Refutation of “Evolution: A Fairy Tale for Grownups” – Questions 91 – 101

 

Question 91

True or False question: The fact that the DNA in chimps and in humans is 96 percent similar proves that they have a common ancestor? Comfort answers “False.” He then adds a quote “The DNA in bananas is 50 percent similar to human DNA, but no one would speculate that we are ‘half-bananas.’ Although the field of comparative genetics has revealed some interesting facts about the similarities (and differences) of DNA among different
species, it says nothing about the origin of our DNA or the historical relationship between species.”
(Source: Michael Matthews, “Apes are our brothers: just ask the Post Office,” April 17, 2003 www.answersingenesis.org/docs2003/0407apes.asp)
Non-Academic Source
Answers in Genesis is not an academic source or organization. It is a organization promoting pseudoscientific young earth creationism based on their literal interpretation of the Bible.
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. Matthews is not a scientist. He is a writer with degrees in English.
*B.A. in English (first two years at the University of Chicago, USA) Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina, USA (1984)
*M.Ed. in English Education, Bob Jones University (1988)
It should be noted, Bob Jones University is a Christian college in Greenville, South Carolina. The institute is infamous for taking the most extreme fundamentalist positions imaginable. Until 2005, Bob Jones University held the position that accreditation was a compromise with the sinful world of academia. As such, the university was an unaccredited one for most of its history, in effect conferring degrees that might as well have come from a diploma mill.
Distortion of Science
DNA does indeed prove that we and chimpanzees share a common ancestor. You share more traits in common with your siblings than you do with your cousins due to the recent ancestors you share with them, your parents. Deeper down, you share more in common with those in your extended family than you do with neighbors and classmates, etc., people you don’t recognize as part of your biological family. But you must realize that on some level you’re still related. Deeper down, one could likely recognize subtle indications of cultural demes which most people will still agree all descend from one common ancestral lineage –despite their current apparent diversity and unfamiliar ways.
Deeper down, we’ve seen that new breeds of barnyard birds, domestic pets, livestock, corn, even bananas have to some degree been engineered by human intervention via artificial selection, and new sub-species have occurred in the wild via natural selection. In both cases, these stem from common ancestry, be that hundreds of breeds of dogs coming from one strain of wolves, or dozens of commercial bovines being derived from the now-extinct European Aurochs. Likewise, we stem from a common ancestry with chimpanzees.

In-Depth Comments

“For many years, evolutionary scientists—and science museums and zoos—have hailed the chimpanzee as ‘our closest living relative’ and have pointed to the similarity in DNA sequences between the two as evidence. In most previous studies, they have announced 98-99% identical DNA. However, these were for gene coding regions (such as the sequence of the
cytochrome c protein), which constituted only a very small fraction of the roughly 3 billion DNA base pairs that compromise our genetics blueprint. Although the full human genome sequence has been available since 2001, the whole chimpanzee genome has not. Thus, all the previous work has been based on only a portion of the total DNA.
Last week, in a special issue of Nature devoted to chimpanzees, researchers reported the initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome…So what is this great and overwhelming ‘proof’ of chimp-human common ancestry? Researchers claim that there is little genetic difference between us (only 4%). This is very strange kind of proof because it is actually double the percentage difference that has been claimed for years!…
Further, the use of percentages obscure the magnitude of the differences. For example, 1.23% of the differences are single base pair substitutions. This doesn’t sound like much until you realize that it represents ~35% million
mutations! But that is only the beginning, because there are ~40-45 million bases present in humans and missing from chimps, as well as about the same number present in chimps that is absent from man. These extra DNA nucleotides are called ‘insertions’ or ‘deletions’ because they are thought to have been added in or lost from the
sequence. This puts the total number of DNA differences at about 125 million. However, since the insertions can be more than one nucleotide long, there are about 40 million separate mutation events that would separate the two species.
To put this number into perspective, a typical page of text might have 4,000 letters and spaces. It would take 10,000 such full pages of text to equal 40 million letters!”
(Source: David A. Dewitt, Ph.D., “Chimp Genome Sequence Very Different from Man,” September 5, 2005 www.answersingenesis.org/docs2005/0905chimp.asp)
Non-Academic Source
Answers in Genesis is not an academic source or organization. It is a organization promoting pseudoscientific young earth creationism based on their literal interpretation of the Bible.
Does not damage evolutionary theory

