did man come from?
3) Darwin's theory
deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence."
is sure mankind is older than a half million years but no fortunate accident
of discovery has yet given us evidence to prove it." 1
How Darwin arrived at his theory
MID 1800'S TO MID 1900'S
On December 27, 1831,
Captain Robert FitzRoy set sail in the H.M.S. Beagle to chart parts of South
America and a number of islands in the Pacific. Charles Darwin filled
his request for a naturalist to accompany him. Over the five year voyage,
Darwin collected rocks and creatures from almost everywhere they sailed
and recorded over 2,100 pages of notes. It was not during that trip that
his belief in evolution coalesced, but about ten years after his return.
Though Edward Blyth
had written papers in 1835 and 1837 stating much of that which only Darwin
is known for today, Darwin set forth his beliefs in 1859 in a book called
Origin of Species which carried the subtitle Preservation
of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Blackmore and Page summarize
the basis of Darwin's beliefs to be:
- the abundance of
animal types and the gradations between them,
- the unique adjustment
or adaptation of each to its environment, and
- the changing nature
of the environment in which they live.
Darwin recorded in his
I happened to read
for amusement 'Malthus on Population', and being well prepared to appreciate
the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued
observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me
that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be
preserved and unfavourable ones destroyed. The result of this would be
the formation of a new species. 18
In explaining his theory,
Darwin did not address how life initially began. Though he closed Origin
of Species with an acknowledgment of a god who may have initially set
everything in motion, he never really specifies exactly what he believes
god is or what god did. A reference to deity, however bland, was probably
to minimize the controversy he anticipated his theory would create.
Darwin had written in
a personal letter that announcing his theory was like confessing a murder.
But the step of completely eliminating deity, which Darwin held back on,
his proponents around the globe were quick to take; especially during the
era in which scientists believed they had disproved God.
Within a short time
after the introduction of Origin of Species, evolution was synonymous
with atheism. Evolution being an outgrowth of a materialist view of
science, its embrace by materialists was quite predictable. Since the discovery
of DNA, Darwinism has been enhanced by its modern proponents to account
for genetics and in this state is referred to as neo-Darwinism. Here is
a simplified explanation of life as we know it according to Neo-Darwinian
Darwinism as modernized per DNA studies.
A random chemical combination
in a liquid pool
of organic building blocks early in earth's history happens to produce a
chemical structure capable of reproducing itself. As generations of these
structures reproduce, slight mistakes in copying are made. These mistakes
are called mutations.
what is called natural selection, environmental changes play a key role
by eliminating the mutations of life forms less fit to survive than others.
The mutations which do survive result in those forms out-surviving and,
consequently, outnumbering the previous form.
This new and likely
more complex form would dominate until it, too, made a beneficial reproduction
mistake that resulted in a yet more survivable form, and so on. Life according
to neo-Darwinism is then the ongoing result of reproductions being eliminated
by or adapting to environmental changes (natural selection), and a half
billion years of beneficial genetic mistakes; copy errors to be precise.
Neo-Darwinism is summarized
as holding the following beliefs to be true:
1. Life must form
by accident. (Because natural selection has to do with competition of
survival and reproduction among living systems, there is no evolving per
se of non-life to life.)
2. Mutations can add
to and improve the condition of any life form.
3. All complex life
forms must coalesce by "numerous, successive, slight modifications."
4. Like an inverted
pyramid, a survey of the different animal life forms should be narrow
at the base (if life began from a single cell) and broaden over time as
more and more creatures reproduced.
5. New groupings of
animals should be evidenced to be, or at least to have been, continually
emerging from on-going evolution throughout time.
6. Millions or billions
of years of slight mutations should leave a generally even trail of transitional
life forms and intermediate species between the single cell and the complex
forms in existence today.
Problems with neo-Darwinian evolution
Life cannot form by accident. This will be addressed in detail here,
but for now know that a living cell was thought of in Darwin's time as the
most basic unit of life. A century before genetics and electron microscopes,
it was probably not a big leap for materialist atheists to believe life's
origin was just a lucky combination of chemicals.
Mutations subtract from, not add to, a cell's genetic code. Again, DNA,
RNA, nucleotide bases and such were all unknown to Darwin. In the latter
half of the twentieth century, neo-Darwinists substituted genes for Darwin's
'inherited characteristics' to explain the passing down of traits. Yet we
now know that mutations, even favorable ones, remove information
from a creature's genetic code. So while it might be rendered 'more fit'
for at least one generation, it would necessarily be less complex, not more.
Not only is a less complex
reproduction contrary to what neo-Darwinism predicts, mutations are always
less likely to be able to reproduce. Thus the greater the mutation, the
less likely it is to be the ancestor of anything. Hoyle
and Wickramasinghe point out why mutations are far more likely to be
detrimental, not beneficial:
But without any concession
to logic, the argument can be stated inversely. If the standard of one's
competitor's declines, one can afford to decline oneself and still survive...
Thus by assuming implicitly that the competition does not decline, the
Darwinian theory really begs the question... We saw above that the variations
on which natural selection operates arise from the miscopying of genetic
messages. Miscopying commonly loses information and gains it only rarely.
The variations on which natural selection operates are therefore strongly
biased towards decline. 21
On a more fundamental
level, at any given time natural selection assumes that a group of living
systems already exists so that only the more survivable variations within
it win out over the weaker. In other words, natural selection as it is observed
only explains how variations within a species increase or recede. It cannot
explain how the species or even life itself came to exist in the first place.
Life forms do exist which cannot have coalesced by slight modifications.
