An Analysis of the Expert Testimony of Prof. Ronald Wetherington before the Texas State Board of Education on January 21, 2009

Staff
Discovery Institute
March 27, 2009

Executive Summary

At the January 21, 2009 experts’ hearing to review the draft TEKS, SMU anthropologist Ronald Wetherington confidently assured the Texas State Board of Education that there were no weaknesses in Darwinian evolution for students to learn about. Yet as the following review documents, Dr. Wetherington in his testimony frequently misstated or exaggerated the scientific evidence for his position, and he made repeated outright errors in what he told the Board. Dr. Wetherington’s inaccurate testimony reflects the unfortunate tendency of some members of the “evolution lobby” to offer unsubstantiated arguments to public officials that they would never make to their professional colleagues.

Misstatements and outright errors by Dr. Wetherington included:

  • insisting that scientists don’t use the term “missing link” (they do).
  • identifying rodents as a vertebrate class (they aren’t).
  • asserting that all vertebrates appeared in the past 65 million years (they didn’t).
  • asserting that the Cambrian explosion of life took “at least 25 million years,” and that it does not record the appearance of many animal phyla (leading paleontologists disagree).
  • claiming that Hox genes do not accumulate mutations, or are not thought to evolve by accumulating mutations (wrong on both counts).
  • misrepresenting the scientific evidence for human evolution and transitional forms, ignoring expert opinions in his own field that run counter to his own and making gross generalizations about supposed transitional forms that are not supported by the fossil record.
  • making scientifically unsubstantiated claims about the evolution of the eye.
  • overstating the case for genetic and biochemical evolution.
  • asserting that the debate over irreducible complexity “is over” even though he admitted he is not an expert in this field, and he seems unaware of the scientific evidence that contradicts his position.
  • Dr. Wetherington’s one-sided and error-ridden testimony is a good example of why it is so important for students to be encouraged to critically examine the weaknesses as well as strengths of scientific explanations, especially on controversial issues like Darwinian evolution where some in the scientific community have adopted the role of lobbyists rather than even-handed educators.

    Scientific Errors and Misstatements in Prof. Wetherington’s Testimony

    A. Error about the Term “Missing Link”

    Prof. Wetherington asserted to the Board that “[t]he term missing link is something that the media uses but science doesn’t,” when in fact the term “missing link” is found in many scientific journals and mainstream publications by scientists, including journals such as Science, Nature, Paleobiology, and the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, and journals and publications issued by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Here is just a sampling of mainstream scientific articles that use the term “missing link” in the context of evolutionary intermediates and the fossil evidence for evolution:

  • Edward O. Wilson, “Discovery of a Missing Link,” pg. 15 in National Academy of Sciences, Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (National Academy Press, 1998).
  • William A. Oliver, Jr., “The Relationship of the Scleractinian Corals to the Rugose Corals,” Paleobiology, Vol. 6, No. 2. (Spring, 1980), pp. 146-160.
  • Jeheskel Shoshani, Robert C. Walter, Michael Abraha, Seife Berhe, Pascal Tassy, William J. Sanders, Gary H. Marchant, Yosief Libsekal, Tesfalidet Ghirmai, and Dietmar Zinner, “A proboscidean from the late Oligocene of Eritrea, a ‘missing link’ between early Elephantiformes and Elephantimorpha, and biogeographic implications,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 103: 17296–17301 (Nov. 3, 2006).
  • Stern, J. T. & Susman, R. L. “The locomotor anatomy of Australopithecus afarensis,” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 60, 279-317 (1983).
  • Ann Gibbons, “Java Skull Offers New View Of Homo erectus,” Science, Vol. 299:1293 (Feb. 28, 2003).
  • Timothy Rowe, Richard A. Ketcham, Cambria Denison, Matthew Colbert, Xing Xu, Philip J. Currie, “The Archaeoraptor forgery,” Nature, Vol. 410:539-540 (March 29, 2001).
  • B. Misrepresentation of the Timing of the Cambrian Explosion

    Prof. Wetherington insisted to the Board that “the Cambrian explosion took place over at least 25 million years, perhaps longer,” when in fact various leading experts on the Cambrian explosion have concluded that it took less than 10 million years. Robert Carroll stated in an authoritative review article in the leading journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE) that the Cambrian explosion took less than ten million years:

    The most conspicuous event in metazoan evolution was the dramatic origin of major new structures and body plans documented by the Cambrian explosion 10,11. Until 530 million years ago, multicellular animals consisted primarily of simple, soft-bodied forms, most of which have been identified from the fossil record as cnidarians and sponges. Then, within less then 10 million years, almost all of the advanced phyla appeared, including echinoderms, chordates, annelids, brachiopods, molluscs and a host of arthropods. The extreme speed of anatomical change and adaptive radiation during this brief time period requires explanations that go beyond those proposed for the evolution of species within the modern biota.1

    Likewise, an article in the journal Development by three Cambrian explosion experts explains that, “The Cambrian explosion is named for the geologically sudden appearance of numerous metazoan body plans (many of living phyla) between about 530 and 520 million years ago, only 1.7% of the duration of the fossil record of animals.”2 Another article in a major evolution journal states that “recent geological investigations suggest that the Cambrian explosion may have occurred with a period of only 5-10 million years.”3 At the very least, this shows evidence of a scientific controversy over length of the Cambrian explosion that Wetherington did not acknowledge.

