Sherpa Fitness Is Not Evolution
A study about mutations that might confer benefit to high-altitude Sherpas is being announced as an example of evolution, but variation within species is not Darwinian evolution.
Science Daily said that two mutations have been found in the mitochondrial DNA of sherpas, those high-altitude inhabitants of Tibet that carry packs up Mt. Everest for western adventurers. The article, though, says that the mutations “may be an important adaptation for low oxygen environments,” and “may explain the importance of the role of mitochondria in the Sherpa population’s ability to adapt to the extreme Himalayan environment.”
This was published in Molecular Biology and Evolution with the title, “mtDNA lineage expansions in Sherpa population suggest adaptive evolution in Tibetan highlands.”
What the article fails to say is that sherpas are members of the one (and only one) human race, interfertile with all other human beings.
Evolutionists play fast and loose with the term “evolution,” ascribing whatever minor change they can to Darwinism. Darwin, though, was trying to portray universal common ancestry by means of unguided natural processes. It’s essential to keep that distinction in mind. Evidence abounds for minor mutation variants in life – you yourself have multiple mutations compared to your own parents. That doesn’t mean you “evolved” from them. It is well known that tribes of people have physical differences due to inbreeding and adaptation to climate, but they are not different species (Darwin wrote, remember, about the “Origin of Species”).
Adaptation is not evolution. Creationists of the strictest Biblical sort believe in adaptive variation within kinds of organisms, where “kinds” (from the Genesis word baramin) is usually much broader than species. Using evolution for within-kind variation commits the half-truth fallacy, and the extrapolation fallacy if applied to macroevolution.
A recent article on genomic variations within felids, including tigers, lions and panthers (see Science Daily) also used the word “evolution” incorrectly. Creationists believe God created a “cat kind” that gave rise to a wide variety of felids around the globe, adapted to their habitats, with less genetic information than the ancestral form. Even today, lions and tigers can hybridize, yielding “ligers.” The variety of house cats that can interbreed is well known, as with dog breeds, but dogs never give rise to cats, or vice versa, because they are different kinds of animals. Similarly, horses, donkeys and zebras are within the equine kind. To distinguish itself from creationism, Darwinism must go beyond the origin of species, and the origin of genera, invoking only unguided natural processes. There is plenty of evidence for extensive variability within kinds, but none outside of kinds. That variability was designed into the genomes of the created kinds so that they could adapt to environmental changes.
If you weed out the evolutionary evidence about variability within kinds, nothing is left. Kinds all appear abruptly and appear with variations, reproducing “after their kind.” What Darwin claimed is not observed in the natural world. It is only assumed.