Scientific Hypothesis of Origins-2

Historical and Scientific Findings under scrutiny.

By FRANK L. MARSH, Professor of Biology, Union College, Nebraska

In the first installment of this discussion we have ob served that there are but two scientific hypotheses of origins, namely, evolution and special creation. We have observed that if a hypothesis is to be truly scientific, it must be in harmony with all known natural facts. We have observed that according to the widely accepted definition of evolution given by Doctor Dobzhansky, of Columbia University, the evolutionist, in order to prove his hypothesis true, must demonstrate that new kinds of plants and animals are now arising on, our earth. In our survey of present-day natural forces of change among organisms in order to ascertain whether new kinds are arising today, we found that geneticists are agreed that environmental variations cannot in any way accomplish the change of one kind into another. Rather, the hope of the evolutionist is focused upon those types of changes which affect the bearers of heredity. These types of variation are grouped into (I) recombinations, (2) gene mutations, and (3) chromosome changes. We have already observed that the first of these three types, recombinations, can give rise to delightful diversity but because they are merely combinations of factors already in the line, they can give rise to nothing really new. In this number of THE MINISTRY we continue with the last half of this discussion, which begins with a consideration of the remaining two of these three types of variation,.

Gene Mutations.—These are changes, possibly chemical in quality, which occur in a single hereditary unit. In the words of H. E. Walter, "Mutations,. . like Minerva springing full fledged from the head of Jove, are something qualitatively new, which appear abruptly without transitional steps or any apparent environmental cause, and breed true from the very first." 1

An idea of the qualitative and quantitative nature of mutational change can be gained in the knowledge that in plants these changes resulted in the sudden appearance of the fringed celandine from the greater celandine ; in the appearance of the Shirley poppy, with its wide range of colors, from the small red poppy of English cornfields ; in the production of double petunias, roses, azaleas, stocks, carnations, primroses, and daisies from single-flowered parents ; in the appearance of many-leaved tobacco plants from parents with few leaves; in red sweet potatoes from yellow; and in blotched leaf in maize from plain green leaf.

In animals, typical cases of mutational changes are seen in the appearance of the short-legged, or Ancon, sheep; in albino individuals among men, rabbits, rats, mice, guinea pigs, etc.; in hornless cattle from horned parents; in bulldog-faced dogs from normal-faced dogs; in pacing horses from trotters ; and in polydactylous men, cats, and swine from normal parents.

Mutations are very commonly harmful to the organism. For example, S. J. Holmes points out 2 that in scattered families of men, mutations are doubtless the cause of the appearance of such hereditary abnormalities as diabetes, certain kinds of deafness, asthma, certain types of feeblemindedness, and the tendency to tuberculosis. Fortunately, these abnormalities of mutational origin are usually inherited as recessives.

It is the opinion of geneticists that mutation of genes builds up differences within the animal or plant populations of more or less geographically limited areas until separate races are formed within a species. Evidence seems to justify this conclusion. To illustrate, it appears that the differences between the "spectacled" and unbridled phases of a cliff-dwelling sea bird, the guillemot, are probably due to a single gene. In the water snail Lintnaea the direction of coiling of the shell is determined by a single gene, purely dextral in some populations, purely sinistral in others. Races could be built up with just such differences. Most racial differences depend upon several genes, the individuals in one area differing in appearance from those in another area because of the difference in their gene patterns. The existence of geographical races among most organisms is a very real fact. That the differences in appearance among these races is due quite largely to mutational change associated with geographical isolation is apparently a very evident fact.

If mutation of genes can give rise to differences in appearance great enough to demark races within a species, we may with reason inquire, Can mutations give rise to new species? An answer here first requires a definition of a species. A practical modern definition would read, "A species is a group of fertile individuals or populations with the same or similar morphological characters." Now if the differences between two good species can be completely resolved into gene changes, it is possible for new species to arise naturally in nature.

However, the differences between two good species, even though these two species are both the same kind of plant (for example, species of snap dragons or the same kind of animal, as species of vinegar flies), are not reducible to a mere cluster of genes. On this point Dobzhansky says:

"But there is left a residue of differences between the parental species which is not easily dissolved into constituent genes. What is this residue? In either case is it possible to isolate individual genes, to determine exactly their number, and to study their properties one by one? The fact that such a feat of analysis has never been accomplished is an undeniable loophole in our knowledge of evolution. . . . It must be admitted that in no case have all the differences between two good species been completely resolved into gene changes."'

