"It is the height of bigotry to have only one theory of origins taught in our schools."

- the ACLU for the inclusion of evolution when only creationism was being taught.

"There are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations."

- James Shapiro

"DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we've ever created."

- Bill Gates

"This regular absence of transitional forms is not confined to mammals, but is an almost universal phenomenon, as has long been noted by paleontologists. It is true of almost all orders of all classes of animals, both vertebrate and invertebrate. A fortiori, it is also true of the classes, themselves, and of the major animal phyla, and it is apparently also true of the analogous categories of plants."

- George G. Simpson



Where did man come from?
3) Darwin's theory


"The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence."

- Thomas Huxley

"It is sure mankind is older than a half million years but no fortunate accident of discovery has yet given us evidence to prove it." 1

- Robert Braidwood


10.9 How Darwin arrived at his theory

-- MID 1800'S TO MID 1900'S

On December 27, 1831, Captain Robert FitzRoy set sail in the H.M.S. Beagle to chart parts of South America and a number of islands in the Pacific. Charles Darwin filled his request for a naturalist to accompany him. Over the five year voyage, Darwin collected rocks and creatures from almost everywhere they sailed and recorded over 2,100 pages of notes. It was not during that trip that his belief in evolution coalesced, but about ten years after his return.

Though Edward Blyth had written papers in 1835 and 1837 stating much of that which only Darwin is known for today, Darwin set forth his beliefs in 1859 in a book called Origin of Species which carried the subtitle Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Blackmore and Page summarize the basis of Darwin's beliefs to be:

Darwin recorded in his autobiography,

I happened to read for amusement 'Malthus on Population', and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved and unfavourable ones destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of a new species. 18

In explaining his theory, Darwin did not address how life initially began. Though he closed Origin of Species with an acknowledgment of a god who may have initially set everything in motion, he never really specifies exactly what he believes god is or what god did. A reference to deity, however bland, was probably to minimize the controversy he anticipated his theory would create.

Darwin had written in a personal letter that announcing his theory was like confessing a murder. But the step of completely eliminating deity, which Darwin held back on, his proponents around the globe were quick to take; especially during the era in which scientists believed they had disproved God.

Within a short time after the introduction of Origin of Species, evolution was synonymous with atheism. Evolution being an outgrowth of a materialist view of science, its embrace by materialists was quite predictable. Since the discovery of DNA, Darwinism has been enhanced by its modern proponents to account for genetics and in this state is referred to as neo-Darwinism. Here is a simplified explanation of life as we know it according to Neo-Darwinian evolution:

10.10 Darwinism as modernized per DNA studies.

A random chemical combination in a liquid pool of organic building blocks early in earth's history happens to produce a chemical structure capable of reproducing itself. As generations of these structures reproduce, slight mistakes in copying are made. These mistakes are called mutations.

In what is called natural selection, environmental changes play a key role by eliminating the mutations of life forms less fit to survive than others. The mutations which do survive result in those forms out-surviving and, consequently, outnumbering the previous form.

This new and likely more complex form would dominate until it, too, made a beneficial reproduction mistake that resulted in a yet more survivable form, and so on. Life according to neo-Darwinism is then the ongoing result of reproductions being eliminated by or adapting to environmental changes (natural selection), and a half billion years of beneficial genetic mistakes; copy errors to be precise.

Neo-Darwinism is summarized as holding the following beliefs to be true:

1. Life must form by accident. (Because natural selection has to do with competition of survival and reproduction among living systems, there is no evolving per se of non-life to life.)

2. Mutations can add to and improve the condition of any life form.

3. All complex life forms must coalesce by "numerous, successive, slight modifications."

4. Like an inverted pyramid, a survey of the different animal life forms should be narrow at the base (if life began from a single cell) and broaden over time as more and more creatures reproduced.

5. New groupings of animals should be evidenced to be, or at least to have been, continually emerging from on-going evolution throughout time.

6. Millions or billions of years of slight mutations should leave a generally even trail of transitional life forms and intermediate species between the single cell and the complex forms in existence today.

10.11 Problems with neo-Darwinian evolution

1) Life cannot form by accident. This will be addressed in detail here, but for now know that a living cell was thought of in Darwin's time as the most basic unit of life. A century before genetics and electron microscopes, it was probably not a big leap for materialist atheists to believe life's origin was just a lucky combination of chemicals.

2) Mutations subtract from, not add to, a cell's genetic code. Again, DNA, RNA, nucleotide bases and such were all unknown to Darwin. In the latter half of the twentieth century, neo-Darwinists substituted genes for Darwin's 'inherited characteristics' to explain the passing down of traits. Yet we now know that mutations, even favorable ones, remove information from a creature's genetic code. So while it might be rendered 'more fit' for at least one generation, it would necessarily be less complex, not more.

Not only is a less complex reproduction contrary to what neo-Darwinism predicts, mutations are always less likely to be able to reproduce. Thus the greater the mutation, the less likely it is to be the ancestor of anything. Hoyle and Wickramasinghe point out why mutations are far more likely to be detrimental, not beneficial:

But without any concession to logic, the argument can be stated inversely. If the standard of one's competitor's declines, one can afford to decline oneself and still survive... Thus by assuming implicitly that the competition does not decline, the Darwinian theory really begs the question... We saw above that the variations on which natural selection operates arise from the miscopying of genetic messages. Miscopying commonly loses information and gains it only rarely. The variations on which natural selection operates are therefore strongly biased towards decline. 21

On a more fundamental level, at any given time natural selection assumes that a group of living systems already exists so that only the more survivable variations within it win out over the weaker. In other words, natural selection as it is observed only explains how variations within a species increase or recede. It cannot explain how the species or even life itself came to exist in the first place.

