August 24, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Evolution Takes Credit

It may be more blessed to give than to receive,
but evolution often just takes.



The following news stories show evolution taking credit for a variety of phenomena when it is not quite clear how it earned it.

  1. Big insects:  Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory surmised that insects were larger in the past because there was more oxygen in the air. “In the late Paleozoic Era, with atmospheric oxygen levels reaching record highs, some insects evolved into giants,” the press release claimed. “When oxygen levels returned to lower levels, the insect giants went extinct.” The article did not explain how oxygen could cause mutations that would make insects bigger. It also did not explain how other systems in the insects would evolve to compensate for the gigantism. It just said that they did: “This would allow larger-sized insects—even giants—to evolve.” These questions are in addition to the conundrum of why it would be considered evolution for insects to be larger and more numerous in the past than they are today. Speculating about how 35% oxygen levels might have exacerbated forest fires is left as an exercise. See also Science Daily.
  2. Radio bats:  The horseshoe bats of Sardinia tune into their own frequency, reported EurekAlert. This allows each species to communicate on its own “private bandwidth” in order to “avoid all confusion” between mainland bats and island residents. Although gene flow between related populations is well documented, the article did not explain how the sophisticated sonar of these bats arose by evolution nor how it diversified. Nevertheless, evolution took the credit: “Once again, islands turned out to be excellent natural laboratories to explore evolutionary patterns and processes.
  3. Evolution helps you stay unevolved:  Evolution seems synonymous with change, but some species manage to stay the same even in changing environments. One would think this property, called canalization, to be the antithesis of evolution, but an article on EurekAlert about plants found evolution in the lack of change. “‘Don’t ever change’ isn’t just a romantic platitude. It’s a solid evolutionary strategy,” the article quizzically began. Even though canalization “keeps you in the zone” away from evolutionary change, “in many cases it’s better to just shake off the minor fluctuations in the environment because in evolution, there are optimal traits to have, a place you want to be.” Evolution, therefore, explains non-evolution.
  4. Symbiosis kumbaya:  A moth and a cactus live in such tight company, neither can survive without the other. An article about this phenomenon, called mutualistic symbiosis, appeared in EurekAlert. The work of Nat Holland (Rice University) was highlighted. Though the short article did not mention evolution specifically, it can be safely assumed that Holland, an “assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology,” was not out to discover any non-evolutionary explanations for this remarkable relationship.
  5. Panda thumbs an evolutionary ride:  Those lovable giant pandas are not an “evolutionary dead end,” declared an article on EurekAlert. A Chinese team “has found that the decline of the species can be linked directly to human activities rather than a genetic inability to adapt and evolve.” No mention was made of how giant pandas evolved in the first place, nor how they turned out to be successful in their natural niches, but that was not a liability for Darwin. It only meant that “Our research suggests we have to revise our thinking about the evolutionary prospects for the giant panda.”
  6. Snakes as evolutionarily success stories:  “Snakes are very evolutionarily successful,” said a researcher reported by PhysOrg who found a novel strategy snakes employ to avoid starvation: lowering their basal metabolic rates. How snakes achieved this remarkable survival skill was left unstated, but evolution took credit once again: “Understanding the physiology that allows them to succeed in low-energy environments will help scientists further their understanding of the snakes’ evolution and their adaptation to their current ecosystems.”

This last quote illustrates how science reporters often confuse adaptation with evolution. Everyone, creationist or evolutionist, observes the remarkable fit of animals and plants to their environment—adaptation. Assuming that blind, purposeless processes of evolution produced these adaptations seems to be, for these reporters, intuitively obvious.

We need to understand how the Darwin Party achieves its consensus that evolution is a fact. They do it by assuming it. Like the campers in the woods trying to figure out how to open their tuna can, they simply state, “assume a can opener.” Assumption performs the miracles without all the hard work. Say this often enough, and every camper can get on handsomely by assuming can openers and whatever other tools real campers used to have to pack.

“Evolution takes credit,” this entry began. That’s true in another sense, too. Evolutionists charge their explanations on Darwin Party credit cards. These attractive cards have the advantage of never requiring payback. Why? Look what happens when whistleblowers try holding the carriers accountable (03/25/2007). As with citizens in a town controlled by the mob, it’s much safer to just let them run up a bill and pay it out of the public trust.

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