Answering Harun Yahya's
"Collapse of Darwinism"

One more reader suggested a video that would surely overturn my belief in evolution. One more time, the video was simply a subject list of anti-evolutionist errors.

This particular video is from a Muslim, which is interesting. I knew that official Islam belief is that the earth is young and that evolution is false, but I've never encountered a Muslim anti-evolution apologist before.

Nonetheless, since the issue is not religion but whether there is legitimate scientific evidence for evolution, there will be no difference between the answers given to a Muslim or Christian anti-evolutionist.

Let's just go down the list as the false arguments roll out. Some of the quotes will be paraphrased since this is a video. Getting the exact wording is not important enough for all the work that would entail. The issue is not wording, but ideas.

The earth is especially fitted for life, a clear sign of a Creator. "Evolution denies this evident fact of creation."

Really? And how does one draw this conclusion?

Evolution examines the earth and life on it, then draws conclusions from the facts it finds. Scientists have concluded that life evolved from one original self-replicating organism (or maybe a few) because of the evidence.

Does this change the fact that life and this planet seem optimally designed for each other?

No, it doesn't. It does tell us that life and this planet are optimal for each other because life adapts to its environment.

Does that remove a Creator from the process? No, it doesn't even address whether there is a Creator in the process. In my opinion, if God created us by setting a process in motion for 13 billion years, that's even more impressive than giving six commands in six days.

This theory holds that the species on earth were not created by God but came into being by processes governed entirely by chance.

The theory of evolution doesn't address God or creation at all.

The theory of evolution is not "governed entirely by chance." Mutation in DNA from generation to generation is, we suspect, mostly chance. Natural Selection (survival of the fittest) is not chance at all.

Artificial selection is humans choosing the best traits in an animal species and breeding them, quite purposefully, so that the species gravitates in a certain direction. Natural selection does the same thing, choosing those most suited for their current environment, by allowing them to survive better and thus breed more than less fit competitors.

The founder of this theory was an "amateur naturalist" named Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin was hired for an around the world trip on a ship called the Beagle. The trip is famous, mentioned in every biography of Darwin, no matter how short, and it makes him, by definition, a professional naturalist, not an amateur.

People who make mistakes like this are doing it on purpose. Skeptics call it "lying for Jesus," though in this case it's "lying for Allah." It does not bring glory to Jesus or Allah, but simply causes God to be blasphemed among unbelievers.

Evolution doesn't cause God to be blasphemed. It is those who oppose evolution with lies and slander in God's name who cause him to be blasphemed.

Origin of Species was successful not because of its scientific merit, but because of its ideology.

This is not true. It was successful despite its ideology. Then, as now, its opponents were Christians who saw it as a threat to the Bible.

Part of its success is because Darwin chose not to reveal his belief that man, like all other species, evolved by natural selection. He waited until 1871 (12 years after Origin of Species) to publish Descent of Man.

The point is, the greatest pressure on the acceptance of his book was not the support of infidels, who were by far a minority, but the resistance of biblical literalists.

One of the reasons that such resistance was not successful is because Darwin's book is extremely well-written, well-researched, and persuasive. The other major reason is that English scientists were well aware that the earth was much older than the 6,000 years the Bible allots. Charles Lyell, the father of modern geology, preceded Charles Darwin by a generation. Darwin was only one of many admirers of the brilliant, Christian geologist who established that the earth was very old.

"... materialistic philosophy which denied the existence of God."

Far from denying the existence of a creator, Darwin acknowledges him throughout. In the next to last paragraph of Origin of Species, he writes:

Authors of the highest eminence seem to be fully satisfied with the view that each species has been independently created. To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual. (emphasis mine)

I am only 5:12 into a video that is over an hour long, and the video is already chock full of misinformation. From here, I am going to have to skip some or many of his abundant, elementary-school-level errors so that I can address false scientific claims.

Darwin could advance no sound evidence that could prove his claim.

I'm afraid I only made it 49 seconds. Darwin could advance no sound evidence? Here, someone like me, someone who has actually read On the Origin of Species, can only burst out laughing.

Unless you are a professional scientist or a lawyer, you have probably never seen the amount of evidence that Charles Darwin poured into his book. I say "poured" because of the abundance of it. "Poured," however, is not a fair term to describe such well-written and well-reasoned prose.

Obviously, Harun Yahya, like most anti-Darwinists, has never read Origin of Species.

