Refutation of “Evolution: A Fairy Tale for Grownups” – Questions 31 – 40

Question 31

Who said it question: “Fossil evidence of human evolutionary history is fragmentary and open to various interpretations. Fossil evidence of chimpanzee evolution is absent altogether.”
Comfort answers “Henry Gee.”
(Source: “Paleontology: Return to the planet of the apes,” Nature, Vol. 412, 12 July 2001, p. 131).
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

First of all, here is what it actually reads;

“Moreover, it remains the case that although hominid fossils are famously rare, the chimpanzee lineage has no fossil record whatsoever.”

The quote-miner included a whole made-up sentence to slide into the quote.

Throughout the paper, Henry Gee includes a list of hominid fossils found over the years, names the places they were found and who found them.

Gee’s actual message, that the fossil evidence for the chimpanzee (note JUST the chimpanzee, not gorilla’s or humans) is missing. However, the lack of fossils for the ancestry of one species does not invalidate the thousands of transitional fossils we have discovered for thousands of other species. Henry Gee, right after pointing out the lack of chimpanzee lineage, he goes on to provide an explanation why this may be the case. It could be that the chimpanzee lived in a different environment, such as woodlands.

 

 

In-Depth Comments

“The simple fact that is that no proof whatever has been found indicating that one species evolves into another. The fossil record is simply a series of still pictures of species that existed at one time. They do not show how one species evolves into another. Transitional fossils have not been found. The fossil record shows new species appearing suddenly without any ancestry. What scientific investigation indicates is that the species are immutable and that when mutations occur they do not become new species. For example, evolutionists have been experimenting with fruit flies for years in the hope of demonstrating evolution at work. But the fruit flies have stubbornly refused to develop into anything buy more fruit flies, despite all kinds of stimuli, including radiation. Some mutations have occurred, but nothing to suggest the beginnings of a new species.

Even Dr. Stephen Jay Gould, a passionate defender of evolution, has written, ‘The fossil record with is abrupt transitions offers no support for gradual change.’ As Darwin wrote in The Origin of Species, the geological record is extremely imperfect…and (this fact) will to a large extent explain why we do not find interminable varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps.”

(Source: Dr. Samuel L. Blumenfeld, “Theory of Evolution: Fact or Fairy Tale?” July 10, 2000).

Non-Academic Source
World Net daily is not a academic or scientific source.
In all honesty, it is a site for far right-wing anti-scientific conspiracy-buff individuals.
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.
Samuel L. Blumenfeld is not a scientist, he is an educator and author.

 

“The fossil record pertaining to man is still so sparsely known that those who insist on positive declarations can do nothing more than jump from one hazardous surmise to another and hope that the next dramatic discovery does not make them utter fools…As we have seen, there are numerous scientists and popularizers today who have the temerity to tell us that there is ‘no doubt’ how man originated. If only they had evidence.”
(Source: William R. Fix, The Bone Peddlers (New York: Macmillan, 1984), p. 150).
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.
William Fix is an independent author, not a scientist.
Distortion of Science
The argument is completely false: we DO have the evidence.

Question 32

True or False question: Albert Einstein said, “A little science estranges men from God, but much science
leads them back to Him.” Comfort answers “False. It was French chemist Louis Pasteur, one of the three main founders of microbiology, to whom we owe the process of pasteurization.”
(No source provided)
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
There is nothing in this reference that discredits any part of the theory of evolution or even addresses anything in biology. The personal spiritual beliefs of a single chemist does not matter in the slightest to the theory of evolution.
Appeal to authority

 

In-Depth Comments

“In science there is no ‘knowledge,’ in the sense in which Plato and Aristotle understood the word, in the sense which implies finality; in science, we never have sufficient reason for the belief that we have attained the truth…This view means, furthermore, that we have no proofs in science (excepting, of course, pure  mathematics and logic). In the empirical sciences, which alone can furnish us with information about the world we live in, proofs do not occur, if we mean by ‘proof’ an argument which establishes once and for ever the truth of a theory.”
(Source: Sir Karl Popper, The Problem of Induction, 1953)
Does not damage evolutionary theory
This reference does not discredit evolutionary theory in anyway, all it does it explain the methods of science. Since research is constantly ongoing to discover the unknown, new knowledge is always escalating as new data is being uncovered. Since new information can reveal previously accepted scientific models can be incorrect or incomplete, scientific models must remain falsifiable.

 

“Science, fundamentally, is a game. It is a game with one overriding and defining rule. Rule No. 1: Let us see how far and to what extent we can explain the behavior of the physical and material universe in terms of purely physical and material causes, without invoking the supernatural.”
(Source: Richard E. Dickerson (authority on chemical evolution), “The Game of Science,” Perspectives on Science and Faith, Vol. 44, June 1992), p. 137)
Does not damage evolutionary theory

Religion is a bias by definition. That’s why it relies on propaganda. But science dispels propaganda because it eliminates bias by design; it has to because it’s an investigation, not a predetermined conclusion like religion is. So every proposition must be requisitely evidential and potentially falsifiable, and must be subjected to a perpetual battery of independent and unrestricted tests wherein anyone and everyone who thinks they can is welcome to try and find and expose from flaw in it –to correct it. Creationists won’t subject their beliefs to any of that because they’re not interested in finding out what is really true. They want to defend their preferred beliefs whether they’re true or not.

