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Stephen Bartholomew, Jr., "Genetics Proves Absurdity of Whale Evolution" (2021)

In recent years evolutionists have increasingly promoted the evolution of whales as one of the most convincing examples of macroevolution. Their alleged evidence is a mounting number of fossils that they claim are of transitional creatures in this process. In the debate about this subject, creationists have generally focused upon these same creatures, particularly specific details of their anatomy. In essence, the debate boils down to evolutionists explaining why they believe these creatures are ancestors of whales and creationists explaining why they can’t be. Although this issue merits discussion, focusing too much attention upon it is somewhat myopic, for there is another area of investigation that deserves considerably more attention, which is the process that supposedly created these transitional creatures in the first place. This process is the central focus of this paper. Focusing primarily upon genetics, in particular mutations, it demonstrates that the evolutionists’ theory of whale evolution is not only flawed, but absurd. Although evolutionists agree that mutations are instrumental in the process of evolution, they generally include genetic drift, migration, genetic recombination, and natural selection as other contributors to the process. This paper demonstrates exactly why these other processes are all ultimately dependent upon mutations for the changes that are supposedly required. According to evolutionary theory, however, the ultimate initiator of the changes must be not only mutations but very specific mutations, beneficial ones. It will be shown that, according to evolutionists’ own descriptions, beneficial mutations do not create what is absolutely necessary for the process of whale evolution: entirely new physiological features, ones that would require DNA that never before existed.

Genetics Proves Absurdity of Whale Evolution by Stephen Bartholomew, Jr. on March 12, 2021

Keywords: whales, evolution, mutations, genetic drift, migration, genetic recombination, and natural selection, Pakicetus.


Note: Scientific corroboration for the beliefs presented in this paper is provided in separate Appendices.

Ever since the theory of evolution was introduced by Charles Darwin’s seminal book, The Origin of Species, proponents of the theory have been faced with a dilemma: if mammals evolved on the land, how can there be mammals living in the seas (cetaceans)? At first, this appeared to be a particularly perplexing problem for evolutionists. In recent years, however, the perspective has taken a radical turn. Evolutionists now claim that this transition from a four-legged land mammal to a whale is one of the best evidences of evolution that exists. The following appeared in an article entitled “How Did Whales Evolve?” at the website
For more than a century, our knowledge of the whale fossil record was so sparse that no one could be certain what the ancestors of whales looked like. Now the tide has turned. In the space of just three decades, a flood of new fossils has filled in the gaps in our knowledge to turn the origin of whales into one of the best-documented examples of large-scale evolutionary change in the fossil record. (Switek 2010)

In the book Evolution and the Fossil Record, Pojeta and Springer say this about this subject:

During the 1990s our understanding of whale evolution made a quantum jump. In 1997, Gingerich and Uhen noted that whales (cetaceans) ... have a fossil record that provides remarkably complete evidence of one of life's great evolutionary adaptive radiations: transformation of a land mammal ancestor into a diversity of descendant sea creatures. (Pojeta and Springer 2001, 22)

The literature on this subject is replete with similar claims.

According to the story, whales evolved from a four-legged, land-dwelling mammal that lived about 50–55 million years ago. An obvious question is, “Why wouldn’t it be theorized that whales evolved from fish, say a shark?” After all, whales look much more like sharks than creatures that lived on land, such as wolves or small hippos. Furthermore, fish dwell in the same environment as whales: water. Whales, however, are mammals, and evolutionists do not believe that mammals could have evolved from fish. Simply put: whales, they believe, must have evolved from such creatures because whales are mammals and because, prior to the evolution of cetaceans (marine-dwelling mammals), all mammals supposedly lived on land and had four limbs.

In order to get a general idea of what evolutionists believe about whale evolution, the following descriptions are helpful. The first is from a small book about whales by Bunting. Although it was directed primarily toward children, at the time it was written it offered a rather accurate summary of what evolutionists believed about whale evolution:

Between 50 and 100 million years ago, when the world and many of its creatures were primitive, the ancestors of whales walked the land. They were not animals that we would recognize as whales. Their heads and tails were more like those of dogs. They had bodies covered with fur, and they had four legs. They were small, too, probably no bigger than a person, although there were no humans around then for comparison.

It is likely that they waded in shallow waters near shore, sometimes swimming the edges of the sea in search of food. Gradually, their search took them farther and farther from shore. Their bodies grew more streamlined for easier swimming. Fur, which was warm when dry, but cold and heavy when wet, gradually disappeared. It was replaced by blubber (fat) under the skin. Whale blubber can be as much as two feet thick. It helps hold in heat, keeping the whale as warm as if it wore a giant overcoat.

The whale’s front legs evolved into flippers which guide the body while diving and turning. Their back legs disappeared altogether. And their tails widened to become the broad, fan-shaped flukes which whales stroke up and down to propel themselves through the water.

Their heads changed, too. The nostrils, which had been at the tip of the nose, as they are with all land animals, moved to the top of the head and became blowholes. Now whales can breathe easily while speeding along on the surface. (Bunting 1980, 8–10)

In the late 1990s this tale took a new turn. Rather than evolving from a furry wolf-like mammal, a mesonychid or Pakicetus, the ancestor of the whale was changed to an artiodactyl (one of the even-toed ungulates, or hoofed animals, that includes pigs, camels, deer, giraffe, hippos, cattle, and many others). Here is a more-recent description:

Despite disagreements over methods, molecular evolutionists are now at one on the whale's family tree. The story goes like this. First there was an ancestral even-toed ungulate. Then the family tree split between camels and all the rest. Next the pigs and peccaries split off, followed by giraffes and deer, leaving just the ancestor of all hippos. Romping in the water, some hippos ventured into the ocean. These seafaring hippos then branched into the two superfamilies of the baleen whales (finbacks and blue whales) and the toothed whales (dolphins and porpoises). (Wade 1999, 48)

The idea that, romping in the water, some hippos ventured into the ocean . . . and became whales, is an extraordinary claim, to say the least. The question, of course, is, Is it true?

