Empty Promises from Darwin Storytellers
Mainstream science media cast a false illusion of Darwinism’s success by making promises in the headlines that the articles don’t deliver.
If all you read are the headlines at major science sites, you are being tricked when it comes to evolution. They regularly announce that some evolutionary mystery has been solved, but then the details down below don’t show that. The headline promises a scientific explanation, in the form, “How the [whatever] got its [whatzit],” but then all you read is a Kipling-like just-so story. Reporters and journals seem preoccupied with making Darwin look good at all costs. Below are some examples of the Darwin media racket at work.
First, however, some clarity: Darwinian evolution is not just about “change.” Ultimately, it’s about design without a designer. Darwin presumed to explain all of life from a common ancestor, presumably a primitive cell. Think of the major innovations that had to take place: eyes, wings, ears – all your body’s systems had to come from natural selection acting on random mutations. Since creationists believe that small degrees of variation and degeneration happen within created kinds, Darwinians must distinguish their theory from those kinds of “change.” Darwin tried to explain a special kind of change: a ratcheting up of increased functional complexity by unguided natural processes that blindly generated whole new cell types, tissues, organs and body plans. That’s what we are looking for in the following articles.
Keeping our balance: A tale of two systems (Science Daily). This article promises an explanation for human balance starting with the first tetrapods crawling out of the sea. Perhaps the emphasis in the headline should be on “tale,” because it only describes two signaling systems in the brain, then assumes they are “related to the major evolutionary changes in our pasts” without explaining how either system arose by random mutations and natural selection.
DNA clue to how humans evolved big brains (BBC News): Once upon a time, this article says, a point mutation turned apes into humans. How is that possible? Well, Helen Briggs writes, the species of Homo all have a gene that is absent in chimpanzees. Is that it? Ratcheting up her perhapsimaybecouldness index, she continues, “It may have paved the way for the brain’s expansion by dramatically boosting the number of brain cells found in this region.” Surely there’s more to intelligence than the number of brain cells. “Still, many questions remain about how early humans evolved larger brains,” Briggs says, giving herself an escape hatch. “It is likely that the gene is one of many genetic changes that gave humans their unique intelligence and thinking ability.” Those last sentences effectively erase the promise in the headline.
Snakes Used to Have Legs and Arms … Until These Mutations Happened (Live Science). Since Laura Geggel only points out loss of function, this article does not score points for Darwinian evolution. Same for National Geographic‘s coverage, “Snakes Evolved Out of Their Legs—but They Still Have the Gene.” Some creationists will have a different explanation. The original paper from Current Biology makes it clear this is not a story of innovation: it only raises “the possibility that re-emergence of hindlimbs during snake evolution did not require de novo re-evolution of lost structures but instead could have resulted from persistence of embryonic legs.”
Scottish fossils tell story of first life on land (BBC News). Helen Briggs is at it again, telling a “story” about evolution. Tetrapod hunter Jennifer Clack is the heroine, who found five complete fossils of animals in Scotland that she says are 355 million years old. Nick Fraser, her colleague, started having ecstatic visions.
“If you want to draw the analogy to Neil Armstrong’s first step on the Moon – it was one small step for man but a giant leap for mankind, well, this in some ways is a small step out of the water for these animals but it’s a giant leap forward for the future evolution of life on land.“
“Without this step of vertebrates – animals with backbones – coming on to land, we wouldn’t be here, birds wouldn’t be here, crocodiles wouldn’t be here, lizards, frogs, dinosaurs would never have roamed the Earth – all these things would not have evolved,” he told BBC News.
Yet the fossils resemble those of newts and even crocodiles. We have those today. There is nothing about random mutations and natural selection producing all the coordinated structures and systems required to move about on land.
Biologists discover origin of stomata (Science Daily). This article doesn’t deliver on the headline’s promise. It only shows that mosses had some commonalities with the stomata (gas exchange pores) of higher plants, then presumes they “came into being” from a common ancestor. Came into being? How? There’s no explanation how the first stoma arose by random mutation and natural selection. It doesn’t matter; a true believer can make a Darwin mountain out of the slightest of molehills. That makes Ralf Reski tied for SEQOTW, where he masks a vacuous explanation with phrases like “the development of” and “originated.” How, exactly?
“Our results show that the development of stomata originated over 400 million years ago and predated the development of roots, stems, and leaves,” explains Reski. “This evolutionary innovation fundamentally changed the global cycles of carbon, water, and energy and thus was a prerequisite for all life forms on the mainland, including us humans.“
‘Bickering’ flies make evolutionary point: Biologist shows how aggression among fruit flies alters social environments (Science Daily). Some male flies stand and bat each other, proving that humans have bacteria ancestors. Next.
Flower forms in the primrose: Biologists unlock 51.7-million-year-old genetic secret to landmark Darwin theory (Science Daily). This article promises to vindicate Darwin by solving the secret of a “landmark theory” of his. “Darwin hypothesised that some plant species with two distinct forms of flower, where male and female reproductive organs were of differing lengths, had evolved that way to promote out-crossing by insect pollinators.” But since this involves minor changes in length to existing organs in one genus of flower, it is something creationists would accept as fitting their explanation that organisms reproduce within their own created kind. Yet the researchers from the University of East Anglia gush on Darwin, saying “To identify the genes which control the biology noted by Darwin is an exciting moment.” They call this minor change “a key evolutionary innovation of flowering plants,” a gross exaggeration.
