Two Possible Cracks in Neo-Darwinism

The Spring 2009 issue of Christian Apologetics Journal carried an article by J. Thomas Bridges called “Intelligent Design: Its Nature, Limitations, And Future.” In it, Bridges has the following:

“In his book The Genomic Potential Hypothesis: A Chemist’s View of the Origins, Evolution, and Unfolding of Life, Christian Schwabe reveals a startling and obvious Achilles’ heel of the ultimate common ancestry assumption. In the mid-nineteenth century Darwin assumed that all life might hail from an ultimate common ancestor in the form of a single-celled organism. From this origin all life gradually diversified into the biological world as we know it. . . . Schwabe believes that life is the result of chemical necessity. Whatever we think of this view, the point is this: the neo-Darwiniam paradigm readily assumes that life arose from nonliving chemicals but fails to realize that a purely chemical reaction yields outcomes on the molar scale (6.02 x 1023) not numerically one outcome. Schwabe admits that the number of origins is more likely in the millions than only one. The conclusion is clear; if the original chemcial environment was sufficient to produce life, it woud have produced a plethora of life not a single common ancestor.”

Even if we consider that the term ‘single common ancestor’ is not a single organism, but rather a relatively few, or even a relatively few species, the problem of chemistry is still there. Schwabe’s point is that if the chemistry works, it would work everywhere all at once, and the typical pyramid-shaped evolutionary tree would be upside down from how it is presented now. Massive generation of life would appear everywhere, then either stabilize, keep generating new life throughout history, or slowly die out. We would not have a relatively few in the past, with increases in categories of life over time.

Next, we consider the work of Dr. Eugene M. McCarthy (www.macroevolution.net), who promotes a theory of stabilization. McCarthy’s position is that the fossil record reflects stabilization, not gradualism, and suggests a new naturalistic theory as a solution. In stabilization theory, McCarthy teaches a theory of genetic change that denies gradual mutation and common ancestry. Stabilization Theory holds to a lack of change over time, then sudden extinctions and developments in genetic material. In McCarthy’s stabilization theory, the changes are not the result of gradual, random mutation, but rather sudden change due to hybridizing and structural changes in DNA. If true, gone is the competition model of survival of the fittest, gone is the common ancestor, and gone is the work of the vast majority of neo-Darwinists that spend their hours trying to sequence species on a theoretical genetic tree.

Keep in mind that these men are not wild-eyed creationists, but secular scientists that have proposed completely natural explanations that, if true, totally refute neo-Darwinism. One of the professors in the McCarthy lecture I attended said “Why is it that in every field that formerly embraced a competition model — sociology, government, eocnomic theory — all these fields have abandoned the competition model years ago, yet the evolutionary biologists tenatiously cling to a model that appears to have so many questions?”

From a perspective of Christian apologetics, the models presented by Schwabe and McCarthy do not directly help our cause, for they are but more claims to naturalism with no connection with the supernatural. But they at least lead in the right direction:  humans appear suddenly, the genetic material was widespread at the beginning, the racism of evolution is denied, and individuals benefit from cooperation, not competition. And in the end, science might be better off, for perhaps the field will take off the blinders and consider some alternate theories.

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About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
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2 Responses to Two Possible Cracks in Neo-Darwinism

  1. Stephen says:

    I recently emailed Eugene M. McCarthy asking him to explain how he accounts for the fossil evidence of ancient hominids which existed in Africa over 3 million years ago which were upright walking human ancestors that existed long before modern chimps evolved. A reasonable question for a scientist that is claiming humans are the progeny of a female chimp mating with a male pig one might think.

    I received the following reply from Mr. Eugene M. McCarthy: “Thanks for the lecture Mr. Know-it-All.”

    I was shocked and insulted by this response as I had been polite and respectful to him and felt it was uncalled for to resort to name calling just because I had asked him a reasonable question. I replied to Mr McCarthy and told him that I was not meaning to lecture him or to come across as a know-it-all and I was shocked and insulted by his email.

    Mr. Eugene M. McCarthy’s reply? “Good. I am glad that you were shocked and insulted.”

    I will leave the reader to judge what this exchange says about Eugene M. McCarthy’s character and mental state. I was polite and respectful to Mr. McCarthy at all times and even described his basic hybridisation work as interesting. Crackpot? Possibly. Mentally unstable? I will leave you to make up your own mind but I know what I think based on his nasty and unprovoked hostile reaction towards me.

    • humblesmith says:

      I don’t know the man, so I cannot comment on his motivations, and I’m not qualified to comment on his work. I’m told he has done some respectable work in bird hybridization. I must admit that it would seem that if he had a theory that he wanted to promote and have it respected in the scholarly community, he would be more forthcoming with answers and additional research. It does make one suspicious of the whole affair.

      The part I find interesting in situations like this is the conclusions people arrive at based on their backgrounds and presuppositions. Whatever the degree of legitimacy of this particular theory, McCarthy appears to view the world and see hybridizing, others view the same data and see gradual evolution and common descent, while others see long periods of stasis. There is a concept called “theory ladenness of observation” which holds that all of us have difficulty getting beyond our observational bias. If I understand my history correctly, it took about 150 years for Galileo’s theories to be accepted in the universities, mainly because the prevailing presuppositions at the time were so different that it took a while for the data to be understood differently.

      In any case, either McCarthy or those who disagree with him are way off, and if he wants to be taken seriously he’ll have to get into the game and play nicely.

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