A theory has to be tested indefinitely. It demands understanding instead of belief. So it must be based on verifiable evidence; It must explain related observations with a measurable degree of accuracy; It must withstand continuous critical analysis in peer review, and it must be falsifiable too. If it doesn’t fulfill all these conditions at once, then it isn’t science. If it meets none of them, it may be religion.

 

Question 33

Fill in the blank question: Since at least the time of Aristotle (4th century B.C.E.), people believed that non-living objects could give rise to living organisms. It was common “knowledge” that food left out quickly “swarmed” with life. With a simple experiment in the mind 1800s, Louis Pasteur disproved the theory of ___________?
Comfort answers “spontaneous generation” and goes on to say the following, “Nearly 200 years ago science proved that life cannot originate from lifeless matter. How ironic that evolution is supposedly scientific and yet claims that life originated from lifeless matter.”
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology

First of all, Louis Pasteur’s experiment was to see if fully formed maggots were formed in two controlled environments. Two pieces of meat, one in a closed system while the other in a container with a hole, and Pasteur waited to see which one maggots would appear. The answer was that maggots appeared on the meat in the opened container. His experiment did not prove that life cannot come from non-life, rather Pasteur was experimenting to see if fully-formed maggots would appear from the meat. He discovered that when flies landed on the meat, they plant eggs.

In conclusion, Pasteur did not disprove abiogenesis or evolution, rather he disproved a form of creationism—that fully formed life could just appear. Abiogenesis does not state that life formed fully, rather it argues that the materials necessary for life gathered in a right environment could start chemically bonding to form very simple self-replicating materials that would develop into cells. It is only after then does evolution via natural selection kick in. Evolution is limited to the variation of allele frequencies inherited over generations of living organisms, then it obviously can’t operate where no genomes yet exist. The evolutionary process starts with genetics and can’t start before it. Comfort’s remark about irony is both baseless and misguided.

 

In-Depth Comments

“By asking the question, what is spontaneous generation, we are asking: can life generate itself from non-living matter? For centuries, at least back to the 4th century B.C. Until the late nineteenth century, people (including scientists) believed that simple living organisms could come into being by ‘spontaneous generation.’ It was ‘common knowledge’ that simple organisms like worms, frogs, and salamanders could come from mud, dust, and unpreserved food. Today we know that all apparent spontaneous generation of life has an explanation. We also know that what was thought to be simple life was extremely complicated life. What we have learned is that life comes from life!”
(Source: “What is spontaneous generation?” All About Science www.allaboutscience.org/what-is-spontaneous-generation-faq.htm)
Non-Academic Source
All About Science is not a academic or scholarly source, rather it is a Christian apologetic website.
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
Creationists habitually misdefine their terms, and commonly insist that evolution means “life from non-life.” But of course that’s not right either. 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. The evolutionary process starts with genetics and can’t start before it. So how the first genes came about may seem similar to evolution, and may even involve a form of natura selection in some way, but it is in fact a very different chemical process called “abiogenesis.”
Distortion of Science

What this reference is talking about “life coming from life” is known as biogenesis. Luis Pasteur proved that spontaneous generation was impossible – that is, he proved that fully formed mice, rats, and flies could appear out of blue. In a sense, Luis Pasteur disproved creationism in general.

Here, All About Science is trying to pass the implication that life is only possible coming from other life. However, this has no bearing on a biochemical process called “abiogenesis” – which is a intricate multi-stage sequence of chemicals producing simple self-replicating polymers, or the earliest stage of reproductive life.

 

“It is a characteristic of the true believer in religion, philosophy and ideology that he must have a set of beliefs, come what may (Hoffer, 1951). Belief in a primeval soup on the grounds that no other paradigm is available is an example of the logical fallacy of the false alternative. In science it is a virtue to acknowledge ignorance. This has been  universally the case in the history of science as Kun (1970) has discussed in detail. There is no reason that this should be different in the research on the origin of life.”
(Source: Hubert P. Yockey, Information Theory and Molecular Biology (Cambridge university Press, UK: 1992), p. 336)
Does not damage evolutionary theory

This reference indicates that people of religion, philosophy or ideology must have a set of beliefs – but beliefs are not mandatory to be based on evidence or reality. Creationists love to pride themselves of men who place “beliefs” over fact; for instance, despite the clear evidence to the contrary, many creationists will believe one/some/all of the following: the Earth is young, the Sun is younger than the Earth, the Earth is the center of the universe, and/or the Earth does not move and is flat.

This reference seems to be implying that these people should have a more open mind towards alternatives – especially to how they view the origin of life.

Science does admit when and where it is ignorant, and total understanding of the origin of life is not complete (but abiogenesis does have a lot of evidence behind it), therefore we should be more open-minded. Unfortunately to the religious creationists, they pridefully do not want an open mind since their religion demands on blind faith that their favorite ancient fables is the one and only truth.

We do not know everything regarding the origin of life, but that ignorance does not lend any credibility to any religious doctrine. Truth is only concerned where the evidence supports it – and to this date, there has been zero evidence for creationism (all the evidence seems to fit the natural processes of abiogenesis).