Original Ancestor of Whales

The identity of the whale's land-dwelling original ancestor has undergone many revisions over the years, and its size and appearance has ranged broadly. Of course, no matter what is selected here as the whale’s earliest ancestor, evolutionists can seize upon the selection as a reason to discount this entire analysis, on the basis that the original ancestor was actually something else. It would be a red herring, and it can be repudiated by pointing out the number of changes that evolutionists themselves have made in the identity of this creature. Charles Darwin even thought that it may have been a bear! The description below indicates the uncertainty surrounding this creature. It is typical of the evolutionists’ thinking about this matter.

The first thing to notice . . . is that hippos are the closest living relatives of whales, but they are not the ancestors of whales. In fact, none of the individual animals on the evogram is the direct ancestor of any other, as far as we know. That's why each of them gets its own branch on the family tree.

Hippos are large and aquatic, like whales, but the two groups evolved those features separately from each other. We know this because the ancient relatives of hippos called anthracotheres (not shown here) were not large or aquatic. Nor were the ancient relatives of whales that you see pictured on this tree — such as Pakicetus. Hippos likely evolved from a group of anthracotheres about 15 million years ago, the first whales evolved over 50 million years ago, and the ancestor of both these groups was terrestrial.

These first whales, such as Pakicetus, were typical land animals. They had long skulls and large carnivorous teeth. From the outside, they don't look much like whales at all. However, their skulls — particularly in the ear region, which is surrounded by a bony wall — strongly resemble those of living whales and are unlike those of any other mammal. Often, seemingly minor features provide critical evidence to link animals that are highly specialized for their lifestyles (such as whales) with their less extreme-looking relatives. (Understanding Evolution website)

The mention in this last paragraph of the anatomical features of a Pakicetus is a good example of the common focus upon such details in the debate between creationists and evolutionists that was mentioned at the beginning of this paper.

For this discussion, in line with many of the accounts of this process, the whale’s “earliest” ancestor will be identified as Pakicetus, which looked rather like dogs, or wolves, with hoofed feet and long, thick tails. “Straddling the two worlds of land and sea, the wolf-sized animal was a meat eater that sometimes ate fish, according to chemical evidence.” (American Museum of Natural History website 2013). This creature will be called the Progenitor (capitalized for easy identification). A Google search of “images of whale evolution” will generate many images of this creature and other similar ones.

In regard to the identification of the whale’s original ancestor, a very important point must be emphasized: The specific identification of this creature is irrelevant to the conclusions arrived at in this paper, for they are equally applicable no matter what this creature was.

Chronology of Whale Evolution

The time it took for this creature to supposedly evolve into a whale is not particularly clear. This is understandable, of course, because both the date of its earliest ancestor and the date that the evolutionary process was completed are completely speculative. Generally speaking, however, most evolutionists’ seem to be of the opinion that the Progenitor entered the scene about 50–55 million years ago. Estimates for the length of the entire process range from about 10–25 million years. Hans Thewissen, a recognized authority on whale evolution, states that, “The entire evolutionary sequence, from little Indohyus diving into streams, to modern cetacean-like basilosaurids took about 8 million years.” (Thewissen 2014). For the sake of discussion, this period will be estimated to be ten million years.

As we have just seen, the identity of the original ancestor is uncertain. In any event, the average lifespan of a wolf is about ten years, a cow about 15–25 years, a hippo about 45 years, and a whale about 40–60 years. If it is assumed for discussion purposes that the average lifespan of the creatures involved in this process was 30 years and that a generation, the average age of reproduction, was approximately 10 years, there would have been about one million (10 million years∕10) generations during the entire process. At the beginning of the process, the life span of the creatures would have been about 10–25 years, while at the end it would have been about fifty years.

Source of the Morphological Changes in the Evolution of the Whale

The process of whale evolution would have required a vast number of physiological changes in the creatures that participated in the process. Needless to say, these changes must have had a cause. According to the acclaimed evolutionist Ernst Mayr, and many others, “It must not be forgotten that mutation is the ultimate source of all genetic variation found in natural populations and the only new material available for natural selection to work on” (Mayr 1970, 102). A popular, contemporary evolutionist, Douglas Futuyma, heartily agrees with Mayr:

All genetic variation owes its origin ultimately to mutations . . . (Futuyma 2013, 235)

Dr. John Sanford, an avowed creationist, has a decidedly different opinion of mutations:

In conclusion, mutations appear to be overwhelmingly deleterious and even when a mutation may be classified as beneficial in some specific sense, it is still usually part of an overall breakdown and erosion of information ... mutations, even when coupled with selection, cannot create new information. (Sanford 2005, 28)

In addition to believing that mutations are “overwhelmingly deleterious,” creationists also believe that mutations are essentially random. Surprisingly, evolutionists generally agree with creationists about these characteristics of mutations. At the same time, however, evolutionists also believe that mutations are the ultimate source of all genetic variation. There appears to be an obvious contradiction here. How can something that is completely random and overwhelmingly deleterious produce the extraordinarily complex and wonderful physiological features of whales, most of which were completely absent in their original ancestors? One solution to this apparent problem is to simply declare the power of mutations to perform this extraordinary feat in spite of the obvious reasons that should prohibit it. In other words, to simply ignore the obvious contradiction. A good example of this is found in the following statement from Hermann Joseph Muller, widely regarded as both the greatest geneticist of the first half-century of the subject and also one of the greatest evolutionists of this period:

It is entirely in line with the accidental nature of natural mutations that extensive tests have agreed in showing the vast majority of them to be detrimental to the organism in its job of surviving and reproducing, just as changes accidentally introduced into any artificial mechanism are predominantly harmful to its operation . . . It is nevertheless to be inferred that all the superbly interadapted genes of any present-day organism arose through this process of accidental natural mutation. (Muller 1955, 331)

Evolutionists do, however, have a more reasonable explanation for this dilemma. Although they agree that the overwhelming majority of mutations are deleterious, they nevertheless believe that not quite all of them are. They believe that occasionally a mutation can actually result in a survival advantage for a creature and that enough of such mutations over a long enough period of time, say ten million years, can result in the descendants of a Pakicetus turning into a blue whale. Such mutations are given the label beneficial.

