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Essay donated by Dr. Zvi Shkedi

"4. Torah & Science: Exposing the Myth of Evolution:
A historical perspective; Darwin's theories - two for
the price of one; new problems with the theory

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A Historical Perspective:

Philosophers and scientists have always tried to understand the differences between various forms of life. They also tried to understand the cause of the differences and the mechanisms through which characteristics of living organisms are transferred from generation to generation. DNA as a material was not discovered until 1869.  DNA being the genetic material of heredity was first confirmed in 1953. Lacking any knowledge of molecular biology, chromosomes, and DNA, earlier scientists had no choice but to observe only the large-scale exterior characteristics of animals, and to invent theories based on those observations alone.

Contrary to common belief, Charles Darwin was not the inventor of "evolution". The first one to propose that current species might evolve from previous ones, was the Greek philosopher Anaximander (circa 550 BCE), with his "theory of aquatic descent",  proposing that mankind had sprung from an aquatic species of animal. Plato (circa 400 BCE) and Aristotle (circa 300 BCE) further developed the theory of evolution, which they called "development". Those days (and up until 1862 AD), everyone believed in spontaneous generation of life. If life can be spontaneously generated, there should be no reason why organisms which are already alive, cannot change from one species to another. The entire premise of evolution was based on the notion that changing from one life form to another is much simpler and easier than spontaneously generating new life.

Johann Gottfried von Herder, in the eighteenth century, was a pioneer of modern evolutionism. He laid down a philosophical, non-scientific, doctrine of a continuous development in the unity of nature from inorganic to organic, from the stone to the plant, from the plant to the animal, and from the animal to man. To him, the idea of animals evolving into humans was not much different from the idea of stones evolving into plants. It is not clear if he really believed that humans went through several stages of evolution having started from stones.

Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, in 1778, (the same Leclerc who said that the earth is 75,000 years old) proposed ideas about evolution, saying that species must have both "improved" and "degenerated" after dispersing away from a center of creation. He also considered the similarities between humans and apes, and the possibility (i.e. speculative theory) of a common ancestry. Darwin himself, in his foreword to the 6th edition of his book "On The Origin of Species...", stated that "the first author who in modern times has treated it in a scientific spirit was Buffon".

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, in 1800, published his theory of "inheritance of acquired characteristics". In lamarck's own words: "An alchemical complexifying force drove organisms up a ladder of complexity, and a second environmental force adapted them to local environments through use and disuse of characteristics, differentiating them from other organisms." Lamarck was a firm believer in alchemy, and rejected the modern chemistry of Lavoisier. He was also a firm believer in spontaneous generation of life. In 1802 he wrote: "In the waters of the ancient world, an[d] at the present time, very small masses of mucilaginous matter were collected. Under the influences of light, certain elements, caloric and electric, entered these little bodies. These corpuscles became capable of taking in and exhaling gases; vital movements began, and thus an elemental plant or animal sprang into existence. Possibly higher forms of life, such as infest the intestines, originate in this way. Nature is thus always creating."  Those days, there must have been a very blurred line at the border between fact and imagination.

Charles Darwin, in 1868, developed his own theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics - "pangenesis". According to Lamarck's and Darwin's theories, when living organisms acquire new characteristics, they will pass on their new characteristics to future generations through inheritance (heredity).  As creatures strive for a better fit to their environment, they move up the evolutionary ladder of complexity (Aristotle's theory), and new organisms arise by spontaneous generation to fill the vacated places on the lower rungs. Darwin, like Lamarck, also believed in spontaneous generation. In Darwin's own words: "Though no evidence worth anything has as yet, in my opinion, been advanced in favour of a living thing being developed from inorganic matter, yet I cannot avoid believing the possibility of this will be proved some day in accordance with the law of continuity" (Quoted by Sir Francis Darwin, Charles Darwin's son, 1903).

Darwin's grandfather, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, wrote in "The Temple of Nature" (1802): "Hence without parents, by spontaneous birth, Rise the first specks of animated earth."

Lamarck's and Darwin's theories of "inheritance of acquired characteristics" were not rejected until the early 20th century, after the discovery of DNA. Today's believers in Darwinian evolution fiercely reject these embarrassing theories. To protect Darwin's reputation, they blame it all on Lamarck.

