Copyright © 2002 by Ralph Muncaster
Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402
All rights reserved.
Evolution is described as a chain of events. Events as seemingly elementary as the origin of the first bacterium, which then evolved into the most complex creature now in existence—humans. However, I realized that a huge component of the bridge of evidence would be a mechanism capable of causing change. I also assumed that a long time would be necessary. I had been taught that the combination of mutations and billions of years could allow this to happen. I had assumed that those scientists who researched this theory for a living had “done their homework” and were correct. But I decided to do my own investigation anyway.
Reading Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of the Species seemed to be a good start. I was startled when I found out that Darwin had pointed out possible problems with his theory, problems that science is still struggling with today. For instance, in the introduction to a 1971 edition of On the Origin of the Species British biologist L. Harrison Matthews notes,
The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an unproved theory—is it then a science or a faith? Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation—both are concepts which believers know to be true but neither, up to the present, has been capable to prove.
This gave me warning that I might find potential flaws in the bridge of evolution. As I continued my research, I found not just one weak beam, or a problem with one section of the theory—I found damaged parts throughout. In fact, I couldn’t identify a single section that was strong. All I turned up were a lot of “soft” theories about how things “might have happened.” There seemed to be no solid empirical basis for these ideas.
Yet I fought the new information, still
wanting to believe in everything I’d been taught. I wanted to believe I was
right and was too bright to be fooled. For so many years I had been grounded in
the facts of evolution. Perhaps I was afraid to admit that new evidence actually
favored a theory of design by some intelligent being. Perhaps I had a
deep-seated fear of accountability to a “designer” who was greater than I was. I
preferred that evolution be true. Then, as simply a product of randomness, I
would be ultimately accountable to no one.
I realized that a single major flaw in the evidence for the bridge of evolution would destroy the theory, but I wanted to be absolutely certain of the evidence before I talked to others—and perhaps even faced being embarrassed in front of my engineering friends. So I proceeded in my investigation with great care. Although I evaluated the “soft” evidence that had been presented to me so often before, I was more interested in analyzing the new hard evidence from astrophysics and molecular biology. (I explain more about “hard” and “soft” evidence in chapter 6.)
Ultimately, I knew I would be faced with a decision. Could the bridge of evolution be strengthened by the facts from new discoveries? Could these new facts reinforce a bridge of evidence leading from nonliving matter to our world full of life? Or was the whole span patched together with anchors, beams, and connectors that looked strong, but in reality were weak?
Likewise, as I looked at the evidence I would evaluate whether a theory of “intelligent design” demonstrated a higher probability of explaining life’s origin than naturalistic evolution.
I started reading some of the latest books
by evolutionists to see how the theory had progressed in the last few years. As
a believer in evolution, I was disturbed by my discovery that other
evolutionists hedged their opinions, seeming to acknowledge faults in
evolutionary theory. One noted evolutionist—John Maynard Smith, Emeritus
Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex in Great Britain, along with
his colleague Eors Szathmary of the Institute for Advanced Study in
The theory of evolution by natural
selection does not predict that organisms will get more complex. It predicts
only that they will get better at surviving and reproducing in the current
environment, or at least that they will not get worse. 2
This statement amazed me. It acknowledges
that, though changes can occur within a species through natural selection, more complex changes that
cause one species to be transformed into another
(that add complexity) are theoretically unfounded.
It seemed as though evolution couldn’t do what it was supposed to do.
Information Today Is Not Like It Was in the 60s and 70s
I was first introduced to evolution in the 1960s. With the advent of the computer age, however, new information started pouring in on us like never before. Many new tools became available, including supercomputers, space probes, and earth satellites.
Biochemistry experienced breakthroughs. Suddenly we were able both to chart the edges of the universe and also to peer into the depths of molecules. Now we have mapped the human DNA molecule, and molecular biology has given us insight into the living cell that we’ve never had before. Developments in engineering, astrophysics, and cosmology have allowed us to see the heavens with startling clarity. And supercomputers now enable us to mathematically and statistically evaluate and draw hard conclusions from the vast amounts of data we are now receiving.
The more I investigated all this new
evidence about the origin of life and the development of the enormous number of
complex species, the more I began to question the neo-Darwinian evolution I had
been taught. In fact, the evidence was now pointing to intelligent design as the
origin of the species. From the cosmos to the intricate depths of human cells,
mathematical probability seemed to be supporting design over random origins
Darwin s Problems
I was surprised when I discovered that the standard theory of evolution would today be opposed by its originator, Charles Darwin, based on his own writings. In his book On the Origin of the Species , Darwin wrote,
Natural selection can act only by the preservation and accumulation of infinitesimally small inherited modifications, each profitable to the preserved being.
