The Proofs of Evolutiononly evolution can explain biology, arguments from authority, appeals to unknown or unlikely evolutionary mechanisms and pathways such as in the hypothetical evolution of the recurrent laryngeal nerve and ALUs, false claims about the empirical scientific evidence, such as with the ORFans and the so-called nested hierarchy, and appeals to a fictional track record of success of the theory of evolution. All of these problems are typical but if you stop there then you don’t really understand evolution. For while these may seem to be serious problems, they are dwarfed by the proofs of evolution.
In his debate with Paul Nelson, Joel Velasco argued that the recurrent laryngeal nerve is a powerful evidence for common descent and evolution. As Velasco explained, it is “one of my favorite examples,” but in fact it is quite challenging to figure out how evolution possibly could have evolved the nerve, whether in the fish or in the giraffe.
But that misses the point. The point is that its design, in giraffes for example, makes no sense. Therefore it would not have been created or designed. As Velasco explained:
[40:35] Now this is one of my favorite examples, this is a great picture here, this laryngeal nerve. There is a nerve that goes from your brain to your larynx. And if you look at a human it goes all the way down and wraps around the aorta, and then back up to the larynx. You might think, “Boy, that’s kind of weird.” Yes, it’s not that big of a deal. It seems like it’s kind of weird, it goes out of place. Now if you were a giraffe and that was 15 feet long you would really care.
In other words, in the giraffe this nerve is not a good design. Another popular example is the pentadactyl pattern found in so many species. Velasco explains that this design is not a useful trait:
[28:16] How do you predict this nested hierarchical structure? What does this have to do with evolution? Well only an evolutionary process—only descent with modification can possibly explain why when you look at different traits you get the same classification, over and over and over again. It’s not that having five fingers is a useful trait so the designer wanted a lot of things to have five fingers.
According to evolutionists, the pentadactyl pattern is not a rational design, for why would the same design be used for so many different purposes? It would not have been intended by a creator or designer. As Darwin had put it:
What can be more curious than that the hand of a man, formed for grasping, that of a mole for digging, the leg of the horse, the paddle of the porpoise, and the wing of the bat, should all be constructed on the same pattern, and should include similar bones, in the same relative positions?
Then there is the human tail which makes no sense, as Velasco explains:
[38:56] We have a tailbone. Now, it’s true, the tailbone is useful, you need it, you don’t want to lose it, but some people’s tailbone still have the tail muscle attached. The muscle to what? There’s no tail. Now that’s not quite right, many embryos do have tails. Usually it gets sucked back in and absorbed. It comes out in the babies first, you know the merconium it comes out, but actually some humans are born with tails. But the rest of us don’t have a tail, but we have a muscle that could move it if we had one. What’s that all about?
Here Velasco uses a rhetorical question to convey the hopelessness of rationalizing the design. The use of rhetorical questions is a common technique in the evolution genre. This is because evolutionists cannot actually demonstrate why any of these claims are true. Velasco has never been a giraffe so he doesn’t know how they feel about their 15 foot long laryngeal nerve.
Likewise Velasco has never created a pentadactyl pattern, much less an entire organism that has this design. Nor has he created tails or humans. In fact evolutionists would have a difficult time explaining just why these are such bad designs. So they shift the burden of proof to the creationist, using the rhetorical question.
And of course these cannot be extremely bad designs, because in that case they would never have evolved. Evolutionists are sure these are bad designs, but not real bad. And they offend our common sense. They may function, but they are not rational. No designer or creator would have done it that way. As Richard Dawkins explains, “it is the principle of the thing”:
Like any nerve, the optic nerve is a trunk cable, a bundle of separate “insulated” wires, in this case about three million of them. Each of the three million wires leads from one cell in the retina to the brain. You can think of them as the wires leading from a bank of three million photocells (actually three million relay stations gathering information from an even larger number of photocells) to the computer that is to process the information in the brain. They are gathered together from all over the retina into a single bundle, which is the optic nerve for the eye.
Any engineer would naturally assume that the photocells would point towards the light, with their wires leading backwards towards the brain. He would laugh at any suggestion that the photocells might point away from the light, with their wires departing on the side nearest the light. Yet this is exactly what happens in all vertebrate retinas. Each photocell is, in effect, wired in backwards, with its write sticking out on the side nearest the light. The wire has to travel over the surface of the retina, to a point where it dives through a hole in the retina (the so-called “blind spot”) to join the optic nerve. This means that the light , instead of being granted an unrestricted passage to the photocells, has to pass through a forest of connecting wires, presumably suffering at least some attenuation and distortion (actually probably not much but, still, it is the principle of the thing that would offend any tidy-minded engineer!).
Then there are those irrational designs that repeatedly appear in neighboring species, such as broken genes. It is the so-called “shared-error argument”:
[42:10] Why don’t we smell very well. Well if you know something about biology you might think, “well we don’t have enough genes that get expressed as olifactory receptors,” you know we have about 400, but mice have a thousand. Four hundred is actually not that much. But actually we have 800 olifactory receptor genes, 400 are just broken. That is, we still have the genes inside our body, but there is just some mutation that has turned it off or messed with it. In fact, all the primates have the same broken genes, in the same place, broken in the same way. That’s why primates don’t smell as well as dogs. Dogs have the same genes we do, ours are just broken. [42:50] Most mammals don’t need to eat fruit. They can make their own Vitamin C. They can metabolize it. But actually the primates can’t. Now here, interestingly, there’s one other group—the fruit bats can’t. That’s not a result of common descent. That’s a separate break. In fact when you look at the details, it’s broken in a different place. But all the primates have the gene for making Vitamin C broken in exactly the same way. In exactly the same place. Why? Because it was broken in the ancestor mammals, and just got passed on.
And retro viruses:
[45:50] Now normally this wouldn’t get passed on, but every once in awhile, it inserts itself into a sperm or an egg cell, that gets passed on. So there is a record of viral DNA. When we look at your DNA, here’s a string, maybe a hundred base pairs, from a virus. You’re like, wow, that’s weird. You have 30,000 of them. It’s about 1% of your genome, is viral DNA, from retro viruses. And in fact, when we look, we share the retro virus infection—so there are some that all humans have. But actually there are some that the great apes have—humans, chimps, gorillas. You think, why do the three of us have the same infection, in the same place, in the same gene? Answer: Because actually the thing that was infected is the ancestor of the great apes.
And useless genetic markers:
[~48:00] We share lots of things in common, but when you look at the molecules, you look at the molecular markers inside, the case is overwhelming. We have markers that serve no purpose, they come from viruses.
Of course the similarities between species are many. One could make a long, long list of all the similarities between different species. So why do evolutionists focus on those similarities that don’t look right? Why does Velasco list off the similarities that are inefficient and broken?
Indeed these make evolution less likely. If Velasco was trying to explain why the evidence makes evolution more probable then he chose the wrong set of data. But evolution is all about contrastive thinking. The point is not to prove evolution but to disprove the competition. Evolution is more probable not because these broken designs raise its probability, but because they lower the probability of the alternatives.
From a scientific perspective the idea that the species arose spontaneously is absurd. Evolutionists do not have anything close to a scientific explanation for their ridiculous idea. Indeed, science flatly refutes evolutionary theory. Evolution can’t even create a single protein, much less millions upon millions of species.
But this isn’t about science. It never was. Evolution is no different from ancient Epicureanism. It is a non scientific belief system that mandates a strictly naturalistic origins theory.
Religion drives science and it matters.