Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Evolution OUT! - Part II: A Historical Perspective

Tomorrow's the Feast of St. Norbert, Bishop and Confessor, Founder of the Premonstratensian Canons, more on the Premonstratensians Canons here.

+ J.M.J.A.T.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Evolution Out! Part I: Introduction

Please read the introduction for the official disclaimer and also for an overall introduction to this series of posts. :)

Evolution Out! Part II: A Historical Perspective

Here's Part II of a small series of blogposts that I started sometime before the previous school term started. Now, with a little bit of extra time in my hands, I've decided to post Part II. The past semester was filled with only science modules - something that terrified (lol, it really did, especially biostats) me at the beginning of the semester, but after coming out of it unscathed and somewhat "rejuvenated", (Deo volente! and Deo gratias et Mariae!), I'm now ready to write this, with all that I thought about this topic and with little anecdotes (here and there) that come from the little and insignificant experiences of a life science major. [please refer to point no. 3 in the "reasons" section in Part I]

As an introductory topic for Part II (today's post will focus on this. this post will continue on for the next few days if time permits), I'd like to offer you a historical perspective of this great evolution debacle by putting up a chapter from The Evolution Hoax Exposed; Former Title: Why Colleges Breed Communists by A.N. Field, published by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc. Rockford, Illinois 61105, which, in my opinion, gives a very interesting and very thoughtful historical perspective and insight on this topic. [I checked the book - there's no copyright infringement in any way.]

Here's the excerpt:

The Evolution Hoax Exposed (Former Title: Why Colleges Breed Communists)

A.N. Field

Chapter II: The Skeleton in the Cupboard
[Transformist ideas ancient – French Revolution and evolution – Darwin’s theory – Glosses over lack of proof – Huxley more candid – Darwin’s private admission – Later admissions – All evolution theories collapse – No new species producible – Breeding experiments fail]

With oaks to be seen sprouting from acorns, grubs turning into butterflies, and chickens pecking their way out of eggs, it is not surprising that human fancy from an early date toyed with the notion of one kind of living thing being transformed into some other kind. This idea has been the stock-in-trade of folk-lore and fairy tales in all ages and all lands. It was the achievement (!) of Charles Darwin to make it the foundation of modern biological science.

At the end of the eighteen century there occurred that great event known as the French Revolution, described in various quarters as a landmark in the liberation of the human spirit (!). Incidentally, the student may learn from Alison’s History of Europe how in the course of this episode the mob in the streets of Paris roasted and ate the bodies of the massacred Swiss Guard of the royal palace on August 10, 1792, and how fifteen months later the multitude assembled in the Cathedral of Notre Dame (of all places!!!) to worship the “Goddess of Reason”, personified by an actress, also well known to the public in another capacity, placed naked (!in church!) by Government decree upon the altar of the French Westminister Abbey (!). State and people having alike discarded Christianity as outworn superstition, attention was directed in scientific circles to discovering how the world had come into being without intervention of the Almighty.

Modern evolutionist theory dates from the writings of two French scientists of this period, the Comte de Buffon and M. Lamarck, the latter of whom propounded a theory of evolution by inheritance or acquired characters. Evolutionist ideas were also advanced in England by a medical man and author of Derby, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, correspondent and admirer of Jean Jacques Rousseau, chief philosopher of the French revolutionary era. Ideas of evolution began to float about, and in 1813, Dr. W.C. Wells aired the subject before the Royal Society in London.

Scientists in the first half of the nineteen century were by no means all believers in Evolution. The Creationists were in a great majority, and the Evolutionists lacked a plausible theory of how evolution had occurred. This was all altered on the appearance of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species in 1859.

Darwin’s theory was that all species had evolved from primal protoplasm by Natural Selection, or survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence. As lambs still continued to appear with tails, despite the fact that their parents had had theirs cut off for generations back, Lamarck’s idea of evolution by inheritance of acquired characters had failed to convince. Darwin not only provided a more attractive theory but he elaborated it in a big book. He directed attention to the way breeders of domestic animals and plants got new varieties by selective breeding. He quoted instances of small variations occurring in all directions in living things. He argued that the rate of multiplication of living things produced an intense struggle for existence exterminating those with unfavourable variations and permitting those with favourable variations to flourish and increase.

