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SCIENTIFIC PROBLEMS WITH THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION


As a Christian, I have been interested in the evolution/Creation debate for a long time. (I take the Creationist side.) A friend of the family gave me this paper, which I found very interesting and informative. I'm afraid I don't know who it is by, but a note at the end states: "Permission is given to copy any part of this paper. International Student Fellowship, (520) 791-2861, Tucson, Arizona, January 1996." I'm assuming this means the paper is public domain and there is no problem with me placing it on this website.
I encourage you to read this paper no matter where you stand on the evolution/Creation issue, as I believe you will find it just as interesting and informative as I did. Please, I am not interested in engaging in any debates on the topic, so do not email me for that purpose. However, if you have any (politely stated) thoughts or comments (or additional resources!), I welcome your input.
All quotes in the following paper were originally cited in a bibliography at the end of the paper. Because I do not know how to write the little footnoting numbers in HTML, I have chosen to cite the quotes where each quote occurs. The emphasis on each of the quotes was, of course, added by the author of this paper.


The modern theory of evolution is largely attributed to Charles Darwin who published his book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859. From 1922 through 1953, Alexander Oparin, a Russian biochemist, and J.B.S. Holdane, an English biologist, added what has been called the Oparin-Holdane hypothesis. This theory deals with the origin of life by chemical evolution in a "prebiotic soup" composed of methane, ammonia, hydrogen, and water vapor in a reducing (little or no free oxygen) atmosphere. Although several slight changes in the "prebiotic" or "primordial soup" have been suggested, we could summarize the idea of evolution, as generally taught in biology texts today, as follows:

chemicals (prebiotic soup) --> amino acids --> polymers/RNA/DNA (proteins, etc.) --> single cell --> "simple" plants and animals --> "complex" plants and animals --> ape --> man
Three major ideas are always present:
  1. simple --> complex (i.e., non-living --> living)
  2. a very long period of time
  3. no design (i.e., random, chance, or "natural processes")
As a recent college biology text observed...
Proof of evolutionary theory, in the rigorous sense of an experimental verification or demonstration, is impossible for several reasons. The most important reason is that evolution is a historical phenomenon. (Barret, Abramoff, Millington, Biology, (Prentice-Hall, 1985), p. 750.)
Also, evolutionist and scientist, Colin Patterson, Ph.D., has stated:
We must ask first whether the theory of evolution by natural selection is scientific or pseudoscientific (metaphysical)...taking the first part of the theory, that evolution has occurred, it says that the history of life is a single process of species-splitting and progression. This process must be unique and unrepeatable, like the history of England. This part of the theory is therefore a historical theory about unique events, and unique events are, by definition, not part of science, for they are unrepeatable and so not subject to test. (Colin Patterson [Ph.D.], Evolution, [London: British Museum of Natural History, 1978] pp. 145-146.)
This means that evolution is not a fact but a hypothesis not proven by science. However, we can look at the evidence and see if the facts seem to support the idea of evolution or not. This is the purpose of this paper--to compare the evidence with the hypothesis. When one does this, one finds several discrepancies between the facts of science and the hypothesis of evolution. Five major problems are listed below.

1. Lack of Evidence for Prebiotic Soup. There is a growing body of evidence that the early earth's atmosphere was not reducing and not composed of the materials proposed by Oparin, Holdane, etc. Dr. Robert Shapiro, an evolutionist and biochemist, has a whole chapter title The Spark and the Soup in which he discusses "the myth of the prebiotic soup" (Robert Shapiro, [Ph.D.], Origins: A Skeptics Guide to Creation of Life on Earth [Simon & Schuster, 1986], pp. 98-117.). Drs. Thaxton, Bradley and Olsen have summarized the problem as follows:

"...in the atmosphere and in the various water basins of the primitive earth, many destructive interactions would have so vastly diminished, if not altogether consumed, essential precursor chemicals, that chemical evolution rates would have been negligible. The soup would have been too dilute for direct polymerization to occur. Even local ponds for concentrating soup ingredients would have met with the same problem. Furthermore, no geological evidence indicates an organic soup, even a small organic pond, ever existed on this planet. It is becoming clear that however life began on earth, the usually conceived notion that life emerged from an oceanic soup of chemicals is a most implausible hypothesis. We may therefore with fairness call this scenario 'the myth of the prebiotic soup'." (Charles Thaxton [Ph.D.-Chemistry], Walter Bradley [Ph.D.-Material Science], Roger Olsen [Ph.D.-Philosophical Library, 1984), p. 66.
It should be noted that the reason the reducing prebiotic mixture was selected in the first place was that only it could have possibly produced the organic material needed for the chemical evolution of life. Geologists in the 1920's did not produce fossils showing such a prebiotic soup which then led to the Oparin-Holdane hypothesis.