Question 92

True or False question: Archaeopteryx has been found to be the evolutionary missing link between dinosaurs and birds? Comfort answers “False.”
Comfort adds “the Field Museum in Chicago displayed what was believed to be an Archaeopteryx fossil on
October 4-19, 1997. It was hailed as “Archaeopteryx: The Bird That Rocked the World.” However, Dr. Alan Feduccia (world authority on birds and evolutionary biologist at the University of North Carolina) said, “Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an
earth-bound, feathered dinosaur. But it’s not. It is a bird, a
perching bird. And no amount of ‘paleobabble’ is going to change that.”
(Source: “Archaeopteryx: Early Bird Catches a Can of Worms,” Science, Vol. 259, 5 February 1993, pp. 764-765)
Distortion of Science
Archaeopteryx is indeed a transitional fossil. Notice how Ray Comfort (as well as other quote-miners) only quote Feduccia’s conclusion, and not his evidence. There is no mention that that his opinion is a minority opinion. Feduccia’s peers in the field of bird evolution are “authorities” too. In short this creationist is saying that Feduccia is an authority and that he says that birds are not descended from dinosaurs, therefore birds are not descended from dinosaurs. It is a classic “argument from authority.” It is also very inconsistent. Feduccia also says that evolution occurs, so if this argument is to be followed to its logical conclusion, this creationist must accept the evolution of birds from non-birds! One could also cite many more authorities that say birds are descended from theropod dinosaurs. This is why one should not pick and choose authorities. If Feduccia does turn out to be correct and his views become established within the scientific community, then the evolution deniers will probably become fond of quoting what Kevin Padian and other proponents of birds being descended from dinosaurs had to say about Feduccia’s views.
Comfort not only did not quote the experts with other views than Feduccia, the creationist did not mention the views of Feduccia that are contrary to his own case. Consider that the antievolutionist article quoted above is called “Is Archaeopteryx a ‘missing link’?” and argues that Archaeopteryx is not a transitional form. It uses the Feduccia quote to support this. A reader might be fooled into thinking that Feduccia does not think that it is not a transitional form between reptiles and birds. Here is what Feduccia2 had to say in a chapter he called “Feathered Reptiles”:
“…The creature thus memorialized was Archaeopteryx lithographica, and, though indisputably birdlike, it could with equal truth be called reptilian…. The Archaeopteryx fossil is, in fact, the most superb example of a specimen perfectly intermediate between two higher groups of living organisms–what has come to be called a “missing link,” a Rosetta stone of evolution….”
Thus from one quote we see a whole range of problems that resulted from an attempt to “prove” a point with a quotation. The moral is that quoting someone is not a substitute for researching details and providing details to the reader. Without those details, it is simply saying that it is so because so-and-so said so. Without those details it becomes an “argument from authority.
That evolution deniers have to resort to quotes to make their case shows just how little of a case they have.

In-Depth Comment

“In Eichstatt, Germany, in 1984 there was a major meeting of scientists who specialized in bird evolution,
the International Archaeopteryx Conference. They disagreed on just about anything that was covered there on this creature, but there was very broad agreement on the belief that Archaeopteryx was a true bird. Only a tiny minority thought that it was actually one of the small, lightly built coelurosaurian dinosaurs [small lightly framed dinosaurs]…If, of course, it’s a true bird, it is not the half-way, half-reptile, half-bird like we’ve often heard.”
(Source: Dr. David Menton, “Bird evolution flies out the window” www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v16/i4/birds.asp)
Non-Academic Source
Answers in Genesis is not an academic source, it is a biased young-earth creationist organization with a history of purposely distorting science to fit their literal biblical worldview.
Distortion of Science
Contrary to Menton’s claims, Archaeopteryx is indeed a transitional fossil.

