Online review of the blue "Creation" book?

by slimboyfat 1 Replies latest jw friends

  • slimboyfat

    A few years ago I read an excellent online line by lne refutation of the "Life - How Did it Get Here" book.

    Does anyone know where that is? I can't seem to find it anywhere. Has it been taken down?

    This page apparently gives a link to the critique I am talking about, but the link is dud:

    Can anyone help?


  • VM44

    Some Comments on the Book
    “Life – How did it Get Here? By Evolution or Creation?”

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    I have written this paper to document and summarise some of the problems with the Creation book. I provide this in outline form, and this write-up is by no means exhaustive. In some places I have merely referred to existing evidence. To confirm my claims, you will have to do a cite and source checking yourself, and you will have to read evolutionary textbooks to see what evolutionary science really is about.

    Be prepared not to like what you find. I have not taken the time to moderate and pack my opinions into wool as I would have done if this text was intended for general consumption.

    I speak for myself. Your mileage may vary. Handle with care.

    Jump straight to part 2...

    My Examination

    I had heard certain claims in the past that certain books from the Watchtower Society used “misquotes” and “dishonest argumentation,” but I did not give it any thought. Also, when some said explicitly that Creation was a dishonest book I didn't really bother to check it. When I joined Internet I also heard these claims repeated, especially on religious newsgroups where we could read statements like “the Creation book was cut to shreds on Talk.Origins some time back.” Still, I was reluctant to check this. Also I heard quite clearly from friends that this Usenet group was not a good place to go. Considering that we were able to defend ourselves quite well on doctrinal questions in the religious groups, this made me wonder.

    Only when one individual [1]directly challenged me on this did I reluctantly let myself be involved in a defense of the Creation book. I was quite disappointed when I received a couple of examples of clear misquotes (Discover, Lewontin, see more later), but still I claimed that these were just a few ill-fated errors in an otherwise nice book. When the correspondent was able to dig up not 10 or 20, but close to 100 clear examples of errors in Creation, ranging from shocking dishonesty to amazing stupidity, I had to admit that this was not an unimportant question. Millions read this book as The Truth. It is supposed to build up people's faith in God and the Bible. The Society represents God. This would bring dishonour to his name.

    Consider the ideals of this book:

    *** ce 4 From the Publishers ***Millions of people today believe in evolution. Other millions believe in creation. Still others are uncertain what to believe. This book is for all such people. It presents a thoroughly researched examination of how life got here – and what this means for the future.

    Note that it claims to be a “thoroughly researched examination.” This is a strong statement. It is written for an audience that does not know all the facts, persons who are not familiar with scientific terminology or thought.

    When I read a “thoroughly researched examination” of something, I expect it to present all sides of an issue. I also expect that the opposing part is presented in a fair way, and that the best arguments of the opposers are examined and answered. In other words, I want facts so I can form my own opinion about the debate.

    I set out to read the Macropedia articles about the theory of evolution and human evolution in Encyclopaedia Britannica, which provides a good introduction. Even this relatively short text [2]provided wealth of evidence for the theory of evolution. This evidence may not have been conclusive, but it was evident that many facts had just been conveniently ignored in Creation to make the case appear strong. It was also obvious that Creation was just “preaching in the church.” No evolutionist with knowledge of science would ever be convinced by such a book. Further, a scientist would immediately see argumentation that is dishonest and distorted facts, and probably shun Jehovah's Witnesses completely after reading it. [3]

    I will go through the Creation book in chapter order below, exposing some of the weaknesses, misquotes and dishonest arguments. Again, this is just an outline, and does not cover all angles.

    1: Life-How Did It Start?

    Creation starts by presenting the opposing views, at once underlining the hopelessness of life if the theory of evolution is true:

    *** ce 8 1 Life-How Did It Start? ***
    A prominent scientist stated: "We may have only another few decades until Doomsday. . . . the development of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems will, sooner or later, lead to global disaster." Even if this did not happen soon, many believe that when a person's life span runs out in death he is then nonexistent forever. Others feel that, in the future, all life on earth will end. They theorize that the sun will expand into a red giant star, and as it does, "the oceans will boil, the atmosphere will evaporate away to space and a catastrophe of the most immense proportions imaginable will overtake our planet."

    Evolutionism is immediately equaled with atheism, and the possibility of a so-called “theistic evolution” is never offered a single thought. Nevertheless, the book tries to distance itself from creationists.

    *** ce 8-9 1 Life-How Did It Start? ***
    Recoiling from these conclusions are the "scientific creationists." But their interpretation of the Genesis creation account has led them to claim that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that the six "days" allowed in Genesis for creation were each only 24 hours long. But does such an idea accurately represent what the Bible is saying? Was the earth, and all its life forms, created in just six literal days? Or is there a reasonable alternative?

    Later we will see that Creation builds completely on creationistic argumentation, and that the sources for this book are dominantly young-earth creationists. Nevertheless, the idea that the universe is only 6,000 years old is labeled unreasonable. This should from the start make readers with a background in science more positive.

    Again, Creation stresses that it will examine evidence with an open mind. Keep the following statements in memory when we look at the rest of this book.

    *** ce 9 1 Life-How Did It Start? ***
    In considering questions related to the origin of life, popular opinion or emotion sway many. To avoid this and to reach accurate conclusions, we need to consider the evidence with an open mind. It is interesting to note, too, that even evolution's best-known advocate, Charles Darwin, indicated an awareness of his theory's limitations. In his conclusion to The Origin of Species, he wrote of the grandeur of the "view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one," thus making it evident that the subject of origins was open to further examination. [bold added]

    Alas, the high standards are broken already in the same paragraph where they are stated. This is the first quotation about the theory of evolution we can find in this book. Read the context of this quotation from Darwin:

    «It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life, and from use and disuse: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less- improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.» [4]

    What Darwin is praising is the mechanisms described in his theory of evolution. Creation misrepresents his ideas by making it look like he praised the Creator, when in fact he praised nature. True, he mentions the Creator, but the word “grandeur” does not apply to the original “breathing.” The “view of life” Darwin praised is the view that natural forces made all the different species on earth.

    It is thus quite clear from the start that Creation will not provide its readers with a fair examination. From the beginning it's clear that this is an attack on evolutionary science.

    *** ce 10 1 Life-How Did It Start? ***
    Obviously, there are profound differences between the theory of evolution and the Genesis creation account. Those who accept evolution contend that creation is not scientific. But in fairness, it could also be asked: Is evolution itself truly scientific?

    What is science? The book does not really handle this question. There are two major criteria for calling something science, and creationism (young earth or not) does not meet any of these:

    1. It must be falsifiable i.e. there must be some way to show that the theory is incorrect. The theory must be testable. Evolution is, in that there can be things specified which, if they can be verified, would disprove evolution. Creationism allows no such test.
    2. It must be able to make predictions i.e. it must be able to tell you how something WILL occur (and then you must be able to verify the accuracy of the prediction). The theories which compose evolution are useful in this regard in that they have made predictions concerning population densities, physiologies, chemistries, fossil find forecasts,... Creationism does none of this. At best, its "predictions" are either in the past (already happened) or unverifiable. [5]

    So, it is not an expression of bad will when scientists say that the Genesis creation account is not scientific. It isn't science! God can't be subject to scientific experiments or examinations. Therefore, it is not scientific. Of course, that does not mean it is wrong. Later in Creation we will see that evolutionary science is questioned and even called unscientific. We will see that it is definitely not.

    2: Disagreements About Evolution-Why?

    The objective of this chapter is to show that scientists disagree on evolution. The message seems to be that scientists doubt evolution. You should not be misled. From a christian viewpoint it would perhaps be nice if this were so, but in fact scientists agree that evolution is a fact. They do, however, disagree on details of how evolution happened.