It is extremely important that we recognize the true situation here. Evolutionists speak vaguely and yet confidently of the theory of evolution's being a fact instead of a theory, because of the "sheer weight of evidence in its favor." However, Dobzhansky, an honest and careful evolutionist, recognizes that in the final analysis it cannot be demonstrated that new species arise as a result of gene mutations. He directs the attention of his colleagues to the fact that as the experimentalist gets right down to the point in his work where he should find new species appearing through gene changes, the thread of continuity vanishes abruptly. In order for new species to appear, some thing more than mere gene changes is required. Thus even the type of evolution which produces new species cannot be demonstrated in the laboratory. It is still merely by profession of faith in his theory that the evolutionist can say, "Evolution is demonstrable in the laboratory." Dobzhan sky is an optirnistic evolutionist. Even though no real proof of origin of new species is at hand, still he accepts it as his working hypothesis that the differences between two good species will yet be shown to consist of gene changes. Thus a scientist clings to his theory by faith; facts do not sustain him here.

Even if it could be shown that new species arise in nature, such a demonstration would not prove the theory of evolution to be true. The theory of evolution does not demand the origin of new species. A scientific demonstration of evolution would require the proof that new kinds arise by natural processes. A new species of vinegar fly, for example, would not constitute evolution. That would merely accomplish an enrichment in the varieties of vinegar flies in the world—nothing really new. Evolution would require a new kind of organism from existing kinds. In the preceding two paragraphs we have seen that not even new species of existing kinds appear. Not so much as a beginning has been made toward a demonstration of the origin of new kinds by the operation of natural forces.

Gene mutations indeed accomplish some pro found changes in organisms, but even in the vine gar fly where over one thousand mutations have been studied, the most extreme mutations leave no question in the mind of the investigator that the end result is anything more nor less than a vine gar fly. Mutations never produce new kinds of organisms, and for that reason are no help to evolutionists in their search for a natural force which can jump the abyss between even two good species within a single kind. The power to originate new kinds is not even hinted at among present-day natural forces.

VI

Chromosome Changes.—Two main classes of chromosome changes may be distinguished. Numerical changes involve variations of the number of chromosomes, but leave the gene contents and  arrangements within the chromosome unmodified. Structural changes alter the nuffiber or the distribution of genes in separate chromosomes.

Typical illustrations of chromosome changes are furnished in the variety of fruiting capsules produced in the Jimson weed by nondisjunction and translocation in the chromosomes; in the waltzing gait in mice in which deletion or loss of a portion of a chromosome has occurred; in the occurrence of different strains of vinegar flies due to inversion of hereditary material in the chromosomes ; in the greater stature and size of leaves and flowers, and in the slower growth and greater hardiness of-many polyploids in which the whole chromosome complement may have become duplicated one or more times ; and in the new varieties which are sometimes called new "species" which result from hybridization followed by ploidy.

The occurrence in nature of related species of the same genera that frequently have chromosome numbers which are multiples of a basic number may indicate that the species or genera have differentiated naturally through polyploidy. For ex ample, three common species of wheat have 7, 14, and 21 pairs. In chrysanthemums, the numbers range from 9 pairs through 18, 27, 36, and 45 pairs in different species, and among roses 14, 21, 28, and 35 pairs are known. But here again, as was true with mutations, the very most that is accomplished, even if new species are erected in this way, is the appearance of a new species, and what does another species of vinegar fly or- of a rose or of a chrysanthemum accomplish in the way of true evolution? Absolutely nothing, because evolution does not consist in the appearance of greater variety within the kinds, but rather, in the appearance of new kinds.

VII

Titus in these two types of variation lie the hope or the despair of evolutionists in their efforts to prove their theory. Dobzhansky says of these changes in chromosomes: "Mutations and chromosomal changes arise in every sufficiently studied organism with a certain finite frequency, and thus constantly and unremittingly supply the raw mate rials for evolution." 4 But he also says : "It has been pointed out above that the occurrence of gene mutation in laboratory experiments does not constitute a proof that evolution is caused by them.

