Problems I Have with Evolution and Evolutionists
Evolution and Permanence of Type - Louis Agassiz
Below are a series of random thoughts. I claim no expertise on evolution other than just having thought about it and having read somewhat about the topic. While these are some thoughts and pet peeves of mine, I'm sure evolutionists could write pet peeves they have with creationists, and perhaps they'd be justified. We're not always as good as God wants us to be. But if you're an evolutionist, are you always as good as evolution wants you to be? ;-)
- Why is it that whenever anybody raises an objection to evolution, the response is generally not to defend the theory, but to ask the person who objects if they are "one of those Christians who believe the world is 10,000 years old?" There are indeed Christians who believe that, and there are Christians, such as myself, who couldn't care less if the world is 18 billion years old. But this response suggests evolutionists don't have much to say in defense of evolution, and that they'd much rather change the subject.
- Evolutionists shy away in horror at "Social Darwinism," which has been used to justify such evils as racism, imperialism, and the atrocities of Adolph Hitler. They say this is a perversion of Darwinian theories. I'm glad they think that is the case, but they never seem to get around to explaining why. It seems that one racial group battling another racial group fits perfectly well with Darwin's theories of the survival of the fittest. I've heard evolutionists counter that differences between the races are trivial, but that is a non-argument because Darwin said evolution proceeds by just such trivial changes.
- I understand that human beings use only a small fraction of their brains. I thought this was just a way of saying we're all mentally lazy, but I've been assured that it quite literally means that people can do just fine with very little of their physical brains. If evolution proceeds only by minuscule modifications that adapt an organism to its environment, why is the brain so overqualified? Why is its capacity so far beyond what is necessary? Didn't Darwin say: "Natural selection tends only to make each organic being as perfect as, or slightly more perfect than, the other inhabitants of the same country with which it has to struggle for existence."?
- Some evolutionists (and I'll grant that they are the ignorant ones) suggest that creationists believe God created, for example, not just canines, but Yorkshire terriers, German shepherds, poodles, Shetland sheep dogs, golden retrievers, etc. For those people, permit me to quote that eminent scholar, Charles Darwin: "...amongst organic beings in a state of nature there is some individual variability; indeed I am not aware that this has ever been disputed." That's from Origin of Species, chapter 3. As Darwin says, it hasn't been disputed. Creationists agree there is variation among creatures, but say that the variation is within limits.
- Every eight or 10 months or so I read about the discovery of some fossil that shows that the (fish, bird, whale, whatever) existed far earlier than expected. "Earlier than expected" seems to mean, "Earlier than evolutionary theory would have predicted." It seems to me that the further back in time you find an organism, the less time there would have been for it to evolve. For some reason these discoveries never seem to be counted against evolution.
- If I understand correctly, living beings have a genetic clock that seems programmed to end our lives. Cells simply stop operating properly after a certain amount of time. What is the evolutionary advantage of an internal mechanism that ends a being's life?
- In Origin of Species Darwin outlines his theory, then spends much of his book defending the theory against objections. Today's evolutionists seem not so brave. They seem bent on preventing any criticism of Darwin's theories in public schools. Why - if Darwin was willing to discuss objections to his theory - are his followers today so unwilling? If creationists are such idiots, why wouldn't it be a romp in the park to debate the issue? And finally, if objections to Darwin's theories are to be excluded from public schools, do we also need to ban Origin of Species, since it discusses objections to the theory?
- Why do evolutionists complain about how unfair it was to not be allowed to teach evolution in public schools prior to the Scopes trial, but now that the shoe is on the other foot, they are adamant about preventing any form or creation - or frequently, any critique of evolution at all - in public schools?
- Why do some evolutionists get upset whenever someone insists that evolution is a "theory." In Origin of Species Darwin called it a theory so many times I lost track. In fact, he has an entire chapter called "Difficulties on Theory." If we're going to stop calling it a theory, there must have been some great discoveries that prove the theory. If there had been, I'm sure they would have been loudly proclaimed. But until someone comes up with these great discoveries I think evolutionists shouldn't be so fussy when people insist on the truth.
- Evolutionists are fond of attacking some Christian views of the origins of life by saying that the way the theories are presented, they shelter themselves from being disproved, and a theory that can't be disproved is a worthless theory. I would tend to agree that such theories are of doubtful value, but this is precisely what Darwin does. He goes to great lengths in chapter after chapter to say how unlikely it is that evidence will be found in the fossil record that will confirm his theory.
