Evolution is “Evolving” ~ The Failure of Neo-Darwinism (UPDATED)

This is not to suggest that new paradigms triumph ultimately through some mystical aesthetic. On the contrary, very few men desert a tradition for these reasons alone. Often those who do turn out to have been misled. But if a paradigm is ever to triumph it must gain some first supporters, men who will develop it to the point where hardheaded arguments can be produced and multiplied. And even those arguments, when they come, are not individually decisive. Because scientists are reasonable men, one or another argument will ultimately persuade many of them. But there is no single argument that can or should persuade them all. Rather than a single group conversion, what occurs is an increasing shift in the distribution of professional allegiances.

At the start a new candidate for paradigm may have few sup­porters, and on occasions the supporters’ motives may be sus­pect. Nevertheless, if they are competent, they will improve it, explore its possibilities, and show what it would be like to belong to the community guided by it. And as that goes on, if the paradigm is one destined to win its fight, the number and strength of the persuasive arguments in its favor will increase. More scientists will then be converted, and the exploration of the new paradigm will go on. Gradually the number of experi­ments, instruments, articles, and books based upon the para­digm will multiply. Still more men, convinced of the new view’s fruitfulness, will adopt the new mode of practicing normal science, until at last only a few elderly hold-outs remain.

Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd Edition (Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, 1970), 158-159

A great definition of the Modern Synthesis can be found HERE

The first two articles are a report about the Royal Society meeting in regards to the failure of the neo-Darwinian model. The Royal Society is the world’s most distinguished and historic scientific organizations. The first article is an introduction to the upcoming event, the second is a partial description of it. What follows it are articles from scientific literature calling into question the General Theory of Evolution (GTE/NDT).

  • SCIENCE ALERT, “The world’s top biologists have met to discuss whether we should update evolution: Bringing Darwin’s theory into the 21st century,” Nov. 28, 2016

The world’s top biologists have met to discuss whether we should update evolution: Bringing Darwin’s theory into the 21st century. (Science Alert)

Evolutionary biology has helped scientists understand why the world looks the way it does for more than 150 years, since Charles Darwin released On the Origin of Species back in 1859.

But a team of researchers has now proposed an update to our current understanding of evolution – one that could completely shift our understanding of how species evolve.

Some of the world’s best known biologists just converged in London as part of a Royal Society meeting to discuss if it’s time to upgrade one of the most fundamental theories in science.

[….]

The researchers also argue that natural selection isn’t necessarily the primary force in evolution – the limitations of development and the environments organisms live in can also play a role.

  • MINA, “Scientists see the obvious, confirm Darwinism is Broken,” Dec. 14, 2016

Darwinian theory is broken and may not be fixable. That was the takeaway from a meeting last month organized by the world’s most distinguished and historic scientific organization, which went mostly unreported by the media. 

The three-day conference at the Royal Society in London was remarkable in confirming something that advocates of intelligent design (ID), a controversial scientific alternative to evolution, have said for years. ID proponents point to a chasm that divides how evolution and its evidence are presented to the public, and how scientists themselves discuss it behind closed doors and in technical publications. This chasm has been well hidden from laypeople, yet it was clear to anyone who attended the Royal Society conference, as did a number of ID-friendly scientists.

[….]

The opening presentation at the Royal Society by one of those world-class biologists, Austrian evolutionary theorist Gerd Müller, underscored exactly Meyer’s contention. Dr. Müller opened the meeting by discussing several of the fundamental “explanatory deficits” of “the modern synthesis,” that is, textbook neo-Darwinian theory. According to Müller, the as yet unsolved problems include those of explaining:

-Phenotypic complexity (the origin of eyes, ears, body plans, i.e., the anatomical and structural features of living creatures);

-Phenotypic novelty, i.e., the origin of new forms throughout the history of life (for example, the mammalian radiation some 66 million years ago, in which the major orders of mammals, such as cetaceans, bats, carnivores, enter the fossil record, or even more dramatically, the Cambrian explosion, with most animal body plans appearing more or less without antecedents); and finally

-Non-gradual forms or modes of transition, where you see abrupt discontinuities in the fossil record between different types.

As Müller has explained in a 2003 work (“On the Origin of Organismal Form,” with Stuart Newman), although “the neo-Darwinian paradigm still represents the central explanatory framework of evolution, as represented by recent textbooks” it “has no theory of the generative.” In other words, the neo-Darwinian mechanism of mutation and natural selection lacks the creative power to generate the novel anatomical traits and forms of life that have arisen during the history of life. Yet, as Müller noted, neo-Darwinian theory continues to be presented to the public via textbooks as the canonical understanding of how new living forms arose – reflecting precisely the tension between the perceived and actual status of the theory that Meyer described in “Darwin’s Doubt.” 

Much of the conference after Müller’s talk did discuss various other proposed evolutionary mechanisms. Indeed, the prime movers in the Royal Society event, Müller, James Shapiro, Denis Noble, and Eva Jablonka – known to evolutionary biologists as the “Third Way of Evolution” crowd, neither ID theorists nor orthodox Darwinists – have proposed repairing the explanatory deficits of the modern synthesis by highlighting evolutionary mechanisms other than random mutation and natural selection. Much debate at the conference centered around the question of whether these new mechanisms could be incorporated into the basic population genetics framework of neo-Darwinism, thus making possible a new “extended” evolutionary synthesis, or whether the emphasis on new mechanisms of evolutionary change represented a radical, and theoretically incommensurable, break with established theory. This largely semantic, or classificatory, issue obscured a deeper question that few, if any, of the presentations confronted head on: the issue of the origin of genuine phenotypic novelty – the problem that Müller described in his opening talk. 

Indeed, by the end of Day 3 of the meeting, it seemed clear to many of our scientists, and others in attendance with whom they talked, that the puzzle of life’s novelties remained unsolved – if, indeed, it had been addressed at all. As a prominent German paleontologist in the crowd concluded, “All elements of the Extended Synthesis [as discussed at the conference] fail to offer adequate explanations for the crucial explanatory deficits of the Modern Synthesis (aka neo-Darwinism) that were explicitly highlighted in the first talk of the meeting by Gerd Müller.” 

[….]

Rather, these complex behaviors were taken as givens, leaving the critical question of their origins more or less untouched. While there is abundant evidence that animals can learn and transmit new behaviors to their offspring – crows in Japan, for instance, have learned how to use automobile traffic to crack open nuts – all such evidence presupposes the prior existence of specific functional capacities enabling observation, learning, and the like. The evolutionary accounts of niche construction theory therefore collide repeatedly with a brick wall marked “ORIGINAL COMPLEX FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY REQUIRED HERE” – without, or beyond which, there would simply be nothing interesting to observe.James Shapiro’s talk, clearly one of the most interesting of the conference, highlighted this difficulty in its most fundamental form. Shapiro presented fascinating evidence showing, contra neo-Darwinism, the non-random nature of many mutational processes – processes that allow organisms to respond to various environmental challenges or stresses. The evidence he presented suggests that many organisms possess a kind of pre-programmed adaptive capacity – a capacity that Shapiro has elsewhere described as operating under “algorithmic control.” Yet, neither Shapiro, nor anyone else at the conference, attempted to explain how the information inherent in such algorithmic control or pre-programmed capacity might have originated. …

So one should be aware, while almost all the info posted here are from evolutionists or journals and magazines in the evolutionary field of study, intelligent design theorists have been ringing this bell for a LONG time. The more recent line of thinking that has devestated neo-Darwinian thinking the most started in 1986 with Michael Denton’s Evolution: A Theory In Crisis. Then came Phillip Johnson’s 1990 book, Darwin on Trial. Then came Darwin’s Black Box by Michael Behe (1996). (I would include in the mix a 1993 book by a non-theist, Richard Milton entitled Shattering the Myths of Darwinism.)

Here are some key definitions defined and built upon by Dr. Jay Richards:


Scientific Journals/Magazines


Now, here are some journal or science magazine partial comments that call into question the Darwinian theory:

  • NEW SCIENTIST, “Evolution evolves: Beyond the selfish gene — For more than 150 years it has been one of science’s most successful theories, but we need to rethink evolution for the 21st century,” Sept. 21, 2016

…Some biologists are trying to shoehorn the new knowledge into traditional evolutionary thinking. Others, myself included, believe a more radical approach may be required. We don’t deny the roles of genetic inheritance and natural selection, but think we should look at evolution in a markedly different way. It is time for the theory of evolution to evolve.

  • NATURE, “Does evolutionary theory need a rethink?” Oct 8, 2014

Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? Yes, urgently

Without an extended evolutionary framework, the theory neglects key processes, say Kevin Laland and colleagues.

Charles Darwin conceived of evolution by natural selection without knowing that genes exist. Now mainstream evolutionary theory has come to focus almost exclusively on genetic inheritance and processes that change gene frequencies.

Yet new data pouring out of adjacent fields are starting to undermine this narrow stance. An alternative vision of evolution is beginning to crystallize, in which the processes by which organisms grow and develop are recognized as causes of evolution.

Some of us first met to discuss these advances six years ago. In the time since, as members of an interdisciplinary team, we have worked intensively to develop a broader framework, termed the extended evolutionary synthesis (EES), and to flesh out its structure, assumptions and predictions. In essence, this synthesis maintains that important drivers of evolution, ones that cannot be reduced to genes, must be woven into the very fabric of evolutionary theory.

We believe that the EES will shed new light on how evolution works. We hold that organisms are constructed in development, not simply ‘programmed’ to develop by genes. Living things do not evolve to fit into pre-existing environments, but co-construct and coevolve with their environments, in the process changing the structure of ecosystems.

The number of biologists calling for change in how evolution is conceptualized is growing rapidly. Strong support comes from allied disciplines, particularly developmental biology, but also genomics, epigenetics, ecology and social science. We contend that evolutionary biology needs revision if it is to benefit fully from these other disciplines. The data supporting our position gets stronger every day….

  • NEW SCIENTIST, “The chaos theory of evolution,” Oct 13, 2010

…Palaeoecologists like me are now bringing a new perspective to the problem. If macroevolution really is an extrapolation of natural selection and adaptation, we would expect to see environmental change driving evolutionary change. Major climatic events such as ice ages ought to leave their imprint on life as species adapt to the new conditions. Is that what actually happens?

[….]

“The link between environmental change and evolutionary change is weak – not what Darwinists might have predicted”

[….]

This view of life leads to certain consequences. Macroevolution is not the simple accumulation of microevolutionary changes but has its own processes and patterns. There can be no “laws” of evolution….

  • JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, “Epigenetics: Scope And Mechanisms | Evolution beyond neo-Darwinism: a new conceptual framework,”  2015 (218: 7-13); doi: 10.1242/jeb.106310.

Experimental results in epigenetics and related fields of biological research show that the Modern Synthesis (neo-Darwinist) theory of evolution requires either extension or replacement. This article examines the conceptual framework of neo-Darwinism, including the concepts of ‘gene’, ‘selfish’, ‘code’, ‘program’, ‘blueprint’, ‘book of life’, ‘replicator’ and ‘vehicle’. This form of representation is a barrier to extending or replacing existing theory as it confuses conceptual and empirical matters. These need to be clearly distinguished. In the case of the central concept of ‘gene’, the definition has moved all the way from describing a necessary cause (defined in terms of the inheritable phenotype itself) to an empirically testable hypothesis (in terms of causation by DNA sequences). Neo-Darwinism also privileges ‘genes’ in causation, whereas in multi-way networks of interactions there can be no privileged cause. An alternative conceptual framework is proposed that avoids these problems, and which is more favourable to an integrated systems view of evolution.

Denis Noble developed the first mathematical model of cardiac cells in 1960 using his discovery, with his supervisor Otto Hutter, of two of the main cardiac potassium ion channels. These discoveries were published in Nature (1960) and The Journal of Physiology (1962). The work was later developed with Dick Tsien, Dario DiFrancesco, Don Hilgemann and others to become the canonical models on which more than 100 cardiac cell models are based today. All are available on the CellML website

He was elected President of the International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS) at its Congress in Kyoto in 2009, and the opening speech is available as a pdf on this page. He was then elected for a second term at the 2013 Congress in Birmingham, UK. He also delivered the opening plenary lecture at the Congress (see Music of Life link) which is also published as an article in Experimental Physiology (2013). 

He is the author of the first popular book on Systems Biology, The Music of Lifeand his most recent lectures concern the implications for evolutionary biology. To follow the debate on this see the FAQ (Answers) pages on the Music of Life website. 

Denis Noble has published more than 500 papers and 11 books. A new book is in preparation. (SOURCE)

The Below presentation notes at the 40:40 mark he asks:

  • do we know what the precise mechanisms for speciation are?

Then he said:

  • I think the honest answer is that we don’t know yet.

And from Tome Bethal’s book (via UNCOMMON DISSENT):

  • “The science of neo-Darwinism was poor all along, and supported by very few facts. I have become ever more convinced that, although Darwinism has been promoted as science, its unstated role has been to prop up a philosophy—the philosophy of materialism—and atheism along with it.” (Page 20)
  • “The scientific evidence for evolution is not only weaker than is generally supposed, but as new discoveries have been made since 1959, the reasons for accepting the theory have diminished rather than increased.” (Page 45)
  • “Darwinian evolution can be seen as a way of looking at the history of life through the distorting lens of Progress. Given enough time, society in general, including human beings, would be transformed into something superior and perhaps unrecognizably different.” (Page 248)
  • “Lewontin’s worldview encouraged him to take a critical look at natural selection, which Darwinians have almost always been reluctant to do. Today, in fact, some of those who might well agree with Lewontin about natural selection are likely to remain silent lest their unorthodoxy should attract reprisals within the academy. Lewontin had no such fears, and he made an impression on me and many others for that reason.” (Page 69)
  • “Darwin might well have been dismayed if the meager evidence for natural selection, assembled over many years, had been presented to him 150 years after The Origin was published. ‘A change in the ratio of preexisting varieties? That is all you have been able to come up with?’ he might reasonably have asked. It is worth bearing in mind how feeble this evidence is, any time someone tells you that Darwinism is a fact.” (Page 79)

  • “Natural selection functions in the realm of philosophy, not science.” (Page 81)
  • “Evolutionists, of course, believe that they are appealing to science, in contrast to the religionists’ reliance on faith. But the truth is that when they utter their two-word incantation, ‘natural selection,’ they are not being remotely scientific. Nor are they expected to provide any details.” (Page 123)

Was Archaeopteryx Devolving? Thus Losing It’s Ability to Fly?

The below is a response to a conversation elsewhere on the WWW.

ARCHAEOPTERYX

I have a digital edition of Science Magazine and they allow me to read all the past articles (like this one, Archaeopteryx: Early Bird Catches a Can of Worms). In the article a wild eyed creationist… er… I mean, a respected evolutionist discusses how Archaeopteryx is more bird like, not the missing link between dino and bird.

