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Living Tradition, Oblates of Wisdom, P.O. Box 13230, St. Louis, MO 63157, USA
Walt Brown, In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood
(6th rev. ed.: Center for Scientific Creation, 5612 N. 20th Place,
Phoenix, AZ 85016, U.S.A.; 1995;
230 pp.; soft cover: $20.45 incl. charges;
hard cover: $27.45 incl. charges)
Reviewed by John F. McCarthy
When I was first confronted with the Darwinian theory of evolution, in biology classes back in 1949, like some other students I felt somewhat outraged at the one-sided and emotional presentation of the story of Charles Darwin, and I also felt dissatisfied by the obvious logical gaps in the evidence for the theory. Not only did chance seem to be an untenable substitute for the design and purpose of the natural world around us, but, even to a new student, the odds against the emergence of the living species by chance alone seemed overwhelming. Yet the theory proposed in Darwin's The Origin of Species 1 was being steadfastly taught as a kind of mind-set of biological science.
When we came to the Descent of Man, another literary creation of Darwin, 2 we were given the standard series of links from monkey to Homo sapiens (Ramapithecus and the Australopithecines, Java man, Peking man, Piltdown man, Neanderthal man). Details about the fossil evidence were not discussed. The arguments for this supposed "descent of man" were, therefore, not impressive, but the artistic skill of writers and illustrators made the most of the meager evidence. As a typical university student, I had no access to critical information apart from my own training in philosophy whereby I could see spontaneously the absurdity of the idea that the obvious design of the natural world could have been self-produced. And the logic of the presentation was weak. But the thought that all biological species might have evolved according to the divine plan hung on in my mind as a vague possibility in the absence of conclusive proof to the contrary.
It was only a few years later that I ran across Raymond Murray's Man's Unknown Ancestors. 3 Murray was a theistic evolutionist, largely deceived by the error and fraud behind much of the evidence for the theory, but he did bring forward enough critical facts and observations to shake the claims of the Darwinian models of "emerging man." Since then I have seen enough factual evidence against the Darwinian tenets to be able to conclude that Darwinism thrives today only by reason of widespread ignorance of what empirical science has really discovered, combined with a deep emotional reluctance on the part of many to accept the alternative that God created the world we live in.
Molecular biologist Michael Denton is a good example of this emotional hesitation. Although he was a non-believer in divine creation, he had by 1985 recognized on grounds of sheer factual evidence and logical reason that Darwinism (neo-Darwinism) was being retained as an "unchallenged dogma" among empirical scientists merely as the result of "non-scientific factors of a social, psychological and philosophical nature." 4 Denton had ascertained that "neither of the two fundamental axioms of Darwin's macroevolutionary theory ... have been validated by one single empirical discovery or scientific advance since 1859." 5 These two never scientifically verified axioms of Darwin were (a) that there is a functional continuum of all species of life leading back to a primeval cell and (b) that the design of all living things is the result of a blind random process. In his book, Denton succeeded in presenting an abundance of convincing technical evidence to refute these two Darwinian axioms, thus rendering untenable the Darwinian outlook on the origin of living species, and yet he could not let go of the theory, because he was not emotionally prepared to accept the alternative that God designed the systems of living organisms. 6 So he continued to believe in this refuted atheistic dogma simply because it satisfied for him a "deep psychological need for an all-embracing explanation for the origin of the world." 7 Thus he shows to us that the solution to the problem of Darwinism (in its various neo-Darwinian expressions) involves, not simply finding the falsity of its conclusions, but also being open to accept the reality of its obvious alternative, divine creation. 8
Just as Michael Denton realized then that he was grappling with the fascination of a false system, so the objective arguments against Darwinism which he presents from a solid technical viewpoint should cause any Darwinist or neo-Darwinist to begin to wonder why he believes in Darwinism at all. Not only are the arguments against Darwinism continuing to be published in ever more refined and polished form, but anti-Darwinists have now advanced to rigorous technical analyses of Darwinism as a thought process and teaching method. Thus we have available in English such recently published works as Phillip Johnson's Darwin on Trial and Walter ReMine's The Biotic Message. Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson uses the logic of the legal profession to analyze the reasoning and assumptions of Darwinism and to examine the factual evidence as to "whether a mechanism is known that can accomplish the large-scale changes which the theory of evolution supposes to have occurred." 9 He finds that the "scientific naturalism" underlying Darwin's theory of evolution came to occupy "a dominant cultural position" by drawing out "the spiritual and ethical implications of its creation story," that is, by becoming a religion. 10
ReMine critically examines the claims of evolutionary theory in terms of a "message theory" whose central biotic message is that "life is the product of a single designer" and "was intentionally designed to resist all other interpretations of origin." 11 His general conclusion is that evolutionists "have no testable scientific theory for the origin of life," but instead they "throw out our best science for no other reason than to protect their philosophical commitment to naturalism." Unlike evolutionists, "the creationist can embrace science whole-heartedly." Thus, "creation is not merely our best science; it is our only science." 12
Books uncovering the false claims of evolutionists have become so numerous that well-prepared summaries are greatly needed, especially for introductory and classroom purposes. Admirably designed to meet this need is the sixth revised and augmented edition of Walt Brown's In the Beginning, which is the principal subject of this review. The work represents the carefully studied conclusions of a doctoral graduate in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It contains 130 different categories of evidence, graphically organized and presented as a textbook and resource book for students and teachers alike. The book is magnificently printed, with outstanding pictures and plates in full color on glossy paper and with numerous figures and tables. It has the characteristics of a first-class textbook, especially in its refutation of an alleged upward transformation of species from the more simple to the more complex. Dr. Brown accurately entitles the first part of his book "The Scientific Case for Creation." Therein he lines up, clearly and concisely, forty reasons, comprising forty areas of empirical observation, to show that "organic evolution has never been observed" (p. 5) and that the theory of organic evolution has every appearance of being invalid (conclusion on p. 17). I do not see how any honest believer in biological evolution could read these forty arguments and not have his belief in evolution shaken by their solidity and logical coherence. What comes through consistently is that contemporary biological science is on creation's side, not on the side of Darwinism.
