|Does the scientific evidence support evolution?
E. Norbert Smith, Ph.D.
SUMMARY. False evidence is used in textbooks to support evolution and at the heart of the debate remains a moral issue. Evolution is defined as a natural process, thus leaving no room for miracle or God. The biological “species” is more restrictive than the Genesis “kind.” Scientific evidence for any major taxonomic “kind” becoming another “kind” is totally lacking. The only hard evidence for “evolutionary changes” is for antibiotic resistant bacteria, pesticide resistant insects, color change in Peppered moths and well documented changes in domestic animals. Such changes are well within the originally created kinds and offer no evidence supporting amoeba to man evolution.
PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENTS. It seems there are two philosophical arguments that something is indeed amuck regarding the standard textbook evidences put forward to support evolution. The first is why blatantly fraudulent drawings and arguments continue to appear in high school and college textbooks decade after decade? It makes me angry that science authors and publishers continue to lie to our youth. Why would any author use indefensibly false arguments (READ “LIES”) to support evolution unless false information is the best available? Am I missing something here?
Secondly, and I think this is at the heart of whole debate, one after another leading evolutionist, when pressed as to why they so eagerly embraced evolution fail to mention the evidence. Instead they say at the core, it was for them a moral issue. Ponder this carefully.
EVOLUTION DEFINED. For our discussion lets develop a working definition of the process of evolution. Some textbooks define evolution as simply “change.” Of course living things were created with the ability to change or to adapt to an ever-changing environment, but such a meaning is so vague as to be unless. All evolution is change, but not all change is evolution. For our purposes I want to define evolution more broadly. I accept the definition used by several leading evolutionists. Evolution is the natural process by which life arose from non-living material and the process by which all living and extinct species including man arose. Evolution is generally a change toward increased complexity (single cell to man). We are speaking here of macroevolution as opposed to microevolution. One is NOT the logical outgrowth of the other. According to evolution there were some changes to less complexity (lizards to snakes and the loss of flight and eyesight in some species), but these are considered exceptions to the rule. Please remember evolutionists ALWAYS define evolution as a natural process. This point cannot be over emphasized for it means the Theistic Evolutionist lacks scientific support. If there was supernatural intervention the process was NOT evolution.
WHAT IS A SPECIES? Some Bible scholars (including Strong) have erred in trying to equate the Biblical “kind” (Miyn or Meen) to the scientific “species”. This is dangerous because few taxonomists can agree on a definition that fits all living things. It is also unwarranted from Biblical passages such as Lev 11:13-16 where the children of Israel were instructed not to eat the owl…after its kind. In modern taxonomy there are over 100 species of owls. It would seem the Biblical kind is more inclusive than the Biologist’s species. Perhaps the kind is closer to what taxonomists call a genera or some other grouping of similar species. A good working definition of an animal species is a group of actually or potentially interbreeding animals. Plant species and organisms that reproduce asexually require a somewhat more complex definition beyond our present need.
TWO KINDS OF EVIDENCE. If an attorney were to look at all the seemingly endless variety of evidences used to support evolution he or she would divide them into two categories: direct evidence and indirect evidence. By far most of the evidence used to support evolution is indirect or circumstantial. Where the evidence is circumstantial or indirect it allows for alternative interpretations are possible. We will spend a great deal of time looking at these. As Christians we must interpret the facts of science into a scriptural framework. Far too often Christians have taken the opposite approach of attempting to interpret Biblical teachings into the framework of modern science. If the evidence is real we must deal with it. If the evidence is false, lets work to get such material out of our textbooks. Some might raise the obvious question, “But aren’t scientists objective?” Yes and no. If a scientific experiment is well designed the results should be unambiguous. Unfortunately, especially regarding origins we must depend on indirect evidence. Scientists bring their own prejudices and preconceived notions to the table, as do all people. What each of us see is colored by our past experience and by our beliefs. So it is with scientists…and yes including your essayist. Beware and think for yourself!
Evolution has a surprisingly large faith element. National surveys indicate that 80 percent of parents want creation to be taught in our public schools. Unfortunately many scientists and science teachers tend to lump cell theory, atomic theory, relativity and evolution together. Evolution is NEVER taught as theory in college biology classes. I have had graduate professors (at UCLA and Texas Tech) claim there is more evidence supporting evolution than gravity. Nonsense! Evolution is accepted by faith. Cell theory, atomic theory and relativity are "hard" sciences and, as such, are falsifiable. That is, laboratory experiments, having certain results, could be conceived that would falsify them and cause the theory to fall. Not so with evolution. Unlike the "hard" sciences, evolution is not falsifiable. Instead, evolution is a belief system that attempts to account for the origin of life, and the diversity of all past and present species, by natural processes. Since life is not now arising from non-living material, or major kinds of plants or animals becoming something entirely different, evolution, unlike cell theory, atomic theory or relativity, is not scientifically testable in the laboratory. It must therefore be based largely on indirect evidence and accepted by faith.
