Evidences: Assumptions of Evolution
Harry R. Osborne
When we see a house, we do not ask what explosion brought it into being. We ask about its builder. When we see a car, we do not wonder what accident caused it to fall into its present style and color. We look to see who made it. When we contemplate our world in all of its complexity, order and beauty, why would we explain its presence as the chance result of a "big bang" and an endless series of accidents? How could such examples of design and order be the work of randomness rather than that of intelligent design?
Yet, that is the bottom line taught concerning the origin of our universe in many places, especially in our schools. The popular "Big Bang Theory" teaches that the universe is the result of an enormous explosion several billion years ago. When that theory is coupled with the general theory of evolution, many believe the explanation for our world and the existence of all life forms is adequately answered. In fact, some boldly claim that these theories provide the only "scientific" explanation for this universe. For example, note this 1952 statement made by Richard Goldschmidt:
The evolution of the organic world, from the synthesis of the first complex molecules endowed with the faculty of reproducing their kind to the most advanced type of life must have taken place roughly within the past two billion years on our planet. All of the facts of biology, geology, paleontology, biochemistry, and radiology not only agree with this statement but actually prove it. Evolution of the animal and plant world is considered by all those entitled to judgment to be a fact for which no further proof is needed (American Scientist, Jan. 52, p. 84).
Such bold assertions are often common from those out of touch with current evidence. Generally, those more knowledgeable in the facts regarding the subject of origins avoid such arrogant and misleading claims. The fact is that the general theory of evolution is nowhere close to being a "fact." As a high school student, I had a biology teacher with the same attitude stated above. When I raised a question about problems with the evolutionary explanation for the origin of all things, Mr. Wells referred tome as a believer in "God, the Genesis myth, and other fairy tales." However, he turned out to be the believer in fairy tales.
Among the "science" taught by this man was a theory that the human fetus goes through all of the stages of evolution within the womb. This is called the theory of recapitulation or ontology recapitulates phylogeny. I have a textbook ,Dynamic Biology, from 1933 which teaches the theory as a fact. At one point, it states a common claim made in its defense, saying, "The mammal embryo is often used to illustrate recapitulation. Gill openings appear just as if a gill-breathing fish were developing" (678). By the early fifties, this theory was largely abandoned by those most knowledgeable of embryology. A text from 1954, Principles of Biology, admits that the theory was not upheld by further study, but tries to hold on to it in part. Among scholarly circles in that area of study, the theory was dead by the late fifties. They found that the so-called "gill openings" or "gill slits" were nothing more than folds of skin! From that point until the present, scholars in the field of embryology have discarded the theory as false. However, many biology teachers, especially at the high school level continue to teach it today! Last year, I saw a high school biology handout teaching the theory with pictures of an embryo noting the "gill slits." Who is teaching fairy tales? As time goes on, more and more of the evolutionists "facts" are turning out to be nothing more than "fairy tales" and we need to remind them of that fact!
Even among evolutionists, however, we find some honest enough to admit the problems with the general theory. A respected scientist, G.A. Kerkut, is one who happens to believe in the theory. He is, however, honest about its shortcomings. We will let him define our terminology and outline the areas of trouble for the evolutionists. Listen to the following definition of the problem by Dr. Kerkut from his book, Implications of Evolution:
There is a theory which states that many living animals can be observed over the course of time to undergo changes so that new species are formed. This can be called the "Special Theory of Evolution" and can be demonstrated in certain cases by experiments. On the other hand there is the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic (non-living) form. This theory can be called the "General Theory of Evolution" and the evidence that supports it is not sufficiently strong to allow us to consider it anything more than a working hypothesis (p. 157).
In the same book, Dr. Kerkut is highly critical of some modem scientists, like Goldschmidt, who claim that the general theory of evolution should be accepted as the only logical explanation of our world. He repeatedly shows that the one who accepts this explanation does so upon the basis of "faith" rather that "fact." To emphasize the point, Kerkut gives a list of seven basic assumptions in the theory which are totally unproven and unprovable. They are as follows:
(1) The first assumption is that non-living things gave rise to living material, i.e. spontaneous generation occurred.
(2) The second assumption is that spontaneous generation occurred only once.
(3) The third assumption is that viruses, bacteria, plants and animals are all interrelated.
(4) The fourth assumption is that the Protozoa (single-celled organisms) gave rise to the Metazoa (multi-celled organisms).
(5) The fifth assumption is that the various invertebrate phlya (organisms without a backbone) are interrelated.
(6) The sixth assumption is that the invertebrates gave rise to the vertebrates (animals with backbones).
(7) The seventh assumption is that within the vertebrates the fish gave rise to the amphibia, the amphibia to the reptiles, and reptiles to the birds and mammals.
All of these assumptions are just that assumptions. They are not facts as some would like to think. The acceptance of these assumptions is done solely by faith, not on the basis of provable evidence. In the final analysis, the evolutionist and the creationist have the same evidence from which to begin and work. The differences come from the interpretation of that evidence. The question is, "Which interpretation is more reasonable?"
The Bible claims that the evidence available is properly used to deduce the existence of God. Paul said, "Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" (Rom. 1:20). Next issue, we will look at some of the evidence regarding the order of the world around us. We will ask ourselves whether it is more reasonable to believe the Bible account of our origin or the explanation given in the general theory of evolution.
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 2 p. 14-15