Evolutionary articles often say that new data will cause them to rethink evolution. Maybe they’re not thinking deeply enough.
Researchers rethink how our feathered friends evolved (PhysOrg): “A recently published global genome study that used the data-intensive Gordon supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputer at the University of California, San Diego, has researchers rethinking how avian lineages diverged after the extinction of the dinosaurs.” One of the researchers commented, “Characterization of genomic biodiversity through comprehensive species sampling has the potential to change our understanding of evolution.” By how much? and whose understanding?
Cyanobacterial Evolution: Fresh Insight into Ancient Questions (Current Biology): Will the hot debate consider the null hypothesis that evolution is false?
It is important to keep in mind that it is impossible to definitively know the answer to the challenging questions that surround the origin of oxygenic photosynthesis and cyanobacteria. Without a time machine, we will never be able to perform genome sequencing of organisms that existed billions of years ago. In light of this humbling fact, novel studies such as Harel et al. provide keen insight that will continue to fuel the debate around this hotly contested field.
Production and packaging of a biological arsenal: Evolution of centipede venoms under morphological constraint (PNAS): “The current data add to the growing body of evidence that toxins are not expressed in a spatially homogenous manner within venom glands, and they suggest that the link between ecology and toxin evolution is more complex than previously thought.” Thought by whom?
Grand tree of life study shows a clock-like trend in new species emergence and diversity (Science Daily): “The study also challenges the conventional view of adaptation being the principal force driving species diversification, but rather, underscores the importance of random genetic events and geographic isolation in speciation, taking about 2 million years on average for a new species to emerge onto the scene.” Whose convention?
Rethinking the Molecular Clock
DNA mutation clock proves tough to set (Nature): “The fact that the clock is so uncertain is very problematic for us,” David Reich (Harvard) says. “It means that the dates we get out of genetics are really quite embarrassingly bad and uncertain.” Bad and uncertain compared to what?
Evidence for recent, population-specific evolution of the human mutation rate (PNAS): “Although it is not clear whether the excess mutations are harmful or directly related to the UV sensitivity of light skin, this result demonstrates that the human mutation rate has evolved on a much faster timescale than previously believed.” Believed by whom?
Evolution of childbirth: Wider hips don’t make locomotion easier, so why is labor so hard? (Science Daily): Harvard researchers say evolutionists have been approaching the “obstetrical dilemma” (that wider hips make locomotion less efficient) from the wrong direction.
A new study found no connection between hip width and efficient locomotion, and suggests that scientists have long approached the problem in the wrong way. “This idea, that pelvic width for birth and pelvic width for locomotion are connected, is deeply ingrained in this discipline,” said the first author of the study. “Everyone thinks they know this is true…but it’s wrong, and it’s wrong for two reasons. First, the way we had modeled the forces involved didn’t make sense. Second, we found that you can’t predict, from the width of the pelvis, how much energy someone is using, so we’ve been looking at this biomechanical problem entirely wrong.” ….
“Good science is about taking a critical look at things we take for granted,” he continued. “So I think it’s wonderful that what seemed to be settled science can be completely overturned by this really beautiful data. This is going to change the way we teach Anthropology 101 everywhere, and it’s going to change the way we teach about human evolution and walking adaptations and the birth of babies. I think it’s a great example of how new things can be uncovered when you really bother to look deeply at accepted ideas.”
Questioning convention can be good, but is anyone challenging human evolution itself?
Portions of that last quote are good, but they don’t go far enough. If you read the Science Daily article, you see that the Harvard researchers, despite their appeals to critical thinking, remain fully committed to human evolution from ape-like ancestors over millions of years. But using their own words, why should they get mad if others “really bother to look deeply at accepted ideas” like evolution? Why should they get mad if we assert that they are approaching problems “in the wrong way”? Why should they get upset if we push for “good science” that requires “taking a critical look at things we take for granted”? When we can offer mountains of “really beautiful data” for design, why doesn’t it “change the way we teach” about anthropology and evolution?
Oh, but evolution is a fact, you ignorant creationists. It is “settled science.” It’s an “accepted idea.” It is “deeply ingrained” in science.
That’s what happens when any web of belief becomes unchallenged in culture. It becomes a Law of the Misdeeds and Perversions that cannot be altered (Daniel 6:15). Such intransigence sent Daniel to the lion’s den (Daniel 6:12). Today, though, everybody honors Daniel, while the nameless schemers of Babylon—the academics of their day—are despised and forgotten. We need modern Daniels who can show that Darwin’s lions have no teeth.