 

Question 34

True or False question: there is plenty of scientific evidence in the fossil record to substantiate that there are transitional forms between species? Comfort answers “false” and adds a quote by S. M. Stanley, “The known fossil record in not, and has never been, in accord with gradualism. What is remarkable is that, through a variety of historical circumstances, even the history of opposition has been obscured that in the past century, as the biological historian William Coleman has recently written, ‘The majority of paleontologists felt their evidence simply contradicted Darwin’s stress on minute, slow, and cumulative changes leading to species transformation’…Their story has been
suppressed.”
(Source: S. M. Stanley, The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1981), p. 71)
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

Here is the full quote (words omitted in bold)

The Modern Sythesis was perhaps not so much a true synthesis as ti was a victory for gradualistic genetics. The evolutionary discipline least happily accommodated was the one about which I have said least but in the following chapter will say most: paleontology or, as it commonly called today, paleobiology. The known fossil record in not, and has never been, in accord with gradualism. What is remarkable is that, through a variety of historical circumstances, even the history of opposition has been obscured. Few modern paleontologists seem to have recognized that in the past century, as the biological historian William Coleman has recently written, “The majority of paleontologists felt their evidence simply contradicted Darwin’s stress on minute, slow, and cumulative changes leading to species transformation.” In the next chapter I will describe not only what the fossils have to say, but why their story has been suppressed.

Stanley is critiquing gradualism, not the theory of evolution as a whole. Gradualism is often confused with the concept of phyletic gradualism. It is a term coined by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge to contrast with their model of punctuated equilibrium, which is gradualist itself, but argues that most evolution is marked by long periods of evolutionary stability (called stasis), which is punctuated by rare instances of branching evolution.

 

In-Depth Comments

“There is another and allied difficulty, which is much more serious, I allude to the manner in which species belonging to several of the main divisions of the animal kingdom suddenly appear in the lowest fossilifierous rocks.”
(Source: Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, p. 348).
Does not damage evolutionary theory
Darwin was a product of his time. He knew nothing about HOX genes, homeotic genes, lysyloxidase, hemoglobin, and several other factors that ALL point out that the Cambrian period had enough time to allow life to drastically form rapidly all in accordance to the theory of evolution.

 

“The abrupt manner in which whole groups of species suddenly appear in certain formation, has been urged by several paleontologists—for instance, by Agassiz, Pictect, and Sedgwick—as a fatal objection to the belief in the transmutation of species. If numerous species, belonging to the same genera or families, have really started into life at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of evolution through natural selection.”
(Source: Ibid., p. 344)
Does not damage evolutionary theory
Darwin, Agassiz, Pictect and Sedwick could not have known about important factors that contributed to the evolution of life in the Cambrian period. Now that we know about HOX genes, homeotic genes, lysyloxidase, hemoglobin, and several other factors, we now know that life in the Cambiran and Pre-Cambrian period is not “fatal” to the theory of evolution, rather it is a great example of it.

 

“The most famous such burst, the Cambrian explosion, marks the inception of modern multicellular life. Within just a [supposed] few million years, nearly every major kind of animal anatomy appears in the fossil record for the first time…The Precambrian record is now  sufficiently good that the old rationale about undiscovered sequences of smoothly transitional forms
will no longer wash.”
(Source: Stephen J. Gould, “An Asteroid to Die For,” Discover, October 1989, p. 65)
Does not damage evolutionary theory
The Cambrian explosion does not contradict or refute the theory of evolution.

 

Question 35

Which magazine reported, “We are finding that humans have very, very shallow genetic roots which go back very recently to one ancestor”?
Comfort answers “U.S. News & World Report
(Source: “The Genetic Eve Gets a Genetic Adam,” December 4, 1995).
Distortion of Science
Does not damage evolutionary theory
This video will explain why this “Y-Chromosome Adam” as well as “Mitochondrial Eve” is not what creationists imply what it means. “Y-Chromosome Adam” is not the only male in the human species (Within his own generation and the male humans before him), nor is he alive around the same time “Mitochondria Eve” is alive (rather, they are 70,000 years apart). Same for “Mitochondria Eve” – she is not the first female woman (more exist within her generation and had existed long before she existed). “Y-Chromosome Adam” and “Mitochondria Eve” did not live at the same time (and likely not the same place).

 

In-Depth Comment

“Much evidence can be advanced in favor of the theory of evolution—from biology, biogeography, and paleontology, but I still think that to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favor of special creation. If, however, another explanation could be found for this hierarchy of classification, it would be the knell of the theory of evolution. Can you imagine how an orchid, a duckweed, and a palm have come from the same ancestry, and have we any evidence for this assumption? The evolutionist must be prepared with an answer, but I think that most would break down before an inquisition.”

(Source: E. J. H. Corner (Professor of Botany, Cambridge University, England), “Evolution,” in A. M. MacLeod and L. S. Cobley, eds., Contemporary Botanical Thought (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1961), p. 97).

Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

Corner was a botanist who specialized in tropical plants and died in 1996. His entire career was dedicated to the study of tropical plants and ecology. Evolutionary theory was to him as obvious and as natural as breathing. Consider his remark as to the origin of seaweed:

“Living seaweeds are the modern actors of the old drama. Two or three thousand million years ago, crowded plankton cells were pushed against bedrock and forced to change or die. They changed and became seaweeds.” – Corner, E. J. H. 1964. The Life of Plants.

Here is the full text (words in bold are words Comfort omits),

The theory of evolution is not merely the theory of the origin of species, but the only explanation of the fact that organisms can be classified into this hierarchy of natural affinity. Much evidence can be adduced in favour of the theory of evolution – from biology, bio-geography and palaeontology, but I still think that, to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favour of special creation. If, however, another explanation could be found for this hierarchy of classification, it would be the knell of the theory of evolution. Can you imagine how an orchid, a duckweed, and a palm have come from the same ancestry, and have we any evidence for this assumption? The evolutionist must be prepared with an answer, but I think that most would break down before an inquisition.

