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Born In Missouri? The Argument Against Evolution.

Although I was born and raised in Southern California - I sometimes feel affinity for the Show Me state of Missouri. I've often gone against the grain of traditional thought - to examine issues myself - and I don't always agree with the common consensus. In the days of belief in the flat Earth, I might have been one of those questioning it. For example, I'm firmly against the politically correct view that humans are largely responsible for Global Warming (Or cooling, or just change).

Now, if I were Trailer Trash from the Appalachians - with too much family inbreeding, people could rightfully dismiss me as a crackpot. And indeed, some reading this will instantly dismiss the ideas presented here. Evolution is one of those hot-button topics upon which rational discussion is rarely possible. (Similar to the other two famous topics which everyone avoids - Sex and Politics) But for those without closed minds - read on:

There are many battles going on currently concerning the Theory of Evolution, and it's teaching in the educational system. Many people, and quite honestly, primarily with a religious background - are trying to get a more balanced viewpoint of evolution into the schools.

Having been raised in a very traditional home - with church service and Bible study a deep part of my life - it seemed that the theory of Evolution was a worthwhile topic to dig into. Particularly with my life-long interest in the fields of science, rather than the humanities.

Now - whenever I dig into any topic - I try to follow the same set procedure … one that our legal system is quite familiar with. It's called the adversarial process - you have one person, the prosecutor; doing his best to convict, and another person, the defense attorney; doing his best to acquit.

If you don't study both sides of an argument, you can't imagine what you're missing.

Unfortunately for those seeking the opposing arguments for evolution - far too many people with no real scientific background have jumped in, and based on not much more than their religious faith, have attempted to bash Darwin’s evolutionary theory. This does far more harm than good - as someone like me, trying to find real arguments on both sides - end up with the ridiculous. Poor and ignorant argumentative attacks on Evolution will not convince anyone with intelligence - they will merely impress those who are already predisposed (from a religious background) to disagree with Evolution.

Before going much further - just what is the meaning of Evolution as I’m discussing it? Darwin’s original idea, like many great ideas, was elegantly simple. He saw that there was a great deal of variation in all species - some larger, some faster, some smarter, and so forth… he reasoned that because food supplies are not unlimited, animals that some chance variation in abilities that gave them an advantage (perhaps simply to make use of a different food source) would also tend to allow them to survive and reproduce in higher numbers. If this chance variation in ability were inheritable, then in time the animals with superior advantages would crowd out the less advantaged animals, and over immeasurably long periods of time, this would lead to visible changes to the species. (The oft-cited evolution of the horse can be brought to mind here.)

Another detail needs to be kept in mind - there are two forms of evolution - macro-evolution and micro-evolution.

Micro-evolution - the change *within* a species, for example - a moth’s wings darken to match the new environment of a city, or the many different types of dogs…

Macro-evolution - the change of one species to another (Popular example [and vastly simplified] - from Monkey to Human)

There is no dispute about micro-evolution - it's a biological fact, and is used in daily life all around us. Many of the grocery store foods we buy, for example, are products of micro-evolution… tomatoes that resist disease, for example. So please don’t confuse the two - they are not related.

One of the first interesting facts that I learned about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was that those who would naturally be expected to endorse it - paleontologists - were the most vocal critics that Darwin had. And although this isn't taught in biology texts used in the U.S. educational system - the fossil record does not support evolution. What should be common - transitional fossils - are simply non-existent.

As paleontologist Niles Eldredge describes the problem:

No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seems to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change - over millions of years, at a rate too slow to account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. 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 that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution.

In Darwin's day - it could be assumed that as paleontologists continued to dig up new fossils - the proof that Darwin was waiting for would eventually surface. This was certainly a reasonable thought - and must have comforted Darwin - who was certainly aware of the problems that the fossil record posed for his theory.

In science, one of the most critical factors that differentiate it from religion is a test of falsifiability. This simply means - is there a way to prove the theory untrue?

The belief in God is not falsifiable - there’s simply no argument or evidence that could be presented that would PROVE that God doesn't exist. (Or, for that matter, PROVE that God does exist) So a belief in God cannot be in the realm of science, and must remain in the realm of religion - which is rightfully concerned with matters of faith. (This is not to be taken as an assertion that matters of faith cannot be true!) Please note carefully my language - I intentionally used the word prove to mean exactly what I said. I believe that there's a great deal of evidence to support my faith in God - I just realize that there's no way to prove God exists in the way that science, for example, can prove that gravity affects matter.

On the other hand, Einstein’s theory of gravitation clearly satisfied the criterion of falsifiability. Even if, at the time Einstein proposed his theory - the means of testing it had to wait until technology could catch up - it was theoretically possible to prove Einstein's theory wrong.

So what is the falsifiable test of Evolutionary theory? Darwin himself provided it: 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 break down.

And unfortunately in our educational system - you won’t learn this - but Darwin’s test of his theory has been falsified.