Question 93

Comfort makes a statement and asks a question: “The theory of evolution depends on the concept of random mutations accumulate to create new body parts and functions. Does the evidence show that this is possible? Comfort answers “no” and quotes Stephen J. Gould to explain why, “But how do you get from nothing to such an elaborate something if Evolution must proceed through a long sequence of intermediate stages, each favored by natural selection? You can’t fly with 2% of a wing…ow, in other words, can natural selection explain these incipient stages of structures that can only be used (as we now observe them) in much more elaborated forms?…One point stands high above the rest the dilemma of incipient stages. Mivart identified this problem as primary and it remains so today.”
(Source: “Not Necessarily a Wing,” Natural History, October 1985, pp. 12-13)
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
The quote is taken from an essay by Gould entitled “Not Necessarily a Wing.” The full text can be found
[http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_functionalshift.html
here]. To quote another passage from the essay:
“…believe that Darwinism has, and has long had, an adequate and interesting resolution to Mivart’s challenge (although we have obviously been mightily unsuccessful in getting it across). Second, a paper recently published in the technical journal Evolution has provided compelling experimental evidence for this resolution applied to its most famous case—the origin of wings.”
As you can see, the quote is clearly taken out of context.

In-Depth Comments

“The reasons for rejecting Darwin’s proposal were many, but first of all that many innovations cannot possibly come into existence through accumulation of many small steps, and even if they can, natural selection cannot accomplish it, because incipient and intermediate stages are not advantageous.”
(Source: Embryologist Soren Lovtrup, Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth (Beckingham, Kent: Croom Helm Ltd., 1987), p. 275)
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
Does not damage evolutionary theory
Despite his melodramatic book title, Lövtrup accepts evolution, but disagrees with the mechanisms of it and the historicity of Darwin’s role in proposing it.
http://home.planet.nl/~gkorthof/kortho28.htm
http://www.amazon.com/review/product/0709941536/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
http://www.intelligentdesign.net/literature.htm
Lövtrup’s ideas would likely be considered “out of the mainstream” by most scientists.
“The evolutionary process faces constraints far more severe than anything impeding human designers. We biologists recognize these constraints, but we don’t often rise above our natural chauvinism and make enough noise about them. Every organism must grow from an initially smaller to an ultimate larger size. Nature in effect must transmute a motorcycle into an automobile while providing continuous transportation. The need for growth
without loss of function can impose severe geometrical limitations.”
Source: Steven Vogel, Cats’ Paws and Catapults (London: Penguin, 1998), p. 23)
Does not damage evolutionary theory

Question 94

Fill in the blank: Prof. Robert H. Peters, when referring to evolutionary theory, said “The essence of the argument is that these ‘theories’ are actually tautologies [empty
statements] and, as such, cannot make empirically testable predictions. They are not ____________.” Comfort answers “scientific theories at all.”
(Source: American Naturalist, Vol. 110, 1976, p. 1).
Comfort then states “there is nothing ‘scientific’ of evolution—it is a chosen belief about the historical origin of life.”
Outdated Source
Does not damage evolutionary theory
His main argument is that evolution cannot make predictions. However, he bases this on the low amount of geological and fossil data from the 70’s. Evolution does indeed make predictions, and they have turned out to be very accurate and/or confirmed.

