The Death of Darwinism

No book has so profoundly affected the way modem man views himself than Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, first published in 1859. The notion that man is the product of a blind, materialist process which did not have him in mind is part of the intellectual air everyone breathes. Even orthodox Catholics can get into difficulties when they try to reconcile the creation account in Genesis with what they suppose science has demonstrated about the origin of the universe and of living things. The unfortunate result is a kind of schizophrenia that deems the first chapter of Genesis to be both the inerrant word of God and a scientific embarrassment.

In confronting a theory like Darwin's, Catholics should anchor themselves in the proposition that there can be no real conflict between faith and science. The danger occurs when scientists trespass into theology, or vice versa. The Galileo affair is a sobering reminder of what can happen when certain parties in the Church resist a scientific hypothesis on a priori biblical grounds. If the congregation of Cardinals that condemned Galileo had paid more attention to Augustine and Aquinas, who both held that the Holy Spirit, speaking through the sacred writers, was not teaching a system of astronomy, the disastrous split which occurred between religion and science in the seventeenth century might have been avoided.


Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection

Although it is seldom aired in public, there is a sharp debate among scientists today about almost every aspect of evolutionary theory. The controversy is not over evolution per se, but over the means by which it happened. The crux of the issue is not evolution, but teleology. Either life forms came about by blind chance or they did not. Darwin's theory of natural selection is the only one available which purports to explain how Homo sapiens and other species are exclusively the result of natural forces. This is why the debate over Darwin's theory, and not evolution itself, is so important. It is Darwin's theory, moreover, and not another, which is taught in our schools. And the fact that most writing on the subject does not make the crucial distinction between "evolution" and "Darwinism" simply muddles the issue.

Although his name is synonymous with the theory, Darwin did not create the theory of the evolutionary origin of life forms. It had been broached by ancient Greek philosophers, speculated on by Saint Augustine, and developed into a scientific hypothesis by the French zoologist Buffon a century before the Origin. Darwin's unique contribution was to provide a plausible explanation of how evolution occurred, one that was purely mechanistic and dispensed with God. This was his theory of natural selection.

Darwin's theory in a nutshell is that organisms produce offspring which vary slightly from their parents, and natural selection will favor the survival of those individuals whose peculiarities (sharper teeth, more prehensile claws, etc.) render them best adapted to their environment. Darwinian evolution, then, is a two-stage process: random variation as to raw material, and natural selection as the directing force.

Once he struck on this theory, Darwin spent much time observing pigeon breeders at work near his home in Kent. The first fifty pages of the Origin are mainly about pigeons, which often surprises (and bores) readers. Darwin noticed that through selective breeding, pigeons could be made to develop certain desired characteristics: color, wingspan, and so forth. Darwin extrapolated from these observations the notion that over many millennia species could evolve by a similar process of selection, the only difference being that the "breeder" is nature itself, sifting out the weakest and allowing the fittest to survive. By this simple process, Darwin claimed, some unknown original life form floating in the primordial soup evolved and diversified into the vast array of plants and animals we see today.

But a crucial point has to be made here, one that has been made often by Darwin's scientific critics. What Darwin observed in the breeding pens is micro-evolution. Micro-evolution refers to the small changes that occur within a species over time. Such evolution is common. For example, people are generally taller today than they were a hundred years ago. The varieties of finches that Darwin saw on the Galapagos Islands are another example of micro-evolution. With no direct empirical evidence, Darwin claimed that over long periods of time these micro-changes could result in macro-evolution, which consists of really big jumps-from amoeba to reptile to mammal, for example. This is where his theory runs into problems which are still not resolved in the minds of many scientists today.


No Facile Explanations

There are two places to look for verification of Darwin's theory: the fossil record and breeding experiments with animals. If Darwin's theory is correct, the fossil record should show innumerable slight gradations between earlier species and later ones. Darwin was aware, however, that the fossil record of his day showed nothing of the sort. There were enormous discontinuities between major animal and plant groups. He accordingly entitled his chapter on the subject, "On the Imperfection of the Geological Record." He hoped that future digging would fill in the gaps, which he admitted to be "the gravest objection to my theory." Enormous quantities of fossils have been dug up since, and, if anything, they make more glaring the gaps which troubled Darwin. Stephen Jay Gould, the Harvard biologist, calls this lack of gradual change in the fossil record the "trade secret" of modem paleontology.