What would constitute an organ, or a biological system; that could not be formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications? As Michael Behe points out in his book Darwin's Black Box - a biological system that is irreducibly complex.

This term, irreducibly complex, needs to be well understood - as an example that Behe uses, think about the common ordinary mousetrap. If you examine the physical components of a mousetrap, you will find the following typical components:

mousetrap.jpg# A Flat Wooden Platform that acts as a base, and holds all the rest of the components.

  1. A Metal Hammer, which does the actual job of squishing the poor little mouse.
  2. A Spring, which gives the hammer the power to do the squishing.
  3. A Catch - which holds the 'Holding Bar' until a mouse trips it.
  4. A Holding Bar, which prevents the Metal Hammer from squishing air.
  5. Assorted staples that hold everything together.

Now, subtract ANY ONE of those above listed 6 items, and your mousetrap will NOT squish mice. And this isn't the only problem… If the base were made out of paper, for example, the trap would fall apart. If the hammer were too heavy, it would break the spring. If the spring were too loose, it would not move the hammer. If the holding bar were too short, it would not reach the catch. If the catch were too large it would not release at the proper time.

So could a mousetrap evolve from the garbage in your garage? Even given millions of years - one can easily see that evolution could not explain a mousetrap. It is irreducibly complex. It can't work as a mousetrap until all parts exist, in proper relation to the others, and made out of the proper materials and strengths.

If a biological system in the human body were shown to be irreducibly complex - then Darwin's own test would be met.

In Darwin's day - we didn't know enough about life to be able to refute evolution - but we are now at the point where examples of irreducibly complex systems have been found - and for which there is no evolutionary explanation possible. (Others may differ - but I've yet to see a reasonable argument made for examples that Behe has provided)

This has happened at the molecular biology level… Michael Behe has given a number of irreducibly complex biologic systems, and more are being discovered as research into this area continues.

Here’s just one example:

Coagulation Cascade

coagulation_cascade.jpg

Perhaps some of you might recognize it - it’s the chain of events that happens when you get a cut - and your blood must coagulate to prevent all of your blood from running out of your body. (Thanks to Wikipedia for the diagram)

As Behe points out, The formation, limitation, strengthening, and removal of a blood clot is an integrated biological system, and the problems with single components can cause the system to fail. This is an irreducibly complex system - and Darwin’s evolutionary theory cannot explain it. You cannot form a blood clot - even a very poor one - by only half of the process outlined in the diagram… it's all or nothing.

Now, keep in mind that this article is merely designed to provoke you into researching the topic yourself - even Behe goes into pages and pages of discussion on just this one example. He gives other examples of irreducibly complex biologic systems at the molecular level - and those who champion evolutionary theory are struggling to defend Darwin against these modern day arguments.

As Evolutionary biologist Professor Jerry Coyne admitted: There is no doubt that many biochemical systems are dauntingly complex. But don't jump to any hasty conclusions, because biologists are beginning to provide plausible scenarios for how irreducibly complex biochemical pathways might have evolved. I’d tell the Professor that his words might be comforting if I didn't already know that the basic problems that Darwin was facing still haven't been resolved… such as the lack of transitional fossils.

When Michael Behe’s book, Darwin’s Black Box first came out in 1996, University of Chicago microbiologist James Shapiro asserted: There are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations. Behe asserts that in the 10 years since - nothing has changed. If those who champion Darwin's Evolutionary theory are not even taking up the defense - should we?

Scientific Foundation of Atheism

It's interesting that religion is actually at the base of the debate over Darwin’s Evolutionary theory - on both sides. People rarely realize it - but it was Darwin's theory that gave Atheism a scientific foundation. So proponents on both sides are arguing on the basis of faith. One of the strongest proponents of Darwinian Evolution, Richard Dawkins, recently released a book by the title of The God Delusion. Atheism and Darwinism are firmly interconnected, and this is a fact that you will not be taught in school.

As Dawkins puts it: Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.

I know that there are people with strong religious belief that believe that Evolution can be reconciled with their faith - but Evolutionists deny it… so why would anyone who believes in God also believe in a theory that doesn't explain the known facts?

What does this probable refutation of Evolutionary Theory mean to the average person? I rather doubt if any of my readers are working in fields related to biology, paleontology, anthropology, or other such fields of work where this would make a difference. However, it may very well make a difference in how you relate to religion - so I posted this with the intent of demonstrating that people of intelligence can, based on facts, decide that the theory of Evolution does not represent provable fact.

Does this automatically mean that any other explanation of life is correct? Of course not! Each theory must be examined on its own. I'd like to suggest however, that going through life without examining the common things that people simply know is a poor way to live. After all, people once knew that the Earth was flat, that gravity would cause a heavier object to fall faster, and many other bits of knowledge that are rightfully consigned to the trash heap of historical garbage.

Might I suggest that Darwin's Evolutionary theory might someday be in the same category?


Science in Society | Religion


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