An absolute refutation of Darwinism

(Note: Commenter Ploni Almoni has pointed out a problem with a point I made near the end of this article as originally posted. I thank him and I’ve changed it accordingly. My main point, about the impossibility of the appearance of sexual intercourse and internal fertilization as a result of Darwinian processes, stands. See also a follow-up to this article, in which I discuss internal fertilization in some amphibian species.)

In the previous entry on Darwinism and teleology, Sage McLaughlin comments:

“I have discussed this at more length with other bloggers, but the easiest example I can think of is (of course) sex. Masculinity and femininity, and at a more profane level the male and the female, are in large measure teleological concepts.”

It’s funny that Mr. McLaughlin should mention this, because an hour or two before reading his e-mail, I was talking about evolution with a friend, and we suddenly realized that one of the greatest evolutionary puzzles is the appearance of reproduction by sexual intercourse in vertebrates. In fishes and amphibians, there is no sexual intercourse. Fertilization is external. The female lays her eggs in the water and the male ejects his sperm over the eggs, and that’s it. There is no direct physical contact between the sexes and no parental involvement with the young.

But starting with reptiles, fertilization is internal, via physical contact between the respective reproductive organs of the male and female. The male reptile must have the appropriate organ that fits with the female organ and ejects sperm into the female, and the female must have the organ to receive the sperm and join the sperm with the egg, and also have the organs which secrete albumin (protein) around the egg and then secrete calcium around that to produce a hard shell and then lay the egg. The male and female organs must appear simultaneously and fit with each other. In the case of reptiles, this is the cloacum:

Male and female birds and reptiles both have cloacae, an opening through which eggs, sperm, and wastes pass. Intercourse is performed by pressing the lips of the cloacae together, during which time the male transfers his sperm to the female. The female lays amniotic eggs in which the young gestate.

The male cloacum must be able to be fitted with the female cloacum and the female must have the entire system of organs to receive the male sperm and prepare the fertilized egg for laying.

How could this be, under the Darwinian scenario of random mutation and natural selection? Was there perchance an amphibian species, which suddenly, by random mutation, by pure accident, produced a male with a cloacum suited for fitting with a female cloacum, and, simultaneously, produced a female with a cloacum that fit with the male cloacum and was capable of receiving the sperm and of producing albumin and calcium for laying eggs? Also, both the new fangled female and the new fangled male had to have the instinctive behavior to press the lips of their cloacae together, i.e., engage in sexual intercourse.

Now, our Darwinian friends never tire of speculating about how a long succession of itsy bitsy mutations, each one somehow “adaptive” by itself, could accumulate into an extremely complex organ, such as the bacterium flagellum or the eye, in which a vast number of parts work perfectly together. But I don’t think that even the Darwinians would have the chutzpah to postulate that random mutations could occur in an externally fertilizing amphibian species that simultaneously produced a mutated male and a mutated female with mutually complementary reproductive organs suited for internal fertilization, the result being a new, proto-reptile species that reproduces by sexual intercourse.

This is not just something that is extremely, astronomically unlikely. It is inherently impossible. The Darwinian theory of evolution cannot, even by the wildest speculation, account for reproduction by sexual intercourse.

* * *

But of course the Darwinians do propose simultaneous complementary random mutations in the sexes. The below is from an article, “The Biological Basis of Sex Appeal,” by Richard F. Taflinger. He provides an interesting account of the radical differences between the mechanics of reproduction in humans and the mechanics of reproduction in all other mammals including primates. In four legged mammals and in primates, sexual intercourse is easy, since the female stands on four legs, and the vagina is in the rear, on the body surface, and readily accessible by rear mounting. In human females the vagina has moved forward, is not on the surface, and the buttocks (which exist only in humans) also get in the way.

Taflinger continues:

At this point you may very well be asking yourself, “So what? So women have large buttocks—so do men. So women walk upright—so do men. What’s the big deal?”

It’s a good question. The answer is that as the female primate changed into the female human, her new body made sex difficult. Her vagina was now not easily accessible but difficult to get to. It moved far forward, got a covering layer of flesh, and became hidden between two heavy columns of bone and muscle.

“Nonsense!” you reply. “Where do all these babies come from, if sex is impossible? Men and women do get together, you know.”