3) Life forms do exist which cannot have coalesced by slight modifications. Darwin at least recognized this possibility and warned in his Origin of Species that

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Such things have been demonstrated by Michael Behe and Michael Denton; forms described to be irreducibly complex. Examples of these include bacterial flagellum, the immune system, blood clotting, and perhaps even the eye. Dr. Behe explains

But what type of biological system could not be formed by "numerous, successive, slight modifications"? A system that is irreducibly complex. Irreducible complexity is just a fancy phrase I use to mean a system that is composed of several interacting parts, where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to cease functioning. 74

The common example of irreducible complexity is that of a wooden mouse trap. You don't start with just the platform and catch a few mice, then add a holding bar and catch a few more, then the spring, later the hammer, etc. All parts must be in place in order for the trap to trap.

This contradicts neo-Darwinism because the evolutionary theory describes a cumulative process whereby fitness improvements are added bit by bit over generations. Therefore, because the individual parts of irreducibly complex systems don't contribute to survival until they are all in place, unintelligent natural selection cannot be used to explain them.

A further possibility concerning irreducible complexity is emerging over DNA. In the movie "Jurassic Park", DNA was removed from ostrich eggs and replaced with dinosaur DNA. Jonathan Wells reports that DNA replacement has been tried (not with dinosaurs). But what happens is that the egg continues its original development until it dies for lack of the proper nutrients. 75

In other words, DNA replacement not only fails to change the species of an embryo, it fails to successfully control its development. Thus a possibly irreducibly complex system may be that of DNA working in combination with membrane patterns and the cytoskeleton, and or additional organs within living creatures.

4) The appearance of animal types do not follow an inverted pyramid. They instead all appear at the approximate same time in the early geologic time known as the Cambrian period. This has been termed the Cambrian explosion which is explained to have

occurred suddenly - in a geologic eye blink. It was never to be repeated. From these Cambrian animals issued nearly all the major animal groups...that ever existed on earth...Thirty seven of those [original fifty or so] body plans have survived to this day. They have been elaborated with additional features but never basically altered. 76

Thus the evidence shows that virtually all complex life forms show up suddenly in the Cambrian period with no transitional lineage preceeding them in the Precambrian. This in not compatible with neo-Darwinism or any natural selection-based evolution.

5) Animal species are not ever-widening. To the contrary, they are in decline. Referring again to the Cambrian explosion, this is sometimes called biology's "big bang". The fossil record shows all the basic animal types (phyla) showing up together suddenly, after which no new types ever were added. This archaeological fact is consistent with creationist or intelligent design predictions, but not with neo-Darwinism.

Various environmental and naturalist groups are rather vocal today about protecting species of animals from extinction. To their credit, they in effect realize that life on this planet is not the ever-widening pyramid base as postulated by neo-Darwinism. Because cross-species mating in not possible, when a species is critically low on members it is in serious trouble. Where advocacy groups err is in claiming recent industrialization is the chief foe. Industry may contribute to the situation, but fossil records indicate the decline in species began in the periods following ancient Cambrian times.

6) There are absolutely no cross-species transitional life forms, as Darwin admitted. This is the evidence Darwin most ardently hoped for - the discovery within the fossil record of a very gradual chain of life forms. Though freely admitting his own lack of evidence at the time, Darwin likened the fossil record to trying to read a book that had most of its pages torn out. What the fossil record did show was the abrupt appearance of many different lifeforms, and some of those very complex. Evolutionist Michael Denton writes,

Again, the first representatives of each major group appear in the fossil record already highly specialized and highly characteristic of the group to which they belong... The virtual complete absence of intermediate and ancestral forms from the fossil record is today recognized widely by many paleontologists as one of its most striking characteristics... 19 [emphasis mine]

With no proof of his theory to be found in the fossil record, Darwin was unable to answer why life fails to appear as gradually as his theory necessitates. Darwin himself said:

To the question why we do not find records of these vast primordial periods, I can give no satisfactory answer... The case at present must remain inexplicable, and may be truly urged as a valid argument about the views here entertained. 20 [emphasis mine]

A personal letter Darwin wrote confirms his lack of evidence in trying to prove one species can become another:

But I believe in nat. selection, not because I can prove in any single case that it has changed one species into another, but because it groups and explains well (as it seems to me) a host of facts in classification... 22

Evolutionist George G. Simpson pondered in his work Tempo and Mode in Evolution,

This regular absence of transitional forms is not confined to mammals, but is an almost universal phenomenon, as has long been noted by paleontologists. It is true of almost all orders of all classes of animals,...and it is apparently also true of the analogous categories of plants. 77

After more than a century of scholars searching for bona fide transitional forms as proof of Darwin's theory, Hoyle points out that "there are now so many workers in the field that nothing clear-cut can have been missed" and suggests that Darwin's concept of evolution is unquestionably wrong as indicated by the "persistent and increasing difficulty of the silence of the fossil record". 23

Fellow evolutionist and Harvard Professor Stephen Jay Gould also confirms the absence of transitional forms:

The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution. 24

This unpublicized absence of evidence for Darwinian evolution Gould has even chided to be "the trade secret of paleontology". 25 Although the discovery of evidence for Darwinian evolution has evaded everyone from Darwin on down, the fruitless quest for transitional forms has nevertheless produced interesting stirs of excitement. That shall start the next segment.



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NEXT: PART 4) Finally, the missing links!

See also:

What is science?

How the theory of evolution changed document analysis

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Nineteenth-century Darwinism (altered to account for genetics) is what is taught in most public schools.

The refusal by those schools to at least present alternate theories is protested by the adherents of more modern evolutionary theories, as well as by intelligent design theorists and creationists.

This section explains updated Darwinism and the grounds on which so many discount it.

1. Darwinism
2. Updated per genetic studies
3. Problems with Darwinism