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Dare to question evolution and put it back as a theory—not scientific fact. From microscopic findings to fossil records, join Wallace Smith in examining four problems with Darwin’s theory of evolution in this video.
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
It’s been called one of the most powerful and influential scientific theories in history: the theory of evolution by natural selection, first published well more than a century ago by Charles Darwin.
And its powerful influence on life—in virtually every realm of understanding—would indeed be hard to overestimate.
But is it true?
Many would respond—Of course! Evolution has been proven true a thousand times over! All the evidence we have says evolution is a fact of nature!
But is the evidence really that solid? Is the theory of evolution really indisputable?
No, it is not. And today, we’ll pull back the curtain on some of the evidence that many evolutionists would prefer you not see.
Join us for this episode of Tomorrow’s World where we will expose some of Evolution’s Dirty Little Secrets.
Welcome to Tomorrow’s World, where we help you understand your world through the pages of the Bible. And our topic today might seem far removed from those pages: the theory of evolution. It is, perhaps, one of the single most influential scientific theories in history—with immeasurable impact on science, philosophy, education, politics, and religion. And we are assured by many that it is undoubtedly true—that no one of any intelligence or education would even dare to question it.
Well, today we will dare to question it. Because while evolution puts up a good front, it has a long list of dirty little secrets that you don’t tend to hear about in your classrooms or television programming. And the more you learn about what evolution has to hide, the more you wonder why so many put faith in an idea that remains unproven. It’s a big topic, and we’ll only scratch the surface today.
Now, before we begin, let’s understand what we mean by “evolution.”
Claiming that life began in a vastly simpler form—similar, perhaps, to a microscopic bacterium—the theory of evolution says that over billions of years, life changed slowly; that the struggle for survival rewarded slight, random variations in the descendants of that life form that gave them an edge, perhaps allowing them to find food faster or reproduce more successfully, and, similarly, punished those descendants whose random adaptations were less favorable for survival.
In this way and through this unintelligent, unguided process, evolution says those microscopic bacteria-like organisms a few billion years ago have been able to turn into the astonishing variety of lifeforms we see today, including us—no divine Designer or Creator necessary.
Not long ago, Sotheby’s, the famous auction house, offered a first edition of Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, published in 1859—the book in which he first published the theory of evolution. Now, at least when I saw it, Sotheby’s recommended estimate for the book was 250 to 300 thousand dollars.
You might think, why so high? It’s just a book! Well, there are numerous factors, but the book’s role in human history is perhaps the greatest. Sotheby’s calls the book “one of the greatest achievements of scientific discovery.” Referring to Darwin’s book, science historian Bern Dibner once wrote, “This, the most important single work in science, brought man to his true place in nature” (Heralds of Science, 1955, p. 92).
High-sounding praise to be sure.
But is it accurate? That depends, of course, on whether the theory is true. If all life as we know it today is the result of nothing but mindless processes, then, yes, Darwin’s book is a towering achievement in human history—a monumental discovery that does, truly, put man in his place as nothing special, nothing remarkable, just a random lifeform on a random planet. And life, it turns out, has no real meaning at all.
Again—if that theory is true.
Of course, many claim it is true—and claim so very loudly! Evolutionary apologist Jerry Coyne writes in his popular book Why Evolution Is True, “Evolution is a fact. And far from casting doubt on Darwinism, the evidence gathered by scientists over the past century and a half supports it completely, showing that evolution happened, and that it happened largely as Darwin proposed, through the workings of natural selection” (2009, pp. xiii–xiv).
Of course, many WANT it to be true. Evolution has become an “escape hatch” for those who want to explain away the beautiful diversity and complexity of life without a Creator.
As famous biologist Richard Dawkins once said, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist” (The Blind Watchmaker, 2015, p. 10).
Is he right? Again, only if evolution has been proven true.
And, in fact, it has not.
Despite claims that all the evidence supports it completely, the truth is that evolution has a whole host of dirty little secrets that our classrooms and popular science programs don’t talk about too loudly.
The first dirty little secret of evolution is this: Even the simplest living cell is devastating to the theory of evolution.
In Darwin’s day, little was known about cells. Single-celled organisms like amoebas were described by Charles Darwin’s contemporary George Henry Lewes as simply a “a microscopic lump of jelly-like substance, or protoplasm…. entirely destitute of texture, and consequently destitute of organs” (Problems of Life, 1887, p. 38).
In other cells, such as those in our body, a nucleus could be seen, but its purpose was a mystery, and the cell seemed otherwise generally featureless.
In such days, when the smallest, simplest unit of life seemed THAT simple—just a bit of jelly with a few boring features—it was easy to imagine that somehow, within that mysterious “life-giving” jelly, anything could happen.
