Conservapedia:Evolution

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A point-by-point discussion/refutation of Conservapedia's (ever changing, thanks to Ken DeMyer) Evolution article.

Table of Contents
--    Introduction - Theory of Evolution - Mutations and the Life Sciences in General - Theory of Evolution and Little Consensus - Genetic Code, Processing of Biological Data, and Biological Information - Evolutionary Theory and Cases of Fraud, Hoaxes and Speculation‎ - Lack of Any Clear Transitional Forms - The Fossil Record and the Evolutionary Position - Paleoanthropology - Theory of Punctuated Equilibrium - The Issue of Whether the Evolutionary Position Qualifies as a Scientific Theory - Implausible Explanations and the Evolutionary Position - Statements of Design - Theory of Evolution and the Scientific Journals
Effect on Scientific Endeavors Outside the Specific Field of Biology:   Lysenkoism - Medical Science - Astronomy - Origin of Life
--  Age of the Earth and Universe and the Theory of Evolution - Scientific Community Consensus and the Macroevolution Position - Social Effects of the Theory of Evolution - Creation Scientists Tend to Win the Creation-Evolution Debates - Theory of Evolution and Liberalism - Further Reading (including free on-line versions)


Conservapedia's Theory of Evolution

RationalWiki Responses

[edit] Introduction

The theory of evolution is a naturalistic theory of the history of life on earth (this refers to the theory of evolution which employs methodological naturalism and is taught in schools and universities). Merriam-Webster's dictionary gives the following definition of evolution: "a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations."[1] Since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the theory of evolution which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists.[2] Although the defenders of the theory of evolution contend there is evidence that supports the theory of evolution, there is a multitude of serious problems with the theory of evolution which will be discussed shortly.

The article starts with a dictionary definition of evolution. None of this needs rebutting so we will start with a list of things to look out for when reading an article written by Kenneth DeMyer. His articles typically contain the following logical fallacies: ad hoc, argumentum ad populum, argument from adverse consequences, argument from authority, argument from ignorance, argument from incredulity, anecdotal evidence, negative proof, and quote mining. In addition, Ken's writing style is often very close to a blog or lecture rather than an encyclopedic, with repeated uses of "which will be discussed shortly" or "in regards to". Keep track of the number of times you see one of these logical fallacies and styles; it makes for interesting reflection. Unfortunately, the first thing we will now encounter is a long enumeration of polls, facts and allegations around the theory but not on the theses themselves (which would allow rebuttals on the spot); therefor, and also because of rhapsodic structure of the whole article, you will find us using many such references to other sections, too.

Since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the theory of evolution which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists[3] (see also: Causes of evolutionary belief). In 2007, "Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture...announced that over 700 scientists from around the world have now signed a statement expressing their skepticism about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution."

In 2011, the results of a study was published indicating that most United States high school biology teachers were reluctant to endorse the theory of evolution in class. In addition, in 2011, eight anti-evolution bills were introduced into state legislatures within the United States encouraging students to employ critical thinking skills when examining the evolutionary paradigm. In 2009, there were seven states which required critical analysis skills be employed when examining evolutionary material within schools.

A 2005 poll by the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Social and Religious Research found that 60% of American medical doctors reject Darwinism, stating that they do not believe humans evolved through natural processes alone.[4] Thirty-eight percent of the American medical doctors polled agreed with the statement that "Humans evolved naturally with no supernatural involvement." [5] The study also reported that 1/3 of all medical doctors favor the theory of intelligent design over evolution.[6] In 2010, the Gallup organization reported that 40% of Americans believe in young earth creationism. In January 2006, the BBC reported the following in respect to Britain:

Just under half of Britons accept the theory of evolution as the best description for the development of life, according to an opinion poll. Furthermore, more than 40% of those questioned believe that creationism or intelligent design (ID) should be taught in school science lessons.[7]

These paragraphs are about the level of acceptance of evolution theory among some scientists, teachers and the general public. They are not much of a differentiated inquiry into the status of this doctrine in society; rather they cherry-pick some conditions which the Conservapedians think are somehow supportive of their point. Since such vanities add virtually nothing to the scientific debate itself, you can feel free to skip to the next section.

The argument that all evolutionists are atheists will be trotted out several times, so we will rebut this later.

The 700 scientists (what kind of scientists?) mentioned in the 2007 Discovery Institute report make their point on their website, and so will we in detail as this article proceeds. In fact, the statement which these scientists signed is not only titled as scepticism, but as "scientific dissent".[8]

As for the 60% reluctant biology teachers from 2011, the creators of the study suggest that "Our data show that these teachers understandably want to avoid controversy"[9], neither advocating evolution nor its denial in a strong way. Therefor, concluding that these teachers disagree with evolution is far more uncertain than Conservapedia tries to imply here. The number of teachers who "explicitly advocate creationism or intelligent design by spending at least one hour of class time presenting it in a positive light" was found to be 13%. (Note that these 13% are not included in the 60% from above, so that these two partitions cover 73% of the total.) The abstract of the study is actually quite worth reading; see the reference.

The Louis Finkelstein Institute, which has conducted the survey stating the disbelief of 60% American medical doctors in Darwinian evolution alone, belongs to The Jewish Theological Seminary. One should consider the possibility of an anti-evolutionary bias. Unfortunately, the original study cannot be found through its URL provided in the article on Discovery to which Conservapedia refers.

On the Gallup survey which asked the general public of the U.S. of A. about what they believe is the origin of life: Take a look at the survey and the answers one could choose between. They go: Humans evolved, with God guiding, Humans evolved, but God had no part in process, God created humans in present form. Notice something? As a supporter of Darwinian evolution, the second option fits your views the closest, but you would testify god's existence when chosing it. Could some of the roughly 6% people who are listed under No opinion every time the survey was conducted be in this group because they refused to get surveyed in such a manner? By the way, this study also found belief in divine creation drop with rising education level; inversely, belief in godless evolution is more prevalent among higher education levels. But again, surveys are worthless.

The theory of evolution posits a process of self-transformation from simple life forms to more complex life forms, which has never been observed or duplicated in a laboratory.[10][11] Although not a creation scientist, Swedish geneticist Dr. Heribert Nilsson, Professor of Botany at the University of Lund in Sweden, stated: "My attempts to demonstrate Evolution by an experiment carried on for more than 40 years have completely failed. At least, I should hardly be accused of having started from a preconceived antievolutionary standpoint."[12]

This quote here is from 1953. It is now 61 years old. It is astonishingly out of date. There have been several observed experiments which have demonstrated evolutionary theory.

The fossil record is often used as evidence in the creation versus evolution controversy. The fossil record does not support the theory of evolution and is one of the many flaws in the theory of evolution.[13] In 1981, there were at least a hundred million fossils that were catalogued and identified in the world's museums.[14] Despite the large number of fossils available to scientists in 1981, evolutionist Mark Ridley, who currently serves as a professor of zoology at Oxford University, was forced to confess: "In any case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation."[15] The fossil record will be discussed in greater detail in regards to why the fossil record does not support the theory of evolution and is decidedly counter evidence to the evolutionary position.

The #1 rule whenever reading articles on Conservapedia is to check the sources. Read the full quote, which quite nicely rebuts the point trying to be made here:

In any case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favor of evolution as opposed to special creation. The does not mean that the theory of evolution is unproven.

So what is the evidence that species have evolved? There have traditionally been three kinds of evidence, and it is these, not the "fossil evidence", that the critics should be thinking about. The three arguments are from the observed evolution of species, from biogeography, and from the hierarchical structure of taxonomy.'

These three are the clearest arguments for the mutability of species. Other defences of the theory of evolution could be made, not the least of which is the absence of a coherent alternative. Darwin's theory is also uniquely able to account for both the

presence of design, and the absence of design (vestigial organs), in nature[16].

In addition to the evolutionary position lacking evidential support and being counterevidential, the great intellectuals in history such as Archimedes, Aristotle, St. Augustine[wp], Francis Bacon[wp], Isaac Newton, and Lord Kelvin[wp] did not propose an evolutionary process for a species to transform into a more complex version. Even after the theory of evolution was proposed and promoted heavily in England and Germany, most leading scientists were against the theory of evolution.[17]

For literally every position you can find dozens of outstanding persons in history who did not believe in it. People are wrong sometimes, even the brightest geniuses whom mankind has brought forth. An argument from authority, as is conducted here, is at best an honest fallacy.

Take the time and meditate about the irony in this type of argument: The key element to fulfil ingenious tasks, the essence of a genius is just that: not caring about what people before you held inconceivable, instead to keep pushing your mind's horizons past the narrow borders of the former generations. If Newton's mind would have embraced that abject argumentative doctrine, he would never have conducted the groundbreaking works which are the very reason why people now invoke him as an authority in questions we think about today.

Yet heresy is not the whole deal: skepticism is what makes science reliable. The initial resistance at the time evolution was proposed was a child of healthy skepticism. If scientists immediately embraced every hypothesis proposed without evidence and testing, no coherent and consistent framework would ever be formed. That the two people (just so few are named in the article) opposed Darwin's theory was quite to be expected for a proposal of such revolutionary appeal. We are now 150 years past this and have conducted research since.

The theory of evolution was published by naturalist Charles Darwin in his book On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, in 1859.[18] Prior to Charles Darwin publishing his work On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, Darwin wrote in his private notebooks that he was a materialist, which is a type of atheist.[19] Charles Darwin’s casual mentioning of a ‘creator’ in earlier editions of The Origin of Species appears to have been a merely a ploy to downplay the implications of his materialistic theory.[20] The amount of credit Darwin actually deserves for the theory is disputed.[21] Darwin's theory attempted to explain the origin of the various kinds of plants and animals via the process of natural selection or "survival of the fittest".

The basic principle behind natural selection is that in the struggle for life some organisms in a given population will be better suited to their particular environment and thus have a reproductive advantage which increases the representation of their particular traits over time. Many years before Charles Darwin, there were several other individuals who published articles on the topic of natural selection.[22] Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was a naturalist who supported the theory of evolution. Lamarck's theory of evolution asserted that evolution occurs because organisms are able to inherit traits acquired by their ancestors and this has been rejected.[23]

Darwin did not first propose in his book Origin of Species that man had descended from non-human ancestors. Darwin's theory of evolution incorporated that later in Darwin's book entitled Descent of Man.