In-Depth Comments

“For evolution to be a fact, you must have two things, minimally. First, you’ve got to have life coming from non-life—abiogenesis. Second, you’ve got to have a change in that life from simple forms to complex forms over time. You must have the kick-off, and you must have the rest of the game.
Now, here is my question: How did life come from non-life? How did the game get started by evolutionary
means? Does anyone know? Guess what? Nobody knows. Oh, there are some ideas and people have suggested some possible ways, but nobody has
sketched out any way that really answers the question. There are so many problems and complications. There are competing models that have been suggested, but they’re just starting places. They’re just ways of saying, ‘Let’s start here, and we’ll see where it leads.’ There
are possibilities, but no one knows how it happened, or even how it could have happened in enough detail to be compelling.
Now, here’s the kicker. If you don’t know how it happened by naturalistic, evolutionary processes, how do you know that it happened by naturalistic, evolutionary processes? Evolution is claimed to be a fact, but you cannot have the
fact of evolution unless you have the fact of abiogenesis. Yet nobody knows how such a thing could ever take place. And if life can’t be shown to have come from non-life, then the game can’t even get started.
Then why do we call evolution a fact when evolution can’t even get off the ground, based on the information we have right now? The answer you get is always the same:
Because we’re here. It must have happened. That’s  called circular reasoning, friends, based on a prior commitment to naturalism that won’t be shaken by the facts. Which proves that this is not about science, it’s about philosophy.” (Source: Gregory Koukl, “Evolution—Philosophy, Not Science” www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5494)
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.
Koukl is a licensed Pentecostal minister and founder of Stand to Reason, a Christian apologetic ministry dedicated to promoting “clear thinking Christianity that can compete in the marketplace of ideas.”
Non-Academic Source
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
Distortion of Science
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 natural selection in some way, but it
is in fact a very different chemical process called ‘abiogenesis.’
but nobody has sketched out any way that really answers the question. Actually, the scientific perspective of the development of life is surprisingly intricate multi-stage sequence. Creationists will use any parody they can to link it to evolution, and make both sound ridiculous, and that isn’t surprising considering how ridiculous their own position is—that a living cells can magically poof into being out of thin air.
Since the validity of evolution does not rest upon abiogeneis, and in fact it never did, Koukl here is simply wrong. How do we know that it came about via naturalistic means? Koukl states we have never seen life come from none life, when in fact we have tested and proven that life can arise naturally given the required materials are provided. The Miller-Urey experiment has revealed that amino acids and many other materials required for life can form naturally – this has been confirmed in nature and also seen on meteorites. Also, no scientist claims it must have happened because we are here, rather they must demonstrate how. As it stands, evolutionary theory gives the best and thorough explanation.
Finally, how do we know evolution is a fact. In order to be a fact, it must be testable and observable, and evolution fits both. It is a fact that evolution happens; that biodiversity and complexity does increase, that both occur naturally only by evolutionary means.
It is a fact that alleles vary with increasing distinction in reproductive populations and that these are accelerated in genetically isolated groups.
It is a fact that natural selection, sexual selection, and genetic drift have all been proven to have predictable effect in guiding this variance.
It is a fact that significant beneficial mutations do occur and are inherited by descendant groups, and that multiple independent sets of biological markers exist to trace these lineages backwards over many generations.
It is a fact that birds are a subset of dinosaurs the same way humans are a subset of apes, primates, eutherian mammals, and vertebrate deuterostome animals.
It is a fact that the collective genome of all animals has been traced to its most basal form, and that those forms are also indicated by comparative morphology, physiology, and embryological development.
It is a fact that everything on earth has definite relatives either living nearby or evident in the fossil record.
It is a fact that the fossil record holds hundreds of definitely transitional species even according to it’s strictest definition, and that both microevolution and macroevolution have been directly-observed.
Evolution is a fact!

Question 95

Fill in the blank question: “Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing. I think a scientist has no choice but to approach the origin of life through ________.” Comfort answers “a hypothesis of spontaneous generation”
(Source: Dr. G. Wald, “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, August 1954, p. 45).
Comfort adds, “Even though Louis Pasteur (1860’s) scientifically proved that life could not spontaneously generate from non-living matter, today’s evolutionists are willing to believe that it did.”
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
Distortion of Science
Louis Pasteur only proved that fully formed life (bacteria, maggots, mice, etc.) could not spontaneously generate. Pasteur disproved a form of creationism. There is no biological law that says that very primitive life cannot come from increasingly complex molecules.

