Fossils showing stability over time...............
Many fossils, like this jellyfish fossil, actually show stability of some species over time rather than change and there is a lack of intermediates. Species that are the same as their fossil ancestors are called "Living fossils".
Darwin said in his book on the Origin of Species that "a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question". This page concludes a few points on one side of the argument on origins, but do check out other pages and buy some of the books for more.........
Does Science support the theory of evolution? A lot depends on interpretation and meaning given to the data.
For example, two people can look at the fossil record with differing views. One can arrange the fossils in some sort of order from simple to complex organisms and suggest this shows evidence for evolution.
However, the person has applied his own predetermined viewpoint to the data, e.g. progression of change from one type of organism to another. Another person may insist that the fossils show a different story as suggested in this web site.
However, based on hard evidence, there are scientists who think that science does not clearly support the theory of evolution. In his book Darwin's Black Box, Prof. Michael Behe comments that there have always been since the time of Darwin, well informed and respected scientists who have found Darwinism to be inadequate (page 30).
What is belief in evolution based on? - Current beliefs in evolution are built up on data from a range of sources (Green, Stout and Taylor, 1990) such as fossil evidence, the order of fossils in the geological column, comparative anatomy, DNA relatedness, knowledge of mutations in DNA, adaptive radiation, comparative embryology and comparative biochemistry.
What would be the evidence if evolution were true?If Abiogenesis occurred giving rise to the first self replicating cells from non-organic material, then it would not be unreasonable to suggest that scientists with present day knowledge could emulate the conditions necessary for this and produce (under presumed early earth conditions) the first self-replicating single cells from non-organic matter.
If these living single cells (which in the case of bacteria can divide as fast as every 20 minutes) then gave rise to more complex organisms it would not be unreasonable to be able to observe this to some extent, bearing in mind the rapid replication of such cells and the chance to study billions upon billions of them over many generations in a short space of time.
If the first easily visible creatures then gave rise to all other forms, one ought to be able to observe in the fossil records a fluid record of change over time, starting with the simplest of organisms in the lowest layers of the geological column. It would also seem unlikely that there would be records of creatures that seemed to have remained unchanged over time. Moreover, if the main mechanism for such changes was mutation there should be ample evidence that mutation in general led to beneficia lchanges in organisms.
What would be the evidence if creation were true? If Creation were true, it might be possible that the simplestorganisms, thought to be the origin of all other life forms, turned out to be highly complex with no evidence of them forming by chance. In turn, it might be observed that these so-called "simple cells" were relatively stable and only gave rise to similar "simple cells".
The fossil record should show the sudden appearance of creatures with no ancestors. Additionally, the fossil records should show a general stability within species.
Contentions. Darwin said in his book on the Origin of Species that "a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question". Below are a few areas where there is some contention with the theory of evolution and where we look briefly at the other side of the question. It is accepted that the big bang is not part of the theory of evolution, but it is mentioned here and on this site as it forms part of current thoughts on our overall origins. Please click on header or scroll down.
Big Bang. Even if there was such a thing as the big bang, this does not begin to explain how the rich variety of life on earth came into being. There follows a quote from a Nobel Prize winning scientist on this topic. For other similar quotes go the "Science quotes" page.
"There are an increasing number of observational facts which are difficult to reconcile in the Big-Bang hypothesis. The Big Bang establishment very seldom mentions these, and when non-believers try to draw attention to them, the powerful establishment refuses to discuss them in a fair way...". Hannes Olof Gösta Alfven(Nobel Prize for Physics in 1970)."Cosmology: Myth or Science?" in Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy 5 (1970), p. 1203.
Simple cells.In Darwin's day and for some time after, people considered that living cells such as protozoa were very simple. Ernst Haeckel, Darwin's popularizer in Germany, claimed that a cell was a 'simple lump of aluminous combination of carbon. Such cells and all cells are in fact incredibly complex and there is no scientific evidence that they can form by chance. Once formed, there is no evidence that so called simple cells become anything different. If bacteria are used as an example of "simple cells", it is possible to study billions upon billions of them for many generations, because they are so small and can make copies of themselves as often as every 20 minutes. No studies to date have ever shown that bacteria even after thousands of generations, become anything but bacteria. Indeed, multiple passages (e.g. generations) of bacteria can lead to loss in properties not gaining of new ones. For example, the BCG vaccine is derived from the bacteria Mycobacterium bovis which has been grown for many years under in a laboratory. The laboratory grown bacteria has lost it's disease producing properties, although it is still able to stimulate the immune system.
There follows a quote from a Nobel Prize winning scientist on this topic. For other similar quotes go the "Science quotes" page.
"The development of the metabolic system, which, as the primordial soup thinned, must have "learned" to mobilize chemical potential and to synthesize the cellular components, poses Herculean problems. So also does the emergence of the selectively permeable membrane without which there can be no viable cell. But the major problem is the origin of the genetic code and of its translation mechanism. Indeed, instead of a problem it ought rather to be called a riddle. The code is meaningless unless translated. The modern cell's translating machinery consists of at least fifty macromolecular components which are themselves coded in DNA: the code cannot be translated otherwise than by products of translation. It is the modern expression of omne vivum ex ovo [everything that lives, (comes) from an egg]. When and how did this circle become closed? It is exceedingly difficult to imagine." Jacques Monod (Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1965, biochemist, Director, Pasteur Institute, France. "Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology", , Transl. Wainhouse A., Penguin Books: London, 1997, reprint, pp.142-143. Emphasis in original).