But as microscopes improved and techniques were developed to tease out the secrets of the inner world of the cell, we have discovered that this supposedly simple, “jelly-like substance” is filled with machinery of astonishing complexity, ingenuity, and design.
The world of the human cell, for instance, is one in which approximately one billion chemical reactions take place every single second. And these are not random chemical reactions! A human cell is filled with thousands upon thousands of proteins of 10,000 different varieties—molecular machines designed to work together to achieve specific purposes, manipulating their surroundings, creating new structures, and dismantling old ones, in a dynamic dance of complexity that would make the Space Shuttle seem simple.
Life is impossible without these complex machines, and even small changes to organisms, as hypothesized by evolution, requires changes to these machines—even the design of NEW machines. And that is as unlikely as it sounds.
Biochemist Douglas Axe has examined the probability of even one protein—of any significant functionality at all—forming by chance, and estimated it to be 1 in 10-to-the-64. That is, 1 out of a number that is a “1” followed by 64 zeros.
Along with colleague Ann Gauger, Axe explored the possibility that one protein could evolve from another, similar one, based on just a handful of necessary changes to DNA, and found that—at currently understood rates of mutation—it would take 10-to-the-27 years for such a change to take place… again, a “1” followed by 27 zeros. Impressive, given that scientists think our universe is only 13 billion years old—or about a “1” followed by ten zeros. In other words, it’s just not going to happen apart from intelligent intervention.
Again, even the simplest living cell is devastating to the theory of evolution.
We mentioned DNA a moment ago—and the nature of DNA is another of evolution’s dirty little secrets. Because DNA represents an abstract coding system that points to intelligence.
Deoxyribonucleic Acid, or DNA for short, was unknown in Darwin’s day and is the molecule responsible for carrying the information needed to build all of the proteins that make life possible. Each nucleus in each individual, normal cell in your body contains about two meters of DNA, packed into a microscopic dot—all of it containing the information needed to build YOU.
DNA uses base pairs combining four different compounds that act like the 1’s and 0’s in computer code, detailing to the cellular machinery the information needed to build all of the complex proteins life requires. Information from the DNA is carried from place to place, where proteins read the code and assemble new proteins from precisely sequenced amino acids based on that information—making every one of your cells a complex chemical factory, creating purposefully arranged nanoscopic machinery and some of the most complicated chemical compounds found anywhere in the universe.
But where did this abstract programming code originate? Evolution can’t take credit. It’s a mindless, purposeless process, remember?
In fact, where did DNA come from? You can’t build proteins without DNA—and yet, DNA is, itself assembled by proteins!
The discovery of DNA should have been a great success for evolution! The secret to how the characteristics of life are passed on to our descendants was finally unveiled! But it has been a disaster. The idea of a massive, information-rich molecule containing an abstract programming code capable of bearing the information needed to build all the complex machinery of life is incompatible with the idea that life has supposedly grown in complexity through mindless, natural processes.
Evolutionists cannot avoid the fact that DNA represents an abstract coding system that points to intelligence.
Our next dirty secret of evolution is an opportunity to turn the tables a bit. In short, the gaps in the fossil record since Darwin’s day have gotten worse, not better.
The theory of evolution depends on the slow and steady accumulation of small variations—since large “jumps” in changes would imply an active designer or planner. The result should be a smooth transition in the fossil record, with animals gradually, almost imperceptibly “turning into” new animals through small, smooth changes.
But this isn’t what the fossil record shows. Instead of a smooth, continuous transition of creatures, the record indicates gaps between different kinds of creatures.
As Michael Denton wrote in his seminal work, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis,
“The overall picture of life on Earth today is so discontinuous, the gaps between the different types so obvious, that, as Steven Stanley reminds us in his recent book if our knowledge of biology was restricted to those species presently existing on earth, ‘we might wonder whether the doctrine of evolution would qualify as anything more than an outrageous hypothesis.’ Without intermediates or transitional forms to bridge the enormous gaps which separate existing species and groups of organisms, the concept of evolution could never be taken seriously as a scientific hypothesis” (1985, pp. 157–158).
Of course, seemingly “continuous” lines of some animals are trotted out for display to pretend the gaps are not nearly as damaging as they are. For instance, you will see theoretical sequences for whale, horse, and human evolution.
Yet, not only are these sequences themselves deceptive and not proven lines of descent at all. The fact remains that if evolution is true, these sorts of sequences should be the norm, not the rare exception.
Ironically, evolutionists often accuse believers of having faith in a “God of the Gaps” who magically does all the things they cannot explain. Such a misunderstanding aside, the unexplainable gaps in the fossil record—a thorn in Darwin’s side that remains just as thorny more than 150 years later—turn the tables and put evolutionists in the place of wielding blind faith and believing in a “Darwin of the Gaps.”
