Part One: How humanity's solitary confinement to the Earth is incorrectly extrapolated from Darwin's defunct thesis
There may be good reasons for being an atheist, but the neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution isn't one of them.
- Lee Spetner, Not By Chance
- Joan d'Arc, Space Travelers and the Genesis of the Human Form
From the perspective of Darwinian theory, mankind may be seen as the winner of a preposterous survival lottery which, we are told, given the incredible odds should not have occurred even once. Thus, the logical deduction from Darwinian theory is that if the humanoid form evolved from the great ape lineage on planet Earth, the mathematical odds are incredibly against the possibility of that same chain of random and incremental steps, contingent upon an interplay with a similar biological environment, occurring elsewhere in the Universe. Therefore, the assumptions of Darwinian evolution presuppose the humanoid form to be an entirely Earth-based phenomenon.
An example of this common presumption is illustrated in an interview in Paranoia magazine's Winter 1997 issue. In D. Guide's interview with Henry Stevens of the German Research Project, Stevens asserts, "If a creature has two arms, two legs, walks bipedally and has stereoscopic vision, it is a human or a human derivative in my book. Parallel evolution would not produce such a close analog on another world."
The aim of this article is to debunk Darwinian evolution as a testable and falsifiable scientific hypothesis from which to argue mankind's singularity or uniqueness in the Universe. We will begin by defining "scientism" as an emotional attachment to the materialist worldview, which corrupts the genuine scientific process. As Charles Tart writes, "Since scientism never recognizes itself as a belief system, but always thinks of itself as true science, the confusion is pernicious." Tart believes a scientist should first observe, without rationalizing, then devise theories about the meaning of those observations, without becoming emotionally committed to them. He writes: "If a theory has no empirical, testable consequences, it may be a philosophy or religion or personal belief, but it's not a scientific theory. Science has a built-in rule to help us overcome our normal tendency to become emotionally committed to our beliefs." (Journal of Near Death Studies, 1997)
Indeed, according to philosopher of science, Karl Popper, all scientific theories must be "falsifiable," that is, subject to prediction, testing and falsification. In his book, Conjectures and Refutations, he explains, "There will be well-testable theories, hardly testable theories, and non-testable theories. Those which are non-testable are of no interest to empirical scientists. They may be described as metaphysical."
According to the above definition, Darwinian evolution is "scientism." It is a metaphysical genesis tale of life on Earth. As a history of life on Earth, should not be mistaken for a testable and falsifiable empirical hypothesis. It is an emotional commitment to a highly-touted philosophy of Western materialism and naturalism, which has the major backing of Earth's reality engineers for reasons which seem apparent (financial and emotional investment), but which ultimately remain elusive. Such a furtive agenda is the subject of a wholly different research paradigm (belonging to the realm of conspiracy theory) which we touch upon separately in this website. For the instant, this article will show that Darwinian evolution constitutes a tautology: a self-contained system of circular proofs, which are always true in a self-contained system of circular proofs. If it can be shown that Darwinian evolution is not a valid testable and falsifiable scientific theory, it follows that any extrapolation derived from it (i.e., bipedal humanoids can only exist on Earth) is of questionable value.
It must be pointed out that creationism and evolutionism have one main factor in agreement: they are Earth-centric genesis tales. Both oppose the idea of intelligence at large in the Universe, including the idea of space travelers. In both theories, WE are IT! However, astronomer, Tom van Flandern, has noted the erroneous assertion that the 'probability' of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) visiting our solar system is 'extremely small.' He notes that since this presumption is not a known scientific fact, the probability of ETI visitation is actually 'unknown.' Therefore, I submit that Darwinian evolution cannot properly be used as a framework from which to argue against the cosmic co-existence of the humanoid form, or human-like intelligence, since it likely places the cart before the horse. It is merely an extrapolation from an unproven theory based on an Earth-centric bias.
How do we know the human form isn't a universal phenomenon? Do we actually know that this form didn't spread outward from a more "central" part of the Universe, either by Fred Hoyle's passive theory of "ballistic panspermia," or by Francis Crick's deliberate theory of "directed panspermia," via fertilized eggs sent in spaceships by an existing technological civilization? To put it bluntly, would not the appearance of ET humanoids in our skies make short work of both Darwinian evolution and the Biblical Genesis tale, both of which tell us the Earth was created just for us?
Philosopher William James asserted that empiricism demands that we "look at a range of experience seriously and open-mindedly, and consider what is the best way to describe it, rather than defining it in advance in ways designed to outlaw alternative descriptions or forms of it which we find inconvenient." As logical empiricists with our minds wide open, let us now attempt an examination into Charles Darwin's theory of the natural selection and evolution of Earth species, and its extrapolation as a cosmic constant.
A Chain of Accidents
As an undergraduate anthropology major at a southwestern desert university, my first physical anthropology course was quite an experience. It was the first meeting of the class that I will never forget. In the midst of jokes such as "noses run in my family," there was an unsettling undercurrent. The instructor was not so jovial about one thing: that Darwinian evolution was a fact and not a theory. She warned us in no uncertain terms that she would entertain no questions with regard to the facticity of evolution. What struck me as odd at the time was her tone of exasperation at even the anticipation of an underling wasting her time arguing this 'fact.'
