(Letter from a friend, regarding the email that follows)

Thanks Richard,

I wish I had Mr. Kerkut as a teacher way back…

Of all the deliberate lies fed to our children on this topic, the one that irks me the most (since it set me and a billion others) on a path of “belief”, is the finches (evolution in action) on the Galapagos Islands.

The fact that these critters are merely racist races of one species, instead of separate species, nullifies completely the evolution hypothesis on the origin of life.

I think Jesus had something to say about misleading children.

.

From: Richard Peachey [mailto:r.d.peachey@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2014 2:23 PM
Subject: Kerkut’s book “The Implications of Evolution”

A couple of months ago I became aware that G. A. Kerkut’s 1960 book The Implications of Evolution was accessible on the Internet: <http://ia600409.us.archive.org/23/items/implicationsofev00kerk/implicationsofev00kerk.pdf>

This interested me because I recalled that the eminent creationist debater Duane Gish had often referred to Kerkut’s book. Gerald Allan Kerkut (1927-2004) was a noted British zoologist and physiologist. After earning a doctorate in zoology at the University of Cambridge, he went on to establish the Department of Physiology and Biochemistry at University of Southampton. For the rest of his career he remained there, becoming Professor of Physiology and Biochemistry and later Dean of Science, Chairman of the School of Biochemical and Physiological Sciences, and Head of the Department of Neurophysiology. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_A._Kerkut>

Kerkut was an evolutionist (see p. vii) but he heavily criticized those who accepted evolution without scrutiny. He also pointed out many weaknesses and deficiencies in the theory as it existed in his time. I suggest that some of those criticisms remain valid today, and his book has continuing value. The file is too big for me to attach as a pdf, but you can download it from the site given above. Below are some of the most interesting quotes. Enjoy! [Bold green indicates my added emphasis.]

* * * * * * * * *

In Chapter 1, Kerkut recounts some of the history of the Anglican church’s control of Cambridge. He then says:

(pp. 3-5; also available, in part, at <http://www.biblicalcreation.org.uk/introductory_articles/bcs084.html>)
You may ask, “What has all this got to do with evolution?” It is my thesis that many of the Church’s worst features are still left embedded in present-day studies. Thus the serious undergraduate of the previous centuries was brought up on a theological diet from which he would learn to have faith and to quote authorities when he was in doubt. Intelligent understanding was the last thing required. The undergraduate of today is just as bad; he is still the same opinion-swallowing grub. He will gladly devour opinions and views that he does not properly understand in the hope that he may later regurgitate them during one of his examinations. Regardless of his subject, be it Engineering, Physics, English or Biology, he will have faith in theories that he only dimly follows and will call upon various authorities to support what he does not understand. In this he differs not one bit from the irrational theology student of the bygone age who would mumble his dogma and hurry through his studies in order to reach the peace and plenty of the comfortable living in the world outside. But what is worse, the present-day student claims to be different from his predecessor in that he thinks scientifically and despises dogma, and when challenged he says in defence, “After all, one has to accept something, or else it takes a very long time to get anywhere.”
Well, let us see the present-day student “getting somewhere.” For some years now I have tutored undergraduates on various aspects of Biology. It is quite common during the course of conversation to ask the student if he knows the evidence for Evolution. This usually evokes a faintly superior smile at the simplicity of the question, since it is an old war-horse set in countless examinations. “Well, sir, there is the evidence from palaeontology, comparative anatomy, embryology, systematics and geographical distributions,” the student will say in a nursery-rhyme jargon, sometimes even ticking off the words on his fingers. He would then sit and look fairly complacent and wait for a more difficult question to follow, such as the nature of the evidence for Natural Selection. Instead I would continue on with Evolution.
“Do you think that the Evolutionary Theory is the best explanation yet advanced to explain animal interrelationships?” I would ask.
“Why, of course, sir,” would be the reply in some amazement at my question.” There is nothing else, except for the religious explanation held by some Fundamentalist Christians, and I gather, sir, that these views are no longer held by the more up-to-date Churchmen.”
“So,” I would continue, “you believe in Evolution because there is no other theory?”
“Oh, no, sir,” would be the reply, ” I believe in it because of the evidence I just mentioned.”
“Have you read any book on the evidence for Evolution?” I would ask.
“Yes, sir,” and here he would mention the names of authors of a popular school textbook, “and of course, sir, there is that book by Darwin, The Origin of Species.”
“Have you read this book?” I asked. “Well, not all through, sir.”
“About how much?”
“The first part, sir.”
“The first fifty pages?”
“Yes, sir, about that much; maybe a bit less.”
“I see, and that has given you your firm understanding of Evolution?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Well, now, if you really understand an argument you will be able to indicate to me not only the points in favour of the argument but also the most telling points against it.”
“I suppose so, sir.”
“Good. Please tell me, then, some of the evidence against the theory of Evolution.”
“Against what, sir?”
“The theory of Evolution.”
“But there isn’t any, sir.”
Here the conversation would take on a more strained atmosphere. The student would look at me as if I was playing a very unfair game. It would be clearly quite against the rules to ask for evidence against a theory when he had learnt up everything in favour of the theory. He also would take it rather badly when I suggest that he is not being very scientific in his outlook if he swallows the latest scientific dogma and, when questioned, just repeats parrot fashion the views of the current Archbishop of Evolution. In fact he would be behaving like certain of those religious students he affects to despise. He would be taking on faith what he could not intellectually understand and when questioned would appeal to authority, the authority of a “good book” which in this case was The Origin of Species. (It is interesting to note that many of these widely quoted books are read by title only. Three of such that come to mind are the Bible, The Origin of Species and Das Kapital.)
I would then suggest that the student should go away and read the evidence for and against Evolution and present it as an essay. A week would pass and the same student would appear armed with an essay on the evidence for Evolution. The essay would usually be well done, since the student might have realised that I should be tough to convince. When the essay had been read and the question concerning the evidence against Evolution came up, the student would give a rather pained smile. “Well, sir, I looked up various books but could not find anything in the scientific books against Evolution. I did not think you would want a religious argument.” “No, you were quite correct. I want a scientific argument against Evolution.” “Well, sir, there does not seem to be one and that in itself is a piece of evidence in favour of the Evolutionary Theory.”
At this piece of logic the student would sit back and feel that he had come out on top. After all, I had merely been questioning him whilst he had produced information.
I would then indicate to him that the theory of Evolution was of considerable antiquity and would mention that he might have looked at the book by Radl, The History of Biological Theories. Having made sure that the student had noted the book down for future reference I would proceed as follows. [end of chapter 1]

