August 29, 2023 | David F. Coppedge

Natural Selection Is Darwin’s Genie

To understand natural selection, one needs to
watch how its believers use it: as a magic genie

 

The most vacuous, empty, meaningless phrase in science is Darwin’s concoction, “natural selection.” That’s a bold statement, but we can prove it. All we need to do is show you how Darwinians themselves use it.

Anything biology needs to do, from great transformations to nothing (stasis), is natural selection’s specialty. It’s like a genie that Darwinists can summon out of a bottle. Too lazy to explain things the old scientific way, they say the magic words “natural selection” (NS) and get published, passing peer review with no questions asked. But unlike a genie, the NS genie doesn’t just offer three wishes. It offers Darwinians an endless supply.

MSU research suggests natural selection could slow evolution (Michigan State University, 24 Aug 2023). Sometimes the Darwinian needs its genie to stop evolution. NS complies cheerfully, obeying its masters. This article shows Prof. Jeff Conner at UMich conjuring up the Genie of Stasis: natural selection. He “flips the script,” showing selection could lead to similarities as well as differences, the stage assistant (aka press writer) says without a blush. Conner teases his audience before his act.

We always talk about the vast diversity of life and we should. It’s incredible. Natural selection has given us a lot of that, probably most of that diversity,” said Jeff Conner, a professor with the College of Natural Science and the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, or KBS. “But natural selection can also cause similarities.

Conner gives his genie a new word: constraint. He tells his genie, “The idea behind constraint is that, as species evolve, they can lose genetic flexibility in certain areas. This drives specific traits to stabilize and persist through generations.” The genie winks to indicate he gets it. ‘I need you to constrain evolution in the case of wild radish. Show that we scientists cannot get it to evolve.’

Roughly speaking, then, it’s tempting to think of natural selection as the accelerator of evolution, driving different or divergent traits and constraint as the brakes, maintaining or conserving similarities.

“Our work flips the script on that a little bit,” Conner said. “We’re suggesting that selection can also slow things down, that it can cause similarities as well as differences.”

How can this be? Well, Conner speculates that a lack of genetic diversity constrains this plant from evolving. But the genie had no problem with getting a whale from a four-footed mammal in a few million years. What’s the problem? For mysterious reasons, the wild radish kept its ancestral pattern of stamens. It didn’t evolve, “thanks to natural selection.” The genie obeys with a smile as Conner praises him for a job well done.

So wild radish still holds some mysteries, but it’s provided a potent reminder of the power of natural selection.

Natural selection is very important,” Conner said. “A lot of things people have thought selection couldn’t do, we’re learning selection can do.”

It can do something, and it can do nothing. The audience claps at this mysterious, unexpected end to the act. The handkerchief did not turn into a rabbit as Conner pulled it out of the hat; it was still a handkerchief. Did the genie fail at his job? Does this mean that NS creates diversity except when it doesn’t? Not at all. NS can do anything the Darwinist commands, even if it means constraining evolution and keeping things the same. That’s evolution, too. Sometimes Stuff Happens. Sometimes nothing happens. Isn’t NS great?

The surprised audience just accepts this outcome, noting that Conner’s magic act was peer reviewed and supported by the National Science Foundation. Who are they to complain how their tax dollars are used?

Image credit: simisi1 via Pixabay.

Darwinians Use NS and Evolution Interchangeably

The next few illustrations do not mention “natural selection” but imply it. Darwinians have no other mindless mechanism to get things to change. Genetic drift is not creative enough to pin wings on a land creature or pop eyes onto the blind. Change in allele frequencies happens, but that is not creative, either. By default, then, NS is the go-to mechanism for anything that “emerges” or “develops” that is new or exciting. When Darwinians speak of evolution, NS goes without saying.

How turtles developed over the past 200 million years: Diversity of body size in turtles studied (Senckenberg Research Institute via Phys.org, 8 Aug 2023). Anomalies and surprises never faze Darwinians, because their genie is a trickster. He loves showing off organisms that don’t fit expectations. Having job security with their D-Merit badges, the Darwinians kick back and have a good laugh at whatever turns up. Several anomalies were found in the case of turtles.