Well, noses run in my family too. I knew, right off the proverbial bat wing, that something smelled fishy, but it took me several years to realize that she was only one of the countless college professors, biologists, science writers, scientific researchers, philosophers, and publishers with a vested psychological, emotional and financial interest in Darwinian evolution. Evolutionary theorists bank on the hope that this theory is too complicated for most of us to fathom, and that we will not ask questions out of fear of appearing ignorant of the supposed facts. More often than not, however, the questions most people have about evolution are very appropriate and intelligent. The truth is, some logic and a little horse sense is really all you need to understand what Darwin was trying to say. It's the mess his followers, so-called neo-Darwinists, have made of it that often takes real patience to decipher.
The theory of evolution essentially views the human form as merely an accident in a chain of accidents. For instance, Stephen Jay Gould argues that the evolution of the human form is not a "repeatable occurrence." In the Journal of British Interplanetary Society (1992), E.J. Coffey also argues that "the evolutionary pattern shows rapid diversification followed by decimation with perhaps as few as five percent surviving," and further that "the survivors resemble the winners of a lottery rather than creatures better designed than the unlucky majority who do not survive."
For quite the same reasons as above, British astronomer, Sir Fred Hoyle, proponent of the Modern Theory of Panspermia, has mathematically dismissed the chance of evolution being an actual occurrence, arguing that "even if the whole Universe consisted of organic soup ... the chance of producing merely the basic enzymes of life by random processes without intelligent direction would be about 1 over a 1 with 40,000 zeros after it; a probability too small to imagine." Hoyle concludes that "Darwinian evolution is most unlikely to get even one polypeptide sequence right, let alone the thousands on which living cells depend for survival."
Given that there are trillions of different kinds of cells in the body, all in delicate balance with each other, each of these varied cellular structures would also have to develop by chance. In a Times-Advocate interview in December 1982, Hoyle declared that this mathematical impossibility is well known to scientists, yet nobody seems willing to "blow the whistle" on the absurdity of Darwinian theory. Hoyle claims "most scientists still cling to Darwinism because of its grip on the educational system," and because they don't want to be branded as "heretics."
Taking the Super Out of Supernatural
The first assumption Charles Darwin made in his research into genetic variation between parent populations and their descendants was that species are not immutable but, rather, "descent with modification" is the norm within species. He proposed that this process of change could account for all, or nearly all, the diversity of life. He thought it would one day be proven that all living things descended from a common ancestor, and perhaps even a single microscopic ancestor. As a mechanism for this process, Darwin proposed the concept of "natural selection." He later regretted use of the word "selection," since it seemed to suggest "teleology" was at work. Teleology, in Greek philosophy, is a doctrine which holds that the existence of everything in nature can be explained in terms of purpose. Teleology indicates creative purposeful design and, as we shall see, is in opposition to Darwinian evolutionary theory.
The National Academy of Sciences has told the Supreme Court that the most basic characteristic of science is "reliance upon naturalistic explanations," as opposed to "supernatural means inaccessible to human understanding." That's funny. Human beings have cultivated a comfortable relationship with things "supernatural" over the course of their days on Earth, while it might be said that the relatively newfound theory of Darwinian evolution has made itself very inaccessible to human understanding indeed. In fact, the theory of natural selection offers very little in terms of a detailed explanation for mankind's existential situation as an animal with self-awareness. From a materialist perspective, the "evolution" of consciousness still remains a baffling mystery, as does the enigmatic and sudden appearance of language, race and culture.
Since its miniscule and incremental steps are impossible to conceptualize, the evolution drama is, by necessity, a panorama. It is, and can only be, an outline of a shadowy metamorphosis from animal in-the-world to Overlord of all planetary life forms. The evolution 'story' dramatizes the 'natural' transfiguration of mankind through a linear procession of metamorphoses that eventually separate him from the animals of his ancestry. Evolution is Western man's totem. Various worldwide creation myths illustrate a similar motif, but, as a scientific theory there is very little concern over the missing details. This is where its faith-based attributes are most evident.
In order to illustrate the faith-based dimension of evolutionary theory, it is important that the concerns of the National Academy of Sciences are addressed rationally on both sides. Therefore, the term "supernatural" should be applied to any invisible force that purportedly drives evolution toward any ultimate goal, for instance, greater complexity or the ideal of human consciousness, or, for that matter, in any direction at all. For this was Darwin's clear directive: there is no ultimate purpose or direction to the evolution of forms. Therefore, the same theories that try to force a square peg (Darwin) into a round hole (the fossil record) should be scrutinized for their 'supernatural' underpinnings as well.
What is Naturalism?
In keeping with the proclamations of Earth's academies and courts, the paradigm of natural selection is the only explanatory route allowed to remain after official slicing and dicing of deductive reasoning cuts out the elusive 'super' in supernatural. But the Empire's empiricism on this count is peculiarly lax. There is no plausible theory that can support an empirical test of the elusive 'natural' in 'selection.' For, in placing our confidence in so-called "naturalistic explanations" over those "supernatural," we have simply created a meaningless category. We are merely playing word games.
How do we construe something to be naturalistic? As Professor William P. Alston asks, does this term "wear its meaning on its face"? He explains, the Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines a natural object in terms of natural causes, and defines natural processes in terms of natural objects and natural causes. It is a closed loop, which rather handily embraces the scientific method as the only source of knowledge of the world of natural causes. This begs the question of whether reality is only limited to what science can reveal about it. Alston asserts, "I have been proceeding on the assumption that those who set out to forge a 'naturalistic' account of some subject matter are working with some distinctive concept, one that is distinct from those expressed by other familiar labels in the neighborhood." Alston suggests the term 'naturalism' may simply be a buzz-word for 'materialism' or' physicalism' that has a less dogmatic sound to it. Scientific naturalism is simply materialism in disguise, and not a very good disguise at that. The Natural Academy of Sciences is merely promoting materialist science as its religion.
