A Doctrine in Search of a Scientific Theory
by Christopher C. Warren, M.A. Biochemistry (Oxford)
"All reputable evolutionary biologists now agree that the evolution of life is directed by the process of natural selection, and by nothing else."1 With these words Sir Julian Huxley summed up the consensus of learned opinion at the Darwin Centennial Celebration in 1959.
Among the eminent biologists and evolutionists attending the celebration, great confidence prevailed that the origin of living species was now almost fully understood. Evolutionists had clearly established that all living organisms had gradually evolved through small variations in form and function, slowly accumulating, generation by generation, over a vast span of geological time. Geneticists had shown that all biological variations arose from random genetic accidents called mutations. Evolutionary theorists, building on this finding, had clearly identified Darwinian natural selection as the sole guiding force that sorted out these variations and thereby moulded the diverse forms of living beings. Although many minute details certainly remained to be worked out, scientists believed they had arrived at an essentially complete understanding of life and its historical development.
With this striking unanimity of established scientific opinion reached little more than three decades ago, perhaps we are surprised to hear that the theory of evolution has, over the last decade, become the focus of a great controversy among evolutionists themselves. The 1980s saw the established theory of mutation and natural selection increasingly challenged by critical studies and dissenting interpretations of the evidence. The theory has clearly shown itself unsound, although scientists have thus far been unable to devise an acceptable new theory to replace it.
A little over a decade ago this controversy became a bear battle as some 150 prominent evolutionists gathered at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History to thrash out various conflicting hypotheses about the nature of evolution. After four days of heated discussions (closed to all but a few outside observers), the evolutionists remained convinced that evolution is a fact. Unfortunately, however, they could not reach a clear understanding of just what this fact is. The New York Times reported that the assembled scientists were unable either to specify the mechanism of evolution or to agree on "how anyone could establish with some certainty that it happened one way and not another"2.
Why this shift from unanimity and certainty to controversy and indecision? In this article we shall try to answer this question by examining some basic features of the modern theory of evolution. We shall try to identify the reasons why many scientists have sought an evolutionary explanation of life, and we shall also point out some of the problems that have impeded their efforts. We shall argue that the theory of evolution has been motivated more by philosophical misunderstanding than by the strength of empirical evidence and that the current confusion among evolutionary theorists has come about because factual evidence has persistently refused to conform to the patterns imposed by an inconsistent and inadequate philosophical system. Finally, we shall present for these philosophical problems a solution that can lead to a more satisfactory understanding of the nature and origin of life.
Evolution is Invisible
When Charles Darwin originally set forth his evolutionary theory, he maintained that the forms of living organisms change slowly and continuously from generation to generation and that over many millions of years these changes bring about new species and higher categories of organisms. One immediate implication of this theory was that the fossil record of ancient plant and animal life should display a continuum of fossilised life forms ranging from the most primitive to the most advanced. Given that organisms tend to leave occasional fossilised remains, scientists naturally expected to a petrified motion picture of evolutionary history entombed in the earth's sedimentary rocks.
But in Darwin's time it was well known that the fossil record did not actually reveal such a picture. On the contrary, paleontology had observed that distinct plant and animal species tended to appear abruptly in the fossil strata without recognizable antecedents. Each species remained essentially unchanged throughout the strata bearing its fossilized remains. Fossils yielded practically no evidence of gradual change from one species to another.
Darwin admitted that the fossil evidence, far from supporting his theory, seemed directly to contradict it. He responded by proposing that the fossil record was drastically incomplete. The innumerable intermediate life forms required by his theory must have existed, he claimed, but they had left no recognizable traces in the fossil deposits known in his time. Darwin suggested that further research would undoubtedly uncover many of these missing forms, and their discovery would vindicate his theory.
For many years orthodox evolutionary opinion has adhered to Darwin's basic views. But dissenting voices have increasingly been heard. At the meeting in Chicago, Niles Eldridge, a paleontologist from the American Museum of Natural History in New York, declared: "The pattern we were told to find for the last 120 years does not exist."3 Despite intense effort, several generations of paleontologists have found few examples in which one fossil species seems to transform gradually into another, and some researchers say none at all have been found.
As a result, Eldridge, Gould, and several other prominent paleontologists proposed that species do not actually arise by a slow process of transformation. As an alternative, they devised what they called the theory of "punctuated equilibrium"4. This theory has, in the late 1990s, virtually replaced classical Darwinian evolutionary theory.