2. Lack of Transitional Fossils. Scientists agree that we have fossils of the major types of plants/animals. However, since evolution states that change from one type of plant/animal to another type occured very slowly, we should find many fossils of transitional or intermediate life forms. For example, according to the theory of evolution, reptiles became birds over a long period of time. We should, therefore, find fossils of several animals between reptiles and birds. What do we really find? None! Actually, Darwin knew this problem and said so: "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." (Pg. 292, first paragraph of Chapter 9, "On the Imperfection of the Geologic Record", of The Origin of Species.) However, he thought as we found more fossils we would find these transitional forms. What have we found so many years later? Let the scientists speak. Evolutionist and paleontologist David Raup, Ph.D.:

"Darwin...was embarrassed by the fossil record...we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossils species, but the situation hasn't changed much...We have even fewer examples of Evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time." (David Raup (Ph.D.-Harvard University), "Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology", Field Museum of Natural History, Vol. 50, No. 1 [January 1979] p. 22.)
Evolutionist geologist and paleontologist Stephen Gould, Ph.D.:
"The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in the organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution." (Stephen Gould [Ph.D.-Ardent Evolutionist and Professor of Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University], "Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?", Paleobiology, Vol. 6, No. 1 [January 1980], p. 127.)
In fact, Dr. Gould calls this lack of evidence of transitional forms a secret well-kept from those in the general public (apart from those in paleontology): "The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology." (Stephen Gould, "Evolution's Erratic Pace", Natural History, Vol. 86, No. 5 [May 1977], pp. 13-14.) Dr. Michael Denton, (also an evolutionist) has said, "Without intermediates or transitional forms to bridge the enormous gaps which separate existing species and groups of organisms, the concept of evolution could never be taken seriously as a scientific hypothesis." (Michael Denton [Evolutionist, Ph.D.-Molecular Biology, and M.D.], Evolution: A Theory in Crisis [Adler & Adler, 1986] p. 158.)

3. Sudden Appearance of Complete Life Forms (esp. in the lowest geological layers). We could summarize the evolutionary position on geology and life forms as follows:

  1. The earth's layer is composed of several layers, with the oldest at the bottom moving up to the youngest layer on top.
  2. Since the simplest life forms are the oldest they appear in the lowest layer and gradually change through the layers to the complex life forms in the top level(s).
This means that the ancestral form of each life form should be in the layer below it and the lowest layers should have the "simpler" life forms. However, what do the rocks tell us? Let the scientists speak.

Fred Hoyle, Ph.D. and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Ph.D.:

