By Robert Sungenis
S. Trasancos: Five Questions from Catholics about Evolution: In elementary school, children learn about dinosaurs and fossils, how fossils form, how paleontologists reconstruct skeletons of animals from the past using those fossils. There seems no difficulty whatsoever accepting that all kinds of plants and animals lived on the Earth before people lived.
Meanwhile, the Catholic children learn about Creation, Adam and Eve, Original Sin, Noah’s Ark, and the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings become the foundation of hope, faith, and love throughout the Sacramental life, journeying toward Heaven.
As a Catholic convert, I had no problem accepting evolutionary theory until I thought about its implications on the biblical account. What about the dinosaurs? How can one species become another? When I realized evolutionary theory meant we descended from ape-like creatures and even single cells, I could not see how Genesis could be taken literally.
Hence I was hesitant to say I accepted the science because I was afraid it would mean rejecting my faith. I tried to dismiss evolution as “only a theory,” but I knew better. I had studied biochemistry and was aware of the nuts and bolts of the evolutionary process at the genetic and molecular level.
R. Sungenis: It is one thing for Ms. Trasancos to tout the fact that she “studied biochemistry,” it is quite another for her not to alert her Catholic audience that there are many other Catholic and non-Catholic biochemists that don’t accept her opinion that evolution is true. In fact, since Ms. Trasancos did not cite any other biochemists who deny evolution, this means she is neither being impartial nor scientific.
Michael Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution”, is a perfect example of a biochemist who shows that evolution is virtually impossible. Other books, such as Phillip Johnson’s Darwin on Trial; Michael Denton’s Evolution: A Theory in Crisis and Natures Design; Dr. Lester McCann’s Blowing the Whistle on Darwinism; Michael Dembski’s work on Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe; and Kenyon’s Of Pandas and People, and many other works, as never before, have unveiled the foundations of sand upon which evolutionary theory is built. I can only assume that Ms. Trasancos doesn’t want her readers to know about these credentialed critics of her theory, especially since she does not reference any of them in her “recommended reading.”
S. Trasancos: Plants and animals are different kinds of living things, but both reproduce via genetic material made of the same isomeric forms of 20 different amino acids that build all the proteins for life. Heredity is passed on through this genetic material. The entire taxonomic hierarchy of living things relies on this reproductive mechanism. To reject evolution is to reject the foundation of the biological sciences.
R. Sungenis: Any scientist with the least respect for the extreme difficulties of explaining evolution would be appalled at Ms. Trasancos’ conclusion, namely, “To reject evolution is to reject the foundation of the biological sciences.” That Mr. Trasancos bases her conclusion merely on the fact that all living things pass down 20 different amino acids simply begs the question: what has the passing down of amino acids have to do with evolution? We don’t need evolution to pass down inherited characteristics. We acquire the same genes our parents had.
What Ms. Trasancos must do to prove evolution is to show us evidence of HOW and WHY genes would change in order to bring about a whole new species. The only gene changes we know about are mutated genes, but 99% of them are harmful. So how could mutations “evolve” into higher and more complex species? Curious minds want to know.
S. Trasancos: Suspecting I was not the only one struggling with this question, I recently asked my friends what questions they most struggled with. Here are only five. (There were many more.) I struggled with them too.
Faith and Science Can Co-Exist?
In America we are told by everyone that faith and science can’t co-exist. Secularists believe it, public scientists believe it, and even most popular preachers believe it. I had an intense interest in biology as a young boy but was told that a Christian couldn’t be a biologist.
In a letter to Reverend George Coyne, S.J., then the director of the Vatican Observatory, Pope St. John Paul II wrote an often quoted summary of the relationship between faith and science. “Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish.”
It is sad that children are told that faith and science cannot co-exist because it robs children of knowing the “wider world” in which both can flourish. It robs them of knowing how to avoid both superstition and idolatry. The solution for Catholic parents is simple—teach your kids God made everything. Children are naturally awed by nature, the sun, the insects, the trees, the snow, the canyons and the mountains. If you tell them that God made it all, their fascination will be fueled. Nature is a reliable, orderly, amazing creation, and the Christian world view is rational, sane, and necessary for science. Remembering that God made everything is the key to understanding the relationship between faith and science. To learn any science is to learn about God’s creation. There can never be any real conflict, only incomplete understanding on our part.
As it relates to evolution, the Christian believer does not view God as a cause among other causes, but as The Cause, always present and working in the world. He is existence itself, the reason for everything. However the diversity of life happened, the entire course of evolution depends on God for its beginning and every activity along the way. Science studies the secondary, observable causes in the physical realm, but we believe those causes are guided by the faithful hand of God.
R. Sungenis: She makes it sound so nice. The problem, however, is the same as when you are about to go to the witness stand and the bailiff asks you to put your hand on the Bible and swear to, “Tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God.” Ms. Trasancos has only told half the truth. Half the truth is that God created everything. The other half, of course, is HOW God did it, which is explained in the 31 verses that immediately follow Genesis 1’s: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Be very careful, my dear Catholics. The theistic evolutionist’s ploy to escape the conundrum of “faith v. science” is to claim that the details of Genesis 1 that you read in its 31 verses are not true or they are irrelevant. If Ms. Trasancos is following the liberal party-line, she believes that Genesis 1 was a made-up story by a Jewish scribe coming out of Babylonian captivity around 515 BC. He made up the story not to give us precise truth of how God created the world; rather, he wanted the Jewish God to look better than Marduk, the Babylonian god. As such, his “creation story” invigorated his fellow Jewish people as they headed back to Israel to live.
The traditional Catholic understanding of the authorship of Genesis is quite different, however. It holds that Moses wrote Genesis as he was inspired by God, and that every detail he put in Genesis 1 is the exact truth of what happened.
Ms. Trasancos wants you to ignore the details of the “how and why” of Genesis 1. They just get in the way for evolutionists like her. She wants you to memorize only the first line of Genesis: “God created the heavens and the earth,” and then skip to Chapter 2 or 3.
And if your children ask you about verses 1b to 31, you just tell them those verses aren’t really important because God didn’t give us those words in the first place, and even if He did, they are just story-filler or window dressing and don’t have any real truth to them.
You will find that most Catholic school children are being taught this contradictory nonsense – “just believe that God created everything” – and don’t ask any more questions. This is the bifurcated world of truth and falsehood that Ms. Trasancos has decided to live in, and that is because she’s convinced that the evolutionists who taught her biochemistry were correct in saying that genes mutate into different species and produce evolution, all by chance.
S. Trasancos: Only a Theory?
This is probably the most often repeated dismissal of evolution. Of course, evolution is a theory, but theories are legitimate scientific concepts. Theories are explanatory. The scientific method generates hypotheses, and once a hypothesis is confirmed by repeated and varied testing, it is raised to a theory. So a theory is a well-tested explanation for a broad set of observations. Kinetic theory, for example, provides the basis for the Ideal Gas Laws. It helps the scientist form mental pictures and predict behaviors.