For instance, Brown points out (reason 6) that "rarely, if ever, is a mutation beneficial to an organism in its natural environment." He is talking about the kind of changes that would lead significantly toward a different species of individuals, granted that microevolution, involving only minor chemical alterations or changes in size, shape, or color within a kind of living things (such as the dog, the cat, the horse) is a commonly observed phenomenon (p. 5). The empirical evidence shows that "no known mutation has ever produced a form of life having greater complexity and viability than its ancestors" (p. 6). A good example of this is experimentation with fruit flies. In my college textbook of fifty years ago, the fruit fly was presented, after forty years of experimentation, as a prime exhibit for the occurrence of mutations. In fact, by breeding fruit flies under X-rays over many generations, researchers had been able produce a variety of mutations, such as flies with additional eyes, additional wings, etc. But what the textbook did not point out was that the mutated eyes could not see, the mutated wings could not fly, the mutated limbs could not function. By bombarding the genes of these flies with X-rays, the researchers had simply produced monsters. Now, after an honest evaluation of all of the evidence, Walt Brown can report: "More than ninety years of fruit fly experiments, involving 3,000 consecutive generations, give absolutely no basis for believing that any natural or artificial process can cause an increase in complexity and viability."
My biology textbook, in presenting the supposedly scientific idea that life has ascended in evolutionary fashion from molecule to man, made a single unexplained jump from the molecule to the living cell. As a student, I could see spontaneously that this was a very big jump, but I did not realize exactly how big a jump it was. Now, Dr. Brown can tell us from scientifically verified fact that molecules of DNA in a living cell are enormously complex, so much so that the 46 coils of DNA in one human cell, if unfolded and linked together, would extend to seven feet! We students were being hoodwinked over the conjectured jump from non-living to living.
What about some simpler kinds of cells? Microbiologist Michael Denton could present in 1985 these astounding facts:
Molecular biology has shown that even the simplest of all living systems on earth today, bacterial cells, are exceedingly complex objects. ... Molecular biology has also shown that the basic design of the cell system is essentially the same in all living systems on earth from bacteria to mammals. In all organisms the roles of DNA, mRNA and protein are identical. The meaning of the genetic code is also virtually identical in all cells. The size, structure and component design of the protein synthetic machinery is practically the same in all cells. In terms of their biochemical design, therefore, no living system can be thought of as being primitive or ancestral with respect to any other system, nor is there the slightest empirical hint of an evolutionary sequence among all the incredibly diverse cells on earth. For those who hoped that molecular biology might bridge the gulf between chemistry and biochemistry, the revelation was profoundly disappointing. 13
My biology textbook had left me to imagine that some singular reaction, perhaps a stroke of lightning, had caused a few simple chemicals, gathered in just the right sequence, to become the first living cell - and a self-replicating cell at that. But forty years later microbiologist Michael Denton was able to demonstrate that even the tiniest bacterial cell "is in effect a veritable microminiaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million [American one hundred billion] atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world." 14 A few chemicals arranged by chance? Of the thousands of protein molecules needed for the life of the tiniest living cell, most are made up of "several thousand atoms folded into an immensely complex spatial arrangement" 15 and "some DNA molecules may consist of several million subunits." 16 Thus, concludes Denton, molecular biology "has served only to emphasize the enormity of the gap" between the living cell and non-living matter. 17
There has never been a logical reason for believing that any random process could produce complex organs, such as an eye, an ear, or a brain. But, as part of their pitch, evolutionists have suggested that this has happened in thousands or millions of instances. Now, writers like Walt Brown (p. 7) can point out that an adult human brain "contains over 1014 (a hundred thousand billion) electrical connections," many of which have no use without the others. Darwin admitted that his theory would absolutely break down "if it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications." 18 Denton shows that the avian lung and the feather will just about do the trick. 19 In general, an historic difficulty for Darwinian theory is that a blind, groping process having no advance knowledge that sight, hearing, etc. are even possible cannot reasonably be visualized as building over a stretch of many generations either organs or other bodily parts that are unserviceable and cumbersome until they have been completely formed. Now the data of empirical science have widely verified this insight.
Brown points out (reason 9) that in the fossil record all species appear fully developed. The transitional forms essential to Darwin's theory simply are not there. Not only do the gaps remain, but, as Denton observes, "there are fewer transitional species between the major divisions than between the minor." 20 And there have been no observed transitional forms (living or dead) from one macro-species to another. In fact, animals like the duck-billed platypus, says Brown (p. 7), "have organs completely unrelated to their alleged evolutionary ancestors."
Brown succinctly expresses fourteen additional reasons why "life is so complex that chance processes, even over billions of years, cannot explain its origin" (pp. 12-16). As Brown puts it, with the advance of science "the obvious 'missing links'" in Darwin's hypothetical evolutionary tree "have multiplied enormously, and the difficulties in 'bridging' these gaps have become even more apparent" (p. 16). And they are becoming ever more apparent. Hence, the scene is now set for a great paradigm shift away from Darwinism.
There are, all together, 104 figures and about 53 pages of endnotes. The book can be studied without them, but the critical reader will find them very impressive. To prove his points when arguing against current evolutionary theories, Brown does not, for the most part, cite the opinions of anti-evolution writers, but rather those of defenders of Darwinism. The quotations from Darwinian scientists against their own theory are impressive. One gets the idea that, in each particular area of the life sciences, the most objective thinkers are aware that transformism is not being substantiated in their own field, but they believe on human faith alone that it is being supported in other areas. And so the myth passes around the circle. Brown's method of citing mainly from works by evolutionist authorities against their own evolutionary belief is effective, and he gives in addition a bibliography of twenty-five books and seven periodicals for further reading. Detailed arguments for points that are only summarized in Brown's book may be found in these recommended sources.
