Conservative Colloquium

An Intellectual Forum for All Things Conservative

The Philosophical and Theoretical Flaws of Darwinian Evolution

Posted by Tony Listi on January 22, 2008

Besides the frauds and the fossils, there are logical problems with the theory of evolution.

The renowned philosopher of science Sir Karl Popper pointed out that evolution is not science because it is “not testable” but rather “metaphysical.” It is impossible to test/observe evolution− unless one can wait millions of years. Darwin himself sets out an impossible test for his theory: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would completely break down.” How is one to set up an experiment to put it to the test? We cannot go back in time and directly observe supposed organ evolution over millions of years. Besides, a Christian fundamentalist could easily posit: If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by God, my God theory would completely break down.

Evolutionary theory and terminology is in fact filled with tautologies (logical fallacy consisting of inane repetition). The phrase that most aptly encapsulates evolution, “survival of the fittest,” is a tautology. Popper observes, “To say that a species now living is adapted to its environment is, in fact, almost tautological…. Adaptation or fitness is defined by modern evolutionists as survival value, and can be measured by actual success is survival: there is hardly any possibility of testing a theory as feeble as this.” Nobel Prize winning geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan recognized the phrase as “little more than a truism.” British geneticist C. H. Waddington also recognized natural selection to be a tautology. Consider another example: “vertebrates evolved from invertebrates.” But invertebrate by definition means “not a vertebrate.” Evolve means to change, and a changed thing is not what it once was, by definition. Thus the example can be reduced to absurd and useless repetition: something evolved from what it was not. The end result of the phrase is merely an assumption, not a demonstration. Evolution in this way assumes itself, cloaked in logical fallacy. Everything becomes confirmation of evolution. Evolution must therefore provide real demonstration or revise its terminology. And yet, many of the evolutionary/taxonomical terms for biological groups are defined by an absence of characteristics, which is what gives rise to the tautological problem.

Even if the fossil record was surely complete and did in fact include the many transitional organisms Darwin had hoped for, one could not conclude evolution was true. The fossil “sequences” of similar physical structures would not strictly prove or demonstrate the existence of a natural mechanism, such as Darwin’s natural selection, that dictated one set of structures gave rise to another. The fossil record itself cannot reveal parental/descendant relationships; it presents end products, not processes. Evolution is a process and thus derives no support from fossils. It can only impose itself, an assumption, onto the fossil record through guesswork. The mere appearance of progress hardly establishes mutation and natural selection as the engine of change. Moreover, the capacity to draw a diagram and come up with a story about how things might have happened is not science. Processes must be observed. If a process cannot be observed by science in real time, it is hardly worthy of the prestigious title “scientific theory” but rather “untested hypothesis.”

The same goes for homologous structures and DNA similarities among various organisms. They too are end products and, in and of themselves, cannot reveal the process that gave rise to themselves. Merely more assumptions and guesswork. (According to this criteria, Intelligent Design, as a process theory, seems to fall outside of science as well. Yet if evolutionists wish to maintain that a process can be inferred from an end product without direct observation of the process, they must concede ground to Intelligent Design, which posits its own explanatory process. Of course, I wonder about the testability of some ideas in modern theoretical physics and astronomy that claim to be “science.”) Another problem with homologous structures is that there are some remarkable similarities of structure that not even Darwinian biologists attribute to common descent (e.g. the eyes of octopuses and humans). With regard to DNA, humans are at least 95% genetically identical to chimpanzees, but we are also 35% genetically identical to daffodils! Thus DNA itself doesn’t seem to tell us much about who we are. There is a much more complicated process(es) that uses DNA to make the stuff of life.

As mentioned, the vast majority of mutations are actually harmful to an organism. Probability is already against evolution. But even supposing mutation happened to work the way evolution claims it works, each and every mutation of the hundreds needed just to make one new or altered biological structure (let alone a new organism entirely) would have to, in some way, make the organism more “fit,” otherwise natural selection would not occur. Unfortunately though, Darwin had no idea about DNA and the other vastly complex systems of molecular biology/biochemistry known today. The cell seemed simple enough to him, yet it is more complex than any microchip or piece of nanotechnology ever created by man, more complex than New York City. Each cell in the human body contains more information than in all thirty volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica. This biological complexity reveals thousands of fine-tuned mechanisms that perform vital functions. If one part in the mechanism is missing or defective, the entire system fails leading to disability, disease, or death (e.g. blood clotting, flagellum function, eye function, etc.) This “irreducible complexity” turns Darwin’s impossible test back on him. To at least be understandable, if not credible, evolution has to actually demonstrate that the innumerable parts that participate in various mechanisms and make up an organ, which in turn contributes to a vital function, can each contribute some survival advantage to an organism. Each new protein, receptor, signal, cell, etc. in itself has to confer some sort of advantage. Examining these parts in detail though shows that they only contribute to the overall mechanism and can do nothing else. Evolution must actually confront and demonstratively explain the complexity and understanding of modern biochemistry. If it cannot, it is not science but rather faith. Thus far an “evolution in the gaps” theory has superseded the “God in the gaps” one. In light of the facts of complexity, it seems highly unlikely, if not impossible, that evolution can meet the challenge.