In regards to the history of the theory of evolution, although Darwin is most well known regarding the beginnings of the evolutionary position, evolutionary ideas were taught by the ancient Greeks as early as the 7th century B.C.[24] The concept of naturalistic evolution differs from the concept of theistic evolution[wp] in that it states God does not guide the posited process of macroevolution.[25]

[edit] Intuition, Darwinism and questioning evolution

In January of 2012, the Journal of Research in Science Teaching published a study indicating that evolutionary belief is significantly based on gut feelings.[26][27] A January 20, 2012 article entitled Belief in Evolution Boils Down to a Gut Feeling published by the website Live Science wrote of the research: "They found that intuition had a significant impact on what the students accepted, no matter how much they knew and regardless of their religious beliefs."[28]

The study being referred to was conducted among 124 pre-service biology teachers in Korea's teaching facilities. In regards to the missing link to religion, keep in mind that religion may be of a different significance in that culture.

In May of 2011, Creation Ministries International launched the Question evolution! campaign which is a grassroots campaign encouraging students and others to "question the evolutionary pseudoscience peddled to them". The focus of the Question evolution! campaign is on 15 questions that evolutionists cannot answer. (see: 15 questions that evolutionists cannot satisfactorily answer).[29]

Those which are really questions will be treated here, although there is indeed not enough knowledge yet to give a definite answer to all of them. Some of the questions there—mostly the latter ones—are not really requests for answers but rather sophisms.

[edit] Theory of Evolution - Mutations and the Life Sciences in General

Evolutionist Theodosius Dobzhansky[wp] wrote regarding the theory of evolution: "The process of mutation is the only known source of the new materials of genetic variability, and hence of evolution."[30] Concerning various theories of evolution, most evolutionists believe that the processes of mutation, genetic drift and natural selection created every species of life that we see on earth today after life first came about on earth although there is little consensus on how this process is allegedly to have occurred.[31]

Pierre-Paul Grasse[wp], who served as Chair of Evolution at Sorbonne University for thirty years and was ex-president of the French Academy of Sciences, stated the following: "Some contemporary biologists, as soon as they observe a mutation, talk about evolution. They are implicitly supporting the following syllogism: mutations are the only evolutionary variations, all living beings undergo mutations, therefore all living beings evolve....No matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution." Grasse pointed out that bacteria which are the subject of study of many geneticists and molecular biologists are organisms which produce the most mutants.[32] Grasse then points that bacteria are considered to have "stabilized a billion years ago!".[33] Grasse regards the "unceasing mutations" to be "merely hereditary fluctuations around a median position; a swing to the right, a swing to the left, but no final evolutionary effect."[34] In addition, Harvard[wp] biologist Ernst Mayr[wp] wrote: "It must be admitted, however, that it is a considerable strain on one’s credulity to assume that finely balanced systems such as certain sense organs (the eye of vertebrates, or the bird’s feather) could be improved by random mutations."[35]

Dobzhansky is correct that mutation of the genotype is the only way for evolution to occur; this is known as neo-Darwinism. Pierre-Paul Grassé[wp] on the other hand, supported Lamarckism, which was not unusual among some French scientist, as Lamarck was French. The Chair of Evolutionary Biology at the Faculty of Paris (where does DeMyer get his information from?) was previously held by two Lamarckism supporters. Lamarckism relies on an almost mystical belief that acquired physical characteristics can be passed on in some material way to your offspring. For example, if your father was of light build, by body-building and weightlifting you could ensure that your children would be born with a heavy build. This has no resemblance at all to modern genetics and it is surprising that a supporter of Lamarckism would hold a Chair in Evolutionary Biology in the second half of the 20th century. Unsurprisingly all his successors are neo-Darwinists. Was Pierre-Paul Grassé a bad scientist? No, he was an expert on termites, but his belief in Lamarckism based on national pride shows why science works the way it does. It is not one person's authority or ability to get books published that decides the validity of scientific theories, but rather an overall consensus.

Creation scientists believe that mutations, natural selection, and genetic drift would not cause macroevolution.[36] Furthermore, creation scientists assert that the life sciences as a whole support the creation model and do not support the theory of evolution.[37] Homology[wp] involves the theory that macroevolutionary relationships can be demonstrated by the similarity in the anatomy and physiology of different organisms.[38] An example of a homology argument is that DNA similarities between human and other living organisms is evidence for the theory of evolution.[39] Creation scientists provide sound reasons why the homology argument is not a valid argument[wp]. Both evolutionary scientists and young earth creation scientists believe that speciation[wp] occurs, however, young earth creation scientists state that speciation generally occurs at a much faster rate than evolutionist believe is the case.[40]

Critics of the theory of evolution state that many of today's proponents of the evolutionary position have diluted the meaning of the term "evolution" to the point where it defined as or the definition includes change over time in the gene pool of a population over time through such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.[41] Dr. Jonathan Sarfati states the following in relation to the diluted definition of the word "evolution":

...many evolutionary propagandists are guilty of the deceitful practice of equivocation, that is, switching the meaning of a single word (evolution) part way through an argument. A common tactic, ‘bait-and-switch,’ is simply to produce examples of change over time, call this ‘evolution,’ then imply that the GTE [General Theory of Evolution] is thereby proven or even essential, and creation disproved. The PBS Evolution series and the Scientific American article are full of examples of this fallacy.[42]

[edit] Biological diversity - evolution contrasted with biblical creation science

Dr. Jonathan Sarfati wrote:

In contrast, creationists, starting from the Bible, believe that God created different kinds of organisms, which reproduced ‘after their kinds’ (Gen. 1:11–12, 21, 24–25). Each of these kinds was created with a vast amount of information. There was enough variety in the information in the original creatures so their descendants could adapt to a wide variety of environments. All (sexually reproducing) organisms contain their genetic information in paired form. Each offspring inherits half its genetic information from its mother, and half from its father. So there are two genes at a given position (locus, plural loci) coding for a particular characteristic. An organism can be heterozygous at a given locus, meaning it carries different forms (alleles) of this gene... So there is no problem for creationists explaining that the original created kinds could each give rise to many different varieties. In fact, the original created kinds would have had much more heterozygosity than their modern, more specialized descendants. No wonder Ayala pointed out that most of the variation in populations arises from reshuffling of previously existing genes, not from mutations. Many varieties can arise simply by two previously hidden recessive alleles coming together. However, Ayala believes the genetic information came ultimately from mutations, not creation. His belief is contrary to information theory, as shown in chapter 9 on ‘Design’.[43]

[edit] Prominent evolutionists have indicated that the origin of life is part of the evolutionary model

Dr. Don Batten of Creation Ministries International has pointed out that prominent evolutionists, such as PZ Myers and Nick Matzke, have indicated that a naturalistic postulation of the origin of life (often called abiogenesis), is part of the evolutionary model.[44] This poses a very serious problem for the evolutionary position as the evidence clearly points life being a product of design and not through naturalistic processes.[45]

[edit] Theory of Evolution and Little Consensus

There is little scientific consensus on how macroevolution is said to have happened, as can be seen in the following quotes:

When discussing organic evolution the only point of agreement seems to be: "It happened." Thereafter, there is little consensus, which at first sight must seem rather odd. -(Simon Conway Morris, [palaeontologist, Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge University, UK], "Evolution: Bringing Molecules into the Fold," Cell, Vol. 100, pp.1-11, January 7, 2000, p.11)[46]

The scientific consensus is strong, which can be seen from the actual quotes:
By the way, this is from page 1 not page 11.

When discussing organic evolution the only point of agreement seems to be: “It happened.” Thereafter, there is little consensus, which at first sight must seem rather odd. Towering majestically over the citadel is the figure of Darwin. In squares and piazzas the other heroes of evolution stand in marmoreal splendor: Bateson, Morgan, Dobzhansky, Simpson, and, just completed, Lewis and Nüsslein-Vollhard. These are the grand architects of the evolutionary synthesis, and together they provide a narrative for everything from the study of variation and the genetic structure of populations to the remarkable rediscoveries of homeotic genes. Given, therefore, this history and the most recent and spectacular advances in molecular biology, it may seem curmudgeonly, if not perverse, to even hint that our understanding of evolutionary processes and mechanisms is incomplete. Yet, this review has exactly that intention.

There is a paradox in as much as sensible advances are usually only possible under a severely reductionist program, whereas questions basic to our understanding of evolution demand an encyclopedic knowledge of the science

combined with an unprecedented skill in distillation and synthesis. Of these questions, perhaps the most fundamental is to explain the immense diversity of life despite its deep and pervasively similar molecular architecture.

What has been quote mined here is what is known as a review paper, in that no new research is presented. Instead an over arching view of several is given. This is why quote mining is so deceptive, as the quote by itself has a very different meaning than the one the author is trying to convey. Also in the context you can see that the author was speaking very allegorically and did not intend this to be a statement of fact.

The final conclusion by Morris, for those interested.

Yet, as discussed earlier, the very similar genetic architecture that underpins the arm with which I write this article and the wing of the passing fly introduces the sobering possibility that much of organismal architecture is dependent on a set of “toolboxes,” each opened as and when the need arises. And this is perhaps the central conundrum of evolution: how do we balance the process of change against the emergence of form?
"“The history of organic life is indemonstrable; we cannot prove a whole lot in evolutionary biology, and our findings will always be hypothesis. There is one true evolutionary history of life, and whether we will actually ever know it is not likely. Most importantly, we have to think about questioning underlying assumptions, whether we are dealing with molecules or anything else.” - Jeffrey H. Schwartz, Professor of Biological Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, February 9, 2007[47]

This is a quote from a University media release Pitt Professor Contends Biological Underpinnings Of Darwinian Evolution Not Valid, and, as always, is taken out of context. What Professor Schwartz is contesting in his paper Do Molecular Clocks Run at All? A Critique of Molecular Systematics is the assumptions made by Zuckerkandl and Pauling in 1962 that the degree of overall similarity reflects degree of relatedness - e.g., humans have the most DNA in common with chimpanzees and so we share a closer common ancestor with them than we do with orangutans. Professor Schwartz has the heterodox view that humans are actually closer related to orangutans. Professor Schwartz better explains his position in the introduction to his paper;

Claims that humans and chimpanzees are essentially identical molecularly, and therefore the most closely related largebodied hominoids (humans/hominids and great apes), are now commonplace. Indeed, in a science in which philosophers (Popper 1962, 1968, 1976; Wiley 1975; Patterson 1978) have long argued that nothing can be proven, only falsified, this hypothesis is so entrenched that any explanation of inconsistency in the data is accepted without question. Witness, for example, the recent scenario that for some millions of years after their lineages split, hominids and chimpanzees continually interbred and produced reproductively viable hybrids (Patterson et al. 2006).

