EN16: Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels

Creationist David Menton likes to say that the best evidence against evolution is simply anything in biology that you care to look at. He’s right. Molecules-to-man evolution is merely a philosophical speculation void of legitimate scientific evidence. As I and others have pointed out on many occasions, there is no evidence (or even a plausible speculation) for how the first protein or DNA molecules could arise from natural processes. There is neither evidence nor quantitative speculation regarding the emergence of a first living cell. There is neither evidence nor a plausible process for emergence of multi-celled creatures. And . . . I could go on for a long time . . . there is neither evidence nor genetic possibility for the fantasized evolutionary transformations to invertebrates, fish, reptiles, birds, mammals, and man.

So we don’t really need evidence to refute evolution, do we? When Newton suggested a universal gravitational force proportional to the product of masses and inversely to the distance squared, it was easy to validate. When Maxwell proposed the interdependence of time varying electric and magnetic fields, the proof was easy to find and measure. When Einstein hypothesized relativistic corrections to Newton’s gravity, experiments followed – which were difficult – but Einstein was vindicated. Evolution, however, dominates academia and the media not by experimental verification, but by propaganda and intimidation . . . just like any cult that develops political power. Outrageous? Check out Ben Stein’s documentary, Expelled, or Jerry Bergman’s book, Slaughter of the Dissidents.

Dolphin

But back to Menton’s point . . . the ultimate slam dunk against evolution is affirmative evidence for design. Anything in biology that you examine will make the case. Consider the following: the structure of a bird’s flight feather, the chemical composition of a teardrop, the sonar systems of dolphins and bats, the brain / eye / hand / feet coordination of a pro tennis player, an acorn, a bee’s navigational dance, a hummingbird’s maneuverability . . . and those examples merely amaze at the macroscopic level.

If you go to the microscopic . . . or nanoscopic . . . level, machine design boggles the mind. For example: the 3-D structure of an enzyme, the transcription of DNA, the valves and pumps on a cell’s membrane, the photochemical process that a rod uses to convert a single photon into an electrical signal . . . I could go on for a long time. A ribosome is more sophisticated than any machine ever devised by man. And a cell . . . or a multi-celled, multi-tissue-type mammal?

The closer you look . . . the higher the magnification . . . the louder the cry: DESIGN!! Evolutionary philosophy cannot come up with the very first protein molecule.

In accord with such arguments, a new book has been published, entitled Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels – 9 Ph.D. scientists explain evolution’s fatal flaws – in areas claimed to be its greatest strengths. The book is available from the folks at creation.com. I highly recommend it. The individual chapters are written by scientists who stand on Biblical creation, and are specialists in the book’s topics. In the rest of this blog I’ll pluck out some nuggets that you might find interesting . . . since I did.

Chapter 1 – by Don Batten . . . This chapter is a well-organized summary of the history and fundamentals of natural selection, which can serve only to cull information from a species’ genome. Only mutations can serve to change genetic information, and that for the worse.

Chimpanzee

The particular nugget I find of special interest is Batten’s discussion of population genetics, most famously quantified by the evolutionist J.B.S. Haldane. His 1957 paper identified a serious . . . actually lethal . . . defect of evolutionary mythology. For evolution to occur in the progressive sense – from simple to complex – a beneficial mutation has to replace the non-mutated gene throughout the population. Think about this. A favorable mutation allegedly pops up in a creature . . . an ‘ancient’ ape, for instance. That mutation must be so beneficial that the ape’s offspring must out-reproduce the offspring of the non-mutated population, eventually converting the entire population. After all, evolution can be described simply as ‘differential reproduction.’ For a generation time of 20 years, this could take a very long time. After all, non-mutated apes can produce ape-lets quite successfully for eons.

Batten offers an example of a population of 100,000 apes – the supposed ancestors of humans. Let’s suppose a male and female each receive a beneficial mutation that ‘improves’ their offspring. And — miraculously for evolution’s sake, let’s imagine that the rest of the population, 99,998 of them, die out in that generation AND the male / female pair produce 100,000 children with the new, improved mutation. Note how fantastically efficient such an evolutionary scheme would be!

