EVOLUTIONARY SLEIGHT OF HAND
In evolutionary stories you are often directed to a particular speculation that seems to be supported by science and seems to confirm the accumulation of many unseen evolutionary changes. The focus is drawn to something that looks as if it could have evolved. But you need to think about what it is they are not looking at and what they bypass and what they assume in order to make the story sound plausible. In most cases it is not that evolutionists are deliberately trying to misdirect nor are they even aware of their errors, they are only trying to make their belief system seem real. The result is however, that they fool many, including themselves, in the process.
THE SHROUD OF MYSTERY
“Natural selection must have been at work from the outset, favoring the liposomes with the most useful chemistry, those able to concentrate the most useful building blocks efficiently and exclude any that might be toxic, and those able to divide spontaneously as they grow (as can those created in the lab) and even to maintain the electrical charge typical of modern cells. The development of the first enzymes and genes remain shrouded in mystery…” -Life at the Edge (1978)
From the description above you may think you are looking at the precursors to life. In 1978 the authors of this article from Scientific American seemed quite convinced. There was enough understanding at the time for them to know however, that what they were presenting was false, but their worldview demands a naturalistic explanation. Generations of science professionals have been trained in this way of thinking.
Here is how the trick is done.
There are several things that direct your attention away from the problems. They start by telling you that “natural selection must have been working from the outset.” Natural selection is, in many people’s minds, the same as saying “evolution.” This gets the reader thinking that this is about evolution and evidence for evolution. But claiming that natural selection was at work at this level is incorrect. Natural selection does not work until you have a population of functioning, replicating cells, with all the genetic coding and cellular machinery. Why would a professional scientist claim that natural selection was working before the first cell is formed? This has to be more than just misdirection.
The lab experiments confirm that liposomes divide spontaneously and grow. By the way, soap bubbles can also divide and grow. What they want you to think is that liposome growth and division is like life. Watch the growth, watch the division, watch the electrical charge. But what’s behind the curtain? The electrical charge is inherent in the lipids that form the liposomes. Life utilizes this electrical charge, like it uses the properties of water or oxygen. It does so through cellular machinery that is constructed and operated according to a plan that is detailed in the genetic code. Life, unlike the liposomes, does not grow and divide spontaneously. It grows precisely, because of a program with a predetermined outcome. Watching soap bubbles divide and grow is closer to what is happening with liposomes. Cellular growth and division also depend on a number of molecular machines. Growing and dividing liposomes are behaving without any programming or cellular machinery at all. Liposomes are to a cell as a rock is to a castle. That is, the properties of a rock do not explain the origin of a castle, even though those properties are very important to the castle’s construction.
Then there is the introduction of the “useful chemistry” and “useful building blocks.” This useful stuff is just assumed to have been present. But the experiments didn’t confirm that this could happen. To date evolutionists have been unable to create all the useful chemistry and useful building blocks in a single experiment. They have never created working proteins, RNA, DNA, enzymes or genes in an environment akin to primordial conditions. The conditions that create one needed effect often destroy another. This is where, even today, they pull out the “shroud of mystery.”
It may be that when this article was written (1978) people were more ignorant of the problems with life’s origins and therefore it was easier for the science professional to pretend they weren’t there. But anyone studying origins at the time would have been aware of them. Since then science has practically lifted that shroud away, revealing that a natural origin of life is not possible. Even today however, the argument that we still don’t know enough about the origin of life is used as a way to dodge the problem. The extraordinary faith of materialists is displayed in the hope that a materialistic answer will be forthcoming. The shroud of mystery doesn’t work for those who know what the shroud is trying to hide.
EVOLUTION OF THEY EYE and the ANCESTRAL SHELL GAME
The eye has presented a problem for evolution from the very beginning. Yet in 2011 Scientific American announced, “Scientists now have a clear vision of how our notoriously complex eye came to be”. But Scientific American in the article “EVOLUTION OF THE EYE” (July 2011), by Trevor Lamb, plays a proverbial shell game with its readers when creating the ancestry of the eye. If you pay close attention you can see the evolutionary sleight of hand as it starts with a fully formed eye and shuffles presumed evolutionary ancestors into the order they want you to see. Making you think you’ve seen evidence for the evolutionary sequence for the development of the retina.
Millions of years of time are used as a way to attach one data point to the next. The important evolutionary changes happen in the vast space between the data points. Evolutionists often say “after all, evolution had millions of years to make this happen.”
The process and necessary changes are assumed. Because there is always a lack of fossil data the story relies heavily on your acceptance that similarities in morphology and genetics are the results of evolution and that embryological recapitulation recounts evolution’s history. This is because evolutionary science always proceeds by comparing similarities and assuming the differences were evolutionary. Not by attempting to prove the process is capable of making the changes. This is the way it has been done since 1859.