The idea of evolution as thus propounded met with immediate and astounding success. Not all scientists accepted it by any means, but it caught on and disbelievers were soon shouted down. In his presidential address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1937 Sir Edward Poulton said the records showed that Dr. Wright back in 1881 was the last person to express disbelief in evolution at this British scientists’ parliament. The article on evolution in the current (1929) edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica affirms evolution to be an established fact supported by “overwhelming” evidence. In current newspaper and magazine literature evolution is similarly treated as a fact beyond dispute and in colleges and schools is usually rammed down the pupils’ throats as incontrovertible truth.

Nevertheless, there is a small, slight hiatus in the argument. There is, unfortunately for evolutionists, not a shred of evidence of any living thing every evolving into some different kind of living thing capable of breeding but infertile with parent stock. All that breeding experiments have produced is mere varieties fertile with their parent stock, or else sterile hybrids, incapable of breeding, such as the mule produced by a cross between horse and donkey. All living things go on obstinately producing young after their own kind and no other kind. Evolution has to show that living things can break through their natural breeding limits. And this is just what evolution has been quite unable to show.

This small defect in an otherwise pleasing theory Darwin glossed over in his books. Nevertheless, Darwin admitted in the introduction to his Origin of Species that evolution as a scientific theory “would be unsatisfactory, until it could be shown how the innumerable species inhabiting this world have been modified.” Before he got to the end of his 700 pages Darwin ignored this requirement, for, without meeting it, he declared himself in his concluding chapter “thoroughly convinced” of evolution.

Huxley, who from the outset constituted himself the chief propagandist of Darwinism, was more logical. He made no bones about the total absence of any actual proof of evolution. In fact, he greatly annoyed Darwin by harping on the point, as anyone who cares to peruse the five volumes of Darwin’s letters and the two volumes of Huxley’s may discover for himself. “My God,” (!) wrote Darwin to Huxley in 1862, “is not the case difficult enough without its being, as I must think, falsely made more difficult. I believe it is all my own fault – my own d—d candour …” (More Letters of Charles Darwin, I, 230).

This outburst was in consequence of Huxley having pointed out in his lectures and books that so far it had not been possible by selective breeding to produce a form capable of breeding but infertile with the parent stock. Huxley, in admitting this lack of evidence, said in his Edinburgh lectures in 1861 that if it could be shown that such failure was “the necessary and inevitable result of all experiments” he would hold Mr. Darwin’s hypothesis to be “utterly shattered.” (Man’s Place in Nature, Everyman edition, p.256). He added, however, that he looked for early proof to be forthcoming. In a letter to Darwin, Huxley said he told his students that he was satisfied that twenty years’ scientific breeding experiments with pigeons would provide the necessary proof (Huxley’s Life and Letters, I, 195-6).

Although so heatedly rebuking Huxley in 1862, Darwin himself eight months later, privately admitted in a letter to Dr. Bentham the total absence of any proof of evolution. This is what he wrote under date of May 22, 1863: “In fact belief in Natural Selection must at present be grounded entirely on general considerations … When we descend to details, we can prove that no one species has changed (i.e., we cannot prove that a single species has changed); nor can we prove that the supposed changes are beneficial, which is the groundwork of the theory. Nor can we explain why some species have changed and others have not” (Darwin’s Life and Letters, iii, 25).

Darwin died in 1882. Huxley died in 1895. Four years before he died Huxley wrote to Professor Romanes that evolution still stood without the evidence on which he had insisted thirty years before. He had always insisted, he said, on “the logical incompleteness of the theory so long as it was not backed by experimental proof” (Huxley’s Life and Letters, ii, 291).

We now pass onwards another thirty years; and we find the noted English evolutionist, Professor Sir William Bateson, acknowledging exactly the same total absence of any proof of evolution. This is what he said to the congress of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Toronto in 1921: -

“When students of other sciences ask us what is now currently believed about the origin of species we have no clear answer to give … The conclusion in which we were brought up, that species are a product of summation of variations, ignored the chief attribute of species that the product of their crosses is frequently sterile in great or less degree. Huxley very early in the debate pointed out this grave defect in the evidence, but before breeding researches had been made on a large scale no one felt the objection to be serious. Extended work might be trusted to supply the deficiency. It has not done so, and the significance of the negative evidence can no longer be denied” (Nature, Ap. 29, 1922).

