This chapter is devoted to the discussion of a question that is of fundamental importance, holding pride of place in the confrontation between Christianity and atheism. The outcome of this conflict will be of crucial significance, for it will determine wether atheism is going to spread even further and faster than whether it will be possible to pull an important piece of ground from under its feet.
Evolution is taken to be the progressive development in nature from something lower to something higher. Extinct species have demonstrated that species can be more or less arranged in sequences that show almost perfect gradation of form. Up to this point, the theory of evolution is not in dispute.
Evolution maintains that such development proceeds without supernatural intervention, entirely on the basis of external, purely mechanistic causes and the laws pertaining in nature. According to this theory there is no room for the divine Creator. The protagonists of evolution are known as evolutionists.
Below, the factors are investigated that have given rise to evolution. It will be necessary to determine if evolution could possibly have taken place due to forces inherent in matter, assisted by chance. The theory, also known as the theory of descent, maintains that man descended from animals. According to materialistic dogma, the intellect arose out of nature, i.e., is not the primary principle postulated in Christian teaching, but emerged from matter in the course of time. In the view of the evolutionists there is no need for a Creator God, who therefore also is not mentioned in the literature representing this theory.
Evolutionism is the generally accepted view today. It has found its way into the textbooks and dominates in all mass media discussions. Students and school children are presented with a one-sided picture, only rarely learning anything of the many critical views that have been voiced. As already mentioned, evolutionism is a philosophy. A scientist, W. H. Thorpe has thrown light on the motives that gave birth to this monistic materialistic theory, saying that the overwhelming majority of people who have lost their faith in God, or perhaps never had such faith are, according to Woods, only believing in nature. He added that, in his opinion, this applied to almost all scientists. 1
Evolutionism is incompatible with Christian teaching. If this theory were to prove generally untenable, one of the main supports of materialism would collapse. The dispute therefore goes far beyond the level of a scientific theory. For a long time, it appeared that the materialistic approach would be victorious, with the theory precipitately presented as having a sound scientific basis and widely popularized.
Meanwhile, however, the situation has changed, though the public has not been aware of this. Very many renowned scientists have come to realize that there is hardly any other scientific discipline that contains more contradictory and unproven statements than evolutionism.
To begin with, a brief outline is given of the different stages of
In 1809, Jean Baptiste Lamarck (d. 1829), put forward the thesis that conditions on earth had changed over extremely long periods of time, and that plants and animals had had to adapt to a changing environment. This development, he stated, had occurred in very small steps. The acquired characteristics were hereditary, and new individual forms arose in this way. Lamarck's theory was later shown to be untrue. lt was realized that there is no inheritance of acquired characteristics. There is also the fact that many animal species living in the same environment have developed quite differently. Other species again have remained exactly the same for thousands of millionsof years, despite the fact that their environment has changed.
In 1859, Charles Darwin published his book The Origin Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, establishing a new theory. He had already come to see that Lamarck's theory was untenable, and expressed the view that heaven might preserve him from such nonsense, a tendency for progressive adaptation due to the will of animals slowly becoming effective. 2 He continued that the conclusions he had been led to draw did not differ greatly from Lamarck's, but that the means of variability did so completely.3
According to Darwin, variation in the animal world and the origin of new species were due to selective breeding, the survival of the fittest. The fittest, determined by selection, were gradually perfected. There had to be a driving force behind this, however, to bring about changes in the hereditary structures. Darwin as yet knew nothing of genes, the basic units of heredity, and the changes they undergo due to mutation. In those days, species variations were considered due to intervention on the part of the Creator. Darwin also held this view, as will be shown. Subsequently atheist Darwinists left no room for God Darwins theory, ascribing evolution to the forces inherent in tehe material world and to chance.
Like Lamarck's, Darwin's theory was based on the assumption that species variations occurred only in slow stages, over millions of years. It was, however, soon to be shown that Darwins theory, too, was not tenable, for a variety of reasons. Selection would of course preserve the best specimens of a species, but it could never produce a new type, lacking in creative potential. The theory also has other weaknesses. The principle of selection of necessity means purposive evolution, with no room for luxury and hypertrophic development in the animal world. Yet the luxuriant colors to be found in the fauna, on earth, and in the depths of the sea, are quite striking, confounding thies theory. Animals also developed characteristics that militate against usefulness of purpose. The 'Irish elk' (Cervus megaceros), now extinct, carried the most enormous antlers that undoubtedly were just as harmful to the animal as the great, backward-curving tusks of the Ice Age mammoth - no longer a weapon but indeed a burden. 4 The same applies to the teeth of the saber-toothed tiger.