Evolutionists tell us that reptiles evolved into birds. They have no mechanism to show how this could have happened, and about the only significant fossil discoveries to back up their claim belong to what they have called Archaeopteryx (lit. "Ancient Wing"), represented by two main specimens "found" in Germany and sold by Karl Häberlein in 1861 and by his son Ernst in 1877 for large sums of money. The British Museum bought the first one, "sight unseen" and to this day has kept it on display. The 1877 specimen is held by the Berlin Museum. Archaeopteryx has been described as a "feathered dinosaur" and has been hailed as evidence that birds did evolve from reptiles. Brown dedicates four pages to these specimens.
Malcolm Bowden, in a study of these same specimens, points out that the feathers are complete, not part scale and part feather, and he notes also that the feathers of a bird develop from a different part of the embryo than do the scales of a reptile. 21 Brown observes (p. 152) that the skeletal features of these two specimens "are certainly not suitable for flight," and yet, according to Bowden, "it is clear from the impressions of the feathers of Archaeopteryx that they were used for flying, for the shaft (rachis) is not in the center of the feather." 22
These facts should already make the two specimens suspicious to any historian. But there is more. Since 1983 various experts have claimed that the fossil of Archaeopteryx on display in the British museum is a forgery. They claim that the two surfaces of the split slab do not match exactly. Bowden has carefully examined these slabs, and he "can vouch that the differences in the depth of the impressions on the two surfaces is obvious." The forgery is alleged to have been perpetrated by "spreading a thin layer of limestone paste on a slab of rock in which was embedded a genuine fossil, and then imprinting the feathers upon it." 23 On the counterslab there is a minute blob of a material that may have been used to receive the impressions of the feathers but was missed when the rest of the material was scraped off. Brown (p. 152) shows an enlarged photograph of the blob. Marks of brushing and scraping are said to be visible. 24 Bowden has discovered that the two fossils were found in an area of Germany that was "notorious for the fabrications of 'curios,'" and that a hoax was suspected by some experts from the very beginning of the alleged discovery. 25 Brown lists several other indications of forgery, including the results of an X-ray resonance spectograph in 1986. The British Museum has given weak answers and "has refused further testing, a shocking position for a scientific organization, and one which raises suspicions to the breaking point" (Brown, p. 155).
The ape-men of biology classes in the 1940s have hung on in the popular imagination, even though they have been discarded in the scientific world. Brown summarizes (p. 11) the outcome of these invented "missing links." "Nebraska man" was fabricated from one unusual-looking tooth discovered in 1922. What this tooth was supposed to signify is depicted in an artist's drawing published in the Illustrated London News of 1922 (reproduced by Brown on page 11). Nebraska man and his wife look distinctly ape-like in the drawing, but they, nevertheless, faded away after 1927, when it was demonstrated that the tooth belonged to an extinct pig.
"Ramapithecus," since 1978 is now known for certain to have been "just an ape." Brown (p. 50) quotes Roger Lewin in Bones of Contention as remarking: "The dethroning of Ramapithecus - from putative first human in 1961 to extinct relative of the orangutan in 1982 - is one of the most fascinating, and bitter, sagas in the search for human origins."
The "Australopithecines," which arose in the minds of anthropologists from bones found in South Africa by Dr. Raymond Dart in 1924, were imagined as being "large-jawed, small-brained, standing about four feet tall and walking in approximately human fashion, not yet men but a pre-human phase of hominid evolution." 26 Brown (p. 11) cites recent studies which indicate that they are an extinct species of apes which did not walk upright or show any other human characteristics.
"Pithecanthropus erectus" ("Java man") was announced to an international congress of zoologists by Eugene Dubois in 1895. It arose in the researcher's imagination from a skullcap and a thighbone found 39 feet apart. Dubois did not tell the congress that he had found in the same stratum two decidedly human skulls as well as parts of four other thighbones of apes. After 42 years of notoriety, he finally admitted in 1937 that "Java man" was just a large gibbon: "Pithecanthropus was not a man, but a gigantic genus allied to the Gibbons" (quoted by Brown on p. 51).
"Piltdown man" is now "universally acknowledged to have been a hoax, and yet it was in textbooks for more than forty years" (Brown, p. 11). At Piltdown in England, Charles Dawson found during four years of excavations from 1908 to 1912 a human skullcap and, nearby, a broken lower jawbone which was ape-like except that its teeth showed human wearing down. An important canine tooth was missing. In 1913 Teilhard de Chardin found the canine tooth. In 1915 Dawson claimed a similar find two miles distant. This ape-man, estimated to have lived 500,000 years ago, was unmasked after forty years when it was proved by tests that the jawbone belonged to an ape that had just recently died and the teeth had been filed down by modern hands as well as stained with chemicals to make them look more ancient. 27
"Sinanthropus" ("Peking man") was "discovered" by Dr. Davidson Black, Dr. Pei, and others, beginning in 1927. From a molar tooth and a skull, Black made a model according to his own imagination and the hopes of the Rockefeller Foundation, which was providing a yearly grant of $20,000 for the research. Father Patrick O'Connell, who was in China at the time and who studied the results as minutely as possible, concluded that Dr. Black had set out to produce a new species of ape-man from the evidence of a single tooth, confident that "the public he had in view would not be too exacting in demanding proofs." 28 Teilhard de Chardin was with Dr. Black as an observer and helped to build up the image. The suspicious circumstances of the site (a human lime-quarry and kiln) and the presence of human bones were not properly reported. All the evidence for this new species of ape-man mysteriously disappeared in the 1940s. According to O'Connell, 29 the fraud of "Peking man" was discovered in France in the 1940s when all of the data regarding the case were carefully compared. Brown summarizes the matter by noting that many experts today consider these bones to have been the remains of monkeys which were consumed as food by men working long ago at the lime quarry.
"Neanderthal man" was for a century depicted by artists as stooped and ape-like, based partly upon the remains of some individuals who had been afflicted with bone diseases. Recent studies show that "Neanderthal man, Heidelberg man, and Cro-Magnon man were completely human" and stood just as erect as modern men do (Brown, p. 11).