Six years later another prominent evolutionist, Professor J.B.S. Haldane, in his book Possible Worlds (p. 38) said in 1927: “The barrier of inter-specific sterility is the most serious argument against Darwin’s Organic Evolution.” It is equally a barrier against any other kind of organic evolution.

In 1931 we find the great Professor H.F. Osborn, of the United States, described by Britain’s Royal Society as the greatest palaeontologist of the day, making the following remarkable statement to a congress of the British Association: -

“We are more at a loss than ever to understand the causes of evolution. One after another the Buffonian, Lamarckian, Darwinian, Weissmannian, and De Vriesan theories of causation have collapsed … All that we can say at present is that Nature does not waste time or effort with chance or fortuity or experiment, but that she proceeds directly and creatively to her marvelous adaptive ends of biomechanism” (Nature, September 28, 1931).

This is an admission by one of the high priests of science that all theories of evolution have collapsed. Buffon propounded a general theory of evolution; Lamarck, tutor to Buffon’s children, followed with an idea of evolution by inheritance of acquired characters; Darwin advanced the idea of gradual small changes by natural selection; Weissman put all the emphasis on the germ plasm; and De Vries put forward the idea of evolution by mutations or sudden large variations.

Two years later on again Professor James Ritchie, the great zoologist of Edinburgh University, wrote in Nature of September 30, 1933: “The problem of the origin of species seems to be as far from solution as ever.” In September, 1939, Professor Ritchie delivered the presidential address to the zoological section of the British Association and had nothing further to report. “The existence of life,” he said. “must be considered as an elementary fact which cannot be explained,” and, admitting life, the biologist “may build up a whole body of biological theory … logical in the logic of probability …” (Nature, September 23, 1939). Everything was down to mere shadowy “probability”.

The above series of pronouncements by front-rank biologists covers the entire period of eighty years since the first proclaiming of the Darwinian gospel. There is no more vestige of proof of evolution today than there was in those early days when Darwin privately, and Huxley openly, admitted its total absence.

Claims are made from time to time of the production by experiment of new species of living things, but they rapidly drop out of sight and the above series of statements at scientific headquarters is sufficient evidence that no such claim has survived examination. This evidence is vital to the evolution theory, and if it were forthcoming we may be quite sure it would be proclaimed from the house-tops for all the world to hear.

If this evidence is lacking it is not for want of seeking it. For example, a whole literature, so extensive that a bibliography of it was recently published, has grown up about the breeding experiments with the pumice fly Drosophila melanogaster. Mr. Douglas Dewar, a Fellow of the Zoological Society and one of the few British biologists rejecting evolution, in his Challenge to Evolutionists (pp. 20-21) relates how in 1910 Morgan and his collaborators hit upon the idea of experimenting with this quick-breeding fly.

This obliging little creature produces 25 generations a year at ordinary temperatures and more at higher temperatures. Over 800 generations of it have been bred with the object of transforming into something that is not a Drosophila melanogaster. It would take 20,000 years to get as many generations of human beings. Every device has been applied to this fly to make it vary its breeding. In 1927 it was discovered that by exposing it to X-rays the rate at which mutations, or marked variations, occurred could be increased by 15,000 per cent.

These breeding experiments are stated to have resulted in the production of some 400 varieties of this fly, some of them monstrosities, and some differing more form the parent form than the other wild species of Drosophila differ from one another. Nevertheless, all these varieties (unless they are too imperfect to breed at all) are stated to breed freely with the parent stock, whereas the different wild species of Drosophila on the rare occasions when they can be induced to cross, either yield no offspring at all or sterile hybrids. Immutability of species, like a mysterious angel with flaming sword, stands barring the way to the evolutionist Garden of Eden.

Summed up, the position is that there is no evidence of any interbreeding community of living things being able to change its breeding and become transformed into some different kind of thing infertile with the original stock. Evolution asserts that all species came into being in this way. And evolution is wholly unable to provide any vestige of proof of its assertion. Belief in evolution today must thus rest on “general considerations,” just as Darwin privately confessed was the case away back in 1863. In our next three chapters we shall discover how these general considerations – the cloud capp’d towers and gorgeous palaces of evolution – melt away like the baseless fabric of a vision when peered at too curiously.

To be continued ... (not from the aforementioned book but with materiel from other books and websites)

Jesus, Mary, I love Thee; Save Souls!

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

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