An article by Anne and Paul Ehrlich on evolutionary theory sparked a good bit of controversy. So, to air the other side of this question, we present the following article.
I was surprised by the polemical nature of the article “Evolution and Ecoscience,” by Anne and Paul Ehrlich. Furthermore, the article contains a number of inaccuracies and badly distorts many of the issues involved in the creation vs evolution controversy.
The Ehrlichs state that “no knowledgeable biologist doubts that evolution has occurred.” There are actually many knowledgeable biologists, most of whom have been trained in some of the world’s leading universities, who have become convinced that evolutionary theory is scientifically untenable and, moreover, that creation is a far more credible explanation ….
While propagating the dogma of evolution in 1984, Paul Ehrlich has apparently forgotten the statement that he published in an article with L.C. Birch in Nature in 1967 (volume 214, page 352): “Our theory of evolution has become one … which cannot be refuted by any possible observations. Every conceivable observation can be fitted into it. It is thus `outside of empirical science’ but not necessarily false. No one can think of ways in which to test it. Ideas, either without basis or based on a few laboratory experiments carried out in extremely simplified systems, have attained currency far beyond their validity. They have become part of an evolutionary dogma accepted by most of us as part of our training.” It is obvious that a theory which is outside of empirical science, which is incapable of being tested, and which has become so plastic that no matter what the data may be, every conceivable observation can be made to fit into it, does not qualify as a scientific theory. Indeed, evolution theory has become a dogma, the basic tenet of a mechanistic, materialistic philosophy that dominates our educational and scientific establishments.
The Ehrlichs state that “without evolutionary theory, biology would be a meaningless hodgepodge of facts.” The science of biology is actually a study of the operation of living organisms — their biochemistry, physiology, reproduction, development, and anatomy. Evolutionary theory, on the other hand, is a collection of notions about how living organisms came about in the first place. Evolutionary theory is a theory about the history of living organisms, not their operation.
Pierre Grasse, the most distinguished of French zoologists, an evolutionist whose knowledge of the living world is encyclopedic, has stated that biology tells us nothing about the origin of living things ….
The Ehrlichs state that “medicine has already suffered from a widespread lack of appreciation of evolutionary principles” and imply that the overuse of antibiotics was due to ignorance of those principles. This is simply nonsense. The vast majority of scientists and physicians involved, indoctrinated in evolutionary theory, were well aware of these principles and would have proceeded in exactly the same manner with or without the theory. The simple fact is that in any population of bacteria there is considerable genetic variability. Long before these bacteria were exposed to antibiotics, some of these individuals possessed enzymes able to destroy certain antibiotics — an ability purely coincidental to their normal function in the metabolic activities of these bacteria. When in the course of time man exposed these bacteria to antibiotics, a few individuals in each population that possessed those enzymes had the ability to destroy the antibiotic and survive. They flourished and in some cases have replaced the original susceptible populations. Evolutionary theory had nothing to do with the discovery and utilization of this knowledge.
Evolutionary theory has actually seriously hindered medical science. For many years the discovery of the true functions of such medically important organs as the tonsils and appendix and even of such vital glands as the pineal and thyroid glands were neglected, since in earlier times these organs were considered to be useless vestigial organs left over from our evolutionary past.
The science of embryology was misdirected for many years because of the now thoroughly discredited notion that an embryo, during its development, recapitulates its evolutionary history. Thus, embryologists wasted an enormous amount of time attempting to use embryology to work out evolutionary phylogenetic trees rather than discovering why embryos develop the way they do. Russia, where evolution is taught as part of a state-sanctioned atheistic religion, has been the scene of some of the most catastrophic ecological disasters in modern times.
Ever since Darwin, evolutionists have searched in vain for the countless transitional forms predicted on the basis of evolutionary theory. Each basic type of plant or animal appears in the fossil record abruptly, fully formed, just as predicted on the basis of creation. The gaps are systematic. Those who would hasten to point to “Lucy” as an example of a transitional form between man and the apes should be aware that formidable challenges to this claim have already surfaced in anthropological circles, and also should remember the tarnished history of this field with its Piltdown man (a fraud), Nebraska man (based on a pig’s tooth), and Neanderthal man (now up-graded to Homo sapiens, whose so-called primitive features were due to pathological conditions).
The science of thermodynamics makes clear that all observed systems, from the molecular to the galactic, have a universal natural tendency to go from order to disorder, from complex to simple — exactly the opposite tendency required for evolution. Thermodynamics makes clear that an isolated system can never, of itself, become more complex and highly organized, and yet evolutionists persist in believing that the universe is an isolated system that started in a state of primordial chaos and transformed itself into the present incredibly complex universe.
The odds against a mechanistic evolutionary process spontaneously originating life anywhere in the universe, even in 20 billion years, are so overwhelming that many former evolutionists, including Sir Fred Hoyle, have become convinced that wherever life appears in the universe, it had to be created.
Our students deserve a true education free from indoctrination in any particular philosophy. They should have the opportunity to hear all of the scientific evidence related to origins, including that which supports creation and that which supports evolution. We live in a pluralistic, democratic society in which all citizens are supposed to enjoy academic and religious freedoms. Brainwashing students in evolutionary theory violates both of these freedoms.
Duane T. Gish received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. After 18 years in biochemical research at Cornell University Medical College, the Virus Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley, and with The Upjohn Company, Dr. Gish in 1971 became the associate director of the Institute for Creation Research in El Cajon, California.