A short history of the theory of evolution

The roots of evolutionist thought go back as far as antiquity as a dogmatic belief attempting to deny the fact of creation. Most of the pagan philosophers in ancient Greece defended the idea of evolution. When we take a look at the history of philosophy we see that the idea of evolution constitutes the backbone of many pagan philosophies.

However, it is not this ancient pagan philosophy, but faith in God which has played a stimulating role in the birth and development of modern science. Most of the people who pioneered modern science believed in the existence of God; and while studying science, they sought to discover the universe God has created and to perceive His laws and the details in His creation. Astronomers such as Copernicus, Keppler, and Galileo; the father of paleontology, Cuvier; the pioneer of botany and zoology, Linnaeus; and Isaac Newton, who is referred to as the "greatest scientist who ever lived", all studied science believing not only in the existence of God but also that the whole universe came into being as a result of His creation. 6 Albert Einstein, considered to be the greatest genius of our age, was another devout scientist who believed in God and stated thus; "I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame."

One of the founders of modern physics, German physician Max Planck said: "Anybody who has been seriously engaged in scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: Ye must have faith. It is a quality which the scientist cannot dispense with."

The theory of evolution is the outcome of the materialist philosophy that surfaced with the reawakening of ancient materialistic philosophies and became widespread in the 19th century. As we have indicated before, materialism seeks to explain nature through purely material factors. Since it denies creation right from the start, it asserts that every thing, whether animate or inanimate, has appeared without an act of creation but rather as a result of a coincidence that then acquired a condition of order. The human mind however is so structured as to comprehend the existence of an organising will wherever it sees order. Materialistic philosophy, which is contrary to this very basic characteristic of the human mind, produced "the theory of evolution" in the middle of the 19th century.

Darwin's Imagination

The person who put forward the theory of evolution the way it is defended today, was an amateur English naturalist, Charles Robert Darwin.

Darwin had never undergone a formal education in biology. He took only an amateur interest in the subject of nature and living things. His interest spurred him to voluntarily join an expedition on board a ship named H.M.S. Beagle that set out from England in 1832 and travelled around different regions of the world for five years. Young Darwin was greatly impressed by various living species, especially by certain finches that he saw in the Galapagos Islands. He thought that the variations in their beaks were caused by their adaptation to their habitat. With this idea in mind, he supposed that the origin of life and species lay in the concept of "adaptation to the environment". Darwin opposed the fact that God created different living species separately, suggesting that they rather came from a common ancestor and became differentiated from each other as a result of natural conditions.

Darwin's hypothesis was not based on any scientific discovery or experiment; in time however he turned it into a pretentious theory with the support and encouragement he received from the famous materialist biologists of his time. The idea was that the individuals that adapted to the habitat in the best way transferred their qualities to subsequent generations; these advantageous qualities accumulated in time and transformed the individual into a species totally different from its ancestors. (The origin of these "advantageous qualities" was unknown at the time.) According to Darwin, man was the most developed outcome of this imaginary mechanism.

Darwin called this process "evolution by natural selection". He thought he had found the "origin of species": the origin of one species was another species. He published these views in his book titled The Origin of Species, By Means of Natural Selection in 1859.

Darwin was well aware that his theory faced lots of problems. He confessed these in his book in the chapter "Difficulties of the Theory". These difficulties primarily consisted of the fossil record, complex organs of living things that could not possibly be explained by coincidence (e.g. the eye), and the instincts of living beings. Darwin hoped that these difficulties would be overcome by new discoveries; yet this did not stop him from coming up with a number of very inadequate explanations for some. The American physicist Lipson made the following comment on the "difficulties" of Darwin:

On reading The Origin of Species, I found that Darwin was much less sure himself than he is often represented to be; the chapter entitled "Difficulties of the Theory" for example, shows considerable self-doubt. As a physicist, I was particularly intrigued by his comments on how the eye would have arisen.

While developing his theory, Darwin was impressed by many evolutionist biologists preceding him, and primarily by the French biologist, Lamarck. 10 According to Lamarck, living creatures passed the traits they acquired during their lifetime from one generation to the next and thus evolved. For instance, giraffes evolved from antelope-like animals by extending their necks further and further from generation to generation as they tried to reach higher and higher branches for food. Darwin thus employed the thesis of "passing the acquired traits" proposed by Lamarck as the factor that made living beings evolve.

But both Darwin and Lamarck were mistaken because in their day, life could only be studied with very primitive technology and at a very inadequate level. Scientific fields such as genetics and biochemistry did not exist even in name. Their theories therefore had to depend entirely on their powers of imagination.