For historians and philosophers of science the questions that arise are how belief in the infallibility of molecular data for

reconstructing evolutionary relationships emerged, and how this belief became so central, especially to paleoanthropology, which as a paleontological enterprise can only rely on morphology. Part of the answer comes from the history of human paleontology itself.
"If it is true that an influx of doubt and uncertainty actually marks periods of healthy growth in a science, then evolutionary biology is flourishing today as it seldom has flourished in the past. For biologists collectively are less agreed upon the details of evolutionary mechanics than they were a scant decade ago. Superficially, it seems as if we know less about evolution than we did in 1959, the centennial year of Darwin's on the Origin of Species." - Niles Eldredge, "Time Frames: The Rethinking of Darwinian Evolution and the Theory of Punctuated Equilibrium," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, 1985, p.14[48]

The important part of that quote is "superficially". That is precisely what DeMyer has done: look at the question of consensus superficially. Whilst there maybe disagreement between scientists on the very precise details of evolution, there is consensus that: 1) it occurred and 2) there is plenty of evidence that it occurred.

In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick published their work on the structure of DNA, and at the time all seemed clear: DNA produces protein, so a change in DNA causes a change in protein, producing different species. However, as more and more research was done, this simple explanation came apart. It became clear that RNA also formed DNA and that most organisms have the same proteins. As Morris said, it has became more clear that proteins are tools that make a different organism depending on where, when and how they are used. The proteins that make a human will not make a human outside a human womb. This has also changed the view of the way evolution occurs. Instead of species changing slowly over time, they remain fixed, changing quickly into new species depending on the environment.

What DeMyer has done is tried to paint science's biggest strength as a weakness in an attempt to sow doubt about evolution. Because scientist are always testing their previous assumption as more information becomes available, hypotheses are overturned and progress is made. What will become of Schwartz's hypothesis is unknown, but it is being heard and tested because he has supported it with research and data, not context-less quotes.

Pierre Grasse, who served as Chair of Evolution at Sorbonne University for thirty years and was ex-president of the French Academy of Sciences, stated the following:

Through use and abuse of hidden postulates, of bold, often ill-founded extrapolations, a pseudoscience has been created. It is taking root in the very heart of biology and is leading astray many biochemists and biologists, who sincerely believe that the accuracy of fundamental concepts has been demonstrated, which is not the case.... 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 of the interpretations 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 the falsity of their beliefs. - Pierre Grasse - Evolution of Living Organisms (1977), pages 6 and 8[49]
As mentioned before, Lamarckism is in no way reflected in the evidence, and is not accepted by the scientific community at large.

[edit] Genetic Code, Processing of Biological Data, and Biological Information

See main articles: Creation science, Intelligent design

Creation scientists and intelligent design advocates state the genetic code, genetic programs, and biological information argue for an intelligent cause in regards the origins question and assert it is one of the problems of the theory of evolution.[50][51]

Dr. Walt Brown states the genetic material that controls the biological processes of life is coded information and that human experience tells us that codes are created only by the result of intelligence and not merely by processes of nature.[50] Dr. Brown also asserts that the "information stored in the genetic material of all life is a complex program. Therefore, it appears that an unfathomable intelligence created these genetic programs."[50]

To support his view regarding the divine origin of genetic programs Dr. Walt Brown cites the work of David Abel and Professor Jack Trevors who wrote the following:

No matter how many "bits" of possible combinations it has, there is no reason to call it "information" if it doesn't at least have the potential of producing something useful. What kind of information produces function? In computer science, we call it a "program." Another name for computer software is an "algorithm." No man-made program comes close to the technical brilliance of even Mycoplasmal genetic algorithms. Mycoplasmas are the simplest known organism with the smallest known genome, to date. How was its genome and other living organisms' genomes programmed? - David L. Abel and Jack T. Trevors, “Three Subsets of Sequence Complexity and Their Relevance to Biopolymeric Information,” Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling, Vol. 2, 11 August 2005, page 8[52]

In the peer reviewed biology journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington Dr. Stephen Meyer argues that no current materialistic theory of evolution can account for the origin of the information necessary to build novel animal forms and proposed an intelligent cause as the best explanation for the origin of biological information and the higher taxa.[53] The editor of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, Dr. Richard Sternberg, (see: Smithsonian-Sternberg affair) came under intense scrutiny and persecution for the aforementioned article published by Dr. Meyer.

First of all, this isn't a very coherent title for a section.

Secondly, molecular genetics is a field that is still very early in its development. The reason that we still know so little about it is that although we have mapped the human genome, there are many things that make its workings more complicated than simply "one gene for this, one gene for that." DNA must interact with proteins called histones, which shape the molecule, and thus have a great influence on how it is read (making the molecule more like a roller-coaster than a ladder). Furthermore, large segments of the genetic code, called introns, are excised from the code that is read, and amount to genetic "garbage." In fact, over 98% of the human genome is believed to be useless.[54]

"Intelligent Design" proponents rely on a teleological argument, which relies on a perfect design to suggest that there must have been a designer (i.e. a watch would not work without all of the necessary parts in the necessary places). Unlike a watch, genetic codes are not perfectly designed, bearing numerous errors, glitches, mutations, and wasted material. Sometimes, a change in the code proves fatal, and thus is not passed on to the next generation. Changes that are beneficial are likely to be passed on. Changes that are neutral, however, may be passed on and exist as "garbage," either producing no unique or useful proteins or not being read at all, until, many generations later, another mutation activates those neutral changes to bring about a new, useful protein. It is also likely that much of the genetic garbage in a modern genome consists of code that was active in and important to the evolutionary ancestors of the modern organism, meaning that that genetic material may have been subject to evolutionary pressure at some point. All of this builds to a great likelihood that the 95% of genetic "garbage" in our genome could easily give rise to useful new code. Any trait that is beneficial is likely to, in time, permit life that could not otherwise exist, hence making that trait essential, and giving the appearance of design to the uninformed observer.

[edit] Evolutionary Theory and Cases of Fraud, Hoaxes and Speculation‎

See main article: Theory of Evolution and Cases of Fraud, Hoaxes and Speculation‎

A notable case of a scientists using fraudulent material to promote the theory of evolution was the work of German scientist and atheist Ernst Haeckel. Noted evolutionist Stephen Gould wrote the following regarding Ernst Haeckel's work in a March 2000 issue of Natural History:

"Haeckel’s forceful, eminently comprehensible, if not always accurate, books appeared in all major languages and surely exerted more influence than the works of any other scientist, including Darwin…in convincing people throughout the world about the validity of evolution... Haeckel had exaggerated the similarities [between embryos of different species] by idealizations and omissions. He also, in some cases — in a procedure that can only be called fraudulent — simply copied the same figure over and over again.…Haeckel’s drawings never fooled expert embryologists, who recognized his fudgings right from the start. Haeckel’s drawings, despite their noted inaccuracies, entered into the most impenetrable and permanent of all quasi-scientific literatures: standard student textbooks of biology... Once ensconced in textbooks, misinformation becomes cocooned and effectively permanent, because…textbooks copy from previous texts.... [W]e do, I think, have the right to be both astonished and ashamed by the century of mindless recycling that has led to the persistence of these drawings in a large number, if not a majority, of modern textbooks!"[55]

An irony of history is that the March 9, 1907 edition of the NY Times refers to Ernst Haeckel as the "celebrated Darwinian and founder of the Association for the Propagation of Ethical Atheism."[56]

Stephen Gould continues by quoting Michael Richardson of the St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London, who stated: "I know of at least fifty recent biology texts which use the drawings uncritically".[55]

Intelligent design theorist Michael Behe publicly exposed the fraudulent nature of Haeckel's embryos in a NY Times article.[57] It appears as if Stephen Gould was irritated that the fraud was exposed in manner that publicly embarrassed the evolutionary community - namely though a high profile NY Times article.[58]

Creation scientists have written regarding the fraudulent nature of Haeckel's work and how a prestigious German science journal published his dubious work.[59]

Dr. Jonathan Wells published a book in 2000 entitled Icons of Evolution. Dr. Wells contends that the book shows that "the best-known “evidences” for Darwin’s theory have been exaggerated, distorted or even faked."[60]

It's fitting that Conservapedia has an entire article dedicated to guilt by association regarding evolution, as they use the same tactic to attack pretty much everything else they dislike (beware: Haeckel was an atheist!!!). The idea here is that because people have published false findings and others mistook those findings for fact, the entire case for evolution must be based on lies (see Piltdown Man). Note how creationists also try to blow up these incidents as "the best-known evidences for Darwin's theory," repeatedly commenting about how "high-profile" and "famous" they were. The assertion that Haeckel's drawings were ever the best-known piece of evidence is never backed up, and even if it were, it wouldn't at all change the fact that the drawings were never important to the scientific case for evolution.

The Conservapedia article goes on to attempt to state that Stephen Jay Gould was "irritated" by the fraud of the Haeckel drawings because it made the case for evolution (or, pejoratively, "the evolutionary community,") look bad. This presumption begs the question by starting out with the assumption that the revelation of the Haeckel fraud was damaging to Gould or any other proponent of evolution. If the cited creation scientists who wrote this actually understood anything about science, they would quickly realize the real reason for Gould's frustration (as is evident even from the creationist website put forth as a source) is two-fold: first, that the Haeckel drawings were utterly unscientific, representing inductive reasoning rather than deductive reasoning, and that so many credulous publishers did not take notice of how cartoonishly fake they looked; and second, that Michael Behe makes a leap from this evidence by going on to say that, based on this and a mere couple of difficulties in simulating natural selection in a laboratory, the facts do not add up for evolution. Of course, Behe was selecting his evidence carefully based on his a priori assumption that evolution was guided by a god, which he was writing to suggest be discussed in biology classes. It is no surprise that Stephen Jay Gould, a man who devoted his life to science, would be disappointed by the misappropriation of scientific data to fit unscientifically sought conclusions, whether that be Haeckel's recapitulation theory or Behe's "intelligent design."

Finally, the Discovery Institute article cited here misstates Behe's supposed "exposure" of the Haeckel drawings' falsehood. In fact, it was the earlier-mentioned Richardson whom Behe was citing. Richardson had recently published articles about the inaccuracy of the Haeckel drawings in the magazines Science and Nature, publications no less "high-profile" in the scientific world than the New York Times.

[edit] Lack of Any Clear Transitional Forms

Currently, there are over one hundred million identified and cataloged fossils in the world's museums.[61] If the evolutionary position was valid, then there should be "transitional forms" in the fossil record reflecting the intermediate life forms. Another term for these "transitional forms" is "missing links".

Darwin himself admitted that his theory required the existence of "transitional forms." Darwin wrote: "So that the number of intermediate and transitional links, between all living and extinct species, must have been inconceivably great. But assuredly, if this theory be true, such have lived upon the earth."[62] However, Darwin wrote: "Why then is not every geological formation and every strata full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely-graduated organic chain; and this perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against my theory."[63] Darwin thought the lack of transitional links in his time was because "only a small portion of the surface of the earth has been geologically explored and no part with sufficient care...".[64] As Darwin grew older he became increasingly concerned about the lack of evidence for the theory of evolution in terms of the existence of transitional forms. Darwin wrote, "“When we descend to details, we cannot prove that a single species has changed; nor can we prove that the supposed changes are beneficial, which is the groundwork of the theory.”[65]

Here begins another argument from incredulity, that because there are so many fossils, there must be some transitional forms lying around if transitional forms indeed exist. In fact, they do.

