Evolution Encyclopedia Vol. 3
THE PEPPERED MOTH
In his large 940-page book, Asimov's New Guide to Science, *Isaac Asimov mentions that some fools oppose evolution, saying it has never been proven; but then Asimov glues us a a single, outstanding evidence: the peppered moth. This is astounding—in view of the fact that it is no evidence at all! Isaac Asimov is the leading evolutionary science writer of the mid-twentieth century. If the peppered moth is the best he can come up with in defense of evolution, surely evolutionists have no case.
"One of the arguments of the creationists is that no one has ever seen the faces of evolution at work. That would seem the most nearly irrefutable of their arguments, and yet it, too, is wrong.
"In fact, if any confirmation of Darwinism were needed, it has turned up in examples of natural selection that have taken place before our eyes (now that we know what to watch for). A notable example occurred in Darwin's native land.
"In England, it seems, the peppered moth exists in two varieties, a light and a dark . . " —*Isaac Asimov, Asimov's New Guide to Science (1984), p. 780.
The most commonly-cited example of evolution in progress is the change from light to dark wings on the peppered moth of England. Yet two important facts need to be noted: (1) The moth did not change species; only the wings were darkened. (2) Both dark and light forms have always occurred; they are simply Mendelian variations. While the tree bark was light, the birds ate the dark moths; when the bark darkened from aerial pollution, the light moths were the ones consumed. The peppered moth proves nothing about evolution. (For much more on the peppered moth, see chapter 13, Natural Selection.)
"A natural experiment of a similar kind which is constantly cited, is the study of the peppered moth, Biston betularia, by H. B. Kettlewell. It resembles the lichen on trees so closely as to be almost invisible when resting on a lichened tree. About 1848, a black form materialised, named Garbonaria, which was easily spotted by birds and hence eaten. The mutation kept recurring, however. But the smokes of the industrial revolution killed the grey lichens and blackened the trees, giving the black form an advantage and handicapping the grey form. By 1900 the black form, which had constituted only one per cent of the population in the mid-nineteenth century, comprised 99 per cent. Recently, owing to the Clean Air Acts, the drift has been reversed and in some areas the grey form in reasserting itself. This has been called `the moat striking example of evolutionary change actually witnessed'. And even `Darwin's missing evidence'." —*G.R. Taylor, Great Evolution Mystery (1983), p. 33.
The peppered moth is "the most striking evolutionary change ever to have been witnessed."
"This is the moat striking evolutionary change ever to have been witnessed by man." —*International Wildlife Encyclopedia (1970 edition), Vol. 20, p. 2708.
After noting that Darwin was plagued by his inability to demonstrate the evolution of even one species, *Jastrow said that a "proof" of evolution has been found:
"Had he known it, an example was at hand which would have provided him with the proof he needed. The case was an exceedingly rare one . . the peppered moth." —*Robert Jastrow, Red Giants and White Dwarfs, p. 235.
The evolutionists' examples of evolutionary change are always examples from within species.
"Neo-Darwinist textbooks on evolution keep citing the same comparatively few examples: industrial melanism (darkening; referring to the peppered moth), sickle cell anemia, DDT resistance. All are comparatively minor evolutionary changes; all involve variations in which a large and obvious selective advantage can be obtained by a single allele substitution." —*P. Sanders and *M. W. Ho, "Is Neo-Darwinian Falsifiable? And Does It Matter?" in Nature and System, (1982), Vol. 4, p. 191.
After 100 years of Darwinist teachings, the theorists still cannot provide us with evidence.
"Is evolution nothing more than industrial melanism [peppered moth darkening] writ large? Neo-Darwinism can account for some of the details, but the major problems remain unsolved. Samuel Butler's (1911) complaint that Darwin had given us "an Origin of the Species with the `Origin' cut out" is as true today as when he wrote it." —*Ibid.
*Grasse says the peppered moth example has nothing to do with evolution, and even if it did would still be totally insignificant evidence.
"At best, present evolutionary phenomena are simply slight changes of genotypes within populations, or substitution of an allele by a new one. For example, the mutant carbonaria of the birch moth, Biston betularia, replaces the regular butterfly in polluted industrial areas (Haldane, 1956; Ford, 1971). Some biologists maintain that they cannot only observe it but also describe it in action; the facts that they describe, however, either have nothing to do with evolution or are insignificant." —*P. Grasse, The Evolution of Living Organisms (1977), p. 84.
THE HORSE SERIES
The horse series is the outstanding fossil series shown in defense of evolutionary transitions. In this chapter we have discussed in detail the flaws in the theory. Here are additional statements by scientists:
*Raup, one of the world's leading authorities on fossils, says the horse series has had to be discarded.
"The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information." —*David Raup, "Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology, " in The Field Museum of Natural History. January 1979, p. 25.
