Questioning Darwinism

17th September 2008


(This particular article requires some amount of warning. I've considered deleting a few times, but decided against it. That being said, I must warn you that the text below is more of a gut reaction than a thought-out argument from an expert's point of view, since I am no expert in biology, by any means. It's been years since I read this text, so I won't even claim to remember in detail what happened in it, but I am aware that the word "Darwinism" isn't actually used by anyone in the scientific world; I am also aware that some of my arguments are flawed because of my lack of understanding of biology. I hope the reader will forgive me my lack of knowledge and will appreciate, if nothing else, my inquisitive nature. Since the day I wrote this chapter, I've learned more about evolution and how it is assumed to work. I still have many questions and remain dubitative vis-a-vis evolution, but I blame this mostly on my inadequate knowledge rather than on the theory itself. If I find the motivation to do so, I may reread and add square-bracketted comments to expiate the sins of my younger self through well-adjusted tidbits of pure wisdom and scientific perfection. Until then, feel free to snicker at my ignorance and self-righteous attitude in the text beneath. (But don't snicker too hard, in case I had been right all along!) Comments are welcome, if you ever want to correct me; I will read and possibly even post your own comment within this chapter. 4th March 2013)


Yes, it's legal. These days, Darwinism is no longer an ism, but a truth we're all supposed to accept without questioning, lest we should be thought of as retards. My problem with this, beside the obvious, is that most defenders of Darwinism don't even really know what it's about. If you can't explain some of your core beliefs, something is very wrong.


In spite of Charles Darwin being a Christian, Darwinism has come to be used as a weapon against God, and to establish science as something firmly against religions - indeed, science began and evolved as religion's evil twin brother, for it found things that religion couldn't deal with. Unfortunately, scientists today have kept this tradition, even though it is not uncalled for, as most people's religion is now science.


I'm tackling with this as a layman, and I believe most of you will be laymen too. Take a simple enough example: the origin of life. If I asked you to tell me what that is, I bet you'd not be very vocal. The best I could do myself is something like this: "Well, it's an original mix of certain elements put together, and then lightning, maybe, comes and lights up the mix into a living thing."And I'm not even kidding. I'm not even sure about the lightning thing.


Basically, for evolutionists and current scientists, life came from minerals, or, a rock. According to my sources, the experience [I believe it to be the Miller Experiment] they once did with those same minerals gave some form of life, but it was infinitely inferior to what the event should have been to make it possible for life to evolve into what we are now. I am no scientist, and I am certainly not an expert in that domain, so I can only report what I read or heard, and leave it at that.


That said, if life comes from minerals boosted up by some lightening, or without it, shouldn't life be created every so often? If life can just happen like that, why doesn't it happen nowadays? Surely somewhere the right mix is ready to get its ass electrified by Zeus, and life may happen again! Maybe it does, but is eaten up immediately by other organic beings around it, that would make sense.


Someone whose name I forget used the "Peanut Butter Jar Argument", in which he explains that should life just happen from basic elements, at near random, every now and then, you should be able to open a jar of peanut butter... and find life. But it never happens, you never find anything other than peanut butter in a peanut butter jar. And yes, peanut butter is not a mineral, but it is assumed that if minerals combined together can generate life, an already organic element, necessarily having the required mix for "life", should also be able to create the miracle. Shouldn't it?


From my point of view, I am rather skeptical as to life happening like that. I mean, random minerals combined together generating all the life we know? Only McGyver could pull this off, and he's not real. And he had a mullet.


But let's assume that's how life began. Then what? Can you explain to me why that first living organism would actually evolve into anything else? Why wouldn't it remain what it is? According to evolutionism, it changes because the environment changes, and thus, it must adapt, or die.


And that's the next complication. The first bacteria were perfectly adapted to their environment, and now I will quote from John P. Briggs and F. David Peat's awesome book Looking Glass Universe:


First, bacteria did not need to make this transformation in order to adapt to the oxygenless environment they lived in at the time. They were already well adapted to that environment (even today some strains can survive only in oxygenless places such as mud or our intestinal tracts). The primary advantage seems to have been that the presence of free oxygen makes bacteria fifteen times more efficient in metabolizing glucose. However, that efficiency can only be achieved after the oxygen is freely available. That's a problem. How could the bacteria "know" they would be more efficient if they all worked together to produce enough free oxygen so that large numbers of them could later take advantage of it (by changing one step in their metabolism)? This is only the beginning of the mystery.