One of the major problems with this article is a startlingly obvious denial of chronology: most of the quotes about the lack of transitional forms were taken from before a lot of the key transitional fossils were discovered. Darwin did indeed worry that transitional fossils were few, but he died while paleontology was in its infancy. Since then, discoveries have revealed transitional forms across all of the major classes of vertebrate life: from fish to amphibian, amphibian to reptile, diapsid reptile to dinosaur, synapsid reptile to mammal, and dinosaur to bird. Although the fossil record will never likely reveal all of the steps along the way, each of these transitions, as well as other major physiological transitions such as the evolution of whales from land-dwelling mammals, have been supported by at least several different fossil finds.

Scientist Dr. Michael Denton wrote regarding the fossil record:

"It is still, as it was in Darwin's day, overwhelmingly true that the first representatives of all the major classes of organisms known to biology are already highly characteristic of their class when they make their initial appearance in the fossil record. This phenomenon is particularly obvious in the case of the invertebrate fossil record. At its first appearance in the ancient Paleozoic seas, invertebrate life was already divided into practically all the major groups with which we are familiar today.[66]

Scientist Michael Denton was one of the founders of the "Intelligent Design" movement, but he has since departed from the movement, writing in favor of the likelihood of evolution.

Creationists assert that evolutionists have had over 140 years to find a transitional fossil and nothing approaching a conclusive transitional form has ever been found and that only a handful of highly doubtful examples of transitional fossils exist.[67] Distinguished anthropologist Sir Edmund R. Leach declared, "Missing links in the sequence of fossil evidence were a worry to Darwin. He felt sure they would eventually turn up, but they are still missing and seem likely to remain so."[68]

David B. Kitts of the School of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Oklahoma wrote that "Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and palaeontology does not provide them…".[69]

David B. Kitts of the School of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Oklahoma wrote alot more:

Despite the bright promise that paleontology provides a means of "seeing" evolution, it has presented some nasty difficulties for evolutionists the most notorious of which is the presence of "gaps" in the fossil record. Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them. The gaps must therefore be a contingent feature of the record. [Quite a bit of intermediate material removed] The claim has been repeatedly made that the fossil record provides a basis for the falsification of synthetic theory [Neo-Darwinism] and Simpson has demonstrated that this is not the case.[70]

David Raup, who was the curator of geology at the museum holding the world's largest fossil collection, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, observed:

"[Darwin] was embarrassed by the fossil record because it didn't look the way he predicted it would .... Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn't changed much. ... [W]e have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time." - David M. Raup, "Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology," Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin 50 (January 1979): 22-23, 24-25.

One of the most famous proponents of the theory of evolution was the late Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. But Gould admitted the following:

The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils...We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.[71]

In a 1977 paper titled "The Return of Hopeful Monsters", Gould wrote: "The fossil record with its abrupt transitions offers no support for gradual change....All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt."[72][73]

The senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, Dr. Colin Patterson, put it this way:

Gradualism is a concept I believe in, not just because of Darwin’s authority, but because my understanding of genetics seems to demand it. Yet Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils....I will lay it on the line — there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.[74]

According to Dr. Don Batten, Stephen Gould in 1970s made some admissions that there was a "lack of evidence for phylogeny in the fossils" and that Gould had also claimed a number of that were no indisputable intermediate forms. Dr. Batten states that Gould made these statements when Gould was less concerned about creationists.[72] Dr. Batten also states that "claimed examples of transitional series and intermediate forms received an incisive critique from Gould in the 1970s...."[72] However, Gould's admissions were subsequently widely quoted by creationists.[72] According to Dr. Batton, in 1981 Gould started making intemperate language towards creationists.[75] After having been incessantly quoted by creationist regarding the fossil record, Gould altered his public stance regarding the fossil record and without stating specific examples from the fossil record and using the ambiguous term "larger groups" Gould stated the following in 1981:

Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists - whether through design or stupidity, I do not know - as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups."[76]

In 1980, David Woodruff wrote in the journal Science the following: "But fossil species remain unchanged throughout most of their history and the record fails to contain a single example of a significant transition.”[77] The late Ernst Mayr was a prominent Harvard biologist who also served as the director of Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. Mayr was a staunch evolutionist and atheist[78] who maintained that evolution was a fact, yet in 1982 Mayr was compelled to make the following admission regarding the fossil record in relation to the theory of evolution: "Even the fossil record fails to substantiate any continuity and all novelties appear in the fossil quite suddenly.[79]

In 1985, Gould was more specific regarding his claim that there were intermediate forms and asserted that Archaeopteryx was a intermediate form.[80] Also, according to Dr. Batten, in 1994 the following occurred in regard to Gould's stance on the fossil record:

"[Gould] abandoned his earlier position that there are no indisputable examples of transitional fossil series, either inter-specific or between major designs, and has embraced the ‘walking whale’ story as evidence for transformation of one species into another. The evidence for this transition is scant, but Gould uncritically accepts the fanciful description of how Ambulocetus natans walked and swam, as given by Thewissen et al."[72]

In 2001, staunch evolutionist Ernst Mayr wrote the following:

Given the fact of evolution, one would expect the fossils to document a gradual steady change from one ancestral form to the descendants. But this is not what the paleontologist finds. Instead, he or she finds gaps in just about every phyletic series. New types often appear quite suddenly, and their immediate ancestors are absent in the geological strata. The discovery of unbroken series of species changing gradually into descending species is very rare. Indeed the fossil record is one of discontinuities, seemingly documenting jumps (saltations) from one type of organism to a different type. This raises a puzzling question: Why does the fossil record fail to reflect the gradual change one would expect from evolution?[81]

As mentioned earlier, one of the more famous alleged transitional fossils claimed by evolutionists is Archaeopteryx. Dr. Alan Feduccia, a world authority on birds and an evolutionist himself, has stated the following regarding Archaeopteryx:

Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earth-bound, feathered dinosaur. But it’s not. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of ‘paleobabble’ is going to change that.[82]

Creation scientists have a number of arguments against Archaeopteryx being a transitional fossil find.[82][83]

A second famous alleged transitional fossil claimed by evolutionists is Tiktaalik. Creation scientists have a number of arguments regarding the fossil find of Tiktaalik not being a transitional find.[84]

[edit] The Fossil Record and the Evolutionary Position

Creationists can cite quotations which assert that no solid fossil evidence for the theory of evolution position exists:

Yes, you can indeed quote can't you. Full quotes are:

"...I still think that to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favour of special creation. - E.J.H. Corner (Professor of Botany, Cambridge University, England), “Evolution” in Anna M. MacLeod and L. S. Cobley (eds.), Contemporary Botanical Thought (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1961), p. 97[85][86]
The theory of evolution is not merely the theory of the origin of species, but the only explanation of the fact that organisms can be classified into this hierarchy of natural affinity. Much evidence can be adduced in favour of the theory of evolution - from biology, bio-geography and palaeontology, but I still think that, to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favour of special creation. If, however, another explanation could be found for this hierarchy of classification, it would be the knell of the theory of evolution. Can you imagine how an orchid, a duckweed, and a palm have come from the same ancestry, and have we any evidence for this assumption? The evolutionist must be prepared with an answer, but I think that most would break down before an inquisition. Textbooks hoodwink. A series of more and more complicated plants is introduced - the alga, the fungus, the bryophyte, and so on, and examples are added eclectically in support of one or another theory - and that is held to be a presentation of evolution. If the world of plants consisted only of these few textbook types of standard botany, the idea of evolution might never have dawned, and the backgrounds of these textbooks are the temperate countries which, at best, are poor places to study world vegetation. The point, of course, is that there are thousands and thousands of living plants, predominantly tropical, which have never entered general botany, yet they are the bricks with which the taxonomist has built his temple of evolution, and where else have we to worship?
"We then move right off the register of objective truth into those fields of presumed biological science, like extrasensory perception or the interpretation of man's fossil history, where to the faithful anything is possible - and where the ardent believer is sometimes able to believe several contradictory things at the same time." - Lord Solly Zuckerman (professor of anatomy at Birmingham University in England and chief scientific adviser to the British government from the time period of 1964 to 1971), Beyond The Ivory Tower, Toplinger Publications, New York, 1970, p. 19.[87][88]
"Fossil evidence of human evolutionary history is fragmentary and open to various interpretations. Fossil evidence of chimpanzee evolution is absent altogether". Henry Gee, “Return to the Planet of the Apes,” Nature, Vol. 412, 12 July 2001, p. 131.[89]

It is difficult to describe how out of context this quote is given that it is the subtitle of an editorial discussing several paper that are printed in that issue of Nature. Instead for a reflection on the article here are the final two paragraphs.

Sadly, I doubt that the status of these creatures [early hominids and hominin] can be resolved to general satisfaction. Some researchers have suggested that the dental and skeletal traits conventionally used as the basis for hominid systematics are unreliable guides for reconstructing evolutionary history, in that the phylogenies created using these traits differ from those based on molecular information from living primates. Given that bones and teeth are, for practical purposes, all there is to go on, uncertainty is likely to reign for some time, leaving the nature of the latest common ancestor — and the general course of early hominid evolution — as mysterious as ever.

Is the outlook completely gloomy? Perhaps not. The accumulating data on palaeoenvironments should at least improve our understanding of the lives and times of early hominids (and perhaps of early chimps), even though the evolutionary relationships remain murky.

It is unsurprising that there is little fossil record of early humans and chimpanzees as for fossilisation to occur an organism's remains must be deposited in a bed of sediment. What fossils we do have are from Eastern Africa a largely, flat, dry savannah and was likely to have been for most of hominid evolution. The absence of sediment beds for fossilisation to occur is the reason why the record is broken and fragmentary, not because these creatures didn't exist.

