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Objections to evolution

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There are many objections to evolution raised by creationists. Some of them are listed below.

Contents

Evolution has not been directly observed

Evolution is supposed to have occurred over many millions of years, yet scientific observations have only been made for a tiny fraction of that time, so essentially all of evolution is unobserved. Given that the scientific method requires observations in support of hypotheses, this is a serious problem for evolution, although it doesn't, of course, prove that evolution didn't occur.

One version of this objection, popularised by Ken Ham, is the question "were you there?", asked of scientists claiming that evolution occurred.

What has been observed are relatively minor variations, which are entirely compatible the the biblical creationist view of variation within a "kind".

  • Proponents of evolution claim that the minor variations can, over extensive amounts of time, result in significant differences, although this is something that has not been observed (whether because it doesn't happen or because we have not been able to observe for long enough) and therefore remains hypothetical.
  • Restricting inheritable modifications to exclusively within that of kinds (such that no one kind cannot become another kind), would require the immutable characteristics to that kind to be determined through some other method than DNA.[Fact?] It is unclear what restricts these mutations within kinds, but all observations so far, such as offspring never having genetic information that was not present in their parents, support that this is the case.

Evolution cannot work uphill

For more information, see Genetic mutation.

Genes with mutations can be passed from parents to offspring in sexual reproduction, and hence the offspring have a different set of genetic information than their parents, but as these changes are always (as far as has been observed) neutral or "downhill" changes, insofar as information content is concerned, they are not the "uphill" changes that evolution requires.[1]

Evolutionists will respond that there is no "hill" for evolution to go up, or down. Evolution is simply unguided change, and thus has no goal. However, evolution proposes that life started with a relatively simple cell, which contained no information for features found in most of its supposed descendants, such as information for hair, eyes, blood, skin, wings, and so on. Yet according to evolution, the descendants of this first cell gained that information. This is a massive "uphill" change, even allowing for some "downhill" changes along the way.

Evolutionists will also cite beneficial mutations, but most if not all observed beneficial mutations are examples of "downhill" changes. For example, beetles on a windy island might lose the information for wings, which means that they can better survive because they are less likely to be blown off the island and drown.[2] So the mutation in this case was beneficial, but was due to a loss of information (i.e. a "downhill" change), not a gain.

Evolution is a religion

Although evolution can be studied solely as a biological hypothesis, evolution is in many cases effectively a religion, or worldview; that is, a set of beliefs upon which many others are based. Philosopher of biology Michael Ruse concurs:

Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint—and Mr [sic] Gish is but one of many to make it—the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today. … Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.’[3]

Of courser, this is not a view shared by all supporters, who claim that extensive scientific evidence indicates a reasonable assumption of evolution. Ruse eloquently draws the distinction between evolution as scientific hypothesis and evolution as religion:

There is no need to make a religion of evolution. On its own merits, evolution as science is just that -- good, tough, forward-looking science, which should be taught as a matter of course to all children, regardless of creed. But, let us be tolerant. If people want to make a religion of evolution, that is their business. Who would deny the value of Mr. Wilson's plea for biodiversity? Who would argue against Mr. Gould's hatred of racial and sexual prejudice, which he has used evolution to attack? The important point is that we should recognize when people are going beyond the strict science, moving into moral and social claims, thinking of their theory as an all-embracing world picture. All too often, there is a slide from science to something more, and this slide goes unmentioned -- unrealized even. For pointing this out we should be grateful for the opponents of evolution. The Creationists are wrong in their Creationism, but they are right in at least one of their criticisms. Evolution, Darwinian evolution, is wonderful science. Let us teach it to our children. And, in the classroom, let us leave it at that. The moral messages, the underlying ideology, may be worthy. But if we feel strongly, there are other times and places to preach that gospel to the world.[4]

Nevertheless, the response to evolution has seen it applied in many areas well beyond biology, with consequent and often unavoidable implications for Christianity, sociology, law, and many other areas, which confirms the claim that it is, for many people, effectively a worldview.

Of course, whether evolution has led to a worldview has nothing to do with its validity.

Proponents of evolution will discredit or discard evidence that could falsify it.

For more information, see Origins science and Evolution#Dinosaur blood vessels.

Evidence is regularly turned up that discredits and refutes the underlying assumptions made by evolution, or specific claims made by it. Since such evidence could disprove those claims, proponents of it will actively seek to discredit, discard or reinterpret the facts or simply reject the facts in order to fit their prior conceived hypothesis.

See Also

References

  1. Wieland, Carl, The evolution train’s a-comin’, Creation 24(2):16–19, March 2002.
  2. Has evolution really been observed?
  3. Ruse, M., How evolution became a religion: creationists correct? National Post, pp. B1,B3,B7 May 13, 2000, quoted by CMI.
  4. http://www.omniology.com/HowEvolutionBecameReligion.html
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