In the article we find this:

✦ feathers are 100% bird feathers;

✦ hollow bones like birds;

✦ It’s claws were perching claws (similar to the Bowerbird)…

✦ doubts connected with dico/bird progression

…even the father of the modern “bird/dino” theory, John Ostrom, says this of recent revelations about Archaeopteryx:

✦ “I’m just having a ball,” he said with a chuckle. “It sounds to me as if Alan [Feduccia] has presented a very good argument; I’m not sure he’s absolutely right, but I’m sure he’s on solid ground.”

Since the writing of the linked article at Science, more evidence (I will repeat, e-v-i-d-e-n-c-e) has come to light supporting the articles authored (Alan Feduccia) and curator of birds at the Smithsonian Institute, Storrs Olson:

✦ bumps in the bone where feathers were connected (just like birds);

✦ the avian lung was present in Archaeopteryx [pneumatized vertebrae and pelvis];

✦ Cat Scans of the skull shows that the brain was birdlike, not dino-like (“Axial and appendicular pneumaticity in Archaeopteryx,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B. 267:2501–2505, 2000);

✦ similar inner ear findings (“The avian nature of the brain and inner ear of Archaeopteryx,” Nature 430(7000):666–669, 5 August 2004; Witmer, L.M, “Inside the oldest bird brain, perspective,” same issue, pp. 619–620);

✦ In 2011, “the Royal Society’s Biology Letters, the researchers wrote that Archaeopteryx’s assignment to a dinosaur group earlier this year ‘was acknowledged to be weakly supported’, They constructed new cladograms that pictured Archaeopteryx with birds, and not with any dinosaurs, with a caption that reads, ‘Archaeopteryx robustly reinstated as the most basal bird’.” (“Likelihood reinstates Archaeopteryx as a primitive bird,” Biology Letters. Published online before print October 26, 2011).

Some more resources for the above bullet points:

  1. Archaeopteryx (unlike Archaeoraptor) is NOT a hoax—it is a true bird, not a “missing link”
  2. Archaeopteryx Is a Bird… Again
  3. Dinosaurs vs. Birds: The Fossils Don’t Lie

AND FINALLY

Since other feathered “birds” have been found around the same time or earlier than Archaeopteryx, causing Alan Feduccia to quip, “You can’t be older than your grandfather” (Creation.com)… Nature has published an article pointing out that Archaeopteryx is JUST LIKE modern flightless birds. And so it could have been losing its ability for flight (like modern birds have).

“We know Archaeopteryx was living on an archipelago during the Jurassic. And with its feathers and bones looking so much like modern flightless island birds, it just makes me wonder,” says…. Michael Habib, a biologist at the University of Southern California….

[….]

“Just because Archaeopteryx was the first feathered dinosaur found, doesn’t mean it has to play a central role in the actual history of the origins of birds,” says palaeontologist Thomas Holtz of the University of Maryland in College Park. “We have to remember it appears 10 million years or so after the oldest known bird-like dinosaurs and so our famous ‘first bird’ may really be a secondarily flightless one.”…

(Nature Journal)

There is just as much [at best] evidence for this proposition as the next. “Devolution” — a loss of specificity, may be a more reasonable position to take via observed evidence. We see this all the time (directly below is an example from Lee Spetner’s new book), and Evolution News says that “looks like Archaeopteryx may have to be reclassified as a different sort of icon — symbolizing evolution by loss of function.” Oops.

Antibiotic Resistance

The evolution of antibiotic resistance has been for some time the Dar­winists’ favorite example for “demonstrating” evolution (Common De­scent). Superficially their case looks good. Antibiotics date only from about 1930 with the discovery of penicillin (Fleming 1929), followed by the development of a method to produce it with high yield (Chain et al. 1940). Antibiotics were first introduced to the public in 1942 to cure bacterial infection (Levy 1992, 4), and by the mid 1940s the first strains appeared of Staphylococcus resistant to penicillin (Fisher 1994, 15). Just a few years after antibiotics were introduced, resistant strains of the pathogens were found to have already evolved. As each new an­tibiotic was discovered and put into use against pathogenic bacteria, resistant strains soon followed. The argument then goes, with a wave of the hand, like this: If a small but significant evolutionary change like antibiotic resistance can evolve in only a few years, then surely in a mil­lion years huge evolutionary changes must occur. Darwinists expect this argument to support Common Descent.

An examination of the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance, however, shows it lends no support at all to Common Descent (Spetner 1997, 138­143). Antibiotics are natural molecules produced by some microorgan­isms for the purpose of killing other hostile microorganisms. A microor­ganism that makes an antibiotic must, itself, be resistant to the antibiotic it makes. For this purpose it is typically endowed with a battery of genes that code for a resistance mechanism. Most useful antibiotics have come from soil bacteria (D’Costa et al. 2006). How bacteria have acquired this resistance initially is not known, nor can neo-Darwinian theory shed any light on it. Antibiotic resistance genes have been found to predate the use of antibiotics by at least many thousands of years (D’Costa et al. 2011). Moreover, bacteria are known to be able to transfer genetic ma­terial to other bacteria through HGT (see above). On occasion, copies of the genes for resistance can find their way from a type of bacterium that is normally resistant to a type that is not normally resistant. When that happens, the recipient bacterium becomes resistant. This is indeed evolution, but it is a limited evolution of the population-change type. It is not the Common-Descent type of evolution.

The resistance genes already exist in the biosphere. No new informa­tion has appeared in the biosphere through this type of evolution of an­tibiotic resistance. Common-Descent evolution cannot be achieved by this procedure even if it were repeated innumerable times in succession, because no new information would be built up. This method of evolving antibiotic resistance therefore lends no support for Common Descent.

Sometimes, however, antibiotic resistance can indeed appear through a random mutation — a DNA copying error, which would bring something new to the biosphere. This kind of change looks like it might satisfy the requirements for Common Descent, so I shall give a brief description of it here, although I have already dealt with it in my previous book.

As an example, let us look at how a bacterium acquires resistance to streptomycin through a random mutation. All cells, whether of bacteria or of plants or animals, contain organelles called ribosomes, whose function it is to make protein according to instructions from the DNA of a gene. Proteins are large molecules, consisting of long chains of small molecules called amino acids, and are essential to all living things. They function as enzymes, which catalyze all the chemical reactions in a cell — each chemical reaction catalyzed by a specific enzyme. Proteins can also serve as structural elements. Of­ten, and maybe even always, a structural protein functions also as an enzyme. For an enzyme to perform its function, it must have a specif­ic sequence of amino acids.

A ribosome is an organelle within a cell that manufactures protein. It makes a protein by putting together a chain of amino acids according to the instructions in the DNA. A segment of the DNA is transcribed into an RNA molecule that matches the DNA nucleotide by nucleo­tide. This RNA is called messenger RNA because it carries the DNA message to the ribosome. The ribosome translates the message in the DNA into amino acids according to the genetic code. Three nucleotides translate into one amino acid. Accordingly, the ribosome constructs a chain of amino acids to form a protein.

The antibiotic streptomycin, for example, acts on a bacterial cell by attaching to a ribosome at a site to which it matches, the way a key fits into a lock. When the streptomycin molecule attaches to this site, it in­terferes with the ribosome function and causes it to make mistakes lead­ing to incorrect, dysfunctional or nonfunctional, protein. The errors it causes prevent the cell from growing, reproducing, and eventually from living. The important feature of streptomycin, and indeed of all other antibiotics, is that it kills bacteria but does not harm the mammalian host. Streptomycin kills the bacterial cells that are infecting you without killing your own cells. It discriminates between the cells of the bacteria and the cells of the host by its specific attachment to a matching site on the bacterial ribosome, a site not found on the host’s ribosomes.

A bacterium will gain resistance to streptomycin if a point mutation occurs in the gene coding for the protein in the ribosome, ruining the matching site, destroying the specificity of the protein, and preventing a streptomycin molecule from attaching. If the streptomycin cannot at­tach to the matching site, the bacterium is resistant. Just one mutation in the portion of the DNA coding for the matching site can mess up the site so the streptomycin cannot attach. It turns out that any one of several mutations in that portion of the DNA will grant the bacterium resistance (Gartner and Orias 1966). Note that this type of resistance is caused by a single random point mutation, but it cannot serve as an example of mutations that can support Common Descent. One cannot expect mutations destroying specificity, no matter how many of them there are, to build information and lead to Common Descent. Destruc­tion of specificity does not add information — it destroys it. One can­not add information by destroying it, no matter how many times one repeats the process. I have previously (Spetner 1997) compared trying to build up information in this manner to the merchant who was losing a little money on each sale but thought he could make it up on volume. The acquisition of antibiotic resistance is indeed evolution, but only a limited form of it. It cannot lead to Common Descent.

No example of antibiotic resistance in bacteria adds information to the biosphere. To become resistant, the bacteria either pick up ready-made resistance genes from other bacteria or they undergo a mu­tation that destroys information. Antibiotic resistance cannot therefore be an evolutionary example that could support Common Descent be­cause a chain of such mutations, no matter how long, does not add in­formation and thus cannot lead to Common Descent. The Darwinists’ favorite example of evolution fails to pass muster.

End Notes

Chain, E. et al. (1940) Penicillin as a Chemotherapeutic Agent. Lancet 239: 226-228.

D’Costa, Vanessa M., Katherine M. McGrann, Donald W. Hughes, and Gerard D. Wright. (2006) Sampling the antibiotic resistome. Science 311: 374-377.

D’Costa, Vanessa M. et. al. (2011) Antibiotic Resistance is Ancient. Nature 477:457-461.

Fisher, Jeffrey A. (1994) The Plague Makers: How we are creating catastrophic new epidemics — and what we must do to avert them. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Fleming, A. (1929) On the antibacterial action of cultures of a Penicillium, with special reference to their use in the isolation of B. influenzae. British Journal of Experimental Pathology 10: 226-238.

Gartner, T. K. and E. Orias, (1966) Effects of mutations to streptomycin resistance on the rate of translation of mutant genetic information. Journal of Bacteriology 91: 1021-1028.

Levy, Stuart B. (1992) The Antibiotic paradox: How Miracle Drugs are Destroying the Miracle. New York: Plenum Press.

Spetner. L. M. (1997) Not by chance! Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution. Brooklyn: Judaica Press.

Lee Spetner, The Evolution Revolution: Why Thinking People Are Rethinking the Theory of Evolution (Brooklyn, NY: Judaica Press, 2014), 119-120.

A friend comments about the newer position on his Creation/Evolution Headlines saying one “paleontologist remarked, ‘We really need an improved understanding of how anatomy relates to these diverse behaviours, so we can better interpret the fossil record’.” Continuing he adds his thinking to the matter:

No one called Archaeopteryx a “feathered dinosaur” back then, because the phrase only came into vogue with the Chinese fossil discoveries.  From Darwin’s day till recently, it was argued to be a transitional form between reptiles and birds.  Evolutionists emphasized the reptilian traits (teeth, claws on the wings), and creationists emphasized the flight feathers and anatomy that seemed to show it capable of powered flight. They also pointed out that some living birds, like the hoatzin, have claws on their wings as juveniles.  People saw what their biases wanted to see.  Astronomer Fred Hoyle tried to prove it was a forgery.  Today’s evolutionists use the “feathered dinosaur” label, but there is no guarantee that today’s consensus will not shift again.  The new proposal it was secondarily flightless implies a win for creationists – it devolved from a fully-functional flying bird, just like some living birds with stunted wings have on the Galapagos Islands.  Loss of function is not what Darwin needs!

Let’s think about Nature’s comment that the suggestion Archaeopteryx was losing the ability to fly “might have been considered madness” back in 1861 (actually, all the way from 1861 to just a few years ago).  This tells us that if evolutionists consider something madness now, it might be considered sanity later.  It further means that the sane ones could be the skeptics of the consensus, and the mad ones in the majority.  Don’t be deterred, therefore, if you feel you have good evidence and arguments for your position when it runs counter to the consensus.  It’s entirely possible for the intellectual majority to be suffering from delusions.  “We really need an improved understanding … so we can better interpret the fossil record” – good advice, but it implies that understanding is lacking and interpretation is flawed.  If they haven’t gotten it down after 152 years, don’t expect major improvements any time soon.  They might just be secondarily clueless.

A Definition of “So-So” Stories of Evolution Defined ~ Spetner

Here is a quote, and really, a definition of the general theory of evolution (GTE) that G.A. Kerkut defines in his older text, Implication of Evolution (second quote). Here Spetner calls it the neo-Darwinian theory (NDT), it more common name today. Here is Spetner’s relevant quote:

Neo-Darwinian Theory (NDT) is counterintuitive, and is acknowledged as such even by its supporters. All present-day life is assumed to have evolved from some primitive cell, and that cell was supposed to have formed itself from simple chemicals. Nobody seems to know how that cell came to be, but almost all biologists think they understand fairly well how evolution proceeded from that cell to all the life we see today.

There appears to be a vast amount of information contained in trees, fish, elephants, and people. Where did this information come from? It is said to have come from random mutations and natural selection. How can that work? Natural selection is supposed to be the magic that makes evolution happen, but all natural selection does is eliminate the less adaptive organisms and allow the more adaptive ones to survive and proliferate. Where do those more adaptive ones come from? Ap­parently, that’s what random mutations are supposed to accomplish.

So the information buildup required by Common Descent can come only from random mutations. That means that the buildup of informa­tion is a matter of chance. At each step of the evolutionary process, a mutation has to have occurred that grants the organism an advan­tage. The big question is: Is that reasonable? To see if it is, some people (including me) have made calculations of the probability of mutations building information.

We really don’t have all the data we need to make this calculation. But even if we make some conservative assumptions and give the ben­efit of all doubts to the Darwinian side, such calculations demonstrate that Common Descent is not reasonable. The Darwin­ists, however, do not accept these calculations as conclusive — they suggest alternative scenarios that might make the probabilities larger.

In his book Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe addressed the un­reasonableness of Darwinian evolution. He described some biological systems as what he called “irreducibly complex.” By that he meant that these systems are composed of several critical components in such a way that the system cannot work unless all those components are in place. He then argued that the system could not evolve one small part at a time, because natural selection could not work on less than the whole system. Here, too, the Darwinians countered by suggesting scenarios in which natural selection might work, but again, the Dar­winian scenarios are purely hypothetical.

