Creation 25(3):16–19, June 2003
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In this day and age, when one opens a truly definitive book on butterflies, by a world-class scientific authority on the subject, the last thing one expects is a full frontal assault on evolutionism.
Just one glance at this stunning 350-page volume, The Concise Atlas of Butterflies of the World, makes it easy to see why its author, Bernard d’Abrera, is regarded as the world’s best-known lepidopterist (the Lepidoptera is the insect group comprising butterflies, skippers and moths).
This book presents illustrations of species of almost every genus of true butterflies ever described to science. (It is actually a compilation and compression of some 30 years of work and publication by the author on the world’s butterflies, comprising 24 volumes in all.)
The illustrations and descriptions for all Bernard d’Abrera’s works are based on the extensive collections in the British Museum (Natural History) in London, where he has had the status of ‘permanent visitor’ since 1969. These, and his four volumes on the larger moths, and The Moths of Australia, are the greatest single opus on the Lepidoptera by any author/illustrator in the history of science.
All of this prestigious background will likely not mitigate, but rather enhance, the dismay (if not outright shock) for the average evolutionist upon discovering the book’s breathtaking, headlong frontal assault on evolution. Although only a minority of the book’s pages are devoted to pure text, antievolutionism is far and away the dominant theme, not some minor aside (about 50 whole pages are devoted to ‘dissing Darwin’).
Bernard d’Abrera does not come across as the ‘average creationist’, and has injected a great deal of originality into his work. We might not see eye to eye on a number of things with this highly erudite, Jesuit-trained philosopher/taxonomist (taxonomy is the science of classification of living creatures). But of his passionate loathing of the evolutionary fallacy, and of the intrinsic significance of such an attack within a ‘benchmark’ reference work like this, there can be no doubt.
The evolutionary lines of thought which permeate science are assailed under his pen as ‘viscid, asphyxiating baggage’ from which true science should be freed, so that it can once again be ‘an objective science, based on observation, experimental demonstration, and above all, on common sense.’ Evolution, he writes, ‘is not based on demonstrated truths or experimentally-proven hypotheses all colligated in logic to produce an incontrovertible system of scientific laws.’ Rather, he says, it is a theory that requires ‘blind religious faith’.
In an obvious reference to evolutionist professor Steve Jones’s defence of Darwin, titled Almost like a Whale, the chapter on ‘The Philosophy of Natural Science’ is subheaded ‘Evolutionism—almost like a science’.
Taxonomy, says Dr d’Abrera1 (who graduated with majors in the History and Philosophy of Science), is a ‘craft’. As a taxonomist, he says he is a ‘true Linnaean’ (Linnaeus was the father of modern taxonomy). He points out that there are presently ‘palpable signs of evolutionist impatience with the Linnaean system of taxonomic nomenclature, which expresses the vertical and discontinuous hierarchical structure of the Natural Order.’ Evolutionists, he says, do not like such facts of taxonomy, since they are ‘inconvenient to their ideology’.
Dr d’Abrera makes a clear distinction between being a taxonomist and a phylogeneticist (someone who theorizes about evolutionary lines of descent connecting species that are classified in closely associated groups). He says, ‘I deal in observable and measurable facts, from which I draw safe conclusions, which I can test and prove or disprove. I do not deal in speculation of imaginary events that emanate out of the requirements of an ideology [evolution] and thus cannot be tested as to their truthfulness or otherwise.’
Dr Bernard d’Abrera’s commitment to observation, rather than speculation, confirms for him the fact that, whether one looks at genetics, ecology or civilization itself, the world shows no signs of ‘building up’ but rather it is dying, running down, in accord with the principles of entropy.
He writes that ‘Evolutionary Man, having slandered and libelled Biblical Man into impotent irrelevance, is now leading mankind backwards down atavistic pathways into a terrifying auto-demolition of civilisation and all that is transcendentally good.’
He rejects as ‘futile, conceited and vainglorious, the current preoccupation with pseudo-scientific speculation, which in the end, only distracts us all from the desperate measures we need to take to save our dying home, and our civilisation.’
Actually, his passion for conservation would put the average evolutionist ‘greenie’ to shame. In fact, he believes that much of the blame for species loss lies with the wasted time, effort and funds chasing evolutionary will-o-the-wisps. He says, ‘This book is … a plea to the world of science, to change its role from pursuing idle and sterile speculations, to concentrating all its efforts and resources into saving and regenerating what is left, so that we may have something to pass on to our children and their children.’
Those he calls the ‘elite’ in ‘ivory towers’ bear, in his view, ‘a deadly responsibility for their criminal neglect if they should continue to ignore the plight of our planet, in their futile pursuit of the phantom of Evolutionism.’
His treatment of the whole subject is by no means confined to powerful rhetoric or his own opinions, either. He approvingly reproduces, in detail, comments from Polish genetics professor Dr Maciej Giertych (see Creation 14(3):23, 1992 and 17(3):46–48, 1995). These concern the fact that the changes in living things emphatically do not demonstrate the sorts of things which ‘goo-to-you’ evolution would expect to be taking place—most noticeably increases in genetic information.
Besides our pleasant surprise at discovering Bernard d’Abrera’s willingness to ‘buck the trend’ in this way, we were delighted to be permitted to reproduce some of his wonderful photography [print version]. We trust that readers will be encouraged by it to ponder anew the genius of the omnipotent and perfect Creator, and the bankruptcy of all humanistic philosophies which seek to set themselves up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5).
UPDATE: Bernard d’Abrera passed away on 13 January 2017 aged 76.
- This is the honorific title by which he is generally known in the scientific community in Europe. It does not imply that his degrees involved doctorates, but is on account of his voluminous scientific achievements. Return to text.
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