However, recently many evolutionists have concluded that vast numbers of changes have occurred all at once at various points in history. Unfortunately for them, this both contradicts Darwin’s statement and also points to intelligent design. The main piece of scientific evidence for this theory is the Cambrian explosion (so termed because it happened during the time scientists have named the Cambrian period).
The evidence from this period shows vast quantities of creatures experiencing substantial non-infinitesimal change—all within a relatively short time. In fact, gradualism is not supported anywhere in the fossil record. The term for this new theory that attempts to account for this is punctuated equilibrium (see chapter 6). This essentially means that evolution took place in very rapid spurts—at those times when new species were formed.
Certainly this does not fit the neo-Darwinian model—and to me it seemed illogical. If the changes were significant enough to create entire new organisms, they certainly were not “infinitesimal,” as Darwin concluded they had to be. Rather, this phenomenon seemed similar to the design of objects by human beings. For example, once we discovered the transistor, many uses for it were found, in all kinds of inventions (radios, computers, and so on)— all within a relatively short period of time. But “creators”—human engineers—intelligently designed these items. They did not come about through gradual, random changes.
Darwin was rightly disturbed by the lack of “transitional” species in the fossil record. He asked this question:
But, as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?
The existence of “transitional” species
would imply that a creature was in a state of development between two species.
For example, it might be a reptile with a partially formed feather, not a wholly
developed one; or a creature with a part of an eye that didn’t yet “work.” Now,
even though millions of fossils have been found since Darwin’s time, we still
can’t identify any transitional species—let alone “countless numbers.” In fact,
in the fossil record body parts and systems are either fully formed or non
existent. (More on this in chapter 7.)
Should We Criticize Darwin?
In a sense Darwin has been wrongly criticized. He predicted problems in his theory that are still problems today. And now new, hard-science evidence is only adding to these difficulties. Darwin did well with the information he had at the time, but he developed his theory at the time of the American Civil War. What is harder to understand is why this 150-year-old theory (though somewhat modified) is still being taught as fact in light of recent discoveries.
Actually, when we look at Darwin’s theory, we should remember his contribution of the idea of natural selection. Yes—natural selection seems to be valid in the “micro” sense—causing change within a species’ existing DNA. We can even selectively breed plants and animals within their existing DNA structures. However, change between species has never been substantiated.
Now, having much recent evidence that was unavailable to Darwin, how do modern evolutionists support their theory? It seems that, often, either they attempt to hold onto outdated ideas by the simple assumption that evolution is fact—or else the evidence is just ignored. In other cases they attempt to explain the theory’s many problems by reaching into outer space for answers. For example, there is speculation that the “building blocks of life,” such as amino acids, were “optically purified” (see chapter 9) in black holes, or by polarized light in outer space. Then they were swept to earth while being combined with hundreds of thousands of other “just right” compounds. And all this is said to have occurred at precisely the right point in time. All such theories are fraught with problems, however. (Chapters 10 and 11 explain more about this.)
Such new thinking is apparent in this comment by Maynard Smith and Szathmary:
The problem of the origin of life is the problem of how entities with multiplication, variation, and heredity could arise, the starting-point being the chemical environment of the primitive Earth…But first, we must say a word about the possibility that life originated elsewhere in the Universe, either accidentally or by deliberate action of extraterrestrials.”
Are evolutionary theorists now so
frustrated that they look to extraterrestrials as possible solutions to problems
about the origin of life that can’t be resolved? Moreover, this just puts the
difficulties one step further away. It doesn’t answer the question, “How did the
extraterrestrials come to be?”
Did Evolutionists Do Their Math Homework?
When evolution was reaching one of its peaks of public exposure after the 1925 “Scopes Monkey Trial,” most scientists thought the universe was infinite, both in duration and size. Now, thanks to the work of Einstein and others, we know that there was a beginning (see chapters 16 and 17). Thanks to space probes and highpowered telescopes, we can gauge the age of the universe—about 15 billion years. Now, thanks to breakthroughs in biochemistry, we have mapped the 3.2 billion base pairs of precisely oriented, precisely placed components of human DNA. (A base pair is like the rung of a ladder in the DNA structure—see chapters 9 and 10.)
These discoveries created a number of problems that I needed to consider mathematically. Was there enough time for the first cell to originate through naturalistic causes? Was there enough time to go from a single-celled creature, with perhaps as few as 100,000 base pairs of DNA, to complex creatures like humans, with 3.2 billion base pairs? If natural selection couldn’t bring about greater complexity, then what was the mechanism for change? Where did the information come from to “tell” the DNA what to do? What about the statistical problem of the correct molecular orientation of amino acids and DNA—the chirality issue? (See chapter 10.)
