Refutation of “Evolution: A Fairy Tale for Grownups” – Questions 21 – 30

Question 21

Comfort claims since there have been no transitional fossils found, German geneticist Richard Goldschmidt “speculated” that there must be some “quantum leaps” from one species to another. Comfort quotes Goldschmidt and asks to fill in the blank, “The major evolutionary advances must have taken place in large steps…The many missing links in the paleontological record are sought for in vain because they have never existed: ‘the first bird hatched from a reptilian egg.’” Comfort asks to fill in the blank, “His [Goldshmidts] ridiculous theory is called ______.” The answer: “punctuated equilibrium.”

(Quoting Goldschmidt from his book The Material Basis for Evolution.)

Comfort bashes Goldschmidt for proposing punctuated equilibrium, but the one who first proposed it was biologist Stephen J. Gould. The purpose of punctuated equilibrium was to explain the sudden divergence of species (which does not leave a lot of transitional fossils in between). Evidence does support Punctuated equilibrium, AND (despite Ray Comfort’s lies) many transitional fossils have been found.
Does not damage evolutionary theory
Ray Comfort’s dismissal of punctuated equilibrium is based entirely on denialism. Ray Comfort only calls it “speculation” and “ridiculous” – all coming from a man with no degree in any scientific field, and has shown throughout his published material to know close to absolute nothing about the theory of evolution or science in general.
If Ray Comfort wishes to make a valid case against punctuated equilibrium, simply going “nah-ah” is not going to cut it.

 

In-Depth Comments

“The old Darwinian view of evolution as a ladder of more and more efficient forms leading up to the present is not borne out by the evidence.
(Source: Newell, Why Scientists Believe Evolution, American Geological Institute pamphlet, 1984, pg. 10.)
Outdated Source
Does not damage evolutionary theory

While Newell’s quote is seriously outdated, it does not undermine evolution at all. The more current and proper view supported by the evidence still supports the theory of evolution. The proper view is not a ladder but like a bush – with the branches sprouting outward in all directions, not linear. The claim refers to results that indicate that horizontal gene transfer was common in the very earliest life. In other words, genetic information was not inherited only from one’s immediate ancestor; some was obtained from entirely different organisms, too. As a result, the tree of life does not stem from a single trunk but from areticulated collection ofstems. This does not invalidate the theory of evolution, though. It says only that another mechanism of heredity was once more common.

Horizontal gene transfer does not invalidate phylogenetics. Horizontal gene transfer is not a major factor affecting modern life, including all macroscopic life: “Although HGT does occur with important evolutionary consequences, classical Darwinian lineages seem to be the dominant mode of evolution for modern organisms.”

(See: http://www.pnas.org/content/100/17/9658.abstract Daubin, V., N. A. Moran and H. Ochman. 2003. Phylogenetics and the cohesion of bacterial genomes. Science 301: 829-832. See also: Pennisi, E., 2003. Passages found through labyrinth of bacterial evolution. Science 301: 745-746.)

And it is still possible to compute phylogenies while taking horizontal gene transfer into account. (See: Kim, Junhyong and Benjamin A. Salisbury. 2001. A tree obscured by vines: Horizontal gene transfer and the median tree method of estimating species phylogeny. Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing 6: 571-582.)

Also, let it be noted that almost everybody says this is true. But Darwin’s theory never did require “more and more efficient forms”, right from the get-go. That was Lamarck’s theory.

 

 

“I believe that our failure to find any clear vector of fitfully accumulating progress…represents our greatest dilemma for a study of pattern in life’s history.”
(Source: S. J. Gould, “The paradox of the first tier: an agenda for paleobiology,” Paleobiology, Vol. 11, No. 1, Winter 1985, p. 3).
Outdated Source
Does not damage evolutionary theory
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

Read Quote #3.12 for an explanation on why this quote was taken out of context, and how the quote miners have separated this snippet from Gould’s proposition of a possible solution in what can only be a deliberate attempt to sow confusion as to his opinion of how serious a problem this is for evolutionary theory.

Question 22

Fill in the blank question: in the Origin of Species Charles Darwin wrote “The number of intermediate varieties which have formerly existed on earth must be truly enormous. Why is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such __________? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory.” Comfort answers “intermediate links” and then adds a piece by Sarfati, “Transitional forms are completely absent from the fossil record. There are no so-called “missing links” that show one animal changing into another. Darwin was worried that the fossil record did not support his theory.”

(Source: Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Evolution.) – no chapter or page provided

Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
Darwin explained why there is a lack of intermediate links in the geological column in the very next line! Darwin goes on to say,
“The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.”
And we now know Darwin was right, and in fact Darwin wrote this because he expected such criticisms to follow so he dedicated a section of his work to refute it quite extensively.
Not a qualified biologist
Comfort said in the Introduction of this book he would be quoting “evolutionary experts” and right here, Comfort provides a quote from a non-biologist. Sarfati is not a paleontologist or biologist, and his works have been overall dismissed as unscientific from actual scientists.
Non-Academic Source
Sarfati is not a paleontologist, biologist or skilled in taxonomy. Here is a site that reveals Sarfati’s fallacious works. Sarfati’s work has been known as “crude piece of propaganda”by the National Center for Science Education. Reed A. Cartwright and Dr Douglas L. Theobald, have criticized Sarfati’s claims such as one that accuses scientists of continually changing the definition of vestigial to match the evidence.

