist position. Yet he did refer to his stance as anti-evolutionary, which was quite a change for a man who had authored several books (one of which was titled simply Evolution) in the field that he later acknowledged was capable of producing only anti-knowledge.
Colin Patterson was not the only one expressing such views, however. Over the past two decades, distinguished British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle has stressed the serious problemsonce again, especially from the fields of thermodynamicswith various theories about the naturalistic origin of life on the Earth. The same year that Dr. Patterson traveled to America to speak, Dr. Hoyle wrote:
I dont know how long it is going to be before astronomers generally recognize that the combinatorial arrangement of not even one among the many thousands of biopolymers on which life depends could have been arrived at by natural processes here on the Earth. Astronomers will have a little difficulty in understanding this because they will be assured by biologists that it is not so, the biologists having been assured in their turn by others that it is not so. The others are a group of persons who believe, quite openly, in mathematical miracles. They advocate the belief that tucked away in nature, outside of normal physics, there is a law which performs miracles (provided the miracles are in the aid of biology). This curious situation sits oddly on a profession that for long has been dedicated to coming up with logical explanations of biblical miracles.... It is quite otherwise, however, with the modern miracle workers, who are always to be found living in the twilight fringes of thermodynamics (1981a, 92:526, parenthetical comment in orig.).
In fact, Dr. Hoyle has described the evolutionary concept that disorder gives rise to order in a rather picturesque manner.
The chance that higher forms have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein (1981b, 294:105).
And, in order to make his position perfectly clear, he provided his readers with the following analogy:
At all events, anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with the Rubik cube will concede the near-impossibility of a solution being obtained by a blind person moving the cubic faces at random. Now imagine 1050 blind persons each with a scrambled Rubik cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have the chance of arriving by random shuffling at just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends. The notion that not only biopolymers but the operating programme of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order (1981a, 92:527, emp. in orig.).
Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe (who is a professor of astronomy and applied mathematics at the University College, Cardiff, Wales) went even further. Using probability figures applied to cosmic time (not just geologic time here on the Earth), their conclusion was:
Once we see, however, that the probability of life originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make the random concept absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favourable properties of physics on which life depends, are in every respect deliberate.... It is therefore almost inevitable that our own measure of intelligence must reflect in a valid way the higher intelligences...even to the extreme idealized limit of God (1981, pp. 141,144, emp. in orig.).
Hoyle and Wickramasinghe suggested, however, that this higher intelligence did not necessarily have to be, as far as they were concerned, what most people would call God, but simply a being with an intelligence to the limit of God. They, personally, opted for directed panspermia, a view which suggests that life was planted on the Earth via genetic material that originated from a higher intelligence somewhere in the Universe. But just one year later, in 1982, Dr. Hoyle wrote:
A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question (20:16, emp. added).
Three years after that, in 1985, molecular biologist Michael Denton authored Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, in which he stated:
In this book, I have adopted the radical approach. By presenting a systematic critique of the current Darwinian model, ranging from paleontology to molecular biology, I have tried to show why I believe that the problems are too severe and too intractable to offer any hope of resolution in terms of the orthodox Darwinian framework, and that consequently the conservative view is no longer tenable.
The intuitive feeling that pure chance could never have achieved the degree of complexity and ingenuity so ubiquitous in nature has been a continuing source of scepticism ever since the publication of the Origin; and throughout the past century there has always existed a significant minority of first-rate biologists who have never been able to bring themselves to accept the validity of Darwinian claims. In fact, the number of biologists who have expressed some degree of disillusionment is practically endless.
The anti-evolutionary thesis argued in this book, the idea that life might be fundamentally a discontinuous phenomenon, runs counter to the whole thrust of modern biological thought.... Put simply, no one has ever observed the interconnecting continuum of functional forms linking all known past and present species of life. The concept of the continuity of nature has existed in the mind of man, never in the facts of nature (pp. 16,327,353, emp. in orig.).
In 1987, two years after Dentons book was published, Swedish biologist Søren Løvtrup wrote in an even stronger vein:
After this step-wise elimination, only one possibility remains: the Darwinian theory of natural selection, whether or not coupled with Mendelism, is false. I have already shown that the arguments advanced by the early champions were not very compelling, and that there are now considerable numbers of empirical facts which do not fit with the theory. Hence, to all intents and purposes the theory has been falsified, so why has it not been abandoned? I think the answer is that current evolutionists follow Darwins examplethey refuse to accept falsifying evidence (p. 352, emp. added).
