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Evolution is evidently not scientific

Review of Taken Without Consent: How atheists have hijacked science by David Williams
Kindle Direct Publishing, Seattle, 2020

by

book-cover
Published: 11 August 2020 (GMT+10)

David Williams is a British lawyer—with particular expertise in family law—rather than a scientist. Therefore, he is not qualified to discuss and critique the subject of Darwinian Evolution. That is, if you side with some of his critics that, “as a ‘non-scientist’ [his] arguments carry little, if any, weight as [he has] no expertise in science in general or in biology in particular” (p. 8). But since when was a matter decided solely according to a person’s academic credentials or authority? The field notes and writings of amateur naturalist Charles Darwin, returning from the Beagle voyage (1831–1836), were greeted warmly by many scientists of his day, but he had no formal scientific qualifications. This sort of objection to Williams’ argument is taken apart in a scholarly, lawyer-style. Williams’ profession is to know the law and the English judicial system. In his role as author, he places the reader on the jury bench to give a verdict on the main question addressed in this book: “How did we get here?” The late Phillip E. Johnson took a similar approach with Darwin on Trial.1

Taken Without Consent is clearly laid out and very readable. Williams starts with how something is proved in a court of law (chapters 1–3). This is followed by the application of the law court (questioning the evidence and making legal proof) to the case of Darwinian evolution (chapters 4–14). The first section is far from being a dry and unpalatable read because of Williams’ prolific use of anecdotes, interesting real-life court cases, and plenty of humour. He continues on a similar note throughout the rest of the book, making this a page-turner.

wikipedia.orgbat-3
Some bats use sophisticated echolocation for hunting.

Establishing facts

In order to prove something, it is essential to establish the facts/evidence (chapters 4–6). Observation of systems in nature is part of ‘operational science’, which the author calls ‘evidential science’. As an example, Williams quotes at length from Richard Dawkins’ book The Blind Watchmaker. Here he is rather complimentary, because Dawkins carefully explains the complex echolocation system in bats, an observed fact. Inevitably, Michael Behe is quoted regarding malaria and sickle cell disease, two tragic facts of life. Behe’s irreducible complexity argument, relating to the flagellum in particular, is also extensively addressed.

wikipedia.orgflagellum
The bacterial flagellum.

Five elements

A key section of the book lists five essential elements that the author argues have to be proven (without exception) for evolution to be true. “Semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit (He who asserts must prove)” (p. 52). These evolutionary assertions (detailed in chapters 7–9) are:

  1. Billions of years is a fact of Earth history and life thereon.
  2. Common descent accounts for all organisms—living and extinct—in the past, present, and future.
  3. Natural selection has been central to evolutionary thinking since its inception.
  4. Mutations provide the raw material for the genome.
  5. Unguided processes, no intelligence allowed.

The first item is largely ignored, other than that evidence shows even billions of years are still not enough time for evolution to occur. Not much time is spent on the second either. However, an important question arises when quoting from Origin of Species regarding evolution’s progress through many, gradual, small changes: “‘numerous, successive, slight modifications’ from what?” Darwin doesn’t discuss the genesis of the common ancestor (p. 147)! All Darwin talks about is organisms that already reproduce. No wonder, because only an existing genome—of an organism that can reproduce—can be altered. Only reproducing things can pass on changes to the next generation. The third point, although explained by Williams, is not disputed. Natural selection is commonly accepted, by proponents as well as opponents of evolution, simply because it is observable. Williams reminds us, “that natural selection can only act upon the animal as a whole” (p. 160). This is often forgotten, but is important: natural selection cannot cherry pick mutations. What’s more, one nucleotide change in the DNA code (even if it is a beneficial one) has a knock-on effect, as the DNA is read in multiple ways.

By far the most space is taken up to critique and ultimately dispel the fourth item, the evolutionary claim concerning mutations. This is partly done by using Richard Dawkins’ example of monkeys typing Shakespeare. That Dawkins doesn’t come out unscathed is an enormous understatement, particularly since this analogy is riddled with fallacies. Foremost among the objections to Dawkins’ example is that it is a guided process, since it has a target (the opposite of the fifth item): Methinks it is like a weasel.

Science or philosophy?

