by Bill Nugent
Austin H. Clark (1880-1954) was a respected Darwinian evolutionist on staff at the Smithsonian Institution. He was the Carl Sagan of his generation, arguably the most respected evolutionist of his time. He was a prolific writer who wrote articles and books in five languages. He was a staunch and articulate defender of evolution yet concealed the fact that he could not find evidence for the theory that truly convinced him. Finally in 1930 He published his book The New Evolution: Zoogenesis in which he attacked Darwinism and demolished the theory, citing fact after fact from the fossil record. He proposed a new theory of life origins called “Zoogenesis” which claimed that plants and animals emerged fully formed from dirt and water! The theory was absurd on its face and roundly rejected by embarrassed evolutionists.
Quickly following this bizarre episode entered a prominent man of science in the budding field of genetics. His name was Richard Goldschmidt (1878 – 1958). He proposed the now familiar theory that the mechanism of evolutionary change was genetic mutations. He then embarked on a series of cruel experiments on gypsy moths that today’s animal rights people would find gruesomely objectionable. For 25 years he kept hordes of gypsy moths and bred them over thousands of generations to shower them with x-rays and mutagenic chemicals. He expected to cause mutations to form new species but instead got only deformities. Apparently he wisely concluded that genetic mutations were no mechanism for evolution. This, by the way, has been confirmed by recent advances in genetics that show that mutations are virtually always destructive errors that scramble or delete genetic information. Mutations are no refuge for the evolutionist. Goldschmidt viciously attacked Darwinian gradualism in his 1940 book The Material Basis for Evolution. He proposed a new mechanism called the “Hopeful Monster Mechanism” which alleges that evolution occurred in great leaps such as a lizard lays an egg and out hatches a bird! This too was an embarrassment to the evolutionists.
The next thirty years were a time of turmoil in evolution circles. The discovery of DNA in the early fifties by Crick and Watson showed the almost unfathomable complexity and precision of the chemical blueprints of life. Each life form is locked into its own chemical coding pattern in which even a small mutation can bring a deformity or even fatal results. Evolution should have died right there and been banished from our textbooks.
We often regard Ph. D. scientists as unbiased, cerebral, methodical seekers of truth who go where the facts take them but they too have their presuppositions and prejudices. Men of science clung to Darwinism which by then was institutionalized and unquestioned.
It should be apparent to any unbiased observer that evolution is not science in the pure sense because it deals with nonrepeatable events that occurred in the distant past. Evolution is a theory trying to explain the outworking of biology over vast ages of history. Biology is science but evolution is a theory of natural history. We all know that history is art, not science. History, even natural history, is the art of the storyteller. For generations evolutionists have told stories based on the limited evidence of fragments of bone. In recent years genetics and microbiology have discovered the unfathomable complexity of life and the impossibility of it forming by randomness. Genetics in particular has shown that evolution has no mechanism.
The next major evolution storyteller was Harvard professor Stephen J. Gould (1941-2002) of our own time and recent memory. He was perhaps the greatest champion of evolution of the twentieth century. He was an affable and friendly sort of guy who wrote books promoting evolution to the masses. He was a smiley faced propagandist for atheistic materialistic evolution. He also had the honesty to face the flaws of Darwinian gradualism. He, like Clark and Goldschmidt before him, attacked Darwinism and even went so far as to say that evolutionists lost every debate they ever had with creationists. Gould’s frank admission that the fossil record lacks transitional forms caused him to reject gradualism. His attacks on evolution were so articulate that creationists frequently quote him. Gould went on to revisit Goldschmidt’s Hopeful Monster theory and dress it up with new insights. Gould’s new theory was called “Punctuated Equilibrium” which claimed, like Goldschmidt, that evolution occurred in leaps rather than Darwinian gradualism. However, Punctuated Equilibrium still does nothing to surmount the hyper-improbability that just the right mutations would add just the right thousands of base pairs all properly sequenced to make the evolutionary leaps required. Gould’s work underscored the fact that evolution with its storytelling and speculation is art and not science.
Gould, like Carl Sagan, died of cancer before reaching three score and ten years. I can only hope that in their final lucid moments Gould and Sagan reflected on the errors of atheistic materialism and turned to Christ to receive forgiveness of sins.