The word "evolution" comes from the Latin verb volvere, meaning "to roll, wind, turn around, or twist around." In the last two centuries, the word has come to mean a "process of change from a simpler, or worse state to one that is higher, more complex, or better"1. Even though it may refer to society, technology, and other human accomplishments, it is most often associated with biology (the origin of living things). The very meaning of evolution might be applicable to technological and scientific improvements, for since these are cumulative, we do not have to rediscover and reinvent them-we just build upon our ancestors' heritage. Evolution in biological or social contexts is not this simple, and it has been an argumentative issue for centuries. Since some social aspects of evolution have been covered in previous issues, we will focus on its biological aspect.
In the context of biology, evolution claims that life developed by chance out of inorganic material, and then acquired more and more complexity and sufficient variety to fill the Earth with the different existing species today. In this context, evolution has some subdivisions. First, according to where it takes place, it is divided into microevolution or "variations" (both within a species), and macroevolution (between species). Second, scientific progress has caused evolution itself to evolve into such different versions as classical Darwinism, neo-Darwinism, and punctuated equilibrium. As our space is limited, we will concentrate on the very basics of evolution, and leave some of the alternatives aside. Also, we will not cover many of the oppositions and objections in minor evolutionary issues or detail.
Slick writes: "The driving forces behind evolution are considered to be random genetic transformations (mutations) and natural selection. Mutations provide genetic variation and natural selection (predation, environmental conditions, etc.)" (Slick 1998). Thus, beneficial genetic combinations are sorted from non-beneficial ones and carried from generation to generation. In other words, the organism that survives natural selection [process] passes the new (improved) genetic information to future generations, who continue to pass them down with every new generation.2 At first, all of this might seem self-consistent and even logical. But an inquisitive mind should not accept anything on the basis of apparent "logic" without exploring, because observation without extensive searching can be quite misleading. (See the example of a recent discovery about dinosaurs.)
In his The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin described the basics of his theory and sought to substantiate it by fossil findings. More specifically, he based his theory on intermediate links between species (ancestors to descendants). Even though this is his strongest evidence (!), in the same book he asks: "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 gravest objection which can be urged against my theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record"3 (Darwin, 1859, chapter 9). He himself agrees that the strongest evidence of evolution assuredly does not exist, and foresaw that the fossil record will be a thread against evolution in future.
The above argument might raise the question:
"Well, in the 1850s geology was not that developed, so now we might have some geological evidence about intermediate links." Yes, geology has developed a lot since then, but it has provided no strong evidence for such a link. For example, we are all familiar with the term "missing link," because after 250 years of exploration such "links" are still "missing." Not only is humanity's ancestral line formed of missing links, but so are the ancestral lines of such other living things as animals, birds, fish, and plants.4
As Jepsen L.Glenn states: "Links are missing just where we most fervently desire them, and it is all too probable that many 'links will continue to be missing"5 (Jepsen, 1963, p.114). And he was right because they are still missing. "The missing links between man and the apes...is merely the most glamorous of a whole hierarchy of phantom creatures. In the fossil record, missing links are the rule: the story of life is as disjointed as a silent newsreel, in which species succeed one another as abruptly as Balkan prime ministers. The more scientists have searched for the transitional forms between species, the more they have been frustrated... Evidence from fossils now points overwhelmingly away from the classical Darwinism which most Americans learned in high school..."6 (Newsweek, Nov. 3, 1980, p. 95).
Due to such difficulties, which have been around since Darwin's time, evolutionists have transformed the theory into Neo-Darwinism and other versions (see above). This means that the quest for truth in this matter has not been settled. On the other hand, due to insufficiency of historical data, sources, and methods to reproduce the beginning of life, some scientists classify the origin of life as either unknowable or unanswerable7 and hence as best left to belief or logic. Even though the process of life and its adventure is not reproducible, science is increasing the hfstorical data about the origin of life and the history of living things. But surprisingly, the new data do not support evolution.
As for observation (together with historical findings), we still have to search beyond our eyes and imagination. For instance, museums, textbooks, scientific magazines, and movies traditionally portray dinosaurs as standing up 12 meters high or more, because dinosaur fossils had very long necks. This was enough for scientists to deduce that they were tall, ate tree leaves, and fought with other creatures standing upright. But a recent study at Northern Illinois University, showed that the joint structure in their necks allowed them to lift their head at most 2 to 3 meters.8 Therefore, seeing is not enough for sound deduction, and drawing pictures, assembling bones, and one's imagination does not necessarily produce sound logic.
