Vasu Murti

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Evolution is a Modern Myth...Life from Chemicals: Fact or Fantasy?

Did chemical reactions among randomly distributed molecules in the earth's primordial ocean produce the first living cells?
There are two thousand kinds of protein in the simplest bacteria and eight hundred times as many in a mammalian cell.
Over a century ago, science began to entertain notions of lie arising from inert chemicals. Through the microscopes of that time, the cell appeared to be merely a simple bag of chemicals. It therefore seemed reasonable to scientists like Darwin to imagine that elementary living forms may have arisen from the random combination of organic chemicals in a "primordial soup." 
But as man probed into the mysteries of the living cell, the idea that life came from chemicals began to appear less reasonable. Yet most scientists today cling to the dogma of chemical evolution.
As time went on, microscopic exploration gradually revealed increasingly complex phenomena within the tiny cell, such as the precise regulation of cellular metabolism by the nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), which involves the sophisticated interaction of thousands of kinds of elaborately structured protein molecules. It was no longer quite so easy to imagine how all this could have occurred by random combination of chemicals.
Describing the remarkably intricate biochemistry of the cell, James D. Watson, co-discoverer of the DNA structure, wrote in his book Molecular Biology of the Gene, "We must immediately admit that the structure of the cell will never be understood in the same way as that of water or glucose molecules. Not only will the exact structure of most macromolecules within the cell remain unsolved, but their relative locations within cells can only be vaguely known. It is thus not surprising that many chemists, after brief periods of enthusiasm for studying 'life,' silently return to the world of pure chemistry."
Yet despite ever-increasing awareness of the structural and behavioral complexity of even the simplest living systems, many scientists continue to theorize that life has emerged from a "primordial soup" of chemicals, without the direction of any higher organizing principles.
They imagine that in the course of random chemical bonding, simple molecules combined into complex organic compounds, which eventually integrated themselves into self-reproducing organisms.
This scenario is being presented as the undisputed truth about the origin of life in every science classroom around the world -- in grade schools high schools, and colleges and universities. Radio, television, and the popular science publications reinforce the message.
To some, talk about topics such as whether or not life emerged from matter may appear far removed from day-to-day affairs, and thus irrelevant to their own lives.  Whether the discussions involve highly reasonable ideas based on solid evidence or vague, unsubstantiated hypotheses rooted in flimsy data and nurtured by scientific prejudice, they seem like subject matter for scholars in ivory towers.
But because the answers to fundamental questions about the origin of life determine how we view ourselves and our place in the universe, they profoundly affect our sense of identity, our decisions, our feelings, our relationships, our behavior -- in fact, they affect all aspects of our life, including the goals of our whole secular society.
1. The bacterial cell's protective wall, which is manufactured from various molecules synthesized within the cell. To construct its wall, the cell initially forms molecular building blocks from simpler compounds by processes involving many sophisticated operations. Once these blocks are assembled, the cell arranges them into a precise weave of horizontal and vertical rows comprising the cell wall. This manufacturing process resembles a complex factory assembly operation, wherein specifically designed machines first build component parts from raw materials and then assemble those components into a functioning, finished product.
2. A second example of the cell's internal complexity is its formation of a fatty acid, palmitic acid, from fourteen molecular sub-units. Fatty acids are the chief molecules for energy storage in cells. To manufacture palmitic acid, the cell creates an elaborate, circular "molecular machine" from protein molecules. At the "machine's" center is an arm, also comprised of molecules, that swings through six "work stations." Each time the arm rotates, two molecular sub-units of the fatty acid are added by the action of enzymes at the work stations. (Enzymes are highly complex protein molecules that aid chemical reactions within the cell.) After seven rotations, the required fourteen units are present and the fatty acid is released.
For this rotary assembly machine to work, all six different enzymes must be present in the right order, and the molecular arm must be properly arranged. In general, a complex machine is operable only if all vital parts are present and functioning. 
For example, it would be hard to imagine an automobile engine being able to run without a fuel pump or camshaft. It's hard to see, therefore, how the molecular machine described above could have come into being through any kind of step-by-step evolution.
3. Our third example, the action of the enzyme DNA gyrase in cellular reproduction, illustrates the serious problems mechanistic theories face in attempting to explain the origins of complex behavior in cells.
In a bacterium such as E. coli, the DNA molecule is a loop-shaped, intertwined double helix, which separates into two helixes during cellular reproduction. As the upper portion of the helix uncoils, it naturally causes the lower portion to wind upon itself, or supercoil. Since the DNA is already folded hundreds of times to fit in the cell, supercoiling invariably causes the strands to tangle. This tangling would prohibit reproduction, therefore the cell activates an enzyme, DNA gyrase, that unravels the knots in the DNA strands.
The gyrase rearranges the DNA strands as follows: First it cuts one of the overlapping strands, then pulls the other strand through the opening, and finally joins the ends of the cut strand back together. By means of this highly sophisticated operation, the DNA gyrase sorts out the tangle of chromosomes.
