A Publication of Alpha Omega Institute January/February 2000; Vol. 17 No 1

Most evolutionists believe that Natural Selection (NS) and chance mutations over enormous amounts of time propel evolution. In theory, NS suggests that the “most fit” individuals survive, reproduce, and redistribute into the diverse eco-geographical regions of the world.

It is important to recognize that even creationists recognize NS. It is a process we observe in this fallen world. Edward Blythe, a 19th century scientist postulated NS twenty-four years prior to Darwins’ Origin of Species. Creationists recognize that NS can effect change, but only on a small scale. It enables a species to maintain its adaptation, not improve upon it. In fact, NS is a friend to the creation model, promoting a purity of God’s created kinds.

Not only is NS a friend to creation, but it presents major problems for evolution. Evolution’s imaginary transitional forms would have incomplete, unusable new structures (i.e. partial wing, partial arm etc.). These isolated, rudimentary aberrations would be inferior to the fully formed, fully functional structures of their parents. An intermediate form would be a detriment, not having selective competitive advantage.
“In other words, natural selection over the long run does not seem to improve a species’ chance of survival but simply enables it to “track, or keep up with, the constantly changing environment.1

The famous biologist D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson {1942} expounded on the negative role of NS: “ We begin to see that it is in order to account not for the appearance but for the disappearance of such forms as these that NS must be invoked. And we then, I think, draw near to the conclusion... that the great function of NS is not to originate but to remove ... we see in NS an inexorable force whose function is not to create but to destroy ---to weed, to prune, to cut down and to cast onto the fire.2 Wesson says, “Natural selection is credited with seemingly miraculous feats because we want an answer and have no other.”3

But what about the famous textbook proof of evolution, the Peppered Moth study by Kettlewell during the 1950’s ? Tree bark lichen died as the industrial pollution deposited soot into nearby forests. Consequently the white bark turned black in coloration. As a result, the light moth population declined and the dark moth population increased. We’re told the black moths had a selective advantage of camouflage, since birds ate the more visible white moths.

However, this is not an example of Evolution. This environmental stress did not promote any new moth types (i.e. changes within a kind - subspeciation), nor were there any changes between kinds (i.e. moth to butterfly - transpeciation). Both populations of moths were present prior to the industrial pollution. No accidental, chance mutation was needed to create this new variation. In fact, both moth types were classified under the same Genus & species (Biston betularia). The only difference between them is that the darker moths have more melanin pigment. Since Kettlewell’s study exhibits a population color shift, and not a new population origination, this is definitely not an example of evolution.

Is this really an example of NS? That depends on the cause of these changes. NS may have had a role if the increased visibility of the white moth population was naturally selected against.

However, another viable explanation is that the majority of white moths simply migrated to trees in outer rural areas with light colored tree-bark. A population redistribution would not fit the NS mechanism. Since the 1960’s, improved industrial pollution controls have helped restore lichen covered tree trunks to their prior light coloration. To a large extent, the light colored moths have returned as well.

Are these adaptations synonymous with evolution? No. Adaptations speak of the enormous genetic potential of living creatures. The incalculable complexities of the genome (i.e. total genetic potential of a population) provide a tremendous resource of variation within a kind. This preprogrammed gene pool gives created kinds the ability to adapt to a variety of conditions.

Even Kettlewell’s study itself has been called into question. Research by British scientist Cyril Clark spanning 25 years determined peppered moths to be primarily nocturnal. Rarely do they rest on tree bark during the day. Their daytime absence would minimize enormously the effect color would have on predation. (Kettlewell’s original photos were obtained by gluing dead moths onto bark).

Other studies have not repeated these original results. In fact, a poor correlation between population numbers and bark color exists. Even evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne (University of Chicago), agrees the peppered moth story, which was “the prize horse in our stable”, needs to be discarded.4

Since God is the author and designer of this world, He is central and not peripheral to science. The most brilliant minds of science pale infinitely, to the wisdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. The same Creator that spoke the heavens and the earth into existence, became man and died for our sins. The gospel of Evolution is a gospel of naturalism, atheism and humanism, whose savior is NS, mutations, and vast epochs of time. It denies the very existence, character, and identity of the living God. God and God alone deserves our hearts, our lives, our all.

1Richard Lewontin (Professor of Zoology, University of Chicago, and Co-Editor of the American Naturalist), ‘Adaptation’, Scientific American, vol. 239 (3), September 1978, p. 159

2Thompson, D’Arcy W., (1942). On Growth and Form: A New Edition, Cambridge; Cambridge University Press. Republished 1992, New Yorker: Dover (pp. 269-270).

3Wesson, R., 1991, Beyond Natural Selection, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass

4J.A. Coyne, Nature 396(6706):35-36.