The fossil record shows exactly what it showed in Darwin's day-that species appear suddenly in a fully developed state and change little or not at all before disappearing (99 out of 100 species are extinct). About 550 million years ago at the beginning of the Cambrian era there was an explosion of complex life forms--mollusks, jellyfish, trilobites--for which not a single ancestral form can be found in earlier rocks. A man from Mars looking at the subsequent fossil record would say that species are replaced by other species, rather than evolve into them. Paleontologist Stephen Stanley writes that "the fossil record does not convincingly demonstrate a single transition from one species to another."

What about those pictures in museums and textbooks, those charts showing how large horses gradually evolved from small ones, and so forth? These portrayals of ancestral descent are conjectural and are constantly being discarded. Paleontologists, in effect, find a fossil of an extinct species and make up a scenario connecting it with a later or earlier animal. But they never find the transitional forms which Darwin's theory demands.

The famous series of pictures at the American Museum of Natural History showing the "evolution" of horses, the diminutive Eohippus slowly changing into modem Equus, has been quietly discarded even by orthodox Darwinists. Eohippus remained Eohippus; it was followed (or accompanied) by numerous species of horses, some larger, some smaller. The chart is nonetheless widely reprinted in textbooks. John Bonner, a biology professor at Princeton, writes that textbook diagrams of evolutionary descent are generally "a festering mass of unsupported conclusions."

The ancestry of man changes as often as the weather as the few bits of "hominid" fossil are shuffled about. There have been Java Man, Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, Ramapithicus, and numerous others which have been rejected for one reason or another. The two most famous figures in hominid paleontology today, Richard Leakey and Donald Johansen (discoverer of "Lucy") are in complete disagreement over man's ancestry. Australopithecus afarensis has been rendered in textbooks with faces ranging from ape to human, de ding on whose side the artist is on. Richard Lewontin, professor of zoology and genetics at Harvard, sums up as follows:


We don't know anything about the ancestors of the human species.... Despite the excited andoptimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor.

A New Breed?

Since we do not see species changing into other species in the fossils, the only other place to look is breeding experiments. But here the evidence also goes against Darwin. Breeders can change the color of a pigeon or the size of a cow to some degree, but they can only go so far. In fact, all breeders have the same experience: If they try to go too far in one direction, the animal or plant in question either becomes sterile or reverts back to type.


The most famous breeder of all, Luther Burbank, found no evidence of the unlimited plasticity of species, which Darwin's theory demands, and posited the "Law of Reversion to Average." Richard Goldschmidt, a leading geneticist who taught at Berkeley, spent years observing the mutations of fruitflies and concluded that biologists had to give up Darwin's idea that an accumulation of "micro" changes creates new species. If you have a thousand-point mutation in the genes of a fruit fly, a statistical impossibility, it is still a fruit fly.


Goldschmidt published a famous list of seventeen items--including teeth, feathers, the poison apparatus of the snake, and whalebone--and challenged anyone to explain how they could have evolved on a step-by-step basis. Goldschmidt pointed out that if natural selection were the mechanism for major changes in species, then every intermediate form must be useful to the organism. This problem of explaining the usefulness of incipient organs--five percent of an eye, for example--has been a persistent problem for Darwinists. As one biologist puts it, "Since the eye must be either perfect, or perfectly useless, how could it have evolved by small, successive, Darwinian steps?" Otto Schindewolf, the great German paleontologist and anti-Darwinist, rejected out of hand the idea that transitional forms could be found or even imagined:


[I]t should be emphasized that there is no way that there could be transitional forms as they have often been envisaged and required.... A placenta cannot be absent and present simultaneously....

Schindewolf, who died in 1971, was largely ignored in the Anglo-Saxon countries, while Goldschmidt was subject to a savage campaign of vilification for suggesting that evolution must have involved the appearance of "hopeful monsters"--that is, sudden genetic freaks which somehow manage to function-rather than minute gradations sifted by natural selection. But scientists like Gould of Harvard now claim that both men were on the right track after all, that the story of evolution is one of rapid, dramatic changes followed by long periods of stasis. But in downplaying the role of natural selection, Gould, Stanley and other scientists are stuck with the problem of providing a plausible mechanism that can explain how the bacteria and blue-green algae that appeared on this planet over two billion years ago randomly mutated into the highly complex fauna and flora we see today. Modem genetics shows that DNA programs a species to remain stubbornly what it is. There are fluctuations around a norm, but nothing more. Dogs remain dogs; fruit flies remain fruit flies.


The Development of Darwinism

There are other serious problems with classical Darwinian theory. Among them are the fact that scientists see very little "struggle for survival" in nature (many species tend to cooperate and occupy ecological niches which do not compete); the fact that all the major body plans we see today in animals and insects appeared at once in the Cambrian era, a fact which does not fit Darwin's model; and that many species like the lungfish have not changed at all in over 300 million years despite important shifts in their environment, which flatly contradicts the constant fine-tuning Darwin attributed to natural selection.


