With the genetic laws discovered in the first quarter of the 20th century, Darwin's theory reached a complete impasse. At this, a group of scientists determined to remain loyal to evolution theory came together at a meeting held by the American Geology Association in 1941. After lengthy discussions by geneticists such as G. Ledyard Stebbins and Theodosius Dobzhansky, zoologists such as Ernst Mayr and Julian Huxley, and paleontologists such as George Gaylord Gibson and Glen L. Jepsen, the decision was reached to patch up Darwinism.
To the question of "What is the source of beneficial changes that cause living things to develop?"-which Darwin had been unable to answer, but had sought to resolve based on Lamarck-these people replied, "Random mutations." They advanced a new theory by adding the concept of mutation to Darwin's thesis of natural selection; which new theory began to be known as neo-Darwinism (or the Modern Synthetic Theory of Evolution, which see).
The decades that followed saw hopeless attempts to prove neo-Darwinism. Mutations were well known to be breaks, shifts and defects occurring in living organisms' genes as the result of external factors, which give rise to serious damage on practically every occasion. Nevertheless, neo-Darwinists carried out thousands of experiments to try to establish an example of a useful mutation-endeavors that invariably ended in fiascos. (See Mutation: An Imaginary Mechanism.)
At the same time, neo-Darwinists also sought to prove that the first living organisms could have emerged by chance under the conditions of the primeval Earth-as required by the theory. The same fiascos were experienced in that field, too. All the experiments intended to prove that life emerged by chance ended in failures. Probability calculations showed that not a single protein, the basic building blocks of the cell, could form by chance. As for the cell itself, the smallest living unit, not a single one could be formed even in laboratories with the most highly advanced 20th century technology. Then how could a cell have come about as the result of chance in the primitive, uncontrolled conditions of the primeval world, as evolutionists claimed?
Neo-Darwinist theory was also dealt a fatal blow by the fossil record. In long years of excavations, no intermediate forms-that should, according to neo-Darwinist theory, have demonstrated that primitive species gradually evolved into more advanced ones-were found anywhere. Comparative anatomical studies showed that living things once assumed to have evolved from one another in fact possessed very different anatomical features and could never be one another's forerunners or later descendants.
Neo-Darwinism was not a scientific theory, but rather an ideological dogma. For that reason, evolution's adherents still continue to support the theory in the face of all the evidence against it. In their view, evolution is a belief that can never be abandoned.