March 3, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

Pandemic? Ignore Evolution

Evolutionists are trying to sneak Darwin into another field where he doesn’t belong.

Do viruses mutate? Sure. The flu is slightly different each year. But flu is still flu. Mutations are random changes. Evolutionary theory tries to explain progress: new organs, new functions and new information. Sorry, but Darwinism is no help for the current worry about the coronavirus becoming a pandemic.

A press release from Carnegie Mellon Engineering says, “To predict an epidemic, evolution can’t be ignored.” Really? Who can predict random changes? The only thing the Stuff Happens Law predicts is that stuff will happen, and that if something does happen, you will probably find stuff around.

In a new study appearing in this week’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a team of Carnegie Mellon University researchers show for the first time how important evolutionary adaptations are in predicting epidemics.

The thing to watch for is whether something new and improved happens due to Darwin’s theory of evolution.

“These evolutionary changes have a huge impact,” says CyLab faculty member Osman Yagan, an associate research professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and corresponding author of the study. “If you don’t consider the potential changes over time, you will be wrong in predicting the number of people that will get sick or the number of people who are exposed to a piece of information.”

The CMU Darwinists make logical mistakes here. “Changes over time” are not evolutionary changes. They are simply random changes. The authors of the paper compare it to playing telephone (whispering a sentence down a line of people, and laughing at how it gets mangled by the end of the line). Those are not evolutionary changes either; first of all, people have minds, and can think, and use intelligent design when playing games, even when they are fallible. But the mangled sentence at the end of the line is not due to Darwinism. There is no natural selection. There is no “fitness” increase. It’s just human mistakes. The same is true of Tweets that go viral:

“Some pieces of misinformation are intentional, but some may develop organically when many people sequentially make small changes like a game of ‘telephone,’” says Yagan. “A seemingly boring piece of information can evolve into a viral Tweet, and we need to be able to predict how these things spread.”

This is horribly mangled thinking. If misinformation is intentional, that is not evolution either: it is malicious intelligent design. It is not “naturally selected” to go viral. These scientists are making a basic mistake, like comparing a statue of a person to a real person. Information presupposes minds, even if the information is misinformation.

The authors tried to look busy as they waltzed along to the grand fallacy. They devised a mathematical model and applied it to the Stuff Happens Law. But they goofed. Extraneous information from a guided, mental source is needed, they admit, to make predictions about pandemics or viral Tweets.

“We showed that our theory works over real-world networks,” says the study’s first author, Rashad Eletreby, who was a Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. student when he wrote the paper. “Traditional models that don’t consider evolutionary adaptations fail at predicting the probability of the emergence of an epidemic.

While the study isn’t a silver bullet for predicting the spread of today’s coronavirus or the spread of fake news in today’s volatile political environment with 100% accuracy—one would need real-time data tracking the evolution of the pathogen or information to do that—the authors say it’s a big step.

“We’re one step closer to reality,” says Eletreby.

The reality is that stuff happens. But of course; a model that doesn’t take random changes into account may fail at predicting a pandemic, because stuff does happen. That is not evolution as Darwin described it. It is simply random change. No selection; no adaptation; no fitness. (Viruses are not even alive, most biologists believe.)

If a Tweet goes viral, that involved mentally-guided choices by people, even if their inputs were misguided. If a virus goes pandemic, that is because intelligent minds failed to prevent it. The virus will mutate – sure; medical professionals need to be prepared for that – but that is not an evolutionary “adaptation” in the Darwinian sense. It is just random change. By comparison, if the water behind a dike finds a hole, it will leak. That is not evolution. The virus will not evolve into something better. It will still be a coronavirus.

In short, evolutionary theory provides nothing of interest or help to prevent a coronavirus pandemic. Two other recent news articles commit similar errors:

Survival of the fittest: How primate immunodeficiency viruses are evolving (Phys.org). This is a praise and worship service for Charlie D. “When Charles Darwin theorized how the struggle for existence drives natural selection, he laid the cornerstone of modern biology,” this article says. Oh good grief; stop it. Like the above article, changes in HIV have nothing to do with natural selection or Darwin. Viruses are arguably not alive; if they persist against threats to their existence, it is by breaking an interaction that used to work. This validates Michael Behe’s contention that Darwin Devolves. Nothing new was created.

Anti-evolution drug could stop antibiotic resistance (Phys.org). This is another article that confuses evolution with simple change. Antibiotic resistance usually “evolves” by breaking genes, because stuff happens. But it can also occur by horizontal gene transfer, which is not a Darwinian process. The ones who need the anti-evolution drug are the Darwinians.

This is how Darwin sneaks in to take credit for happenings that have nothing to do with Charlie’s theory of evolutionary progress by natural selection. Do you want him walking into the NIH and saying “Stuff will happen!”? Good grief. Get him out of here.

Randy Guliuzza at ICR wrote a good article about “Darwinian Medicine” this month, showing how Darwin is the last guy you want in the hospital. Darwinism is poison to health care and a disaster for patients, he says – and as an MD, he knows.

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