R. Sungenis: Notice how Ms. Transancos plants an example of a theory from gases in the mind of her reader. The ploy is to have the reader equate gas laws with evolution, as if they are on par with each other. They are not. Not even close. Gas laws are based on things we can see and test. We can’t see and test for evolution, since the theory is straddled with the fact that evolution can only occur over millions of years, not in the single day that gases react in a test tube.
S. Trasancos: Evolutionary theory also helps scientists form mental pictures to explain how the diversity of living things might have happened over time. It explains what caused the changes we observe. Natural selection and genetic drift are explanations for these changes, and genetic studies have provided an explanation of the mechanism of evolution at the molecular level. Is there more to it? Of course there may be more explanations with further study.
R. Sungenis: “Genetic drift”? In the world of scientific semantics Ms. Trasancos has found a better sounding phrase than the one that has already been discredited as a mechanism for evolution, namely, genetic mutations. When Ms. Trasancos can show us evidence that “genetic drift” can cause one species to become another species, only then does she have something to talk about.
The same goes for natural selection – the theory that by natural processes, biological traits become more or less common in a given species. Natural selection has never proven evolution. Yes, biological traits can be slightly adjusted due to environmental factors from generation to generation, but that doesn’t prove that the genes themselves will change to produce a higher and more complex species from a lower and less complex species. The difference is like turning water to steam. The “traits” of the water have changed, but the molecules are exactly the same, hydrogen and oxygen. But Ms. Trasancos, without any demonstrated proof, wants us to believe that water will change into carbon all by itself, by “molecular drift,” as it were.
S. Transancos: Evolution is also a fact, or a law. Scientific laws are concise statements that summarize results. The relationship between the pressure of a gas in a sealed container and volume of that gas at a constant temperature is Boyle’s Law, named after Robert Boyle who first reported the law in a systematic way. It is not explanatory. It is a statement of fact. Evolution is a fact in that it is a measure of the genetic changes that occur with time in a population. Scientists know these changes occur. They can observe them, quantify them, and in some cases, predict them.
R. Sungenis: So here we are back to the “half-truth” game. Ms. Trasancos, without defining her terms and only speaking in generalities, wants you to believe that “genetic changes” are the same as evolution, and therefore, because we see “genetic changes,” then “evolution is also a fact, or a law.” I’m sorry to say, the only “law” that is being given here is that the misuse of the English language always leads to confusion. Until if and when Ms. Trasancos defines and proves the “genetic changes” she has in mind, the only thing that has “evolved” is her penchant to throw out mere assertions without scientific proof.
S. Trasancos: Death and Dinosaurs?
If death did not enter the world until the Fall, then what about the dinosaurs? That suggests there was death and carnivorous behavior during pre-human times.
R. Sungenis: Ms. Trasancos’ argument is a perfect example of the fallacy of petitio principii, more commonly known as “begging the question.” Due to what her secular evolutionist professors taught her in graduate school, Ms. Trasancos presumes that dinosaurs lived before humans. Does she provide even one scintilla of evidence for it? Must she? Not according to Ms. Trasancos, since she has already dismissed Genesis 1:1b – 31 as a myth to which Catholics need not pay any attention.
Be that as it may, I find it interesting that Ms. Transancos uses the example of dinosaurs being older than men when, in fact, recent evidence from excavated dinosaur bones shows they contain red blood cells, blood vessels, and collagen. You can read one example of this in Mary Schweitzer’s article in Scientific American, December 2010, and there are many more available. The discovery means that those dinosaur bones can barely be 7000 years old, much less the 70 million years they are touted to be by the evolution community.
The article is titled, “Blood from Stone.” The story is written by field researcher Mary Schweitzer of North Carolina State University who, after excavating the T-rex, watched the crane accidentally break one of its bones. When Dr. Schweitzer looked inside, to her absolute astonishment she saw not only blood cells but the veins and arteries to carry them, which vessels she described as very pliable and resilient as if they were still fresh. But because evolution must fit all past events into a pre-arranged timetable, it has always insisted that a T-Rex cannot be less than 68 million years old. Yet modern biological science says, even with the best efforts of preservation, nucleated blood cells couldn’t survive even 7,000 years, much less 10,000 times that age.
Notwithstanding, what I found most intriguing about the article in Scientific American was not the news about blood in a T-Rex but more about the reaction of Dr. Schweitzer and her immediate superior to whom she showed her findings. His name is Dr. Jack Horner, curator of paleontology and one of the world’s foremost dinosaur authorities. As Mary recounts the story,
“He took a look for himself. Brows furrowed, he gazed through the microscope for what seemed like hours without saying a word. Then, looking up at me with a frown, he asked, ‘What do you think they are?’ I replied that I did not know, but they were the right size, shape and color to be blood cells, and they were in the right place, too. He grunted, ‘So prove to me they aren’t.’ It was an irresistible challenge, and one that has helped frame how I ask my research questions, even now.”
Whereas Jack and Mary should have both been beside themselves with astonishment and ready to be moved wherever the empirical evidence led them, instead we have one of the clearest examples of the agenda-driven side of modern science – ignore any evidence that refutes the status quo and seek to turn all evidence into support of it. This is especially surprising of Mary Schweitzer since she is a member of the American Scientific Association whose website says it believes in “the divine inspiration, trustworthiness and authority of the Bible in matters of faith and conduct…the Triune God affirmed in the Nicene and Apostles’ creeds which we accept as brief, faithful statements of Christian doctrine based upon Scripture…creating and preserving the universe God has endowed it with contingent order and intelligibility, the basis of scientific investigation”1
Hoping that Dr. Schweitzer would be more forthcoming, our team of scientists wrote to her and asked if we could do a Carbon-14 test on the T-Rex bone. This would have readily shown how old the specimen was. Other times we have done so show dates in the range of 15,000 to 30,000 years, tops. But Mary refused our offer. Perhaps she was afraid of losing her job as Dr. Richard von Sternberg lost his when after he published an article in 2007 for the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington favorable to Intelligent Design and was subsequently fired by the Smithsonian Institution because his article “does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings.” Incidentally, Dr. von Sternberg is a practicing Roman Catholic.
S. Trasancos: In Romans 5:12, St. Paul the Apostle said: “By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.” In the decree on Original Sin, the Council of Trent taught that the first man, Adam, transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise and immediately lost his holiness. In doing so, “he incurred through the offense of that prevarication the wrath and indignation of God and hence the death with which God had previously threatened him.” (Denzinger, 788).
Those last words, “hence the death…God…threatened,” are important, as is the distinction of “all men” in St. Paul’s letter. Adam’s sin, as threatened, transmitted death to mankind, but not to animals. Death is natural for animals. It is how they were created. For man, death is also natural, but God created man for everlasting life through grace. Ludwig Ott explains in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma on “The Origin of Death” that man was “endowed with the preternatural gift of bodily immortality in Paradise.” (p. 473) As warned, the gift was lost as a punishment for sin.
Ott also explained that in the case of those justified by grace, death loses its penal character. Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Mother Mary were free from Original Sin. Death was neither a consequence nor a punishment for them, but death was natural for their human nature. Other animals die as well because it is natural for them. They were not created with the preternatural gift of immortality. They were not given free will. They did not sin against God. By nature, they die and always have.