Darwin himself was increasingly plagued by doubts after the first edition of the Origin. In subsequent editions, he kept backing off from natural selection as the explanation of all natural phenomena. Loren Eiseley writes:


[A] close examination of the last edition of the Origin reveals that, in attempting to meet the objections being launched against his theory, the much-labored upon volume had become contradictory.... The last repairs to the Origin reveal ... how very shaky Darwin's theoretical structure had become.

Darwin's unproven theory nonetheless became dogma in the public mind.


Yet, there was sharp scientific opposition from the start. As Swedish biologist Soren Lovtrup points out, most of Darwin's early opponents, even when they had religious motives, "argued on a completely scientific basis." Most of these critics did not reject evolution per se, but rather Darwin's explanation of evolution. In the decades following Darwin's death in 1882, his theory came increasingly under a cloud. Lovtrup writes, "During the first third of our century, biologists did not believe in Darwinism." Hans Driesch in Germany, Lucien Cuenot in France, and Vernon Kellog and T.H. Morgan in America-biologists and geneticists with international reputations-all rejected Darwin's theory during this period. Cuenot wrote that "we must wholly abandon the Darwinian hypothesis," while the Dictionaire Encyclopedique des Sciences in 1925 dismissed Darwin's theory as "a fiction, a poetical accumulation of probabilities without proof, and of attractive explanations without demonstrations.'

The great irony is that the Scopes trial in 1925, which the American popular imagination still regards as putting to rest the whole case against Darwin, took place against this background of general dissent. The scientific issues were never properly discussed at that trial; a fossil tooth was proffered as the remains of something called "Nebraska Man," which later turned out to belong to a pig; and William Jennings Bryan made the mistake of allowing his fundamentalist beliefs to be ridiculed in court by Clarence Darrow, who was a kind of "Village Atheist" raised to the national level.

The Scopes trial proved nothing about the scientific validity of Darwin's theory, but it did plant in the American mind the notion that in the debate over evolution the only available choices are "Bible-thumping" fundamentalism and Darwinism. G.K. Chesterton pointed out at the time that the Catholic Church, which does not treat the Book of Genesis as a sourcebook of scientific data and does not have a serious philosophical problem with evolution (properly understood), was entirely outside the fray.

Because of the obvious shortcomings in Darwin's original theory, the so-called "synthetic theory" emerged in the 1930's. This theory incorporated genetics, molecular biology, and complicated mathematical models. But it remained completely Darwinian in its identification of random variations preserved by natural selection as the driving force of evolution. Julian Huxley, the chief spokesman for the synthetic theory, claimed that Darwinism had "risen Phoenix-like from the ashes." But the synthetic theory had as many problems as classical Darwinism and over the next forty years its supports fell away one by one. In 1979, Stephen Jay Gould echoed the sentiments of many scientists when he declared: "The synthetic theory ... is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy."

Since the synthetic theory originally arose in response to the collapse of classical Darwinism, where does that leave us today? "Punctuated Equilibrium" would be the reply of the average biology teacher or science columnist. This is the famous hypothesis which Gould and Niles Eldredge came up with in the early 1970's, when they and other paleontologists began to insist that the gaps in the fossil record must be taken at face value. According to this theory, small groups of animals break off from the herd, migrate to peripheral locations "at the edge of ecological tolerance," and mutate very rapidly into "hopeful monsters" who then replace the old herd. Because the changes occur so quickly, there is no fossil evidence-which means that the theory can be neither proved nor disproved. Scientists once said that evolution is so slow that we cannot see it; now they say that it is so fast that it is invisible.


Scientists once said that evolution is so slow that we cannot see it; now they say that it is so fast that it is invisible.

Besides the punctuationists, there are two other evolutionary camps today: those who cling to classical Darwinism because they say there is no better explanation for the origin of species (a position which is metaphysical rather than scientific), and those who reject Darwin entirely, including a well-known group of "cladists" at the American Museum of Natural History. Skepticism about Darwin's theory is more widespread among scientists than is generally supposed. For example, the theory is rejected by most French biologists, including the most eminent, the late Pieffe R Grasse, president of the French Academy of Sciences and editor of the 28 volumes of the Traite de Zoologie, who calls Darwinism a "pseudo-science" that is "either in conflict with reality or cannot solve the basic problems." Scientists Re Grasse nonetheless call themselves "evolutionists" because they recognize that all life forms share basic characteristics such as DNA and so may be descended from a single ancestor; but they are frankly agnostic about how this happened.

