What is the evidence?
Suppose a man walks up to you and says "I'm a billionaire."
You say "Prove it."
He says "ok", and he points across the street at a bank. "My money is in that bank there." (The bank is closed.)
You say "What does that prove?"
He says "Everyone knows banks have money in them"
You say "I know there is money in the bank, but why should I believe that it's YOUR money?"
"Because it's GREEN" he says.
"What else can you show me?"
He reaches in his pocket and pulls out a penny. "See -- I'm a billionaire."
You're still skeptical. 'What does that prove?', you ask.
"I'M A BILLIONAIRE" he states loudly (obviously annoyed that you would question him). He reaches in another pocket and pulls out another penny, "Do you believe me now?"
The number of intermediate and transitional links between all living and extinct species, must have been inconceivably great.~ Charles Darwin
But just in proportion as this process of extermination has acted on an enormous scale, so must the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed, be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record. ~ Charles Darwin
He who rejects these views on the nature of the geologic record, will rightly reject my whole theory. ~ Charles Darwin
Darwin produced embarrassingly little concrete evidence to back up some of his most important claims. This includes the change of one species into another in succeeding geological strata, or the production of new structures and taxonomic types by natural selection. ~ Ernst Mayr
One might suppose that Darwin, like his modern intellectual descendants, saw in the fossil record a confirmation of his theory -- the literal documentation of life's evolution from the Cambrian to the present day. In fact, the two chapters devoted to geology in The Origin of Species are anything but celebratory. On the contrary, they constitute a carefully worded apology in which Darwin argues that evolution by natural selection is correct despite an evident lack of support from fossils. ~ Andrew Knoll
Darwin invoked his standard argument to resolve this uncomfortable problem: the fossil record is so imperfect that we do not have evidence for most events of life's history. But even Darwin acknowledged that his favorite ploy was wearing a bit thin in this case. His argument could easily account for a missing stage in a single linage, but could the agencies of imperfection really obliterate absolutely all evidence for positively every creature during most of life's history? Darwin admitted: "The case as present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained." (1859, p.308)
Darwin has been vindicated by a rich Precambrian record, all discovered in the past thirty years. Yet the peculiar character of this evidence has not matched Darwin's prediction of a continuous rise in complexity toward Cambrian life, and the problem of the Cambrian explosion has remained as stubborn as ever -- if not more so, since our confusion now rests on knowledge, rather than ignorance about the nature of Precambrian life. ~ Stephen Jay Gould
Since Darwin a tremendous expansion of pale ontological knowledge has taken place, and we know much more about the fossil record than was known in his time, but the basic situation is not much different. We actually may have fewer examples of smooth transition than we had in Darwin's time because some of the old examples have turned out to be invalid when studied in more detail. To be sure, some new intermediate or transitional forms have been found, particularly among land vertebrates. But if Darwin were writing today, he would probably still have to cite a disturbing lack of missing links or transitional forms between the major groups of organisms. ~ David Raup
Darwin's prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record. ~ Niles Eldredge
There seems to have been almost no change in any part we can compare between the living organism and its fossilized progenitors of the remote geological past. Living fossils embody the theme of evolutionary stability to an extreme degree...We have not completely solved the riddle of living fossils. ~ Niles Eldredge
When we descend to details, we can prove that no one species has changed (i.e. we cannot prove that a single species has changed): nor can we prove that the supposed changes are beneficial, which is the groundwork of the theory. ~ Charles Darwin
As Ernst Mayr, one of the founders of the modern synthetic theory of evolution, pointed out in his Systematics and the Origin of Species (1942) Darwin never really did discuss the origin of species in his The Origin of Species. ~ Niles Eldredge
It is now approximately half a century since the neo-Darwinian synthesis was formulated. A great deal of research has been carried on within the paradigm it defines. Yet the successes of the theory are limited to the interpretation of the minutiae of evolution, such as the adaptive change in coloration of moths; while it has remarkably little to say on the questions which interest us most, such as how there came to be moths in the first place. ~ Mae-Wan Ho and Peter Saunders
Anything truly novel always seemed to appear quite abruptly in the fossil record. ~ Ernst Mayr
There is no doubt that natural selection is a mechanism, that it works. It has been repeatedly demonstrated by experiment. There is no doubt at all that it works. But the question of whether it produces new species is quite another matter. No one has ever produced a species by mechanisms of natural selection. ~ Colin Patterson
