|Feature Article - November 2006|
|by Do-While Jones|
We’ve been reporting what evolutionists have been saying for ten years now. Let’s see how what they have been saying has changed, and what has stayed the same.
It must be discouraging to be an evolutionist. Every year they keep losing ground. Every new hope gets quickly dashed.
In Volume 1, Issue 2, we reported on ALH84001, the Martian meteorite that supposedly contained the proof that there was ancient life on Mars, proving that wherever the conditions permitted life, life would evolve. Ten years later we have sent probes to Mars showing that water (the primary thing needed for life) was abundant on Mars, but no life was found.
We’ve reported on the discovery of hominid fossils (including Homo floresiensis 1, the juvenile Australopithecus afarensis 2, and others) that have thrown monkey wrenches into the fable of human evolution. The story keeps changing, but the latest story is always unquestionably true. Faith in evolution remains firm, in spite of the facts. Still, it must be depressing for evolutionists to face each new day. That’s why we have devoted every April newsletter since 2001 to cheering them up with lighthearted pieces like The Wizard of Ooze 3 and Alice in Evolutionland. 4
At first we just received hate mail. Now we also get helpful emails alerting us to stories about evolution that have appeared in newspapers, magazines, or on the Internet. We really appreciate these emails, and would love to give lengthy responses to those who write, but usually we only have time to reply with, “Thanks.” We hope this doesn’t come across as dismissive because we really, really do appreciate these emails. But if we wrote adequate personal replies to everyone who writes, we would not have time to write the newsletter!
Most people who write hate mail to us generally make one or more of the following points.
The email we don’t get is more interesting than the email we do get. In ten years we have never received a single email containing a rational explanation for why that person believes in evolution. The emails always express faith that science will someday validate their belief, despite the fact that it has failed in that attempt so far. The emails never contain any substance for that belief.
If you ask an evolutionist for scientific reasons why he believes in evolution, he won’t be able to give you any. Even the strongly anti-creationist Encyclopedia of Evolution admits there are seven major problems with the theory of evolution. 5 The professionals writing for the popular press can’t produce good scientific arguments in favor of evolution, either. They rarely even attempt it, but we love it when they try.
Scientific American failed to provide “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense,” and National Geographic failed to give the correct answer to the question, “Was Darwin Wrong?” We took great pleasure in pointing out the errors in them. 6 The Field Museum of Natural History had a display that said “Darwin got it (mostly) right,” but when we examined Origin of Species point-by-point, we showed he was mostly wrong. 7
Certainly there are lots of articles about evolution in the popular press. They provide grist for our mill every month. But all of the articles in the popular press start with the assumption that evolution is true, and need not be proved. Therefore, they neatly avoid the problem.
Most articles simply state that evolution could have caused something or other. Some fantastic transformation, dinosaurs to birds for example, is hailed as evidence of the amazing power of evolution. Evolution must be powerful enough to cause dinosaurs to evolve into birds because dinosaurs did evolve into birds! They fail to recognize the fallacy of circular logic.
Nowadays we can get the time of day from a variety of sources—television, radio, even global positioning satellites. But it wasn’t always so. In the eighteenth century, one needed a very accurate clock for a time reference. We heard this story about setting a watch somewhere.
An eighteenth century man stopped at a jewelry store every day on his way to work. There he would set his pocket watch to the most expensive clock in the store. One day he happened to ask the jeweler how accurate the clock was. The jeweler told him it was so accurate that he hadn’t needed to set it even once in the past five years. The man asked the jeweler what he used as a time reference. The jeweler said, “Every day, at precisely 8 o’clock, they fire a cannon at the fort.” The man turned white as a ghost and said, “For the past five years I’ve been the gunner at the fort!”
The jeweler thought his clock was correct because he was setting the clock to the cannon, not knowing that the cannon was fired based on the jeweler's clock. Evolutionists think that the incredible variety in living things is proof of the power of evolution, not realizing that the evolutionary explanation is based on the presumption of the power of evolution.
Occasionally we still run across people who claim that no real scientists doubt the theory of evolution. In their minds anyone who doubts evolution isn’t a real scientist, so their belief is simply a tautology, which is a form of circular logic.
For many years, real scientists kept their doubts about evolution to themselves. That started to change in the 1960’s when scientists like Henry Morris and John Whitcomb started publishing scientific evidence against the theory of evolution. When Werner von Braun wrote a letter to the California State Board of Education on September 14, 1972, urging the teaching of creation in the public schools, 8 it could not be said that real, modern scientists don’t doubt evolution.
