The Mechanisms of Darwinism
According to the theory of evolution, living things came into existence by means of coincidences, and developed further as a consequence of coincidental effects. Approximately 3.8 billion years ago, when no living organisms existed on earth, the first simple single-celled organisms (prokaryotes) emerged. Over time, more complex cells (eukaryotes) and multicellular organisms came into being. In other words, according to Darwinism, the forces of nature built simple inanimate elements into highly complex and flawless beings.
In evaluating this claim, one should first consider whether such forces in fact exist in nature. More explicitly, are there really natural mechanisms which can accomplish evolution according to the Darwinian scenario?
The neo-Darwinist model, which we shall take as the mainstream theory of evolution today, argues that life has evolved through two natural mechanisms: natural selection and mutation. The theory basically asserts that natural selection and mutation are two complementary mechanisms. The origin of evolutionary modifications lies in random mutations that take place in the genetic structures of living things. The traits brought about by mutations are selected by the mechanism of natural selection, and by this means living things evolve. However, when we look further into this theory, we find that there is no such evolutionary mechanism. Neither natural selection nor mutations can cause different species to evolve into one another, and the claim that they can is completely unfounded.
The concept of natural selection was the basis of Darwinism. This assertion is stressed even in the title of the book in which Darwin proposed his theory: The Origin of Species, by means of Natural Selection…
Natural selection is based on the assumption that in nature there is a constant struggle for survival and that the strongest ones, the ones most suited to natural conditions, survive. For example, in a herd of deer under threat from predators, generally those individuals that can run fastest will survive. The herd of deer will eventually consist of only fast-running individuals.
However, no matter how long this process goes on, it will not transform those deer into another species. The weak deer are eliminated, the strong survive, but, since no alteration in their genetic data takes place, no transformation of a species occurs. Despite the continuous processes of selection, deer continue to exist as deer.
The deer example is true for all species. In any population, by means of natural selection, only those weak, or unsuited individuals who are unable to adapt to the natural conditions in their habitat are eliminated. No new species, new genetic information, or new organs can be produced. That is, species cannot evolve. Darwin, too, accepted this fact, stating that "Natural selection can do nothing until favourable individual differences or variations occur."7 That is why neo-Darwinism had to add the mutation mechanism as a factor altering genetic information to the concept of natural selection.
We will deal with mutations next. But before proceeding, we need to further examine the concept of natural selection in order to see the contradictions inherent in it.
A Struggle for Survival
Darwin had been influenced by Thomas Malthus when he developed his thesis of the struggle for life. But observations and experiments proved Malthus wrong.
The essential assumption of the theory of natural selection holds that there is a fierce struggle for survival in nature, and every living thing cares only for itself. At the time Darwin proposed this theory, the ideas of Thomas Malthus, the British classical economist, were an important influence on him. Malthus maintained that human beings were inevitably in a constant struggle for survival, basing his views on the fact that population, and hence the need for food resources, increases geometrically, while food resources themselves increase only arithmetically. The result is that population size is inevitably checked by factors in the environment, such as hunger and disease. Darwin adapted Malthus's vision of a fierce struggle for survival among human beings to nature at large, and claimed that "natural selection" is a consequence of this struggle.
Further research, however, revealed that there was no struggle for life in nature as Darwin had postulated. As a result of extensive research into animal groups in the 1960s and 1970s, V. C. Wynne-Edwards, a British zoologist, concluded that living things balance their population in an interesting way, which prevents competition for food.
Animal groups were simply managing their population on the basis of their food resources. Population was regulated not by elimination of the weak through factors like epidemics or starvation, but by instinctive control mechanisms. In other words, animals controlled their numbers not by fierce competition, as Darwin suggested, but by limiting reproduction.8
Even plants exhibited examples of population control, which invalidated Darwin's suggestion of selection by means of competition. The botanist A. D. Bradshaw's observations indicated that during reproduction, plants behaved according to the "density" of the planting, and limited their reproduction if the area was highly populated with plants.9 On the other hand, examples of sacrifice observed in animals such as ants and bees display a model completely opposed to the Darwinist struggle for survival.
