Evolution, as Charles Darwin insisted, must “have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications.” Since the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, the pursuit of evolutionary paleontologists, embryologists, molecular biologists, and geneticists have been to discover these “successive, slight” changes−even in chromosomes.
The convergence of evidence from these scientific fields to paint a uniform evolutionary pattern was once considered the ultimate goal to validate Darwin’s theory. After 150 years of unprecedented research, however, the evidence is more contradictory than complementary. While Darwinism has never been validated, alternative theories of evolution continue to cycle through constant states of crisis. Scientific evidence from genes and chromosomes do not complement evolution.
In the realm of paleontology, Darwin’s missing transitional links in the fossil record are still missing, and apparently, never existed. Even Richard Dawkins has dumped the fossil record. Fossils, however, remain the only source of evidence to secure direct evidence to establish evolution as a scientific fact.
In spite of the ultimate importance of the fossil record, the scientists have increasingly re-directed their search to indirect “soft evidence” evidence in the fields of embryology, molecular biology and genetics.
Embryology, however, is still struggling to demonstrate that “ontology recapitulates phylogeny,” molecular biology has yet to find a single protein that has changed “by numerous, successive, slight modifications” from microbe to man, and advances in genetics has upended the second generation of Darwinism−neo-Darwinism.
Evolutionary biologist Douglas Futuyma of Stony Brook University, New York, lands neo-Darwinism with a smooth let-down: “The power of neo-Darwinism lies in its generality of explanation. But like most general theories, it is highly abstract.”
In simplicity, American biologist and 1999 recipient of the National Medal of Science, awarded by President William J. Clinton, Lynn Margulis wastes no words in getting to the point−“neo-Darwinism is dead.”
Even if the genetic mutation acted on by natural selection scheme of neo-Darwinism was still a viable theory, evidence from the chromosomes alone is nightmare material.
Chromosomes were first discovered during Darwin’s lifetime in 1875 by German biologist Oskar Hertwig. The role of chromosomes, however, went unknown until recognized by American geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan in 1915. For this work on chromosomes, Morgan was awarded The Nobel Prize in 1933.
Morgan, once a staunch anti-Darwinist, eventually became one of evolution’s strongest advocates of emerging neo-Darwinism theory of evolution after studying the effect of mutations on the Drosophila fruit fly. “Evolution has taken place,” Morgan argued in the 1916 book entitled A Critique of the Theory of Evolution, “by the incorporation into the race of those mutations that are beneficial to the life and reproduction of the organism.”
Morgan put forward a theory of the linear arrangement of the genes in the chromosomes, expanding this theory in his 1915 book, Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity.
Challenges to this neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, however, advanced along with the new biotechnologies capable of establishing the precise sequence of nucleic acids within the DNA molecule.
Genetic mutations, contrary to earlier expectations in the twentieth century to advance evolution, result in disease−not the origin of new species. The National Institute of Health now lists more than 4,000 diseases linked to specific genetic mutations. Huntington’s disease, neurofibromatosis, Marfan syndrome, hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, spinal muscular atrophy, Aicardi syndrome, hemophilia A, color blindness, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, and Klinefelter’s syndrome.
During May 2013 alone, genetic mutations giving rise to thirty-three new and distinct genetic diseases were reported on the Genetics website sponsored by the National Institute of Health. More to the point, none of the reported mutations were found to be beneficial for human health or advancing any theory of evolution.
“To say that blind mutations are the driving principle of the world,” Italian geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti gets to the point, “and to rely on the rare fortunate mistake, is a poor resource, quite apart from the fact that transgressions of the kind needed by Darwinian evolution have never been documented.”
Not only have Morgan’s mutations become a nightmare for evolution, so has the simple process of counting chromosomes for the presumed increase in complexity from the microbe to man.
The donkey has an estimated thirty-one chromosomal pairs, apes have twenty-four while humans have only twenty-three. The fern plant has five times more chromosomes (150) than humans. The absence of consistent evidence for increasing complexity by “numerous, successive, slight modifications,” as required by Darwin, undermines the central tenets of biological evolution.
For mammals, gender is usually a simple affair, at least as far as chromosomes are concerned. From mice to man, a single pair of chromosomes control sex—inheriting double Xs makes females, while inheriting a Y makes males. For the platypus, however, the story is seriously more complicated.
A research team headed by Frank Gruetzner, a molecular biologist at the Australian National University in a paper published in the journal Nature reports that the platypus has ten sex chromosomes, compared with two (XY) in most other mammals (for instance, a male platypus is always XYXYXYXYXY).
Even more perplexing, the team discovered that “the human X chromosome, lies at one end of the chain, and a chromosome with homology to the bird Z chromosome lies near the other end.” In an interview with Discover magazine writer Jocelyn Smith, Greutzner recognizes the obvious: “Now, we know this ambiguity goes all the way down to its genome.”
The scientific evidence is more compatible with a mosaic pattern of nature, not an evolutionary pattern of “successive, slight” changes.
In the words of Sermonti,
Between chromosome number and evolution of species, it was immediately clear that no clear relationship exists.
Evolution was once a theory in crisis, now evolution is in crisis without a theory.
Biological evolution may exist as a philosophical fact−not a scientific fact.