virus: Making a monkey of Darwin (or Spot the Fallacy)

David McFadzean (
Mon, 31 Jul 1995 16:37:44 -0600

I was outraged to find this piece in yesterday's edition of
The Calgary Herald. My first impulse was to fire off a letter
to the editor, refuting it point by point. But even if they
printed it few people would read the rebuttal. Such is the
disadvantage of retromedia like newspapers.

At least taking it apart in this forum will be a good exercise
of our critical thinking. What do you think the author's intent


Making a monkey of Darwin by William Gairdner

Psssst! Don't tell. The most explosive secret of the worldwide intellectual establishment is the rapid crumbling of Darwinian evolution theory.

At the 1966 Wistar Institute Symposium, Sir Peter Medawar expressed this widespread skepticism on behalf of an imposing assembly of scientists. The fantastical idea that all life began from non-life, then evolved by gradual random mutation and natural selection from a single-celled common ancestor into complex higher life forms, has fallen on hard times.

Molecular biologist Michael Denton spoke for many scientists in his lucid Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, when he wrote that "ultimately, the Darwinian theory of evolution is . . . the great cosmogenic myth of the 20th century." A pseudo-scientific Genesis story that presents God as a blind process instead of a wilful creator. Well, the reputational fur -- uh, feathers -- are flying.

And yet the broader public is largely unaware of this bitter dispute. Museums and textbooks continue to display standard models of, for example, the famous "horse sequence" (tiny weird horse transforms into normal big horse over millennia). But Dr. Niles Eldredge, a curator of the American Museum of Natural History, said: "It (the horse sequence) has been presented as the literal truth in textbook after textbook " and complained that this is "speculative," and "lamentable." Meaning, possibly a lie.

The public also believes all critics of evolution theory are religious nuts, when in fact the main thrust of criticism comes from a variety of fields within science itself, mostly from agnostics doubting Darwin as much as God.

Their main bone of contention is that if Darwin's theory of random mutation and natural selection were true, then just as there is plenty of fossil evidence for all the known species, there ought to be lots of it for the millions of "transitional forms" of plants and animals that gradually evolved into their final forms.

But no sirree. Once a loon or a bat or a lobster, well that's it. You're stuck. For 500 million years, from first lobster fossil to the living model dropped in your boiling kettle- there's no change. The overwhelming impression to be gotten from a study of the fossil record is not evolution, but stasis. No one has ever found a maybe, or partly loon or bat or horse. You know-something on the way to becoming those species from whatever it was before.

Some argue that even the basic idea of gradual evolution is self-defeating because if species depend on optimal adaptation for survival, then anything on the way to becoming optimal couldn't survive to adapt, could it?

And then, there's the problem of simultaneity. The evolution of interactive parts of organisms (the iris, the cornea, the eyelid flap, say) would all have to change at once. How could a blind process orchestrate such harmony?

There is no good answer. That's why Darwin himself said that "the human eye, to this day, gives me a cold shudder," and, "the sight of a feather in a peacock's tail . . . makes me sick."

Perhaps the most disturbing fact for evolutionists is that more than three-quarters of Earth's crust is lifeless. No fossils. Then, in the so-called Cambrian explosion," life suddenly appears, demonstrating most of the same species we know today, with the same huge gaps between them, and no evidence of any transitional forms whatsoever Even modern agnostic scientists routinely refer to this as "abrupt appearance," or "creation."

Fish appeared abruptly in complex for (Ommanney: "a veritable explosion;") same with reptiles, and birds (Ager: "we find not gradual evolution, but . . . sudden explosion,") and the primates, said Johansen, spring out of nowhere, as it were. They; here today. They have no yesterday."

It's the same for man. Geneticist Richard Lewontin, former president of the Society for the Study of Evolution, and professor of zoology at Harvard, said that "there is a vast weight of empirical evidence about the universe which says that unless you invoke supernatural causes, the birds-life in general-could not have arisen from muck by any natural processes" (though he prefers a natural answer).

About man evolving from apes, he said in his 1982 book Human Diversity: "All th fossils which have been dug up and are claimed to be ancestors-we haven't the faintest idea whether they are ancestors."

Probability crunchers information theorists ar molecular biologists als weigh in against evolution theory.

Computers programmed to mimic Darwinian evolution just jam up.

The likelihood of ran dom creation of only ones single protein (of some 200,000 human protein is one in one billion.

So Nobel laureate Francis Crick, discover of DNA, said the whole field has "too much speculation running after too few facts" . . . and has suggested life came to Earth by "panspermia" seeding from outer space. According to famous astronomer and mathematics professor Fred Hoyle, the information content of a single enzyme is unimaginably vast. "Evolutionary processes would require several times the time since creation of the universe. The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein."

By now, Darwin's theory sounds like monkey business.

(Gairdner is an author and freelance writer.)

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Merak Projects Ltd.