Before a matter is decided in a court of law, the judge will summarise the facts, followed by what has to be proven, together with the applicable law(s). This is included in the final part: the verdict (chapter 16). Introducing this by a very biased example of a judge in a real court-case, David Williams dons the judge’s wig and gives his tongue-in-cheek ‘partial’ summary about the case against evolution. Then he invites the reader to decide: Have all five Darwinian evolution elements been proved beyond reasonable doubt (i.e. to the point of being sure)? In effect, he’s asking whether Darwinian evolution is a guilty masquerade of science. If it fails any of these five tests, can we therefore logically conclude that we got here by natural processes only (i.e. without a supernatural Intelligence)? The answer is a clear no, as he has made mincemeat of the claims regarding mutations. Williams admits that the evolutionary stories put forward often seem plausible at first glance. Nonetheless, they do not stand up to scrutiny; the devil is in the detail.2

If some think it is unfair to give a so-called ‘partial’ (biased) summary, before posing such a profound question, they should ask themselves: Is it fair of atheists to have hijacked science, by defining it as methodological naturalism (chapter 15)? This, by definition, excludes a Supernatural explanation of origins. When the science is not on your side, the only way out is, as Williams states, to “convince people that your position is scientific but someone else’s is unscientific”. This way, “you get the powerful message across that your position is true and the other position is false” (p. 315).

Williams points out, “it is inevitable that judges will have formed their own view of the evidence and of the guilt or otherwise of the defendants” (p. 342). But don’t let someone else—the author or the evolutionist—be the judge. Rather, evidence must be scrutinised to see which perspective holds up in the face of the facts. “Evidence decides arguments, not experts” (p. 9). If only experts are qualified to make a judgement on evolution, why then is there continual evolutionary propaganda in mainstream media, educational systems from early formative years, and throughout many avenues of life? “Either the evidence is accessible and capable of being understood by non-scientists or it is not” (p. 11).

What’s the verdict? Do we follow the evidence where it leads, or rather trust in man-made stories adhered to by the majority? There is no such thing as consensus science, and countless efforts have exposed the nakedness of evolution’s hollow claims. No good judge listens to one side only. A cross examination must take place, as done in a proper court of law. This book is just such a cross examination, and a very useful one.

The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him (Proverbs 18:17).

References and notes

  1. Johnson, P. E., Darwin on Trial, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1991. Return to text.
  2. Some may object to this expression. I would like to say that evolution is not of God (it robs Him of His glory; see Romans 1:20) and people who passionately ‘preach’ evolutionary stories are not proclaiming what is clearly stated in Scripture: God created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. Matthew 12:30 starts with Jesus saying, “Whoever is not with me is against me”. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

Philip P.
I found this a very interesting commentary which I can use to back my belief. Well done Lucien. I wont need to read Williams book.
Tas Walker
We are glad you enjoyed the review. Williams’ book is very good, and well worth the read, if you have the opportunity! We are pleased to see people like Williams doing their best to spread the same message that we do. He makes a deliberate effort to speak the same language as evolutionists so that they will remain open to what he is saying. Some may see this as a form of compromise, but that perhaps misunderstands the author and his method.

David G.
One of the challenges we often have in dealing with people who cite 'science' and imagine that it is opposed to 'faith' (because they don't understand Christian faith...because we perhaps fail to properly communicate it...), is that knowledge is established by reason and reason is dependent upon our understanding of the world as a place where reason is possible, reflective of how the world really is, and meaningful for understanding. The route to 'science' is via theology: what people believe about what really is, then philosophy: how we understand, argue and establish warrant for our beliefs or understanding, and finally what the ancients called 'rhetoric' or argument; and barristers are well placed to guide us here. I look forward to reading this book and passing it to one of my relatives who has Legal Studies as a subject at school.
Pratha S.
What this book talks about comes as no surprise to me. I never have believed in evolution and never will. For one simple reason -- what we see in the everyday world simply doesn't say 'evolution' -- it says what the Bible says! All you have to do is look around you -- what do you see? You see what God's Word says! Evolutionists can try to 'explain' all they want to -- I go by what I SEE. And what I see is what God's Word says! It's just that simple. You don't have to have any complicated explanations. And you don't need a ton of degrees either. You just go by what you see -- and what you see is exactly what God's Word says! If the world around you says what the Bible says, that's what you go by. Not by something that DOESN'T exist -- like evolution.
Jack S.
Sheer logic dictates these realities:
1. Something cannot come from nothing. (Note: Even an idea does not come from nothing -- it comes from someone.)
2. Life cannot come from non-life -- there is no scientific evidence that can prove otherwise.
3. Intelligence cannot come from no intelligence -- there is no scientific evidence that can prove otherwise.
So --
4. "In the beginning" (before our universe -- scientific evidence reveals a beginning) there was something -- since something can't come from nothing.
5. The "something" that was in the beginning had life -- because life exists, and life can't come from non-life.
6. The "something" that was in the beginning also had intelligence – of course, because intelligence exists,
and non-intelligence can't produce intelligence.
7. The "something" that was in the beginning is God -- obviously, because only in God could life and intelligence exist at the beginning of the universe.
8. Ipso facto God created.

... keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith...
1 Timothy 6:20-21 -- KJV

Since God created all that is, He must have done it for a purpose. This is explained by the Scriptures.
Dan M.
Evolutionists say, as a layman, I am not equipped to comment on the hypothesis of Darwinian evolution? But I can and have equipped myself by reading and understanding science for over twenty years. I also maintained complex aeronautical machines during my career and have excellent troubleshooting skills that come in handy regarding this debate. I or anyone else do not need any extra letters after their name to understand the world, (we all do science to a different degree). I know a lot more about science than Darwin did, just by the mere fact of the scientific advancements over the last 161 years. Darwin never conceived of these new discoveries, and we know this by his statement that he thought the cell was a bag of salts, Wrong! Junk DNA, wrong again! Blunders of evolutionist thought. They need the creation to be simple for evolution to work, and it isn't. So you could say I am more qualified than Darwin to debunk or affirm his hypothesis than he? My verdict is, that it is an unverifiable belief and therefore a religion that must be taken on faith. I, on the other hand, have a book, that tells me exactly what happened and why. When looking at the world through the biblicle lens; the world makes perfect sense, physically and spiritually. It is intrinsically ordered and complex to the point it must have a maker. But something is wrong! There is so much evil that mankind perpetrates on one another and the genome, as well as other aspects of the creation, are falling apart, (entropy) at a rate Darwinian theology can't explain. It is devolving! Genetic mutations are driving the genome in the wrong direction towards meaninglessness, (Genetic entropy, J. C. Sanford)? The world is physically and spiritually sick and needs a cure. Jesus the Christ, is that cure! John 14:6.
John C.
There is no meaningful Or convincing evidence for macro evolution - none!
Walters W.
Maybe maybe not. But no one cares about the battle between 'law' and science. Everyone has seen the law used to protect the wicked and convict the innocent. So it would cut no ice with most people. What would count is what we in Australia call the 'pub test'. That is would an ordinary reasonable person with no skin in the game' accept it.
Lucien Tuinstra
No one cares...? Never use absolutes! ;-)
It is important to distinguish between the law, law-givers, and law-enforcers. Two of these are people, who are sinful and fallible. This is why we have digressed and ended up with some laws that are bad. Note what Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:8–11. Verse 8 reads, "Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully". Of course Paul is speaking about God's Law, which is in accordance with the Gospel (see v. 11).
I know what you mean with the 'pub test', but even if you found a pub (or cafe, or restaurant, etc.) where everybody agrees fully (utopia), that still doesn't mean the people outside are all in agreement. Likewise, truth is not determined by consensus (or even majority vote). Perhaps an interesting experiment would be for you to hold a survey in your 'local': who subscribes to evolution and who believes in creation? I'd be curious to find out how you get on...
Nicholas S.
How can time itself or the fabric of time be anything else but a vehicle for which events can happen? Time, no matter how deep one likes to conceive of it, does not have any intrinsic power of its own for anything to happen e.g. leave a hill of a thousand tonnes of bauxite for a trillion years you will not see it then changed into an aluminum saucepan by itself. Likewise, leaving cosmic dust or exploded stars or whatever other disarranged particles for a trillion years will not be changed into something as organised as an aluminum saucepan. As simple as a saucepan in comparison to this planet earth with all its fine tuned structure, it is inconceivable that a saucepan or the earth could come into being without thought process. The complexities of animate life compared to inanimate objects, cannot be ignored. If there are multi-universes with even multiple dimensions of other universes within those universes, the more one tries to camouflage the process of thought by describing more and more fine tuned hypothetical universes, the more the demands of thought required for those universes to come into being. Rather than escape recognising the Creator, anti-creationists are painting themselves into a cosmic corner. Consider the first day of the first atom to be made, with its amazing structure, in this three dimensional universe. We all know of the immense heat, light, radiation i.e. energy locked away in the constrained atom, something we can't even see. If we annihilate an atom, we all know what happens. All of that immense heat, light, radiation i.e. energy is released. From something we can't even see. It would have to be someone far more powerful than the atom, to create the atom. Praise God that He would even think of us, tiny spec of 'Man' in all of this, His Creation
Lucien Tuinstra
For those of us whose physics is a bit rusty:
Energy can manifest itself in numerous ways, and one type of energy can be converted into another type of energy. For instance, potential energy (water in a reservoir at altitude) can be converted into kinetic energy (allowing the water to flow downward), which in turn can be turned into electric energy (by letting it drive a water turbine in a power station).
Mass can also be converted to energy. Their correlation is given by Einstein's famous equation E=mcc (energy = mass times the square of c, which is the speed of light).
If you're interested in learning about atoms, try these:

We are less than dust.
Atoms and God’s order in the fundamental building blocks of all substance.

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