March 23, 2018 | David F. Coppedge

Darwinism as an All-Purpose Story Plot

Observations are just props. The play is, “The Evolution of Whatever” or “How Whatever Evolved.” Now playing in science media near you.

As a play, Darwinism has two subplots: natural selection and sexual selection. With a little creative screenwriting, any observation in nature can be fit into either or both subplots, provided the perhapsimaybecouldness index is sufficiently elevated. (Note: If sexual selection is not needed, natural selection can be assumed as the default subplot.)

Triceratops may have had horns to attract mates (BBC News). No living scientist has ever seen a horned dinosaur except for bones in the ground. Certainly no one has watched a triceratops mating display. These evolutionists, imaginations shining in vivid color, speculate that the beasts advertised their fitness with their big frills and horns. (Note: It’s OK in Darwin plays to change the subplots around, as long as the final act is never compromised: i.e., King Charles looks charming in his new clothes).

Ceratopsian, or horned dinosaurs, were previously thought to have developed this ornamentation to distinguish between different species.

This has now been ruled out in a study published in a Royal Society journal.

Instead, the aggressive-looking armour may actually have evolved to signal an animal’s suitability as a partner, known as socio-sexual selection.

If you give scientific jargon to your imaginary vision, it sounds better that way. How socio-sexual selection differs from plain vanilla sexual selection is not clear. But it doesn’t matter, because the Darwin play is always a work in progress. “Further work will now be done to test whether socio-sexual selection is the motivating factor behind the evolution of these ornaments.” How anyone can test such a thing on bones in the dirt is unspecified. Maybe they will use them as divination tools in the futureware screenplay.

The coverage by Phys.org provides the bridge to the final Hallelujah Darwin chorus: “The researchers believe the implications extend beyond the scope of ceratopsians and have consequences for the study of evolutionary theory over vast stretches of time.

Thanks to Brett Miller for the excellent new illustration.

Why aren’t humans ‘knuckle-walkers?’ (Phys.org). Evolutionists at Case Western Reserve University demonstrate how to put any observation into the Darwin play. Add a drum roll and dramatic music.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have cracked the evolutionary mystery of why chimpanzees and gorillas walk on their knuckles: The short explanation is that these African apes climb trees and they are mobile on the ground.

Occam’s razor might simply say that each animal has the locomotion suited to its habitat. But that would not do for the Darwin theater. There must be drama! There must be mystery! There must be evolution!

The “knuckle-dragging” mystery has challenged researchers for years.

“Walking on your knuckles is absolutely as odd as walking bipedally, a very peculiar way to get around. It doesn’t make sense, and it’s bothered anthropologists for years. Only chimps and gorillas do it. No one has come with the reason why—until now.”

Latimer teaches microscopic anatomy and evolution at Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine. The focus of his research is the evolution of human walking.

Genetic analysis uncovers the evolutionary origin of vertebrate limbs: The genetic toolkit that patterns limbs originally came about to form the dorsal fins of fishes (Science Daily). Dorsal fins are not limbs, but that doesn’t matter. In the Darwin theater, observations are mere props. The first sentence makes sure everyone has their VR imagination headset on, so that the story can begin:

As you picture the first fish to crawl out of primordial waters onto land, it’s easy to imagine how its paired fins eventually evolved into the arms and legs of modern-day vertebrates, including humans. But a new study by researchers from the University of Chicago and the Andalusian Center for Development Biology in Spain shows how these creatures used an even more primitive genetic blueprint to develop their proto-limbs: the single dorsal, or back, fin common to all jawed fish.

Since this performance includes lead actor Neil Shubin, see “The Evolution of the Darwin Fish” from 17 Feb 2018.

Sweet science: Putting corn syrup to work on Earth’s origins (Phys.org). Evolutionary theory is not limited to biology. Secular scientists often speak of the evolution of the earth, the evolution of stars, even the evolution of the universe. Here’s a case where a geological actor demonstrates evolutionary divination with corn syrup.

How has the Earth evolved, and what’s in store for the future? It’s a sticky question that has graduate student Loes van Dam covered in corn syrup by the end of a day in the lab.

She thought using a computer model would be limiting. So she designed and built a large tank, filled it with 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms) of corn syrup, and added six counter-rotating belts to study how tectonic plates drift and shift….

“She’s trying to put together a clearer picture of the evolution of the Earth,” he said. “If you’re trying to understand how the Earth is changing in the future, you need to know that.”

Evolution is just as fluid a concept as corn syrup. It can be defined simply as change. You believe things change don’t you? Then you must be an evolutionist (see Equivocation).


Tired of the same song and dance? There’s a classier show across town at a well-designed outdoor venue in broad daylight. They’re playing The Creation.

 

 

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