Lamarck nor Darwin have been able to explain the enormous variety of living organisms developing in biotopes offering a very much lesser range of variety. According to G. Heberer, there must have been about 20 million genera of horses between the Miocene and the Pliocene epochs.5
The most serious objection to be raised against Darwin's theory, however, is the absence of transitional stages. A very slow process of evolution would have had to produce these. Darwin was aware of this. He hoped that many different transitional forms, particularly those relating to man, would soon be found. A hundred years of active research yielded many finds, but it is now also established that there is no "missing link" of the type visualized by Darwin and his contemporaries, merely a number of intermediate forms. Nor has the "missing link" been found between fish and reptile and reptile and bird.
It is hard to see why this great mass of contradictions and serious defects failed to dampen the tremendous enthusiasm for the theory of evolution. Darwin's books sold like hot cakes. We are probably right in assuming that emotional factors played a major role in this. Animosity towards the churches, for having for so long kept the lid on scientific research, was to have lasting effect - right to the present day.
According to the theory of evolutional descent, man has developed from animal precursors. Ernst Haeckel, Professor at Jena University, wrote popular works that spread the theory of man being descended from the ape, a theory then widely held, to all strata of the population. Haeckel's most important book was entitled Generelle Morphologie der Organismen (General Morphology of Organisms, 1886). In it, he wrote: "Man has without doubt developed from the catarrhines (apes or monkeys having the nostrils close together) of the old world, and must be placed with this division of the true apes in the system." 7 Later, he noted a similarity between human embryos and gibbons. Precipitately he postulated that of all the anthropoids, the gibbon was most closely related to man. "Man has had gibbon-Iike ancestors." 8
The "scientific truths" Haeckel presented to millions of people in those days have been shown to be totally wrong. Today, we may read the following in scientific books: "As to the four anthropid species - Gibbon, orangutan, gorilla and chimpanzee - the view is that the gibbon shows least resemblance to man as regards his degree of organization..." 9
There were few intellectuals in those days who had not read Haeckel. Many students considered his works a revelation. Atheism began to spread. No one would have thought that in years to come better knowledge would be acquired, and that Du Bois-Reymond would one day derisively compare Haeckel's genealogical trees with Homer's heroes, as being just as hypothetical. 10
Haeckel's students abandoned the gibbon, declaring other apes to have been man's ancestors. Brandes proposed the orang-utan, Keith the gorilla, and A. H. Schulz, the American ape. Weinert finally thought he saw a connection with the chimpanzee. Again others - Franz for example - considered Propliothecus fraasito have been man's ancestors maintaining against their better knowledge that the line of descent from anthropoid to man had been fully demonstrated. Beurlen, an outstanding expert in the field, later stated in his Die Evolution der Organismen that this line in particular was "full of gaps." Everybocy had his own way of demonstrating man's descent from the ape, yet these were all completely unfounded theories. Today, it is generally agreed that man cannot have descended from anthropoid apes. In a book published by Gerhard Heberer in 1965, Menschliche Abstammungslehre (Theory of the Origin of Man), Guenther Berger has written: "The gorilla hypothesis contradichts the facts established for other organ systems, and so does Weinert's chimpanzee hypothesis, so that the same arguments will refute it." 11
Heberer wrote (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 25 September): "The vulgar cliche, abhorrent to many, of man's descent from the ape is over and done with." Yet this perverted theory still keeps cropping up at all levels of the population.
