August 7, 2019 | David F. Coppedge

Extinction Is Not Evolution

How can scientists and reporters write articles on “evolution” when evidence shows organisms died or didn’t change?

What’s going on here? Frequently, evolutionists classify papers and articles as being about “evolution” when the evidence is opposite of evolution. Darwin needs life to evolve from bacteria to human beings. He doesn’t need them to stay the same or die out. What’s evolution got to do with it?

Deep Macroevolutionary Impact of Humans on New Zealand’s Unique Avifauna (Current Biology). Humans have devastated birds on the New Zealand islands. Three Darwinists talk about it, and prognosticate about how long it would take for the island nation to recover. Phys.org summarizes their thoughts:

Using computers to simulate a range of human-induced extinction scenarios, the researchers found that it would take approximately 50 million years to recover the number of species lost since human’s first arrived in New Zealand. If all species currently under threat are allowed to go extinct, they report, it would require about 10 million years of evolutionary time to return to the species numbers of today.

Now, wait a cotton-pickin’ minute here: the only data these evolutionists have is the number of birds that have gone extinct since the first humans landed on the shore. What do they mean it would take 50 million years to recover, and another 10 million years if the endangered species go extinct? Oh, that’s it: that’s how much “evolutionary time” would have to pass for Charlie to invent new birds to fill in the gaps left by the dead. Well, ain’t that convenient! These Darwinians will be long gone before anyone can hold them accountable for telling a fib (see confabulation and confibulation in the Darwin dictionary).

Extinction and the temporal distribution of macroevolutionary bursts (bioRxiv). This preprint mentions “macroevolutionary bursts” in the title, but the actual evidence talks about extinction and the “paradox of stasis.” Readers shouldn’t care about “microevolution,” because that is not controversial to creationists. They want Darwinians to come up with evidence of macroevolution – large-scale change. They want organisms to climb tall “adaptive peaks” on the fitness landscape, and turn into wondrous new things. They want to see the evolution of new phyla, orders, classes and families. Where is it?

Phenotypic evolution through deep time is slower than expected from microevolutionary rates. This is the paradox of stasis. Previous models suggest stasis occurs because populations track adaptive peaks that typically move on million-year intervals, raising the equally perplexing question of why peaks shifts are so rare. Here, we consider the possibility that peaks can move more rapidly than populations can adapt, resulting in extinction. We model peak movement with explicit population dynamics, parameterized with published microevolutionary parameters. Allowing extinction greatly increases the parameter space of peak movements that yield the appearance of stasis observed in real data through deep time. Our work highlights population ecology as an important contributor to macroevolutionary dynamics, presenting an alternative perspective on the paradox of stasis where apparent constraint on phenotypic evolution in deep time reflects our restricted view of the subset of earth’s lineages that were fortunate enough to reside on relatively stable peaks.

Did anyone see macroevolution pass by in this paragraph? No; Darwin floated by like a will-o’-the-wisp, a ghost, an imaginary figure threading through a forest of stasis and extinction. Oh, but in unobservable “deep time,” Stuff Happens.

Death is on Our Side: Paleontological Data Drastically Modify Phylogenetic Hypotheses (bioRxiv). Here’s another preprint by Darwinians that glorifies death as a means of evolution. Two authors, Koch and Parry, think that their fellow Darwinians have tried to trace Darwinian progress by looking at the living. They need to study the dead. But actually, how clearly do dead things show macroevolution?

Fossils are the only remaining evidence of the majority of species that have ever existed, providing a direct window into events in evolutionary history that shaped the diversification of life on Earth. Phylogenies underpin our ability to make sense of evolution but are routinely inferred only from data available from living organisms. Although extinct taxa have been shown to add crucial information for inferring macroevolutionary patterns and processes including ancestral states, paleobiogeography and diversification dynamics, the role that fossils play in inferring the tree of life itself is controversial. Since the early years of phylogenetic systematics, different studies have dismissed the impact of fossils due to their incompleteness, championed their ability to overturn phylogenetic hypotheses or concluded that their behavior is indistinguishable from that of extant taxa.