R. Sungenis: Once again, Ms. Transancos is making assertions without any evidence. She thinks that merely because she reads a verse of Scripture that speaks about man’s death from sin, this means that animals are not involved, and thus she concludes that animals have always died, and did so before Adam and Eve committed Original Sin.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be so self-assured, especially when we need to support our previous unproven assertion that “evolution is a fact, or a law”? When evolution is the foundation upon which you discern the truth or falsity of everything, then even the Bible is subject to being falsified by the “fact” of evolution, which is the belief system of Stacy Trasancos.
The possibility of the animals dying before the Fall of Adam was made possible, of course, by Ms. Trasancos’ other foundational statement concerning how her students should read Genesis, that is, “just say to your kids that God created everything.” Again, if that is the only commentary she will give to Genesis, it means she is deliberately setting aside the rest of Genesis’ historical details. The details are crucially important in the case of the animals since Genesis 1-3 really doesn’t give much time for the animals to die before Adam sins, since soon after Adam and Eve are created, they are tested in the Garden of Eden. Additionally, the fact that Adam named the animals suggests an idyllic scene in which the animals are both friendly to him and not killing one another, or him.
If before the Fall all the animals were herbivores, but became carnivores after the Fall, this would mean that the curse of death pronounced by God upon the world would have been the impetus that changed the physiology of the animals. Obviously, Adam and Eve’s physiology was changed, since immediately after they sinned their bodies began to degenerate, which would later lead to their death.
In the same vein, after the Fall, the serpent’s body was changed from a creature that apparently walked on limbs to one that slithered on the ground and ate dust. Since such physiological changes occurred in one species of animals due to the Fall, it certainly could have happened to others, (e.g., change a herbivore to a carnivore). In fact, Gn 3:14 suggests this very thing, stating to the serpent: “Cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field, on your belly you shall go…” Here it is evident that the serpent is cursed “more than” every beast, which implies that the beasts were cursed, but cursed less than the serpent.
Additionally, the Bible gives no evidence of pre-Fall death or pre-Fall carnivores in the biblical imagery. For example, Isaiah 65:25 elicits an idyllic state of existence, which is characterized as the “lion eating straw like the ox.” This would most likely have been the case with the Garden of Eden before the Fall. Added to this is the fact that today a large carnivore would, if need be, not hesitate to kill a man and eat him, but since pre-Fall man was guaranteed not to incur death, this would mean either that the carnivore would have been prohibited from attacking Adam and Eve, or, more likely, that there were no carnivores before the Fall.
Lastly, it is a common theme in Scripture for animals to be involved in the blessings or cursings on man. For example, in describing the Flood, the narrator makes a point to include the animals at each point the curse is pronounced (Gn 7:14, 21, 23). Yet, when the blessing comes after the Flood, the animals are specifically mentioned as recipients (Gn 8:1,17). In the making of the covenant, God makes it with the animals, too (Gn 9:9-10). Or as Ps 36:6 says, “O Lord, you preserve man and beast.” At the tenth plague of Egypt, in which all the first born of the Egyptians were killed, the first born of all the cattle were killed as well (Ex 12:29). In Jonah 4:11, where God, wishing to withhold destruction from Nineveh, gives the rationale that there were children and “many animals” there.
So we see that Scripture ties a tight weave between men and animals whenever a blessing or curse comes upon the land. As such, the burden of proof is certainly on Ms. Trasancos to prove that animals died before man and before there was a curse upon the Earth. The Bible simply gives no indication that such occurred.
S. Trasancos: Microevolution and Macroevolution?
I have no trouble with micro-evolution (among species), but I don’t see how macro-evolution (one species arising from another) can occur.
Evolution happens because of changes in gene frequencies over time. “Gene frequency” refers to how often a particular gene (i.e. deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA, sequence for a specific trait) appears in a population. Researchers can determine gene frequency using DNA sequencing techniques.
Suppose a scientist discovers three genes and calls them gene A, gene B, and gene C. Then she collects DNA from individuals of a population and finds that half of them have gene A, a quarter of them have gene B, and the last quarter has gene C. She has determined that the gene frequency is 50, 25, and 25 percent respectively. If she repeats this study over successive generations and finds that the frequency changes to 30, 30, and 40 percent, then evolution has occurred by the processes of “genetic drift.”
R. Sungenis: Ms. Trasancos continues to make grandiose conclusions from little or no evidence. “Gene frequency” is not evolution. Evolution claims that the DNA in genes has a mechanism that changes the DNA so that the gene will eventually turn into another species. There is simply no indication from science that DNA has that power, even when it is altered by artificial means.
Ms. Trasancos’ vision of evolution is like mixing 50% water, 25% oil and 25% plastic in a jar. If we come back a few weeks later and see 30% water, 30% oil and 40% plastic in the jar, can we conclude that there has been an “evolution” among the components such that one has transformed into the other, or we will simply conclude that a lot of the water evaporated and thus left more oil and plastic in higher proportions?
S. Trasancos: Gene frequencies can remain constant for long periods of time, or they can change quickly in response to changes in the environment. Suppose the environment was depleted of a certain food that individuals with gene A needed to live long enough to reach the age for reproduction. Those individuals would not reproduce at the same rate as the others, and the frequency of gene A would decrease. In this case, genetic drift would have occurred because of “natural selection.”
The process is the same on both short or long time scales. Microevolution refers to the evolutionary process over short times and small changes. An example is a bacterium population in a laboratory where a mutation occurs that creates a gene that causes the individual bacteria to divide more rapidly. Macroevolution refers to the evolutionary process over a long time and larger changes. Over longer times, more gene frequencies change, sometimes enough for speciation to occur and for one species gives rise to two. Is there more to the story? Probably. The structure of DNA was not known in Charles Darwin’s time, but later the theory was expanded with knowledge of genetics. We do not know what will be discovered next, and there are plenty of studies probing other hypotheses far beyond the scope of these short answers.
R. Sungenis: Notice how Ms. Trasancos makes the giant leap from what she calls “microevolution” to “macroevolution,” without so much as a hint to her reader that this leap is precisely where the controversy lies. She wants her reader to assume that if “microevolution” occurs, then so must “macroevolution.” She provides no evidence where such a leap has occurred, and if so, how it came from many micro changes that became a macro change.
Second, once again, Ms. Trasancos treats gene mutations as if they are always beneficial, claiming that if she gets “enough for speciation to occur and for one species [to] give rise to two,” then she has shown that macroevolution is not only possible but expected. There is one big problem with Ms. Trasancos’ little scheme – it’s not science. Real science shows us that most mutated genes are harmful – to the tune of about 99%. Where is that little fact stated in Ms. Trasancos’ above description? It’s absent, which means Ms. Transcos, being a biochemist, knows better, and thus is not being honest with her readers.
