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Two Arguments against Neo-Darwinism

Although I accept evolution on a limited scale (for example, as an explanation of the different races of human beings), I don’t find the scientific evidence for naturalistic evolution as an explanation of all life on Earth compelling.  I think there are theological and philosophical objections that can (and should) be raised against this theory, but I think that some of the best arguments against it come from within the field of science itself. Here’s a succinct expression of my two main scientific objections to neo-Darwinism.

1) The fossil record

Why are there so few transitional life forms in the fossil record? Darwin himself admitted that this was a problem, but he attributed it to imperfections in the fossil record, and thought that more transitional life forms would be discovered after his death. Here is one quote from The Origen of Species: “Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely-graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.” Another century and a half of digging up fossils, however, has not vindicated Darwin’s claims. On the contrary, at several stages the geological record points to the sudden appearance of already diverse, complicated life forms (e.g., the Cambrian explosion).  In my opinion, theories such as punctuated equilibrium which attempt to explain the lack of sufficient numbers of transitional fossils raise more questions than they answer.

2) The problems of leaps

Purely natural processes cannot explain the origin of life itself, or the development of “irreducibly complex” systems such as the eye or the cell.  Darwin thought the cell was relatively simple, but today we know that it is incredibly complex, needing all of its various components in order to function at all.  If it loses any one of its components, the entire cell shuts down and has no survival value.  How can such an intricate, inter-connected system come together gradually and by blind chance?  How do you get from non-intelligence to intelligence by exclusively naturalistic forces?  I think it takes a lot more blind faith to believe that it all happened by chance than to posit an Intelligent Designer.

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3 Responses

  1. Love it, Gav. This as you know is something that I love to study since I was once fairly well set in the Darwinian camp. It was actually the weak evidence for evolution that helped me see God in nature, what is now called Intelligent Design. What strikes me most is that there is no single plausible theory of evolution that accounts for the facts. As you mention, punctuated equilibrium is very problematic and doesn’t really explain much, but causes more issues than it solves. I think they should have to call it the “idea of evolution” since they don’t have a good theory to work with at the moment that accounts for the evidence. The truth is, it seems to me, that if the implications of (macro)evolution weren’t so enormous, i.e. what it says about God, origins of life, human nature, the purpose of life, morality, etc., then the theory would have been discarded a long time ago for lack of supporting evidence. But as you point out, Darwinists are constantly using phony evidence and speaking of it all as a given fact to avoid having to face the implications that science without God (or an intelligent designer of some kind) can not explain an awful lot of evidence, and since it can’t, it means that the evidence points to something outside of science that may actually have a claim on our lives.

  2. Please read Prothero’s book, “< HREF=";sort=posts;start=0" REL="nofollow">Evolution: What the fossils say and why it matters<>.” That should fill in some of the supposed missing gaps for you.Also, Stephen J. Gould’s articles and books are excellent, and may help you understand more of the history and science behind evolutionary theory and natural selection.

  3. It’s unfortunate that so many people fail to understand that the differences in races is not evolution but rather an expression of existing genetic code. The term “evolution” has been thrown about, I think, in an effort to make it more accepted in the modern mind without question. Since the beginning, the genetic code for all races has been in human DNA. It did not evolve and it didn’t need to. The same is true for animal breeds.

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