According to Eldridge and Gould, evolutionary changes take place in short bursts separated by long periods during which the forms of living organisms remain static. A typical species will arise from an earlier species in a "geological microsecond" -- a period of a few thousand years that appears like an instant from the multimillion-year perspective of geological time. Also, a species will not arise through a gradual modification of its parent population. Rather, it will arise when a tiny group that has been isolated from the main population, perhaps by a geographical barrier, is rapidly transformed.
One consequence of the theory of punctuated equilibrium is that it makes the process of large-scale evolution officially invisible. On one hand, we cannot expect the fossil record to show how a new species evolved, for the evolution takes place in a tiny population, during a geological "microsecond". On the other hand, we cannot expect to see a new species evolve within the recorded span of human history, for a geological microsecond of 10,000 to 50,000 years is still immensely long when measured in human lifetimes.
Of course, we may possibly observe small-scale changes in organisms, like those produced through controlled breeding, or like the famous change in colour exhibited by the peppered moths of industrial England. Yet such changes are known to be reversible, and at most they result in only minor variations within a species. For example, settlers introduced domesticated rabbits into Australia in 1788, and some escaped and flourished in the wild. Yet despite the effects of breeding by humans, these domesticated rabbits were still classed as rabbits, and today their descendants have reverted to their ancestral form: they look exactly like wild rabbits5.
But explaining superficial variations of this kind is not the real problem confronting evolutionists. The real problem is explaining how higher forms of plants and animals have arisen from lower forms, and how these in turn have arisen from inanimate matter. No large-scale transformations of this kind have ever been observed within the brief span of human history. The orthodox Darwinian theory maintains that such transformations should be directly visible in the fossil record. But the theory of punctuated equilibrium says we should not expect even the fossil record to show these transformations. In fact, the actual process that brings about new species of life has always been invisible. Now, in the new theory propounded by Eldridge and Gould, this process is held to be invisible even in principle.
The Enigma of Biological Form
If we cannot hope to find direct evidence delineating the development of major new forms of life, we might at least expect the theory of evolution to provide us a convincing explanation of how, in principle, such developments might take place. Since the Darwinian theory asserts that small variations in organic form gradually accumulate, we might expect evolutionary theorists to provide us with plausible evolutionary sequences leading from lower to higher forms of life. In such evolutionary sequences, each organism should be fit to live in its particular environment, and the differences between successive organisms in the chain should be of the kind we would expect from random mutation.
When we examine the literature of evolutionary theory, we do indeed encounter many explanations of this kind, but in every case they are disappointingly vague and incomplete. Typical is this statement by Ernst Mayr: "The evolution of the eye ultimately hinges on one particular property of certain types of protoplasm -- photosensitivity...Once one admits that the possession of such photosensitivity may have selective value, all else follows by necessity."6 Mayr does not, and indeed can not, specify particular steps leading from a photosensitive speck to a fully developed eye. His account of the evolution of the eye is typical of theoretical evolutionary explanations, for it relies on an abiding faith in the power of natural selection and mutation to effect large-scale transformations in organic form that evolutionists themselves cannot even imagine, much less observe.
Although evolutionists have adhered to this mode of explanation for many years, its appeal has already waned. According to a report in Science, the predominant view among the evolutionists assembled at the Chicago meeting was that gradual selective accumulation of small variations cannot account for the appearance of new species7.
What has happened is that many evolutionists are now openly acknowledging one of the fundamental problems confronting evolutionary theory -- the problem posed by the complex networks of structure and function that are characteristic of living organisms. Generally, each component of such a network is essential for the proper functioning of the whole. How, then, could the complete arrangement have arisen through a finely graded series of functional intermediary forms? In the past many evolutionists have been content to accept on faith that such sequences must always be possible. But since the 1980s a large number of prominent evolutionists are openly admitting that in many significant cases the required intermediate stages simply may not exist.
To illustrate this problem in evolutionary theory, we shall consider a simple example provided by a type of flatworm called the Microstomum8. This flatworm is equipped with a kind of defensive cell called a nematocyst, which can fire a poisonous barbed thread. When the flatworm is attacked by a predator, the nematocysts, situated just beneath the surface of the worm's back, are discharged, thereby stinging the assailant and driving it away.