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Darwin's Theories - Two for the Price of One:

Between 1842 and 1844, Charles Darwin outlined his theory of evolution by "Natural Selection" as an explanation for adaptation and speciation. (In a letter to Charles Lyell in September 1860, Darwin regrets the use of the term "Natural Selection", preferring the term "Natural Preservation".)  He defined "Natural Selection" as the "principle by which each slight variation [of a trait], if useful, is preserved". The concept was simple but powerful - individuals best adapted to their environments are more likely to survive and reproduce  [later known as "survival of the fittest", a phrase coined by Herbert Spencer].  As long as there is some variation between them, there will be an inevitable selection of individuals with the most advantageous variations. If the variations are inherited, then differential reproductive success will lead to a progressive evolution of particular populations within a species.

So far, this description of "Natural Selection" is not in dispute. Evolutionists and creationists alike agree that individuals with the most advantageous variations have a better chance of survival. Slow zebras in the African jungle get eaten by lions. Fast zebras survive. "Natural Selection", so far, refers to evolution of particular populations WITHIN a species, to form populations with higher survival capabilities. This part of the theory of "evolution within species" is supported by plenty of experimental data. Darwin based his theory largely on "artificial selection" which is his name for the common practice of "selective breeding" - a process used by farmers and breeders to enrich the population of plants and animals with desired characteristics. Today we know that the improvements achieved through "selective breeding" and "natural selection" are the result of "genetic enrichment" - the increase in the percentage of plants and animals which carry the desirable genes.

The controversy involving Darwin's theory of evolution was ignited by the following extension of his theory:   "Populations that evolve to be sufficiently different might eventually become different species." This extension reaches beyond the realm of genetic enrichment within species, and enters the domain of "generating new species" or "generating new genes" - not much different from the, now defunct, theory of spontaneous generation. Darwin never offered an explanation of how new species arise, nor did anyone else ever offer such an explanation. "Our ignorance of the laws of variation is profound. Not in one case out of a hundred can we pretend to assign any reason why this or that part differs, more or less, from the same part in the parents." (Charles Darwin, On The Origin of Species, Summary to Chapter V).  Darwin himself admits that his theory has difficulties: "Long before having arrived at this part of my work, a crowd of difficulties will have occurred to the reader. Some of them are so grave that to this day I can never reflect on them without being staggered."   (On The Origin of Species, Chapter VI - Difficulties on Theory).

Darwin knew that the extension of his theory to "generating new species" is speculative. Had Darwin known what we know today about chromosomes, DNA, and genetic enrichment, he would have never extended his theory that far. Today we know that it does not matter how successful and beneficial genetic enrichment is. Genetic enrichment works only within the available pool of genes within each species. Natural-selection's and artificial-selection's genetic enrichment are completely devoid of any mechanism capable of generating new genes - something which was not known in Darwin's times. For a rabbit, having four eyes would certainly be more beneficial for its survival than two. Why don't rabbits evolve into species with four eyes? The reason is not that we have not been breeding them for long enough, but rather, that rabbits lack the genetic capacity for this to happen. Pierre Grasse, the most distinguished of French evolutionists writes: "In spite of the intense pressure generated by artificial selection over whole millennia, no new species are born ... the strain remains within the same specific definition." (Evolution of Living Organisms, 1977). Evolution lacks the genetic capacity to generate new species with new genes.

There are two factors which complicate an honest discussion of evolution. The first factor is the misleading use of the same name - "evolution" - to describe two distinct and different processes: a) "genetic enrichment of populations within species", and b) "generation of new species".  Perhaps using the name "evolution" to describe the first process, and the name "generation" to describe the second process will resolve the confusion caused by using the same misleading name for both. Evolution-biologists, however, resist such a separation. The common name is convenient for using evidence of the first process to prove the existence of the second. When biologists say "evolution is fact" they base it on the first process, but, they hope that the unsuspecting audience will think of the second.

The second factor is the lack of agreement among biologists on the definition of "species". Many different definitions have been published and all are in use. Organisms with small differences between them are often considered different species under one definition, and same species under another. Reports of observed speciation among populations are also dependent on the definition chosen for the report. Common sense dictates that genetic enrichment of an existing pool of genes could lead to different populations within the same species rather than to the generation of new species. However this would not necessarily be true under all the definitions. Many experiments and observations which validate "genetic enrichment of populations within species" are turned into evidence of "evolution of new species" merely by choosing a different definition. All the biologists with whom the author communicated, have abruptly discontinued the communication as soon as the misleading nomenclature and the vague definitions were mentioned. Did they feel like they were caught red-handed?