New Just-So Stories
How Humans Lost Their Tail, Twice (Live Science). Apparently Jen Viegas didn’t get the message that the “vestigial tail” idea is caput, and so is the old Haeckel recapitulation theory. She perpetuates these myths in this account of a so-called tail in the human embryo, which actually is not a useless vestige at all, nor is the coccyx, to which important muscles are attached. Sample from the just-so story: “The origins of this mysterious vestigial tail go back to fish.” Viegas weaves a tale about two tails that disappeared. Does this help Darwin? “This discovery overturns at least two centuries of scientific belief that the modern adult fish tail fin was simply added to the end of an ancestral tail shared with land animals,” she says. Misunderstanding evolutionary theory, she describes why tails are good things to have if you walk on all fours, without explaining how blind, random mutations could produce an organ system involving structure, nerves, and muscles.
Fish that evolved to become semi-aquatic and then land-dwelling animals lost the flexible back fin, but kept the fleshier one that over time became the familiar appendage we now see on dogs, cats, cows and many other animals. As dogs show, tails are useful for visual communication, slapping away flying insects and other functions.
Adult apes, including human ancestors, took the tail loss process a step further, [Lauren] Sallan said, “losing the remaining bony tail for better upright movement. Like fish, the remnants of an embryonic bony tail are buried in our lower backs—the coccyx or tailbone—stunted by a loss of molecular signals that would otherwise cause it to grow out like an arm or leg. Thus, humans and fish embryos share mechanisms for controlling tail form.”
Since apes and humans don’t have them, the story goes, tails must have gotten in the way of upright walking. So did the apes choose to get rid of their tails by intelligent design? Neo-Darwinism doesn’t work that way. It’s not teleological. It cannot say, “A tail would be useful, therefore I will evolve it” or “This tail gets in my way, so I will get rid of it.” If a “mechanism” controls something, it’s not happening by accident.
Why the flounder is flat (Science Daily), or Why baby flatfish grow into the wonkiest animals in the world (New Scientist). “The puzzle of how these changes could occur in the course of evolution has been intriguing scientists for a long time,” the first article says. “Even Darwin was at a loss to explain the ‘remarkable peculiarity’ of flatfish anatomy.” Coming to rescue Darwin from his embarrassment, an international team compared two genomes and found the key: “a key developmental trigger: retinoic acid.” This magic acid has wondrous powers. It makes the eyes move to the top of the head, while simultaneously altering the fish’s pigment cells, conferring camouflage. To help readers buy the idea, the evolutionists appeal to their culinary instincts: “Understanding how these unique creatures develop not only solves a long-standing evolutionary puzzle, it also serves the fishing industry and helps feed a continuously growing population.” New Scientist, by contrast, tries to keep things Darwinian, using the power of unsupported assertion combined with suggestion and the Stuff Happens Law: “The process probably evolved from a random mutation that was naturally selected due to its advantage at the bottom of the ocean,” reporter Alice Klein writes.
How the peacock got its tail, or “Study explains evolution phenomenon that puzzled Darwin” (Science Daily). Why do deer grow unwieldly antlers and horned beetles grow horns so large they handicap the insect? Even the master Darwin couldn’t figure this out, the authors from Northwestern claim, as they set themselves up to prop up Darwin. Playing natural selection and sexual selection off each other, they have a new idea: “Animals with extravagant ornaments are showing just how fit and strong they are — that they can overcome the costs of these ornaments — and this attracts the opposite sex,” according to study author Daniel Abrams. But this idea is “completely independent of the underlying genetic mechanism that causes these ornaments to grow,” another scientist says (and considers “fascinating”). How wearing a ball-and-chain structure shows fitness is not explained, nor why the opposite sex finds them attractive. But if the story has no genetic mechanism, how can it function as a scientific theory? It’s a just-so story, wherein animals seem to decide to grow ornaments the same way some people go shopping for jewelry or clothes to look trendy. Next thing you know, Abrams will have deer and beetles holding fashion shows.
Are caesareans really making us evolve to have bigger babies? (New Scientist). Even Clare Wilson can’t stomach this evolutionary tale by Philipp Mitteroecker of the University of Vienna, Austria. It’s not that evolution can’t happen fast, she says, but “even if evolution is having an effect, it would be hard to disentangle from all the other factors driving the rise in C-sections.” Don’t doctors use intelligence to make such decisions? If evolution is as fast and creative as Darwinians believe, perhaps moms and their doctors can look forward to the day when natural selection puts zippers on pregnant mother’s abdomens.
Vacuous yet alluring, a worse shell game pretending to explain nature has never been foisted on the mind of man than Darwinian evolution. Yet there is hope. If a discovery can overturn “at least two centuries of scientific belief,” then continued unmasking of Charlie’s Grand Myth, like we do regularly here at CEH, might one day topple the idol of the Bearded Buddha. Keep the pressure on.
Not being the type to cast aspersions on well-meaning suckers who’ve only been taught Darwinism from their youth up, we’ll cast a Spurgeon instead—some quotes from Charles H. Spurgeon, the enormously popular preacher of London who was a contemporary of the other Charles:
“The worst sort of clever men are those who know better than the Bible and are so learned that they believe that the world had no Maker, and that men are only monkeys with their tails rubbed off.“
“You cannot convince the simplest boy in the street that somehow or other he was developed from an oyster, or some creature inferior to that, and yet these profound thinkers bow down to such a belief as this.”
“Within fifty years children in the school will read of extraordinary popular delusions, and this will be mentioned as one of the most absurd of them.”
“The philosophy now in vogue labours to shut God out of his own creation. They inform us that by some means this world and all that is therein were evolved. Even this will not long content the men of progress: they care nothing for evolution in itself, but only so far as it may serve their purpose of escaping from the thought of God.“
“Notwithstanding all that great men may say about what they evolve from their own consciousness, I think that the only thing a man can evolve from his own consciousness is folly and sin; for there is nothing else there.“
“They will speak, amid roars of laughter, of evolution; and the day will come, when there will not be a child but will look upon it as being the most foolish notion that ever crossed the human mind.“