In recent years, research has revealed findings regarding self-sacrifice even in bacteria. These living things without brains or nervous systems, totally devoid of any capacity for thought, kill themselves to save other bacteria when they are invaded by viruses.10
These examples surely invalidate the basic assumption of natural selection—the absolute struggle for survival. It is true that there is competition in nature; however, there are clear models of self-sacrifice and solidarity, as well.
Observation and Experiments
Apart from the theoretical weaknesses mentioned above, the theory of evolution by natural selection comes up against a fundamental impasse when faced with concrete scientific findings. The scientific value of a theory must be assessed according to its success or failure in experiment and observation. Evolution by natural selection fails on both counts.
Since Darwin's time, there has not been a single shred of evidence put forward to show that living things evolve through natural selection. Colin Patterson, the senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History in London and a prominent evolutionist, stresses that natural selection has never been observed to have the ability to cause things to evolve:
Pierre-Paul Grassé, a well-known French zoologist and critic of Darwinism, has these words to say in "Evolution and Natural Selection," a chapter of his book The Evolution of Living Organisms.
The "evolution in action" of J. Huxley and other biologists is simply the observation of demographic facts, local fluctuations of genotypes, geographical distributions. Often the species concerned have remained practically unchanged for hundreds of centuries! Fluctuation as a result of circumstances, with prior modification of the genome, does not imply evolution, and we have tangible proof of this in many panchronic species [i.e. living fossils that remain unchanged for millions of years].12
A close look at a few "observed examples of natural selection" presented by biologists who advocate the theory of evolution, would reveal that, in reality, they do not provide any evidence for the theory of evolution.
The True Story of Industrial Melanism
When evolutionist sources are examined, one inevitably sees that the example of moths in England during the Industrial Revolution is cited as an example of evolution by natural selection. This is put forward as the most concrete example of evolution observed, in textbooks, magazines, and even academic sources. In actuality, though, that example has nothing to do with evolution at all.
Let us first recall what is actually said: According to this account, around the onset of the Industrial Revolution in England, the color of tree barks around Manchester was quite light. Because of this, dark-colored moths resting on those trees could easily be noticed by the birds that fed on them, and therefore they had very little possibility of survival. Fifty years later, in woodlands where industrial pollution has killed the light-colored lichens, the bark of the trees had darkened, and now the light-colored moths became the most hunted, since they were the most easily noticed. As a result, the proportion of light-colored to dark-colored moths decreased. Evolutionists believe this to be a great piece of evidence for their theory. They take refuge and solace in window-dressing, showing how light-colored moths "evolved" into dark-colored ones.
However, even if we believe these to be correct, it should be quite clear that they can in no way be used as evidence for the theory of evolution, since no new form arose that had not existed before. Dark colored moths had existed in the moth population before the Industrial Revolution. Only the relative proportions of the existing moth varieties in the population changed. The moths had not acquired a new trait or organ, which would cause "speciation."13 In order for one moth species to turn into another living species, a bird for example, new additions would have had to be made to its genes. That is, an entirely separate genetic program would have had to be loaded so as to include information about the physical traits of the bird.
The top picture shows trees with moths on them before the Industrial Revolution, and the bottom picture shows them at a later date. Because the trees had grown darker, birds were able to catch light-colored moths more easily and their numbers decreased. However, this is not an example of "evolution," because no new species emerged; all that happened was that the ratio of the two already existing types in an already existing species changed.
This is the answer to be given to the evolutionist story of Industrial Melanism. However, there is a more interesting side to the story: Not just its interpretation, but the story itself is flawed. As molecular biologist Jonathan Wells explains in his book Icons of Evolution, the story of the peppered moths, which is included in virtually every evolutionary biology book and has therefore, become an "icon" in this sense, does not reflect the truth. Wells discusses in his book how Bernard Kettlewell's experiment, which is known as the "experimental proof" of the story, is actually a scientific scandal. Some basic elements of this scandal are:
These facts were uncovered by the scientific community only in the late 1990s. The collapse of the myth of Industrial Melanism, which had been one of the most treasured subjects in "Introduction to Evolution" courses in universities for decades, greatly disappointed evolutionists. One of them, Jerry Coyne, remarked:
Thus, "the most famous example of natural selection" was relegated to the trash-heap of history as a scientific scandal—which was inevitable, because natural selection is not an "evolutionary mechanism," contrary to what evolutionists claim.
