T O A D S Darwin's suggestion that evolution came about through small successive modificat

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

T O A D S Darwin's suggestion that evolution came about through small successive modifications or changes cannot be applied to every observed creature. Darwin admitted, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." (1) We will provide some difficult-to-explain examples. The Surinam toad is mentioned by Wells, Huxley and Wells as an example of how a land-based amphibian solves the problem of no water. (2) The female toad lays her eggs on her back by means of a long oviduct. After the eggs are laid, the skin on her back grows around the eggs and forms a nursery for the young. One would have great difficulty explaining how such a toad evolved. Perhaps a Darwinian would say that this behavior, and the physiologic structures associated with it, evolved at a time when water was scarce and the need for such behavior was necessary. However, three different phenomena must have evolved or the Surinam toad would have become extinct. First, the long oviduct must have evolved; secondly, the skin of the back must have become capable of surrounding the eggs or they would have dried out raidly on the toad's back. Finally, the two physiological structures would have been useles, unless the toad used them properly. There is absolutely no reason for either of these structures to have evolved by themselves. A toad with no water to lay its eggs in and possessing only a long oviduct is just as doomed as a toad lacking an oviduct whose back can form a nursery but who is unable to get the eggs onto the back. The offspring of a toad posessing only two of the three needed facilities would die. This is an example of a structure which can't be evolved by small modifications. It all must appear at once or it is useless. Another toad which also lives in a waterless environment, solves the problem differently. The female lays her eggs in themouth of the male whose vocal sacs become a nursery. (3) Once again, there are several items which must have evolved simultaneously or the whole thing would have been useless. The female must have learned to lay her eggs in the mouth. The male had to evolve behavior which prevented him from eating the eggs, as well as acquiring the ability to change his vocal sacs into a nursery. The lack of any individual item would have doomed the species. In both of the above cases, the only conceivable impetus to develop these structures would be the drying up of the water in the area in which the toad lived. The toad would not need the structures and behavior millions of years after the water was gone; it would need it immediately, before the waterwas dried up since the tadpole must develop in a watery environment. The changes must come rapidly or it would be too late. FOOTNOTES (1) Charles Darwin. The Origin of Species, New York: New American Library, 1958 p. 171 (2) H. G. Wells, Julian Huxley, and G. P. Wells, The Science of Life, New York; The Literary Guild, 1934, p.728 (3) Ibid Josh McDowell, & Don Stewart. Reasons Skeptics Should Consider Christianity, Campus Crusade for Christ, Inc., 1981, p. 160-161


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank