Sunday, 26 December 2010


I have tried to show in earlier posts that it is important to check ones assumptions. When one turns to Science or what is alleged to be Science it is more important than ever. Let us see why. Take an example from Medicine.

In 1847, James Young Simpson, a Scots physician,  advocated the use of anæsthetics in cases of childbirth. This he argued would relieve pain and suffering. Simpson was immediately met by a torrent of opposition. The roots of this hostility went as far back as the sixteenth century. For, in 1591, Eufame Macalyane, a lady of rank, sought the aid of  a woman named Agnes Sampson for the relief of pain consequent at the time of birth of her two sons. As a result Macalyane  was burned alive on the Castle Hill of Edinburgh.


What was the reason for this barbarism?  It was derived from wrong religious assumptions. From pulpit after pulpit Simpson's use of chloroform was denounced as both ungodly and a violation of Scripture. Biblical texts were used to declare that the use of chloroform in this way was an attempt to bypass the so called "primeval curse on women."

Simpson countered by quoting the second chapter of Genesis, which records the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam. He stated it as the record of the first surgical operation ever performed, during which God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. In short, God was performing the first painless operation. Even so a Doctor writing in The Lancet argued against the use of aneasthetics and challenged the Biblical interpretation that Simpson had offered.

Forgetting the religious prejudice against anaesthetics medical opposition was also vociferous. The position of some members of the scientific and medical fraternity can be seen in the attitude of John B. Porter ( 1810-69) an American Army surgeon. He distrusted all anaesthetics and  prohibited their use wherever he had  medical command. Porter assumed that  anaesthetic agents would delay wound-healing and increase the risk of haemorrhage. With these assumptions in mind,  Porter claimed therefore, that inhaling ether vapour to knock a soldier out was highly dangerous. He believed that breathing in the anaesthetic tended to poison the patient's blood, damage or weaken muscle contraction and seriously affect the nervous system. His assumptions caused him to make ridiculous statements. For example, he alleged in print that hospital gangrene hadn't even existed before the ill-judged introduction of anaesthesia.

But there was even more to it than that. Despite the horrific agony experienced by a wounded patient as he submitted to the knife. The opposition to painless surgery was also a reflection of the prevailing military ethos of tough masculinity. Fit young soldiers supposedly did not need - and might even become effeminate - by the use of such a decadent novelty.

In fact such assumptions extended beyond America.

Apparently, Sir John Hall (1795-1866) England's Chief Medical Officer in the Crimean War and Inspector General of Hospitals discouraged the use of chloroform and alleged that the 'lusty bawling' when the knife cut into the flesh was a 'powerful stimulant.' He was not alone. Many of his Medical colleagues advocated that the the crying aloud and screaming of the patients should not be suppressed. 

Although the opposition lingered for some time, it was eventually overcome when in the Crimean War (1853-56) the French reported more than 20,000 operations without a fatality.

Thankfully, this assumption that anaesthesia is wrong was eventually successfully challenged and overcome. Imagine the needless suffering one would still have to endure.

What was the result of challenging this assumption. First that horrendous suffering during serious operations (amputations etc) can now be performed without pain. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, Science or religious assumptions are not always correct. From the perspective of this present post Scientific pronouncements regarding Evolution should be challenged.

Consequently, it should be obvious where this Post is going. Namely, that Science is fallible and one should vigilantly check its speculations. With that in mind let us proceed to certain assumptions regarding Evolution. 

For a start, consider the meaning of the words Evolution; Micro-Evolution, and Macro- Evolution. In a Biological context these words can have no meaning at all unless it is FIRST ASSUMED that all life as we know it originated from a single celled organism that itself had arisen by the sheer chaotic and chance collection of molecules. There was no guiding hand, no Creator, just chance.

Ok,  the word, EVOLUTION means 'in a long-term perspective, evolution is the descent, with modification, of different lineages from common ancestors.' This is a statement by a prominent evolutionist, Douglas Futyma. It amounts to roughly what I have stated. In some senses this seems a played down comment. But, there are other definitions, which some biologists object to. For example. The Oxford Concise Science Dictionary defined it as 
evolution: The gradual process by which the present diversity of plant and animal life arose from the earliest and most primitive organisms, which is believed to have been continuing for the past 3000 million years
It hits the point, no matter how much evolutionists might quibble.