    *** ce 14 2 Disagreements About Evolution-Why? ***
    THOSE who support the theory of evolution feel that it is now an established fact. They believe that evolution is an "actual occurrence," a "reality," a "truth," as one dictionary defines the word "fact." But is it?

    This is a misunderstanding. First, there are different definitions of the word evolution. The definition you find in a typical dictionary is that evolution is “the theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types, the distinguishable differences being due to modifications in successive generations.” [6] Note the word “theory.” A scientist, on the other hand, will define evolution as “change in allele frequency in a population over time.” [7]

    We have one word with different meanings, and this causes all sort of misunderstandings:

    1. Evolution as a fact. For a scientist there is only type of fact: what he or she can observe. So when scientists say that evolution is a fact, it means that changes in alleles (genes) have been observed scientifically. Nobody denies this.
    2. Evolution as a theory. While practically all biologists agree that Darwin's theory of evolution explains how life originated, it is by no means a “fact”.

    Many problems originated because those who believed in God did not understand that science is by definition an attempt to explain everything naturalistically. If God created life, a naturalistic theory of life will not – no matter how much evidence is put forward – tell the whole truth. But it will still tell a part of the story. Since many scientists believe in God, they acknowledge all this.

    *** ce 15 2 Disagreements About Evolution-Why? ***
    And it is enlightening to consider what advocates of evolution themselves are saying about the matter.

    Actually, it isn't always. First you'll have to examine the vocabularies used by scientists. If you don't, you will probably misunderstand what they are saying. Since the word “evolution” has many meanings, and words like “theory” and “fact” mean something completely different to a scientist and a layperson, these misunderstandings are widespread. Again:

    Fact: You can observe it.

    Theory: An explanative model. To a layman, a “theory” is something you are not too sure about. To a scientist, it is something trying to explain the known facts. How probable it is does not influence if it is a theory or not. A theory cannot become a fact.

    This problem is addressed by a well-known evolutionist, Stephen Jay Gould:

    «In the American vernacular, “theory” often means “imperfect fact” – part of a hierarchy of confidence running downhill from fact to theory to hypothesis to guess. Thus the power of the creationist argument: evolution is “only” a theory and intense debate now rages about many aspects of the theory. If evolution is worse than a fact, and scientists can't even make up their minds about the theory, then what confidence can we have in it? Indeed, President Reagan echoed this argument before an evangelical group in Dallas when he said (in what I devoutly hope was campaign rhetoric): `Well, it is a theory. It is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science – that is, not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was.'

    Well evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's in this century, but apples didn't suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.

    Moreover, `fact' doesn't mean `absolute certainty'; there ain't no such animal in an exciting and complex world. The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us falsely for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science `fact' can only mean `confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent'. I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.

    Evolutionists have been very clear about this distinction of fact and theory from the very beginning, if only because we have always acknowledged how far we are from completely understanding the mechanisms (theory) by which evolution (fact) occurred. Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great and separate accomplishments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing a theory – natural selection – to explain the mechanism of evolution.» [8]

    Let us for a moment ignore the dogmatic statements in the text above and concentrate on the definition of words. We will see how Creation tries to discredit the evolutionary science using this famous misconception.

    *** ce 15 2 Disagreements About Evolution-Why? ***
    The scientific magazine Discover put the situation this way: "Evolution . . . is not only under attack by fundamentalist Christians, but is also being questioned by reputable scientists. Among paleontologists, scientists who study the fossil record, there is growing dissent from the prevailing view of Darwinism."

    This is from the newest version of Creation. In the earlier version, the book stopped quoting after the word “dissent”. Leaving out parts of sentences should always be marked by an ellipsis. Thankfully, this part of the misquote was corrected. Unfortunately, the real problem with the quotation is in the start of the sentence. The ellipsis hides that what is under attack is Darwinism not evolution. Reading the full story in Discover will show that nobody here questions evolution, only one explanatory theory.

    «Charles Darwin's brilliant theory of evolution, published in 1859, had a stunning impact on scientific and religious thought and forever changed man's perception of himself. Now that hallowed theory is not only under attack by fundamentalist Christians, but is also being questioned by reputable scientists. Among paleontologists, scientists who study the fossil record, there is growing dissent from the prevailing view of Darwinism. . . .

    Most of the debate will center on one key question: Does the three-billion-year-old process of evolution creep at a steady pace, or is it marked by long periods of inactivity punctuated by short bursts of rapid change? Is Evolution a Tortoise or a hare? Darwin's widely accepted view – that evolution proceeds steadily, at a crawl – favors the tortoise. But two paleontologists, Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History and Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard, are putting their bets on the hare.» [9]

    As you can clearly see, Creation misinforms the reader. What reader will get the impression that the Discover article discussed the pace of evolutionary change? Stephen Jay Gould definitely does not abandon the theory of evolution.

    To make matters worse, directly after the preceding quote we find the following:

    *** ce 15 2 Disagreements About Evolution-Why? ***
    Francis Hitching, an evolutionist and author of the book The Neck of the Giraffe, stated: "For all its acceptance in the scientific world as the great unifying principle of biology, Darwinism, after a century and a quarter, is in a surprising amount of trouble."

    The argumentation in this chapter relies on statements like these. Now, who is this Francis Hitching? He is called an evolutionist. What impression does this word give in this context? Evidently that he is a scientist specializing in evolution science. He has no credentials in science. His education is limited to “private boys' school in Warwick, England” according to his own information given in Contemporary Authors. [10] Some will deny that the word “evolutionist” conveys the idea that he is a scientist. Why, then do we see the following in the later Watchtower publication The Bible – God's Word or Man's?

    *** gm 106 8 Science: Has It Proved the Bible Wrong? ***
    19 How can the theory of evolution be tested? The most obvious way is to examine the fossil record to see if a gradual change from one kind to another really happened. Did it? No, as a number of scientists honestly admit. One, Francis Hitching, writes: "When you look for links between major groups of animals, they simply aren't there." [bold added]

    This error obviously occurred because the writer of gm took his information from Creation. If the Society itself misunderstood its own book, the casual reader will also.

    I will not leave Hitching yet, far from it. If you examine the references in Creation you will see that he is the most important source for major parts of the book. Even more, if you read Neck of the Giraffe you will recognize many lines of thought that are used in exactly the same way in Creation without indication of source.

    Moreover, a christian can't help being troubled by reading Hitching's bibliography. Would you read the books Earth Magic, Dowsing: The Psi Connection or Mysterious World: An Atlas of the Unexplained? Further, would you read anything by an author who said he was member of Society for Psychical Research, British Society of Dowsers and American Society of Dowsers?

    Hitching also – in the bibliography – claims membership in respected organisations like the Royal Archeological Institute of London. In my hands I have a letter where they explicitly deny any knowledge of him. Further, in the appendices of Giraffe he claims to have had help from distinguished scientists like Dr. S. J. Gould. I have a copy of a reply from Dr. Gould where he states “I have never met him + have no information”. These examples are not unique.