Textbooks hoodwink. A series of more and more complicated plants is introduced – the alga, the fungus, the bryophyte, and so on, and examples are added eclectically in support of one or another theory – and that is held to be a presentation of evolution. If the world of plants consisted only of these few textbook types of standard botany, the idea of evolution might never have dawned, and the backgrounds of these textbooks are the temperate countries which, at best, are poor places to study world vegetation. The point, of course, is that there are thousands and thousands of living plants, predominantly tropical, which have never entered general botany, yet they are the bricks with which the taxonomist has built his temple of evolution, and where else have we to worship?” – Prof. E. J. H. Corner (Professor of Tropical Botany, Cambridge University, UK), ‘Evolution’ in Contemporary Botanical Thought”, Anna M. Macleod and L. S. Cobley (editors), Oliver and Boyd, for the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, 1961, p. 97.

The first sentence, and the first part of the typically chopped up second sentence clearly focuses us on the truth of evolution. The second half of the second sentence (the part most often quoted by creationists) is obviously a criticism of the plant fossil record. And from what we know about Corner’s career, and from his next paragraph, we know that his criticism is particularly directed at the fossil tropical record. This is not the understanding that professional creationists try to force on us. The second paragraph completes Corner’s criticism and makes his meaning crystal clear: the Botanical establishment’s focus on European plants and paleontology can not provide the answers to the (then) important issues in plant evolution. Corner’s answer is that the tropical ecologies, and paleontology where the answers were and that textbooks and field work should be revised accordingly.

There are two really irritating things about this abuse of Corner’s work. First, the professional creationists waited until near Corner’s death before they started to misuse his then 35 year old book chapter, which denied him the opportunity to defend his work. Just think about it, in 1961 not even one gene had been sequenced. Second is the way that the professional creationists habitually misrepresent the facts in their effort to bail out their sinking literalist ship.

Question 36

Which famous evolutionist wrote, “It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us”? Comfort answers “Stephen Hawking”

(Source: A Brief History of Time: From the Big bang to Black Holes [New York: Bantam Books, 1988], p. 127).

Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology

How the universe began is irrelevant to biology or the theory of evolution. Regardless how the planet and life started, the theory of evolution is only concerned with how life diversifies, not how it originates. I find it weird that no creationist attacks Cell Theory (which holds that living things are only made of self-replicating cells) that Cell Theory does not attempt or try to answer the question of how the first cell originated. Cell Theory largely goes ignored by ALL creationists. The answer is simply creationists are not concerned at all, they only want to reject, hide, and slander the scientific theory that explains how humans came to be that happens to contradict their beloved favorite ancient fable.
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
Hawking says this in the framework of having a universe with a specific initial configuration. He then – right in the next paragraph, no less!! – continues to discuss alternatives to specific initial universe configurations. The alternatives boil down to various models of inflationary growth of the universe. Hawking starts with describing Alan Guth’s inflationary model and discusses Linde, Steinhardt, and Albrecht’s “new inflationary model.” (aBHoT p.67-69). Hawking then talks about how the “present state of the universe could have arisen from quite a large number of different initial configurations” (aBHoT p.70). Hawking mentions later that we’d need a better understanding of quantum laws to figure out how the universe should have started off.

 

In-Depth Comments

“In the hot big bang model described above, there was not enough time in the early universe for heat to have flowed from one region to another. This means that the initial state of the universe would have had exactly the same temperature everywhere in order to account for the fact that the microwave back-ground has the same temperature in every direction we look. The initial rate of expansion also would have had to be chosen very precisely for the rate of expansion still to be close to the critical rate needed to avoid recollapse. This means that the initial state of the universe must have been very carefully chosen indeed if the hot big bang model was correct right back to the beginning of time. It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.”

(Source: Stephen hawking, A Brief History of Time, p. 127).

Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology

The Big Bang has no meaning or connection to the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution is only concerned with the diversification of life, not the origin of the universe.
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
Hawking says this in the framework of having a universe with a specific initial configuration. He then – right in the next paragraph, no less!! – continues to discuss alternatives to specific initial universe configurations. The alternatives boil down to various models of inflationary growth of the universe. Hawking starts with describing Alan Guth’s inflationary model and discusses Linde, Steinhardt, and Albrecht’s “new inflationary model.” (aBHoT p.67-69). Hawking then talks about how the “present state of the universe could have arisen from quite a large number of different initial configurations” (aBHoT
p.70). Hawking mentions later that we’d need a better understanding
of quantum laws to figure out how the universe should have started
off.

 

NASA astronomer John O’Keefe stated in an interview: “We are, by astronomical standards, a pampered, cosseted, cherished group of creatures…If the Universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.”
(Quoted in Fred Heeren, Show Me God (Wheeling, IL, Searchlight Publications, 1995), p. 200).

Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology

Cosmology has no meaning or connection to the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution is only concerned with the diversification of life, not the origin of the universe.
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 a old earth creationist and a scientific journalist.

“Upon receiving the first data about the edges of the universe from the COBE space probe in 1992, project leader George Smoot remarked, ‘It’s like looking at God.’