As the title of this paper suggests, this author believes that such a notion is utterly ridiculous. He also believes that the facts about mutations are more than sufficient to completely invalidate the theory of whale evolution. He is well aware, however, that such a position would not impress evolutionists, because they agree with Futuyma (2013) that “All genetic variation owes its origin ultimately to mutations.” The mutations Futuyma refers to here are obviously beneficial ones.

With this background in mind, it will be demonstrated why the theory is fatally flawed even if Futuyma’s statement about mutations were true. Next, the story will be analyzed with the creationist view of mutations in mind (see Appendices A and B). This will rip off any remaining trace of respectability from the story and fully expose its utter absurdity.

The lack of credibility in the idea that beneficial mutations are capable of performing the miracles attributed to them by evolutionist is fully discussed in Appendix A of this paper. Those not familiar with the weakness of this notion might want to read this section of the paper before continuing.

The Story Begins

About 55 million years ago a small dog-like mammal was living near the shore of a lake, or sea, in an area now known as Pakistan: Pakicetus. Unbeknownst to him, he was destined to become a very famous creature in the annals of evolutionary history: the original ancestor of the whale. In order for this amazing process to begin, of course, this creature had to undergo a change. It didn’t have to be a major change, for the process had plenty of time to complete its work: ten million years. Nevertheless, something had to happen to this Pakicetus to get the process underway. A mutation was required, one that would make a tiny contribution to the eventual evolution of a creature that lived in the sea, looked absolutely nothing like him and weighed 500-4,000 times what he did. The mutation could have caused any number of changes. Let us imagine that the change was a shortening of its legs.

In regard to the variation of an organism’s physiological features, it is generally accepted, especially by plant and animal breeders, that there are strict limits to these variations. It may not be certain exactly what these limits are—they may not have been reached yet—but empirical evidence strongly indicates that they exist. An article from the University of Berkeley website “Understanding Evolution” refers to cheetahs to explain this truth:

Selection can only operate on the available genetic variation. A cheetah might run faster if it had "faster" alleles — but if faster alleles are not in the population from mutation or gene flow, evolution in this direction will not happen . . . Perhaps a different arrangement of leg muscles and bones would produce cheetahs that run faster — however, the basic body form of mammals is already laid out in their genes and development in such a mutually constrained way, that it is unlikely to be altered. There really may be "no way to get there from here."

In contrast to the evidence noted above, the shorter legs proposed for the Pakicetus must have been a variation that falls outside of the variation range for leg length in this animal. In other words, it must not have been the result of the normal nucleotide arrangement in the DNA of the Progenitor, because its purpose was to introduce a change in the Progenitor that would eventually result in something that would be totally unique for Pakicetuses: the complete elimination of legs. It would only have been possible through the introduction of an entirely new arrangement of nucleotides in the alleles that controlled the creature’s leg length, of new information, in other words. According to proponents of this story, this introduction must have been the result of a mutation. The problem with this situation—and it is a devastating one—is that, as Dr. Sanford pointed out, mutations are not capable of introducing entirely new genetic information; they can only act upon the arrangement of nucleotide base pairs in DNA that already exists.

Consequently, the very first step in the story of whale evolution is extremely improbable. Of course, this improbability is ignored by promoters of the story, as proven by the fact that the story continues. It should be kept in mind, however, that every one of the extraordinary features that are required for this process to eventually succeed must overcome exactly the same obstacle faced by this very first one, which is that the information, the genetic code required for their development, did not exist prior to its introduction. The change that the mutation introduced, in other words, must have been entirely unique to the population in which it occurred.

Eventually, of course, the legs of the Pakicetus’ descendant must be completely eliminated, for whales do not have legs. Just as obviously, this alteration could not have been the result of a single mutation-induced change. That is, it could not have been the result of a Pakicetus giving birth to an offspring with no legs! Even if such a mutant were possible, its life would be very short, to say the least, and it certainly would not have produced any offspring. Thus, the elimination of legs must have been gradual, the result of a series of harmonious mutations. How many is anybody’s guess.

Right away, a problem arises. Mutations that drive evolution are supposed to confer upon their recipients a survival advantage in the present. Theoretically, this survival advantage is the very thing that causes these individuals to be selected, by natural selection, for survival. You know . . . The Survival of the Fittest. An article in the Encyclopedia Britannica remarks, “In natural selection, those variations in the genotype that increase an organism’s chances of survival and procreation are preserved and multiplied from generation to generation at the expense of less beneficial ones. Evolution often occurs as a consequence of this process.” An obvious question arises: if Pakicetus was a carnivore, as evolutionists generally believe, that had to chase down its prey, how could shorter legs possibly result in a survival advantage?

Slightly shorter legs may not have caused a noteworthy disadvantage, but at some point along the way, the legs would have had to have been totally eliminated. It is completely obvious that if this happened while the creature was still living on the land, he would have been at a very severe disadvantage, to put it mildly. But this is true of any significant shortening of the legs. The only way this problem could have been overcome would have been for the whale’s early ancestor to have become fully aquatic while its legs were still almost full length. But that immediately creates another equally problematic scenario: a fully aquatic creature with four fairly long legs. Those who may argue that such a feature could actually be beneficial because its possessors would be at home on both the land and in the water are missing a basic requirement of the process: at some point the relevant creature must become totally aquatic. A fully aquatic creature does not need legs, especially fairly long ones. Providing a reasonable explanation for the scenario that resulted in the complete elimination of the Pakicetus’ legs presents a serious challenge to evolutionists.

Only from a teleological perspective, from awareness of its ultimate result—a whale—could any change that initiated the evolution of a whale from a four-legged land mammal be considered a survival advantage and could the mutation that caused it be considered beneficial. But evolution is not supposed to have a teleological basis. Only changes that provide an advantage in the present are allowed into the process (“the concepts of goals or purposes have no place in biology . . . ” (Futuyma 2013, 285)). Even more debilitating to the story is the fact that this same judgment applies to a great many of the morphological changes that supposedly occurred in the creatures involved in the process. Only in the latter stages of the process, when the creatures were supposedly approaching their ultimate goal, a whale, could it possibly be claimed that any of the changes provided an immediate survival advantage. But wait . . . Goal? Have we forgotten already? Evolution has no goals!