    This and other information is available on Usenet. Let me plagiarize the following excerpt from the Talk.Origins FAQ file hitching:

    Hitching believes in the paranormal and has written on Mayan pyramid energy and for some "In Search Of..." episodes on BBC television. The reference work Contemporary Authors, Vol. 103, page 208, lists him as a member of the Society for Psychical Research, the British Society of Dowsers and of the American Society of Dowsers. His writings include: Earth Magic, Dowsing: The Psi Connection, Mysterious World: An Atlas of the Unexplained, Fraud, Mischief, and the Supernatural and Instead of Darwin. Hitching's book spends much of its time attacking Darwinian evolution, borrowing heavily and uncritically from young-earth creationist arguments. Many of Hitching's "references" are lifted from young-earth creationist literature rather than being quoted directly from their original sources. One magazine had this to say [Creation/Evolution Newsletter, 7, No. 5, pp. 15-16, September/October 1987]:

    «Speaking of the Biblical Creation Society, there was an interesting letter in the January 1983 issue of their journal Biblical Creation (p. 74) concerning a review of Francis Hitching's 1982 book The Neck of the Giraffe. Hitching's book is strongly anti-Darwinist, and is enthusiastically hailed by most creationists (though he also pokes fun at fundamentalist creationists). The letter, by creationist Malcolm Bowden (author of The Rise of the Evolution Fraud), points out that Hitching simply "culled his information from the creationist literature." This is indeed the case: many creationist works are cited favorably (Anderson, Coffin, Clark, Daly, Davidheiser, Dewar, Gish, Morris, Segraves, Whitcomb, and Wysong, plus various anti-Darwinists). Hitching does cite Bowden's earlier book Ape-Men – Fact or Fallacy?, but Bowden accuses Hitching of "lifting" several passages and illustrations from his book without acknowledgment: in other words, plagiarism. "Hitchin's [sic] book is largely an exposition of the creationists [sic] viewpoint from the beginning to almost the end," Bowden points out.... Hitching is also a paranormalist, an advocate of psychic evolution.... [Hitching's book] Earth Magic is a wild, extremely entertaining and thoroughly psychic interpretation of megalithic structures.... Hitching also includes in his scheme cosmic cataclysms, Atlantis, pyramidology, dowsing, ESP, miraculous healing, and astrology.»

    I will come back to more examples later, showing how much in the Creation-book that is built on Hitching.

    Let us look at some further examples of misquoting in Creation:

    *** ce 18 2 Disagreements About Evolution-Why? ***
    Darwin acknowledged this as a problem. For example, he wrote: "To suppose that the eye . . . could have been formed by [evolution], seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree."

    Now, did Darwin really acknowledge this to be a problem? Not at all. Read the full quotation:

    «To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.» [11]

    So the single point Darwin was making, was that while intuition seemed to make evolution of the eye improbable, reason told him that this was `not subversive of the theory.' Quoting like Creation did is clearly dishonest.

    Where do misquotes like these come from? Jehovah's Witnesses may be relieved to hear that nobody in Brooklyn seems to have been responsible for lifting these passages viciously out of context. The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) in San Diego, CA, has for a long time provided endless lists of misquotes, misrepresentations and general quasi-science. One of their periodicals is called Impact, and in the issue for October 1980 we find a short article by Gary E. Parker [12] that obviously meant a lot to the writer of Creation. On page (i) we find the quote from Darwin abused in ce9; page (ii) gives Darwin's statement about the eye (ce18) and Lewontin's infamous statements about a “Supreme Designer” (ce143); page (iii) gives us Raup's statements about the fossil record (ce20).

    As we will soon see, these quotations grossly misrepresent the scientists. Further examination will show that practically all the ideas expressed in Creation originated with young-earth creationists. One does not have to read much of these creationistic sources to be shocked at the level of dishonesty they demonstrate by distorting scientists and facts at will to support their quasi-scientific ideas. In only one other place have I seen a similar lack of respect for truth expressed in writing: in neo-nazi revisionistic literature denying the holocaust.

    There's a subheading in this chapter entitled “Dilemmas Over Fossils.” Here we find the following quote:

    *** ce 20 2 Disagreements About Evolution-Why? ***
    The Bulletin went on to say that Darwin "was embarrassed by the fossil record because it didn't look the way he predicted it would . . . the geologic record did not then and still does not yield a finely graduated chain of slow and progressive evolution." In fact now, after more than a century of collecting fossils, "we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time," explained the Bulletin. Why is this the case? Because the more abundant fossil evidence available today shows that some of the examples that were once used to support evolution now are seen not to do so at all.

    What Creation does not explain, is that the Society's idea of direct creation can't account for one single example of transition. This is quite evident, and note that David M. Raup says “fewer” not “none”. Further, an examination of Bulletin will show that Creation does not give an honest view of what Raup says. Examine these quotes, which are less selective:

    «We must distinguish between the fact of evolution — defined as change in organisms over time — and the explanation of this change. Darwin's contribution, through his theory of natural selection, was to suggest how the evolutionary change took place. The evidence we find in the geologic record is not nearly as compatible with darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be. Darwin was completely aware of this. He was embarrassed by the fossil record because it didn't look the way he predicted it would and, as a result, he devoted a long section of his Origin of Species to an attempt to explain and rationalize the differences. There were several problems, but the principle one was that the geologic record did not then and still does not yield a finely graduated chain of slow and progressive evolution. In other words, there are not enough intermediates. . . .

    Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn't changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information — what appeared to be a nice simple progression when relatively few data were available now appears to be much more complex and much less gradualistic. So Darwin's problem has not been alleviated in the last 120 years and we still have a record which does show change but one that can hardly be looked upon as the most reasonable consequence of natural selection. Also the major extinctions such as those of the dinosaurs and trilobites are still very puzzling.» [bold added] [13]

    Wouldn't it be extraordinary if the science of evolution did not change at all in these 120 years? Of course, the fact that some changes must be made in all this time can in no way imply that the whole idea should have to be abandoned! Again, the quotes are dishonestly selective, showing the reader only what Creation wants them to know. The interpretation of the Biblical creation story Creation promotes will not allow for any evolutionary transitions. When Raup says that the fossil record shows something slightly different from what Darwin expected, this is no argument for the Society's ideas. If the transitional changes are slow or fast does not matter. Neither does it matter if the evolutionary tree is like a pinetree or more like a bush. If the evidence is there at all, it will disprove the idea Creation supports.

    Unfortunately, Creation goes all the way from ignorance to dishonesty when it, on page 20, shows a picture of 3 transitional fossils crossed out with Raup's statements below them. Raup did not say anything at all about the other two creatures - lungfish and archaeopteryx, and for Eohippus it is obvious that Raup did not discount it from the fossil record supporting evolution. He simply proposed changes to the way Darwinism had interpreted this record.

    It is interesting to see that Creation claims that the evolution of the horse is not at all demonstrated, considering that in textbooks this is a major example of evidence showing development.

    «The fossil record is incomplete. Of the small proportion of organisms preserved as fossils, only a tiny fraction have been recovered and studied by paleontologists. But the succession of forms over time has been in some cases reconstructed in detail. One example is the evolution of the horse (see figure 2). It began with the dawn horse (genus Hyracotherium), an animal with the size of a dog, with several toes on one foot and dentition appropriate for browsing, which evolved over 50,000,000 years ago; the most recent form is Equus, the modern horse, much larger in size, one-toed, and with teeth for grazing. The transitional forms are well preserved as fossils, as are many other kinds of extinct horses that evolved in different direction and left no living descendants.» [14][bold added]

    If you examine the figure in Britannica, you will see what the text describes: One middle toe became gradually dominant and grew while the other toes disappeared, also gradually. [15]

    Interestingly, the text in chapter 2 of Creation does not even mention the archaeopteryx or the lungfish. Yet Creation discounts these completely from the transitional record. These two examples are, however, covered in chapter 5.

    Let's summarize this chapter with the summary in Creation:

    *** ce 23 2 Disagreements About Evolution-Why? ***
    Summarizing some of the unsolved problems confronting evolution, Francis Hitching observed: "In three crucial areas where [the modern evolution theory] can be tested, it has failed: The fossil record reveals a pattern of evolutionary leaps rather than gradual change. Genes are a powerful stabilizing mechanism whose main function is to prevent new forms evolving. Random step-by-step mutations at the molecular level cannot explain the organized and growing complexity of life."-Italics added

    What Hitching says is wrong. But let's leave Hitching's incompetence for the moment. Fact is, Creation here misrepresents him! He did not doubt evolution. He doubted Darwinism, and proposed other explanations for evolution, explanations that would be much less acceptable to christians than the theory of evolution.

