July 19, 2006 | David F. Coppedge

Likely, Evolution May Be a Fact, Presumably

When reading evolutionary science papers, one gets the feeling there are more than the usual number of words indicating conjecture, doubt and uncertainty.  We decided to check this out in the July 11 issue of Current Biology.  Scans for the words perhaps, probably, might, possibly, likely, may, apparently, seem and presumably and their derivatives were conducted on two papers dealing with evolutionary research and two papers of similar length on cell biology research that did not concern evolution.  On average, the two evolutionary papers had 3.7 times as many conjecture words than the non-evolutionary ones.  Some examples:

  • The phylogenetic distribution of some of these mutations indicates that they probably occurred before the divergence of the two groups of whales.
  • Trichromatic colour vision in monkeys probably evolved from an ancestral dichromacy present within the arboreal environment of early primates, where the driving force was the ability to distinguish the redness of ripe fruits or reddish young leaves from a green background of foliage of highly variable luminance.
  • …this is therefore a possible explanation for the evolution of colour vision so early in vertebrate evolution.
  • The intriguing possibility is, therefore, that in marked contrast to placental mammals, the RH2 opsin gene has been retained and is expressed in these marsupials.
  • Animals have evolved their visual sensitivity to match aspects of their photic environment, and it is likely that the primary adaptive selective pressure is the spectral range and intensity of daylight.
  • Why these losses have occurred is not immediately apparent.  Superficially, as these animals are all nocturnal, it could be concluded that colour vision is of little functional significance and that the loss of the SWS1 cones is therefore of little consequence.  However, many of these species have close relatives that are also nocturnal but retain both cone types and presumably exhibit dichromacy.

The same issue contained an editorial that began, “As creationists seek to increase their influence on the scientific agenda, the world’s leading scientists urged schools and colleges last month to stop denying the facts of evolution.”  Nigel Williams spoke out against public schools where “scientific evidence, data, and testable theories about the origins and evolution of life on Earth are being concealed, denied or confused with theories not testable by science.”

There’s the shell game (see top right quotation).  Evolutionists preach about science and criticize faith, but look at their research.  This is why Colin Patterson, in a moment of frankness, asked his evolutionary colleagues if they could point to one thing about evolution that they knew was true.  All he got was silence.
    Four papers from one journal, of course, cannot represent a statistical sample, but maybe this anecdotal evidence can interest someone in performing a larger study on the comparative numbers of conjecture-words between evolutionary papers and research papers on observable, testable lab science.

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