Because the Darwinians can invent scenarios to address any chal­lenge to their theory, they are not convinced by attempts to show that neo-Darwinian evolution cannot work. Therefore, I have concluded that it would be more productive to challenge them to show that it could work — challenge them to do more than just offer vague scenarios of how their theory might work, but to show by calculation that the prob­ability of it working is reasonably high. This is a challenge they must meet to establish their theory on a scientific basis. They have never met this challenge and they cannot. They cannot show that the events they claim to have produced Common Descent have a high enough prob­ability to justify their claim. Their inability to establish the theory of Common Descent means that Common Descent is not an established theory. This is one of the main points of this book.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of probability calculations. NDT is not like Newton’s theory of mechanics, whose equations de­scribe the motion of a physical body under a force. Nor is it like Max­well’s theory of electromagnetism, whose equations describe the effects of electric and magnetic fields on electric charges. These theories are checked against experiment by solving those equations. NDT describes evolution as the result of random mutations that may or may not yield an adaptive phenotype. These are chance events. The theory can be checked only by calculating the probabilities of the required events to see if they are reasonably large. The theory has not been shown to have passed this test and is therefore not a valid theory. Whatever evidence is given for Common Descent is circumstantial. Circumstantial evi­dence cannot stand alone. It needs to have a theory tying the evidence to the conclusion. But instead of a theory, imaginary scenarios are of­fered to suggest how evolution might work. No calculations of proba­bilities are made.

[….]

Common Descent is a key component of an agenda advocating a natural origin of life. The effort to demonstrate the possibility of such a natural origin is usually divided into two parts: (1) abiogenesis, the origin of a simple life form from naturally occurring chemicals, and (2) the evolution of all life from that single simple beginning. It turns out, however, there is no good evidence for either of these two parts.

Lee Spetner, The Evolution Revolution: Why Thinking People Are Rethinking the Theory of Evolution (Brooklyn, NY: Judaica Press, 2014), 7-9, 15.

Evolutionary Assumptions (Carl F.H. Henry and G.A. Kerkut)

  • The FIRST QUOTE is Carl Henry (a Christian) quoting Dr. Kerkut’s book (an evolutionist). The SECOND QUOTE [jump to] is the raw, long excerpted quote from G.A. Kerkut.

What I am going to do is post a quote from one of Carl F. H. Henry’s books, then follow that quote up a larger quote from his source he uses. Context is king and I love Dr. Henry’s source A LOT!

The numbers from Dr. Henry’s quote correspond to the same numbers in Kerkut’s concluding chapter (to follow… jump to now instead by clicking here).

[p. 182>] A. Kerkut emphasizes that all seven basic assumptions on which evolu­tionary theory rests are “by their nature… not capable of experimental verification” (Implications of Evolution, p. 7). (1) The assumption that “non­living things gave rise to living material… is still just an assumption” (ibid., p. 150). (2) The assumption that “biogenesis occurred only once… is a matter of belief rather than proof” (op. cit.). (3) The assumption that “Vi­ruses, Bacteria, Protozoa and the higher animals were all interrelated” biologically as an evolutionary phenomenon lacks definite evidence (ibid., p. 151). (4) The assumption that “the Protozoa gave rise to the Metazoa” has no basis in definite knowledge (ibid., pp. 151 ff.). (5) The assumption that “the various invertebrate phyla are interrelated” depends on “tenuous and cir­cumstantial” evidence and not on evidence that allows “a verdict of definite relationships” (ibid., pp. 152 f.). (6) The assumption that “the invertebrates gave rise to the vertebrates” turns on evidence gained by prior belief (ibid., p. 153). Although he finds “somewhat stronger ground” for assuming that “fish, amphibia, reptiles, birds and mammals are interrelated,” (7) Kerkut con­cedes that many key fossil transitions are “not well documented and we have as yet to obtain a satisfactory objective method of dating the fossils” (ibid., p. 153). “In effect, much of the evolution of the major groups of animals has to be taken on trust” (ibid., p. 154); “there are many discrete groups of animals and… we do not know how they have evolved nor how they are interrelated” (ibid., p. vii). In short, the theory that “all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form,” says Kerkut, has insufficiently strong evi­dential supports “to consider it as anything more than a working hypothe­sis” (ibid., p. 157). He thinks “premature and not satisfactorily supported by present-day evidence,” therefore, “the attempt to explain all living forms in terms of an evolution from a unique source,” that is, from a common ancestor (ibid., pp. vii f.)

[p. 183>] It is therefore understandable why commentators speak more and more of a crisis of evolutionary theory. Establishment science’s long regnant view that gradual development accounts for the solar system, earth, life and all else is in serious dispute. Not in many decades has so much doubt emerged among scientists about the so-called irrefutable evidence that evolution is what accounts for life on planet earth. Although it was still taught long thereafter in high schools, Ernst Haeckel’s “biogenetic law” that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” had collapsed already in the late 1920s. The absence in recent texts of evolutionary charts depicting the common descent even of trees from a single form is noteworthy. Darwin’s insistence that nature makes no leaps, and that natural selection and chance adequately account for change in species, has lost credibility. Pa­leontologists and biologists are at odds over the significance of the fossil record, while gradualists and episodists disagree over the supposed tempo of evolution or whether the origin of species is consistent with microevolution or only with sudden gaps in the forms of life.

Gould, for example, opts for natural selection and, remarkably, combines it with saltation. He grants that “the fossil record does not support” the belief “in slow evolutionary change preached by most paleontologists” (and projected by Darwin); instead, “mass extinction and abrupt origination reign.. . . Gradualism is not exclusively valid (in fact, I regard it as rather rare). Natural selection contains no statement about rates. It can encompass rapid (geologically instantaneous) change by speciation in small popula­tions as well as the conventional and immeasurably slow transformation of entire lineages” (Ever Since Darwin, p. 271). Natural selection here becomes an elastic phrase that can accommodate to everything while re­quiring no significant empirical attestation.

University of Glasgow scientists Chris Darnbrough, John Goddard and William S. Stevely indicate problem areas that beset evolutionary theory: “The experiments demonstrating the formation of a variety of organic molecules from presumptive prebiotic soups,” they write, “fall far short of providing a pathway for chemical evolution. Again, it is self-evident that the fossil record leaves much to be desired and few biologists recognize the dependence of the geological column on radiometric dating methods based on questionable assumptions about initial conditions. The whole his­tory of evolutionary thought is littered with the debris of dubious assump­tions and misinterpretations, especially in the area of fossil ‘hominids.’ To come up to date, protein and DNA sequence data, generally viewed as consistent with an evolutionary explanation of diversity, are invariably interpreted using methods which presuppose, but do not demonstrate evolu­tionary relationships, and which use criteria that are essentially functional and teleological. Finally, there is a collection of isolated fragmentary pieces of evidence which are usually dismissed as anecdotal because they are irreconcilable with the evolutionary model” (“American Creation” [corre­spondence], by Chris Darnbrough, John Goddard and William S. Stevely, Nature, pp. 95 f.).

From ongoing conflicts and readjustments it is apparent that there never [p. 184>] was nor is there now only one theory of evolution. Many nontheistic schol­ars, to be sure, insist that evolution is and has always been “a fact.” Laurie R. Godfrey affirms that “there is actually widespread agreement in scien­tific circles that the evidence overwhelmingly supports evolutionism” and quotes Gould as saying that “none of the current controversy within evolu­tionary theory should give any comfort, not the slightest iota, to any cre­ationists” (“The Flood of Antievolution,” pp. 5-10, p. 10). If, as Godfrey insists, even the most sweeping revisions and reversals of scientific theory ought to be viewed not as weaknesses in evolutionary claims but rather as reflections of ongoing differences that inhere in “doing science—posing, testing and debating alternative explanations,” then the emphasis is proper only if Godfrey refuses to attach finality and a universal validity-claim to anticreationist evolutionary theses.

The history of evolutionary theory is far from complete and its present status ambiguous. Hampton L. Carson notes the difficulty of integrating the dual lines of study pursued by biological evolutionists when on the one hand they project the course of evolution that is held to produce contem­porary organisms, and when on the other they analyze supposed evolution­ary causation. Carson notes, moreover, that presentation of new approaches even to student audiences now requires an understanding of sophisticated computer techniques and an awareness of complex and sometimes esoteric theory; he ventures the bold observation that “new mutations and recom­binations” of evolutionary theory will themselves “be subject to natural selection” (“Introduction to a Pivotal Subject” [review of Evolution by Theodosius Dobzhansky and others, and of Organismic Evolution by Verne Grant], pp. 1272 f.).

Yet most secular evolutionists continue to assume that evolution is a complex fact and therefore debate only its mechanism. Appealing to con­sensus rather than to demonstrative data, G. G. Simpson states that “no evolutionist since [Darwin has] seriously questioned that man did originate by evolution”; he insists, moreover, that “the problem [the origin of life] can be attacked scientifically” (“The World into Which Darwin Led Us.” pp. 966-974). Simpson’s advance confidence in naturalistic explanation ex­udes a strong bias against theistic premises.

But Thomas S. Kuhn considers the physical sciences to be grounded less on empirical facts that on academically defined assumptions about the nature of the universe, assumptions that are unprovable, questionable and reversible (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions). His approach differs somewhat from Michael Polanyi’s assault on the objectivity of human knowledge (Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy), a view that Christian theism disputes on its own ground. Yet both Kuhn’s emphasis and Polanyi’s tend to put a question mark after absolutist evolu­tionary claims.

Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority, Vol VI: God Who Stands and Stays (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1983), 182-184.


Here is the extended quote from Dr. Henry’s source used,

G.A. Kerkut’s Implications of Evolution (pp. 150-157):


[p. 150>] WHAT conclusions, then, can one come to concerning the validity of the various implications of the theory of evolution? If we go back to our initial assumptions it will be seen that the evidence is still lacking for most of them.

(1) The first assumption was that non-living things gave rise to living material. This is still just an assumption. It is conceivable that living material might have suddenly appeared on this world in some peculiar manner, say from another planet, but this then raises the question, “Where did life originate on that planet?” We could say that life has always existed, but such an explanation is not a very satisfactory one. Instead, the explanation that non­living things could have given rise to complex systems having the properties of living things is generally more acceptable to most scientists. There is, however, little evidence in favour of biogenesis and as yet we have no indication that it can be per­formed. There are many schemes by which biogenesis could have occurred but these are still suggestive schemes and nothing more. They may indicate experiments that can be performed, but they tell us nothing about what actually happened some 1,000 million years ago. It is therefore a matter of faith on the part of the biologist that biogenesis did occur and he can choose whatever method of biogenesis happens to suit him personally; the evidence for what did happen is not available.

(2) The second assumption was that biogenesis occurred only once. This again is a matter for belief rather than proof. It is convenient to believe that all living systems have the same fundamental chemical processes at work within them, but as has already been mentioned, only a few representatives from the wide range of living forms have so far been examined and even [p. 151>] these have not been exhaustively analysed. From our limited experience it is clear that the biochemical systems within proto­plasm are not uniform, i.e. there is no established biochemical unity. Thus we are aware that there are systems other than the Embden—Meyerhof and the tricarboxylic cycles for the systematic degradation of carbohydrates; a total of six alternative methods being currently available. High-energy compounds other than those of phosphorus have been described; the number of vital amino-acids has gone up from twenty to over seventy; all these facts indicate that the biochemical systems may be very variable. The morphological systems in protoplasm, too, show consider­able variation. It is possible that some aspects of cell structure such as the mitochondria and the microsomes might have arisen independently on several distinct occasions. It is also probable that two or more independent systems have evolved for the separation of chromosomes during cell division.

It is a convenient assumption that life arose only once and that all present-day living things are derived from this unique experi­ence, but because a theory is convenient or simple it does not mean that it is necessarily correct. If the simplest theory was always correct we should still be with the four basic elements—earth, air, fire and water! The simplest explanation is not always the right one even in biology.

(3) The third assumption was that Viruses, Bacteria, Protozoa and the higher animals were all interrelated. It seems from the available evidence that Viruses and Bacteria are complex groups both of which contain a wide range of morphological and physio­logical forms. Both groups could have been formed from diverse sources so that the Viruses and Bacteria would then be an assembly of forms that contain both primitive and secondarily simplified units. They would each correspond to a Grade rather than a Subkingdom or Phylum. We have as yet no definite evidence about the way in which the Viruses, Bacteria or Protozoa are interrelated.

(4) The fourth assumption was that the Protozoa gave rise to the Metazoa. This is an interesting assumption and various schemes have been proposed to show just how the change could have taken place. On the other hand equally interesting schemes have been suggested to show the way in which the Metaphyta [p. 152>] could have given rise to both the Protozoa and the Metazoa. Here again nothing definite is known. We can believe that any one of these views is better than any other according to the relative importance that we accord to the various pieces of evidence.

(5) The fifth assumption was that the various invertebrate phyla are interrelated. If biogenesis occurred many times in the past and the Metazoa developed on several finite occasions then we might expect to find various isolated groups of invertebrates. If on the other hand biogenesis was a unique occurrence it should not be too difficult to show some relationship between all the various invertebrate phyla.

It should be remembered, for example, that though there are similarities between the cleavage patterns of the eggs of various invertebrates these might only reflect the action of physical laws acting on a restrained fluid system such as we see in the growth of soap bubbles and not necessarily indicate any fundamental phylogenetic relationship .

As has already been described, it is difficult to tell which are the most primitive from amongst the Porifera, Mesozoa, Coelenterata, Ctenophora or Platyhelminthia and it is not possible to decide the precise interrelationship of these groups. The higher invertebrates are equally difficult to relate. Though the concept of the Protostomia and the Deuterostomia is a useful one, the basic evidence that separates these two groups is not as clear cut as might be desired. Furthermore there are various groups such as the Brachiopoda, Chaetognatha, Ectoprocta and Phoronidea that have properties that lie between the Protostomia and the Deuterostomia. It is worth paying serious attention to the con­cept that the invertebrates are polyphyletic, there being more than one line coming up to the primitive metazoan condition. It is extremely likely that the Porifera are on one such side line and it is conceivable that there could have been others which have since died away leaving their progeny isolated; in this way one could explain the position of the nematodes. The number of ways of achieving a specific form or habit is limited and resemblances may be due to the course of convergence over the period of many millions of years. The evidence, then, for the affinities of the majority of the invertebrates is tenuous and circumstantial; not [p. 153>] the type of evidence that would allow one to form a verdict of definite relationships.

(6) The sixth assumption, that the invertebrates gave rise to the vertebrates, has not been discussed in this book. There are several good reviews on this subject. Thus Neal and Rand (1939) pro­vide a useful and interesting account of the various views that have been suggested to explain the relationship between the inverte­brates and the vertebrates. The vertebrates have been derived from the annelids, arthropods, nemerteans, hemichordates and the urochordates. More recently Berrill (1955) has given a detailed account of the mode of origin of the vertebrates from the urochord-ates in which the sessile ascidian is considered the basic form. On the other hand, almost as good a case can be made to show that the ascidian tadpole is the basic form and that it gave rise to the sessile ascidian on the one hand and the chordates on the other. Here again it is a matter of belief which way the evidence happens to point. As Berrill states, “in a sense this account is science fiction.”