    Creation mixes up doubts about the how of evolution with the general agreement about the what of evolution.

    3: What Does Genesis Say?

    One would expect the chapter based on the Bible to naturally have a much higher quality than those that handle science. Surprisingly, some of the most serious problems in Creation are found here.

    It starts off very well:

    *** ce 25 3 What Does Genesis Say? ***
    AS WITH other things that are misrepresented or misunderstood, the first chapter of the Bible deserves at least a fair hearing. The need is to investigate and determine whether it harmonizes with known facts, not to mold it to fit some theoretical framework. Also to be remembered, the Genesis account was not written to show the "how" of creation.

    Creation has demonstrated involuntarily in the previous chapter that misunderstanding the vocabulary of opponents leads to unnecessary conflict. To avoid a similar problem the other way, it helps the scientific reader to understand the vocabulary of the Bible, and they explain that a “day” in Genesis is not one of 24 hours. Very good. But how long is it?

    *** ce 27 3 What Does Genesis Say? ***
    It would seem reasonable that the "days" of Genesis could likewise have embraced long periods of time-millenniums.

    So Creation doesn't say. This sentence is a masterpiece if the objective is to hide for the reader what is the real belief of the Watchtower Society:

    *** w70 2/15 120 The Days of Creation from God's Viewpoint ***
    Thus we find the seventh "day" of the creative week to be seven thousand years long. On the basis of the length of the seventh "day" it is therefore reasonable to conclude that each of the other six "days" also was a period of 7,000 years. This length of time would be ample for all that the Bible tells us took place on each of the six days of creation.

    *** w87 1/1 30 Questions From Readers ***
    Second, a study of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and of our location in the stream of time strongly indicate that each of the creative days (Genesis, chapter 1) is 7,000 years long. It is understood that Christ's reign of a thousand years will bring to a close God's 7,000-year 'rest day,' the last 'day' of the creative week. (Revelation 20:6; Genesis 2:2, 3) Based on this reasoning, the entire creative week would be 49,000 years long.

    This speculative idea has never been officially withdrawn in Watchtower literature. Jehovah's Witnesses knowing the geological evidence showing there has been life on earth for 3 billion years regret this. In reality, claiming that life is only 34,000 years old is not significantly better from a scientific viewpoint than claiming an age of 6,000 years, as “young earth creationists” do. This is probably the reason why the “serious” literature of the Watchtower Society does not mention this idea, but uses a compromise wording:

    *** it-1 545 Creation ***
    And, since the seventh day has been continuing for thousands of years, it may reasonably be concluded that each of the six creative periods, or days, was at least thousands of years in length.

    It can be speculated endlessly over the reason for these differences between the Watchtower and Insight on the Scriptures. Are there different factions within the Society? Perhaps. It remains a fact, however, that from a scientific viewpoint, calling the length of these creation periods “thousands of years” is like saying that a human being can live for many seconds. Technically true, but very misleading. [16]

    The next paragraphs in Creation explain how the figurative expressions in Genesis chapter one can be interpreted in more modern terms. Few readers will notice that some statements in these paragraphs clearly show the “young life” theories of 7000-year-long creative days:

    *** ce 29 3 What Does Genesis Say? ***
    "'Let the waters under the heavens be brought together into one place and let the dry land appear.' And it came to be so. And God began calling the dry land Earth, but the bringing together of the waters he called Seas." (Genesis 1:9, 10) As usual, the account does not describe how this was done. No doubt, tremendous earth movements would have been involved in the formation of land areas. Geologists would explain such major upheavals as catastrophism. But Genesis indicates direction and control by a Creator. [bold mine]

    Of course, geologists will say that the dry land came to view through normal processes taking millions of years, and a christian geologist will not be troubled by the text in Genesis. The paragraph above shows that the Watchtower Society does not have time for this. It has to appeal to “catastrophe theory” to make these events take place within a framework of 7,000 years. Again, the casual reader will not notice. A geologist, on the other hand, would probably jump at the word “catastrophism”, since these theories were generally abandoned long ago. It is true that modern science uses catastrophes as explanations for a few specific events, like the extinction of the dinosaurs. But this is a long way from explaining the general processes that formed the surface of the planet with “catastrophism.”

    In the end of the chapter Creation tries not only to show that Genesis is scientific, but that this is proof that the writer of Genesis had divine information:

    *** ce 36-7 3 What Does Genesis Say? ***
    The science of mathematical probability offers striking proof that the Genesis creation account must have come from a source with knowledge of the events. The account lists 10 major stages in this order: (1) a beginning; (2) a primitive earth in darkness and enshrouded in heavy gases and water; (3) light; (4) an expanse or atmosphere; (5) large areas of dry land; (6) land plants; (7) sun, moon and stars discernible in the expanse, and seasons beginning; (8) sea monsters and flying creatures; (9) wild and tame beasts, mammals; (10) man. Science agrees that these stages occurred in this general order. What are the chances that the writer of Genesis just guessed this order? The same as if you picked at random the numbers 1 to 10 from a box, and drew them in consecutive order. The chances of doing this on your first try are 1 in 3,628,800! So, to say the writer just happened to list the foregoing events in the right order without getting the facts from somewhere is not realistic.

    This is built on some important premises. Creation says explicitly that “science agrees that these stages occurred in this general order.” We will see soon that science does not agree.

    When introducing a mathematical argument, we also need to meet some requirements defined by the science of probability theory. It will be a requirement that these events are clearly defined and distinct, that is, a sequence of more or less than ten topics can not be descriptive for the events. Of course, considering that God's own word chose 6 events not 10, we see that this requirement is violated. Further, it is a requirement that for a would-be creation story writer any sequence of these 10 events is equally likely. Is it? Where would you put the beginning? As number 6 or 7? Of course not. That disposes of (1), making the chance for success in this lottery ten times greater! Even further, we should expect any person to have some natural ideas of sequence, however primitive. He would naturally place the creation of man as the last event, being most advanced. He may also see that some animals eat plants and conclude that plants came before animals. These things will in themselves make such a calculation of probability completely invalid.

    We have not even touched the argument itself. Do scientists agree that these 10 events occurred in that order? First, (2) “a primitive earth in darkness and enshrouded in heavy gases and water”. Do scientists teach this? Let's read what Creation itself says in the next chapter:

    *** ce 41 4 Could Life Originate by Chance? ***
    The fact is, any attempt to establish the nature of earth's primitive atmosphere can only be based on guesswork or assumption. No one knows for sure what it was like.

    So how can science confirm point two about “heavy gases?” [17] And how can science confirm the proposed darkness, considering how rare photographs from this time are? [18]

    We will see that this argument applies to all the early events. Science doesn't know much about this time, so it can't confirm (or reject) Genesis. For later periods, however, science has an established record.

    The following sequence of events can be found in the scientific record: The first fish appeared 500 million years ago. 410 million years ago the plants appear. 250 million years ago we could see big animals on the ground. In late Jurassic about 140 million years ago the first flying creatures (birds and also flying insects) appeared. [19]

    So science will reject the idea that 6 (plants) came before 8 (animals in the sea). Actually, since the words for “sea monsters” implies not only fish but also whales, this literal interpretation of Genesis is completely unscientific. Further, while Genesis says that flying creatures (8) came before all land animals (9), science gives the opposite answer.

    The Society acknowledges this in an Awake! article where it in fact – without admitting it – abandons the whole argument in Creation chapter 3.

    *** g91 6/8 12 Did Each Creative Day Always Finish What It Started? ***
    FROM time to time, Jehovah's Witnesses receive questions about the order of creation as presented in their book Life-How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation? Some of these questions point to a difference between the order in the book and the order claimed for these events by most geologists.

    As an example, it is observed that geologists list birds as appearing after mammals, whereas the Creation book, on page 37, shows birds as appearing before mammals.

