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How Did We Get Here?

Letter 8
Phillip E. Johnson, December 9, 1996



Dear Kenneth:

In 1995 the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) passed a resolution that tells us what is implied by the slogan "evolution is a fact:"

"The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable, and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies, and changing environments."

This statement is contrary to the evidence in many respects:

  1. Mutation can't create the immense amounts of useful information required for creative evolution. Even the exceptional mutations that have beneficial effects (like the human sickle-cell gene) do not involve the creation of new organs or capabilities. The developmental mutations on which you rely are no exception. Most are harmful, and the few that are not only explain the loss of a structure, or its replacement by a pre-existing one in the same organism, never the emergence of a new complex organ. Adding natural selection to the mechanism doesn't help, because selective death only preserves what mutation has already created.

  2. The fossil record, despite decades of effort by paleontologists determined to find transitional sequences, is still overwhelming characterized by the absence of gradual macroevolutionary transformations. Darwinists have to avoid or downplay this evidence, and they do. For example, the high school textbooks ignore the Cambrian explosion, and never inform students about the problems posed for the Darwinian theory by this sudden appearance of the animal phyla. Instead they tell hominid stories, thus relying on the evidence most amenable to subjective evaluation.

  3. The latest evidence from molecular biology confirms that the living world is full of irreducibly complex structures. Scientific reviewers have conceded that Behe's description of the molecular evidence is accurate. They refuse to consider intelligent design on philosophical grounds, because they think that "science" requires an unquestioning adherence to materialism.

  4. Embryology is continually misrepresented as demonstrating a pattern of ancestral inheritance at the beginning, with diversity emerging in later development. This kind of pattern would support the common ancestry hypothesis, but the facts are otherwise. The earliest stages of development, contrary to the impression given by the NOVA program and the textbooks, are radically different.

  5. The public advocates for Darwinism approach their subject with a messianic zeal that contradicts their claim to be objective, dispassionate, scientists. They reveal or omit evidence depending upon whether they think it will help them to convince the public. They rely heavily on ridicule, and on appeals to their own authority, to defend their position.

"Evolution," as defined by the NABT, is a materialist philosophical doctrine that contradicts the best available scientific evidence. You say that we who doubt are prejudiced, are ignoring mountains of scientific evidence, and so on. Baloney. The crucial mechanism that supports the materialism rests upon a huge, unjustified extrapolation from very limited evidence of variation in fundamentally stable populations. Neo-darwinism survives only by the selective use of evidence, and because materialist philosophy has no alternative.

Best regards,

Phillip



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