For more fossil record quotes please see: Fossil record quotes

To reiterate Mark Ridley's point from the introduction of the article;

  • The fossil record is never used as proof of evolution as it will always be incomplete.
  • There are three strong pieces of evidence for evolution;
  1. Observed evolution of species
  2. Biogeography
  3. Hierarchical structure of taxonomy

[edit] Paleoanthropology

Paleoanthropology is an interdisciplinary branch of anthropology that concerns itself with the origins of early humans and it examines and evaluates items such as fossils and artifacts.[90] Dr. David Pilbeam is a paleoanthropologist who received his Ph.D. at Yale University and Dr. Pilbeam is presently Professor of Social Sciences at Harvard University and Curator of Paleontology at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.[91] In addition, Dr. Pilbeam served as an advisor for the Kenya government regarding the creation of an international institute for the study of human origins.[92]

Dr. Pilbeam wrote a review of Richard Leakey's book Origins in the journal American Scientist and he stated the following:

...perhaps generations of students of human evolution, including myself, have been flailing about in the dark; that our data base is too sparse, too slippery, for it to be able to mold our theories. Rather the theories are more statements about us and ideology than about the past. Paleoanthropology reveals more about how humans view themselves than it does about how humans came about. But that is heresy.[93]

Dr. Pilbeam wrote the following regarding the theory of evolution and paleoanthropology:

I am also aware of the fact that, at least in my own subject of paleoanthropology, "theory" - heavily influenced by implicit ideas almost always dominates "data". ....Ideas that are totally unrelated to actual fossils have dominated theory building, which in turn strongly influence the way fossils are interpreted.[93]

Evolutionist and Harvard professor Richard Lewontin wrote in 1995 that "Despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor...."[94] In the September 2005 issue of National Geographic Society, Joel Achenbach asserted that human evolution is a "fact" but he also candidly admitted that in regards to the field of paleoanthropology that "Today the field has again become a rather glorious mess."[95][96] In the same National Geographic article Harvard paleoanthropologist Dan Lieberman states, "We're not doing a very good job of being honest about what we don't know...".[96]

In regards to the pictures of the supposed ancestors of man featured in science journals and the news media Boyce Rensberger wrote in the journal Science the following regarding their highly speculative nature:

Unfortunately, the vast majority of artist's conceptions are based more on imagination than on evidence. But a handful of expert natural-history artists begin with the fossil bones of a hominid and work from there…. Much of the reconstruction, however, is guesswork. Bones say nothing about the fleshy parts of the nose, lips, or ears. Artists must create something between an ape and a human being; the older the specimen is said to be, the more apelike they make it.... Hairiness is a matter of pure conjecture.[97][98]

In addition, the science magazine New Scientist reported the following:

"A five million-year-old piece of bone that was thought to be a collarbone of a humanlike creature is actually part of a dolphin rib according to an anthropologist at the University of California-Berkeley." - Ian Anderson[99][100]

Dr. Tim White, anthropologist at the University of California-Berkeley, likened the incident on par with the "Nebraska man" and "Piltdown Man" incidents.[99] Dr. White stated regarding the fossil find, "Seldom has a bone been hyped as much as this one."[99] Anthropologist Dr. Noel Boaz from New York University who made the original classification of the fossil has countered, "I have not gone any further than the evidence allowed."[99][101] Dr. Boaz described the fossil find and defended his stance regarding the fossil find in the journals Nature, the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and Natural History. However, at a meeting of physical anthropologist his fellow anthropologist were skeptical of the find some stating that at first glance the bone looks nothing like a collar bone.[101] Dr. White stated that "to be a clavicle, the specimen should have an S...curve, but it does not.[99] Dr. White also stated the blunder may force a rethinking of theories among evolutionary theorists on when the line of man's ancestors separated from that of apes.[99]

Dr. White added "The problem with a lot of anthropologists is that they want so much to find a hominid that any scrap of bone becomes a hominid bone."[99] Dr. White has dubbed the "humanoid species" arising from the fossil find "Flipperpithecus".[101]

Creation scientists concur with Dr. Pilbeam regarding the speculative nature of the field of paleoanthropology and assert there is no compelling evidence in the field of paleoanthropology for the various theories of human evolution.[102][103][104]

[edit] Theory of Punctuated Equilibrium

Because the fossil record is characterized by the abrupt appearance of species and stasis in the fossil record the theory of punctuated equilibrium was developed and its chief proponents were Stephen Gould, Niles Eldridge, and Steven Stanley.[72] According to the American Museum of Natural History the theory of Punctuated Equilibrium "asserts that evolution occurs in dramatic spurts interspersed with long periods of stasis".[105] Because Stephen Gould was the leading proponent of the theory of punctuated equilibrium much of the criticism of the theory has been directed towards Gould.[106][107]

In 1995, there was an essay in the New York Review of Books by the late John Maynard Smith, a noted evolutionary biologist who was considered the dean of British neo-Darwinists, and Smith wrote the following regarding Gould's work in respect to the theory of evolution:

The evolutionary biologists with whom I have discussed his [Gould’s] work tend to see him as a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with, but as one who should not be publicly criticized because he is at least on our side against the creationists. All this would not matter, were it not that he is giving non biologists a largely false picture of the state of evolutionary theory."[108][109]

Noted journalist and author Robert Wright , wrote in 1996 that, “among top-flight evolutionary biologists, Gould is considered a pest—not just a lightweight, but an actively muddled man who has warped the public's understanding of Darwinism.”[110][111]

Creation scientist Dr. Jonathan Sarfati wrote regarding the implausibility of the theory of punctuated equilibrium and the implausibility of the idea of gradual evolution the following:

...supporters of ‘jerky’ evolution saltationism and its relative, punctuated equilibria) point out that the fossil record does not show gradualism, and that the hypothetical transitional forms would be disadvantageous. But supporters of gradual evolution point out that large, information-increasing changes are so improbable that one would need to invoke a secular miracle. Creationists agree with both: punctuational evolution can’t happen, and gradual evolution can’t happen—in fact, particles-to-people evolution can’t happen at all![112]

Stephen Gould admitted in 1977 in a paper called, ‘The Return of the Hopeful Monsters that when he studied evolutionary biology in graduate school that "official rebuke and derision focused upon Richard Goldschmidt", Gould nevertheless stated in that paper the following regarding Goldschmidt and the theory of evolution:

I do, however, predict that during this decade Goldschmidt will be largely vindicated in the world of evolutionary biology.....As a Darwinian, I wish to defend Goldschmidt's postulate that macroevolution is not simply microevolution extrapolated, and that major structural transitions can occur rapidly without a smooth series of intermediate stages....In my own, strongly biased opinion, the problem of reconciling evident discontinuity in macroevolution with Darwinism is largely solved by the observation that small changes early in embryology accumulate through growth to yield profound differences among adults.[113]


The Harvard biologist Ernst Mayr comments on Gould's essay, 'The Return of the Hopeful Monsters' by stating the following:

Gould does not clearly distinguish between the magnitude of the structural change and the "locale" where it may occur. As a result, his discussion was seen by many as an endorsement of Goldschmidt's hopeful monster theory....

It is now clear that the basic difference between the moderate and drastic version of the theory of punctuated equilibria is that in the moderate version a gradual, albeit rapid and sometimes drastic genetic restructuring of populations takes place, while in the Goldschmidtian version a systemic mutation produces a single individual, a hopeful monster, which starts a new evolutionary tradition.

Even though some of the statements of Eldredge, Gould, and Stanley, made in the 1970s, sounded as if they had favored the Goldschmidtian version, they clearly distanced themselves from it in their more recent discussions. When postulating saltations, says Gould (1980), "I do not refer to the saltational of entire designs complete in all their complex and integrated features...instead, I envisage a potential saltational origin for the essential features of key adaptions. " - Ernst Mayr, 1982a. Speciation and macroevolution. Evolution 36, page 1128[114]

Similarly, creation scientist Dr. Don Batten concurs with the Harvard evolutionist Ernst Mayr and states that in 1982 Gould distanced himself from "Hopeful Monsters" and cites Gould stating that "Punctuated equilibrium is not a theory of macromutation, it is not a theory of any genetic process" although Dr. Batten also cites Gould admitting to having supported "certain forms of macromutational theory … though not in the context of punctuated equilibrium."[72] Dr. Batten further states regarding the theory of Punctuated Equilibrium (PE) the following: "By the time of their 21st anniversary review of PE, Gould and Eldridge had retracted to proposing PE as ‘a complement to phyletic gradualism’. This is a rather major backdown on the brashness of their claims in 1972, and especially Gould’s claims up to 1980..."[72]

In 1986, Niles Eldredge published his work Time Frames: the Re- thinking of Darwinian Evolution and the Theory of Punctuated Equilibria in which he wrote: ‘This book is my version of the story of “punctuated equilibria” … {emphasis added). This of course suggested that Eldridge wished to remove himself from other versions.[72] According to Dr. Batten, this was because Niles Eldredge had been "less dogmatic than Gould had been in the 1970s about the lack of gradual change in the fossil record". In 1986, Niles Eldridge took objection to the "hopeful monster" association with the theory of Punctuated Equilibrium and wrote: "The assertion that punctuated equilibria represents a resurrection of Goldschmidt’s "macromutations" and "hopeful monsters" remains the most serious and irksome misconstrual of our ideas." Eldridge also added that "The most common misconception about "punctuated equilibria" - that Gould and I proposed a saltationist model of overnight change supposedly based on sudden mutations with large-scale effects (macromutations á la Richard Goldschmidt)..."[72]

According to Stephen Gould, Daniel Dennet and Richard Dawkins, who hold to a traditional Darwinian gradualism view of the theory of evolution, trivialized the importance of the theory of punctuated equilibrium.[115] Dawkins called the theory of punctuated equilibrium "an interesting but minor wrinkle on the surface of Neo-Darwinism theory". Dennet went farther and stated that the theory of punctuated equilibrium was a "a false-alarm revolution that was largely if not entirely in the eyes of the beholders."[115]

[edit] The Issue of Whether the Evolutionary Position Qualifies as a Scientific Theory

Karl Popper, a leading philosopher of science and originator of the falsifiability as a criterion of demarcation of science from nonscience,[116] stated that Darwinism is "not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research programme."[117] Leading Darwinist and philosopher of science, Michael Ruse stated the following regarding Popper's statement and the actions he took after making that statement: "Since making this claim, Popper himself has modified his position somewhat; but, disclaimers aside, I suspect that even now he does not really believe that Darwinism in its modern form is genuinely falsifiable."[118]

In regards to the falsifiability of the evolutionary position, although offering a poor cure to the problem that Karl Popper described, committed evolutionists Louis Charles Birch & Paul R. Ehrlich stated in the journal Nature the following:

Our theory of evolution has become, as Popper described, one which cannot be refuted by any possible observations. Every conceivable observation can be fitted into it. It is thus outside of empirical science but not necessarily false. No one can think of ways in which to test it. Ideas, either without basis or based on a few laboratory experiments carried out in extremely simplified systems, have become part of an evolutionary dogma accepted by most of us as part of our training. The cure seems to us not to be a discarding of the modern synthesis of evolutionary theory, but more skepticism about many of its tenets.[119]

See our main article: Disproving Evolution

First of all, the quote mining: Karl Popper did indeed originally have some questions on the falsifiability of Evolution and Natural Selection. Indeed though, later he amended his views, saying the following:

The theory of natural selection may be so formulated that it is far from tautological. In this case it is not only testable, but it turns out to be not strictly universally true. There seem to be exceptions, as with so many biological theories; and considering the random character of the variations on which natural selection operates, the occurrence of exceptions is not surprising. Thus not all phenomena of evolution are explained by natural selection alone. Yet in every particular case it is a challenging research program to show how far natural selection can possibly be held responsible for the evolution of a particular organ or behavioral program."[120]

The quote mined from Birch and Ehrlich's paper is another quote taken out of context quite frequently by creationist fundies. The quote does not, in fact criticize evolution, but instead criticizes some scientists who misuse hypotheses about evolution.[121]

Both evolution and natural selection are in fact, quite falsifiable. If, for example, it was shown that genetic mutations could not occur, or that such mutations could not be passed down to offspring, or that "survival of the fittest" did not occur, then evolution would invariably be disproven.

