Darwinism survives not because it is empirically verified, but because it is a deduction from a tightly-held materialistic worldview.
Quine spoke of a “web of belief” that absorbs shocks that would normally falsify a theory. Darwin gave rise to a web of belief made of iron – no, titanium. For over 150 years it has resisted shocks that would snap any other scientific theory, but Darwinism is not a scientific theory. Tom Bethell shows in his new book, Darwin’s House of Cards, that Darwinism is a deduction from a worldview, not an induction from observations. Evolutionists, he shows over and over, derive “facts” from an antecedent faith. “As so often in evolutionist thinking, deduction from doubtful premises is substituted for scientific evidences” (p. 100, after he spends a chapter quoting leading scientists over a century who have all agreed there is no observational evidence for Darwin’s belief in unlimited variation). For this reason, you could hit the evolutionary web of belief with an atomic bomb and its proponents would build it back from the rubble, saying nothing happened. Let’s see some recent examples of problematic observations that would falsify any other theory.
Researchers cast into doubt a tenet of the dominant evolutionary biology model (Phys.org). The “tenet” in dispute is that duplicate genes provide robustness against mutations. Not true:
A team of Université Laval researchers has cast into doubt a tenet of evolutionary biology according to which organisms with more than one copy of the same gene in their genome are more resilient to genetic perturbations. In an article to be published tomorrow in Science, the researchers show that this genetic redundancy can also make the genome more fragile, leaving organisms more vulnerable to the effects of harmful mutations.
Autocatalytic biodiversity hypothesis aims to supplant Darwin’s ‘war of the species’ (Phys.org). What could be more Darwinian than focus on ‘survival of the fittest’ and the priority of competition, nature red in tooth and claw? It’s intuitively obvious: rams crashing heads together, wolves fighting each other over dominance, humans engaging in endless warfare. But look at a revolutionary turnaround promoted by Dr. Cazzoli Gatti from (of all places) Russia:
Contrary to Darwin’s beliefs, biodiversity, according to Dr. Cazzolla Gatti, does not derive “from the war of nature, from famine and death,” but from the power of life to enable other life; not from war, but from coexistence; not from competition but from the avoidance of it, e.g. from cooperation and facilitation, i.e., by autocatalysis.
While this certainly sounds prettier than the Malthusian war-of-nature metaphor, it’s not clear whether Gatti’s view (and he’s not alone, the article shows), represents any less of a deduction from an antecedent faith. His view seems to fit with today’s tolerance-and-coexistence value system. And his word pictures seem even less empirical: how can one species facilitate habitats for other species? That sounds teleological. Even so, the Darwinian web of belief survives: Gatti still swears allegiance to mutation and natural selection.
The Origin of Vertebrate Gills (Current Biology). These evolutionists, Gillis & Tidwell, claim to resolve a “long-standing controversy” about the origin of gills in fish. They claim to eliminate the need for separate origins of gills in gnathostomes and cyclostomes (jawless fish, like lampreys) by finding structures which they presume are insipient gills in the endoderm of a little skate, a type of cartilaginous fish. Look a little farther down in the text, though, and you find this: “Gill structures are preserved in the stem vertebrates Myllogkunmingia, Metaspriggina, and Haikouichthys.…” Know what those are? Those are vertebrate fish—with gills—that appeared suddenly in the Cambrian explosion (see Evolution News & Views). It is doubtful Darwin would be smiling about such a complex creature appearing abruptly without ancestors. So yes, Gillis, tell us about the “origin of gills.” Should be interesting.
Are human heads getting larger? (PNAS). When four evolutionists tried to make a case that Caesarean sections are making babies’ heads evolve bigger by “obstetric selection” (PNAS), Michael Grossman had some questions. “My understanding is that the authors believe that Caesarean section births will allow fetuses with larger heads to survive, thus allowing our species to evolve larger heads,” he begins. “This is an interesting hypothesis but, as an obstetrician, I find some areas of concern.” He questions that heads are getting larger, for one thing, and he gives various reasons for the increase in Caesarian deliveries that have nothing to do with large baby heads. The authors reply in PNAS, admitting that their hypothesis is only an exploratory suggestion not well constrainted. Nevertheless, they stick to their story.