According to the foremost proponent of Intelligent Design Theory, William Dembski, "Naturalism is the view that the physical world is a self-contained system that works by blind, unbroken natural laws. Naturalism ... says that nothing beyond nature could have any conceivable relevance to what happens in nature. Naturalism's answer to theism is not atheism but benign neglect. People are welcome to believe in God, though not a God who makes a difference in the natural order."
In his book, The Design Revolution, Dembski also explains, "Naturalism allows no place for intelligent agency except at the end of a blind, purposeless material process. Within naturalism, any intelligence is an evolved intelligence. Moreover, the evolutionary process by which any such intelligence developed is itself blind and purposeless. As a consequence, naturalism makes intelligence not a basic creative force within nature but an evolutionary byproduct. In particular, humans (the natural objects best known to exhibit intelligence) ... are an accident of natural history."
I.D. Theory, according to Dembski, posits that "intelligence is a fundamental aspect of the world and that any attempt to reduce intelligence to natural mechanisms cannot succeed." As he charges, "For the naturalist, the world is intelligible only if it starts off without intelligence and then evolves intelligence. If it starts out with intelligence and evolves intelligence because of a prior intelligence, then somehow the world becomes unintelligible."
The Hatfields and McCoys of Evolutionary Theory
In his well-known books and articles on evolution, popular science writer, Stephen Jay Gould, has attempted to steer Darwinian theory away from natural selection as the lone process involved in evolution. A 10/3/97 Boston Globe article entitled, "Survival of the theorists," outlines the crux of the argument within the evolution and evolutionary biology factions. The article quotes Gould as saying, "too many biologists, psychologists, and philosophers are buying the notion that natural selection is the be-all and end-all of evolution." He warns that this situation is "bad for science" and, further, is "fueling the growth of evolutionary psychology, a field full of 'narrow, and often barren speculation' about how and why humans behave as they do."
"In a sort of modern-day Darwinian adaptation," proclaims Globe journalist, John Yemma, "sociobiologists evolved into evolutionary psychologists and animal behaviorists in order to survive the intellectual onslaught." Gould asserts this way of seeing evolution "puts natural selection on a pedestal not even Charles Darwin would have wanted it on." Addressing one of these evolutionary psychologists, Daniel Dennett, Gould describes Dennett's faction as "Darwinian fundamentalists" with a "propensity for cultism and ultra-Darwinian fealty." He further assesses Dennett's book, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, as an "influential but misguided ultra-Darwinian manifesto."
In response, Dennett argues that Gould has created "artificial distinctions." He claims that, because Gould is such a prolific and capable popular science writer, "the public may be getting misled into thinking there is fire beneath all the smoke he is blowing." Dennett asserts the public needs to know that Gould's views are not widely shared by evolutionary biologists. Could he be taking heat for labeling the "extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record" as "the trade secret of paleontology"?
In a review of Dennett's book, British biologist, John Maynard Smith, states that most evolutionary biologists see Gould as "a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with." The reason this faction had not attacked Gould earlier, Smith adds, was because they figured he was "on their side against the creationists." The author of the Globe article, Yemma, asserts, "depending on whose argument is being made here, there may be crucial scholarly distinctions at stake. It is hard to tell." If it's so hard to tell, the Globe should have put someone else on the story. Puffing himself up like a blowfish, he adds, "the public could be excused for seeing this as one of those perplexing academic arguments that in an earlier age would have involved angels dancing on the head of a pin."
Why should the public be excused from understanding the basis of this 'scholarly' argument? Why couldn't this author have explained the argument, even in abbreviated form? Is it because the writer can't express it himself, or is it because the media wish to maintain a barren distance between the public and scientific theory? In effect, what we see on brazen display here is the media attitude that the public is not expected to understand evolutionary theory and is enjoined, instead, to reel around on the head of a pin until confusion sets in and they have to sit down.
Finally, Yemma writes, "just in case creationists are listening in, all parties take pains to point out that this fight has nothing to do with God, religion, the Bible or, as Gould put it, attempts to smuggle purpose back into biology." It is, the contenders say, "an argument well within the world of secular science." Apparently this writer thinks that "creationists" can't read the newspaper, and those who can, he bargains, will be unable to see through his smug coverage of this important topic.
How could this argument possibly not have anything to do with God or religion? There is no getting around the fact that the evolution tiff is a war between atheist and religious contingents. Atheism is the zeal behind all of this rhetoric. I can personally attest to the fact that atheists get high on Darwinian dogma. It is nothing short of Acada-Media mind control. The mind-numbing fear of all those involved in this 'survival of the theories' is the fact that the evolutionary record is incompatible with Darwinian natural selection and compatible with purposeful design. Clearly, it is just this "smuggling of purpose" into evolutionary theory that is the Devil to the Hatfields and McCoys of Evolutionary Theory for, as we shall see, it is the only truce for which they are willing to put down their shot guns.
