Note: Asher (Roland) Norman is an author, attorney and Orthodox Jew, living in California. He also lectures on the subject of “The Scientific Case Against Random Macro Evolution (and for Intelligent Design).” Norman also lectures on the subject of Jewish holiness, explaining the organizing principle of Jewish holiness in separating between life and death regarding food, (kosher laws) intimacy (family purity laws) and time (Shabbat). The following is a paraphrase from a lecture Norman gave on evolution.
This is Part One of a three-part series on evolution from a Jewish perspective.
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution requires beneficial mutations and survival of the fittest/natural selection and adaptation into a new population. The original theory has been synthesized with modern genetics and population biology. (This concept is known as the synthetic theory or Neo-Darwinism)
Darwinism does not conflict with the Torah as long as one posits GOD is the foundation of the Scripture. The conflict arises when one holds the Creation happened by itself. Secular and Reform Jews are using evolution as an alternative to GOD. This is the reason the scientific veracity of evolution becomes important. If evolution is not true, we must remove the theory as an alternative to GOD.
To make matters more clear, it is important to explain the two kinds of evolution being discussed: microevolution and macroevolution.
Microevolution is mutation within the genetic potential of an existing species. This mutation can occur naturally or can also be realized through selective breeding. It is minor change within the constraints and existing boundaries of an existing species and represents nothing new like a new organ. For example skin color is micro evolution, representing a minor variation within a species. Microevolution is an uncontroversial, well-documented, naturally occurring biological phenomenon.
Macroevolution is the somewhat more contentious, theoretical extrapolation of microevolution that requires the introduction of new genetic information. This requires a birth with a beneficial genetic mutation beyond the normal genetic potential of an existing species, something truly new. This is what Darwinism’s evolutionary theory requires, making it possible for the creation of an entirely new species rather than merely a variation of an existing species.
To prove evolutionary theory scientifically, the proposed cause for an evolutionary change must be observed to exist. It must be possible to show quantitatively the proposed cause explains the observed outcome through the use of the accepted theory. Observation of the cause and effect must confirm the theory. If the proposed cause is unobservable, then it is imperative the cause should quantitatively predict the effect through use of the theory.
Does Neo-Darwinism satisfy the criteria? No. Why? Four reasons:
This series of articles will reveal Darwinists distort the evidence for macroevolution using the following deceptions:
The only evidence for “macroevolution” lies in the unquenchable optimism among Darwinists that, given enough time, anything can happen.
Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing answered Holmes thoughtfully: it may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different. There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.
— Sherlock Holmes (The Boscombe Valley Mystery, the Complete Holmes, Conan Doyle, 1928)
Most secular scientists have defined evolution as a “random forces theory” (creation happened by itself) although Darwin was religious and believed GOD was behind it. GOD is the supernatural alternative to random forces. As Phillip Johnson states in his book, “Reason in the Balance,” “if GOD is real, then a naturalistic science insists on explaining everything is out of touch with reality; if GOD is imaginary, then theologians have no subject matter.” We will see Darwinists have created a secular, materialist religion posing as science. In essence it is religion (faith based) pretending to be science.
Rabbi Avrohom Katz wrote a book called “Designer World” which describes life processes present profound evidence of design. Darwinists try to reinterpret these processes by arguing they only appear to be designed. An examination of examples will be very helpful in making that determination. It is important to note 99 percent of all mutations cause disease, death or nothing at all. We are expected to believe the phenomenal structures and interdependent, irreducibly complex systems described below happened by the remaining one percent of random mutations by “luck and chance” and are not evidence of intelligent design. Consider the following two examples:
When a finger is cut there is an immediate reaction from the body’s emergency services occurs:
Which requires more faith that “lucky” random mutations “happened” to produce this ultra-sophisticated irreducibly complex interdependent system (irreducible complexity requires multiple components to be present at once) or that such a system was produced by intelligent design?
Let’s look at a second example:
Bats are blind. They use radar instead of eyes to work. The sophistication of this system is staggering.
Which requires more faith that “lucky” random mutations “happened” to produce this ultra-sophisticated, irreducibly complex, interdependent system or that the creature was produced by intelligent design?
There are millions of species (including insects) on the planet. If macro evolution is a random occurrence to account for the enormous numbers of species it must be occurring constantly. Darwinists claim all genetic information was built up through “lucky” random mutations and then spread into a species by natural selection. If so, the same process must be going on continuously and at least some random macro-mutations should be observable today. Only micro-mutations have been observed. In human history, there has never been a reported birth by an offspring with a mutation that is both beneficial and outside the limits of the existing species. Longer beaks of the finches on the Galapagos Islands, the melanism in peppered moths, antibiotic resistance in bacteria or different skin colors in humans are all micro, not macro evolution. These changes cannot result in a new species.
Lucky, random, beneficial mutations could not have resulted in a new species in a single birth because it is mathematically impossible to be that “lucky.” It would take many thousands of mutations to create a new species. Logically, random mutations had to occur one mutation per birth at a time.
If lucky, random, beneficial mutations led to millions of new species, the proof should be in the fossil record. The record should be filled with a massive amount of these fossils showing macro-transitions which led to new species.
Darwin’s theory was incompatible with the fossil record both when he published his theory and even more so now. This is a massive problem for Darwinists so they pretend it does not exist. Darwin was very aware of this potentially fatal problem with the evidence and acknowledged this problem in “Origin of Species” on page 287:
Geological research, though it has added numerous species to existing and extinct genera, and has made the intervals between some few groups less wide than they otherwise would have been, yet has done scarcely anything in breaking down the distinction between species, by connecting them together by numerous, fine, intermediate varieties; and this not having been effected, is probably the gravest and most obvious of all the many objections which may be urged against my views.
Darwin concluded: “He who rejects this view of the imperfection of the geological record, will rightly reject the whole theory.”
Professor Stephen Gould of Harvard University observed: “the extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology …The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks are not the evidence of fossils … are never seen in the rocks.”
Professor Niles Eldridge, Curator of the Department of Invertebrates of the American Museum of Natural History agreed:
No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It seems never to happen … evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution.
— Reinventing Darwin, 1995 page 95.
Other scientists have weighed on the debate:
The fossil material is now so complete that the lack of transitional series cannot be explained by the scarcity of the material. It is not even possible to make a caricature of evolution out of paleo-biological facts … The deficiencies are real, they will never be filled.
— Professor Heribert-Nilsson Lund from the University of Sweden
Despite the tremendous increase in geological activity in every corner of the globe and despite the discovery of many strange and hitherto unknown forms, the infinitude of connecting links has still not been discovered and the fossil record is about as discontinuous as it was when Darwin was writing the Origin.
Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life, what geologists of Darwin’s time and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record: that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the (fossil) record, then abruptly go out of the record.
— G. David Raup, Curator of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History
(In the next article, Asher Norman will continue his study of evolution from a Jewish perspective by examining the fossil record.)
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