Brown (p. 51) summarizes the scientific value of these alleged discoveries with a quote from W.R. Thompson in his Introduction to The Origin of Species: "The success of Darwinism was accompanied by a decline in scientific integrity. ... A striking example, which has only recently come to light, is the alteration of the Piltdown skull so that it could be used as evidence for the descent of man from the apes; but even before then a similar instance of tinkering with evidence was finally revealed by the discoverer of Pithecanthropus [Java man], who admitted, many years after his sensational report, that he had found in the same deposits bones that are definitely human."
With this long array of bogus ape-men, of wrongly reconstructed fossils, of over-estimates and under-estimates on the part of palaeontologists, of circular arguments, of distortions of the evidence to fit hoped-for results, of the suppression of counter-evidence that does not fit the model, of forgeries, frauds, and free-wheeling imagination, it is saddening to observe how many historians continue to be supremely uncritical when it comes to evaluating the claims of evolutionists. The lack of objectivity which has characterized much pro-evolutionary research is the kind of mental object that historians should be equipped to handle, and yet it often appears that not even a doubt crosses their minds. The explanation of this blindness lies not so much in historical method as in reasons of a psychological and sociological nature.
It was quite disappointing a short time ago to observe the vehemence with which a history teacher of my acquaintance ranted against those who might doubt the theory of evolution and the upward transformation of species from molecule to modern man. Why, he declared, all of the Nobel Prize winners accept the fact of evolution! What amazed me especially was that a teacher of history would not even suspect the prejudice that might lie behind such a consensus. It is not only possible but even likely that the Nobel Prize Committee has tended to disqualify from receiving the Nobel Prize any natural scientist who does not subscribe to the theory of evolution, no matter what other qualifications he might have. And that, together with other sociological factors, is the probable reason for this history teacher's impressive statistic.
Yet, not quite all of the Nobel Prize winners for natural science do adhere to the theory of evolution. A few years ago I was informed by a colleague about a singular event. The Nobel Prize Committe wanted to award a prize for natural science to a prominent French geologist, but they felt uneasy about this due to the fact that another geologist, who was the teacher of this man and far more prominent than he, had never been given the Nobel Prize. It is to be noted that the more prominent geologist did not subscribe to the theory of evolution. So the Committee did something contrary to its ordinary practice. It awarded a Nobel Prize to the non-evolutionist one year, and the following year it awarded one to his understudy. Now, what does that say about the "proof" from Nobel Prize winners?
After treating so forcefully of the "scientific case for creationism" in the life sciences, Brown goes on to present a series of arguments from the astronomical and physical sciences against the currently popular theory of a long evolutionary development of the universe, the earth, and life (pp. 18-31). By pointing to such "anomalous" facts as backward-spinning planets, backward orbits, the chemical content of the planets, and the laws of thermodynamics, he raises a series of problems for current theories of the origin of the solar system, and he even attacks the big-bang theory on grounds of a more correct reading of the data regarding cosmic background radiation, the amount of helium in the universe, and the red-shift of distant starlight. Added to these are other unexplained phenomena, such as fast binary stars, the shapes of galaxies, and "O" stars. Brown argues for a young earth, solar system, and universe, and he lines up, for a young earth, thirty-four arguments against a long period of millions or billions of years. He concludes: "This contrary evidence understandably disturbs those who have always been told the earth is billions of years old. Can you imagine how disturbing this evidence is to the confirmed evolutionist?" (p. 31).
A third set of arguments has to do with the evidence from the earth sciences for a "worldwide flood" in the not-so-distant past. Brown presents twenty-one observed features of the earth which can be explained on the hypothesis of an earth-embracing flood, but which have not been explained by conventional geologists (pp. 74-149). These features include such phenomena as canyons, the mid-ocean ridge, sea mounts and table mounts, frozen mammoths, overthrusts, salt domes, and fossil graveyards. His thirty-page disquisition on the phenomenon of the frozen mammoths is original and extremely thought-provoking. Brown maintains that, on a scientific and factual basis, "the seemingly impossible events of a worldwide flood are really quite plausible" (p. 35). He takes up at length the questions of where the water came from and where it went, presenting his answers in terms of the "hydroplate theory," as contrasted with the more commonly held theory of "plate tectonics" (pp. 74-105).
Brown maintains that before the Flood about half of the water now above the surface of the earth was located in interconnected subterranean water chambers spread out between the granite and the basalt layers of the earth, averaging about five-eighths of a mile in thickness and situated about ten miles below the surface of the earth (p. 87). After reviewing some of the "mysteries" for the plate-tectonic theory of 21 geological features of the earth (pp. 75-85), Brown suggests answers in terms of the hydroplate theory and a global flood. Pressure upon this water caused the ten-mile-thick overlying granite layer to open up along a 46,000-mile-long rupture like a rip in a tightly stretched cloth, causing water to jet upward to high altitudes as the continental layers settled (p. 88). Brown reasons that before this flood the surface of the earth was relatively smooth (although not without some elevations), and that the resulting continental drift caused the mountain ranges to be pushed up (pp. 89-93). After laying down its layers of sediment, the water of the flood ran off into the present boundaries of the oceans and lakes (pp. 94-98). Thus is explained where the water of the Great Flood came from and where it went.
Brown dedicates a section of his book to the question of strata in sedimentary rocks (pp. 138-149). Using recently acquired scientific data, he shows that earlier theories of stratification do not hold up under testing of the consequences of liquefaction. He compares and contrasts the sudden liquefaction theory with the theory of eons of time in terms of ten observed facts regarding sedimentary layers (p. 143).
In the third and final part of his book (pp. 151-212), Brown deals with nineteen frequently asked questions, such as radiocarbon dating, the size and age of the universe, rain before the Flood, consistency with the text of the Bible, and how evolutionists respond to the scientific case for creation. His answer to this last question is: "Most try to ignore it," so much so that "even qualified evolutionists avoid a direct exchange dealing with the scientific evidence" (p. 212).