The question for biochemists is this: How could the DNA gyrase molecule have originated? It must be much too complicated in structure to have come about in one stroke, by the random combinations of molecules in the "primordial soup." Scientists might therefore suggest it underwent a process of gradual evolution, step by step. But here's the catch -- without DNA gyrase, there would have been no cellular reproduction, and without cellular reproduction, there is no evolutionary process to produce the gyrase. The origin of the gyrase enzyme thus remains one of the greatest mysteries of cellular evolution.
The above-mentioned three examples indicate the intricate structure and operation of the cell. No one has any experience of a machine that developed without a designer's plans and specifications; therefore it's reasonable to consider the possibility that such complex arrangements came about by a preconceived design. Unfortunately, such commonsense conclusions have no place in the currently dominant theories about the evolution of life. Rather, the proponents of chemical evolution struggle to manufacture alternative explanations that refer only to blind chance and the impersonal laws of physics.
The most common scenario portrayed by chemical-evolution theorists begins over four billion years ago, when clouds of gases and dust are believed to have condensed on the earth's ancient surface and gradually formed the primal atmosphere. Activated by ultraviolet light and electric bolts, this primitive atmosphere is supposed to have spontaneously given birth to organic chemical compounds, which then, for some 1.5 billion years, accumulated in ancient seas. These organic compounds interacted chemically and eventually formed primitive polypeptides (proteins), polynucleotides (DNA and RNA), polysaccharides (cell sugars), and lipids (fatty acids). A standard college text gives the final step:
"From this rich broth of organic molecules and polymers, the primordial organic soup, the first living organisms are believed to have arisen."
Unquestionably a provocative and somewhat poetic description -- but how well does this grand speculation hold up to even moderate scrutiny? We have already discussed the amazing complexity of even simple living systems, so any claim that blind natural forces originally organized molecules into elaborately functioning systems must explain the exact principles involved. This has not been done.
Biochemists may call upon natural selection -- the process whereby the varieties of an organism most suitably adopted to a particular environment tend to reproduce and survive -- as an explanation. But natural selection cannot be proposed as a mechanism to account for the origin of the first living organism. It cannot act until such a self-replecating system actually exists, because without reproduction there are no new forms for nature to select.
And given a simple self-replicating system, it is not enough for scientists to wave their hands and say the magic words "natural selection" in order to explain the appearance of more complex systems. They should be able to specify what exactly would be selected and why. Without being able to do this, they do not have even a theory to be tested and investigated, what to speak of a final demonstration of the truth of such a theory.
Unfortunately, present theories fail to approach this standard. Beginning with the work of Oparin in the 1930s, many scientists have made serious attempts to account for the origin of life from a primordial chemical soup, but none have been successful. Without exception, the models proposed are vague, tentative, incomplete, and sketchily worked out.
The central unresolved question is this: How could inert matter, acting according to simple physical laws alone, generate the remarkable molecular machinery found in even the simplest cell? As Albert L. Lehninger states in his widely used college biochemistry textbook, "At the center of the problem is the process of the self-organization of matter." Yet up to now, scientists have failed to demonstrate how this could occur without the intervention of some higher directing force or intelligence.
Two especially well publicized experiments have frequently been misconstrued as being partially successful in producing life from chemicals. One is the work done with amino acids by Stanley Miller, a chemistry professor at the University of California at San Diego. The other is the "protocell experiments" of Sydney Fox, director of the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Evolution at the University of Miami in Coral Gables.
Stanley Miller sought to reconstruct conditions he believed existed at the "dawn of life" and thereby generate primitive organic forms from physical elements. Into a flask he placed gases thought to comprise the ancient atmosphere, and by passing a spark through this mixture he produced a brown, tarry substance on the walls of the container. This tarry substance included amino acids, the constituents of protein molecules. 
He heralded this as a significant breakthrough and managed to impress many people, both inside and outside the scientific community. Yet Stanley Miller's experiments were actually of little, if any, significance. We would expect amino acids to form, because this technique automatically produces practically every simple organic molecule found in nature (the vast majority of which are poisonous to present-day life forms). 
Asked to predict the outcome of Stanley Miller's experiments, Harold Urey, a chemist at the University of California, put the whole affair into perspective when he replied, "Bielstein." (Bielstein is the German catalog of all known organic chemicals.) Further, amino acids are relatively simple molecules, serving merely as the building blocks of the far more complex protein molecules found in cells. 
It's not surprising that a simple technique like Stanley Miller's produces simple chemical results, but it has yet to be demonstrated that such a simple process can produce complex cellular components and mechanisms. It's quite a step to go from unorganized building blocks to a house.
