Elementary my dear Darwin
by Chriss Hanlon
Ever since 1859, when Charles Darwin first proposed the theory of evolution, many prominent followers have attempted to establish their own concept of origins by any means, even resorting to blatantly non-empirical methods if need be. Perhaps the most notable of these is the insistence by some that Darwinism can be demonstrated on the sheer basis of an exercise in deductive reasoning alone. While individual versions may vary, the basic formulation generally assumes the following format:
A) We know that all organisms reproduce. B) We know that all organisms display variations as a result of heredity. C) Each inherited variation produces a somewhat different effect on the reproduction process. D) Therefore variations which promote a positive reproductive effect will be perpetuated, whereas negative effects will be extinguished, thereby resulting in the evolution of all organisms.
While this line of reasoning appears rather impressive at first blush, and particularly so to those uncritical in their thinking, it is our purpose to determine its validity in the light of careful scrutiny. As we examine this evolutionary thesis one predominant theme becomes readily apparent. In essence, we are being told that the fittest organisms invariably produce the greatest number of offspring, as well as that by definition, those which produce the greatest number of offspring are in fact the fittest organisms.
What this amounts to then is a tautology, that is, a method of expressing the same thought twice. While this makes for an interesting literary effect, a tautology, unfortunately, does not actually explain anything at all. In other words, if we seek to discover by what means an amphibian can develop into a mammal, we are unenlightened by being assured that the organisms which produce the most offspring, produce the most offspring.
Seen as such, Darwinism is actually a non-scientific theory which although designed to be an all-purpose explanation for everything, amounts in actual practice to an explanation of absolutely nothing. In order to further examine this deductive reasoning, we need to touch somewhat on the fossil record.
It is fascinating to note that the same basic array of similarities and differences exist today, both among the living and among the fossils. What this suggests is that there are enormous quantities, of what can well be described as living breathing fossils, which, so far as science can determine, have not changed at all over many millions of years. This state of affairs leads one to the unavoidable conclusion that the primary defining characteristic of the fossil record is that of stasis.
Stasis is the observed condition of the fossil evidence, consistent with the fact that the vast majority of species tend to exhibit no directional progression throughout their history on earth. That is, their first appearance as well as their last or current forms are essentially the same. This fundamental absence of substantial change is well documented, making stasis the rule rather than the exception.
By way of illustration, the following chart presents typical examples of the reality of stasis. Each of the fossil specimens contained within are certified as being all but identical to the living species of today. While this is not intended to be an exhaustive list, it is in fact prototypical of the overall pattern.
Era - Period - Epoch Darwinian Estimate Identified Species Precambrian 3 Billion Years Algae - Bacteria - Fungi Cambrian 600 Million Years Jellyfish - Snails - Sponges Ordovician 500 Million Years Clams - Starfish - Worms Silurian 440 Million Years Corals - Scorpions Devonian 400 Million Years Lungfish - Sharks Carboniferous 350 Million Years Cockroaches - Ferns Permian 270 Million Years Beetles - Dragonflies Triassic 225 Million Years Palms - Pines Jurassic 180 Million Years Crocodiles - Turtles Cretaceous 135 Million Years Ducks - Pelicans Paleocene 70 Million Years Hedgehogs - Rats Eocene 60 Million Years Lemurs - Rhinoceroses Oligocene 40 Million Years Ants - Beavers - Squirrels Miocene 25 Million Years Camels - Wolves Pliocene 12 Million Years Elephants - Horses Pleistocene 2 - 3 Million Years Man
The fact that these and so many other species are essentially unchanged over the course of time, provides amazing testimony to the stagnation of Darwinism. In addition, it completely contradicts the deductive reasoning upon which much of evolutionary thought is based. How do Darwinists react to these established facts from the fossil record? Do they alter their theories to account for the empirical data? Or do they maintain their preconceived notions despite the evidence to the contrary?
Generally, the Darwinist response is to skirt around the evidence by suggesting that individual species failed to develop due to "evolutionary constraints". While these come in various flavours, irrespective of whichever form they assume, they amount to basically the same thing. Namely, we are asked to accept that this great creative force known as evolution, which is somehow capable of producing limitless numbers and varieties of life forms, is also, at the same time, extremely self constrained. In essence, what they are actually saying is that these many species did not evolve simply because they did not evolve.
How ironic given that all the while their immediate relatives were supposedly evolving all around them. It appears that we have now come back full circle to another tautology, albeit this time to one which is contrary to the former. Remember that these are many of the same people who assure us that all organisms must change, by way of the deductive reasoning presented near the beginning of this column.
Can they have it both ways? If all organisms must change, (read - evolve), and many have not evolved because they did not evolve, what are we left with? This is the type of "logic" which is being presented on the evolutionary side of the debate. To the diehard Darwinist the question remains, why would an organism evolve into a much higher form of life and then suddenly stop evolving?
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Cliff Hanlon is the President of the Berea Foundation.
"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen". (Jude 24-25, KJV)