With regard to this ongoing feud, Gould wrote in The New York Review that "we will not win this most important of all battles if we descend to the same tactics of backbiting and anathematization that characterize our true opponents." The "true opponents" of this atheistic bunch are obviously religious creationists, but let's widen the fray, as we draw that line in the sand, to include all B.I.P.E.D.s (Beings for Intelligent Purpose in Evolutionary Design), those who have the feeling that 'we didn't get here from there' and are experiencing a little Darwinian Dissent. To arm ourselves for this gentleman's duel, let's zoom in on the head of that pin.
The Shape of a Seductive Idea
In his book, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, philosopher Daniel Dennett tries to downplay typical feuds such as the one portrayed in the Globe article. He contends that the "relatively narrow conflicts" which have arisen among theorists have been blown out of proportion (oh, no, we're not fighting). Dennett's attitude toward non-believers is telling when he arrogantly asserts, "Anyone today who doubts that the variety of life on this planet was produced by a process of evolution is simply ignorant - inexcusably ignorant - in a world where three out of four people have learned to read and write."
First, it's doubtful Dennett's global statistics are accurate. Nonetheless, what he is saying is, if you know how to read and write (i.e. regurgitate scientific propaganda), you should know that the prevailing worldview is Darwinian evolution, and you would be stupid - rather, inexcusably ignorant - to argue the fine points. Needless to say, Dennett is sure that no controversy could affect Darwinism, which is about as "secure as any idea in science."
If science is all about security, the alarm for this potential breach in security was perhaps pushed by NASA in 1960 when it paid The Brookings Institute to think through the implications of the possible discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) on the scientific world. In part, the Brookings Study (www.enterprisemission.com/brooking.html) noted that "scientists and engineers might be the most devastated by the discovery of relatively superior creatures, since these professions are most clearly associated with mastery of nature." The study also noted, "Advanced understanding of nature might vitiate all our theories... ." Since the entire realm of modern biology and chemistry is based on the Darwinian paradigm, what other discovery could completely shatter the Darwinian mythology of humanity's purely accidental climb out of the muck of our local habitat Earth?
Dennett, our modern-day Huxley, propagandist for Darwin, goes on to state that "Darwin's fundamental idea of natural selection has been articulated, expanded, clarified, quantified, and deepened in many ways, becoming stronger every time it overcame a challenge." In spite of stating emphatically at the beginning of his book that he could provide numerous examples of how the Darwinian "Modern Synthesis" has overcome the shortcomings of Darwin's theory, Dennett accomplishes no such feat. Instead, on the last page of Darwin's Dangerous Idea, he admits: "I have learned from my own embarrassing experience how easy it is to concoct remarkably persuasive Darwinian explanations that evaporate on closer inspection." Dennett explains that his book has "sacrificed details" in order to provide a better appreciation of the "overall shape of Darwin's idea," proclaiming the truly dangerous aspect as its "seductiveness."
This seductiveness is indeed very dangerous. It is what compels people to fight tooth and nail on the side of an unverifiable scientific hypothesis which they consider a fact. Dennett insists that natural selection is best explained at the level of a "blind, mechanical and algorithmic process," dependent on chance alone. He explains that the "mindless" steps of Darwin's natural selection are the outcome of "a cascade of algorithmic processes feeding on chance." Anyone who has "learned to read and write" can see that alluding to "algorithms" is simply an abstraction used to explain another abstraction.
Dennett's 'cascade of abstractions' resolves none of the quandaries of Darwinian natural selection. As William Dembski illustrates in "Intelligent Design as a Theory of Information": "To determine how life began, it is necessary to understand the origin of information. Neither algorithms nor natural laws are capable of producing information. The great myth of modern evolutionary biology is that information can be gotten on the cheap without recourse to intelligence."
Dennett goes further to state, "the only way to answer questions about such huge and experimentally inaccessible patterns is to leap boldly into the void with the risky tactic of deliberate oversimplification," asserting that "oversimplified models often actually explain just what needs explaining." He also asserts, "when what provokes our curiosity are the large patterns in phenomena, we need an explanation at the right level." He adds, "if science is to explain the patterns discernible in all this complexity, it must rise above the microscopic view to other levels, taking on idealizations when necessary so we can see the woods for the trees." Finally, he proclaims, "could anyone imagine how any process other than natural selection could have produced all these effects?" (Italics added)
The experimentally inaccessible patterns - the overall shape of Darwin's seductive idea - which can only be explained by oversimplified models, are part and parcel of the speciation problem. Darwinists have not been able to zoom in on any proofs of the evolution of any one species into another, nor have they been able to point to an adaptive mutation that resulted in an increase in information. (see Spetner) So instead they construct seductive dramas. Dennett's ultimate proof is to maintain that Darwinist theory is so on the mark it constitutes "a complete reversal of the burden of proof."
So, now we need to prove evolution didn't happen? This preposterous reasoning confirms Phillip Johnson's assertion, in Darwin on Trial, that most scientists are looking for "confirmation of the only theory one is willing to tolerate." "Could anyone imagine" any other explanation for Dennett's peculiar line of logic? To outline the shape of a seductive idea does not describe the practice of science.
The philosophical hoops that dramatize the evolution story may fool most of the people all of the time, but such dramas are actually contrary to currently accepted science concerning natural selection. Why do fantastic metaphorical dramas attend the theory of evolution? According to Mary Midgely, in Evolution as a Religion, taken literally and without personal meaning, the theory of evolution is hardly within reach of human imagination. While we can try to invent terminology that approximates such a vast cosmological scheme, she explains, the 'facts' involved in such a complex theory have very little in common with the present.