The most interesting aspect of this arrangement is that the nematocysts are not produced from the tissue of the flatworm itself. Rather, they are stolen from the hydra, an aquatic organism on which the flatworm preys. The hydra has tentacles armed with several kinds of nematocysts, which it uses to subdue and capture the small animals on which it feeds. Some of these cells fire poisonous barbs, and others discharge various types of coiled and sticky threads that enable the hydra to hold on to its prey.
The flatworms generally avoid hydras. But biologists have observed that when the flatworms need more nematocysts, they will eat hydras and digest all of their tissues except these particular cells. The nematocysts are neither damaged nor discharged, but are enclosed within certain cells, which carry them toward the flatworm's back. The nematocysts that fire coiled or sticky threads are then digested, but those that fire poisonous barbs are transported to sites beneath the outer layer of the worm's back.
There the nematocysts are oriented so that their stings will fire upward. The epithelial cells, which form the worm's outer layer, become very thin just above the newly positioned nematocysts, thus providing portholes for the firing of the stings. Finally, the cells that have encapsulated the nematocysts undergo extensive changes that enable these cells to act as trigger mechanisms. (The hydra's original trigger mechanism is contained in a type of cell called a cnidoblast, which the flatworm digests).
Let us consider whether or not these defensive arrangements of the flatworm could have evolved step by step. An evolutionary scenario would have to begin with an ancestral flatworm that ate hydras but did not make use of the nematocysts. In such a worm, what would be the fist evolutionary step leading to the eventual exploitation of the nematocysts as defensive weapons? Unless the nematocysts were actually used as weapons, for the worm to manipulate them internally would be useless. Indeed, it would be dangerous, since the flatworm can easily be killed by the discharge of the hydra's stings.
Yet each step in the internal processing of the nematocysts is essential for their eventual use as weapons. If they were not transported to the flatworm's back. they could not be usefully developed. If transported to the back but oriented incorrectly. they would be useless or even dangerous. If they were oriented beneath the epithelial of normal thickness, the discharged sting would lose its momentum whilst passing through the epithelium, and the worm would sting itself.
There is also a further problem. Evidently the nematocysts are not triggered simply by pressure applied to the worm's back. Rather, their firing is governed by a complex control mechanism within the worm. Without this trigger mechanism the whole arrangement would be useless, even if the nematocysts were properly oriented beneath epithelial "portholes".
When examined closely, each step in the internal manipulation of the nematocysts resolves into a complex of substeps. For example, for a nematocyst to be transported to the back of the flatworm, one of the worm's cells must first recognize it, and then the cell must initiate a process of motion that specifically carries the nematocyst to the worm's dorsal region. These are both complex procedures. Yet for the flatworm to take advantage of the hydra's nematocysts, it would seem that many complex arrangements of this kind must be present simultaneously.
We can conclude that the standard Darwinian or neo-Darwinian theory of evolution cannot readily explain the origin of complicated interlocking arrangements such as the flatworm's defensive system. Yet such systems are by no means rare in nature. Indeed, it might be argued that nearly all complex organs and systems of organs in living beings involve many essential interdependent elements and that they are therefore not amenable to explanation by traditional evolutionary concepts.
The Return of the Hopeful Monster
We have seen that the standard mechanism of evolutionary theory is inadequate to explain the development of complex living forms. How, then, can the origin of species be explained? At the Chicago Conference there were signs that at least some evolutionists were trying to resurrect a theory that was greeted with almost universal scorn and derision when first proposed in the 1940s9. This is the theory of "the hopeful monster", devised by geneticist Richard Goldschmidt.
The key to this theory is the idea that the genetic system of organisms must be so arranged that a single mutation can produce, in one stroke, an elaborate systematic change in biological structure and function. Almost all known mutations result in gross defects, and a few result in small modifications that can be useful for the organism under suitable environmental conditions. According to Goldschmidt, however, there must exist a special type of mutation capable to generating new complex structures, such as functional legs, wings, or lungs. Most of these macromutations, as he called them, would result in bizarre monstrosities completely unfit for survival. But a few macromutations would produce "hopeful monsters", novel creatures that just happened to be adapted to a totally new mode of existence.10
This theory is now at a very tentative and speculative stage, and many evolutionists still view it with suspicion. Nonetheless, it represents an important trend in modern evolutionary thought, and it illustrates the desperate extremes to which evolutionists have been forced to go in their efforts to construct a workable evolutionary theory. We shall therefore briefly consider some of the reasoning underlying the theory of the hopeful monster.