The supposed facts about the horse series only show up the glaring deficiencies in all the other evolutionary evidence.
"The difference between Eohippus and the modern horse is relatively trivial, yet the two forms are separated by sixty million years and at least ten genera and a great number of species. If ten genera separate Eohippus from the modem horse then think of the uncountable myriads there must have been linking such diverse forms as land mammals and whales or molluscs and arthropods. Yet all these myriads of life forms have vanished mysteriously, without leaving so much as a trace of their existence in the fossil record." —*Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), pp. 85-86.
The slow steady species transformation is simply not there, not for horses nor for man.
"Paleontologists have documented virtually no cases of slow and steady transformation, foot by foot up the strata of a hillslope—not for horses, not for humans." —*Steven Jay Gould, "Evolution: Explosion Not Ascent," New York Times, January 22, 1978.
100,000 fossil species are known, yet the evidence for transitional forms leading up to species is next to nothing.
"Considering that the total number of known fossil species is nearly one hundred thousand, the fact that the only relatively convincing morphological sequences are a handful of cases like the horse, which do not involve a great deal of
change, and which in many cases like the elephant may not even represent phylogenetic sequences at all, serves to emphasize the remarkable lack of any direct evidence for major evolutionary transformations in the fossil record." —*Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), p. 185. [Gish, in "Origin of Mammals" (Creation: the Cutting Edge , p. 76), says that 250,000 fossil species have been found.]
*Milner explains how *Simpson's 1951 book, Horses, exposed the error in *Marsh's 1874 "horse series:"
"[Othniel C.] Marsh's classic unilineal (straight-line) development of the horse became enshrined in every biology textbook and in a famous exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. It showed a sequence of mounted skeletons, each one larger and with a more well-developed hoof than the last. (The exhibit is now hidden from public view as an outdated embarrassment.)
"Almost a century later, paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson reexamined horse evolution and concluded that generations of students had been misled. In his book Horses, he showed that there was no simple, gradual unilineal development at all . . It was an easy mistake to make, since only one genus of horse is left today, Equus. Marsh arranged his fossils to 'lead up' to the one surviving species, blithely ignoring many inconsistencies and any contradictory evidence. Ironically, his famous reconstruction of horse evolution was copied by anthropologists. They, too, thought they saw a straight-line lineage 'leading up' to the sole surviving species of a once-varied group: Homo Sapiens." —*R. Milner, Encyclopedia of Evolution (1990), p. 222.
"Traditionally, fossil-hunters had sought magnificent specimens for their museums and exhibited them as a series of individuals, like O.C. Marsh's famous linear 'progression' of individual horse skeletons. Simpson made the evolution of the horse one of his specialties; his detailed quantitative studies, published in his classic book, Horses (1951), exploded Marsh's 'single-line' evolution of the horse from a fox-sized, hoofless ancestor." —*R. Milner, Encyclopedia of Evolution (1990), p. 406.
*Gould discusses some of the problems with the horse series:
"The evolution of the horse—both in textbook charts and museum exhibits—has a standard iconography. Marsh began this traditional display in his illustration for Huxley. In doing so, he also initiated an errs that captures pictorially the most common of all misconceptions about the shape and pattern of evolutionary change.
"Each genus is itself a bush of several related species, not a rung on a ladder of progress. These species often lived and interacted in the same area at the same time (as different species of zebra do in Africa today.) One set of strata in Wyoming, for example, has yielded three species of Meeohippus and two of Miohippus, all contemporaries.
"The species of these bushes tend to arise with geological suddenness and then to persist with little change for long periods. Evolutionary change occurs at the branch points themselves, and trends are not continuous marches up ladders, but concatenations of increments achieved at nodes of branching on evolutionary bushes.
"Bushiness now pervades the entire phylogeny of horses.
"The model of the ladder is much more than merely wrong. It never could provide the promised illustration of evolution as progressive and triumphant, for it could only be applied to unsuccessful lineages." —*Steven Jay Gould, "Life's Little Joke," in Natural History April 1987, p. 2425.
*Kerkut adds several points:
"We now know that the evolution of the horse did not always take a simple path. In the first place it is not clear that Hyraootherium was the ancestral horse. Thus Simpson (1945) states, 'Matthew has shown and insisted that Hyraootherium (including Eohippus) is so primitive that it is not more definitely squid than taparid, rhinocerotid,' etc., but it is customary to place it at the root of the squid group." —*G. Kerkut, Implications of Evolution (1960), p. 149.
*Simpson condemns the basic point of the series: the change of foot:
"The most famous of all squids trends, 'gradually reduction of the side toes' is flatly fictitious. There was no such trend in any line of Equidae. Eocene horses all had digitigrade padded, doglike feet with tour functional toes in front and three behind. In a rapid transition (not actually represented by fossils), early Oligocene horses lost one functional front toe and concentrated weight a little more on the middle hoot as a step-off point. This type persisted without essential change in all browsing horses." —*George Gaylord Simpson, Major Features of Evolution (1953), p. 263.
