Now you see it, now you don’t!
Can we observe evolution?
Published: 10 January 2017 (GMT+10)
Many evolutionists seem to live with a kind of ‘schizophrenic’ mindset. They often claim evolution is ‘science’ and creation is ‘faith’—by which they mean blind faith not the biblical faith that’s connected to logic and evidence. But when someone touts science as being on their side, one naturally thinks of someone describing something observable, repeatable, and testable etc. After all, isn’t that what we were told in school science is based upon—observation and testability?
I’ll believe it when I see it!
Obviously if you are performing repeated experiments on something, then you are observing and experiencing the results in real time. With so many people declaring evolution is a ‘fact’ one would expect that evolutionists should be able to give us numerous examples of having observed evolution ‘in action’. How many do they actually have? None, according to the most famous evolution (and atheopathy) promoter on the planet!
“Evolution has been observed, it’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening.”1
Anyone with a rudimentary grasp of the English language can surely understand the conclusion. Richard Dawkins, the Amazon best-selling author of numerous books championing evolution, has admitted evolution hasn’t been observed!
Now this quote has surely caused Dawkins some pain as creationists quote him saying this in presentation after presentation, much to the chagrin of many of his evolution-believing devotees who have been convinced that evolution is a demonstrable fact.
And Dawkins isn’t alone. The most famous theistic evolutionary group has admitted the same thing.
Many still wonder why macroevolutionary changes have never been observed. The simple answer … is that we haven’t been watching long enough. The types of genetic mutations that eventually lead to macroevolutionary changes are rare, and this accounts for the slow pace of evolutionary development.2 [Emphasis mine]
So much for science in the observational sense. What to do?
Seeing is believing?
Some evolutionists take a completely different tack.
Actually, there is superabundant evidence for animals evolving under our eyes: British moths becoming darker since the Industrial Revolution (industrial melanization), insects evolving DDT resistance since World War II, malaria parasites evolving chloroquine resistance in the last two decades, and new strains of flu virus evolving every few years to infect us.3 [Hyperlinks added: to our articles dealing with these claims.]
But surely if these were good examples to use Dawkins (former Professor for Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University) and BioLogos (an evolutionary ‘think-tank’) would know about it and not have said what they did!
Of course the reason they didn’t use examples like this is that these are instances of natural selection, and unlike the average evolutionary ‘true believer’, more informed evolutionists understand that natural selection only selects from genetic information already present. It doesn’t create new distinct forms, functions and features in creatures which is what evolution requires.
Peppered Moths turning into Peppered Moths is not exactly proof that molecules turned into moths, mammoths and men over millions of years! As evolutionist L. Harrison Matthews admits in his 1971 Introduction to Darwin’s Origin of the Species;
“The experiments beautifully demonstrate natural selection—or survival of the fittest—in action, but they do not show evolution in progress, for however the populations may alter in their content of light, intermediate or dark forms, all the moths remain from beginning to end Biston betularia.”4
And this was before severe problems were found in the Peppered Moth story.
Trying to equivocate the words evolution, natural selection and ‘change over time’ is a common tactic used by many evolutionists—also called ‘bait-and-switch’. Changes in living things have certainly been observed from generation to generation, but that isn’t what people mean when they say the word evolution in a big picture sense. Also, creationists have long pointed out that natural selection is an important part of the creation model. Since creationists are informing more and more people (especially in the church), the average Christian isn’t being fooled by such tactics nearly as much anymore.
Mutations in the DNA coding are the supposed engine of evolution that create new de novo genetic information to appear that supposedly evolves creatures. But if evolution hasn’t been observed then logically mutations generating such information haven’t been observed either. As BioLogos says;
The types of genetic mutations that eventually lead to macroevolutionary changes are rare, and this accounts for the slow pace of evolutionary development.5
Let the spin begin
Recently some Dawkins defenders have come up with a way to try and explain away his ‘ … hasn’t been observed while it’s happening…’ admission by using an analogy to explain what Dawkins ‘really meant’.
For example, on the popular Yahoo Answers website, a search on key words ‘evolution has been observed but not when it’s happening’ shows one evolutionary internet warrior using this argument;
I suppose you agree that ‘aging’ is also accepted on faith. I mean no one has been observed constantly getting older. We do know people appear older at different points in time, but no aging has been observed “while it happens.”
And, of course, no one can identify the ‘transitional’ point where a young man becomes an old man. So, there's no evidence that humans age, right? This same logic would also explain why human growth has never been observed “while it happens.”
