How Did We Get Here?
Phillip E. Johnson, December 9, 1996
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:
"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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
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