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US paperback
Jun 2004
What Darwin Didn't Know
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Harvest House
ISBN 0736913130
318 pp
What Darwin Didn't Know
by Geoffrey Simmons, M.D.

The subtitle reads: "A Doctor Dissects the Theory of Evolution." I didn't find this really to be true. What Dr. Simmons does is look into instances of the stunningly complex, yet at the same time highly specific processes that go to make up human physiology, and pose the question, "Could something like this have come about through the selection of fortuitous accidents of chance?" This isn't so much dissecting a theory as inviting one to ponder whether it's really capable of explaining everything that it purports to explain.

Examples:

-- The nervous system. Every bodily action is coordinated by means of conference calls between millions of cells in the brain. In the brain's fourth week of development, cells begin migrating outward at the rate of 250,000 per minute to form what will ultimately be its six layers. Every one of them knows where to go, what do do, and how to link up with as many as 10,000 other connections.

-- The circulatory system. In a typical lifetime the valves of the heart will operate more than three billion times. Trillions of red and white blood cells and platelets are propelled through an incredibly complex branching network to deliver oxygen, water, nutrients, vitamins, and hormones, each to its correct destination in precisely the right amounts when needed, and then return carbon dioxide and wastes to the appropriate disposal sites. This continues through every second of life. The heart knows when to speed up and slow down, how much blood to pump and for how long, and it fixes itself on the run.

The question isn't one of questioning that evolution happens, as misleading critics who miss the point are fond of arguing, but of whether a Darwinian mechanism is capable of explaining all that's going on. Selection can only select from what's there to be selected from. Too much has to change in exactly the right way, all at the same time, for systems with this kind of sophistication to have come about through trial-and-error. The number of wrong attempts that you'd need to churn through is simply too immense, even in the six hundred million years for which life is estimated to have existed--which is no time at all for the probabilities involved. Just as neurons and blood vessels "know" where and when to connect, the right mutations seem to know when to happen, once the conditions are right. But that isn't Darwinism.

"A tide of data is mounting against the Darwinian (though not necessarily Darwin's) concept that randomness can explain the wonders of life. . . . Geoffrey Simmons converts that tide into a tidal wave of evidence."

--Gerald Schroeder, Ph.D

"As the wonders of what transpires under my skin were skillfully unfolded, my mind was filled with awe. There is no part of the body I will take for granted again. Who can not be impressed that their blood vessels laid out end to end would circle the globe twice? How about the fact one cell is more complex than the space shuttle?"

--Donald J. Parker, amazon.com reviewer

"Sit back and enjoy as Dr. Simmons leads you on an exhilarating romp through your own anatomy. . . . And in the end, be prepared to confront the overwhelming evidence against Darwin's explanation for your existence."

--Dr. Jed Macosko, molecular biologist, University of New Mexico
 
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