The revolt against Darwinism
Published: 11 December 2014 (GMT+10)
Do you remember the revolt of the scientists against the big bang theory for the origin of the universe? In 2004 a group of 33 leading scientists took out a paid advertisement in New Scientist.1 They titled it ‘Open Letter to the Scientific Community’, basically stating that the big bang theory was fundamentally flawed.
An article copying that appeared on www.rense.com titled ‘Big bang theory busted by 33 top scientists’ (27 May 2004). See screenshot left.
The list of names of scientists who agreed with the Statement—that is, disagreed with the theory of a big bang origin of the universe—is available here and many more added their names to that list.
These scientists only agreed on one thing. They were all united in their conviction that the big bang was a bust.
A renewed revolt against Darwinism
Now we may be seeing something similar in biological evolution. A website titled ‘A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism’ (www.dissentfromdarwin.org/) has a list of about 900 names of scientists who question whether the small changes that we do observe from mutations and natural selection operating on the existing genetic information in living organisms, can be extrapolated to explain all the complexity of life. In other words, how can it explain molecules-to-man evolution?
That website says,
We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.
In the universities, certainly those that I know and have worked in, neo-Darwinism is accepted as fact. Who are these scientists to question that supposed fact?
I don’t know what scientific or worldview position these scientists hold, or what their faith or belief systems are, but quite clearly not all are biblical creationists. And just as clearly, there is a groundswell against the idea of the ‘pond-scum to man, all by itself’ type of evolution, against the notion often labelled as the General Theory of Evolution, and particularly the mechanism of neo-Darwinism.
Darwinism is the speculation promoted by Charles Darwin that all life arose from a single-celled ancestor—which he later proposed may have come naturally from some ‘warm pond’—via naturally occurring variations filtered by natural selection. Since then, the mechanism has been refined, hence neo-= ‘new’ Darwinism. It is now taught that random mutations (DNA copying mistakes, of which Darwin was unaware) are the primary source of the variation from which natural selection then chooses. Mutations are thus ultimately the only explanation for all of the new, functional information which has to have arisen for microbes to become people.
Darwinian evolution also requires lots of deep time. That is a belief many of these dissidents likely hold to. We know that one of them does; Dr James Tour, a professing Christian and prominent chemist, who was recognized this year as one of the 50 most influential scientists in the world.2 He does not believe in the 6-day Creation account, the narrative history of the book of Genesis. He believes in long ages, an old earth and accepts the dating methods. He says it is because (my paraphrase) he cannot understand how God could have meant 6 ordinary days if He did not create the sun until Day 4, because there would be no sun to measure off the first 3 days.3 Thus in this area, he has rejected the authority of Scripture, which Jesus Himself believed and quoted from. Like so many, Tour has allowed human opinion to re-interpret Scripture for him. In this case, it is particularly sad, since it is actually quite simple to have evening and morning before the sun; and in fact it is even a further testimony to the veracity of the text, see How could the days of Genesis 1 be literal if the Sun wasn’t created until the fourth day?
But what is interesting is that he does confirm that most scientists do not understand how evolution could explain the existence of life nor its complexity (emphases added).2
“Let me tell you what goes on in the back rooms of science—with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners,” Tour stated. “I have sat with them, and when I get them alone, not in public—because it’s a scary thing, if you say what I just said—I say, ‘Do you understand all of this, where all of this came from, and how this happens?’ ”
The answer he inevitably receives, Tour explained, is: “No.”
“Every time that I have sat with people who are synthetic chemists, who understand this, they go, ‘Uh-uh. Nope.’ ” Tour said. “And if they’re afraid to say ‘yes’, they say nothing. They just stare at me, because they can’t sincerely do it.”
If evolution cannot account for life’s existence, then how did life originate? Tour is right when he says the most reasonable answer is simple.
“I believe fundamentally that God created us all,” he told the Houston Chronicle.
References and notes
- Lerner, E., Bucking the big bang, New Scientist 182(2448):20, 2004. Return to text.
- Haley, G., Renowned Chemist Says Evolutionists Do Not Understand the Origin of Life, christiannews.net, 13 October 2014. Return to text.
- Veritas Forum, Nanotech and Jesus Christ-James Tour at Georgia Tech, watch from 49:00. Return to text.
After reading your article I checked the link about the sun being created on the fourth day - then how could the days be measured without the sun before day 4? I was disappointed that that the simple answer was not there. Here it is: Genesis chapter 1 is a chiasm i.e. it is arranged in an a, b, c D c' b' a' structure. Day one and day 4 correspond: on the first day God creates light. On the fourth day the sun moon and stars. On the second day he separates the waters, the chiastic corresponding 5th day he creates the inhabitants of the waters. On the third day he raises the land from the waters (c.f. the resurrection) on the chiastic corresponding 6th day he creates all that inhabits the land. That leaves the apex of the chiasm. I doubt that you would find one scholar of Hebrew that would not tell you that the purpose of Genesis 1 is not to give a scientific explanation of creation: the purpose of the Chiasm is to point towards the 7th day, which God blessed, made Holy and Sanctified. This became encapsulation in the fourth commandment, so that we might never forget that God is the creator and we are the created. Every week we are to be reminded of this by our observance of the Sabbath.
On the three days of creation without sun remark: What kind of God is a God not being able to do extraordinary things? I mean things 'inexplicable' by the side of 'ordinary' scientific testings! As Hartnett rightly said, it was the light created by God which firstly gave to a rotating planet the light and dark side of its first 3 sets of 24 hours, to reflect His glory. Then, to confirm His POWER He squeezed in the remaining only three days heaps of things that a full evolution theory has not being able to 'convincingly' explain in its billions of eons of years of time. And then, He saved for His glory the seventh day for us to give Him glory and honour.
