Issue 25 / January - March 1999
Rivileging Evolution Theory in Schools
Evolution is seen as the only scientific explanation of how life began and developed on earth. Creation, by contrast, is regarded as only a religious belief and therefore as unscientific. The theory of evolution, allegedly supported by much scientific evidence and containing very few questions still in dispute, is represented as complete truth. It must (so the argument goes) be universally accepted and therefore it alone deserves a place in science textbooks as the explanation for the origin of life. Creation, if it is to have a place at all in school curricula, belongs with religious education.
Before discussing this further, it will be useful to define our terms. By â€˜creation theoryâ€™ is meant something like this: the Creator, by an act of will which occurred outside of the cosmos, directly willed into being the first plant and animal species, separately and independently of each other. Any subsequent changes or mutations were accomplished only within the species boundaries. No essential modifications or evolution (such as of more complicated species from simpler ones) occurred after that. In the past the earth was at least once flooded extensively. Geological investigations show clearly that this extensive flooding led to the destruction and extinction of a large number of living creatures.
According to the modern â€˜evolution theoryâ€™, all life evolved from one simple primitive cell, which came out of dead, lifeless matter by chance, then hit upon a method of replication and adaptation which (again by random trial and error over vast periods of time) led to the many varieties of living species each fitted for competitive survival in its particular niche in the environment. The whole process of evolution took several hundred million years. Large geological events are explained as natural phenomena occurring in specific periods of time and without a world-wide destruction of the earth by flood.
The first creation of man was not observed by man; it is an unrepeatable historical event, unsuited to â€˜testing by experimentâ€™, the standard procedure in modern science. Further, creation cannot be disproved: it is impossible to devise or conduct an experiment that could falsify the claim put forward by the creation theory. It is for that reason unacceptable as a scientific theory. That does not mean it is false; nor does it mean it is true. However, it is clear that the creation theory shows good correlations with the results of fossil investigation. To some extent, it can be tested in the same way as other historical claims are matched and tested with appropriately corroborative historical documents.
Evolution theory likewise does not fulfil all the criteria which would justify calling it a scientific theory. The great modifications of evolution were never observed; the claims of the theory fall outside of experimental and scientific methods. Nobody has ever observed or could ever observe how a fish became a frog or a monkey became a human; no human witnessed or could ever witness the origin of the cosmos or of life.
A well-known bit of evidence often used to argue for evolution theory is the case of the moth Biston betularia. The moths of this species found in England before the industrial revolution were predominantly white. The effects of industrial pollution blackened rocks and tree-bark. The number of white moths in the population, now fatally exposed to their predators, fell drastically, while the number of black moths rose. Today in the industrialized regions of England, 95% of the moths are black: they had better camouflage and therefore a higher survival rate, eventually dominating the population. Thus, the environment â€˜selectedâ€™ or favoured the black over the white variety.
While this case clearly illustrates adaptive evolution within a species or, more precisely, the adaptation capacity to certain conditions with which all living beings are endowed by creation, it equally clearly does not illustrate evolution from one species to another. The latter kind of change or â€˜macro-evolutionâ€™ is never observable. As a famous supporter of evolution, Dobzhansky, put it-evolution can never be repeated or reversed (no life-form ever evolves back to what it allegedly had once been); the time periods reckoned for major changes to occur exceed by far the life-span of mankind as a whole; it is impossible to test the theory scientifically and therefore it cannot be presented to anti-evolutionists in a way that would force them to change their position.
Some evolutionist scientists are objective and honest enough to accept that evolution theory is no more scientific than the creation theory. For example, providing a short list of the theoryâ€™s weaknesses, Harris pointed out that creationists demand from the evolutionists an explanation of (a) how random mutations led to adaptations, (b) why natural selection acts only for the benefit of some species, (c) why natural selection allowed the survival of organs which are obviously not used. We now understand, Harris maintains, that neither theory is rational, that both depend on axioms.
In the Preface of the 1971 edition of Charles Darwinâ€™s The Origin of Species, Mathews, pointing out that the evolution of the animals has never been demonstrated, asks: Is biology now a science or a belief system?
It does not follow from the fact that neither theory is â€˜scientificâ€™ according to the strict criteria, that either is necessarily wrong. However, since evolution theory claims that evolution occurred according to natural laws, these laws must be valid at the present time (as in the past), and the theory may not contradict those laws. But the evolutionists insist that the non-demonstrability of evolution, its central weakness as a scientific theory, must be accepted as a consequence of the enormous slowness of evolutionary processes. They further insist that creation theory should be removed from scientific textbooks, it should not be investigated scientifically, and certainly not presented as an alternative to evolution. But their argument that creation theory cannot be scientifically tested applies equally to evolution theory. Similarly, their objection that creation theory promotes religion and belief in supernatural agency, applies equally to evolution theory which promotes atheism as a belief system and accords to random â€˜naturalâ€™ processes the role of supernatural agency. If it is wrong or improper to teach the former, it must be wrong or improper to teach the latter also.
In practice, evolution theory has become an unofficial state-supported religion sponsored directly by its exclusive place on all curricula; a dogma that binds students of biology to the closed horizons of evolution theory in schools, colleges and universities. However, more and more scientists are finding the courage to assert that grave inconsistencies between evolutionary theory and scientific laws or experimental results exist. Also, many scientists are arguing that the creation model is free from such inconsistencies and offers a better explanation of the established facts about the origin of living organisms. Even some followers of evolutionary theory are admitting to being dissatisfied with it and to seeking a â€˜betterâ€™ theory that fits and explains the known facts in a properly scientific way.
The essential claim of modern evolutionary theory is that the processes of evolution resulted from natural selection of the coincidental mutational modifications in the genetic code. This selection was realized in relation to modifications of the environment. Natural selection is an agent, acting through coincidences and working in mutated genes. But that does not explain (as it was once thought and hoped it would) very much at all. There is a fatal circularity, a fatal self-validation, in the theory of selection. Which living creatures survived? Answer: those that adapted to the changes in their environment. Which living creatures adapted? Answer: those that survived. There is no explanatory effectiveness in this kind of reasoning.
It is impossible to explain, why some species only live until they produce the next generation. We only know that because they were created in that way. Scientists who support the creation model believe that natural selection leads to species extending modifications towards ever-increasing complexity. Natural selection has the merely negative function of eventually removing from the environment species that have failed to realize their potential to adapt.
According to modern evolutionary theory, all processes of change are initiated by mutations. Mutations are random, heritable modifications in the chromosomes or genes, which are complete functioning elements. Whatever happens randomly can nevertheless be calculated according to known and established mathematical principles. Therefore, it should be possible to calculate and predict the numbers of mutations necessary to effect a change in the organism. In short, if we really believe that evolution resulted through coincidence, then the time period needed for the transformation of a protozoon to a human can be worked out. One group of mathematicians who support the evolution theory did compute the time needed. The results of their calculations were that it would take one billion times longer than the five billion of years that the world has existed. In sum, it is impossible for evolution to have happened by chance. Why then do we allow that impossibility to be taught in schools presented in textbooks as if it were truth? It is impossible to justify.