Chemist Sydney Fox also attempted to demonstrate how chemicals might progressively develop into a living cell. By heating dry amino acids to 280 degrees Fahrenheit and dropping them into water, he produced small drops of protein, which he optimistically labeled "protocells." Fox's protocells, however, were not overly impressive. Structurally, they were nothing more than hollow little globs of jelly, and they were incapable of metabolizing molecules from the environment. They showed no signs of evolving into even slightly more complex forms, what to speak of cells. 
On top of all this, Fox has no reasonable suggestion as to how they could have emerged from a prebiotic chemical soup. (Getting dry amino acids heated to 280 degrees in nature requires quite a bit of imagination.) There are many other experiments like this that produce similar rsults and leave the same questions unanswered.
In Darwin's time living cells were regarded as simple bags of chemicals that could have arisen spontaneously from organic compounds. However, it is now clear that cells contain intricate biochemical machinery. The steps by which this machinery may have originated are unknown and hard to imagine. The cell is now understood to be an elaborate system of molecular machinery that surpasses a modern city in complexity. Thus it is no longer justifiable to simply take it for granted that living cells have evolved from chemicals by physical processes. 
German scientist Manfred Eigen has proposed an explanation of how inert chemicals might make the transition to self-reproducing cells: several kinds of RNA molecules would combine and replicate into "hypercycles."
There are, however, major problems with hypercycles.
1. The model requires a model for producing complicated proteins (in the form of enzymes) from information coded in RNA. Eigen has not been able to suggest a workable mechanism of this kind.
2. Given a functioning hypercycle, there is no certainty it would evolve. The prominent evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith criticized Eigen's model, pointing out that unless the hypercycle were enclosed within a compartment resembling a cell wall, its different parts would compete with each other. This would make it impossible for the hypercycle as a whole to evolve by mutation and natural selection. 
3. Finally, hypercycles are much different than cells, which have a unified genetic system and complicated molecular mechanisms. To go from a hypercycle to a cell would take *thousands* of intermediate steps. It would be like going from a wind-up clock to an internal combustion engine by small changes. Each change would have to result in an improved and functioning mechanism -- a possibility that at present defies imagination. 
In his appeal to natural selection, Eigen does not define the exact steps that would lead from his hypercycles to living cells, and therefore his explanation amounts to an unscientific wave of a magic wand.
Thus far we have seen how cells function in a remarkably organized manner and how the leading theories that attempt to describe the development of living cells from inert chemicals lack any explanatory value. 
At this point, we may ask why scientists persist in their attempt to find strictly mechanistic explanations. One answer is that they feel committed to their present reductionist strategy, which is to explain everything -- from galaxies to bacteria -- in terms of matter acting according to basic, simple laws of physics. Rejecting the possibility of any other approach to science, they fear that to deviate even slightly from their strategy would lead to the end of science as they know it.
In determining the probability of random interaction resulting in the proteins required for even the simplest cell, Sir Fred Hoyle, the noted British astronomer and mathematician Chandra Wickramasinghe, of University College, Cardiff, Wales, arrived at a mathematical probability of one out of ten to the 40,000th power that random interaction could provide the necessary molecules for constructing even the simplest self-reproducing system.
Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the DNA structure, has admitted: "An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going."
These scientists have of course hoped to explain the origin of life on the basis of natural laws. But as we have seen, they have been unable to do so. Thus stymied, some of these scientists have turned to extremely radical hypotheses (but of course not so radical as the concept of a designer).
For example, Crick himself has proposed that the genetic code may have been carried to earth by intelligent life from another solar system. This concept could account for life on earth, but we are then left to explain how life developed elsewhere.
Charles Darwin is credited with first proposing a plausible physical mechanism that would explain the variety of life forms we observe in the world around us. Evolution, as he explained it, is based on the principles of variation and natural selection. When members of a species reproduce, he reasoned, there is variation among individual representatives of the species. Some of these are better equipped to survive in their particular environment, and therefore their qualities are selected and passed on to their descendants. Over the passage of time, these changes in organisms are sufficient, according to evolutionary theory, to result in changes of species.
In his theory, Darwin proposed a plausible natural mechanism that could account for how all living forms could have originated from the simplest of microbes through natural evolution over hundreds of millions of years: Darwin claimed that species are infinitely mutable and can change unlimitedly through the interplay of natural variation sifted by natural selection.
By "species" Darwin meant that members of the same species must be able to procreate fertile offspring; if they can't, they belong to different species. Species can again be divided into varieties, also known as races or sorts. Unlike species, however, there are no strong demarcations between varieties; they can cross-beed freely and produce fertile offspring and new varieties that are still within the same species.
The crux of Darwin's argument was that varieties can gradually become species through breeding:
"Nevertheless, according to my view, varieties are species in the process of transformation, or, are, as I have called them, incipient species. How, then, does the lesser difference between varieties become augmented into the greater difference between species? That this does habitually happen, we must infer from most of the innumerable species throughout nature presenting well-marked differences; whereas varieties, the supposed prototypes and parents of future well-marked species, present slight and ill-defined differences."