In short, natural selection is capable neither of adding a new organ to a living organism, nor of removing one, nor of changing an organism of one species into that of another. The "greatest" evidence put forward since Darwin has been able to go no further than the "industrial melanism" of moths in England.
Why Natural Selection Cannot Explain Complexity
As we showed at the beginning, the greatest problem for the theory of evolution by natural selection, is that new organs or traits cannot emerge in living things through natural selection. A species' genetic data does not develop by means of natural selection; therefore, it cannot be used to account for the emergence of new species. The greatest defender of the theory of punctuated equilibrium, Stephen Jay Gould, refer to this impasse of natural selection as follows;
Another of the misleading methods that evolutionists employ on the issue of natural selection is their effort to present this mechanism as intelligent. However, natural selection has no intelligence. It does not possess a will that can decide what is good and what is bad for living things. As a result, natural selection cannot explain how biological systems and organs that possess the feature of "irreducible complexity" came into being. These systems and organs are composed of a great number of parts cooperating together, and are of no use if even one of these parts is missing or defective. (For example, the human eye does not function unless it exists with all its components intact).
A deformed foot, the product of mutation.
Mutations are defined as breaks or replacements taking place in the DNA molecule, which is found in the nuclei of the cells of a living organism and which contains all its genetic information. These breaks or replacements are the result of external effects such as radiation or chemical action. Every mutation is an "accident," and either damages the nucleotides making up the DNA or changes their locations. Most of the time, they cause so much damage and modification that the cell cannot repair them.
Mutation, which evolutionists frequently hide behind, does not transform living organisms into a more advanced and perfect form. The direct effect of mutations is harmful. The changes effected by mutations can only be like those experienced by people in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Chernobyl: that is, death and disability…
The reason for this is very simple: DNA has a very complex structure, and random effects can only damage it. Biologist B. G. Ranganathan states:
Not surprisingly, no beneficial mutation has been so far observed. All mutations have proved to be harmful. The evolutionist scientist Warren Weaver comments on the report prepared by the Committee on Genetic Effects of Atomic Radiation, which had been formed to investigate mutations that might have been caused by the nuclear weapons used in the Second World War:
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, evolutionary biologists have sought examples of beneficial mutations by creating mutant flies. But these efforts have always resulted in sick and deformed creatures. The top left picture shows the head of a normal fruit fly, and the picture on the right shows the head of fruit fly with legs coming out of it, the result of mutation.
A mutant fly with deformed wings.
Every effort put into "generating a beneficial mutation" has resulted in failure. For decades, evolutionists carried out many experiments to produce mutations in fruit flies, as these insects reproduce very rapidly and so mutations would show up quickly. Generation upon generation of these flies were mutated, yet no beneficial mutation was ever observed. The evolutionist geneticist Gordon Taylor writes thus:
Mutant frogs born with crippled legs.
It is a striking, but not much mentioned fact that, though geneticists have been breeding fruit-flies for sixty years or more in labs all round the world— flies which produce a new generation every eleven days—they have never yet seen the emergence of a new species or even a new enzyme.21
Another researcher, Michael Pitman, comments on the failure of the experiments carried out on fruit flies:
Morgan, Goldschmidt, Muller, and other geneticists have subjected generations of fruit flies to extreme conditions of heat, cold, light, dark, and treatment by chemicals and radiation. All sorts of mutations, practically all trivial or positively deleterious, have been produced. Man-made evolution? Not really: Few of the geneticists' monsters could have survived outside the bottles they were bred in. In practice mutants die, are sterile, or tend to revert to the wild type.22
The same holds true for man. All mutations that have been observed in human beings have had deleterious results. All mutations that take place in humans result in physical deformities, in infirmities such as mongolism, Down syndrome, albinism, dwarfism or cancer. Needless to say, a process that leaves people disabled or sick cannot be "an evolutionary mechanism"—evolution is supposed to produce forms that are better fitted to survive.
The shape and functions of red corpuscles are compromised in sickle-cell anemia. For this reason, their oxygen-carrying capacities are weakened.
