This Is Not Evolution
Evidence often comes with a Darwin label, but let the buyer beware.
Darwinian evolution is not just change. It is a mechanism that purports to account for molecules-to-man progress by an unguided, purposeless natural mechanism. To count as evidence for Darwinism, data must be explainable only by Darwinism.
Neural Evolution: Costing the Benefits of Eye Loss (Current Biology): The benefits of eye loss? Surely you are joking, Mr. Darwin. “Darwin” is the first word in this paper, but it’s hard to build an evolutionary tree with dead limbs. Can you get progress from amoeba to man with loss of traits? The theme of this paper is that “when the eyes are degraded it is advantageous because there are energy savings to be made.” Sure, and the greatest energy savings can be made by dying.
Fish parasite is a stripped-down jellyfish (Science Magazine): Whatever is going on here, it’s another case of loss, not gain. A fish parasite has a structure that resembles the stinging cells of jellyfish. That’s the essence of the claim. If Darwin wants to own the biosphere, he can’t take a loss on every sale and make it up in volume.
Mystery of how snakes lost their legs solved by reptile fossil (PhysOrg): The most a Darwinist can make of this story is that another loss occurred: the loss of limbs. But it’s not clear a transition can be claimed at all; the fossil doesn’t include legs, but only a slight difference in the shape of inner ear canals that are assumed to affect locomotion.
Evolution in leaps: The punctuated accumulation and loss of cultural innovations (PNAS): This is about innovation and loss in cultural evolution. Are Darwinians really ready to attribute “cultural evolution” to natural selection instead of intelligent design? If they are, they cut out the limb they are sitting on, because their own scientific theorizing becomes the product of unguided, purposeless processes of mutation and natural law—not mental activity using reason. The authors of this paper have a Yoda complex.
A horse’s eye view: does a pony see what we see? (PhysOrg): A picture of a pony taking a video quiz begins this article. Here’s a case of evolutionary expectations being wrong: “It’s remarkable that mammals, even with these differences in physical appearance and living environments, evolved to have the same sort of visual perception,” the researcher said, apparently nonchalant that he just re-used his falsified theory.
Rock-wallaby interbreeding causes rethink on evolution (PhysOrg): This is just a possible category error. What appeared to be six species of rock wallabies are showing shared genetic material. Creationists would expect they are all members of the same kind anyway. But oh, the hype: “It’s exciting because it’s an iconic Australian marsupial and it brings our research to the forefront of evolutionary theory.”
Similar proteins protect the skin of humans, turtles (Science Daily): Excuse us, but humans and turtles are not related. Darwin says they left off a long way down the tree. “This new study shows that evolutionarily related genes have a protective function both in humans and also in tortoises and turtles.” Why must we say they are evolutionarily related? Is this a neurotic obsession?
Evolution: On the crest of becoming vertebrate (Nature): “The discovery of cells in an invertebrate that share several features with vertebrate neural-crest cells provides insights into how this vital vertebrate cell population might have evolved.” No it doesn’t. Similarity of genes doesn’t prove an evolutionary relationship. Speaking of neural crest cells, the article bluffs shamelessly without proving the sea squirt is evolving into a vertebrate. Maybe it uses these cells for other functions. Where did they “emerge” from, anyway?
The evolution of these features is thought to have imbued vertebrates with their predatory ability, facilitating their success on Earth. Although all vertebrates have neural-crest cells, how this population evolved has remained a mystery. In this issue, Stolfi et al. (page 371) report that a type of neuron in an ascidian (sea squirt) — an invertebrate filter feeder that is a close relative of vertebrates — has intriguingly similar features to neurons derived from the vertebrate neural crest.
How spiders got their knees (Science Magazine): In typical just-so story form, this article finds a duplicated protein in spiders gave rise to knees. Trouble is, other arachnids with the knees don’t have the protein. “Reconciling how that occurs is something the study needs to grapple with before it can claim that one particular gene copy explains how all arachnids have patellas.”
Tarantulas evolved blue colour ‘at least eight times’ (BBC News): “If it’s not for sex, why have so many tarantulas evolved this cobalt blue colour?” Why are they invoking evolution? Is this another neurotic obsession? Maybe something in diet is responsible. At best, it’s a bad appeal to convergent evolution with no apparent functional advantage.
Cichlid fish view unfamiliar faces longer, from further distance than familiar faces (Science Daily): Evolutionists are infatuated with cichlid fish. Whoopee; some stare at mates longer. PhysOrg issues this headline: “Study shows evolution does not always mean more diversification.” In fact, contrary to expectations, innovation can send a population extinct. So where is the evolution? It’s not there. The paper in Science Magazine is worse: “A pharyngeal jaw evolutionary innovation facilitated extinction in Lake Victoria cichlids,” it says, assuming (somehow) that a loss is Darwin’s gain. You can’t build a tree of life by extinction. Listen to Casey Luskin discuss the ridiculous lengths to which some evolutionists go to find instances of alleged speciation in cichlids (ID the Future).
The effects of life history and sexual selection on male and female plumage colouration (Nature): This is about sexual selection in bird plumage, claiming reasons have been found for why some species develop colors and others don’t. But even if the sexes diverge in looks, they are still the same species; nothing has evolved to show progress up Darwin’s tree. “Our results indicate that although there may be genetic constraints to sexually independent colour evolution, both female and male ornamentation are strongly and often differentially related to morphological, social and life-history variables.” Well, which is the main reason? This is the problem of compound explanations; it allows all kinds of excuses. There’s no mathematical rigor here. If sexual selection theory explains opposite outcomes, it explains nothing except Stuff Happens.
58,046 fruit flies shed light on century-old biological question (PhysOrg): Ah, fruit flies. Ever since Thomas Hunt Morgan began irradiating them in the 1930s, scientists have focused on their evolution more than their design. After 80 years, what’s new? After practicing “artificial breeding” (which is a form of intelligent design) on tens of thousands of the poor flies, they only discovered minor details about the roundness of the wings related to size.
Our results suggest that these traits can evolve, but changing these relationships creates deleterious side effects for the organism. Therefore, evolution through natural selection will be strongly constrained, at least on shorter timescales of less than one million years,” the researchers said.
In fact, when they took their designing hands off, and let nature take its course, the flies reverted to their normal traits in 15 generations. (Note: fruit fly generations only last a few days.) The paper concludes, “Together, these results are consistent with a role for pleiotropic constraints in explaining the remarkable evolutionary stability of allometric scaling.” I.e., nothing evolved in 50 million years, they say.
None of these simplistic stories connect real mutations to real innovations that lead to more offspring in a new species. They are mere anecdotal accounts that assume evolution—sorry excuses for maintaining belief in spite of the evidence, extrapolations far beyond what the data warrant. Next time we will look at more serious examples of evolutionary claims that purport to offer more tangible proof in fossils, genes, or transitional forms. Evolutionists: Give us your best shot.