Geneticist Steve Jones has made the remark that "if there is one thing which Origin of Species is not about, it is the origin of species." Nonetheless, in spite of the fact that Darwin's manifesto has trouble even defining the concept of species, his followers believe "the fact of speciation itself is incontestable." Of course, winding backward from the fact that species exist, any mechanism whatsoever can be postulated. The practice of Darwinian Hindsight is far from scientific. "Whatever the mechanisms are that operate," writes Dennett, "they manifestly begin with the emergence of variety within a species, and end, after modifications have accumulated, with the birth of a new, descendant species." Beneath this doublespeak lies the simple reiteration that, via an unknown mechanism, variety within species eventually leads to speciation. This statement merely repeats Darwin's thesis after a century and a half has passed. This is progress?
The fact is, Darwin never quite defined his terms. He was unable to securely pin down this process from "well-marked variety" to "subspecies" and on to "well-defined species." As Darwin wrote in Origin of Species, "it will be seen that I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given for the sake of convenience to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms." Darwin's attitude throughout Origin of Species is that "varieties" are simply "incipient species." Forever teetering on the edge of potentiality, species are always in a hapless phase of becoming. Suspension of actuality is the Darwinist's specialty.
How have we based an entire cosmological scheme on such ill-defined terms? Darwin never purported to explain the origin of the first species, or the origin of biological forms, or of the Universe itself. He merely began in the middle and tried to work his way back utilizing a circular motion inside of a box. These are the footprints all Darwinists seem to follow, for this is the only methodology possible.
The enclosure surrounding the natural selection tautology does not seem to bother most Darwinists as they respond to intelligent criticism with rhetorical statements aimed at a person's educational level. In this case, the education itself is nothing more than the indoctrination of a pervasive materialist mindset within the confines of a "specialist" caste system. But, tautologies in scientific paradigms are not new to Thomas Kuhn, author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn assures us that such circular arguments typical of scientific paradigms cannot be made logically compelling "for those who refuse to step into the circle." It would appear that this oddity of science is an enigma explainable only by the motto: "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible."
If Darwin himself never quite defined his terms, how can we be sure we are talking about the same thing? We can't. The only fully agreed-upon definition of "species" in Origin of Species is Darwin's discussion of "reproduction isolation," the inability of groups to interbreed. Problematically, interbreeding would re-unite groups which are ostensibly in the act of splitting apart genetically, thus frustrating the process of speciation, if such an event occurs at all. As Dennett notes, "if the irreversible divorce that marks speciation is to happen, it must be preceded by a sort of trial separation." Dennett admits that "the criterion of reproductive isolation is vague at the edges." The entire Darwinian mythos is vague at the edges.
The Fitness Test
The idea of natural selection is fundamentally different from artificial selection or breeding. Since Darwin did not have any examples of natural selection with which to illustrate his assertion, he used examples of artificial selection or breeding, assuming the same process was at work. But Darwin's analogy to artificial selection, Johnson points out in Darwin on Trial, is problematical in many aspects. He argues, "plant and animal breeders employ intelligence and specialized knowledge to select breeding stock and to protect their charges from natural dangers. The point of Darwin's theory, however, was to establish that purposeless natural processes can substitute for intelligent design."
The fundamental assumption of Darwin's idea of natural selection is that it is a process which maintains the genetic fitness of a population by ensuring that the most fit individuals survive to produce the most offspring. Pay particular attention to the terms fit and offspring. A biological species is a group that is capable of interbreeding to produce viable offspring; that is, offspring that can reproduce. The breeding of a new or distinct species that is incapable of reproducing does not constitute a viable species.
Creatures who do not survive to produce offspring do not supply the gene pool with their genes which, we may presume, were somehow deleterious rather than genetically advantageous or fit. But here we are simply making presumptions after the fact. Darwin's concept of natural selection simply defines the fittest as the individuals that survive; the fittest organisms are, plain and simple, the ones that produce the most offspring. We can presume a characteristic to be an advantage because a species which has it (wings, eyes, large brain, claws, fur, bipedalism, language, etc.) seems to be thriving, but it is impossible to identify the particular characteristic or advantage which has produced the coveted outcome of survival. In Darwin's theory, advantage means nothing more than success in reproducing, or increasing the population for survival of the species as a whole.
We can surmise, then, that the individuals which survived to produce the most offspring are doing something right, but that is all we can do. We do not know, specifically or empirically, what they are doing right, but we presume that they must have had the qualities required for producing the most offspring. Therefore, such assumptions always rely on a bizarre retrospective stance (i.e. it must have been the fur that made the grade, or it must have been the large brain, etc.). Problematically, there is no way to test these hypotheses.
Hidden within the natural selection hypothesis is a meaningless tautology, which essentially states that "those organisms which leave the most offspring, leave the most offspring." Darwin's fitness test is an all-inclusive theory that sits in a box by itself, in its own universe of facts, and explains nothing outside of the box. This is the definition of a classic tautology. All of its assumptions have to be true, since they cannot be tested empirically. Furthermore, it is always true that in any population some individuals will leave more offspring than others, whether the population is not changing, or is headed for extinction. As geneticists have noted, species would actually change more if the least favored individuals most often succeeded in reproducing their kind.
