The following is an honest and lengthy review for the above mentioned book I left on Amazon.com.
Evolution for Dummies is full of examples of what is called “micro-evolution.” This is the type of changes we see in animals today that has resulted in the different variations among species (different breeds of dogs, for example). Micro-evolution would better be called “variations within the kinds.” This book does not show the proof of macro-evolution where common ancestors diverged into two different kinds of animals. That is a different type of evolution and it is not science. Science has to be observed and tested, and you cannot observe and test the past—the past has already happened, you only see the remains. Micro-evolution does not lead to macro-evolution, and macro-evolution is a faith-based belief system.
I am giving this book five stars because it better explained the science behind micro-evolution which Creationists have been saying all along. I must caution the reader to watch for the author’s use of bait-and-switch. The observed changes in animals today is scientific; the inferred changes in the past are not.
First of all, I am a born again Christian and a young-earth creationist. I believe the Judeo-Christian God created the universe, earth, water, and all living things as stated in the historical narrative of Genesis around 6,000 to 7,000 years ago. I believe the evidence clearly shows this without requiring any unnecessary leap of faith to make it all fit together. Although I was not there in the past to see it happen, I have the Word of God who was there to explain how it happened.
Before going into my review, I want to make a comment about “For Dummies” books. I have always enjoyed them because they take an interesting yet sometimes technical topic and make it enjoyable to read. I could read the technical books on the topic, but they are dryer than toast. “Dummies” book keep the topic entertaining. Another reviewer commented that there were typos in this book. I agree as I found a few myself. I would expect better editing in such an established brand as this, but in the overall review of this book, it is not an issue.
I have studied the topic of Creation vs Evolution (or Evolution vs Creation?) for at least a decade if not more. I have listened/watched/read various types of media from both sides of the argument, and I’ve listened to countless “Crevo” debates. I do this to fully understand where each side is coming from. All that said, I purchased “Evolution for Dummies” to add to my list of resources in this interesting topic.
My goal in getting this book was to find the solid, irrefutable proof of evolution as theorized by Charles Darwin. However, all the evidence provided within these pages was exactly what Creationists and those who hold to Intelligent Design (I.D.) have been saying all along. The book is full of different examples showing evolution in action, but upon closer examination of each example it only shows the variations within the kinds and how such variations come to be. There are variations of finches, roses, sharks…the list goes on, and the only scientifically observed “evolution” is just those variations—different colors, fur length, size, shape, diet, etc. What is not observed is the divergence from a common ancestor that, for example, created the chimps and the humans. That common ancestor is supposedly ape-like, but the alleged divergence was not, nor can it ever be, observed, tested, or validated. The past happened in the past; you cannot watch it happen now. All we can see today is chimps, apes, baboons, and the other species being related to the primate kind; humans have their variations (race, etc.) only within the human kind. All experiments have only shown the variation with kinds. It has not shown the ape-like ancestor diverging into chimps and humans. Nor do experiments show a water-dwelling creature become amphibious and then become land-dwelling. These things are supposed to have happened in the unobserved past. If it is not observable and testable, it is not science. On page 129, in the context of the alleged “tree of life,” it reads, “Not having been around for that many millions of years ago when these relationships were forming, modern scientists can only infer how these things evolved; they can’t state it directly.” I am glad the authors were honest to make this statement. Inference of the unobserved is not science. It becomes a faith at this point. One can freely believe it happened in the past, but let’s not call that science or teach it as a fact in a tax-funded schools.
This leads me to my next remark. Up until Chapter 9, the information and evidences provided were actual science—that is, it was observed, tested, repeated, and validated. Starting with Chapter 9, inferences begin to be made. An ongoing problem in this hotly debated topic is the deceptive “bait and switch” tactic. That is, when an adaptation is seen in the wild or in a lab, that is called evolution. When living things are believed to have evolved from simple organisms to complex (i.e. “molecules to man”) over millions of years, and we are said to all be part of a phylogenetic tree of life, this is also called evolution. They are not the same thing. This is the fallacy of equivocation. Proponents of evolution say, “Evolution is true because evolution is observed.” They are two different types of evolution. Observed evolution can be studied in a lab or a natural setting, but never will a scientist observe a dinosaur make gradual changes in its skeletal and muscular structure to develop wings and the ability to fly. One evolution is an observed fact; the other remains a theory.