(p. 49)
What conclusion then can be drawn concerning the possible relationship between the Protozoa and the Metazoa? The only thing that is certain is that at present we do not know this relationship. Almost every possible (as well as many impossible) relationship has been suggested, but the information available to us is insufficient to allow us to come to any scientific conclusion regarding the relationship. We can, if we like, believe that one or other of the various theories is the more correct but we have no real evidence.
[Keep in mind that this, along with the other citations from Kerkut, was published in 1960 and may need to be updated with more recent information.]

(pp. 83f.)
In conclusion, then, it is apparent that we do not know whether the coelenterates are more or less primitive than other lower metazoans such as the Turbellaria. We do not know if the hollow gut is a primitive condition. We do not know if the Hydrozoa are more primitive than the Anthozoa. We do not know which is the more primitive form, the medusa or the polyp, and as we shall now see, we do not know the relationship between the Coelenterata and the Ctenophora.

(p. 99)
What can one conclude about the most primitive of the Metazoa? There are, as we have seen, five contestants, Porifera, Mesozoa, Coelenterata, Ctenophora and the Platyhelminthia, for this title. These groups are almost completely isolated from each other though a few tenuous connexions can be made. It is quite clear that the available evidence is insufficient to allow us to come to any satisfactory conclusion regarding their interrelationships. At the same time it is also clear that a great deal of work remains to be done on all of these groups.

(p. 101)
Within the invertebrates there are many distinct phyla. So far we have considered some of the possible relationships between the so-called “lower phyla,” namely the Protozoa, Porifera, Mesozoa, Coelenterata, Ctenophora and Platyhelminthia. There are, however, many other important phyla such as the Nematoda, Nemertea, Rotifera, Annelida, Arthropoda, Mollusca, Brachiopoda, Echinodermata and Protochordata that all deserve some mention for they each present special problems of phylogenetic relationship.
It is not possible to obtain satisfactory palaeontological data concerning the relationship of these various phyla because most of them are already fully established in the earliest fossil-bearing beds, the Cambrian. This means that one has to use other information to determine the relationships between these phyla. In fact these relationships are not at all clear and this can best be illustrated by examining three attempts that have been made to present a coherent monophyletic relationship of the major invertebrate phyla.

(p. 111)
It would appear that the relationship between the various invertebrate phyla is a very tenuous one. There are many phyla that seem to be isolated from each other, and even those phyla that seem reasonably close to one another, on detailed examination show differences as important as their similarities. Though it is useful to consider that the relationships determined by comparative anatomy and embryology give proof of a monophyletic origin of the major phyla, this can only be done by leaving out much of the available information.

(p. 142)
Thus we don’t know the time or the source of origin of the vertebrates. We do not know the relationship between the Agnatha and the Placoderms. We do not know the ancestry of the Osteichthyes or Chondrichthyes. We do not know if the Amphibia are monophyletic or diphyletic. We do not know if the mammals are monophyletic or polyphyletic.

(pp. 144f.)
It would not be fitting in discussing the implications of Evolution to leave the evolution of the horse out of the discussion. The evolution of the horse provides one of the keystones in the teaching of evolutionary doctrine, though the actual story depends to a large extent upon who is telling it and when the story is being told. In fact one could easily discuss the evolution of the story of the evolution of the horse.