While the echoes of Darwin's book reverberated, an Austrian botanist by the name of Gregor Mendel discovered the laws of inheritance in 1865. Not much heard of until the end of the century, Mendel's discovery gained great importance in the early 1900s. This was the birth of the science of genetics. Somewhat later, the structure of the genes and the chromosomes was discovered. The discovery, in the 1950s, of the structure of the DNA molecule that incorporates genetic information threw the theory of evolution into a great crisis. The reason was the incredible complexity of life and the invalidity of the evolutionary mechanisms proposed by Darwin.

These developments ought to have resulted in Darwin's theory being banished to the dustbin of history. However, it was not, because certain circles insisted on revising, renewing, and elevating the theory to a scientific platform. These efforts gain meaning only if we realise that behind the theory lay ideological intentions rather than scientific concerns.

The Problem of the Origin of Life

In his book, Darwin never mentioned the origin of life. The primitive understanding of science in his time rested on the assumption that living things had very simple structures. Since mediaeval times, spontaneous generation, the theory that non-living matter could come together to form living organisms, had been widely accepted. It was believed that insects came into existence from leftover bits of food. It was further imagined that mice came into being from wheat. Interesting experiments were conducted to prove this theory. Some wheat was placed on a dirty piece of cloth, and it was believed that mice would emerge in due course.

Similarly, the fact that maggots appeared in meat was believed to be evidence for spontaneous generation. However, it was only realized some time later that maggots did not appear in meat spontaneously, but were carried by flies in the form of larvae, invisible to the naked eye.

Even in the period when Darwin's Origin of Species was written, the belief that bacteria could come into existence from inanimate matter was widespread.

However, five years after the publication of Darwin's book, Louis Pasteur announced his results after long studies and experiments, which disproved spontaneous generation, a cornerstone of Darwin's theory. In his triumphal lecture at the Sorbonne in 1864, Pasteur said, "Never will the doctrine of spontaneous generation recover from the mortal blow struck by this simple experiment."

Advocates of the theory of evolution refused to accept Pasteur's findings for a long time. However, as scientific progress revealed the complex structure of the cell, the idea that life could come into being coincidentally faced an even greater impasse.

The Problem of Genetics

Another subject that posed a quandary for Darwin's theory was inheritance. At the time when Darwin developed his theory, the question of how living beings transmitted their traits to other generations-that is, how inheritance took place-was not completely understood. That is why the naive belief that inheritance was transmitted through blood was commonly accepted.

Vague beliefs about inheritance led Darwin to base his theory on completely false grounds. Darwin assumed that natural selection was the "mechanism of evolution." Yet one question remained unanswered: How would these "useful traits" be selected and transmitted from one generation to the next? At this point, Darwin embraced the Lamarckian theory, that is, "the inheritance of acquired traits." In his book The Great Evolution Mystery, Gordon R. Taylor, a researcher advocating the theory of evolution, expresses the view that Darwin was heavily influenced by Lamarck:

Lamarckism... is known as the inheritance of acquired characteristics... Darwin himself, as a matter of fact, was inclined to believe that such inheritance occurred and cited the reported case of a man who had lost his fingers and bred sons without fingers... [Darwin] had not, he said, gained a single idea from Lamarck. This was doubly ironical, for Darwin repeatedly toyed with the idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics and, if it is so dreadful, it is Darwin who should be denigrated rather than Lamarck... In the 1859 edition of hisВзлом ВКонтактеВзлом ВКонтактеВзлом ВКонтактеВзлом ВКонтактеВзлом ВКонтактеВзлом ВКонтактеВзлом ВКонтактеВзлом ВКонтактеВзлом ВКонтакте work, Darwin refers to 'changes of external conditions' causing variation but subsequently these conditions are described as directing variation and cooperating with natural selection in directing it... Every year he attributed more and more to the agency of use or disuse... By 1868 when he published Varieties of Animals and Plants under Domestication he gave a whole series of examples of supposed Lamarckian Взлом ВКонтакте на заказ inheritance: such as a man losing part of his little finger and all his sons being born with deformed little fingers, and boys born with foreskins much reduced in length as a result of generations of circumcision.

However, Lamarck's thesis, as we have seen above, was disproved by the laws of genetic inheritance discovered by the Austrian monk and botanist, Gregor Mendel. The concept of "useful traits" was therefore left unsupported. Genetic laws showed that acquired traits are not passed on, and that genetic inheritance takes place according to certain unchanging laws. These laws supported the view that species remain unchanged. No matter how much the cows that Darwin saw in England's animal fairs bred, the species itself would never change: cows would always remain cows.

The genetic laws discovered by Mendel proved very damaging to the theory of evolution.
Gregor Mendel announced the laws of genetic inheritance that he discovered as a result of long experiment and observation in a scientific paper published in 1865. But this paper only attracted the attention of the scientific world towards the end of the century. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the truth of these laws had been accepted by the whole scientific community. This was a serious dead-end for Darwin's theory, which tried to base the concept of "useful traits" on Lamarck.