Natural selection, therefore, while seeming to be a theory which supports genome variety, may in actuality result in narrowing the possibilities of variation. As a matter of fact, according to Darwinist, Stephen Jay Gould, the prevailing character of the fossil record just happens to be stasis: forms remain the same over long periods of time, being abruptly replaced by completely different forms. Furthermore, in Wedge of Truth, Phillip Johnson equates natural selection with non-random death. Nature is supposedly selecting one form over the other for blind algorithmic reasons we do not understand. How does this seemingly purposeful and supernatural process make sense in Darwin's ultimately random naturalistic scenario?
In his book, A New Science of Life, Rupert Sheldrake has written that "the evolutionary changes which have actually been observed over the last century or so for the most part concern the development of new varieties or races within established species." There is, in fact, no evidence which confirms the hypothesis that the concept of natural selection is an evolutionary process capable of producing innovative designs in organs and organisms. In fact, asserts zoologist Pierre Grasse, such "proofs" of evolution-in-action are simply "observation of demographic facts, local fluctuations of genotypes and geographical distributions." Such fluctuations, he asserts, do not assert an innovative evolutionary process.
As John Davidson writes in The Web of Life: "Evolutionary theory presents one of the most explicit examples of a priori reasoning, and even blind faith, ever seen in a supposedly scientific hypothesis. Books on evolution are full of the prior assumption that evolutionary theory is correct. The facts are then presented to fit the theory. And although many other interpretations of these facts are also possible, it is a rare biologist who dares to be a dissenter or to even suggest that other interpretations and explanations are also possible."
The Whole and Its Parts
Darwin was, in effect, a gradualist, believing that every major transformation in form was the end result of a cumulative process of incremental change and adaptation. As Phillip Johnson points out, Darwin asserted that natural selection was a process of "preservation and accumulation of infinitesimally small inherited modifications, each profitable to the preserved being."
Darwin's theory emphatically avoided any leaps or jumps in evolution, called "saltations," which resulted in a new species in one generation. Such a leap being equal to a miracle, or an act of creation, Darwin asserted that he would have to throw out his baby with the bath water were it ever proven that evolution required saltations, or systemic macro-mutations as they are called today. Systemic macro-mutations are considered impossible, since complex assemblies of parts cannot change simultaneously as a result of random mutation. Such a large and visible occurrence of mutation would be murderous to the organism.
In the last several decades, biochemists have discovered awesome complexity in the cellular world, a finding which indicates that the more parts in a system, the more unlikely it could have evolved gradually. Complex entities don't evolve piece by piece, asserts microbiologist, Michael Behe, they have to be designed from the start. In his book, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Behe outlines a number of biochemical systems, such as cilium, flagellum and blood clotting, that cannot be explained by Darwinist gradualist explanations.
For instance, Behe writes, if the shape of a protein is warped, it simply fails to do its job. He explains, the shape and folding of a protein and the precise positioning of different amino acid groups allow the protein to work. If the job of one protein is to bind to another specific protein, Behe explains, their two shapes must fit each other correctly in all respects. For instance, if there is a positively charged amino acid on one protein, it will fit only with a negatively charged amino acid. Likewise, the shape of an enzyme must match the shape of its chemical target, and enzymes have amino acids precisely positioned to cause chemical reactions.
In short, the work of every cell in the body requires teams of proteins, made up of amino acids, and each member of the team carries out just one part of the task. Not one of these chemical reactions is allowed to go out of kilter in a functioning system. Behe concludes that complex systems cannot evolve in Darwinian fashion. The whole system has to be put together at once. He explains: "You can't start with a signal sequence and have a protein go a little way towards the lysosome, add a signal receptor protein, go a little further, and so forth. It's all or nothing." In his analysis of complex parts of various biological systems, Behe concludes, "it is extremely implausible that components used for other purposes fortuitously adapted to new roles in a complex system."
This is also true according to Information Theory. Diagrams constructed by Hubert Yockey indicate that DNA is an analog of a computer instruction set, which triggers the message to build proteins of specific varieties that result in a living organism. He writes, "There is no doubt that the information complexity in biological entities is very high and that the probability of random mutations leading to more highly structured life forms has the appearance of being impossible." (Hamilton, "Astrogenesis")
In fact, human and animal bodies contain an array of interrelated systems containing organs, tissues and chemical components in intricate order. How would it be possible to build into this system random micro-variations during each tiny step which are at the same time profitable to the preserved being? Surely some of the these incremental changes would be detrimental at some place along the way to the cumulative result, which is at the same time supposed to have no goal toward greater complexity. Furthermore, such infinitesimal changes would not necessarily be of any immediate advantage unless other parts needed for it to function also appeared with it. What we need to imagine here, Phillip Johnson points out, is "a chance mutation that provides a complex capacity all at once, at a level of utility sufficient to give the creature an advantage in producing offspring."
Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene, is quoted as saying that "virtually all the mutations studied in genetics laboratories, which are pretty macro because otherwise geneticists wouldn't notice them, are deleterious to the animals possessing them." In order to pass all these tests simultaneously, followers of Darwin have "evolved an array of subsidiary concepts capable of furnishing a plausible explanation for just about any conceivable eventuality," states Johnson.