The first part of the camera eye story, starts with an already sophisticated and complex circadian rhythm detecting light sensor. The light sensor is called “simple,” which downplays the vast gap between nothing and a light sensitive pigment, and that pigment to a light sensing organ that coordinates an organism’s circadian rhythms. The simplicity ploy is often used to reinforce the idea that a complex system in biology can arise through evolutionary processes. You are supposed to think, “This is believable.” A liberal application of Millions of Years also helps at this point.
They admit that they can’t go back into the history of the development so they really begin the story with an unnamed common ancestor that already had a camera eye, which they believe, dates back to 550 million years. And according to them it has remained essentially unchanged for that time. Because of the lack of real data, the story bypasses the early stages of eye development, distracting the reader with a brief story of Pre-Cambrian body plans instead. “This burst of evolution laid the groundwork for the emergence of our complex eye.” Pg.66 They also claim that these findings “beautifully support Darwin’s idea.” What does a burst of slight successive modifications look like? They didn’t say.
The interesting part is how the evolutionary lineage of something that they say hasn’t really changed is constructed. The article includes a very nice looking chart that shows a modern day hagfish, which they say is “lacking a cornea, iris, lens and all the usual supporting muscles.” Next in line is the modern day lamprey with an eye essentially identical to our own. Finally it presents a modern day human eye. Of course there are assurances that the support systems would have evolved. But, amazingly, rather than recounting any of the scanty scientific data presented in the article, it concludes by claiming that an intelligent designer wouldn’t make an eye like ours, therefore evolution must have done it. That’s evolutionary science in a nutshell. The evolutionary lineage of the eye is complete and the ID crowd can now concede.
Well, lets look at the evidence that is presented for the lineage.
It starts with an already advanced light sensor that regulates circadian rhythms.
From there we bypass 100 million years of supposed evolution and move to an unnamed common ancestor to both jawed and jawless vertebrates that already has a camera eye.
Next, 500 million years later is the modern day hagfish. It has a degenerate camera eye, which supposedly worked in an unnamed ancestor. Its inclusion is only necessary to create the illusion.
Next is the modern day lamprey, the small part of the eye that is being examined is, per the article, essentially identical to our own. It is not considered to be ancestral or descended from the hagfish, but its closest connection is to an unnamed common ancestor. It’s inclusion provides the fast forward playback of the evolutionary sequence.
Finally a human eye is presented with a brief explanation for some of the fully developed visual system hastily tacked on. We are also not descendents of the lamprey or hagfish, but our closest link is to the unnamed ancestor that already had a camera eye.
So you find that the lineage that is presented is a completely scientific fabrication. It starts with an unnamed common ancestor bursting onto the scene, then inserts two modern unrelated organisms and finishes with a human visual system.
Let’s take a closer look.
The article tells us that long ago an unknown ancestor already had a camera eye. It also admits that this eye is “…essentially identical to our own…” and it “…must have been present in the common ancestor of the jawless an jawed vertebrates 500 million years ago.” Pg. 66 But only a small part of the eye is being examined, specifically the retina, and not the visual system. But 500 million years with only minor variation isn’t what we are supposed to see. We are to come away believing that the problem of the eye has been solved.
How do you prove evolution when you start with an unknown, three more unrelated organisms, two that are essentially un-evolved and one being a degenerate form? Start moving the shells. The hagfish is moved into position one and takes the place of the eye at the light sensor stage. The unnamed ancestor’s shell is moved out of the picture.
Remember however, the hagfish has a degenerate eye, and is believed to have descended from an organism with a fully functional working eye.
“The hagfish shares a common ancestor with the lamprey, and this ancestor presumably had a camera style eye like the lamprey’s. The hagfish eye therefore must have degenerated from that more advanced form.” Pg. 67
The conclusion is admittedly based on a presumption, but there needs to be something to represent the early development of the eye. Are we supposed to accept that degeneration is just like evolution running backwards? That genetic loss is evidence for genetic gain?
The hagfish eye is not a more primitive form, but a degenerate form. It’s lost genetic information and function. We are told the degenerate eye persists because “it is somehow important to survival.”(pg 67)
But then, wasn’t the whole eye important to survival? And most of it’s gone! Notice that “somehow” is used as a substitution for science.
We can learn something here; that is, if degeneration is important to survival the degenerate form can persist, according to evolutionary beliefs, many millions of generations, even flourish. Degenerations of this kind only take a few generations to spread through a population and can become fixed in only a few hundred years.
This direct evidence of natural selection preserving genetic loss is the exact opposite of the direction they want to be leading you. But oddly, to drive home the point that genetic change of this kind is possible, the article sites blind cave fish as another example of how natural selection can maintain genetic degradation in a population. A wave of the evolutionary magic wand and PRESTO, loss is gain. The hagfish becomes the predecessor to its own ancestor. Just a quick move in the evolutionary shell game.
Next we are presented with the lamprey. But again, the supposed common ancestor to hagfish, humans and lamprey already had a camera eye essentially identical to our own. So why bother? Neither one of them has changed in hundreds of millions of years and neither one is ancestral to humans. And the eye supposedly already evolved a million generations prior to these organisms.
