Speakers challenge Darwin’s theory
Published: Sunday, September 26, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
The screening of "Darwin's Dilemma" on Thursday evening in the Hughes-Trigg Theater generated a lively discussion on the Darwinian Evolutionary theory. The documentary film brought a large crowd to the student center.
Charles Darwin, an English naturalist, published his theory of evolution in his 1859 book "Origin Species." According to Darwin, human, animal and plant life descended from a common ancestor through a process called "natural selection."
Beneficial mutations were passed from generation to generation, known as survival of the fittest, resulting in entirely different creatures over time.
The documentary shows the origin of life according to Darwin with a running commentary posing contrasting questions on this evolutionary process.
While some who study geology believe in the Cambrian explosion, in which animals did not evolve from small organisms but were created by a 60-million-year long explosion, Darwin thought otherwise. The film cites the existence of the other animal types in the fossil record, dating back to the Pre-Cambrian period.
The speakers stated that Darwin realized that the Pre-Cambrian fossil evidence did not support his theory of gradual, step-by-step evolutionary development but hoped that future generations of scientists would make the discoveries necessary to validate his ideas.
Moderated by Stephen Meyer, author of "Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design," renowned biologists Douglas Axe, Richard Sternberg, Jonathan Wells and Paul Nelson presented new evidence from molecular biology, genetics and related fields that challenged Darwin's theory. They cited population genetics and combinatorial problems as some of the major developments negating Darwin's theory.
The speakers stated that Pre-Cambrian fossil discoveries in the last century have continued to raise more questions than answers, noting that 90 percent of earth's fossils date back to the Pre-Cambrian era— the period that Darwin's step-by-step evolution fails to explain.
The panel discussion was followed by a question and answer session.
Josh Seymour, business major from Cox School of Business, found the discussion informative.
"We can have a positive future if we can convince people that Darwin's [theory] is just a theory like any other and not a fact," Seymour said.
Udoka Omenukor, SMU engineering major, stated that she learned a lot during the lecture.
"I did not understand the evolution theory," she said. "This has helped me understand beyond the basics. It is not good enough to say that the explosion caused all existence."
Juan Terrazas, a member of PULSE, a campus ministry, found the talk interesting. He said that he was in a better position to compare Darwin's evolution theory to the biblical explanation of the beginning of life.
"I believe that God is the creator of life. I don't see how something can originate from cells. There has to be someone that created us, a higher power," Terrazas said.
He added that different animals functioned differently from fish in the sea.
"This building didn't just come about, it had to be constructed," he said.
Jerret Sykes, director of PULSE and Victory Campus Ministries, said he organized the event to re-connect conversation on where we came from, bringing about conversation on the meaning of life.
While the speakers attempted to persuade their large crowd, they mentioned that paleontologists still continue to search for links to find the missing transitional forms.