Brown (pp. 194-202) lists seventy-three features of theistic evolution which seem to be at variance with the biblical account. However, some of these features do not pertain to models of theistic evolution which consistently maintain the creation of the world by God. Brown agrees that "no single theistic evolution theory incorporates all 73 beliefs" (p. 194). He opposes to the big-bang theory of the origin of the universe the biblical teaching that "light came forth after the heavens and earth were created (Gen 1:1-3)." This criticism would not seem to apply to a theistic interpretation of the big-bang theory which understands "the heavens and the earth" in Genesis 1:1 to mean either a summary of what is to follow or the two-level creation of the angels and of matter or of the Heaven of the blessed and this world below. 30 From a Catholic viewpoint, the idea of biological evolution may be entertained as an hypothesis of how God created the world, but with the proviso that the evidence and arguments against it be also seriously kept in mind. Unfortunately, as the "theory" of evolution is being taught today in most schools, it comes across as a fact, not as a theory, because the arguments against it are not presented. Walt Brown's 36-page exposition of these arguments provides an antidote to the uncritical acceptance of evolution as a supposed fact. Brown recommends (p. 204) that students be taught both views of the origins of life and assisted to examine them critically. His book lays out a creationist view clearly and simply for both teachers and students.
Dr. Brown's arguments for a young earth, solar system, and universe are somewhat more conjectural, but they do present a side of the question that most students never hear. One cannot help being impressed by the breadth and the depth of the reasons that a growing number of geologists and physicists are bringing against established time-frames in these fields. I have written elsewhere that the account of the creation in Genesis 1 can be read as implying either a short period of time (six 24-hour days) or a long period of time (up to billions of years) or both. The short-period and the long-period interpretation of the creation account are best maintained as theories, and this is best done by keeping in mind the arguments in favor of each within the framework of a possibly double literal sense of Genesis 1. Writers like Dr. Brown have greatly strengthened the theory of a short span of time for the creation of the visible world.
Brown points out that various observed phenomena defy explanation according to current evolutionary models. Thus, three of the planets rotate in the opposite direction from the other six, and six of the 63 moons in our solar system have backward orbits, while Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune have moons orbiting in both directions (p. 19). Again, if our moon were billions of years old, "it should have accumulated a thick layer of dust and debris from meteoric bombardment," but in fact there is relatively little space dust on the moon (p. 28). On these facts, Brown quotes in his endnotes such recognized authorities as Harold Jeffries, saying that "in the present state of the subject" [according to contemporary theories] the solar system "cannot exist," and Fred Whipple, to the effect that "all of the hypotheses so far presented [on the evolution of the solar system] have failed, or remain unproved, when physical theory is properly applied" (p. 58).
For me the most spectacular section of In the Beginning is its unfolding of the hydroplate theory in connection with a great universal flood. Brown's presentation is an astonishing explanation of where the water may have come from and where it went. It does forcefully replace the water-canopy theory, which has obvious problems connected with it. Since the hydroplate theory is new, it may need considerable refining, full-blown though it is in Brown's book. It would be interesting to hear what arguments plate-tectonics geologists can bring against it. The theory, as explained by Dr. Brown, envisions a much more dramatic Deluge than one might otherwise have imagined. The great mountain ranges were pushed up by continental drifting as the floor of the ocean rose to form the Mid-Oceanic Ridge. Brown does not present a time-frame for these events, but a very short time is implied - so that one is led to assume that much of it took place while the family of Noah was in the Ark. Dr. Brown estimates that a thickening of a decelerating hydroplate to form a mountain range "would cause it to rise at something on the order of 5 centimeters per second on the average." 31 That would be about two inches a second, or ten feet a minute, or six hundred feet an hour, at which speed, mountain ranges with peaks up to fifteen thousand feet above sea-level could have arisen in twenty-four hours! Such a possibility at the time of the Deluge raises the image of a truly cataclysmic scene surrounding the Ark as it floated on the surface of the water, yet Dr. Brown assures us that he "can't imagine a safer place for Noah and his family to be than in a huge Ark which was completely or partially isolated from the solid earth by a layer of water." 32
In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood
by Walt Brown
(Center for Scientific Creation, 1997), 6th rev. ed., 230pp, ISBN 1878026054
CLICK HERE TO BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON BOOKS
1. Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (first published: London, 1859).
2. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (first published in 1871).
3. Raymond W. Murray, Man's Unknown Ancestors (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1943).
4. Michael Denton,
Evolution: A Theory in Crisis
(3d ed., Bethesda: Adler and Adler, 1986), p. 70.
5. Ibid., p. 345.
6. Ibid., p. 23.
7. Ibid., p. 358.
8. See my review of Denton's book in Living Tradition, No. 26 (November 1989), especially pp. 4-7.
9. Phillip E. Johnson,
Darwin on Trial
(Washington, D.C.: Regnery Gateway, 1991), p. 12.
10. Ibid., p. 122.
11. Walter J. ReMine,
The Biotic Message
(Saint Paul, MN: St. Paul Science, 1993), p. 20.
12. Ibid., pp. 467-468.
13. Denton, op. cit., p. 250.
15. Ibid., p. 238.
16. Ibid., p. 240.
17. Ibid., p. 249.
18. Darwin, Origin of Species (6th ed., New York: Hurst and Company), p. 164.
19. Denton, op. cit., pp. 207-213.
20. Denton, op. cit., p. 191.
21. M. Bowden, Science vs. Evolution (Sovereign Publications, P.O. Box 88, Bromley, Kent BR2 9PF, England: 1991), p. 22.
22. Bowden, op. cit., p. 23.
23. Bowden, op. cit., p. 167.
24. Bowden, op. cit., p. 170.
25. Bowden, op. cit., p. 173. He gives a bibliography of eleven books and articles on the subject.
26. J.W.G. Johnson, The Crumbling Theory of Evolution (3d printing, Los Angeles: Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, Inc., P.O. Box 84595, Los Angeles, CA 90073, U.S.A., 1987), p. 40.