You'll note that Darwin merely "inferred." Why did he only infer? Because he had never observed varieties become species. Thus he had to settle with something less: he pointed to man's artificial breeding of plants and animals and implied that if artificial selection can cause such sweeping changes in a species after only a few generations, conceivably nature could have accomplished incredible feats after eons of natural selection. Darwin spent the first two chapters in his book making this argument.
Yet Darwin's pleading is unconvincing. All research, both before and after his time, points to nature having limits on how far a species can change. Breeding can mix only preexisting characteristics. Breeding dos can produce dogs of different sizes and color. Still, they remain dogs, and never become cats, no matter for how long we try. Breeding simply shuffles and recombines already existing traits.
According to zoologist Pierre Grasse:
"In spite of the intense pressure generated by artificial selection over whole millennia, no new species are born. A comparative study of sera, hemoglobins, blood proteins, infertility, etc., proves that the strains remain within the same specific definition. This is not a matter of opinion or subjective classification, but a measurable reality. The fact is that selection gives tangible form to and gathers together all the varieties a genome is capable of producing, but does not constitute an innovative evolutionary process."
It is important to remember that natural selection is not a creative process. It can only eliminate and not create new variations in a species. Darwin noted,"Unless profitable variations do occur, natural selection can do nothing."
Besides natural selection, Darwin needed a new source of variations. He believed this source to be external influences such as food and environment. Or how organs are used or not used could cause changes in an organism that are passed on to the next generations.
He wrote:
"From the facts alluded to in the first chapter, I think there can be little doubt that use in our domestic animals strengthens and enlarges certain parts, and disuse diminishes them; and that such modifications are inherited."
Darwin had this idea from Lamarck, a French naturalist who had suggested that giraffes had evolved when their ancestors had gotten longer necks by stretching to eat the leaves other animals could not reach and, as a result, had produced calves with longer necks.
But all evidence has shown that pangenesis doesn't happen. Acquired traits are not inherited. We may lift weights until we develop muscles like steel, but our children will not be born with larger muscles. In some cultures, women enhance their beauty by enlarging their lips or earlobes, yet their newborn daughters look like girls in any other culture.
A light-skinned person who always gets tanned in the sun does not give birth to darker babies. A species exposed to the cold doesn't develop fur, fat layers, and a higher metabolism and pass on these traits to its offspring. Natural selection simply eliminates those individuals that don't already have the favorable traits.
In other words, Darwin was completely mistaken about inheritance The actual laws of inheritance, which were discovered around Darwin's time by an Austrian monk, Gregor Mendel, turned out to be completely contrary to what Darwin had wanted them to be. Mendel showed that inheritance involves only the passing of constant factors from one generation to the next, and that external factors do not affect inheritance.
A process of inheritance that doesn't happen is not, of course, evidence of evolution.
In their presentations to the public, evolutionists are quick to wrap themselves in the mantle of scientific objectivity and reason. They claim to be just examining the facts as they present themselves, and if the facts indicate conclusions different from the ones they currently hold, they profess to be quite prepared to change their theories. But they decline to do so because they see "overwhelming" evidence in their favor. As paleontologist Niles Eldredge, a major spokesman of evolutionary thought, says, "Evolution is a fact as much as the idea that the earth is shaped like a ball."
But let's see if the evidence really is so overwhelming that evolution is a fact in the same way that the earth is round is a fact.
Actually the physical evidence of the past is quite fragmentary, and therefore the scientists rely mainly upon theoretical speculation. Thus in absence of solid conformation we should remain open to examining a number of different theories. At this point evolution does not have an exclusive claim to being the sole explanation of the variety of species. 
Not only is there a startling lack of observational evidence confirming the theory of evolution, but the theory itself is not soundly formulated enough to warrant any attempt at confirmation. A major feature of a valid scientific theory is that it offers accurate predictions; so from the theoretical basis of evolution one should be able to deduce certain things about the observable world What do the evolutionists predict? The prominent evolutionist Niles Eldredge, in attempting to answer the challenge, came up with two predictions: there should be a hierarchy of biological forms and a sequence of fossils arranged in an ascending  order of development in the strata of the earth.
It's understandable evolutionists would like their theory to predict hierarchies of forms, because we all know they exist. But a hypothesis involving design would predict the same thing. For example, in creating an essay, an author often begins by writing an outline of ideas arranged in hierarchical order. Hierarchies are a natural product of the mind. In vehicles designed by engineers we can also see a hierarchy of mechanical forms: automobiles of various sorts, trucks, tanks, boats, submarines, airplanes, etc.
But we would be in error to suppose that they evolved from one another. Although the machines can be arranged in hierarchies, they are all separately designed and manufactured. So hierarchies of form are not proof that one form evolved from another by physical reproductive processes. They could just as well be accepted as proof of a designing intelligence.