    C. Misrepresentation of the Phyla Appearing during the Cambrian Explosion

    Prof. Wetherington insinuated that the Cambrian explosion does not record the appearance of many animal phyla, stating that “People talk about the vast number of phyla that appear that the Cambrian explosion” but then objecting that “In fact, there are two phyla that dominate the entire record.” The truth is that experts have found that nearly 70% (19 out of 28) of the known living animal phyla for which we have a fossil record make their first appearance in the Cambrian, as can be seen in the list below:

    Phyla Known from the Precambrian: 3 Phyla (possibility of a fourth):
    Cnidaria4
    Porifera5
    Gelatinosa (lower Cambrian)
    Nuda

    Phyla that Appear in the Cambrian: 19 Phyla
    Annelida6
    Arthropoda7
    Brachiopoda8
    Chaetognatha9
    Chordata10
    Coeloscleritophora11
    Ctenophora12
    Echinodermata13
    Halkieriida14
    Hemichordata15
    Hyolitha16
    Mollusca17
    Nematoda18
    Onychophora19
    Phoronida20
    Pogonophora21
    Priapula22
    Tardigrada23
    Tardipolypoda24

    Phyla that Appear in Later Geologic Periods: 6 Phyla
    Ordovician: Bryozoa/Ectoprocta25
    Devonian: Echiura26
    Pennsylvanian: Nemertina27
    Jurassic: Entoprocta28
    Tertiary: Nematomorpha,29 Rotifera.30

    Phyla With No Known Fossil Record: 12 Phyla
    Acanthocephala,31 Cycliophora,32 Dicyemida, Gastrotricha,33 Gnathostomulida,34 Kinoryncha,35 Loricifera,36 Orthonoectida, Pentastoma,37 Placozoa,38 Platyhelminthes,39 Sipuncula.40

    D. Errors about Taxonomy, Classification, and Vertebrate History

    Prof. Wetherington’s testimony included other errors about taxonomy, classification, and vertebrate history. He claimed that in the early Tertiary period “every vertebrate that we know emerged,” when the truth is that vertebrates extend back long before the Tertiary period. He also wrongly claimed that “the major classes, rodentia, mammalian, etcetera, emerged and diversified during this period of time,” when in fact rodentia is not a class (it’s an order of mammals) and all vertebrate classes predate the Tertiary period (including all classes of fish, and all tetrapod classes such as mammalia, amphibia, reptilia, and aves). Wetherington gave the board patently inaccurate information about the fossil record of vertebrates. Indeed, what Wetherington failed to disclose is that there are vertebrate fish in the Cambrian explosion, for which there are no known evolutionary precursors whatsoever.41

    E. Errors about Hox Genes and Evolution

    Prof. Wetherington assured the Board that “we can say, that what we know about basic genes that are responsible for biological form, the so-called Hox genes, do not require mutations to change from one kind of animal to another.” But, as many textbooks explain, “The origin of genetic variation is mutation,”42 and so it is preposterous for Wetherington to suggest that Hox genes could lead to evolution without some form of mutation. Wetherington’s outlandish statement notwithstanding, Darwinian biologists themselves certainly claim it is through mutations that Hox genes produce evolution.43 The problem with this claim is that mutations in Hox genes are usually harmful to organisms, making the mutations an unlikely mechanism for major evolutionary change. This was pointed out in an article in Nature:

    Homeotic mutations that reshuffle parts do happen, and sometimes they may have led to fixation of real evolutionary novelties, but this does not mean that such changes are implied in the majority of speciations. In fact, macromutations of this sort are probably frequently maladaptive, in contrast to the vast number of past and present species-not to mention the fact that morphological differences between related species can be minute.44

    In this case, Wetherington is doubly-wrong: contrary to his claim, mutations in Hox genes most certainly are claimed as a mechanism of evolution, but this proposed evolutionary mechanism has been criticized as unlikely because such “macromutations” are typically harmful to an organism.

    F. Misrepresentations of the Evidence for Human Evolutionary Origins

    Prof. Wetherington asserted that when it comes to human evolution, we have “arguably the most complete sequence of fossil succession of any mammal in the world. No gaps. No lack of transitional fossils. … So when people talk about the lack of transitional fossils or gaps in the fossil record, it absolutely is not true.” Though this is supposed to be Wetherington’s area of expertise, again we see him dramatically overstating the evidence as well as failing to acknowledge counter-opinions by experts within his own field.

    Wetherington mentioned by name only three allegedly transitional fossil species. However, the quality of these alleged “transitional fossils” leaves much to be desired and their status as human ancestors is in fact disputed by some paleontological data.

    The first fossil mentioned by Wetherington was Sahelanthropus tchadensis. But this fossil (also called the “Toumai skull”) is known only from one skull and some jaw fragments, and one leading researcher said “I tend towards thinking this is the skull of a female gorilla.”45 Wetherington bluffed when he told the TSBOE that we know this fossil qualifies as a transitional form leading to humans. Indeed, leading paleoanthropologists have warned in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) that tooth and and skull bones alone are insufficient to properly classify or understand a hominid species:

    Rather, our results show that the type of craniodental characters that have hitherto been used in hominin phylogenetics are probably not reliable for reconstructing the phylogenetic relationships of higher primate species and genera, including those among the hominins.46

    Another bluff from Wetherington came when he claimed that “Every fossil we find reinforces the sequence that we had previously supposed to exist rather than suggesting something different.” But in fact this Toumai skull, first published in 2002, provides an excellent counterexample to his wildly false assertion. Commenting on the Toumai skull in the journal Nature, leading paleoanthropologist Bernard Wood began an article by observing, “A single fossil can fundamentally change the way we reconstruct the tree of life. He goes on to state:

    If we accept these as sufficient evidence to classify S. tchadensis as a hominid at the base, or stem, of the modern human clade, then it plays havoc with the tidy model of human origins. Quite simply, a hominid of this age should only just be beginning to show signs of being a hominid. It certainly should not have the face of a hominid less than one-third of its geological age. Also, if it is accepted as a stem hominid, under the tidy model the principle of parsimony dictates that all creatures with more primitive faces (and that is a very long list) would, perforce, have to be excluded from the ancestry of modern humans.47

    In other words, if we accept the Toumai skull as the stem ancestor of humans, as Professor Wetherington does, then many other alleged hominid species—including the other species mentioned by Wetherington that are discussed below—could not be counted as ancestors of humans.