 

In-Depth Comments

“Many fossils have been collected since 1859, tons of them, yet the impact they have had on our understanding of the relationships between living organisms is barely
perceptible…In fact, I do not think it is unfair to say that
fossils, or at least the transitional interpretation of fossils, have clouded rather than clarified our attempts to reconstruct phylogeny.”
(Source: P. L. Fortey, “Neontological Analysis Versus Paleontological Stories,” Problems of Phylogenetic Reconstruction (London: Academic Press, 1982), pp. 120-121).

Outdated Source

Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

The author’s name was misspelled, and it was miscited. The full and correct citation is: Forey, P. L., (1982) “Neontological Analysis Versus Palaeontological Stories.” in Joysey, K.A. and Friday, A.E (eds) Problems of Phylogenetic Reconstruction. Systematics Association Special Volume 21. London, Academic Press.

It was from controversies that surrounded the rise of cladism. A cladistics purist does not look for ancestors since cladograms do not indicate them. When put in context, here is what Forey states (with words omitted in bold);

“Many fossils have been collected since 1859, tons of them, yet the impact they have had on our understanding of the relationships between living organisms is barely perceptible. For instance, a recent symposium was held by this Society under the heading “The origin of major invertebrate groups.” Many of the papers delivered at that meeting had a strong paleontological bias yet ideas of “relationships” of major invertebrate groups seem very unclear ([refs]). In fact, I do not [p120|p.121] think it is unfair to say that fossils, or at least the traditional interpretation of fossils, have clouded rather than clarified our attempts to reconstruct phylogeny” – Read more of Forey’s work in full context here on talkorigins.org

 

“Granted an evolutionary origin of the main groups of animals, and not an act of special creation, the absence of any record whatsoever of a single member of any of the phyla in the Pre-Cambrian rocks remain as inexplicable on orthodox grounds as it was to Darwin.”
(Source: T. Neville (George Professor of Geology at the University of Glasgow), “Fossils in Evolutionary Perspective,” Science Progress, Vol. 48, No. 189, January 1960, p. 5.)
Does not damage evolutionary theory
Even if we did not have any fossilized remains in the Pre-Cambrian (which we do) that would not be detrimental to the theory of evolution. Creationists almost always invoke this ridiculous Achilles-heel fallacy, thinking if they distort one thing then the entire theory fall apart. However, that is not and never has been the case in science. While this reference addresses the Pre-Cambrian, it does not discredit ERVs, atavisms, ontology, genetics, phylogeny, or the thousands of transitional fossils we have discovered.
Outdated Source
A lot has happened over the decades as new research has revealed a lot about the Pre-Cambrian explosion.
Distortion of Science
The Pre-Cambrian is no longer an issue with the theory of evolution. While it might have in the 60’s, that was decades ago and science has greatly progressed since then. We now have a better understanding of the evolutionary history of the first life forms. We have discovered many Pre-Cambrian fossils, thus refuting this reference by T. Neville the “absence of any record of a single member of any phyla in the Pre-Cambrian.”

 

Question 23

Starts off with a statement that despite the currently calculated age of the universe. The universe is not old enough to allow life to arise by random chance. Comfort
presents a separate theory that states there are an infinite number of universes existing in parallel dimensions, and we are lucky to live in one that supports life. Comfort asks what is this theory called?
Comfort answers “The Strong Anthropic Principle”
(Source: Fred Herren, Show Me God) –
no chapter or page provided.
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
The universe is indeed old enough despite Ray Comfort’s willful ignorance, but more important is that the earth is old enough to allow evolution to take affect, but not by random chance. Evolutionary theory and natural selection is the exact opposite of chance.

 

In-Depth Comments

“There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all…It seems as though
somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe…The impression of design is overwhelming.”
(Source: British astrophysicist Paul Davies, Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984), p. 243)
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology

We are discussing evolution, not the universe.

“The laws [of physics]…seem to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design…The universe must have
had a purpose.”
(Source: Paul Davies The Cosmic Blueprint: New Discoveries in Nature’s Creative Ability to Order the Universe (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988), p. 203)
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology

We are discussing evolution, not the universe.

“Don’t let the cosmologists try to kid you on this one. They have not got a clue either – despite the fact that they are doing a pretty good job of convincing themselves and others that this is really not a problem. ‘In the beginning,’ they will say, ‘there was nothing—no time, space, matter or energy. Then there was a quantum fluctuation from which…’ Whoa! Stop right there. You see what I mean? First there is nothing, then there is something. And the cosmologists try to bridge the two with a quantum flutter, a tremor of uncertainty that sparks it all off. Then they are off and away and before you know it, they have pulled a hundred billion galaxies out of their quantum hats.”

