Scientists Refute Darwinism
Book Review by Rod Reynolds
Evolution From Space: A Theory of Cosmic Creationism
Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe
New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981. 176 pp.
The authors are widely recognized as two of the world’s leading scientists. Hoyle has made major contributions to astronomy and was knighted in 1972 for his achievements. He has headed the Royal Astronomical Society, is a fellow of the Royal Society, an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He has taught at universities in England and America. Chandra Wickramasinghe, a recognized authority on interstellar matter, first collaborated with Hoyle in 1962 when they proposed a radically new theory for the origin of interstellar dust which has since gained general acceptance. Wickramasinghe is professor and head of the department of applied mathematics and astronomy at University College, Cardiff, Wales. For some years the authors have been examining the question of how life came to exist and the possibility that it might have reached earth from Space. Their investigations have convinced them that organic life such as exists on the earth requires the pre-existence of a non-organic intelligence.
When one views modern evolutionary ideas from a historical standpoint, it’s remarkable how little the theory has been subjected to ordinary scientific criticism. Part of the reason may be that “Darwinism makes few precise statements, and for this reason it is a hard theory to nail.” When faced with contrary facts, proponents of the theory take refuge in vague speculations about what “might have” happened, or what “could have” been (pp. 11-12). The authors, who discuss some of the many fatal weaknesses in the concept of organic evolution, also point out that most scientists have wanted to believe in evolution, “and because scientists believe in Darwinism there is a strong social tendency…for everyone to become satisfied with a weak explanation” (p. 22). Yet, the authors point out that “there are so many flaws in Darwinism that one can wonder why it swept so completely through the scientific world, and why it is still endemic today” (p. 133).
The reasons, they say, have to do with past history and educational continuity. Darwinism was part of an intellectual revolt against the world’s Christianity and its political dominance and moral restraints. “…the biggest thing going for Darwinism was that it finally broke the tyranny in which Christianity had held the minds of men for many centuries” (p. 133). Darwinism was the best, most plausible explanation for an origin of life apart from God that men at the time could devise. Largely because of the temper of the times it soon became widely accepted. “Once the whole of humanity becomes committed to a particular set of concepts, educational continuity makes it exceedingly hard to change the pattern. You either believe the concepts or you will inevitably be branded as a heretic” (p. 137). Few have been willing to take that risk, so few within the scientific establishment have effectively criticized the general concept.
For their part the authors say: “We have received hints and even warnings from friends and colleagues that our views on these matters are generally repugnant to the scientific world. We in our turn have been disturbed to discover how little attention is generally paid to fact and how much to myths and prejudice.
“It is not hard to find writings in which the myth is stated that the Darwinian theory of evolution is well proven by the fossil record” (p. 147). Through such claims and devices such as diagrams illustrating imaginary evolutionary connections between separate groups of living organisms, “…the general scientific world has been bamboozled into believing that evolution has been proved. Nothing could be further from the truth” (p. 87). Far from proving a gradual evolution of one kind of creature into another kind, the fossil record rather demonstrates a history of genetic stability over many generations.
Insects serve as an example. “…no forms with the wings at an intermediate stage of development have been found. Where fossil insects have wings at all they are fully functional to serve the purposes of flight, and often enough in ancient fossils the wings are essentially identical to what can be found today” (p. 86). The authors summarize by writing, “The factual evidence is overwhelmingly confined to lines of creatures that do not change very much from generation to generation…. Wherever one would like evidence of major changes and linkages…the evidence is conspicuously missing from the fossil record” (p. 89). The authors go on to remark, “The fossil record is highly imperfect from a Darwinian point of view…because the slow evolutionary connections required by the theory did not happen” (p. 147).
What of “examples” of evolution such as variant types of moths or birds often referred to in biology textbooks? “The examples are often concerned with the colours of birds and insects which alter so as to keep a match with some aspect of the physical environment. There are also examples in which bacteria appear to adapt very quickly so as to become resistant to the particular drugs used in hospitals. We doubt, however, that anything more is involved in these cases than the selection of already existing genes. They are simply unusual cases of artificial selection” (p. 5). This conclusion can be supported by specific examples (such as light and dark moths) and experimental data (see Gardner and Snustad, Principles of Genetics, sixth ed., pp. 295, 548-549).