The American pathologist David A. Demick notes the following in a scientific article about mutations:
The only instance evolutionary biologists give of "beneficial mutation" is the disease known as sickle cell anemia. In this, the hemoglobin molecule, which serves to carry oxygen in the blood, is damaged as a result of mutation, and undergoes a structural change. As a result of this, the hemoglobin molecule's ability to carry oxygen is seriously impaired. People with sickle cell anemia suffer increasing respiratory difficulties for this reason. This example of mutation, which is discussed under blood disorders in medical textbooks, is strangely evaluated by some evolutionary biologists as a "beneficial mutation." They say that the partial immunity to malaria by those with the illness is a "gift" of evolution. Using the same logic, one could say that, since people born with genetic leg paralysis are unable to walk and so are saved from being killed in traffic accidents, therefore genetic leg paralysis is a "beneficial genetic feature." This logic is clearly totally unfounded.
It is obvious that mutations are solely a destructive mechanism. Pierre-Paul Grassé, former president of the French Academy of Sciences, is quite clear on this point in a comment he made about mutations. Grassé compared mutations to "making mistakes in the letters when copying a written text." And as with mutations, letter mistakes cannot give rise to any information, but merely damage such information as already exists. Grassé explained this fact in this way:
The Pleiotropic Effect
The most important proof that mutations lead only to damage, is the process of genetic coding. Almost all of the genes in a living thing carry more than one piece of information. For instance, one gene may control both the height and the eye color of that organism. Microbiologist Michael Denton explains this characteristic of genes in higher organisms such as human beings, in this way:
1. The wings do not develop.
2. The hind limbs reach full length, but the digits do not fully develop.
3. There is no soft fur covering
4. Although there is a respiratory passage, lungs and air sacs are absent.
5. The urinary tract does not grow, and does not induce the development of the kidney.
On the left we can see the normal development of a domesticated fowl, and on the right the harmful effects of a mutation in the pleiotropic gene. Careful examination shows that a mutation in just one gene damages many different organs. Even if we hypothesize that mutation could have a beneficial effect, this "pleiotropic effect" would remove the advantage by damaging many more organs.
The effects of genes on development are often surprisingly diverse. In the house mouse, nearly every coat-colour gene has some effect on body size. Out of seventeen x-ray induced eye colour mutations in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, fourteen affected the shape of the sex organs of the female, a characteristic that one would have thought was quite unrelated to eye colour. Almost every gene that has been studied in higher organisms has been found to effect more than one organ system, a multiple effect which is known as pleiotropy. As Mayr argues in Population, Species and Evolution: "It is doubtful whether any genes that are not pleiotropic exist in higher organisms."26
The picture above shows an albino kangaroo with its young. A mutation occurring in its genes led to this kangaroo lacking color-giving pigment.
Because of this characteristic of the genetic structure of living things, any coincidental change because of a mutation, in any gene in the DNA, will affect more than one organ. Consequently, this mutation will not be restricted to one part of the body, but will reveal more of its destructive impact. Even if one of these impacts turns out to be beneficial, as a result of a very rare coincidence, the unavoidable effects of the other damage it causes will more than outweigh those benefits.
To summarize, there are three main reasons why mutations cannot make evolution possible:
l- The direct effect of mutations is harmful: Since they occur randomly, they almost always damage the living organism that undergoes them. Reason tells us that unconscious intervention in a perfect and complex structure will not improve that structure, but will rather impair it. Indeed, no "beneficial mutation" has ever been observed.
2- Mutations add no new information to an organism's DNA: The particles making up the genetic information are either torn from their places, destroyed, or carried off to different places. Mutations cannot make a living thing acquire a new organ or a new trait. They only cause abnormalities like a leg sticking out of the back, or an ear from the abdomen.
3- In order for a mutation to be transferred to the subsequent generation, it has to have taken place in the reproductive cells of the organism: A random change that occurs in a cell or organ of the body cannot be transferred to the next generation. For example, a human eye altered by the effects of radiation, or by other causes, will not be passed on to subsequent generations.
All the explanations provided above indicate that natural selection and mutation have no evolutionary effect at all. So far, no observable example of "evolution" has been obtained by this method.
Sometimes, evolutionary biologists claim that "they cannot observe the evolutionary effect of natural selection and mutation mechanisms since these mechanisms take place only over an extended period of time."
The Escherichia coli bacterium is no different from specimens a billion years old. Countless mutations over this long period have not led to any structural changes.