In philosophy, items can be identical, similar, or different. In mathematics, this distinction is expressed as a percentage of overlap. Zero percent overlap means "different". 100 percent overlap means "identical". Everything in between means "similar" due to partial overlap. In the presence of partial overlap it is practically impossible to set sharp boundaries. Wolves and lions are considered different species under all the definitions, yet they both have identical body parts - the only difference being shape and size. Both cars and horse-drawn wagons ride on four wheels. Is this evidence that cars "evolved" from wagons? "Commonality of engineering principles" is a much simpler explanation.  How much genetic overlap do biologists require for species to be called "same" or "different"?

Organisms which look very different and have a different number of chromosomes are most likely considered different species under most of the definitions. Zebras are an interesting exception. Are different varieties of zebras with different numbers of chromosomes considered same species or different species? Most people cannot tell the difference between wolves and certain dogs, yet they are considered by biologists different species (both have 78 chromosomes). At the same time, an English mastiff,  a poodle, and a chihuahua are considered same-species dogs. Are wolves a breed of wild dogs? Are dogs a breed of domesticated wolves? The only thing that can be uniformly agreed upon is that, if two groups are considered different species under all the definitions, then they are, most likely, different species indeed.

Darwin's application of his theory to humans can be found in his book: "Descent of Man". The language Darwin uses in his book, as highlighted in the following quotations, has all the characteristics of an author who knows that his theory is speculative.

bullet"We may infer that some ancient member of the anthropomorphous sub-group (referring to the Catarrhine) gave birth to man"
bullet"There can, consequently, hardly be a doubt that man is an off-shoot from the Old World Simian stem, and that under a genealogical point of view, he must be classed with the Catarrhine division."
bullet"We have seen that man appears to have diverged from the Catarrhine Old World division of the Simiadae"
bullet"We are far from knowing how long ago it was when man first diverged from the Catarrhine stock; but it may have occurred at an epoch as remote as the Eocene period.

The terms "appears to ..." and "may ..." are the most frequently used terms by scientists to indicate their limited confidence in the validity of their theory.

There are those who claim, in Darwin's defense, that Darwin never said humans evolved from old-time monkeys or apes. The quotations above are sufficient to refute such claims. However, Darwin deserves to be commended for his intellectual honesty, making it clear to an educated reader, by his choice of language, that his theory is indeed speculative rather than scientific. Darwin was much bothered by not finding any transitional creatures between apes and humans, nor was he (or anyone else) ever able to observe this transition in nature, or to explain how this transition actually occurs. (On The Origin of Species, Chapter VI - Difficulties on Theory).

Darwin's theory of evolution is often used as an anti-religious political weapon, to refute the account of creation in the Bible. Learning evolution, in many schools, is connected with denial of creation by God. The following citation from Darwin's book sheds interesting light on this controversy:

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one..."  (On The Origin of Species, 6th edition, p.429, the closing paragraph of the Conclusion).

Darwin himself knew that life on earth was started by "the Creator". Everything else is minor details. As it says in the Bible: "...and He (God) breathed into him a breath of life." (Genesis, ch.2, v.7)

The English Professor Anthony Flew was, for half a century, the world's leading authority on atheism. When he learned, in 2004, about the breaking of the genetic code in DNA, he changed his mind and announced that he believes in God as a first cause. The structure of DNA, he explained, was so awesomely complex that it could not have just evolved. It must have been designed and created by God.

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New Problems with the Theory:

Wishful thinking plays a major role in the interpretation of experiments and observations. Present-day biologists, lacking Darwin's intellectual honesty, often argue that "Evolution is a fact. The only thing we don't understand is its mechanism."  It is difficult to overlook the similarity to an older argument - "Spontaneous generation is a fact. The only thing we don't understand is its mechanism."

Konrad Lorenz won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1973.  In Germany, in 1940, he used Darwin's theory as a justification for the racial policies of the Nazi state. He wrote:"... selection for toughness, heroism, and social utility ... must be accomplished by some human institution, if mankind, in default of selective factors, is not to be ruined by domestication-induced degeneracy. The racial idea as the basis of our state has already accomplished much in this respect."