(7) We are on somewhat stronger ground with the seventh assumption that the fish, amphibia, reptiles, birds and mammals are interrelated. There is the fossil evidence to help us here, though many of the key transitions are not well documented and we have as yet to obtain a satisfactory objective method of dating the fossils. The dating is of the utmost importance, for until we find a reliable method of dating the fossils we shall not be able to tell if the first amphibians arose after the first choanichthian or whether the first reptile arose from the first amphibian. The evidence that we have at present is insufficient to allow us to decide the answer to these problems.

One thing that does seem reasonably clear is that many of the groups such as the Amphibia (Save Soderberg 1934), Reptilia (Goodrich 1916) and Mammalia appear to be polyphyletic grades of organisation. Even within the mammals there is the suggestion that some of the orders might be polyphyletic. Thus Kleinenberg (1959) has suggested that the Cetacea are diphyletic, the Odontoceti and the Mysticeti being derived from separate terrestrial stocks. (Other groups that appear to be polyphyletic are the Viruses, Bacteria, Protozoa, Arthropoda (Tiegs and Manton 1958), and it is possible that close study will show that the Annelida and Protochordata are grades too.)

[p. 154>] In effect, much of the evolution of the major groups of animals has to be taken on trust. There is a certain amount of circum­stantial evidence but much of it can be argued either way. Where, then, can we find more definite evidence for evolution? Such evidence will be found in the study of modern living forms. It will be remembered that Darwin called his book The Origin of Species not The Origin of Phyla and it is in the origin and study of the species that we find the most definite evidence for the evolution and changing of form. Thus to take a specific example, the Herring Gull, Larus argentatus, does not interbreed with the Lesser Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus, in Western Europe, the two being separate species. But if we trace L. argentatus across the northern hemisphere through North America, Eastern Siberia and Western Siberia we find that in Western Siberia there is a form of L. argentatus that will interbreed with L. fuscus. We have here an example of a ring species in which the members at the ends of the ring will not interbreed whilst those in the middle can. The separation of what was possibly one species has been going on for some time (in this case it is suggested since the Ice Age). We have of course to decide that this is a case of one species splitting into two and not of two species merging into one, but this decision is aided by the study of other examples such as those of small mammals isolated on islands, or the development of melanic forms in moths. Details of the various types of speciation can be found in the books by Mayr, Systematics and the Origin of Species (1942), and Dobzhansky, Genetics and the Origin of Species (1951).

It might be suggested that if it is possible to show that the present-day forms are changing and the evolution is occurring at this level, why can’t one extrapolate and say that this in effect has led to the changes we have seen right from the Viruses to the Mammals? Of course one can say that the small observable changes in modern species may be the sort of thing that lead to all the major changes, but what right have we to make such an extrapolation? We may feel that this is the answer to the problem, but is it a satisfactory answer? A blind acceptance of such a view may in fact be the closing of our eyes to as yet undiscovered factors which may remain undiscovered for many years if we believe that the answer has already been found.

[p. 155>] It seems at times as if many of our modern writers on evolution have had their views by some sort of revelation and they base their opinions on the evolution of life, from the simplest form to the complex, entirely on the nature of specific and intra-specific evolution. It is possible that this type of evolution can explain many of the present-day phenomena, but it is possible and indeed probable that many as yet unknown systems remain to be dis­covered and it is premature, not to say arrogant, on our part if we make any dogmatic assertion as to the mode of evolution of the major branches of the animal kingdom.

Perhaps it is appropriate here to quote a remark made by D’Arcy Thompson in his book On Growth and Form. “If a tiny foraminiferan shell, a Lagena for instance, be found living today, and a shell indistinguishable from it to the eye be found fossil in the Chalk or some still more remote geological formation, the assumption is deemed legitimate that the species has ‘survived’ and has handed down its minute specific character or characters from generation to generation unchanged for untold millions of years. If the ancient forms be like rather than identical with the recent, we still assume an unbroken descent, accompanied by hereditary transmission of common characters and progressive variations. And if two identical forms be discovered at the ends of the earth, still (with slight reservation on the score of possible ‘homoplasy’) we build a hypothesis on this fact of identity, taking it for granted that the two appertain to a common stock, whose dispersal in space must somehow be accounted for, its route traced, its epoch determined and its causes discussed or discovered. In short, the Naturalist admits no exception to the rule that a natural classification can only be a genealogical one, nor ever doubts that ‘ ‘the fact that we are able to classify organ­isms at all in accordance with the structural characteristics which they present is due to their being related by descent.'”

What alternative system can we use if we are not to assume that all animals can be arranged in a genealogical manner? The alternative is to indicate that there are many gaps and failures in our present system and that we must realise their existence. It may be distressing for some readers to discover that so much in zoology is open to doubt, but this in effect indicates the vast amount of work that remains to be done. In many courses the [p. 156>] student is obliged to read, assimilate and remember a vast amount of factual information on the quite false assumption that know­ledge is the accumulation of facts. There seems so much to be learnt that the only consolation the student has is that those who come after him will have even more to learn, for more will be known. But this is not really so; much of what we learn today are only half truths or less and the students of tomorrow will not be bothered by many of the phlogistons that now torment our brains.

It is in the interpretation and understanding of the factual information and not the factual information itself that the true interest lies. Information must precede interpretation, and it is often difficult to see the factual data in perspective. If one reads an account of the history of biology such as that presented by Nordenskiold (1920) or Singer (1950) it sometimes appears that our predecessors had a much easier task to discover things than we do today. All that they had to do was realise, say, that oxygen was necessary for respiration, or that bacteria could cause septicaemia or that the pancreas was a ductless gland that secreted insulin. The ideas were simple; they just required the thought and the experimental evidence! Let us have no doubt in our minds that in twenty years or so time we shall look back on many of today’s problems and make similar observations. Everything will seem simple and straightforward once it has been explained. Why then cannot we see some of these solutions now? There are many partial answers to this question. One is that often an incorrect idea or fact is accepted and takes the place of the correct one. An incorrect view can in this way successfully displace the correct view for many years and it requires very careful analysis and much experimental data to overthrow an accepted but incorrect theory. Most students become acquainted with many of the current concepts in biology whilst still at school and at an age when most people are, on the whole, uncritical. Then when they come to study the subject in more detail, they have in their minds several half truths and misconceptions which tend to prevent them from coming to a fresh appraisal of the situation. In addition, with a uniform pattern of education most students tend to have the same sort of educational background and so in conversation and dis­cussion they accept common fallacies and agree on matters based on these fallacies.

[p. 157>] It would seem a good principle to encourage the study of “scientific heresies.” There is always the danger that a reader might be seduced by one of these heresies but the danger is neither as great nor as serious as the danger of having scientists brought up in a type of mental strait-jacket or of taking them so quickly through a subject that they have no time to analyse and digest the material they have “studied.” A careful perusal of the heresies will also indicate the facts in favour of the currently accepted doctrines, and if the evidence against a theory is over­whelming and if there is no other satisfactory theory to take its place we shall just have to say that we do not yet know the answer.

There is a theory which states that many living animals can be observed over the course of time to undergo changes so that new species are formed. This can be called the “Special Theory of Evolution” and can be demonstrated in certain cases by experi­ments. On the other hand there is the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form. This theory can be called the “General Theory of Evolution” and the evidence that supports it is not sufficiently strong to allow us to consider it as anything more than a working hypothesis. It is not clear whether the changes that bring about speciation are of the same nature as those that brought about the development of new phyla. The answer will be found by future experimental work and not by dogmatic assertions that the General Theory of Evolution must be correct because there is nothing else that will satisfactorily take its place.

G.A. Kerkut, Implication of Evolution (International series of monographs on pure and applied biology. Division: Zoology) (New York, NY: Pergamon Press, 1960), 150-157.

Evolutionary Illusions: Obfuscating Terms To Transform Perceptions


Quote


Evolutionary Illusions

...Reference for Excerpt

Biotic-Message 300

Walter James ReMine, The Biotic Message: Evolution Versus Message Theory (Saint Paul, MN: St. Paul Science Publishers, 1993), 277, 297-300, 301

[p. 277>] The origins debate is beclouded with many illusions that use words and imagery to distort our perception in favor of evolution. Those illusions must be identified and removed, so we can see clearly. The present chapter focuses on the illusion that large-scale phylogeny actually exists. Three devices have been used to create this illusion of ancestry [the excerpt focuses on the third bullet point]:

  • Illusion is created by deleting diversity. By artificially concealing or obscuring diversity, evolutionists create the impression that they have identified a lineage. This effective technique is virtually undetectable to the non-specialist.
  • Illusion is created with tree-structured imagery, such as cladograms and phenograms. These are said to be evidence for evolution, but they do not identify a single ancestor-descendant relationship.
  • Illusion is created with misleading terminology. The terminology is loaded with evolutionary imagery that the public interprets as stating direct ancestry. Evolutionists have given the terminology new technical definitions that mean something else entirely. There is disparity between the evolutionists’ technical definitions and public perception, and that disparity is ideal for creating illusion….

Lineage and Phylogeny

[p. 297>] In recent years, evolutionists have redefined lineage and phylogeny to mean cladogram (or sometimes phenogram). The motive is twofold.

  • Darwinism predicts that lineage and phylogeny exist, yet identifying these has proven frustrating. Evolutionists want to continue using the words, so they redefine the words away from the frustrating meanings.
  • Evolutionists want to amplify the evidence for evolution. They believe the major evidence for evolution is life’s pattern of nested hierarchy —as displayed in cladograms. Therefore, they seek to equate phylogeny with cladograms, so the two are viewed as synonymous.

Evolutionists meet both these goals by redefining lineage and phylogeny in terms of cladograms. This shift in meaning is a major change in strategy.

If phylogenies of one sort are to pass away, is the notion of phylogeny doomed also? We judge not, for there is an alternative notion, here simply termed classification. Notions of this kind can be looked upon as phylogenies — as historical statements of ancestry and descent. But they are differ­ent in character. They include no ancestral taxa. They deny the postulates of darwinian systematics: that ancestral taxa have an objective identity independent of their descendants; that ancestral taxa can be discovered and identified as such; that ancestral taxa are under the constraints of empirical investigation. This shift in meaning of the term phylogeny from a Darwinian to a cladistic sense marks a revolution in biological systematics. (Nelson and Platnick, 1984, p 153-154)

The shift in meaning is virtually undetectable by the public. Here is an example.

It is possible, then, to deduce phylogeny, that is, genealogical history, by a careful, logical analysis of which organisms share which characteristics. A genealogy derived in this way may be considered a hypothesis, always subject to possible revision. If the hypothesis makes predictions that are borne out, we gain more confidence that it is correct. (Futuyma, 1983, p 55)

Futuyma explains how we can identify phylogeny and genealogy in a testable scientific manner. His discussion is misleading, since he is referring to cladistic analysis, where no ancestors are ever identified.

Other evolutionists subtly build the new meanings into their definitions. For example, Berra defines lineage like this:

Lineage — The line of descent from a particular ancestor; a major group of plants or animals across a span of time, all members of which derive from a common ancestor. (Berra, 1990, p 171, my italics)

His definition would allow evolutionists to use a cladogram or phenogram as a “lineage.”

Evolution

[p. 298>] Evolutionists commonly define evolution as biological change or a change in gene frequencies. Such definitions allow illusion to thrive by equivocation. Evolutionists argue that if you accept change in gene frequencies, then you must also accept evolution since these are the same thing. Mayr provides an example:

[Evolutionary change is also simply a fact owing to the changes in the content of gene pools from generation to generation. It is as much a fact as the observation that the earth revolves around the sun rather than the reverse. (Mayr, 1991, p 162-163)

In a similar way, Fox argues that the difference between human offspring and their parents proves evolution:

The fact of evolution … can no more be denied than one can deny his own senses. Each of us need only examine human offspring and their parents to attain this inference. (Fox, 1984, p 209)

In a similar way, Saladin misused the word evolution for rhetorical force during an oral debate:

Now, maybe the funniest thing about tonight’s debate is … that the evidence for evolution is so convincing even Dr. Gish [a creationist] accepts almost all evolution! He’s a closet evolutionist! (Saladin, 1984, p 17)

Along the same lines, Kitcher mistakenly claims:

The main thesis of evolution is that species are not fixed and immutable. (Kitcher, 1982, p 7)

The disparity between public interpretation and the evolutionists’ technical definition is ideal for creating illusion.21 As long as people are fooled by that illusion, we must protest its source. We cannot allow the origins debate to be decided based on confusing language.

Evolution refers to large-scale biological change, effectively from atoms to accountants. Anything failing to make that ultimate claim is not evolution (and is open to acceptance by creationists). Evolution is either all the way — or it is creation. This is already its de facto meaning within the origins debate, at least among the thoughtful public.

Macroevolution is the evolutionists’ term for large-scale biological change. Microevolution is their term for the biological change that we can confidently demonstrate, usually this is change within a species.

[p. 299>] Evolutionists needed the terminology for an internal debate they are having. The Darwinians argue that large-scale evolution is just the long-term accrual of small-scale biological change.22 Their opponents, the punctuationists, refute that notion. They point out that the small-scale changes visible in the living and fossil world cannot account for the overall evolution of life. The punctuationists are making a potent anti-evolutionary argument. Evolutionists needed to debate each other, but they wanted to reassure the world that they are not questioning the “fact” of evolution. The words macro- and micro-evolution served that purpose.23 When the debate is conveyed in that language, its real significance is imperceptible to the public. Evolutionists said they were merely debating the detailed relationship between macro- and microevolution, not doubting the fact of evolution.

Yet in the origins debate we are doubting evolution, it is the very issue under discussion. The evolutionists’ terminology serves to obscure evolutionary diffi­culties and create illusion in the public mind.

Evolutionists often use the term microevolution as a weapon in the origins debate. According to their argument, if you believe in microevolution, then you are an evolutionist.24 Such arguments fool the ear, but have no logical basis.

Some creationists tried to clarify the debate by saying, “Microevolution is not real evolution.” Though the argument is legitimate, it sounds nonsensical on its face. Again, the sound of the words placed creationists in an awkward position.

So, we must clarify terminology for the origins debate. The term macro-evolution is self-redundant and unnecessary. Macroevolution is evolution. The term is needlessly repetitive. The term microevolution is an oxymoron — it is self-contradictory. There can be no “micro” evolution. Evolution is either thorough-going and complete — or it is creation. The term microevolution lends itself to misleading arguments and ought to be abandoned. There are other words (such as biological change, genetic change, or variation) that convey the needed meaning without confusion or illusion.

In summary, evolutionists often misuse the word evolution and create illusion by equivocating this simple word. The origins debate must clarify the matter. Evolution refers to large-scale transformation, from molecules to man.