I started to wonder why evolutionist writings consistently avoided the mathematics of evolution. Were they basing their theories simply on observational guesses, or was there hard evidence with statistics to back them up? Dr. Lee Spetner, who wrote an in-depth book on the mathematical probability of neo-Darwinian theories, pointed out a typical assumption of such writings. Referring to The Blind Watchmaker, a well-known book by evolutionist Richard Dawkins, Spetner commented,
Dawkins talked about chance, but he didn’t calculate the chance of anything. Nor did he cite anyone who did. He just assumed that cumulative selection could lead to macroevolution. He assumed what I have shown to be impossible. He said, without justification: “Each successive change in the gradual evolutionary process was simple enough, relative to its predecessor, to have arisen by chance.”
Spetner’s sentiment is echoed by astronomer Sir Frederick Hoyle. Regarding the origin of the first cell, Hoyle mathematically analyzed only one small portion of the chirality problem and concluded,
The likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40 thousand naughts [zeros] after it. It is enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.
Presupposition Precludes Objectivity
Even after encountering hard analyses like Spetner’s and Hoyle’s, it was difficult for me to start objectively questioning evolution and considering intelligent design. After all, I had always lived with the presupposition that evolution was fact. Therefore, I began with a bias similar to that expressed by evolutionist Richard Goldschmidt. In the 1950s, this University of California professor declared,
Evolution of the animal and plant world is considered by all those entitled to judgment to be a fact for which no further proof is needed.
This statement reflects the attitude of the time—an attitude that still pervades the educational system today. Is it any wonder I just accepted naturalistic evolution as fact? Ironically, Goldschmidt also clearly understood that no proof existed for any interspecies change through “macromutation”:
It is true that nobody thus far has produced a new species or genus, etc., by macromutation. It is equally true that nobody has produced even a species by the selection of micromutations.
As I read the self-contradictions of
evolutionary scientists, my doubts increased. If there was no hard evidence to
support the naturalistic evolutionary claim, then presupposing it as fact was
certainly unscientific. After all, engineers would never propose building a
bridge without hard measurements and observations. They would insist on having
facts that had been tested by the scientific method—tested enough so that
results could be predicted. Otherwise, lives would certainly be lost. Think of
how much we owe to such hard science: The cars we drive, the planes we fly in,
the buildings we work in are all based on its principles. But I discovered that
evolution is not. Rather, it is based on presuppositions arising from simple
observation and conjecture.
Is It Time for the New to Replace the Old?
As I studied the question of the origin of the species, I was determined that my research would not begin from the presuppositions of evolution I had been taught in school. Starting from this new viewpoint, I soon realized that the theory is stuck in its own old evidence. With new evidence mounting, I saw that some evolutionists are wondering what direction to take. Stephen Jay Gould noted,
I think I can see what is breaking down in evolutionary theory—the strict construction of the modern synthesis with its belief in pervasive adaptation, gradualism, and extrapolation by smooth continuity from causes of change in local populations to major trends and transitions in the history of life. [This is the entire basis of neo-Darwinism.] I do not know what will take its place as a unified theory.
After recognizing flaws in the bridge of evolutionary evidence, I began to slowly—and reluctantly–change my mind. But I went a step further than Gould. I addressed the likelihood of intelligent design.
What I began to find excited me. It seemed
that there was something
to take the place of evolutionary theory. I discovered that living organisms are
more like machines than people realize. I even found that the latest
microbiology is now trying to duplicate biological “machines,” which appear to be designed (see chapter
14). Molecular biologists hope that the study of these intricate, effective, and
efficient cell-based machines may lead to some of the most amazing engineering
breakthroughs ever known. 11
I had a long way to travel from my reliance on evolutionary theory. But the more I studied the facts, the more obvious it became that someone had designed everything—from the carefully constructed heavens that are so perfect for life, down to the intricate details of cell structure. Dr. Lee Spetner, who holds a PhD in physics from MIT and accepted a fellowship in their department of biophysics, expressed my findings in a nutshell:
Random variations cannot lead to the large-scale evolution claimed by the neo-Darwinians…There is a lot of evidence for nonrandom [purposeful, therefore intelligent] variation.
After studying the evidence that I present in this book, I came to see that the interpretation that points to an intelligent designer is actually far more “scientific” than the evolutionary interpretation. It is 1) more objective, 2) based on more hard evidence, and is thus 3) more compelling.
Which kind of bridge would you rather cross?
Excerpted from Dismantling Evolution By Ralph Muncaster. Copyright © 2002 by Harvest House Publishers. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.