Best Evidence for Evolution: Examining Common “Best Proofs” Of Evolution

Posted by on Apr 17, 2014 in Think & Believe Newsletter | 0 comments

(From the larger article “What’s the Evidence?“)

Typically, textbooks, museums, zoos, and the popular media present a very one-sided, evolutionary approach to the question of origins, with no consideration of the possibility of creation by an intelligent designer. This section will show how data, which is usually interpreted as “proof” of evolution, can be interpreted through a different set of glasses. For study purposes, this evidence is grouped under 4 categories:


The evolutionary claim is that organisms change, thus proving evolution. Let’s examine this claim. In the broadest sense, the term, evolution, just means “change,” so at that level there is no contest. However, “evolution” as generally defined in the origins debate refers more specifically to the idea that the first “simple” cell arose spontaneously by natural processes sometime in the distant past, and that major changes have occurred naturally over time, producing the vast array of life we see today. This would obviously require the generation of tremendous amounts of new genetic information. Is there evidence for this magnitude of change?

Evolutionary textbooks often include evidences like the various beak forms in Darwin’s famous Galapagos finches, color variations in peppered moths, antibiotic resistance in bacteria, and DDT resistance in insects.  For each of these examples, it is necessary to determine the type and amount of change, and then see if this is adequate to explain the evolution of organisms from molecules to man simply by natural processes.  In our experience, most evidences of change used to “prove” evolution in textbooks are relatively minor changes within the basic type of organism, not changes from one kind of organism to another. These examples are sometimes called, “microevolution” or “adaptation,” but finches are still finches, moths are still moths, and bacteria are still bacteria. Evolutionists may speculate that these minor changes could add up to become major changes, but it is just speculation, since there is no direct evidence that this is what has truly occurred.

A Creationist View of Change

Creationists agree that organisms can undergo change, but that this change is limited. The basic kinds of organisms were created distinctly at some time in the past, and that there has been variation or diversification within those created kinds, but that one “kind” does not change into another “kind.” This is consistent with the creation account in Genesis where the phrase “after its/their kind” occurs ten times. Thus, the creatures we see today are descendants of the originally created “kinds.” Research is still needed to determine more accurately how to identify these kinds today, but they are generally thought to be at levels higher than the species level.

For example, consider the various dog breeds. Evolutionists and creationists both see change. The evolutionist would have to assume that all the traits for large dogs or small dogs, spots or no spots, and various forms and color combinations were produced by mutations. Even the first real “dog” would have come from mutations of other animals. A creationist would point to the fact that most of the dog breeds have come into existence within the last several hundred years by selective breeding. Starting with “mutts” and repeatedly mating the dogs and their puppies exhibiting a certain desired trait, the trait can be “favored” until Black Labs, Chihuahuas, or Dalmatians are produced. Creationists would say this is not evolution in the broad sense because the traits were already present in the original dog population. There is really no evidence of “new” genetic material just a recombination of what was already there. The same basic argument would apply to supposed evolution of finches, peppered moths, antibiotic resistance in bacteria, and DDT resistant insects as described below.

Classic Textbook Examples of Change

Darwin’s Finches: These finches found on the Galapagos Islands have differing sizes and shapes of beaks. They are often cited as positive evidence for evolution. However, it is now known that some of the different “species” interbreed, indicating they are the same species. Also different sizes and shapes of beaks really prove nothing. Think of all the different sizes and shapes of “beaks” (a.k.a. noses) in humans. Actually, the differences in beaks can be explained easily by variation within a created kind. Therefore, they don’t “prove” evolution. Lately it has been shown that the variations in finch beaks correlate to changes in weather patterns from rainy to drought years. This throws an interesting twist on the topic.

Peppered Moths: After the industrial revolution in Great Britain, it was noticed that the peppered moth population shifted from predominantly light coloration to predominantly dark coloration. This was attributed to “natural selection,” since the dark moths were better camouflaged on the soot-darkened trees, making them less likely prey for birds. This has been widely used as an example of evolution in action. While it might possibly be an example of natural selection, it certainly doesn’t “prove” evolution, since both varieties of moth were present in the population in the first place, and moths are still moths. There is nothing new. This fits easily within the creation model of variation within a created kind. (It is interesting to note that the whole peppered moth story is now in question. See Icons of Evolution, by Jonathan Wells, for more information on peppered moths, Darwin’s finches, and other common “proofs” of evolution.10)

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria and DDT Resistant Insects: These have been touted as proof of evolution in action. When antibiotics are first used on a population of bacteria, many die, but usually some survive and reproduce. This has produced seemingly stronger strains of bacteria (at least to that specific antibiotic). This does not prove evolution since there is no evidence of new genetic information. It merely underscores the fact that resistance was already present in the population. This can be shown from autopsies performed on explorers who tried to cross the Antarctic before the antibiotics were even being used. The explorers had antibiotic resistant bacteria in their stomachs.11  Even if some antibiotic resistance could be proved to arise due to mutation, these changes are relatively minor. Bacteria are still bacteria. There is no evidence that this type of change can actually lead to the evolution of new kinds of organisms. Again, this evidence is easily explained by variation within a kind. A similar argument applies to DDT resistant insects.