Normally, I would suggest that if you oppose evolution by natural selection, then you should read Origin as the best presented defense of evolution there is, despite the fact that it's 150 years old and neither genes nor DNA had been discovered yet.

I can't really suggest you do that, though. His argument is so persuasive that it is unlikely you will be able to conscientiously maintain your opposition when reading it.

Darwin wrote a whole chapter on the difficulties of his theory.

What an excellent scientist Charles Darwin was! He knew the scientific process, and his book is not just a book. It is the equivalent of a paper in a scientific journal today.

The way a scientific theory works is like this:

  • An idea is advanced. This is called a hypothesis.
  • The person with the idea conducts some experiments to see if the hypothesis might be valid.
  • If the experiments are successful, he presents them to the scientific community to examine. The goal is that other scientists will duplicate or falsify the findings.
  • If other scientists duplicate the findings, the hypothesis is now a theory. It is not now, nor will it ever be "proven." Instead, scientists will continue to try to falsify it forever. The longer the theory withstands this onslaught, the more reliable it is.
  • If the theory is falsified, it is discarded.

The theory of evolution has withstood 150 years of attempts to falsify. In fact, the discovery of DNA, its universal structure, and its universal coding is a phenomenal confirmation of evolution by natural selection, providing a mechanism for the process that Darwin discovered. This makes the theory of evolution one of the most reliable theories in science.

Charles Darwin, being a good—no, great—scientist, not only provided a chapter on difficulties (questions not yet answered or issues not yet resolved), but continually suggested potential discoveries or research that would falsify his theory.

Of course, Harun Yahya, being a typical anti-evolutionist, claims without evidence that these falsifications have occurred.

Darwin does not even address the origin of the first organisms from which we evolved.

True. He couldn't have. I'm sure he had no idea how life arose other than by divine creation.

That makes the subject irrelevant.

He was not even aware that [the origin of the first life] was one of the major refutations of his theory

No, he knew that this point was irrelevant to his theory.

Harun Yahya is not even aware that this is a completely separate subject because to him, evolution is the equivalent of the theory that God does not exist. If that were true, then the origin of the first living organism would be an argument against evolution. However, it is not true.

The annoying part of looking at videos like these is that the real answer is to send anti-evolutionists like Yahya to a Jr. High science class so that they can learn something about science. I'm taking time here to answer this uneducated pretender because I think there are people in the general public who want answers without having to go to a science class. (It's good for my site to have information like this, too.)

My hope is not to refute Yahya. He knows that he does not know what he's talking about. He knows that he is deceiving you. He is not going to change.

My hope is that, from a page like this, you can quickly pick up the idea behind the theory of evolution so that you can understand the arguments you hear from the anti-evolution conspiracy theorists.

Straw Man Arguments

Most of the arguments presented by people like Yahya are straw man arguments. They create a caricature of evolution, complete with arguments and tenets that they have invented, and then they shoot it down.

Such arguments do effectively refute something. However, that something is not the theory of evolution.

This actually makes the ignorance and dishonesty of anti-evolutionists a benefit for them. Being ignorant of the real tenets of Darwin's theory, and having never read his book, they can invent a theory based on snippets they have heard in the news or invented in their head. Combined with the power of rumor and gossip, they create a whole establishment of fictional scientists conspiring to foist a fictional and diabolical theory upon the unsuspecting public.

Unfortunately, your ignorance is also a benefit for the anti-evolutionists. If you were to actually understand what it is that the theory of evolution proposes, you would quickly see that 90% of what anti-evolutionists say is irrelevant.

You might need some help, however, to find out that the other 10% are purposeful deceit. That is distressing to me, as most of those propagating this deceit claim to be Christians.

Sigh. I'm 6:38 into the video.

Irrelevant Arguments

Harun Yahya helps us go forward by spending a good five minutes on irrelevant arguments that science cannot explain the origin of life.

That is true, but irrelevant.

It's probably worth knowing, though, that progress on abiogenesis, which is the science that addresses the origin of life, is making promising progress in the twenty-first century. Tough nut to crack, but chips are now flying!

12:19: [Electron microscopes] laid bare a complexity [in cells] that could not be the product of chance.

Great example of a straw man argument. The theory of evolution does not depend on chance but on fitness for an environment, i.e. natural selection.

13:00: A cell does not function without all its organelles. It is impossible that all these parts could have come together by coincidence.

Good thing, then, that we did not have to rely on coincidences!