Most teachers and professors, when teaching their classes on evolution, tend to overlook and avoid the problems raised by the fact that the numbers of chromosomes in organisms do not correspond with the "generation of new species" theory. To circumvent the embarrassment, they argue that chromosomes and evolution have nothing to do with each other. That's about as absurd as arguing that species identity and DNA have nothing to do with each other. The following table shows a list of organisms and their corresponding number of chromosomes:

bullet2  Penicillium
bullet6  Mosquito
bullet8  Drosophila Fly (Fruit fly), Hawkweed plant
bullet10  Arabidopsis thaliana plant
bullet12  House Fly, Tomato
bullet14  Pea, Barley, Rye
bullet16  Honey Bee
bullet18  Lettuce
bullet20  Marijuana, Corn, Carrot
bullet22  Opossum, Redwood, Kidney Bean
bullet26  Frog
bullet32  Alligator, Onion
bullet34  Apple
bullet36  Starfish, Earthworm
bullet38  Cod Fish, cat
bullet40  Soybean, Mouse
bullet42  Wheat, Oat, Rat, Wolverine
bullet44  Bat, Rabbit, Syrian Hamster
bullet44-62  Zebra, depending on species
 
bullet46  Human, Hare
bullet48  Tobacco, Chimpanzee, Monkey, Potato
bullet50  Amoeba, Striped Skunk
bullet52  Cotton
bullet56  Silkworm
bullet60  Cow, Bengal Fox, Goat, Sable Antelope
bullet62  Donkey
bullet64  Horse, Spotted Skunk
bullet78  Chicken, Dog, Duck, Coyote, Dingo, Wolf
bullet82  Turkey
bullet90  Sweet Potato
bullet94  Goldfish
bullet100  Carp
bullet138  White Ash Tree
bullet148  Algae
bullet480-800  Ferns

Can we find any order in this list?  The simplest form of evolution should occur between species with the same number of chromosomes. So, did the House Fly (12), evolve from the Tomato (12)? Did the Alligator (32) evolve from the Onion (32)? Did the Human (46) evolve from the Hare(46)? Did the Monkey (48) evolve from Tobacco (48) or Potato (48)? Did the Horse (64) evolve from the Spotted Skunk (64)?

If new-species evolution means an increase or decrease in the number of chromosomes, then which one is more evolved - the Pea (14) or the Fern (480)?  If we add one chromosome pair to a Bat (44) or a Rabbit (44) we get a Human (46). If we remove one chromosome pair from Tobacco (48), Monkey (48), or Potato (48) we also get a Human (46). Who exactly evolved from whom?

If Humans (46) evolved from Monkeys (48) by losing one pair of chromosomes, then, did Monkeys (48) evolve from Striped Skunk (50) or Amoeba (50) by losing a pair?  Did Bats (44), Rabbits (44), and Syrian Hamsters (44) evolve from Humans (46) by losing a pair?

Needless to say, Darwin knew nothing about chromosomes and DNA. Had he known about it, he would have quickly trashed the "generation of new species" part of his theory.

A variant of the "generation of new species" theory claims that humans and monkeys are both descendants of a common ancestor. This is a nostalgic return to Leclerc's theory from 1778 who proposed common ancestry of humans and monkeys. If this is so, then, how many chromosomes did the common ancestor have, 46 or 48?  If 48, then it was a monkey. So, how exactly did this common ancestor lose a pair of chromosomes and mutate into a human?   Why didn't it loose another pair and mutate into a zebra, a bat, a rabbit, or a Syrian hamster?   If the common ancestor had 46 chromosomes, than it was a human. So, how exactly did this common ancestor gain a pair of chromosomes and mutate into a monkey? Why didn't it gain another pair to mutate into an amoeba or a striped skunk? If monkeys could have mutated into humans, why couldn't humans mutate into monkeys? After all, monkeys are known to better survive in the jungle than humans.

Evolution biologists don't have good answers to these questions. All they have is attacks on those who ask the questions. To avoid embarrassment, they argue that evolution and chromosomes have noting to do with each other. In that case, why have we never observed a species of monkeys with 46 chromosomes, or a species of humans with 48 chromosomes?