So what is the lamprey being presented for? The lamprey embryo and larval stage development is believed to have captured the burst of evolutionary change from 550 million years ago. All we need to do is sit back and watch. The embryo supposedly gives “hints” to the sequence of evolutionary events.
Of course embryonic development is quite different than the steps that would happen through successive mutations and natural selection. Embryonic recapitulation is one of those things that is used as evidence for evolution when you can weave a good story with it and ignored when you can’t. As a hint to evolutionary development it works except when it doesn’t. Evolution makes biology a science of exceptions.
The article attempts to make four points about the similarities in development. But as we shall see, if you think about it, it makes none.
Here are the points made on page 67 on the illustration called “Echoes of Evolution”.
“Early development of the lamprey eye resembles the structurally simple hagfish eye, before metamorphosing into a complex camera eye.”
“The human eye, too, recalls the hagfish eye during development, passing through a stage which the retina has just two layers before the third layer of cells emerges.”
“Aspects of the embryonic development of an individual are known to reflect events that occurred during the evolution of its lineage.” (reflections are often used to create illusions)
“A non visual proto-eye with a two layered retina had evolved in an ancestor of vertebrates around 550 million years ago …and that this precursor to the camera-style eye functioned to detect light to drive the ancestor’s internal clock.”
It’s important to note that the third point is not really another point at all. It’s an appeal to authority as to why you should believe points one and two. You don’t need to figure out how evolution created complex structures by successive slight modifications, all you need to do is to watch the embryo metamorphose through its playback of the evolutionary sequence. Everybody knows (consensus) that embryonic recapitulation is a fact, so there is no need to question the validity of points one and two. So point 3 is a misdirection. This presentation may also shed some light on the Darwinist opposition to critical thinking in science classes and why, when graduates of those schools become scientists and editors of science magazines, they demonstrate the fruits of their education in their profession.
Point four is actually assuming a vast portion of what they are trying to prove. It’s no more than an assertion, and therefore another misdirection. The many genetic mutations between the beginnings of the proto-eye to the precursor eye were not examined. But we are assured that it could have happened in less than 100 million years.
So there are really only two points left. Let’s consider what they say.
Point one tells us that the early development of the lamprey eye resembles the hagfish eye. But since they don’t consider the hagfish to be ancestral to the lamprey what does the comparison show? Why not leave the hagfish out of it? Because the hagfish is essential to the trick. The hagfish is supposed to be the proto eye ancestor. This makes you think that the differences are due to forward evolution and not degeneration. From an evolutionary viewpoint any similarities that do exist supposedly arose in a common ancestor to both. The point rests on simply assuming that the metamorphosis from circadian rhythm organ to eye actually happened in history just like it does in the embryo of the lamprey. You’re distracted by the hagfish when you should be thinking about the metamorphosis. The hagfish isn’t needed to demonstrate the sequence since the embryological playback of lamprey embryos should show it all. Yet another misdirection
Point two tells us that the human eye recalls the hagfish eye in its development. But how is this possible if the hagfish isn’t an ancestor to humans? How can you recall something that never happened? This shines a little more light on evolutionary thinking. Point two is actually a repetition of the error made in point one. Remember, he moved the hagfish shell where the unnamed common ancestor was. It supposedly had an eye essentially identical to our own. Similarities that connect it and differences that separate it are not due to upward evolution. Again, a misdirection.
Since the evolution supposedly took place before the organisms being examined were present, the evidence is based on beliefs about a missing link!
Is this really the kind of evidence that is supposed to put the nail in the coffin of ID? Is it the kind of evidence that any rational individual should simply accept? How much more advanced of an argument is it than those used by Lamarck and Darwin? While technical details may be from the 21st century, the logic behind it is from the 19th century.
The sequence that they want to examine doesn’t exist so they make you try to see it in the modern organisms. Moving the shells into the order they want you to see they look for hints, reflections, recollections and clues. Then they put them all in the evolutionary magic hat and pull out an eye. The shroud of mystery is used to cloak problems and enigmas. They start with the sophisticated circadian rhythm regulating organ and attempt to make you think it is simple. How much is that evolutionary sleeve really hiding? The many steps from a circadian rhythm regulating system to the eye are just a broad stroke of the evolutionary wand. There is no account of how non-directed step by step changes could construct successive intermediate forms and support systems. And when needed “selection pressure” is brought in like the magicians assistant to push things to the next level.
It’s what you believe are under the evolutionary nutshells that counts.
Evolutionary sleight of hand techniques are used in every evolutionary story. They rely on bait and switch methods, presenting a feature then moving it to a place where it seems to support evolution. Focusing your attention on a feature that seems to have evolved while ignoring or downplaying the show stoppers. Keep an eye out for what they avoid focusing on, the soft tissue, the signal processing, or what they hide behind a “somehow”, what they claim must have been simply because it must have.
This Bible verse fits with what we observe:
Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. 2 Timothy 6:20