Evolutionists also predict a sequence of fossils. But does the theory really predict in advance the actual sequence, or does it merely come after the fact? Imagine a hypothetical evolutionist from another planet arriving on earth during the Precambrian epoch, a time when it is supposed only some primeval algae and bacteria existed. Could he have predicted in advance that variation and natural selection would go on to produce spiders and oysters? Why not just better algae and bacteria? 
Evolutionary theory can offer no reason why if life started with a single cell we now have elephants and mosquitos. Scientists can only point to the species now existing and claim "they evolved." They cannot predict any specific organism or class of organisms. They might say that their theory does support a broad trend from simple organisms to ones more complex, but this claim is excessively vague and does not exclude other possible explanations.
But the explanations they propose in terms of natural laws are themselves unscientific because no one has yet constructed models showing even approximately the stages in the evolution of organisms. They have discovered that physical bodies are complex molecular machines and maintain that these complex machines develop by modifications from other complex molecular machines. Therefore they should be able to provide models sowing how the transformations take place, in detail.
In what way, for example, did certain eels develop the capacity for delivering powerful electric shocks? A mere wave of the hand will not suffice -- detailed models of the step-by-step changes should be supplied. Without such models the theory of evolution remains a vague idea outside the realm of true science. If evolutionists say that this is too great a task, then they should give up their claim that they know and have proved that organisms descend from other organisms by modification. They should simply say that they do not yet know or understand why we have the types of living beings now existing.
A scientific evolutionary model should take genetics into account by showing in a systematic step-by-step way how genes determine physical forms of organisms. If a satisfactory model is ever developed, it might then be possible to develop rigorous scientific explanations of the transformation of one species to another.
For example, scientists say that by genetic mutations, prehistoric fish transformed into amphibians. But if they don't even know how you get the form of the fish from its own genetic material, anything they say about the fish form changing into an amphibian form is bound to be highly speculative -- practically speaking, an imagination.
To put the theory of evolution on firm ground, mathematical models of how genes translate into physical forms are absolutely essential. Without such models there are only vague hand waving stories about evolution. These stories can't provide any firm, testable predictions, and when they are applied after the fact to observations, they are so flexible that they can't be adapted to any set data imaginable. In contrast, a mathematical model gives definite predictions that can be compared with evidence and thus be proved or disproved.
If such models did exist, it  might be possible to use sufficiently powerful computers to determine what might happen when a specific set of genetic information is randomly modified in concert with certain selective rules. If these modifications predicted in the model actually resulted in physical changes that correspond to observed relationships among species, then we could say evolution has been raised to the level of a science.
But this is not the case. As of yet there exist no models making definite predictions about evolution. In fact, the evolutionists are not certain what they would like to predict. Contradictions abound. 
To appreciate this significance, let's consider the science of ballistics. If on the basis of ballistics an artillery officer could not tell his commanders what would happen if he doubled the amount of explosive used to fire the shells, then we would have to conclude that sort of ballistics doesn't deserve to be called a science. By the same logic, the current theories of evolution definitely have their shortcomings, as theories go. In fact, we would have to say it is not a question of whether or not a particular theory of evolution is correct, but whether there exists a theory at all.
A serious challenge to those seeking support for evolution in the fossil record is that the record itself is extremely incomplete. Only a fraction of the species thought to have existed are represented. David M. Raup, curator of Chicago's Field Museum, and Steven Stanley, a paleontologist at John Hopkins University, count about 130,000 fossil species in the collections of the world's museums, compared to an estimated 1.5 million living species. They calculate that one billion species have lived since the Cambrian era, and of these over 99.9 percent did not leave fossils. It's hard to see how evolutionists can dare speak with certainty about the supposed relationships of descendants among species over billions of years. 
Even among the fossils already discovered are a great many anomalies that contradict the currently held theory of evolution. Evidence favoring the established view is accepted even though shaky, and evidence opposing the established view tends to be rejected even though done on shaky grounds. All of these factors make it hard to establish the truth about the origin and ancient history of man by the empirical process of paleontology. If anything at all, however, can be deduced from the evidence presently available, it is that, contrary to the picture presented in all standard textbooks and popular accounts, it is completely misleading to present the current evolutionary scenario as established fact.
The Record of the Rocks
The fact of evolution is supposedly inscribed for all to see in the pages of the "record of the rocks," the layers of which contain fossils deposited throughout the ages. Yet a close examination of this geological history reveals the equivalent of missing pages, garbled transcriptions, and transposed passages. In the end, it's not clear that the record supports evolution at all.
Charles Darwin himself outlined the central dilemma facing the evolutionists, who would expect to find support for the idea of gradual modification of species in the record of the rocks. In The Origin of Species, Darwin wrote:
"The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, must be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory."
Over a century later, after decades of excavations and research, the same criticism still holds true. There is a striking absence of transitional forms in the fossil record. Professor N. Heribert-Nilsson of Lund University in Sweden writes:
"It is not possible to make even a caricature of evolution out of paleobiological facts. The fossil material is now so complete that the lack of transitional series cannot be explained by the scarcity of material. The deficiencies are real. They will never be filled."