“Astonomer Geoffrey Burdibge, an atheist, was so dismayed by the 1992 findings of the COBE spacecraft and confirming experiments, he complained that ‘his peers were rushing off to join the ‘First Church of the Big Bang.’ Other atheists, recognizing the theological implications, started coming to the fore. In early 1993, the Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism ran an article in the magazine Free Inquiry entitled, ‘Does the Big Bang Prove the Existence of God?’ Even the prestigious British journal Nature enlisted its physics editor, John Maddox, to write an editorial entitled ‘Down with the Big Bang.’ There was no doubt in the minds of all those people about the theistic implications of general relativity and the big bang.” (Source: Ralph O. Muncaster, “A Finely-Tuned Universe: What Are the Odds?” www.beliefnet.com/story/127/story_12717_1.html).

 

Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
The Big Bang has no meaning or connection to the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution is only concerned with the diversification of life, not the origin of the universe.

“There may be some deep questions about the cosmos that are forever beyond science. The mistake is to think that they are therefore not beyond religion too. I once asked a distinguished astronomer…to explain the Big Bang to me. He did so to the best of his (and my) ability, and I then asked what it was about the fundamental laws of physics that made the spontaneous origin of space and time possible. ‘Ah,’ he smiled, ‘now we move beyond the realm of science. This is where I have to hand over to our good friend, the chaplain.’ But why the chaplain? Why not the gardener or the chef? Of course chaplains, unlike chefs and gardeners, claim to have some insight into ultimate questions. But what reason have we ever been given for taking their claims seriously? Once again, I suspect that my friend, the professor of astronomy, was using the Einstien/Hawking trick of letting ‘God’ stand for ‘That which we don’t understand.”**

(Source: Richard Dawkins, “Snake Oil and Holy Water,” Forbes ASAP, October 4, 1999).

**Comfort makes a note: “Dawkins is referring to Einstein’s quote “God does not play dice with the universe,” and Hawking’s description of his science as an attempt to “understand the mind of God.”

 

Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
The Big Bang has no meaning or connection to the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution is only concerned with the diversification of life, not the origin of the universe.

 

Question 37

True or False question: Science magazine reported in 1984 that shells from living snails were carbon dated as being 7,000 years old. Comfort answers false, the magazine reported that that carbon dating suggested the snails, where were alive, were 27,000 years old.
(Source: A. C. Rigs, “Major carbon-14 deficiency in modern snail shells from southern Nevada springs,” Science, Vol. 224,6 April 1984, pp. 58-61)
Outdated Source
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
This reference only attacks carbon dating, not the theory of evolution. If it was correct that carbon dating is completely unreliable, it ignores the dozens of other dating methods available to scientists – especially dating methods that, unlike carbon dating, accurately calculate the age of objects beyond 100,000 years.
Distortion of Science

The 27,000 year old date comes from Riggs (1984, 224), who wrote:

“Carbon-14 contents as low as 3.3 +/- 0.2 percent modern (apparent age, 27,000 years) measured from the shells of snails Melanoides tuberculatus living in artesian springs in southern Nevada are attributed to fixation of dissolved HCO3- with which the shells are in carbon isotope equilibrium.”

In other words, the apparent age of 27,000 years for these snail shells is another example of the reservoir effect. The springs, from which the snails came, were fed by carbonate aquifers. As this water percolated through the enclosing carbonates, it dissolved limestone and dolomite hundreds of millions of years old. The dissolution of limestone and dolomite introduced considerable quantities of “dead carbon” into the groundwater. As a result, the groundwater which fed the spring and in which the snails lived was significantly deficient in carbon-14 relative to what is found in the atmosphere. When the snails made their shells, they incorporated an excess amount of “dead carbon,” relative to modern atmosphere, into their shells, which resulted in the excessively old apparent date.

Contrary to the complaints of creationists, conventional scientists are well aware of this problem. They test for it and take it into account when interpreting radiocarbon data. In cases where corrections for presence of dead carbon cannot be made, such dates are readily recognized as erroneous and can be safely disregarded. This is not the fatal flaw to radiometric dating that some creationists claim it to be. It just shows that dates from mollusks from streams and lakes need to be carefully evaluated as to their reliability. Other materials, such as wood, charcoal, bone, and hide, would remain unaffected by this type of reservoir effect. If found with shells in the same layer, these materials could be dated to determine if shells are locally affected by the reservoir effect and, if so, how much their radiocarbon dates have been skewed by it.

 

In-Depth Comments

“Today our duty is to destroy the myth of evolution, considered as a simple, understood, and explained
phenomenon which keeps rapidly unfolding before us. The deceit is sometimes unconscious, but not always, since some people, owing to their sectarianism, purposely overlook reality and refuse to acknowledge the inadequacies and falsity of their beliefs.”
(Source: Pierre-Paul Grasse (Former President, French Acadamie des Science), Evolution of Living Organisms (New York: Academic Press, 1977), p. 8).
Outdated Source
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

Even until the 1970s there was at least one famous French scientist of the “old school,” Pierre P. Grasse, who continued to voice strong reservations concerning Darwin’s particular explanation (and the Neo-Darwinian explanation) of “how” evolution occurred. Not surprisingly, Grasse is quoted FIVE TIMES in The Revised Quote Book, because he wrote of the “myth of evolution, considered as a simple, understood, and explained phenomenon.”

