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August 4, 2005
Column #1,249

Scientific Evidence Against Darwinism
(First of a Two-Part Series)

President Bush was asked if he felt the "intelligent design" theory of the origin of the universe should be given equal treatment in public schools with Darwin's theory of evolution. He replied, "I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught."

Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission, heartily endorsed the President's remarks: Evolution "is too often taught as fact. If you're going to teach the Darwinian theory as evolution, teach it as theory. And then teach another theory..."

The other side quickly responded. Susan Spath, of the National Center for Science Education, huffed that teaching both sides "sounds like you're being fair, but creationism is a sectarian religious viewpoint, and intelligent design is a sectarian religious viewpoint. It's not fair to privilege one religious viewpoint by calling it the other side of evolution."

Bruce Chapman, President of the Discovery Institute in Seattle, thinks the debate should be framed differently. "The scientific establishment equates intelligent design as creationism in disguise" that argues the world was created in six, 24-hour days, no more than 10,000 years ago.

In 1981 Louisiana passed a law requiring that "evolution science" be balanced with  "creation science." The U.S. Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional in 1987 as an "establishment of religion" by a 7-2 vote on the grounds that to advocate a supernatural being created mankind does advocate a religious position.

Chapman says there is a better way to frame the argument: "the best scientific evidence for and against Darwinism. The ACLU cannot argue against that."

Many books present a scientific case against Darwinism, notably "Darwin on Trial" by Phillip E. Johnson and "Icons of Evolution" by John Wells. But a new bestseller, "The Case for a Creator," by journalist Lee Strobel is more readable account.

He confesses that as a high school student, he studied four textbook images making a case for Darwinism which were so compelling, he was "propelled toward a life of atheism."  However, each of these icons have been proven to be in error or seriously flawed:

1.  A photo of Stanley Miller's laboratory apparatus used in 1953 shows how he supposedly produced the building blocks of life.  He claimed to reproduce the early atmosphere of the primitive earth, and shot electronic sparks through it simulating lightening.  He produced a red goo containing amino acids, which implied that living organisms could emerge by themselves.

However, John Wells says scientists now believe Miller was wrong in thinking the early atmosphere was hydrogen rich, "because it would have escaped into space. Instead, the atmosphere probably consisted of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water vapor."  If the Miller experiment is run with that atmosphere, amino acids are not produced, but formaldehyde which kills embryos.  Formaldehyde is an embalming fluid, Wells told Strobel in an interview.

2.  Darwin's "Tree of Life" is an image he used to argue life started with an ancient ancestor at the bottom, and blossomed upward into limbs, branches and twigs, as life evolved with increasing diversity and complexity.  Darwin argued that millions of species of organisms evolved "slowly by accumulating slight, successive, favorable variations" and that "no great of sudden modifications were possible."

However, the fossil evidence proves Darwin wrong. For millions of years, the only life on earth was jellyfish, sponges and worms. Then came the Cambrian explosion 540 million years ago when suddenly insects, crabs, starfish, and vertebrates appeared. "The Cambrian explosion has uprooted Darwin's Tree of Life," Wells asserts. 

3. Another evolution icon is a drawing by Ernst Haeckel of alleged embryos of a fish, salamander, tortoise, chick, hog, calf, rabbit and human - all of which appear strikingly similar. They support Darwin's theory that all organisms share a universal ancestor.

But if actual photographs of the embryos are compared, there is a big discrepancy. In fact, Wells argues that "the similarities in the early stages were faked." Haeckel used the same woodcut to print embryos from different classes, a fraud first exposed in the 1860s!  Yet the drawings still appear even in upper division textbooks on evolutionary biology.

4. Finally, a picture of the most famous fossil in the world, the archaeopteryx, a creature that had the wings, features and wishbone of a bird, but a lizard-like tail and claws on its wings that seemed to be a missing link between reptiles and modern birds. Scientists now assert the fossil is a member of a totally extinct group of birds.

More important, there should be innumerable transitional forms. Yet 150 years of fossil discoveries since Darwin have surfaced almost nothing.

High school students should read "The Case for a Creator" to get the other side.

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