Now let’s repeat this scenario every generation – 20 years – for 10 million years, more than the supposed gap between modern humans and chimps with respect to their supposed common ancestor. Thus 500,000 beneficial mutations could be added to the population. Despite this ridiculously unrealistic scenario, that doesn’t do the job. Humans and chimps differ by at least 150 million base pairs in their DNA. (The differences are actually far more complicated than mere base pair substitutions. But this only makes the evolutionary problem even ‘more’ impossible.)

Batten points out that the idea of ‘junk DNA’ arose because mutations and natural selection could not possibly create enough DNA in any reasonable amount of time. Thus most DNA must be non-functional, according to evolutionists. And so evolutionary mythology has hindered genetic research for decades. Only recently have discoveries shocked the ‘establishment’ by revealing that almost all, if not all DNA is quite functional.

Haldane didn’t use the unrealistic scenario above. With more realistic, yet still very favorable assumptions, he calculated that at most 1,667 beneficial substitutions could have occurred in the supposed 10 million years. It would take at least 300 generations, on average, to establish a beneficial mutation. So natural selection operating on supposed ‘beneficial’ mutations does not produce evolution. The game should be over, shouldn’t it?

Chapter 2 – by Robert Carter . . . Carter describes how genetic, metabolic, and structural information is built into DNA. The 3 billion DNA letters in the human genome are arranged via 23 chromosomes. DNA is a fragile molecule; it must be in proper order for it to be unwound, transcribed, and rewound countless thousands of times every day. In a normal cell about a million breaks or lesions occur daily. Specific enzyme complexes detect and fix such damage. Yet these enzymes are encoded in the DNA . . . the production of enzymes (specialized proteins) is regulated directly by the cell’s DNA.

And so we have a classic chicken-and-egg problem. The cell cannot exist and life cannot be maintained without such enzymes. Yet the enzymes are encoded directly within the DNA. How then did DNA originate and begin to operate without repair enzymes already on the job? Evolutionists have no ‘theory’ for this problem. Any reasonable person would conclude that such sophisticated machinery – which must be completely in place, functional, and already in operation – must have been designed and constructed in the first place. Humans have never designed machines with such complexity and yet the story is that these nano-machines constructed themselves!

Carter has a wonderful section on the ‘hyper-complexity of a four-dimensional genome.’ You may have noticed how so much academic and media discussion of life at the nano level is about the 1-D information within DNA. The order of the base letters . . . A for adenine, C for cytosine, T for thymine, and G for guanine . . . determines the order of the amino acids in protein construction, for example.

The extreme complexity of a ‘2nd dimension’ in the genome is indicated by several factors. One factoid is the shocking discovery that the human genome has only about 23,000 ‘genes.’ Yet these genes . . . long strings of DNA bases . . . code for more than 100,000 different proteins. Plus many kinds of RNA involved in a gaggle of biochemical processes. How is this possible? For example, Protein ‘A’ is constructed by splicing together selected pieces (exons) of a given gene, while Protein ‘B’ employs an entirely different set of exons. A given gene part may be used in multiple different proteins. Can anyone human being write computer code like this?

Chromosome

The 3rd dimension is the 3-D structure of DNA within the nucleus. Certain genes that are used together in some processes may not be near each other in a 1-D sense on a chromosome, but when the chromosomes fold, they are close to each other in 3-D space. Think of a big ball of string. Parts of the string that are most useful will be on the outside, not buried. The specific locations determine how often genes will be expressed. After all, metabolism and other processes cannot just operate at random rates. All processes must be tightly regulated. Location matters.

The genome’s 4th dimension consists of the changes in the other three dimensions over time, particularly during embryological development. Between embryo and adult you and I experience incredible changes at both the macro and the micro scales. And yet we must be fully functionally alive at every step! Wow.

Given this 4-D system, consider the outrageous claims of goo-to-you evolution. Random changes in the 1-D system must couple with natural selection to produce the entirety of Earth’s ecosystem. As described above, even the 1-D problem . . . base code order . . . is hopeless. But evolution doesn’t even address the 2-D, 3-D, and 4-D problems. Additionally, beyond the scope of this book, there are other ‘higher dimensional’ problems that make evolution ridiculous, including structural aspects of the cell’s body and the physical distribution of pumps and valves on the cell’s surface. All of these functional systems must be intact – independent of the DNA molecule – to enable life. In short, you need a ‘whole cell’ to reproduce another ‘whole cell.’ The simple 1-D game within DNA doesn’t even address the higher order issues.