[edit] Implausible Explanations and the Evolutionary Position

Individuals who are against the evolutionary position assert that evolutionary scientists employ extremely implausible "just so stories" to support their position and have done this since at least the time of Charles Darwin.[122] [123]

A well known example of a "just so story" is when Darwin, in his Origin of the Species, wrote a chapter entitled "Difficulties on Theory" in which he stated:

"In North America the black bear was seen by Hearne swimming for hours with widely open mouth, thus catching, like a whale, insects in the water. Even in so extreme a case as this, if the supply of insects were constant, and if better adapted competitors did not already exist in the country, I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more and more aquatic in their structure and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale."[124]

Even the prominent evolutionist and geneticist Professor Richard Lewontin admitted the following:

"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 materialism. 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 an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door." - Richard Lewontin, ‘Billions and billions of demons’, The New York Review, January 9, 1997, p. 31[125]

Dr. Sarfati wrote regarding the theory of evolution the following:

The same logic applies to the dinosaur-bird debate. It is perfectly in order for creationists to cite Feduccia’s devastating criticism against the idea that birds evolved ‘ground up’ from running dinosaurs (the cursorial theory). But the dino-to-bird advocates counter with equally powerful arguments against Feduccia’s ‘trees-down’ (arboreal) theory. The evidence indicates that the critics are both right — birds did not evolve either from running dinos or from tree-living mini-crocodiles. In fact, birds did not evolve from non-birds at all![126]

Opponents to the theory of evolution commonly point to the following in nature as being implausibly created through evolutionary processes:

Lastly, biochemist Michael Behe wrote the following:

"Molecular evolution is not based on scientific authority. There is no publication in the scientific literature—in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or book—that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred, but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations. Since no one knows molecular evolution by direct experience, and since there is no authority on which to base claims of knowledge, it can truly be said that—like the contention that the Eagles will win the Super Bowl this year—the assertion of Darwinian molecular evolution is merely bluster." - Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: The Free Press, 1996), p. 186[140]

The general thrust of these assertions is that if something is difficult to understand, it must not be true, argument from incredulity. This Chewbacca Defense is one of the most successful techniques of Creationists in their supposedly "winning" evolution debates (i.e. hopelessly confusing the matter and then entreating the audience to be skeptical). The only "problem" with the history of evolution is that it is incredibly complicated. We cannot possibly conceive of everything that took place over hundreds of millions of generations of organisms or over hundreds of millions of years. Any attempt to explain the evolution of a particular trait or species is, by necessity, oversimplified. The example of the black bear, while an interesting thought experiment on the part of Darwin, was merely a very early grasp in the direction of understanding evolution. Rather than refuting the possibility of such an evolution, however, Conservapedia merely presents this as if it is supposed to look childish. In fact, the example is childish, as Darwin was attempting to explain his ideas to a populace who were fairly scientifically illiterate. Upon examining the fossil record, however, we see that several transitional forms exist between land-dwelling carnivores and toothed whales, one of which, not wholly unlike a bear, occupied a semi-aquatic niche similar to that of a crocodile (Ambulocetus). This may seem silly if reduced to the idea of a black bear giving rise to a blue whale over a few generations, but when examining the fossils of several steps in between the dog-like Pakicetus and the orca-like Dorudon over 15 million years, the scenario is not only plausible, but effectively demonstrative of the fact that even seemingly "implausible" evolutions can and do take place.

[edit] Statements of Design

See main article: Intelligent design

Phillip E. Johnson cites Francis Crick in order to illustrate the fact that the biological world has the strong appearance of being designed:

"One of the world's most famous scientists, probably the most famous living biologist, is Sir Francis Crick, the British co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, a Nobel Prize winner... Crick is also a fervent atheistic materialist, who propounds the particle story. In his autobiography, Crick says very candidly biologists must remind themselves daily that what they study was not created, it evolved; it was not designed, it evolved. Why do they have to remind themselves of that? Because otherwise, the facts which are staring them in the face and trying to get their attention might break through. What we discovered when I developed a working group of scientists, philosophers, et al., in the United States was that living organisms look as if they were designed and they look that way because that is exactly what they are." - Evolution And Christian Faith by Phillip E. Johnson[141]

Stephen C. Meyer offers the following statement regarding the design of the biological world:

"During the last forty years, molecular biology has revealed a complexity and intricacy of design that exceeds anything that was imaginable during the late-nineteenth century. We now know that organisms display any number of distinctive features of intelligently engineered high-tech systems: information storage and transfer capability; functioning codes; sorting and delivery systems; regulatory and feed-back loops; signal transduction circuitry; and everywhere, complex, mutually-interdependent networks of parts. Indeed, the complexity of the biomacromolecules discussed in this essay does not begin to exhaust the full complexity of living systems. As even the staunch materialist Richard Dawkins has allowed, "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." Yet the materialistic science we have inherited from the late-nineteenth century, with its exclusive conceptual reliance on matter and energy, could neither envision nor can it now account for the biology of the information age." - The Origin of Life and the Death of Materialism by Stephen C. Meyer, Ph.D.[142]

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states the following regarding a candid admission of Charles Darwin:

In 1885, the Duke of Argyll recounted a conversation he had had with Charles Darwin the year before Darwin's death: In the course of that conversation I said to Mr. Darwin, with reference to some of his own remarkable works on the Fertilisation of Orchids, and upon The Earthworms, and various other observations he made of the wonderful contrivances for certain purposes in nature—I said it was impossible to look at these without seeing that they were the effect and the expression of Mind. I shall never forget Mr. Darwin's answer. He looked at me very hard and said, “Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force; but at other times,” and he shook his head vaguely, adding, “it seems to go away.”(Argyll 1885, 244][143]
See our main article: Intelligent design

[edit] Theory of Evolution and the Scientific Journals

Advocates of the theory of evolution have often claimed that those who oppose the theory of evolution don't publish their opposition to the theory of evolution in the appropriate scientific literature (creationist scientists have peer reviewed journals which favor the creationist position).[144][145][146] Recently, there has been articles which were favorable to the intelligent design position in scientific journals which traditionally have favored the theory of evolution.[147]

The link given shows that creation scientist aren't publishing in the appropriate literature. It lists 7 articles, 3 are from the Discovery institutes publication, Darwinism, Design and Public Education a 2003 anthology of essays, printed by Michigan State University Press. This was peer-reviewed, in the sense that fellows of the Discovery Institute were peer-reviewing each other.

One is published in Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Design & Nature; the International Conference on Design & Nature is an engineering conference about basing engineering designs on nature,[148] it is not a biology conference and it would have been unlikely that evolution would have played a huge role in discussions.

Lönnig, which is provided, is another curiosity. What appears to be the journal title Dynamical Genetics is not listed on ISI Web of Science. Upon reading the paper provided, it became clear it is not a journal publication, but a book of 20 papers, printed in India. Not exactly world class.

Wells is another paper published by a questionable source; the journal this time at least shows up in a journal search. Steve Matheson, Associate Professor of Biology, Calvin College has already blogged about this paper so we will refer you to him.

This leaves one paper left: Stephen Meyer's infamous The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories, a paper that circumnavigated peer-review and was later withdrawn by the journal.

The rest of the publication listed are "peer-reviewed" books. It is highly questionable as to what constitutes a peer-reviewed book, Dembski's for example was peer-reviewed by philosophers.

Total publications by creationists in appropriate scientific journals: 1, in a highly dubious and largely insignificant journal, the Editor Emeritus of which, Giuseppe Sermonti,[149] has himself written for the Discovery Institute.[150]

[edit] Effect on Scientific Endeavors Outside the Specific Field of Biology

Stephen Wolfram in his book A New Kind of Science has stated that the Darwinian theory of evolution has, in recent years, "increasingly been applied outside of biology."[151]

[edit] Lysenkoism

The theory of evolution played a prominent role in regards to atheistic communism.[152] Communists, in particular Stalinism, favored a version of Lamarckism called Lysenkoism developed by Trofim Denisovich Lysenko.[153] Lsyenko was made member of the Supreme Soviet and head of the Institute of Genetics of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.[154] Later Lysenko became President of the All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences.[155] Many geneticists were imprisoned and executed for their bourgeois science, and agricultural policies based on Lysenkoism that were adopted under the Communist leaders Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong caused famines and the death of millions.[156]

This is actually quite funny, since Lysenkoism was primarily the rejection of Mendelian genetics and natural selection for political reasons. Attacking Lysenkoism is actually a way of defending Darwinian evolution, since Lysenkoism is an attack on Darwinian evolution. In fact, the view of natural selection as a "bourgeois" scientific theory better serves Conservapedia's criticisms of evolution as leading to social Darwinism and eugenics. Anyways, "the Soviets did it" is not a good scientific argument against anything.

[edit] Medical Science

The theory of evolution has had a negative effect on the field of medical science. According to Dr. Jerry Bergman the list of vestigial organs[wp] in humans has gone from 180 in 1890 to 0 in 1999.[157] Furthermore, Dr. Bergman states the following:

Few examples of vestigial organs in humans are now offered, and the ones that are have been shown by more recent research to be completely functional (and in many cases critically so, see Bergman and Howe)...

One popular book on the human body which discussed vestigial organs stated that next to circumcision

‘… tonsillectomy is the most frequently performed piece of surgery. Doctors once thought tonsils[wp] were simply useless evolutionary leftovers and took them out thinking that it could do no harm. Today there is considerable evidence that there are more troubles in the upper respiratory tract after tonsil removal than before, and doctors generally agree that simple enlargement of tonsils is hardly an indication for surgery[wp]...’[158]

So...evolution is false because medical knowledge has increased over a century, and this means that evolution is bad for medicine?

[edit] Astronomy

Young earth creation scientist Dr. Jonathan Sarfati states that evolutionary thought has been applied to the field of astronomy.[159] Sarfati's claim is supported by the fact that astronomers do refer to the "evolution of the universe".[160]

That an English word has more than one meaning may come as a shock to those homeschooled by barely literate goats; modern society has learned to deal with it.

