If evolutionists and reporters stuck to the essence of neo-Darwinism, many of their claims would never reach the press.
Darwin attempted to describe a natural mechanism (natural selection) that would generate the entire tree of life, with all its diversity. Neo-Darwinism identifies the source of variation as mutations. The essence of Darwinian theory is that the process is unguided, with no goals or purposes. Many evolutionists and their press agents seem to forget this.
Artificial selection is not evolution. A common fallacy is to assume artificial selection is the same as natural selection. Artificial selection, though, comes from goals, purposes and plans of people; it’s a form of intelligent design. One form of this fallacy is “computer evolution” – programming a computer to simulate the evolutionary process. Science Daily reported on attempts to do this at Cornell’s “Creative Machines Lab” (a tip-off that this is not about Darwinism). The reader is told, “A research team led by Cornell University’s Creative Machines Lab has created a computer algorithm that can be used to witness virtual creatures evolving their squishy, muscle-like features in order to teach themselves to walk.” All the bold words in that sentence violate Darwinian principles, yet the article claims that the experiment demonstrates “the power of evolution to create counterintuitive designs.”
Change within species is not evolution. Medical Xpress tells readers this profound observation: “Evolving genes lead to evolving genes.” Other than being a tautology, the headline leads into a story with no evidence for the origin of species. The Wellcome Trust and Sanger Institute went looking for evidence of positive selection in a single gene named FOXP2, implicated in human speech: “Have these evolutionary changes in FOXP2 function or expression exposed its target genes to novel selective pressures?” The variations they found, however, only exist in human populations that are all members of Homo sapiens, one interfertile species. Even the strictest creationists allow for that kind of change.
Microevolutionary change is not evolution. John Thompson of UC Santa Cruz has a new book out, Relentless Evolution, that alleges “species evolve relentlessly and that evolutionary changes occur at a surprisingly rapid pace.” Yet apparently, the changes he speaks of are occurring within species, not from one species to another. According to PhysOrg, he describes the Darwinian mechanism correctly as aimless. He states that “Much of adaptive evolution does not lead anywhere,” yet the article speaks only of continual microevolutionary changes within species that would make a creationist yawn. “These continual microevolutionary changes keep populations in the evolutionary game as they interact with other species that are themselves constantly evolving,” Thompson says. “These seemingly aimless meanderings are the essential dynamics of evolution, with directional change and speciation as occasional outcomes.” Yet nowhere does he describe the origin of species or any kind of directional change leading to a new organ or function.
Behavior within species is not evolution. New Scientist turns classical Darwinism on its head with this headline: “Survival of the shyest: Timidity’s surprising benefits.” Reporter Leslie Evans Ogden does her best to show that some humans, salamanders and birds appear more successful without being assertive, but nowhere does she describe a species becoming another species. Ogden claims that evolution favors both boldness and shyness, but nowhere escapes the tautology of defining fitness in terms of survival. Even if she makes a case that shyness has its advantages, nothing in the proposition supports neo-Darwinism.
Evolvability is not evolution. The ability to evolve does not, ipso facto, mean that bacteria evolved into humans. But that’s not the only puzzle in Science Daily’s headline: “Computer Scientists Suggest New Spin On Origins of Evolvability: Competition to Survive Not Necessary?” Here’s two more: the reference to computer science, and the denial of classical Darwinian competition as a necessary condition for the origin of species. Anything dependent on a computer “algorithm” is suspect from the starting line as a model for how an aimless, purposeless process could originate new organs and functions. A researcher from the University of Central Florida stated, “An important implication of this result is that traditional selective and adaptive explanations for phenomena such as increasing evolvability deserve more scrutiny and may turn out unnecessary in some cases.” Maybe he should come back when he knows something. In the meantime, nothing in the article demonstrated the origin of species by unguided processes.
Purpose is not evolution. The oxymoronic phrase “Evolutionary Purpose” appears in a headline on Live Science that gets even more bizarre. Reporter Charles Choi writes, “Birds can hold their wings high because of the strange way they crouch, and now scientists say the origins of this folded posture may provide insight into the evolution of their flight.” A cartoon of a perching T. rex in a tree adds to the fantasy. It doesn’t matter that some dinosaur’s crouching posture is similar to that of birds; the burden of proof Choi set for himself is to show that an aimless process led to avian flight. Humans and kangaroos can crouch in a similar way but are not evolving hollow bones, avian lungs or wings. Choi commits the fallacy that evolution has an aim when he says “birds evolved to crouch.” Those two words should never go together. An aimless, purposeless process cannot “evolve to” do anything. Besides, Choi is not sure if it happened gradually or suddenly, indicative of an absence of scientific explanation.
Let’s hold evolutionists’ feet to the fire. Insist on these rules: No teleology. No aim. No intelligence. No purpose. No assuming evolution is a fact. No microevolution. No computers. No intelligent design, such as with artificial selection. Show new species or kinds, not just variation within a species: it needs to surpass the kinds of changes creationists already accept. Show innovation toward new function, not just horizontal change. With those rules, the Darwin industry would dry up, because few (if any) are the papers that try to deal honestly with the facts of nature, relying only on the principles of Darwinian evolutionary theory. But, of course, if they are principles, they undermine evolutionary assumptions in the first place, because principles rely for their existence on the immaterial realm of concepts–ideas–propositions. Maybe if evolutionists grunted like chimps they would make more sense.