Evolution Evolves!

Steve Willis
Melbourne, Florida

A recent book, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (Marilyn Ferguson, 1980), calls for a number of personal, social and ideological changes. Though some of the book is definitely against the Bible as our sole guide, it does point out some interesting developments in the world about us. One such development is the growing sense of inadequacy in the usual tenets of evolution. The book not only points out the failings of the theory, but calls for an acceptance of changes in the theory - changes to meet the failings. Evolution evolves!

As Ferguson points out the failings of the Darwinian theory, see if she does not sound like many creationists:

Darwin's theory of evolution by chance mutation and survival of the fittest has proven hopelessly inadequate to account for a great many observations in biology . . . .

Darwin insisted that evolution happened very gradually. Steven Jay Gould, a Harvard biologist and geologist, notes that on the eve of the publication of The Origin of Species, T.H. Huxley wrote Darwin, promising to battle on his behalf but warning that he had burdened his argument unnecessarily by this insistence. Darwin's portrayal of glacially slow evolution reflected in part his admiration of Charles Lyell, who promoted the idea of gradualism in geology . . . .

And just as Lyell rejected the evidence for cataclysm in geology, Darwin ignored problems in his own evidence . . . Change only seemed abrupt.

Darwin's biggest problem was lack of evidence for his theory:

But to this day fossil evidence has not turned up the necessary missing links. Gould called the extreme rarity in the fossil record of transitional forms of life "the trade secret of paleontology." Younger scientists, confronted by the continuing absence of such missing links, are increasingly skeptical of the old theory (p. 158).

Ferguson goes on to quote Niles Eldridge of the American Museum of Natural History: "The old explanation that the fossil record was inadequate is in itself an inadequate explanation." Amen!

Steven Jay Gould (and others) have hit upon another idea, since the old one did not fit the facts. Evolution evolves! Gould says that a new species arose suddenly in the geologic record showing that it did not evolve by steady change, but instead changed all at once and was fully formed. The new paradigm of thought attributed this evolution by periodic leaps and bounds to two features: "(1) It requires a mechanism for biological change more powerful than chance mutation . . ." (p. 159). This is necessary because most mutants are not only inferior because of their mutation, but they are also sterile, incapable of passing on any changes (good or bad) that they might have developed. I find the phrase, "more powerful than chance mutation" enlightening in view of the creation model of origins.

The second feature: ". . . it opens us up to the possibility of rapid evolution in our own time . . ." (p. 159). This feature would abet the "conspiracy" to bring about all the changes suggested in the other sections of the book. One problem, though, is the Law of Entropy. The author, Ferguson, even admits this problem.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics, or the Law of Entropy, has been advanced by many creationists against the theory of evolution. The argument goes something like this:

The Second Law of Thermodynamics, the Law of Entropy, suggests that the things which we see ordered about us are running down - approaching a state of randomness, not order. The riddle of evolution is how can living things evolve (reach a state of order) in a world that is supposed to be running down?

The humanities teachers, biologists, paleontologists and others who face this argument usually hem and haw around and finally affirm their faith in evolution and the ability of the world to improve upon itself by chance mutations and natural selection. It does not satisfy the creationist, and now it is not satisfying the evolutionists though they still cling to evolution.

What happens? Evolution evolves again. First, because the geologic record did not give the right evidence, evolution evolved from being a slow, constant theory, to a cataclysmic, no-missing-link theory. To answer the question of how there is an ordering process in a system of chaos, a system of syntropy has been developed.

Syntropy (ordering) is the opposite of entropy (randomness). Biochemist (and Nobel laureate) Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, the discoverer of Vitamin C, "proposed that a drive toward greater order may be a fundamental principle of nature . . . . He rejected the idea that random mutations account for the sophistication in living matter. Biological reactions are chain reactions, and the molecules fit together more precisely than the cogwheels of a Swiss watch. How, then, could they have developed by accident?" (Ferguson, p. 161).

In 1977 a Nobel prize was offered for a "new explanation for rapid evolution - biological, cultural, personal" (p. 163): dissipative structures, a theory by a Belgian physical chemist named Illya Prigogine. The theory another evolution in the theory of evolution - supposedly offers the explanation of how living things evolve uphill in a world that is running downhill. Dissipative structures are maintained by a continuous dissipation (consumption) of energy. This theory seems to violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics (explained above) and even Prigogine "has pointed out that the theory `violates the law of large numbers"' (p. 166). This theory only bolsters the concept of humanism: The denial of the existence of God and that all nature must rely on the highest form of nature, the human, for any kind of social redemption. It might seem to the humanists that anyone who begins to answer the creationists' arguments from science (as well as Scripture) deserves a Nobel prize.

The new developments in the evolution theory point out the inadequacies of the old view of natural selection and mutation. There are inadequacies, though in the new theories as well, even though they may seem to explain some old problems. Until the question of the origins of the universe and life (Where did it come from? and How did it start?) are resolved by believing the Bible, evolution will keep on evolving from theory to theory.

Truth Magazine XXIV: 39, pp. 625, 635
October 2, 1980