An Example of Science at Work
chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution: this central concept of modern biology is no longer one among other possible or even conceivable hypotheses. It is today the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observed and tested fact. And nothing warrants the supposition—or the hope—that on this score our position is likely ever to be revised.
That is a good example of evolution’s metaphysical certainty. And that certainty led to dogma. Evolutionists dismissed, delegitimized and blackballed anything and anyone hinting of directed change.
But as with the other predictions of evolution, this one turned out to be false as well. What Monod proclaimed as the “sole conceivable hypothesis” is now routinely refuted. In fact this has been known for many years but progress has been slow due to evolutionary resistance.
To this day many evolutionists continue to fight the science. But with the inexorable march of science, it just continues to get worse for evolution. Last week a new study out of UC Santa Cruz added yet more confirmation. It showed at the molecular level how certain kinds of directed changes are inherited across generations. As one report explained:
A growing body of evidence suggests that environmental stresses can cause changes in gene expression that are transmitted from parents to their offspring, making “epigenetics” a hot topic. Epigenetic modifications do not affect the DNA sequence of genes, but change how the DNA is packaged and how genes are expressed. Now, scientists have shown how epigenetic memory can be passed across generations and from cell to cell during development.
The lead researcher explained that this field has been controversial:
“There has been ongoing debate about whether the methylation mark can be passed on through cell divisions and across generations, and we’ve now shown that it is,” said corresponding author Susan Strome, a professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology at UC Santa Cruz.
That “ongoing debate” is mainly due to evolutionists resisting the science because it is fundamentally at odds with their theory. With this new study the science becomes that much more difficult to deny:
“Remarkably, when we watch the chromosomes through cell divisions, the marked chromosomes remain marked and stay bright, because the enzyme keeps restoring the mark, but the naked chromosomes stay naked, division after division,” Strome said. “That shows that the pattern of marks that was inherited is being transmitted through multiple cell divisions.”
These sorts of findings, which are becoming increasingly difficult to deny, are splitting evolutionists into different factions. For years now some evolutionists have recognized these findings and have carefully and diplomatically suggested evolutionary theory needs some modification. Other evolutionists, however, continue to vigorously hold that neo Darwinian change remains a fact and these new findings are merely a minor addition to the story.
What none of these factions have seriously reckoned with is that these directed change mechanisms and processes are contrary to and make no sense on evolution. This is an utter refutation of traditional evolutionary theory. There is no scientific explanation of how these directed change mechanisms and processes evolved.
Given this and so many other contrary findings, what we need to do is back off of the high claims. We need to drop the metaphysics and dogma. Yes organisms adapt and change—in that sense evolution is true. But that is a very different kind of evolution than how the term is normally understood. Let’s narrow the scope of the term “evolution” to what we know from science.