In-Depth Comments

“This thing [a scale model of our solar system] is but a puny imitation of a much greater system whose laws you know, and I am not able to convince you that this mere toy is without a designer and maker; yet you, as an atheist, profess to believe that the great original from which the design is taken has come into being either designer or maker! Not tell me by what sort of reasoning do you reach such an incongruous conclusion?”
(Source: Sir Isaac Newton (The Minnesota Technolog, October 1957)
Appeal to authority
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
While Newton was an important scientist, he never heard Darwin’s theory or its explanatory power, so he cannot be used to attack Darwin.
While Sir Isaac Newton was a brilliant scientist, he was a man of his time. Science has brought forth vast amounts of knowledge since Newton’s time, and many things have come to light that Newton never knew about. We now know of things like quantum mechanics, atomic theory, evolutionary theory, and the Big Bang theory. Newton did not know better, we do. And to quote Newton to reinforce a century old ignorance known as “god of the gaps” is foolish on many levels.
Newton explored and searched through the mysteries of the universe and matter. Like all humans, the human brain seeks  patterns wherever it looks. No doubt Newton saw patters in the universe that resembled human design. However, we know know that many things in nature appeared design but come about through
purely natural processes (such as crystals, clouds, snowflakes, etc.)
“What has closed the doors of the Academy to Mr. Darwin is that the science of his books which have
made his chief title to fame—the Origin of Species, and
still more the Descent of Man, is not science, but a mass of assertions and absolutely gratuitous hypotheses, often evidently fallacious. This kind of publication and these theories are a bad example, which a body that respects itself cannot encourage.”
(Source: A prominent member of the Academy, on why the Zoological Section of the French Institute denied Darwin’s membership in 1872; quoted in Life and Letters of Charles Darwin (London: D. Appleton and Co., 1911), 2:400, footnote)

Outdated Source

Distortion of Science
We have no idea who wrote this letter or their reasons. We do not even know if this letter was intentionally serious. Regardless, whoever wrote this is simply wrong. Darwin’s theories presented in the Origin of Species and Descent of Man are indeed scientific books that do include mass scientific data.

Question 96

Who said the following: “I have said for years that speculations about the origin of life lead to no useful purpose as even the simplest living system is far too complex to be understood in terms of the extremely primitive chemistry scientists have used in their attempts to explain the unexplainable. God cannot be explained away by such naïve thoughts.” Comfort answers “Sir Ernest Chain.”
(Source: Ronald W. Clark, The Life of Ernest Chain [New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985], pp. 147-148.)
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
The theory of evolution is not concerned with the origin of life.

In-Depth Comments

“We don’t understand how a single star forms, yet we want to understand how 10 billion stars form.”
(Source: Carlos Frenk, as quoted by Robert Irion, “Surveys Scour the Cosmic Deep,” Science, Vol. 303, 19 March 2004, p. 1750)
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
This question is in regards to the formation of stars, not the theory of evolution or biodiversity of life. At best, this reference shares our scientific curiosity and desire to learn more about the natural world and how the universe works. Ray Comfort and his worldview offers nothing, just “God did it” — an answer that answers everything while explaining nothing.
Does not damage evolutionary theory
Unable to understand or know how stars form does not invalidate all the biological and geological evidence proving the theory of evolution.
“[T]he earliest known representative of the major kinds of animals still populating today’s seas made a rather abrupt appearance. This rather protracted ‘event’ shows up graphically in the rock record: all over the world, at roughly the same time, thick sequences of rocks, barren of any easily detected fossils, are overlain by sediments containing a gorgeous array of shelly invertebrates: trilobites, brachiopods, mollusks.
…this sudden development of rich and varied fossil record where, just before, there was none…Indeed, the
sudden appearance of a varied, well-preserved array of fossils…does pose a fascinating intellectual challenge.”
(Source: Niles Eldredge (Paleontologist, American Museum of Natural History), The Monkey Business: A Scientist Looks at Creationism (New York: Washington
Square Press, 1982), p. 44)
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
Here is the full quote; (words omitted in bold)
Creationists have made much of this sudden development of rich and varied fossil record where, just before, there was none. Ignoring its extreme antiquity and accepting, for the moment, the principle that overlying rocks are younger than those lying beneath them (a point creationists deny in other contexts), creationists are fond of asserting that the so-called Cambrian proliferation of life is an instance of grand episode of Creation. where is the slow, steady evolution of one life
form to another? they ask. Where are the “intermediate forms?” To creationists, the Cambrian episode falsifies the very notion of evolution and bespeaks, instead, the separate acts of a Creator.
Indeed, the sudden appearance of a varied, well-preserved array of fossils, which geologists have used to mark the beginnings of the Cambrian Period (the oldest division of the Paleozoic era), does pose a fascinating intellectual challenge. Early geologists simply documented the pattern. But, in the years following Darwin’s convincing argument establishing “descent with modification,” the sudden advent of complex life in the fossil record demanded some sort of explanation. The creationists today, as in so many of their pronouncements, are merely echoing a solution to an intellectual problem current in science several generations ago: If life has evolved, as Darwin has said, how can such a proliferation of vastly different life forms appear so suddenly? Doesn’t this “Cambrian explosion” flatly falsify the very idea of evolution? The trick, here is in the phrase “as Darwin said.” Creationists confound Darwin’s assertion that life has evolved with Darwin’s specific ideas on how life evolved, and the sorts of patterns he consequently expected to fin in the fossil record.
Eldredge goes on the next page to explain that the Cambrian explosion was not a sudden event, due to evidence from detailed explorations of thick Siberian deposits, thereby refuting the concept of “sudden” held by scientists and creationists alike. Eldredge even provides a hypothesis to explain the Cambrian proliferation. Eldredge does not once state that Darwin was wrong or there is no evidence for his theory or the fossil record, what he does say that creationists have “exploited” the situations of the pace of Darwin’s theory “to the hilt.”