The Drosophila fly (also known as fruit fly) is the most studied organism in biological research, particularly in genetics and developmental biology. Thousands of generations and millions of individual flies have been studied. Despite all attempts to do so, not a single case of a mutation or any other change was ever observed leading to the generation of a new (really new, under all the definitions) species. Mutations done in the lab usually yielded defective body parts, not new species. Even a change to the Hawkweed plant, with the same number of chromosomes (8) was never observed. Increasing the number of chromosomes of this fly by one pair will yield a plant. Decreasing the number of chromosomes by one pair will yield a Mosquito. The most we can hope for, is for someone to develop it as a plot for a science-fiction book.
 
Evolution biologists generally refuse to discuss or even answer questions related to evidence against the "generation of new species" theory. Their general attitude is: "We are satisfied with the theory, don't annoy us with the facts." Questions are either ignored or fetch personal insults. A common response is: "you don't understand evolution", but no explanation follows. Such personal insults, and the lack of answers, are the best confirmation one can obtain to prove that evolution biologists know that the "generation of new species" theory is indeed speculative. Admitting it, however, would endanger their academic status and their livelihood. It is only a matter of time before this theory ends up in the same waste-basket where similar theories like "inheritance of acquired characteristics", "spontaneous generation of life", "the aether", "alchemy", and "the flat earth", ended up.

The probability of mutually beneficial mutations occurring randomly and simultaneously in multiple chromosomes of a single cell is extremely low. The probability of the same mutations occurring simultaneously in all cells of a multi-cell organism, is even lower. No one ever observed a rabbit evolve into a lion or into a species with four eyes. The probability of such mutations is low beyond imagination. To compensate for the low probability, biologists tend to take the approach of "given enough time it might happen." That's about as convincing as saying that given enough time, a monkey with a typewriter will type all the 26 letters of the abc in the correct order. (200 trillion monkeys will have one chance in 800 trillion years to get it right with 26 letters. How much longer will it take to correctly mutate thousands of genes?) With this premise, biologists have developed various imaginary models which yield "xx million years" as the time necessary for "evolutionary mutations" to occur and spread into the population. (Why million? why not billion or trillion?) Then, once such a time length has been calculated, we find in biology texts statements like: "Humans and monkeys evolved from a common ancestor  xx  million years ago", as if this was a well established scientific fact. The next step in this deceptive cyclical logic is a statement like: "The common ancestry of humans and monkeys proves that the world is at least xx million years old."

What happened to intellectual honesty? What's wrong with admitting, like Darwin did, that it is just a speculative theory? A more difficult question which evolutionists consistently avoid is "How did the common ancestor come into being, and how did the very first RNA or DNA sequence get encoded with millions of genes with the ability to absorb food, reproduce itself, survive, an evolve?" Darwin knew the answer to this question - it was "the Creator" who started it all (see citation above).

The statistical reality speaks for itself. The US is the only country in the world in which the teaching of evolution has been politicized, trying to brain-wash students into believing it. Yet, despite the immense political and judicial pressure to teach evolution, and, despite a court ban on teaching creation in public schools, the US is next to last in the developed countries in the world on the scale of public acceptance of evolution as a scientific truth. An international survey in the US, Japan, and 32 European countries, has revealed that only Turkey is less willing than the US to accept evolution as fact. Polls in the US by Newsweek and by CBS show that only 9-13% of the US population believe what their teachers told them about evolution. The courts can tell teachers what to teach or not to teach, but, no court can tell students what to believe or not to believe. As President Lincoln said: "You may deceive all the people part of the time, and part of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time."

How ironic it is that Louis Pasteur - the father of modern medicine, the scientist who discovered the antibiotic effect, the inventor of sterilization, the inventor of the vaccine for rabies, and the scientist who finally proved that spontaneous generation of life does not exist - was mocked by biologists of his generation for being a quack and someone who does not understand biology. What does this teach us about who are the real quacks in this field? How long will it take to evolve a new species of intellectually-honest biologists?

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Copyright© 2007-SEP by Zvi Shkedi. The author permits not-for-profit republication of this article with proper credit and without changes.
Originally posted: 2008-MAR-30
Latest update: 2008-MAR-30
Author: Zvi Shkedi

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