For our next dirty secret, all you need to do is look in the mirror at your remarkable, evolution-defying eyes. Because evolution continues to offer no good explanation for how new organs can form.
In the Psalms King David praises God and proclaims to His creator, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). And we see part of that wonder in the organs of the bodies, such as the eye.
After all, organs represent not just specialized “tissues,” but interwoven systems, often systems upon systems, finely tuned and exquisitely structured to work together. If one part is missing, the whole can fail. And improving the entire organ would often involve each piece or part evolving in conjunction with all the other pieces in a coordinated way—a coordination that evolution does not allow.
The problem was summarized not long ago in an article in The Guardian. First, the paper gives the traditional explanation for the supposed evolution of the eye—given by thousands of teachers over the decades to tens of thousands of students. Animals that have light-sensitive cells for some reason experience a series of slight mutations that increasingly give them survival advantages, such as a slight cupping of the flesh around the cells that helps to focus the light, a clear covering of some sort eventually, to seal the space, which slowly becomes a lens. Then, muscles arrive to shape and focus the lens better, etc.
The Guardian continues:
“This is the basic story of evolution, as recounted in countless textbooks and pop-science bestsellers. The problem, according to a growing number of scientists, is that it is absurdly crude and misleading.
For one thing, it starts midway through the story, taking for granted the existence of light-sensitive cells, lenses and irises, without explaining where they came from in the first place. Nor does it adequately explain how such delicate and easily disrupted components meshed together to form a single organ. And it isn’t just eyes that the traditional theory struggles with. ‘The first eye, the first wing, the first placenta. How they emerge. Explaining these is the foundational motivation of evolutionary biology,’ says Armin Moczek, a biologist at Indiana University” (“Do we need a new theory of evolution?,” June 28, 2020).
In short, evolution promises us it can explain how the organs of our bodies supposedly formed gradually over millennia, but, in reality, it hasn’t a clue.
Our fourth dirty little secret, the fact that evolution continues to offer no good explanation for how new organs can form is devastating to a theory that was developed more than 150 years ago to explain that very fact.
You know, let me confess something. I know it’s considered a cinema classic, but I’ve never been a big fan of the Wizard of Oz. Frankly, when I first saw it, I was a little kid, and the flying monkeys were pretty spooky!
But as I have grown older, one scene has remained with me and has become a real favorite. It’s close to the end of the movie, as Dorothy and her band are confronting the terrifying Wizard for the fact that he is failing to keep his promises. As they do so, flames shoot out, thunder crashes, and the Wizard speaks to them as a giant, green, monstrous head hovering in the air in front of them, shouting, “Do not arouse the wrath of the great and powerful Oz!”
Meanwhile, Dorothy’s dog Toto makes his way to a green curtain off to the left and pulls it aside to reveal a small, white-haired old man, using a machine to create the illusion they are all looking at and speaking into a microphone to amplify his voice and make it sound terrifying.
My favorite part in that scene is when the old man turns around, notices they can see him, and turns back to the microphone to demand, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”
Well, the forces arrayed to convince people not to question the theory of evolution are very similar. There is a lot of thunder and flame—impressive proclamations about “proof” and “evidence” and a lot of theater designed to make you think there is nothing to doubt.
But like the Wizard, evolution has not kept its promises. The theory promises an explanation of your origins—an explanation that needs no God, no intelligence at all, just an initial microbe; careless natural processes; and a few billion years.
We need to be willing to pull back the curtain—to not be so impressed by the theater that we don’t question what we’re shown, and to not be so intimidated that we aren’t willing to stand up and call evolution out for not keeping its promises.
Or to borrow from another fiction, it might have been a hard day when you first learned Santa Claus wasn’t real. But that realization brought you that much deeper into the real world and much further from a world of make-believe.
Recognizing the dirty little secrets of evolution can help you step away from the world of make-believe as well.
Yet, the questions evolutionists seek to answer remain: Where do we come from? How did life come to be? Is there any purpose to it all? And if so, what might that purpose be?
Unclouded by the evolutionary theater, you can seek the real answer to those questions. And if you really seek with an open mind and an open heart, with God’s help you will find your way to the only possible starting place in the search for those answers: The very first sentence of the Bible,
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
I hope you will find the courage to look behind the curtain more often.
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Many claim that life has evolved over billions of years through blind forces of nature. Others declare that not only the earth, but also the whole universe was created by God only 6,000 years ago. Both ideas can’t be right. But both can certainly be wrong.
What are the facts that both sides fail to see? Can the Bible be reconciled with science?
And what is the true history of the earth—and of life?