Forcing Contrary Data into Evolution Stories
Some recent findings might raise the eyebrows of perceptive readers: “How does that support evolution?”
Marine reptile big bang: Science Daily describes another case of abrupt appearance in the fossil record. Marine reptiles like plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs exploded onto the scene. First, we learn that “their origins and early rise to dominance have been somewhat mysterious.” Then we learn from paleobiologists at the University of Bristol that “they burst onto the scene, rather than expanding slowly into their ecosystems.” Yet, somehow, this is dubbed an “evolutionary burst.” Darwinians have known about this all along. Did they tell the public?
Co-author Professor Michael Benton said: “We always knew that the marine reptiles expanded relatively fast into a world in turmoil, after a devastating mass extinction event that killed as many as 95 per cent of species. But what was unusual was that they were inventing entirely new modes of life that had not existed before the end-Permian mass extinction. Our work shows they expanded into nearly every mode of life, indicated by their feeding habits and range of body sizes, really much faster than might have been imagined.“
If they “expanded” (i.e., evolved) much faster than might have been imagined, then by simple logic, it takes super-imagination to think they really did evolve that fast.
Size doesn’t matter: If you make a male’s genitals bigger, do they outcompete the small guys? (Don’t get excited; we’re talking about mosquitofish here). Nature Communications tested the idea by artificially selecting fish with bigger, well, junk. It made no difference to their evolutionary fitness: there was “no effect of relative genital size on male reproductive success,” they say was their “main finding,” in contrast to previous claims. This was the case for both natural and sexual selection separately or in combination.
Previous studies have reported directional selection on relative gonopodium length, but we did not find that males from up-selected lines are more attractive to females nor that they have weaker swimming performance than down-selected males. In combination, we did not find that the net effect of selection is greater male reproductive success (fitness) for control line males than males in either the up-selected or down-selected lines when they freely compete for mates and fertilization opportunities in semi-natural pools. In short, we did not find that novel genital–body size combinations are selected against.
British microevolution: Claiming that “humans haven’t stopped evolving,” Nature reports on a study of “2,000 years of British evolution.” But do accentuations of traits like blue eyes, blond hair and ability to digest milk represent evolution? A Brit can still marry an African or Chinese person and have kids. The article calls the characteristic British traits “adaptations” without showing how mutation or selection increased their fitness. We’re all one species, and one race – the human race. Sorting out traits is not evolution in the sense Darwin meant.
Differences are not necessarily evolved differences: 17 evolutionary anthropologists from multiple universities are apparently proud of their ability to measure differences between apes and humans. But is it evolution? In Nature, they paraded their measurements, showing that humans have higher metabolism, more body fat and longer childhoods than chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. That’s hardly news. On what basis, though, can they say this data represents “Metabolic acceleration and the evolution of human brain size and life history” without assuming what they think they are proving? Nature‘s editors committed the same fallacy in their Editorial: “humans evolve to use more energy.” That’s a teleological statement, forbidden by Darwinian theory, but Science Daily picked up the theme without any criticism whatsoever.
Evolving proteins: Making Darwin proud, Science Daily announces, “Scientists discover the evolutionary link between protein structure and function.” OK, how, exactly? By just believing it. “The big problem in biology is the question of how a protein does what it does,” the lead author of a study says. “We think the answer rests in protein evolution.” They compared modern proteins with those preserved in soft tissue in fossils (that fact raising an important question about preservation for such long time periods). Did they find evolution? You be the judge:
“It turns out that there are little snippets in our genes that are incredibly conserved over time,” Caetano-Anollés says. “And not just in human genomes. When we look at higher organisms, such as plants, fungi and animals, as well as bacteria, archaea, and viruses, the same snippets are always there. We see them over and over again.“
Rather than explaining these by the neo-Darwinian processes of mutation and selection (terms they never use), they propose a model of “hierarchical modularity” as an “emergent property,” comparing it to the advance of artificial communication networks. That’s not Darwinian evolution; if anything, it’s intelligent design.
Butterfly mimicry: The wing patterns on tropical butterflies are often used as examples of evolution. “Natural selection sculpts genetic information to limit diversity,” PhysOrg claims, but what was observed? In a word, epistasis – linked variations. The beneficial mutation causes simultaneous changes elsewhere in the genome that reduce further evolution. This presents a puzzle for Darwinian theory. If a change reduces diversity, how is the butterfly going to evolve further? The researchers overcame this challenge by imagining what could happen in the future. It’s intriguing. The Darwinians used intrigue to keep their theory alive.
Intriguingly, the study effectively suggests that natural selection could limit a species’ ability to adapt to future environmental change by removing linked variations that, despite having no immediate beneficial impact on the species, could become relevant to its survival and capacity to cope with its environment in the future.
“Variation is a kind of raw material and you don’t necessarily use it all at any one time,” Martin explained. “It’s something that could be used to adapt and change in the future.“
For more about epistasis and selection, see a PNAS paper, “The effect of gene interactions on the long-term response to selection.” It begins, “The role of gene interactions in the response to selection has long been a controversial subject” – a surprising statement since that was supposedly solved in the 1930s. The paper shows the dominance of epistasis and genetic drift, factors that confuse simplistic ideas about progress by mutation and natural selection.