(Source: Astronomer Dr. David Darling, “On creating something from nothing,” New Scientist, Vol. 151, No. 2047, 14 September 1996, p. 49)

Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology

Of course Ray interpretation of the scientific consensus is far from what they actually say. Dr. Sten Odenwald (Raytheon STX) for NASA, Education and Public Outreach program, 2001 spelled out what scientists mean when they say “nothing:”

“How can ‘nothing’ do anything at all, let alone create an entire universe? When physicists say ‘nothing’ they are being playful with the English language, because we often think of the vacuum as being ’empty’ or ‘nothing’ when in fact physicists know full well that the vacuum is far from empty. The primordial ‘state’ at the Big Bang was far from being the kind of ‘nothingness’ you might have in mind. We don’t have a full mathematical theory for describing this ‘state’ yet, but it was probably ‘multi- dimensional’, it was probably a superposition of many different ‘fields’, and these fields, or whatever they were, were undergoing ‘quantum fluctuations’. Space and time were not the things we know them to be today because our world is a lot colder than the way it started out. Nothingness was not nothing, but it was not anything like the kinds of ‘somethings’ we know about today. We have no words to describe it, and the ones we borrow (that are listed in the Oxford English Dictionary) are based on the wrong physical insight.”

The irony is that the ones who claim that the universe was created from nothing is exactly what Ray and his fellow creationists argue for. According to the book of Genesis, God spoke things into being and they were good. Basically an incantation (i.e. MAGIC) brought everything into being. Ray says we have never seen matter create itself. You know what we have never seen? We’ve never seen anything “created”. No one has ever seen a complex life-form (or anything else magically pop out of thin air. But that’s what creationists are arguing for!

Question 24

A group of world famous physicists calculated the odds that all the functional proteins necessary for life might originate by chance. They came up with a figure of one chance in 10^40,000 (that’s a 1 with 40,000 zeros after it). Since this is an outrageously small probability, they have adopted the theory that sees for life must have come from other planets. This belief is called? Comfort answers “panspermia” (“seeds everywhere”).

Comfort then adds, “The fact that any respected scientist would resort to such wild speculation is a good indication of how difficult it is to explain the existence of life without a Creator”

(Source: Fred Heeren, Show Me God.)

 

Not a qualified biologist
Comfort said in the Introduction of this book he would be quoting “evolutionary experts” and right here, Comfort provides a quote from a non-biologist. Heeren is not a biologist, he is an old earth creationist and a science journalist.
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology

The origin of life has nothing to do with the theory of evolution. Evolution explains how life diversifies, not how it began. Since evolution at every level is –by definition– limited to the variation of allele frequencies inherited over generations of living organisms, then it obviously can’t operate where no genomes yet exist.

Explaining the origin of life without a “Creator” is not that difficult. While the hypothesis that the elements of life came from other planets is not widely accepted by the scientific community, what is accepted is that elements of life have been found on meteorites and comets. One of the more incredible facets of our solar system is that comets, meteorite and interplanetary dust are loaded with a wide range of organic compounds, including amino acids, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, adenine, and many others. The amount of organic material currently deposited on the Earth by kilograms, or 300 metric tons per year. During the early period of heavy bombardment this rate may have reached 50,000 tons per year. This rate would have produced the current biomass in approximately ten million years.

Comets are the richest source of organic compounds. This organic material makes its way to Earth in the form of micrometeorites, which are formed when the comets pass close to the sun. These micrometeorites are 50 to 500 um in size and currently reach the Earth in huge amounts of 20,000 tons per year. They contain tiny grains that contain clays, oxides, and sulfides of metals, which can act as catalysts in chemical reactions. As such they would function as chemical factories for the production of organic compounds.

In addition to provide a rich source of organic compounds in prebiotic earth, it has also been proposed that cosmic debris bearing iron and carbon could contribute to a reducing atmosphere and lead to the production of hydrogen, methane, and ammonia in prebiotic earth, producing the conditions predicted in the Miller-Urey experiments.

 

In-Depth Comments

Dr. Allen Sandage (winner of the Crawford prize in astronomy), stated: “I find it quite improbable that such order came from chaos. There has to be some  organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.”
(Source: John Noble Wilford, “Sizing Up the Cosmos. An Astronomy Quest,” New York Times, March 12, 1991, p. B9)
Appeal to authority
Not a qualified biologist
Comfort said in the Introduction of this book he would be quoting “evolutionary experts” and right here, Comfort provides a quote from a non-biologist. As Comfort already stated, Sandage is a astronomer, not a biologist. His claims regarding the universe have no bearing on the theory of evolution.
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
The theory of evolution is not meant to explain the existence of matter. It is only meant to explain the diversification of life.
Non-Academic Source
The New York Times is not a academic or scholarly source where almost anyone can publish whatever they wish that is not subjected to peer review.

