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Discussion 1 to Talk Back 96
Response to Nine Problems With Evolution

by: Clay Chesney

To add to this exchange of views (or any other,) please use the Contact form. This discussion has been continued.

I am not a paleontologist but have had some brushes with the subject, so I offer the following comments.  I appreciate Mr. Turnipseed’s willingness to put forth his beliefs in a forum that is likely to provide sharply critical review.  I’ve trimmed back some of the original text to save space.  If my responses are sometimes flippant it is not meant as derisive but embellishment. 

Problem #1:  Evolution is also faith.

In the end, most people who believe in evolution are not scientists, therefore they believe in evolution not because they can prove it scientifically, but because someone told them it was so. . 

Evolution is supported by fact, not by “what most people believe in.”  This comment is irrelevant to whether evolution actually operates.

Problem #2:  Mutations

The vast majority of mutations -- like a 1,000 to one -- are harmful. Thus, unregulated mutation is far more likely to destroy a species over time than evolve it

Mutations happen to individuals, not to the whole population at once.  The individuals with harmful mutations do not survive to reproduce, but the ones with beneficial mutations do, and they are the ones that spread their genes through the population.  Capiche?

Problems #3: Gaps in the Fossil Record

The fossil record reveals no transitional species (animals changing from one major kind to another, like a lizard to a bird) when the record, if Darwin was correct, should be full of them. . . tend to suddenly appear in the fossil record without precedent (as if they were created?) and then disappear.

Ah, but there are many, many cases of transitional fossils. Speaking of lizard to bird, surely you have heard of Archaeopteryx, and  dinosaur fossils with feathers have been found in a number of places, showing their relationship to modern birds; the morphological series is so transitional that biologists have trouble telling when dinosaurs ended and birds began.  And you must not have seen the depictions of the evolution of the horses that shows the increase in size through time and the loss of toes.  A number of transitional fossils have been found that show the evolution of whales from early land animals.  A transition between small land reptiles and the sea-going mosasaurs of the Cretaceous Period has been found recently, and the relationships of the various species of dinosaurs are clearly defined by their skeletal features.   New transitional species are being found continually.  

Nothing appears without precedent.  The relationships between animal groups through time, as shown by their anatomy, is what allows biologists to divide them along lines of ancestry.  And these are very clear in most cases.   If it were not, then comparative anatomy would be chaotic, which it isn’t.

 The very existence of the Punctuated Equilibrium Theory (the idea that evolution sometimes takes sudden leaps) is proof positive that even evolutionary scientists believe that there are gaps in the fossil record.

Gaps in the fossil record don’t disprove evolution.  Punctuated equilibrium is a good explanation of why evolution occurs in spurts in many cases.  But gradual evolution has been demonstrated also.   

So where is the evidence for punctuated equilibrium? It is LACK of evidence -- the missing transitional species! Isn’t it just as likely that the transitional species are missing because they never existed?

Anyone who says that divine intervention is just as likely as a reasonable and rational explanation doesn’t understand the meaning of irony.

Problem #4:  Still Insects

According to evolution, insects emerged millions of years before mammals did. Furthermore, because of their short reproductive cycles, insects have A LOT more generations than mammals, thus they get a shot at the "evolutionary lottery" A LOT more than mammals do. And yet, we are MUCH further ahead evolutionally than insects are. So why don’t the insects get any better?  Where are the great insect civilizations?

I bet that some insects are smarter than others, in their own limited way.  But their environment does not call for great intelligence.  They are well adapted to an environment and life that we can not take advantage of in the same way.  They are superior to us in exploiting that environment.  Why would you think they should become like humans?

Problem #5:  Some Progress, Some Don’t

Why does Joe the Fish to evolve, but leaves Bill the Fish a fish? Both Bob and Bill are the exact same species and live in the exact same environment. Yet Joe goes from Amphibian to Reptile to Bird to Mammal to Primate and eventually becomes a man, while poor Bill remains a freakin’ fish. Whatever happened to "survival of the fittest"? The problem with saying that all higher orders of animals are derived from fish is that we still have fish!