Adaptation, mutation and selection. Adaptation, mutation and selection does not explain the rich variety of life on Earth. Even standard school text books state that mutations are rare and that most mutations are harmful not beneficial (Alderson and Rowland, 1995). By studying fossil records one can observe the stability of species over time, rather than them changing into other forms. Certain environments may select for a particular type of organism, but this is only selecting pre-existing genes, not creating new genes. If a particular organism out-competes others, this can lead to loss of species (the opposite of evolution). There follows a quote from a Nobel Prize winning scientist on this topic. For other similar quotes go the "Science quotes" page.
"Most biological reactions are chain reactions. To interact in a chain, these precisely built molecules must fit together most precisely, as the cog wheels of a Swiss watch do. But if this is so, then how can such a system develop at all? For if any one of the specific cog wheels in these chains is changed, then the whole system must simply become inoperative. Saying it can be improved by random mutation of one link, is like saying you could improve a Swiss watch by dropping it and thus bending one of its wheels or axes. To get a better watch, all the wheels must be changed simultaneously to make a good fit again." Albert Szent-Györgyi von Nagyrapolt (Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1937)."Drive in Living Matter to Perfect Itself," Synthesis I, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 18 (1977) [winner of two Nobel Prizes for scientific research and Director of Research at the Institute for Muscle Research in Massachusetts].
Fossil evidence.The fossil evidence shows three major characteristics that contradict the theory of evolution.Firstly, there is an absence of intermediate forms. Secondly, there are a vast number of plant, insect, fish and mammal fossils that are identical to organisms that are alive today and are described as living fossils. Thirdly, the sudden appearance in Cambrian rock of fully formed complex creatures with no evidence of earlier forms. "Virtually all of the major divisions of life (the phyla) are found in the Cambrian, the rock system which evolutionists maintain is more than 500 million years old".
Thus, fossils show the great stability with which organisms can reproduce themselves rather than their ability to change into other forms. The fact that many species in the fossil records are not alive today does not necessarily support evolution. Species have become extinct and are continuing to do so at an alarming rate. The world-wide gene pool is diminishing, not growing. This is the opposite of what the theory of evolution proposes for life on earth. There follows a quote from a secular scientist on this topic. For other similar quotes go the "Science quotes" page.
George Gaylord Simpson, another leading evolutionist, sees this characteristic in practically the whole range of taxonomic categories:- "...Every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of family appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” George Gaylord Simpson (evolutionist), The Major Features of Evolution, New York, Columbia University Press, 1953 p. 360.
Comparative anatomy and biochemistry. One of the major problems of using comparative anatomy or biochemistry as evidence for evolution is that they can equally well be used as evidence for intelligent design. For example, the similarities in cars manufactured across the world is not evidence that they self assembled themselves (accepted that this is impossible as they are not living) from a lump of metal once and have evolved new features in time - rather, it is evidence of intelligent design behind making cars. See homology page for further details.
On a different note, haemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen around the body in red blood cells is found in all vertebrates, but also exists in earthworms, starfish, mollusks, in some insects and plants and even in certain bacteria (Blanchard, 2002). However, when scientists examined the hemoglobin of crocodiles, vipers and chicken, they found that crocodiles were more closely related to chickens based on similarity in hemoglobin than to their fellow reptiles (Blanchard, 2002). Other similar examples exist. On this basis, the whole idea of protein relatedness resulting from evolution falls down.
DNA relatedness.As with comparative anatomy and biochemistry, DNA relatedness can equally well be used as evidence for intelligent design as it can be for evolution.
Our bodies comprise millions of individual cells and each of these cells carry out complex biochemical reactions to perform the tasks relevant for that cell. At an external level we look very different from say a mouse or a banana. However, humans share the same environment as both the mouse and the banana and, like the mouse and the banana, we require oxygen, some common nutrients, minerals and water for our survival, repair and growth. Thus, there will be some commonality in the biochemical processes that go on within the cell of a human or a mouse or a banana. In the same way, there will be some commonality in gene sequences between species, thus DNA relatedness.
DNA codes for proteins so similarity in proteins (or otherwise) can also be related to similarity (or otherwise) in DNA sequence. Hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen around the body in red blood cells is found in all vertebrates, but also exists in earthworms, starfish, mollusks, in some insects and plants and even in certain bacteria (Blanchard, 2002). However, when scientists examined the hemoglobin of crocodiles, vipers and chicken, they found that crocodiles were more closely related to chickens based on similarity in hemoglobin than to their fellow reptiles (Blanchard, 2002). Other similar examples exist. On this basis the whole idea of DNA (or protein) relatedness resulting from evolution falls down.
Early man. The evidence for apes becoming man is scant and inconclusive, the experts often disagree with each other. The great degree of similarity between the skeleton of an ape and a human make the limited number of bones from supposed intermediate forms difficult to assess. DNA relatedness may point to similarity of design rather than chance mutations from a simple cell and "Mitochondria Eve" has been shown to fit a creationist's model.
There follows a quote from a secular scientist on this topic. For other similar quotes go the "Science quotes" page.
"Fossil evidence of human evolutionary history is fragmentary and open to various interpretations. Fossil evidence of chimpanzee evolution is absent altogether". (Henry Gee, Nature 2001). It should be noted that Henry Gee is not a Creationist, and does not believe that this lack of fossil evidence points to creation.
Old Earth.The theory of evolution requires the Earth to be millions or billions of years old. However, the dating techniques used to date the Earth rely on assumptions. There is other evidence to suggest that the Earth is much younger than billions of years old.
Geological column.Is the geological column rock-solid evidence for evolution? Dr Gary Parker in his book "Creation facts of Life" suggests that the different strata of the geological column represent different ecological niches that were washed into sediments during a global flood. In his book he says:- "Thus, a walk through the Grand Canyon, then, is not like a walk through evolutionary time; instead it's like a walk from the bottom of the ocean, across the tidal zone, over the shore, across the lowlands and into the upland regions".