“Because post-Darwinian biology has been dominated by materialist dogma, the biologists have had to pretend that organisms are a lot simpler than they are. Life itself must be merely chemistry. Assemble the right chemicals, and life emerges. DNA must likewise be a product of chemistry alone. As an exhibit in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History puts it, ‘volcanic gases plus lightning equal DNA equals LIFE!’ When queried about this fable, the museum spokesman acknowledged that it was simplified but said it was basically true.”

(Source: Phillip Johnson, Weekly Wedge Update, April 30, 2001, p. 1)

 

Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
Not a qualified biologist

Comfort said in the Introduction of this book he would be quoting “evolutionary experts” and right here, Comfort provides a quote from a non-biologist.

Phillip Johnson is the father of the current intelligent design movement. He is not a biologist or a scientist, rather he is a lawyer. Lawyers are only concerned with winning a case, whether they are right or not.

Johnson is only arguing against the very simplistic overlook of abiogenesis, not the theory of evolution. The museum spokesperson was correct that it was very simplified but remains true. What the exhibit left out was biochemical reactions, the role of enzymes, the development of RNA, and much more.

“It is clear that the belief that a molecule of iso-1-cytochrome c or any other protein could appear by
chance is based on faith. And so we see that even if we believe that the ‘building blocks’ are available, they do not spontaneously make proteins, at least not by chance. The origin of life by chance in a primeval soup is impossible in probability in the same way that a
perpetual motion machine is impossible in probability…A practical person must conclude that life didn’t happen by chance.”
(Source: Hubert Yockey, Ph. D., Information Theory and Molecular Biology (Cambridge University Press, 1992), p. 257).
Not a qualified biologist
Comfort said in the Introduction of this book he would be quoting “evolutionary experts” and right here, Comfort provides a quote from a non-biologist. Hubert Yockey is a physicist and information theorist.
Does not damage evolutionary theory
We are discussing evolution, not the origin of life.
Distortion of Science
Take note of the piece “at least not by chance.” Biochemistry is not chance. It inevitably produces complex products. Amino acids and other complex molecules are even known to form in space.

Question 25

Since life originating by chance is statistically impossible, astronomer John Barrow and mathematical physicist Frank Tipler were forced to conclude that there must be an intelligence that created life. Unwilling to accept the biblical Creator, they hypothesize that life may evolve to such an advance degree that it will become an all-knowing, all-powerful, omnipresent god that then may be able to create life in the past. They called this concept? Comfort answers “The Final Anthropic Principle”
(John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, The Anthropic  Cosmological Principle, 1986)
Not a qualified biologist
Comfort said in the Introduction of this book he would be quoting “evolutionary experts” and right here, Comfort provides a quote from a non-biologist.
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
The origin of life has no bearing to the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution is only meant to explain the diversification of life, not how it originated.
Outdated Source

In-Depth Comments

“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that all the superintellect has monkeyed with physics,
as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to push this conclusion almost beyond question.”
(Source: British astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections,” Engineering and Science, November 1981, p. 12)
Not a qualified biologist
Comfort said in the Introduction of this book he would be quoting “evolutionary experts” and right here, Comfort provides a quote from a non-biologist. As Comfort already shared, Hoyle is a  astrophysicist, not a biologist.
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
Astrophysics is not the same as biology.
Outdated Source
“The more one studies paleontology, the more certain one becomes that evolution is based on faith alone;
exactly the same sort of faith which it is necessary to have when one encounters the great mysteries of religion.”
(Source: Louis T. More, The Dogma of Evolution (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1925), p.
160).
Not a qualified biologist
Comfort said in the Introduction of this book he would be quoting “evolutionary experts” and right here, Comfort provides a quote from a non-biologist. L. T. More is a professor of physics at the University of Cincinnati, but what is hidden in this book is that More still accepts the theory of evolution.
Outdated Source
1925? Do I have to say more?
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
Here is the last paragraph on page 184: “Owing to the reverence for Darwin and the blind submission to his views which prevailed for so many years, it was a difficult task to live down Darwin’s contempt. Only after facts had multiplied, showing the inadequacy of natural selection, did biologists begin timidly to take Lamarck’s doctrine seriously. If one can read the signs aright, we may expect to have an increasing attempt to explain the cause of evolution by the inheritance of aquired traits. The reluctance of the biologists to accept this doctrine does not rest so much on the lack of experimental verification as it does on the fact that Lamarck’s cause of variation is fundamentally vitalistic in so far as it acknowledges the influence of the will or desire. To admit such a cause is contrary to scientific and mechanistic monism.” Dr. More seems to have a poor grasp of relevant history. He writes on page 182 that “It is well know that Lyell had a high estimation of Lamarck’s work and theory, and that it had a great influence on him when he wrote his Principles of Geology, . . .” Of course Lyell, in volume II of that work, strongly argued against Lamarck.