It is not true, however, that a cell does not function without all its organelles. Cells vary widely in complexity. In fact, there are organelles in modern cells that used to be free-living bacteria themselves!

Eukaryotic cells (such as those from which we are made) are much more complicated than prokaryotes (such as bacteria), and eukaryotes harbor organelles that were once free-living bacteria. (ScienceWeek, "Origin of Life: In Search of the Simplest Cell"; 2005(?); cited by copy and paste of entire article at biblewheel.com. I am unable to access original article. I am not linking to the post on biblewheel.com because it's plagiarizing. A short quote like this one, however, is "fair use," not plagiarism.)

The process needed to create the first simple cell is understood, but it has not been found. The ScienceWeek article goes on to say ...

All putative cells, however small, will have a genetic code and a means of transcribing and translating that code. Given the complexity of this system, it is difficult to believe, either logically or historically, that the simplest living chemical system could have had these components.

The bottom-up approach aims at constructing artificial chemical supersystems that could be considered alive. No such experimental system exists yet; at least one component is always missing.

What this says is that a cell with a genetic code and a means of implementing that code is probably too complex to be the first cell. There would have to be one simpler. That simpler cell has not been found.

The quote adds that in order to look at it, scientists are trying to recreate a chemical system that could be called living that does not have this complexity. "No such experimental system exists yet." That was 2005, but I don't believe that is true anymore.

Either way, scientists agree that modern cells are too complex to have evolved as they are.

Evolution doesn't work like that, though. For example the mitochondria that power our cells are believed to have been their own species in the ancient past. The method that led to their survival and proliferation were for them to become a part of other cells. That strategy was so successful that mitochondria, assuming they really were originally their own life-form, are the most successful species in history!

Another example is the evolution of the eye.

Another is our lungs, which did not evolve from gills but from the swim bladder that is in fishes. What was once for one use, floating, was adapted for a completely different one, breathing.

13:23: Producing living cells from non-living matter is universally acknowledged to be impossible and attempts to do so in the laboratory have been abandoned.

See previous answer. "Impossible" is almost impossible to prove, so it would be a rare scientist who acknowledged anything as impossible. In this case, most scientists are convinced that it is possible, and attempts to produce life from non-life continue.

13:00 to 17:15: Such and such and such and such could never have emerged by chance.

Here Mr. Yahya gave me a nice long break by spending time arguing about things that couldn't happen by chance.

Agreed. Not chance, natural selection.

17:15 to 20:27: Nature proves there is a creator

Another nice break as Yahya argues something else irrelevant to evolution. I agree with him. I think the creation testifies to a Creator. It even reveals many of his attributes. It's still irrelevant to evolution.

Beautiful videos, too.

There is no process whereby a single-celled organism can be transformed into a multi-celled organism.

What timing in my watching this video! It is only this year that scientists volved multicellular life in the laboratory!

A single-celled yeast evolved into a multicellular organism in the space of about two months. The conditions were ideal, but there was no genetic manipulation.

Not only is there a process, but it's been duplicated in the lab!

Conclusion

My browser malfunctioned at this point. I could simply restart my computer, go back to the Huran Yahya video, and extend this page. That would only make this page longer, and I'm thinking there's only three possibilities if I did that:

  • You already know that arguments like Yahya's are just noise, and you're bored already.
  • You didn't know how anti-evolutionists operate, and you're being educated. In that case, you ought to be tired by now. Let this information process within you.
  • You're against evolution no matter what, and I'm wasting my precious time if I direct anything at you. I'm 52, and I'm glad for all the debating I've done with people who don't care what's true. It taught me how to recognize them, how to get out of conversations with them, and has helped me learn to control my temper. Now, though, those lessons are done, and I have a lot of other things I want to learn and do in the last half of my life.

Since I can't see any good in continuing, and since I'm 99% certain there won't be even one interesting, much less valid, argument in the rest of the video, I will quit here.

I hope this has been an education to someone because that's the only reason this escapade into ignorant chatter would be worth it. There was some really nice nature footage in the video.

I hope to write more pages like this that are educational on the subject of anti-evolution vs. evolution.


You might also want to see my Frequently Asked Questions.

Return to Creation-vs-Evolution Debate 

Home | Contact Me


All Bible verses are taken from the King James Version and updated for language and grammar.

Copyright © 2009-2017 Paul F. Pavao. All rights reserved.

Custom Search