Explosion in species diversity due to hybridization (Swiss EAWAG Aquatic Research). Speaking of fish, the cichlid fish that live in Africa’s Lake Victoria have been a prime exhibit for evolution for years now, illustrating rapid diversification. In this press release, we learn that their variability has been an “evolutionary puzzle” (contrary to the chutzpah in the press). Fortunately, the article says, Swiss scientists have finally solved the puzzle. The rapid diversification came about by hybridization between two distantly related cichlid species. Wait; isn’t Darwin’s theory about mutation and natural selection? Those terms are absent in this article. Hybridization shares existing genetic information; it doesn’t create anything new. Moreover, all the varieties of size and color would not challenge the most ardent creationist, who believes they are part of the same created kind. They’re not only fish; they are still all cichlid fish. Finally, all this diversification came about just in the last few thousand years, the article says. For more on the misleading talk about evolution of cichlid fish, see Casey Luskin’s analysis on Evolution News & Views, “Predicting the Formation of Virtually Identical Species.”
Primitive plants survive almost two years in outer space (New Scientist). Joining tardigrades, lichens and bacteria, some algae from the Arctic have shown themselves capable of surviving the cold and harshness of space for months. Quick question: why would evolution endow organisms the ability to survive environments they would never naturally encounter? Here comes one non-Darwinian answer: “Preliminary studies of the algae after their return to Earth from the International Space Station lend some weight to the ‘panspermia’ theory, that comets and meteorites could potentially deliver life to otherwise sterile planets.” The article says nothing about evolution.
Dinosaur surprise: Scientists find collagen inside a 195-million-year-old bone (Los Angeles Times). Amina Khan finally got around to reporting what we reported January 31, that original collagen has been found in a Lufengosaurus bone that evolutionists claim is 195 million years old. Khan raises an obvious issue:
For a long time, scientists believed that protein molecules, which make up soft tissues, could only last about 4 million years or so; only hard tissues like bone and teeth could be preserved over longer geologic time scales. Soft tissues like cartilage and muscle typically decay long before they can be preserved.… For now, scientists are still trying to figure out how these protein fragments really managed to last so long in the first place.
The Darwinians, unable to explain this (yet unwilling to turn in their moyboy cards) rescue their web of belief by claiming, Well, what do you know? Protein can last for 195 million years! That response is unreasonable. Simple physics shows that amino acids decay by thermal motions at a steady rate. There’s no way any identifiable protein should remain after even a hundred thousand years. But there it is, staring them in the face. By implication, the geological time scale and its long, gradual unfolding evolutionary tree of life is a myth. This one class of discoveries (and there are many published examples now; see Bob Enyart’s list) should be sufficient to falsify Darwinism. But the Darwin web of belief is stronger than the eye.
Many Darwinian claims score high on the perhapsimaybecouldness index, because they consist of just-so stories that cannot possibly be confirmed by observation and testing: e.g.,
- Lamprey gene helps scientists discover how the human brain appeared (Phys.org)
- Complex life may have had a false start 2.3 billion years ago (New Scientist)
- How to be winner in the game of evolution (Phys.org)
- First ‘animal cells’ could have been created by viruses (The Conversation)
- Orangutan squeaks reveal language evolution, says study (BBC News)
- Caribbean bats need 8 million years to recover from recent extinction waves (Science Daily)
- Bursts of Methane May Have Prepped Ancient Mars for Life (Space.com)
When empirical data are plentiful, though, evolutionists cannot fall back on imaginary stories. That’s when the Darwin rescue team gets into high gear to save the web of belief. Let’s watch how it unfolds in one of evolution’s biggest claimed successes.
Horse Evolution Again
Climate change responsible for the great diversity in horses (Science Daily). Here’s a clue that political correctness is driving theory. Remember the “horse series” presented in so many museum displays as proof of evolution? A new study published by Science Magazine is upsetting this old Darwin applecart by saying horses didn’t diversify by Darwinian gradualism, but in spurts due to climate change! Here’s a quote that should embarrass Darwinists. Prediction; it won’t faze them at all.
Their conclusions challenge a classic theory, which links the evolutionary success of horses to several novel adaptations in response to the spread of grasslands around 18 million years ago. “According to the classic view, horses would have evolved faster in [sic] when grasslands appeared, developing teeth that were more resistant to the stronger wear that comes with a grass-dominated diet. They also became bigger to more effectively digest this low quality food, and as a strategy against predators in these new, open habitats”, explains Juan L. Cantalapiedra, researcher at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, Germany.
But did teeth and body size indeed evolve that fast? It seems they didn’t. According to the new results, these evolutionary changes could have been much slower than previously assumed. In fact, Cantalapiedra and colleagues were able to show that all these newly evolved species of horses were ecologically very similar. Thus, rather than a multiplication of ecological roles, the new results point to external factors, such as increasing environmental heterogeneity, as the main evolutionary force.