In his 1988 book, The Cosmic Blueprint: New Discoveries in Natures Creative Ability to Order the Universe, Australian physicist Paul Davies wrote: There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all. It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned natures numbers to make the Universe. The impression of design is overwhelming (p. 203, emp. added). That same year, evolutionary physicist George Greenstein wrote:
As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agencyor, rather, Agencymust be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit? (1988, p. 27).
In 1992, Arno Penzias (who fourteen years earlier had shared the 1978 Nobel Prize in physics with Robert W. Wilson for their discovery of the so-called background radiation left over from the Big Bang) declared:
Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say supernatural) plan [p. 83, parenthetical comment in orig.].
In his 1994 book, The Physics of Immortality, Frank Tipler (who coauthored with John D. Barrow the massive 1986 volume, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle) wrote:
When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics (Preface).
One year later, NASA astronomer John OKeefe admitted:
We are, by astronomical standards, a pampered, cosseted, cherished group of creatures.... If the Universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in (1995, p. 200).
Then, in 1998, evolutionist Michael Denton shocked everyone with his new book, Natures Destiny, when he admitted:
Because this book presents a teleological interpretation of the cosmos which has obvious theological implications, it is important to emphasize at the outset that the argument presented here is entirely consistent with the basic naturalistic assumption of modern sciencethat the cosmos is a seamless unity which can be comprehended ultimately in its entirety by human reason and in which all phenomena, including life and evolution and the origin of man, are ultimately explicable in terms of natural processes....
Although this is obviously a book with many theological implications, my initial intention was not specifically to develop an argument for design; however, as I researched more deeply into the topic and as the manuscript went through successive drafts, it became increasingly clear that the laws of nature were fine-tuned on earth to a remarkable degree and that the emerging picture provided powerful and self-evident support for the traditional anthropocentric teleological view of the cosmos. Thus, by the time the final draft was finished, the book had become in effect an essay in natural theology in the spirit and tradition of William Paleys Natural Theology (pp. xvii-xviii,xi-xii, emp. in orig.).
Such quotations could be multiplied almost endlessly. Even a cursory examination shows that there is much more that is unknown than known in the evolutionary scenario.
First, evolution cannot be proven true unless nonliving can give rise to livingthat is to say, spontaneous generation must have occurred. Evolution, in its entirety, is based on this principle. But what evidence is there that the concept of spontaneous generation is, in fact, correct? What evidence is there that life arose from nonlife? In their 1965 biology textbook, Life: An Introduction to Biology, evolutionists Simpson and Beck begrudgingly admitted that the spontaneous generation of life does not occur in any known case (p. 261). Twelve years later, in his book, Until the Sun Dies, Robert Jastrow, the founder and former director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, summarized the situation as follows:
According to this story, every tree, every blade of grass, and every creature in the sea and on the land evolved out of one parent strand of molecular matter drifting lazily in a warm pool. What concrete evidence supports that remarkable theory of the origin of life? There is none (1977, p. 60).
Four years after that, in 1981, renowned British astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle complained in Nature magazine:
The likelihood of the spontaneous formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it.... It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence (1981b, 294:148, emp. added).
A decade later, in 1991, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe published in New Scientist an article with a catchy title (Where Microbes Boldly Went) but a dismal messagedismal, that is, for evolutionists who are forced by their theory to believe in the concept of biochemical evolution that allegedly produced the first life on Earth by chance processes.
Precious little in the way of biochemical evolution could have happened on the Earth. It is easy to show that the two thousand or so enzymes that span the whole of life could not have evolved on the Earth. If one counts the number of trial assemblies of amino acids that are needed to give rise to the enzymes, the probability of their discovery by random shufflings turns out to be less than 1 in 1040,000 (91:415).