The plant and animal kingdoms are divided into broad divisions known as phyla. Yet each phylum appears with no clue to its origin in the fossil record. Noted French evolutionary zoologist Pierre-P. Grasse' states:
"From the almost total absence of fossil evidence relative to the origin of phyla, it follows that any explanation of the mechanism in the creative evolution of the fundamental structure plans is heavily burdened with hypothesis. This should appear as an epigraph to every book on evolution. The lack of direct evidence leads to the formulation of pure conjectures as to the genesis of the phyla; we do not have even a basis to determine the extent to which these opinions are correct."
George Gaylord Simpson, professor of vertebrate paleontology at Columbia University, noted that all 32 orders of mammals appear fully developed in the fossil record. "This regular absence of transitional forms," he states, "is not confined to mammals, but is an almost universal phenomenon, as has long been noted by paleontologists."
The problem is so hard to overcome that one school of evolutionists, headed by Stephen J. Gould and Niles Eldredge, felt compelled to come up with a new evolutionary theory to account for the gaps. They propose "punctuated equilibrium" as an explanation.
According to punctuated equilibrium advocates, this lack of transitional fossils is exactly what would be expected, and therefore they can claim that any given species has in fact evolved from an ancestral form without offering any proof from the fossil record. 
But a theory that allows no proving or disproving on the basis of physical evidence hardly qualifies as an adequate explanation.
A major challenge for those seeking support for evolution in the rock record is that the record is extremely incomplete. Only a fraction of the species thought to have ever existed are represented. David M. Raup (curator of Chicago's Field Museum) and Steven Stanley (a paleontologist at Johns Hopkins University) number about 130,000 fossil species in the collections of the world's museums, compared to an estimated 1.5 million species living. They calculate that one billion species have lived since the Cambrian, and of these over 99.9 percent did not leave fossils. 
It is thus hard to see how evolutionists can dare speak with such certainty about the supposed relationships of descent among species over billions of years. 
Especially remarkable is the fact that we have barely scratched the surface of what's there. The estimated volume of sedentary rock deposits on the continental surfaces of the earth is about 134 million cubic mi. If, for example, 100,000 paleontologists were to divide up the task of examining just one cubic mile of rock, each would have to go through 1,472,000 cubic feet. If they all worked eight-hour days, 365 days a year, at a rate of one cubic foot every ten minutes, it would take them 84 years just to investigate one cubic mile out of 134 million.
Some evolutionists might claim that all this explains why there is not enough fossil evidence to prove their theory, but this kind of reasoning cannot be accepted. It is ludicrous to say that because the evidence is not there and will probably never be found, the theory is right. Indeed there are undoubtedly many missing fossils, but there is no reason to suppose in advance that they would support the theory of evolution.
Even among the fossils already discovered are a great many anomalies that contradict the currently held theory of evolution. For example, some researchers have reported finding pollen of higher plants in the strata shown by standard dating methods to be extremely old. These findings call into question the whole conventional account of the evolution of plants.
In one instance, parties of scientists in Venezuela reported finding pollen of flowering plants in Precambrian rock formations judged to be 1.7 to 2.0 billion years old. This posed a serious problem, because according to current scientific theory, the flowering plants evolved fairly recently, only one hundred million years ago.
This is not the only case in which fossil pollen of higher plants has been found in strata belonging to an age in which  such plants, according to current evolutionary theory, could not yet have evolved. For example, paleontologist S. Le Clercq of the University of Liege, Belgium, has written  a review article citing a number of cases of evidence of this kind. 
Anomalous evidence concerning human remains raises major questions about evolutionary theory. At Border Cave in South Africa, paleontologists have made fossil discoveries that push back the date and change the locale for the origin of modern man. They concluded that "anatomically modern homo sapiens [homo sapiens sapiens] originated at some as yet uncertain time prior to about 110,000 years ago. This differs substantially from the standard version, with its date of 40,000 years ago for the origin of modern man in Asia or the Near East.
Moving to the New World, we come to the archaeological site at Valsequillo in southern Mexico. There, in 1962, archaeologist Cynthia Irwin-Williams excavated stone artifacts, including spearpoints, representative of a technology usually associated with fully modern (Cro-Magnon) man in Europe.
In 1972 and 1973 a team of dating experts, including geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey, using several independent dating techniques, found that the layers in which the artifacts were found were about 250,000 years old.
The Valsequillo artifacts thus present a far greater challenge to the accepted view of human evolution than the Border Cave finds. The date is twice as old and it places anomalously ancient men on the wrong continent.
There are numerous other controversial finds of ancient man in the New World that are conspicuous by their absence from the standard accounts. Recent examples include the Calico Hills, California, early man site (500,000 years old) the Flagstaff, Arizona find (100,000 - 170,000 years old), and the Mission Valley find in San Diego, California (100,000 years old).