(p. 146, regarding horse evolution)
It takes a great deal of reading to find out for any particular genus just how complete the various parts of the body are and how much in the illustrated figures is due to clever reconstruction. The early papers were always careful to indicate by dotted lines or lack of shading the precise limits of the reconstructions, but later authors are not so careful. Secondly it is difficult to find out just how many specimens of a given genus are available for study.

(p. 148)
Thus if we could know the parts of, say, Mesohippus skeleton that have been found in perfect condition, the number of specimens, fragments and so on of Mesohippus that are available, the strata from which each of these was derived, the degree of contemporaneity of the strata plus or minus so many million years, then we should have no qualms in accepting the evidence presented to us. At present, however, it is a matter of faith that the textbook pictures are true, or even that they are the best representations of the truth that are available to us at the present time.

(p. 150)
What conclusions, then, can one come to concerning the validity of the various implications of the theory of evolution? If we go back to our initial assumptions it will be seen that the evidence is still lacking for most of them.
(1) The first assumption was that non-living things gave rise to living material. This is still just an assumption. It is conceivable that living material might have suddenly appeared on this world in some peculiar manner, say from another planet, but this then raises the question, “Where did life originate on that planet?” We could say that life has always existed, but such an explanation is not a very satisfactory one. Instead, the explanation that non-living things could have given rise to complex systems having the properties of living things is generally more acceptable to most scientists. There is, however, little evidence in favour of biogenesis and as yet we have no indication that it can be performed. There are many schemes by which biogenesis could have occurred but these are still suggestive schemes and nothing more. They may indicate experiments that can be performed, but they tell us nothing about what actually happened some 1,000 million years ago. It is therefore a matter of faith on the part of the biologist that biogenesis did occur and he can choose whatever method of biogenesis happens to suit him personally; the evidence for what did happen is not available.

(p. 154)
In effect, much of the evolution of the major groups of animals has to be taken on trust. There is a certain amount of circumstantial evidence but much of it can be argued either way. Where, then, can we find more definite evidence for evolution? Such evidence will be found in the study of modern living forms.

(pp. 154f.)
It might be suggested that if it is possible to show that the present-day forms are changing and the evolution is occurring at this level, why can’t one extrapolate and say that this in effect has led to the changes we have seen right from the Viruses to the Mammals? Of course one can say that the small observable changes in modern species may be the sort of thing that lead [sic] to all the major changes, but what right have we to make such an extrapolation? We may feel that this is the answer to the problem, but is it a satisfactory answer? A blind acceptance of such a view may in fact be the closing of our eyes to as yet undiscovered factors which may remain undiscovered for many years if we believe that the answer has already been found.
It seems at times as if many of our modern writers on evolution have had their views by some sort of revelation and they base their opinions on the evolution of life, from the simplest form to the complex, entirely on the nature of specific and intra-specific evolution. It is possible that this type of evolution can explain many of the present-day phenomena, but it is possible and indeed probable that many as yet unknown systems remain to be discovered and it is premature, not to say arrogant, on our part if we make any dogmatic assertion as to the mode of evolution of the major branches of the animal kingdom.

(pp. 156f.)
. . . often an incorrect idea or fact is accepted and takes the place of the correct one. An incorrect view can in this way successfully displace the correct view for many years and it requires very careful analysis and much experimental data to overthrow an accepted but incorrect theory.
Most students become acquainted with many of the current concepts in biology whilst still at school and at an age when most people are, on the whole, uncritical. Then when they come to study the subject in more detail, they have in their minds several half truths and misconceptions which tend to prevent them from coming to a fresh appraisal of the situation. In addition, with a uniform pattern of education most students tend to have the same sort of educational background and so in conversation and discussion they accept common fallacies and agree on matters based on these fallacies.
It would seem a good principle to encourage the study of “scientific heresies.” There is always the danger that a reader might be seduced by one of these heresies but the danger is neither as great nor as serious as the danger of having scientists brought up in a type of mental strait-jacket or of taking them so quickly through a subject that they have no time to analyse and digest the material they have “studied.” A careful perusal of the heresies will also indicate the facts in favour of the currently accepted doctrines, and if the evidence against a theory is overwhelming and if there is no other satisfactory theory to take its place we shall just have to say that we do not yet know the answer.

(p. 157)
There is a theory which states that many living animals can be observed over the course of time to undergo changes so that new species are formed. This can be called the “Special Theory of Evolution” and can be demonstrated in certain cases by experiments. On the other hand there is the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form. This theory can be called the “General Theory of Evolution” and the evidence that supports it is not sufficiently strong to allow us to consider it as anything more than a working hypothesis. It is not clear whether the changes that bring about speciation are of the same nature as those that brought about the development of new phyla. The answer will be found by future experimental work and not by dogmatic assertions that the General Theory of Evolution must be correct because there is nothing else that will satisfactorily take its place. [end of book]

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