In its present recension, this theory relies on the concepts of regulative and structural genes11. Biologists define a structural gene as a sequence of DNA coding that defines a specific structural element of a living organism. An example is the gene for haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment of the red blood cells. In contrast, a regulative gene is a sequence of DNA coding that controls the timing and order of expression of other genes. We can envision an interacting system of regulative and structural genes that acts as a kind of genetic computer program. Such a program might be capable of expressing and repressing various combinations of structural genes in a complex and systematic way. The hopeful monster theory proposes that small changes in such genetic programs might result in the systematic large-scale changes in biological organization that evolutionary theorists need.
Biologists cite certain kinds of mutations as evidence for the existence of regulatory genes. For example, sometimes horses are born with three-toed feet. One might tentatively explain this variation by saying that although the genetic system of the horse always has the structural information for a multi-toed foot, in normal horses a regulatory gene suppressed the genes for all the toes but one. When a mutation disables this regulatory gene, the latent genetic information is expressed, and a multi-toed horse is born.
A certain mutation of fruit flies provides another possible example of the interaction of regulative and structural genes. In this mutation, known as aristapedia, a fully developed leg grows from the head of the fly in the position where the antenna normally grows. Scientists explain this anomaly by proposing that the regulative and structural genes for the leg comprise a kind of "subroutine" that is set in motion under the control of other regulatory genes. These regulatory genes may store information specifying the location of the leg, and if this information is disrupted by a mutation, the leg may form in an abnormal place.
Although the theory of regulative genes is still highly speculative, it does not seem unreasonable as a way of explaining certain types of mutation. But how this theory can account for Goldschmidt's hypothetical "macromutations" that produce complex, finely co-ordinated organs in a single stroke is not at all clear.
We shall try to illustrate the potentialities and limitations of systems of regulatory genes by constructing a simple artificial example. We can regard the following array of symbols as a "genetic" system for a series of English sentences:
I am in (2); the orthodox (1) in (3). I believe I am in (9) as an (8) would be in if set to learn (5). The (8) (1) it was (7); () yet I cannot keep out of (4).
1 - would say; 2 - thick mud; 3 - fetid abominable mud; 4 - the question; 5 - the first book of Euclid; 6 - and I am in much the same mind; 7 - no manner of use; 8 - old gorilla; 9 - much the same frame of mind.
The code used in this genetic system is almost self-explanatory. To produce the encoded English statements, simply replace each number in parentheses with the corresponding numbered phrase. The result is the following statement made by Charles Darwin about the mechanism of large-scale evolution:
I am in thick mud; the orthodox would say in a fetid abominable mud. I believe I am in much the same frame of mind as an old gorilla would be in if set to learn the first book of Euclid. The old gorilla would say it was no manner of use; yet I cannot keep out the question.12
In our artificial genetic system, the numbers in parentheses play the rôle of regulatory genes, and the phrases play the rôle of structural genes. If we mutate the regulatory gene (4), changing it to (3), we shall observe a change in Darwin's statements similar to the aristapedia mutation in fruit flies. (We invite the reader to try and observe the effects). Also, when we examine the genetic system closely, we find that a mutation has changed one regulatory gene to (). If we convert this gene to (6), Darwin's statement apparently acquires an entirely new sentence, although all that has actually happened is that the complete text of the original has been restored.
We can thus see that various kinds of large-scale effects result from mutations in the regulatory genes of our artificial system. yet all of these effects have one thing in common. They all involve the manipulation of material already present in the genetic system. To induce the system to produce something entirely new is a different matter.
For example, we invite the reader to try and find mutations that will e expand Darwin's remarks to include the following statement from his Origin of the Species:
I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more and more aquatic in their habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale13.
We find ourselves in a quandary. We can gradually build up this additional statement by many small mutations, each of which might occur by "chance" with a reasonably high probability. But the intermediate states will all entail nonsensical sentence fragments that correspond in our analogy to useless or harmful mutant organs. We can also introduce the entire statement by a single random mutation; but then we are confronted by the problem that such a mutation must be exceedingly improbable. The more numerous the letters involved, the more improbable it is that they will fall into place the way you want them. The probability goes down exponentially with the number of variables, and the same can be said in general about the multifeatured biological mutations.