The same statement applies equally well to chromosomal changes." 5

The theory of evolution states that modern forms have evolved from simple forms into their present-day complexity through mutational and chromosomal changes which can be studied experimentally. The experimental scientist is forced to recognize that facts do not bear out the change of one kind of organism into another. All that this variation does is to cause greater diversity within the kind. It never gives rise to new kinds. After all that chromosome change and mutation can do to vinegar flies has been done, we still have vine gar flies only.

How does the theory of evolution measure with these cold facts?. The theory states that new kinds of organisms arise. The facts state that variation never does more than produce greater diversity within the kind. In other words, the statement of the theory is contrary to the testimony of the clear facts. In such situations the theory must give way to the facts, and there should cease to be such a thing as an evolution theory, because it is not scientific. But prejudice and faith and things of the heart have beclouded pure science to such an extent that most modern scientists still cling to their theory of evolution and continue to search desperately for proof which will bolster it. Science is seen to be in a sorry state when its workers endeavor to move heaven and earth to prove a theory rather than to give attention to the clear testimony of facts. This strange wedding to a theory stands as the greatest anomaly in the scientific world today.

VIII

The only other hypothesis of origins is that of special creation. Are the facts any more kind to this hypothesis than to evolution? What are the statements of the hypothesis of special creation? There is only one place where the true statement of this theory can be found, and that is in the Scriptures. The first two chapters of Genesis state that the different kinds of plants and animals were created by God during creation week, which was but six twenty-four hour days in length. Genesis states that these forms were created with the same complexity of structure we see today. It further states that creation was finished during creation week, and that each organism was made in such a way that it could bring forth after its kind only.

The fact that this earth was created by God is not amenable to laboratory proof. But the two main statements of this theory which are directly contrary to claims of the evolution theory—(a) that all kinds were created in their present complexity, and (b) that one kind does not give rise to other kinds—are subject to laboratory study.

The fossil record takes us back to within sixteen centuries of the creation date. No evolutionist would consider that very much evolutionary change could possibly take place in that short time. Yet Austin Clark, of the National Museum, has pointed out that all animals at their "earliest appearance" in the rock strata are just as complex and as easily recognized as those of the same kind which occur in the "youngest strata." 6 This would not be so if the story were evolution from simple to complex. No evolutionary geologist has ever been able to explain this situation among the fossils. It stands as clear-cut scientific evidence that organ isms were created in their present-day complexity.

Considerable attention was given above to the kinds of changes which are occurring among organisms today. Mutational and chromosomal changes which are capable of producing the very widest possible variations were seen to do nothing more than achieve diversity within the kind. After these processes of variation have accomplished their utmost in changing organisms, we still find nothing more than varieties of vinegar flies coming from vinegar flies and varieties of maize com ing from maize. The clear-cut record of nature is that each kind of organism brings forth after its kind, and behold that is the very statement of the hypothesis of special creation.

IX

In section II we reviewed briefly the requisites of a scientific theory. We noticed that before it can become a theory, a hypothesis must survive the test of newly discovered facts, and must not be displaced by a more reasonable hypothesis. Ac cording to the evolutionary, hypothesis one kind of organism gives rise to other kinds, or at least, many modern kinds have come from a few primitive kinds. Newly discovered genetical facts re veal that nothing new ever springs from existing kinds. The universal testimony of research here is that the very evident forces of change in nature are not producing new kinds but merely additional varieties within kinds which already exist. In its statement of complexity from the beginning, and of the ability of organisms to bring forth only after their kinds, the hypothesis of special creation alone stands in complete agreement with the facts. The demands of truth require the special creationist to cause the evolutionist to. see that this modern variation within the kind in no way constitutes evolution of new kinds.

1 H. E. Walter, Genetics (Macmillan, 1938), p. 31.

2 S. J. Holmes, Human Genetics and Its Social Import (McGraw-Hill, 3936).

3 T. Dobzhansky, Genetics and the Origin of Species, pp. 81, 82. p. 13.

4 Id., p.

5 Austin Clark, The New Evolution Zoogenesis (William and Wilkins Co., I930), pp. 7, 100-105.


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By FRANK L. MARSH, Professor of Biology, Union College, Nebraska

September 1944

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