Darwin at least recognized this possibility and warned in his Origin
of Species that
If it could be demonstrated
that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed
by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely
Such things have been
demonstrated by Michael Behe and Michael Denton; forms described to be irreducibly
complex. Examples of these include bacterial flagellum, the immune system,
blood clotting, and perhaps even the eye. Dr. Behe explains
But what type of biological
system could not be formed by "numerous, successive, slight modifications"?
A system that is irreducibly complex. Irreducible complexity is just a
fancy phrase I use to mean a system that is composed of several interacting
parts, where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to
cease functioning. 74
The common example of
irreducible complexity is that of a wooden mouse trap. You don't start with
just the platform and catch a few mice, then add a holding bar and catch
a few more, then the spring, later the hammer, etc. All parts must be in
place in order for the trap to trap.
This contradicts neo-Darwinism
because the evolutionary theory describes a cumulative process whereby fitness
improvements are added bit by bit over generations. Therefore, because the
individual parts of irreducibly complex systems don't contribute to survival
until they are all in place, unintelligent natural selection cannot be used
to explain them.
further possibility concerning irreducible complexity is emerging over DNA.
In the movie "Jurassic Park", DNA was removed from ostrich eggs
and replaced with dinosaur DNA. Jonathan Wells reports that DNA replacement
has been tried (not with dinosaurs). But what happens is that the egg continues
its original development until it dies for lack of the proper nutrients.
In other words, DNA
replacement not only fails to change the species of an embryo, it fails
to successfully control its development. Thus a possibly irreducibly complex
system may be that of DNA working in combination with membrane patterns
and the cytoskeleton, and or additional organs within living creatures.
The appearance of animal types do not follow an inverted pyramid. They
instead all appear at the approximate same time in the early geologic time
known as the Cambrian period. This has been termed the Cambrian explosion
which is explained to have
- in a geologic eye blink. It was never to be repeated. From these Cambrian
animals issued nearly all the major animal groups...that ever existed
on earth...Thirty seven of those [original fifty or so] body plans have
survived to this day. They have been elaborated with additional features
but never basically altered. 76
Thus the evidence shows
that virtually all complex life forms show up suddenly in the Cambrian period
with no transitional lineage preceeding them in the Precambrian. This in
not compatible with neo-Darwinism or any natural selection-based evolution.
Animal species are not ever-widening. To the contrary, they are in decline.
Referring again to the Cambrian explosion, this is sometimes called biology's
"big bang". The fossil record shows all the basic animal types
(phyla) showing up together suddenly, after which no new types ever were
added. This archaeological fact is consistent with creationist or intelligent
design predictions, but not with neo-Darwinism.
and naturalist groups are rather vocal today about protecting species of
animals from extinction. To their credit, they in effect realize that life
on this planet is not the ever-widening pyramid base as postulated by neo-Darwinism.
Because cross-species mating in not possible, when a species is critically
low on members it is in serious trouble. Where advocacy groups err is in
claiming recent industrialization is the chief foe. Industry may contribute
to the situation, but fossil records indicate the decline in species began
in the periods following ancient Cambrian times.
There are absolutely no cross-species transitional life forms, as Darwin
admitted. This is the evidence Darwin most ardently hoped for - the
discovery within the fossil record of a very gradual chain of life forms.
Though freely admitting his own lack of evidence at the time, Darwin likened
the fossil record to trying to read a book that had most of its pages torn
out. What the fossil record did show was the abrupt appearance of many different
lifeforms, and some of those very complex. Evolutionist Michael Denton writes,
Again, the first representatives
of each major group appear in the fossil record already highly specialized
and highly characteristic of the group to which they belong... The
virtual complete absence of intermediate and ancestral forms from the
fossil record is today recognized widely by many paleontologists as one
of its most striking characteristics... 19
With no proof of his
theory to be found in the fossil record, Darwin was unable to answer why
life fails to appear as gradually as his theory necessitates. Darwin himself
To the question
why we do not find records of these vast primordial periods, I can give
no satisfactory answer... The case at present must remain inexplicable,
and may be truly urged as a valid argument about the views here entertained.
A personal letter Darwin
wrote confirms his lack of evidence in trying to prove one species can become
But I believe in nat.
selection, not because I can prove in any single case that it has changed
one species into another, but because it groups and explains well (as
it seems to me) a host of facts in classification... 22
G. Simpson pondered in his work Tempo and Mode in Evolution,
This regular absence
of transitional forms is not confined to mammals, but is an almost universal
phenomenon, as has long been noted by paleontologists. It is true of almost
all orders of all classes of animals,...and it is apparently also true
of the analogous categories of plants. 77
After more than a century
of scholars searching for bona fide transitional forms as proof of Darwin's
theory, Hoyle points out that "there are now so many workers in the field
that nothing clear-cut can have been missed" and suggests that Darwin's
concept of evolution is unquestionably wrong as indicated by the "persistent
and increasing difficulty of the silence of the fossil record".
and Harvard Professor Stephen Jay Gould also confirms the absence
of transitional forms:
The absence of fossil
evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic
design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional
intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem
for gradualistic accounts of evolution. 24
This unpublicized absence
of evidence for Darwinian evolution Gould has even chided to be "the trade
secret of paleontology". 25
Although the discovery of evidence for Darwinian evolution has evaded everyone
from Darwin on down, the fruitless quest for transitional forms has nevertheless
produced interesting stirs of excitement. That shall start the next segment.
PART 4) Finally, the missing links!
What is science?
How the theory
of evolution changed document analysis