The excavations at Sheguiandah. At this site near Lake Huron in Canada, Dr. Thomas Lee, director of the National Museum of Canada, uncovered stone tools that geologists dated at 150,000 years old.
Dr. Hans Reck in East Africa's famous Olduvai Gorge, 1913. Dr. Reck discovered a skeleton of fully modern man in strata that made it contemporary with peking Man and Java Man, supposedly distant ancestors of homo sapiens. This find inspired controversy, but when the famous Louis Leakey visited the site in 1931 with Reck, he concluded the skeleton was at least a half million years old.
Louis Leakey was involved in other finds indicating the presence of homo sapiens in very early strata. One example is his discovery of the Kanam jaw in the lowest level of OlduvaiGorge. This jaw was initially accepted as belonging to homo sapiens by a committee of twenty-seven experts, who agreed it derived from the Lower Pleistocene period. This would give it an age of about two million years, contemporaneous with homo habilis and australopithecus robustus. 
There is evidence for the existence of modern man in even older periods than those represented by Reck's skeleton and the Kanam jaw. The Castenodolo skull provides one example. It was discovered in 1860 in Castenodolo, Italy, by professor  Ragazzoni, an expert geologist, in strata dated as Pliocene. This means the remains, if actually deposited in this strata, were 2 - 7 million years of age. 
In June 1852, Scientific American carried a short article about a metallic vessel that had been blasted out of "an immense mass of rock" in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The report went on to say, "The chasing, carving and inlaying are exquisitely done by the art of some cunning workmen. 
This curious and unknown vessel was blown out of solid pudding rock, fifteen feet below the surface." According to geological surveys, the "pudding stone" at Dorchester is Precambrian (at least 600 million years old). This would date the decorated vase to a period before the supposed origin of vertebrates, what to speak of human beings.
Even among the fossils already discovered are a great many anomalies that contradict the currently held theory of evolution. Evidence favoring the established view is accepted even though shaky, and evidence opposing the established view tends to be rejected even though done on shaky grounds. All of these factors make it hard to establish the truth about the origin and ancient history of man by the empirical process of paleontology. If anything at all, however, can be deduced from the evidence presently available, it is that, contrary to the picture presented in all standard textbooks and popular accounts, it is completely misleading to present the current evolutionary scenario as established fact.
In an article on animal rights entitled "Just Like Us?" appearing in the August 1988 issue of Harper's, Ingrid Newkirk, Executive Director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said:
"You cannot find a relevant attribute in human beings that doesn't exist in animals as well. Darwin said that the only difference between humans and other animals was a difference of degree, not kind. If you ground any concept of human rights in a particular attribute, then animals will have to be included. Animals have rights."
Many in the animal rights movement still base their ethical system upon the Darwinian theory of evolution. This must change, as Darwin's theory is being demolished. Michael Cremo & Richard Thompson's Forbidden Archaeology (1993) is a step in that direction. This controversial book shocked the scientific community and became an underground classic.
The book's premise is that evolutionary prejudices held by powerful groups of scientists act as a "knowledge filter" which has eliminated evidence challenging accepted views, and left us with a radically altered understanding of human origins and antiquity.
Forbidden Archaeology shocked the scientific world with its evidence for extreme human antiquity. It documented hundreds of anomalies in the archaeological record that contradicted the prevailing theory and showed how this massive amount of evidence was systematically "filtered" out. This is how mainstream science reacts (almost like a religion) to any challenge to its deeply held beliefs.
It has been reported that Charles Darwin, an agnostic, upon formulating his theory of evolution and thus recognizing the kinship of all life, became a vegetarian. Animal activists need not despair if Darwin's theory is demolished... there are other ways we humans can see the obvious kinship between ourselves and other species: 
a) Humans and animals share a common Creator. 
"Holy people are most loving and gentle in their dealings with their fellows, and even with the lower animals: for this reason it was said that ‘A righteous man is merciful to the life of his beast,’" explained St. John Chrysostom (AD 347-407). "Surely we ought to show kindness and gentleness to animals for many reasons and chiefly because they are of the same origin as ourselves."
"....the continuing, spiritual development of the human race necessitates the development of a moral and ethical code which recognizes that animals are sentient beings like ourselves; that they too, experience the fear and pain, the joy and happiness that life offers. And that they were given life by the same God who created them for their own sakes—not as commodities to satisfy the whims and the will of human beings," wrote the late Reverend Janet Regina Hyland, in her foreword to my 2003 book, They Shall Not Hurt Or Destroy.
b) Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Animals feel pain.
St. Ciaran of Ossory noted in the 5th century that animals have rights because of their capacity to feel pleasure and pain. 
"Our society is now in the throes of rethinking and expanding the entire idea of rights. In only the past ten years we've seen a blur of changes in our legal and social attitudes towards the rights of racial and ethnic minorities, women, the aged, children, homosexuals, and the mentally and physically handicapped.