Evolution has no explanation for why humans have a moral sense, consciousness, and rationality in general. To say that these are merely the product of random material causes, as evolution must, is to undermine the validity of science itself, which rests on consciousness and rationality actually having meaning. As professor Haldane put it, “If my mental processes are determined wholly by the [random] motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true…and hence have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms [or that they move randomly].” Strict materialism defeats science itself and thus evolution. Mere motion and matter cannot make Truth.

The logical deductions of Darwinism have been catastrophic for society. It clearly helped to give rise to Marxism and Nazism. Marx saw the “struggle” as among classes, Hitler conceived of the struggle as among the races. We know for certain Marx had read Darwin’s Origin: “This is the book which contains the basis in natural history for our views.” (Ironically, Darwin was very much influenced by Malthus, a free market economist. Many have noticed that evolution is merely laissez-faire economics transplanted into the natural sciences.) Mein Kampf means “My Struggle,” which Hitler described in unmistakably Darwinian terms, referring to the “higher evolution of living organisms.” A theory that says the fittest always rise to the top has to be comforting to any dictator. Racism and eugenics both demonstrably derived support, if not their very being, from Darwin’s theory. Darwin’s half-cousin and eugenicist Sir Francis Galton coined the term “eugenics.” In fact, Darwin subtitled his Origin of Species “The Survival of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.” Darwin may even helped plant the seed of animal rights activism: erroneously making man out to be no more than an animal may only have had the effect of elevating animals to the level of humans. Darwin, intentionally or not, overturned almost every aspect of traditional and Biblical morality. His theory enshrined biological instincts over moral values.

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12 Responses to “The Philosophical and Theoretical Flaws of Darwinian Evolution”

  1. Richard said

    I’ll correct your first point/blunder, then leave the rest to you. (I won’t do your homework for you.)

    Popper later changed his mind and recognized that natural selection is testable. Here is an excerpt from a later writing on “Natural Selection and Its Scientific Status” (Miller 1985, 241-243; see also Popper 1978) [see http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA211_1.html%5D

  2. Richard said

    Ha! “Awaiting moderation” :)
    I know creationist tactics well enough to know that having (strategic) misconceptions corrected isn’t what this is all about. It never was about facts and science with them. It’s about politics and the saving of souls–even at the expense of truth.
    So, thanks anyway, but I totally understand why my correction won’t get moderator approval. Once upon a time I was a creationist too.

  3. foospro86 said

    I moderate comments so as to avoid spam (esp. ppl trying to sell stuff). I don’t want comments that aren’t relevant to the post. You would do better not to presume I am a creationist or somehow trying to avoid a fair, open, rational, and honest discussion.

    Actually, I don’t think beliefs about creationism vs. evolution have anything to do with one’s salvation. As long as God is acknowledged as the ultimate Creator (whether directly or through evolution as His mechanism), one has no need to worry about one’s soul.

    Alright, so Popper changed his mind with regard to testability, to some extent. But from the excerpt, he says “I still believe that natural selection works in this way as a research programme.” It seems he wanted to acknowledge natural selection’s explanatory power merely as a framework. But a useful framework for organization or categorization is not the same as a framework that is true and factual. Predictive power suggests causation but cannot prove it. And frameworks may only work in certain limited contexts (micro vs. macro).

    Moreover, I believe natural selection is eminently true and factual–on the micro level. No one can deny it. However, on the macro level, i.e. natural selection as the creator of totally different kingdoms/phyla, this has not been demonstrated by science. And the fossil record contradicts it (pre-Cambrian explosion). Macro-evolution is a matter of faith in the face of contradictory evidence.

  4. [...] and theres no evidance of humans evolving other than speculation based on theory after theory: The Philosophical and Theoretical Flaws of Darwinian Evolution Conservative Colloquium EvC Forum: Too Many Flaws with Evolution Khilafah – Exposing the flaws in the Theory of Evolution [...]

  5. Craig said

    The important thing to remember is that the “Theory of Evolution” is exactly what it says it is……and that is a “Theory”. Theories are very difficult to prove, especially when talking about a subject that would require test’s to run the course of thousands of years. The funny thing about theories, however, is that they are very simple to disprove. There is (and I may be mistaken on this) no data to absolutely prove evolution to be impossible.

