Someone might object, however, that the quotations I have employed (from evolutionists such as Dobzhansky, Clark, and others) to document the nonverifiability of evolution were written during the 1950s and 1960s. Much scientific research on evolution has occurred in the decades that followed, and thus it might be considered unfair to rely on such “dated” critiques of a concept like evolution that changes so rapidly and that has been studied so intently.
My response to such an objection would be to point out that I used the quotations from the 1950s and 1960s intentionally, in order to document that the situation over the past four decades has not improved. By the 1970s, for example, little had changed. At the height of his professional career, Pierre-Paul Grassé was considered by many to be France’s greatest living zoologist. In fact, Dobzhansky wrote of him: “Now one can disagree with Grassé, but not ignore him. He is the most distinguished of French zoologists, the editor of the 28 volumes of Traité de Zoologie, author of numerous original investigations, and ex-president of the Academie des Sciences. His knowledge of the living world is encyclopedic” (1975, 29:376). In 1977, Grassé wrote in The Evolution of Living Organisms:
Today our duty is to destroy the myth of evolution, considered as a simple, understood, and explained phenomenon which keeps rapidly unfolding before us. Biologists must be encouraged to think about the weaknesses and extrapolations that theoreticians put forward or lay down as established truths. The deceit is sometimes unconscious, but not always, since some people, owing to their sectarianism, purposely overlook reality and refuse to acknowledge the inadequacies and falsity of their beliefs.
Their success among certain biologists, philosophers, and sociologists notwithstanding, the explanatory doctrines of biological evolution do not stand up to an objective, in-depth criticism. They prove to be either in conflict with reality or else incapable of solving the major problems involved (pp. 8,202, emp. added).
Three years later, in 1980, British physicist H.S. Lipson produced a thought-provoking piece in the May issue of Physics Bulletin, a refereed science journal. In his article, “A Physicist Looks at Evolution,” Dr. Lipson commented first on his interest in life’s origin and, second, on his non-association with creationists. He then noted: “In fact, evolution became in a sense a scientific religion; almost all scientists have accepted it and many are prepared to ‘bend’ their observations to fit with it.” Dr. Lipson went on to ask how well evolution has withstood the years of scientific testing, and suggested that “to my mind, the theory does not stand up at all.”
After reviewing many of the problems (especially from thermodynamics) involved in producing something living from something nonliving, he asked: “If living matter is not, then, caused by the interplay of atoms, natural forces, and radiation, how has it come into being?” After dismissing any sort of “directed evolution,” Lipson concluded: “I think, however, that we must go further than this and admit that the only acceptable explanation is creation.” Like other evolutionists who have voiced similar views, Dr. Lipson hardly is ecstatic about his conclusion—a fact he made clear when he wrote: “I know that this is anathema to physicists, as indeed it is to me, but we must not reject a theory that we do not like if the experimental evidence supports it” (31:138, emp. in orig.).
Just a little over a year later, on November 5, 1981, the late Colin Patterson (who at the time was the senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History in London, the editor of the professional journal published by the museum, and one of the world’s foremost fossil experts) delivered a public address to his evolutionist colleagues at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. In his speech, Dr. Patterson astonished those colleagues when he stated that he had been “kicking around” non-evolutionary, or “anti-evolutionary,” ideas for about eighteen months. As he went on to describe it:
One morning I woke up and something had happened in the night, and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for twenty years and there was not one thing I knew about it. That’s quite a shock to learn that one can be misled so long. Either there was something wrong with me, or there was something wrong with evolution theory (1981).
Dr. Patterson said he knew there was nothing wrong with him, so he started asking various individuals and groups a simple question: “Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing that is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History, and the only answer I got was silence.” He tried it on the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar at the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all he got there “was silence for a long time and eventually one person said, ‘I do know one thing—it ought not to be taught in high school.’ ” He then remarked, “It does seem that the level of knowledge about evolution is remarkably shallow. We know it ought not to be taught in high school, and that’s all we know about it.”
Dr. Patterson went on to say: “Then I woke up and realized that all my life I had been duped into taking evolution as revealed truth in some way.” But more important, he termed evolution an “anti-theory” that produced “anti-knowledge.” He also suggested that “the explanatory value of the hypothesis is nil,” and that evolution theory is “a void that has the function of knowledge but conveys none.” To use Patterson’s wording, “I feel that the effects of hypotheses of common ancestry in systematics has not been merely boring, not just a lack of knowledge, I think it has been positively anti-knowledge” (1981; cf. Bethell, 1985, 270:49-52,56-58,60-61).
Dr. Patterson made it clear, as I wish to do here, that he had no fondness for the creationist position. Yet he did refer to his stance as “anti-evolutionary,” which was quite a change for a man who had authored several books (one of which was titled simply Evolution) in the field that he later acknowledged was capable of producing only “anti-knowledge.”
Colin Patterson was not the only one expressing such views, however. Over the past two decades, distinguished British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle has stressed the serious problems—once again, especially from the fields of thermodynamics—with various theories about the naturalistic origin of life on the Earth. The same year that Dr. Patterson traveled to America to speak, Dr. Hoyle wrote:
I don’t know how long it is going to be before astronomers generally recognize that the combinatorial arrangement of not even one among the many thousands of biopolymers on which life depends could have been arrived at by natural processes here on the Earth. Astronomers will have a little difficulty in understanding this because they will be assured by biologists that it is not so, the biologists having been assured in their turn by others that it is not so. The “others” are a group of persons who believe, quite openly, in mathematical miracles. They advocate the belief that tucked away in nature, outside of normal physics, there is a law which performs miracles (provided the miracles are in the aid of biology). This curious situation sits oddly on a profession that for long has been dedicated to coming up with logical explanations of biblical miracles.... It is quite otherwise, however, with the modern miracle workers, who are always to be found living in the twilight fringes of thermodynamics (1981a, 92:526, parenthetical comment in orig.).