So, then, it appears that any change in the phenotype of the original creature that would be beneficial for the evolution of a whale probably would not be beneficial for this creature. Shortening of the legs is only one example. Many others can easily be imagined. This immediately introduces another problem. Nonbeneficial mutations, especially harmful ones—which would include virtually all of those that occurred prior to the latter stages of the process—always tend to be bred out of populations. The technical name for this process is genetic homeostasis. It is described in the book The Neck of the Giraffe:

Ernst Mayr, who remains convinced that small-scale gene substitution is the answer to evolution, conducted one striking piece of research on Drosophila which, ironically, seemed to demonstrate the opposite. He selectively bred successive generations of flies to try to increase or decrease the number of bristles they grew, normally averaging 36. He reached a lower limit, after 30 generations, of 25 bristles; and an upper limit after 20 generations, of 56 bristles. After that the flies rapidly began to die out. Then, Mayr brought back non-selective breeding, letting nature take its course. Within five years, the bristle count was almost back to average.

This resistance to change has been given the label genetic homeostasis and elsewhere in the literature there is an even more mysterious example. In a remarkable series of experiments, mutant genes were paired to create an eyeless fly. When these flies in turn were interbred, the predictable result was offspring that were also eyeless. And so it continued for a few generations. But then, contrary to all expectations, a few flies began to hatch out with eyes. Somehow, the genetic code had a built-in repair mechanism that re-established the missing genes. The natural order reasserted itself. (Hitching 1982, 57)

Thus, since the Progenitor’s shorter legs would have provided him with no survival advantage over the others in his group, as time passed it is far more likely that this change would have been bred out of his group rather than being passed on. Critics might argue that abeyance of the process doesn't present a major problem, because before long it could be initiated by another, probably different, mutation (shortening of the hair, perhaps) in some other member of the population. However, this suggestion ignores the fact that, just like the hypothetical mutation that caused the creature’s shorter legs, any other mutation would be subject to the same problems that plagued the original one:

I am still not convinced that there is a single, crystal-clear example of a known mutation which unambiguously created information. There are certainly many mutations which have been described as beneficial, but most of these beneficial mutations have not created information, but rather have destroyed it. (Sanford 2005, 17)

In any event, regardless of what the initial mutation was—and it could have been many things other than shorter legs—it is virtually certain that it would not have conferred any survival advantage to the creature in which it occurred, which means, of course, that, as stated above, natural selection should not have favored it, and genetic homeostasis should have eliminated it.

Although the very early mutations could have been random, very soon the options would have become increasingly restricted, because, unbeknownst to them, they were contributors to the development of a very specific creature, a whale. The total number of possible mutations is unknown. It is certainly very large, perhaps approaching infinity. Although the number of mutations that hypothetically played a role in the evolution of a whale would undoubtedly have been in the millions, it was, nevertheless, a very small percentage of all possible mutations. Even so, just by chance, these mutations ended up being precisely the ones that the process required! As extremely unlikely as this would have been, its improbability becomes much greater due to the fact that all of these mutations would have had to have occurred in a very specific chronological order.

To illustrate this point, imagine a sculptor working on a marble figure. Of course, the artist has a specific image in his mind of what the final figure will look like. Nevertheless, there are many options for the first chip. It could be almost anyplace on the block of stone. Similarly, there would have been many options for the first change that supposedly took place in the evolution of the whale, for there certainly were a lot [of] changes that needed to be made. As the sculpture develops, however, the process becomes increasingly dictated by the image that the artist has in mind. In the same way, in a process that supposedly resulted in a whale, the options for the mutational changes would have become increasingly dictated by the goal of the process, a whale. Changes that by nature are random must give the appearance of being directed. Furthermore, and this dramatically increases the implausibility of the process, not only do the changes become increasingly restricted—because they must attain specific goals—but their timing also becomes increasingly dictated by the end result. The mutation that completes the whale’s fluke, for example, must come only at the very end of the process. It couldn’t come at the beginning, because at that point there would have been no need for a fluke. How would a process that was completely random happen to introduce every one of the vast number of beneficial features required by its end product, a whale, at exactly the right time? Random genetic changes that just happened to result in a fluke would be extraordinary enough. The fact that they would have had to occur in exactly the right order at exactly the right time stamps the process as being utterly unbelievable.

This analysis of the very first mutation in the process leads to a virtually indisputable conclusion: Whatever the physiological changes were in the early stages of whale evolution, according to evolution's own rules, natural selection should not have favored its recipients. The process should never have begun. According to evolutionists, however, because of the remarkable power of beneficial mutations, the process did begin. So our analysis continues.

Stumbling Blocks That Lay Ahead

Genetic homeostasis and the requirement that any changes must confer a survival advantage to the recipients are hardly the only potential hurdles in these creatures’ paths. Among the others, the most significant is, quite simply, survival. The infant mortality rate of most animals in the wild is fairly significant. Among wolves, for example, it is 30–60 percent. It cannot be known what this rate might have been supposedly fifty million years ago, but it certainly would have been a factor.

The significance of this factor must not be overlooked here, for, if the Progenitor failed to survive, it would undoubtedly be a long time before there would be another relevant mutation (remember, the vast majority of the relevant mutations must have been contributors to entirely new physiological features, and this type of mutation is exceedingly rare, if they even exist at all: see discussion of beneficial mutations in Appendix A). No matter when it occurred, however, infant mortality for all of the relevant creatures in the process would play exactly the same role it did with the Progenitor. Even if the Progenitor survived its infancy, there would have been many other dangers that could have also terminated its life as it matured: predators, disease, accidents, and natural disasters. And do not forget that the Progenitor was the ONLY member of its group that received this mutation (Jeanson 2017, 244). If he died before producing an offspring, the process would go back to square one.

Regarding predation, certainly during the earlier stages of the process, the essential creatures, the ones that received the decisive mutations, would undoubtedly have been easy prey for one of the large carnivores that were supposedly prevalent at this stage of history. Generally speaking, whether living on the land or in the water, these creatures would be ill-equipped for defense because they would not be fully adapted to their environment. They would either be strange-looking land dwellers that had acquired some of the physical features of an aquatic creature or sea-dwellers that retained some of the features of a Pakicetus or a small hippo—or a wolf, or a cow. In either case, they would be easy prey. It is well known that predators tend to focus their attention on the weaker members of a population, those that are less able to defend themselves.