Chapter 20 is about fossils. Fossils only show that an animal died. Supposedly, fossils found in lower sediments are the ancestors of fossils found in higher sediments. It’s alleged that through mutations and natural selection, and millions of years, the once living animals evolved from the lower forms to the higher forms. If each layer holds a specific group of species that is supposedly “less evolved” than the species in the layer above it, how can anyone know for sure that the species above is a descendant of the species below? This layering method does not do well in the light of the many, many fossils found “out of place.” If animals were buried an X number of years ago, but then are found in older or even younger rock strata, then the whole theory of evolution has to change. Evolutionists come up with stories as to how these out of place species got into the wrong layer. Instead of saying their theory is wrong, they just change the story behind it and move on. In science, when a theory is wrong, it has to be discarded. As more and more science comes to show that evolution is false, instead of discarding the theory, it is altered to fit the new evidence. By doing so, it makes evolution forever unfalsifiable. That is not science.
Fossils are simply dead things buried in sedimentary rock layers all over the world. The author included an interesting statement about fossils. On page 318 it reads, “Evidence even exists that baby dinosaurs remained in the nest and were cared for by the parents (because fossils of young but not newly hatched dinosaurs have been found in nests).” There are a few problems with this. If geologists believe rock layers were laid down over millions of years with various floods or rivers rising, wouldn’t the young dinosaurs “cared for by the parents” have been properly removed from the flood area to safe, dry ground? Or, wouldn’t the young dinosaurs have the instinct to move themselves to higher ground if their parents were not around? Aren’t there survival instincts? If waters are rising, animals have the instinct to move away. They try to escape predators just as they try to escape rising waters. If rising rivers and streams caused sediments to bury animals near the shore, why is this not happening now? Why do we instead see dead fish along the shore that eventually decompose and are picked apart by scavengers? Fossilization has to require rapid burial, otherwise the animals will just decompose. This especially happens in the oceans. Dead fish don’t get buried. They float for a while, then sink, then are eaten by scavengers. How do evolutionists explain the fact that 95% of fossils are marine creatures, some of which are found fossilized in the moutains? The geologic gradualism view of the formation of rock layers and fossils is lacking in many areas. A worldwide Biblical flood as recorded in Genesis 6-9 gives a more reliable account as to how the rock layers and fossils formed across the planet. In fact, the sedimentary rocks and fossils used to support the evolution theory actually have nothing to do with evolution but everything to do with a worldwide flood. These rock layers we see along the highways and in the Grand Canyon are exactly what we would expect to find if the world experienced a catastrophic flood.
The author talks about transitional fossils. Supposedly these fossils show the intermediate organism that carried traits of animal “A” that would eventually evolve into animal “B.” We see these alleged transitional fossils make the news every now and then, but as time goes on, they fade away into forgotten history as more research on each alleged transitional fossil is completed and then determined to not be an intermediate at all. But the media doesn’t tell us that. On Page 322-323, the author mentions the Tiktaalik as an intermediate, but that’s been refuted for years. If animals gradually mutated from one kind to another over millions of years, then how can evolutionists explain the “Cambrian Explosion” where fully developed life forms are found in one rock layer? How do they explain the simple life forms found at the bottom layers that are not simple at all but actually very advanced? The trilobites, for example, have been found to have very advanced eyesight. This should not be if they are early and simple life forms.
Some evolutionists say all life forms today and in the past are intermediates. If by that statement they mean we all have variations within our kind, then I can agree. To say that each of us are intermediates before the next round of evolution comes, then that is more of a faith based prediction. Humans will always beget humans; canines will always beget canines. There is a gross lack of transitional fossils, and those that have been found are highly questionable if not already refuted. There are simply too many gaps in the fossil record to call it evidence for Darwinian evolution.