Strategic Motives

[p. 300>] There are strategic motives for evolutionists to redefine terminology in peculiar ways. By redefining the key terms, evolutionists effectively silence opponents. Opponents are placed in an awkward position where they cannot communicate effectively.

Let me describe how this happened to me. I claimed that, “Large-scale phylogeny is systematically missing from the record of life.” That is a serious statement about the empirical world. It deserves to be said. An evolutionist responded, “That is not true, we have identified many large-scale phylogenies” and he offered a cladogram as an example. Our debate soon degenerated into an argu­ment over the definition of phylogeny. An important point about the empirical world was sidetracked into a seemingly dry debate about the definition of words. After further discussion the evolutionist dug in his heels. “I do not accept your definition of phylogeny,” he declared. That move would leave me without the key term necessary to communicate my claim about nature.

The evolutionists’ redefinition of the term phylogeny is a strategic move that turns their opponent into a mute: unable to communicate serious objections to evolution. This applies to all the terminology of the origins debate. By redefining the key words, evolutionists effectively silence or sidetrack opponents.25 The opponent can no longer communicate effectively, because all the key words have been taken away.

[….]

Summary

[p. 301>] ….Illusion is created by misusing the key words of the origins debate: ancestral, primitive, advanced, derived, intermediate, transitional, lineage, and phylogeny. Evolutionists have redefined all these terms so that no ancestors ever need be identified. These words are used to convey the sound and imagery of direct ancestry, without supplying the evidence.

The evolutionists’ peculiar definitions of terminology also served a strategic purpose. The definitions made it awkward for an anti-evolutionist to communicate. By taking away all the key words, evolutionists effectively silenced opponents.

The evolutionary definitions are illegitimate because: (1) They function to create illusion. (2) They protect the illusion by inhibiting an opponent’s ability to communicate. (3) Other terminology exists that conveys, without illusion, the evolutionists’ intended meaning.


21 Here is an example of the illusion. Saladin writes, “Gish [a creationist] distorts the meaning of evolution as a ploy to make it more assailable (the straw man tactic)….. Correctly stated, evolution simply says this: Populations of organisms exhibit genetic change over a period of time, and this enables them to adapt to changes in their environment. If Gish had defined evolution correctly, he would have found it difficult or impossible to refute in this debate. It is clear from [Gish’s book] Evolution? The Fossils Say No! that even he accepts evolution on these terms.” (Saladin, 1988, p 36)

22 “Most of modern evolutionary theory (as judged, for example, from the issues of the bimonthly journal Evolution) lies squarely within the realm of microevolution….. Little work is geared to bridging the conceptual gap between microevolution and macroevo-lution, the latter taken simply as large-scale, long-term accrual of adaptive change.” (Eldredge, 1989, p 58, 59)

23 “We understand very little about evolution, particularly the type of evolution involved in the creation of the major taxa, the kingdoms, the phyla and so on. We call this `macroevolution’, to distinguish it from a seemingly different process, ‘micro-evolution’, which is characteristic of evolution in the lower taxa. However, the term ‘macroevolution’ serves more to hide our ignorance than symbolize our understanding.” (Woese, 1987, p 177, my italics)

24 Evolutionists often argue that if you accept microevolution then you must accept evolution, and conversely, that if you reject evolution then you are also forced to reject microevolution. (For example see Wills, 1989, p 110-111)

25 When creationists use the terminology in legitimate commonsense ways, then evolu­tionists have typically argued that the creationist misunderstands or misrepresents science

Discussing Evidences for the General Theory of Evolution… Still Waiting

“Biochemists and biologists who adhere blindly to the Darwinism theory search for results that will be in agreement with their theories and consequently orient their research in a given direction, whether it be in the field of ecology, ethology, sociology, demography (dynamics of populations), genetics (so-called evolutionary genetics), or paleontology. This intrusion of theories has unfortunate results: it deprives observations and experiments of their objectivity, makes them biased, and, moreover, creates false problems.” ~ P. P. Grasse

I posted a response to the above video on YouTube and have a bit of engagement going on. The first conversation was with a layman. The second is with a person who says he is a degreed biologist. He has a Google account, Prototype Atheist. I have yet to see a degree (what level of a degree) Prototype Atheist has, but, I have engaged with doctoral holding professors of biology in the past. (And may I say, there are similarities to how these two wish to co-opt language.) So, below will be the “evolving” engagement from this post. Enjoy real conversation:

Here is my original post regarding the video:

@Bill Walton “I believe in science” = Dumb. As if science has anything to do with history. These scientists believe in science AND ARE young earth creationists… showing that origin science (historical sciences) has no bearing on working science (the nuclear weight of something or the chemical make-up of another):

▼ Professor Dr Bernard Brandstater—pioneer in anesthetics. Amongst many other achievements, he pioneered assisted breathing for premature babies with prolonged incubation and developed an improved catheter for epidural anesthesia, both adopted around the world.
▼ Prof. Stuart Burgess—a world expert in biomimetics (imitating design in nature). He is Professor of Engineering Design, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bristol (UK) and leads the Design Engineering Research Group at the university. Dr Burgess is the author of over 40 papers published in science journals, and another 50 conference proceedings. He has also registered 7 patents and has received various awards, the Wessex Institute Scientific Medal being the most recent.
▼ Professor Dr Ben Carson—pioneer pediatric neurosurgeon. He was long-term director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. He was the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins joined at the head and also pioneered surgery to cure epilepsy in young children, and much else. He has been awarded 51 honorary doctorates, including from Yale and Columbia universities in recognition of his outstanding achievements. He is a member of the Alpha Honor Medical Society, the Horatio Alger Society of Distinguished Americans, and sits on numerous business and education boards. In 2001, CNN and Time magazine named Ben Carson as one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists. In that same year, the Library of Congress selected him as one of 89 ‘Living Legends’. In February 2008, President Bush awarded Carson the Ford’s Theater Lincoln Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the USA’s highest civilian honors.
▼ Dr Raymond Damadian—largely responsible for developing medical imaging using magnetic resonance (MRI). He has been honored with the United States’ National Medal of Technology, the Lincoln-Edison Medal, and induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame alongside Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright brothers. In 2001 the Lemelson-MIT program bestowed its lifetime achievement award on Dr Damadian as “the man who invented the MRI scanner”. It is commonly recognized that he was discriminated against in not at least sharing a Nobel Prize for his work (two others shared the award), although Damadian was the discoverer that diseased tissue would have a different signal from healthy.’
▼ Dr John Hartnett—developed the world’s most precise atomic clocks, which are used in research and industry around the globe. He is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, where he is an Associate Professor. In his relatively short career, he has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters, and conference proceedings.
▼ Dr Raymond Jones—solved the major problem of the indigestibility of Leucaena (a tropical legume) for grazing cattle in Australia, among other achievements. This research has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the Australian beef industry. He was honored with the CSIRO Gold Medal for Research Excellence, and the Urrbrae Award.
▼ Dr Felix Konotey-Ahulu—many pioneering contributions, especially in sickle cell disease management. He is Kwegyir Aggrey Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics, University of Cape Coast, Ghana, and Consultant Physician Genetic Counsellor in Sickle Cell and Other Haemoglobinopathies, Phoenix Hospital Group, London, UK. Ironically, sickle cell disease is often incorrectly held up as a ‘proof of evolution’ in science textbooks. Dr Konotey-Ahulu has received many awards in recognition of his work.
▼ Dr John Sanford—has been granted over 30 patents arising from his research in plant breeding and genetics. His most significant scientific contributions involve three inventions, the biolistic (`gene gun’) process, pathogen-derived resistance, and genetic immunization. A large fraction of the transgenic crops (in terms of both numbers and area planted) grown in the world today were genetically engineered using the gene gun technology developed by John and his collaborators. Dr Sanford was honoured with the Distinguished Inventor Award by the Central New York Patent Law Association in 1990 and 1995)
▼ Dr Wally (Siang Hwa) Tow—groundbreaking research in ‘molar pregnancy’, a poverty-related disease. He was invited to lecture in some fourteen top Obstetrics-Gynaecology departments in America in 1962-3, including leading universities such as Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, New York, UCLA, Cornell, and Stanford. He was awarded the William Blair Bell Lectureship by the RCOG in recognition of the importance of this work. He served as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, National University of Singapore.

Here is the response TO ME by RoflMcCopter:

@PapaGiorgio So a handful of people (several in completely unrelated fields) believe fantasy over reality. Look up appeal to authority.

(You will note the “strong armed patriotic guy” will always stand for me) I respond:

@RoflMcCopter I am not concluding creation to be true because scientists believe in it. You miss the point, and I do not need to go to my home library to get a definition from my many philosophy dictionaries, philosophy textbooks, or books on logic. I will again post the above:

▼ “As if science has anything to do with history. These scientists believe in science AND ARE young earth creationists… showing that origin science (historical sciences) has no bearing on working science (the nuclear weight of something or the chemical make-up of another).”

Another example. Wernher von Braun, he is the guy who is most credited in getting us to the moon. He worked side-by-side with people at NASA who were ardent evolutionists. Both he and they could operate at high levels of science that is applicable to the real world. Evolution is not this. That is, it is not “science” but historical science. With historical science there are lots of presuppositions, guesses, interpretation, and the like. Most of which are based on a starting premise. I will give an example of one such starting (metaphysical) starting point:

▼ “…because we have a priori commitment, a commitment — a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” ~ Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin.

This is not a scientific starting point. It is a metaphysical one. I will allow the past senior paleontologist at the prestigious British Museum of Natural History (which houses the world’s largest fossil collection – sixty million specimens) make a point:

▼ “For almost 20 years I thought I was working on evolution…. But there was not one thing I knew about it…. So for the last few weeks I’ve tried putting a simple question to various people and groups of people. Question is: ‘Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing, any one thing that is true?’ I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all i got there was silence for a long time and eventually one person said, ‘Yes, I do know one thing -–it ought not to be taught in high school.’ … During the past few years… you have experienced a shift from evolution as knowledge to evolution as faith…. Evolution not only conveys no knowledge, but seems somehow to convey anti-knowledge.” ~ Colin Patterson

Much thought, SeanG [AKA, Papa Giorgio], author of the book, “Worldviews: A Click Away from Binary Collisions (Religio-Political Apologetics)

@PapaGiorgio Surely. Why else would you post a list of scientists who agree with you, if not for argument from authority?

Make up what points you wish, but it feels like thou doth protest too much.

@RoflMcCopter Why else”? I clearly explained why. Very clearly.

You see, when Bill Walton said he believes in “science,” so do all the Nobel winning scientists and current stack of thousands of young earth professors and research scientists and medical doctors; as well as the thousands of ID’ers (professors and scientists and medical doctors). They ALL believe in science. Darwinism is not science.

Come up with all the points y o u wish, wrong points at that: saying I am appealing to authority when in fact I am not. My appeal shows Walton’s category mistake between working and origin science. He may believe in both, science proper, and Darwinism. But he would still be driving a car and shaving with an electric razor if we — as a world/country — believed in any of the following:

a) Punctuationist
b) Macromutationist
c) Neutral Selectionist
d) Structuralist
e) Natural Order Systematics
f) Transformed Cladist
g) Panspermia
h) Discontinuitist
i) Special Creation
j) Theistic Evolutionism
k) Design Theorist
l) Darwinism
m) Neo-Darwinism

Science works independent of the above metaphysical positions.

This is where Prototype Atheist hops into the conversation. The “A” with the swirl is kinda the universal [one of them] symbol for atheism:

@PapaGiorgio No, this attempt to separate science into “observational” and “historical” is 100% bullshit creationist propaganda. There is no such differentiation. Or are you attempting to tell me that we should never convict murderers based upon the physical evidence, only if a witness was there and observed what occurred?

First of all, we can and do observe evolution all the time. Every day. Evolution is simply the change in allele frequencies in a population over time. What you call “macroevolution” is just the result of this process over longer periods of time, and the evidence from the fossil record and phylogenetics and molecular biology and many other fields confirm this. Asking us to observe “macroevolution” is like me telling you boil an egg in a nanosecond, and then when you can’t, telling you that it’s impossible to boil an egg. The process requires time. Period.

The fact that scientists can be religious is wholly irrelevant. I was still a Christian even after having earned an advanced degree in molecular biology and having studied evolution extensively. I simply never bothered to reconcile my beliefs with my knowledge. It’s very easy to compartmentalize or fail to scrutinize your beliefs, especially if they are comforting or have been with you since a young age. You just have to be honest with yourself. Besides, knowing how to put a rocket into space has little bearing on understanding why the god of the Bible doesn’t exist. However, understanding the cosmological timeline, evolution, genetics, etc. will definitely bring any Christian to the point of cognitive dissonance.

@PrototypeAtheist (Just to note… my original point stands, because, science is about the observable and repeatable… you just said [as Dawkins does], macro evolution is not observable in our lifetime. So by definition then, it is interpretive.)

No. Allele change is not macro-evolution. All creationists, intelligent design theorists, and the like believe in micro change. We are not talking about change in eye color, long, short, or medium hair in dogs, etc. We are talking about an odorless and colorless gas ending up with a B.O. ridden South East Asian man coming home from an engineering job.

In fact, Dr. Melendy proffered evidence of macro evolution early in a conversation. It ended up being a fish bred to be smaller in size (PART 1 of our discussion; PART 2). Dr. Melendy, like yourself, are making semantic errors. For the purposes of the above and below discussion, “evolution” is defined as the “General Theory of Evolution” (GTE): “the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form.”

Maybe this mock conversation will help:

Creationist: Before we get started, we’ve got to clear up some terms. Words can be used a lot of different ways.
Evolutionist: That’s what we have dictionaries for.
Creationist: This is a little trickier than that. like, how would you define the word “adult?”
Evolutionist: Mature. Responsible. Grown up. Why?
Creationist: So, when you (as a mature, responsible grown-up) want something to read, do you shop at an adult bookstore?… I don’t think so. We have the same problem here. “Evolution” and “creationism” are both wagon words. “
Evolutionist: Wagon words?
Creationist: Yeah, you know, loaded with other stuff that comes along when you pull the handle [of a wagon].
Evolutionist: How do you mean?
Creationist: Well, take “evolution.” Some people talk as though all it means is “change over time.” If that were all it meant, I’d buy it.
Evolutionist: You mean I win already?
Creationist: No, of course not. All I’m saying is that nobody in their right mind questions that some animals have changed some through the course of their existence on earth. What I find, though, is that when I grab the [wagon] handle, all sorts of other things come along with it. Things like a belief that an unguided, purposeless process can cause the accumulation of minor changes and cascade them into major complex innovations.
Evolutionist: What about “creationism?”
Creationist: Well, I prefer to be called a design theorist. My major point is that some things in the natural world are so complex that it seems more likely that they were designed rather than arose by chance. Unfortunately, when I pull this handle… you find that you’re also stuck with defending a geologically young earth… and the idea that everything we see on earth was created in six calendar days.
Evolutionist: So you’re saying that the terms are too broad?
Creationist: Yeah. I’ve seen people use “evolution” to refer to something as simple as minor changes in bird beaks. I’ve also seen people use the term to mean the sponatanious appearance of life… its unguided creation of major innovations (like the birds themselves)… and its purposeless progression into incredible complexity (like the human brain).
Evolutionist: And I’ve seen people use the term “creationism” for everything from a strict literal reading of Genesis… all the way to the idea that God started the ball rolling and then let nature take its course. Yeah, I guess you’re right – the terms are too broad.
Creationist: May I suggest that we use these terms so that we don’t end up pulling more than we want?