Chapter 3 – by Jonathan Sarfati . . . On the subject of the origin of life – how did the very first cell arise in a supposed naturalistic way – Sarfati emphasizes that life is rich in information. “The information in this book is not based on the properties of the ink molecules on the paper (or pixels on the screen . . .), but on the way they are arranged into letters, words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. An ink spill will not generate the plays of Shakespeare!”

IBM Blue Gene P supercomputer

Thus the arrangement of the ‘letters’ in DNA has nothing to do with chemical forces. The arrangement provides the information that prescribes the myriad structures and processes that enable life. And information always necessitates an intelligent source . . . a MIND. In short, as physicist / evolutionist Paul Davies admits, “Like a supercomputer, life is an information processing system . . . It is the software of the living cell that is the real mystery, not the hardware . . . How did stupid atoms spontaneously write their own software? . . . Nobody knows . . . There is no known law of physics able to create information from nothing.”

And so Sarfati includes the origin of life’s information as a lethal Achilles’ heel for evolution. A cute specific example is the ribosome, the tiny machine within a cell that reads the info on the mRNA and turns it into protein. Ribosomes require at least 50 different proteins and three different types of RNA (for ‘simple’ creatures like E. coli). For creatures like mammals, there are 73 different proteins and 4 RNAs. One microbiologist says, “The ribosome, together with its accessories, is probably the most sophisticated machine ever made. All of its components are active and moving, and it is environmentally friendly, producing only GDP and phosphate.” Without this machine, proteins won’t form properly, even if the DNA’s coding instructions are perfect. The ribosome must be in operation from the beginning . . . already operating in the very first cell. And yet the ribosome’s proteins and RNA are coded by the DNA! Another chicken and egg problem. Which came first? Obviously, they were designed and built together by the Master Designer / Builder.

Sarfati’s chapter is probably the best in the book. He offers many scintillating examples to prove the necessity of Design. The only other item I’ll include in this review is the vital distinction between biochemistry and abiotic chemistry. Despite identical ‘laws,’ chemistry outside the cell is always ‘dirty’ mass action chemistry, while biochemistry is precision single-molecule chemistry.

70S ribosome

‘Dirty’ chemistry? The term was coined by evolutionist and Nobel laureate Christian deDuve. Nonliving chemistry involves many molecules at a time with contaminants ever present. Experiments that explore various aspects of the origin-of-life invariably produce ‘muck,’ ‘goo,’ and ‘gunk.’ Carefully designed modern industrial chemists can achieve purities above 99.99% only with great difficulty. Biochemistry does much better because each enzyme controls one molecule at a time. In summary, cellular chemistry is “precise, constrained, controlled, and functional, and life could not exist” otherwise. “Abiotic chemistry is the antithesis of life.” And yet abiotic chemistry supposedly produced biochemistry.

Chapter 4 – by Emil Silvestru . . . The author describes a number of compelling cases to illustrate gross inconsistencies in dating fossils because of evolutionary presuppositions. For example, fossils of certain plants and insects in the Salt Range in India were dated at 56 to 34 millions years ago, because such dates fit the evolutionary mythology. Yet careful geological field studies indicate that the sandstone above the fossils is Cambrian (500 Millions years old by their own scheme) and the salt beds containing the fossils are pre-Cambrian. Such anomalies are quite common around the world and are often ‘explained away’ by assuming overthrusts . . . that the ‘older’ rock somehow moved laterally to rest on top of the ‘younger’ fossil bearing rocks. In the case of the Salt Range (among many others), such speculation is readily proven wrong because such massive overthrusts – thick rock layers moving laterally many kilometers – would leave incontrovertible evidence.

