I once had a discussion with an evolutionist who, not surprisingly, claimed that evolution is fact. “Have you ever seen a sea lion try to move across a beach?” It is obviously not a good design, he argued, and so must have evolved. The sea lion’s “design is not intelligent, but rather is a product of evolution,” he concluded, for “design would attempt to produce something that works well, if it is intelligent design, and this does not work well and so is not intelligent design.”
This evolutionist also made a series of erroneous claims about the evidence for evolution. He began with the remarkable statement that “DNA sequences provide an absolute and irrefutable record” that evolution is a fact. “Virtually every single gene sequence we examine,” he explained, “can be seen to be represented in closely related species and in more distantly related species with increasing numbers of nucleotide changes as we look at more distant species.”
It was, he triumphantly concluded, “absolute proof, in hard copy, reiterated in every single gene of every single organism.” It sounded good but it was wrong. The real data, in the real world, simply do not fit the evolutionary pattern as evolutionists envision.
He also claimed that every piece of evidence in biology supports the conclusion that evolution is a fact. But how could this be? I responded that there are many evidences that do not support this conclusion, such as (i) nonhomologous development pathways, (ii) the abrupt appearance of fossil species in the geological strata and (iii) the complexity and circularity of cellular protein synthesis.
To this he responded that these three examples “are not facts.” But these are facts—well known facts. It would be non scientific to say that the abrupt appearance of fossil species, nonhomologous development processes and the complexity and circularity of cellular protein synthesis are not facts. Protein synthesis in the cell is “circular” because it requires pre existing proteins. A leading undergraduate textbook calls the process “inexplicably complex.”
His claim that my examples are not facts, coupled with his insistence that evolution is a fact, raised questions about how he was arriving at his conclusions. How could an evolutionist possibly state that such well known and well documented biological phenomena are not to be considered as facts?
We can argue about what these observations portend. We can debate how well they do, or do not, comport with evolutionary theory. But not facts?
Was this some anonymous internet rant? Was I wasting my time with an ignorant and dogmatic lurker who had nothing to offer but silly and fallacious canards? Hardly. This was a life science professor at a university who was chair of the Biology department. Yes, chair of the Biology department. And his arguments were, unfortunately, typical. I have seen them, or arguments like them, over and over.
This extreme level of anti intellectualism is the scandal of the evolutionary mind. It is always the first shock to those who allow themselves to question the paradigm and venture into the debate with skepticism. Evolutionists are full of bluster, but their position is astonishingly dull.