Yes, religion, for some uninformed people, is accepted only by faith. There are however a vast cosmological, anthropological, teleological, historical, archeological, traditional as well as biblical evidence for the Christian's view of religion. Biographical experience alone adds credibility far beyond laboratory experimentation. (I know MY God is real because of what He has done in MY life.) There have been many widely published scientific studies that lend credibility to the creation view of origins. It is every bit as testable by modern science as is evolution. With this in mind let’s look at the direct evidence...it won't take long!
DIRECT EVIDENCE. The amount of actual verifiable direct evidence for evolution is surprisingly small for something so widely accepted. Perhaps it is this paucity of hard evidence that convinced me early on that evolution was accepted on faith and not on the scientific evidence. That belief has only deepened with education and time. Most textbooks discuss only two “Direct proofs” of evolution. Both are extremely weak, as we shall see. The first is the infamous Peppered Moths of Great Britain and the other is the oft-evoked pesticide tolerance of certain worms and insects and resistance of various pathogens to antibiotics.
PEPPERED MOTHS. The Peppered Moth is indigenous to Britain and exists in two common morphological types: dark and light colored. Look at the photograph sent separately. There are also several intergrades. Like other moths, Peppered moths are active at night and rest on trees during the day. During the early 1800’s Peppered moths rested on light-colored lichens that grow on tree trunks. Nearly all the moths collected during this period were light-colored. Only a few dark colored moths were collected as they were easy targets for hungry birds. In the mid-1800's, however, factories burned so much coal that soot settled over the countryside, killing the lichens and blackening the tree trunks. Light-colored moths on dark-colored trees were easily seen and eaten by birds. As a result, more of the black moths survived and produced offspring. Within 50 years, most moths in heavily polluted areas were black. After air pollution laws were passed in the mid-1900's, the tree trunks became lighter as lichens again grew on them, and the number of light-colored moths increased.
Light and dark color phases of the Peppered Moth. Photo by Dr. Smith.
This is one of the standard proofs given in textbooks that that evolution actually occurs. To accept this as proof of evolution is naïve…or worse. Both the white and dark Peppered moths are still Peppered moths. No new specie has evolved! How such color change can be touted as “proof positive” of evolution beats me. I see it as evidence an all-wise Creator would foresee the need for color change with future pollution. Genetic variability is real and is good, but can hardly explain the creation of a new species. God placed limits on genetic variably for he commanded that each newly created kind would reproduce only after its kind. (Gen 1) And so it remains today.
PESTICIDE RESISTANCE. Having lived most of my life on a cattle farm I am well aware that flies and other parasites do in fact develop remarkable resistance to various pest controls. We must change to a different kind of fly repellent ear tag in cattle every few years. Even flies and mosquitoes development resistance to the various chemicals use to control, repel or kill them. Yes, organisms were created with the ability to meet environmental changes, but no new specie comes forth. The pests remain the same specie of fly, worm or mosquito. Again I see the might hand of an all-wise Creator not evidence of how life arose or how our millions of species of plants and animals evolved.
ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE. Certainly evidence abounds for antibiotic resistant bacteria. Some years back a person had to have a lung removed because the strain of infecting tuberculosis bacteria had become unresponsive to every known antibiotic. I think this problem will intensify in the coming decades, but do not see it as proof positive of evolution. Such changes, although profound, did not change the tuberculosis bacteria into anything but a stronger more resistant tuberculosis bacterium.
DOMESTIC ANIMALS. Charles Darwin spent many pages in The Origin of Species documenting changes in domestic farm animals brought about by centuries of intensive selective breeding. Yet a sheep remains a sheep; a cow a cow. We now understand a great deal more about genetics than did Darwin. In fact it is argued that had he (or the scientific community) known what we now know about the ultra conservative way various inherited traits are passed from one generation to the next, Darwin’s form of evolution would have been rejected. We now understand a finite number of genes govern any one trait such as milk or wool production. Once all those genes are selected for additional improvement is impossible. I cow cannot become merely a milk producing machine. She must be able to move about, graze, sleep and reproduce. Here and in other places Darwin thought changes could continue without limit, thus his popular argument for the origin of the long necks of giraffes occurring generation after generation when only those with the longest necks could survive. The very inheritance Darwin proposed to power evolution prohibits gradual change without limit.
If this is the best of the direct evidences supporting evolution then I must confess I am far from convinced. How about you? I find it instructive when students ask for better evidence that evolution is now occurring; they are quickly told the process is far to slow to witness. Yet, when the same student asks why there is no fossil record of any group of plants or animals changing into another group of plants or animals; they are told evolution occurs much to rapidly to leave fossil evidence. Yeah, sure and would you like to buy some desert resort land in Arizona?
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