"The problem for biology is to reach a simple beginning...the tendency is to imagine that there must have been a time when simple cells existed, but when complex cells did not. ...this belief has turned out to be wrong. ...Going back in time to the age of the oldest rocks...fossil residues of ancient life-forms in the rocks do not reveal a simple beginning. Although we may care to think of fossil bacteria and fossil algae and microfungi as being simple compared to a dog or horse, the information standard remains enormously high. Most of the biochemical complexity of life was present already at the time the oldest surface rocks of the Earth were formed." (Fred Hoyle and C. Wickramasinghe, Evolution From Space [London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1981], p. 8, 70.)
Take the trilobite for example. "These animals first appeared at the beginning of the Cambrian Period approximately 570 million years ago." (Geologic Chart "What is a Trilobite?", Black Hills Institute of Geologic Research, 1989.) The Cambrian layer is characterized by a tremendous variety of fossilized life forms. However, the layer below it, the Precambrian, contains almost no fossils (bacteria, algae, etc.) and certainly nothing that could have remotely given way to a trilobite because the trilobite is a very complex little animals with organs, exoskeleton, etc. Consider the trilobite eye...
"At least two types of eyes are distinguishable in the trilobites...The holochroal or compound eye consists of touching hexagonal calcite lenses which may number from 100 to more than 15,000." (Geologic Chart "What is a Trilobite?", Black Hills Institute of Geologic Research, 1989.)
Anyone who has ever seen or held a trilobite realizes that they are very complex creatures. Could they have come directly from a spore, a bacterium or algae? What is such a complex animal doing in the very bottom of the fossil record? We observe again and again this fact that the plants/animals appear in the fossil record abruptly, with no ancestors and fully formed, just as in the Cambrian record (where we also find jellyfish, starfish, mollusks, etc.). To summarize, I would like to quote evolutionist Michael Denton (Ph.D. in molecular Biology and M.D.):
"It is still, as it was in Darwin's day, overwhelmingly true that the first representatives of all the major classes of organisms known to biology are already highly characteristic of their class when they make their initial appearance in the fossil record...the strata lain down over the hundreds of millions of years before the Cambrian era, which might have contained the connecting links between the major phyla, are almost completely empty of animal fossils...The story is the same for plants. Again, the first representatives of each major group appear in the fossil record already highly specialized and highly characteristic of the group to which they belong...Like the sudden appearance of the first animal groups in the Cambrian rocks, the sudden appearance of the angiosperms is a persistent anomaly which has resisted all attempts at explanation since Darwin's time. The sudden origin of the angiosperms puzzled him...Again, just as in the case of the absence of pre-Cambrian fossils, no forms have ever been found in pre-Cretaceous rocks linking the angiosperms with any other group of plants...The same pattern is true of the vertebrate fossil record. The first members of each major group appear abruptly, unlinked to other groups by transitional or intermediate forms. ...The virtual complete absence of intermediate and ancestral forms from the fossil record is a today recognized widely by many leading paleontologists as one of its most striking characteristics..." (Michael Denton, Evolution, pp. 162-165.)
Before going to point #4, it should be noted that if the Bible is true, we should expect to find, from the earliest days, an atmosphere much like what we find today, one that could sustain life (having free oxygen and therefore be oxidizing, not reducing). We would also find no transitional life forms since God is said to have formed the plants/animals "according to their kinds". They should appear suddenly and fully formed. As shown above, the fossil record has yielded exactly this kind of evidence. Since the Bible states that God had purpose in creating, we should also expect to find evidence of design--from the structure of a living cell to the structure of the universe.

4. Non-Living Cannot Become Living by Natural Processes. Evolution says that simple things became complex, that non-living chemicals (macromolecules) became living cells with DNA by chance. Is that even possible? Do scientists observe anything like that today? Can we even synthesize living matter in a laboratory using high-tech lab equipment, computers, etc., and lots of design? The answer is no, no, and no. Fred Hoyle, Ph.D. and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Ph.D., both evolutionists, explain why this is not possible.

"...Life cannot have had a random beginning... The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in (10^20)^2,000 = 10^40,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.
If one is not prejudiced either by social beliefs or by a scientific training into the conviction that life originated on the Earth, this simple calculation wipes the idea entirely out of court,...The enormous information content of even the simplest living systems...cannot in our view be generated by what are often called "natural" processes...For life to have originated on the Earth it would be necessary that quite explicit instruction should have been provided for its assembly. ...There is no way in which we can expect to avoid the need for information, no way in which we can simply get by with a bigger and better organic soup, as we ourselves hoped might be possible a year or two ago." (Fred Hoyle and C. Wickramasinghe, Evolution From Space, pp. 148, 24, 150, 30, 31.)
Hubert Yockey, Ph.D., an expert in molecular biology, information science and mathematical probability (and an evolutionist), stated: "the building blocks...do not spontaneously make proteins, at least not by chance. The origin of life by chance in a primeval soup is impossible in probability...A practical person must conclude that life didn't happen by chance. (Hubert Yockey, Ph.D., Information Theory and Molecular Biology, [Cambridge University Press, 1992], p. 257.) Nobel Prize winner, strong evolutionist and biochemist, Francis Crick, Ph.D., recently concluded:
"An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going." (Francis Crick and L.E. Orgel [1973], "Directed Panspermia", Icarus, 19: 341-46.)
To summarize this point, I would like to quote Dr. Michael Denton again from a chapter he titled The Puzzle of Perfection:
"The intuitive feeling that pure chance could never have achieved the degree of complexity and ingenuity so ubiquitous in nature has been a continuing source of skepticism ever since the publication of the Origin of the Species; and throughout the past century there has always existed a significant minority of first-rate biologists who have never been able to bring themselves to accept the validity of Darwinian claims...
"Perhaps in no other area of modern biology is the challenge posed by the extreme complexity and ingenuity of biological adaptations more apparent than in the fascinating new molecular world of the cell. ...To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometers in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity...
"...Is it really credible that random processes could have constructed a reality, the smallest element of which--a functional protein or gene--is complex beyond our own creative capacities, a reality which is the very antithesis of chance, which excels in every sense anything produced by the intelligence of man?" (Michael Denton, Evolution, pp. 326-328.)

