The Art of Translating Darwinese
Translating Darwinese primarily involves taking out the assumptions and assertions and seeing if anything is left.
If, like the late Phillip Johnson argued, Darwinian evolution is naturalistic philosophy masquerading as science, then it follows that Darwinian ‘science’ is fake science. It may include some tangible objects, like fossils or genes, but it will be wrapped in rhetoric intended to promote naturalism. Consequently, a perceptive reader needs to learn how to translate Darwinese. The mystical language of Darwinese makes it seem as if observational data supports evolution, when it’s really the other way around; naturalism colors the data. A successful Darwinese translator is always focusing on the actual evidence. One must filter out the assumptions and assertions to see what the data are actually indicating. Here we teach by example.
Before starting, one must vaccinate oneself against bluffing, intimidation and irrelevant details. A Darwinese article, for instance, is often dressed up with attractive photos, clean website designs, pictures of smiling Darwinists, and artwork supporting the evolutionary narrative. All of that must be ignored. It has nothing to do with the science. It is irrelevant. The Darwinese translator must keep a laser-sharp focus on the evidence.
Stick to the Evidence
Was early stick insect evolution triggered by birds and mammals? (University of Göttingen). Most of the first paragraph of this press release simply states observable evidence. Then the writer inserts the word “phylogeny” — an evolutionary word to watch out for.
Stick and leaf insects are a diverse and strikingly bizarre group of insects with a world-wide distribution, which are more common in tropical and subtropical areas. They are famous for their impressively large body size, compared to other insects, and their remarkable ability to camouflage themselves as twigs, leaves or bark in order to hide from potential predators. A team of international researchers led by the University of Göttingen has now generated the first phylogenomic tree of these insects.
For animals below the rank of family, Michael Behe shows in his book Darwin Devolves, one can expect variability in genera and species. Many creationists accept this view as well. The stick insects belong to Phasmatodea, an order, the taxon above the level of family. So if the writer is trying to link all the families within Phasmatodea into a tree of common descent, the translator needs to be on guard. Does the evidence support it? The research team at University of Gottingen examined 2,000 genes for 38 species of globally-distributed stick insects. Watch what happened:
The most surprising finding is that the relationships between the early emerging groups of stick and leaf insects largely disprove the earlier assumptions. In fact, the genealogy reflects more the geographic distribution than the anatomical similarity of the animals. The authors revealed a New World lineage of purely North and South American species and a group of Old World origin that comprises species from Africa to New Zealand.
In short, there was no clear phylogenetic picture. The genes looked similar, but the animals did not. When new evolutionary stories disprove old evolutionary stories, probably both stories are wrong. Next, the team ramps up the perhapsimaybecouldness index to visualize moyboy ages:
The age estimation of the phylogenetic tree suggests that most of the old lineages emerged after the dinosaurs became extinct 66 million years ago. Thus, the remarkable camouflage of stick and leaf insects most probably evolved afterwards as adaptation against predatory mammals and birds.
We have an emergence-y. The team just leaped into fantasyland, saying these remarkable animals “emerged” somehow long, long ago. Do they have fossil evidence for this? No; stick insect fossils are rare. This is pure Darwinian speculation.
To translate the article into science, the translator must filter out the Darwinese. The result should include the first paragraph up to the sentence about predators, and stop. It might mention the 2,000 genes of 38 species examined, and tabulate the similarities and differences, but leave it there. Science has no tolerance for “emergence” and speculations about what “might” have happened over millions of Darwin Years.
Spitting for Darwin
A secret in saliva: Food and germs helped humans evolve into unique member of great apes (University of Buffalo). The proposition needing translation from Darwinese goes like this:
Two million years of eating meat and cooked food may have helped humans shift further from other great apes on the evolutionary tree. The evidence is in our saliva, according to new research from the University at Buffalo.
After putting this press release through the Darwinese translator, there won’t be much left but a bucket of warm spit. These Darwinians are trying to buffalo readers into thinking you can use divination on saliva from apes and humans and perceive a story of evolution, visualizing humans losing their hair and learning to cook.
Human saliva is unique in that it is waterier and contains a different mix of proteins. The findings came as a big surprise to the researchers, since humans are known to be genetically close relatives of the great apes, chimpanzees and gorillas.
The evolutionary story is lubricated with perhapses and maybes, ending with futureware: “The study’s findings provide a necessary basis for future studies to assess whether the differences in human salivary proteins were caused by natural selection.” In other words, they don’t even know that natural selection had anything to do with spit. It’s illogical to think it might have anyway; the Stuff Happens Law doesn’t ’cause’ anything.
The only evidence that can be salvaged from this article involves design in our salivary glands and the complex proteins that help us digest our food. After translation from Darwinese into science, therefore, the article will be very short.
An evolution in the understanding of evolution (University of Virginia Engineering). The heroine of this article thinks that evolution needs evolution itself, in order to be understood. Kristen Naegle spent a lot of time running divination studies on proteins to praise Darwin, but all for naught. After running her work through the Darwinese translator, there would be precious little left. She and her student Roman Sloutsky try to impress readers with their wizardry. Such divination is not for laymen, she says. In order to justify the exercise, she tries to convince the peasants that it could cure cancer.
Reconstructing evolutionary branches is tricky, especially when many species share a similar type of protein that might have evolved to perform somewhat different functions. Mathematically, the problem quickly becomes very big, but discovering the implications of this protein evolution could lead to a better understanding of how our bodies deal with cancer and other diseases.
First of all, she incorrectly thinks that proteins, those amazingly sophisticated and sequence-specific molecular machines, are products of evolution. That’s a show stopper right there. Second, it’s a pipe dream to think that Darwinism is going to help understand or cure cancer. A Darwinist believes that cancer is one of those things that just happens. Third, the work leaves nothing accomplished for Darwin worship. It’s all futureware.
Naegle made one statement that could be a redeeming feature, and worth saving in the translated article. “Most models of protein evolution in use today are probably wrong,” she said.
With a little practice, you, too, could become a skilled Darwinese translator.