    Professor Wetherington stated that it “is not true” that there are gaps in the fossil record for the origin “for our own species, rather than for some others,” but paleoanthropological expert Wood states that fossils like this show “compelling evidence that our own origins are as complex and as difficult to trace as those of any other group of organisms.”48 Indeed, Harvard zoologist Richard Lewontin wrote in 1995 that

    When we consider the remote past, before the origin of the actual species Homo sapiens, we are faced with a fragmentary and disconnected fossil record. Despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor.49

    Again, it is clear that Wetherington is bluffing to claim there are “no gaps” in the fossil evidence for human evolution. If the Toumai skull represents a transitional fossil which allegedly plugs a “gap” and doesn’t “play havoc” with the proclaimed human evolutionary tree, then the evidence for human evolution must be quite weak indeed.

    Wetherington next mentioned Ardipithecus as an alleged transitional form leading to humans—but this fossil too has highly fragmented remains, and has been called a hominid primarily on the basis of some of its teeth.50 Its extremely fragmented remains prevent paleoanthropologists from determining much about this species, including questions such as whether it walked upright.51 Paleoanthropologist Tim White has called the record of early hominids from this period, “a black hole in the fossil record,”52 and the few fossils that are known are based upon limited remains wherein it is not possible to make firm conclusions about these fossils.53

    Despite the questions about Ardipithecus, Wetherington claimed that it “became Australopithecus afarensis 4 million years ago.” He based this claim (presumably) upon a paper by Tim White in 2006, but this paper starts by admitting that “The origin of Australopithecus, the genus widely interpreted as ancestral to Homo, is a central problem in human evolutionary studies. Australopithecus species differ markedly from extant African apes and candidate ancestral hominids such as Ardipithecus, Orrorin and Sahelanthropus.”54 And the evidence that allegedly made one species intermediate was its “masticatory robusticity" (in other words, its ability to chew harder stuff). This does not make for an impressive evolutionary scheme, and again this claim is based entirely upon reconstructed tooth fragments which, as noted, have been highly criticized by leading paleontologists as a form of data on which to base claims of hominid Phylogenetic relationships.55

    And what about Australopithecus? Australopithecus literally means “Southern Ape,” and despite Wetherington’s claim that there is “no lack of transitional fossils,” there is a stark lack of intermediates between the ape-like australopithecines and the genus Homo. Indeed, in 2004 in his book What Makes Biology Unique?: Considerations on the Autonomy of a Scientific Discipline, the leading evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr stated: "The earliest fossils of Homo, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus, are separated from Australopithecus by a large, unbridged gap. How can we explain this seeming saltation? Not having any fossils that can serve as missing links, we have to fall back on the time-honored method of historical science, the construction of a historical narrative."56

    Contrary to Wetherington’s claims that the basic evolutionary hypothesis about the human lineage is never being altered, a 1999 article in Science by leaders in paleoanthropology found that Homo habilis should be classified as an australopithecine,57 and an article titled “African fossils paint messy picture of human evolution” reported that how new fossil finds prevented Homo habilis from being part of our family tree:

    The old theory was that the first and oldest species in our family tree, Homo habilis, evolved into Homo erectus, which then became us, Homo sapiens. But those two earlier species lived side-by-side about 1.5 million years ago in parts of Kenya for at least half a million years, Leakey and colleagues report in a paper published in Thursday's journal Nature. In 2000 Leakey found an old H. erectus complete skull within walking distance of an upper jaw of the H. habilis, and both dated from the same general time period. That makes it unlikely that H. erectus evolved from H. habilis, researchers said.58

    With habilis removed from our direct ancestry, what exactly is the direct ancestor of Homo linking back to the australopithecines? Two paleoanthropologists wrote in Nature in 2005 that we don’t know the direct ancestor of our genus Homo:

    [An early form of Homo] marks such a radical departure from previous forms of Homo (such as H. habilis) in its height, reduced sexual dimorphism, long limbs and modern body proportions that it is hard at present to identify its immediate ancestry in east Africa. Not for nothing has it been described as a hominin “without an ancestor, without a clear past.”59

    Likewise, an article in the Journal of Human Evolution stated:

    The anatomy of the earliest H. sapiens sample indicates significant modifications of the ancestral genome and is not simply an extension of evolutionary trends in an earlier australopithecine lineage throughout the Pliocene. In fact, its combination of features never appears earlier...60

    These authors said the origin of Homo required “a genetic revolution” where “no australopithecine species is obviously transitional.” One commentator said this shows a “big bang theory” of human origins because “[t]he first members of early Homo sapiens are really quite distinct from their australopithecine predecessors and contemporaries.”61

    Contrary to this data, Wetherington asserted in his testimony that the origin of our species represents “a gradualistic evolutionary change,” despite the fact that there are clear gaps in the record. Indeed, one paper in the Journal of Human Evolution found that the origin of key features of our genus Homo was anything but gradual: “It appears from the hominid fossil record of pelvic bones that two periods of stasis exist and are separated by a period of very rapid evolution corresponding to the emergence of the genus Homo.”62

    In contrast to these tentative admissions from paleoanthropologists, Wetherington makes firm and dogmatic statements that dramatically overstate the fossil evidence for human origins. Compare Wetherington’s dogmatic assertions to the following comment by an editor of Nature: “Fossil evidence of human evolutionary history is fragmentary and open to various interpretations.”63 Clearly Wetherington misrepresented the completeness of the evidence for human evolution, and there are indeed many gaps in the record of human origins.

    G. Overstatement of the Scientific Evidence for Eye Evolution

    Charles Darwin marveled at the complexity of the eye, admitting in a letter that “the eye...gives me a cold shudder.” Darwin ultimately chose to believe that the eye could be explained by numerous successive slight modifications, and Wetherington echoed Darwin’s arguments in his testimony, stating: “The complex eye, we know now, has intermediate stages. … [W]hat we find is in the seawaters today, there are animals that have only eyespots, with a retina that detects light. There are others that have a retina plus a lens but nothing else. There are others that have a cornea that covers over but not a lens. So we have all of these individual components having a function independently of others which the idea of irreducible complexity denies.” But Wetherington grossly overstated the state of the scientific data and thinking regarding the evolution of the eye.

