Genesis Flood

 

Six Problems with Evolution as Presented in the Classroom

   
John Baumgardner  
23 Feb. 1995
The Los Alamos Monitor
Origins Debate (More)

Editor:

I would like to comment on the 2/9/95 editorial by Stephanie van Dyke in which she argues that myths should not be taught as science in public school classrooms. She implies evolutionary theory is not myth but rather "rational, well-researched, fact-based science." I would like to take issue with this viewpoint.

Evolutionary theory, as it is normally presented in the schools and in the popular media, is less than honest in at least six major ways. First of all, the fact that evolution is predicated on a materialist model for reality is rarely, if ever, acknowledged. When one commits to the assumption that there is no reality other than that which is material, he/she automatically requires an evolutionary explanation of the origin of life. There is no other choice. It is not science that requires a theory of evolution--rather, it is prior materialist belief. Most discussions of evolutionary theory ignore completely these critical philosophical underpinnings and their consequences, especially on the way a researcher reasons and deals with observational data.

The second point of weak integrity concerns the issue of biogenesis--that is, the means by which a living, self-reproducing organism arises from nonliving chemicals. The way this issue is normally handled by evolutionary theory is pure charade. The theory has not a clue as to how biogenesis can occur. The central issue, of course, is by what means the large coded language structures found in DNA arise. The simplest bacteria have genetic codes consisting of about one million three-letter words constructed from a four-letter genetic alphabet. Do coded language structures a million words long arise spontaneously by any known naturalistic process? Is there anything in the laws of physics that suggests how such structures might appear in a spontaneous fashion? The honest answer is simple. What we understand from thermodynamics and information theory argues persuasively they do not and cannot.

A third major difficulty has to do with the essential mechanism for macro-evolution--that is, the means by which a more complex organism arises from a simpler one. In basic terms the question is, how does one get feathers from scales or a bat from a mouse? Classical Darwinism, as well as neo-Darwinism, says the answer is selection pressure acting on the natural variation in a species population over many generations--that is, protracted microevolution. But macroevolution requires dramatically more than this. It requires a means to add to and/or modify complex coded genetic algorithms in a way that yields a viable organism with some truly novel capability or structure. What is the mechanism? Evolutionary theory offers no mechanism beyond extrapolated microevolution. This extrapolation, however, is precisely where appeals to observation stop and major hand waving begins. The extrapolation in reality is nothing more than a gigantic leap of faith.

Regarding what is required at the genetic level for macroevolution, Murray Eden, a professor of information theory and formal languages at MIT, pointed out several years ago that random mutation of complex language structures simply cannot be the desperately needed mechanism. He states, "No currently existing formal language can tolerate random changes in the symbol sequence which expresses its sentences. Meaning is almost invariably destroyed. Any changes must be syntactically lawful ones. I would conjecture that what one might call 'genetic grammaticality' has a deterministic explanation and does not owe its stability to selection pressure acting on random variation."

A fourth point of dishonesty is the claim the fossil record represents indisputable support for evolutionary theory. Just the opposite is actually true. What Stephen J. Gould of Harvard has termed "the trade secret of paleontology" is the fact that the transitional forms one would expect to find in the rock record, were evolution true, are systematically absent. Darwin himself recognized this grave difficulty and devoted a whole chapter in The Origin of Species to it. Darwin admitted the glaring lack of intermediate types in the fossil record to be "the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against [my] theory."

A modern day evolutionist, David Kitts, writing in the journal Evolution, observes, "Despite the bright promise that paleontology provides a means of 'seeing' evolution, it has provided some nasty difficulties for evolutionists, the most notorious of which is the presence of 'gaps' in the fossil record. Evolution requires intermediate forms between species, and paleontology does not provide them." How can a hypothesis possibly be accorded scientific status if its chief claims are contradicted by the observations!?

A fifth point of defective integrity is the silence concerning global catastrophism in the geological record. Only in the last 10-15 years has the reality of global mass extinction events in the record become widely known outside the paleontology community. Only in about the last 10 years have there been efforts to account for such global extinction in terms of high energy phenomena such as asteroid impacts. But the character of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary formations themselves argues for catastrophic mechanisms with energies orders of magnitude beyond anything yet considered in the geological literature. Field evidence indicates high energy processes were responsible for many if not most of these formations. The proposition that present day geological processes are representative of those which produced the Paleozoic and Mesozoic formations is simply not in accord with reality. This almost certainly implies key evolutionary conclusions based on assumed gradualistic fossil succession are false.

The sixth less than honest aspect of evolutionary theory concerns the confidence level assigned to radiometric dating methods. Radiometric techniques are in glaring conflict with most non-radiometric means for estimating geological time. One example is the rate of soluble ion accumulation in the oceans. Concentrations of highly soluble species like sodium, that are far below saturation levels in ocean water, are readily measurable in the world's rivers. The simplistic procedure of dividing the present mass of sodium in the oceans by the current rate of sodium deposition yields an age for the oceans less that two percent of the radiometric age of the earth!

Similarly, the small extent of physical diffusion of radiogenic helium measured in highly radioactive zircon crystals in Precambrian granite from cores drilled at Fenton Hill in the 1970's yields a dramatically shorter age than that obtained by radiometric methods. The amazing state of preservation of bone protein in dinosaur bone from many locations in the world, including New Mexico's own Seismosaurus, likewise suggests profound conflict with radiometric techniques. These examples represent but a small sampling of a much longer list of methods that give much smaller estimates for geological time. An error in time scale of even one order of magnitude reduces the evolutionary paradigm to complete rubble.

In summary I submit that evolutionary theory is far from having the status of "fact-based science." Myth is too generous a term for an idea that properly should be labeled intellectual fraud. I predict at some time in the not too distant future it will be regarded as one of the most outrageous hoaxes ever perpetrated on the human race. How can the teachers' union insist this be the only explanation of origins allowed in the schools? Should not at least some mention be made of the more glaring defects in this so-called theory? Should there not be at least some semblance of a level playing field in our schools on the origins question--an issue fundamental to every system of belief? How tragic it is that many not only are risking their own eternal destiny on a failed materialist speculation but want to impose the same tragedy on innocent children.

John Baumgardner