5. No Valid Mechanism. Science is about process and explaining how things happen. For evolution to be credible it must explain how one plant/animal changes into another plant/animal. As most of us know, Charles Darwin proposed natural selection (sometimes called "survival of the fittest") as the mechanism of change. However, he later became uncertain about natural selection as the mechanism of evolution, gave in to the weight of scientific evidence and abandoned it in the 6th edition of his book, The Origin of Species (see Randall Hedtke, The Secret of the Sixth Edition, Vantage Press, 1983). We now know natural selection moves in the direction of preserving the species, not changing it to another. As evolutionist Dr. Colin Patterson said, "No one has ever produced a species by mechanisms of natural selection. No one has ever gotten near it..." (Colin Patterson, interview on the subject of Cladistics, British Broadcasting Corporation Television, [March 4, 1982].) Well-known evolutionist Niles Eldridge, Ph.D., a curator of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City has also stated, "natural selection...does not work to create new species." (Niles Eldridge, Ph.D., "An Extravagance of Species [The Diversity of Fossil Trilobites Poses a Challenge to Traditional Evolutionary Theory]", Natural History, Vol. 89, No. 7 [July 1980] p. 46.)

Another proposed mechanism for evolution has been mutations, which are actually genetic accidents. ("All mutations seem to be in the nature of injuries..." [C.P. Martin, "A Non-Geneticist Looks at Evolution", American Scientist, Vol. 41, No. 1 (January 1953), pp. 100, 103.])

Radiation and mutation expert Dr. H.J. Muller had said:

"There is no single instance where it can be maintained that any of the mutants studied has a higher viability that the mother species...A review of known facts about their ability to survive has led to no other conclusion than that they are always constitutionally weaker than their parent form or species, and in a population with free competition they are eliminated... Therefore they are never found in nature (e.g., not a single one of the several hundreds of Drosophila mutations), and therefore, they are able to appear only in the favorable environment of the experimental field or laboratory..." (H.J. Muller, "How Radiation Changes the Genetic Constitution", Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 11, No. 9 [November 1955], p. 331.)
Let's go back to the evolutionist scenario of reptiles (which are vertebrates) becoming birds, and consider the change which would have had to occur in their lungs. Here is Dr. Denton's discussion of this:
The evolution of birds is far more complex than the above discussion implies. In addition to the problem of the origin of the feather and flight, birds possess other unique adaptations which also seem to defy plausible evolutionary explanations. One such adaptation is the avian lung and respiratory system.
In all other vertebrates the air is drawn into the lungs through a system of branching tubes which finally terminate in tiny air sacs, or alveoli, so that during respiration the air is moved in and out through the same passage. In the case of birds, however, the major bronchi break down into tiny tubes which permeate the lung tissue. These so-called parabronchi eventually join up together again, forming a true circulatory system so that air flows in one direction through the lungs. ...Just how such an utterly different respiratory system could have evolved gradually from the standard vertebrate design is fantastically difficult to envisage, especially bearing in mind that the maintenence of respiratory function is absolutely vital to the life of an organism to the extent that the slightest malfunction leads to death within minutes. Just as the feather cannot function as an organ of flight until the books and barbules are coadapted to fit together perfectly, so the avian lung cannot function as an organ of respiration until the parabronchi system which permeates it and the air sac system which guarantees the parabronchi their air supply are both highly developed and able to function together in a perfectly integrated manner. (Michael Dneton, Evolution, pp. 210-212, [drawings also from this book].)
Can natural selection or mutations explain the thousands (millions?) of genetic changes that would have to take place exactly at the same time for a reptile to become a bird? Does this hypothesized change in lungs (and feathers, etc.) even agree with what we know is true about the nature of mutations? Evolutionist Dr. Pierre-Paul Grassť, former President of the French Acadamie des Sciences and the scientist who held the Chair of Evolution at the Sorbonne in Paris for twenty years has clearly stated the problem:
"The opportune appearance of mutation permitting animals and plants to meet their needs seems hard to believe. Yet the Darwinian theory is even more demanding: a single plant, a single animal would require thousands and thousands of lucky, appropriate events. Thus, miracles would become the rule: events with an infinitesimal probability could not fail to occur. ...There is no law against day dreaming, but science must not indulge in it." (Pierre-Paul Grassť, Ph.D., Evolution of Living Organisms [New York: Academic Press, 1977] pp. 88, 103.)
[Summary of the above removed by webmaster to conserve space.]