Question 97

Which scientist was happy believing in evolution without evidence? Ray answers “Richard Dawkins.”
Comfort sources Dawkins in a speech at Washington University in St. Louis, saying “We do not need evidence. We know it is to be true.”
(Washington Magazine, 22 March 1997, p. 10)
I could not find the quote by Richard Dawkins, anywhere. Without the whole interview provided, how can we tell that Dawkins may be referring to something besides evolution?

In-Depth Comments

“Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such a hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.”
(Source: Dr. Scott C. Todd, Immunologist at Kansas State University, Nature, 30 September 1999, p. 423)
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
Outdated Source
Regarding the quote from Scott Todd, it comes from what is essentially a “letter to the editor” about the Kansas Board of Education’s 1999 decision to eliminate the required teaching of evolution in public schools. It was not from a formal scientific or philosophical paper.
Creationists quote the above but leave out the very next sentence:
“Of course the scientist, as an individual, is free to embrace a reality that transcends naturalism.”
In that next sentence, Dr. Todd correctly identifies the basis of the exclusion of the design hypothesis from science as methodological, not philosophical, naturalism. While it might be quibbled that Dr. Todd could have put it better, science, contrary to the fondest wishes of creationists, is still not metaphysics. To suggest that Dr. Todd was expressing a commitment to philosophical Naturalism is the height of disingenuous.
Also, the text which immediately precedes the quotation is:
“Most important, it should be made clear in the classroom that science, including evolution, has not disproved God’s existence because it cannot be allowed to consider it (presumably).”
That is hardly dogmatic anti-theism on Dr. Todd’s part.
“Charles Darwin presented On the Origin of Species to a disbelieving world in 1859—three years after Clerk Maxwell [a creationist] had published On Fafaday’s
Lines of Force
. Maxwell’s theory has by a process of absorption become part of quantum field theory, and so a part of the great canonical structures created by mathematical physicists. By contrast, the final triumph of Darwinian theory, although vividly imagined by biologists, remains, along with world peace and Esperanto, on the
eschatological horizon of contemporary thought.”
(Source: David Berlinksi, “The Deniable Darwin,”  Darwinism, Design, and Public Education (Mich. State, 2003), p. 157)
David Berlinksi is a senior member of the Discovery Institute.