An anti-Darwinist biologist who works at the American Museum of Natural History once summed up to me the situation of evolutionary theory today: "We know that species reproduce and that there are different species now than there were a hundred million years ago. Everything else is propaganda.'


The Church and Evolution

The Catholic Church has never had a problem with "evolution" (as opposed to philosophical Darwinism, which sees man solely as the product of materialist forces). Unlike Luther and Calvin and modem fundamentalists, the Church has never taught that the first chapter of Genesis is meant to teach science. F.J. Sheed writes in his classic Theology and Sanity that the creation account in Genesis,


... tells us of the fact but not of the process: there was an assembling of elements of the material universe, but was it instantaneous, or spread over a considerable space of time? Was it complete in one act, or by stages? Were those elements, for instance, formed into an animal body which as one generation followed another gradually evolved-not, of course, by the ordinary laws of matter but under the special guidance of God-to a point where it was capable of union with a spiritual soul, which God then created and infused into it? The statement in Genesis does not seem actually to exclude this, but it certainly does not say it. Nor has the Church formally said that it is not so....

Pius XII correctly pointed out in the encyclical Humani Generis (1950) that the theory of evolution had not been completely proved, but he did not forbid


that the theory of evolution concerning the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter-for Catholic faith obliges us to hold that human souls are immediately created by God-be investigated and discussed by experts as far as the present state of human science and sacred theology allows (no. 36).

In his catechesis on creation given during a series of general audiences in 1986, John Paul 11 provided the following discussion on the first chapter of Genesis:


This text has above all a religious and theological importance. There are not to be sought in it significant elements from the point of view of the natural sciences. Research on the origin and development of individual species in nature does not find in this description any definitive norm.... Indeed, the theory of natural evolution, understood in a sense that does not exclude divine causality, is not in principle opposed to the truth about the creation of the visible world as presented in the Book of Genesis.... It must, however, be added that this hypothesis proposes only a probability, not a scientific certainty. The doctrine of faith, however, invariably affirms that man's spiritual soul is created directly by God. According to the hypothesis mentioned, it is possible that the human body, following the order impressed by the Creator on the energies of life, could have been gradually prepared in the forms of antecedent living beings (General Audiences, January 24 and April 16, 1986).


The Church's quarrel with many scientists who call themselves evolutionists is not about evolution itself... but rather about the philosophical materialism that is at the root of so much evolutionary thinking.

The Church's quarrel with many scientists who call themselves evolutionists is not about evolution itself, which may (or may not) have occurred in a non-Darwinian, teleological manner, but rather about the philosophical materialism that is at the root of so much evolutionary thinking. John Paul 11 puts the matter succinctly:


The Church is not afraid of scientific criticism. She distrusts only preconceived opinions that claim to be based on science, but which in reality surreptitiously cause science to depart from its domain.

This remark was aimed at biblical exegetes, but it certainly applies to Darwinian science, which contains hidden philosophical additives.

In the area of theology, the Magisterium has warned against the teachings of the French paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who concocted from evolutionary theory a kind of process theology that, among other things, implicitly denies original sin and the existence of first parents of the human race who differed in kind from whatever may have preceded them. In Humani Generis, Pius XII also condemned polygenism, championed by Teilhard, Rahner and other theologians, which holds that we are descended from multiple ancestors rather than from one historical person named Adam (no. 37).


The Church insists that man is not an accident; that no matter how He went about creating Homo sapiens, God from all eternity intended that man and all creation exist in their present form. Catholics are not obliged to square scientific data with the early verses of Genesis, whose truths-and they are truths, not myths-are expressed in an archaic, pre-scientific Hebrew idiom; and they can look forward with enjoyment and confidence to modem scientific discoveries which, more often than not, raise fundamental questions which science itself cannot answer.


by George Sim Johnston

This article originally appeared in Lay Witness, which is published by Catholics United for the Faith, 827 North Fourth Street, Stuebenville, OH 43952.




The Case Against Darwin

'To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for
adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different
amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic
aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I
freely confess, absurd in the highest degree."


This is also something that is going into Lesson 20 in the Part about
education, and why the 'government' can not be used to oversee education in
any form.  David G. 

The case against Darwin

by James Perloff
� 2001

Mainstream Americans have been losing the values battle for many years. Presidential candidates who run on resolutely moral platforms earn only single digits in polls, and often the best we can hope for are "establishment Republicans," whose commitment to values rarely seems to go much beyond their speeches.