    First, Wetherington’s evolutionary scheme requires at its beginning an eyespot, and he seems to assume that this is easy to evolve. But Wetherington ignores the advice of the staunchly pro-evolution biologist Sean B. Carroll who cautions regarding such eyespots: “But do not be fooled by these eyes’ simple construction and appearance. They are built with and use many of the ingredients used in fancier eyes.”64 Likewise, after reviewing some of the basic biochemistry underlying the processes that allow vision, biochemist Michael Behe (responding to evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins) observes: “Remember that the ‘light-sensitive spot’ that Dawkins takes as his starting point requires a cascade of factors including 11-cis retinal and rhodopsin, to function. Dawkins doesn’t mention them.”65 Nor did Wetherington.

    Second, like many Darwinist accounts of the evolution of the eye, Wetherington’s evolutionary scheme lacks details, ignores biochemical complexity, and requires significant evolutionary jumps in eye morphology. It is not, as Darwin put it, a scheme of “fine gradations.” Like many other evolutionary schemes for the evolution of the eye, it invokes the sudden appearance of a light-sensitive spot, a lens, and a cornea. But where did these parts suddenly come from? Of course the subsequent addition of each of these features could increase visual acuity. But he has not accounted for how they arose in the first place.

    When pressed for documentation of his evolutionary scheme of the eye, Wetherington alluded to the book Darwin’s Gift To Science and Religion, which, when read closely, confirms that evolutionists lack anything like an evolutionary explanation for the origin of the eye.66 This book starts with a “light-sensitive spot,” stating, “Some multicellular animals exhibit light-sensitive spots on their epidermis,”67 but of course it provides no explanation for the origin of that light-sensitive spot. Moreover, this book had no example of Wetherington’s claimed “cornea that covers over but not a lens” stage.

    Rather, the book simply asserts that, “Further steps—the deposition of pigment around the spot, configuration of cells into a cuplike shape, thickening of the epidermis leading to the development of a lens, development of muscles to move the eyes and nerves to transmit optical signals to the brain—gradually led to the highly developed eyes of vertebrates and celphalopod (octopuses and squids) and to the compound eyes of insects.”68 This explanation, however, is extremely vague, and shows no appreciation for the biochemical complexity of these visual organs. For example, regarding the configuration of cells into a cuplike shape, Michael Behe asks (responding to Richard Dawkins on the same point):

    And where did the “little cup” come from? A ball of cells—from which the cup must be made—will tend to be rounded unless held in the correct shape by molecular supports. In fact, there are dozens of complex proteins involved in maintaining cell shape, and dozens more that control extracellular structure; in their absence, cells take on the shape of so many soap bubbles. Do these structures represent single-step mutations? Dawkins did not tell us how the apparently simple “cup” shape came to be.69

    Wetherington and his sources provide no explanation. It’s no wonder Wetherington cited this book as his reference: like his own testimony, it provides only a vague description of eye anatomy with no regard whatsoever for the complexity of the underlying biochemical processes that underlie vision. Mathematician David Berlinski has assessed the alleged “intermediates” for the evolution of the eye and observes that the transmission of nervous signals from the eye comprise an integrated system that is not amenable to stepwise evolution:

    Light strikes the eye in the form of photons, but the optic nerve conveys electrical impulses to the brain. Acting as a sophisticated transducer, the eye must mediate between two different physical signals. The retinal cells that figure in Dawkins' account are connected to horizontal cells; these shuttle information laterally between photoreceptors in order to smooth the visual signal. Amacrine cells act to filter the signal. Bipolar cells convey visual information further to ganglion cells, which in turn conduct information to the optic nerve. The system gives every indication of being tightly integrated, its parts mutually dependent. The very problem that Darwin's theory was designed to evade now reappears. Like vibrations passing through a spider's web, changes to any part of the eye, if they are to improve vision, must bring about changes throughout the optical system. Without a correlative increase in the size and complexity of the optic nerve, an increase in the number of photoreceptive membranes can have no effect. A change in the optic nerve must in turn induce corresponding neurological changes in the brain. If these changes come about simultaneously, it makes no sense to talk of a gradual ascent of Mount Improbable. If they do not come about simultaneously, it is not clear why they should come about at all. The same problem reappears at the level of biochemistry. Dawkins has framed his discussion in terms of gross anatomy. Each anatomical change that he describes requires a number of coordinate biochemical steps. “[T]he anatomical steps and structures that Darwin thought were so simple,” the biochemist Mike Behe remarks in a provocative new book (Darwin’s Black Box), “actually involve staggeringly complicated biochemical processes.” A number of separate biochemical events are required simply to begin the process of curving a layer of proteins to form a lens. What initiates the sequence? How is it coordinated? And how controlled? On these absolutely fundamental matters, Dawkins has nothing whatsoever to say.70

    Nor does Wetherington, nor the book he cites, nor any other evolutionist have any idea about the details of eye evolution. Wetherington makes vague allusions to evolutionary accounts for the origin of the eye but he has not actually shown how the eye could arise, in Darwin’s words, via “numerous successive slight modifications.”

    H. Overstatement of the Evidence for Genetic and Biochemical Evolution

    During his testimony, Prof. Wetherington claimed that with the modern discovery of genetic and biochemical basis for variation, “evolution by natural selection became an even better and even more complete explanation by utilizing and incorporating genetics.” But the truth is that the more we have learned about genetics and biochemistry, the less Darwinism has succeeded as an explanation for the origin of biological complexity.

    Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe has pointed out that Darwin assumed that the cell was like a primitive blob of protoplasm that could easily evolve new biological functions. As Behe explains, “To Darwin, then, as to every other scientist of the time, the cell was a black box. ... The question of how life works was not one that Darwin or his contemporaries could answer.”71 But could such integrated complexity evolve in a stepwise, Darwinian fashion? Behe recalls that in Origin of Species, Darwin admitted that if “any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”72 According to Behe, “by opening the ultimate black box, the cell,” modern biochemistry “has pushed Darwin's theory to the limit.”73

    Modern technology has allowed biochemists to open Darwin’s “black box,” revealing a micro-world of mind-boggling complexity. Even leading proponents of evolution have acknowledged this complexity. The more we discover about the cell, the more we are learning that it functions like a miniature factory, replete with motors, powerhouses, garbage disposals, guarded gates, transportation corridors, and most importantly, CPUs. The central information processing machinery of the cell runs on a language-based code composed of irreducibly complex circuits and machines: The myriad enzymes used in the process that converts the genetic information in DNA into proteins are themselves created by the process that converts DNA into proteins.

    The problem for Darwinists is obvious: The simplest cell won’t function unless this basic machinery is intact, so how does such complexity evolve via a “blind” and “undirected” Darwinian process of numerous, successive, slight modifications? The simplest cell requires hundreds of genes, numerous complex biological machines and biochemical pathways, and blind natural selection acting on random mutations has failed to provide Darwinian explanations for how basic cellular biochemistry might have evolved.

    Five years after Behe published his book Darwin’s Black Box, biochemist Franklin Harold conceded in an Oxford University Press monograph that “there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”74 Likewise, two leading biologists admitted in the journal Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics:

    Domain shuffling aside, it remains a mystery how the undirected process of mutation, combined with natural selection, has resulted in the creation of thousands of new proteins with extraordinarily diverse and well-optimized functions. This problem is particularly acute for tightly integrated molecular systems that consist of many interacting parts, such as ligands, receptors, and the downstream regulatory factors with which they interact. In these systems, it is not clear how a new function for any protein might be selected for unless the other members of the complex are already present, creating a molecular version of the ancient evolutionary riddle of the chicken and the egg.75

    Indeed, there are severe doubts among scientists about whether modern genetics can even provide the raw materials needed to generate biological complexity through an evolutionary process. One study recently published in the journal Genetics attempted to rebut Professor Behe with regards to biochemical evolution within species with shorter generation times (like fruit flies)76 but nonetheless acknowledged that when dealing with longer-lived organisms like humans:

    Our previous work has shown that, in humans, a new transcription factor binding site can be created by a single mutation in an average of 60,000 years, but, as our new results show, a coordinated pair of mutations that first inactivates a binding site and then creates a new one is very unlikely to occur on a reasonable timescale.77

    This mathematical study found that the amount of time to simply generate a new binding site via evolutionary processes “for humans with a much smaller effective population size, this type of change would take > 100 million years.” Since humans have existed at most for a few million years, it would seem that Darwinian evolution has an unmovable obstacle in its way. As molecular biologist Douglas Axe observed when commenting on this recent Genetics paper:

    Do you see the problem? On the one hand we’re supposed to believe that the Darwinian mechanism converted a proto-insect into a stunning array of radically different life forms (termites, beetles, ants, wasps, bees, dragonflies, stick insects, aphids, fleas, flies, mantises, cockroaches, moths, butterflies, etc., each group with its own diversity) well within the space of 400 million years. But on the other hand, when we actually do the math we find that a single insignificant conversion of binding sites would reasonably be expected to consume all of that time. The contrast could hardly be more stark: The Darwinian story hopes to explain all the remarkable transformations within 400 million years, but the math shows that it actually explains no remarkable transformation in that time. If that doesn’t call for a serious rethink, it’s hard to imagine what would.78

    Even if some scientists believe that neo-Darwinian evolution can explain genetic and biochemical evolution, there are other scientists who feel it is failing to provide such explanations. Professor Wetherington wants to censor from students any mention of their viewpoints, pretending there is no scientific debate on this topic.

    I. Misrepresentation of the Controversy over Irreducible Complexity

    Prof. Wetherington dogmatically asserted that biochemist Michael Behe’s arguments about irreducible complexity have been refuted, claiming: “That debate is over” because “the evidence for irreducible complexity had been satisfactorily falsified.” Clearly, this debate is not over since there are scientific publications that have supported Behe’s notions of irreducible complexity, including:

  • W.-E. Lönnig, “Dynamic genomes, morphological stasis and the origin of irreducible complexity,” Dynamical Genetics, Pp. 101-119 (2004).
  • W.-E. Lönnig & H. Saedler, “Chromosome Rearrangements and Transposable Elements,” Annual Review of Genetics, Vol. 36:389-410 (2002).
  • Richard A. Watson, Compositional Evolution (MIT Press, 2006).
  • Michael J. Behe and David W. Snoke, “Simulating Evolution by Gene Duplication of Protein Features That Require Multiple Amino Acid Residues,” Protein Science, Vol. 13: 2651-2664 (2004).
  • Michael J. Behe, “Reply to My Critics: A Response to Reviews of Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution,” Biology and Philosophy, Vol. 16: 685–709, (2001).
  • Michael J. Behe, “Self-Organization and Irreducibly Complex Systems: A Reply to Shanks and Joplin,” Philosophy of Science, Vol. 67:155-162 (March 2000).
  • Michael J. Behe and David W. Snoke, “A response to Michael Lynch,” Protein Science, Vol. 14:2226-2227 (2005).
  • Michael J. Behe, “Irreducible complexity: obstacle to Darwinian evolution,” in Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA, Pp. 352-370 (Cambridge University Press, 2004)
  • Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, Kurt Stüber, Heinz Saedler, Jeong Hee Kim, “Biodiversity and Dollo’s Law: To What Extent can the Phenotypic Differences between Misopates orontium and Antirrhinum majus be Bridged by Mutagenesis?,” Bioremediation, Biodiversity and Bioavailability, Vol. 1:1-30 (2007).
  • Stephen C. Meyer, “The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories,” Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, Vol. 117(2):213-239 (2004).
  • Granville Sewell, “A Mathematician’s View of Evolution,” The Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol 22 (4) (2000).
  • Scott A. Minnich & Stephen C. Meyer, “Genetic Analysis of Coordinate Flagellar and Type III Regulatory Circuits in Pathogenic Bacteria,” in Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Design & Nature, Rhodes Greece (2004).
  • Ø. A. Voie, “Biological function and the genetic code are interdependent,” Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, Vol 28(4): 1000-1004 (2006).
  • Michael J. Katz, Templets and the Explanation of Complex Patterns (Cambridge U. Press 1986).
  • Evelyn Fox Keller, “Developmental Robustness,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 981:189 (2002).
  • There is another bluff from Wetherington that must be called. Wetherington specifically claimed that irreducibly complex biochemical features like the bacterial flagellum have been explained via evolution. Yet when pressed with the question, “What is the origin of the bacterial flagellum then?” Wetherington answered with an unimpressive response, stating; “I don’t know the intricate biochemistry of the flagellum and its motor and the acid driving mechanism and the type-three secretory apparatus and so forth.”