Question 26

In The Wonderful Egg, a book written for children, a mother dinosaur lays an egg that hatches into the very first bird. After growing up into a beautiful specimen replete with wings and feathers, it flies up into a small tree and sings a happy song. (The little bird’s song may soon become a funeral dirge when it realizes that it has no one with whom to reproduce). Since there are no transitional forms, evolutionists have reduced to this nonsensical idea which they call…? Comfort answers “punctuated equilibrium”
(Source: The FACE That Demonstrates
the Farce of Evolution
, Hank Hanegraaff).
Not a qualified biologist
Comfort said in the Introduction of this book he would be quoting “evolutionary experts” and right here, Comfort provides a quote from a non-biologist. Hank Hanegraaff is not a scientist of any type, he is the host of a Bible answer radio show.
Does not damage evolutionary theory
Is Ray Comfort seriously trying to argue against the theory of evolution by referencing to a child’s book?

In-Depth Comments

“I agree…that ancestor-descendant relationships cannot be objectively recognized in the fossil record.”
(Source: R. M. Schoch, “Evolution
Debate,” Science, April 22, 1983, p. 360).
Outdated Source
Appeal to authority
Not a qualified biologist

Comfort said in the Introduction of this book he would be quoting “evolutionary experts” and right here, Comfort provides a quote from a non-biologist. Schoch is not a biologist, he is a parapsychologist (the study of ostensible paranormal phenomena, including telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, reincarnation and apparitional experiences.) However, the practice of parasychology has slowly died since the 1970’s due to criticisms of not being scientific (no controlled tests, no conclusive results, frauds, flawed studies, and much more). In 1988, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences published a report on the subject that concluded that “no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence of parapsychological phenomena.”(Druckman, D. and Swets, J. A. eds. (1988). Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories and Techniques. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.. p. 22. ISBN 0-309-07465-7. )

 

“The gaps in the record are real, however. The absence of a record of any important branching is quite phenomenal.”
(Robert Wesson, Beyond Natural Selection (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991), p. 45).
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

Who is Robert Wesson? According to information gleaned from two web pages, From Bradford Books: Beyond Natural Selection and Robert G. Wesson, Political Science: Santa Barbara, he was a political scientist who died in 1991, the year this book was published. [Fuller quote follows:]

“The impression that many groups arise suddenly at about the same time may be exaggerated by the system of classification. As one traces different orders, such as carnivores or ungulates, back to their earliest appearance, one naturally finds that the ancestral forms differ less than do their modern descendants. Similarly, it was possible for the principal animal types, the phyla, to diverge very rapidly, leaving no traces of intermediates, because they were much simpler and less deeply separated than their distant descendants. The differences, although basic, were not yet deeply embedded.

The gaps in the record are real, however. The absence of any record of any important branching is quite phenomenal. Species are usually static, or nearly so, for long periods, species seldom and genera never show evolution into new species or genera but replacement of one by another, and change is more or less abrupt.

This contradicts the Darwinian approach. Natural selection — and Lamarckian evolution by use and disuse — would imply gradual, progressive change, with randomly diverging lines of descent. This would make a great irregular bush, not the branching ideal tree of life, much less the record that we have, with big and little branches suspended without junctions.

Those who study the fossil record, dealing not with equations of population genetics but with hard facts of the past, have been most inclined to be skeptical of Darwin’s insistence on slow, more or less steady change. Such paleontologists as Stephen J. Gould, Niles Eldredge, and Steven M. Stanley have recently been in the vanguard of the critics.”

The original quote is accurate, forms a complete paragraph, and seems to be discussing Punctuated Equilibria, but at the end a reference is also given, to page 307 of “The eukaryote genome in development and evolution” (John, B., & Miklos, G. L. G. 1988. London: Allen & Unwin).

In this latter book the section referred to discusses the Cambrian explosion and the Burgess Shale!

Wesson seems to be confused about what he is talking about in the paragraph quoted, and I’m not sure why I should take the musings of a political scientist as representative of current palaeontological thought.

 

“No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seemed to happen. Assiduous
collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change—over millions of years, at a rate too slow to account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the fossils did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on somewhere else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution.”
(Source: Niles Eldredge, Reinventing Darwin: The Great Debate at the High table of Evolutionary Theory (New York Wiley, 1995), p. 95).
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

Question 27

Who said it? “The remarkable fact that the values of these numbers seem to have been finely adjusted to
make possible development of life… Nevertheless, it seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers that would allow the development of any form of intelligent life.”
Ray answers “Stephen Hawking”
(Source: A Brief History of Time p. 129-130).
Ray argues that Hawking agrees that the universe seems finely adjusted that could only be the work of an
intelligent Creator.
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
The fine-tuning argument does not refute evolution.
Comfort is wrong with thinking Hawking believes in a fine-tuned universe. Hawking has made it clear that he does not believe in a fine-tuned universe, nor does he believe in a Creator or an afterlife.