Indeed, they do, but not the way almost any other primate or land mammal does. Remember, all these changes in female anatomy occurred before humans became human. Let’s examine what may have happened long ago and far away.

Ms. Primate, decked out in her new body, bounds up to a likely looking male and presents her posterior—after all, land mammals mate from the rear. He, of course, responds. However, there is a new and frustrating development—he can’t reach. Equipped as he is with a primate penis, which is small, her vagina is too far forward, her legs too close together, and her buttocks hold him too far away.

“Then the human race died out,” you sneer sarcastically, knowing such is not the case. Obviously the human race did not die out. To avoid this fate, the male primate had two choices: evolve physically to compensate for her changes, or change his technique. In fact, the male did both.

First, the proto-human male evolved an over-sized penis, the largest in the primate world, and one of the largest in comparison to body size in nature….

So, according to Taflinger, first the proto-human female evolved an entirely different body shape, with the vagina in a much less accessible location for which the small primate penis was no longer adequate. And then, for the species to avoid dying out (get the teleological language?), the proto-human male evolved a much longer penis that made penetration easier to accomplish. But—sorry for the importunate question—how long did it take for random genetic mutations to produce this much larger penis? If this change didn’t occur immediately, the proto-human species would have come to a quick end. And of course there was no reason for such a mutation to have occurred at all, ever—a problem that Taflinger’s teleological language covers over by making it seem that as soon as there is a need, like a need for a much bigger penis, evolution provides for it. Almost as though evolution was guided by an intelligent designer or something.

Now, as commenter Ploni Almoni points out below, Taflinger’s breezy scenario is proposed for the sake of illustrating a point. Darwinians would not seriously argue that all the changes described would occur all at once in one female. They would have occurred by stages in a population. Yet it seems to me that the breezy scenario still captures the essential problem and the essential absurdity of the Darwinian theory. And this is, that even as females of the proto-human species were having purely accidental, random changes that just happened to lead them in the direction of becoming human, the males of the species would have to keep having their own mutations—purely accidental changes, mind you, that, once again, just happened to lead chimpanzee-like creatures into becoming human—that would, at each and every point in this process taking tens or hundreds of thousands of years, adjust the males to the changes in the females. Darwinists will say: But of course, that is how it happened. A female primate stood a tiny little bit more upright, her vagina moved a tiny little bit forward (and at each point the female individual who had this change would for some reason have a reproductive advantage over all other females and produce more offspring, making that change dominant in the population within a few generations), and a male who—purely by random, accidental mutation—developed corresponding changes in his sexual anatomy would be able to mate more easily and have more offspring with that female. Furthermore, at each stage the necessary change in the male to enable him to mate more easily with the female would have to occur simultaneously with the change in the female in order for the changes in the female to “work” better and be selected!

All that seems vanishingly unlikely, though perhaps one could argue that it is remotely possible. At the same time, returning to the initial problem posed by me in this article, for reptiles that reproduce by sexual intercourse to evolve by Darwinian processes out of amphibians that reproduce by external fertilization, profound organic and behavioral changes would have to be produced by numerous, mutually complementary random mutations which would have to occur simultaneously in the male and female. And that is impossible. Not highly unlikely. Impossible.

- end of initial entry -

Terry Morris writes:

You wrote:

Now, our Darwinian friends never tire of speculating about how a long succession of itsy bitsy mutations, each one somehow “adaptive” by itself, could accumulate into an extremely complex organ, such as the bacterium flagellum or the eye, in which a vast number parts work perfectly together. But I don’t think that even the Darwinians would have the chutzpah to postulate that random mutations could occur in an externally fertilizing amphibian species that simultaneously produced a mutated male and a mutated female with mutually complementary reproductive organs suited for internal fertilization, the result being a new, proto-reptile species that reproduces by sexual intercourse.

I know you use the word “simultaneously” in the foregoing commentary, but, given that evolutionists posit great lengths of time for these chance occurences to materialize by degrees, I think it cannot be stressed enough that by the term simultaneously you mean to say that at almost precisely the exact same moment in time must these changes have occurred in the male and female reptiles.

An “unbelievably fortunate stroke of fortune” indeed!

Ploni Almoni writes:

Here I go breaking my vow not to argue any more about Darwinism.