Of course, we could devise a genetic system in which a mutation in a single regulatory gene would cause our new statement suddenly to manifest itself. But could we do this without, in effect, building the statement into the system? If not, one might naturally ask how such complex latent information got into the genetic system in the first place.
Questions such as these cannot be avoided in the study of bears, whales, and living beings in general. The point of our artificial example is that the concepts of regulative and structural genes, although suggesting possible ways to explain several kinds of mutations, do not automatically answer these questions. The real problem of evolutionary theory -- how to account for the origin of completely new organs and functions -- remains as baffling as before. And until evolutionists can provide a convincing solution to this problem, we must conclude that their evolutionary speculations have no sound basis.
Once again we stress the importance of the problem faced by evolutionary theory: Evolutionists have traditionally declared that mutation and natural selection can fully account for the origin of species, yet suitable sequences of mutations leading to the formation of new organs and systems of organs have never been shown to exist. Until they are, it is pointless even to discuss natural selection, and the origin of species remains shrouded in mystery.
Evolution and Negative Theology
We have seen that there is no direct evidence for the evolution of complex organic forms and that some prominent paleontologists maintain that such evidence may never be found. We have also seen that evolutionists do not have an adequate theory of evolutionary change and that they are still groping for such a theory in the realms of speculation and vague conjecture. We are therefore led to ask, In the absence of both observation and theory, what has convinced scientists to accept what we can only call the "doctrine of evolution"?
One important line of reasoning that has led many persons to adopt an evolutionary point of view could be called the argument by negative theology. Darwin himself used this argument extensively, and since his time it has been a mainstay of evolutionary thought.
In a popular book, paleontologist Steven J. Gould sums up the negative theological argument in these words: "Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution -- paths that a sensible God would never tread but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce"14. The basic form of the argument can be outlined as follows: "God must have certain characteristics, and he would have created a certain sort of world. Since the world as we see it is very different from this, it must be that there is no God. Since the only alternative to divine creation that we can think of is evolution, life must have arisen by some kind of evolutionary process."
The argument breaks down into two basic parts. One of these is the traditional argument from evil against the existence of God. According to this argument, the existence of many kinds of suffering, both in the human species and in the plant and animal kingdoms, is inconsistent with the idea that the world was created by an all-powerful benevolent Being. In contrast, such suffering seems to fir naturally into the evolutionary world view.
The second part of the argument is that many features of living organisms would not, as Gould says, be designed by a "sensible God" and must therefore be due to evolution. The extra toes that sometimes appear on the feet of horses are an example of such a feature. Evolutionists argue that God would surely not produce such aberrations but that they can be explained by the hypothesis that horses evolved from a many-toed ancestor.
Another example in support of this argument is provided by Darwin's work with orchids. Darwin observed that the petals of these flowers are deployed in many remarkable arrangements, which insure that visiting insects will carry pollen from one flower to another. Yet since modified petals, rather than a completely novel kind of structure, are used in these arrangements, Darwin argued that divine creation was ruled out and that the orchids must therefore be products of evolution. In the words of Gould, "If God had designed a beautiful machine to reflect his wisdom and power, surely he would not have used a collection of parts generally fashioned for other purposes"15.
What can we say about these arguments? We can observe immediately that they grow from a very much limited and stereotyped understanding of God that is never clearly formulated and that never draws on any specific source of spiritual knowledge. As such, these arguments are certainly unscientific, and when we consider the importance of the theory they are used to support, we can conclude that they are thoroughly irresponsible.
When we consider such negative theological arguments together with the observational and theoretical weaknesses of evolutionary thought, the "theory" of evolution seems little more than a poorly reasoned intellectual reaction against a spiritual tradition that was perceived as inadequate. Moreover, it is an entirely futile reaction, for it has succeeded neither in providing a genuine alternative source of spiritual knowledge nor in establishing a workable material explanation of the origin of life.
A Better Scientific Explanation
When people hear the results of scientific studies they often see them in highly idealistic ways. People feel that scientists are ideologically neutral and that when they formulate theories and hypotheses they do so entirely from the evidence. But this ideal is rarely, if ever, attained. The reason is that we all have a world view, that is, a belief system about the way we think the world operates, which embraces the whole of life. The way we interpret evidence is shaped by our world view. The theory of evolution, because it is concerned with the origin and history of life, is such a world view, and would be better classified as a philosophical or a religious belief system.
