Via The Sensuous Curmudgeon, I read a letter to the editor that was typically terrible but also a good analogy for other arguments against the theory of evolution.
I began the study of linguistics in the autumn of 1968.First, the claim it is a metaphor for. One thing this article at CreationToday gets right is that there are no simple life forms today.
After nearly 50 years I can tell you, I still love linguistics. One day as an adult I read an article by a linguist who proposed a theory I had never considered. He suggested if Darwin were true, then language must have evolved from a grunt and a groan into the extraordinarily complex system of syntax, grammar and vocabulary which we speak today.
And if that were true, he continued, logically there must be evidence that somewhere, at sometime, in some place there once was a primitive language. After 50 years in linguistics I can tell you, for certain, there is no such evidence.
Any living organism, even a single-celled amoeba, is more complex than the space shuttle!...Most biology textbooks these days teach that all life-forms evolved from “simple, single-celled life-forms.”
There are several things to consider here:
There are no “simple life-forms.” If it is alive—it is extremely complex.
Many single-celled creatures have been observed for thousands of generations with no significant change.
Single-celled creatures still exist and reproduce. Why aren’t any of them evolving?
There are no examples living or fossilized of two-, three-, or four-celled creatures.
After one-celled creatures, the “simplest” animals have about one hundred cells. How did the single-celled creatures become multi-celled? Be sure to ask for specific evidence, not just theories.
Alright, time to look at the letter to the editor and the claim that "[T]here must be evidence that somewhere, at sometime, in some place there once was a primitive language."
Why does the letter writer think that? Do the words from his mouth solidify and exist without human intervention for more than a few seconds? If you are curious about the 'few seconds' bit, I will do him the favour of imagining he speaks in an echo chamber and the words do carry and bounce for some time. But not a minute. Not an hour.
If there was a primitive language, if evolutionists and linguists were right, what does he think we would find? Here are some 'Unattested languages' from North American native peoples -"Several languages are only known by mention in historical documents or from only a few names or words. It cannot be determined that these languages actually existed or that the few recorded words are actually of known or unknown languages."
The key phrase for me is "cannot be determined that these languages actually existed". These names for possible languages can only be a few hundred years old as the words were recorded - possibly in error - by Europeans.
There is no reason to expect any evidence for ancient languages.
Alright. On to the Creation Today article and these statements and questions:
1 There are no “simple life-forms.” If it is alive—it is extremely complex.4 There are no examples living of fossilized of two-, three-, or four-celled creatures. I don't know if this is true. Let's accept that it is. For now. There are also no examples of fossilized passenger pigeons. Fossils are formed when an object is surrounded by a material, typically silt or mud. With time, the object degrades and disappears and other material fills in the gap. This is obvious when looking at fossils of large dinosaur bones. But a dinosaur bone is much larger than a speck of silt. A creature of less than ten cells size is not much bigger than the silt surrounding it. Normally, the resolution is too poor to see an object that size. For another analogy, look at the beach in this satellite photo. Point out anything that you 100% certain is a human being. I can see the beach umbrellas and spots that might be anything. The satellite cannot zoom in sufficiently to see humans. And the silt is usually too coarse to show details of microscopic life.
2 Many single-celled creatures have been observed for thousands of generations with no significant change.
3 Single-celled creatures still exist and reproduce. Why aren’t any of them evolving?
4 There are no examples living or fossilized of two-, three-, or four-celled creatures.
After one-celled creatures, the “simplest” animals have about one hundred cells.
Regarding the next point, the number of cells in the "simplest" animals. When we look at sponges, which can be quite large, were are looking at millions of cells but they are nearly identical in shape. If you were to break up a sponge and separate it into individual cells, it will reform into a new sponge. It does not have blood or organs; it is simply a large group of single cells working together. See here for some details. It has many cells but they are not differentiated cells.
3 Single-celled creatures still exist and reproduce. Why aren't any of them evolving? The article writer imagines that diseases are not evolving. S/he needs penicillin the next time s/he is sick. Elsewhere I compared canoes to aircraft carriers. Canoes are like single-celled creatures and carriers are more complex. Both exist. An aircraft carrier, whatever other cool things it can do, cannot travel through Algonquin Park. Canoes are still canoes but are also very different from their origins.
2 Many single-celled creatures have been observed for thousands of generations with no significant change. Many, but I note not all. What is a 'significant change'? Bacteria are now capable of digesting nylon. The Long-Term Experiment has run for around twenty or thirty years and the E coli bacteria there can now digest citrate, something that no other E coli bacteria can do.
And now the reason I have done this in reverse order: 1 There are no “simple life-forms.” If it is alive—it is extremely complex.
I think analogies fail at this level. We don't know how life began. There is no reason to expect evidence of the first life forms - see the first several paragraphs of this post. Anything alive today that we see and study or experience must be able to live in modern conditions.
One possibility for the first cell was that it formed in a microscopic gap in porous rock near a volcanic vent. It would not have needed much as it was both constrained by the space it lived in and was supplied with diffusing nutrients by the rock around it. There is no evidence to support or disprove this idea so it cannot be a theory, only a hypothesis. The point is, we don't expect evidence and there are workarounds for most objections.
Why do evolution proponents continue to claim there was a Universal Common Ancestor? Because of shared similarities across all domains of life that are best explained by one.