However, the editors of The Revised Quote Book neglect to tell their readers that in the same book by Grasse from which they have quoted, Grasse also stated in the most unequivocal terms: “Zoologists and botanists are nearly unanimous in considering evolution as a fact and not a hypothesis. I agree with this position and base it primarily on documents provided by paleontology, i.e., the history of the living world … [Also,] Embryogenesis provides valuable data [concerning evolutionary relationships] … Chemistry, through its analytical data, directs biologists and provides guidance in their search for affinities between groups of animals or plants, and … plays an important part in the approach to genuine evolution.” (Pierre P. Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms, Academic Press, New York, 1977, pp. 3,4,5,7)

Of course, Grasse also tipped his hat to the French “father of evolution,” Lamarck, stating: “Lamarckism, which is no less logical than Darwinism … is a tempting theory … and we would not be surprised to learn from molecular biology that some of its [Lamarckism’s] intuitions are partly true…it should be considered today a way of thinking, of understanding nature, rather than a strict doctrine entirely oriented toward the explaining of evolution.” (Pierre P. Grasse, p. 8)

The authors of The Revised Quote Book lifted Grasse’s phrase, “the myth of evolution,” out of context, trying to deceive others into believing that Grasse was doubtful of evolution even though he stated he “agreed” with the “nearly unanimous” scientific consensus that “evolution” was an historical scientific “fact.” Grasse simply disagreed with explanations of exactly “how” evolution occurred. He felt the “how” part was not a “simple, understood, and explained phenomenon.”

“There are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular
system, only a variety of wishful speculation. It is  remarkable that Darwinism is accepted as a satisfactory explanation for such a vast subject—evolution—with so little rigorous examination of how well its basic theses work in illuminating specific instances of biological adaptation or diversity.”
(Source: Molecular biologist James Shapiro, “In the Details…What?” Natural Review, 19 September 1996, pp. 62-65.)

Does not damage evolutionary theory

James Shapiro’s statement was a bit hyperbolic. Evolution of the Krebs cycle for example was already fairly well understood.

 

Question 38

True or false question: The fossil record gives an abundance of scientific proof for Darwin’s theory of
evolution?
Comfort answers “False” and adds the following quote, “Scientists concede that their most cherished theories are based on embarrassingly few fossil fragments and that huge gaps exist in the fossil record.”
(Source: “Puzzling Out Man’s Ascent,” Time magazine, November 7, 1977).
Outdated Source
Distortion of Science

This quote is highly outdated from the 70’s. About a decade ago, Kathleen Hunt, a zoologist with the University of Washington, produced a list of a few hundred of the more dramatic transitional species known so far, all of which definitely fit every criteria required of the most restrictive definition. Myriad transitional species have been, and still are being, discovered; so many in fact that lots of biologists and paleontologists now consider that list “innumerable” especially since the tally of definite transitionals keeps growing so fast! Several lineages are now virtually complete, including our own.

Does not damage evolutionary theory
Even if we did not have a single fossil (which we have thousands upon thousands), we can still prove the theory of evolution via common descent through genetics, phylogeny, morphology, embryology, and such.

 

In-Depth Comments

“Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis: you can never prove it…Each time new experiments are observed to agree with the predictions the theory survives, and our confidence in it is increased; but…no matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory.”
(Source: Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Band to Black Holes (New York: Bantam Books, 1988), p. 107).
Does not damage evolutionary theory

Here, Hawking is only explaining how science works and operates, which does not contradict or discredit the theory of evolution at all. We can’t prove a theory only because that’s against the rules imposed by the game of science. But we can prove that evolution exists, and that it works, just like we can prove that gravity works, even though it too is ‘just’ a theory and has never been proved.

Atomic theory has never been proven either –not even in Hiroshima. But just as evolution is the foundation of modern biology, modern chemistry is completely dependent on atomic theory. And there are huge holes in that theory! Just look at our classic model of atomic structure; it’s wrong, and we know it’s wrong, but we still teach it in school anyway, because despite their virtual invisibility and being understood only in theory, atoms are still a matter of undeniable fact. So we have to use that in a series of imperfect models because we’re still trying to figure out one that works in all instances.

A theory is made of facts. It’s is an analysis of how reality works, but every theory has holes in it and no theory is complete. That’s why science must remain objective. For example, expanding planet theory addresses some compelling points which plate tectonics doesn’t adequately account for. But it also calls for assumptions that can’t be justified, it’s refuted by definite observations that are only supportive of plate tectonics, and it can’t explain everything that tectonics does. But remember also that the man who first proposed the theory of plate tectonics was ridiculed for it to the day he died, though his theory has since gained universal acceptance.

Other theories never had any competition at all. For example, Louis Pasteur, –who disproved the creationist hypothesis of spontaneous generation– also rejected the notion long promoted by religious leaders, that ailments of the body were of supernatural origin. Science can only examine natural explanations, and Pasteur provided that with his proposition that diseases weren’t caused by demons, but by germs. Like evolution, germ theory can never be proven, even though we know and can show that it is definitely correct beyond any doubt, and that’s why there’s no competing theory.

 

“Gaps in the fossil record—particularly those parts of it that are most needed for interpreting the courts of evolution—are not surprising.”
(Source: G. L. Stebbins, Darwin to DNA, Molecules to Humanity (San Fransisco: W. H. Freeman & co., 1982), p. 107).
Does not damage evolutionary theory

Indeed they are not surprising, it is rather to be expected. When something dies, it is usually disassembled, digested, and decomposed. Only rarely is anything ever fossilized, and even fewer things are very well-preserved. Because the conditions required for that process are so particular, the fossil record can only represent a tiny fraction of everything that has ever lived. Darwin provided many environmental dynamics explaining why no single quarry could ever provide a continuous record of biological events, and why it would be impossible to find all the fossilized ancestors of every lineage. But despite this, he predicted that future generations, -having the benefit of better understanding- would discover a substantial number of fossil species which he called “intermediate” or “transitional” between what we see alive today and their taxonomic ancestors at successive levels in paleontological history.