*Saiff and *Macbeth chime in:
"At the beginning of this memorandum we mentioned the belief common among nonscientists that the evolutionists had discovered innumerable phylogenies. If we are correct in saying that the search has failed miserably, the reader will ask where this belief comes from. The answer is that to a large extent it comes from a very deceptive picture that has been presented over and over again in the literature. This is the famous chart that shows, in seven neatly graded steps, the supposed descent of the horses from tiny Eohippus to the modem Equus. This chart is so persuasive that most readers will be shocked to learn that it is an illusion.
"These seven stakes do not represent ancestors and descendants. They are fossils that were taken from different times and places, and were then strung together, perhaps innocently, to show how evolution might have (or should have) handled the matter. The experts, good Darwinians though they may be, do not contend that things actually occurred in this simple straightforward way. They regret that the chart was ever made and they have tried to expunge it from the record, but it persists despite their efforts and appears in one textbook offer another (including Dunbar's of 1949 and Grant's of 197)." —*E. Saiff and N. Macbeth, Evolution (unpublished manuscripts 1982).
Moors and Slusher pose more problems:
"Also the fossils of these horses are widely scattered in Europe and North America. There is no place where they occur in rock layers, one above another. There is no sequence that would indicate that the largest developed from the smallest. Some of the difference in size may be accounted for by the difference in feed. In 1942, a herd of horses was found in a box canyon in Southern California. Three of them were caught and lifted out with ropes and pulleys. Due to poor feed, their backs were no higher than a table. Later a colt was born to these captives, and with good feed it grew much larger than its parents. Since a difference in size due to feed is an acquired characteristic, it is not inherited and does not account for permanent changes in a species." —%I. N. Moors and H. E. Slusher, Biology: A Search for Order and Complexity.
Path notes the problem of ribs and vertebrae:
"There is an interesting discrepancy in the skeletal development of this [horse] series: the anatomy of the various models does not compare.
"For example, the rib court varies back and forth from 15 to 19: Eohippus had 18 pairs of ribs; Orohippus had only 15 pairs; then Pliohippus jumped to 19; and Equus scoff! is back to 18.
"Also, the lumbers of the backbone vary back and forth from 6 to 8. Therefore, many eminent scientists disagree on the theoretical chain of fossil horses." —Howard Path, Blind Faith (1990), p. 119.
Why do these men keep trying to find evidence for that which has never occurred?
"Despite the fact that no convincing explanation of how random evolutionary processes could have resulted in such an ordered pattern of diversity, the idea of uniform rates of evolution is presented in the literature as if it were an empirical discovery. The hold of the evolutionary paradigm is so powerful that an idea which is more like a principle of medieval astrology than a serious twentieth century scientific theory has become a reality for evolutionary biologists. . we face great, if not insurmountable conceptual pro. blame in envisaging how the gaps could have been bridged in terms of gradual random processes. We saw this in the fossil record, in the case of the avian [bird] lung, and in the case of the wing of the bat. We saw it again in the case of the origin of life and we see it here in this new area of comparative biochemistry [molecular biochemistry] . . Yet in the face of this extraordinary discovery, the biological community seems content to offer explanations which are no more than apologetic tautologies [circular reasonings]." —*Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1988 p.308.
Archaeopteryx is the one example, urged by evolutionary scientists, of a single transitional creature. But, (1) where there is one example, them ought to be literally millions, and (2), the evidence against archaeopteryx as a transitional form is so powerful that many evolutionists have declared it to be nothing more than another flying reptile, flying bird, or a downright hoax. Here are additional statements by scientists about Archaeopteryx:
There are no transitional species leading up to the Archaeopteryx, so, if genuine, it must itself be a distinct species.
"No fossil evidence exists of any pre-avis. It is a purely hypothetical pre-bird, but one that must have existed—whether or not it resembled the creature shown here." —*J. Ostrom, "Bird Flight: How Did it Begin?," in The American Scientist 87, p. 48.
"No doubt it can be argued that Archaeopteryx hills of a reptilian ancestry but surely hills do not provide a sufficient basis upon which to sears the concept of the continuity of nature. Moreover, there is no question that this archaic bird is not led up to by a series of transitional forms from an ordinary terrestrial reptile through a number of gliding types with increasingly developed feathers until the avian condition is reached." —*M. Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), p. 178.
*Russell ignores Archaeopteryx in his discussion of transitional species between reptiles and birds.
"Nothing is known with certainty as to how birds arose from reptiles or from what reptilian stock." —*E. Russell, The Diversity of Animals (1982), p.18.
Archaeopteryx is said to be the ancestor of modern birds, yet archeologists have found fossil birds at a strata level earlier than the one Archaeopteryx was found in.
