In his new book, Christianity for Doubters, Granville Sewell takes on natural selection (NS). Quoting Harvard paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson, Sewell questions whether the fossil record can support evolution by NS:
· “It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution.... This phenomenon becomes more universal and more intense as the hierarchy of categories is ascended. Gaps among known species are sporadic and often small. Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large. These peculiarities of the record pose one of the most important theoretical problems in the whole history of life: Is the sudden appearance of higher categories a phenomenon of evolution or of the record only, due to sampling bias and other inadequacies?”
If the fossil record doesn’t show it, why believe it! Sewell quotes French biologist Jean Rostand, in A Biologist's View, showing that NS lacks the muscle to bring about complex changes:
· “It does not seem strictly impossible that mutations should have introduced into the animal kingdom the differences which exist between one species and the next... [H]ence it is very tempting to lay also at their door the differences between classes, families and orders, and, in short, the whole of evolution. But it is obvious that such an extrapolation involves the gratuitous attribution to the mutations of the past of a magnitude and power of innovation much greater than is shown by those of today.”
In short, our present understanding of random mutation and NS is unable to account for major structural changes. Nevertheless, Rostand remains a believer:
· "However obscure the causes of evolution appear to me to be, I do not doubt for a moment that they are entirely natural."
Why does he not doubt? It is not because the evidence has relieved him of doubt.
Sewell points out another problem. The ultimate proof-criterion or rationale of evolution – commonalities prove common descent – fails repeatedly. There are many instances where commonalities do not reflect common descent, and this undermines the entire rationale of evolution. For this, Sewell quotes Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig and Heinz-Albert Becker article on carnivorous plants in Nature Encyclopedia of Life Sciences:
· “...carnivory in plants must have arisen several times independently of each other... the pitchers might have arisen seven times separately, adhesive traps at least four times, snap traps two times and suction traps possibly also two times.... The independent origin of complex synorganized structures, which are often anatomically and physiologically very similar to each other, appears to be intrinsically unlikely to many authors so that they have tried to avoid the hypothesis of convergence as far as possible.”
"Convergence" admits that commonalities do not have to be the product of common descent. Instead, evolutionists admit that common structures arise independently and by chance. Sewell concludes:
· The probability of similar designs arising independently through random processes is very small, but a designer could, of course, take a good design and apply it several times in different places, to unrelated species.
Notice that evolution has rigged all the “evidence” in their favor. Where commonalities clearly do not possibly arise from common descent, the evolutionist calls it “convergent evolution” and claims a victory. Where there exists a possibility that commonalities had come from common descent, again, evolutionists claim a victory. No matter the findings, the evolutionist claims that his theory is a proven fact. Heads I win; tails you lose.