In-Depth Comments

Comfort uses a quote from British astrophysicist Professor George F. Ellis: “Amazing fine tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization
of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word ‘miraculous’ without taking a stand as to the ontological status of the word.”
(Source: British astrophysicist George F. Ellis, “The Anthropic Principle: Laws and Environments,” The Anthropic Principle, F. Bertola and U. Curi, eds. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 30).
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
The Anthropic principle deals with cosmology, not biology. Even if the Anthropic Principle were correct, which it is not, it does not change the fact life still evolved via natural selection. Despite however life first formed on whatever type of planet Earth could have turned out to be, it is a fact that after life forms natural selection kicks in.
Appeal to authority

The fine-tuning argument is flawed anyway. It is weakened by the fact it is a tautology, but also refuted by quantum mechanics, the M-theory and the multiverse. The fine-tuning argues that the universe is perfectly “designed” to sustain human life. However, the argument is refuted by the mere fact that it argues for life only as we know it. Simpler other forms of life may also exist. The Copernican Principle is more supported than the fine-tuned argument. Plus the whole fine-tuned argument can fall on its face once you turned the tables. Is the world fine tuned for life? Let us ignore all the lions, bears, tigers, and sharks that would eat us. Let us ignore all the bacteria and viruses that want to infect us. Lets ignore all the poisonous snakes, fish, plants and mushrooms that would kill us. Lets ignore the forest fires, blizzards, tornadoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, avalanches, earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes that can also kill us. Lets ignore the fact that a fall from a height greater than 10 meters, or submerged underwater for over 10 minutes we would surely die.

Yes, let’s ignore all that and assume that the earth is a perfect place to support life. Lets for a moment wrap ourselves in a blanket of ignorance and arrogance and assume that the earth, and the universe, were designed clearly just for us. Unfortunately, most of the earth is off-limits to allow human life. Take us above 8,000 meters above sea level and we will slowly die from a lack of oxygen. Going below 2,000 meters below sea level, and we will slowly cook from the heat of the earth’s interior. It turns out that less than one-half of 1 percent (0.46%) of the earth’s total volume is capable of sustaining human life. Meaning, even if we manage to imagine that the earth is the Eden, we know it is not. More than 99.54% of it would kill us rather quickly.

What about the solar system? Nowhere else in the solar system is hospital for sustaining human life. And it gets worse. Let’s assume everything for a moment despite everything modern science has been able to tell us about extra solar planets, that every single star in every single galaxy has an earth-like planet orbiting it. Also, ignore the giant cosmic voids that found between clusters of galaxies, even with these gross assumptions, it turns out that less than 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000073% is habitable for human life. Or to put it in another way 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999937% of the universe is not habitable for life. Kind of takes the wind out of the sails for the fine-tuning argument.

If the universe was fine-tuned for us, surely a bit more of it would be habitable. The numbers are so absurd that it defies comprehension. It is equivalent to a person after exploring 1.6 BILLION rocks like our Moon and finding one single virus particle on only one of the moons and collectively they are fine-tuned for life. Or having six MILLION Olympic-sized swimming pools that can collectively hold no more than a single molecule of water, yet claiming they are fine-tuned for water storage. Or claiming that a hard-drive the size of the earth that can only store one bit (1/0), or a hard-drive the size of Jupiter hold cannot even hold a single tweet on twitter is fine tuned for storing data. Or claiming that 2 MILLION 50 ton cranes that cant collectively hold more than a single proton are fine tuned for lifting. Or claiming that a plane at full speed travels less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the diameter of a proton over 10 billion years is fine-tuned for speed.

If you think these examples are ridiculous, then you would agree that so too is the argument that the universe is fine-tuned for life. It does not take a genius to realize how absurd and flawed this argument truly is.

 

“ ‘Somebody has to tune [the universe] very precisely,’ concludes Darek Demianski, a Polish cosmologist (quoted in Science News, September 3, 1983, p. 152). Stephen Hawking, the Einstein of our time, agrees: ‘The odds against a universe like ours coming out of something like the Big Bang are enormous. I think there are clearly religious implications’ (John Boslogh, Stephen Hawking’s Universe, p. 121). How the various physical processes are ‘fine-tuned to such a stunning accuracy is surely one of the great mysteries of cosmology,’ remarks P. C. W. Davies, a physicist. ‘Had this exceeding;y delicate tuning of values been even a slightly upset, the subsequent structure of the universe would have been totally different.’ ‘Extraordinary physical coincidences and apparently accidental cooperation…offer compelling evidence that something is “going on.”…A hidden principle seems to be at work’ (The Accidental Universe, p. 90, p. 110).”

(Source: Holmes Rolston III, “Shaken Atheism: A Look at the Fine-Tuned Universe” www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=66 ).