If you're interested in the shortcomings of evolutionism, and modern science, I really recommend the book, as it gives a very interesting panorama of where science is at right now, as well as explains very well where science was in the beginning of the 20th century. But back to our bacteria.


So what happens here is that those bacteria seem to have a plan. They do something entirely useless for themselves, but which will be most useful later on. Doesn't that make you ask some questions about the assumed randomness of evolutionist theories? It certainly makes me wonder.


From the evolutionist's side, the only way to sum up the origin of life up to then is to say this: random minerals put together caused life out of sheer luck and for no reason. Then the first living organisms decided, for no reason, those bacteria start producing oxygen that is of absolute no use for them, for now, and it is another lucky accident that once these bacteria have evolved one step, the oxygen they produced will become very useful. That's lucky.


If you had this in court, and pointed out all the "lucky"coincidences, whoever the accused was, he would be found guilty. Coincidences happen, but when they happen all the time, and in patterns, they no longer are mere coincidences. Moving on.


Our bacteria keep evolving, for no reason, into some really complicated species, out of pure randomness. So how does that happen? According to Darwinism, and I'll try to sum this up as best I can, random mutations happen, and are then accepted or rejected by the environment, and/or other members of the species. This is known as "natural selection", which, I remind you, does not imply there is any will behind the process. It just happens.


Let's take an example to clarify things a little. Giraffes. Our giraffes, for now, have very short necks, and that's alright because the trees they eat from are not tall. One day, the trees grow (don't ask me why those would decide to change without reason) and our giraffes face a problem. The fruits are becoming out of reach!


Thanks to that wonderful quality of mutating that I never saw in my entire life, some giraffe is born with a longer neck. That's the Darwinian random mutation, which, as always, is damn lucky. That long-necked giraffe can feed and the others cannot. Consequently, short-necked giraffes die, and the long-necked one survives and has many offspring. Lamarck believed that animals evolved because their attempts shaped them - the giraffe would have gotten a longer neck by actually extending it to the fruits, which, eventually, led to the neck elongating itself. Darwin's theory is based on the lucky random mutation.


That's what I learned in school. Now, I got some questions.


The random mutation. Does that even exist? The only mutations I know of which happen to humans are really bad things. Down syndrome and other things like that are considered mutations. I could not name a single species that has actually mutated that way.


Is it hereditary? In case of mutations, such as a two-headed goat (which, again, is not a Darwinian mutation exactly), the mutated feature does not get passed to the offspring.


Doesn't it take two to make babies? Suppose the long-necked giraffe survives where every other giraffe dies, shouldn't we have two randomly mutated giraffes to ensure survival? And yes, you could argue that things don't happen this fast, that giraffes mutate slowly, as trees grow slowly, and etc, and it could work, it just sounds very, very weird. If it's all based on sudden, random mutations, and then it also happens slowly and gradually, then the odds are getting so damn slim you can't possibly argue it's random!


I have more questions about the mutating principle, though. If these are random, wouldn't we occasionally get stuff we don't need? How lucky is it that every species has stuff it actually uses? And yes, I am aware of moles having eyes they don't use and the lost bone in sperm whales. The thing is, those were of use at some point in the evolution of that species. I'm talking of random stuff without use.


Shouldn't at least one species develop something utterly useless, like eyelids on the back, for no eyes? I mean if it's random, that stuff should happen! Suppose our giraffes randomly developed a long neck, and a blue patch on their asses, would there be any reason for the blue-patched giraffes to die? No, they could survive just as well. Yes, you can argue it makes them ugly and giraffes of the opposite sex will refuse to mate, but that's not very convincing. If Stephen Hawking can marry twice, a long-necked giraffe with a blue patch on its ass can mate too. (And I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Hawking, make no mistake.)