In Chapter 10, pages 160-161, there is an example of evolution regarding fish. When fishermen throw out their nets, they catch all the larger fish while the smaller fish swim through the holes in the net thus they survive. Therefore, the selective pressures on the large fish resulted in the small fish increasing in population. This is not evolution. There was a big fish and a little fish. Remove the big fish and the little fish have a great chance of survival because they have one less predator. Granted, some of the little fish in that population may eventually develop a new mutation that decreases their size, but they are still the same species of fish. What if the fishermen started using nets with smaller holes? If this new mutation causes some fish to not grow as big, then they will make it through the net while the fish a size bigger will be consumed by the fishermen. Again, this is an example of mutations and selection, not advancement in the species. The fish did not decide to get the mutation. Mutations happen regardless, and they increase in each generation. Although the fish survived the net, they still have more predators because now that they are smaller, even more fish can eat them. And, these mutation examples are not any advancement to where the fish are going to sprout appendages to prepare them for land. Again, we have fact versus theory. Bait and switch. Creationists have no problem with such mutations and changes in populations. If there is a population of long-haired dogs and short-haired dogs that migrate to a cold areas, the long-haired dogs would have a greater chance of survival because they stayed warmer than the short-haired dogs. Therefore, the long-haired dogs would increase in population while the short-haired would go extinct. That’s not evolution in the Darwinian sense. That is selection based on the already existing genetic traits and survival of the fittest, and neither concept contradicts Creation.
On page 172, an example is given about selecting for better chickens who will lay more eggs. It discusses an experiment in doing this. It was interesting, but in the end, we end up with…chickens. Again, this is a bait and switch. If you want to call it evolution as defined as “change,” then that is fine, but this is not molecules to man evolution. It’s a great example of selective breeding, and farmers have been doing this for thousands of years. Remember there are two different definitions. This is where the fact of evolution intertwines with the theory of evolution, but it should not do so. It is not scientific to take an observed experiment today and extrapolate to what happened millions of years ago.
The chapters on antibiotic resistance and HIV were very interesting. I learned a thing or two on how diseases can be traced based on their type of mutation. There are different strands of influenza and HIV, but again, this is what Creationists already know. These are variations within the kind. Influenza mutates into different influenza strands; HIV mutates into different HIV strands. This is not Darwinian evolution. This is bait and switch. Mutations cause change within the kind only. One of the most important statements made is on page 274. “A common misconception is that the addition of the antibiotic leads to the genetic changes that result in antibiotic resistance. But evolution requires that the variation already be present. The addition of the antibiotic didn’t cause the bacteria in the beaker to become antibiotic resistant; it just killed all the antibiotic-sensitive bacteria, leaving behind only the bacteria that happened to be antibiotic resistant already.” I couldn’t have said it better. The variations we see today are already in the genome, except for the case of harmful mutations caused by chemicals, genetic defects, and so forth. Just like with the alleged evolution of the peppered moth where one was dark and the other was light colored—they both possessed the genes for the colors at one time, but after breeding for so many generations, the dark colored ones lost the light colored gene, and vice versa. If all living things possess a limited number of variations, then how can we evolve upwards? You can’t add such information to the genome. Information is either used or lost.
On page 328, we find where Charles Darwin struggled in determining how the eye was formed. The author goes on to give a step-by-step outline of how it could have formed. But given the complexities of the eye, not to mention a single human cell or the entire human body with all its interrelated systems, wouldn’t it behoove us to consider the probability of there being a designer? How could millions of mutations create such complexities? More than a few times the author readily admits that the majority of mutations are harmful, and as stated above, variations within the genome have to already exist. How can harmful mutations create the intricate designs and complexities in living things like we have today? Mutations explain why we have diseases, disorders, and dysfunction, and mutations explain how we get some of the variations among animal kinds, but mutations can’t explain the origin of the first cell let alone the human body.
I was let down to read pages 331-333 where the author used the worn out arguments for evolution. Whales have “vestigial structures indicative of terrestrial ancestors.” It takes a leap of faith to believe an oxygen breathing animal lived on land and then went through the countless (harmful) mutations necessary to produce the ability to swim and breathe through gills. In addition, whales don’t have leg bones; these structures are used for mating. They are not used for bipedal ambulation. The same goes for snakes with alleged “legs”—those structures are also used for mating. (Imagine a snake trying to mate with nothing to grab onto.) Page 342 mentions the vestigial appendix. This has long been proven to aid in combatting infections. There are entire books written on supposed vestigial organs that actually have a purpose.
On the very last page (343), the author makes a straw man argument against Creationists. “Noah loaded the Ark with all the animals that existed on Earth at the time.” This is not true. Noah did not load the animals; God sent them. And it was not all the animals, it was two of each kind. Current estimates show that there may have been only 2,000 animals on the ark (1,000 male and 1,000 female). Evolutionists don’t like to be misunderstood. Creationists don’t either.