"Although Archaeopteryx is generally considered the earliest bird on record, a recent find suggests that the creature, which lived some 130 million years ago, may not have been the only bird alive then. A new fossil found by James Jenson of Brigham Young University dates back to the same period—the Late Jurassic—and appears to be the femur (thighbone) of a bird. If this prows to be the case, then a reexamination of the postulated role of Archaeopteryx as the evolutionary link between reptiles and birds may be in order." —*J. Marx, "The Oldest Fossil Bird: A Rival for Archaeopteryx?," in Science 199 (1978), p. 284.
"The age of origin of some modern groups of birds is very old, in the Early Cretaceous if not before. This places them very nearly as old as Archaeopteryx and raises the possibility that Archaeopteryx is not the temporal benchmark of a vain evolution we so often assume." —*J. Cracraft, ..Phylogenic Relationships end Monophylety of Loons, Grebes, end Hesperomithilorm Birds," Systematic Zoology 31 (1982), p. 53.
*Darter considers Archaeopteryx to have been a true bird.
"However, in one respect, flight, the most characteristic feature of birds, Archaeopteryx was already truly bird. On its wing there were flight feathers as fully developed as any modern bird, and recent research reported in 1979 suggests that it was as capable of powered flight as a modern bird." —*Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), p. 175-178.
If genuine, Archaeopteryx might be different than other flying creatures, but that would not render it transitional without transitions leading up to and away from it. The porcupine, lungfish, monotremes [platypus and echidna], and marsupials [pouched mammals], to name a few, are quite different than other creatures also. Many more examples of unique creatures could be cited.
"It is possible to allude to a number of species and groups such as Archaeopteryx, or the rhipidistian fish, which appear to be to some extent intermediate. But even if such were intermediate to some degree, there is no evidence that they are any more intermediate than groups such as the living lungfish or monotremes which, as we have seen, are not only tremendously isolated from their nearest cousins, but which have individual organ systems that are not strictly transitional at all. As evidence for the existence of natural links between the great divisions of nature, they are only convincing to someone already convinced of the reality of organic evolution." —*Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), pp.194-195.
In addition to a horse series, there is also an elephant series. *Sikes, an expert on elephants, shows that the so—called "elephant series" does not amount to much. Actually, the horse series was based on locating a variety of extinct creatures with somewhat longer necks and legs. Similarly, the elephant series focused on longer-nosed creatures.
"It requires extreme elasticity of the imagination to see anything more than a very superficial resemblance between the earliest hyraces and those of the Proboscides [modern elephants] . . In the light of recent comparative studies on the physiology, ecology and ethology of the living members of these orders, it is apparent that in the past a disproportionate weight was sometimes given to skeletal affinities, while other important characteristics were overlooked." —*S Sikes, The Natural History of the African Elephant (1971), p. 4.
Last but not least is the Darwin finch series. These are 14 finches (estimates of the number of finches varies between 13 and 19) living on the Galapagos Islands, an island group in the eastern Pacific, west of and belonging to Ecuador. Apparently, a pair of finches from South America migrated there at some earlier time and 14 subspecies eventually emerged. But they all look like finches and are finches. *Harper explains that modern taxonomists now tend to recognize that the 14 are members of but one species.
"Perhaps the moat telling indicates of the external influences guiding biologist thought in this area is the extraordinary history of Darwin-finch taxonomy. At one extreme Swarth (1929) raised the taxon to family status, the Geoaplzialae, which was also recognized by Mayr (1942). Later, lack (1945, pp.6-7) realized the group did not merit even sub-family status, but used the term 'Geospizinae' for convenience. And now, not only are the Darwin finches generally denied subfamily status, there is also support, on much the same kind of evidence as was available to Swarth, for the idea that they are all congeneric with a mainland species, as mentioned above." —*G. Harper, "A Critical Review of Theories Concerning the Origin of the Darwin Finches," in Journal of Bio-geography (1987), Vol. 14, ,op. 391, 401,402.
STUDY AND REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 - There are 15 reasons why the so-called "horse series" could not be correct. List 8 which you consider to be the most significant.
2 -Archaeopteryx is either a type of bird or a carefully contrived fake. After reading ail the evidence given in this chapter, write a paper on the alternative you prefer (bird or fake). State your reasons and be prepared to defend them.
3 - In each of the following 4 categories, which of them is the most powerful evidence against that type of evolution? (If you consider all equally strong, say so.) (1) the 3 special evidences against stellar evolution; (2) the 2 special proofs against a chance origin of life; (3) the 7 special evidences against the evolution of life; (4) the 2 special evidences against all types of evolution.
4 - In the summary of the evolution book, given here, list 10 of the most foolish of the textbook proofs of evolution.
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CHAPTER 24- THE CREATOR'S HANDIWORK: THE FISH