    Wetherington thinks he is expert enough to proclaim “the debate is over,” but he doesn’t even know the details of the flagellar system and cannot explain its evolutionary origin. It seems that Wetherington seeks to dogmatically impose his own viewpoint rather than acknowledging that some experts feel differently than he does.

    Indeed, Wetherington’s citation of the type three secretory apparatus (T3SS) in no way refutes the irreducible complexity of the flagellum.

    First, some biologists have concluded that that the T3SS could not have been a precursor to the flagellum.79 Second, even if the speculative scenario cited by Wetherington turned out to be true, it would not be sufficient to prove a Darwinian explanation for the origin of the flagellum because there is still a huge leap in complexity from a T3SS to a flagellum. The unresolved challenge that the irreducible complexity of the flagellum continues to pose for Darwinian evolution is starkly summarized by William Dembski:

    At best the T[3]SS represents one possible step in the indirect Darwinian evolution of the bacterial flagellum. But that still wouldn’t constitute a solution to the evolution of the bacterial flagellum. What’s needed is a complete evolutionary path and not merely a possible oasis along the way. To claim otherwise is like saying we can travel by foot from Los Angeles to Tokyo because we’ve discovered the Hawaiian Islands. Evolutionary biology needs to do better than that.80

    Dembski’s critique is apt because it recognizes that critics (like those cited by Wetherington) wrongly characterize irreducible complexity as focusing on the non-functionality of sub-parts. Conversely, Behe properly tests irreducible complexity by assessing the plausibility of the entire functional system to assemble in a step-wise fashion, even if sub-parts can have functions outside of the final system.81 The “leap” required by going from one functional sub-part to the entire functional system is indicative of the degree of irreducible complexity in a system.82 Indeed, a recent review article in Nature Reviews Microbiology concedes that “the flagellar research community has scarcely begun to consider how these systems have evolved.”83 Clearly there is room for debate on this topic, but Wetherington—who admits he’s not an expert on this subject—wants to shut down debate.

    Wetherington claims that the “strength of Darwin’s theory is that continually since 1859, new evidence has confirmed and expanded his basic ideas” but molecular biologist Douglas Axe feels differently:

    The truth of the matter, much to the chagrin of contemporary biology, is that Darwin’s theory should have been laid to rest some time ago. It certainly deserved all the interest it generated in its day, but at some later point that interest was transformed from the critical kind to the credulous kind. Regrettably, that change took hold before the most conclusive data came to light.84

    During his testimony, Professor Wetherington asserted that there are no weaknesses in Darwinian evolution, even claiming that “through the union of molecular biology and embryology … the scientific consensus surrounding evolutionary theory continues to be strengthened.” Clearly, Wetherington told only one side of the story and is not disclosing the fact that some scientists feel modern biology has uncovered a world that vastly outstrips the creative power of neo-Darwinian evolution.

    J. Conclusion

    Since appearing at the experts’ hearing in January, Prof. Wetherington has continued his record of egregious misrepresentations and misstatements, asserting that there are no weaknesses in evolution, and insinuating that no one has raised any legitimate weaknesses in evolution to the Board. In reality, Board members heard testimony in January from three experts in the fields of biology, chemistry, and philosophy of science who discussed a number of significant weaknesses in modern Darwinian theory. One of these experts, a biology professor, discussed in detail his own research on the limits of the Darwinian mechanism of selection and mutation in bacteria. Texas students and parents deserve better than to have their science education standards dictated by a partisan of Darwinism such as Prof. Wetherington, whose own repeated misstatements show he is more interested in shielding Darwinian evolution from critical inquiry than he is in accurate science education.

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    [7.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59; S. C. Morris, "The Cambrian 'Explosion': Slow-fuse or Megatonnage?," Proceedings of the U. S National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 95 (2000): 4426-29; J. Y. Chen and G. Q. Zhou, “Biology of the Chengjiang Fauna,” in The Cambrian Explosion and the Fossil Record, ed. J. Y. Chen, Y. N. Change, and H. V. Iten, Bulletin of the National Museum of Science, no. 10 (Taichung, 1997), 11-105.

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    [11.] J. Y. Chen and G. Q. Zhou, “Biology of the Chengjiang Fauna,” in The Cambrian Explosion and the Fossil Record, ed. J. Y. Chen, Y. N. Change, and H. V. Iten, Bulletin of the National Museum of Science, no. 10 (Taichung, 1997), 11-105; S. Conway Morris, The Crucible of Creation: The Burgess Shale the Rise of Animals (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).

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    [13.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59; R. S. Boardman, A. H. Cheetham, and A. J. Rowell, eds., Fossil Invertebrates (Palo Alto, Calif: Blackwell Science, 1987); S. C. Morris, "The Cambrian 'Explosion': Slow-fuse or Megatonnage?," Proceedings of the U. S National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 95 (2000): 4426-29.

    [14.] S. C. Morris, "The Cambrian 'Explosion': Slow-fuse or Megatonnage?," Proceedings of the U. S National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 95 (2000): 4426-29; S. Conway Morris, The Crucible of Creation: The Burgess Shale the Rise of Animals (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).

