Evolution: The Prince Rupert’s Drop of Science

If evolution is true, it should be unbreakable as a theory.

Have you ever heard of the Prince Rupert’s drop? Prince Rupert’s drops are toughened glass beads created by dripping molten glass into cold water where the drop rapidly cools. The droplet solidifies into a tadpole shape with a long, thin tail. But the reason these drops have a name (Prince Rupert brought them to the King of England as a curiosity) is because of a remarkable characteristic: These droplets harden with very high residual internal stresses, which give rise to counter-intuitive properties, such as the ability to withstand a blow from a hammer or a bullet on the bulbous end without breaking, while exhibiting explosive disintegration if the tail end is even slightly damaged.

The Prince Rupert’s drop defied explanation for years and remains as a scientific curiosity. One can hammer with repeated blows to the large head of the drop without the drop suffering so much as a chip or crack. Trying to break a Prince Rupert’s drop by attempting to smash the large “head” only reinforces the drop’s seeming imperviousness to destruction. But a slight tap, nick, or twist of the tail results in immediate, complete, and quite dramatic explosive destruction.

It seems that the Prince Rupert’s drop results from the rapid cooling in water that cools the outside quickly, leaving the inside to cool more slowly. The hardened skin gets “pulled” inwardly as it compresses the drop, especially at the head. This compression traps and prevents the release of tremendous amounts of residual stress inside the more slowly cooling interior of the drop.

Evolutionary theory is the Prince Rupert’s drop of science. Dropped into the water of history at a time when it was most amenable to immediate acceptance, Darwin’s molten theory quickly solidified into a seemingly impervious truth of science: Human beings are the result of natural causes alone. Before any residual stress of inquiry could be released the world latched on to Prince Darwin’s drop. The theory of evolution by natural selection quickly solidified as the only scientific explanation for all the diversity of life on earth.

Prince Darwin’s drop also arrived tadpole shaped. The larger, bulbous part that can be readily recognized in nature is uncontroversial: descent with modification. As known for centuries to breeders, animals and plants can be bred to exhibit many varieties and modifications. In a similar manner we see variation naturally occurring in nature due to heritable genetic differences being passed to offspring. One famous example—the varieties of finch beaks in the Galapagos Islands—arrived on the islands due solely to descent with modification.

And the tail of Prince Darwin’s drop? Darwin’s greatest triumph is popularizing the idea that nature is, in effect, a blind and senseless breeder that employs natural selection to sort out all the variation fed to it by random descent with modification. Natural selection, explain evolutionists, produces non-random streams of order out of the flood of random genetic variation in nature.

But did Prince Darwin’s drop cool too quickly? Were scientists only too eager to embrace a theory—any theory—that could explain a natural, i.e., Godless, existence for all of life?

The Prince Darwin’s drop of evolution by natural selection can be challenged on many, many rational and logical grounds. Like the pounding of a hammer on the drop’s head, challengers have banged away on Prince Darwin’s drop with arguments of probabilities, arguments of fine tuning, arguments of design, arguments of missing links, arguments of gaps in the fossil record, arguments of anti-evolutionary traits like love and caring among humans, arguments of the sheer unbelievability of it all.

Bang, bang, bang. The noise of challenges to the theory of evolution continues. Like a hammer slamming relentlessly against the head of a Prince Rupert’s drop, the repeated banging of arguments against the Prince Darwin’s drop yields no results. Darwinism survives them all without so much as a chip or a crack.

But the tail! What of the tail of Prince Darwin’s drop? Is it possible that all along the challengers to evolution have been missing the easy way to shatter Prince Darwin’s drop?

That tail of natural selection remains in Prince Darwin’s drop as the great triumph of the theory. And as long as it remains unbroken, Darwin’s theory will prevail as scientific consensus.

But what if that tail could be broken? Why don’t we focus on that tail and cause Prince Darwin’s drop to shatter in the blink of an eye? If natural selection can be shown to fail as an explanation for the origin or existence of any current life form, what is left of evolutionary theory but a small pile of glass powder?

Breaking the tail of Prince Darwin’s drop is easier than you think. If the term “by” in the phrase “theory of evolution by natural selection” is to have any meaning, then natural selection must do something to explain all the existing life forms on earth.

But think about it, as we show in The Natural Selection Paradox, natural selection did nothing for every organism in the ancestral lineage of every current living form.

Did you get that? Nothing! Natural selection may explain—as is shown in every example—that some organisms die due to natural selection. Light peppered moths die, but dark moths live. Green bugs die but brown bugs live. Short-necked giraffes die, but long-necked giraffes live. Even those finch beaks on the Galapagos Islands: Natural selection did nothing for the surviving finches that descended with the modified beaks. Natural selection always “explains” how some die. But what about all the ones that lived? And it is the living that led to every existing life form today.

Snap! The tail of Prince Darwin’s drop shatters to pieces with one simple question: What did natural selection “do” for all the living organisms in the ancestral lineage of every existing life form?

Think about it.

And for more info, check out our posts: The Natural Selection Paradox, and Evolution’s Fatally Unaswerable Question.

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