Like other Americans, I watched as one scandal after another broke about Bill Clinton over the past eight years. Each time, I said to myself, "This one will be his downfall." But the fall never came -- even though any one of those scandals would have ruined a president 40 years ago. Although the major media were sympathetic to Clinton and did their best to downplay the stories, it was evident that American culture has changed.

Clearly, before we can get the right kind of candidates elected, there must be a transformation in the hearts of the electorate.

Roots of decline A glance at the rates of divorce, drug use and teen suicide tell us that America is in a serious moral decline. What happened at Columbine High School would have been unthinkable in the '50s, when no one dreamed that school entrances would ever require weapons detectors.

The question is: What is at the root of the decline? Many would say, "Well, we've lost our respect for traditional moral values." OK, where do "traditional moral values" come from? They come mostly from the Bible, which, at least until recently, had been Western culture's central guiding document.

So why have we lost our respect for the Bible? I believe it is no exaggeration to say that it was the widespread acceptance and teaching of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution as "fact."

Darwinism teaches that man came not from the hand of God, but from ape-like ancestors through chance mutations, and that life itself is not from God, but resulted from the chance concurrence of chemicals in an ancient ocean. When this is taught as fact in public schools, God and the Bible become irrelevant in the minds of many children -- and there begins the fall of morality. As a former atheist, I can certainly say it did for me!

Evolution was not heavily underscored in American public schools before the 1960s. But in 1959, the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, granted $7 million to the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, which began producing high school biology textbooks with a strong evolutionary slant. I wasn't raised religiously myself, but once sold on the "fact" of evolution, faith stood no chance with me. And there was a reason why my generation, the baby boomers, bought evolution so easily. Teen-agers usually aren't too hot about biblical morality to begin with. But here was teacher saying the Bible was an old myth. Well, to us that meant the Ten Commandments were a myth. We could make up our own rules! For rebellious teens, that message wasn't too hard to take.

"As were many persons from Alabama, I was a born-again Christian," wrote Harvard professor E.O. Wilson in a 1982 article for The Humanist. "When I was fifteen, I entered the Southern Baptist Church with great fervor and interest in the fundamentalist religion; I left at seventeen when I got to the University of Alabama and heard about evolutionary theory." That's a pretty good summary of what happened to the baby boom generation.

Historically, Darwinism has had some deadly effects, especially beyond our shores. Karl Marx said: "Darwin's book is very important and serves me as a basis in natural science for the class struggle in history." Soviet dictator Josef Stalin murdered millions. In 1940, a book was published in Moscow entitled "Landmarks in the Life of Stalin." In it we read:

At a very early age, while still a pupil in the ecclesiastical school, Comrade Stalin developed a critical mind and revolutionary sentiments. He began to read Darwin and became an atheist.

G. Glurdjidze, a boyhood friend of Stalin's, relates:

"I began to speak of God. Joseph heard me out, and after a moment's silence, said:

"'You know, they are fooling us, there is no God. ...'

"I was astonished at these words. I had never heard anything like it before.

"'How can you say such things, Soso?' I exclaimed.

"'I'll lend you a book to read; it will show you that the world and all living things are quite different from what you imagine, and all this talk about God is sheer nonsense,' Joseph said.

"'What book is that?' I enquired.

"'Darwin. You must read it,' Joseph impressed on me."

While Marx and Stalin saw the "struggle for existence" as between classes, Hitler saw it as between races, and sought to evolve a "master race." As German philosopher Erich Fromm observed, "If Hitler believed in anything at all, then it was in the laws of evolution which justified and sanctified his actions and especially his cruelties." Sir Arthur Keith, president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, wrote in the 1940s: "The German Fuhrer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution." In his demented way, Hitler was fulfilling this prediction Darwin made in his book, "The Descent of Man":

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. ... The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian [Aborigine] and the gorilla.

This is not in any way to imply that today's evolutionists are racists; and certainly, Hitler's atrocities would have revolted Charles Darwin. But there is no denying that the Darwinist worldview -- which sees man as an animal and God as an irrelevancy -- has had a profoundly negative social impact. Will Durant, author of "The Story of Civilization," was one of the preeminent historians of our time. "By offering evolution in place of God as a cause of history," he opined shortly before his death, "Darwin removed the theological basis of the moral code of Christendom. And the moral code that has no fear of God is very shaky. That's the condition we are in."

Survival of the evidence: Genetics received some criticism when it started carrying my book, "Tornado in a Junkyard: The Relentless Myth of Darwinism." Some even considered it embarrassing for a top independent news website to "ally itself" with creation science. Shouldn't WorldNetDaily be busying itself with more important things, like exposing the latest Clinton scandal? And after all, isn't evolution a proven fact?

