April 29, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

Evolution: A Theory in Revision

Evolution is not so much a fact of nature that Darwin discovered, as it is a framework for interpreting evidence.  Within that framework are many subplots that can be overturned without falsifying the framework.  Here are some recent examples:

  1. Chicxulub loses impact:  We’ve seen the animations of a giant impact wiping out the dinosaurs.  The Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan was the smoking gun.  Gerta Keller of Princeton has been debunking that story in recent years (10/31/2007, bullet 7, and 10/24/2006).  She has a new paper out showing that the Chicxulub impact pre-dated the Cretaceous-Tertiary contact, which most geologists interpret as a mass extinction boundary, by as much as 300,000 years (see Astrobiology Magazine).  Science Daily titled this “New Blow Against Dinosaur-killing Asteroid Theory, Geologists Find.”  Even Live Science, trusting the impact theory for the extinction of the dinosaurs, noted that some dinosaurs survived the impact.  Some dinosaurs, noted Live Science, even thrived in the Arctic.
  2. Irreducible sexuality:  For decades, evolutionists have built their theories of human sexuality on the principle that males are promiscuous and females are choosy by nature.  Now, according to Dr. Gillian Brown (U of St Andrews), as reported by Science Daily, the picture is much more complex.  Brown’s studies of sexual selection dispute the promiscuous-male theory promulgated by Angus Bateman in 1948 in his study of fruit flies.  Live Science said, “In subsequent years, the fruit-fly finds were applied to other species, including humans.”  This was about the time the Kinsey studies on human sexuality were making waves in the culture.  Brown’s revision is still based in evolution, but shows that “human mating strategies are not likely to conform to a single universal pattern,” Science Daily said.
  3. Chevron bankruptcy:  Certain chevron-shaped patterns along coastlines are being reinterpreted.  Science Daily explains: “A persistent school of thought in recent years has held that so-called ‘chevrons,’ large U- or V-shaped formations found in some of the world’s coastal areas, are evidence of megatsunamis caused by asteroids or comets slamming into the ocean.  University of Washington geologist and tsunami expert Jody Bourgeois has a simple response: Nonsense.”  If this sounds intriguing, you can read the Science Daily article for the reasons.  The point here is that a common-sense interpretation that enjoyed popularity without serious challenge, is now being called nonsense: “the extraordinary claim of ‘chevron’ genesis by megatsunamis cannot withstand simple but rigorous testing,” Bourgeois and her colleague said.
  4. Stromatolite controversy:  Numerous documentaries have woven the pillar-like structures at Shark’s Bay, Australia, believed to be artifacts of microbial mats, into tales of the earliest life on earth.  Science Daily repeated the tale, but also pointed out that there is a lot of controversy surrounding that interpretation.  A conference in 2005 left the matter unsettled: “There was discussion as to whether their mushroom-like conical shapes could have formed on the young Earth either as a result of other types of organisms unknown today or in purely chemical ways.”  This would obviously bear on the interpretation of fossil stromatolites. 

The last article above also mentioned the Cambrian explosion as “Darwin’s Dilemma” and was entitled, “The Life That Escaped Darwin’s Notice.”  Despite upsets and reversals, Darwinism marches on.

Darwin pulled a sneaky coup.  By making evolution a broad, all-encompassing framework instead of a scientific theory, he instituted a school of interpretation (the Great Society for Storytellers, 12/22/2003 commentary), immune from falsification.  Now, his disciples can chant “evolution is a fact” even when the facts militate against it.  We think facts should matter.

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Categories: Dinosaurs

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