PROBLEMS OF EVOLUTION
John A. Bloom
"No other intellectual revolution in modern times (with the possible
exception of the Copernican) so profoundly affected the way men viewed
themselves and their place in the universe."
Replaced design with chance to explain the origin of life.
The problem of multiple patterns in the data.
Evolution is change over time (aging).
Evolution - "Change in the genetic makeup of a population over time"
New races and species arise in nature
by the agency of natural
selection, involving mutation and survival of the fittest.
Mechanism valid: seen in animal/plant breeding of goldfish, dogs,
pigeons. Seen in nature in geographical variation.
=> Aristotle and Plato were wrong.
=> God designed adaptable
All life on earth arose by extension of
the above mechanism.
All changes occur by natural selection of small (usually single)
=> Problems are in macro-, not
PROBLEMS WITH MACRO-EVOLUTION
Macro-evolution has not been observed.
It is not strictly in the realm of
science because it cannot be
observed or reproduced in the lab because it takes millions/billions of
years. Level of certainty is less.
Macroevolution is an extrapolation
derived from microevolution.
Limits exist in other natural sciences
as new mechanisms take over, so
that one cannot be extrapolated indefinitely.
Evidence of limits to microevolution.
1. Modern Taxonomy. Transition by small
mutation would imply that
thousands of intermediate forms would exist between classes, making
classical taxonomy impossible.
If evolution is true, then no ancestral
or primitive transitional forms
must have survived until today.
2. The fossil record has a notable lack
of transition forms.
Abrupt appearance: Classes appear
suddenly, then do not change for
millions of years.
Showcase examples of transitional animals only show micro-evolution and
complex adaptive radiation. Their rarity makes them exceptions used to
prove a rule.
Gaps in the fossil record are explained
as due to:
1) insufficient research -- 100+ years?
2) imperfection of record - 80%
3) jumps in evolution.
Problem: There are fewer transitional fossil species between the major
divisions than between the minor ones.
Gaps pose a problem to the assumption of descent as the sole cause for
similarity between animal types.
3. Molecular biology. Study of
variation in proteins common to most
life forms shows neutral variation in an already-optimized basic
Protein studies appear to show an
evolutionary sequence, but also show
equidistance, like typology would predict.
Evolution expects types to be blurred
or indistinct. Why have the
proteins remained distinct at the class level?
Critical parts of the enzyme remain constant and do not evolve,
straining origin of life models.
The DNA and proteins of "living fossils" also vary but the animals do
not evolve (Frogs, lungfish).
The rate of evolution is not proportional to the rate of neutral change
(mammals vs. reptiles).
Neutral variation is not improvement, hence it does not demonstrate
The mechanism of variation is unknown (it is independent of replication
The gap problem: How does similarity in anatomy and DNA prove descent?
4. Biochemical mechanism: In terms of their basic biochemical design,
no living system can be thought of as being primitive or ancestral with
respect to any other system.
DNA, RNA, protein system.
More theoretical problems:
Coordinated systems are difficult to
change with single mutations
because fully-functional intermediates are always required.
1) Continuous improvement.
2) Fully functional intermediates at all
Complex organ systems in animals appear as "islands of function" with
no transitional forms.
Birds: Feathers, lungs, and bones are
Transition from the amphibian to reptile egg (wet/dry).
Bacterial flagella motor.
Systems are too complex to change "one bolt at a time."
"Limited by our imagination in thinking of the intermediate steps."
Pre-adaptation: See that some systems must be developed before they are
used or needed. What is the selective pressure?
Such complex functional integrity appears to apply to the organism as a
whole, especially during embryonic development.
Accumulation of information.
Random chance does not work on a large
DNA/RNA system looks like a mechanism for preserving information, not
for generating t.
No feedback from protein or RNA to DNA.
1) Micro-evolution is a fact.
2) Macro-evolution is an untestable extrapolation from micro-evolution.
3) Is not true science, but a philosophy using scientific data to
4) Macro-evolution is not foundational to biological studies. It is one
of many patterns for organizing the data (from simple to complex).
5) Not a religious issue: Many agnostic scientists are skeptical of the
Why is evolution believed?
1) Micro-evolution is true and can be demonstrated; a jump to
macro-evolution is then assumed as possible.
2) Most people accept what they are taught uncritically.
3) No explanation other than evolution is considered 'scientific'
(purely naturalistic explanations of phenomena).
Poor definition of science; need to
recognize limitations to the method.
4) Evolution is difficult to disprove because it can explain any
observed phenomena (cf. convergent evolution).
5) For some, it justifies an irresponsible lifestyle.
Summary: Christians need not be afraid of truth.
Propose: The data from nature and the data from the Bible have the same
Author. Our interpretations may be at fault, but the data should
BIBLICAL DATA + NATURAL DATA = CORRECT
Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Bethesda, MD: Adler
& Adler, 1986.
-Probably the best book on this topic
to give to a skeptic. Bear in
mind that most of the people he quotes are evolutionists although they
voice awareness of its problems.
Luther D. Sunderland, Darwin's Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems.
Santee, CA: Master Book Publishers, 1984.
-Written by a 'young-earther" but does
not present this view. Stresses
the gaps in the fossil record by means of interviews with several
directors of museums of natural history around the world. Good
background reading, but not one I would give an antagonistic instructor.
Robert Shapiro, Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on
Earth. New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1987.
-An evolutionist, but one who is
willing to look hard at the evidence
and admit that it isn't really proven yet.