Science acknowledged the new discoveries as early as the 1930's. Some anthropologists, above all Weinert have, however, persisted in a stubborn defenee of the ape descent theory. They received every support from influential figures in the Third Reich. (Nazi Germany). This even went as far as the publication of a new popular edition of Haeckel's long since out-of-date work. 12 Many textbooks referred to the three-state theory as "substantiated scientific findings", though in the meantime come to be regarded as completely out of date (the theory postulates transition from the Anthropus, Neanderthal and sapiens forms). This thesis, never even halfway substantiated, was only finally dropped in the early fifties. 13
Karl Weiss had a point when he said that the power of monism lay not in the profundity of thought, but in the emotional spere, in the affects which will find popular acclaim when expressed in cliches. 14 The right basic attitude always has to be created first, and that surely has been taken care of at all times, to this very day. That certainly was no science in those days, it was ideology and the denigration of human intelligence. The trend was clearly against Christianity. The Third Reich atheists particularly gave support and encouragement to the group working with Gerhard Heberer (d. 1973) in Tuebingen who, from 1943 onwards, published the large encyclopaedic work Die Evolution der Organismen. As Heberer himself was to admit in his publication Homo - unsere Ab- und Zukunft (Homo - our Origins and Future) (1968), he represented an "anti-metaphysical" approach (p. 112). His group aimed to explain life on the basis of physics and chemistry, i.e., the word "God" must never appear in their publications. Monistic materialism recognizes only forces inherent in lifeless matter. In the forties, Heberer had declared that there was "incontrovertible proof' of man's anthropoid descent, 15 but even then had had to accept Gehlen's statement that "this form cannot be demonstrated" 16 Soon after this, Heberer also found it necessary to be more cautious in his statements. In 1951 he wrote: "There is now evidence that the morphogenetic concepts that have found reflection in the classical presentation of the history, playing a key role in its evolution, did not always point in the right direction." 17 Significantly, he said that an optimism that perhaps had been overconfident had become muted to some extent over the previous fifty year. In the above book published in 1968, he finally had to admit that the evolution of the primates as formerly outlined, that was supposed to lead to Homo sapiens (fully modern mal) "must in many respects be considered hypothetical." 18
Biologists have, however, come to realize that changes in the individual are contingent on changes at gene level, and this presented evolutionists with a completely new situation. The earlier concepts only principles responsible for evolution, now proved useless. Darwinism had had its day, but the Darwinist refused to gave up and tried to save their monistic philosophy with the revised doctrine of neo-Darwinism.
The gene, which we shall briefly consider, is the smallest element in the cell, a "biological atom." It is the carrier of hereditary endowments, being supplied with the necessary information. In the scientific literature, the gene is sometime compared to a punched card used to store information. Asked where those "punched cards" come from and who has supplied information, scientists will say: "This question as to the how and why is identical with the question as to the origin of fife on earth altogether. On this point there can of course be no definite answer, at most only first attempts at an answer, fragments and hypotheses." 19 Those are the rather shaky foundations on which evolutionism or neo-Darwinisen is based.
Changes in the hereditary codes stored in a gene occur only very rearely. They are due to chemical changes in the DNA, and such changes are referred to as mutations. A mutation may have positive or negative consequences for the hereditary endowment. As a rule, the consequences are negative. Mutations only occur very rarely in nature, but they may also be induced artificially by short-wave irradiation or chemicals known as mutagens.
Evolutionists then started to teach that evolution progressed in tiny stages due to mutation. As Lamarck and Darwin had already postulated, the process must have taken millions of years. It needs to be stressed that this was the logical premise that had to be firmly adhered to, spontaneous mutation being extremly uncommon, and also in view of the fact that experimental mutations had demonstrated that mutation almost always has negative consequences such as deformation. Most of the experimental work has been done with the small fruit fly (Drosophila). Twenty million fruit flies have already been bred for the purpose, but no new species has been produced. Almost all mutation represented a loss. 20 It has been shown that micromujtations will only change secondary characteristics of a species, and never lead to transition to another species. The point at issue, however, is a change in the blue-print and evolution of new types. Micro-mutations therefore cannot be responsible for evolution.
At the same time, research in palaeontology has yielded new information in another area that completely invalidates the evolutionist theory. Since Lamarck's day, evolutionists have been unanimous that infinitely long periods of time are needed for new species to evolve. Now, however, there is the irrefutable fact, that the evolution of new animal species in the different stages of earth history did no happen gradually, with innumerable transitions, but quite the reverse, that new species appeared quite suddenly.