Another common textbook “evidence” for evolution is the similarity between various types of organisms. The similarity may be structural (e.g. bone structure in the forelimb of various animals), chemical (e.g. similar amino acid sequences in proteins or nucleotide sequences in DNA), or developmental (similar developmental sequences or structures). The claim is that similarity indicates common ancestry. True, if two organisms really had developed from a common ancestor, you would expect to find some similarities. However, you can’t turn that logic around and expect it to hold true. Design by an intelligent designer would be another possible reason for similarity.

Structural Similarity:  Forelimbs of various animals look somewhat similar, but does this prove evolutionary development from a common ancestor? There are other reasons why things might be similar. Similarity could be the result of design to perform a similar function (e.g. boats in the harbor have a similar basic structure, because they were all designed to float on water). It could also be assumed that if a certain structure were optimal, then a master designer would make minor modifications of that optimal pattern for slightly different applications in other animals. Furthermore, similarity could be evidence of design by only one creator, not multiple creators. If structural homology really did result from common ancestry, you would expect this homology to be reflected in similar genes and developmental sequences. However, research has shown that this is not always the case. Sometimes structures that look outwardly similar have widely different genetic or developmental patterns. This seems more in line with origin according to an intelligent designer, who feasibly could devise more than one way to arrive at the same structure.

Biochemical Similarity: Similarities in the amino acid sequence in proteins or the nucleotide sequence in DNA are often cited as evidence of an evolutionary relationship. However, closer observation shows many anomalies. Also, the degree of similarity between different organisms varies according to which biochemicals are chosen. Clear relational patterns have not been found and attempts to construct clear “evolutionary trees” based on a wide variety of biochemicals have failed with different chemicals giving different ancestral trees. Creationists would expect to find some similarities since the whole language, which codes for the sequence, is based on only four possible choices in each location. Creationists also explain the differences based on the creator’s unique design for the various kinds of creatures. Some books and articles report we are 98 % similar to chimpanzees. That sounds pretty convincing until you recognize that we are 50% similar to bananas, 92% similar to zebrafish, and 97.5% similar to mice.

Embryological Similarity: Textbook pictures of human embryos often label certain structures as gill slits, yolk sac, and a tail. They then say this proves we evolved from fish! This is just plain wrong and deceptive! These supposed leftovers from evolution are important in human development, but do not function as they are named. “Gill slits” are not gills. They do not function in oxygen transfer. Normally they are not even slits; they are pouches, which grow into many structures of the neck and jaw. The “yolk sac” in humans doesn’t contain yolk but is a blood forming sac, used until the baby has long bones to manufacture its own blood. The “tail” is not a tail at all. Rather, it is an important part of human anatomy for muscle attachment for upright stance. Injure your coccyx and you will see how important it is! Why even call these structures by those names in a textbook unless someone is trying to make you think you evolved from fish?

The Biogenetic Law (Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny or ORP): This so-called “law” taught that during prenatal development, a baby would repeat the stages of evolution in an accelerated manner. Ernst Haeckel’s drawings of various embryos did much to advance this idea. However, it has been known for many years that these drawings were fraudulent and the theory inaccurate. The differences are much greater than depicted in the drawings, and distinct features of various developing embryos are recognizable early in development. Some contend that this argument is not being used anymore. One Yale biology professor and writer stated:

“Surely the biogenetic law is as dead as a doornail.  It was finally exorcized from biology textbooks in the fifties.  As a topic of serious theoretical inquiry it was extinct in the twenties…”12

However, a review of textbooks published recently showed that “modern” textbooks still contained the same “extinct” argument. Bad ideas sometimes die slowly.

Recently a revised notion of ORP has surfaced. Some say that the embryo skips the developmental stages that it doesn’t need. For example, a mammal would not go through the stage where the embryo develops gill slits like a fish, because it doesn’t need gill slits. Thus, all unnecessary stages have been dropped off in the developmental process. This sounds very convenient, but what would be the mechanism for that? How does evolution have the brains to know what is not going to be needed? Keep in mind the argument tries to explain the noticeable absence of what has traditionally been expected and assumed to be there, but in reality is not. The evidence indicates that humans are human from the instant of conception, never passing through a “fish” stage or any other animal stage.