- Evolutionists have no problem attacking creation by asking, in essence, "Why would God create it that way?" "Why didn't God make the eyes of humans more like the superior eyes of the octopus?" Then they've scored a point if you can't tell them what was in God's mind regarding people and octopuses. But it doesn't work the same way when you ask them questions they can't answer. While you can't ask an evolutionist "Why?" since there is no "why" behind evolution, you can ask "How?" "How," for instance, "did a series of minuscule evolutionary steps create flying birds?" The response is often to dismiss the question by saying that they can't be expected to know all the details. So, I'm supposed to know what God was thinking in specific cases, but they don't need to know how evolution works in specific cases.
- What natural advantage in the struggle for survival does being dead offer? If natural selection favors those who survive and reproduce, certainly the dead are about as unfit to survive and reproduce as anybody. But there is still a far-too-common tendency toward suicide. Why hasn't this tendency toward suicide been evolved away eons ago?
- Origin of Species was first published in 1859, so at this writing it's been 140 years. Just how much longer are we supposed to wait until we get some clear fossil evidence of evolution. Darwin had an entire section in Origin of Species entitled "On the absence or rarity of transitional varieties." He was legitimately able to use the excuse that "Only a small portion of the world has been geologically explored." But the world has been a lot better explored now, so when are we going to fill in at least a few of those fossil gaps with clear lines? If what Darwin said is correct, there should be tens of millions of intermediaries.
- Speaking of which, some evolutionists (and I emphasis some) mock Christians by claiming we are fussing about "a missing link," as if the jigsaw puzzle was complete except for one in-between organism - usually between human beings and an unspecified ancestral being. The fact is there should be - if you really believe what Darwin said is true - an "innumerable" number of links, and, as Darwin himself said, all of them - or virtually all of them - are missing.
- Why in the world do so many evolutionists think that dinosaurs prove evolution? That makes as much sense as saying the existence of prairie dogs proves evolution.
- I've been hearing some evolutionists talking about important building blocks to life developing in outer space. This suggests that they have come to the conclusion that evolution just wouldn't have had enough time to operate on Earth, even with several billion years. This sounds like desperation to me.
- Those evolutionists who haven't retreated to outer space assure us that life arose in a mud puddle, or a "primordial soup," or around some undersea volcanic vent. We are assured that this (whatever "this" might be at the moment) would be an excellent environment in which life could arise. But if evolutionists know what an ideal environment is for the creation of life, why can't they reproduce life? If they can't do it by design, why are they so confident that it happens by accident?
- I've also been hearing about "punctuated equilibrium" and the "Cambrian explosion" and the sudden appearance of life. "Sudden" simply isn't Darwinian, and if it is evolutionary in any sense, it is in a sense that has been far from adequately explained.
- I have read evolutionists who have speculated on these sudden appearances by suggesting that favorable adaptations in organisms have not been displayed outwardly but have been genetically "stored up" until the favorable time. But Darwin said that every modification had to provide an immediate benefit to the organism. Otherwise, why would it be "stored up?" If the environment is not the mechanism that indicates that an adaptation is favorable, what is?
- Some critics of evolution have noticed that there are certain life mechanisms that are "irreducibly complex," meaning that all the parts must be in place or the mechanism won't function at all. Darwin said life forms change very gradually, imperceptibly, step by tiny step. To quote him: "Natural selection can act only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a leap." So, what outside process jumped in to help evolution make these impossible jumps?
- Some evolutionists object when Christians use of the word "chance" to describe evolution. They say that it isn't "chance," it's "descent with modification" or "natural selection." I think that is just playing with words. I suspect they object because they know that the word "chance" suggests the process is purposeless, without meaning. Hence, our existence is without meaning. This, of course, goes against the grain of human nature - theirs as well as others. But they have very little reason for objecting. In Origin of Species, Darwin himself calls descent with modification "accidental." Let me quote from his chapter on instinct: "Any amount of modification in structure can be effected by the accumulation of numerous, slight, and as we must call them accidental, variations..."
- Doesn't the human heart's yearning for something beyond nature, something "spiritual," something that cannot be fulfilled by food, clothing or the things of this life, cause evolutionists a problem? I thought evolution adapted the organism to its environment. Why would evolution create in human hearts a yearning that can be more intense than the desire for food or clothing or sex or even life itself, all for something that does not even exist?
- And finally, not strictly a critique, but a legitimate question. What does evolution offer the human heart? Strict evolutionists - by which I mean those who do not even believe that evolution was guided or initiated by some supernatural power - would take away not only God, but any true meaning. If all is chance, all is meaningless. They would remove from our plates a loaf of bread and replace it with a stone, then urge us to eat heartily. No thank you.