June 21, 2019 | David F. Coppedge

Selling Evolution with Cuteness

Artificial selection is not natural selection. Darwin addicts cannot keep that distinction straight.

Who can’t resist the sad, pleading eyes of a pet dog? Those eyes, with your dog’s nuzzle on your lap, call out for a treat, or a piece of your meal. But is this evolution?

Look at the headlines: “Dogs evolved a special muscle that lets them make puppy dog eyes,” says New ScientistA casual reader will start having visions of Darwin.

Human selection has resulted in dogs evolving more expressive faces. They have a facial muscle for making the “puppy dog eyes” that melt many peoples’ hearts that does not exist in wolves – the ancestors of dogs.

This muscle allows dogs to lift up their inner “eyebrow”, which makes their eye look larger. This makes them look more like childlike and also rather sad – the puppy dog eyes look.

It really does make dogs more appealing to us. In 2013, Juliane Kaminski at the University of Portsmouth and colleagues videotaped dogs interacting with strangers at a shelter to see what made them more likely to be adopted.

And yet this is clearly a case of artificial selection, what the writer called “human selection.” People caused the change, just like they did with all the other extreme attributes in dogs. Collies have long snouts; bulldogs have short snouts. Dachshunds have short legs, greyhounds have long legs. “Kaminski thinks this muscle evolved because people favoured dogs that make this expression.” The misleading headline says that “dogs evolved” this change.

The press release from the University of Portsmouth makes the same error:

Co-author and anatomist Adam Hartstone-Rose, at North Carolina State University, USA, said: “These muscles are so thin that you can literally see through them – and yet the movement that they allow seems to have such a powerful effect that it appears to have been under substantial evolutionary pressure. It is really remarkable that these simple differences in facial expression may have helped define the relationship between early dogs and humans.”

Co-author Rui Diogo, an anatomist at Howard University, Washington DC, USA, said: “I must admit that I was surprised to see the results myself because the gross anatomy of muscles is normally very slow to change in evolution, and this happened very fast indeed, in just some dozens of thousands of years.”

The “evolutionary pressure,” though, was caused by humans – not by unguided nature. The scientists admit that humans can cause changes like this in a very short time. That’s exactly what happened with all the other dog breeds, from pit bulls to poodles. Humans select the traits they desire for various purposes: huskies for sledding, greyhounds for racing, sheepdogs for herding sheep. Intentional breeding can cause major changes in short order.

New Scientist claims that the muscle that lifts the eyes “does not exist in wolves – the ancestors of dogs.” But the press release says it does not “consistently exist” in wolves. If it exists, humans can accentuate it throw artificial selection. That’s intelligent design, not Darwinian evolution. No new genetic information was created out of nothing.

More evidence that Darwinians use propaganda to promote their theory. We can’t let them get away with it. This has nothing to do with Darwinian evolution, but they keep giving “evolution” credit for everything.

Exercise: Go to the Baloney Detector and see how many tactics were used in this story.



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