The authors also discuss the information content in the genetic codes of living forms and how it got there. “…the genomes of mice, humans, flowers…are enormous , fantastic, quite out of all nonbiological experience” (p. 4). Even in the “simplest” organisms “the information standard remains extremely high” (p. 8). (For example: there are an estimated 4 million instructions in the DNA of the bacterium E. coli, and an estimated 10 billion in the DNA of some higher organisms).
Many features of living organisms derive from the code written in the DNA of their cells. Each organism begins with just one cell. And the information controlling its development must be encoded in the genetic material (including the DNA) of that original “seed.” That includes its skeletal, muscular, nervous and other systems. Also its vital organs such as kidneys, liver, etc. The exact structure of the eyes, ears and other sensory organs must be included. The code in the seed or germ of the organism determines the size, shape and kind of body it will have. (Although as it develops environmental factors will have some influence as well, but nevertheless based on the original encoded information).
A computer receives its instructions in the form of a binary code, which consists of two “letters” or numbers (zero and one). The sequence in which these numbers are strung together determines the information received by the computer (and what it produces), as the sequence in which the letters of the alphabet are strung together determines the information contained on this page. In the same manner the sequence in which the four bases (adenine, guanine, thymine, and cytosine) found commonly in DNA are strung together determines the information it contains.
The essential question is, how did the specific information get there? That is, the specific information not only to synthesize the complex proteins, etc., but to direct their being assembled into a fully functioning biological entity consisting of many different perfectly coordinated parts fulfilling diverse functions (what the authors refer to as the “main program”). Essentially there are two choices: (1) The information got there by random shuffling. Or: (2) It was programmed into the original ancestors of each individual family of organisms by an outside intelligent being.
For illustrative purposes, the authors isolate one particular problem, namely, the synthesis of the 2000 or so enzymes necessary for biological functioning and which are found in most living things. The authors calculate the probability of obtaining all of them through random associations in an organic soup as one part in 1040,000, “an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup” (p. 24). To obtain another specialized complex protein, the histone H4 (the shortest of the five common histones), the authors calculate is one chance in (20)100, “a number larger than the total of all the atoms in all the stars and galaxies visible in the largest astronomical telescopes” (p. 27). Another example or two is mentioned. Then the authors explain that “our discussion so far is still quite peripheral to really explaining the origin of life from a terrestrial organic soup of bases, amino acids, phosphates…. Nothing has been said of the origin of DNA itself, nothing of DNA transcription to RNA, nothing of the origin of the program whereby cells organize themselves, nothing of mitosis or meiosis. These issues are too complex to set numbers to” (p. 30). In this connection it’s interesting that the chance of obtaining randomly the DNA in a single higher organism has been calculated as about one in 103 billion (one followed by 3 billion zeros). And the process of evolution through natural selection from chance mutations, if it were to occur, would be entirely random. By contrast, if the universe is taken to be 20 billion years old, “only” 6.3 X 1017 (63 followed by 16 zeros) seconds have passed since it began. The authors state, “Darwinian evolution is most unlikely to get even one polypeptide [protein] right, let alone the thousands on which living cells depend for their survival” (p. 148).
The authors conclude, “…the probability of life originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make the random concept absurd…” (p. 141). “For life to have originated on the Earth it would be necessary that quite explicit instructions should have been provided for its assembly” (p. 30). That leaves the other choice: “The theory that life was assembled by an intelligence” is vastly more probable than the alternative “of being the correct explanation…. Indeed, such a theory is so obvious that one wonders why it is not widely accepted as being self-evident. The reasons are psychological rather than scientific” (p. 130). So the authors are led to conclude from their analysis of the evidence that organic life can only have come into existence through the intervention of an intelligence non-organic in origin. “The speculations of The Origin of Species turned out to be wrong…. It is ironic that the scientific facts throw Darwin out, but leave William Paley, a figure of fun to the scientific world for more than a century, still in the tournament with a chance of being the ultimate winner” (pp. 96-97).