In the past ten years we’ve chronicled the evolutionists’ attempts to censor the public school science curriculum. 9 We’ve reported the bias against students and teachers who express doubt about evolution in American universities 10 and scientific journals. 11 The scientific evidence against evolution is now so compelling that evolutionists have gone to court to keep it out of the public schools. They know that students won’t believe in evolution when all the evidence, pro and con, is presented fairly.
Evolutionists have traditionally resorted to rhetorical tricks to try to prove evolution, and that trend continues. Chief among their tricks is the shifting definition of “evolution.” It is certainly true that one can breed varieties of dogs, horses, cattle, roses, and just about every other kind of living thing, to obtain particular characteristics using artificial selection. This kind of limited variation, properly called “microevolution,” really is “a fact.” Evolutionists also call the supposed change of dinosaurs to birds “evolution,” too. Since “evolution is a fact,” they say, it has been proved that dinosaurs evolved into birds. They are intentionally confusing microevolution with macroevolution.
Evolutionists claim that, given enough time, lots of small changes accumulate without limit to cause large changes. The truth is that there are limits to microevolution. The Kentucky Derby proves it. Every year since we published the Kentucky Derby Limit 12 essay, we have updated the table of winning times on our web site. Every year we get new confirmation that thoroughbred horses have reached their limit, despite man’s most earnest attempts to use artificial selection to breed faster horses.
Evolutionists don’t want you to know that microevolution works through elimination of undesirable genes, while macroevolution would require the addition of new desirable genes. That’s why no amount of microevolution can ever produce macroevolution.
Evolution still rests on three crumbling pillars. All must exist for evolution to be true. Each year that passes makes each one weaker, not stronger. It is just a matter of time before they collapse completely.
First, there must be spontaneous generation of life for the theory of evolution to be true. The theory of evolution is quite literally “dead on arrival.” According to the theory, the Earth was once a dead, barren, lifeless planet. Then, somehow, the right atoms combined to form just the right molecules, which combined in just the right way to form Frankencell, which came to life all by itself. Frankencell then evolved into all the life forms that have ever existed on planet Earth.
Some evolutionists will argue that the origin of life is not part of Darwin’s theory, and technically, they are right. Darwin’s published work started with the presumption of life. But the current argument isn’t about Darwin’s theory—it is about the theory of evolution as taught today in public schools. The public school fairy tale is that life began spontaneously and evolved into all the life on Earth today.
The theory of evolution really does depend upon the spontaneous origin of life because without it, evolution is a non-starter. If there was no first living thing, then there was nothing to evolve into anything else.
Despite decades of modern scientific research, there is no plausible explanation for how life could have begun. The more scientists study the problem, the more insurmountable obstacles to the natural origin of life are discovered. When evolutionists say, “We don’t know how life began today, but someday scientists will figure it out,” that’s faith—not science.
In our August and September, 2005, newsletters we reported on a million dollar prize offered by an international association of evolutionary scientists to anyone who could propose a plausible explanation for the origin of life through purely natural forces. 13 The criteria for winning the prize spelled out all the known obstacles to the spontaneous origin of life. They are formidable. The prize is still unclaimed.
The second pillar that the theory of evolution rests upon is the notion that novel features can arise naturally in living things. In other words, there must be some process by which a single-celled organism can naturally become a multi-celled organism with a functional cardiovascular system. Darwin thought that diet, exercise, and climate, could produce new features in living things, and that strong muscles obtained through vigorous exercise in the gym could be inherited by couch-potato children. Scientists no longer believe that. Later scientists thought that random mutations could cause such changes. Some scientists still believe that; but many secular scientists now recognize that random mutations simply can’t do the job. So, they have proposed a “missing law of emergence” that must be responsible for the existence of complex living systems. 14
They also proposed “facilitated variation.” 15 It is based on the silly idea that since unguided mutation can’t produce new features, there must have been some unguided mutation that produced the ability to combine existing things into new features. Facilitated variation also hints at an unstated belief that the unguided processes must be guided by some unconscious force that biases the combination in the right direction.
Even after all these years, evolutionists still resort to the argument that they don’t know exactly how evolution works, but they have faith that someday the answer will be found. Just because they don’t know how evolution works, they argue, isn’t proof that it doesn’t work. Using the same logic, we could say that just because one doesn’t know how Santa can visit all those houses on Christmas Eve isn’t proof that there isn’t a Santa Claus.
