Evolutionary Just-So Stories

March 22, 2011 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -

“There are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations” (James Shapiro, molecular biologist, National Review, Sept. 16, 1996).

One of the most frequently-used evidences for evolution is the “just-so” story that purports to explain how evolution happened but which is actually a theoretical explanation lacking evidence. The term “just-so story” was popularized by Rudyard Kipling’s 1902 book by that title which contained fictional stories for children. Kipling says the camel got his hump as a punishment for refusing to work, the leopard’s spots were painted on him by an Ethiopian, and the kangaroo got its powerful hind legs after being chased all day by a dingo.

Kipling’s just-so stories are as scientific as the Darwinian accounts of how the amoeba became a man.

Lacking real scientific evidence for their theory, evolutionists have used the just-so story to great effect. Backed by impressive scientific credentials, the Darwinian just-so story has the aura of respectability.


Biologist Michael Behe observes:

“Some evolutionary biologists--like Richard Dawkins--have fertile imaginations. Given a starting point, they almost always can spin a story to get to any biological structure you wish” (Darwin’s Black Box).

Consider, for example, the following account of how fish supposedly evolved:

“The corals arrived and began to build reefs, and the segmented animals developed into forms that soon would leave the sea and establish a bridgehead on land. Important changes also took place among the proto-fish. The slits in the sides of their throats, which had originated as filtering mechanisms, were walled with thin blood vessels so that they also served as gills. Now the pillars of flesh between them were stiffened with bony rods and the first pair of these bones, slowly over the millennia, gradually hinged forward. Muscles developed around them so that the front ends of the rods could be moved up and down. The creatures had acquired jaws. The bony scales in the skin which covered them grew larger and sharper and became teeth. No longer were the backboned creatures of the sea lowly sifters of mud and strainers of water. Now they could bite. Flaps of skin grew out of either side of the lower part of the body, helping to guide them through the water. These eventually became fins. Now they could swim. And so, for the first time, vertebrate hunters began to propel themselves with skill and accuracy through the waters of the sea” (David Attenborough, Life on Earth, based on a BBC-TV series, 1979, p. 112).

Evolutionists have never given evidence from the fossil record or from living creatures or microbiology or from any other realm that would prove that such a thing as this happened. It is a mythical just-so story, but it impresses people because it is delivered by the professional scientist and is wrapped in the authority of a high-tech BBC television series.

Honest evolutionists admit that they don’t know how the fish evolved. F. D. Ommaney says,

“How this earliest chordate stock evolved, what stages of development it went through to eventually give rise to truly fishlike creatures, we do not know” (The Fishes, p. 60).

Consider this just-so story about the evolution of the ear:

“How did ears get their start? Any piece of skin can detect vibrations if they come in contact with vibrating objects. This is a natural outgrowth of the sense of touch. Natural selection could easily have enhanced this faculty by gradual degrees until it was sensitive enough to pick up very slight contact vibrations. At this point it would automatically have been sensitive enough to pick up airborne vibrations of sufficient loudness and/or sufficient nearness of origin” (Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, p. 90).

According to Dawkins is is an easy thing for vibrating skin to develop into a hearing ear, but this is children’s story-telling, not science.

Here is a just-so story of how the bird evolved:

“[John] Ostrom’s initial idea was that flight must have developed gradually over time. He envisaged feathers as having initially evolved as some form of insulation for his warm-blooded dinosaurs. As generations of these feathered dinosaurs ran around on the ground, their arms became more developed in order to help them catch their prey. The arms developed further still until wing-like structures evolved which would allow the first running dinosaurs to tentatively take to the air” (Paul Chambers, Bones of Contention, p. 216).

A feathered dinosaur running around flapping his arms and gradually growing wings and learning to fly is a Kipling tale for sure.

Consider this example from the
Encyclopedia Britannica of how the insect learned to fly:

“... wings arose as fixed planes extending sideways from the thorax and were used, perhaps in some large leaping insect, for gliding. Later, muscles developed, first to control inclination and then to move the wings in flapping flight” (“Evolution”).

Fixed planes just “arose,” and muscles just “developed” and presto, you have the incredible flying insect. Nothing to it. There is absolutely no scientific evidence for such a thing.

When it comes to how life evolved from non-life, evolutionists turn again to their just-so stories. Consider this from the Field Museum in Chicago:

“Around 2.5 billion years ago, some cells began engulfing other cells. These cells were able to function together, forming a new type of cell: a eukaryote.”

If challenged to produce the scientific evidence that this actually occurred, they would have to admit that this is merely how they “think” it happened or how it “must have” happened.

That there is zero evidence for these just-so stories seems not to bother most evolutionists in the least. They figure that it had to have happened something like this because their naturalistic religion rejects divine creation and teaches them, therefore, that evolution
must be true.

Charles Darwin was king of the just-so story. For example, he imagined a bear evolving into a whale.

“I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more and more aquatic in their habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale” (On the Origin of Species, first edition).

Darwin saw no difficulty in a bear becoming a whale. It was just-so, you see.

The most recent just-so stories used as icons of evolution are those pertaining to the origin of life. There are many of these, such as the RNA-first story. In replying to the creationist challenge that evolution cannot explain the origin of life, convinced Darwinists trot out these just-so stories with great relish as evidence that evolution
can explain this problem. But their stories are not based on proven scientific evidence. Removed the evolutionary assumptions, and there is no evidence.

If evolutionists had real evidence, they would not invent stories.

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