"The issue isn't one of equality per se. The law cannot erase the real differences between people. The issue is one of equal treatment regardless of what outward differences divide us.
"This reassessment, whether the resultant social upheaval and changes please you or not, is the result of both new scientific and social discoveries and a rededication to old ideas. (Women and racial minorities have, after all, been demanding equal treatment for centuries.)
"We used to lock the retarded and insane away, believing them to be without rights or consideration. Now, ideally, we train the retarded and allow them to participate in society at their own pace. We offer medical treatment and counseling to the mentally ill and the troubled, realizing at last that even insanity is a meaningless term.
"Our laws, if not our social consciousness, no longer excuse the mistreatment of humans because they're 'only slaves' or 'feebleminded' or 'the weaker sex.' The notion of human rights --at least the right to be free of pain and deliberate mistreatment -- has come to be based on something more than what an elite describes as normal or acceptable.
"But if we’re finally discarding the notion that rights can be doled out on the basis of one’s having the right skin color or sex or IQ, are we willing to discard the notion that one must be human to receive equal consideration? Ready or not, science may now be forcing our hand.
"In the late 1960s, researchers began experiments designed to teach chimpanzees the American Sign Language for the Deaf...Should we deny compassion to any creature just because it's less able to express its feelings in terms we can understand?
"Advances in medical technology have forced us to look hard at our traditional definitions of life and death. Doctors are now able to keep people alive by using sophisticated life-support systems and so-called heroic measures. Many lives have been saved through these means, but many legal and ethical complications have also been created.
"We no longer speak of death as merely the absence of a heartbeat. We use terms like brain death -- the point at which consciousness and awareness cease and are incapable of recovery. We are learning that a beating heart and inflated lungs alone do not constitute a meaningful existence
"Legal precedents have already been established to allow doctors to disconnect life support systems once it becomes apparent that a patient's brain activity has stopped and is irretrievable. Notice that our courts, doctors, and the rational public do not (thank goodness) measure the value of life on the basis of the patient's skin color, IQ, bank account, or social status. We concern ourselves with specific questions: can the person respond to meaningful stimuli? Is the person aware? Can he or she feel pain?
"Leaving aside the controversy over euthanasia and medical ethics, let's assume that we agree on one premise: once awareness vanishes and is irretrievable, the body kept functioning indefinitely solely by machines and external manipulation is a mere husk.
"Whether it's legal or moral to pull the plug in such a situation is not the question here. Our discussion must focus only on one point -- that the fundamental characteristic of sentient beings is their capacity for awareness and expression. As long as a human shows the slightest ability to register emotions, our traditions and laws work to protect that individual’s interests.
"And what of nonhumans with interests? While you may argue, however illogically, that animals have no legal status, you cannot reasonably deny that animals are capable of feeling and awareness.
"They feel pain... can we refuse to consider a creatures suffering merely because it belongs to another species?"
---taken from The Vegetarian Alternative by Vic Sussman, 1978
c) Belief in the transmigration of souls, metempsychosis, also known as reincarnation.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's more egalitarian teachings transcended racism, sexism, nationalism, caste-ism, homophobia and speciesism. When asked to speak at the University of Nairobi in Kenya in September 1972, Srila Prabhupada addressed an overflow crowd of students and government officials at the campus' Taifla (Independence) Hall. In his lecture, he advised the citizens of the developing nation of Kenya to pursue spiritual development, rather than economic development:
"When a suit becomes old, we give it up and accept another suit; similarly the soul is changing dresses according to desire...This godly particle, the soul, or the living force, is transmigrating from aquatics to trees and plants and then from trees and plants to insect life, then to reptile life, then to the bodies of birds and beasts. 
"Darwin's theory of evolution is but a partial explanation of the transmigration of the soul. Darwin has simply taken information from Vedic literature, but he has no conception of the soul. The difference is that the soul is transmigrating from aquatic life to plants and trees, then to insect life, then to bird life, then animal life, then human life, and within human life he moves from uncivilized life to civilized life, etc. 
"The civilized life of a human being represents the culmination of evolution. Here is a junction: from this point we can again slide down into the cyclic process of evolution, or we can elevate to a godly life. The choice is up to us. This is indicated in the Bhagavad-gita... We are part and parcel of God, but somehow we have fallen into this material existence; now we have to evolve in such a way that we can go back home, back to Godhead. That is the highest perfection.
"...Just as God has no birth or death, we spirit souls can have neither birth nor death, but because we think, 'I am this body,' we consider that we are born and that we die. Such thinking is called maya (forgetfulness of God), or illusion... When one realizes aham brahmasmi, 'I am not this body; I am spirit soul... The so-called universal brotherhood or unity that the United Nations is trying to achieve is possible only when you have come to the spiritual platform... the aim of human life."

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