    [15.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59; R. S. Boardman, A. H. Cheetham, and A. J. Rowell, eds., Fossil Invertebrates (Palo Alto, Calif: Blackwell Science, 1987); S. C. Morris, "The Cambrian 'Explosion': Slow-fuse or Megatonnage?," Proceedings of the U. S National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 95 (2000): 4426-29.

    [16.] R. S. Boardman, A. H. Cheetham, and A. J. Rowell, eds., Fossil Invertebrates (Palo Alto, Calif: Blackwell Science, 1987); J. Y. Chen and G. Q. Zhou, “Biology of the Chengjiang Fauna,” in The Cambrian Explosion and the Fossil Record, ed. J. Y. Chen, Y. N. Change, and H. V. Iten, Bulletin of the National Museum of Science, no. 10 (Taichung, 1997), 11-105.

    [17.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59; R. S. Boardman, A. H. Cheetham, and A. J. Rowell, eds., Fossil Invertebrates (Palo Alto, Calif: Blackwell Science, 1987); S. C. Morris, "The Cambrian 'Explosion': Slow-fuse or Megatonnage?," Proceedings of the U. S National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 95 (2000): 4426-29.

    [18.] S. C. Morris, "The Cambrian 'Explosion': Slow-fuse or Megatonnage?," Proceedings of the U. S National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 95 (2000): 4426-29.

    [19.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59.

    [20.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59; J. Y. Chen and G. Q. Zhou, “Biology of the Chengjiang Fauna,” in The Cambrian Explosion and the Fossil Record, ed. J. Y. Chen, Y. N. Change, and H. V. Iten, Bulletin of the National Museum of Science, no. 10 (Taichung, 1997), 11-105.

    [21.] R. S. Boardman, A. H. Cheetham, and A. J. Rowell, eds., Fossil Invertebrates (Palo Alto, Calif: Blackwell Science, 1987); S. C. Morris, "The Cambrian 'Explosion': Slow-fuse or Megatonnage?," Proceedings of the U. S National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 95 (2000): 4426-29.

    [22.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59; R. S. Boardman, A. H. Cheetham, and A. J. Rowell, eds., Fossil Invertebrates (Palo Alto, Calif: Blackwell Science, 1987); J. Y. Chen and G. Q. Zhou, “Biology of the Chengjiang Fauna,” in The Cambrian Explosion and the Fossil Record, ed. J. Y. Chen, Y. N. Change, and H. V. Iten, Bulletin of the National Museum of Science, no. 10 (Taichung, 1997), 11-105.

    [23.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999).

    [24.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): J. Y. Chen and G. Q. Zhou, “Biology of the Chengjiang Fauna,” in The Cambrian Explosion and the Fossil Record, ed. J. Y. Chen, Y. N. Change, and H. V. Iten, Bulletin of the National Museum of Science, no. 10 (Taichung, 1997), 11-105.

    [25.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59; R. S. Boardman, A. H. Cheetham, and A. J. Rowell, eds., Fossil Invertebrates (Palo Alto, Calif: Blackwell Science, 1987); S. C. Morris, "The Cambrian 'Explosion': Slow-fuse or Megatonnage?," Proceedings of the U. S National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 95 (2000): 4426-29; J. Y. Chen and G. Q. Zhou, “Biology of the Chengjiang Fauna,” in The Cambrian Explosion and the Fossil Record, ed. J. Y. Chen, Y. N. Change, and H. V. Iten, Bulletin of the National Museum of Science, no. 10 (Taichung, 1997), 11-105.

    [26.] R. S. Boardman, A. H. Cheetham, and A. J. Rowell, eds., Fossil Invertebrates (Palo Alto, Calif: Blackwell Science, 1987).

    [27.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59; R. S. Boardman, A. H. Cheetham, and A. J. Rowell, eds., Fossil Invertebrates (Palo Alto, Calif: Blackwell Science, 1987).

    [28.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59.

    [29.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59.

    [30.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59.

    [31.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59; R. S. Boardman, A. H. Cheetham, and A. J. Rowell, eds., Fossil Invertebrates (Palo Alto, Calif: Blackwell Science, 1987).

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    [33.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59; R. S. Boardman, A. H. Cheetham, and A. J. Rowell, eds., Fossil Invertebrates (Palo Alto, Calif: Blackwell Science, 1987).

    [34.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59; R. S. Boardman, A. H. Cheetham, and A. J. Rowell, eds., Fossil Invertebrates (Palo Alto, Calif: Blackwell Science, 1987).

    [35.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59; R. S. Boardman, A. H. Cheetham, and A. J. Rowell, eds., Fossil Invertebrates (Palo Alto, Calif: Blackwell Science, 1987).

    [36.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59.

    [37.] R. S. Boardman, A. H. Cheetham, and A. J. Rowell, eds., Fossil Invertebrates (Palo Alto, Calif: Blackwell Science, 1987).

    [38.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59.

    [39.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59.

    [40.] J. W. Valentine et al., “Fossils, Molecules, and Embryos: New Perspectives on the Cambrian Explosion,” Development, Vol. 126 (1999): 851–59.

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    [45.] Quoting Dr. Brigitte Senut, also stating “One of Dr Senut's colleagues, Dr Martin Pickford, who was in London this week, is also reported to have told peers that he thought the new Chadian skull was from a ‘proto-gorilla’. “ See “Skull find sparks controversy” (July 12, 2002) at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2125244.stm

    [46.] Mark Collard and Bernard Wood, "How reliable are human phylogenetic hypotheses?," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 97(9):5003–5006 (April 25, 1999).

    [47.] Bernard Wood, “Hominid revelations from Chad,” Nature, Vol. 418:133-135 (July 11, 2002) at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v418/n6894/full/418133a.html (emphasis added).

    [48.] Bernard Wood, “Hominid revelations from Chad,” Nature, Vol. 418:133-135 (July 11, 2002) at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v418/n6894/full/418133a.html (emphasis added).