What about MICRO-EVOLUTION? An acceptable  definition would seem to be 'Evolution resulting from a succession of relatively small genetic variations that often cause the formation of new subspecies.' In short species change due to genetic factors but, notice they only form, new subspecies. Why use 'Evolution,' Why not simply variation 

What then about MACROEVO
LUTION. It is usually defined simply as, 'Changes at or above the species level' This is a slippery term as we shall see.

This should pose no problem whatsoever, to those who doubt Darwin's notion, interpreted in many ways now by Evolutionists. The idea as defined earlier in the Oxford Concise Dictionary hits it.

One must BEWARE however of taking on assumptions. These assumptions are:

- that Darwin's notion is correct

- that the word, so called Micro Evolution (better described as VARIATION) which does result in the emergence of new species can be extrapolated to (without undisputed evidence) result in so called Macro Evolution or Evolution ABOVE the species level.

Evolutionists seek a get out when they suggest that Macro Evolution occurs AT ... the species level. Because new species do arise, this opens the door wide enough to suggest that creatures have changed from one form into another: single-celled organism to fish to amphibians to reptiles to birds etc etc etc to man.

So if the word Evolution is used in Darwin's sense, IT HAS NOT TAKEN PLACE. It certainly DOES NOT take place today.

Let us look briefly at one or two examples of Micro-Evolution (I think this word gives the wrong impression so I shall use Species- Variation instead) In NO case have the following examples, despite being offered as proofs of Evolution been anything other than VARIATION WITHIN THE SPECIES.

The Peppered Moth has been offered many many times as an example of Evolution. It is of course nothing of the sort. There are two forms of the moth. A light coloured form, typica and a dark coloured form carbonaria.

At the start of the Industrial Revolution, The light-colored form of the moth, typica, was the predominant form in England.  Shown at right the typica moth's speckled wings are easy to spot against a dark background. However, it would not be easy   to pick them out  against the light-colored bark of many trees common in England at the time.

As the Industrial Revolution progressed, alterations in the moth population appeared.  The dark-coloured carbonaria had, by 1895 in the Industrial city of Manchester reached a reported level of 98% of the moth population.
The reason for this seems fairly obvious and nothing to do with Evolution at all.  Carbonaria,  (as shown at right),  is easiest to see against a light background. 

Therefore, as the pollution from the Industrial processes blackened the buildings of Manchester the dark coloured moth was effectively hidden from predators, whilst the light coloured moth was easily seen against the same background. Consequently they were an easy target for birds. As a result their numbers declined.

This does not suggest, as Evolutionists would like it to, that any sort of Evolution was at work. It is simply that the light coloured moths were easier targets until the clean-up of industrial pollution occured.

Another example of Macro- Evolution that is cited is the Evening Primrose. Hugo de Vries discovered an unusual variant among his Evening Primrose plants. He was unable to breed this variant (which he named Oenotheria gigas) with his normal stock of Evening Primroses, Oenothera lamarckiana.

What is so important about this?

Namely, Evolutionists would have us believe that this Variation implies Evolution. This  can then be extrapolated to prove that major changes of plants (not just species) do  take place or have taken place in the distant past. Do not take on board this ASSUMPTION. 

I repeat, one does not need to deny the appearance of new species. This is a fact. To leap from there to the Evolution of new creatures, or oak trees from flowers, is however a flight of fancy.

There are other examples, which one could discuss, but the main point has been made. The ASSUMPTION that new forms, new creatures even,  can arise or have arisen is purely and simply a flight of fancy.

Keep challenging assumptions, no matter where they come from.

Hope you enjoyed the Post.

Any comments?


Picture Credits

1. Wellcome Library London
2. Wikimedia Commons
3. Wikimedia Commons

1 comment:

  1. KS,

    Not that I know a great deal of science, but I'm encountering more instances of scientists challenging evolution.

    Have you heard of Eugene Koonin and his study of the sudden emerging of complex diverse forms?