In their study, published in the journal Ecology and Evolution, the team concludes that—contrary to the common assumption—the size of the shell-bearers is not related to climatic conditions. Rather, the size evolution is determined by the animals’ habits.

But didn’t evolutionists have a Law of Science dictating how the genie of NS was supposed to make them evolve?

“The assumption that living organisms tend to increase in body size over the course of evolution, known as ‘Cope’s Law,’ cannot be demonstrated in turtles,” explains Ferreira, and hecontinues, “The size spectrum of freshwater species has remained fairly constant over the last 200 million years. In contrast, land and sea turtles show much more pronounced variation.” 

The genie didn’t treat these groups with equity. He discriminated! And he forgot to make climate change a factor in evolution! This is a major breach of protocol. The Darwin apologists rush up to explain this to the press.

According to the team, the variation in body size among tortoises can be explained by their ecological diversity and varied habitats. This would allow the larger terrestrial species to disperse more easily. In sea turtles, on the other hand, the upper and lower limits of body size seem to be related to physiological constraints, such as thermoregulation or increased lung capacity, and morphological constraints, such as carapace size, as well as adaptations to life in open water. It is also possible that the need to go ashore for egg laying limits the maximum size of sea turtles, the researchers note.

The press knows never to question the perhaps’s and maybe’s coming from the Darwin Party. They don’t want to lose their D-Merit badges that give them access to the magic shows. Still, some of them notice an odd inconsistency.

The new study shows that today’s global climate does not appear to have a significant impact on the body size of the recent turtles that were studied. Nor did the correlation with paleotemperatures indicate any significant effect on the size of the fossil animals, the study finds. According to the study, the turtles’ body size is determined by the animals’ ecology and habitat preferences, rather than by climatic factors.

Very interesting. Hmm.

“Our findings are very interesting, considering that body size in other animal groups—such as dinosaurs or crocodiles—is influenced by climatic factors, such as the temperature prevailing in the habitat. It underscores the turtles’ unique nature,” concludes Ferreira.

Drat. They can’t blame climate change this time. They dutifully jot down their notes without batting an eye. ‘Climate change affects dinosaurs and crocodiles, but not turtles. This is very interesting, the scientists say.’

More Magic Acts, Briefly Noted

Sandwich-stacked columns give brachiopod shells their strength and flexibility (eLife, 22 Aug 2023). Brachiopods are found in the Cambrian Explosion, when some 20 or more phyla burst onto the scene without ancestors. Instead of moaning about this falsification of Darwinism, the evolutionary biologists turn on their Darwin Flashlight as they fumble in the dark.

“Scientists have shed light on the evolution of pillar structures in the shells of a subtype of brachiopods, which may have helped them thrive during the Cambrian period.”

The NS Genie is an engineer, you see. He came up with a method of shell construction “resembling the columns and reinforced concrete often used in the construction of buildings.

The trilobites’ guide to surviving environmental change (UC Riverside, 7 Aug 2023). Trilobites also appear in the Cambrian Explosion. These fully-formed arthropods with jointed appendages, spectacular eyes, guts and brains and nervous systems knew how to deal with climate change. How? Evolution. Did you know that development evolves, too? That’s right. Development itself has evolved. But isn’t development one of the synonyms for NS? Yes. Evolution evolves.

Learning how this species adapted to both biological and physical pressures gives researchers a better understanding of how survival strategies evolve. The way trilobites developed holds clues to how the common ancestor to major groups of modern arthropods, including insects and arachnids, first evolved.

“One of the reasons to study these animals is to study how development itself has evolved,” Hughes said. “It’s not so much that the meek will inherit the Earth, but the flexible.”

Lesson: Don’t listen to Jesus. Darwin is your lord.

Gumby Darwin can bend to any shape. Get your action figure today!

If the flexible inherit the earth, it explains why Darwin survives all the falsifications thrown at him. His action figure is made out of Darwin Flubber, and shaped like Gumby.

See also my article on this theme at Evolution News.

 

 

 

 

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