But aging is observed in ‘real time’! Embryonic development (aging in the sense of an organism’s development from a single cell to its mature form) is observed while happening all of the time by those studying fetal development, and aging in the sense from moving beyond full maturity towards geriatric 'old age' can be observed in real time as well.
We ‘age’ in that sense because of DNA damage (mutations) during cell replication. There are approximately 2,500 total DNA damaging events per hour6 in humans. Fortunately for us, most of that damage is repaired by ingenious repair machines coded by over 200 genes,6 so only a few of these mutations remain—but mutations are increasing. So aging is observed over the course of minutes/hours (under the microscope), days and weeks (just watch a Great Dane puppy during its formative growth spurt), months (watch a baby develop into a toddler) and years (just keep looking in the mirror every morning).
If the analogy of observing aging is like observing evolution occurring, have humans observed people being born and aging to later stages in life? Yes! But has anyone observed one creature turn into a different kind of creature with novel forms, functions and features during their own lifetime? The answer is a huge emphatic ‘no!’ according to Dawkins himself.
We are condemned to live only for a few decades and that’s too slow, too small a time scale to see evolution going on.7
Dawkins’ damage control
Several years after Dawkins initial ‘hasn’t been observed while it’s happening … ’ gaff he was on a TV program called The Genius of Charles Darwin where he attempted to clarify this ‘non-observable’ problem with evolution. Did it help?
Nobody has actually seen evolution take place over a long period but they have seen the after effects, and the after effects are massively supported. It is like a case in a court of law where nobody can actually stand up and say I saw the murder happen and yet you have got millions and millions of pieces of evidence which no reasonable person can possibly dispute.8
No! If it’s like a murder case where no one saw it happen then again, no one has observed evolution.
Unable to provide observational evidence for evolution, the atheist-founded-and-operated (anti-creationist lobbying group) National Center for Science Education (NCSE) tried to circumvent the problem in a different way by stating:
The failure of many students to understand and accept the fact of evolution is often a consequence of the naïve views they hold of the nature of science … . According to this naïve view, the key to the unique success of science at producing true knowledge is “The Scientific Method”, which, on the standard account, involves formulating hypotheses, making predictions, and then going into the laboratory to perform the crucial experiment. … In contrast, the work of many evolutionary biologists involves the reconstruction of the past. The methods they use do not conform to the standard view of “The Scientific Method”. (Emphasis mine)
So according to the NCSE, if you can’t actually prove your theory using controlled experiments, what do you do? Simply declare that only ‘naïve’ people think that the scientific method has anything to do with ‘science’! Incredible. So which is it? Is evolution science or history?
Evolutionist Ernst Mayr agreed;
Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science—the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain.9
A creationist couldn’t have said it better. Indeed, creationists have long pointed out the distinction between origins and operational science, and the above two evolutionists evidently agree with this distinction! For evolutionists, storytelling is ‘science’. They don’t believe it because they see it, they see it because they believe it!
They have fabricated an imagined history which cannot be verified by eyewitness accounts and given it a veneer of credibility by glossing over it with scientific terminology. And unfortunately many in the Christian community have bought into this narrative as a replacement for the true history recorded in God’s word.
They would do well to hold to the Apostle Paul’s instructions to Timothy;
… guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’, for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. (1 Timothy 6:20)
References and notes
- ‘Battle over evolution’ Bill Moyers interviews Richard Dawkins, Now, 3 December 2004, PBS network Return to text.
- biologos.org/questions/what-is-evolution, when accessed 2 September 2010. Return to text.
- Diamond, J., Who Are the Jews, Natural History 102(11):12–19, November 1993. Return to text.
- L. Harrison Matthews, FRS, Introduction to Darwin’s Origin of the Species, J. M. Dent & Sons, London, 1971, p. xi. Return to text.
- Ref 2. Return to text.
- Lees-Miller, S.P, DNA damage and DNA repair, Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, biomed.med.kyushu-u.ac.jp/admission/pdf/DNA_repair.pdf. Return to text.
- Richard Dawkins, Transcript: A conversation with Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss, 7pm | Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012 | ASU Gammage Auditorium. Return to text.
- The Genius of Charles Darwin, Series 1, (UK) Channel 4 TV: Sat 11 Oct 2008. Return to text.
- Ernst Mayr, Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought, Lecture 1999, ScientificAmerican.com, 2009. Return to text.