S. Trasancos: Descended from Apes? Are we supposed to accept that humans evolved from apes? Paleoanthropology tells the story like this: Human evolution began in Africa about 4 million years ago. Humans appear to have evolved from ape-like creatures (not apes) that evolved from creatures before them. Our branch of the tree of life includes the apes, the chimpanzees, and us—evolutionary cousins. The evidence is in the DNA, which is like a molecular clock in that the number of chemical differences (amino acids) in proteins between different lineages changes roughly linearly with time (i.e. proportionally). By comparing the genomes of chimps with the human genome, and by comparing that data set with the rate specific genetic substitutions that are known to occur, it seems that about 5 million to 7 million years ago chimps diverged on one lineage and humans on another.
R. Sungenis: First, “paleoanthropology” is a secular science that has absolutely no regard for divine revelation (e.g., that the first man was formed immediately and miraculously from dust, and that the first woman was formed immediately and miraculously from the man’s rib) nor gives any credence to the idea that man’s existence on Earth is relatively short, nor that animals and man never existed apart from each other, except for one day. So if one is going to base his conclusions only on what “paleoanthropology” says, then one is not being either very metaphysically sound or even very scientific. Logical scientific deduction would require a thorough investigation into whether “paleoanthropology” was a legitimate science that could make legitimate conclusions if it only confines itself to evolution and nothing else as the mechanism for man’s existence.
As for the idea that apes evolved into men, even hard-core evolutionists find no evidence that such occurred. Anthropologist Dr. Lyall Watson in “The Water People,” Science Digest, vol. 90, May 1982, p. 44, says:
Modern apes, for instance, seem to have sprung out of nowhere. They have no yesterday, no fossil record. And the true origin of modern humans – of upright, naked, tool-making, big-brained beings – is, if we are to be honest with ourselves, an equally mysterious matter.
Likewise, Sarel Elmer and Irven DeVore in “The Primates,” 1985, p. 15, say:
Unfortunately, the fossil record which would enable us to trace the emergence of the apes is still hopelessly incomplete. We do not know either when or where distinctively apelike animals first began to diverge from monkey stock. Unfortunately, the early stages of man’s evolutionary progress along his own individual line remain a total mystery
John Gliedman in “Miracle Mutations,” Science Digest, February 1982, p. 90, says: “No fossil or other physical evidence directly connects man to ape.” Evolutionist Theodosius Dobzhanski in “Mankind Evolving,” Yale Univ. Press, 1962, p. 168, says concerning the theory that man evolved from apes: “Even this relatively recent history is shot through with uncertainties; authorities are often at odds, both about fundamentals and about details.”
Similarly, Henry Gee in “Return to the Planet of the Apes,” Nature, Vol. 412, 12 July 2001, p. 131, says: “Fossil evidence of human evolutionary history is fragmentary and open to various interpretations. Fossil evidence of chimpanzee evolution is absent altogether.” Sir Solly Zuckerman, a paleoanthropologist from Birmingham University in England, in “Beyond the Ivory Tower,” gives the candid reason why, nevertheless, evolutionists maintain their belief that man evolved from apes:
“…We then move right off the register of objective truth into those fields of presumed biological science, like extrasensory perception or the interpretation of man’s fossil history, where to the faithful anything is possible – and where the ardent believer is sometimes able to believe several contradictory things at the same time.”
Second, let’s take Ms. Trasancos’ above assertions apart, line by line:
S. Trasancos: “The evidence is in the DNA, which is like a molecular clock”
R. Sungenis: Is this true? Or is Ms. Trasancos merely imposing the idea of a “clock” onto DNA? For all intents and purposes, human DNA has not changed. In fact, it resists change. It has built into it a mechanism that protects the DNA of the species so that it will not mutate into something different. Mutations in genes are rare. And even if a significant number of mutations accumulate, it does not mean that there will be an “evolution” of the species, since mutations are random and appear in unpredictable and isolated regions of the DNA molecule. Ms. Trasancos wants us to believe, however, that gene mutations are frequent, organized, location specific, nearly always beneficial, and somehow know when to occur to provide the precise change to produce more complex species instead of going backwards. Ms. Transcos’ genetic mutations have more magic in them than a show by Penn and Teller.
S. Trasancos: “in that the number of chemical differences (amino acids) in proteins between different lineages changes roughly linearly with time (i.e. proportionally).”
R. Sungenis: So, where is the evidence that the 20 human proteins were at one time (in the “linear” scale) converged with chimp proteins, and where is the evidence that the two diverged from one another? Let me answer that for her – NONE. What Ms. Trasancos makes appear as fact is nothing more than her speculation that is demanded by the theory of “paleoanthropology.” There simply is no direct evidence of what she proposes, other than what she ‘reads into’ the protein lines.
In other words, her theory demands that simply because there is a great similarity between human proteins and chimp proteins, then the two lines must have been together at one time; and because of genetic mutations they diverged. It is nothing more than guesswork. That is to say, it is nothing but a pedantic display of scientific terms that prove absolutely nothing.
S. Trasancos: By comparing the genomes of chimps with the human genome,
R. Sungenis: And this is Ms. Trasancos’ first mistake, as noted above. She thinks that mere similarity demands comparison, and the comparison requires speculation into how and why there are similarities. Since Ms. Trasancos’ theories will not allow her to rest with the fact that similarities exist simply because there is one basic framework upon which all biological species work best, she is forced to conclude that the “framework” was never really satisfactory and thus must always seek to improve itself by dividing and forming into more complex species.
In the biblical model, the basic “framework” that was most fitting for life on Earth was established first. It was only afterward that the “framework” began to be altered, resulting in sickness, environmental inhospitality, and death. Mutations that form in this degenerative framework are not beneficial or upward progressing stimulants; rather, they are signs that the original “framework” of the DNA is deteriorating.
But since Ms. Transancos’ theory requires that the “framework” become better and better, this is quite a reversal of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which says that all things tend toward increasing disorder, not order. How is it that, in a universe that consistently displays the Second Law over and over again, there is this one exception called “evolution” in which DNA always magically evolves to a more ordered and higher functioning status?
And while we are on the subject, let’s ask this important question: what do evolutionists do with death? All biological organisms will die of old age (unless they die of an accidental cause). So how is it that through billions of years of upward progression, the DNA never came close to figuring out how to keep the organism alive for more than 70 to 80 years? This magical DNA that has the ability to jump from a paramecium to a human brain, somehow doesn’t have a clue how to retard the ageing process of the very organism that it spent 13.7 billion years trying to perfect. Something doesn’t sound right, does it?
But, of course, here is where Ms. Transancos goes into “eclectic” drive and thus borrows from the Bible, which at this point she reads quite literally (as opposed to her reading of Genesis 1). She reads in Romans 5 that the answer to why death occurs is because of Adam’s sin. Yet, remember, she conveniently removed the animals from the death of Romans 5, and thus she still must answer the question of why the animals died of old age when, in fact, the “linear” progression of evolution would require it to at least have developed some mitigating factor to counter death.
S. Trasancos: “and by comparing that data set with the rate specific genetic substitutions that are known to occur,”
R. Sungenis: Again, we need to peel away the Christmas wrapping that Ms. Trasancos used in the phrase “genetic substitutions,” since this is just a code word for “genetic mutations,” which we’ve already addressed earlier.
S. Trasancos: “it seems that about 5 million to 7 million years ago chimps diverged on one lineage and humans on another.”