To be classified as science the theory of evolution would have to meet the criteria of the scientific method. To be a bona fide scientific theorem, evolution must be testable and refutable. It is neither of these. Whereas the hypothesis that the moon is made of cheese can be easily tested (and refuted) by visiting our satellite and taking samples, no-one has ever witnessed evolution taking place. By its very nature -- requiring aeons for any supposed evolution to occur -- evolution is untestable.
We may come to the same conclusion about the theory of Special Creation -- that God, or some intelligence external to our planet, was responsible for the creation of the species as they are or once were before diversification took place. To claim that Special Creation is a religious doctrine is therefore perfectly correct -- no-one alive today (on earth) witnessed the act of Creation or can describe its mechanism.
However, to then make the mental leap my claiming that the theory of Evolution is science is fallacious. Evolution can no more be tested by the Scientific Method than Creationism and is therefore, properly speaking, a religious doctrine -- it is a matter of faith.
It is astonishing, therefore, to find a doctrine (evolution) hailed as a scientifically-proved model to explain our existence and all things everywhere in the universe. It is not. It is a philosophical system without any sort of scientific proof.
This is not to say, however, that the Evolution is an invalid model for the origins of life and the universe. Whilst it can never be proved, it is possible to test the model to determine whether or not the scientific data as presently constituted fits it or not.
By the same token we may propose Special Creation as a model for the origins of life and the universe. Whilst it can never be proved, it is possible to test the model to determine whether or not the scientific data as presently constituted fits it or not.
We may then compare both (or other) models and see which fits the scientific data best. On that basis we may propose that one or other (or neither) model is best.
Not so long ago Western Civilization had a view of the universe which viewed the planet earth as the centre. Around it all the planets, stars and the sun itself revolved. Complicated theories were created to explain the movement of heavenly bodies in the night sky.
A. In 280 B.C. Aristarchus of Samos proposed that the sun lay at the centre of our solar system and that the earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn revolved around it. To explain anomalies in the night sky he proposed that Mercury, Venus and the moon orbited in turn around the earth.
B. According to Macrobius, an author of the fourth century A.D., there was a theory of planetary motion advanced about 300 B.C. known as the Egyptian theory. The plan supposed the earth to be stationary and the sun to circle around the earth, with Mercury and Venus revolving around the sun. It was later modified by the theory of Eudoxus.
C. Apollonius devised the Eccentric Theory, or Theory of Moveable Eccentrics -- by having the centre of the outer planets circle of rotation at one point and the centre of the inner planets' circle of rotation at another. The centre for Mercury and Venus is the path of the sun itself.
D. Ptolemy recognized four classes of motion in his view of the solar system: (1) The diurnal rotation of the whole heavenly sphere from east to west. In this motion the stars maintain a constant position relative to one another. A heavenly body (moon, star, or planet) west of the sun rises before sunrise. A heavenly body east of the sun sets after sunset; (2) The daily increase of the moon and sun in declination, as theyr etreat from west to east; (3) & (4) Two independent motions of each planet: one the epicyclic orbit of the planet about an imaginary fixed point, the other, the deterrent orbit of this fixed point around the earth. The deterrent motion was analogous to the daily increase of the sun's or moon's declination. Planets may have alternate periods in which the R.A. increases daily and slowly diminishes.
E. Copernicus of Thorn in West Prussia devised a theory which came closest to the truth. He recognised only three classes of motion: (1) the earth's diurnal motion about its own axis from west to east; (2) the moon's orbital motion from west to east; and (3) the orbital motion of all planets (including the earth) from west to east.
When Galileo challenged the geocentric (earth-centred) view of the Church in his day he was branded a heretic and placed under house arrest. His was a minority voice. Yet science proved him right and all the others --Aristarchus, Macrobius, Apollonius, Ptolemy, Brahé and Copernicus (for his idea of a fixed sphere of stars) wrong. Today, apart from a few cranks, none would challenge the basic Copernican model because the facts are simply overwhelming.
One is reminded of the disastrous genetic theories of Lysenko which were officially enforced by Stalin's Soviet Russia in face of the overwhelming scientific evidence supporting Mendel's ideas of genetic inheritance. The Soviet dogma caused serious agricultural problems. Today Mendel's view have been fully vindicated.