    On the flip side of the arguement, or the “other theory” is creationism. Which offer no evidence to support other than scare tactics; are you questioning the infallible word of God? (which by the way was a collection of stories passed down by mouth until finally written down, then pulled together, translated, over the course of generations and generations) We all know how well a game of telephone works in a room full of people, passing along a story they heard less than 5 minutes ago.

    The point is, I don’t believe the theory of evolution to be infallible, and I really don’t believe any of the religious fairy tale versions (not picking on Christians only, but all religions have their own version) of the beginning of time. The fact is we as a race try to explain the things that cannot be explained. For some having blind faith in something is an easier way to deal with all the unknowns life throws our way, for others we want to know why. Where did we come from? Did we evolve from primates or were we created out of dirt? Maybe when the bible says we were created out of dirt, it wasn’t meant to be taken literally. Maybe the earth was here, and after a while, long after other animals were “created” on earth appeared a species that resembled the people thinking about the beginning of time. Seemingly from nowhere, because after-all how many of us want to look at an animal and think about how we are of the same design.

    In regards to the “arguement” about where did we develope a moral compus not seen in other animals, etc…… there’s a couple of things to look at here. 1) an assumption is being made other animals don’t have a moral compass and 2)If you want to follow the bible, it describes where that moral compass came from (knowledge).

    To address number 1, I am going to share a quick story. I understand this doesn’t constitute scientific evidence, but if anyone has been in a similar situation, they will understand my point.

    I own 2 dogs. I left them home while I ran to the store. I came back, and they had gotten into the trash. I didn’t even have to say anything, as soon as they saw me walk into the room with the trash, they dropped their heads and walked away. To me this means they realized they did something wrong. There was awareness of consequences and they demonstrated shame. Creatures who can feel shame must have some kind of moral understanding that they did something wrong. So us humans having morals isn’t so random.

    Point 2) where does this sense of morals come from. Well in the bible, Adam and Eve didn’t feel shame until they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Knowledge is what gives us a sense of moral standards not a soul.

    Anyways, I feel like I am rambling here. I found this article after a lunchtime debate on evolutionary flaws, and I was disappointed to see that there weren’t many facts offered to disprove evolution, but mostly opinions and speculation on opinions. I agree evolution may never be able to be proven, however there is more physical evidence to lean towards an evolutionary process then there is towards creation.

    Just my humble opinion (or theory if you like)……

    Craig

    • Drigs said

      I was meandering through the internet looking for a reputable article to aid me in my work on a paper for an English class when i stumbled across this forum. I read your post because it struck me as interesting and viable. I agree with everything you have stated above and I do not quite understand why some creationists(definitely not all, I do not wish to be persecuted for making generalizations) insist on stomping down on others’ beliefs when they have no evidence to back their own. Live and let live. Who cares how we got here? The point is, we ARE here.

  6. Mark said

    Craig,

    I’ve spent the last 10 years or so coming full circle on this subject. I believed in evolution based upon what I was taught in high school and college. I thought that people who believed in the creation story were simply ignorant. After all, I studied – and they didn’t. Through the next 20 years, I found a lot of intelligent people who also “studied” that believed in creation. I couldn’t understand or reconcile this.

    Then I started looking closely at evolution and was astounded and the lies that have been told, not only in the field of evolution, but in many scientific areas because of egos, competition and funding. I started to feel disappointed and angry about being taught things as fact that were simply false, and have been known for decades to be false, yet are still taught to this day as truth. Then I noticed something else. Whenever I confronted fellow atheists wit the truths I discovered, I was treated as if I were stupid, I was belittled, and ostrasized. I thought we were the tolerant, understanding, thoughtful, open-minded ones. Suddenly, I realized what it was like to be talked down to by people who “studied.”

    I began reading books about anti-evolution like Darwins Black Box by Behe, and Tornado In A Junkyard by Perloff. What an eye-opening experience. Very recently, I read a book by Mike W. Smith called ‘Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel: Confessions of a Conservative College Professor.’ I saw some of the things that he exposed, that I experienced during my education. He said he is a Christian, so I decided to write and ask him the question I always wondered – “How can someone who is intelligent, also believe in God?” He was delighted that I asked, and referred me to another book called ‘I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist’ by Frank Turek.

    Craig, you seem like you are smart AND open-minded. Take a look at each of the books I mentioned. Junkyard and Enough Faith provide clear, and thorough contrary evidence of evolution, and frankly provide some hard evidence for creation. I’m still not a total convert, but now I am at a point that I have more evidence, and am actually thinking that all those “ignorant” folks may have been on to something.

    Mark

  7. Mark said

    I meant to say Mike S. Adams, not Mike W. Smith. Sorry about the mistake.