27. Johnson, op. cit., pp. 37-39. See also "The Piltdown Hoax - Further Revelations," in Bowden, op. cit., pp. 177-194.
28. Patrick O'Connell,
Science of Today and the Problems of Genesis
, p. 115.
29. Ibid., p. 131. The casual reader might be led to assume that O'Connell's conclusions are derived from theological reflection upon dogmatic principles. Actually, he presents a painstaking study of the data from palaeontology, extending over a hundred pages with careful historical analyses of the claims that were being made. Wallace Johnson dedicates 22 pages to the alleged pre-humans, whom he finds to be "creatures of the imagination of a small band of fossil seekers" (op. cit., p. 55).
30. See my articles on Gen 1 in Living Tradition, nos. 46-50.
31. Personal letter to the writer.
THE FOUNDATIONS OF EVOLUTION THEORY JUST DON'T ADD UP
by H.V. Nussey
(The following is an abridgement of the original manuscript.)
An article in Homiletic and Pastoral Review dealing with the falseness of Darwin's theory sparked several contrary responses. One writer even took umbrage with the Homiletic's not having "the decency to allow rebuttal articles" printed in conjunction with it. One wonders where rebuttals might come from without first presenting an argument; but the responses provided a fair barometer of how keenly felt are beliefs in the chimera of evolution, even among those beyond the bailiwick of secularism. Apparently, large numbers of otherwise well-educated Catholics, including many religious, are among its most passionate advocates.
Sad though it is, we should hardly be surprised. After almost a century of classroom brainwashing (with Catholic schools doing their share) about Darwin's theory having been scientifically verified beyond any doubt, and after decades of matter-of-fact reinforcements of this factoid by so-called educational television (like PBS's Nature series), is it any wonder that the public psyche today marches in lock-step with the pronouncements of our indoctrinators? No doubt the average college student believes as avidly in evolution as does a liberated feminist in "a woman's right to choose." The herd loves making trendy ideas its own. What a pity that Christian morality isn't given similar reinforcements.
While the myth of evolution as legitimate science can be debunked any number of ways, I will confine myself here to just one. There's hardly a more compelling way of exposing the hollowness of evolution theory than simply examining (with a fair degree of scrutiny) what is claimed on behalf of primordial spontaneous generation and then providing a clearly stated rebuttal. I will do this on elementary grounds in two steps. A) Through simple unambiguous mathematics it can be shown that the probability of a spontaneous generation of life, even if given a trillion years to unfold, is far too small to have ever taken place (on earth or anywhere else). B) Were the prospect of such spontaneity actually within the realm of probability, such organic build-up as posited by the Darwinists happens to clash with a well-known principle of physics: the so-called second law of thermodynamics.
Organic compounds, including many amino acids, have been found to exist virtually everywhere in the galaxy; they may even flourish throughout the entire universe! A famous meteorite called the Murchison chondrite, for example, was found to contain at least seventeen different amino acids. Unfortunately, however, out of hundreds of different kinds of amino acids, only about twenty of them are useful to biotic functions. The rest turn out to be inimical to the biosphere. As you might expect, the great majority of the Murchison chondrite's amino acids were found to be of this latter type.
This was also the case in a famous laboratory experiment in 1953 when American biochemist Stanley Miller was able to generate many amino acids by cooking and radiating combinations of certain "primeval" gases. The experiment was a sensation and heralded by scientists as a major step in validating the theory of evolution. This was wishful thinking, however, because along with a few vital elements (like glycine and alanine) Miller's experiment produced large numbers of pernicious ones. The presence of just one pernicious amino acid among the polymers of useful ones within any given protein totally disrupts protein function and renders the entire molecule useless. Their presence in proteins would be analogous to a sizable grain of sand within the workings of a fine watch.
Assuming that billions of years ago the earth was indeed dotted with countless little reservoirs, each one of them teeming with life's little building blocks, what are the odds of a chance life-form popping into being? Permutations allow us to calculate the chance probability of obtaining one particular arrangement of objects from a given collection of objects, since P tells us the total number of arrangements there can be. Hence the probability of producing the word 'species' from a random arrangement of its seven letters must be: one in 1260.
We can use permutations just as handily to determine the likelihood that constituent amino acids in any given protein might randomly bond themselves in their proper sequence. The only difficulty arises from the fact that real protein sequences are extremely long, their chains of elements totalling between 200 and 600, often arranged in several chain-strands. Incidentally, such large protein sequences go back even to the earliest known organisms. Blue-green algae, for example, contain protein structures comparable in complexity with those of any other modern vegetable organism.
So, to help simplify our math, let's invent a small hypothetical protein (PROTEIN X, let's say), and assign it a total of 36 amino acids (or about 10% of normal) in some typically haphazard arrangement. Let's assume that PROTEIN X is composed of 12 different acids in the following sequence (using abbreviations to shorten text): Lys, Glu, Thr, Ala, Ala, Ala, Lys, Phe, Glu Arg, Glu, His, Met, Asp, Ser, Ser, Thr, Ser, Arf, Ala, Ala, Ser, Ser, Ser, Phe, Asp, Tyr, Cys, Asp, Glu, Cys, Asp, Met, Cys, Ala, Tyr. Looking over this chain we see there are 6 alanines (Ala), 4 glutamic acids (Glu), 2 lysines (Lys), 6 serines (Ser), 4 aspartic acids (Asp), 2 phenylalanines (Phe), 2 threonines (Thr), 3 cysteines (Cys), 2 methionines (Met), 2 tyrosines (Tyr), and 1 histidine (His).