So, when children grow up why do we still have children?  If something new comes from fish, it doesn’t mean that fish are not still best at being fish, does it?  If one of them moves out onto the land it doesn’t mean the rest all follow.  C’mon, now!

The problem of saying that all current species evolved from single cell organisms is we still have single cell organisms

Now look, if there is any drive in nature it is to fill all the habitats and exploit all the opportunities.  Why would there not be single celled organisms forever?  If your son moves to Hawaii and takes up surfing you don’t have to do the same.  A new species doesn’t drag all the old ones along with it.

Problem #6:  Similarity of Chemical Makeup

Evolutionists say that the fact that all life is based on the same basic chemical makeup is evidence that we all evolved from a common ancestor.   When we note that all Ford vehicles are pretty much made out of the same things, and are all arranged in the same basic design, do we assume that they all evolved by themselves from a common ancestor or that a creator (in this case, Ford Motor Company) made them?  

No, I don’t think the biologists are going to say that cars evolved by themselves. This is commonly known as a specious argument.

Problem #7:  Irreducible Complexity

At some point in a living cell, we get to the point where one part simply cannot live without the other parts. The parts are all interconnected -- take away one, and the rest immediately die.  {Use mousetrap = spring, hammer, trigger, plate or flashlight = battery + plastic housing + bulb + switch}

Remember that to begin evolution, life must be produced from inorganic matter.  Ideally, the right combination of inorganic chemicals will produce a living cell.  Wherefore evolution requires that at some time in the distant past, certain chemicals – dead chemicals -- formed by random factors into a living cell.

The extended discussion that follows these two paragraphs amounts to two things.   1) We do not know how the first cells might have formed, and 2) we can not duplicate that process.  Quite true, but since when is saying we don’t know how something happened an argument that it happened by supernatural forces?  Science is all about finding out those things we don’t know by research on nature and its workings.   There has been ongoing research for some time in this area.  If it eventually results in scientists producing a cell will you change your mind about the whole issue?

Problem #8:  Probability

If you throw lumber, glass, paint, and bricks at a spot long enough, will you eventually build a house? What if I give you millions of years?  Let’s say we drive out to the desert and see a house.  What’s more likely – that someone built the house or that it formed all by itself?  A single living cell is far more complex than any house!

Some people say I’m comparing apples and oranges, because only living things evolve (by themselves) and a house is not alive.  But we have already seen that in order for evolution to get started at all, a lot of non-living chemicals have to combine spontaneously and precisely in order to form a living cell, so the analogy still applies. If a house therefore cannot build itself, how can something more complex than any house – the first living cell – build itself?  

I don’t think you know everything that goes on in nature, and neither you nor I know how such a process might happen or how likely it might be.  Comparing it to your house is absurd.  Chemicals in nature do combine spontaneously and precisely, and implying this is a rare event is very misleading. We are all made of “non-living” chemicals, but we are also alive.  Once again, not knowing how a physical process might happen is not a logical argument that it is motivated supernaturally.

Problem #9:  Domesticated Animals:

Remember when I said the vast majority of mutations are harmful? If that’s true, why do we have domesticated animals?  Look at all the different variations of cats and dogs, and of cows, pigs, chickens, etc.  Isn’t that proof that unregulated evolution via mutation works?  (What do you say to this?)

a)      Domesticated animals do not naturally evolve.  Their “evolution” is purposefully and intentionally directed by a power higher than the animals – in this case, the human farmers and ranchers.  If it is your argument that mutations, and therefore evolution can only work when a Higher Power is guiding it, then you may have a point!

You are right to put the “evolution” in quotes, because it isn’t evolution.  Selective breeding has nothing to do with natural evolution.    

b)      Domesticated animals are fed, protected, and provided with medical care by humans. This is a far cry from any natural environment where only the fittest is supposed to survive.  We humans have bred yappy little toy lapdogs that many people think make fine pets, but how long would such a thing last in the wild? Some sheep farmers have developed a breed of sheep with short, stumpy legs which prevent them from running fast or jumping over fences. And when domesticated animals do escape to the wild and survive, (like the Spanish horses did in the American West) they began to revert to their natural state.