Those 40,000 noughts with which Dr. Hoyle was struggling in 1981 still were a thorn in his side ten years later. And the situation has not improved in the years since. One of the scientific heavyweights in origin-of-life studies from an evolutionary viewpoint is Leslie Orgel, who has spent most of his professional career attempting to uncover the secrets of how life began on this planet. In the October 1994 issue of Scientific American, Dr. Orgel authored an article titled The Origin of Life on Earth in which he admitted:
It is extremely improbable that proteins and nucleic acids, both of which are structurally complex, arose spontaneously in the same place at the same time. Yet it also seems impossible to have one without the other. And so, at first glance, one might have to conclude that life could never, in fact, have originated by chemical means....
We proposed that RNA might well have come first and established what is now called the RNA world.... This scenario could have occurred, we noted, if prebiotic RNA had two properties not evident today: a capacity to replicate without the help of proteins and an ability to catalyze every step of protein synthesis....
The precise events giving rise to the RNA world remain unclear. As we have seen, investigators have proposed many hypotheses, but evidence in favor of each of them is fragmentary at best. The full details of how the RNA world, and life, emerged may not be revealed in the near future (271:78,83, emp. added).
It is not enough, of course, just to establish the possibility of spontaneous generation/biochemical evolution. Evolutionists also must explain the origin of the dazzlingly complex DNA/RNA genetic code that is the basis of every living organism. But, just as their fanciful-but-failed scenarios for the explanation of the naturalistic origin of life have left them lacking any substantive answers, so their theories regarding the origin of the genetic code have failed just as miserably. One evolutionist, John Maddox, confessed as much in a curiously titled but revealing article, The Genesis Code by Numbers, in Nature.
It was already clear that the genetic code is not merely an abstraction but the embodiment of lifes mechanisms; the consecutive triplets of nucleotides in DNA (called codons) are inherited but they also guide the construction of proteins. So it is disappointing that the origin of the genetic code is still as obscure as the origin of life itself (1994, 367:111, emp. added).
Second, not only is the inability of how to get life started a serious stumbling block for evolutionists, but now the where of this supposed happening has been called into question as well. Hoyle and Wickramasinghe have argued that life fell to Earth from space after having evolved from the warm, wet nucleus of a comet (see Gribbin, 1981, 89:14; Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, 1981). Sir Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the DNA molecule, has suggested that life actually was sent here from other planets (1981). Meanwhile, back on Earth, Sidney Fox and colleagues have proposed that life began on the side of a primitive volcano on our primeval planet when a number of dry amino acids somehow formed there at exactly the right temperature, for exactly the right length of time, to form exactly the right molecules necessary for living systems (1977). Evolutionists are fond of saying (remember Gould?) that there is no controversy over the fact of evolution; it is only the how about which they disagree. Not true. They cannot even agree on the where.
Of course, some evolutionists will attempt to argue that such matters are not properly discussed as a part of the evolutionary process, and that evolution per se only applies to biological change. Dobzhansky, however, settled that issue when he stated:
Evolution comprises all the stages of development of the universe: the cosmic, biological, and human or cultural developments. Attempts to restrict the concept of evolution to biology are gratuitous. Life is a product of the evolution of inorganic matter, and man is a product of the evolution of life (1967, 155:409).
Third, in his January 1987 Discover article, Dr. Gould, discussed some of the data that establish evolution as a fact (his statement was that facts are the worlds data). An examination of these data disproves the very thing that Gould was attempting to provethe factuality of evolution. He commented:
We have direct evidence of small-scale changes in controlled laboratory experiments of the past hundred years (on bacteria, on almost every measurable property of the fruit fly Drosophila), or observed in nature (color changes in moth wings, development of metal tolerance in plants growing near industrial waste heaps) or produced during a few thousand years of human breeding and agriculture (8:65, parenthetical items in orig.).
Dr. Gould thus wants us to believe that such changes prove evolution to be a fact. Yet notice what the professor conspicuously omitted. He failed to tell the reader what he stated publicly during a speech at Hobart College, February 14, 1980, when he said:
A mutation doesnt produce major new raw material. You dont make new species by mutating the species.... Thats 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, 1984, p. 106, emp. in orig.).
On the one hand, Gould wants us to believe that bacteria and fruit flies have experienced small-scale changes via genetic mutations and thus serve as excellent examples of the fact of evolution. But on the other hand, he tells us that mutations (Small-scale changes) dont cause evolution. Which is it?