In order to determine how many ways these 36 a-acids could be randomly linked end-to-end, we use our permutation formula modified to account for all eleven of the repeated elements in our sequence. Thus, the number of ways our collection can be arranged is:
36P(Protein X)36 = 36! / (6!)(4!)(2!)(6!)(4!)(2!)(2!)(3!)(2!)(2!)(2!) = 3.2 x 1030
Therefore, the odds against PROTEIN X's ideal reservoir producing PROTEIN X would be: one in 3.2 x 1030.
Now 3.2 x 1030 is an extremely large number. So, one chance in 3.2 x 1030 must be extremely tiny. Let's see how tiny. Instead of just one ideal reservoir, let's imagine the earth was once covered by them, say one every square foot! That works out to some six thousand trillion reservoirs! ... each of them tailor-made to synthesize PROTEIN X. Let's also imagine that the sun's energy pouring down upon this field was such as to induce newly reformed polypeptide link-ups every ten seconds in every reservoir. (Why non-viable link-ups would quickly collapse and start re-assembling after each failure is another benefit of doubt we will readily concede.) With a one in 3.2 x 1030 probability factor for each, how long should it take this multitude of reservoirs to produce just one PROTEIN X molecule? The answer: with all six thousand trillion of them working together, it works out to about sixty billion years! Were we to alter PROTEIN X's sequence a bit (say by replacing one of its six alanines with a histidine) the required time immediately jumps from 60 billion up to about 180 billion years!
So, even if the earth had been churning away for the past 3 billion years (as evolutionists suggest) on various microscopic organisms in all those multitudes of primordial reservoirs, it would actually take about 20 times longer than that to come up with just one simple molecule! Of course, we need to keep in mind that real proteins are enormously more complicated than PROTEIN X. Moreover, the instant we leave the fantasy world of ideal reservoirs and non-existent pernicious elements, the probability of producing realistic proteins becomes absurdly small. The relatively simple molecule of insulin, for example (comprising some fifty-one amino acids in two strands), would require (even ideally!) somewhere between one hundred trillion and one thousand trillion years longer than the time required to synthesize PROTEIN X!
A WORD ABOUT THEORETICAL MINIMUMS.
In his 1966 book, Principles of Biomolecular Organization, biochemist Harold Morowitz theorized what might be the absolute minimum size for a completely self-replicating cell. Postulating a bare-bones system which allowed for none of the various known cellular control and metabolism functions, Morowitz's 'minimal cell' contained DNA sufficient to code for some minimum number (about 100 in his estimation) of average-sized proteins. Interestingly enough, Morowitz's theoretically minimal cell comes close in size to the tiniest of nature's own bacterial cells. So it turns out that theoretical assessments about minimum criteria for fully autonomous cell systems are nearly congruent with what nature's own economy dictates.
Let's take this minimum-cell concept a step further and speculate that, instead of PROTEIN X ideal reservoirs, the earth was once covered by a vast array of MINIMUM CELL reservoirs, not just one per square foot, but some hundred trillion of them per square foot! ... so that there existed not one square centimeter without teeming hoards of MINIMUM CELL ideal reservoirs! Under these euphoric conditions, what might be the mathematical probability of producing just one such cell in a trillion years? Again, assuming that a failed candidate newly reconstructed itself every ten seconds, the probability that even one minimum cell might thus be synthesized is far, far below one in 10100, or even one in 10200. These giant exponentials, incidentally, happen to exceed the total number of atoms in the observable universe! So the real-world probability of just one organic cell having ever synthesized itself is categorically zero.
HOW THE DARWINISTS REPLY.
The reader might wonder what evolutionists say when confronted with such realities. First of all, they are seldom so confronted, because the argument is seldom spelt out in detail. Nonetheless, the usual response to this type of argument is to hide behind a favorite mythical postulate: In primordial times biological organisms were much less specialized and less complex than they are today, hence their chance evolution would have been far more likely than might be true for modern organisms. This is pure speculation, and fossil evidence in fact shows it to be false. Microscopic organisms found in pre-Cambrian sedimentary rock-beds turn out to be very similar to modern-day organisms. Moreover, any alleged lack of specialization would have forced primitive proteins to be necessarily multifunctional. But multifunctionalism implies a more complex molecule. So the logic of this argument disintegrates. Also, in light of Morowitz's cellular minimums, we must conclude that the postulate is untenable.
Another ploy of the Darwinists is to claim that in primitive organisms there may have been no requirement for exact amino acid chain sequences in protein synthesis, i.e., a certain degree of latitude might well have been tolerated in the construction of primitive polypeptides. They also suggest that nature's trial-and-error methods for building these large molecules were not entirely random. Chemical pathways could have been laid out which enabled avoidance of repeated errors, so that with time some sort of ratcheting mechanism could have arisen to give protein synthesis a kind of subtle 'directionality.'
This of course is more speculation with nary a speck of proof. First of all, no reasonable model has yet been proposed suggesting why it is that primitive organisms would indeed have been less demanding than modern ones in their vital criteria; and Morowitz's work is strong evidence that no such model is feasible. Secondly, the suggestion that enabling chemical pathways might somehow have enhanced certain choices in random selections is pure invention. Any such enabling pathway would have perforce derived from some randomly established pioneer in order that the enabling pathway might be established. As we have seen above, there is absolutely no chance any pioneer could ever have been produced. This amounts to employing natural selection in order to validate natural selection!
While it may be feasible for several of life's elementary units, like amino acids and other bio-constituents, to be generated spontaneously in outer space or even in a laboratory, the spontaneous creation of enormously larger and more complex protoplasmic substances is a very different story.
Before explicitly defining the second law of thermodynamics (s-l-t for short), let's observe a few natural things related to it: Heat always flows toward cooler regions; air masses always drift toward areas of lower pressure; wind-up toys always wind down; over time, rocks always weather and crumble; exposed iron always gets rusty. While all these things happen quite naturally, it's worth considering why the reverse of these processes never do. It's because such reversals are unnatural; one might say they are prohibited by the s-l-t. The second law is also the reason why any mixing process is always irreversible. Nevertheless, many of these natural processes can be reversed, but doing so always requires an application of some kind of work which will drive the reverse process. Air, for example, can be driven from low pressure to high pressure through the work of a compressor.