He continues, “If the earth were only a few thousand years old, the evolutionary process as scientists understand it wouldn’t have had sufficient time to generate the diversity of life on the planet.” I agree completely, and that is why evolutionists get more upset when someone disagrees with the age of the earth than when they disagree with evolution. Since scientists rely on time to allow the supposed changes, they make time their “god” and science at this point becomes a religion or philosophy. As stated earlier, they “infer” what happened in the past. What if it didn’t happen in the past as they infer? Will they change the textbooks and recant all that has been dogmatically taught in the schools and secular media? No. They will modify the theory to fit what contradicts the previous paradigm. Why not discard the theory and start over? It is similar to what happened when Dr. Mary Schweitzer found soft tissue in a supposed 65 million year old T. Rex bone. Instead of saying the fossil was not millions of years old, she instead said the fossilization process must be different than formerly understood. Why not question the unobserved “millions of years.” Since then, more soft tissue has been found in other fossils. When will the paleontologists step up and admit something is not right about their theory?
Page 343 continues, “The process of science has no mechanisms for addressing questions of a spiritual nature; it concerns itself solely with the natural world.” I agree completely. Science only studies the natural world. However, this limits science. Since this philosophy does not allow a divine foot in the door, such absurd ideas like Life came from Nothing, Darwinian Evolution, Big Bang, and Millions of Years (all of which are in contradiction to the evidence) have to be invented to discount what God clearly revealed to us in Genesis. What if scientists were to consider an intelligent designer? How much more could that help further the understanding of origins and variations! Since God is Spirit (John 4:24) and therefore supernatural, how could science ever disprove God? It is impossible. Science does not deal with the supernatural, so don’t let anyone ever tell you science has disproven God.
On pages 339-342, the author writes about Intelligent Design. He makes a subtle attack against them by saying some have proposed that life came from aliens or a time-travelling biologist. While it may be true that some in the ID movement have said this, it should also be added that evolutionist proponent Richard Dawkins has suggested that life came from aliens. Google “Richard Dawkins aliens” and you’ll find more than a few articles confirming that statement. The author writes that Intelligent Design “promotes a religious viewpoint that something beyond natural processes created the world and the creatures in it.” ID is definitely not religious, although scoffers call in “Creationism in a lab coat.” While some may say there is a divine creator or aliens, origins is not the necessary focus of their research. They instead show how there is design that could not have been created through natural processes. The author implies that the arguments they use are not scientific but just appears that way. The ID movement is very powerful and effective in disproving the alleged naturalistic processes that caused all life forms to appear how they are today.
It’s been said that Creation(ism) is not science. There are many Ph.D. creation scientists actively involved creation research. There is also a growing number of secular scientists who are dissenting from the dogma of Darwinism. Remember this when people claim evolution is accepted by all scientists. Can Creationists make predictions like other scientists? Yes, and here are a few. If God ordered all living things to reproduce after their kind, then we would expect to see variations in the canine kind, the feline kind, the primate kind, the human kind, and so forth. We see that today. If there was a world-wide flood, we would expect the catastrophic flood waters and hydrologic mixing of sediments to bury all living things (except those on the ark). As the water began to flow back into the newly created oceans (see Psalm 104), the sediments would settle into layers based on granular density, and fossils would likewise be sorted in part due to their density but also due to the ecosystem they lived in at the time of the flood. This would help explain why some fossils are “out of place” of the geologic column’s paradigm. The flood also explains why closed, fossilized clams are found. Clams open their shell when they die. If they are found fossilized and closed, then they had to be rapidly buried, just like the juvenile dinosaurs as mentioned earlier. The flood also explains why fish have been fossilized while in the process of eating another fish and while in the process of giving birth. The burial had to happen rapidly. Here’s more predictions: If God sent the curse of death upon mankind for Adam’s sin, then we would expect to see the gradual increase of mutations, sickness, deformities, and other imperfections in all living things (see Romans 8:22). This is what we see today. Babies are born with incurable illnesses; Disease is rampant; Mutations abound; All living things die; Worldwide suffering. If one of God’s characteristics (He has many) is love, then He would provide a rescue from the curse. He did so by stepping into history as Jesus Christ, and He sacrificed His life for us so that all who confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead will be saved. This is what God did. There are other predictions that have been validated; I just listed a few to show that Creationism is science.