Yet how is it possible, in our supposedly enlightened scientific age, that a philosophical/religious doctrine -- evolution -- lacking as it does any scientific basis -- has become ensconced as the exclusive model of origins in schools, universities and in our culture generally upon which our morals and ethics are based? As a scientist, I must say that such is outrageous -- as outrageous as the Church's refusal to be confronted with the scientific evidence in Galileo's day (worse, the Catholic Pontiff refused to acknowledge the Church's error until over two centuries later.
The scientific community of the late twentieth century faces much the same kind of embarrassment as the Catholic Church. It will eventually be forced to admit that for a century it has been promoting a false doctrine lacking a cohesive or scientifically verifiable theory.
There are modern "Galileos" today called Scientific Creationists who maintain that their model of the origins of life and the universe better fits the evolutionary one. They are growing in numbers and yet are violently opposed by the scientific priesthood of our day who label them "religionists" and not scientists, conveniently forgetting that their bankrupt theory owes more to religious faith than any credible science. We should not forget, moreover, that relative to the belief of the population of, for example, the United States, espouse a philosophical/religious belief system which is in the minority. Most citizens are creationists.
It is time that evolutionary theory be exposed for what it is by relegating it to the arena of philosophy and taking it out of scientific curricula altogether. It is also time the scientific creationism be allowed to find its place as a valid model of origins and be taught alongside evolution. They are the only two theories that can explain where we come from -- it is not right, therefore, that either one should exclude the other in any educational system. Let students and the public at large be presented with the known scientific facts and let them decide for themselves which model -- evolution or special creation -- fits the facts the best.
I am both a scientist as well as a Christian. I believe the Special Creation model fits the scientific data the best. I believe that no doctrine of origins should ever be allowed to impose itself as a scientific theory when it isn't. We spent centuries deposing an oligarchic Church priesthood that dictated in all matters of religion and science and have replaced it with another one -- unelected and unwanted by the majority. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This evolutionists, like their ecclesiastical predecessors, have proven by refusing to allow creationists to enter the scientific debate, for they control the schools, universities and scientific journals. Far from living in a pluralistic democracy we live, at least in the scientific and social spheres, in a dictatorship where ideas are closely regulated and free speech which does not conform with the ruling thoughts of the social Darwinists and Marxists who control the government, media and educational establishments, are violently opposed and frequently stamped out. Scientists who dare voice an anti-evolution view of origins have been hounded out of schools and universities.
Galileo would understand.
Extracted and expanded from an original idea by Sadápúta Dása in Back to Godhead, Vol.XVI, No.5, pp.23-27. Christopher C. Warren is a graduate of University College, Oxford, England with a Masters degree in Biochemistry, qualifications in Business Computing and Systems Analysis, and a partly completed Diploma in Theology at Cambridge University, England. He is a retired educator in Information Technology and a minister in the New Covenant Church of God.
(1) S. Tax & C. Callender, eds., Evolution After Darwin, Vol.III, Issues in Evolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960), pp.265-266
(2) B. Rensberger, "Recent Studies Spark Revolution in Interpretation of Evolution", The New York Times (November 4, 1980), p.C3
(4) S.J.Gould and N. Eldridge, "Punctuated Equilibria: The Tempo and Mode of Evolution Reconsidered", Paleobiology, Vol.3 (1977), pp.115-151.
(5) P. Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms (New York: Academic Press, 1977), p.124.
(6) E.Mayr, "The Emergence of Evolutionary Novelties," Evolution After Darwin, Vol.I, The Evolution of Life, S. Tax, ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960), p.359.
(7) R Lewin, "Evolutionary Theory Under Fire," Science, Vol.210 (November 21, 1980), p.883.
(8) W.A. Kepner, W.C. Gregory, & R.J. Porter, "The Manipulation of the Nematocysts of Chlorohydra by Microstomum", Zoologischer Anzeiger, Vol. 121 (Jan.-June 1938), pp.114-124.
(9) J. Adler, "Is Man a Subtle Accident?" Newsweek (November 3, 1980), pp.95-96.
(10) R. Goldschmidt, The Material Basis of Evolution (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940).
(11) S.J. Gould, "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes", Natural History (July 1980).
(12) Cited in N.C.Gillespie, Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), p.87.
(13) C. Darwin, On the Origin of Species (London: John Murray, 1959)
(14) S.J.Gould, "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes," Natural History (July 1980).
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