  1. Creation or Creation-science: The belief that the earth is no more than 10,0000 years old, and that all biological life forms were created in six calendar days and have remained relatively stable throughout their existence.
  2. Intelligent Design or Design Theory: The belief that the earth and biological life owe their existence to a purposeful, intelligent creation.
  3. Darwinism: The belief that undirected mechanistic processes (primarily random mutation and natural selection) can account for all the diverse and complex living organisms that exist. Insists that there is no long range plan or purpose in the history of life (i.e., that changes happen without intent).
  4. Micro-evolution: Refers to minor variations that occur in populations over time. Examples include variation in moth population and finch beaks, and the emergence of different breeds of dogs.
  5. Macro-evolution: Refers to the emergence of major innovations or the unguided development of new structures (like wings), new organs (like lungs), and body plans (like the origin of insects and birds). Includes changes above the species level, especially new phyla or classes. [species and classes are a hot – debatable – topic.]
  6. Common Descent: The theory that all currently living organisms are descended from a common [or a few common] ancestor[s].

And, as already note:

General Theory of Evolution (GTE): “the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form.”( See Below)

Even with Theodosius Dobzhansky increasing mutation rates in fruit flies by 15,000-percent. All he got were inferior fruit flies. Ernst Mayr described one such experiment which set out to increase the number of bristles in one group, but with both groups starting from the same stock with an average of 36 bristles. By selecting for lower-than-normal number of bristles over thirty generations, the experimenters were able to reduce the average carried by the offspring to 25 bristles. After thirty generations, however, the line became sterile and died out. The second group was selected for higher than average number of bristles and over twenty generations the average rose from 36 to 56. Again, however, sterility became so common that the experiment was wound up.

▼ “Obviously,” says Mayr, “any drastic improvement under selection must seriously deplete the store of genetic variability.”. “The most frequent correlated response of one-sided selection is a drop in general fitness. This plagues virtually every breeding experiment.”

This limit to the amount of genetic variability in species, Mayr termed “genetic homeostasis.” So stop the semantics. I am talking about the BIG theory… the “life coming from cooling rocks” scenario.

(To skip this aside, press here)


Extended Aside…


Here is the definition I used for the GTC above. I will dig out Kerkut’s book when I have the time to put into context HIS definition [here is Kerkut’s quote if you wish]:

...Evolution Discussed...

 A. Kerkut emphasizes that all seven basic assumptions on which evolu­tionary theory rests are “by their nature… not capable of experimental verification” (Implications of Evolution, p. 7). [1] The assumption that “non­living things gave rise to living material… is still just an assumption” (ibid., p. 150). [2] The assumption that “biogenesis occurred only once… is a matter of belief rather than proof” (op. cit.). [3] The assumption that “Vi­ruses, Bacteria, Protozoa and the higher animals were all interrelated” biologically as an evolutionary phenomenon lacks definite evidence (ibid., p. 151). [4] The assumption that “the Protozoa gave rise to the Metazoa” has no basis in definite knowledge (ibid., pp. 151 ff.). [5] The assumption that “the various invertebrate phyla are interrelated” depends on “tenuous and cir­cumstantial” evidence and not on evidence that allows “a verdict of definite relationships” (ibid., pp. 152 f.). [6] The assumption that “the invertebrates gave rise to the vertebrates” turns on evidence gained by prior belief (ibid., p. 153). Although he finds “somewhat stronger ground” for assuming that “fish, amphibia, reptiles, birds and mammals are interrelated,” [7] Kerkut con­cedes that many key fossil transitions are “not well documented and we have as yet to obtain a satisfactory objective method of dating the fossils” (ibid., p. 153). “In effect, much of the evolution of the major groups of animals has to be taken on trust” (ibid., p. 154); “there are many discrete groups of animals and… we do not know how they have evolved nor how they are interrelated” (ibid., p. vii). In short, the theory that “all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form,” says Kerkut, has insufficiently strong evi­dential supports “to consider it as anything more than a working hypothe­sis” (ibid., p. 157). He thinks “premature and not satisfactorily supported by present-day evidence,” therefore, “the attempt to explain all living forms in terms of an evolution from a unique source,” that is, from a common ancestor (ibid., pp. vii f.)

It is therefore understandable why commentators speak more and more of a crisis of evolutionary theory. Establishment science’s long regnant view that gradual development accounts for the solar system, earth, life and all else is in serious dispute. Not in many decades has so much doubt emerged among scientists about the so-called irrefutable evidence that evolution is what accounts for life on planet earth. Although it was still taught long thereafter in high schools, Ernst Haeckel’s “biogenetic law” that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” had collapsed already in the late 1920s. The absence in recent texts of evolutionary charts depicting the common descent even of trees from a single form is noteworthy. Darwin’s insistence that nature makes no leaps, and that natural selection and chance adequately account for change in species, has lost credibility. Pa­leontologists and biologists are at odds over the significance of the fossil record, while gradualists and episodists disagree over the supposed tempo of evolution or whether the origin of species is consistent with microevolution or only with sudden gaps in the forms of life.

Gould, for example, opts for natural selection and, remarkably, combines it with saltation. He grants that “the fossil record does not support” the belief “in slow evolutionary change preached by most paleontologists” (and projected by Darwin); instead, “mass extinction and abrupt origination reign.. . . Gradualism is not exclusively valid (in fact, I regard it as rather rare). Natural selection contains no statement about rates. It can encompass rapid (geologically instantaneous) change by speciation in small popula­tions as well as the conventional and immeasurably slow transformation of entire lineages” (Ever Since Darwin, p. 271). Natural selection here becomes an elastic phrase that can accommodate to everything while re­quiring no significant empirical attestation.

University of Glasgow scientists Chris Darnbrough, John Goddard and William S. Stevely indicate problem areas that beset evolutionary theory: “The experiments demonstrating the formation of a variety of organic molecules from presumptive prebiotic soups,” they write, “fall far short of providing a pathway for chemical evolution. Again, it is self-evident that the fossil record leaves much to be desired and few biologists recognize the dependence of the geological column on radiometric dating methods based on questionable assumptions about initial conditions. The whole his­tory of evolutionary thought is littered with the debris of dubious assump­tions and misinterpretations, especially in the area of fossil ‘hominids.’ To come up to date, protein and DNA sequence data, generally viewed as consistent with an evolutionary explanation of diversity, are invariably interpreted using methods which presuppose, but do not demonstrate evolu­tionary relationships, and which use criteria that are essentially functional and teleological. Finally, there is a collection of isolated fragmentary pieces of evidence which are usually dismissed as anecdotal because they are irreconcilable with the evolutionary model” (“American Creation” [corre­spondence], by Chris Darnbrough, John Goddard and William S. Stevely, Nature, pp. 95 f.).

From ongoing conflicts and readjustments it is apparent that there never was nor is there now only one theory of evolution. Many nontheistic schol­ars, to be sure, insist that evolution is and has always been “a fact.” Laurie R. Godfrey affirms that “there is actually widespread agreement in scien­tific circles that the evidence overwhelmingly supports evolutionism” and quotes Gould as saying that “none of the current controversy within evolu­tionary theory should give any comfort, not the slightest iota, to any cre­ationists” (“The Flood of Antievolution,” pp. 5-10, p. 10). If, as Godfrey insists, even the most sweeping revisions and reversals of scientific theory ought to be viewed not as weaknesses in evolutionary claims but rather as reflections of ongoing differences that inhere in “doing science—posing, testing and debating alternative explanations,” then the emphasis is proper only if Godfrey refuses to attach finality and a universal validity-claim to anticreationist evolutionary theses.

The history of evolutionary theory is far from complete and its present status ambiguous. Hampton L. Carson notes the difficulty of integrating the dual lines of study pursued by biological evolutionists when on the one hand they project the course of evolution that is held to produce contem­porary organisms, and when on the other they analyze supposed evolution­ary causation. Carson notes, moreover, that presentation of new approaches even to student audiences now requires an understanding of sophisticated computer techniques and an awareness of complex and sometimes esoteric theory; he ventures the bold observation that “new mutations and recom­binations” of evolutionary theory will themselves “be subject to natural selection” (“Introduction to a Pivotal Subject” [review of Evolution by Theodosius Dobzhansky and others, and of Organismic Evolution by Verne Grant], pp. 1272 f.).

Yet most secular evolutionists continue to assume that evolution is a complex fact and therefore debate only its mechanism. Appealing to con­sensus rather than to demonstrative data, G. G. Simpson states that “no evolutionist since [Darwin has] seriously questioned that man did originate by evolution”; he insists, moreover, that “the problem [the origin of life] can be attacked scientifically” (“The World into Which Darwin Led Us.” pp. 966-974). Simpson’s advance confidence in naturalistic explanation ex­udes a strong bias against theistic premises.

But Thomas S. Kuhn considers the physical sciences to be grounded less on empirical facts that on academically defined assumptions about the nature of the universe, assumptions that are unprovable, questionable and reversible (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions). His approach differs somewhat from Michael Polanyi’s assault on the objectivity of human knowledge (Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy), a view that Christian theism disputes on its own ground. Yet both Kuhn’s emphasis and Polanyi’s tend to put a question mark after absolutist evolu­tionary claims.

Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority, Vol VI: God Who Stands and Stays (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1983), 182-184.

[back to text]

A couple other definitions to support my use:

This descent with modification might involve only a slight change in the proportion of different alleles (that is, different forms of a gene), or it might involve substantial changes in the genome that eventually cause the divergences that form the phylogenetic tree of life.

Robert T. Pennock, Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationists (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999), 98. (emphasis added)

Evolution by natural selection and the various other mechanisms mentioned above may lead, over time, to slight changes or very large changes in the descendants of the original organisms. Biologists sometimes divide evolution into two processes: micro-evolution, or change in gene frequency within a population, which may lead to the formation of new species; and macroevolution, which involves evolutionary change above the species level

Tim M. Berra, Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: A Basic Guide to the Facts in the Evolutionary Debate (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990), 11-12. (emphasis added)

I just wish to note that American Heritage Science Dictionary defines macroevolution as evolution that results in the formation of a new taxonomic group above the level of a species. Philip Kitcher notes evolutionary bilogist’s, Stephen J. Gould, rejection of micromutational changes stacking up to equal a macro-change. (Side-note: knowing Dr. Gould’s worldview (Marxism), one can attribute a Hegelian dialectic involved in his metaphysical view of origins. Thus, this is another hint at how assumptions interpret the evidence.):

Some biologists, notably Gould, think that the further arguments can be given and that gradualists are wrong about both the tempo and the mode of evolution. Gould denies that the well-understood cases of allelic replacement in fruit flies or peppered moths provide a basis for extrapolation. He maintains that large-scale morphological shifts [macromutation/macroevolution] need not result from a succession of genetic changes, each producing a small phenotypic effect.

Philip Kitcher, Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1982), 148.

To better define Dr. Gould’s and other views on this gradual versus large leaps in evolution that lead to new taxonomic groups, here is the Oxford Dictionary of Biology’s definition of punctuated equilibrium:

A theory proposing that plant and animal species usually arise very quickly in terms of geological time (in less than 100 000 years) and seldom through a process of gradual change. It thus questions the traditional Darwinian theory of evolution, citing as evidence the discontinuities observed in the fossil records of certain animal groups (e.g. the ammonites).


Biotic-Message 300

For extended quotes, click books.

GA Kerkut 300

This is an issue, macro versus micro, species versus genus or order, and the like… are mixed up by some of the smartest people. For instance, Michael Shermer in his Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design, he notes as an example of macroevolutoin an inter-species adaptation that was already innate in the E. Coli baterium already (pp. 75-76). In fact, the founding scientist of this program at the University of Michigan grew so frustrated with the idea that he was getting nowhere, he turned to a computer simulation to get his desired data:

According to biology professor Dr Scott Minnich, the evolutionist researcher Dr Richard Lenski bred bacteria for more than 20,000 generations with all sorts of selective environments in the hope of getting a spontaneous increase in complexity—i.e. real evolution in the lab. He showed that they adapted to their environment, but the experiment failed to demonstrate the emergence of true novelty or spontaneous complexity. The bacteria were not only still bacteria, they were the same types of bacteria. So, says Minnich, he decided to work on digital organisms instead—computer simulations, which gave him the result he wanted in 15,000 generations. The lesson is clear: the real world of biology is very different from the carefully set up and manipulated world of electronic on-screen simulations. (Blast from the Past)

Similarly, in my discussion with Dr. Melendy, he as well mixes up this distinction. Early in the discussion Dr. Melendy says macroevolution is observable in the laboratory. I ask multiple times to give me an example: @TomMelendy, I missed the observation MACRO evolutionary proof. Please explain what this observation has been. Is there a peer reviewed article you can refer me to.” Here is the portion that triggered my interest in this strain (I will emphasize what caught my eye):

Tom Melendy Gravity is called a law and can be and has been observed. Macro-Evolution has never been observed…

Dr. Melendy responds, and I will emphasize the point that concerned me:

Jim, Macro evolution has been observed in the laboratory under controlled conditions – within just a few generations you can “breed” fish to be miniature fish, which reproduce and “grow” up while never getting bigger than the size they were bred for. And Jim, I NEVER said that belief in evolution in inconsistent with a belief in God. I am merely saying that the case for evolution is overwhelming and cannot be denied by any rational person who bothers to examine the evidence. Belief in God is based on faith, not evidence; and it would be entirely appropriate to believe that evolution, like the other laws of the universe, are merely the hands of God shaping the world we live in. As for referring to evolution as “intelligent design”, I would have to agree – there can be no more intelligent a design program than the evolution that created the amazing diversity of life on this planet including mankind himself.

After pressing the point, I prodded him some more…

@Dr.Melendy, you said:

1) Macro evolution has been observed in the laboratory under controlled conditions – within just a few generations you can “breed” fish to be miniature fish, which reproduce and “grow” up while never getting bigger than the size they were bred for.

Second Statement:

2) I pointed out how a macroevolutionary experiment cannot be done in the laboratory because of the time frame required for cytogenetic changes to occur.

Miniaturizing a fish is not macro-evolution!? You have a Ph.D. alright — in obfuscating terms.