    Now is this really the problem? The article in Awake! pretends it is, overlooking the fact that this literal interpretation of Genesis says nothing about “mammals.” It talks about all land animals, which includes reptiles! It can be possible to find scientists arguing for mammals being younger than birds: [20]

    *** g91 6/8 12 Did Each Creative Day Always Finish What It Started? ***
    Interestingly, while many geologists feel that birds came after mammals, others believe that mammals appeared after birds. An example of the latter case is found in the book Evolution, by Colin Patterson, page 132. This indicates that the evidence from the fossil record is not conclusive.

    However, no scientist will support that birds came before reptiles! The fossil record is very conclusive. This dilemma is carefully hidden for the reader of Awake! The further statements in the Awake! article try to make it look like some grammatical argument can solve the problem. The seriousness of this problem – known since Darwin's time – is ignored. The article fails to make the conclusion that the only way the order of events in Genesis can be harmonized with science is through acceptance of the theory of evolution!

    This is a dangerous thought, and do not believe for a moment that I try to propose a full naturalistic explanation of life on earth. Far from it! But if God created life through evolution, and the term “after its kind” simply means that God made the “kinds” according to his plan (controlled evolution), then the “days” of Genesis will simply indicate when the evolutionary process leading to the different kinds was started. All problems with order of events disappear, since it is obvious that God did not give us Genesis as a lecture in paleontology, but simply to let us know that he did create us. We and everything exist because God wanted us to.

    The genetic relationship between man and apes is a completely different problem. This problem is not one primarily related to the Bible, but from the abhorrence most christians feel to the very concept of human evolution. I have this feeling myself, and will not provide any arguments either way. All we need to know, however, is that God created man “in his image” according to his will, and that man has a unique position on earth.

    Even if many christians reject these thoughts, many others would be relieved to know that the Bible does not contradict science. It does not even need to conflict with the theory of evolution. There is no requirement that human-made quasi-scientific theories made on vague statements in a highly figurative account in the Bible shall stand between man and God.

    I will now stop preaching and leave the soapbox for a moment to continue my discussion of the Creation book.

    The last problem I want to address in this chapter is that to support the idea that science and Genesis agree on order of events, they quote a certain Wallace Pratt. Creation does not tell you that Pratt was a petroleum geologist and a creationist who made these statements in a lecture in 1928. Look at the quote in its full context:

    «Pratt is as much at home in the worlds of literature and philosophy as he is in those of science and industry. He is intrigued by the power of poetic expression. In “Sermons in Stones,” a lecture which he gave in 1928, he said, “If I as a geologist were called upon to explain briefly our modern ideas of the origin of the earth and the development of life on it to a simple, pastoral people, such as the tribes to whom the Book of Genesis was addressed, I could hardly do better than follow rather closely much of the language of the first chapter of Genesis.” He noted that the order of events – from the origin of the oceans, to the emergence of land, to the appearance of marine life and then of birds and mammals – is essentially the sequence of the principle divisions of geologic time from the Cosmic Era to the Psychozoic. He was undisturbed by the way Genesis compresses millions of geologic years into six days, for “Are we not assured, indeed, that with the Creator, `a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day?`“ Many of the theories of the origin of the earth to which scientists gave credence in 1928 have been sharply modified in the light of new discoveries in geology and astronomy, but not enough, Pratt feels, to disrupt the parallelism with Genesis. “Science is like that,” he says. “No scientific theory is sacrosanct. Somebody has said that the great glory of science is that its truths of today are its absurdities of tomorrow. And that is so. New facts always inspire scientists to devise new hypotheses and to demolish old ones.”» [21]

    So Wallace Pratt is a creationist geologist. Personally I have no idea how such a person can exist, but here we are. Further, Pratt discounts the findings and conclusions of science. That is of course his problem. But it suddenly becomes ours when we see that Creation uses his words to support the idea that Genesis and science agree:

    *** ce 36 3 What Does Genesis Say? ***
    This geologist, Wallace Pratt, also noted that the order of events – from the origin of the oceans, to the emergence of land, to the appearance of marine life, and then to birds and mammals – is essentially the sequence of the principal divisions of geologic time.

    As we have seen, this is completely false. When we see that Pratt spoke with his creationist-hat on, we understand how he could have made this wild statement. It is a sad fact that of the 10 events listed, science only agrees on the first (no surprise) and the last (man)! But how many readers of Creation will know that?

    4. Could Life Originate by Chance?

    The question “how did life develop in the first place” is the Achilles heel of a naturalistic theory of evolution. Many evolutionists – even Darwin – have expressed doubts about whether a completely naturalistic theory can really explain life's origin. It should not be necessary to use unreliable sources and quote scientists in a dishonest way to demonstrate that life cannot originate purely by chance.

    *** ce 39 4 Could Life Originate by Chance? ***
    At this point a reader may begin to understand Dawkins' comment in the preface to his book: "This book should be read almost as though it were science fiction."

    Now, does Dawkins know deep inside that he's really telling the reader a fairy-tale? The selective quote leaves this impression. Look at it in context:

    «This book should be read almost as though it were science fiction. It is designed to appeal to the imagination. But it is not science fiction: it is science. Cliche or not, “stranger than fiction” expresses exactly how I feel about the truth.» [22]

    If you examine the literature references for many other quotes, you will see that Hitching is quoted to support virtually all the ideas in this chapter. When referring to a lecture by Professor William Thorpe, Creation refers to Hitching! This is an unacceptable quoting practice in the first place. Why not use the real source? An investigation will often track such quotes to creationistic literature with a long track-record in dishonesty.

    Some weight must be given to references to astronomers Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe. Bear in mind, however, that the purpose of the book Evolution from Space was to show that life originated in outer space. Further, they advanced the theory of “steady state” – that the universe has always existed. Why should the reader trust their conclusions on evolution when Creation disagrees with everything else they say?

    The references to Miller's experiments in this chapter are based exclusively on Hitching's Neck of the Giraffe.

    The next quote is at least from a reliable source:

    *** ce 42 4 Could Life Originate by Chance? ***
    Richard Dickerson explains: "It is therefore hard to see how polymerization [linking together smaller molecules to form bigger ones] could have proceeded in the aqueous environment of the primitive ocean, since the presence of water favors depolymerization [breaking up big molecules into simpler ones] rather than polymerization."

    The quote is from Scientific American, Sept. 1978, p. 75, an article about “Chemical Evolution and the origin of Life”. In the next sentence Dickerson says: “We shall have to face up to this difficulty.” Later he does this. None of us – and certainly not the writer of Creation – are competent to say whether his explanation is probable or not. Nevertheless, the reader of Creation is left with the impression that Dickerson had no idea how this problem could be solved.

    One of the seemingly strongest arguments in this chapter is the statistical evidence presented here:

    *** ce 43-4 4 Could Life Originate by Chance? ***
    What chance is there that the correct amino acids would come together to form a protein molecule? It could be likened to having a big, thoroughly mixed pile containing equal numbers of red beans and white beans. There are also over 100 different varieties of beans. Now, if you plunged a scoop into this pile, what do you think you would get? To get the beans that represent the basic components of a protein, you would have to scoop up only red ones-no white ones at all! Also, your scoop must contain only 20 varieties of the red beans, and each one must be in a specific, preassigned place in the scoop. In the world of protein, a single mistake in any one of these requirements would cause the protein that is produced to fail to function properly. Would any amount of stirring and scooping in our hypothetical bean pile have given the right combination? No. Then how would it have been possible in the hypothetical organic soup?

    We have already seen that probability math is not among the strong sides of Creation's writer. What is the source for all these numbers? No answer. How can we know that life with mixed varieties of amino acids can't exist? And how can we know that there are no natural processes to get rid of the “right-handed” ones later? Is it honest to use such arguments to prove your theory if you clearly don't have the faintest idea what is meant by “right-” and “left-handed” amino-acids?