 

Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology

The Anthropic principle deals with cosmology, not biology. Even if the Anthropic Principle were correct, which it is not, it does not change the fact life still evolved via natural selection. Despite however life first formed on whatever type of planet Earth could have turned out to be, it is a fact that after life forms natural selection kicks in.
“The original ‘phase-space volume’ [of the universe] requires such…fine tuning that the Creator’s aim must have been [precise] to an accuracy of one part in  10^10123. One could not possibly even write the number down in full…[since] it would be a ‘1’ followed by 10^123 successive ‘0’s—more zeros than the number of elementary particles in the entire universe. Such is
the precision needed to set the universe on its course.”
(Source: Oxford Physicist Roger Penrose, The Emperor’s New Mind (New York: Oxford, 1989), p. 344).
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
The Anthropic principle deals with cosmology, not biology. Even if the Anthropic Principle were correct, which it is not, it does not change the fact life still evolved via natural selection. Despite however life first formed on whatever type of planet Earth could have turned out to be, it is a fact that after life forms natural selection kicks in.

Question 28

Who said it question: “Darwin’s theory of natural selection has never had any proof, yet it has been
universally accepted.”
Comfort answers “Dr. R. Goldschmidt, Professor of Zoology, University of California.”
(Source: Material Basis of Evolution, 1940).
Outdated Source
Distortion of Science
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

***WHERE IS THE PAGE NUMBER???????????

Page 211 – 212

“The current attitude of the Mendelians towards questions of evolution is one of an aggressive agnosticism. Since investigations upon Mendelian lines have not as yet been one time expected, they seem to think no other line of attack upon the question will be any more likely to find a way that may possibly lead to something in the nature of a solution of the problem at some future date. They seem inclined to think that because they have not themselves seen a ‘large’ mutation, such a thing cannot be possible. But such a mutation need only by an event of the most extraordinary rarity to provide the world with all the species that it has never contained. As I have pointed out (Age and Area, p. 212), one large and viable mutation upon any area of a few square yards of the surface of the earth, and once in perhaps fifty years, would probably suffice. The chance of seeing such a mutation occur is practically nil, whilst if the result were subsequently found it would probably be called a relic. Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection has never had any proof except from a prior consideration, yet has been universally accepted, and has led to great advances in biology; and until the Mendelians show us how to control mutation (a thing that will evidently be some day possible), the proposition now put forward will presumably go without actual demonstration by verified fact.”

 

In-Depth Comments

“An increasing number of scientists, most particularly a growing number of evolutionists…argue that Darwinian evolutionary theory is no genuine theory at all…Many of
the critics have the highest intellectual credentials.”
(Source: Michael Ruse, “Darwin’s Theory: An Exercise in Science,” New Scientist, June 25, 1981, p. 828).
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
Another classic quote-mine example. Its been three decades since this claim was made, so most of those alleged doubting scientists would be dead by now. And yes its “that” Michael Ruse, the philosopher who has been labeled “clueless” by some rather prominent evolutionary biologists (Click here to see that writeup), so while the Ruse quote might have been quote mined, even the original (which does support evolution) can be taken with a large grain of salt due to the lack of credibility that Ruse has in this domain.

“There has been no scientific observation of any permanent change in species. There are plenty of proven cases of adaptation, which involves non-genetic changes. There are examples of natural selection changing the balance of populations within a species. Yet there are no known instances of a natural population experiencing a permanent, meaningful change. Observed genetic mutations are, in the natural world, crippling and usually fatal. While there is no doubt about the short-term function of natural selection, its long-term effects are not fully understood. While scientists prefer to point to the examples of birds and moths as proof of the theory of natural selection, they often refuse to see the same examples as contradictory to evolution itself.”

(Source: “Theory of Natural Selection,” All About Science www.allaboutscience.org/theory-of-natural-selection-faq.htm).

 

Non-Academic Source
Distortion of Science

We have indeed seen the changes described by this reference, in the form of speciation. We can also observe this in action with specie rings and biogeography.

Another note: are mutations harmful? Creationists insist that mutations are very rare and are usually, if not always harmful. But the fact is that the vast majority of mutations are completely neutral. They’d have to be because, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there is an overall average of 128 mutations per human zygote! So apparently, in creationist terms, “very rare” means “more than a hundred per person right from the point of conception”. Because those are just the mutations we start out with. Our cells will mutate again 30 more times over the course of our lives, and some of these subsequent mutations can be passed on to our children too –usually with no more effect than those we recognize as family traits.

Its hard to find one rigid set of numbers from any laboratory for a constant rate of how many mutations are beneficial versus those that are detrimental, because these are determined by variable environmental conditions. But there is a general consensus that they’re nearly equal with deleterious mutations being slightly more common. They’re also more profound too. But there are plenty of cases where a definite advantage has been identified and positively linked to a specific mutation.