On March 4, 1982, Colin Patterson participated in a radio interview for the British Broadcasting Corporation. In that interview, he admitted: 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: how a species originates (1982). If evolution does not occur by mutation, and it does not occur by natural selection, how, then, could evolution be considered a fact? The only two known mechanisms have been admittedeven by evolutioniststo be completely impotent in this regard. Keith Thompson, professor of biology and dean of the graduate school at Yale University, admitted as much when he wrote in the American Scientist:
Twenty years ago Mayr, in his Animal Species and Evolution, seemed to have shown that if evolution is a jigsaw puzzle, then at least all the edge pieces were in place. But today we are less confident and the whole subject is in the most exciting ferment. Evolution is both troubled from without by the nagging insistence of antiscientists [his term for creationistsBT] and nagged from within by the troubling complexities of genetic and developmental mechanisms and new questions about the central mysteryspeciation itself (1982, p. 529).
Further, notice that in his article Gould made the same mistake that Darwin made 128 years earlierextrapolating far beyond the available evidence. Darwin looked at finches beaks, and from small changes he extrapolated to state that evolution from one group to another had occurred. Gould looked at changes in fruit flies or bacteria and did exactly the same thing, all the while failing to tell the reader that the bacteria never changed into anything else, and the fruit flies always remained fruit flies. If the data are the facts, and if the data actually disprove evolution, how is it then that evolution can be called, in any sense of the word, a fact?
The standard-usage dictionary definition of a fact is something that is an actual occurrence, something that has actual existence. Can any process be called an actual occurrence when the knowledge of how, when, where, what, and why is missing? Were someone to suggest that a certain skyscraper had merely happened, but that the how, when, where, what, and why were complete unknowns, would you be likely to call it a fact, or an unproven assertion? To ask is to answer. Gould, Futuyma, Simpson, and other evolutionists may ask us to believe that their unproven hypothesis somehow has garnered to itself the status of a fact, but if they do, they will have to come up with something based on evidence to substantiate their wishful thinking. Merely trying to alter, for their own purposes, the definition of fact will not suffice. Pardon us for our incredulity, but when the best they can offer is a completely insufficient explanation for lifes origin in the first place, an equally insufficient mechanism for the evolution of that life once it somehow got started via naturalistic processes, and a fossil record full of missing links to document its supposed course through time, we will continue to relegate their fact to the status of a theory (or better yet, a hypothesis). Adulterating the definition of the word fact is a poor attempt by Gould (and others) to lend credence to a theory that lacks any factual merit whatsoever. Theodore N. Tahmisian, a nuclear physicist with the Atomic Energy Commission, once stated:
Scientists who go about teaching that evolution is a fact of life are great con men, and the story they are telling may be the greatest hoax ever. In explaining evolution we do not have one iota of fact.... It is a tangled mishmash of guessing games and figure jaggling (as quoted in Jackson, 1974, p. 37).
James E. Lloyd, editor of the Florida Entomologist, condemned evolution with faint praise (while simultaneously attempting to prop up its alleged factuality) when he wrote:
Evolution is, for all practical purposes, fact. Natural selection, though it may be tautological and philosophically a poor theory in the various ways it is usually stated (e.g., survival of the fittest), and perhaps not even capable of being falsified, is nevertheless profound and axiomatic. It provides the most useful insight for problem solving that biological science has, and is the heart and soul of behavioral ecology (1982, 65:1).
Natural selection, says Lloyd, is a tautology (i.e., it reasons in circles). Yet its major flaws notwithstanding, evolution is to be accepted as a fact all the same. If this is the best evolutionists have to offer as support for their claim of evolutions factuality, it should be obvious to even the most casual observer that such a claim is completely vacuous. Little wonder, then, that evolutionist Michael Denton wrote concerning Darwin:
His general theory that all life on earth had originated and evolved by a gradual successive accumulation of fortuitous mutations, is still, as it was in Darwins time, a highly speculative hypothesis entirely without direct factual support and very far from that self-evident axiom some of its more aggressive advocates would have us believe (1985, p. 77).
Adler, Jerry (1980), Is Man a Subtle Accident?, Newsweek, November 3.
Bales, James D. (1971), The Theory of Evolution: A Philosophic Problem, The Spiritual Sword, 2:1-4, April.
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Originally published in Reason & Revelation, September 1987, 7:9-12. Revised 2001.
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