People who make such comments are unaware of two things: 1) that the current moral climate, which tolerated Bill Clinton, is largely rooted in Darwinism's denial of moral absolutes; and 2) that overwhelming evidence has arisen in recent years discrediting Darwin's theory.

"Overwhelming evidence"? Like what?

We'll start with genetics. Darwin's theory says fish evolved, through many intermediate steps, into human beings. The question thus arises: How did fish acquire the genes to become human beings? A creature cannot be anything physically its genes won't allow it to be.

Genetics was not developed as a science in Darwin's day, and he assumed that animals essentially had an unlimited capacity to adapt to environments -- unaware that no change could ever take place without the right genes being there.

To resolve this dilemma, modern evolutionists asserted that the fish's genes must have mutated into human genes over eons. Mutations, of course, are abrupt alterations in genes.

However, this hypothesis is no longer tenable. Dr. Lee Spetner, who taught information theory for a decade at Johns Hopkins University and the Weizman Institute, spent years studying mutations on a molecular level. He has written an important new book, "Not by Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution" In it, he writes, "In all the reading I've done in the life-sciences literature, I've never found a mutation that added information. . All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not increase it."

Why is this a problem for evolution? Because if Darwin's thesis is correct, and all life began as a single organism, then chance mutations must have produced nearly every feature of life on Earth, from the remarkable sonar system of the dolphin to the ingenious pacemaker and valves of the human heart. Yet mutations always delete -- never add -- information to the genetic code. And what are mutations actually observed to cause in human beings? Hemophilia. Sickle cell anemia. Cystic fibrosis. Down's Syndrome. Sterility. Death. The genetic code is designed for the perfect running of an organism -- mutations delete information from the code, causing defects.

To advance their view, evolutionists have long pointed out that mutations sometimes make bacteria resistant to antibiotics -- and so, the argument goes, "If mutations can make bacteria stronger, they must be able to do the same for other creatures." Dr. Spetner points out that this is based on a misunderstanding of antibiotic resistance. To destroy a bacterium, antibiotics like streptomycin attach to a constituent of the bacterial cell called ribosomes. Mutations sometimes cause a structural deformity in ribosomes. Since the antibiotic cannot connect with the misshapen ribosome, the bacterium is resistant. But even though this mutation turns out to be beneficial, it still constitutes a loss of genetic information, not a gain. No "evolution" has taken place; the bacteria are not "stronger." In fact, under normal conditions, with no antibiotic present, they are weaker than their nonmutated cousins.

Let's take an analogy. Suppose a country's dictator ordered dissidents to be rounded up and handcuffed. So the police were busy handcuffing dissidents. But one day, they ran into a man born deformed -- with no arms. One could conceivably say that, in this case, the man had an advantage over others, since he couldn't be handcuffed. But it certainly wouldn't represent an evolutionary advance.

Ernst Chain, who shared a Nobel Prize for his work in developing penicillin, obviously knew much about bacteria and antibiotics. "To postulate that the development and survival of the fittest is entirely a consequence of chance mutations, or even that nature carries out experiments by trial and error through mutations in order to create living systems better fitted to survive," he wrote, "seems to me a hypothesis based on no evidence and irreconcilable with the facts."

Survival of the evidence: Biochemistry Biochemistry is also giving Darwin problems. Michael Behe, biochemist at Lehigh University, has written a book entitled "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution." In this book, Behe describes how certain biochemical systems are so complex that they cannot have evolved step-by-step; he calls this "irreducible complexity."

For example, blood clotting swings into action when we get a cut. The formation of a blood clot is a complex, multi-step process that utilizes numerous proteins, many with no other function besides clotting. Each protein depends on an enzyme to activate it. So to paraphrase Behe very simply: What evolved first -- the protein or enzyme? Not the protein; it cannot function without the enzyme to switch it on. But why would nature evolve the activating enzyme first? Without the protein, it serves no purpose. Furthermore, if blood clotting had evolved step-by-step over eons, creatures would have bled to death before it was ever perfected. The system is irreducibly complex.

Behe demonstrates that other human biochemical systems, such as the immune system and vision, are also irreducibly complex -- they cannot have evolved step-by-step -- and give clear evidence that they resulted from intelligent design.

