Included in the regular monthly mailings of the Institute for Creation Research is a section entitled "Impact," subtitled "Vital Articles on Science/Creation." The Impact issues for December 2000 and January 2001 featured a two-part series entitled "The Scientific Case Against Evolution," by Henry Morris, founder and President Emeritus of ICR. The title is a misnomer, since no scientific evidence was presented. Dr. Morris bases his argument solely on misleading quotes, taken out of context, which which completely misrepresent the position of the author. In addition, Morris once again presents the totally discredited creationist "thermodynamics" claim. (More about that later.)
Henry Morris uses uncertainties about how life originated to argue that therefore evolution itself has no scientific support. In fact, how life originated, and whether evolution has occurred, are not interdependent. One could arbitrarily specify any explanation for life's origin, even resorting to the supernatural, without jeopardizing the enormous amount of factual evidence supporting evolutionary descent with modification from the original primitive life form!
Upon careful examination of the statements quoted in the Impact article, it is clear that they fail to provide any basis for the interpretation that the author expressed any doubts about the validity of evolution. The following are some examples:
In the December, 2000 issue, Morris extracts from a Skeptical Inquirer article by Massimo Pigliucci. (Dr. Pigliucci has a web site) The title of the article is Where Do We Come From? A Humbling Look at the Biology of Life's Origin It deals with efforts to understand how life originated, not with evolution! Morris quotes the following section as "scientific" evidence against evolution:
Morris takes this as evidence that life could not have formed from non-living material by way of a natural process. But that is not what Dr. Pigliucci stated. In fact, he merely concluded that it was a possibility, but that the process was clearly more complex than the simple formation of amino acids in the Miller experiment. In the referenced article, Dr. Pigliucci stated:
How plausible is all this? It certainly is conceivabale from the standpoint of modern biology. The problem is that each step is difficult to describe in detail from a theoretical standpoint, and so far (with the exception of the formation of organic molecules in the soup) has proven remarkably elusive from an empirical perspective.
Morris quotes from the book Sudden Origins by Jeffrey Schwartz, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh:
It should be noted that a failure to recently observe the formation of a new species, in the lifetime of a one or two human beings, does not negate the evidence that new species have evolved over time from a different ancestral species. In order to observe large scale changes, like the branching of cats and dogs from a single ancestral species, the observer or his successors would have to live for millions of years, and would have to be able to observe, record, catalogue, and interpret a truly enormous amount of information! This is obviously an impossible task, and an unreasonable requirement on the part of creationists! Dr. Schwartz is merely stating the obvious.
Dr. Morris is once again guilty of an outrageous twisting of the facts by stating that "A very bitter opponent of creation science, paleontologist Niles Eldredge, has acknowledged that there is little, if any, evidence of evolutionary transitions in the fossil record, Instead, things remain the same!" He quotes the following (p. 157) from Dr. Eldredge's book, The Pattern of Evolution:
The key word here is durations. Dr. Eldredge is referring to a period of stasis characteristic of punctuated equilibrium during which little change occurs until environmental stress results in a period of relatively rapid evolutionary change. In the very same paragraph he states:
Morris quotes from an article by Roger Lewin entitled "Family Feuds" in the publication New Scientist.
But Morris neglects to mention the content of the two preceding paragraphs:
The message of Dr. Lewin's article is crystal clear: molecular data, such as DNA comparisons, are more reliable in determining evolutionary relationships than the comparison of size and physical features. According to Morris the fact that the elephant shrew is much smaller than an elephant represents "scientific" evidence against evolution. His "scientific" evidence is no evidence at all, but merely his opinion, with no facts to support it!
Then he goes on to use the time dishonored creationist trick of distorting any area of uncertainty to tar the whole concept. He states:
The fact is, genetic evidence doesn't contradict the fossil record, but in some instances, clarifies it.
Not having the time and resources to run down the 20 quotations in the Morris Impact articles, the above is only a partial listing, but it should be enough to indicate the cynical distortions utilized by Dr. Morris.
Once again Morris trots out the time worn and thoroughly discredited creationist "thermodynamics" argument. This argument is absolutely, unequivocally, and mathematically contrary to the laws of thermodynamics. More information can be obtained by clicking on the following sections in this web site: A Brief Explanation of Thermodynamics , The Second Law of Thermodynamics, A Digest of the Section on the Second Law, and Creationist Thermodynamics. Basically, creationists contend that all solar energy must be wasted and can not result in increased complexity. Of course, this is obviously not true in the case of photosynthesis of cellulose in living plants from carbon dioxide and water. The creationist response has been to concoct a make-believe "energy conversion mechanism" that "overcomes" the laws of thermodynamics, laws which they admit apply without exception to all systems!
The fundamental applicable thermodyanmics law is expressed by the equation:
H = F + TS, where:
H = energy absorbed, F = energy allocated to increase commplexity, and TS entropy increase times temperature, or wasted energy. In any real process, there will always be an increase in S, resulting in some wasted energy. Although it is possible for TS to equal H so that F = 0, it is not inevitable. It all depends on the process involved. The creationist argument assumes that F always equals zero, and therefore all energy absorbed must always go to increasing entropy. That is just not so!