Another potential problem for both the Progenitor and every other Main Player in the process involves the selection of a mate and the production of offspring. Needless to say, if the mutationally induced changes are to be passed on to a descendant, the receptors of these changes must both find a mate and produce offspring. But this is hardly guaranteed, for creatures living in the wild do not always do these things (neither do humans!). Furthermore, as (or, to be more precise, if) the creatures in the process slowly evolved into entirely different ones, there must always have been a member of the opposite sex that was evolving along with him, or her. Thus, all of the potential stumbling blocks that lay in the way of the primary creatures must be multiplied by at least two. Every stumbling block that lay in wait for one member of the mating pair also lay in wait for the other.

Of course, the shortened legs of the Progenitor did not result from a mutation that took place in his own DNA while he was living. It took place in the gamete, or reproductive, cell of one of its parents. If it finds a mate and reproduces, the allele controlling this feature will combine with another allele at a specific locus on the chromosomes of the mating pair, the one that controls leg length. The other allele will not be programmed for shorter legs, of course, because neither of the mate’s parents would have been subject to the relevant mutation (“When the mutation first occurs, it likely occurs in a single individual.” (Jeanson 2017, p. 244)). If the allele specifying shorter legs is dominant, the offspring will inherit this characteristic. However, if it is recessive, this characteristic will not be passed on. According to Sanford, “’most mutations are recessive, which makes selection much more difficult.” (Sanford 2005, 62). This leads to the obvious conclusion that, even if the Pakicetus with shorter legs is able to successfully reproduce, which is far from a certainty, the odds that his shorter legs will be inherited are slight. Needless to say, this is true of every breeding event in the entire process of whale evolution, presenting still another extraordinary hurdle for the process.

Another potential stumbling block in the process is the fact that members of a population with a detrimental abnormality, which would include all recipients of the decisive mutations for a large portion of the process, would be at a disadvantage in their effort to find a mate, for normal members tend to reject such individuals. So, then, if it is highly problematic that the very first step in the process would have been completed, how likely is it that every one of the tens of thousands, or millions, of additional steps would have been?!

One potential stumbling block of the process has not yet been mentioned, and it may actually be more devastating to the theory than any of the previously mentioned ones. As this analysis has made very clear, over the ten million years that supposedly transpired during the process, an extraordinary number of changes must have occurred in the physical features and the size of the creatures involved. Needless to say, these changes were not only vast in number, they were dramatic. In regard to size alone, the change was astonishing, from about one hundred pounds to 50,000 pounds, or more (blue whales can weigh over 400,000 pounds). While these changes were taking place in the exterior appearance of the creatures, however, all of their interior physiological systems—nervous, musculature, bone, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, excretory, etc.—would have had to have been changing simultaneously and in perfect coordination with both the exterior changes and with each other. The changes included the creation of extraordinary new features, none of which existed in the whales’ original ancestors (a partial list of such features is provided below). And just as random mutations must have been the cause of these changes in the creatures’ exterior appearance, they must also have been the cause of all of the changes in these interior systems, because, as pointed out repeatedly, in evolutionary theory, mutations are the ultimate cause of virtually all changes in the physiology of living creatures. The vast number of additional changes that must have taken place in coordination with the exterior changes, in other words, would not have occurred automatically. They could only have resulted from changes in the creature’s DNA—countless changes, all happening simultaneously. As the creatures grew in size and changed dramatically in physical appearance, every bone, every muscle, every detail of every feature would have to grow in perfect harmony. And every required change would have to be the result of a completely random and beneficial mutation! A little reflection should make it clear that as great as were the number of changes required in the exterior appearance of the creatures, the number of changes required in the interior systems must have been even greater—most likely, much greater.

The late Stephen Jay Gould was one of the most influential evolutionary biologists of the 20th century and perhaps the best known since Charles Darwin, according to his New York Times obituary. In 1996 he wrote an essay about a famous giraffe evolution story in his Natural History magazine column. It is a powerful corroboration of the point made in the preceding paragraph. It is quoted at length, because of the exalted reputation of its author and the relevance of his remarks to this paper:

I made a survey of all major high-school textbooks in biology. Every single one - no exceptions - began its chapter on evolution by first discussing Lamarck's theory of the inheritance of acquired characters, and then presented Darwin’s theory of natural selection as a preferable alternative. All texts then use the same example to illustrate Darwinian superiority - the giraffe's neck. Giraffes, we are told, got long necks in order to browse the leaves at the tops of acacia trees . . . available to no other mammal. Darwinian evolution may be both true and powerful, but if we continue to illustrate our conviction with an indefensible, unsupported, entirely speculative, and basically rather silly story, then we are clothing a thing of beauty in rags - and we should be ashamed . . . If we choose a weak and foolish speculation as a primary textbook illustration . . . then we are in for trouble . . .

Even if we assume that the giraffe's neck evolved as an adaptation for eating high leaves, how could natural selection build such a structure by gradual increments? After all, the long neck must be associated with modifications in nearly every part of the body - long legs to accentuate the effect and a variety of supporting structures (bones, muscles, and ligaments) to hold up the neck. How could natural selection simultaneously alter necks, legs, joints, muscles, and blood flows (think of the pressure needed to pump blood to the giraffe's brain)? To drive blood eight feet up to the head, the heart is exceptionally large and thick-muscled, and the blood pressure is probably the highest in any animal. But when the giraffe bends its head to the ground it puts great strain on the blood vessels of the neck and head. The blood pressure plus the weight of the blood in the neck could produce so much pressure in the head that the blood vessels would burst. Pressure sensors along the neck's arteries monitor the blood pressure, and can activate other mechanisms to counter the increase in pressure as the giraffe drinks or grazes. Contracting artery walls (with increasing muscle fiber toward the head), shunting part of the blood flow to bypass the brain, and a web of small blood vessels (the rete mirabile, or "marvelous net") between the arteries and the brain all serve to control the blood pressure in the giraffe's head.