The third pillar that the theory of evolution rests upon is a sufficient length of time. If life did originate by some unknown natural process, and if there is some unknown natural process by which life can evolve from simple to complex forms, it would take a considerable amount of time for all that to happen. Exactly how much time it would take is unknown.
Discussions about how much time would be needed, and how much time is available, are the most speculative. There are too many unknowns. Maybe it is because my boss asked me too many times to estimate how long it would take to design a weapon with unspecified features using unproven technology given an unspecified budget, that I appreciate the impossibility of the task. How long would it take for an unknown quantity of chemicals in an unknown environment to come to life by an unknown process? How long does it take for a reptile to evolve into a mammal by an unknown process?
Evolutionists used to believe that things evolved slowly over long periods of time. The fossil record didn’t support that belief, so the idea of “punctuated equilibrium” was invented. According to that theory, major evolutionary events happen very rapidly in just a few generations, and then species remain unchanged for long periods of time. How long? Nobody knows.
One might think that one can tell how long it takes for a reptile to evolve into a mammal from the fossil record. Knowing the age of the rocks containing the first reptiles, and the ages of the rocks containing the first mammals, one could tell how long it takes. There are two problems with this notion. First, the approximate age of the rocks is based on the fossils found in the rocks, and the presumed evolutionary timescale. So, how old the rocks are depends upon how rapidly one believes evolution occurred. Therefore, the ages of the rocks can’t be used to tell how rapidly evolution took place. It is as unreliable as the gunner setting his watch by the jeweler’s clock that is set by the cannon, which is fired according to the time on the gunner’s watch.
Second, one can’t be sure that the “oldest” fossil of a particular species is representative of the first individual of that species. No doubt you have read about numerous exciting fossil discoveries of “the oldest [whatever] ever found, proving that [whatever] existed [some number of] millions of years earlier than previously believed.”
Evolutionists wrestle with the problem that the Cambrian rocks, which they believe are the oldest rocks bearing non-microscopic fossils, contain a wide variety of complex life forms. The implication is that all these radically different kinds of life evolved almost instantaneously at the same time. The longer they look, the worse the problem gets because sooner or later somebody will find something older than anyone else has ever found before. The time available for evolution from one kind to another keeps shrinking.
Therefore, time arguments are difficult. We don’t really know how much time evolutionists think they need. Furthermore, we don’t know how much time is available. Studies of salt in the sea, sediment in river deltas, waterfall erosion, and so on, seem to indicate a relatively young planet. But these studies all depend upon estimates of current rates which may or may not be accurate, and may or may not be constant. So, it is hard to argue conclusively on these points. For more detail, see the Young Earth Astronomy article elsewhere in this month's newsletter.
Radiometric dating is fundamentally flawed. That’s why we have written extensively on the various forms of radiometric dating over the years. Sadly, many people still believe that radiometric dating can be used to accurately date rock formations. They erroneously think radiometric dating proves millions and billions of years.
In summary, to believe in evolution, one must believe that life began by some unknown natural process (despite many known scientific difficulties) and experienced an incredible number of changes in complexity by some unknown process (despite many known scientific difficulties) and that there was time enough for all this to happen (although nobody knows how much time was needed, or available). That hasn't changed in ten years.
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of the Month
Disclosure, November 2004, “Homo floresiensis”
2 Disclosure, October 2006, “Little Lucy”
3 Disclosure, April 2001, “The Wizard of Ooze”
4 Disclosure, April 2006, “Alice in Evolutionland”
5 Disclosure, September 2004, “Seven Mysteries of Evolution”
6 Disclosure, July 2002, “No Nonsense – Part 1”; Disclosure, August 2002, “No Nonsense – Part 2”; Disclosure, November 2004, “Was National Geographic WRONG?”
7 Disclosure, January 2002, “Darwin’s Scorecard”
8 Lamont, 21 Great Scientists Who Believed the Bible, pages 250-251
9 Disclosure, October 2005, “Evolution in Court”; Disclosure, November 2005, “Let’s Go To The Polls!”
10 Disclosure, February 2003, “Letters of Recommendation”
11 Disclosure, February 2005, “Retaliation”; Disclosure, November 2005, “Conspiracy Proof”
12 Disclosure, June 1999, “The Kentucky Derby Limit”
13 Disclosure, August 2005, “Looking For Life”; Disclosure, September 2005, “One Million Dollars”
14 Disclosure, March 2006, “Emerging Complexity”
15 Disclosure, September 2006, “Implausible Life”