The lynx feeds on hares and is a fierce predator; both high and low figures apply to both populations, the hunter and the hunted. The struggle is unremitting, as the statistics prove. The evolutionary effect is nonexistent. Morphologically and physiologically, both hare and lynx remain unchanged. ~ Pierre Grasse
What is the use of their unceasing mutations, if they do not change? In sum, the mutations of bacteria and viruses are merely hereditary fluctuations around a median position; a swing to the right, a swing to the left, but no final evolutionary effect. ~ Pierre Grasse
Anatomy may fluctuate over time, but the last remnants of a species usually look pretty much like the first representatives. ~ Stephen Jay Gould
All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt. ~ Stephen Jay Gould
The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. ~ Stephen Jay Gould see also: The Dotted Lines
Fossils may tell us many things, but one thing they can never disclose is whether they were ancestors of anything else. ~ Colin Patterson
The intervals of time that separate fossils are so huge that we cannot say anything definite about their possible connection through ancestry and descent. ~ Henry Gee
The Origin of Species converted the majority of its readers to a belief in Darwinian evolution. We must now ask whether this was an unadulterated benefit to biology and to mankind... I do not contest the fact that the advent of the evolutionary idea, due mainly to the Origin, very greatly stimulated biological research. But it appears to me that owing precisely to the nature of the stimulus, a great deal of this work was directed into unprofitable channels or devoted to the pursuit of will-o’- the-wisps. I am not the only biologist of this opinion. Darwin’s conviction that evolution is the result of natural selection, acting on small fortuitous variations, says Guyenot, was to delay the progress of investigations on evolution by half a century. Really fruitful researches on heredity did not begin until the rediscovery in 1900 of the fundamental work of Mendel, published in 1865 and owing nothing to the work of Darwin. ~ W.R. Thompson
Biochemists and biologists who adhere blindly to the Darwinism theory search for results that will be in agreement with their theories and consequently orient their research in a given direction ... This intrusion of theories has unfortunate results: it deprives observations and experiments of their objectivity, makes them biased, and, moreover, creates false problems. ... Assuming that the Darwinian hypothesis is correct, they interpret fossil data according to it; it is only logical that they should confirm it: the premises imply the conclusions. The error in method is obvious. ~ Pierre Grasse
The opposite truth has been affirmed by innumerable cases of measurable evolution at this minimal scale-but, to be visible at all over so short a span, evolution must be far too rapid (and transient) to serve as the basis for major transformations in geological time. Hence, the “paradox of the visibly irrelevant”-or, if you can see it at all, it’s too fast to matter in the long run. ~ Stephen Jay Gould
The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear No. ~ Roger Lewin
Molecular biology has shown that even the simplest of all living systems on the earth today, bacterial cells, are exceedingly complex objects. Although the tiniest bacterial cells are incredibly small, weighing less than 10-12 gms, each is in effect a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the nonliving world. ~ Michael Denton
No matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution. ~ Pierre Grasse
On experimental grounds, I have shown that there are no known random mutations that have added any genetic information to the organism. I go through a list of the best examples of mutations offered by evolutionists and show that each of them loses genetic information rather than gains it. One of the examples that where information is lost is the one often trotted out by evolutionists nowadays in an attempt to convince the public of the truth of evolution. That is the evolution of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. ~ Lee Spetner See also: virus
Thanks to its enormous population size, rate of reproduction, and our knowledge of the genetics, the single best test case of Darwin's theory is the history of malaria. Much of this book will center on this disease. Many parasitic diseases afflict humanity, but historically the greatest bane has been malaria, and it is among the most thoroughly studied. For ten thousand years the mosquito-borne parasite has wreaked illness and death over vast expanses of the globe. Until a century ago humanity was ignorant of the cause of malarial fever, so no conscious defense was possible. The only way to lessen the intense, unyielding selective pressure from the parasite was through the power of random mutation. Hundreds of different mutations that confer a measure of resistance to malaria cropped up in the human genome and spread through our population by natural selection. These mutations have been touted by Darwinists as among the best, clearest examples of the abilities of Darwinian evolution.
And so they are. But, as we'll see, now that the molecular changes underlying malaria resistance have been laid bare, they tell a much different tale than Darwinists expected -- a tale that highlights the incoherent flailing involved in a blind search. Malaria offers some of the best examples of Darwinian evolution, but that evidence points both to what it can, and more important what it cannot, do. Similarly, changes in the human genome, in response to malaria, also point to the radical limits of the efficacy of random mutation.