A new evolutionary argument has recently been used to explain the origin of new traits. This involves changes in regulatory or homeobox genes.

Regulatory or Homeobox Genes: How do you get new traits? A recent idea that has hit the textbooks says that mutational changes in regulatory (“homeobox”) genes, can “turn on” a whole sequence of genes during development, resulting in the rapid appearance of new traits. However, this only begs the question: How did the complex sequence of genes evolve by accident in the first place – especially since none of the intermediate, unexpressed sequence would have any selective advantage until “turned on”? It is kind of like imagining a whole house being wired with multiple lighting circuits by accidents of mutations. Suddenly a main breaker is switched on and the whole system functions together. This is not a likely scenario!

Research shows a suite of extremely complex, interrelated events during development that defy chance, evolutionary processes. The only logical explanation seems to be design by an extremely intelligent designer.


Vestigial Organs – Evolutionists predict that over the supposed millions of years of evolution, there should be many “leftovers” (vestiges) from evolution that have no function today. Based upon that assumption, various lists of “vestigial organs” have been proposed. Included in the lists have been such crucial parts of our body such as the pituitary gland, thymus, parathyroid, etc., which obviously have very important functions. Even the appendix and the tonsils, which people still commonly state are useless leftovers, have now been demonstrated to function in immunity. Today virtually everything has been taken off of the list of “leftovers.” (One might wonder, “How many cases of medical malpractice have occurred, removing truly useful organs because of wrong evolutionary thinking?”)  Creationists would expect that further research will demonstrate functions for the few remaining. However, even if something really had lost function over time, that would not “prove” evolution. Loss of information or function fits easily within either model; it is thegain of information that is difficult to explain for evolution, as discussed above.

Junk DNA – Besides vestigial organs,another form of vestiges from evolutionary past that is being tossed around a lot today is “Junk DNA.”  In fact, up to 97% of the DNA has been classified by some evolutionists as “junk.” Does this remind you of what happened with the so-called “vestigial organs”? We have contended for a long time that this DNA actually serves a very important function, but we just don’t know what it is yet. Our prediction has been that further research would demonstrate the function of these large segments of DNA. Recent findings are now confirming this prediction. According to a noted Cornell University genetics researcher, Dr. John Sanford, “It is becoming increasingly clear that most, or all, of the genome is functional.”(Sanford, J. C., Genetic Entropy & The Mystery of the Genome. New York: Ivan Press, 2005,p.39)

 “IMPERFECTION” – Sometimes people will point to a structure that appears to them to be poorly designed. They think they could have designed it better. This argument from imperfection leads them to conclude that there must not be an intelligent designer and thus, evolution must be true. This argument presupposes that we really do know better than the designer and that there was not a good reason for the form of the structure. It also ignores the fact that degenerative changes may have occurred since the original creation. Upon close inspection, however, it has usually been shown that the designer’s way wins out over man’s.

A common example is the claim that the human eye is wired poorly. The claim is that we would be able to see farther and better in a dimly lit room if the nerve endings were at the side of the eye, rather than in the line of vision. However, if that person who thinks he can do better than the designer would try out his “improved” model, he would find himself blinded for up to 2 hours by a flash camera and would likely be totally blind after venturing outside on a sunny day. Apparently, the designer knows best!


The fossil record is usually given as the best evidence for evolution, but is it? According to evolution, there should be a record of constant change in the fossil record, leaving thousands of transitions from very simple forms at the bottom (oldest) of the geologic layers to highly advanced forms at the top. However there are at least 3 good reasons why the fossil record supports the creation model and offers devastating evidence against the theory of evolution.

Observations Showing That the Fossil Record Supports Creation, Not Evolution

Complexity Is Everywhere

According to evolutionary theory, fossils of early life-forms should be very simple, but even in the Cambrian and other “early” geologic periods, where life supposedly first became abundant, organisms are extremely varied and complex. These include trilobites with complex eyes similar to dragonflies and flies. Also included are recent findings of fish deep in the Cambrian layers that could smell and see. (Nature, February 2003). There is nothing in lower geologic layers giving even a clue how such complex life came about by evolution. Evolutionists themselves call this sudden appearance of complex life forms the Cambrian Explosion or the Biologic Big Bang. The evidence is consistent with Creation, the Fall and the Flood, not slow and gradual evolution. Even Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia’s latest editions state:

“One of the most difficult problems in evolutionary paleontology has been the almost abrupt appearance of the major animal groups – classes and phyla – in full-fledged form, in the Cambrian and Ordovician periods.  This must reflect a sudden acquisition of skeletons by the various groups, in itself a problem.”