  8. Tom said

    Mark,

    Thanks for your open and honest post.

    One of my pet peeves with evolutionists as a whole is the denial of their own faith based beliefs. I wish that there were more thinkers who would just have the intellectual honesty to look a evolution with a critical eye. Not necessarily embrace “creation”, but to just be honest as to what their faith is based upon.

  9. Bruce said

    I am often amazed at how scientific scholars will ridicule others for venturing into their realm to discuss evolution when they are so quick to offer up theological judgements that are completely oblivious to the theological realm. When Craig compares the Bible to a gossip game or a set of fairy tales he shows absolutely zero intellectual honesty about the study of ancient texts.
    If one looks at pre-printing press documents the plays of Shakespeare are the second most verifiable documents on the planet, with 16 copies of the original document available for study. That means if one copy has an error and the other 15 copies do not, the odds are that the one copy was wrong. As such, even though we do not have the original, we are 99.9% certain we have the plays of Shakespeare in total. Certainly nothing of importance is missing. Would you care to guess how many copies of the original scriptures we have? Maybe 20? 50?
    If we can be 99.9% sure we have the original text of Shakespeare with 16 copies, how sure can we be we have the original text of the Bible with over 25,000 copies?
    So much for the game of gossip, a horrible analogy. Your other theological points are equally poor. If this is how your critical thinking operates then no wonder evolution makes sense to you.

  10. kedveskarel said

    DARWIN KÁPRÁZATÁNAK spell\n Darwin’s worldview under the age of the living world does not change: there is exactly in the condition in which the Creator has created. As a result, millions of people shut the Bible, the Bible, and have been head of the scientific wing of atheistic humanism, the theory of evolution before. – Darwin, however – not knowing the true teachings of the Bible – one devoted to the glamor of his life. Perhaps we should not fall into the same vain millions.
    > Some evolutionary theories as to the continued reproduction of the organisms, while more sophisticated. At some point, however, several species of female gametes, individuals had to develop, which had to fertilize the male gametes only appropriate.
    Often overlooked due to the number of chromosomes to give both parents gametes meiosis undergo a process known as extraordinary, even when both parents have normal chromosomes of the cells population halved. This process obviates the fact that too many chromosomes to the offspring.
    Of course, different species of the same process had also lejátszódnia.
    How was he able to each species’ progenitrix “megtermékenyülni a fully-fledged” ősapától “?
    Suddenly we both knew how the chromosome number of gametes megfelezni that create healthy offspring, which inherit some characteristics of both parents?
    And if these reproductive traits have evolved gradually, how could the individual species, male and females to survive, while those critical features are only partially formed?
    Even a single species is immensely small possibility to develop such a growth of interdependence. It may even be unreasonable to say that one of the other species after it happened. Is the only moving evolutionary theory may explain such complexity? How to be accidental, occurring at random, purposeless events responsible for the development of systems such intricately intertwined? Many of the organisms that are characteristic of that foresight and planning, and therefore an intelligent designer confesses. <
    "Darwin: The Origin of Species is one of the cornerstones of human civilization, which every self-respecting man should know." (Peter Christopher Makai) – At the time, her concerns, the cáfolatait and moral culture of the general effects of szintúgy:
    http://darwinkaprazata.blogspot.com/p/darwin-kaprazata-aminek-szentelte-az.html
      The evolutionary theory of the five critical points:

    http://www.ministeriosprobe.org/fldocs/kritikus-hun.html

  11. SW said

    For the article :
    I appreciate your efforts to discuss some genuine inabilities of the Darwin’s theory…
    All the gaps can be filled by the presence/acceptance of A MASTER MIND…behind the creation of everything..who is the COMMON ARTIST..who has an unmatched sense of beauty, balance, logic, trust, and truth…who has given meanings and sense to the EXISTENCE it self…which is called LIFE…
    Darwin had a thoughtful mind..he presented his thoughts only..even if his reasoning was unscientific to N EXTENT..
    THERE’S NO NEED TO BE OFFENDED BY BY SUCH THOUGHTS AND IDEAS….NOR…ANY COMPULSION TO
    BECOME THEIR BELIEVERS..
    Allah (The one and the only God) says in Quran

    Sura 24 – An-Noor [The Light] Verse 45-45:
    45. وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَ كُلَّ دَابَّةٍ مِنْ مَاءٍ فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَمْشِي عَلَى بَطْنِهِ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَمْشِي عَلَى رِجْلَيْنِ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَمْشِي عَلَى أَرْبَعٍ يَخْلُقُ اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

    Sura 24 – An-Noor [The Light] Verse 45-45:
    45. And Allah has created every animal from water: of them there are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs; and some that walk on four. Allah creates what He wills for verily Allah has power over all things.

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