Alterations to the theory of evolution over the last 250 years imply that as science progresses, it does not support the theory but rather changes or at least modifies it. As mentioned earlier, due to the lack of evolutionary links between species, the theory adopted "punctuated equilibrium." which states that "evolution took huge sudden jumps ... in 100,000- or 300,000-year increments or so, during different periods of earth history."9 Thus there can be no gradual improvement. This is not a mere modification of the theory, but a total digression from Darwin's original version. When scientists discovered huge gaps between species, they were so predisposed to evolution that they changed its basic theoretical premises and still called it "evolution." Unfortunately, the public is usually unaware of such advances or modifications, and continues to believe that the theory of evolution is "scientific."
As regards supposed "missing links," we give the most argumentative evolutionary record, the alleged evolutionary record of man, as an example:
1. -Ramapithecus - 10 to 14 million years ago.
2. -Australopithecus-1 to 4 million years ago.
A. -Afarensis - 3 to 3.6 million years ago.
B. -Africanus-2.5 to 3 million years ago.
C. -Robustus-3 to 1.8 million years ago
D. -Boisei-1.8 million years ago.
3. -Zinjanthropus (also known as East Africa Man) -1.5 to 2 million years ago.
4. -Homo Habilis-2 million years ago.
5. -Pithecanthropus-500.000 years ago.
A. -Nebraska Man (also known as Hesperopithecus haroldcookii).
B. -Piltdown Man (also known as Eanthropus dawsoni, or Dawn Man).
6. -Homo Erectus-300,000 years ago (also known as Java Man and as Peking Man or Sinjanthropus pekinensis)
A. -Neanderthal-30,000 to 75,000 years ago.
B. -Cromagnon-10,000 to 50,000 years ago.
C. -Modern-10,000 years ago.
D. -Homo Sapiens-present.
These dates were taken from the November 1985 issue of The Notional Geographic magazine.10 Now, let's see what really constitutes these links one by one:
Ramapithecus: Ramapithecus, which consists of a handful of teeth and jaw fragments, is considered to be a hominid (human evolutionary ancestor) solely on the basis of its dental record.11 David Pilbeam, one of the first to state that Ramapethicus was a hominid, says that he now is not so sure that it is a human ancestor, and that he has found new fossils of the species that invalidate earlier conclusions.12
Australopithecus: Found by Dart in 1924, Australopithecus Africanus, consists of a skull, a jaw, some teeth, and pelvis, limb, and footfragments. This creature is divided into two main species: Australopithecus Africanus and Australopithecus Robustus. Australopithecus is not considered a human ancestor.13
Zinjanthropus: In 1950, Louis and Mary Leakey found 400 pieces of a skull in the Olduvai Gorge in Africa. They claimed that this hominid ancestor was 1,750,000 years old. This age was determined on their dating of the rocks in which the bones were located by the potassium argon method. In 1960, they found a child's skull of a more advanced type 12 inches deeper in the rock. This led Leakey to say that Zinjanthropus was not hominid, but rather entirely ape. Carbon 14 dating of mammal bones in the same stratum suggests an age of only 10,000 years or 3,100 years.
Nebraska Man: In 1922, a geologist named Cook found a tooth in Nebraska's Snake Creek bed. Professor Osborn (The New York Museum) and Sir Smith C. Aubrey of London said it belonged to an ape man. It was later found to be the tooth of an extinct pig.14
Piltdown Man: In 1912, Charles Dawson and others found a skullcap, jawbone, and teeth in a gravel pit in Sussex, England. From these, they constructed an ape man, named him Piltdown (or Dawn) Man, and dated him at 500,000 years BC. In 1953, British scientists discovered that the jawbone belonged to a monkey that had been stained to indicate age, that the teeth had been filed to make them look human, and that the skullcap was really an elephant's kneecap. The hoax fooled experts for many years.15
Java Man: In 1892 in Java (now part of Indonesia), Dubois found a skullcap, teeth, and femur bone about 60 feet from each other. He said these belonged to the same hominid ancestor, and that it was about 500,000 years old. He failed to mention that he had found two human skulls nearby in virtually the same level of burial. In 1908, the German Selenka expedition found that lava flows in Java made an age of more than 500 years impossible. In 1936, Dubois admitted that Java Man was an ape.16
Peking Man: Between 1922 and 1939, the bones of 38 individuals were discovered at Choukoutien, southwest of Peking. Experts in several countries said these belonged to ape men. Mr. O'Connell, a missionary in China, claimed this was a lime pit and that local men and women killed monkeys and then ate their brains. When the hill collapsed, people were buried and fossilized. The mixture of bones was used to create an ape man. The original specimens were lost in WWII. O'Connell says Peking man is altogether human.