The lungs are oversize to compensate for the volume of dead air in the long trachea. Without this extra air-pumping capacity a giraffe would breathe the same used air over and over. The giraffe's lungs are very large and it breathes slowly, which is necessary in order to exchange the required large volume of air without causing windburn to the giraffe's 12 feet of trachea.

Red blood cells in a giraffe are about one-third [larger than?] the size of human red blood cells, providing more surface area and a higher and faster absorption of oxygen into the blood. This helps to retain adequate oxygen in all extremities, including the head . . . Giraffes provide no established evidence whatsoever for the mode of evolution of their undeniably useful necks . . . Giraffes have a sparse fossil record in Europe and Asia . . . and the spotty evidence gives no insight into how the long-necked modern species arose. . . .

The standard story, in fact, is both fatuous and unsupported. In the realm of giraffes, current use of maximal mammalian height for browsing leaves does not prove that the neck evolved for such a function . . . Why then have we been bamboozled into accepting the usual tale without questioning? I suspect two primary reasons: we love a sensible and satisfying story, and we are disinclined to challenge apparent authority (such as textbooks). (Gould 1996, 18–23, 54–57)

The key question that Gould is addressing in this article is, “How could natural selection build such a structure by gradual increments?” His emphatic answer to this question is, obviously, it couldn’t have. Of course, if it is so obvious that the neck of the giraffe could not have evolved as a result of gradual increments, it should be far more obvious that a whale could not have evolved from a four-footed land mammal through such a process.

The irrationality of whale evolution comes into sharp focus by simply reflecting upon the period between the first two decisive mutations. This is because most of the critical details of this initial period would be repeated in the time period between all of the decisive mutations. Thus, whatever stumbling blocks that would have existed in this initial period—and we have seen that there would have been very serious ones—would exist in all the remaining ones. As difficult as it would be for the process to proceed from only the first step to the second, the difficulty would have to be multiplied by the total number of mutations required by the process. The reason this is true is that, no matter how many members of the population may have maintained the change caused by the previous decisive mutation, only one of these would be the recipient of the next one (“When the mutation first occurs, it likely occurs in a single individual.” (Jeanson 2017, 244)). At every step in the process, therefore, the situation is precisely comparable to the one in which the Progenitor appeared. Every potential hurdle that stood in the Progenitor’s path would also stand in the path of all of his descendants: thousands, or millions, of them.

The Danger of Extinction

A key requirement of the tale of whale evolution is a vast amount of time. In many respects, however, this vast time period presents a monumental logistical problem for the hypothesis. It is well known that in the recorded history of the earth, not much more than 4,000 years, there have been significant changes in animal populations. The rate at which species become extinct is extremely speculative and ranges from a low of 1–5 to a high of 1,000 or more per year. In a November 26, 2017, article in the Washington Post, R. A. Pyron, associate professor of biology at George Washington University, claims that “99.9 percent of all species that have ever lived, as many as 50 billion, have already gone extinct.” According to an article on the Smithsonian web site, “Judging from the fossil record, the baseline extinction rate is about one species per every one million species per year,” which, based upon the articles’ estimate of approximately eight million current species, extrapolates to about eight per year. Whatever the correct number is, however, one thing is certain: species do become extinct, and a great many have. Furthermore, depending on shifting climactic conditions and other environmental changes, animals sometimes relocate to new locations. From ancient records, we know that many creatures that were common in the Middle East thousands of years ago have long since disappeared.

The point is that we know from empirical evidence that great changes in animal populations, including extinction, can take place in four thousand years. In the supposed evolution of the whale, however, this amount of time would complete only .04 percent of the process. From a common sense perspective, given the great changes that we know occur naturally in animal populations, including extinction, in four thousand years, is it really reasonable to assume that the process involved in the evolution of the whale could possibly have survived uninterrupted—that is, without a single extinction event—for ten million years? Of course, if an extinction did occur, the process would have to revert back to the previous stage of development, and the creatures at that stage, if they still existed, would have to wait for another mutation that would move the process forward. The frequency of extinction events, of course, suggests that in ten million years this problem could have cropped up many times, presenting still another significant hurdle for the process.

The conclusion is clear about the story of whale evolution: In regard to the potential for extinction, time is not the hero of the plot, as the celebrated evolutionist George Wald famously claimed in 1954; it is its enemy. (Wald 1954, 48) [przypis 1]

The Knock-Out Punch

Until this point, this critique has accepted the evolutionists’ claim that the process of whale evolution was driven by beneficial mutations. As we have seen, even if this premise is accepted, there are many reasons why the process could never have happened.

As problematic as the story is when viewed from this perspective, when a more realistic understanding of beneficial mutations is taken into consideration (see Appendix A), the credibility of the story plunges to zero. This is clearly demonstrated by looking at the amazing physical features of whales and comparing them with the features of its original ancestor. A partial list of these features is:

- Enormous lung capacity with efficient oxygen exchange for long dives.
- A powerful tail with large horizontal flukes enabling very strong swimming.
- Eyes designed to see properly in water with its far higher refractive index and to withstand high pressure.
- Ears designed differently from those of land mammals that pick up airborne sound waves and with the eardrum protected from high pressure.
- Skin lacking hair and sweat glands but incorporating fibrous, fatty blubber.
- Whale fins and tongues have counter-current heat exchangers to minimize heat loss.
- Nostrils on the top of the head (blowholes).
- Specially fitting mouth and nipples so the baby can be breast-fed underwater.
- Baleen whales have sheets of baleen (whalebone) that hang from the roof of the mouth and filter plankton for food.
- Many cetaceans find objects by echolocation. They have a sonar system which is so precise that it’s the envy of the US Navy. It can detect a fish the size of a golf ball 230 feet (70 m) away. It took an expert in chaos theory to show that the dolphin’s “click” pattern is mathematically designed to give the best information. (Sarfati 1999, 69–70)

These features are obviously highly developed and extraordinarily complex. However, none of them were inherent in Pakicetus or any of the other creatures that have been suggested as the whale’s original ancestor. Because mutations are the only source of genetic change, all of them, therefore, must be attributed to mutations. The creation of these entirely unique features, however, requires the introduction of new genetic information, and mutations are incapable of this:

In conclusion, mutations appear to be overwhelmingly deleterious, and even when a mutation may be classified as beneficial in some specific sense, it is still usually part of an overall breakdown and erosion of information . . . mutations, even when coupled with selection, cannot generally create new information. (Sanford 2005, 28)

Based upon the perspective presented by Sanford, mutations are utterly incapable of producing a single one of these features, much less all of them. It must be kept in mind that the process is not being driven by single mutations acting in a linear fashion. Because a multitude of features must have been developing at the same time, a multitude of mutations acting simultaneously and in perfect concert would have been required. It is truly difficult to find words that adequately capture the absurdity of such a truly fantastic scenario. An analogy comes to mind.