The facts are as follows. Overhage writes: "The evolution of the different lines of invertebrates in their rich variety remains a mystery, for they all come up abruptly, as highly developed forms, in the oldest fossil-bearing Cambrian strata. lt has not been possible to trace them further back, the pre-Cambrian (rock strata more the 500 million years old) being practically devoid of fossils. The vertebrate line suddenly makes its first appearance in the Silurian." 21
Karl Weiss writes that: "In the Subsilurian, the first vertebrates made their appearance. Chamberlin said that the appearance of the fishes was one of the most sudden and dramatic events in early history. From unknown origins they appear suddenly, in a wide stream. From the very beginning, quite different types were present side by side, sharks, rays, chimaeras, lung fish, placoderms." "The birds came up suddenly during the Jurassic. The famous 'original bird' Archaeopterix, was in the past widely regarded as a transition from reptiles to birds, but has since been shown to be a genuine bird with four toes and real feathers. There is no known creature that could gave us a hint as to how the horny scales of a reptile turned into the feathers of a bird. The mamals suddenly were present at the beginning of the Tertiary, with numerous orders, families and genera." "Nothing is to be found of transitional forme", Weiss wrote. "If we are really thorough in sifting the evidence logically, practically nothing will be left of the grandiose structure of Darwin's tree." 22 Nobel Prize Winner Konrad Lorenz emphatically states in his Die Rueckseite des Spiegels (The Other Side of the Mirror) that at every stage in the evolution of life new forms arise that in no way can be traced back to the lower stages. 23
In 1967, the GeologioaI Society in London and the Palaeontological Association commissioned 120 scientists to produce a Fossil Report. This 800-page document reviews fossil finds in the flora and fauna, subdividing them into about 2500 groups. The Report authenticates the statements many experts have made in earlier years, to the effect that new species suddenly emerge very suddenly.
Another well-known evolutionist, George Gaylord Simpson at Harvard University, makes it quite clear that scientists are unanimous in this respect. He has written that every palaeontologist is well aware that the majority of new species, genera and families, and almost all new divisions above the level of the family, come up suddenly in the records, without any long line of transitional forms leading up to them. 24
In his Origin of Species, Charles Darwin had himself listed possible objections to his theory, saying: "Why, if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion, instead of species being, as we see them, well defined?" To save his theory, Darwin clung to the idea that all transitional forms had perished. Half a century later, however, it had become obvious that there was a different reason for the absence of transitional forms. The zoologist A. Fleischmann was to write at the turn of the century: "In practice, all possibilities of finding out about the early history of the animal kingdom have been exhausted and all hopes for the future destroyed. We have been getting a result that is the exact opposite of what was expected... This I call the collapse of the theory of descent." 25
Today, after over a hundred years of active research, the evolutionists have to admit that there are no transitional forms, no gradual evolution, but merely a sudden presence. The different species stand there like the piers of a bridge after it has been blown up. This discovery had annihilated evolutionism. All the known facts compellingly suggest that individual species have been brought into existence by a Creator, step by step ascending from the lowest to the highest forms.
Many scientists treat evolutionism as dogma, otherwise they would have to confess, with Professor Edmund Samuel, a wellknown evolutionist at Antioch College, Ohio, that evolution theory provides no convincing scientific explanation for the presence of the different life forms, the reason being that the dates merely give an indication and no accurate analysis... that the fossil record will give direct support to evolution theory. 26 The facts may almost hit the evolutionists in the eye, but they are sticking to their theory, and like Heberer, for example, consider factors of divine guidance coming from a Creator "emotional imponderables." 27
Evolutionism is atheist by nature, and as such is made to serve an overall trend and therefore cannot surrender. Causalism has closely allied itself with materialism. The fundamental thesis of the evolutionists - very slow evolution based on micro-mutation - having become untenable, there remained only one thesis, unless all was to be given up for lost, though this had had little credibility from the beginning: variation of species due to macro-or mega-mutation. The arsenal of concepts used by the evolutionists was now turned upside down. Exactly the opposite was now maintained of what had been said before. Evolutionism and new-Darwinism were once again in retreat, though the public was not aware of this.
Macro-mutation is visualised as a conglomerate of micromutations. The random chance element for this will have to be even more enormous than it was for micro-mutations, where it had already been quite beyond belief. Macro-mutations, if there ever was such a thing, would have needed an inconceivably large number of random chances to coincide at one particular moment. This preposterous event is said to make a new type arise explosively. This new theory makes the term "evolution" a paradox and it is immediately obvious that it is a mere emergency solution. Macro-mutation is a complete fantasy, for no evidence has been found of major mutations that also changed the blue-prints. "In practice geneticists are merely dealing with secondary characteristics in the genome." 28 Adolf Portmann has written that to date, we know a little bit about micro-evolution, but have no knowledge whatsoever of macro-evolution, the origin of new types." 29 He comments that there are "theories where imagination has been given too much of a free rein." 30
To demonstrate the improbability of chance having hit the bull's eye millions of times over million of years in an ocean of possibilities, let us briefly consider heredity in man.