Thank YOU CMI for your invaluable mission!
I have to agree with this part of what R.M. said: "Those who do have appropriate qualifications realize that additional factors, such as gene flow and genetic drift, also have a mechanistic role – they MIGHT HAVE signed on that basis, not on the basis of denial of evolutionary theory. They MAY ALSO realize that there is vastly more to evolutionary theory than was conceived of by Darwin, .... and they took the wording of the website preamble to be confined solely to Darwin’s original proposal."
Even many of the scientists who disagreed with the Big Bang were not arguing for creationist views. They were arguing for other secular views.
Chances are these scientists too still believe in some type of evolution, but they have serious doubts whether neo-darwinism is really able to account for the vast variety of life that we see.
Dr. Tour is part of the intelligent design movement, but who knows what his specific beliefs are about how God was involved in the design of life.
So, while we all applaud these scientists for being willing to take an open stand and risk personal repercussions at their work or for future job applications, I think we all realize that they will just switch from one type of evolution to another. As was pointed out, nowadays, scientists are appealing to various things to make their case like gene duplication, gene flow, genetic drift, etc.
The Altenburg 16 is another group of accomplished evolutionists who recently publicly questioned neo-darwinism. This is progress, but unfortunately, it still doesn't mean these scientists are recognizing that a Creator is necessary to explain life.
But thanks for posting this. It's good to know. We'll see how this plays out and what response it receives from many hard-core evolutionist
This is actually older (the Discovery Institute issued it in 2001) than the Big Bang Dissent (whose authors, incidentally, wanted to replace a 13.8 billion-year-old universe originating in a Big Bang with an infinitely old steady-state universe -- I don't think you'd prefer that they prevail in the cosmological community).
Note that there is nothing in the statement that Charles Darwin (who stated that natural selection was the main but surely not sole cause of evolution), or Richard Dawkins (who admits natural factors beyond natural selection, even if he's not terribly interested in them), ...would deny (they assert only that natural selection is a "major mechanism" of common descent with modification).
Conversely, while many of the signers of the Scientific Dissent would probably prefer a stronger statement, nothing in the statement they actually signed disputes common descent, or suggests that any evidence supports creationism, intelligent design, or supernatural causes .... Presumably, a lot of the signers don't, in fact, favor a stronger or more creation-friendly statement.
It’s good to know that, even amongst atheists, there are those that are willing to publically declare their doubts in the supposedly impregnable fortress of evolution, but still it looks like this type of questioning will either be ignored or denied by those with vested interests in maintaining the hypothesis (whether that interest be maintaining funding, avoiding ridicule, or just plain atheism). Even when cherished ideas prove to be flawed, they are desperate to hang on to evolution. An article in the Independent on-line (11th Dec 14) regarding the Rosetta comet mission’s finding that comets hold the wrong type of water to have been responsible for bringing water to Earth, shows this unwillingness to admit defeat. They simply moved the supposed source of Earth’s water somewhere else. The title of the article states ‘Rosetta mission (shows) water on Earth likely came from asteroid collisions several hundred million years later.’ (brackets mine). Shows? I guess the little green men told them. In truth we didn't need comets or asteriods to bring water to Earth; water has been here from the beginning of creation ― ‘For this they wilfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water’ 2 Peter 3: 5.
What an eye-opening article. On the website mentioned there are numerous scientists that are skeptical of Darwinian evolution.
Chris Williams, Ph.D., Biochemistry Ohio State University made the statement, "Clearly the origin of life -- the foundation of evolution - is still virtually all speculation, and little if no fact."
With so many evolutionists trying to say that the "Origin of Life" has nothing to do with evolution and yet these scientists state it's the very foundation of Darwinian evolution, that pops that balloon of doesn't it, but of course CMI has been saying this all along.
Are there any arguments left for evolution? There is really only one: ‘I don’t want to believe in a Creator-God, I don’t want to be accountable to anyone for how I live, and evolution is the only alternative, so I am going to believe in evolution regardless of what the evidence shows and proves.'
Re the origin of life being part of evolution; indeed, we have been saying that all along, as you point out. And even the Harvard university website confirms that it is all part of evolution, as this article makes clear.
A little more transparency and a little less superficiality would be welcome here. Firstly, a look at the list of the 900 signatories reveals, at least on the basis of their stated areas of expertise, that a large number of them do not necessarily have any more than a layman’s knowledge of the subject. Those who do have appropriate qualifications realize that additional factors, such as gene flow and genetic drift, also have a mechanistic role – they might have signed on that basis, not on the basis of denial of evolutionary theory. They may also realize that there is vastly more to evolutionary theory than was conceived of by Darwin, remarkable as that was, and they took the wording of the website preamble to be confined solely to Darwin’s original proposal. Lastly, few scientists would argue against careful examination of the evidence against any scientific theory, knowing that all scientific knowledge is provisional.
Your article also gives an expanded paraphrase of the actual wording of the statement that the scientists expressed agreement with, and contains wording that certainly could have affected whether or not someone would sign. Please do not put these alternate words in the mouths of the signatories.
When all of the above factors are considered, your article becomes much less persuasive.
What a remarkable ability you have to examine the qualifications and experience of 900 people in such a short time and come to a plausible assessment of their expertise, or not. That is only exceeded by your ability to speculate what was in the minds of people when they signed the statement. Just these two factors considered means that your comment is not particularly persuasive.