American Heritage Science Dictionary: “Evolution that results in the formation of a new taxonomic group above the level of a species.”
★ From an old 1962 textbook (Holt, Rinehart, Winston, [1962]… probably when you were going through school?) Evolution and Genetics: “The Modern Theory of Evolution:Quantum evolution, also known as mega- and macroevolution, is the term applied to the rapid shift of a population to a new equilibrium distinctly unlike the ancestral condition, thus leading to the origin of higher taxonomic categories such as new orders and classes.”
What Is Evolution, Ernst Mayr: “Evolution above the species level; the evolution of higher taxa and the production of evolutionary novelties, such as new structures.”

Species is the key… you seem to be conflating it a bit.

So are you positing that this “smaller fish,” which in one breath you say is evidence of “Quantum evolution” a new taxonomy? Or is it [Quantum evolution] not able to be done in the laboratory because of the time frame required for cytogenetic changes to occur is not long enough in human terms?

So, Macroevolution is not observable, correct?

re-read!!! – I never said “macro” evolution could be observed. I was referring to the microevolutionary changes…

I didn’t take kind to this obfuscation of the conversation. I continued:

Let us get into the nitty-gritty later, I want to define terms first.

SPECIES and MACROEVOLUTION:

Species is not well defined. Example: Canis Domesticus (say, a, German Shepherd) and Canis Lupus (wolf) are classified as two separate species. But they can interbreed (i.e. a Wolf and a German Shepherd). But a Chihuahua and a Great Dane cannot breed, but they are both Canis Domesticus (the same species). The arctic hair cannot breed with the Florida hair, but both breed with the Dakota hair. Evolutionists recognize certain bowerbirds as distinct species even though they often interbreed.

Or consider the case of two different kinds of squirrels separated by the Grand Canyon. The Kaibab squirrel inhabits the north side of the canyon, while the Abert squirrel inhabits the south side. It seems evident the two descended from one original population. Rarely, however, can squirrels from both populations come together, and thus there is no interbreeding between them. And, for some time biologists have disagreed as to whether the squirrels had reached the level of two separate species.

Look, you could go to Galapagos Islands and get a pair of finches and bring them back to a laboratory and just let them have sex. After a few generations you will have small beaked, medium beaked, large beaked finches. The information is already in there genome, nothing new was created, specificity was lost if anything. Now if you simulate a drought, like on Galapagos, so that the seeds become hard and more beak strength is needed to open them, then of course the larger beaked finch will survive. A creationist came up with the survival of the fittest twenty-four years prior to Darwin. After all the other “parent” finches die off, you are left with only large beaked finches in the laboratory. This is not evolution; no new information was gained in the process. There are limits to its change, strep-throat may change into a flesh eating virus, but it loss specificity to get to that point or already had the information in its genome. It’s still strep-throat.

That finch didn’t turn into a dinosaur; that dog didn’t turn into a cat; that ape didn’t turn into a man, etc.. The genetic barriers wont and don’t allow it. You can post all the sites in the world, but you will never be able to find one proof of macroevolution in the fossil record or in the living world. All we have ever seen is what evolutionists’ call “subspeciation” (variation within a type), never “transpeciation” (change from one type to others). The primrose is a prime example of my point. The alleged new species of primrose that de Vries thought he had “discovered” were not new species at all but rather mere variations of the same species.

This “sport” (a certain primrose that de Vries created), with it’s doubled chromosome [no new information was added, it merely doubled the information that was already there], is still a primrose. Stickleback fish may diversify into fresh-water dwellers and salt–water dwellers, but both remain sticklebacks. One fruit fly may breed on apple trees and another on hawthorn trees, but both remain fruit flies. Speciation is a means of creating diversity within types of living things, but macroevolution is much more than diversity.

Macroevolution requires an increase of the gene pool, the addition of new genetic information, whereas the means to speciation discussed above represent the loss of genetic information (how so?). Both physical and ecological isolation produce varieties by cutting a small population off from its parent population and building a new group from the more limited genetic information contained in the small population. A large population carries genetic reserve, a wealth of concealed recessive genes. In a small group cut off from the parent population, some of these recessive traits may be expressed more often. This makes for interesting diversity, but it should not blind us to the fact that the total genetic variability in the small group is reduced!.

The appearance of reproductively isolated populations represents microevolution, not macro-evolution. Vertical change – to a new level of complexity – requires the input of additional genetic information. Can that information – the ensembles of new genes to make wrens, rabbits, and Hawthorne trees be gleaned from random mutations?

Thus far, there appears to be good evidence that the roles mutations are able to play are severely restricted by and within the existing higher-level blueprint of the organism’s whole genome.

To go from one-celled organisms to a human being means that information must be added to the genetic messages at each step of the way. Mechanisms for the loss of genetic information cannot be used as support for a theory requiring vast increases of genetic information.

Speciation is actually akin to what breeders do. They isolate a small group of plants or animals and force them to interbreed, cutting them off from the larger gene pool to which they belong. A century of breeding testifies to the fact that this produces limited change only. It does produce the open-ended change required by Darwinian evolution. Some think, as do I, that the extinction of the dinosaurs occurred because they didn’t have the genetic diversity to adapt to environmental changes.

Percival Davis & Dean H. Kenyon, with Charles B. Thaxton as Academic Editor, Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins, 2nd Edition (Dallas, TX: Haughton Publishing Co., 1993), 19-20.

After disagreeing with my point, he mentioned that, “Macroevolution does NOT require an “increase in the gene pool” – the gene pool of the horse and donkey are virtually identical, yet they are separate species (yet closely related enough to produce sterile offspring). The reason they are different species is due to the cytogenetic changes (note that does NOT involve additional genetic material or a greater gene pool).”

To which I again respond: 

You are telling me that a donkey and a horse are a donkey ARE proof of macroevolution? You are telling me as well that Cats (Felidae) are a diverse group of carnivores that includes domestic cats, lions, tigers, ocelots, jaguars, caracals, leopards, mountain lions, lynx and many other groups of cats are not the same kind?

Let me restate that, wolves and a few other dog kind (Canidae) have all the genetic information in them that breeders are then able to change through intelligent input. So a Chihuahuas is still a Canidae, but with much less specified complexity — the bottom of the gene pool so-to-speak. [Left to its own devices with no help from man, the wolf, coyote, etc would survive, but the Chihuahuas would probably die out.]

You seem to be conflating “species” with other classification titles (http://tinyurl.com/3npkel8) [*SEE YOUR OWN STATEMENT BELOW* ~ not capitalized to yell, merely to emphasize]. I want you to be clear and concise so a high school student from L.A. Unified can understand you: “are you saying small changes in specie level adaptation (centimeter beak change in birds, or Brussels sprouts to hit a bit closer to home to your point [http://creation.com/eat-your-brussels-sprouts]) are more than that, they are evidence of macroevolution?

…. I still think this statement by you @Tom Melendy is a bit of an overreach:

Jim, Macro evolution has been observed in the laboratory under controlled conditions – within just a few generations you can “breed” fish to be miniature fish, which reproduce and “grow” up while never getting bigger than the size they were bred for.

Please give me the name of the fish you referenced… and through observed “quantum evolution, also known as mega- and macroevolutionary” what other Order this fish became under observation. You see Tom, we are still at one of your opening statements, which you have not clearly, eruditely, and concisely explained. So you lied to Jim? Or you were mistaken in your wording? What.

Dr. Melendy walks back his previous statements a bit, as well as FINALLY giving the fish’s name in the discussion leading up to this point (I will note by emphasis some items that caught my eye. The most egregious being the admitted “bait-and-switch” of definitions regarding “macroevolution”):

My apologies for the lack of clarity on my part. When this thread first started we were talking about common evolution in the lab. This is commonly seen with microorganisms. Someone asked what about non-microorganisms. I responded that you could see macro evolution in the lab in fish (macro just to differentiate from micro-organisms). Once you began defining your terms as micro and macro evolution as being the small changes due to variation and selection, versus the larger changes that produce different species that of course made my previous point unclear – I was referring to micro-evolution (variation and selection) being studied in a macroorganism (fish). It wasn’t an over-reach, it was a miscommunication due to us not having established an accepted nomenclature prior to that statement. Often different branches of science will utilize the same term to mean different things in different fields. As to your question of which fish – Atlantic silversides. Here’s the website showing you the surprising result that within just a handful of generations the fish size could be decreased dramatically. (Berkeley, Evolution in the Lab)

I will jump to my response to the Baccacio rockfish example, via a creationist site:

…For some years now, many fisheries management authorities around the world have instituted legal minimum size requirements for various fish species. Thus anglers must return ‘undersized’ fish to the water unharmed. Similarly, commercial fishermen use large-meshed nets to spare the smaller fish—with the aim of ensuring the long-term viability of the fishery.

However, the fish that are genetically predisposed to mature at larger sizes are the ones most likely to be caught before they can reproduce. Thus there has been a strong selection pressure favouring scrawny fish that never reach the minimum legal size. Hence the genes for late-maturing larger-sized fish have been progressively lost from many fish populations, leaving early-maturing smaller-sized ones to dominate the gene pool. (So, ironically, by catching only the biggest fish and letting the others go, humans have unintentionally selected against that which they desire most!)

Note that this is not evolution because the selection pressure—which is essentially an artificially-imposed version of ‘natural selection’—simply favours certain genes over others; it cannot generate any new genetic information. Neither such ‘artificial’ nor ‘natural’ selection can turn plaice into people; it can only operate on (i.e. cull out) genetic information that already exists.

Fisheries scientists David Conover and Stephan Munch, of the State University of New York, observed that size-specific culling of Atlantic silversides rapidly changes the genetic makeup of the population.7 After just four generations, fish populations from which the largest 90% of silversides were removed before breeding averaged just half the size of fish in populations from which the smallest 90% had been culled. In other words, removing big fish soon results in a population of little fish (and vice versa).

This is not evolution, as the genes for big or little fish were already present in the population beforehand. Note that the limits to how big or little the fish can be in the final population are determined by the amount of pre-existing genetic variety. Conover and Munch wrote: ‘Management tools that preserve natural genetic variation [i.e. pre-existing variety] are necessary for long-term sustainable yield.’ In other words, we need to leave at least some of the big fish in the water, so that their desirable genes (from a human perspective) remain in the fish population.

Despite this anti-evolutionary insight, their research paper refers to fish demonstrating ‘evolutionary effects’ and having ‘evolved rapidly’. That last claim took many of their fellow evolutionists by surprise. David Conover reported: ‘Even some fisheries’ scientists have been unwilling to accept that evolution is happening within a few fish generations.’…

http://creation.com/smaller-fish-to-fry

I make this point in my earliest debate with a neo-Darwinist, in which I end with Theodosius Dobzhansky, one of the twentieth centuries leading Darwinists, acknowledged this:

“And yet, a majority of mutations, both those arising in laboratories and those stored in natural populations, produce deteriorations of viability, hereditary diseases, and monstrosities. Such changes, it would seem, can hardly serve as evolutionary building blocks.”

Mr. Hitchings: “On the face of it, then, the prime function of the genetic system would seem to be to resist change: to perpetuate the species in a minimally adapted form of response to altered conditions, and if at all possible to get things back to normal. The role of natural selection is usually a negative one; to destroy the few mutant individuals that threaten the stability of the species.”

Goldschmidt said: “It is true that nobody thus far has produced a new species or genus, etc., by macromutation. It is equally true that nobody has ever produced even a species by selection of micromutaions.”

Goldschmidt would have known – he bread gypsy moths for twenty years and a million generations in various environments. All he ever got was more gypsy moths. Anyone who thinks that an accumulation of mutations (information-losing processes) can lead to Macroevolution (a massive net gain of information) “is like the merchant who lost a little money on every sale but thought he could make it up on volume.” (Spetner)

(From one of my first debates on this subject.)

So the example of the fish is something that if defined properly doesn’t support the grand changes that Darwinism implies. Nor, if properly defined, no creationist finds anything wrong with it… other than someone takes this loss of information and applies it to the past spuriously [stepping out of science and using a meta-narrative to state something that is unobservable] to say, “see, I am related to a banana in the tree of life.”

THAT, is, well… bananas!

What you have here is similar to what Leftist do in politics, what anthropogenic global warming advocates do, as well as evolutionists. That is, co-opt language and offer an alternative definition to obfuscate the issue. Just fair warning to my fellow apologists. See my post Evolutionary Illusions for an in-depth look at how terminology is being misused.

…continuing with my aside.

@TomMelendy I still think you were passing false information on in this regard to Jim:

Jim, Macro evolution has been observed in the laboratory under controlled conditions – within just a few generations you can “breed” fish to be miniature fish, which reproduce and “grow” up while never getting bigger than the size they were bred for.

As well as continuing to do so with me:

Macroevolution does NOT require an “increase in the gene pool” – the gene pool of the horse and donkey are virtually identical, yet they are separate species (yet closely related enough to produce sterile offspring). The reason they are different species is due to the cytogenetic changes (note that does NOT involve additional genetic material or a greater gene pool). 

You should know what the other side believes before asking a question, its 101, you asked: “If God created all the SPECIES currently on the Earth either 6000 years ago, or through intelligent design, why is there so much evidence that supports Evolution?” He didn’t, God created the “Kinds,” which is more like Order (Felidae, Canidae, etc). You have a doctorate, right? Do you get it yet? Order… species… different.

In every Oxford dictionary and companion book to biology, physics, and the like, textbooks (I have many university level texts)… macroevolution has the same definition. I think you telling people on this site that special change is evidence of macro-evolution is deplorable. But maybe you thought no one would catch this because you were degreed. You did back away from this though… in many more words though than just saying “I was wrong.” I even had to throw in an elementary picture to make the point.

[I will now quote a creationists understanding of this that is more in line with the standard definitions]:

It is very important not to confuse the “created kind” with the modern use of the word species. Although animals like the fox and coyote might be considered different taxonomic species, they are still parts of the same “kind” of animal. The created kind is thought to be more often synonymous with the “Family” level of classification in the taxonomic hierarchy; at least in mammals; and occasionally it can extend as high as the order level. Here are some examples:

Felidae — Scientists from Creation Ministries International and the Institute for Creation Research have proposed that the original feline kind was comparable to the Liger and the Tigon.
Canidae — Including Wolves, Foxes, Jackals, Coyotes, and Domestic dogs.

Camelidae — Including both the Camel and the Llama, which are reproductively compatible, their hybrid offspring being known as “Camas.”
Bovidae — Including Cattle, Buffalo, Bison, and Yaks.
Equidae — Including Horses, Zebras, and Asses.
Caprinae — Including Sheep, Goats, and Ibex.
Crocodilia — Including all the varieties of Alligators, Crocodiles, and Gharials.
Elephantidae — Including African and Asian elephants, Mammoths, Mastodons, and Gomphotheres.