R. Sungenis: Again, Ms. Trasancos wants us to believe that “genetic substitutions,” which she knows are 99% harmful to a species, somehow have the ability to ignore these overwhelming statistics and produce a much more complex organism. Be that as it may, what Ms. Trasancos is trying to tell us is that:
1) she will count all the genetic differences between humans and chimps. For the sake of argument, let’s say there are 70,000,000 gene differences between humans and chimps.
2) she will determine the rate of genetic mutations that occur in humans and chimps at the present time. For the sake of argument, let’s say there are 10 gene mutations per year,
3) she will then project into the past and determine at which point there could be a convergence between human genes and chimp genes. All she needs to do is divide 70,000,000 by 10 and she comes up with 7,000,000 years, give or take. It’s just simple mathematics.
Of course, the problem here is not the math but the theory, since the theory presumes that just because there is a similarity between human DNA and chimp DNA, then it must be the case that the former came from the latter. But that would be like arguing that because there is a similarity between my toes and my fingers, then they must have been one at some time in the past.
The better, and dare I say, more scientific answer, is that humans have their own specific DNA because that DNA works best for creating humans; and chimps have their own specific DNA because that DNA works best for creating chimps. There are similarities between the two species only because DNA is built on a basic 4-compound structure that works best for all species. That is to say, God wanted a creature that was similar to but not too similar to man, and therefore he created a chimp, which required the chimp to have many similar DNA characteristics to the man but a significant amount of dissimilar DNA characteristics. It’s really very simple.
But, of course, “paleoanthropologists” don’t, by and large, believe in God or the Bible, so they must come up with an altogether different explanation for the “similarities” in the gene pool. The temptation is just too great to claim that one gene pool evolved from the other.
S. Transancos: The evidence is also in the fossil record. Fossils have been found for a large number of hominid species. They are described on the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History website. Just because the Smithsonian presents the claim certainly does not make evolution true, but it does give weight to the notion that these are the serious and real findings of scientific discovery.
R. Sungenis: Well, we must give Ms. Trasancos some credit for saying that just because a display about evolution is put in the Smithsonian Institution does not mean that evolution is true. Hence, if she believes that these displays are “serious and real findings of scientific discovery,” well, that means that they could also be serious evidence against evolution, not for it. That is, if the “hominid” is not a transition between pre-man and man, then all the hominid display shows is that there was no evolution. What Ms. Transancos needs to prove is that what she calls a “hominid” is a genuine transition. It is one thing to label something as a transition, but it is quite another to prove it.
But that hill will be difficult to climb. Allow me to quote from a few paleontologists regarding “hominid” transitional forms. This comes from J. J. Hublin writing in the January 27, 2000 issue of Nature: “The once-popular fresco showing a single file of marching hominids becoming ever more vertical, tall and hairless appears to be a fiction.”
Professor Marvin L. Lubenow, in Bones of Contention, p. 34, says:
We have all seen pictures of the impressive sequence allegedly leading to modern humans – those small, primitive stooped creatures gradually evolving into big, beautiful you and me. What is not generally known is that this sequence, impressive as it seems, is a very artificial and arbitrary arrangement because: (1) some fossils are selectively excluded it they do not fit well into the evolutionary scheme; (2) some human fossils are arbitrarily downgraded to make them appear to be evolutionary ancestors when they are in fact true humans, and (3) some nonhuman fossils are upgraded to make them appear to be human ancestors…The fact that objects can be arranged in an ‘evolutionary’ sequence does not prove that they have a relationship or that any of them evolved from any of the others.”
S. Trasancos: In 2013, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences invited Dr. Yves Coppens to present a paper on “Hominid Evolution and the Emergence of the Genus Homo.” Dr. Coppens is the anthropologist who was the director of the Hadar expedition in 1974 that discovered the AL 288-1, several hundred pieces of bone comprising about 40% of the skeleton of a Australopithecus afarensis in Ethiopia popularly known as “Lucy.” In his presentation, he recounted the evidence for early prehumans, classic prehumans, late prehumans, early humans, classic humans, and late humans, and traced how each lineage evolved to their environment and spread out across larger and larger territory, all becoming extinct except the population of Homo sapiens sapiens who moved to Europe 50,000 years ago and spread throughout the world, some of them still living among other members of the genus Homo who had not yet gone extinct. Since 10,000 years ago, there has only been one species and one subspecies, and that is our own.
R. Sungenis: It’s easy to see that Ms. Trasancos is overly impressed with field researchers in anthropology. Obviously, she has bought into their claims, but without much inspection. The reality is quite different than the picture Ms. Trasancos is trying to paint, however. The history of paleontology in regards to humans and their supposed “missing-links” is a classic case of human follies and foibles, if not downright dishonesty. Some of the most outlandish claims have been made from the flimsiest of evidence.
Java Man: In 1891, Eugene Dubois discovered what he called Java Man, claiming that it was the “missing-link” between man and ape. In the end, the bones were that of a large gibbon, a relative of the ape. Dubois later admitted that from the very beginning he had hidden evidence from the investigators. It consisted of four thigh bones from apes that he found in the same area.
Nebraska Man: In 1922 a pioneer excavator found a somewhat odd looking molar tooth in Nebraska. Henry Osborn, distinguished professor of the Natural History Museum in New York, concluded that the tooth belonged to a “missing-link” between ape and man, which was then labeled Nebraska Man. Shortly thereafter, in 1927, it was found that the tooth belonged to a peccary, a cousin to the pig.
Neanderthal Man: A couple years later, the famed Neanderthal Man was found in Neanderthal, England. His brain capacity was said to be a little smaller than a chimpanzee and a prime candidate for the “missing-link.” But later evidence showed that Neanderthal Man had a brain capacity larger than modern man. It was also discovered through artifacts that he believed in the supernatural; that he buried his dead in ceremonies; and that he intermarried with others of his own kind. Much to the chagrin of his discoverers, it was also revealed that Neanderthal Man walked upright, the same as humans today. Yet artist’s conceptions of Neanderthal Man pictured him as a hunched-over, knuckle-rubbing, brutish creature, complete with protruding jaw resembling an ape.
Piltdown Man: Another charade involved Piltdown Man from Piltdown, England, a truly ghastly tale of deceit and deception. A prime figure in this effort was the Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who, because of this alleged discovery, became a world-renowned paleontologist. In 1912, an ape-like lower jawbone whose teeth resembled the worn-down teeth of a human, but he had one tooth that was said to be similar to a canine tooth, but it was missing. The importance of the connection between the human and canine teeth is that an ape tooth which wore down like a human’s would mean that the creature was between an ape and a human. In 1913, de Chardin claimed to have found the needed canine tooth and thus proceeded to fit it into the jaw. In 1915, however, paleontologist Charles Dawson found two small pieces of skull and a molar tooth two miles from de Chardin’s Piltdown discovery, which appeared to be of human origin. It was concluded that this was no coincidence: an ape-like jaw and human cranium meant that the missing link had been found. Piltdown Man was then dated to be a half-million years old. Forty years later, tests were performed on Piltdown Man and it was found to be of completely human origin. The ape-like jawbone was just that, from an ape. The teeth resembling human wear were discovered to have been filed down and treated chemically to give such an appearance. Whether de Chardin was the main culprit in this charade is still a matter of dispute, nevertheless, the case is a classic in the annals of paleontological fraud.