In fact, in the century-and-a-half since then, we’ve found millions of evolutionary intermediaries in the fossil record, much more than Darwin said he could reasonably hope for. There are three different types of transitional forms and we have ample examples of each.

 

“The fossil record itself provided no documentation of continuity—of gradual transition from one animal or plant to another of quite different form.”
(Source: S. M. Stanley, The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes and the Origin of Species (New York: Basic Books, 1981), p. 40).
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

Here is the full quote (words omitted in bold)

Unfortunately, Darwin found the record a great disappointment. Only bits and pieces of branches had come to light. One could postulate continuity between fossils that seemed to represent ancestral and descendant forms, but the record itself provided to documentation of continuity—of gradual transitions from one kind of animal or plant to another of quite different form. In the Origin, Darwin acknowledged the severity of this failing. His recourse was to launch a large-scale attack on the quality of the fossil record. He argued that the record was woefully incomplete and could never be expected to support his scheme of gradual and continuous change.

It can be clearly seen here that Stanley is not implying that the fossil record is completely absent. He giving a brief history of Darwin’s time and investigation into the fossil record. Stanley admits that “bits and pieces” of fossil evidence were found, but not is such large quantities as Darwin hoped for. Therefore, Darwin had to explain why we do not find massive amounts of fossils. When something dies, it is usually disassembled, digested, and decomposed. Only rarely is anything ever fossilized, and even fewer things are very well-preserved. Because the conditions required for that process are so particular, the fossil record can only represent a tiny fraction of everything that has ever lived. Darwin provided many environmental dynamics explaining why no single quarry could ever provide a continuous record of biological events, and why it would be impossible to find all the fossilized ancestors of every lineage. But despite this, he predicted that future generations, -having the benefit of better understanding- would discover a substantial number of fossil species which he called “intermediate” or “transitional” between what we see alive today and their taxonomic ancestors at successive levels in paleontological history. In fact, in the century-and-a-half since then, we’ve found millions of evolutionary intermediaries in the fossil record, much more than Darwin said he could reasonably hope for. There are three different types of transitional forms and we have ample examples of each.

Gould and his colleagues are widely cited by creationists in their effort to establish that the fossil record documents “no transitions.” To creationists this is taken to mean that there are no evolutionary links between “created kinds.” But Gould, Eldredge and Stanley are talking about the failure of the fossil record to document fine-scale transitions between pairs of species, and its dramatic documentation of rapid evolutionary bursts involving multiple speciation events — so-called adaptive radiations. They are not talking about any failure of the fossil record to document the existence of intermediate forms (to the contrary, there are so many intermediates for many well-preserved taxa that it is notoriously difficult to identify true ancestors even when the fossil record is very complete). Nor are Gould, Eldredge, and Stanley talking about any failure of the fossil record to document large-scale trends, which do exist, however jerky they may be. Furthermore, fine-scale transitions are not absent from the fossil record but are merely underrepresented. Eldredge, Gould. and Stanley reason that this is the unsurprising consequence of known mechanisms of speciation. Additionally, certain ecological conditions may favor speciation and rapid evolution, so new taxa may appear abruptly in the fossil record in association with adaptive radiation. Since creationists acknowledge that fine-scale transitions (including those resulting in reproductive isolation) exist and since the fossil record clearly documents large-scale “transitions,” it would seem that the creationists have no case. Indeed. they do not. Their case is an artifact of misrepresentation to the lay public of exactly what the fossil record fails to document.

 

“The lack of ancestral or intermediate forms between fossil species is not a bizarre peculiarity of early metazoan history. Gaps are general and prevalent
throughout the fossil record…Gaps between higher taxonomic levels are general and large.”
(Source: R. A. Raff and T. C. Kaufman, Embryos, Genes, and Evolution: The Developmental-Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change (Indiana University Press, 1991), pp. 34-35).
Does not damage evolutionary theory
As already explained, gaps in the fossil record is to be expected and does not discredit the theory of evolution. Even if we did not have a single fossil, we can still prove common descent entirely on genetics, taxonomy, phylogeny, ontology, embryology, and much more.

Question 39

True or false question: Albert Einstein was an atheist? Comfort answers “False” and adds “he called himself an agnostic.”
Comfort then adds the following quote, “My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced
that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.”
(Source: The Expanded Quotable Einstein (Princeton university Press), pp. 216-217).
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
One scientists personal spiritual beliefs do not hold any weight regarding the theory of evolution any more than the theory of gravity, heliocentric theory, or any other scientific theory.
Appeal to authority
Einsteins faith or lack thereof has nothing whatsoever to do with the theory of evolution. It would not matter if Einstein was a Muslim or believed in Santa Claus. A theory rests on facts and tests, not a single scientists spiritual views. Comfort should know better.

In-Depth Comment

“Einstein did, however, retain his childhood religious phase a profound faith in, and reverence for, the harmony and beauty of what he called the mind of God as it was expressed in the creation of the universe and its laws. Around the time he turned 50, he began to articulate more clearly in various essays, interviews and letters his deepening appreciation of his belief in God, although a rather impersonal version of one. One particular evening in 1929, the year he turned 50, captures Einstein’s middle-age deistic faith. He and his wife were at a dinner party in Berlin when a guest expressed a belief in astrology. Einstein ridiculed the notion as pure superstition. Another guest stepped in and similarly disparaged religion. Belief in God, he insisted, was likewise a superstition.