Even larger difficulties arise with the Darwinian idea of life's origin. Charles Darwin and his contemporaries thought cells were rather simple, and that it would thus be feasible for chemicals in a "primordial soup" to come together and form one. However, through advances in microbiology, we now know that even a simple cell contains enough information to fill a hundred million pages of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Cells consist essentially of proteins; one cell has thousands of proteins, and proteins are in turn made of smaller building blocks called amino acids. Normally, it takes chains of hundreds of amino acids to make up a protein, and these amino acids must be in precise sequence.

According to the evolutionary scenario, then, how did the first cell happen? Supposedly, amino acids formed in a primordial soup, and since millions of years were involved, eventually they came, by chance, into the correct sequences, and the first proteins were formed and hence the first cell.

But Sir Frances Crick, who shared the Nobel Prize for co-discovering the structure of DNA, has pointed out that that would be impossible. He notes in his 1981 book, "Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature," that the probability of getting just one protein by chance would be one in 10 to the power of 260 -- that's a one with 260 zeroes after it. To put this in perspective, mathematicians usually consider anything with odds worse than one in 10 to the power of 50 to be, for practical purposes, impossible. Thus we see that chance couldn't produce even one protein -- let alone the thousands of proteins a cell requires.

Furthermore, suppose there really were some basic organic compounds formed from the "primordial soup." If there was any free oxygen in the atmosphere, it would oxidize those compounds -- in other words, it would destroy them. To resolve this dilemma, evolutionists have long hypothesized that there was no free oxygen in the Earth's ancient atmosphere.

However, geologists have now examined the Earth's oldest rocks and have concluded that the early Earth was probably rich in oxygen. Still, let's say the evolutionists are right -- there was no free oxygen in the early Earth. Without oxygen, there would be no ozone layer, and without the ozone layer, we would receive a lethal dose of the sun's radiation in just 0.3 seconds. How could the fragile beginnings of life have survived in such an environment?

And cells need more than proteins -- they require the genetic code. The genetic code of a bacterium is far more complex than the codes for Window 98. Does anyone think the program for Windows 98 could have arisen by chance?

But wait! Cells need more than the genetic code. Like any language, it must be translated to be understood. Cells have devices that actually translate the genetic code. To believe in evolution, we must be believe that, by pure chance, the genetic code was created, and also, by pure chance, translation devices arose which took this meaningless code and translated it into something with meaning.

Evolutionists cannot argue that "natural selection would have improved the odds." Natural selection operates in living things -- here we are discussing dead chemicals that preceded life's beginning.

But let's say that somehow, by chance, a cell really formed in a primeval ocean, complete with all the proteins, amino acids, genetic code, translation devices, a cell membrane, etc. One would think that this little cell, floating on the waves, would have been very short-lived. But it must have been quite a cell -- because within its lifetime, it must have evolved the complete process of cellular reproduction. Otherwise, there never would have been another cell.

And where did sexual reproduction come from? Male and female reproductive systems are quite different. Why would nature evolve a male reproductive system? Until it was fully functional, it would serve no purpose -- and it would still serve no purpose unless there was, conveniently available, a female reproductive system -- which must also have arisen by chance.

Although we have touched on only a few of the problems of "chemical evolution," we can see that the hypothesis is, at every step, effectively impossible. Yet today, even 1st-grade children are taught the "fact" that life began in the ancient ocean as a single cell -- with the scientific obstacles rarely if ever mentioned.

Boning up on the facts What about the fossil record? Does it document evolution? According to Darwinism, single-celled organisms eventually evolved into the first invertebrates (creatures with no backbones, such as jellyfish). But invertebrate fossils appear suddenly in the fossil record with no visible ancestors -- in the so-called "Cambrian explosion."

Supposedly invertebrates evolved into the first fish. But despite millions of fossils from both groups, transitional fossils linking them are missing.

Insects, rodents, bats, pterodactyls and numerous other life forms appear in the fossil record with no trace of fossils showing how they developed. As Gareth J. Nelson of the American Museum of Natural History pointed out, "It is a mistake to believe that even one fossil species or fossil 'group' can be demonstrated to have been ancestral to another."

Likewise, Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, wrote, "Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils. As a paleontologist myself, I am much occupied with the philosophical problems of identifying ancestral forms in the fossil record. . I will lay it on the line -- there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument."

Many other paleontologists have made equally strong affirmations. Of course, this certainly does not mean that there are no transitional forms claimed today by evolutionists. But in a number of cases -- such as the Piltdown Man, coelacanth, and most recently, the Archaeoraptor -- cited transitional forms have turned out to be errors or even hoaxes.

The main point: If evolutionary theory is true, we should find the innumerable transitional forms Darwin predicted would be in the geologic record. We shouldn't find just a handful, but billions of them. Instead, the fossil record shows animals complete -- not in developmental stages -- the very first time they are seen. And this is just what we would expect if the Bible is right and God created animals whole.

