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When you look at the individual steps in the development of life, Darwin’s explanation is difficult to disprove, because some selective advantage can be imagined in almost anything. Like every other scheme designed to violate the second law, it is only when you look at the net result that it becomes obvious it won’t work.
A National Geographic article from November 2004 proclaims that the evidence is “overwhelming” that Darwin was right about evolution. Since there is no proof that natural selection has ever done anything more spectacular than cause bacteria to develop drug-resistant strains, where is the overwhelming evidence that justifies assigning to it an ability we do not attribute to any other natural force in the universe: the ability to create order out of disorder?
Three types of evidence are cited: first, the fact that species are so well suited to their environments is offered as evidence that they have “adapted” to them. Of course, if they were not well-adapted, they would be extinct, and that would be offered as even stronger evidence against design. Second, they point to changes due to artificial selection, where intelligent humans select features already present in the gene pool, as evidence of what can be accomplished when natural forces select among genetic accidents. But, as always, the main evidence offered is the “evolutionary tree” of similarities connecting all species, fossil and living. These similarities were of course noticed long before Darwin (many animals have four legs, one head, two eyes and a tail!); all modern science has done is to show that the similarities go much deeper than those noticed by ancient man.
Although these similarities may, to our modern minds, suggest natural causes, they do not really tell us anything about what those causes might be. In fact, the fossil record does not even support the idea that new organs and new systems of organs arose gradually: new orders, classes and phyla consistently appear suddenly. For example, Harvard paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson in “The History of Life” (in Volume I of Evolution after Darwin, University of Chicago Press, 1960) writes:
Finally, I am well aware that logic and evidence are powerless against the popular perception, nurtured by prestigious journals such as National Geographic and Nature, that no serious scientists harbor any doubts about Darwinism, so I want to offer here a portion of a November 5, 1980 New York Times News Service report:
SCIENCE HAS BEEN so successful in explaining natural phenomena that the modern scientist is convinced that it can explain everything. Anything that doesn’t fit into this materialistic model is simply ignored. When he discovers that all of the basic constants of physics, such as the speed of light, the charge and mass of the electron, Planck’s constant, etc., had to have almost exactly the values that they do have in order for any conceivable form of life to survive in our universe, he proposes the “anthropic principle” and says that there must be many other universes with the same laws, but random values for the basic constants, and one was bound to get the values right. When you ask him how a mechanical process such as natural selection could cause human consciousness to arise out of inanimate matter, he says, “human consciousness — what’s that?” And he talks about human evolution as if he were an outside observer, and never seems to wonder how he got inside one of the animals he is studying. And when you ask how the four fundamental forces of Nature could rearrange the basic particles of Nature into libraries full of encyclopedias, science texts and novels, and computers, connected to laser printers, CRTs and keyboards and the Internet, he says, well, order can increase in an open system.
The development of life may have only violated one law of science, but that was the one Sir Arthur Eddington called the “supreme” law of Nature, and it has violated that in a most spectacular way. At least that is my opinion, but perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps it only seems extremely improbable, but really isn’t, that, under the right conditions, the influx of stellar energy into a planet could cause atoms to rearrange themselves into nuclear power plants and spaceships and computers. But one would think that at least this would be considered an open question, and those who argue that it really is extremely improbable, and thus contrary to the basic principle underlying the second law, would be given a measure of respect, and taken seriously by their colleagues, but we aren’t.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online