Sarfati asserts the evolutionary view has had a negative effect on astronomy and that arguments to support the proposed evolutionary time scales of billions of years via the field of astronomy are invalid.[161]

What negative effect on astronomy? Ken doesn't say, but the time scales used by astronomers are not based on evolution. The time scales are based on thousands of peer-reviewed studies, which, in turn, are based on billions of pieces of evidence, from radioactive dating to the measurement of gamma ray bursts. Sarfati doesn't attempt to contest these. Nearly no one on the woowoo side does, as the evidence is simply overwhelming.

From here on out, Ken's central idea seems to be that if astronomy has been wrong about anything, or can't answer any question, then "Goddidit" is a smarter answer.

This is dumb in a special way that the religious seem to have a monopoly on. First of all, astronomy has discovered many, many things. If we were to travel back in time to 1900, Ken's philosophy would have us giving up before the discovery of truths that everyone -- from the experts, down through the mildly-retarded, and even YEC's -- acknowledges, like the existence of galaxies outside or own.

Secondly, Ken's proudly myopic idea applies equally to things like medicine and meteorology. If we can't figure out what causes Alzheimer's, why bother to treat it? If we can't predict the weather 100% of the time, why try at all?

The failure of predictions is a key aspect of how science is done. The only field which has no failed predictions is astrology, by sticking to predictions like "You will face some challenges this year!"

The idea is that a scientist makes a prediction and tests it. If it's wrong, he discards or modifies his theory.

Creationists can cite examples of scientists stating that evolutionary ideas in astronomy have failed to have any explanatory power:

““...most every prediction by theorists about planetary formation has been wrong.” Scott Tremaine, as quoted by Richard A. Kerr, “Jupiters Like Our Own Await Planet Hunters,” Science, Vol. 295, 25 January 2002, p. 605.[162]

People who can be bothered doing research can find the full quote and see how dishonest some of these quote mines are:

Astrophysicist Scott Tremaine of Princeton University sees these results and Lineweaver and Grether’s extrapolation as reasonable quantifications of trends hinted at by the discoveries so far, and he looks forward to coming discoveries. As some monitoring records approach the requisite 12 years, Doppler detection of extrasolar Jupiters may not be far off. And searches are in the works for terrestrial-sized planets by looking for planets passing in front of their stars. But Tremaine remains cautious about what these searches will turn up. Speaking as a theorist, he notes that “most every prediction by theorists about planetary formation has been wrong.”
"Attempts to find a plausible naturalistic explanation of the origin of the Solar System began about 350 years ago but have not yet been quantitatively successful, making this one of the oldest unsolved problems in modern science.” - Stephen G. Brush, A History of Modern Planetary Physics, Vol. 3 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 91.[162]

An unsolved problem in science does not indicate that science will never work. This is simply God of the gaps. Science tried to explain most things unsuccessfully for hundreds of years. Not knowing where lightning came from in 1750 was not a good reason to suspect that the answer was actually Zeus.

“We don’t understand how a single star forms, yet we want to understand how 10 billion stars form.” Carlos Frenk, as quoted by Robert Irion, “Surveys Scour the Cosmic Deep,” Science, Vol. 303, 19 March 2004, p. 1750.[163]

We don't know how gravity works, but we still study physics. Just because science can't explain all of the details of one fundamental thing doesn't mean that we just give up science. Don't believe RW? Just ask Robert Irion (from the article cited).

Current theories of galaxy formation can’t explain why concussive waves of star birth swept through some early galaxies but not others—and why some of those fierce stellar fires got snuffed after a few billion years. Startled by their own data, a few observers have implied that modelers of the cosmos need new ideas to describe our universe’s combustive childhood (Science, 23 January, p. 460).

Theorists aren’t yet ready to revise equations on their cluttered whiteboards, but they agree that the surveys illuminate serious flaws. “We’re starting from a shaky foundation,” says cosmologist Carlos Frenk of the University of Durham, U.K. “We don’t understand how a single star forms, yet we want to understand how 10 billion stars form.” Fellow theorist Simon White of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany, concurs: “The simple recipes in published models do not reproduce the star

formation we see. Theorists are now having to grow up.”

Wow bitchy! Isn't the cut and thrust of intellectual debate stimulating, unlike the article to the left?

“We cannot even show convincingly how galaxies, stars, planets, and life arose in the present universe.” Michael Rowan-Robinson, “Review of the Accidental Universe,” New Scientist, Vol. 97, 20 January 1983, p. 186.[164]

Fuck it, then, let's just give up and go home.

Ken's proposed alternative is: Magic Jesus did it, and don't ask how.

In 2001, Cristina Chiappini wrote regarding the Milky Way galaxy the following:

". . . it is an elegant structure that shows both order and complexity. . . . The end product is especially remarkable in the light of what is believed to be the starting point: nebulous blobs of gas. How the universe made the Milky Way from such simple beginnings is not altogether clear. - Cristina Chiappini, "The Formation and Evolution of the Milky Way," American Scientist (vol. 89, Nov./Dec. 2001), p. 506.[165]

Dr. Walt Brown provides numerous citations to the secular science literature that cite the failings of current old universe paradigm explanations in regards to the planets, stars, and galaxies.[162][163][164]

First, something not being explained by science yet does not instantly mean that evolution is false. This especially applies when the unexplained question isn't even about evolution. Second, quote mining ARGH. After talking about how mysterious and amazing our galaxy is, Cristina says this:

Like our galaxy, the field itself is still evolving. Here I provide an overview of how astronomers attempt to uncover our galaxy’s past, and I introduce a new model that accounts for some of the most recent observations.

[edit] Origin of Life

Evolutionary thought has had an influence on origin of life research as well. For example, a 2004 article in the International Journal of Astrobiology is titled On the applicability of Darwinian principles to chemical evolution that led to life.[166] It is also clear that early origin of life researcher Aleksandr Oparin who proposed materialist ideas regarding the origin of life was influenced by evolutionary thought.[167] However, the current naturalistic explanations for the origin of life are inadequate.

Evolution is NOT an explanation on the origins of life - rather it explains the diversity of life! Evolution is basically defined as descent with modification plus natural selection through environmental attrition. Essentially, evolution requires something to descend from (specifically, a genome) in order to occur and thus cannot occur where no genome yet exists.

[edit] Age of the Earth and Universe and the Theory of Evolution

See main articles: Young Earth Creationism, Geologic system

As far as the evolutionary timeline posited by evolutionary community, the various theories of evolution claim that the earth and universe are billions of years old and that macroevolutionary processes occurred over this time period.[168][169] William R. Corliss is a respected cataloger of scientific anomalies and the science magazine New Scientist had an article which focused on Mr. Corliss's career as a cataloger of scientific anomalies.[170] Mr. Corliss has cataloged scores of anomalies which challenge the old earth geology paradigm.[171][172] Young earth creationist hold the earth and universe is approximately 6,000 years old.[168] Young earth creationist scientists state the following is true: there are multiple lines of evidence pointing to a young earth and universe; the old earth and universe paradigm has numerous anomalies and uses invalid dating methods, and there are multiple citations in the secular science literature that corroborate the implausibility of the old earth and universe paradigm (for details see: Young Earth Creationism).

See our main articles:Evidence against a recent creation, Lower limit on the age of the universe

[edit] Scientific Community Consensus and the Macroevolution Position

A 1997 Gallup poll indicated that 55% of United States scientists believed that humans developed over a period of millions of years from less developed forms of life and that God had no part in the process, 40% believed in theistic evolution, and 5% of scientists believed that God created man fairly much in his current form at one time within the last 10,000 years.[173]

According to the creationist scientist community, there is widespread discrimination against creationist scientists.[174] On April 18, 2008 a film documentary by Ben Stein entitled Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed! was released to the public which documents the suppression of scientific freedom in regards to scientists who are critical of the evolutionary position.[175][176] Scientific freedom being suppressed in regards dissenting from the evolutionary position is not surprising given that a poll among United States scientists showed that approximately 45% of scientists believed there was no God.[177] In addition, a survey found that 93% of the scientists who were members of the United States National Academy of Sciences do not believe there is a God.[178] Given this state of affairs, a future paradigm shift from the theory of evolution to a creation science position could be slow given the worldviews of many scientists.

Also, the current scientific community consensus is no guarantee of truth. The history of science shows many examples where the scientific community consensus was in error, was scientifically unsound, or had little or no empirical basis. For example, bloodletting was practiced from antiquity and still had many practitioners up until the late 1800s.[179] In his essay, A Paradigm Shift: Are We Ready? , Niranjan Kissoon, M.D. wrote the following: "...history is rife with examples in which our best medical judgment was flawed. The prestigious British Medical Journal begun in 1828 chose the name Lancet to signal its scholarly intent and cutting edge therapy."[180] Also, in regards to modern medical science, in a 1991 BMJ (formerly called the British Medical Journal) article, Richard Smith (editor of BMJ at the time) wrote the following: "There are 30,000 biomedical journals in the world...Yet only about 15% of medical interventions are supported by solid scientific evidence, David Eddy professor of health policy and management at Duke University, told a conference in Manchester last week. This is partly because only 1% of the articles in medical journals are scientifically sound and partly because many treatments have never been assessed at all."[181] Next, alchemy was at one time considered to be a legitimate scientific pursuit and was studied by such notable individuals as Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Roger Bacon, and Gottfried Leibniz.[182][183] Given the aforementioned weaknesses in the evolutionary position and given that the history of science shows there have been some notable paradigm shifts,[184][185][186] the scientific consensus argument for the macroevolutionary theory certainly cannot be called an invincible argument.

In addition, biblical creationists can point out examples where the scientific community was in error and the Bible was clearly correct. For example, until the 1970s the scientific consensus on how lions killed their prey was in error and the Bible turned out to be right in this matter.[187] Also, for centuries the scientific community believed that snakes could not hear and the 1988 edition of the New Encyclopedia Britannica stated the snakes could not hear but that was mistaken and the Bible was correct in this matter.[188] In addition, 19th century European naturalists were wrong concerning a matter regarding ant behavior and the Bible was correct.[189] Many creationists such as the creationist at Creation Ministries International and CreationWiki assert that the Bible contains knowledge that shows an understanding of scientific knowledge beyond that believed to exist at the time the Bible was composed.[190][191] In addition, Christianity had a profound influence in regards to the development of modern science.

