Titlu original: The Language of God – A Scientist Evidence for Belief
Autor: Francis S. Collins
Editura: Free Press
Anul apariţiei: 2006
Preț: 10 $
Recenzie de Valentin Teodorescu
For example, although he admits that the Cambrian explosion might be used as an argument for a supernatural intervention, he immediately rejects it as representing an unconvincing appeal to the “God of the gaps” fallacy, and suggests – against Stephen Gould’s skepticism -, that this explosion of life might represent nothing more than a change in Earth’s condition which allowed the fossilization of a great number of species. He neglects here the fact that, for example, Precambrian strata show incredibly preserved microscopic fossils of sponge embryos (which are small and soft-bodied), and that in the Precambrian records the scientists found – beyond the old microbes which appeared more than 580 million years ago -, also the Vendian strata (approx 570 million years ago), which, at best, might contain only a very small fraction of the many new phyla that appear in Cambrian. The idea is that the Precambrian strata (and other fossil strata too) are not poorly sampled (as some evolutionists would like to believe), but rather they are truly representative of the history of life.
How about the other fossil records? Collins considers that – in spite of the many unsolved enigmas -, there are good evidences that we already have the essential transition links between aquatic life and land dwelling amphibians, between reptiles and birds, between reptile and mammals, and between terrestrial mammals and whales. But how convincing are these supposed transitions?
For a long time it was said that between aquatic life and amphibians there are no true transitional fossils: the land dwelling amphibians appear suddenly in the fossil record. More recently paleontologists have found fossils that seem to show a connection between fish and tetrapods – in particular the structure of the front fins of some bony fish and the forelimbs of an early tetrapod. But even if we might admit this connection as possible, the common ancestry of all tetrapods is not yet evident: since the first amphibian fossils appear at the same time – but yet they are separated by large distances (Greenland, South America, Australia, Russia), and since – moreover -, it seems to exist an incongruence between their molecular data it would appear that the same transition has taken place simultaneously in multiple locations, a conclusion many scientists would find very improbable.
How about the reptiles and birds transition? The evolutionists say that Archaeopterix is the missing link between reptiles and birds, because it has a toothed jaw like a reptile and true feathers like a modern bird. But the problem is that Archaeopterix was a true bird (and birds with toothed jaw were found also in later strata), and her supposed bird-like Dinosaur ancestors were million generations younger than her.
Regarding the reptile to mammals transition, about which Oxford paleontologist Thomas Kemp says that is the best documentation of a major new taxon, one can observe that five “intermediate forms” – which cladograms predict should have arrived neatly in sequence over a long period of time – , appear suddenly at the same time in the fossil record; in addition to this, the textbook presentation of reptile-to-mammal sequence “enlarge some skulls and shrink others to make them appear more similar in size than they actually are”.
And about the transition from terrestrial mammals to whales, the evolutionists show a fossil transition from a wolf-like creature to whales; but the problem is that, from a morphological point of view, whales are more similar to pigs than to wolfs; and – worse than that -, from a molecular point of view, whales have more affinity with hippos than with wolfs. “Each line of evidence leads to a different conclusion, which argues against the validity of this particular story”.
However, the greatest problem with these fossil transitions is that, even if we would accept these aforementioned series as plausible, they are rather the rare exception in the strata record than the rule (as Thomas Kemp suggested above). The prevailing pattern in the fossil record is rather discontinuity (abrupt appearance, followed by stasis – and, in many cases, disappearance), than continuity. As it is well known, this pattern was the main motif why the great Harvard evolutionist Stephen Gould proposed his ‘punctuated equilibria’ theory, which postulated a radical distinction between the mechanisms of microevolution and those of macroevolution. In this theory Gould and his team suggested that, instead of presupposing a slow change in species during billions of years – as Richard Dawkins suggested – the evolution should have taken place very rapidly, through gigantical steps, through a burst of multiple mutations which left no trace in the fossil record. Of course, the (conservative) gradualists (including Dawkins) were not pleased with this hypothesis, because it suggested to them (rightly, in our opinion – because the main proof for this ‚punctuated equilibria’ theory is…the lack of intermediate links in the evolutionary fossil record model), that these mechanisms imply an appeal to miracle (in this respect it is interesting that even Darwin anticipated – and oposed – such kinds of solutions to the gaps in the evolutionary fossil record during his life)
In any case, by proposing such theories as punctuated equilibria, these evolutionists recognise that the fossil record does not demonstrate the progressive change of one organism into another one, superior (suggested by the traditional darwinian model), and that a biological gradualism over long extended periods of time is unsustainable. Unfortunately (for him), although Collins wants to give us the impression that the fossil record is an argument for evolution, the facts rather seem to suggest the opposite: most probably the animals appear abruptly in the geological strata (with their completely functional echosystems) because they were created (or, in the best case, for the evolutionists, – if they want to maintain their belief in the common descent narrative – these animals showed up through some kind of miraculous – divinely guided – macromutations; the intelligent design proponent Michael Behe seems to adopt such a scenario).
