Is Evolution a Fact?

 by Laurence D Smart B.Sc.Agr., Dip.Ed., Grad.Dip.Ed



[Free to print and distribute. Copy must be in full.]


"EVOLUTION IS A FACT" appears as a sign that visitors to the Australian National Museum (Sydney) will see when viewing the exhibition on the evolution of humans. The display associated with this sign includes a detailed outline of how evolution has been proved by science.

This statement is in stark contrast to the contents of the book "Designer Universe"(1) by Dr John K. Wright (OBE, MA, ScD, Ceng, Cphys, MIEE, FInstP) that I have just finished reading. The book was given to me as a gift by a friend who saw that the subtitle of the book was, "Is Christianity Compatible with Modern Science?".

John Wright is an eminent scientist who recently retired as the Director of Health and Safety for Nuclear Electric in the UK. The back cover of the book shows that Dr Wright has had a long career in research and in the political aspects of science, including an involvement in the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Dr Wright is also a lay reader in an Anglican church, and is currently responsible for the 'Science and Faith' project at Luton Industrial College (England).

What I found interesting in Dr Wright's book was his frankness about the limits of science and its ability to prove the theory of evolution. This was refreshing as scientists, science teachers, science textbooks and the media promulgate the notion that science is the source of all factual knowledge, and that science has all the answers. Statements by Dr Wright such as, "Science is always provisional - today's science being merely the best we can do at the present time" (2), are very revealing. This openness is in contrast to the scientific world's abhorrence of anyone from the outside who dares question their scientific propositions.

Dr Wright is very open in confirming that evolution is only a theory, not a fact. On some of the pivotal points of evolution he provides the following overview (emphases mine):

(1) The Big Bang is a theory - "[It] is highly probable that our universe started in a massive explosion known as the Hot Big Bang." (3) He also uses the phrase "the Big Bang theory." (4)

(2) What happened in the first instant of the Big Bang is theoretical - "If there were to be satisfactory theories devised about the origins of the universe, it would be necessary first to develop an appropriate theory about the extreme conditions that existed at this early moment in time [ie 10-35 seconds]." (5), and "... the nature of the problem is such that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prove [these conditions]." (6)

(3) Other universes have not been observed - "We postulate that there is a vast number of universes that we have no way of knowing anything about." (7)

(4) The exact origin of life on earth is unknown - "But how did all this start? It is of course, impossible to produce a definite, proven, scientific theory, but there are interesting suggestions and speculations." (8)

(5) Chaos theory does not prove that simple organisms evolved into complex ones - "Although the details will differ, it is possible that this principle [of Chaos theory] may be applied in the growth of biological entities." (9)

(6) The evolution of different families and species is only speculation - "... it is possible to suggest a series of steps ... But there is a degree of speculation rather than firm proof in this." (10)

(7) It is not a fact that humans evolved in Africa - "Genetic studies suggest that we could have appeared first in one geographically restricted area - probably Africa ..." (11)

(8) Darwin's theory is still a theory - "Neo-Darwinism remains an elegant theory ..." (12)


Dr Wright sets out the scientific procedures necessary to give scientific research credibility. He says that:

(i) Scientific theories have the most authority when they are based on observations from experiments.

(ii) Scientific theories have the strongest basis when they are supported by experiments that have been repeated in many separate laboratories.

(iii) Scientific theories are always provisional. They are only valid so long as they are supported by all the available evidence.


Dr Wright then assesses evolution as an experimental theory. He says:

(a) "Clearly, accounts of the origin of the universe or the origin of life on earth are not in this category [of a provable theory]." (13)

(b) "[B]ecause of the very nature of the theory, it cannot be subjected to the test of validity of a normal scientific theory - namely that it should be successfully tested many times independently by different scientists." (14)

(c) "[T]here will inevitably be a degree of speculation in the accounts [of evolution] which is important to recognise." (15)

(d) "[T]he theories of evolution and natural selection are impossible to repeat in their entirety because of the unique nature of the development of life." (16)

(e) "[N]o complete mechanism for going from chemistry to life has been demonstrated ..." (17)

With all this evidence built up against evolution as a 'tried and tested' theory, Dr Wright then makes the illogical choice that progressive creationists and theistic evolutionists make. In spite of the failure of evolution to be a theory that has been proven by the scientific method he accepts evolution in preference to the Genesis account. He justifies his choice by saying, "All that has been learnt in the subsequent 130 years supports the general line of the theory so that the basic science of evolution is securely established (even though some of its extensions remain controversial)." (18)

As a theistic evolutionist, Dr Wright has not dug deep enough into the scientific journals and conference papers. There are volumes of facts and research which do not support evolution, and even larger amounts of scientific results which only support evolution because the data has been interpreted from an evolutionary standpoint. Added to this, controversy rages within every facet of evolution, not just "its extensions". This is well-known among scientists as the scientific media attests. For example, a recent newspaper article (19) outlined the objections of academics to two of the major tenets of modern science. Michael Behe and David Berlinski have attacked Darwinian evolution, and Petr Beckman and Howard Hayden have criticised Einstein's theory of relativity. Michael Behe's book "Darwin's Black Box" (20) investigated the chemistry of the cell and showed that it is so complex and inter-dependent that life could not have formed by chance.

So, when museums broadcast to the general public that evolution has been 'proven', they are being very unscientific. Such announcements fly in the face of all the valuable research that has been conducted under the scientific method. Evolution is a theory, an unprovable theory. It is an historic proposition concerning the origin of life, and historic hypotheses cannot be proven.



John K. Wright (1994), "Designer Universe - Is Christianity Compatible with Modern Science", Monarch Publications: Crowborough (UK)

Michael J. Behe (1996) "Darwin's Black Box - The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution", The Free Press: New York (USA)

Ayala Ochert (1997) "The Fringe Dwellers", The Australian, 20 August, p:41

John K. Wright (1994), "Designer Universe - Is Christianity Compatible with Modern Science", Monarch Publications: Crowborough (UK)



(1) John K. Wright (1994), "Designer Universe - Is Christianity Compatible with Modern Science", Monarch Publications: Crowborough (UK)

(2) John K. Wright (1994), p:42

(3) John K. Wright (1994), p:51-52

(4) John K. Wright (1994), p:52

(5) John K. Wright (1994), p:56-57

(6) John K. Wright (1994), p:58

(7) John K. Wright (1994), p:121

(8) John K. Wright (1994), p:78

(9) John K. Wright (1994), p:77

(10) John K. Wright (1994), p:81

(11) John K. Wright (1994), p:86

(12) John K. Wright (1994), p:81

(13) John K. Wright (1994), p:126

(14) John K. Wright (1994), p:68

(15) John K. Wright (1994), p:126

(16) John K. Wright (1994), p:80

(17) John K. Wright (1994), p:79

(18) John K. Wright (1994), p:68

(19) Ayala Ochert (1997) "The Fringe Dwellers", The Australian, 20 August, p:41

(20) Michael J. Behe (1996) "Darwin's Black Box - The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution", The Free Press: New York (USA)