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July 7, 2004 9:36 PM

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I'm Not a Monkey's Uncle

(Unpublished - Early Draft)

by Andrew Zimmerman Jones

The title of this article was chosen for two reasons. Primarily, I found it amusing. Also, it is part of an elaborate psychological experiment to determine how many Mensan evolutionists will take advantage of the opening to use personal attacks as responses to the ideas put forth. My hope is that the results are negligible. In truth, the scientific heresy discussed in this article does not negate the idea of a common ancestor. We all could, very well, be related to apes.

Darwinism, for the purposes of our discussion, is the original theory put forth by Darwin, defined in the narrowest sense. It involves gradual mutation, adapting to environment, and natural selection. Evolution (note the capital "E") goes beyond that, taking Darwinism to its extreme by saying that all life came into being and diverged from the same source. Among the scientific community, Evolution is considered the most accurate theory of how life in its current form came into being. It is so widely respected that it is very rarely questioned.

Evolution (which is, remember, only a theory) has never been proven, despite impressive efforts. Stanley Miller performed one of the most crucial of these experiments. After World War II, he combined elements common in the primordial sludge of the Earth. He then carefully applied electricity (simulated lightning). Out of this experiment came amino acids, proving that the building blocks of life could be created.

Quite impressive findings, but Michael J. Behe notes in his book Darwin's Black Box, Evolution has some problems to be dealt with. As a theory, Evolution would be easy to disprove. All that must be done is to find a single example where a biological system could not have come about through Darwinism. A single system that this doesn't work for, and all of Evolution falls apart. Behe presents just such examples, with arguments that are primarily biochemical (laid out in wonderful detail in the text).

The main problem is that there are basic biochemical systems which are 'irreducibly complex.' Unless there are a number of different components in place, the system does nothing useful. Blood clotting, cilia (moving "hairs" on cells), the immune system, reception of light through the eye, and several other systems are in this group. If even one of the minor biochemical steps doesn't exist the system serves no purpose.

Darwinism does not explain how this could happen. Life goes through minor, step-by-step changes. Natural selection requires that mutations have a developmental benefit. Ten different changes springing into existence that just "happen" to work together to create an immune system is not permissible. Viewed with the lens of biochemistry, it becomes clear that these seemingly minor changes are actually monumental.

To this date, no one has ever been able to show how the early amino acids Miller found could form into proteins, and then into cells, within that environment. Attempts have found "proteinoids," similar to proteins in some respects. They are formed by a rather contrived situation of water with amino acids being flung onto early rocks, the water evaporating, and then the amino acids having enough concentration to join together. But they aren't the proteins that are in living things around today.

Even if we grant the first cell forming somehow, there are serious problems. Where did all of these complex systems that Behe mentions come from? The basic challenge to Darwinism that Behe presents still stands. If we concede these other systems - rudimentary eyes, reproductive systems, cilia, etc. - forming in some way, then we can take Darwinism to explain the diversity of life from that point.

Fossil examination shows that there are very few fossils of multicellular organisms in rocks older than 600 million years old. Shortly after that, there are many multicellular organisms. The span of time of this change is roughly 10 million years, collapsing an early estimate of 50 million years that it would take. This "Cambrian explosion" or "biological Big Bang" means that the mutations were taking place incredibly rapidly during this time, and has been used by many to support a method other than natural selection as necessary.

What is this other method? Behe attributes intelligent design as the only possibility. I must confess that his argument is compelling, though intelligent design has the problem that it cannot be disproven. Whether a divine force, aliens, some bizarre time travel scenario (we seed our own planet with life), or some other idea, it seems clear that Evolution alone does not take everything into account.

Even more startling is that science as a whole clings to Evolution despite virtually no evidence. I can only imagine that this is a form of desperation. All other revolutionary theories have required momentous proof to overcome the dominant thinking, but with Evolution it seems as if it has been accepted because of a lack of a better solution. Even with good scientific reasoning arguing against it, I believe it will take a long time to ...


© 2000 by Andrew Zimmerman Jones