Editor’s note: In 1999, author James Perloff wrote the popular “Tornado in a Junkyard,” which summarizes much of the evidence against evolution and is considered one of the most understandable (while still scientifically accurate) books on the subject. Recently, WND talked with Perloff about his new book, “The Case Against Darwin.”
QUESTION: Your new book is just 83 pages – and the type is large. What gives?
ANSWER: This past March I got a call from Ohio. There has been a battle there to allow critical examination of evolutionary theory in public schools, and a gentleman wanted 40 copies of Tornado to give to state legislators and school board members. I was delighted to send him the books, but I also knew that a state legislator isn’t likely to pick up anything that’s 321 pages long.
Q: And not just state legislators.
A: Right. We live in an age when parents often don’t have time to read anything long, and their kids, who are usually more into video, may not have the inclination.
Q: So what’s the focus of this book?
A: I’ve divided it into three chapters. The first is called “Is Darwin’s Theory Relevant to Our Lives?” In other words, is the subject of this book worth my time or not? A lot of people think this is simply a science issue. And to some of them, science is booooring. But actually, it’s the teaching of Darwin’s theory as a “fact” that starts many young people doubting the existence of God. Once we stop believing in God, we discard his moral laws and start making up our own rules, which is basically why our society is in so much trouble. In short, Darwinism is very relevant – it’s much more than a science matter.
Q: You, yourself, were an atheist for many years, were you not, as a result of evolutionary teaching?
A: That’s right. I thought evolution had discredited the Bible. In my books, I give examples of notables who became atheists from being taught evolution, such as Stalin and Carnegie. In fact, the atheist Boy Scout who’s been in the news reportedly attributes his atheism to being taught evolution.
Q: Why do you think evolution has such a persuasively negative effect on faith?
A: First, it’s taught as “scientific fact.” When kids hear “scientific fact,” they think “truth.” Who wants to go against truth? Second, it’s the only viewpoint that’s taught. After the Supreme Court kicked God out of schools in the ’60s, kids heard the evolutionist viewpoint exclusively. It’s like going to a courtroom – if you only heard the prosecutor’s summation, you would probably think the defendant guilty. But if you only heard the defendant’s attorney, you’d think “innocent.” The truth is, we need to hear both sides, and kids haven’t been getting it on the subject of origins.
Q: OK, then what?
A: The second chapter is “Evidence Against the Theory of Evolution.” Let’s face it, no matter what Darwinism’s social ramifications, that alone would not be a sufficient basis to criticize it, if it were scientifically proven true.
Q: In a nutshell – if that’s possible – what is the scientific evidence against Darwinism?
A: In the book, I focus on six areas of evidence. First, mutations – long claimed by evolutionists to be the building blocks of evolutionary change – are now known to remove information from the genetic code. They never create higher, more complex information – even in the rare cases of beneficial mutations, such as bacterial resistance to antibiotics. That has been laid out by Dr. Lee Spetner in his book “Not By Chance.”
Q: What else?
A: Second, cells are now known to be far too complex to have originated by some chance concurrence of chemicals, as Darwin hypothesized and is still being claimed. We detail that in the book. Third, the human body has systems, such as blood clotting and the immune system, that are, in the words of biochemist Michael Behe, “irreducibly complex,” meaning they cannot have evolved step-by-step. Behe articulated that in his book “Darwin’s Black Box.” And then there is the whole issue of transitional forms.
Q: What is a transitional form?
A: Darwin’s theory envisioned that single-celled ancestors evolved into invertebrates (creatures without a backbone), who evolved into fish, who evolved into amphibians, who evolved into reptiles, who evolved into mammals. Now, a transitional form would be a creature intermediate between these. There would have to be a great many for Darwin’s theory to be true.
Q: Are there?
A: There are three places to look for transitional forms. First, there’s the living world around us. We see that it is distinctly divided – you have invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. But we don’t see transitionals between them. If these creatures ever existed, why did none survive? It is too easy to explain it away by saying they all became extinct. And of course, there is the question: Why aren’t these creatures evolving into each other today? Why aren’t invertebrates evolving into fish today? Why aren’t fish growing little legs and so forth?
Q: Where else would you look for a transitional form?
A: In the fossil record. And here we have a problem of almost comparable magnitude. We find no fossils showing how the invertebrates evolved, or demonstrating that they came from a common ancestor. That’s why you hear of the “Cambrian explosion.” And while there are billions of fossils of both invertebrates and fish, fossils linking them are missing. Of course, there are some transitional fossils cited by evolutionists. However, two points about that. First, there should be a lot more if Darwin’s theory is correct. Second, 99 percent of the biology of an organism is in its soft anatomy, which you cannot access in a fossil – this makes it easy to invest a fossil with a highly subjective opinion. The Piltdown Man and the recent Archaeoraptor are examples of how easy it is to be misled by preconceptions in this arena.
Q: What is the other place where you can look for transitional forms?
A: Microscopically, in the cell itself. Dr. Michael Denton, the Australian molecular biologist, examined these creatures on a molecular level and found no evidence whatsoever for the fish-amphibian-reptile-mammal sequence. He summarized his findings in his book “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.”
The last chapter is “Re-evaluating Some Evidences Used to Support the Theory” of evolution. That would include evidences that have been discredited, and also some evidences presented as proof that in fact rest on assumptions.
Q: What evidences have been discredited?
A: Ernst Haeckel’s comparative embryo drawings. The human body being laden with “vestigial structures” from our animal past. Human blood and sea water having the same percentage of salt. Babies being born with “monkey tails.” These are not foundational evidences, but they still hold sway in the public mind.
Q: You mentioned assumptions as proofs.
A: Yes. Anatomical similarities between men and animals are said to prove common ancestry. But intelligent design also results in innumerable similarities, as in the case of two makes of automobile. Also, what has been called “microevolution” – minor adaptive changes within a type of animal – is extrapolated as evidence for “macroevolution” – the changing of one kind of animal into another. However, a species is normally endowed with a rich gene pool that permits a certain amount of variation and adaptation. Certainly, those things happen. But the change is ordinarily limited to the confines of the gene pool. It doesn’t mean a fish could adapt its way into being a human.
Q: You covered a lot of this ground in “Tornado in a Junkyard.” Can readers expect something new from “The Case Against Darwin”?
A: There is a bit of new material, but no, if you’ve read “Tornado,” or for that matter, if you read the July 2001 Whistleblower, where we looked at evolution, you already know most of the points. What’s new is the size. This is a book to give to a busy friend, a book for a high-school student to share with his science teacher.