Neanderthal Man: The first bones of Neanderthal Man, found in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1856, indicated a stooped posture. He was said to be one step above apes, and was dated at 200,000 years. Later, he was found to have arthritis. Since then, skeletons in an upright position have been found in caves in Palestine. Their brain size is larger than that of modern man.
Cromagnon: Cromagnon bones of have been found in caves in France. Although they are dated at 50,000 years,their brain size is larger than that of modern man.17,18
As seen above, these so-called human ancestors are either apes or based solely on teeth, or they are just human beings with larger brains and bigger bodies, which might mean more complexity. So what makes the above table of links scientific? I think only the make-up is scientific: fancy Latin names, estimated millions of years by some questionable method, and publication in a scientific journal. It is this presentation that makes people view this as not make-believe but rather a sophisticated track record of human ancestors. If the Carbon 14 method is reliable (it is questionable), we should accept that man's real ancestors are Neanderthals and Cromagnons, who were still men and appeared around 30,000 to 75,000 years ago with no hominid (human ancestor) predecessors. Thus they emerged immediately, and hence were created in this excellent form. As for other species: "Each species of mammal-like reptile that has been found appears suddenly in the fossil record and is not preceded by the species that is directly ancestral to it. It disappears some time later, equally abruptly, without leaving a directly descended species."19 (New Scientist, No. 1295, p. 581).
Let's return to the basics of evolution-did life appear on Earth out of inorganic material spontaneously and by chance? Scientific evidence suggests the formation was spontaneous, but not by chance. The formation of life out of inorganic material by chance would require an enormous amount of time and combinations of molecules. Even if we assume that all these combinations existed on Earth, is it possible that life can emerge by chance? Is it mathematically probable?
Let's give some probabilistic results in exponential notation for the sake of simplicity. For those who are not familiar with such notation, here is a brief description. 42 is 4x4, or 16 where 2 is the exponent and 4 is the base. Likewise 53 equals to 5x5x5 or 125. When the exponent is negative, like 3-3 it means 1 divided by 3x3x3 or 1/27th. Now for a quick illustration of why we use exponents: consider that we take 250 pieces of paper each 1/10 mm thick and put them in stack. How high will the stack be? The answer is 250 x 1/10 mm, which seems quite perceivable and not so large (due to the simplicity of the notation). However, the result is approximately 1.1258x1014 mm or 112,589,990.7km, which is 17,652.87 equatorial radii of the Earth. Of course, the first notation's simplicity is due to the exponential 250, which is in fact 1,124,899,906,842,624. As another example, consider the estimated approximate number of the atoms in the universe, which is 1079 atoms. This is a one with 79 zeroes after it. Now the exponents in quotes and example below will be more familiar.
"To get a cell by chance would require at least one hundred functional proteins to appear simultaneously in one place. That is one hundred simultaneous events each of an independent probability which could hardly be more than 10-20 giving a maximum combined probability of 10-2000 " 20 (Denten, 1985).
"The probability of life having originated through random choice at any one of the 1046 occasions is then about 10-255. The smallness of this number means that it is virtually impossible that life has originated by a random association of molecules. The proposition that a living structure could have arisen in a single event through random association of molecules must be rejected" 21 (Quastler, 1964, p. 7).
"The more statistically improbable a thing is, the less we can believe that it just happened by blind chance. Superficially, the obvious alternative to chance is an intelligent Designer"22 (Dawkins, p. 130).
There are hundreds of such quotes from well-known scientists and experts on this subject.
Thus, the probability of life coming from inorganic material by chance is virtually zero. Hence evolutionists had to devise another idea from probability theory. The principle follows as: "Given an infinite amount of time, the probability of something happening, no matter how remote the probability is 1." 23
But does this idea save evolution? Before putting this idea on test, let's present the estimates of Earth's24 and the universe's25 age.
Note that the highest age estimate for the Earth is 4.6 billion, and that the highest estimate for the universe's age is 18 billion years. Thus, as the universe existed for a limited amount of time, the basic premise of the evolutionists using probability theory is refuted. What is the probability of a 100-part organism (no living cell has this few) forming if for 30 billion years, a generous estimate of the universe's age, there were 1 billion billion billion billion combinations of its parts every second (1036 combinations per second). In other words, is that enough time? Here we take an artificial cell of 100 parts (since any living cell has more than 100 parts, this is a very low estimate),overestimate of the universe's age (to silence opponents), and overestimate the number of events per second beyond what really is possible.
