How convincing is the modern synthesis, today’s dominant evolutionary theory? That’s hard to say, because it’s protected from inspection by a massive wall of abstruse mathematics. How sound it is, however, you can gauge by how massive a defense is mounted in response to any chink being pointed to in that wall. Instead of making the synthesis more convincing, the massiveness of that defense--like the thickness of a scab--testifies more to how tender and vulnerable are the tissues lying beneath it. Example of such massive defenses are the legal arguments professional evolutionists mount against challenges that go by the name “irreducible complexity”.
“Irreducible complexity” has so far stood for any one instance of life so complex that the modern synthesis can’t account for how it evolved. The threat is, if the wall around the synthesis is breached in even one place the entire wall will collapse and the theory will stand nakedly exposed to scrutiny. So far, with the vastly greater resources available to it, the evolutionary profession has successfully beaten back all such challenges. No single instance of complexity has exhausted their powers to account for it.
I propose a different challenge: I propose to show the emperor actually has no clothes, at all! There is no massive citadel guarding the synthesis. The maths itself is faulty. The theory is completely open to inspection. And what a weakling it appears!
What is the theory at issue? In words it says the definition of each species (its genes) is maintained and evolves through two processes acting in succession. First, as is bound to happen to complex molecules at room temperature, genes randomly decay. Second, competition among individuals of the species to survive to reproduce will lead to genes favoring survival getting passed on more frequently to following generations. As a result of these two processes, instances of decay that help creatures survive to reproduce (“beneficial mutations” leading to greater “fitness”) will come to predominate in the gene pool until, over many generations, they amount to evolutionary progress.
Criticize this claim and evolutionists warn you to save your breath. The form of the theory they subscribe to is purely mathematical--population statistics. Only criticisms in mathematical form are deemed worthy of consideration.
And that would be that. Except, the math is faulty--a classic example of "garbage in, garbage out." To demolish the wall around the theory and expose it to view you don’t need to understand the math, you need only a little simple figuring.
First, imagine you’ve in your hands the blueprint for a complex mechanism, say a Mars lander, or a living creature such as an elephant. It’s going to be an extremely detailed, precisely-drawn document. Now, a million times over, you throw off a copy of that blueprint, making one or more changes to each one, at random. Are any of those copies likely to be an improvement? Bear in mind, there are vastly more ways in which the blueprint can be made less functional than more functional. According to the modern synthesis, evolution involves only the very-occasional more-functional versions becoming more frequent in future generations. But for that you need a process 100% efficient at detecting and eliminating the huge number of damaged versions, when in fact, the efficiency of natural selection is closer to 1%. In each generation, harm will greatly outweigh benefit.
How has that been concealed from us? The math behind which the modern synthesis hides applies natural selection to only favorable changes, portraying them spreading through the gene pool slowly over thousands of generations, while ignoring how the unchecked torrent of harmful changes will rapidly drive the species to extinction. The math is faulty.
Another way the math is faulty; according to the eminent physicist and mathematician Erwin Schrodinger, “multifactorial analysis” can’t operate on enough factors at once to account for evolution. He pointed out that, through such a process as natural selection acting in an environment as “noisy” as a species’ environment, you could conceivably select for no more than around a dozen mutations at a time. But evolution demands action on untold millions of factors at once. Any feature of significance, such as elephants evolving a trunk, involves vastly more than just ten individual mutations. And you must at the same time maintain all existing features else they’ll be lost. That’s millions, even billions, of features having to be selected for at once. Not ten.
Third, there are just too many coding pairs in the genome--billions--for specific changes among them to be selected for in mere millions of generations. It would need billions of generations, at least. Example; there are three billion coding pairs in the human genome yet we developed hairlessness, vertical posture, enhanced hand-eye coordination, toolmaking ability, brains enlarged three-fold and capability for language in just a few hundred thousand generations. Could all the re-codings needed for all those complex beneficial changes to genes have been arrived at by chance and selected for by natural selection, all at the same time, so quickly? No way!
Fourth, as Alfred Wallace pointed out, we humans developed talents required for art and science in the course of becoming civilized in a mere couple of thousand years, far too short a time for natural selection to be the mechanism. An obvious problem--has Wallace’s challenge been met? Not yet, in the 150 years since he issued it.
I could go on—most genes code for multiple benefits, and most benefits involve multiple genes, hardly what you’d expect from a process selecting for genes and features individually, one at a time. Some genes, for vital functions, are preserved from change. Clearly, then, mutation is not random, it’s directed, at least to the extent of some of it being prevented. That raises the possibility that all the generic change involved in evolution could be directed.
If simple figuring shows the math and logic behind the modern synthesis to be so flawed, why isn’t that obvious to the evolutionists themselves? Beats me! Why didn’t the emperor realize he wasn’t wearing any clothes?
To me, the argument from irreducible complexity is irrefutable. Only, instead of any one example making the case, it’s all of nature--nature itself is too complex for the modern synthesis to account for it. Once you see that, the modern synthesis becomes just another specimen impaled on its own pin in the museum of failed scientific theories.
What’s great about that is the opportunity it presents to young evolutionists to use some simple figuring of their own to arrive as something more plausible, more convincing. Send it here, we’ll publish it.