Last week the Wall Street Journal published a brief list of the scientific problems with evolution, supplied by John West of the Discovery Institute. Scientists are well aware of these problems but it is probably worthwhile to spell them out occasionally in a major newspaper. Even more worthwhile were the responses supplied by evolutionist Dr. Eric Meikle. 
Meikle is the Outreach Coordinator at the National Center for Science Education and has several decades of experience in evolution research, teaching and advocacy. Not surprisingly Meikle’s responses to West’s four problems are typical. They can be found throughout the evolutionary literature, from popular treatments to textbooks, and they speak volumes.
The evolutionist’s response to fundamental problems with his theory is reminiscent of a salesman. “Don’t worry, just trust us” is the message which otherwise is void of any scientific depth. Evolution is a fact, even if we don’t have a clue how it happened.
Is it not a problem that most mutations (the supposed fuel for evolution) are harmful and the rare beneficial ones produce only minor changes? Not a problem reassures the evolutionist. Perhaps harmful mutations can turn beneficial if the environment shifts. And in any case, as Meikle explains, biologists are continuing “to research mechanisms that produce evolutionary advances.” So we’re supposed to ignore scientific problems on the conviction that they will be resolved by future research?
West also points out that natural selection does not explain the development of fundamentally new biological features and organisms. Again, don’t worry, replies the evolutionist, for the Darwinists are busy looking at other factors such as genetic drift, in which genes can spread rapidly through small populations even if they don’t confer a specific advantage. But of course this helps very little for West’s point would apply with equal force in the case of genetic drift. Science is not telling us that natural selection, or any other known mechanism, creates fundamentally new biological features and organisms.
What about those species appearing abruptly in the fossil record? It is as though, as Richard Dawkins once put it, they were planted there. Again it can all be explained if, that is, one is willing to speculate. The vagaries of the fossil record allows for several million years, explains Meikle, over which the species could have evolved in a rapid process that would have left few fossils. That’s convenient. The fossil species appear abruptly, so this must mean that evolution occurs rapidly, leaving scant trace of its prodigious activities.
Surely the origin of first life must be admitted to be a problem, for everything from the basic macromolecules to the cell seem to defy a naturalistic explanation. Yet evolutionists even here maintain their optimistic speculation. “Research on the origin of life,” assures Meikle, “is very active.” And some of life’s chemicals have been synthesized under simulated conditions while others occur naturally in outer space. But Meikle’s confidence is without support, for this research has revealed a host of profound problems, as any origin of life researcher knows. As if aware of the overstatement Meikle concludes that, in any case, we ought not “assume that simply because humans have not done something, it cannot have happened through natural processes.” In other words, never doubt natural processes.
Evolution may defy science, but since it is a fact we know it must have occurred, one way or another. In this house of mirrors the high claims are matched only by the mysteries in explanation. But not to worry. “The key thing to remember,” reassures Meikle, “is that the evidence of evolution is overwhelming and independent — it stands no matter what debate might arise about the precise mechanisms involved.” But it is precisely this “evidence of evolution” that Meikle just failed to provide. In the face of fundamental scientific problems, the evolutionist can only respond with automated replies about future research and the heroics of naturalism.
1. Stephanie Simon, “Critiques, and Defenses, of Evolution,” The Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2008.