Question 98

Fill in the blank. Evolutionists Paul Ehrlich and L. C. Birch wrote, “Our theory of evolution has become…one which cannot be refuted by any possible observations. Every conceivable observation can be fitted into it. It is thus
___________ but not necessarily false. No one can think of ways in which to test it.” Comfort answers “outside empirical science.”
(Source: “Evolutionary History and Population Biology,” Nature, Vol. 214, 22 April 1967, pp. 349-352).
Comfort goes on to say, “Evolutionists admit that the theory is not scientific, but is actually an explanation of origins. This shows that evolution is not a science, but a religious belief about the origin of life.”
Outdated Source
Distortion of Science
Evolution is not a religious belief any more than gravity or atomic theory. As already explained, evolution does not explain the origin of life. Likewise, cell theory states that all living things are made of cells, but no creationist argues against cell theory for not explaining how cells developed naturally. The only reason why creationists focus on the theory of evolution is for one sole reason; it contradicts their literal narrow interpretation of the Book of Genesis.
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

In-Depth Comment

“[Evolution] must, they feel, explain everything…A theory that explains everything might just as well be discarded since it has no real explanatory value. Of course, the
other thing about evolution is that anything can be said because very little can be disproved. Experimental evidence is minimal.”
(Source: Bryan Appleyard, “You Asked
for It,” New Scientist, Vol. 166, 22 April 2000, p. 45)
Not a ualified biologist

Appleyard is not a scientist or biologist, he is a freelance
journalist.

Distortion of Science
This quote is full of falsehoods. Evolution does not and is not meant to explain everything. Evolution is only limited to the study of biology, where in fact natural selection ties everything together.
Evolution can be disproven in many ways. Everything in science must be falsifiable. One example: find a fossilized rabbit in the Cambrian layer.

Question 99

Who said it: “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secrete of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.”
Comfort answers “Stephen Gould.”
(Source: “The Episodic Nature of Evolutionary Change” in The Panda’s Thumb [New york: W. W. Norton & Co., 1980], pp. 179-185).
Comfort goes to say, “Since there is no evidence in the fossil record that one species changed into another, Gould came up with a theory called Punctuated  Equilibrium. In essence, his theory states that a dinosaur must have laid an egg, and when it hatched, out came a bird.”
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
Classic quote mine. This is a favorite amongst creationists. Here is the full quote (with omitted words in bold);
“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record:
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. He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record, will rightly
reject my whole theory.
Darwin’s argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution [directly]. In exposing its cultural and methodological roots, I wish in no way to impugn the potential validity of gradualism (for all general views have similar roots). I only wish to point out that it is never “seen” in the rocks.
Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.
For several years, Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History and I have been advocating a resolution to this uncomfortable paradox. We believe that Huxley was right in his warning [1]. The modern theory of evolution does not require gradual change. In fact, the operation of Darwinian processes should yield exactly what we see in the fossil record. [It is gradualism we should reject, not Darwinism.]”
So it would seem that Gould has no problems with the fossil record. But did he believe that transitional forms are lacking? Note that in the quote originally presented, the claim is made that they are rare, not absent. Also, as anyone who is familiar with Gould’s writings will know, the text quoted reflects his recognition that, while there is a scarcity of transitional fossils between species, there is no such lack of transitional fossils between major groups.

In-Depth Comments

“It has through the device of presenting such diagrams [evolutionary trees] with the presumed connections drawn in firm solid lines that the general scientific world has been bamboozled into believing that evolution has been proved. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
(Source: Sir Fredrick Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1981), p. 87)
Outdated Source
Distortion of Science
“What one actually found was nothing but discontinuities: All species are separated from each other by bridgeless gaps; intermediates between species are not  observed…The problem was even more serious at the level of the higher categories.”
(Source: Ernst Mayr, The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1982), p. 524)
Outdated Source
Does not damage evolutionary theory
“The fossil record flatly fails to substantiate this expectation of finely graded change.”
(Source: N. Eldredge and I. Tattersal, The Myths of Human Evolution (New York: Columbia University
Press, 1982), p. 163)
Outdated Source
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
Some creationists include an additional piece to this quote mine. The extra quote comes from page 59, but since Comfort did not include it we will not discuss it, but you can read more about it
here. Here is what Eldredge actually said (with words omitted in
bold);
We have already argued that that the fossil record flatly fails to substantiate this expectation of finely graded change. So too, says Teggart, does the historical sequence of human events.”

