Rebuttal to the Ohio Science Standards - Part 2
Teach the Controversy: "There is no evolutionary mechanism to explain a perceived "unity of past life forms" via natural selection.
by Patrick Young, Ph.D.
Grade Ten Science Standard
24. Analyze how natural selection and other evolutionary mechanisms (e.g. genetic drift, immigration, emigration, mutation) and their consequences provide a scientific explanation for the diversity and unity of past life forms, as depicted in the fossil record, and present life forms.
Teach the controversy response.
The evolutionary theory of natural selection is based on the observable fact that not all conceptions result in births -- only a certain percentage of animals that are born alive actually survive to adulthood and even less are successfully able to reproduce. The assumption of natural selection then proposes that species which survive to reproduce are better adapted to the environment and thus biologically superior.
The proposed evolutionary mechanism for natural selection is mutations. The occurrence of these slight variations may further result in new traits and thus add diversity to the gene pool. This type of adaptation and variation within species is a well-documented observation where there is no argument between evolutionists or advocates of intelligent design. The argument begins when evolutionists proclaim there is no limit to the diversity achieved via mutations, and the mechanism of mutations can explain the origin of new complex organs, simplicity to complexity, and higher order animals from lower ones.
The writers of this science standard are clearly attempting to introduce tenth grade students to one of the most controversial of all evolutionary theories. Without actually uttering it, the writers are striving through the phrase, "unity of all past life forms", to teach these students that common ancestry (unity) is provable via natural selection, genetic drift, immigration, emigration, or mutation.
While natural selection is a nice theory, presenting it as a fact to demonstrate "unity of all past life forms" is nonsense. The evolutionist Niles Eldridge said,
Natural selection per se does not work to create new species. The pattern of change in so many examples in the fossil record is far more a reflection of the origin and differential survival (selection extinction) of species than the inexorable accumulation of minute changes within species through the agency of natural selection1 .
The evolutionist, Stephen Jay Gould also said, "…although I wear the Darwinian label with some pride, I am not among the most ardent defenders of natural selection2."
One of the most beloved perceived evolutionary evidences for common ancestry is the theory of homology. Homology is defined as similarity in characteristics resulting from common ancestry 3. The classic example evolutionists will use is a picture comparing the forelimbs of various mammals such as a human, cat, horse, and bat. While the similarities of these mammal’s forelimbs are striking, attributing their existence to a common ancestor requires more imagination than science.
The above science standard leads one to believe that the fossil record can provide data demonstrating descent with modification and thus lay to rest any controversy about common ancestry. However, even if the fossil record were complete (which it is not), it would not establish that homology (similarity) is due to common ancestry 4.
Moreover, if homologous limbs are actually the result of a common ancestor, then it would seem logical that this homology would be traceable all the way back through the embryo and finally to the gene. Since evolutionists have concluded that these "unifying" morphological similarities are evidence for common descent (via the mechanism of mutations), an overwhelming amount of published data should be present in the literature confirming that these same similarities were also unified with a common developmental pathway of common cells in the embryo and common genes. However, scientific evidence demonstrates that this is not the case.
It has been confirmed that morphological structures defined as definitely homologous, such as the alimentary canal present in all vertebrates, can be formed from the roof of the embryonic gut cavity in sharks, the floor of the embryonic gut cavity in lampreys, and from both the roof and floor of the embryonic gut cavity in frogs 5. The evolutionist Gavin De Beer said, "correspondence between homologous structures cannot be pressed back to similarity of position of the cells of the embryo or the parts of the egg out of which these structures are ultimately differentiated 6."
Homology in genetics does not provide any guidance either 7. De Beer again explains, "It is now clear that the pride with which it was assumed that the inheritance of homologous structures from a common ancestor explained homology was misplaced; for such inheritance cannot be ascribed to identity of genes. The attempt to find ‘homologous’ genes, except in closely related species, has been given up as hopeless 8."
It would seem that an obvious benchmark for the validity of natural selection or homology (similarity) to confirm common ancestry (unity) would be commonality in the embryo and gene. Since this commonality does not exist, the statement about "unity of past life forms" in the above science standard is not scientifically defensible via natural selection or any other known evolutionary mechanism. Natural selection as a theory only holds true for the observable process of adaptation and variation within species. It falls far short of the mark when attempting to justify the mythical process of macroevolution.
In Conclusion, common ancestry has been justified in the past via homology, but the data known for years about embryology and genetics does not support common ancestry through the evolutionary path of similarity. Without any evolutionary pathway via the embryo or genetics, there is no mechanism to conclude common ancestry (unity) via natural selection. However, the fact remains that there are tremendous morphological similarities in numerous species (for example, several marsupials and placentals) possessing no kinship whatsoever. If common ancestry is inept at explaining this, then the observations must point toward an intelligent designer who adopted similar body plans for completely unrelated species.
Eldridge, Niles. 1980. Natural History 89(7).
Gould, S.J. 1977. Ever Since Darwin. W.W. Norton. New York. p. 39.
Campbell, N.A. Biology. Benjamin/Cummings Publishing, Menlo Park, CA. p. 411.
Wells, J. 2000. Icons of Evolution. Regnery Publishing, Washington, DC. p. 68.
De Beer. G. 1971. Homology, An unsolved problem. Oxford University Press, London, p. 13.
Ibid. p. 13.
De Beer, G. 1958. Embryology and Homology. Oxford University Press, London. p. 147.
Ref. 3. p. 16.
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