May 11, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

Survival of the Slowest

Without stopping to think, the BBC News claimed that evolution is slowing snails down.  “Natural selection is favouring snails with reduced metabolic rates, researchers in Chile have discovered.”  Why would evolution do such a thing?  Isn’t the proverbial slowest of beasts already at risk of predators?  Not necessarily.  Look on the positive side: “Snails with lower metabolisms are at an advantage because they have more energy to spend on other activities such as growth or reproduction, the researchers say in the journal Evolution.”  Don’t tell that to your spouse.  The authors were not sure whether the decreased metabolism really made the snails crawl slower, but they figured that “nature is selecting for snails that are more energy efficient,” the article said.  It didn’t say whether the snails are turning green.

All we need to do is repeat the prose from the 12/19/2007 commentary:

The Story of Evolution
Evolution explains more complexity, and more simplicity.  It explains why flight arose in some birds, but was lost in others.  With evolution, organs and genomes can become more complicated, or more streamlined.  Eyes emerge through evolution, but eyes are also lost by evolution.  Evolution makes the cheetah fast but the sloth slow.  By evolution, dinosaurs grow to skyscraper size, and hummingbirds grow tiny.  With evolution, peacocks grow more flashy and crows more black, giraffes tall and flatworms flat.  Evolution explains predator and prey, loner and herder, light and dark, high and low, fast and slow, profligacy and stinginess, terrorism and altruism, religion and atheism, virtue and selfishness, psychosis and reason, extinction and fecundity, war and peace.  Evolution explains everything.

Now you understand why nothing in biology makes sense except in the “light” of evolution.  By stating at the outset that “whatever happens, evolution did it,” evolution can’t be falsified.  It’s a completely vacuous theory that is true by definition.  It explains opposite things.  It can’t possibly be wrong, if you can mold enough skulls full of mush to accept the premise.  The only hard part is making up the just-so story to explain the de jure fact.  We think people should go for de facto facts.

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