6 Reasons Why Evolution Isn't A Sure Thing

Evolution

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Former children’s television host and scientist Bill Nye recently captured national media attention when he blasted Americans who believe in creationism and reject Darwin’s theory of evolution.  The scientific concept of evolution holds that each species on Earth developed from a process of natural selection acting on random genetic mutation.

Obviously there’s loads of scientific evidence that supports evolution. But we wanted to understand the main contentions.  

First, there are several different varieties of creationists. 

Traditional creationists believe that the universe was created by God.

A separate theory, called Intelligent Design, is one of the more sophisticated alternative theories to evolution, well-known for its support from Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe. Intelligent Design does not dispute the definition of evolution as “change over time” or, for the most part, that living things are related by common ancestry. However, this group does believe that the natural world is too complex and diverse to have occurred through random processes. 

The Discovery Institute, a religious think tank that advocates the theory of Intelligent Design, outlines their own findings of scientific weakness in modern evolutionary science. 

We’ll follow up with refutations of these “scientific” claims.   

Genetics: Random mutations cause harm to organisms and do not build complexity.

Biochemistry: Random and undirected processes do not seem capable of producing cellular complexity.

'Our cells contain incredible complexity, like miniature factories using machine technology but dwarfing the complexity and efficiency of anything produced by humans. Cells use miniature circuits, motors, feedback loops, encoded language, and even error-checking machinery to decode and repair our DNA. Darwinian evolution struggles to build this type of integrated complexity. As biochemist Franklin Harold admits: 'there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.'

Biochemist Michael Behe has found that Darwinian evolution tends to break molecular functions rather than building new ones. Likewise, biochemical engineer Douglas Axe has published work in the Journal of Molecular Biology and elsewhere showing that amino acid sequences which yield functional protein folds are too rare to be produced by Darwinian processes.'

Source: Discovery Institute

Paleontology: The fossil record shows abrupt appearance and generally lacks intermediate fossils.

Taxonomy: Despite DNA discoveries, biologists are failing to reconstruct Darwin's 'tree of life'.

Chemistry: The chemical origin of life remains an unsolved mystery.

'The mystery of the origin of life is unsolved and all existing theories of chemical evolution face major problems. Basic deficiencies in chemical evolution include a lack of explanation for how a primordial soup could arise on the early earth's hostile environment, or how the information required for life could be generated by blind chemical reactions.

As Greg Easterbrook recently commented in Wired magazine, 'What creates life out of the inanimate compounds that make up living things? No one knows. How were the first organisms assembled? Nature hasn't given us the slightest hint. If anything, the mystery has deepened over time.'

Or as evolutionary biologist Massimo Pigliucci says, 'we really don't have a clue how life originated on Earth'.'

Source: Discovery Institute

Icons of Evolution: Textbooks often overstate or misstate key lines of evidence for modern evolutionary theory.

'Modern biology textbooks have a chronic habit of papering over scientific evidence that dissents from the standard lines of evidence--or 'icons'--used to support Darwinian evolution.

For example, when attempting to demonstrate common ancestry, textbooks frequently portray drawings of vertebrate embryos which inaccurately overstate the similarities between different organisms in their earliest stages of development. Textbooks also often present examples of small-scale 'microevolution' and overextrapolate the evidence to make unwarranted claims about 'macroevolution.' They discuss minute changes in the sizes of beaks on the Galápagos finches or small changes in the colours of peppered moths to claim that fundamentally new types of organisms can evolve via Darwinian processes.

As evolutionary biologist Robert L. Carroll asks: 'Can changes in individual characters, such as the relative frequency of genes for light and dark wing colour in moths adapting to industrial pollution, simply be multiplied over time to account for the origin of moths and butterflies within insects, the origin of insects from primitive arthropods, or the origin of arthropods from among primitive multicellular organisms?' Many scientists feel the answer is 'no'--but biology textbooks never inform students of this fact. This is all the more reason why teachers need academic freedom to inform students about the facts when textbooks don't tell the full story.'

Source: Discovery Institute

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