Lucy: In 1924 a few paleontologists found what has come to be known as Australopithecines, the “Lucy” that Ms. Trasancos praises above as a hominid transition between ape and man. These specimens are pictured as large-jawed, small-brained creatures, standing about four feet and walking almost upright, but not precisely. The depiction is made from the flimsiest of fossil evidence. In 1954, the renowned Sir Solly Zuckerman did an investigation and found that Australopithecines showed no evidence of a creature evolving into human form. In 1975, Charles Oxnard of the University of Chicago likewise concluded that Australopithecines was closer to an orangutan than an ape or human.
Zinjanthropus: In 1950, Dr. Louis Leakey and his wife found four hundred fragments of one skull and assembled them, except the jaw was missing. Not to be deterred, they added an artificial jaw bone based on a jaw that Leakey’s son found in a different place. They called the finished product Zinjanthropus (“East Africa Man”) and dubbed it “Zinj.” Based on the fossils that were near Zinj, Leakey claimed his new discovery was 600,000 years old, stating, “There is no riddle to the dating of our new discovery” (National Geographic, Sept. 1960, p. 421ff). This 600,000-year old “missing link” was far older than any other previous find, and Leakey was praised the world over. But just a year later, the potassium-argon process was applied to Zinj and it found him to be 1.75 million years old. Whereas Leakey had previously claimed that Zinj could be no older than “roughly between 600,000 and 200,000 years,” he soon had to retreat from this claim the following year.
Then in February 1961, Leakey claimed to have found the bones of a child that were closer to modern man than Zinj, but at a strata below that of Zinj. Later, since another scientist reported to have found a more modern-type man at a strata previously labeled at 14 million years old, Leakey then suggested that there were two pre-modern men existing simultaneously.
Homo Habilis: Then in Newsweek magazine, April 13, 1964, Leakey changed his mind again and said he found a man older than Zinj, which he now called Homo Habilis (“man having ability”), a specimen he believed was human, claiming that he lived between 1 to 2 million years ago, and who was thus older than Java man, Peking man, Neanderthal man and even Zinj. Leaky was now forced to say that Zinj was merely an animal, not even pre-human.
In the end, not only had Leakey failed to discover the so-called “missing link,” he had actually eliminated all the previously claimed links (Java, Peking, Neanderthal, et al). In Time magazine, July 28, 1958, Leakey admitted: “The true missing link is still to be found.”
As for transitional fossils between different species outside of man and apes, the story is even bleaker for Ms. Trasancos. Even Darwin himself admitted
Innumerable transitional forms must have existed but why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth? …why is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain, and this perhaps is the greatest objection which can be urged against my theory.2
Has the situation improved for Darwin since 1859? No, it’s gotten worse. Paleontologist and curator of invertebrate paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, Niles Eldredge, and co-author Ian Tattersall, the curator at the same museum, state this with regard to Darwin’s prediction:
Darwin himself…prophesied that future generations of paleontologists would fill in these gaps by diligent search…One hundred and twenty years of paleontological research later, it has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will not confirm this part of Darwin’s predictions. Nor is the problem a miserably poor record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction is wrong. The observation that species are amazingly conservative and static entities throughout long periods of time has all the qualities of the emperor’s new clothes: everyone knew it but preferred to ignore it. Paleontologists, faced with a recalcitrant record obstinately refusing to yield Darwin’s predicted pattern, simply looked the other way.3
A close colleague of Eldredge’s, Stephen Jay Gould, world renowned Harvard paleontologist, stated much the same:
All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt.4
In 1970, they were finally forced to admit that a gargantuan hole existed in the evolutionary model they had been espousing. Gould and Eldredge went on record at a major science convention in Chicago admitting that, after 100 years of painstaking archeological research, they were not able to find any transitional fossils (e.g., fish to amphibian; reptile to bird, etc), and because of this lack of evidence, classical Darwinism had to be abandoned. Newsweek magazine covered the event and reported: “the majority of the 160 of the world’s top paleontologists, anatomists, evolutionary geneticists and developmental biologists supported some form of this new theory of ‘punctuated equilibria.’”
Needless to say, Gould and Eldredge shook up the whole auditorium, as well as the entire scientific community. In one of Gould’s more somber moments he admitted that the lack of transitional fossils was “the trade secret of paleontology.” Eldredge had first-hand experience of this, since he organized regular expeditions to search for the needed fossils but always came up empty.
But Gould and his colleagues had a solution for this seemingly intractable problem. As the Lamarkian theory of evolution posited that the gaps in evolutionary progression were filled spontaneously by the sudden appearance of the appropriate animals, so today, after not finding any fossils which prove the existence of intermediary forms of life (e.g., between fish and reptile; between an amphibian and bird) Gould proposed that species appeared suddenly, out of the blue, without cause or explanation. As Newsweek noted, Gould and Eldredge called the new theory “punctuated equilibria” – a fancy phrase which proposes nothing more than the idea that species just suddenly began appearing, or “punctuating” the earth, without any sign that they had evolved from a previous species.
Trying to avoid the obvious (i.e., that species did not evolve), Gould had a clever answer for the lacuna – intermediate fossils do not appear, he said, because the “progression from one species to another happened so fast that there was no time for fossilization to occur.” Of course, the adoring crowd of scientists were all too happy to accept his explanation, since the alternative was admitting that the real reason we didn’t see any transitional fossils was that God “punctuated” the world with plants and animals on six successive days.
It’s easy to see what happened to Gould. Since his foundational premise is that evolution is true and creationism is false, then if he cannot find any transitional fossils there can only be one solution – the change from one species to another occurred abruptly without leaving any evidence! There is really no cure for this kind of blatant blindness.
Actually, Gould and Eldredge were not the first to opt for punctuated equilibrium. Charles Darwin himself, when pressed for his own lack of evidence of intermediate fossils, wrote in Origin of Species:
We do not make due allowance for the enormous intervals of time, which have probably elapsed between our consecutive formations – longer perhaps in some cases than the time required for the accumulation of each formation. These intervals will have given time for the multiplication of species from some one or some few parent-forms; and in the succeeding formation such species will appear as if suddenly created (emphasis mine).5
Feeling the heat from his colleagues, and being incessantly quoted by Protestant creationists who were using his concession to punctuated equilibria to further their cause, in 1983 Gould altered his view, saying:
Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists – whether through design or stupidity, I do not know – as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.6
What precisely Gould means by “generally lacking” and “larger groups” is anyone’s guess, but the ploy here is to keep the terminology sufficiently ambiguous so no one can pin him down. The phrase “generally lacking” would mean that there were at least some transitional fossils at the species level, but Gould was well aware that no such fossils had been found. It was the very reason he made his earth-shattering admission in Chicago in 1970.
