October 25, 2021 | David F. Coppedge

Evolution by Subtraction Has No Teeth

Darwin’s theory won’t get very far when
complex traits are lost by natural selection


Hard as this may be to believe, evolutionists are celebrating a new case of natural selection at work: the loss of tusks in elephants due to poaching. Let us think this through.

Why no tusks? Poaching tips scales of elephant evolution (Associated Press). Reporter Christina Larson has learned her Darwin lessons well: no matter how stupid, give the Darwin Party credit for any change.

Most people think of evolution as something that proceeds slowly, but humans can hit the accelerator.

“When we think about natural selection, we think about it happening over hundreds, or thousands, of years,” said Samuel Wasser, a conservation biologist at the University of Washington, who was not involved in the research. “The fact that this dramatic selection for tusklessness happened over 15 years is one of the most astonishing findings.”

Surely this is a joke, right? No. It got past peer review and was published in Science Magazine, the premiere journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Ivory poaching and the rapid evolution of tusklessness in African elephants (Shane C. Campbell-Staton et al., Science • 22 Oct 2021 • Vol 374, Issue 6566 • pp. 483-487 • DOI: 10.1126/science.abe7389). Six authors signed onto this case of evolution by subtraction. Here is how stupidity can be made to sound erudite:

To evaluate the evolutionary response to selection, we quantified the frequency of tusk phenotypes among adult females born after the war (estimated birth years 1995 to 2004). We found that tusklessness among female offspring of survivors (33%, n = 91) remained significantly elevated over the preconflict proportion (18.5%, two-sample equality of proportions test with continuity correction, P = 0.046) (Fig. 1A) and was greater than expected in the absence of selection (hypergeometric distribution, P = 4.3 × 10−8) (Fig. 1B). These results indicate a heritable genetic basis for tusklessness and an evolutionary response to poaching-induced selection in Gorongosa.

Maybe the AAAS was having a slow day and needed something to publish for the weekly Darwin worship service. Or maybe this was an April Fool joke, designed to be extra tricky because they pulled it in October. Whatever the motive, all the media jumped onto the tale with alacrity. Either they didn’t get the joke, or more likely, they are all drunk on Darwine, reflexively singing “How dry I am” every time they hear the word “selection” or “evolution,” even when it is a story of trait loss.

Cartoon by Brett Miller. Used by permission.

Ivory hunting drives evolution of tuskless elephants (Nature). Nicola Jones fell for it. Here in the most-read science journal in the world, readers were treated to a either a trick or treat, depending on how much Darwine they had imbibed. Nicola knew that her work wouldn’t be acceptable to the editors without including shame on human beings for climate change.

Hunting has been blamed for causing rapid change in animals before. The size of horns on bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) in Alberta, Canada, for example, dropped by 20% over 20 years of trophy hunting. And fishing is thought to have reduced the sizes of some fish species.

But it has proved hard to pin down exactly what’s happening genetically in these populations, and difficult to unpick the importance of evolutionary pressure from hunting compared with other environmental factors, such as climate change….

The work offers strong evidence that hunting has caused this change, says Darimont. “They have this very compelling genomic data,” he says. “This is a wake-up call in terms of coming to grips with humans as a dominant evolutionary force on the planet.

Female African elephants evolved to lose tusks due to ivory poaching (New Scientist). Michael Le Page didn’t get it. He regurgitated it along with Christina and the other gullible reporters. ‘Extra, extra! Darwin vindicated! Female elephants evolve tusklessness partly by mutation fatal to males!’

Female elephants in Mozambique rapidly evolved to become tuskless as a result of intense ivory poaching during the country’s civil war, even though one of the mutations involved kills male offspring.

So according to this tale, all the males die out, and the females, unable to defend themselves or reproduce, go extinct. Evolution marches on.

Is it really necessary to explain why this is a stupid tale? For the sake of atheists, new readers and those without training in Baloney Detecting, we will give a brief tutorial.