The authors remark that their writings have been met by a wall of silence from their colleagues. They speculate that the reason is perhaps when you destroy the concept of life having arisen by chance combinations then you leave open the door to the question of purpose. “…and to involve purpose is in the eyes of biologists the ultimate scientific sin, worse even than to express doubt about the validity of Darwinism” (p. 32). “The revulsion which biologists feel to the thought that purpose might have a place in the structure of biology is…revulsion to the concept that biology might have a connection to an intelligence higher than our own” (p. 33). We might extend this thought further and say that an intelligence higher than our own with a purpose for our existence implies an authority superior to that of man. And that is what man has a revulsion to. “…they did not like to retain God in their knowledge…” (Romans 1:28).
In place of Darwinism the authors propose the concept of directed panspermia. That is, the idea that intelligent non-organic beings–not necessarily God–manufactured genetic material and “seeded” the earth with it at various times in the past. This need not detain us. The Bible offers a superior alternative, the one that’s true.
The Bible, since it is true, is corroborated by the physical evidence (as opposed to man’s often false interpretations and speculations). But the Bible as God’s revelation goes further and tells us what man’s materialistically oriented investigations cannot. It gives us a broad outline along with certain key details of what God has done which reveal the principles and purposes according to which God works. Among those truths which are revealed having a direct bearing on the discussion at hand are the following:
(1) God has from the beginning and throughout all the ages since had a specific purpose in mind for His creation. In Ephesians 3 Paul writes about the mystery of God’s eternal purpose “which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:9-11). Other Scriptures reveal that the purpose involves reproducing Himself or, if you will, reproducing seed after the God kind.
(2) God designed and made the living creatures of the earth and their component parts. The psalmist, referring to “Living things both small and great,” writes, “O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom [denotes intelligent design, planning and purpose] You have made them all” (Psalm 104: 24-25). “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The Lord has made them both” (Proverbs 20:12). In His remarkable discourse to Job the Eternal tells him in effect that it is His wisdom (again, implying intelligence, purpose and creative skill) that enables the hawk to fly (Job 39:26). “God, who made the world and everything in it…gives to all life, breath, and all things” (Acts 17:24-25).
(3) God’s eternal purpose is reflected in the design of organic life and the manner in which it reproduces. God specifically created organic life so that any individual of each kind, or family, is formed according to the peculiar characteristics inherent in the seed or lifegerm of its own kind. God is responsible for the “main program” that determines the form and function of every living entity. He designed all the systems and specialized organs of each form of life. He designed the basic molecular materials out of which the organisms would be made, and the processes by which life would be renewed each generation. He’s the one who coded the information and planted the code in the DNA of the first parents of each distinctive form of life. Notice: “…God gives it a body [its own peculiar form] as He pleases [or more correctly: as He purposed], and to each seed its own body” (1 Corinthians 15:38). As is apparent from the Biblical and physical evidence, God placed in the seed of each kind of organic life its own particular code. Thus, “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fish, and another of birds” (1 Corinthians 15:39).
Very interestingly, Paul is using this analogy of the seed containing (in code) the form of the creature that shall arise out of it to show how we, as the seed of God, shall bear the image of God in heaven, whose spiritual seed we are, if genuinely converted (1 Corinthians 15:49). As old generations give rise to new, the information in the genetic code is passed on. “In all cases…reproduction entails the faithful transmission of the genetic information of the parents to the progeny” (Gardner and Snustad, Principles of Genetics, p. 83). In a spiritual sense,God is placing in those truly converted, as spiritual seed, the information necessary to reproduce His own spiritual likeness. “Of his own will He brought us forth with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his [spiritual] creatures” (James 1:18). As James makes plain in James 1:21, the implanted word is essential to our receiving the gift of eternal life. Implanted word is the meaning of the original Greek in verse 21. And it is analogous to the physical genetic code by which the image of the parent is passed on to its offspring.
There are other lessons to be learned from the parallels which exist between the physical and spiritual creations. One of the evils of evolution is that it obscures those lessons and destroys our ability to understand them. The book reviewed is a useful introduction to criticism exposing some of the principle fallacies of the theory.
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Copyright © 1988, 2014 by Rod Reynolds. Permission granted to copy without alteration for personal use, provided this notice is included. Commercial use of this material without the express written permission of the author is prohibited.
Unless otherwise noted Scripture taken from the New King James VersionTM
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.
Emphasis added in Scriptural quotations unless otherwise noted.