Camels have conveniently placed callous skin on their knees, right where the skin touches the ground when they kneel. So let me get this straight: those four bits of calloused skin placed exactly where they're needed are the fruit of pure luck? Shouldn't some camels have bits of calloused skin on their backs or somewhere really random and useless? Why is it that everything random in the theory also happens to be extremely useful and exist exactly where it has maximum efficiency? Besides, I doubt that not having calloused skin on your knees would make you a sure candidate for extinction, yet all camels have that. And for those who wonder if those calloused bits of skin aren't the result of simply kneeling on the sand all the time, well I honestly don't know. It's a possibility, it'd make perfect sense, but it's not my example, I saw it used by others before, and I assume, perhaps wrongly, that they checked that option before using this as an illustration.


Looking at animals and nature, I have a hard time with the idea that randomness is the cause of all this. As humans, we can't even create life! We can't. And the primitive life forms they say they created, well, still according to my sources, it wasn't viable stuff at all. If scientists are as good with this as they were with cloning a sheep, I wouldn't be surprised; yet cloning is a lot easier than creating life from scratch, which we still haven't done.


Now, if random mutations are the stuff, why do they actually exist? What makes it so that such allegedly random mutations can even happen? If you keep the random element of it, it's hard to make sense of it, but if you, for a second, consider the possibility that it's not random at all, then it makes perfect sense. The trees are too high, giraffes grow a longer neck. Of all the random stuff giraffes could have grown, it had to be a long neck. And you're going to say: "Well, if they had grown a fifth leg, it would have been useless and they would have died." Right enough, but in that case we would have found those skeletons of badly failed random mutations. Thing is, we don't! And when we do find odd mutations, they're mutations of the kind that the two-headed goat had. A fifth leg would not have changed the giraffes' situation much, but it would have survived long enough to procreate somewhat, and would have left us a good number of five-legged specimens. They haven't, because this particular mutation never took place. It was only the really useful mutation that took place.


Now to humans! And I will again quote from Looking Glass Universe:


As Gould and Eldredge point out, however, the fossil evidence doesn't actually show a picture of gradual evolution. The geological record shows, instead, that when a species dies out it looks pretty much the same as when it appeared. There are missing links between species. The inability to find these missing links is something of an embarrassment to palaeontologists. Gould calls it the "trade secret". The picture the geological record does show is a picture of species appearing "suddenly"in a few thousand years (which is sudden in geological time), emerging into reality fully formed. Our own species, the large-brained Homo sapiens, virtually popped into existence amid several other hominids. Efforts to arrange the skeletal evidence of these hominids in a gradual sequence have not proved successful.


And while I'm at it, let me quote another passage not far away from the first:


No single feature by itself would offer any survival advantage. For organisms to change their nature and function, many features have to evolve together. This means fantastic genetic coordination. Random mutation of a gene here and there couldn't accomplish such a transformation.


The first quote hints towards what is referred to as "punctuational"evolution. This is the evidence we have, and the fact that no Darwinist ever solved the "missing link"problem is most likely because there is no missing link at all. If there were, we'd have found it by now.


Obviously, there is evolution, I don't deny that, I merely question Darwinism here, and it seems to me that Darwinism is wrong and even preposterous in some cases. But things like the sperm whale's lost bone seems to me to be solid proof that species do evolve. That whale once had legs, or back flippers, or something, and it gradually lost it. That bone did not disappear all of a sudden, and it is a good question whether or not that bone will continue to disappear.


What is at stake with this topic is the randomness of everything. The Church of Science has always tried to make it so that the universe had no meaning and was solely made of coincidences and that there was no God, or that the question of God shouldn't even be approached by science. This was the mindset for most of the 20th century. We're beginning to see that it most likely isn't so random, and that there are principles at work which we ignore still.


According to the skeletal evidence we have, our species just sort of came out of nowhere, and since then we haven't evolved one bit. In the entire biological history of the homo sapiens, I know no known mutation that lasted. And racial features aren't mutations of the same kind, if they are mutations at all; I guess you could say they are, but they're extremely minor: most of these racial differences are either skin colour or skin shape, and that mostly in the facial area. No human ever mutated a new limb, a new internal organ, or anything of the sort which they then passed on to their children. That has never happened, not once. And I wouldn't argue that humans developed darker and paler skin because of the sun based on natural selection: what would a lighter shade of skin or a darker one change in the individual life of one human? It's such a gradual thing, we are told, that you couldn't even tell the difference. Something else is at work on those changes, and it's not randomness.


Nicolas


You can find an interesting comment to this chapter here.