India's Salt Range

Silvestru goes on to describe a good number of ‘living fossils’ . . . including crabs, the coelacanth, scorpions, the Wollemi pine tree, etc. . . . whose fossils are essentially identical to modern living counterparts. Thus evolution must have been in stasis for tens to hundreds of millions of years. Or evolution doesn’t actually happen. What do you think?

Chapter 5 – by Tasman Walker . . . The evolutionary mythology is that coal forms at the bottom of swamps over immense periods of time. This, despite zero evidence of this occurring anywhere in the world presently. A creationist recognizes that Noah’s flood was a sufficient cause to wash massive quantities of vegetation into place to produce coal. Evolutionists want nothing to do with flood mechanisms. Walker lists some myth-busting problems with the swamp idea:

1. There is rarely any soil under coal layers, which would result if the vegetation grew in place.

2. Strata above and below coal seams show evidence of deposition by flowing water.

Polystrate tree fossil

3. Clay bands often run for miles through coal, not an effect that swamps produce.

4. Many fossils above and below coal are well preserved – evidence of rapid burial.

5. Coal seams and bordering sand / silt layers show sharply defined contact planes, evidence for water deposition and against swamps, which would muddy the borders.

6. Fossil trees can be found positioned vertically above, below, and even through coal layers, necessitating rapid deposition.

Flat strata boundaries are not merely associated with coal seams, but show up all over the world. For example, the Grand Canyon exposes a flat contact between the Coconino Sandstone and the Hermit Shale, while evolutionary geologists claim that there must have been a 12 million year gap between their deposition. So we allegedly have a ‘Flat Gap’ of 12 million years. But in ‘real life,’ erosion destroys flatness. You simply cannot maintain flatness over thousands (or even millions) of square miles. Yet flatness and rapid deposition are explained simply by a worldwide flood event.

Walker makes a great case for Flood geology in other areas: A massive flood explains the mesas of America’s southwest . . . isolated erosional remnants from the Flood. Massive volcanic events – which don’t occur on such a scale anymore – make sense from the perspective of the Flood’s massive geologic upheavals. A single pervasive Ice Age following the Flood is reasonable from the history of Genesis, but one or many Ice Ages produce mysteries within mythical geology.

Wollemi Pine

Chapter 6 – by Jim Mason . . . Radiometric dating and the age of the Earth is a huge subject – as are all of the topics in this book. Mason summarizes the field well. For brevity’s sake (already lost in this essay) I’ll cite one example. Mt. Ngauruhoe, a New Zealand volcano, produced lava flows in 1949, 1954, and 1975. Using radioactive dating methods, these flows have been ‘dated’ a number of different ways, producing ‘ages’ anywhere from 0.2 to 200 million years. (One data point suggests a spectacular 4 billion years.) You’ll note that such ‘ages’ do not match the actually observed dates of 1949, 1954, and 1975.

Such ‘ages’ are easily rejected because of recorded history, of course. But when we have no recorded historical information, vast ages are readily believed. The reasons for discrepancies are many and fairly well understood. But radio-dating methods are too precious to evolutionary mythology to give up.

Mt. Ngauruhoe

Mason also describes how Carbon 14 dating shows compelling, even slam-dunk evidence for a young Earth, of the order of several thousand years. I won’t discuss this here, since I’ve written on the subject elsewhere . . . my e-book, for example.

Chapter 7 – by John Hartnett . . . Cosmology is also an Achilles’ Heel for the evo-myth. Much can be understood at a layman’s level, because ultimately science must fit within human common sense to be credible. I caution, however, that as impossible as evo-cosmology is, it’s a bit harder to see as clearly as the overwhelming impossibilities in biology. I’ve written on Big Bang issues, particularly in the Educational Notes of this site’s Short Course. Here I would like to point out just a few things . . .

Astrophysicist Richard Lieu points out: “Cosmology is not even astrophysics: all the principal assumptions in this field are unverified (or unverifiable) in the laboratory . . . because the Universe offers no control experiment, i.e. with no independent checks, it is bound to be highly ambigous.”