As to why “larger groups” show transition whereas species do not, Gould never explained, nor did he offer any specific examples. The fact remains, despite Gould’s claim, without specific transitional forms between species, evolution simply has no scientific evidence for its claims.
Other scientists in Gould’s ranks are a bit more revealing. Colin Paterson, senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History which houses the largest collection of fossils in the entire world, writing to a reader who wondered why there was no mention of intermediary fossils in his book on evolution, stated:
I fully agree with your commentary on the lack of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would have certainly included them…You say that I should at least ‘show a photo of the fossil from which each type organism was derived.’ I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument. 7
During a paleontologist congress in 1998, Paterson asked his scientific colleagues whether someone had yet found a transitional fossil. The whole audience remained ghastly silent.
Evolutionist A. G. Fisher, editor of American Scientist (1998) admitted: “The fossil record has always been a problem.” Similarly, Collard and Wood in Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics (1994) state:
…existing phylogenetic hypotheses about human evolution are unlikely to be reliable. Accordingly, new approaches are required to address the problem of hominids…Despite a century of work on metazoan phylum-level phylogeny using anatomical and embryological data, it has not been possible to infer a well-supported [evolution].
In the same publication, S. R. Palumbi states: “The formation of species has long represented one of the most central, yet one of the most elusive subjects in evolutionary biology.”
In the book Parasitology by Noble and Noble, the authors state: “Natural selection can act only on those biologic properties that already exist; it cannot create properties in order to meet adaptational needs.”
Orr and Coyne in American Naturalist (1992) admit: “We conclude – unexpectedly – that there is little evidence for the neo-Darwinian view: its theoretical foundations and the experimental evidence supporting it are weak.”
D. L. Stern in Evolution states: “One of the oldest problems in evolutionary biology remains largely unsolved. Which mutations generate evolutionary relevant phenotypic variations? What kinds of molecular changes do they entail?”
Paleontologist Steven Stanley of Johns Hopkins University, writes in his 1981 book The New Evolutionary Time Table: “…the fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another.”
Evolutionist and Zoologist at Oxford University, Mark Ridley, in the article “Who doubts evolution?,” in New Scientist, vol. 90, 25 June 1981, p. 831, states:
…a lot of people just do not know what evidence the theory of evolution stands upon. They think that the main evidence is the gradual descent of one species from another in the fossil record…In any case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation.
David Raup of the University of Chicago Museum of Natural History states in his 1991 book: Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck?:
Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much…ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as the result of more detailed information.
Theoretical biologist H. van Waesberghe states:
Finally, coincidence is not an explanation, but rather the lack of a scientific explanation…Based on these and other identical objections, colleagues are no longer interested in the proto-soup model, which is still taught in secondary and high schools…According to Yokey we don’t have the faintest idea how life has originated, and it would only be fair to admit this to the financiers of scientific research and to the public in general.8
The World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 291, 1982, on the topic of reptiles becoming birds, says the following: “No fossil of any such birdlike reptile has yet been found.”
Paul C. Sereno, in the article “The evolution of dinosaurs,” Science 284(5423):2137–2147, June 25, 1999, states on p. 2143:
For use in understanding the evolution of vertebrate flight, the early record of pterosaurs and bats is disappointing: Their most primitive representatives are fully transformed as capable fliers.
E. J. H. Corner, Professor of Botany at Cambridge University, in “Evolution” in Anna M. MacLeod and L. S. Cobley’s Contemporary Botanical Thought, Chicago, 1961, p. 97, says: “…I still think that to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favour of special creation.” –
Michael Pitman in “Adam and Evolution,” 1984, p. 181, says: [NB: “phylogeny” refers to “transitional forms”]
If the genealogies of animals are uncertain, more so are those of plants. We cannot learn a great deal from petrified plant anatomy which shows different spades at different times, but no real phylogeny at all. There are simply fascinating varieties of the plants we have today—some new species of course—plus many extinctions: but algae, mosses, pines, ferns and flowering plants are all clearly recognizable from their first appearance in the fossil record.
E. Core in “General Biology,” 1981, p. 299, says: “We do not know the phylogenetic history of any group of plants and animals.” The Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 7, 1976, p. 587, says: “Fossil remains, however, give no information on the origin of the vertebrates”; “The fossil record does not give any information on the origin of insects,” Vol. 7, 1978, p. 585.
A. E. Hutchins in “Insects,” 1988, pp. 3, 4, says:
Insect origins beyond that point are shrouded in mystery. It might almost seem that the insects had suddenly appeared on the scene, but this is not in agreement with accepted ideas of animal origins.
A. S. Romer in “Vertebrate Paleontology,” 1988, p. 53, says:
The common ancestor of the bony-fish groups is unknown. There are various features, many of them noted above, in which the two typical subclasses of bony fish are already widely divergent when we first see them.
Taking a different tact, Geoffrey Bourne, Oxford-educated American cell biologist and the world’s leading primatologist, has declared his belief that apes and monkeys came after man, not before, the exact opposite of Darwin’s theory.9
In the midst of these anomalies, one might ask why scientists are so tenacious in holding on to evolutionary theory, often casting aspersions on those who doubt its validity. The reasons are many. Darwin himself knew of the extreme difficulties in his theory: He writes:
To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree.” In reference to the Cambrian explosion of fossils, Darwin writes: “The case at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against [my theory].10
Yet Darwin goes on to say that, if all the right conditions are present “…then the difficulty…can hardly be considered real.”11 Thus Darwin fantasized about “right conditions” to answer his problems. Other scientists are not so patient. They fend off their critics by wrapping themselves in impenetrable insulation. In addition to turning mere theory into fact, today’s evolutionists define “science” in a most peculiar way. To Eldredge, “science” is established by the failure to falsify it, not by proof of its tenets. He writes:
This simple prediction – that there is one grand pattern of similarity linking all life – doesn’t prove evolution, but only because science proceeds by falsifying – disproving – statements we make about how the universe is structured and how it behaves. But we gain tremendous confidence in our statements if, after hundreds of years, everything we have devised to test an idea fails to falsify it. And so the failure of scientists to disprove evolution over the past 200 years of biological research means that the fundamental idea that life has evolved really is one of the few grand ideas of biology that has stood the test of time.12
In 1929, evolutionist D. M. S. Watson, the Jodrell Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy at University College, London, from 1921 to 1951, gave an altogether different reason why science won’t be swayed from evolution. He writes:
The extreme difficulty of obtaining the necessary data for any quantitative estimation of the efficiency of natural selection makes it seem probable that this theory will be re-established, if it be so, by the collapse of alternative explanations which are more easily attacked by observation and experiment. If so, it will present a parallel to the theory of evolution itself, a theory universally accepted not because it be can proved by logically coherent evidence to be true but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.13
Eldredge, in his book The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism, anathematizes anyone who puts the Creation/Evolution debate on a moral level. He writes: “To those who say there are moral lessons and ethical systems – evil or good – implicit in the very idea of evolution, I say, A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES” (emphasis his).14 Eldredge adds a sardonic touch by printing the words The Failure of Creationism backwards on the front cover of his book.