CONCLUDING REMARKS

  1. Much has been written and spoken by evolutionists to the effect that evolution is happening today but so slowly that we cannot observe it. What is the difference between that idea and this: the reason we cannot observe evolution happening today is that it's not taking place. Is one conclusion more valid than the other? The second idea is the simplest solution that fits the data. The only reason a person would choose the first idea is that he already has a belief (faith) that evolution is happening. Is this scientific??
  2. Evolutionist writers and speakers have also used the small variations within types of plants/animals (sometimes called "microevolution") as proof of evolution. However, "Microevolution (small changes or variations) involves small scale biological changes only (e.g., color, size). Microevolution does not produce new genetic information; it only reshuffles existing genes. The gene pool remains constant." (Paul Taylor, The Illustrated Origins Answer Book [Eden Communications, 1995], p. 84.) Evolution (or "macroevolution") is about one plant/animal changing into another plant/animal and microevolution simply cannot be used in any way to explain or prove it, as Darrel Kautz has clearly stated:
    "People are misled into believing that since microevolution is a reality, that therefore macroevolution is such a reality also. Evolutionists maintain that over long periods of time small-scale change accumulate in such a way as to generate new and more complex organisms... This is sheer illusion, for there is no scientific evidence whatever to support the occurrence of biological change on such a grand scale. In spite of all the artificial breeding which has been done, and all the controlled efforts to modify fruit flies, the bacillus escherichia (E-coli), and other organisms, fruit flies remain fruit flies, E-coli bacteria remain E-coli bacteria, roses remain roses, corn remains corn, and human being remain human beings." (Darrel Kautz, The Origin of Living Things [10025 W. Nash St., Milaukee, Wisconsin 53222, 1988], p. 6.)
  3. When one reads the writings of evolutionist writers as well as high school and college biology texts, etc., you continuously read words (describing the process of evolution) like "we think that", "scientists believe", "may be", "could be", "might have been", etc. Although the language of science (at the hypothesis level) should certainly contain words like these, they seem strangely out of place in a discussion coming from the point of view that evolution is a proven fact accepted by all knowledgeable scientists...
  4. [Point #4 removed by webmaster to conserve space.]
  5. Although Christian scientists with Ph.D.'s in related fields have long pointed out the scientific problems with evolution, I have tried to quote almost entirely from non-Christian evolutionists who have noted the same errors (though they may not have abandoned the idea altogether). It is not hard to find such material written by evolutionists exposing the theory of evolution (actually, the real problem is condensing it because there is so much). More and more world-class scientists, once very strong evolutionists, are abandoning or critisizing it as the data become more and more overwhelming and clear in pointing away from evolution. I would like to close with a quote from Colin Patterson, Ph.D., Senior Paleontologist, British Museum of Natural History, London:
    "Last year I had a sudden realization for over twenty years I had thought I was working on Evolution in some way. One morning I woke up and something had happened in the night, and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for twenty years and there was not one thing I knew about it. That's quite a shock to learn that one can be so misled so long. Either there was something wrong with me or there was something wrong with the theory. Naturally I know there is nothing wrong with me, so the last few weeks I've tried putting a simple question to various people and groups of people. Question is: Can you tell me anything you KNOW about Evolution? Any one thing? Any one thing that is true?
    I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago...and all I got there was silence for a long time, and eventually one person said, "I do know one thing--it ought not to be taught in high school." (Colin Patterson, Ph.D., Unpublished transcript of keynote speech at the American Museum of Natural History, [New York City: November 1981].)