In short, domesticated animals and plants “evolve” in an artificial environment and “de-evolve”in a natural environment. This is evidence that evolution naturally occurs?

Couldn’t be more wrong.  They do not “evolve” under selective breeding;  they are still the same species.  They don’t “devolve” when released to the wild, either because they are still the same species.  This is a red herring that has nothing to do with natural selection.

c)    Domestication of plants and animals reveals the limitations of a creature’s DNA, strongly suggesting, if not proving outright, that a new species cannot evolve from an existing one. Take dogs, for example. After thousands of years of artificial evolution, we have created St. Bernards, Chihuahuas, German Shepherds, Blue Tick Hounds, Dachshunds, and hundreds of other varieties of dogs.  But no matter how much we screw with the species, they are ALL DOGS!  We can’t make a new species.  No matter how much we screw with the dog’s DNA, the most we can ever come up with is another kind of dog. (Why is that a problem for evolution?)

Who says we have been trying to make dogs into anything other than dogs? Selective breeding is not changing the basic dog DNA but you are ignoring the mutations that occur in nature and result in new species.  However, there might be a way to change an animal radically by altering its DNA in the lab to create a new species.  Genes are linked in certain ways and some of them are dormant in the animal, left over from earlier species but suppressed at present.  A famous paleontologist believes he will be able to work on the DNA of an ostrich and turn on some of the old genetic code for dinosaurs that are dormant and make it grow a long tail, teeth and maybe turn the wings to arms.   He predicts that this will be a reality within a few years.  What will you think if he does this?

 Supposedly, Bacteria slowly became Fish which slowly become Amphibians which slowly become Reptiles which slowly become Birds which slowly become Mammals which slowly become Apes which slowly become people.  

And yet, our experience with domesticated animals strongly suggests that a fish can’t slowly become anything other than another kind of fish.  In the world of Evolution, fish became amphibians.   Well, fish farmers have tamed many breeds of fish. But they have yet to compete with the frog legs market in France by turning any of their fish into frogs.  The evidence suggests that it simply can’t be done.

It suggests no such thing.  You are right when you say “slowly”.  Our experience has been pitifully short.  We haven’t been trying to create new species, and if we were, it would take a lot longer time than we have put into it already if we made use of the mutations that nature provides. 

Evolutionists like to point out all of the variations that supposedly evolved in Darwin’s famous finches.  What they fail to realize is that not only are those things ALL birds, they are ALL FINCHES!!   There is no evolution going on.  They are not becoming any other type of animal. They are all of them finches. So exactly how do Darwin’s finches provide evidence of evolution?

Incredibly, you seem to recognize that new species of finches developed on the islands, and yet you say that evolution is not going on!  How is this?  If one species of finch evolves into another it is not evolution?  If one species of bird evolves into another it is not evolution?  Once you recognize that one species can develop from another you should see that a chain of those events can lead to a vastly different type of animal.

I will take this opportunity to list my favorite problems with the theory of creationism.

10 PROBLEMS WITH CREATIONISM

  1.  It does not explain why the rocks older than about one billion years have only single celled organisms  as fossils.  Did God wait for two billion years before starting to make animals?
  2. Why do the rocks show the more advanced  creatures in the younger layers.  Old rocks start to show primitive multi-celled animals at first, then as you go upward in the layers and the rocks get younger, they show many strange creatures  such as trilobites, and younger rocks show fish, and then even younger rocks show amphibians, then reptiles then dinosaurs, then  mammals and birds.  Why aren’t the different types of fossils scattered through the layers?
  3. Why did God kill all the species that have become extinct?   Don’t say it was the great flood, because they didn’t all die at the same time – there were many extinctions of individual species at different times, and most of them lived under water anyway.
  4. Why did God want to keep making new species and replacing old ones?  What purpose would that serve?
  5. Why do we have DNA?  God doesn’t need DNA to make us. 
  6. Why did God make our DNA so much like the DNA of chimps?
  7. Why did God make dinosaurs  and let them rule the earth for so long?
  8. Why did God put all the fossils of humans in the very uppermost rock layers?
  9. Why didn’t God make us better so we would live longer and be better people?
  10. Why doesn’t God just come down and settle the argument?