“Environmental heterogeneity” is Cantalapiedra’s phrase for diverse factors, including climate. His team’s paper in Science contains another quote that should send evolutionists scrambling out of the science building. How long has the horse series been used to promote evolution, class? And how many evolutionists have actually tested the evidence? Read with shock:
The radiation of equids in the Neogene has been cited as a textbook example of adaptive radiation for more than a century, as it is crucial in the development of evolutionary theory linking trait evolution and adaptive success. The rich equid fossil record provides a suitable data set for testing these ideas within a phylogenetic framework. Much work has focused on the evolution of body size and dental morphology, as these two traits condense multiple dimensions (such as population density, range size, diet, and environmental pressures) of a species’ adaptive zone. Early studies based on dental proportions suggest that phenotypic change accelerated during an early Miocene radiation, although recent analyses show that body size disparity did not increase during diversification pulses. Yet, previous work has been nonphylogenetic and has not directly investigated the connection between diversification dynamics and phenotypic evolution.
There’s more. “Old World radiation of Equus did not require a substantial shift in phenotypic evolution,” the paper suggests, because equids constitute a single clade (Note: that’s what young earth creationists believe: they belong to the same horse “kind”). Another quote: “larger sizes in this lineage did not arise by active selection,” they say. They present a picture of more oscillating, spotty change based on habitat than on progress by accumulated variation. (It should be noted that Shetland ponies and Clydesdales are all members of the same species, Equus feras). So where is the proof of macroevolution? “Although early clade expansions are prevalent in Neogene horses, we found no evidence supporting a key role for ecomorphological divergence in these speciation pulses,” they say in conclusion. “Rather, ecologically relevant traits show completely disparate evolutionary modes during such diversification events.” Translation: horse evolution follows the Stuff Happens Law. It is not a straight line, as in the “orthogenesis” view of evolution popular around the 1900s. Orthogenesis is largely discredited but is still shown in textbook and museum diagrams of horse evolution, proving that evolutionists are reluctant to toss out false icons that have proven useful indoctrinating the public.
On The Conversation, Luke Dunning whinnies, “How the horse can help us answer one of evolution’s biggest questions.” By implication, it hasn’t answered it yet, 157 years after Darwin’s little book. Since the horse tale doesn’t fit the evidence easily any more, Dunning poses the question and then shares his rescue strategy:
Environmental shifts and mass extinctions produce new evolutionary opportunities for organisms to exploit as they compete for survival.
But how do organisms grasp these opportunities? Do they evolve new traits in response to the pressures of new environments, or are they able to move into new habitats because they have already evolved the right adaptations? Much of evolutionary study rests on the the former idea being right. Yet a new study of the development of horses is the latest in a growing body of research that suggests the answer to this chicken-egg situation may be more complicated.
When people don’t have an answer, they often say, “It’s complicated.” Dunning basically says the answer is both (as if to say, the chicken and the egg both came first). He shoves a just-so story into the lack of data, but then abruptly turns about-face to cast doubt on his own story:
As animals and plants exploit these ecological opportunities, we would expect them to go through rapid physical changes as they adapt to their new environments. The pace of change would then slow over time as the opportunities run out. This prediction has formed the basis of much of evolutionary research, although studies are beginning to question the validity of our assumptions.
He doesn’t add anything to what the paper states, but it’s clear he weaves evolution around the data rather than deriving a theory from the data. Science Daily’s last sentence sums up the new view: “new species appeared very fast, but without showing dramatic changes in appearance.” It would be better stated, new varieties appeared very fast. They could be as different as the aforementioned Shetlands or Clydesdales, but still be members of the same species.
We hear the sound of one of evolutionist’s greatest hot air balloons crashing to the ground. But does it faze the authors? No; they still believe in “macroevolution” the key word in the Darwinian web of belief. They use the word macroevolution four times sans proof, by interpretating fossil forms as having evolved into one another. Since that’s what Darwin’s view of common ancestry requires, it’s a deduction, not a matter of following the evidence where it leads. “This evidence suggests that diversity dynamics in Equinae were controlled mainly by ecological limits under diversity dependence rather than rapid ecomorphological differentiation.” What? That’s Jargonwocky in action. They never define “diversity dynamics” or “diversity dependence,” phrases that make no sense except as deductions from antecedent faith in macroevolution. Darwinism wants to see “ecomorphological differentiation” (i.e., progressive macroevolution due to gradual accumulation of novel traits), but that is not what they found. What did they find? Basically, they found that Stuff Happens. It happens in different ways in different places, at different speeds.
Now test this sentence as a good critical thinker should, without “antecedent faith” in Darwinism: “Our multilayered approach reveals a complex connection between ecological opportunities, diversification dynamics, and trait evolution.” Hint: read about circular reasoning in the Baloney Detector.
Good grief. Are you wagging your head yet? Everything we thought we knew is wrong, but don’t worry; evolution is still a fact! Now you see why we call it evillusion.