In fact, Dr. Hoyle has described the evolutionary concept that disorder gives rise to order in a rather picturesque manner.
The chance that higher forms have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein (1981b, 294:105).
And, in order to make his position perfectly clear, he provided his readers with the following analogy:
At all events, anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with the Rubik cube will concede the near-impossibility of a solution being obtained by a blind person moving the cubic faces at random. Now imagine 1050 blind persons each with a scrambled Rubik cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have the chance of arriving by random shuffling at just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends. The notion that not only biopolymers but the operating programme of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order (1981a, 92:527, emp. in orig.).
Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe (who is a professor of astronomy and applied mathematics at the University College, Cardiff, Wales) went even further. Using probability figures applied to cosmic time (not just geologic time here on the Earth), their conclusion was:
Once we see, however, that the probability of life originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make the random concept absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favourable properties of physics on which life depends, are in every respect deliberate.... It is therefore almost inevitable that our own measure of intelligence must reflect in a valid way the higher intelligences...even to the extreme idealized limit of God (1981, pp. 141,144, emp. in orig.).
Hoyle and Wickramasinghe suggested, however, that this “higher intelligence” did not necessarily have to be, as far as they were concerned, what most people would call “God,” but simply a being with an intelligence “to the limit of God.” They, personally, opted for “directed panspermia,” a view which suggests that life was “planted” on the Earth via genetic material that originated from a “higher intelligence” somewhere in the Universe. But just one year later, in 1982, Dr. Hoyle wrote:
A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question (20:16, emp. added).
Three years after that, in 1985, molecular biologist Michael Denton authored Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, in which he stated:
In this book, I have adopted the radical approach. By presenting a systematic critique of the current Darwinian model, ranging from paleontology to molecular biology, I have tried to show why I believe that the problems are too severe and too intractable to offer any hope of resolution in terms of the orthodox Darwinian framework, and that consequently the conservative view is no longer tenable.
The intuitive feeling that pure chance could never have achieved the degree of complexity and ingenuity so ubiquitous in nature has been a continuing source of scepticism ever since the publication of the Origin; and throughout the past century there has always existed a significant minority of first-rate biologists who have never been able to bring themselves to accept the validity of Darwinian claims. In fact, the number of biologists who have expressed some degree of disillusionment is practically endless.
The anti-evolutionary thesis argued in this book, the idea that life might be fundamentally a discontinuous phenomenon, runs counter to the whole thrust of modern biological thought.... Put simply, no one has ever observed the interconnecting continuum of functional forms linking all known past and present species of life. The concept of the continuity of nature has existed in the mind of man, never in the facts of nature (pp. 16,327,353, emp. in orig.).
In 1987, two years after Denton’s book was published, Swedish biologist Søren Løvtrup wrote in an even stronger vein:
After this step-wise elimination, only one possibility remains: the Darwinian theory of natural selection, whether or not coupled with Mendelism, is false. I have already shown that the arguments advanced by the early champions were not very compelling, and that there are now considerable numbers of empirical facts which do not fit with the theory. Hence, to all intents and purposes the theory has been falsified, so why has it not been abandoned? I think the answer is that current evolutionists follow Darwin’s example—they refuse to accept falsifying evidence (p. 352, emp. added).
In his 1988 book, The Cosmic Blueprint: New Discoveries in Nature’s Creative Ability to Order the Universe, Australian physicist Paul Davies wrote: “There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all. It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe. The impression of design is overwhelming” (p. 203, emp. added). That same year, evolutionary physicist George Greenstein wrote:
As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency—or, rather, Agency—must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit? (1988, p. 27).
In 1992, Arno Penzias (who fourteen years earlier had shared the 1978 Nobel Prize in physics with Robert W. Wilson for their discovery of the so-called “background radiation” left over from the Big Bang) declared:
Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say “supernatural”) plan [p. 83, parenthetical comment in orig.].
In his 1994 book, The Physics of Immortality, Frank Tipler (who coauthored with John D. Barrow the massive 1986 volume, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle) wrote:
When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics (Preface).
One year later, NASA astronomer John O’Keefe admitted:
We are, by astronomical standards, a pampered, cosseted, cherished group of creatures.... If the Universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in (1995, p. 200).
Then, in 1998, evolutionist Michael Denton shocked everyone with his new book, Nature’s Destiny, when he admitted:
Because this book presents a teleological interpretation of the cosmos which has obvious theological implications, it is important to emphasize at the outset that the argument presented here is entirely consistent with the basic naturalistic assumption of modern science—that the cosmos is a seamless unity which can be comprehended ultimately in its entirety by human reason and in which all phenomena, including life and evolution and the origin of man, are ultimately explicable in terms of natural processes....
Although this is obviously a book with many theological implications, my initial intention was not specifically to develop an argument for design; however, as I researched more deeply into the topic and as the manuscript went through successive drafts, it became increasingly clear that the laws of nature were fine-tuned on earth to a remarkable degree and that the emerging picture provided powerful and self-evident support for the traditional anthropocentric teleological view of the cosmos. Thus, by the time the final draft was finished, the book had become in effect an essay in natural theology in the spirit and tradition of William Paley’s Natural Theology (pp. xvii-xviii,xi-xii, emp. in orig.).
Such quotations could be multiplied almost endlessly. Even a cursory examination shows that there is much more that is “unknown” than “known” in the evolutionary scenario.