Following the trend in today’s automobile production plants, a future such facility becomes completely automatic. The entire assembly is controlled by robotics directed by highly advanced computer programs and artificial intelligence. The cars are not inspected until they come off the assembly line, completely finished. One day the inspectors at the end of the assembly line were astonished, for out of the factory appeared a huge luxury liner, all ready for its maiden voyage. Investigation revealed that a massive virus had infected the program that controlled the production process, resulting in an explosion of errors throughout the process.

“I can’t believe what just happened,” the flabbergasted chief inspector said. “A crippled computer program resulting only in a massive stream of errors ends up creating an ocean liner. It’s utterly absurd!”

As is the idea that millions of random, deleterious mutations could cause the descendants of a Pakicetus to evolve into a whale.

A further look at the echo-location system referred to above puts a final stamp of authority on the above claims:

One amazing feature of most echo-locating dolphins and small whales is the ‘melon,’ a fatty protrusion on the forehead. This ‘melon’ is actually a sound lens—a sophisticated structure designed to focus the emitted sound waves into a beam which the dolphin can direct where it likes. This sound lens depends on the fact that different lipids (fatty compounds) bend the ultrasonic sound waves traveling through them in different ways. The different lipids have to be arranged in the right shape and sequence in order to focus the returning sound echoes. Each separate lipid is unique and different from normal blubber lipids, and is made by a complicated chemical process, requiring a number of different enzymes. For such an organ to have evolved, random mutations must have formed the right enzymes to make the right lipids, and other mutations must have caused the lipids to be deposited in the right place and shape. A gradual step-by-step evolution of the organ is not feasible, because until the lipids were fully formed and at least partly in the right place and shape, they would have been of no use. Therefore, natural selection would not have favored incomplete intermediate forms. (Sarfati 1999, 69–70)

According to evolutionists, the primary feature of beneficial mutations is that they enhance the survivability of creatures. That is,

Beneficial mutations lead to a higher fitness and hence per definition to more offspring of their bearer. Unfortunately, these beneficial mutations are rare and thus difficult to study. (Imhof and Schlötterer 2001)

It is very obvious, however, that such a definition falls woefully short of explaining the existence of the features of whales listed above. Every one of them is entirely new, for none of them were inherent in Pakicetus. In order for this process to have succeeded, the beneficial mutations that supposedly drove it must have been capable of doing far more than simply enhancing the ability of their recipients to survive. They must have been able to introduce into DNA entirely new information that would produce entirely new physiological features. There is no evidence that they are capable of doing this.

The idea that the superb features of whales referenced in the above list could have been “created” by random mutations, almost all of which are harmful, is not just completely unreasonable: it is breathtakingly absurd. There is not one shred of empirical evidence that an entirely new physical feature, one that never existed before, has ever been initiated by a mutation. Needless to say, in order for the descendants of a creature similar to a Pakicetus to evolve into a whale, mutations would have to be the catalyst for the evolution of thousands of such features.

Regarding the Lineup of the Whale’s Ancestors

A question could arise here: What about the lineup of creatures that are in the ancestry of the whale (such as those shown in Appendix C of this paper)? Doesn’t the fact that they didn’t become extinct prove that, in relation to the evolution of whales at least, the argument regarding extinction is invalid? No, it doesn’t. The only thing this lineup demonstrates is that there is a morphological similarity in the skeletons of those creatures that appear to be in close proximity to one another. Any suggestion that one of them evolved from the one immediately above it is purely speculation.

In his seminal book, In the Minds of Men: Darwin and the New World Order, Ian Taylor explains that the lineup of creatures involved in the evolution of the horse was originated by Othniel C. Marsh in the 1870s. Taylor writes the following about this event:

Marsh’s paleontological claim to fame rested on his discovery of thirty different kinds of fossil horses in Wyoming and Nebraska during the 1870’s. He reconstructed and arranged these fossils in an evolutionary series and put them on display at Yale University, where they remain to this day. It was said that this was the series of skeletons depicting the evolution of the horse that convinced T.H. Huxley of the reality of evolution. Copies of this series are to be found in every major museum, and, visually, it does look very convincing as proof of the transition from the little three-toed animal to the modern single-toed horse. All is not as simple and clear-cut as it is made out to be, however, since the actual evolutionary sequence will differ from one authority to another. Not only that, but the sequence of mounted specimens differs from one museum to another, all of which indicates there is a great deal of uncertainty and speculation about the whole thing. For example, the number of rib bones does not follow the supposed sequence, and the creatures are not always found in the expected sequence in the fossil record; that is, sometimes the smaller creature is found in the higher strata. When all is said and done, however, a row of look-alike fossils cannot be proof that one species changed into another . . . Acknowledging all the enormous amount of work that men such as Henry F. Osborn and G.G. Simpson have put into the horse series, the sad fact remains that what has been done is to select the fossil data to fit the theory, and this cannot be considered scientific proof. It is little wonder, then, that Raup (1979) makes the comment that the evolution of the horse in North America has to be discarded or modified. (Taylor 1984, 152–153)

I believe that the creation of the lineup of the whale’s ancestors precisely parallels that of the ancestors of the horse and that the former is just as fraudulent as the latter.

Revealing comments on the lineup of the whale’s ancestors recently appeared in a course description at the University of Indiana:

CAUTION: Unfortunately, students may come away from this lesson with the mistaken conclusion that each of the intermediate whale forms were in the direct (lineal) line of descent between the land-dwelling tetrapods and fully aquatic whales. IN REALITY, it is most likely that these “transitional forms” were only “collateral” (cousin-like) ancestors, but showing features that were likely found in their “cousins” that did evolve into modern whales. This subtle distinction may seem unimportant, but to assume that fossils generally fit into a lineal (direct) line of descent conveys the erroneous impression of the long-outdated “Ladder of Evolution” concept. Rather, students should recognize that what we are seeing are the vestiges of many side branches in a diverse BRANCHING TREE of evolution.