The body consists of 60 billion (U.S. trillion) cells. The cell nucleus contains thread-like structures known as chromosomes. The genes lie next to each other along the chromosomes, like beads on a necklace. A gene consists of chemical compounds the name of which is abbreviated to DNA. The gene, or the DNA, contains the blue-print for the child to be born. Primitive life forms have only a few hundred genes, man has several million. These are distributed, in some way that is not yet clear, among 46 chromosomes. The gene, being the carrier of hereditary endowment, needs to receive the correct information if the same species is to be reproduced. In the case of positive mutation, the informer has to make exactly the right choice. This is an incredible task even with the millions of choices available for a micromutation. For a macro-mutation, however, hundreds of highly specific genes need to be selected from several thousand millions, at lightning speed. This inevitably brings us to the key question - the very heart of the problem - as to who provides the information. A Christian believer has no problems here, knowing that all things are possible for a God who is all-wise and allpowerful. An atheist scientist is forced to assume blind chance as the informer, possessing a quite incredible creativity. This calls to mind the words of Epicurus (d. 271 B.c.) who 2250 years ago had realized that chance merely defines the current limits of our knowledge. In view of the above, we cannot possibly consider chance to possess the rich and complex potential that is the prerogative of divine wisdom. Viktor von Weizsaecker rightly asked: "Why is only nonsense, pure chance, to be considered right, and not also sense?"
Darwin had held on to sound common sense, though he had no concept as yet of the inconceivably great variety of hereditary potential. In a letter, he wrote that he found it impossible to understand how this great and wonderful universe, and a mankind possessing awareness of self, were supposed to have come about by chance, and that this seemed to him a prime argument for the existence of God, though he had never succeeded in making this argument stand up to scientific scrutiny. The safest way of putting it, he wrote, would seem to be that the whole issue was beyond the reach of human reason." 32
Modern scientists, too, will have their open or secret doubts as to whether chance bringing about macro-mutation is a viable concept for the effective mechanism of evolution.
Polanyi, for instance, has said that the significance of evolution lay in the genesis of higher forms from lower, and particularly the appearance of man. A theory considering evolutive change to be due to a selective advantage for random mutations could not, in his view, do justice to the problem. 33
Burnet has stated that attempts to grasp the life processes at any price, using morphological, physical and chemical studies, had reached a point where the results were in inverse proportion to the effort expended. He felt that scientists were approaching an invisible barrier, and that theoretical biology might soon find it necessary to change its aims and methods. 34
Adolf Remane (Kiel, G) made a thorough assessment of the doctrine of evolution and in 1972 came to the conclusion that: "... we still lack any kind of concept as to how complex organs, involving hundreds of genes in their development, have been produced by known mutation types and have evolved from these to function harmoniously." 35
L. L. Whyte expressed the view that perhaps there were no such things as mutation entirely due to chance. 36
According to W. H. Thorpe, the chance nature of mutations is highly doubtful, and he felt he was expressing the secret doubts that had occupied the minds of very many biologists for twenty-five years. 37
A statement made in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 21 August, 1962 by the well-known German evolutionist Gerhard Heberer, carries particular weight. Heberer confessed that with regard to the rapid evolution of man from subhuman to human level, "it would have needed a mega-mutation, i.e., a huge genetic step. Yet, according to everything currently known concerning the chemical nature of our hereditary structures, this would be so improbable that its realization could not be expected. It took a very long line of generations, extending over a period of 15 million years, for subhuman hominid (human-like forma) gradually to acquire, through the mechanism of mutation and selection, the physical characteristics essential for the human phase, for being true men." 38
Heberer is therefore expressly calling mega-or macro-mutation quite unrealistic. Yet this very mechanism is supposed to be the sheet-anchor of evolutionism.
Scientists subscribing to monism, i.e., matter ruling supreme, will never admit, however, that it was God's ideas that, with the help of his spirits, achieved creation in all its unfathomable complexity and harmony, as New Revelation shows so logically and clearly. Spuelbeck defined the reason for this incomprehensible attitude rather well: "Due to vulgar materialism and a science that is wholly mechanistic in outlook, we have completely lost the ability to judge the quality of these things." 39