    Creation doesn't care:

    *** ce 44 4 Could Life Originate by Chance? ***
    The proteins needed for life have very complex molecules. What is the chance of even a simple protein molecule forming at random in an organic soup? Evolutionists acknowledge it to be only one in 10 113 (1 followed by 113 zeros). But any event that has one chance in just 10 50 is dismissed by mathematicians as never happening. An idea of the odds, or probability, involved is seen in the fact that the number 10 113 is larger than the estimated total number of all the atoms in the universe!

    Where does this argument come from? Creation provides no references. It was lifted – plagiarized – out of a box appearing on pages 70-71 in Neck of the Giraffe. Further, we can see that this box in Giraffe is quoted (with references) from an article by Dr. Jean Sloat Morton in Impact Dec. 1980 number 90. You may believe a 6-literal-day-creationist with a “Ph.D. in cellular studies from George Washington University,” [23] but I don't. Giving this seemingly decisive argument from a completely unreliable source without references is very dishonest. When Creation states that “evolutionists acknowledge” the reader expects this to be so. Of course, Hitching may have acknowledged it, but a check will show that neither the numbers nor the arguments find any support in serious scientific works. In other words, it is not true.

    It is important to understand that since scientists don't know what the most primitive and simple form of life that possibly can exist looks like, nobody can calculate the probability of this organism being developed by chance. It goes without saying that probable it is not, but quantifying it like this is meaningless.

    Creation goes even further. Look at the next quote: [24]

    *** ce 46 4 Could Life Originate by Chance? ***
    Chemist Dickerson also made this interesting comment: "The evolution of the genetic machinery is the step for which there are no laboratory models; hence one can speculate endlessly, unfettered by inconvenient facts." But is it good scientific procedure to brush aside the avalanches of "inconvenient facts" so easily?

    This is very “good” rhetorical trick, and Dickerson appears to be the bad guy. But look more carefully at his statement: there are no such models. If these models don't exist, it is of course easy for a scientist to make a theory without acknowledging all the data that would be available from a model. So Dickerson simply pokes fun at some of his colleagues, and gives the reader a fair warning. Creation does not understand this at all. The reader is lead to believe that these “inconvenient facts” are the so-called facts Creation has brought forward earlier in the chapter. In real life, the “facts” Dickerson talks about don't exist! So how can Dickerson brush them aside? Not only does Creation fail to understand what Dickerson is discussing, the book even accuses him of being dishonest!

    5 Letting the Fossil Record Speak

    Before reaching this chapter, we saw Creation make some strong statements about what the fossil record is like, and we must admit that we have no high expectations for what we will find here. This is very good, for high expectations will not be met.

    *** ce 54 5 Letting the Fossil Record Speak ***
    Why are fossils important to evolution? Geneticist G. L. Stebbins noted a major reason: "No biologist has actually seen the origin by evolution of a major group of organisms." So, living things on earth today are not seen to be evolving into something else. Instead, they are all complete in form and distinct from other types. As geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky observed: "The living world is not a single array . . . connected by unbroken series of intergrades." And Charles Darwin conceded that "the distinctness of specific [living] forms and their not being blended together by innumerable transitional links, is a very obvious difficulty."

    These seemingly innocent sentences house an important misconception. When – assuming evolution did take place – a species “evolves” it does not mean it is on its way from one state to another, like it thinks “I really should get a longer neck”. According to the theory, all species are constantly under pressure to adapt to a changing environment, and in competition over resources. There are no species with a label on them stating “transit! On the way to become a new species.” All species are in evolution, and there are no species made just for the sake of evolving one into something else. What should a “transitional” species look like today? How could we know what the species will evolve into? The sentence “living things on earth today are not seen to be evolving into something else” really has no meaning whatsoever. At any point in history, the species are adapted to their environment. That's why they survived in the first place.

    *** ce 54 5 Letting the Fossil Record Speak ***
    Thus, the distinct varieties of things now alive offer no support to the theory of evolution.

    Asking an evolutionist will get a completely different answer. He will be able to list a long series of examples of ongoing, continued evolution before our eyes.

    Now, how good is the geological record? There is a long series of quotations intended to show that the fossil evidence does not show an evolutionary sequence. The layperson reading the text will of course be left with the impression that scientists look for the mysterious “missing link”, a fossil marked clearly with the label “transitional species”. As I noted above, all species are in themselves “fit” in the Darwinian sense. So what should scientists look for? According to the impression given by Creation, scientists are looking for a series of fossils neatly lined up with small differences leading from one to the other. It just isn't so!

    I have examined these arguments in detail under chapter two. Again and again we see the same misunderstanding:

    *** ce 55 5 Letting the Fossil Record Speak ***
    If evolution were a fact, the fossil evidence would surely reveal a gradual changing from one kind of life into another.

    Now, if you die, how good is the chance for you ending up as a fossil that some scientist will find in some million years? Not very great, you say. While this example was not very representative, it remains a truth that fossilization is extremely rare. Not often do all the circumstances allow a creature to remain intact as a fossil. Further, since these fossils are scattered in sedimentary strata everywhere, only a tiny fraction of them are in the hands of paleontologists. The fossil evidence is like photos taken once every 30 minute from a football match. [25]

    The statement in Creation is positively false. Since the rest of the chapter goes to prove that there are no such transitional fossils (whatever that is), we can safely ignore the arguments therein. However, any good textbook on evolution will show that the fossil record does show transition and change over millions of years.

    On pages 68-69 in Creation there are a number of quotes from various sources. All confirm that transitional fossils are not common. However, the cautious reader will notice some odd quotations. At best they could be called selective.

    *** ce 68 5 Letting the Fossil Record Speak ***
    On the Origin of Life:
    "For at least three-quarters of the book of ages engraved in the earth's crust the pages are blank."-The World WeLive In

    This book is from 1955. Since then, much evidence has been found for earlier life. Creation tries to make this impression throughout the book, and makes a number of dishonest quotations to support this.

    *** ce 68 5 Letting the Fossil Record Speak ***
    On Reptiles Becoming Birds:"The transition from reptiles to birds is more poorly documented."-Processes of Organic Evolution

    Reading this long list of “authorities” claiming that no transitions are documented leaves us with the impression that reptiles to bird is “more poorly” documented than the previously mentioned transitions. Of course, this is a separate book, and Stebbins [26] obviously refers to his own statements earlier in his book. Here we'll see that Stebbins shows how well documented these other transitions are, something we are not surprised to find that Creation does not quote.

    A critical review of the Creation book makes this ironic comment in a parenthesis:

    «It is interesting, but not surprising, to see that the author failed to use Stebbins as an authority for the other transitions, opting instead to quote from a number of books published by Time-Life in the early `60s and now out of print – hardly the substance of a “thoroughly researched examination.” We also note that the quote is from the 2nd edition of Stebbins. His 3rd edition has been available since 1977; the quote is on page 217 (Stebbins, 1977).» [27]

    The body text is no better than these frames. Much reliance is put on selective quoting of Robert Jastrow's popular-scientific books on the origin of life and the universe, leaving the impression that Jastrow doubts evolution. A reading of these books will certainly leave a different impression.

    *** ce 59-60 5 Letting the Fossil Record Speak ***
    Let us take a closer look at the evidence. In his book Red Giants and White Dwarfs Robert Jastrow states: "Sometime in the first billion years, life appeared on the earth's surface. Slowly, the fossil record indicates, living organisms climbed the ladder from simple to more advanced forms." From this description, one would expect that the fossil record has verified a slow evolution from the first "simple" life forms to complex ones. Yet, the same book says: "The critical first billion years, during which life began, are blank pages in the earth's history." . . .