Furthermore, students should focus more on the mosaic accumulation over time of a series of new features modified (derived) from ancestral features over time, not the species per se. The fossil remains collected simply reveal that those respective features existed in those related species at that period of time. (as quoted by Lacey 2020, chapter 17 of Glass House: Whale Evolution—emphasis in the original)

Although the author of this quotation, obviously an evolutionist, is reluctant to directly state it, this evasive statement essentially acknowledges that the widely publicized lineup of the whales’ ancestors does not reflect reality.


In summary, over a period of about ten million years a process that began with a four-footed hairy land mammal that weighed about one hundred pounds and included a vast number of intermediate creatures, ended with a creature that lived in the sea, looked absolutely nothing like his original ancestor, and reached a length of one hundred feet and a weight of 400,000 pounds (National Geographic article, “Blue Whale,” n.d.).

The astounding number of changes that took place in this transformation were said to be caused by mutations that were entirely random and almost always harmful.

The crucial significance of the fact that all of the mutations in the evolution of the whale were random [przypis 2] cannot be emphasized enough, for not only is it an indisputable feature of the process—because, according to evolutionary theory, that is the only type of mutation that exists—but a little reflection reveals that it critically undermines the entire theory. This paper has described several reasons for rejecting the evolutionists' tale about whale evolution, but the fact that all mutations are entirely random is more than sufficient by itself to completely invalidate it. The others are simply icing on the cake.

A number of times in this paper the evolutionists’ tale of whale evolution has been referred to as “absurd.” Some may think that this term is too harsh or confrontational, that another less combative term might be more appropriate. I respectfully disagree. The intention here is not to just demonstrate that this story of whale evolution is highly, or even extremely, unlikely. It is to demonstrate that it is exactly what it has been labeled: absurd—that is, in the world as we understand it today, it is completely impossible, and claiming that it is possible is preposterous.

As noted earlier, the evolution of whales from four-legged land mammals has been touted by many evolutionists as one of the best evidences for the theory of evolution. This belief is very far from the truth. As this paper has explained, when the process is carefully analyzed, it becomes apparent that the theory of whale evolution is actually so improbable that it becomes, well, absurd. At the beginning of this paper a comment from Switek was quoted. It claimed that “the origin of whales [is] one of the best-documented examples of large-scale evolutionary change in the fossil record” (Switek 2010). A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If one of the strongest links in the chain of evolutionary theory is composed of tissue paper, what does that say about the whole chain?

As mentioned previously, the debate between creationists and evolutionists regarding the evolution of whales generally focuses upon the 7–10 major “transitional forms” promoted by evolutionists. A brief description of these forms is included in Appendix C. Linking these forms must be an untold number of still other creatures that were the recipients of the specific decisive mutations that caused the physiological and morphological changes that the process required. What happened in the periods between these latter creatures is the unique focus of this paper, and it exposes the entire theory of whale evolution as a foolish hoax.

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:22–23 NASB)

It is reminiscent of a famous story written by Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen in 1837, “The Emperor's New Clothes.” It is about two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that they say is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent—while in reality, they make no clothes at all, making everyone believe the clothes are invisible to them. When the emperor parades before his subjects in his new “clothes,” no one dares to say that they do not see any suit of clothes on him for fear that they will be seen as stupid. Finally, a child cries out, “But he isn't wearing anything at all!” [przypis 3]

Just as the weavers have fooled the people into believing that they have made the emperor a beautiful new suit of clothes, when in fact they haven’t made anything at all, evolutionists have fooled people into believing in the story of whale evolution, when in fact, the story exists only in their imaginations. And just as the people were afraid to proclaim the obvious, that the emperor was naked, because they were afraid of being called stupid or incompetent, those who believe the fable of whale evolution are intimidated by the same fears. Promoters of young-earth creation are analogous to the child who cries out the truth.

The evolutionists’ story of whale evolution is far more than just a fraud, though. It is a blatant attack upon the glory of the Creator, the One who created the wondrous and beautiful variety of living things as a witness to His awesome power and creativity. In direct opposition to this purpose, evolutionists propose that one of God’s most awe-inspiring and magnificent creatures, whales, evolved over millions of years entirely as a result of random, natural events. God is completely rejected as the cause of something which, in fact, he designed and created. According to the Bible, the creation is unmistakable evidence of the Creator, and those who ignore it have no excuse to reject God. To observe the creation and not acknowledge the Creator is like looking in a mirror and believing that there is no one there.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20 NASB)

Although they are without excuse, fortunately those who do not yet acknowledge the Creator are not without hope, for the Creator is a loving God who rewards those who seek Him. It is never too late:

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13 NASB)

Genetics Proves Absurdity of Whale Evolution Appendices,


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Note: Some statements were taken from Henry M. Morris, That Their Words May Be Used Against Them (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 1997).


1. Wald (1954): “Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time, the ‘impossible’ becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles.”

2. In an article on the AIG website entitled, “Just How Random Are Mutations?” on August 18, 2016, the author, Dr. Kevin Anderson, writes, “there is a growing body of evidence that many mutations are not random in their formation. In fact, many mutations and other genetic alterations seem to be specifically programmed. This programming occurs at precise phases of cellular activity or in response to specific cues from the environment.” It seems clear that the programming referred to here can only take place in the type of creatures described previously by Dr. Jeanson, in the book, Replacing Darwin, ones that were created by God about 6,000 years ago, in other words. Therefore, the article could not be used by evolutionists to support the evolution of whales from four-legged land mammals, because their theory operates within an entirely different paradigm than the one employed by Dr. Anderson and Dr. Jeanson.

3. Description of Andersen’s tale taken from the Wikipedia article on the story.


Appendix A: Mutations
Appendix B: Natural Selection, Genetic Drift, Migration, and Genetic Recombination
Appendix C: Supposed Transitional Creatures in the Evolution of the Whale
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