There is only one universe that we can observe, after all, and so Lieu suggests that cosmologists collect as much data as possible and then argue that his conclusions are likely. Specifically, Lieu lists five evidences where ‘unknowns’ are used to explain ‘unknowns.’ In no other area of science does anyone get away with such games. These five areas are:

1. Galaxy redshifts, explained by expansion of space. So the ‘unknown’ of why distant galaxies exhibit varied redshifts is “explained” by the ‘unknown’ of an alleged mysterious expansion of all space. Now, it may indeed be that space is expanding, as opposed to the redshifts arising from galactic velocities within a constant space. But ‘why’ or ‘how’ space expands is simply another mystery and, therefore, no explanation.

Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation map

2. CMB radiation, explained as the afterglow of the Big Bang. The existence and, especially, the incredible uniformity of the CMBR are mysterious, especially within a quite lumpy universe. And yet the explanation requires an incredibly complex and uncaused Big Bang scenario and speculative ideas for how it connects to the radiation we see.

3. Rotation curves of spiral galaxies, explained by dark matter. The structure of spiral galaxies, plus the structure of clusters of galaxies, simply cannot be explained in a billions-of-years Big Bang universe without invoking dark matter everywhere, in enormous quantities, even though it is undetectable!

4. Distant supernovae are dimmer than expected, hence the universe’s expansion must be accelerating, explained by dark energy. But dark energy is just a word game. The intrinsic “positiveness” of energy is central to EVERYTHING we understand about physics, chemistry, mechanics, etc. If you throw a baseball faster it has more energy! If the baseball is motionless, it has no (kinetic) energy. What does ‘negative energy’ mean? It is worse than no explanation at all.

5. Flatness and isotropy, explained by inflation. Too much to discuss here, but to say that ‘inflation’ is simply a mathematical game – with no physical foundation – to describe how the Big Bang scenario can produce the structure of the universe today, despite all kinds of logical inconsistencies.

Yes, I’m abbreviating these issues drastically, but as fairly as I can in a few paragraphs. Hartnett’s chapter is a good intro to the subject as, I hope, my Educational Notes are.

Chapter 8 – by David Catchpoole and Mark Harwood . . . The most dramatic worldview implications of evolution arise in ethics and morality. “Either we are the result of a giant cosmic accident, and therefore there is no ultimate meaning or purpose to life and no objective basis to morality, or we are created by a transcendent God, for a purpose, and will ultimately be held to account for how we have lived our lives.”

That really sums up the issue. When I talk with college students who are atheists, this point does seem to give them pause. As a young atheist myself, long ago, it was questions of purpose and mortality (nothingness?!?) that gripped my soul . . . and led me to be open to explore whether the ‘God alternative’ might just be credible. In the tracts I’ve designed for campuses, I try to engage both mind and heart to get the attention of young people, who have been so duped that they think that a materialistic worldview is the ‘only sensible’ position.

C. S. Lewis

Which leads to all kinds of ideas not typically considered by ‘the duped.’ C.S. Lewis opined: “If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident, too. If so, then all our thought processes are mere accidents – the accidental byproduct of the movement of atoms.” So why should I believe what you’re telling me about evolution? From what YOU SAY, the sounds coming out of your mouth are the product of random brain chemistry.

On morality, everyone understands that some things ought to be done and others ought not to be done. The only way that ought can have any meaning is that there is a referent or a standard outside the material realm. Everything within us cries out that Right and Wrong can be distinguished . . . and matter! Only the God of the Bible has the characteristics that match humanity’s understanding of morality . . . not to mention justice, truth, hope, meaning, and love.

The Nazi war criminals, tried at Nuremberg, attempted to argue that their actions were consistent with their own German laws of the period and so the court had no jurisdiction. The chief counsel of the United States, Robert H. Jackson, argued that “there was a law above the law” that stands in judgment of all men. Since the source of such transcendent law must be God, I wonder if the same argument would ever be made in today’s world.

The authors go on to give a short synopsis of the practical social consequences of an evolutionary worldview, including the Holocaust, the repressive and genocidal regimes of Soviet Russia and Communist China, and even the Columbine tragedy.

. . . . . . . . . . . If you have just ten books on your shelf on the subject of Creation vs. Evolutionism, this should be one of them. I hope you acquire it and teach it to your children. Kids need to know this stuff!

– drdave@truthreallymatters.com

Comments are closed.