    Instead, he states: "The record of the rocks contains very little, other than bacteria and one-celled plants until, about a billion years ago, after some three billion years of invisible progress, a major breakthrough occurred. The first many-celled creatures appeared on earth."

    Thus, at the start of what is called the Cambrian period, the fossil record takes an unexplained dramatic turn. A great variety of fully developed, complex sea creatures, many with hard outer shells, appear so suddenly that this time is often called an "explosion" of living things.

    Examining the evidence more closely reveals that the quotations are not fully representative of the scientific view. First, the Cambrian period started less than 600 million years ago, not 1 billion years ago as Creation's author believes. Again, the writer doesn't know what he's talking about. Further, there is more evidence of early life than fossil remains. Evidence of their existence has been found, and a less selective reading of Jastrow would reveal that.

    «The fossil record contains no trace of these preliminary stages in the development of many-celled organisms. The first clues to the existence of relatively advanced forms of life consist of a few barely discernible tracks, presumably made in the primeval slime by soft, wriggling, wormlike animals. These are found in rocks about one billion years old. Somewhat later, well-defined worm burrows appear in the record. These meager remains are the earliest traces of many-celled animal life on the planet.» [28]

    Actually, any examination of textbooks about the development of early life will reveal that the claims made in Creation are absolutely unfounded. In the first billion years life on earth consisted of one-celled organisms. There is strong evidence that there has been one-celled life on Earth for 3.5 billion years, but that the “explosion” of life occurred only 700 million years ago. The “Cambrian explosion” of hard-shelled animals the writer of Creation had an obvious hang-up about was even later. [29]

    *** ce 57 5 Letting the Fossil Record Speak ***
    Also, if living things came into being by an act of creation, there would be no partial, unfinished bones or organs in the fossil record. All fossils would be complete and highly complex, as living things are today.

    Now, do they? Are all organisms living today, and those we find in the fossil record, really “perfect,” having no vestigial organs?

    The issue of vestigial organs is a very controversial one among biologists. Some organs once thought to be vestigial – ie, having no useful purpose whatsoever for the living species – have later been found to have a purpose. One example is the tonsils in humans. This is often – with some justification – mentioned in Watchtower literature to support the idea that there is no such thing as vestigial organs.

    *** g81 8/22 11 Gene-Splicing, Inc. - A Risky Business? ***
    So it is with modern scientists. They have taken a few simple organisms apart, and they admit they do not fully understand what they have found inside. Since scientists do not understand the function of long stretches of DNA, they claim that such DNA is "vestigial," or "nonsense." (Doctors used to talk that way about the appendix and the tonsils, before they learned better.)

    However, the Creation does nowhere argue for or against this. It is taken for granted that no such organs exist in any species. And since these chapters examine the scientific evidence for evolution, the reader is left with the impression that scientists agree that all species living today - and all those we know from fossils – are “complete.”

    It is interesting to see that the Awake! article quoted above claims that both the appendix (or, vermiform appendix) and the tonsils now are discovered to really have a useful purpose. This is certainly true for the tonsils, but I have never seen a reliable source confirm Awake! on the claims about the appendix. Encyclopaedia Britannica – so often quoted by the Watch Tower Society for support – has the following information:

    «The appendix does not serve any useful purpose as a digestive organ in humans, and it is believed to be gradually disappearing in the human species over evolutionary time.» [30]

    So even if there should be scientists who can propose a useful purpose for the appendix, the Society does not give a balanced view of this problem. Also, when it comes to vestigial organs in animals, evolutionists have a number of arguments that Creation seems to pretend does not exist. A claim like the one quoted above – that they are “complete” – is misleading when Creation has provided no alternative explanations for evidence to the contrary. Further, since the main audience of Creation obviously are JWs and sympathizers with little knowledge about evolution science, these claims are clearly deceptive.

    Checking evolutionist literature will find a number of examples. A very related topic is the one of throwbacks. See the following (long) article excerpt:

    «Both Archaeopteryx and [Deinonychus] had had three fingers only — not the five found in primitive dinosaurs. And the proportions of the fingers had been the same: A short, stout thumb and two longer outer fingers, with the outermost of the three very slender, bowed outward, and closely bound by ligaments to the middle finger. This unique pattern can still be recognized in a modern bird's wing; the three fingers are all firmly fused together in an adult bird, but in an unhatched chick, the bones are not yet fused. In a chick the separate wrist and hand bones are clearly discerned, exactly as they had been in Deinonychus and Archaeopteryx.

    There exists today one species of bird that retains its finger bones unfused and flexible into the first weeks of life in the nest. This bird, the hoatzin of South America, allows us to surmise how the Archaeopteryx worked. As birds go, an adult hoatzin exhibits nothing special in the anatomy of its wing. But the young nestling is a genuine evolutionary throwback, an ugly little chick that climbs through the vegetation by grasping with its three-fingered, claw-tipped hands designed to the Archaeopteryx blueprint....

    Hoatzin chicks also force a rethinking of the idea that there could be no big reversals in the evolution of birds. Evolutionary reversals unquestionably were necessary to make a hoatzin. Hoatzin's relatives all have much weaker wing claws in the chick stages of life than hoatzins themselves have. Most ornithologists therefore conclude that hoatzins evolved from some ancestor with the "normal" pattern of growth in which the chick never possesses strong, flexible, unfused fingers for climbing. According to this view, the hoatzin chick evolved by means of a Darwinian U-turn — the strong, Archaeopteryx-like flexible fingers were recalled from genetic storage.

    Genetic storage is a nuance of evolution too often ignored. Many paleontologists believe that when a bone disappears in evolution, the genetic blueprint for that bone is also erased.... But in fact evolution does not occur in this fashion. Hoatzin's ancestors never lost the genetic blueprint for producing Archaeopteryx-style clawed fingers. In essence, they merely turned off the physiological switch that ordered genes to produce organs according to the encoded information. Recent advances in genetic research reveal that most species carry such blueprints that are "switched off" and can't express their code as fully formed tissue. In other words, when an organ has been "lost," most of the time its blueprint is still there, in genetic storage. Hoatzin's ancestors were "normal" modern birds that employed a modern blueprint to produce a wing in their nestlings that was like a chicken's, with stiff, fused fingers. Hoatzins evolved their distinctive Archaeopteryx-like clawed fingers by the process of turning off that blueprint for its nestling and turning back to the older one to reexpress itself.

    A wealth of evidence supports this theory of reexpression by genes that have been turned off for millions of years. Most of it occurs in throwbacks (what nineteenth-century scientists called atavisms), the rare appearance of ancient organs in species that, as a whole, had lost the anatomical features millions of generations earlier. A good example is multi-toed horses. Modern horse belong to the same general group as tapirs, and tapirs have four toes on each forefoot. The single-toed modern horse evolved from a four-toed ancestor. Every so often a healthy, normal, single-toed mare gives birth to a colt that has little extra toes sticking out beside the big main toe. Zoologists point to this multi-toed foal as a case where natural processes allow a bit of the ancestral blueprint to show through, letting ancient ancestral traits reexpress themselves.

    Whales offer a more spectacular case. Modern whales have no hind legs at all, and even when all the blubber and muscle are flensed from the hip region, there is no remnant of the hip bones except a small splint representing the ilium. Even the oldest-known fossil whales display only slightly enlarged hip bones and some remnants of thigh and knee. But way back in their ancestry whales did have big hind legs, at a stage when they were land-living predators. And every once in a while a modern whale is hauled in with a hind leg, complete with thigh and knee muscles, sticking out of its side. These atavistic hind limbs are nothing less than throwbacks to a totally pre-whale stage of their existence, some fifty million years old.

    Such throwbacks even occur in human infants. Hospitals occasionally register an entirely modern-looking baby characterized by all the expected organs, plus an unexpected tail, a long, caudal appendage protruding beyond the buttocks for two or three inches. Some of these tails are even bigger than the average caudal remnant displayed by our close kin, the chimps, gorillas, and orangutans.