Question 29

True or False question: A proposed “missing link” named Java man was based on nothing more than part of a skull, five teeth, and a leg bone. Comfort answers “False. It was only three teeth.” Comfort includes the following quote, “All that was found of this claimed originator of humans was a skullcap, three teeth, and a femur. The femur was found 50 feet away from the original skullcap a full year later” (Source: Hank Hanegraaf, The FACE That Demonstrates the Farce of Evolution, 1998, pp. 50-52).
Not a qualified biologist
Comfort said in the Introduction of this book he would be quoting
“evolutionary experts” and right here, Comfort provides a quote from a non-biologist. Hank Hanegraaff is not a scientist of any type, he is the host of a Bible answer radio show.
Does not damage evolutionary theory
Homo erectus is indeed a legit transitional fossil.

In-Depth Comment

“Late last century a Dutch physician, Eugene Dubois, set sail to the Dutch East Indies (now called Indonesia). Completely enamored by the theory of evolution, he had come to believe for some reason that he would find the elusive ‘missing link’ between humans and apes in that part of the world.

In 1982 on the island of Java, he found a thigh-bone, which to all intents and purposes was like that of modern humans. About a year earlier in the same location he had found a large skull-cap, and later three teeth. These were not necessarily from the same individual: the skullcap and the leg bone were about 15 meters (50 feet) apart.

The creature from which the skullcap came appeared to have a brain size of 900 cc (about two-thirds that of the average modern man—one must of course allow for the difficulty of estimating brain size from only a part of the skull). There is no reason to insist that the skullcap and the leg bone came from the same individual. But Dubois had found his ‘missing link’ and it eventually became widely accepted as such, in spite of the fact that a leading authority had identified two of the teeth as those of an orangutan, and the other as human.

‘Java man’ was trumpeted around the world as indisputable proof of human evolution. Textbooks and magazines were filled with fanciful reconstructing of ‘Java man,’ who had been given the impressive-sounding scientific name of Pithecanthropus erectus (‘erect ape-man’).

Naturally, the bones did not show whether there owner (or owners) had much body hair or not. Yet drawings of ‘Java man’ all showed the required amount of hair, the usual club in the hand, and so on. Although no face bones had been found, suitably ‘half-ape, half man’ features were reconstructed in artists’ drawings.”

(Source: “Who is Java man?” Creation Vol. 13, No. 3, June 1991, pp. 22-23 www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v13/i3/javaman.asp)

 

Non-Academic Source
Creation magazine is not an academic source in the slightest. As its name hints, it is a creationist magazine. Creationists do not submit their papers (if they even make any) to peer-review.
Distortion of Science
Despite the many lies repeated by creationists, Java man was just one out of hundreds of Homo erectus individuals documented thus far.

Question 30

True or False question: “Orce man” (found in the southern Spanish town of Orce in 1982) was hailed as
the oldest fossilized human remains ever found in  Europe. One year later officials admitted the skull fragment was not human, but probably came from a four-month-old monkey. Comfort answers “False. They admitted that it probably came from a six-month-old donkey.”
(Source: “Skull Fragment May Not be
Human,” Knoxville News-Sentinel, 1983)
Outdated Source
We have found many transitional fossils in the human lineage before and after 1983.
Does not damage evolutionary theory
The mistake of a single fossil does not automatically discredit or erase the hundreds of thousands of proven transitional fossils.

 

In-Depth Comment

“In 1982, a team of three Catalan archaeologists, headed by professor Jose Gibert, were digging near the village of Orce in Spain. During their dig, they uncovered an unusual bone fragment. A year later, they announced that the fragment belonged to a human child—causing an uproar in the evolutionary community. This discovery placed humans in Europe much earlier than evolutionists had ever predicted. Based on this find, some over-eager scientists reconstructed an entire human. Orce Man, as the find came to be known, was said to represent the oldest human fossil ever discovered in Europe. Later, to the embarrassment of many, the bone was identified as the skull cap of a 6-month-old donkey! No missing link here.”

(Source: Brad Harrub, Ph. D. and Bert Thompson, Ph. D., “No Missing Links Here…,” May 2002 www.apologeticpress.org/articles/2509)

Non-Academic Source
Apologeticpress is not a academic or scientific source.
Does not damage evolutionary theory
The mistake of a single fossil does not automatically discredit or erase the hundreds of thousands of proven transitional fossils.
There is not enough of the fossil to make its identity clear. It is still uncertain whether the fragment is hominid or equine. It is a misrepresentation to call it misidentified when there was never a consensus on its identification in the first place. If not for its importance as possibly the oldest European human, the fragment would receive little attention.

TOTALS FOR THIS SEGMENT (Q 21 – 30) 28 Total Quotes

Fallacy Number of Fallacies
Quote Mining 8
Appeal to Authority 3
Outdated Source 10
Non-Academic Source 5
Not a qualified biologist or scientist 11
Not Relevant to Evolutionary theory or Biology 13
Not Damaging to Evolutionary theory 9
Distortion of Science 5
Total 64

 

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