So far they have discredited the ability to fossils to inform evolution! Can Darwinism be rescued from this evidence?

Here we show paleontological data has a remarkable effect in phylogenetic inference. Fossils often have higher levels of topological influence than extant taxa, while inducing unique topological rearrangements. Previous studies have proposed a suite of explanations for the topological behavior of fossils, such as their retention of unique morphologies or their ability to break long branches. We develop predictive models that demonstrate that the possession of distinctive character state combinations is the primary predictor of the degree of induced topological change, and that the relative impact of taxa (fossil and extant) can be predicted to some extent before any analysis. Our results bolster the consensus of recent empirical studies by showing the unique role of paleontological data in phylogenetic inference, and provide the first quantitative assessment of its determinants, with broad consequences for the design of taxon sampling in both morphological and total-evidence analyses.

Well, if you expect their promises to be fulfilled, you will be shocked that macroevolution is only mentioned one more time in the paper– and that just in passing, with no evidence to back it up. They say nothing about fitness, novelty, innovation or any other notion of positive selection leading to something new and different. Like most Darwinians, they just assume evolution occurred from all the things that went extinct. In the end, they only hope that more analysis of fossils might help solve the contradictions between molecular and paleontological tree-making (phylogenetic inference). By the way, when they say “Death is on Our Side,” to what side are they referring? Apparently, the side of Darwin storytellers.

Causes and Consequences of Pleistocene Megafaunal Extinctions as Revealed from Rancho La Brea Mammals (Current Biology). This paper does not discuss macroevolution specifically, but it does try to explain why some predators died out (i.e., saber-tooth cats) and others survived (like coyotes). It does, however, discuss “adaptation” (often a synonym for Darwinian evolution), and extinction is once again the hero of the evolutionary plot. The press release about Larisa DeSantis from Vanderbilt University explains.

It’s likely that those giant predators went extinct due to climate change, the arrival of humans to their environment or a combination of the two, she said, and her team is working to clarify the cause of the extinction with multiple colleagues across six institutions as part of a separate on-going study.

What they know is predators alive today in the Americas were better able to adapt their diets. Instead of only feeding on large prey, they could effectively hunt small mammals, scavenge what they could from carcasses or do both.

DeSantis conveniently leaves her options open. Extinction occurred because of climate change, or the arrival of humans, or a combination of the two. Cats preferred the forest, but wolves and coyotes preferred the plains, but their hunting grounds did overlap. Coyotes lasted because they learned to be opportunistic, surviving on predation and scavenging, or on human pets and trash cans. But wait; there are still mountain lions in California. DeSantis performs micro-divination on tooth samples to come up with a story that is little better than a post-hoc rationalization for the observable facts: some survived, others went extinct.

Specifically, the cougar (Puma concolor), which survived the extinction event, consumed both flesh and bones with clear evidence of scavenging, in stark contrast to the extinct American lion (Panthera atrox) that had ∼30% broken canines and primarily ate tough flesh; the cougar’s opportunistic diet may have been key to its survival.

The dire wolf (Canis dirus), the most abundant carnivoran at La Brea, ranged from Canada to South America during the Pleistocene before becoming extinct. However, the coyote (Canis latrans), a smaller canid, survived the late Pleistocene extinction event, as did gray wolves, cougars, bobcats, and other smaller carnivorans. As coyotes are highly opportunistic today, eating smaller prey (e.g., rodents and lagomorphs) and also scavenging larger prey, such as deer, their “key to success” may have been similar to the La Brea cougars. Alternatively, coyotes—in contrast to cougars—may have opportunistically altered their diet following the extinction of numerous large predators and prey species, only recently becoming true opportunists.

But wait. Why couldn’t Darwinism help the unlucky ones develop opportunistic diets? If the big cats and dogs were too big, why didn’t natural selection make them smaller? Out of all the dire wolves from Canada to South America, did none of them adapt in those ways? When you raise the perhapsimaybecouldness index, phrases like “may have” can save you from falsification.

By the way, nothing evolved. Certain animals went extinct. Others survived.

 

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