However, this argument, which is just a way of making themselves feel better, is baseless, in the sense that it lacks any scientific foundation. During his lifetime, a scientist can observe thousands of generations of living things with short life spans such as fruit flies or bacteria, and still observe no "evolution." Pierre-Paul Grassé states the following about the unchanging nature of bacteria, a fact which invalidates evolution:
Bacteria ...are the organisms which, because of their huge numbers, produce the most mutants. [B]acteria ...exhibit a great fidelity to their species. The bacillus Escherichia coli, whose mutants have been studied very carefully, is the best example. The reader will agree that it is surprising, to say the least, to want to prove evolution and to discover its mechanisms and then to choose as a material for this study a being which practically stabilized a billion years ago! What is the use of their unceasing mutations, if they do not [produce evolutionary] change? In sum, the mutations of bacteria and viruses are merely hereditary fluctuations around a median position; a swing to the right, a swing to the left, but no final evolutionary effect. Cockroaches, which are one of the most venerable living insect groups, have remained more or less unchanged since the Permian, yet they have undergone as many mutations as Drosophila, a Tertiary insect.27
Briefly, it is impossible for living beings to have evolved, because there exists no mechanism in nature that can cause evolution. Furthermore, this conclusion agrees with the evidence of the fossil record, which does not demonstrate the existence of a process of evolution, but rather just the contrary.
6 Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Burnett Books, London, 1985.
7 Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, The Modern Library, New York, p. 127. (emphasis added)
8 V. C. Wynne-Edwards, "Self Regulating Systems in Populations of Animals, Science, vol. 147, 26 March 1965, pp. 1543-1548; V. C. Wynne-Edwards, Evolution Through Group Selection, London, 1986.
9 A. D. Bradshaw, "Evolutionary significance of phenotypic plasticity in plants," Advances in Genetics, vol. 13, pp. 115-155; cited in Lee Spetner, Not By Chance!: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution, The Judaica Press, Inc., New York, 1997, pp. 16-17.
10 Andy Coghlan "Suicide Squad", New Scientist, 10 July 1999.
11 Colin Patterson, "Cladistics", Interview by Brian Leek, interviewer Peter Franz, March 4, 1982, BBC.(emphasis added)
12 Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin On Trial, Intervarsity Press, Illinois, 1993, p. 27.
13 For more detailed information about Industrial Melanism, please see Phillip Johnson, Darwin on Trial, InterVarsity Press, 2nd. Ed., Washington D.C., p. 26.
14 Jonathan Wells, Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? Why Much of What We Teach About Evolution is Wrong, Regnery Publishing, Washington, 2000, pp. 149-150.
15 Jonathan Wells, Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? Why Much of What We Teach About Evolution is Wrong, Regnery Publishing, Washington, 2000, pp. 141-151.
16 Jerry Coyne, "Not Black and White", a review of Michael Majerus's Melanism: Evolution in Action, Nature, 396, 1988, pp. 35-36.
17 Stephen Jay Gould, "The Return of Hopeful Monster", Natural History, vol. 86, June-July 1977, p. 28.
18 Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species: A Facsimile of the First Edition, Harvard University Press, 1964, p. 189.(emphasis added)
19 B. G. Ranganathan, Origins?, Pennsylvania: The Banner Of Truth Trust, 1988. (emphasis added)
20 Warren Weaver et al., "Genetic Effects of Atomic Radiation", Science, vol. 123, June 29, 1956, p. 1159. (emphasis added)
21 Gordon Rattray Taylor, The Great Evolution Mystery, Abacus, Sphere Books, London, 1984, p. 48.
22 Michael Pitman, Adam and Evolution, River Publishing, London, 1984, p. 70. (emphasis added)
23 David A. Demick, "The Blind Gunman", Impact, no. 308, February 1999. (emphasis added)
24 Pierre-Paul Grassé, Evolution of Living Organisms, Academic Press, New York, 1977, p. 97, 98.
25 Pierre-Paul Grassé, Evolution of Living Organisms, Academic Press, New York, 1977, p. 88. (emphasis added)
26 Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Burnett Books Ltd., London, 1985, p. 149.
27 Pierre-Paul Grassé, Evolution of Living Organisms, Academic Press, New York, 1977, p. 87. (emphasis added)