Re the article by that Taflinger guy, it’s amazing that you would take such a breezy description (“Ms. Primate”!) so literally when it obviously wasn’t intended to be read that way. The element you’re overlooking is variation. “Ms. Primate” isn’t one female type, she’s all females in a population . Because of variation among these Mr. and Ms. Primates, there was nothing that had to occur “immediately” there. Note that I’m not saying that Taflinger’s story, correctly understood, is true—only that your “refutation” of it is invalid.

In the example of internal fertilization I assume you meant that the capability or behavior of internal fertilization had to appear simultaneously in males and females; the cloaca themselves were already there, used for external fertilization. But the capability/behavior did not have to appear simultaneously in the two sexes. Mrs. Amphibian might have been ready and waiting patiently for millions of years for Mr. Amphibian to get the hint, as they meanwhile continued to make little amphibians the old way. (Oops, I said “waiting”! I’m using the language of purpose! That must prove…uh, something.) Of course the calcium egg shells didn’t need to appear at the same time either. Your idea that all this has to occur simultaneously seems to be a common mistake in arguments from irreducible complexity.

LA replies:

I thank Ploni for making this point, and I’ve changed the original entry to reflect it. The initial reason I quoted the Taflinger article was to show the reasoning process of Darwinians, that, when faced with a problem such as I describe in the first half of the article, regarding reptile internal fertilization, Darwinians will propose simultaneous changes in the sexes to make this possible. I went looking for articles on the subject, and came upon Taflinger who proposed not just a simultaneous change in the sexes, but a huge simultaneous change in the sexes. He also did it in an amusing way that made it entertaining.

However, as I said, the much more impossible of the two scenarios is the first scenario dealing with the change from external to internal fertilization. Ploni is himself rather breezy in his own scenario of how this happened. The fact is that the capabilities of the female proto-reptile (a) to join her cloacum with the male, (b) to receive the male’s sperm, (c) to fertilize an egg internally, (d) to prepare the egg for laying by coating it with albumin and then with calcium, and (e) to lay the egg, as well as the instinctive behavior that made her join her cloacum with the male, would all have had to appear simultaneously. And the male’s organic capability (a) to join with the female and (b) to inject his sperm into her, along with (c) the instinctive behavior that makes the male do this, had to appear simultaneously with all the changes that had to appear simultaneously in the female.

Ploni says all these changes could have occurred one by one. This is a “coulda” to the nth degree. If the Darwinians would admit at least the implausibility of their scenarios which make other people doubt Darwinism, we might get somewhere. But they never do. They act as if their own scenarios, their “coulda’s”, are so obviously plausible that only perversity or blind religious belief could lead people to doubt them.

Laura W. writes (1-27-08):

Your “Absolute Refutation of Darwinism” is compelling. You did, however, exceed the bounds of propriety and I blushed repeatedly at your precision. Writers have an ancient tradition of resorting to metaphor in these matters, referring to “subverted flowers” and “unsheathed swords.” We live in a hyper-scientific age and I suppose no one is unscathed. :-)

The anatomical changes you mentioned would chiefly have arisen from the selective pressure to stand upright. I’m surprised no one pointed this out; it’s just the sort of obfuscation of the issue one typically gets in discussing the idea of macroevolution through random mutation and natural selection. Both male and female anatomy would have changed dramatically with the move to an upright position. But, you’re right, it would have been a tremendous coincidence if they simultaneously evolved compatible reproductive organs.

Thus we’re left with the difficult notion of incremental changes. The problem is that if there were a change in, say, female anatomy that was significant enough to lead to a change in male anatomy, the only kind of selective pressure that would qualify to lead to this male change would have been an inability in a significant number of males to perform the sex act at all. That would be the only environmental pressure that would lead to modification of the male organ. Males with inadequate organs would not simply be reproducing less, in the way a finch might reproduce less if faced with hunger; they would be failing to reproduce at all.

Imagine the tremendous social discord and aggression in early hominid communities produced by males who were not able to have sex with females of their species at all. Primitive humans faced disease, famine, and hostile terrain. Did they survive these and this level of sexual frustration as well without disintegrating into all-out violence and self-destruction? It boggles the mind. If this is the scientific explanation for compatible reproductive organs today, one can only stoop to admire our forebears. They withstood fantastic trials so that we could have our relatively uncomplicated pleasures today.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 23, 2008 10:43 PM | Send

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