Still trying to figure Darwin out: What do flying birds have to do with bacteria? Not much, most might answer. Science Daily, however, titles an article, “How did birds get their wings? Bacteria may provide a clue, say scientists.” Taking the bait, we look inside the package and find that biologists are still trying to figure out the basic ideas of evolution that we were all taught Darwin and his disciples solved.
The evolution of major novel traits — characteristics such as wings, flowers, horns or limbs — has long been known to play a key role in allowing organisms to exploit new opportunities in their surroundings.
What’s still up for debate, though, is how these important augmentations come about from a genetic point of view.
Instead of studying how birds evolved Flight, though, Oxford scientists used divination tools on bacterial genes. “The researchers allowed 380 populations of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria to evolve novel metabolic traits such as the ability to degrade new sugars,” the article says. “This gave the researchers the opportunity to witness evolution happening in real-time.” Then we find out that the genes to digest these sugars were already there or were acquired by horizontal gene transfer. The birds, meanwhile, were left waiting on the ground for their lucky mutation.
LGBT beetles: Science Daily presumes to tell readers “Why animals court their own sex,” admitting this is a Darwinian conundrum: “Same-sex sexual behavior is common in animals but puzzles evolutionary biologists since it doesn’t carry the same obvious benefits as heterosexual courtship behavior that leads to mating and production of offspring.” Proposing to give a new Darwinian explanation, the article promises that “A study sheds new light on the pervasiveness of same-sex sexual behavior in the animal kingdom.” The issues of whether SSB [same sex behavior] in animals has anything to do with human homosexual behavior will be shelved for the time being.
The light-shedders at Uppsala University propose this idea: “The researchers hypothesized that, because males and females share most of their genes, SSB [same-sex behavior] may occur in one sex because its underlying genes carry benefits when expressed in the other.” Key word: may occur. “The findings thus support the idea that SSB may be prevalent in one sex because the genes regulating the behaviour are preserved by natural selection through their benefits in the opposite sex, pointing to a general mechanism maintaining multiple forms of SSB across a wide variety of animals.” Did they study this in a wide variety of animals? No; just in beetles, where they artificially selected the ones that seemed to show SSB. Their siblings seemed to have more offspring. But that could be due to a simple increase in overall mounting behavior by all the beetles, not because natural selection was somehow preserving SSB. If they think they shed light on evolution, they only did so by shedding the light into the trash can.
How birds got their red color: This tale made the rounds this week. Cardinals and other birds with bright red feathers didn’t really evolve the ability to make red pigment. A study described by Science Daily finds that “nearly all birds have the latent capacity to make red feathers, but in order to actually do so, they must evolve the means of expressing [this gene] in the skin in addition to the retina.” True to the Stuff Happens Law, “dazzling red colors have evolved repeatedly in this group, mostly by the mechanism described here, but there are some very interesting exceptions.” Another Science Daily piece says that two color morphs can appear on the same bird “despite the pressures of evolution.” Amazing but true; “This is an important finding and helps evolutionary biologists understand how multiple color varieties can co-exist together in the face of natural selection.” Source paper: Current Biology.
Non-evolution as evidence for evolution: Another case of gene conservation was noted this week in Science Daily: an enzyme necessary for construction of mitochondria has been “conserved throughout evolution“. No one seems to notice the statement is self-contradictory, as if to claim a pilot was grounded throughout his flight career. He never had a flight career if the statement is true.
Now it’s your turn. You’ve watched some Baloney Detecting on the above evolutionary claims; now try your hand at these others. Teachers may use this as a class assignment for middle or high-school grade levels. Demonstrate a couple in class, then assign some others for homework.
The evolution of sauropod dinosaurs (PhysOrg)
Role of life’s timekeeper—a novel theory of animal evolution (PhysOrg)
How plants conquered the land (Science Daily)
[G]ene provides evidence that our limbs may have evolved from sharks’ gills (PhysOrg)
How and why single cell organisms evolved into multicellular life: The story of the evolution of life (Science Daily)
New evidence connects dung beetle evolution to dinosaurs (Science Daily)
The evolution of development (PhysOrg)
Survival of the oldest: Why do some species make it when some don’t? (Science Daily)
Plants are ‘biting back’: Sting of the rock nettle (Science Daily)
Tips: Watch for the phrase “evolved to” – this is verboten, because it is teleological. Darwinian evolution has no goal, no plan, and no purpose. Watch for instances where the empirical evidence is counter to what was expected. Look for evidence of abrupt appearance and conservation. Are the authors inventing meaningless phrases that assume evolution, like “metabolic acceleration” or “evolutionary stasis”? Discard all references that assume evolution occurred; what is the real evidence? Can you rescue something scientifically useful after the data are rinsed of Darwin-colored whitewash?
Darwinian evolution is the scam of our age. All data are forced to support evolution, because alternatives have been ruled out of bounds. Natural selection is a fancy phrase for the Stuff Happens Law. And lazy Darwinians feel they have done their job by just saying, “It evolved.” We need to raise up an army of skilled Baloney Detectors who are not fooled by bluffing and evasion. Join the revolution against evolution; help us overturn the dork side of the farce manipulated by its naked Emperor Charlie.