Living cells are composed of DNA. The simplest life forms on Earth are viruses, which consist of thousands of parts. Let our artificial organism be a 100-part virus. If we suppose that these parts can only lie on a straight line, the total number of all possible orderings is 100! (100! means 100 factorial, or 100x99x98x ……x4x3x2xl). This straight line assumption favors evolution, since there may be many other ways on which DNA-parts may lie. To illustrate further: if we have two sticks, how many ways can we arrange them? 2! = 2x1 or 2 different ways; if we have 3 sticks? 3! = 3x2x1, or 6 different ways, Had we 5 sticks?, 5!=120 different waysand so on. Note that as the number of sticks increases, the number of possible arrangements increases dramatically. As the virus can have DNA-parts in many forms other than a straight line, the total number of possible arrangements of DNA-parts is more than 100!. But for the sake of simplicity, let's assume that it is 100!. Then 100 parts can combine in 100!=9.32258232x10157 different possible ways. Hence the probability of our virus to form in its particular order is approximately one in 10157.
The next question addressed is: Is 30 billion (3x1010) years enough for this very simple virus to form? The possible number of combinations per second is 1036 , and 30 billion years is equal to 3x1036 (years)x365(days)x24(hours)x60(minutes)x60(seconds), or 9.4608x1037 seconds. Now to find the total number of combinations for all life in the universe, we multiply 1036 combinations per second with 9.4608x1037 seconds, for a result of 9.4608x1073 combinations. Hence only a tiny fraction of all possible formations could have occurred, and the probability of our virus to form from the beginning of the universe till now is 9.4608x1073 over 9.32258232x10157, which is approximately one in 1083 combinations (virtually zero). (This example is a slight modification of the one given by Matthew J. Slick of CARM.26)
Some evolutionists claim that since life exists on Earth, this minute probability actually occurred. But here they are completely losing track of objectivity, a necessity in science. When they presume that evolution is a fact, they do not allow contrary evidence to influence them. Their obstinacy prevents them from seeing that this case is not like a lottery, in which all the possible number of combinations are sold, so that a winner will be for sure (here winner is analogous to our virus). Keep in mind that only 0.000….% (there are 81 zeroes after the decimal) of all combinations could be covered until now. Therefore, the probability of living cells forming by chance is very close to zero, and the universe's presumed age is not sufficient for even the formation of a 100-part virus. If we look at cells with hundreds of parts, which would be more realistic, the odds against their forming are multiplied exponentially. Yet evolutionists maintain that the spontaneous formation of life on the Earth is a fact. Hence it is created spontaneously by a Supreme Being.
The third basis of evolution is the continued formation of genetic material, which is credited to mutations and the selection of favorable genetic formation by nature (natural selection). But the primary problem with mutation is that it is almost always destructive (one should draw a clear line between genetic engineering and arbitrary alteration of the genetic code, the latter is called mutation). Since a favorable genetic code is needed for natural selection, mutations should occur a priori. In other words, mutations should be responsible for genetic variety, not natural selection, which operates only on existing genes (it cannot create new genes). Mutations occur randomly and should transform the existing gene into a new gene possesing an advantage. But many evolutionists continue to assert that natural selection drives the genetic transition. This implies that genes should perform their newly evolved functions before they evolve into new genes. This is like claimimg that birds can fly when they are still in their eggs. Therefore, random chance and not natural selection is responsible for evolution of new genes. Hence, until a new gene offers a competitive advantage, natural selection cannot occur.27
Now a careful reader might recall that the probability of a 100-part virus (a virus whose genetic code consists of 100 DNA-units) was I in 10157, and given l036 possible combinations per second the probability of this virus to form since the beginning of the universe (assumed to be approximately 9.4608x1037 seconds) was 1 in 1083 combinations. Here there is no need to find the probability of a 100-part virus evolving into a 1,000-part bacterium (the simplest bacterium consists of millions of DNA-parts), since the probability of a virus forming from inorganic material was virtually zero. But for curious readers, here is a very simplistic approach: There are two extremes in this problem: 1) an additional 900 parts form and combine with the previous 100 parts, and 2) every part of the 100 existing parts evolves into 10 new parts. Every other possibility of 100 existing parts evolving into 1,000 new parts falls somewhere between these two cases.
Case l: 900 parts can combine in 900!=6.75x102270 different possible ways. For the sake of simplicity, we assume that these 900 parts will just join the previous 100 parts at one edge of the existing DNA. Hence the odds of combining 900 parts with the previous 100 parts to form a specific 1000-part straight-line formation is 1 in 6.75x102270 combinations. With 1036 possible combinations per second and 9.4608x1037 seconds as the universe's age, even if a 100-part virus existed at the beginning of the universe, the probability of the forming a 1,000-part bacteria from that virus is 9.4608x1053 /900!=l.4x10-2216.