Here we must correct a general misapprehension: Mendel opposed not only Lamarck's model of evolution, but also Darwin's. As the article "Mendel's Opposition to Evolution and to Darwin," published in the Journal of Heredity, makes clear, "he [Mendel] was familiar with The Origin of Species ...and he was opposed to Darwin's theory; Darwin was arguing for descent with modification through natural selection, Mendel was in favor of the orthodox doctrine of special creation."

The laws discovered by Mendel put Darwinism in a very difficult position. For these reasons, scientists who supported Darwinism tried to develop a different model of evolution in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Thus was born "neo-Darwinism."

The Efforts of Neo Darwinism

A group of scientists who were determined to reconcile Darwinism with the science of genetics, in one way or another, came together at a meeting organized by the Geological Society of America in 1941. After long discussion, they agreed on ways to create a new interpretation of Darwinism and over the next few years, specialists produced a synthesis of their fields into a revised theory of evolution.

The scientists who participated in establishing the new theory included the geneticists G. Ledyard Stebbins and Theodosius Dobzhansky, the zoologists Ernst Mayr and Julian Huxley, the paleontologists George Gaylord Simpson and Glenn L. Jepsen, and the mathematical geneticists Sir Ronald A. Fisher and Sewall Wright.

To counter the fact of "genetic stability" (genetic homeostasis), this group of scientists employed the concept of "mutation," which had been proposed by the Dutch botanist Hugo de Vries at the beginning of the 20th century. Mutations were defects that occurred, for unknown reasons, in the inheritance mechanism of living things. Organisms undergoing mutation developed some unusual structures, which deviated from the genetic information they inherited from their parents. The concept of "random mutation" was supposed to provide the answer to the question of the origin of the advantageous variations which caused living organisms to evolve according to Darwin's theory-a phenomenon that Darwin himself was unable to explain, but simply tried to side-step by referring to Lamarck. The Geological Society of America group named this new theory, which was formulated by adding the concept of mutation to Darwin's natural selection thesis, the "synthetic theory of evolution" or the "modern synthesis." In a short time, this theory came to be known as "neo-Darwinism" and its supporters as "neo-Darwinists."

Yet there was a serious problem: It was true that mutations changed the genetic data of living organisms, yet this change always occurred to the detriment of the living thing concerned. All observed mutations ended up with disfigured, weak, or diseased individuals and, sometimes, led to the death of the organism. Hence, in an attempt to find examples of "useful mutations" which improve the genetic data in living organisms, neo-Darwinists conducted many experiments and observations. For decades, they conducted mutation experiments on fruit flies and various other species. However, in none of these experiments could a mutation which improved the genetic data in a living being be seen.

Today the issue of mutation is still a great impasse for Darwinism. Despite the fact Взлом ВКонтакте that the theory of natural selection considers mutations to be the unique source of "useful changes," no mutations of any kind have been observed that are actually useful (that is, that improve the genetic information). In the following chapter, we will consider this issue in detail.

Another impasse for neo-Darwinists came from the fossil record. Even in Darwin's time, fossils were already posing an important obstacle to the theory. While Darwin himself accepted the lack of fossils of "intermediate species," he also predicted that further research would provide evidence of these lost transitional forms. However, despite all the paleontologists' efforts, the fossil record continued to remain a serious obstacle to the theory. One by one, concepts such as "vestigial organs," "embryological recapitulation" and "homology" lost all significance in the light of new scientific findings. All these issues are dealt with more fully in the remaining pages of this site.

A Theory in Crisis

We have just reviewed in summary form the impasse Darwinism found itself in from the day it was first proposed. We will now start to analyze the enormous dimensions of this deadlock. In doing this, our intention is to show that the theory of evolution is not indisputable scientific truth, as many people assume or try to impose on others. On the contrary, there is a glaring contradiction when the theory of evolution is compared to scientific findings in such diverse fields as the origin of life, population genetics, comparative anatomy, paleontology, and biochemistry. In a word, evolution is a theory in "crisis."

That is a description by Prof. Michael Denton, an Australian biochemist and a renowned critic of Darwinism. In his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), Denton examined the theory in the light of different branches of science, and concluded that the theory of natural selection is very far from providing an explanation for life on earth.6 Denton's intention in offering his criticism was not to show the correctness of another view, but only to compare Darwinism with the scientific facts. During the last two decades, many other scientists have published significant works questioning the validity of Darwin's theory of evolution.

In this site, we will examine this crisis. No matter how much concrete evidence is provided, some readers may be unwilling to abandon their positions, and will continue to adhere to the theory of evolution. However, reading this site will still be of use to them, since it will help them to see the real situation of the theory they believe in, in the light of scientific findings.

 


 

Взлом ВКонтакте