Fossils Show Stasis not Change

Evolution predicts vast changes in living things over millions of years. Why then are there so few differences between the fossil and living specimens of so many organisms? Wouldn’t you expect more change over all those millions of years if evolution was true? This includes fossils of pine cones, dragonflies, birds, coelacanths, shells, and leaves.

Fossils Indicate Distinct Kinds Not Change

Distinct kinds of animals are found in the fossil record which show a remarkable lack of transitions. Even though textbooks show a lot of good artwork giving supposed (yet unfound) transitional forms, the missing links are still missing! Both evolutionists working in the field and creationists have been stating this for many years, but current textbooks still continue to spread the false information that the fossils prove evolution. Here are a couple of quotes that have gone unheeded for many years by textbook authors:

“Despite the bright promise that paleontology provides a means of seeing evolution, it has presented some nasty difficulties for evolutionists. The most notorious of which is the presence of gaps in the fossil record. Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them!”  [David Kitts, evolutionist, Paleontology and Evolutionary Theory, Evolution, Vol. 28, (September 1974), p. 467.]

“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.  The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. [S. J. Gould, Evolution’s Erratic Pace,  Natural History, 86(5):13, (May 1977), p. 14.]

But whatever ideas authorities may have on the subject, the lungfishes, like every other major group of fishes that I know, have their origins firmly based in nothing. . . . I have often thought how little I should like to have to prove organic evolution in a court of law.” [Errol White, “A Little on Lungfishes,” Proceedings of the Linnaean Society of London, Vol. 177, (January 1966), p. 8.] [It even got worse with the discovery of fish in the Cambrian in 2003!]

 For many more quotes from evolutionists themselves, see That their Words Might be Used Against Them by Dr. Henry M. Morris (1997, 2000) The evidence seems to indicate that creatures were created “after their own kind,” not one kind changing into another. That is exactly what the Bible states10 times in Genesis 1.

Textbook Pictures of Transitional Forms (“Artwork!”)

A thinking person might ask, “But what about the horse series, Pakicetus, or other transitions depicted in magazines and textbooks?” That is a good question, but upon investigation, it is found that the sequences of transitions shown in textbooks usually include artistic depictions of supposed stages for which there is no fossil or living evidence. Often, the so-called “missing links” are supported more by artistic imagination than by actual evidence. It is certainly obvious that evolutionary, naturalistic glasses are often used to “put the meat on the bones”! To keep from being misled, readers of evolutionary textbooks need to ask the question, “What’s the evidence?” Here are some examples of common textbook fossil proofs that fall short:

Pakicetus: The long sought-after missing link between land animals and whales was announced in the early 1980’s. Complete artistic reconstructions of Pakicetus hit the newspapers and even Science Magazine showed a whale with legs on its front cover. Headlines in another magazine said, “Bones Prove Whales Walked.” It looked convincing; however, most people never realized how little evidence was actually found – a few teeth, a small fragment of jaw, and one bone at the back of the skull. That is all – no backbone, no tail, no legs. How can something without legs prove it walked? More recent evidence in 2004 indicates this creature probably looked more like a long-legged rat than a whale.

The Horse Series: A textbook picture showed a tiny spotted “horse” evolving into a modern horse, but how do you know anything about spots from a fossil? All you have is a pile of bones! How did it change from a creature with browsing teeth to grazing teeth leaving no transitions? Why are the bones of present-day horse found in rock layers below some of their ancestors? You can’t be your own grandmother! Besides, just lining something up in an order doesn’t mean it evolved that way! However, the horse series is still in textbooks.

Fish with Legs: Smithsonian (April 2006) reports that “the” missing link between fish and amphibians has been found. Has it really? Time will tell. Many times in the past, a fossil has been touted as “the” missing link only to be dismissed after further investigation. Keep in mind that every new “potential” link gets evolutionists excited since they don’t have many of those elusive links. However, they really need hundreds of thousands of “links” to substantiate their case – not just one suspected one.

Dinosaur to Bird Evolution: Fossils found in China have been touted as evidence that dinosaurs evolved into birds. Pictures appeared of fossils with fuzzy film around them. The artwork in the articles showed half-birds/half reptiles with full-fledged feathers. This really stretched the evidence and many bird experts (including evolutionists) totally disagreed. Several of the “links” were later found to be forgeries. (See Think & BelieveVol. 17, Num. 2.) In June, 2006, articles splashed on the news about a new, 110 million year old, fossil bird “missing link.” One article said that it looks like a duck and likely swam like a duck. From the initial reports, it looks like a modern water bird like a grebe or a loon. Many newspaper articles, magazines, and web sites report that it would appear normal today complete with webbed-feet! The articles also said the find is likely the mother of all the modern birds. Wait a minute! Haven’t they been telling us that a dinosaur was the mother of birds? It appears like the main reason it is called a missing link is because of its supposed ancient age. Other than that, it looks pretty modern.