Case 2: The probability of 10 parts evolving from each one of 100-existing parts. The likelihood of forming a new one part from an existing part is (either it forms or not). Hence the probability of 10 new parts evolving from one old part is (1/2)=10 = 2-10 =1/1024. There are 100 such events; hence, the probability is (2-10)100 =9.33x10-302. Given 1036 events per second and 9.4608x1037 seconds as the universe's age, the probability of forming a 1,000- part virus out of a 100-part virus is (9.4068x1053) /(21000 )=8.83x10-248.
Now keep in mind that a virus has thousands of parts, and that a bacteria has millions of parts. Also, consider the evolution of multicelled organisms from unicellular organisms, plants from multicelled organisms, animals from plants, and men from animals. There are quadrillions of parts to be evolved at each step, and the above probability should be multiplied exponentially in the denominator. In sum, there is no way evolution can happen by chance.
As seen above, whatever is claimed to support evolution turns out to not support it. Now recall that for natural selection to occur, favorably evolved genes should exist and each gene's evolutions should be cumulative. As we have proven that the large-scale change of genetic material is impossible, can natural selection drive cumulative small-scale changes in genes? The study shows that by preserving the functionality of existing genes, natural selection fights evolution, for existing genes are not free to evolve into new genes. The genes are locked by natural selection, that is, if a gene evolves into a new gene the original gene is lost. Now, if the original gene benefits the organism, its loss will be a competitive disadvantage to the organism (hence the organism will be eliminated or disfavored by natural selection). If the gene is non-beneficial, it would be eliminated by natural selection. Therefore natural selection locks existing genes into their place. Theoretically, genes might transform at the expense of losing their previous functionality, but this transformation is not cumulative. The only opposition might arise in the case of the new gene being more beneficiary than the previous one. This is slightly misleading, for if the new gene offers more benefit on the same characteristic, then no variation is possible even within a species (which is not the case on Earth). If the new gene offers a beneficial new characteristic, the original characteristic is lost and hence a disadvantage occurs. This is not much of a benefit.
This discrepancy in evolution was first observed by a scientist named Ohno (1978), who says: "Yet, being an effective policeman, natural selection is extremely conservative by nature, from a bacterium only numerous forms of bacteria would have emerged. The creation of metazoans, vertebrates, and finally mammals from unicellular organisms would have been quite impossible, for such big leaps in evolution required the creation of new gene loci with previously non-existent functions. Only the cistron (a segment of DNA that is equivalent to a gene and that specifies a single functional unit as a protein or enzyme) which became redundant was able to escape from the relentless pressure of natural selection, and by escaping, it accumulated formerly forbidden mutations to emerge as a new gene locus."
As Ohno said, even if a virus or a bacteria existed in the beginning, only these and their variations would be alive today. Also, those redundant gene loci are the only genes that can escape from natural selection, and all mutations must occur on them. However, only a new trait can result from this mutation. Then this locus is again under the lock of natural selection, since it gained a new functionality. Furthermore, it does not allow the creation of new genes to acquire the complexity of metazoans, vertebrates, and finally mammals. Hence "as long as a particular function of an organism is under the control of a single gene locus, natural selection does not permit perpetuation of mutations which result in affecting the functionally critical site of a peptide chain specified by that locus. Hence, allelic mutations are incapable of changing the assigned function of genes"28 (Ohno,1978). This observation is quite important, because evolution needs numerous, successive small changes of existing genes-the above observation proves that changes at a gene locus are not cumulative.29
Why then is Darwinism so prevalent in the scientific world? Why is it still taught in schools and shown in documentary films as a fact? Are the evolutionists unable to see the discrepancies and improbability of evolution? The answer to these questions lie mostly in the fact that the primary motivation for advancing Darwinism was philosophical, not scientific.30 The underlying philosophy behind Darwinism is naturalism, whose roots are in classical Greek philosophy. Darwin knew little about genetics, but the spread of Darwinism was the result of combination of Darwinism with genetics in 1930s and 1940s. This combination is a result of the prevalence of naturalism among philosophers and scientists in recent centuries. Therefore, there is a close relationship between Darwinism and naturalism-indeed, Darwinism became the branch of naturalism in biology. Therefore, in a future article we will examine the source(naturalism) that Darwinism nourishes and elaborate on the aspects of Darwinism that we did not cover or about which we just gave tangent remarks.