[edit] Social Effects of the Theory of Evolution

Please see the main article: Social effects of the theory of evolution

There have been significant and negative social ramifications of the adoption of the theory of evolution. The theory has been foundational to Social Darwinism, Nazism, Communism, and racism.[192] The staunch evolutionist Stephen Gould admitted the following:

Haeckel was the chief apostle of evolution in Germany.... His evolutionary racism; his call to the German people for racial purity and unflinching devotion to a "just" state; his belief that harsh, inexorable laws of evolution ruled human civilization and nature alike, conferring upon favored races the right to dominate others; the irrational mysticism that had always stood in strange communion with his brave words about objective science - all contributed to the rise of Nazism. - Stephen J. Gould, "Ontogeny and Phylogeny," Belknap Press: Cambridge MA, 1977, pp.77-78).[193]

In regards to evolutionary racism, Adolph Hitler wrote the following, in his work Mein Kampf:

If nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such cases all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.[194]

Hitler also wrote in Mein Kampf:

The stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker, thus sacrificing his own greatness. Only the born weakling can view this as cruel, but he, after all, is only a weak and limited man; for if this law did not prevail, any conceivable higher development (Hoherentwicklung) of organic living beings would be unthinkable.[195]

Dr. Robert E.D. Clark wrote, in his work Darwin, Before and After, the following regarding Hitler and the theory of evolution:

“Adolf Hitler’s mind was captivated by evolutionary teaching — probably since the time he was a boy. Evolutionary ideas — quite undisguised — lie at the basis of all that is worst in Mein Kampf — and in his public speeches.”[196]

Richard Hickman, in his work Biocreation, concurs and wrote the following:

It is perhaps no coincidence that Adolf Hitler was a firm believer in and preacher of evolutionism. Whatever the deeper, profound, complexities of his psychosis, it is certain that [the concept of struggle was important for]. . . his book, Mein Kampf clearly set forth a number of evolutionary ideas, particularly those emphasizing struggle, survival of the fittest and extermination of the weak to produce a better society.[197]

Noted evolutionary anthropologists Sir Arthur Keith conceded the following in regards to Hitler and the theory of evolution: “The German Fuhrer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consciously sought to make the practices of Germany conform to the theory of evolution”.[198]

B. Wilder-Smith wrote the following regarding Nazism and the theory of evolution:

One of the central planks in Nazi theory and doctrine was …evolutionary theory [and] … that all biology had evolved … upward, and that … less evolved types … should be actively eradicated [and] … that natural selection could and should be actively aided, and therefore [the Nazis] instituted political measures to eradicate … Jews, and … blacks, whom they considered as “underdeveloped”.’[199]

As noted earlier, evolutionary ideas influenced the thinking of the nineteenth and twentieth-century Communists.[200] Karl Marx wrote in a letter the following, ""Darwin's book is very important and serves me as a basis in natural science for the class struggle in history." Darwin's ideas also influenced the thinking of Engels, Vladimir Lenin, and Joseph Stalin.[201]

Dr. Josef Mengele's evolutionary thinking was in accordance with social Darwinist theories that Adolph Hitler and a number of German academics found appealing.[202] Dr. Joseph Mengele studied under the leading proponents the "unworthy life" branch of evolutionary thought.[203] Dr. Mengele was one of the most notorious individuals associated with Nazi death camps and the Holocaust.[204] Mengele obtained a infamous reputation due to his experiments on twins while at Auschwitz-Birkenau.[205]

Please see our rebuttal article: Essay:Social Effects of the Theory of Evolution

The juxtaposition of Hitler and evolution has, unfortunately, become so widespread amongst creationists that we have addressed it in Hitler and evolution.

One obvious problem with this argument is that scientific truth is not determined by social consequences. If Hitler had been inspired by the atomic theory of matter or the germ theory of disease, we would not now believe those theories to be false.

The quotes from Mein Kampf are, unsurprisingly, quote mined. The complete quotes can be found in the article Hitler and evolution, and so will not be reiterated here.

For those of you tracking the logical fallacies, this is an example of argument from adverse consequences.

Previously it was mentioned that evolutionary ideas contributed to the scourge of racism. [206][207] Charles Darwin and Thomas Huxley contributed greatly to the theory of evolution broadly being accepted in the 1900s. [208] Darwin, Huxley, and the 19th century evolutionists were racist in sentiment and believed the white race was superior. [209] For example, Charles Darwin wrote in his work The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex the following:

At some future period not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes...will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest Allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as the baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla.[210]

John C. Burnham wrote, in the journal Science, the following in regards to the theory of evolution and racism:

After 1859, the evolutionary schema raised additional questions, particularly whether or not Afro-Americans could survive competition with their white near-relations. The momentous answer was a resounding no.... The African was inferior — he represented the missing link between ape and Teuton."[211]

Harvard University's Stephen Jay Gould stated, "Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1859, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory."[212]

Also, according to atheist philosopher David Stove the theory of evolution was influential in regards to the sexual revolution.[213] An individual's view regarding the theory of evolution may also affect one's view regarding homosexuality. For example, Creation Ministries International states:

Homosexual acts go against God’s original design of a man and a woman becoming one flesh — see Genesis 1 and 2, endorsed by Jesus Himself in Matthew 19:3–6.[214]

In addition, creationists assert that human homosexuality is not genetic in origin.[215]

[edit] Creation Scientists Tend to Win the Creation-Evolution Debates

See main article: Atheism and Debate

Creation scientists tend to win the Creation-Evolution debates and many have been held since the 1970's particularly in the United States. Robert Sloan, Director of Paleontology at the University of Minnesota, reluctantly admitted to a Wall Street Journal reporter that the "creationists tend to win" the public debates which focused on the creation vs. evolution controversy.[216][217]

The main article link leads to an article related to Atheism. It should be clear by now that acceptance of the theory of evolution does not imply atheism.

Winning debates is a rather poor metric of scientific validness. Entertaining crowds and overshouting opponents are not commonly required in scientific discourse, where most of the serious work is published in papers.

In August of 1979, Dr. Henry Morris reported in an Institute for Creation Research letter the following: “By now, practically every leading evolutionary scientist in this country has declined one or more invitations to a scientific debate on creation/evolution.”[217] Morris also said regarding the creation scientist Duane Gish (who had over 300 formal debates): “At least in our judgment and that of most in the audiences, he always wins.”[217] Generally speaking, leading evolutionists generally no longer debate creation scientists.[218] In an article entitled Are Kansas Evolutionists Afraid of a Fair Debate? the Discovery Institute states the following:

Defenders of Darwin's theory of evolution typically proclaim that evidence for their theory is simply overwhelming. If they really believe that, you would think they would jump at a chance to publicly explain some of that overwhelming evidence to the public. Apparently not.[219]

Which is hardly surprising, given that creation "scientists" are essentially public relations types, with little else to do, while on the other hand most researchers prefer to actually research.

[edit] Theory of Evolution and Liberalism

See main article: Theory of evolution and liberalism

In regards to the theory of evolution and liberalism, in the United States, CBS News reported in October of 2005 that the Americans most likely to believe only in the theory of evolution are liberals.[220]

The CBS News reported the following:

Americans most likely to believe in only evolution are liberals (36 percent), those who rarely or never attend religious services (25 percent), and those with a college degree or higher (24 percent).

White evangelicals (77 percent), weekly churchgoers (74 percent) and conservatives (64 percent), are mostly likely to say God created humans in their present form.[221]

Given that liberalism is so prevalent in academia, it is not entirely surprising that college graduates are indoctrinated into the evolutionary paradigm via evolutionary propaganda.

The theory of Evolution is accepted across the board by major scientists. Of course, reality may indeed have a liberal bias.

[edit] Further Reading (including free on-line versions)

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, Definition for "evolution"
  2. evolutionists] Creation 20(1):32, December 1997. Refuting Evolution, Chapter 1, Facts and Bias]
  3. Nearly Two-Thirds of Doctors Skeptical of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
  4. Nearly Two-Thirds of Doctors Skeptical of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
  5. Nearly Two-Thirds of Doctors Skeptical of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
  6. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4648598.stm
  7. A Scientific Dissent From Darwin
  8. High school biology teachers reluctant to endorse evolution in class. (Penn State University)
  9. Russell Grigg and Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, Intelligent Design—‘A War on Science’ says the BBC]
  10. Paul McHugh, The Weekly Standard, Teaching Darwin: Why we're still fighting about biology textbook. March 28, 2005
  11. Nilsson, Heribert, Synthetische Artbildung, Verlag CWK Gleerup, Lund, Sweden, 1953, page 1185
  12. Mark Ridley, 'Who doubts evolution?', New Scientist, vol. 90, 25 June 1981, p. 831
  13. Full quote can be seen here
  14. Charles Darwin, (1859),The Origin of Species, Project Gutenberg online text
  15. http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/1877
  16. Russell Grigg, Darwin’s Illegitimate Brainchild: If You Thought Darwin’s Origin Was Original, Think Again!
  17. Russell Grigg, Darwin’s Illegitimate Brainchild: If You Thought Darwin’s Origin Was Original, Think Again!
  18. MedicineNet.com, Definition of Lamarckism
  19. Dr. Jerry Bergman, Evolutionary Naturalism: An Ancient Idea First published: TJ 15(2):77–80 August 2001
  20. Dr. Werner Gitt, 10 Dangers of Theistic Evolution First published: Creation 17(4):49–51, September 1995
  21. Belief in Evolution Boils Down to a Gut Feeling
  22. Feeling of Certainty: Uncovering a Missing Link Between Knowledge and Acceptance of Evolution
  23. Belief in Evolution Boils Down to a Gut Feeling
  24. Question evolution! campaign
  25. NorthWest Creation Network, Quotes on Genetics
  26. Jonathan Sarfati, P.H.D., F.M., Climbing Mount Improbable:A Review of Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins
  27. Pierre Grasse regarding mutations
  28. Pierre Grasse regarding mutations
  29. [ http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/library/origins/quotes/mutations.html Pierre Grasse regarding mutations]
  30. Ernst Mayr, Systematics and the Origin of Species (New York: Dover Publications, 1942), p. 296
  31. Dr. Jerry Bergman, Does Homology Provide Evidence of Evolutionary Naturalism?
  32. Creation Ministries International, Speciation: Questions and Answers
  33. Jonathan Sarfati,Ph.D., F.M. Refuting Evolution 2, Chapter 1, Argument: Creationism is religion, not science
  34. http://creation.com/refuting-evolution-chapter-9-is-the-design-explanation-legitimate
  35. Origin of life
  36. Origin of life
  37. Stephen E. Jones, Creation/Evolution Quotes: Mechanisms #1
  38. http://bevets.com/equotesg3.htm
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  49. Charles Darwin, Origin of the Species, Chapter X: ON THE IMPERFECTION OF THE GEOLOGICAL RECORD
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  57. Stephen Jay Gould, "The Return of Hopeful Monsters," Natural History 86 (June/July): 22-30
  58. Answers in Genesis, Those fossils are a problem
  59. Dr. Don Batten, Gould Grumbles About Creationist ‘Hijacking’
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  69. Sean Pitman, M.D., Early Man
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  72. Encyclopedia Britannica (online): Paleoanthropology
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  77. Brad Harrub, Ph.D., The “Glorious Mess” of Human Origins
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