Question 100

True or False question: Darwin’s finches demonstrate evolution because the birds have evolved different beaks, which means they are diverging into separate species. Comfort answers “false” and adds the following, “No
genetic information has been added to produce the  beaks’ change, which is what Darwinian evolution requires. Darwin’s finches instead demonstrate variety within the strict limits of a single species. This variety within species is what allows for different breeds of
dogs, for instance. But since the dogs always remain dogs, and finches always remain finches, no matter how many breeding generation, Darwinian evolution is just not taking place.”
(Source: Carl Wieland, “Darwin’s Finches,” June 1992 www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v14/i3/finches.asp)

Non-Academic Source

First of of all, Wieland is not a biologist, taxonomist or genetic scientist, his expertise rests in medicine and surgery. Second of all, Answers in Genesis is not an academic source, it is an organization of religious pseudoscientific charlatans.
Distortion of Science
We do know that new species do arise in a form called speciation. While Wieland argues that different breeds of dogs will always remain dogs, this is not always so. According to evolution theory, when a population is separated and after generations of genetic change, the two species when brought back together can no longer breed, they have become two new distinct species. In the case of dogs, who are descendants of wolves, there are cases when new species arise. For instance, the African dog is not a real dog at all. The aardwolf may look like a fox, but it is genetically more related to cats.

In-Depth Comment

“The finch beak variation is merely the result of selection of existing genetic information, while the general theory of evolution requires new information…However, another problem with using these finches is that the variation seems to be cyclic—while a drought resulted in a slight increase in beak size, the change was reversed when the rains returned. So it looks more like built-in adaptability to various climatic conditions than anything to do with the general theory of evolution.
This episode also discusses the change in beak length of hummingbirds, to adapt to changes in the length of
flowers where they obtain nectar. But the same points apply—no evidence was produced that any new information is required for these changes, as opposed to selection of already-existing information.”
(Source: Jonathan Sarfati, response to PBS-TV series Evolution, Episode 1 www.answersingenesis.org/pbs_nova/0924ep1.asp)
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.
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.

Question 101

True or False question: the geological column presents clear evidence of a sequence of different ages.
Comfort answers “false” – Comfort immediately puts the
following quote right after his answer, “the geological  column does not exist as it is depicted in text book. The global ‘stack’ of index fossils exist nowhere on earth.”
(Source: John Woodmorappe, “The Geological Column: Does It Exist?” Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal, 1999, pp. 77-82.)
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.
Non-Academic Source
Distortion of Science

In-Depth Comment

“The intelligent layman has long suspected circular reasoning in the use of rocks to date fossils and fossils to date rocks. The geologist has never bothered to think of a good reply, feeling the explanations are not worth the trouble as long as the work brings results. This is supposed to be hard-headed pragmatism. It cannot be denied that from a strictly philosophical standpoint,  geologists are here arguing in a circle. The succession
of organisms has been determined by the study of their remains imbedded in the rocks, and the relative ages of the rocks are determined by the remains of organisms they contain.”
(Source: J. E. O’Rourke (Evolutionist researcher), “Pragmatism Versus Materialism in Stratigraphy,”
American Journal of Science, January 1976, p. 47-55)
Distortion of Science
The intelligent layman has long suspected circular reasoning in the use of rocks to date fossils and fossils to date rocks. The geologist has never bothered to think of a good reply, feeling that explanations are not worth the trouble as long as the work brings results. This is supposed to be hard-headed pragmatism. (Emphasis added)
Notice that O’Rourke certainly has methods used by geologists as working. That something works is certainly a justification for using it. O’Rourke continued, but the article goes down hill from there. It was rambling, confused, extremely poorly written, more about bad philosophy than about geology, and filled with extreme left-wing vocabulary. Andrew MacRae, in his “Radiometric Dating and the Geological Time Scale: Circular Reasoning or Reliable Tools?”, which shows why the geologic column is not circular reasoning.

TOTALS FOR THIS SEGMENT (Q 91 – 101) 28 Total Quotes

Fallacy Number of Fallacies
Quote Mining 7
Appeal to Authority 1
Outdated Source 7
Non-Academic Source 7
Not a qualified biologist or scientist 5
Not Relevant to Evolutionary theory or Biology 5
Not Damaging to Evolutionary theory 6
Distortion of Science 12
Total 50

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