At this point the host tried to silence him by invoking the fact that even Einstein harbored religious beliefs. “It isn’t possible!” the skeptical guest said, turning to Einstein to ask if he was, in fact, religious. “Yes, you can call it that,” Einstein replied calmly. “Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in fact, religious.”

(Source: Walter Isaacson, “Einstein & Faith,” Time, April 05, 2007 www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1607298,0.html).

Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
Again, this whole piece is rather pointless regarding the theory of evolution. It is regarding the history and personal beliefs of a single scientist, but it does not address or examine a single thing regarding beneficially to the theory of evolution.
One scientists personal spiritual beliefs do not hold any weight regarding the theory of evolution any more than the theory of gravity, heliocentric theory, or any other scientific theory.
Non-Academic Source
Time magazine is not a scientific or academic source.

 

Question 40

Is there any undeniable empirical evidence that human fossils are genetically linked to primates?
Comfort answers “No” and adds the following quote, “Amid the bewildering array of early fossil hominoids, is there one whose morphology marks it as man’s hominid ancestor? If the factor of genetic variability is taken into account, the answer appears to be no.”
(Source: Robert Eckhardt, Scientific American, Vol. 226, January 1972, p. 94).
Outdated Source

A lot has happened since 1972. In fact, in 1974 scientists exactly what Eckhardt was looking for: Australopithecus afarensis.

Evolutionary theory required that another extinct hominid be found in strata chronologically between the Miocene Dryopithecus fontana and the earliest known human species, which from 1891 to 1961, was Homo erectus. We’ve found lots of candidates, as many as fifty species of apes which are now all extinct. But more than that, the theory also demanded that we find one “half-way” between humans and other apes in terms of morphology. We found exactly that too way back in 1974. Australopithecus afarensis proved to be a fully bi-pedal ape who’s hands, feet, teeth, pelvis, skull, and other physical details were exactly what creationists challenged us to find, yet they’re still pretending we never found it.

But worse than that, we didn’t just find that one. More than 30 years since then, there has been a paleontological boon such that we now have way more transitional species in many more lineages than we ever needed or hoped for.

 

Distortion of Science

In 1989, ERVS were discovered and revealed the genetic connection between humans and chimpanzees. If evolution were to be true, we should be able to find ERV sequences matches between humans and chimpanzees. Within the last decade, this has been extensively tested and verified as true.

In 1975, scientists extensively used different methods to compare the chromosomes of humans and chimpanzees. Humans had 46 chromosomes while chimpanzees have 48. In 1982, studies revealed that the human Y Chromosome 2 in humans fused. These chromosome were were present in the common ancestor of humans and other apes. Turns out, in 1991 it was proven that the chromosomes did fuse, and in 2002 we were able to map out the exact spot where they did fuse. In 2005, researchers published an extensive study that revealed that the genetic fusion did prove that humans and chimpanzees did indeed share a common ancestor.

In-Depth Comments

“Homo erectus has been found throughout the world. He is smaller than the average human of today, with a proportionally smaller head and brain cavity. However, the brain size is within the range of people today and studies of the middle ear have shown that he was kist like current Homo sapiens. Remains are found throughout the world in the same proximity to remains of ordinary humans, suggesting coexistence. Australopithecus africanus and Peking man were presented as ape-men missing links for years, but are not both considered Homoe erectus.”

(Source: “Human Evolution: Frauds & Mistakes,” All About Creation www.allaboutcreation.org/human-evolution.htm).

 

Non-Academic Source
All About Creation is not a academic or scholarly source, rather it is a Christian apologetic website.
Does not damage evolutionary theory

There is nothing in this reference that discredits Homo erectus as a fraudulent fossil. Rather, it just provides a general description of its figure. That is not an argument against the theory of evolution.

Even if this article or any other article would prove all the remains of Homo erectus we have discovered as fraudulent or that they do not belong in our ancestral family, that would 1) not discredit the theory of evolution 2) automatically make the mass amounts of evidences such as ERVS and genetics 3) and would certainly not disprove the fact that we are apes right now.

 

“As I have implied, students of fossil primates have not been distinguished for caution when working within the logical constraints of their subject. The record is so
astonishing that it is legitimate to ask whether much science is yet to be found in this field at all.”
(Source: Lord Solly Zuckerman, M.A., M.D., D.Sc., Beyond the Ivory Tower (New York: Taplinger Pub. Co., 1970), p. 64).
Outdated Source

Again, this quote comes before 1974 when we discovered Australopithecus afarensis. Australopithecus afarensis proved to be a fully bi-pedal ape who’s hands, feet, teeth, pelvis, skull, and other physical details were exactly what creationists challenged us to find. Plus more than 30 years since then, there has been a paleontological boon such that we now have way more transitional species in many more lineages than we ever needed or hoped for.


TOTALS FOR THIS SEGMENT (Q 31 – 40) 32 Total Quotes

Fallacy Number of Fallacies
Quote Mining 7
Appeal to Authority 2
Outdated Source 5
Non-Academic Source 4
Not a qualified biologist or scientist 3
Not Relevant to Evolutionary theory or Biology 11
Not Damaging to Evolutionary theory 13
Distortion of Science 6
Total 53

 

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