    [49.] Richard C. Lewontin, Human Diversity, p. 163 (Scientific American Library: New York NY, 1995).

    [50.] Y. Haaile-Selassie, “Late Miocene hominids from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia,” Nature, Vol. 412:178-181 (July 12, 2001).

    [51.] See Figure 2, Bernard Wood, “Hominid revelations from Chad,” Nature, Vol. 418:133-135 (July 11, 2002) at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v418/n6894/full/418133a.html

    [52.] A. Gibbons, “In Search of the First Hominids,” Science, 295:1214-1219 (February 15, 2002).

    [53.] See Figure 2, Bernard Wood, “Hominid revelations from Chad,” Nature, Vol. 418:133-135 (July 11, 2002) at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v418/n6894/full/418133a.html

    [54.] Tim D. White et al., “Asa Issie, Aramis and the origin of Australopithecus,” Nature, Vol. 440:883-889 (April 13, 2006).

    [55.] Mark Collard and Bernard Wood, "How reliable are human phylogenetic hypotheses?," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 97(9):5003–5006 (April 25, 2009).

    [56.] Ernst Mayr, What Makes Biology Unique?: Considerations on the Autonomy of a Scientific Discipline, pg. 198 (Cambridge University Press, 2004).

    [57.] Bernard Wood and Mark Collard, "The Human Genus," Science, Vol. 284:65-71 (April 2, 1999).

    [58.] Associated Press, “African fossils paint messy picture of human evolution; who was our ancestor's ancestor?,” International Herald Tribune, at http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/08/america/NA-GEN-US-Human-Evolution.php

    [59.] Robin Dennell & Wil Roebroeks, “An Asian perspective on early human dispersal from Africa,” Nature, Vol. 438:1099-1104 (Dec. 22/29, 2005) (internal citations removed) (emphasis added).

    [60.] Hawks, J., Hunley, K., Sang-Hee, L., Wolpoff, M., “Population Bottlenecks and Pleistocene Evolution,” Journal of Molecular Biology and Evolution, 17(1):2-22 (January, 2000).

    [61.] “New study suggests big bang theory of human evolution,” (January 10, 2000) at http://www.umich.edu/~newsinfo/Releases/2000/Jan00/r011000b.html

    [62.] F. Marchal, “A New Morphometric Analysis of the Hominid Pelvic Bone,” Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 38:347-365 (2000).

    [63.] H. Gee, “Return to the planet of the apes,” Nature, Vol. 412:131-132 (July 12, 2001).

    [64.] Sean B. Carroll, The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution, pg. 197 (W. W. Norton, 2006).

    [65.] Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, pg. 38 (Free Press, 1996).

    [66.] Private correspondence shared by a student who contacted Dr. Wetherington and asked for his references on this point.

    [67.] Francisco J. Ayala, Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion, pg. 145 (Joseph Henry Press, 2007).

    [68.] Francisco J. Ayala, Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion, pg. 146 (Joseph Henry Press, 2007).

    [69.] Michael J. Behe, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, pg. 15 (Free Press, 1996).

    [70.] David Berlinski, “Keeping an Eye on Evolution: Richard Dawkins, a relentless Darwinian spear carrier, trips over Mount Improbable. Review of Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins (W. H. Norton & Company, Inc. 1996),” in The Globe & Mail (November 2, 1996) at http://www.discovery.org/a/132

    [71.] Michael J. Behe, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, pgs. 9-10 (Free Press, 1996).

    [72.] Charles Darwin, Origin of Species (1859), Chapter 6, available at http://www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-origin-of-species/chapter-06.html

    [73.] Michael J. Behe, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, pg. 15 (Free Press, 1996).

    [74.] Franklin M. Harold, The Way of the Cell: Molecules, Organisms and the Order of Life, pg. 205 (Oxford University Press, 2001).

    [75.] Joseph W. Thornton and Rob DeSalle, “Gene Family Evolution and Homology: Genomics Meets Phylogenetics,” Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics, Vol. 1:41–73 (2000).

    [76.] Michael Behe wrote a rebuttal on these points, at Michael J. Behe, "Waiting Longer for Two Mutations," Genetics, Vol. 181:819-820 (2009).

    [77.] Rick Durrett and Deena Schmidt, “Waiting for Two Mutations: With Applications to Regulatory Sequence Evolution and the Limits of Darwinian Evolution,” Genetics, Vol. 180: 1501–1509 (November 2008).

    [78.] Douglas Axe, “Bold Biology for 2009,” (Feb. 1, 2009) at http://biologicinstitute.org/2009/02/01/bold-biology-for-2009

    [79.] The lack of a fossil record for biological molecules makes it difficult to even assess this question. Milton H. Saier, Jr., “Evolution of Bacterial Type III Protein Secretion Systems,” Trends in Microbiology, Vol. 12:113 (2004).

    [80.] William A. Dembski, “Rebuttal to Reports by Opposing Expert Witnesses, pg. 52, http://www.designinference.com/documents/2005.09.Expert_Rebuttal_Dembski.pdf (May 14, 2005) (emphasis added).

    [81.] Casey Luskin, International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design Archives, “Do Car Engines Run on Lugnuts? A Response to Ken Miller & Judge Jones’s Straw Tests of Irreducible Complexity for the Bacterial Flagellum,” at http://www.iscid.org/papers/Luskin_EngineLugnuts_042706.pdf

    [82.] Michael J. Behe, “A Response to Critics of Darwin’s Black Box,” pg. 17, http://www.iscid.org/papers/Behe_ReplyToCritics_121201.pdf

    [83.] Mark J. Pallen & Nicholas J. Matzke, “From The Origin of Species to the Origin of Bacterial Flagella,” Nature Reviews Microbiology, Vol. 4:784 (Nat. Pblg. Group 2006).

    [84.] Douglas Axe, “Bold Biology for 2009,” (Feb. 1, 2009) at http://biologicinstitute.org/2009/02/01/bold-biology-for-2009