Have we evolved from water-dwelling unicellular organisms or did God create each life form the way it is? Let’s look at some arguments against evolution that pinpoint various loopholes in the Darwinian theory of evolution and understand why some people find this theory dubious.
After having chided the theologian for his reliance on myth and miracle, science found itself in the unenviable position of having to create a mythology of its own: namely, the assumption that what, after long effort could not be proved to take place today, had, in truth, taken place in the primeval past.
~ Loren Eiseley (American anthropologist, educator and natural science writer)
Before getting down to arguments against evolution, let’s first try and understand the concept of evolution itself. To put it simply, the concept of evolution rests upon the phenomenon of variations that are witnessed in the traits inherited by one generation of a particular species of organisms from its previous generation over due course of time which can span to as great a magnitude as a decade to several millennia! Besides the standard Biblical take on evolution, there have been many scientific theories to explain the inception, presence, diversity and modification of life on earth – yes, though Charles Darwin’s theory is the most popular and widely accepted theory on evolution, it is not the only one. The various theories of evolution have been propounded by a many different biologists, religious philosophers and anthropologists over a course of about four centuries! These theories have been broadly classified as Pre-Darwinian Theories and Darwinian Theory of evolution. Let’s take a brief, academically stimulating tour of the various scientific evolutionary theories before we proceed towards some of the most common arguments against evolution.
Theories of Evolution
Pre Darwinian Theories of Evolution
|Evolution Theorist||Time Period||Theory of Evolution|
|James Ussher||1581-1656||Creation took place as a continuous progression of life forms, each form an advanced version of the previous, with all organisms, as we see them today, getting created by God in very recent times. These life forms have not undergone any change since then.|
|John Ray||1627-1705||He grouped organisms under different genera and subdivided each genus into multiple species for the first time. He was the first to hint at the evolution from apes to humans and grouped us under the name Homo sapiens.|
|Carolus Linnaeus||1707-1778||He classified organisms on the basis of physical features and methods of reproduction. Bulk of his works include descriptions of life forms that occurred in Nature rather than any actual research on how things came to be.|
|Comte de Buffon||1707-1788||He was among the first evolution theorists to suggest that life forms are not fixed and that they tend to undergo changes over time, either due to chance or environmental factors.|
|Erasmus Darwin||1731-1802||Grandfather of Charles Darwin, Erasmus Darwin’s beliefs on evolution, although extremely vague, came very close to those of his grandson. He believed that earth and all organisms have been undergoing changes in form since millions of years. However, his ideas on causes responsible for such changes are pretty abstruse and smoky.|
|Jean Baptiste Lamarck||1744-1829||Lamarck believed that the cause behind changes or modifications in the appearance of traits of subsequent generations of each species was due to the environmental requirements (and resultant adaptations, therefore) faced by the preceding generations of the same species. For instance, he erroneously believed that giraffes developed a long neck due to preceding generations’ need to stretch their necks in order to reach leaves on trees for the purpose of feeding.|
Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection rests upon the premise that all life forms have descended from a common, simple life form, and, as such, are connected. He believed that with the progress of each generation, the creatures, about two-three generations down the line belonging to each species became more complex than its previous generations. He suggested that as generations progress, there occur random genetic mutations within the organisms of a species and, owing to the phenomenon of natural selection, those mutations which best aid survival and enhance environmental adaptability are the ones that are retained while the less beneficial ones are discarded. Charles Darwin bases his theory upon the belief that life on earth started with a single cell and very gradually, such life underwent the processes of cellular division and genetic diversification to give rise to the vast number of life forms that we know today!
Best Counter-evolution Arguments
Now that we are quite familiar with the premises upon which the scientific theories of evolution are based, let’s take a look at some scientific as well as religious arguments against the theory of evolution. Before you begin reading, please note that the following arguments have nothing to do with my personal opinion and understanding of evolution – the following list comprises most prominent counter-evolution arguments that have been put forward by people belonging to diverse socio-academic backgrounds and having very different lines of thought that may or may not have been influenced by the religion/faith/philosophy they adhere to.
- The most popular theories of evolution agree on the fact that there was no life in the universe, including Earth to begin with. Earth was just a mound mass of chemical elements and compounds and none of these compounds can be called living matter. Now the question arises that how can a cluster of non-living compounds and elements congregate and combine to generate something that has life?
- In continuation with the above debate, famous American biologist, Stanley Miller, has observed that the possibility of dead matter coming to life all by itself is inconsistent with scientific thought and observation.
- Scientific observation states that any organism can give birth to or reproduce another organism of the same species. Sometimes, genetic mutations may occur that might make the offspring appear physically or otherwise different from the parent(s) and such mutation, with extremely rare exceptions, is usually in the form of a genetic disorder or disfiguration. The mutated offspring being better than the parents is not a common phenomenon. Going by this observation, only a sporadic burst of progressive mutations (the only way to explain the evolution of mammals, reptiles and all complex life forms from, say, amoeba!) can lead to the inception of creatures better equipped for survival than its previous generations. This is where the foundations of the theory of natural selection receives a mighty blow!
- On a study conducted by a team of leading mathematicians and biological evolutionary researchers came up with the startling result, proved by numerical statistics, proved that the mathematical probability of a living cell or a molecule of protein to come into being all by itself is absolutely nil!
- Laboratory experiments have failed to prove that genetic mutation can lead to creation of altogether different species.
- The lack of tangible evidence that can give a scientific explanation for the phenomenon of creation and divergent evolution forms the basis for all religious beliefs attributing creation to a Supreme Being – God, if you will! This is where the seeds of the Creation Evolution controversy are sown!
To put it in a nutshell, almost all arguments against the theory of evolution stem from four major factors – absence of observation, evidential instability, scientific inconsistency and absence of evolutionary mechanism in the present times. However, just because something cannot be proved with certainty today doesn’t mean that the possibility isn’t there! Remember, there was a time when the whole world believed the Earth was the center of the universe until Galileo came by and proved otherwise! However, since this article is about arguments against evolution, I feel it would be appropriate to conclude by quoting a very famous American biologist, regarding his take on the theory of evolution and the origin of the species based upon genetic mutation and natural selection:-
The probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of the Unabridged Dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop.
~ Prof. Edwin Conklin