- Astronomers hold that the Sun formed from a cloud of gas which originated from the explosions of earlier generations of stars. Some of the gas condensed to form the Sun, while other material aggregated into planets – solid planets close to the Sun and gaseous planets further out, along with chunks of rock which we know as asteroids. Problems with this ‘nebular hypothesis’: (a) simulations indicate that the proto-planets would have spiralled inwards and been gobbled up by the Sun within 100,000 years, (b) asteroids are not primitive objects but consist of fragments of much larger bodies, and (c) present-day rates of radioactive decay are insufficient to account for the melting that occurred in those bodies. Accordingly, the origin of the Solar System represents one of the oldest unsolved problems in science – The old world destroyed gives details.
- There is no satisfactory explanation for the existence of large amounts of water on the primeval Earth. During the formation of the Solar System, Earth is believed to have been red-hot and therefore could not have hosted liquid water, yet the very oldest mineral evidence shows that continents and liquid water were already present. Discussed in Water everywhere.
- Fossils are the remains of dead organisms, and in studying them we can easily forget that there is more to life than just what we see. The most distinctive property of animal life is consciousness, a state which we know first-hand because we ourselves are conscious. If this property could be reduced to solely physical causes, human thought would have no rational quality, and Darwinism itself would have no rationality. Unlike computers, animals (including human beings) are informed by a spirit. Death occurs when the body ceases to have any sense of subjectivity and the spirit leaves the body. With its most fundamental premise that life consists only of atoms, evolutionism fails at the first hurdle.
- As measured by radioactivity-based clocks, four-fifths of the fossil record consists only of microbes and algae. Evidence of microbial life is almost as old as the oldest rocks. How was it possible for programmed cellular life to evolve so quickly? And why, after that amazing start, did so little happen for over 3 billion years?
- Then animals appeared on the scene: marine animals no less complex than those we see in today’s seas. This sudden profusion of complex, mutually unrelated organisms (organisms which can be grouped together into 20-35 ‘phyla’, defined by their distinct ‘body plans’ and consisting of species which can plausibly be interpreted as related) is known as ‘The Cambrian Explosion’ and it was already well known in Darwin’s time. Darwin acknowledged it to be a major problem for his theory, for it contradicted the idea of a single tree of life. The problem remains unsolved.
- The explosive appearance of nearly all the distinctive body plans of marine animals in the Cambrian period is not a unique phenomenon. The appearance of terrestrial animal kinds is similarly explosive. Examples include the sudden appearance of insect orders in the Carboniferous and mammal orders around the beginning of the Cenozoic.
- All the major plant groups (divisions) also appear out of nowhere; mosses, ferns, horsetails, cycads, ginkgos, conifers, gnetophytes, monocots and so on. There is no gradual evolutionary progression leading up to these forms.
- Evolutionary trees are frequently contradicted by the appearance of the same feature in independent lineages, a phenomenon known as ‘convergence’. It is called convergence because blind, undirected Evolution appears to converge from different directions upon the same idea, e.g. the independent evolution of gliding among eleven different groups of mammals (From reptile to mammal), the independent evolution of the spider form in trigonotarbids and harvestmen, the independent evolution of the scorpion form in eurypterids and pseudoscorpions (The first land animals).
- The all-determining timescale depends on the assumption that the speed of light has always been what it is now. In geology this can be tested against the direct evidence of what is being dated. It fails such tests. The processes recorded in geological strata indicate rates more than 20,000 times faster than those extraneously imputed by radioisotope dating (see How old is the Earth?).
There are also fundamental problems of a biological nature, not dealt with here. Evolution in the genome discusses, in a simple way, some of the genetic mechanisms underlying evolutionary change.