Problematically, since macromutations are always maladaptive, Darwinists assert that complex and similar organs must have evolved independently, over and over again in many different organisms, by the accumulation of tiny micromutations over a long span of time. One example is the evolution of the eye. Did the eye evolve separately at first, and if so was it useful for some purpose other than vision? Did the neural capacity for vision evolve in incremental steps along with the eye? What good is 5% of an eye, and what good is any percent of it without the neural capacity to process the information it records?
Evolutionary biologists use the fossil record to indicate a plausible series of intermediate eye designs, but the problem is the designs belong to different animals and involve vastly different types of structures (some having just a pinhole eye with no lens or some being set in a cup, for instance) rather than a similar structure which added to its complexity over time. There is no evidence that it is structurally the same eye design at all. Furthermore, it has been noted that no fossils of animals now extant indicate an earlier or less complex eye structure. For instance, the nautilus sea creature, given hundreds of millions of years, has not evolved a lens for its eye despite having a retina "practically crying out for this particular simple change."
It has been noted by paleontologist, Niles Eldredge, that certain restrictions make it difficult to pursue a successful "career" as a Darwinist. Ironically, those restrictions arise from the fossil record. He writes that the pressure for positive results is enormous. The various schema which these stressed-out researchers must juggle is Darwin's insistence on gradualism on one hand and, on the other, the findings in the fossil record which point to saltation (creation), as well as to a pre-history of Earth catastrophism, including devastating catastrophes which occurred during the lifetime of humankind. Johnson quotes Eldredge in Darwin on Trial: "either you stick to conventional theory despite the rather poor fit of the fossils, or you focus on the empirics and say that saltation looks like a reasonable model of the evolutionary process, in which case you must embrace a set of rather dubious biological propositions."
Thus, it is clear that paleontologists who are tethered to neo-Darwinism are not free to draw apt conclusions to which their "dubious" evidence points. In order to operate within the neo-Darwinist boundaries, and at the same time achieve success with their projects (not to mention future funding and paychecks), another subsidiary theory called "punctuated equilibrium" was hatched by Eldredge and Gould. This theory posits that organisms remain the same over long periods of time and that evolutionary changes take place rather abruptly.
Punctuated equilibrium predicts that speciation would take place in isolated populations and that we would, thus, be less apt to come upon the transitional forms we are looking for. Incredibly, one of the predictions of this theory is that evidence of change will not be found! This theory is unfalsifiable, yet it's a very popular catch-all. As I recall, my professor in my first anthropology class was mesmerized by this theory and used it to swiftly punctuate and equilibrate any objections from students. Punctuated equilibrium is actually an attempt to strike a balance between what Darwin hoped would be discovered in the fossil record and what has actually been found since 1859. Darwin is aging badly.
How different is punctuated equilibrium from saltation or creation? Despite an enormous amount of fossil hunting, according to Gould, "the history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism." Those two features are stasis and sudden appearance. Gould writes that most species exhibit no directional change during their time on Earth, and that they appear in the fossil record looking morphologically the same as when they depart. He also indicates that species do not arise in a local area by steady and gradual transformation but, rather, species appear all at once and fully formed. As Niles Eldredge also states, in Reinventing Darwin, "No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seemed to happen... When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the fossils did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on somewhere else."
Yet, in spite of the fossil record essentially displaying saltation, Gould and other neo-Darwinists remain devout apologists for the theory of natural selection. Johnson succinctly points out the problem in Darwin on Trial: "natural selection is a guiding force so effective it could accomplish prodigies of biological craftsmanship that people in previous times had thought to require the guiding hand of a creator."
In his essay entitled, "The Intelligent Design Movement: Challenging the Modernist Monopoly of Science," (in Dembsky, Signs of Intelligence), Phillip Johnson states, "Dissenters are often astonished that so many scientists cannot see that there is a genuine scientific case against Darwinism and that widespread dissent cannot be dismissed out of hand as the product of ignorance or prejudice." Johnson asks, "Why can't eminent scientists seem to grasp the obvious point that finch beak variation does not even remotely illustrate a process capable of making birds in the first place?"
In dogmatically helping to prop up the scientific naturalist paradigm, scientists cannot and do not want to see the forest for the trees, or the genesis of the birds therein. They are not looking hard enough, for they feel they already have the answer. The answer has been discovered for them, they only need to follow the money, for their livelihoods are at stake should they do anything but maintain the prominence of the scientific naturalist paradigm.
The Beaks of Certain Finches
Under fire from Darwinian dissenters, neo-Darwinists tend to shift the burden of proof to the skeptics. They ask us to prove evolution didn't happen, when they still haven't proven it has happened. Then they point out a certain population of finches beaks. The beaks of certain finches in question, those found in the Galapagos Islands where Darwin did his uncanny five weeks of research, indeed do indicate there is variation in the gene pool in the context of certain environmental factors. This is an example of what is now taught in schools as microevolution: variety and adaptation within a species. Yet, none of the neo-Darwinists seem excessively burdened to prove how this extrapolates to macroevolution: one species becoming another.
In fact, since Darwin performed his apparently infectious tour of duty, there has not been discovered any genetic mechanism that could explain Darwin's thesis that all animal forms on Earth derived from earlier forms. That genetic mechanism, random mutation, is under a lot of scrutiny these days by scientists in physics and information theory. One of those scientists is Dr. Lee Spetner, who claims the Darwinian idea of cumulative selection involves too much luck.
Too Much Luck
In playing cards and buying lottery tickets, we wish each other "good luck." One might well ask, Can you ever have too much luck? Well, yes, in testing the mathematical odds of the occurrence of a specific event or a defined set of circumstances, a mathematician might come to the conclusion that there is so much luck involved that the outcome is so near improbable it might as well be impossible. In his book, Not By Chance, Spetner explains that the probability of a long series of random and advantageous mutations being selected and surviving in the population is very low. This physicist and information theory specialist explains, "Only since the 1960s have we been able to estimate the chance of a mutation. The rarity of copying errors is a problem for the neo-Darwinian Theory (NDT)."
According to Spetner's complex math, the problem with the concept of "cumulative selection" is that there's too much luck involved. As he explains, copying errors in the DNA sequence are random, but they do not occur very frequently. He explains, "For cumulative selection to work, a lot of good mutations have to occur by chance." Spetner claims that the rate of copying errors for organisms other than bacteria is very small. (Spetner 91) The reason for this, Spetner explains, is that the cell has a "proofreading" mechanism that corrects the errors made in transcription of DNA. This proofreading activity keeps the rate of mutation low.
If mutation isn't the cellular mechanism we are looking for in evolution, are there any other cell mechanisms that may "propel evolution"? Dr. Spetner queries whether genetic rearrangements - insertions and inversions of DNA segments - could be the mechanism that neo-Darwinists need to explain this supposedly random mechanistic process. Spetner questions whether the process of inverting and inserting segments of DNA could even be considered a random process: "inversions [of DNA] seem to have important roles to play in both cells and organisms, but we don't yet know what those roles are. We do know, however, that they are not just genetic mistakes. The rearrangements seem to be deliberate acts performed on the part of the cell (or the organism). They do not seem to be the random stuff that the NDT says propels evolution."
As Spetner explains, such inversions and insertions of DNA segments can indeed switch the gene off, and can be reversed to turn the gene back on. Yet, if they didn't act with nearly absolute precision, they would turn genes off at random, wreaking havoc in the genome. Moreover, the chance that "a random deletion will precisely take out a previous insertion is very small." (Spetner 89) The chance is also small for a random inversion to reverse a previous inversion, Spetner argues. The problem is, in higher animals, mutations that are beneficial, as opposed to murderous to the organism, do not occur frequently enough, according to Spetner and others.
Some of the events of evolution claimed by the NDT, Spetner explains, are "about ten times less likely than having your number come up on a roulette wheel 17 times in a row." In addition, speaking of a 1930 study by Sir Ronald Fisher, Spetner points out that the concept of a point mutation was then unknown, and "there was no appreciation of how small the chance is of getting one." Fisher even noted at that time, "if evolution is to work, many adaptive mutations have to appear." (Spetner 102)
Darwin's Many Errors
Numerous books could be written about Darwin's many errors, and many excellent books have been written (see book list on this website). Another of Darwin's significant errors was actually the basis for his natural selection hypothesis: that is, the "struggle for existence." Darwin drew an analogy from Thomas Malthus's view of the human "struggle for existence" to animals in the wild, claiming that animals fight for the same "niches." Darwin proposed that due to this struggle animals were forced to evolve into subsidiary forms in order to survive in different niches. In fact, as we now know from a profusion of animal studies, animal populations do not conform to this prognosis. As Lee Spetner notes, "Darwin erred in the insight that led him to his theory of evolution. Animals do not hug the brink of disaster. Population size is not controlled by starvation, disease or predation. Populations are kept in check ... by intrinsic forces built into the animals themselves." There is no struggle for existence in the animal world. As we shall see in part two of this article, this point is also made starkly clear in James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis's Gaia Theory.
Darwin's second error, according to Spetner, is that if positive mutations occurred often enough, they "may readily become established in the populations." As Spetner notes, this has been shown to be wrong. "Darwin erroneously thought that even the smallest improvements would be selected," in individuals and saved in the population like hitting the "saved" button. In fact, paleontologist, George Gaylord Simpson, acknowledged that "a single mutation has little chance of staying in the population." Spetner points out a common error in popular Darwinist writings that might lead to this misconception. Darwinists tend to transpose the language of "transmission genetics" (how individuals pass on their genes to descendants) into the language of "population genetics" (how gene frequencies change in a population) without noting that they are talking about two different things. (Spetner, 56) Following is a list of just some of the problematic assumptions of the NDT that Spetner magnificently highlights:
- Genetic rearrangements appear to be non-random Ð they occur with precision
- Mutations in higher animals are infrequent
- Rarity of copying errors, low error rates in DNA copying
- NDT allows only the smallest mutation rate. A mutation must be both beneficial and must also add a little bit of information to the genome, but not too much information
- In order to explain all the complexity around us, a mutation must add information. There are no known, clear examples of a mutation that has added information.
- The mutation that leads to the improvement must be a dominant gene, that is, must be expressed in the phenotype even if it's on only one of the two chromosomes that carries the gene. Otherwise, the male and female (if it were a recessive gene) would have to find each other to mate.
- A mutation, even if favorable, has a small chance of establishing itself in the species if it occurs only once. Slight individual improvements have a tendency to disappear in the population.
- Small populations promote the survival of a single gene more than large ones do. This poses a problem for the NDT.
As Spetner writes, "The events necessary for cumulative selection are much too improbable to build a theory on. The events needed for the origin of life are even more improbable." Spetner concludes, "There may be good reasons for being an atheist, but the neo-Darwinian Theory of evolution isn't one of them."