THE SECOND LAW DEFINED.
Now the s-l-t itself can be stated in several ways. Let me put it this way: The internal energy of all isolated systems tends to spontaneously decline toward lower levels unless work is somehow performed upon them which acts against this decline to stop or reverse it. We can illustrate this law by imagining a block of red-hot iron being placed in a small hut located somewhere in a field on a cool day. Isolated from its heat source, the hot iron "system" will spontaneously begin to cool. This is a natural or "downhill" process. However, air in the hut, made cool by the outside air, will now heat up because of the iron. This "system" is no longer isolated but is being "worked upon" by the hot iron and is thus undergoing an "uphill" process. Eventually, when the iron exhausts most of its heat energy, the air in the hut ceases to be warmed by it and will start cooling. At this point the uphill action stops and both systems proceed to spontaneously cool down, in accordance with the s-l-t. They will cool down until their temperatures equalize with that of the outside air. When this occurs, the systems are said to have stabilized. But the point worth stressing is this: some work-producing utility is required in order to make any given system behave in a way which counters a natural decline in its internal energy.
There happens to be a corollary to the second law which also must be considered. It is simply this: All isolated systems will progress toward states of ever-increasing internal disorder. This little axiom is attested by the fact that all things eventually wear out, be they machines or human bodies. The measure of internal disorder is given by a quantity called entropy. Higher entropies imply higher degrees of disorder. The entropy of a liquid, for example, will be higher than that of a solid because there is greater disorder in molecules of liquids than in molecules of solids.
How might all this be applied to the question of a Darwinian autogenesis? We are told that once upon a time cosmic and solar energy drove naturally-occurring gases into organic compounds. From these were formed vast collections of pre-biotic building blocks such as various amino and fatty acids and other organic constituents. As these reservoirs proliferated, the earth was eventually turned into a veritable factory for those enormous molecular entities which are integral for biological cells. Finally, after eons of time and the propitious application of radiant energy, these vital elements were driven together in a unique and marvelous way so as to infuse in them that singular unification we recognize as life.
In consideration of nature's way of doing things, is such a construction of complex structures really feasible? The answer is an emphatic: No! To see why, it helps to observe comparative sizes: An amino acid is to a cellular element (a mitochondrion, for example), as an apple is to the tree it came from; and a mitochondrion is to a biotic cell as an apple tree is to a vast orchard. Moreover, while it is true that Miller's experiment (see above) did indicate that radiation showered upon an aqueous collection of simple compounds may facilitate production of some amino acids, it says nothing about the feasibility of producing enormously larger cellular constituents, not to mention synthesis of the cell itself.
The bonding energies of amino acids happen to be tiny quantum amounts, no more than a mere handful of electron-volts. In fact, most of such sub-assemblies will come together spontaneously, requiring no energy at all. Energy, in fact, is required to separate them. But this is not the case when it comes to construction of such mammoth-sized pre-biotic entities as mitochondria. It turns out that cosmic and ultraviolet radiation is actually inimical to such structures. In other words, radiation is a great destroyer of large molecules; it tears them apart! Most shoppers don't realize it, but farmers will irradiate their produce to keep it from sprouting. Irradiated potatoes, for example, last far longer without sprouting than non-irradiated ones. In primordial times, cosmic and solar radiation would have been much more horrific than that to which potatoes are exposed. Thus, any sort of bacterial evolution, if it ever did occur, would be quickly destroyed by atmospheric radiation. Knowing what solar ultraviolet will do to our skin gives some hint of its damaging energy. So, when the Darwinists tell us that plants and animals evolved through a natural building of increasingly larger molecular structures aided by various radiation factors, we must take it with a sizeable grain of salt.
It turns out that all natural (i.e., spontaneous) processes will involve energy-entropy transfers in just three ways. A system will either: 1) decrease internal energy and increase entropy (as exemplified in all combustion processes); or 2) increase internal energy while increasing its entropy ... provided entropy gains more than offset energy gains (as when melting ice absorbs heat energy from its surroundings while decaying into a high-entropy mass of water molecules); or 3) decrease internal energy while decreasing its entropy ... provided entropy loss is more than offset by a decrease in internal energy (as when freezing water drives off heat in quantities large enough to offset entropy's normal increase, thus causing high-entropy water to form into low-entropy ice). Of these three processes, (1) could be termed a "double-downhill" process (i.e., a loss of both heat and internal order), while (2) and (3) are "uphill-downhill" processes with the downhill component necessarily dominant. In (2) and (3), the heat gained or lost by H2O is called "heat of fusion."
Where might the Darwinian scenario fit into this trio of possible pathways? Primordial gases and liquids that combine to form solids such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, imply a gain in both molecular order and internal energy! This suggest a "double-uphill" process! But, as we have seen, such a process requires some kind of utility to drive it. By itself, unharnessed radiant energy is powerless to drive anything; it much prefers destroying things than building them. Thus, without a feasible "utilizer" to harness this energy, our little bio-building blocks are at the mercy of the s-l-t. In other words, the Darwinian thesis is untenable. Unharnessed energy can build nothing at all. If it could, we might just as well believe that a feeble old man need only hook himself up to an array of "energizer" batteries in order to rejuvenate his tired old body!
Evolutionists try to counter the s-l-t argument by insisting that it holds only for "closed" systems. Indeed it does; but a closed system is simply one whose input and output parameters are all accounted for, at least hypothetically. The question must be asked: What is there about the Darwinian scenario which precludes such an assumption? Moreover, by claiming that their scenario is somehow open-ended, we have the strange situation of a theory's inventors suggesting there are aspects of that theory which are beyond its own scope! Hardly scientific, to say the least.
We conclude, therefore, that not only is the Darwinian thesis untenable on grounds of mathematical probability, it is also untenable on solid physical grounds: nature simply doesn't work the way evolutionists suppose.
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