Darwin's developing problem Corroboration of this comes from yet another scientific sphere. Molecular biologist Michael Denton studied cellular structures from various animals on a molecular level, and found no evidence for the classic evolutionary sequence: fish to amphibian to reptile to mammal. In his book, "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis," Dr. Denton writes, "Instead of revealing a multitude of transitional forms through which the evolution of a cell might have occurred, molecular biology has served only to emphasize the enormity of the gap. . [N]o living system can be thought of as being primitive or ancestral with respect to any other system, nor is there the slightest empirical hint of an evolutionary sequence among all the incredibly diverse cells on earth."

Embryology is a field that evolutionists long used to make a case for Darwin's theory. Most of us have seen those pictures in biology textbooks of developing human embryos next to developing animal embryos, and the human embryos and animals look indistinguishable. This was said to demonstrate that we share a common ancestry with these animals and thus prove the theory of evolution.

These pictures were designed by German zoologist Ernst Haeckel. What few people know is that they were fakes. At Jena, the university where he taught, Haeckel was charged with fraud by five professors and convicted by a university court. His deceit was exposed in "Haeckel's Frauds and Forgeries" (1915), a book by J. Assmuth and Ernest R. Hull. They quoted 19 leading authorities of the day. Anatomist F. Keibel of Freiburg University said, "it clearly appears that Haeckel has in many cases freely invented embryos, or reproduced the illustrations given by others in a substantially changed form." Zoologist L. R�timeyer of Basle University called his distorted drawings "a sin against scientific truthfulness."

In spite of his conviction for fraud, and in spite of the exposure, Western educators continued using Haeckel's drawings in biology textbooks as proof of the theory of evolution.

The matter has finally been settled by Dr. Michael Richardson, an embryologist at St. George's Medical School, London. He found there was no record that anyone ever actually checked Haeckel's claims by systematically comparing human and other fetuses during development. He assembled a scientific team that did just that -- photographing the growing embryos of 39 different species. In a 1997 interview in The Times of London, Dr. Richardson stated, "This is one of the worst cases of scientific fraud. It's shocking to find that somebody one thought was a great scientist was deliberately misleading. It makes me angry. . What he [Haeckel] did was to take a human embryo and copy it, pretending that the salamander and the pig and all the others looked the same at the same stage of development. They don't. . These are fakes."

And then there is common sense. In a popular evolutionary explanation, here's how reptiles evolved into birds: They wanted to eat flying insects that were out of reach. So the reptiles began leaping, and flapping their arms to get higher. Over millions of years, their limbs transformed into wings by increments, their tough reptilian scales gradually sprouting soft feathers.

But the theory suffers when scrutinized. According to natural selection, a physical trait is acquired because it enhances survival. Obviously, flight is beneficial, and one can certainly see how flying animals might survive better than those who couldn't, and thus natural selection would preserve them.

The problem is, wings would have no genuine survival value until they reached the point of flight. Birds' wings and feathers are perfectly designed instruments. Those with crippled or clipped wings cannot fly, and are bad candidates for survival. Likewise, the intermediate creature whose limb was half leg, half wing, would fare poorly -- it couldn't fly, nor walk well. Natural selection would eliminate it without a second thought.

Let's raise an even more fundamental question: Why aren't reptiles today developing feathers? Why aren't fish today growing little legs, trying to adapt to land? Shouldn't evolution be ongoing?

And why is man so incredibly different than all other animals? What animal can solve math equations? Write poetry? Laugh at jokes? Design computer software? How can we say that man is merely "one more animal, just more highly evolved"?

Truth decay Americans adhering to traditional values continue to oppose many things -- abortion, pornography, the radical homosexual movement, etc. -- and are constantly losing ground. They are losing ground because these issues are peripheral. These movements do not budge because they are rooted in something deeper: disbelief in God, which leads to moral relativism on all issues. And unbelief is largely stemming from children being massively indoctrinated in the "fact" of evolution. Students are taught that they are simply animals, the products of chance mutations from an ancient slime -- which implies that life is meaningless.

"Why should we care about Clinton's scandals? After all, morality itself evolved by chance -- therefore, there are no moral truths."

But there are truths, and one of them is: Charles Darwin's theory is crumbling under contrary evidence. Americans need to be aware of this, because until the scientific case against Darwinism becomes widely known, our nation's political prospects, like its morality, will continue to decay.

James Perloff is the author of Tornado in a Junkyard: The Relentless Myth of Darwinism, available at WorldNetDaily's online store.