Because it has been studied so extensively, and because of the astronomical number of organisms involved, the evolutionary struggle between humans and our ancient nemesis malaria is the best, most reliable basis we have for forming judgments about the power of random mutation and natural selection. Few other sources of information even come close. And as we'll see, the few that do tell similar tales. ~ Michael Behe
Real arms races are run by highly intelligent, bespectacled engineers in glass offices thoughtfully designing shiny weapons on modern computers. But there's no thinking in the mud and cold of nature's trenches. At best, weapons thrown together amidst the explosions and confusion of smoky battlefields are tiny variations on old ones, held together by chewing gum. If they don't work, then something else is thrown at the enemy, including the kitchen sink -- there's nothing "progressive" about that. At its usual worst, trench warfare is fought by attrition. If the enemy can be stopped or slowed by burning your own bridges and bombing your own radio towers and oil refineries, then away they go. Darwinian trench warfare does not lead to progress -- it leads back to the Stone Age. ~ Michael Behe
It is the great irony of modern evolutionary genetics that the spirit of explanation has moved more and more towards optimal adaptation, while the technical developments of population genetics of the past 30 years have been increasingly to show the efficacy of non adaptive forces in evolution. ~ Richard Lewontin
By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly (that is, by continuously improving the initial function, which continues to work by the same mechanism) by slight, successive modification of a precursor, system, because any precursors to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. ~ Michael Behe
In the abstract, it might be tempting to imagine that irreducible complexity simply requires multiple simultaneous mutations -- that evolution might be far chancier than we thought, but still possible. Such an appeal to brute luck can never be refuted... Luck is metaphysical speculation; scientific explanations invoke causes. ~ Michael Behe
Pennock is guilty of his own form of magic, however. This third form of magic is the view that something can be gotten for nothing. This form of magic can be nuanced. The "nothing" here need not be an absolute nothing. And the transformation of nothing into something may involve minor expenditures of effort. For instance, the magician may need to utter "abracadabra" or "hocus-pocus." Likewise the Darwinian just-so stories that attempt to account for complex, information-rich biological structures are incantations that give the illusion of solving a problem but in fact merely cloak ignorance.
Darwinists, for instance, explain the human eye as having evolved from a light sensitive spot that successively became more complicated as increasing visual acuity conferred increased reproductive capacity on an organism. In such a just-so story, all the historical and biological detail in the eye's construction are lost. How did a spot become innervated and thereby light-sensitive? How exactly did a lens form within a pinhole camera? With respect to embryology, what developmental changes are required to go from a light-sensitive sheet to a light-sensitive cup? None of these questions receives an answer in purely Darwinian terms. Darwinian just-so stories are no more enlightening than Rudyard Kipling's original just-so stories about how the elephant got its trunk or the giraffe its neck. Such stories are entertaining, but they hardly engender profound insight. ~ William Dembski
The information necessary to specify the design of all the species of organisms which have ever existed on the planet, a number according to G. G. Simpson of approximately one thousand million, could be held in a teaspoon and there would still be room left for all the information in every book ever written. ~ Michael Denton
They conceived the evidence that would carry the vital intellectual argument, but at its core lay flawed science, dubious methodology and wishful thinking. Clustered around the peppered moth is a swarm of human ambition, and self-delusions shared among some of the most renowned evolutionary biologists of our era. ~ Judith Hooper See also: 1 2
The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best -- and therefore never scrutinize or question. Ask anyone to name the most familiar of all evolutionary series and you will almost surely receive, as an answer: horses, of course...Modern horses are not only depleted relative to horses of the past; on a larger scale, all major lineages of the Perissodactyla (the larger mammalian group that includes horses) are pitiful remnants of former copious success. Modern horses, in other words, are failures within a failure -- about the worst possible exemplars of evolutionary progress, whatever such a term might mean. ~ Stephen Jay Gould
Genomes are littered with nonfunctional pseudogenes, faulty duplicates of functional genes that do nothing, while their functional cousins (the word doesn't even need scare quotes) get on with their business in a different part of the genome. And there’s lots more DNA that doesn’t even deserve the name pseudogene. It, too, is derived by duplication, but not duplication of functional genes. It consists of multiple copies of junk, “tandem repeats”, and other nonsense which may be useful for forensic detectives but which doesn’t seem to be used in the body itself. Once again, creationists might spend some earnest time speculating on why the Creator should bother to litter genomes with untranslated pseudogenes and junk tandem repeat DNA. ~ Richard Dawkins