    Genetic experiments have revealed that these throwbacks are controlled by suppressor genes. We now know that most complex pieces of anatomy — such as the clavicle and its muscles — are controlled directly and indirectly by scores of genes that interact and can suppress each other. We also know that the full genetic blueprint in any single species is rarely, if ever, fully expressed. Instead, much of the genetic information is stored in the "inactive file," genes that don't produce their potential impact because some other gene prevents them from turning on. When an anatomical feature disappears during evolution, its genetic blueprint is not erased. Some new combination of genes has evolved to suppress the still-present blueprint.

    Birds with teeth may have appeared ridiculous to creationists, but in point of fact modern birds do carry the ancestral genetic code for making teeth tucked away in their inactive file. No living species of bird manufactures teeth. But recent surgical manipulations of bird embryos demonstrate clearly that the potential is still there. In 1983, experimenters transplanted tissue from the inner jaw (dental lamina) of an unhatched chick to an area of the body tissue, where the graft could grow. In the transplanted position, the chick's dental lamina started to produce tooth buds! Birds with teeth could grow right in the twentieth century.» [31]

    What we have here is really strong evidence that genetic material in one species is found in other species, even though it no longer serves a useful purpose. Considering the methodology of science it can hardly be surprising that this is taken as strong evidence of common ancestry. Of course, one who believes that God created life directly can consider the evidence in another way. But is it in accordance with known facts to claim that God created all species independently of each other, and further to claim that there exist scientific evidence (“proof,” even) that this is so?

    Stephen Jay Gould asked:

    «.... why should the fetus of a whale make teeth in its mother's womb only to resorb them later and live a life sifting krill on a whalebone filter, unless its ancestors had functional teeth and these teeth survive as a remnant during a stage when they do no harm?» [32]

    This may not be conclusive evidence of common ancestry. But like Creation itself said earlier, is it “good science” to brush aside all these “inconvenient facts” with an unfounded claim that all species are “complete”?

    Creation makes in this chapter the following bold conclusion:

    *** ce 70 5 Letting the Fossil Record Speak ***
    Clearly, the impartial inquirer would be led to conclude that fossils do not support the theory of evolution. On the other hand, fossil evidence does lend strong weight to the arguments for creation. As zoologist Coffin stated: "To secular scientists, the fossils, evidences of the life of the past, constitute the ultimate and final court of appeal, because the fossil record is the only authentic history of life available to science. If this fossil history does not agree with evolutionary theory-and we have seen that it does not-what does it teach? It tells us that plants and animals were created in their basic forms. The basic facts of the fossil record support creation, not evolution."

    Did you recognize the word “secular scientists”? It tells the cautious reader that “zoologist Coffin” is in fact a six-literal-day creationist. Coffin is a Seventh-Day Adventist who even appeared in court when the (in)famous Arkansas law demanding equal time for what was called “creation science” was tried in 1982. The quote is from Liberty, an Adventist magazine the Watchtower Society would never quote on religious questions. He is a member of the Creation Research Society (CRS) of Ann Arbor, Michigan. [33]

    Young earth creationism on one side and atheistic philosophy inspired by the evolution theory on the other side have almost monopolized the debate of the origin of life. An interesting article appeared in Awake! some years ago:

    *** g88 12/8 24 What Does Genesis Really Say? ***
    However, there are many who are uncomfortable with both of these theories. Parts of the scientific-creationist theory seem to contradict common sense and also go against the evidence we can see for ourselves throughout nature. Yet, the idea that life in all its wonderful complexity is merely the product of blind evolutionary forces seems hard for many to accept. Are these two views, then, the only alternatives?

    Considering this wise statement, one could wonder how the same Society could publish the Creation-book, which builds primarily on creationist deceptions and obviously distorts the evidence to suit a theory very close to creationism and equally contrary to science and common sense.

    Continued in part 2...


    [1] No secret whom, but this text does not contain any names of involved persons for obvious reasons.

    [2] Well, 80 pages with Encyclopaedia Britannica's tiny font and dense format corresponds to a full textbook.

    [3] Not completely without reason, considering the principle behind Lu 16:10 “The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.” (NWT)

    [4] Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, pp 373-374, 1859.

    [5] Talk.Origins file faq-meritt, “James Meritt's general anti-creationism FAQ”. The Talk.Origins archive is at even contains a few articles on the Creation book.

    [6] Websters Third New International Dictionary, Chicago: Merriam-Webster Inc, 1986, vol 3 p 789.

    [7] The “Jargon File” of the archives of the Usenet group Talk.Origins, under “:Evolution: (n)”. See also this definition: «:Allele: (n) 1. One of two or more forms [of a {gene}] that can exist at a single locus. [den., from Suzuki et al. 1989] "If one of your parents has blue eyes and yours are brown, then you have two different alleles of the eye color gene – one for blue and one for brown."»

    [8] Stephen J. Gould, “Evolution as Fact and Theory”; Discover, May 1981. Lifted from the Talk.Origins FAQ archive.

    [9] James Gorman, “The Tortoise or the Hare?”, Discover, October 1980, p 88

    [10] Contemporary Authors, vol 103 p 208, Detroit: Gale Research

    [11] The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin, 1859, p 133.

    [12] Gary E. Parker, “Creation, Selection and Variation”, Impact, No. 88, Oct 1980, San Diego: ICR, pp i-iv.

    [13] David M. Raup, “Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, pp. 22-23, Chicago, January 1979.

    [14] Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1988, vol 18, p 986. (Hyracotherium is another name for Eohippus.)

    [15] Look in the Talk.Origins archive for the file horses.faq. It will provide some detailed information on the genetic evidence for evolution found in existing horses. There are some further details later in this text.

    [16] However, the expression at least before thousands of years actually leaves an opening for a differing view, since everything that is more than “thousands of years” is more than 7000 years!

    [17] Looking at the Bible makes this argument even worse. There is no mention of “heavy gases” – not even a hint – in Genesis chapter 1. So how do the writer of Creation know that Moses meant this, considering that there is no mention of it anywhere?

    [18] Sorry, couldn't help it. Smiley implied :-)

    [19] Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1988, vol 18, p 986.

    [20] Actually, Awake! did not manage to find one. An examination of Colin Patterson's charts on page 132 of his book shows that it had misunderstood it.

    [21] W. L. Copithorne, “The Worlds of Wallace Pratt”, The Lamp, vol. 53, pp 11-14, Standard Oil, autumn 1971.

    [22] Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, p. ix, 1976.

    [23] According to Hitching

    [24] From Scientific American, sept 1978, p 75.

    [25] In fact, when David Raup (see under comments to chapter 2) was shown how Creation had applied his statements, he used exactly this football-illustration to show how foolish the statement in Creation was.

    [26] G. Ledyard Stebbins, Processes of Organic Evolution, 1971, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc, p 146.

    [27] Malcolm P. Levin, “Life – How it Got Here: A Critique of a View from the Jehovah's Witnesses”, Creation/Evolution Newsletter, no 14, Summer 1992, p 29-34.

    [28] Robert Jastrow, Red Giants and White Dwarfs, p. 249, New York: Warner Books, Inc., 1979.

    [29] Andrew H. Knoll, “End of the Proterozoic Eon,” Scientific American, pp. 64-73, New York, October, 1991.

    [30] Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1988, vol 1, p 491.(This view has not been changed as of 1994, and a question on confirmed this)

    [31] Robert T. Bakker, The Dinosaur Heresies, pp.314-316, New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1986.

    [32] Stephen Jay Gould, The Panda's Thumb, p. 29, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1980.

    [33] Ashley Montagu, Science and Creationism, New York: Oxford University Press, 1984. pp. 292-293.

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