Throughout the book, the author writes about the evidence of common descent being that of similarities in DNA, bone structure, etc. Do these similarities imply a common ancestor? Yes, they do. I can see why evolutionists believe all life forms are related because they see similar segments of DNA codes or similarities in the layout and functioning of bones. But this evidence also implies a common Designer. God used the same basic DNA to code for hair, or eyes, or nerves. He used the same basic structures for mammals, fish, birds, and humans. If we have a common Designer, wouldn’t it make sense for Him to use the same basic format? What would be the other option? Similarities, though, don’t mean relationship. A painter may use the same type of canvas, brushes, paints, and techniques, but the end results are completely different paintings.
In the end, Creationists and Evolutionists start with the same evidence but reach different interpretations of the past. Creationists have evidence in fossils, biology, the universe, plants, animals, chemistry… everything an evolutionists has and can observe, but we come to different interpretations. Which is right? Which makes the most sense? Evolution does not teach the origin of life, but instead it focuses on what happened after life began. I call that the “elephant in the room” because it’s a topic they cannot answer but many want to know. They will never be able to explain the origin of life. Creationists can easily tell you where life came from (God), why there is disease, suffering, and death (the fall of man), and where we will go after we die (heaven or hell). And these answers are much more plausible, yet science will not allow the supernatural into a lab. Science is the discovery of God’s creation that we see today, not what we think happened in the unobserved past. As with many other things in this fallen world, science has become corrupted and replaced facts with fairy tales.
There are many Creationists teachings I’ve included in the above review. Space does not allow me to expound on those, plus I’d rather just focus on the book. To learn more about Biblical kinds, Creation, the Bible, the Flood, Refuted transitional forms, Radiometric dating, Fossils, Dinosaurs, Is the Bible true, Why is there suffering, God, Theology, The age of the Earth, How dinosaurs fit on the ark, or any other related topic, I would recommend www.searchcreation.org. This search engine finds articles (both laymen and technical) and videos for a wide array of topics from scientists, some of whom hold a Ph.D. I also recommend www.gotquestions.org where you will find many more topics. You may scoff at such things because they are from “anti-science Bible thumping creationists,” but I encourage you to study both sides of this topic (Creationists love science, by the way). In fact, in all things you learn about, take the time to learn the opposing view. It helps you learn more and find the truth. If you seek the truth, you will find it, and it will make more sense. It’s fruitless to waste your time arguing. Go to Google or the above websites. You’ll find it.
There are other things I could talk about with the book but I think I gave enough examples to show that to my disappointment, I did not find the irrefutable proof of Darwinian Evolution. This book did not show the proof of “molecules-to-man” evolution as taught in schools and the Discovery channel. This is micro-evolution (observed small changes), not macro-evolution (unobserved changes from a common ancestor to a divergence of new kinds). The evidence points to an intelligent designer, and from what I’ve discovered in my journey, that designer is the Judeo-Christian God.
I anticipate many people who read this review to scoff at it and reply with point-by-point refutations. Understand that this is not a debate forum so I will not be taking part in any discussion. That is not the purpose of Amazon Reviews and I want to be respectful to this company. Besides, I have been in countless discussions on this topic with both educated and uneducated evolutionists, and none have been able to provide the proof of their belief system. The same goes for the scholarly debates I’ve listened to. The proof of the alleged evolutionary past is simply not there. Many I’ve talked to like to refer me to “talk-origins archive” or similar websites as their source of proof, but if they were to read the opposite, like “truth-origins” (this is the site that gives a rebuttal to everything written at “talk-origins”), they would see there are diametrically opposed sides to this topic. Same evidence, different interpretations. More often than not, the evolutionists I have spoken with go on the offensive and use fallacies such as the straw man, ad hominuem, affirming the consequence, and too many others to count. If you choose to reply to this review, remember, I gave this book 5 stars. I found it to be interesting and entertaining. I do recommend this book because micro-evolution is explained scientifically and supports what Creationists have said all along, but I caution all readers to be wary of the bait and switch. You cannot observed what happened in the past; you only see the leftovers and have to come up with an interpretation.