Thus the created kind corresponds roughly to the family level of taxonomic classification, and possibly even the order, with the notable exception of humanity wherein the genus is representative. Humanity — Dr. Sigrid Hartwig-Scherer of the University of Munich concluded that H. erectus/H. ergaster, Neanderthals and H. sapiens were members of the same basic type (which corresponds to a monobaramin) genus Homo.

 (Via Creation Wiki; see also, “Refuting Evolution 2,” by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati — free online.)


…Aside Over


Simple enough. Continuing now with Prototype.

@PapaGiorgio I’m not making semantical arguments, that’s what creationists do to falsely equivocate evolution as a “religion” which requires “faith” to believe.

I’m a molecular biologist. I can tell you that evolution is a fact. It is undeniable if you actually understand it and have studied the evidence. I can also tell you that the god of the Bible is irreconcilable with the historical and scientific evidence, and this is coming from a Christian of 30 years who is still married to a Christian. I have no reason to lie about this. I have no reason to be an atheist other than the fact that I can’t lie to myself. You, on the other hand, have been indoctrinated with all of this propaganda and will parrot back all of the fallacious arguments as you completely ignore the evidence and arguments against your position.

Yes, “macroevolution” is allele change over a longer period of time (along with other ways that genetic information can be added, removed, altered, etc.). Are you a biologist? Have you studied this subject at all from an objective standpoint, or do you just have a cursory understanding based upon what creationists have told you? Be honest with yourself.

I try to narrow the conversation:

@PrototypeAtheist Please, give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome.

@PapaGiorgio What do you mean “increase the information”? Mutations do “increase the information” because they are different configurations which can be passed on to future generations. Changes can occur to genetic sequences in a variety of ways…but I bet you’re going to try to argue that mutations are only deletions?

@PrototypeAtheist Since you did not choose one, and I asked for a specific example, I will give a few examples to try and get this [you] biologist to dive in and defend a position instead of being “vague” as you have so far. Rats have developed resistance to the poison warfain. Many hundreds of insect species and other agricultural pests have evolved resistance to the pesticides used to combat them – even to chemical defenses genetically engineered into plants. The continual evolution of human pathogens has come to pose one of the most serious health problems facing human societies. Many strains of bacteria have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics as natural selection has amplified resistant strains that arose through naturally occurring genetic variation. On-and-on.

What about this example of bacteria resisting antibiotics? Actually, some bacteria possess a natural genetic capacity to resist certain antibiotics; mutations are not involved in these (*postscript in fallowing comment after this one). Mutations cause a structural defect in ribosomes – the cellular constituents that antibiotics like streptomycin attach to. Since the antibiotic doesn’t connect with the misshapen ribosome, the bacterium is resistant.

SPETNER: “We see then that the mutation reduces the specificity of the ribosome protein, and that means losing genetic information… Rather than say the bacterium gained resistance to the antibiotic, we would be more correct to say it lost its sensitivity to it. It lost information. The …[‘General Theory of Evolution’ (GTE)]… is suppose to explain how the information of life has been built up by evolution… Information cannot be built up by mutations that lose it. A business can’t make money by losing it a little at a time.”

In other cases, some mutant bacteria, because they have defective membranes, don’t absorb nutrients well. Fortuitously for them, that inefficiency also prevents their absorbing antibiotics. And so, in this instance also, they survive better than their normal cousins. But the mutation did not make them stronger or create new information, or “evolve” to a higher state. Likewise, if the world’s light suddenly disappeared, blind people might have an advantage over others, since they were already accustomed to operating in darkness. Nevertheless, we cannot then interpret blindness as positive, or representing new information or evolutionary advance.

C.P. MARTIN, writing in American Scientist, made a similar point when he compared x-rays’ effects on the body to being kicked and beaten:

▼ “It is quite possible that violent knocking about might dislocate a man’s shoulder, and that continued knocking about might actually reduce the previous dislocation… no sane person would cite such a case as this to prove that the results of knocking a man about are not injuries; nor would anyone refer to the result as evidence that knocking a man about can produce an improvement over the normal man. For a truly progressive or evolutionary-apt mutation must result in an improvement over the normal condition. The truth is that there is no clear evidence of the existence of such helpful mutations. In natural populations endless millions of small and great genic differences exist, but there is no evidence that any arose by mutation.”

Remember, if we are talking about “micro-evolution,” you should supply examples that can lead to MACRO changes. Even in “gene duplication” (pictured here: http://tinyurl.com/n9m4fwd) in every instance is a decrease in specificity: Down’s syndrome for example. Again, there is a copy of the same info… but nothing new. And this same info causes ALWAYS a detrimental (arm dislocating) event — a… loss of specificity (or a fit version/copy of itself) for survivability.

Another way to look at this is to say [assume] anthropogenic global warming predictions are true. Coupled with that a disease (or mankind) kills all the wild canines in the world. So all the exists are Chihuahuas. (I know, a stretch, but I have a point). You would never to selectively breed back to a wolf (Arctic, Red, Ethiopian, or the like). The genic information of the parent population is lost. AND, the “fitness” of this loss (specificity) is lost as well. So, if a new ice-age came upon us after the above fictitious event, and mankind did not shelter these “rodent dogs,” all canid population could feasibly disappear.

So, have I knocked your head enough for you to proffer an example and defend it?

[The promised postscript will follow]

This intro was geared at Prototype Atheist: This postscript comes from a previous debate I had — and you can see a bit of it in the above). I have written over 6,000 responses to items of politics, religion, science, history, philosophy, economics, and the like for a time-period expanding about 20-years. My home library includes many texts that are pro as well as con to all my views [well over 5,000 books and 600DVD documentary style subjects similar to the above list of topics… but much more formal debates at universities are in this DVD collection]. For my bio, you are welcome to see it here.

▼ It has been proven that resistance to many modern antibiotics was present decades before their [the antibiotics] discovery. In 1845, sailors on an ill-fated Arctic expedition were buried in the permafrost and remained deeply frozen until their bodies were exhumed in 1986. Preservation was so complete that six strains of nineteenth-century bacteria found dormant in the contents of the sailors’ intestines were able to be revived! When tested, these bacteria were found to possess resistance to several modern-day antibiotics, including penicillin. Such traits were obviously present prior to penicillin’s discovery, and thus could not be an evolutionary development. (Medical Tribune, December 29, 1988, p. 1, 23.)

In 1998, the National Academy of Sciences published and distributed a book to public schools and other institutions entitled Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science. Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D., F.M., wrote a book, Refuting Evolution, which is a topic by topic rebuttal to this Academy of Sciences publication. Under the evidence for evolution in the evolutionist text is the following quote:

▼ Similar episodes of rapid evolution are occurring in many different organisms. Rats have developed resistance to the poison warfain. Many hundreds of insect species and other agricultural pests have evolved resistance to the pesticides used to combat them – even to chemical defenses genetically engineered into plants.

(Sarfati’s reply – any words in the [boxes] are mine):

▼ However, what has this to do with the evolution of new kinds with new genetic information? Precisely nothing. What has happened in many cases is that some bacteria already had the genes for resistance to the antibiotics. In fact, some bacteria obtained by thawing sources which had been frozen before man developed antibiotics have shown to be antibiotic-resistant [6 different antibiotics in fact, penicillin in modern doses – which is way beyond the strength of natural penicillin found in nature]. When antibiotics are applied to a population of bacteria, those lacking resistance are killed, and any genetic information they carry is eliminated. The survivors carry less information [or specificity], but they are all resistant. The same principle applies to rats and insects “evolving” resistance to pesticides. Again, the resistance was already there, and creatures without resistance are eliminated.

[Much like if we killed all dogs (including Canis Domesticus and Canis Lupus) except for Chihuahuas, we would permanently lose the information of the parent population. You could then breed Chihuahuas for a millennium and not get an Irish Wolfhound]

▼ …In other cases, antibiotic resistance is the result of a mutation, but in all known cases, this mutation has destroyed information. It may seem surprising that destruction of information can sometimes help. But one example is resistance to the antibiotic penicillin. Bacteria normally produce an enzyme, penicillinase, which destroys penicillin. The amount of penicillinase is controlled by a gene. There is normally enough produced to handle any penicillin encountered in the wild, but the bacterium is overwhelmed by the amount given to patients. A mutation disabling this controlling gene results in much more penicillinase being produced.

[Thus, the bacteria found frozen in 1845 already had the mutation to overcome modern medical doses of penicillin. So the mutation wasn’t the result of the penicillin in modern doses, thus seemingly becoming resistant… it already had the resistant mutation – informational or specificity losing – in the population. In other words, no new information was added to the parent population!]

I wish to note he doesn’t respond with a) evidence, and b) with appeals to authority, as well as a response that has c) nothing to do with modern science… which is the drive of the conversation.

@PapaGiorgio You haven’t a clue what you’re talking about. You’re parroting back creationist arguments that you’re heard from some charlatan somewhere, probably a Ken Ham or Ray Comfort-type, if not those guys themselves, which is obvious by your reference to “observational” and “historical” science.

Do you really think that you know more about biology than a molecular biologist and the overwhelming consensus of biologists? Because a demonstrably false, unreliable, and contradictory tome of Bronze Age Middle Eastern mythology says otherwise?

You went to school to learn about an ancient superstition. I earned a degree which allows me to understand the evidence which makes evolution one of the most highly supported theories in all of science. It’s essential to biology. Our entire understanding of biology comes from evolution.

Your understanding of the universe comes from people trying to make up reasons behind natural phenomena they didn’t understand.

Remember, I am talking about modern science and not a mythological position from the Bronze Age. I wish to note as well that Prototype Atheist has his history woefully wrong. I will quote Building Old School Churches in regards to a response:

1) It’s Grossly Inaccurate: The vast majority of the Old Testament was written during the Iron Age (1200 BC – 500 BC) and the entire New Testament was written in the 1st Century AD and entirely postdates both the periods referred to as the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. If you want to use a snarky chronologically arrogant term to imply you are smarter than the people who preceded you merely because you were born after them, the correct term would be “Ancient Book.”

2) It’s Doesn’t Even Prove What it’s Supposed to Prove: Apart from the foolishness of asserting that people like Moses, Solomon and Aristotle were clearly idiots because they were around a long time ago and didn’t have things like Google, Microwaves, or Cup O’ Noodles, age doesn’t nullify truth or the factual nature of a record any more than the fact that something was generated recently makes it true.

For instance, “I, Rigoberta Menchu,” an autobiography that won Menchu the Nobel Prize, was written in the late 20th century, and became wildly popular and was considered by American academics to be “the gospel truth” about oppression in Central America. Subsequent investigations however revealed that Rigoberta Menchu had made up much of her life story.

In the case of the bible, if the events it records happened, the fact that they were written down a long time ago doesn’t change that factual nature of the record, and to date, every historical event the bible records that can be confirmed by archaeologyand other histories has been confirmed.

…read it all…

And for the more serious apologist, here is an excellent summation of two overlooked verses that SMACK of foundational apologetics (h/t to Poached Egg):

The Two Most Overlooked Apologetics Verses In the Bible

Hardly anybody ever mentions it, but two of the most well-known verses in the Old Testament have significant apologetic implications, lending support to the Bible’s supernatural origins. One of them I’m sure will be a surprise to many readers here; the other might also.

I will preview the argument before telling you which verses they are. In brief form it goes like this.

The ancient Hebrews’ conception of God and his relation to his creation was vastly different from that of others in the Ancient Near East. From a philosophical perspective it has been exceedingly successful for millennia since then: it was, in that sense, very highly advanced philosophy. Such uniquely prescient and enduringly successful thinking is not explained by any prior tradition, for there is no indication of advanced thought leading up to it either among the Hebrews or in any neighboring culture. Did it come from nowhere at all? Or did it come by revelation from God?

Or:

The ancient Hebrews were astonishingly advanced metaphysical thinkers. They produced a monotheism that stood in complete contrast to all other systems of thought at the time, that still works philosophically, and that today remains coherent within its own framework. How did these Bronze Age nomads and farmers accomplish that?

I have often heard it asked, “why should we look to ancient Bronze Age or Iron Age nomads/sheepherders/farmers for wisdom? What could they possibly say to us who have the advantage of so much more knowledge and science?” Good question. How could they have known anything at all that would stand the test of centuries of inquiry? But our two “overlooked apologetics verses” have done that. They are, as I said, very familiar:

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Exodus 3:13-14a “Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”

The creation account in Genesis is astonishingly different from all other creation stories. Quoting from page 32 and following of Paul Copan and William Lane Craig, Creation out of Nothing: A Biblical, Philosophical, and Scientific Exploration:

Genesis is quite unlike the Mesopotamian cosmogonies [accounts of the origin of the cosmos], for instance, which are intertwined with theogonies—accounts of the origins of the gods. In them, we are not told so much about how the universe came about—the origin of the worlds is really accidental or secondary in ANE [Ancient Near East] accounts—but how the gods emerged. And in addition to the fact that these Mesopotamian cosmogonies are really concerned with the ancestors of the gods and how they got themselves organized, they do not even identify these gods as creators. So when it comes to the elements of the universe (the waters/deep, darkness), a deity either controls one or is one….

Further, Yahweh simply speaks, thereby creating; in other ANE cosmogonies, deities struggle to divide the waters. Also in Genesis 1, the astral bodies are not gods (as in ANE accounts) but are creations.…

Gerhard von Rad makes the powerful point that Israel’s worldview, as reflected in Genesis, drew a sharp demarcating line between God and the world. The material world is purged of any quality of the divine or the demonic….

In Genesis, we read of something marvelously different than in [Ugaritic cosmogony], with its gods and hostile powers (darkness, the waters/the deep): “These cosmic monsters are no longer primordial forces opposed to the Israelite God at the beginning of creation. Instead, they are creatures like other creatures rendered in this story.” Genesis 1 depicts a “divine mastery” over these forces….

In contrast to ANE myths, there are no rivals to the Creator in Genesis [chapter] 1—let alone preexistent matter…. There is no cosmic dualism or struggle at all.

There is more but I think you can see the point: the Genesis view of God and creation is starkly different from all other views of cosmic origins and of deity…

…read it all…

 After all this, Prototype Atheist Tweeted this about lil’~ol’~me:

I am flattered. To think, me, sitting in a two bedroom condo… SeanG (AKA Papa Giorgio), has such an influence as to “hold back science” as well as “humanity.” Or.. Prototype Atheist (call me when the production model is shipped) got bested in an area where he has a degree in. In his Tweet he tries to make this a moral issue by saying I am holding back humanity. Who would want to even talk with such a person that is “holding back science and humanity… it is akin to the labels thrown around in the political world: sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, bigoted (S.I.X.H.I.R.B.). Going to ad hominem attacks and mislabeling LARGE swaths of history (the Bronze Age thingy). That’s what he is really good at, that is, lashing out on via Twitter account.