There were long stretches of DNA in between genes that didn't seem to be doing very much; some even referred to these as "junk DNA," though a certain amount of hubris was required for anyone to call any part of the genome "junk," given our level of ignorance. ~ Francis Collins See also: 1 2
It was a failing of Haeckel as a would-be scientist that his hand as an artist altered what he saw with what should have been the eye of a more accurate beholder. He was more than once, often justifiably, accused of scientific falsification, by Wilhelm His and by many others. For only two examples, in "Anthropogenie" he drew the developing brain of a fish as curved, because that of reptiles, birds, and mammals is bent. But the vesicles of a fish brain always form in a straight line. He drew the embryonic membranes of man as including a small sac-like allantois, an embryonic organ characteristic of and larger in reptiles, birds, and some nonhuman mammals. The human embryo has no sac-like allantois at all. Only its narrow solid stock remains to conduct the umbilical blood vessels between embryo and placenta. Examples could be multiplied significantly. ~ Jane Oppenheimer See also: 1 2 3 4
Beginning in 1980 with the dinosaur/asteroid controversy, it has more recently become popular for geologists to consider not just local, but global catastrophes to account for the geologic evidence they see. One can be assured that for a community to have made such an incredible shift -- in spite of the strong association which exists between catastrophism and creationism -- there must be profound evidence for catastrophe throughout the geologic column. ~ Kurt Wise
To press the matter further, if there were a basic principle of matter which somehow drove organic systems toward life, its existence should easily be demonstrable in the laboratory. One could, for instance, take a swimming bath to represent the primordial soup. Fill it with any chemicals of a non- biological nature you please. Pump any gases over it, or through it, you please, and shine any kind of radiation on it that takes your fancy. Let the experiment proceed for a year and see how many of those 2,000 enzymes have appeared in the bath. I will give the answer, and so save the time and trouble and expense of actually doing the experiment. You would find nothing at all, except possibly for a tarry sludge composed of amino acids and other simple organic chemicals. How can I be so confident of this statement? Well, if it were otherwise, the experiment would long since have been done and would be well known and famous throughout the world. The cost of it would be trivial compared to the cost of landing a man on the Moon... In short there is not a shred of objective evidence to support the hypothesis that life began in an organic soup here on Earth. ~ Fred Hoyle
If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just about where these levels are actually found to be... A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question. ~ Fred Hoyle
In fact the a priori reasoning is so entirely satisfactory to me that if the facts won’t fit in, why so much the worse for the facts is my feeling. ~ Erasmus Darwin
Complete objectivity in science is an illusion. Because so much of one’s analysis depends upon metaphysical assumptions, it should be acknowledged by this writer, and by all readers, that the answer one gives to a question depends to a great extent on the metaphysical position one has previously adopted. ~ Dean Overman
Darwinists believe that the mutation-selection mechanism accomplishes wonders of creativity not because the wonders can be demonstrated, but because they cannot think of a more plausible explanation for the existence of wonders that does not involve an unacceptable creator, i.e., a being or force outside the world of nature. ~ Phillip Johnson
Truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn’t evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of ‘like begets like’. Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all. ~ Jerry Coyne
It struck me that I had been working on this stuff for twenty years and there was not one thing I knew about it. That's quite a shock to learn that one can be so misled so long...so for the last few weeks I've tried putting a simple question to various people and groups of people. Question is: Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing that is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all I got there was silence for a long time and eventually one person said, 'I do know one thing -- it ought not to be taught in high school'. ~ Colin Patterson
In fact the a priori reasoning is so entirely satisfactory to me that if the facts won’t fit in, why so much the worse for the facts is my feeling. ~ Erasmus Darwin
see also: Frog Prince more
see also: First Citiwide Change Bank
see also: The Edge of Evolution
see also: Monkeys and Shakespeare more more
see also: Random Mutations
see also: Mendel's Accountant
see also: Darwin's Predictions
see also: Haldane's Dilemma
see also: Antibiotic Resistance
see also: Intelligent Design
see also: Chimp DNA more
see also: Creationist Claims
see also: Evidence for a Young World
see also: Soft-Tissue T. rex more more more more more
see also: Piltdown
Evolutionism and atheism
What is the evidence?
Theory or fact?
Scientists and bias
Evolutionism and scripture
Are Creationists honest?