between the colouration of the tree
trunk and the colouration of the moths
are irrelevant to the moths’ survival.
Moreover, newer studies have failed
to convincingly demonstrate that the
observed numerical asymmetry of light
and dark moths has anything to do with
differential vulnerability to predators in
the first place.
The giraffe, with its long neck, is an
iconic example of evolution in action.
According to textbook orthodoxy,
wrong-guy Lamarck had suggested
that constant neck-stretching by the
giraffe had eventually caused the neck
to lengthen in successive generations,
while our hero, right-guy Darwin,
had correctly suggested that natural
selection had favoured the survival
of the long-necked giraffe, at the
expense of short-necked giraffes,
owing to the ability of the long-necked variant to reach high forage.
Wells discusses the inferred mutations
behind the alleged evolution of the
long neck. However, he could have
pointed out that the textbook account
is a gross oversimplification. There
are in fact several different currently
held evolutionary hypotheses, all of
them conjectural, for the long neck.
For example, instead of reaching high
vegetation, the long neck may actually
be the outcome of sexual selection.
Alternatively, and in addition to the
giraffe’s long legs, the long neck may
be the response to selective pressures
for thermoregulation (that is, a heat-dissipating increase in the ratio of body
surface area to body volume).
Now consider another hoary icon—
the ‘human tail’. Wells shows that it
is nothing more than a birth defect.
However, he could have made his case
stronger by considering birth defects
that no evolutionist would claim to
be ‘atavisms’. Thus, for example, the
sixth finger is a birth defect, nothing
more. However, had evolutionists
believed that humans evolved from
six-fingered ancestors, then surely a
sixth finger today would be proclaimed
an evolutionary ‘atavism’, and elevated
into an icon.
No discussion of old evolutionary
icons would be complete without
the appendix—the vestigial organ
par excellence. Wells summarizes
numerous evidences that the appendix
is functional—as a lymphoid organ
and as a reservoir of intestinal
bacteria. Faced with this evidence,
some evolutionists have now conveniently redefined the term ‘vestigial
organ’ to mean one with a reduced
function instead of a non-existent
function. This effectively eliminates the
original vestigial-organ argument by
folding it into the one on homologies.
That is, the structure in organism (A)
does something different from the
corresponding structure in organism (B). Big deal. And, as in all
evolutionary arguments based on
homology, it does not tell us if this
difference arose from common evolutionary ancestry or if it arose from
common design by a Designer. In
addition to this, the ‘reduced function’
argument assumes that something
qualifies as a ‘full’ function. It is frankly
laughable. For instance, if evolutionists
believed that bicycles had all evolved
from a common ancestor, would they
be saying that the switchable multi-gear bicycle is a manifestation of full
function, while the single-gear bicycle
exhibits reduced function, and is
Other evolutionists (e.g. Jerry
Coyne) have ‘moved the goalpost’
further by re-defining a vestigial
organ as one with a changed function
instead of non-existent function. What
does this imply? Wells points out that,
owing to the fact that it appeared
earlier, the tetrapod limb serves as a
reference for the original function.
That would mean that its homologue
in the human—the arm—would have
to be one that has ‘reduced’ function,
and is therefore vestigial according to
the redefinition. Such is the reductio ad
absurdum of the evolutionistic back-pedalling on vestigial organs.
textbooks, as long as they promote
Perhaps the icons could be excused
as myths—that is, as not-quite-accurate
stories that are legitimately retained
for their educational clarity. Wells will
have none of that. He quips:
“All of the icons of evolution mis-
represent the truth. The evidence
does not justify the sweeping claims
that they are made in their name.
They should be empirically dead
to any informed, rational observer,
but they keep coming anyway.
Textbooks still carry them, but
textbooks are not the main problem.
The main problem is the scientific
establishment’s determination to
promote evolution in spite of the
evidence” (pp. 78–79).
It all boils down to this:
“The icons of evolution are not
textbook mistakes. They are used to
promote a grand materialistic story
even after scientists have shown that
the icons misrepresent the evidence.
They are tools of zombie science”
A few of the old icons
The Galápagos Island finches go
back to Charles Darwin and his Origin
of Species. However, they did not show
what is claimed for them then and
they still do not show it now. Wells
“The Galápagos finches have
provided evidence for differential
survival correlated with environ-
mental changes—that is, for natural
selection. But the finches do not
provide evidence for the origin of
new species, organs or body plans—
that is, for evolution” (p. 70).
Now consider the peppered
moths. They persist as icons even
though, a few decades ago, studies
had demonstrated that peppered moths
do not normally alight on tree trunks
as illustrated in biology textbooks.
Consequently, differences or similarities