Human Evolution: Textbooks frequently illustrate a traditional line-up of supposed transitional forms from ape-like creatures to man. However, upon closer examination, these line-ups are not as well-documented as might be expected. The pictures found in the textbooks are artistic renditions often based upon fragmentary evidence (e.g. a few bones, teeth, fragments, etc.). Composites are also shown which were reconstructed from widely-separated skeletons. Based on the actual evidence, creationists would contend that apes were created as apes, humans as humans. The similarities may be interesting, but really have nothing to do with origins.

The history of “research” into the evolution of human beings is fraught with wishful thinking, errors, and even deception. Here are a few examples from the past. We encourage you to be cautious before embracing the “newest” and “latest” finds supposedly supporting human evolution.

Nebraska Man was reconstructed from only one tooth! That tooth was later found to belong to a pig.

Piltdown Man was a deliberate hoax. Someone filed down the teeth of an ape’s jaw, put it together with the skull of modern man, and colored it to look the same. The artistic picture stood as proof of human evolution for 30 years before the hoax was exposed, but was still found in textbooks for at least another 40 years.

Ramapithecus and family as depicted in textbooks were put together from 2 small fragments of a skull. Later discoveries showed it was nothing but an ape.

Neanderthal, once considered very primitive and “ape-like,” was based on the bones of diseased individuals suffering from, rickets, arthritis, vitamin deficiency, and old age. Scientists now think that he would go totally unnoticed in a crowd.

“Lucy”   was a composite reconstruction made from fragments of several creatures which were assumed to be of the same species even though they are found great distances apart.“Lucy” (species in general) was pieced together from a portion of a skeleton found in one place, a knee joint found approximately 2-3 kilometers (approximately 2 miles) away, and a skull found a great distance from the other pieces.

Kadabba, was also a composite reconstruction, put together from a few bone fragments found scattered over 5 different locations. Time Magazine (July 23, 2001) reports that a single toe bone proved this creature walked on two legs. Ironically, the toe bone was found about 10 miles away from the skull fragments! It sure seems suspect! There is much room for error when researchers make composite pictures based on widely dispersed material. This is especially true when a strictly evolutionary bias is applied which assumes all bones are of the same species and that people were not around until much later. If both apes and humans co-existed, it would be easy to mistakenly come up with a half-ape / half-man reconstruction by making composite pictures.

Ida was announced in May of 2009 in one of the biggest ever media blitzes for any fossil. It is purported to be one of the most import links in human evolution. One promoter of Ida says it will be in the textbooks for 100 years. The problem is that the blitz all took place before the experts got a chance to see it. Many have expressed their opinions that they are not too impressed with the evidence. The fossil is certainly a fossil lemur. However, we have living lemurs today. But, they say, it must be in your ancestry because it is an old lemur. Hmmmmm. For more information see Ida.

The Sequence Fallacy

At the heart of the evolutionary argument for transitional forms and sequential line-ups is the premise that if organisms can be lined up in some sort of logical sequence, that must prove evolutionary ancestry. True, if organisms really did evolve from a common ancestor, it should be possible to line up the pattern of evolutionary descent. However, you cannot turn the logic backwards. Just because humans can group things in particular ways or organize them in particular sequences, does not mean they necessarily “evolved” from one another. We can arrange all sorts of things according to various traits (e.g. size, shape, colors, etc.), but these sequences may or may not have anything to do with ancestral relationships. It may have much more to do with imagination and our innate ability to sort things. For example, think of how many intermediate forms can be used to prove that roller blades evolved into a train!

Fossil Summary

Some of the above examples are admitted by evolutionists to be mistakes, and are sometimes even called “triumphs” of the scientific method. Sadly, the same methodology is being used today. Too many people never see the “correction” of these mistakes and are misled into believing that evolution is a “proven scientific fact.” We hope the reader will learn from history’s mistakes and not be taken in by artistic imagination and evolutionary bias in lieu of real evidence. In our opinion, the fossil evidence is better explained by the Biblical record of Creation, Fall, and Flood.

By Dave Nutting

From the article “What’s the Evidence?

Please call our office or email us at [email protected] for additional resources on these subjects.

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