Darwinians insist that natural selection launched upward every living thing in the world from bacteria to Einstein. For starters, how will evolution work its magic by subtracting things? It’s crazy, like the salesman who lost on every sale, but thought he could make it up in volume As evidence for evolution, this story goes backward and stops before it starts.

It’s not really evolution anyway, any more than the Herero Genocide was evolution (Evolution News). Imagine claiming in a scientific paper that the Darwinists who killed black Africans caused the evolution of lighter-skinned Africans. Saying something like that would be horrible! It’s horrible here, too. The “selection pressure” against elephants came from criminals! Poachers, those greedy opportunists, only shot tusked elephants. Math students, what happens if you have five tusked elephants and five tuskless elephants, and poachers shoot the five tusked ones? “Evolution!” is the answer expected by the AAAS and Nature. Good grief. That’s awful.

Laughing about silly Darwinists on the elephone.

Don’t be fooled by the genetic evidence. Poachers did not “cause” tusklessness to evolve. This is a case of devolution. The elephants are not better off without their tusks, and the poachers who “selected” them did not become better fit to survive. This is a case of artificial selection as well as “evolution by subtraction.” If you killed all the white peppered moths, what would be left? Would the surviving black ones have different genes for white patterns that had been broken? Probably. So much for evolution.

One might recall this story from the life of Jesus. His enemies became angry when he forgave a paralyzed man’s sins. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?” – upon which he took the man’s hand, lifted him up, healing him completely and instantly, allowing the man to walk for the first time before the astonished crowds. We might ask, “Which is easier: to lose a tusk, or to create one?” Think of all the engineering required to build an ivory tusk able to carry heavy loads, tear down trees and defend an animal against threats. Losing a tusk is as easy as giving a criminal a rifle. Do that enough times, and the only elephants left will have genes for tusks turned off.

It is hard to fathom the stupidity that Darwinism has wrought in science. Most distressing is that the media, just as drunk on Darwine as the scientists, have lost all ability to laugh at it. Here we have no such compunctions.


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  • R2-U2 says:

    I recall reading a paper several years ago by a creationist who is both a dentist and oral surgeon, about the lack of evidence for the evolution of teeth. Believe it or not, his last name is “Moellar”. I’m having difficulty finding the paper on the Internet.

    Another web article says Donald R. Moeller’s research “shoots down ay possibility that unique dentition sizes and shapes result from mutations. Transiting life forms would be prime candidates for starvation while waiting for ‘numerous, successive, slight modifications’ to evolve jawbone dentition essential to support new life! Moeller’s logic devastates Neo-Darwinism’s core dogma’s reliance on “numerous, successive, slight modifications!’ “

  • jayisunj says:

    Speaking of teeth . . . some new research on wisdom teeth further dents the case for them being “evolutionary leftovers”:

    • Thank you jayisunj for the link. We don’t want comments sending people to other sites, so I’ll quote from the article you linked to on Popular Science:

      “Lots of people in the US get their wisdom teeth taken out, which might make you think that they’re some kind of evolutionary leftover—some artifact of a prehistoric life that’s no longer relevant. But the truth is that you don’t necessarily need to get them removed. In the UK, for instance, wisdom teeth are only removed if they become problematic, as the National Health Service notes that there is otherwise no proven benefit (but there is the added complication of having a minor surgery).

      Either way, the teeth are not so much a leftover as they are a sign of our evolutionary progress. Our squashy faces and slow development are part of what makes us human, weird dental development and all.”

      Although this article differs from the usual “bad design” argument, it is still evolutionary. The author is claiming a mismatch between jaw and wisdom tooth development. I refer our readers to ch 12 on wisdom teeth in Dr Jerry Bergman’s book “Useless Organs.”

  • R2-U2 says:

    I finally found the 2003 paper by Don Moeller, titled: “Dental fossils and the fossil record”.

    Moeller writes: “In summary, the fossil record demonstrates numerous highly complex coupled dento-maxillary developmental systems which can not be accounted for by any known evolutionary mechanism.”

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