The lack of (sufficient) intermediate links in the purported evolutionary fossil record and the lack of a plausible evolutionary mechanism able to offer a naturalistic explanation for the biological macroevolution are – in our opinion – the most formidable foes against the naturalistic evolutionary narrative. These problems are not secondary issues, reflecting just some momentary gaps in the evolutionary meta-narrative, which soon will be filled by the biologists; rather they are central issues, without whose solving the naturalistic evolutionary model cannot qualify as a valid and serious scientific research program (in Imre Lakatos’ terms) or paradigm (in Thomas Kuhn’s terms).
Moreover, as Dr. Hugh Ross suggested, many transition samples to which Collins refers rather contradict the evolutionary scenario – which predicts that we should expect the most common macroevolutionary transitions taking place “in animals with a short cycle time from generation to generation, a great number of offspring, a small body size, a low biocomplexity, a big population, diverse diet, unrestricted suitable habitats, large ecological diversity and low socio-cultural developments”. On the contrary, the so-called strongest examples of evolutionary transitions (for example the transition from the mammals to whales – and (at least in some respects) the transition from reptiles to birds too), rather contradict these neo-darwinian predictions.
In addition to that, Dr. Hugh Ross raised this legitimate question: if the neo-darwinian model is true – then why no cases of speciation are visible in today’s world. If, as the most skeptical reports show, at least a species disappears from nature each year – and this without taking into account the consequences of human pollution (which would exponentially multiply the number of cases) -, then why could not the biologists record at least one single species appearing during the last 150 years? In other words, why is the evolution not visible in our world today?
However, Collins tries to argue that evolution is still visible in our world today: he refers in this sense to the many cases of viruses and bacteria that rapidly adapt and become resistant to human antibiotics.
But is this really an instance of evolution? First of all, the mutations may allow the bacterium to resist antibiotics; but they cannot transform an old kind of bacterium into fundamentally a new kind of bacterium. Secondly, these mutations are not a real advantage for the bacterium – but rather a “lesser of two evils” kind of choice: “either they accept a severe handicap that fools the antibiotic, or die from the antibiotic”…Moreover, “the cell cannot endure an unlimited number of mutation induced changes at their active sites. At some point, the information processing system will be damaged so badly that it will stop functioning.”
What about the other evolutionary example suggested by Collins, the stickleback, which would show, in his opinion, that the presupposed creationist distinction between microevolution (defined by Collins as “development in the frame of the same species”) and macroevolution (defined as “the apparition of new species”) is “artificial”? The sticklebacks which live in salty water have 36 spines from the head to their tale, while the fresh water sticklebacks have a specific gene, EDA, which has as effect the loss of their spines. But is this loss a proof of macroevolution? Even if Collins would say that this lead to the apparition of a new species, few creationists would accept this as an instance of macroevolution, because they generally define macroevolution as “a transformation from one type of animal into a fundamentally different type of animal, which will have as effect new large-scale features such as organs or body plans”. The loss of one or more spines would not qualify – in this case -, as a macroevolutionary change (because an authentic macroevolutionary variation rather expects the addition than the subtraction of an organ or structure from a creature).
 Stephen Meyer, Scott Minnich, Jonathan Moneymaker, Ralph Seelke, Explore Evolution, Hill House Publishers, London, 2007, p. 30-32.
 Francis Collins, Limbajul lui Dumnezeu, Editura Curtea Veche, Bucuresti, 2009, p.103-104.
 See in this respect the article from the address: http://www2.exploreevolution.com/exploreEvolutionFurtherDebate/2009/02/malcolm_gordon_and_the_origin.php .
 Idem, Explore Evolution, p. 28.
 Thomas S. Kemp, Mammal-Like Reptiles and the Origins of Mammals, Academic Press, London, 1982, p. 296; T.S. Kemp, The Origin and Evolution of Mammals, Oxford University Press, New York, 2005, cf. Explore Evolution p. 37.
 T.S. Kemp, The Origin and Evolution of Mammals, p. 89, cf. Explore Evolution p. 21, 29.
 See in this respect the article from the address:
 N. Eldrege, Stephen J. Gould, Punctuated Equilibria: An Alternative to Phyletic Gradualism, in T.J. Schopf (ed.), Models in Paleontology, San Francisco, Freeman, Cooper & Co, 1972, p. 84, St. J. Gould, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, Cambridge Mass., London, Harvard University Press, 2002.
 See in this respect the book of Michael Behe: ‘The Edge of Evolution’.
 Hugh Ross, More than a Theory, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2009, p. 167, 176-177.
 Henrik Wegener, “Ending the use of antimicrobial growth promoters is making a difference”, ASM News, 69, 2003; V.D. Kutilek, D.A. Sheeter, J.H.Elder,B.E. Torbett, “Is resistence futile?” in Current Drug Targets – Infectious Disorders No.4, Dec. 2003, p. 295-309; Scott Gilbert, John Opitz, Rudolf Raff, “Resynthesizing evolutionary and developmental biology” in Developmental Biology, No. 173, 1996, p. 357-372, cf. Explore Evolution p. 103.
 Francis Collins, Limbajul lui Dumnezeu, p. 140.
 Idem, Explore Evolution, p.77, 147.