Generally, evolutionists admit that the only alternative to their theory is that of a supernatural Creator who fashioned the world according to his pleasure, but this they automatically dismiss on the grounds that it is “unscientific.” Hence, the religion of Scientism is alive and well among our academia today. Eldredge writes:
…this tremendously diverse array of life…can rationally be explained only as the simple outcome of a natural shared descent with modification. The only alternative is the decidedly vague and inherently untestable (thus inherently unscientific) claim that it simply suited a supernatural Creator to fashion life in this way.15
Geneticist Richard Lewontin is quite candid about the impregnable wall that Evolutionists, like himself, have set up around themselves. He writes:
We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a-priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.16
Unfortunately, the debate between special creation and evolution will forever be caught in this quagmire over God’s existence, and there is little hope, barring a dramatic conversion experience, that the evolutionist will ever see the light. Since they have camouflaged their failures as triumphs, their house of cards will continue to be built unabated.
In the meantime, many people, especially the impressionable young, are greatly influenced by evolutionary theories. A survey conducted in the late 1970’s in Germany, searching for answers why many people no longer went to Church, revealed that a staggering sum of 47% attributed their spiritual apathy to the difference between the theological and scientific explanations for the origin of the world.17 Abbe Michonneau, a 20th century worker-priest in Paris among the peasants, concluded that the conflict between science and the Genesis six-day creation story was much more effective in promoting atheism among the poor and the uneducated than were the social injustices that were inflicted on their flesh and blood.18 It is no secret that some of the world’s most notorious men have attributed their atheistic and humanistic philosophies directly to Charles Darwin. Karl Marx, for example, wrote that Darwin’s Origin of Species contained “the basis [in] natural history for our views.”
S. Trasancos: Professor Coppens was named an Ordinary Member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences by Pope Francis in 2014.
R. Sungenis: The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which is composed of about 100 members who are appointed without reference to “race or religious creed,” and who are all avowed evolutionists – not once accepting a single Special Creationist in their ranks since the academy’s inception – stated in 1982, just two years after Stephen Gould admitted that he could not find any transitional fossils, “…we are convinced that masses of evidence render the application of the concept of evolution to man and other primates beyond serious doubt.”
How the PAS could have no “serious doubt” after Gould’s stark admission just two years prior is anyone’s guess. If nothing else, it shows the intellectual hubris of the PAS. We can understand why papal envoy Archbishop Luigi Barbarito stated: “About this body I would say that it has no authority in matters of faith and doctrine and expresses only the views of its own members who belong to different religious beliefs.”19
S. Trasancos: This scientific knowledge about the evolution of man helps to better understand who we are.
R. Sungenis: As we have seen, there is hardly any “scientific knowledge” in the theory of evolution. The theory is built on an unproven premise – that there is an upward progression of biological life cause by mutations and natural selection – and then it distorts the scientific data into appearing as if it supports the premise.
S. Trasancos: Catholics have assurance that it is at least acceptable to consider what evolutionary science has to say about our descent.
R. Sungenis: Of course, Catholics can consider what evolutionary science has to say. But based on Ms. Transancos’ attempt to defend evolution, any Catholic who knows the science, the theology and the Church history, should reject evolution out of hand.
S. Trasancos: Always Developing…If you read what I write regularly (and thank you if you do), then you are probably tired of me repeating this, but it cannot be repeated enough. Science and theology are never complete. Scientists probe into the physical world to understand its mysteries. Theologians seek to understand faith and Divine Revelation. But because we are human, we are never, not individually or collectively, going to find all the answers.
Therefore, when you sit down and try to wrap your head around this evolution business, keep that in mind. Do not read scientific ideas as complete. Read them as developing, subject to error, subject to correction. Realize too that theologians need time for their scholarship to develop, especially as they consider scientific discoveries in the light of faith. Scholarship is slow going, but over time the truth will sift out.
R. Sungenis: Considering that the Fathers of the Church and Lateran Council IV and Vatican Council 1 have never taught or endorsed evolution, and considering that modern science has absolutely no evidence, much less proof, of evolution, it is a pretty safe bet that evolution is false and that we already have the answers we need.
Lateran Council IV and Vatican Council I assure us that all things, visible and invisible, were created in the six days of Creation week, and there is nothing being created by God at the present time. Lateran IV says:
Firmly we believe and we confess…one beginning of all, creator of all visible and invisible things, of the spiritual and of the corporal; who by His own omnipotent power at once from the beginning of time created each creature from nothing, spiritual, and corporal, namely, angelic and mundane, and finally the human, constituted as it were, alike of the spirit and the body. For the devil and other demons were created by God good in nature, but they themselves through themselves have become wicked. But man sinned at the suggestion of the devil.
Vatican Council I says:
If anyone does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, as regards their whole substance, have been produced by God from nothing, or, shall have said that God created not by a volition free of all necessity, but as necessarily as He necessarily loves Himself, or, shall have denied that the world was created to the glory of God: let him be anathema.
In 1441, the Council of Florence stated in its decrees:
God…is the creator of all things visible and invisible, who, when he wished, out of his goodness created all creatures, spiritual as well as corporal; good, indeed…since they were from nothing…”
In 1860, the Council of Cologne condemned the idea of human evolution in very straightforward words:
Our first parents were formed immediately by God. Therefore we declare that…those who…assert…man…emerged from spontaneous continuous change of imperfect nature to the more perfect, is clearly opposed to Sacred Scripture and to the Faith.”
March 4, 2015
2 Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, Penguin, 1979 edition, p. 232.
3 Niles Eldredge & Ian Tattersall, ‘The Myths of Human Evolution,” 1982, p. 45-46.
4 Stephen Jay Gould, Natural History 86(6): 22-30 (1977).
5 Origin of Species, Penguin Books, London, 1968, pp 309-310.
6 Hen’s Teeth and Horse Toes, Norton, NY, 1983, p. x.
7 Correspondence to Luther D. Sunderland.
8 Intermediair 44, 1988.
9 Quoted from ICR’s Acts and Facts, August 5, 1976.
10 Quoted from George Sim Johnston’s, Did Darwin Get it Right?, p. 31.
11 Op. cit., p. 217.
12 The Triumph of Evolution and The Failure of Creationism, NY: W.H. Freeman and Co, 2000, p. 31.
13 Nature August 10, 1929, p. 233. Watson also says in the same issue: “Evolution itself is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or is supported by logically coherent arguments, but because it does fit all the facts of taxonomy, of palæontology, and geographical distribution, and because no alternative explanation is credible…Whilst the fact of evolution is accepted by every biologist, the mode in which it has occurred and the mechanism by which it has been brought about are still disputable…” (pp. 231-234).
14 The Triumph of Evolution and The Failure of Creationism, p. 154.
16 “Billions and Billions of Demons,” The New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997, pp. 28, 31.
17 Carl Winterstein. Bible-Science Newsletter, June 1976, p. 8. Cited in Paula Haigh’s Thirty Theses Against Theistic Evolution, Theses 13.
18 Cited in Genesis 1 Through the Ages, p. x.
19 Archbishop Barbarito’s comment contained in correspondence to G. J. Keane, 8-1-83 author of Creation Rediscovered (p. 202).