January 29, 2024 | David F. Coppedge

How to Debunk Darwinian Bunk

These scientists don’t even
understand their own
theory.
They personify evolution!

 

Either through carelessness or ignorance, some scientists and science writers discuss evolution in fallacious ways. The practice constitutes public misinformation by anyone’s definition. But if writers were consistent with Darwinian theory—avoiding metaphors and personification fallacies, and not begging the question—would the public swallow their stories?

Principles of Darwinian Evolution

Let’s start with some principles of evolutionary theory. According to Darwinism,

  • Stuff happens without purpose, guidance or plan. No intelligent agent directs evolution.*
  • Stuff happens by mistake. Mutations or any other variations have no foresight.
  • Mutations are almost all deleterious. Only rare “beneficial” mutations count in Darwinism.
  • Mutations cannot cooperate, being blind and unguided. Any favorable collusion happens by chance alone.
  • “Selection” is impersonal. There is no selecting agent. The environment has no power to choose how an organism will fare.
  • Selection is not an action, but a result. If something works (adapts) for the organism, “selection” is said to have occurred.
  • Nobody knows the target of selection (see 7 Nov 2020).
  • There is no standard rate of evolution. It can be almost instantaneous, moderate, extremely slow.
  • Stasis (lack of change) is not evolution; it is the opposite of evolution.
  • Only positive selection counts in macroevolutionary explanations (see 22 Sept 2019).
  • If fitness is equated to survival, it is a tautology: it has no meaning.
  • Fitness is not like “physical fitness” where someone trains to improve. It can be anything, even loss of traits.
  • Selection is not directional. It can continue previous changes or reverse them.
  • No organism “evolves to” do something. Evolution acts on organisms, not because of them.
  • To distinguish itself from young-earth creationism, Darwinism must explain macroevolution, not microevolution. The former involves increases in genetic information. The latter constitutes mere horizontal variability or phenotypic plasticity, which is built into the organism’s genome.

*There are theistic evolutionists, but they get no respect in Big Science and Big Media. Most theistic evolutionists treat evolution as unguided anyway, disdaining any “intervention” by God in the mechanistic process of natural selection.

Principles for Scientific Explanations

Let’s also establish some general principles for scientific explanations.

  • Assuming one’s theory is an invalid explanation for a phenomenon (begging the question).
  • Composite explanations are to be avoided in science, unless their contributions are measurable.
  • Subjectivity is a bad word in scientific explanation. Scientists want objectivity.
  • Correlation is not causation. If similarities exist, it does not prove they are related (e.g., evolved by common ancestry).
  • Offering “suggestions” of what a theory “might” explain does not rise to the level of explanation, but should be judged as speculative anecdote.
  • Science seeks to quantify (measure) causes and thereby make predictions.**
  • Chance explanations are not scientific explanations.
  • If a causal theory explain can opposite outcomes, it explains nothing.

**Note: “Selective pressure” has no units or scale. The dN/dS ratio is not linked to adaptation (see 5 Sept 2008, 22 May 2020).

Now, watch writers violate these principles of Darwinism, the all-encompassing theory that is supposed to explain everything in biology, from bacteria to brains, from molecules to man, and from fish to Gish.

Why animals shrink explained with new evolution theory (University of Reading, 18 Jan 2024). Readers eagerly await the promised explanation. These Darwinians even bring “rules” (like scientific laws) to bear. “The mystery behind why Alaskan horses, cryptodiran turtles and island lizards shrunk over time may have been solved in a new study.” The evolutionists reduced the evolution of animal sizes to two principles: “the intensity of direct competition for resources between species, and the risk of extinction from the environment.”

But their explanations are disqualified. The fallacies here include:

  • Using the same theory to explain opposite outcomes (growth and shrinkage).
  • Invoking composite causality without metrics.
  • Using a subjective force called “evolutionary pressure” to explain opposite outcomes.
  • Failing to consider exceptions to their subjective rules.

c. Brett Miller. Used by permission.

Debunking Examples

Microbes that gave rise to all plants and animals became multicellular 1.6 billion years ago, tiny fossils reveal (Science, 24 Jan 2024). This article expresses surprise that “eukaryotes— which features compartmentalized cells and includes everything from redwoods to jellies to people—became multicellular some 600 million years earlier than scientists once generally thought.” If you look at the references to evolution in this article, they are all by “evolutionary biologists” who merely assume that everything “evolved”—the classic error of begging the question. Example:

Prokaryotes evolved first, up to 3.9 billion years ago; within a few hundred million years, some of them, the cyanobacteria, began to form chains of cells, considered an advance in life’s complexity. About 2 billion years ago, much larger, single-cell eukaryotes bearing nuclei showed up. For decades, researchers thought eukaryotes didn’t form simple multicellular structures until 1 billion years after they arose, and that once chain structures evolved, more elaborate body plans—animals with organs—appeared soon after.

Notice all the euphemisms for evolution: complex organisms formed. They showed up. They arose. They appeared. This is magical thinking. If one took all these assumptions of evolution out of the article, it would have nothing to say scientifically.

A Window into Plant Evolution: The Unusual Genetic Journey of Lycophytes (BTI, 18 Jan 2024). Lycophytes are vascular plants that include ferns. Did they evolve? Did evolutionary biologists look into a “window into plant evolution” and see them evolve? If so, they were looking into a crystal ball and performing divination, not science. And like most oracles, the spirit speaking to them in the crystal ball spoke in cryptic messages.

“That homosporous lycophytes have retained so many duplicate genes and so much synteny is fascinating, a little bit surprising, and doesn’t necessarily fit with our traditional ideas of how genomes reorganize themselves after a large-scale duplication,” notes Wickell. “While it’s still unclear precisely what is driving this difference, we believe that further study of homosporous plants has the potential to provide novel insights into plant genetics and evolution across all land plants.”

Divination is habit-forming. It draws the practitioner further in—never satisfying, always seeking. Thus, “further study” (more divination) will be required.

Study on Lamprey Embryos Sheds Light on the Evolutionary Origin of Vertebrate Head (University of Fukui, 10 Jan 2024). One cannot lay a lamprey, a fish and a human side by side and explain that one evolved into the other without assuming the conclusion in the premise. This is similar to how Soviets explained every event in history through the lens of a class struggle (economic determinism). Even when events didn’t fit that narrative, Soviet propagandists distorted the explanation to fit the anomaly. That’s what is happening here with Darwinism. Try reading this excerpt without the assumption of evolution like you would read Soviet propaganda without the assumption of class struggle.

Moreover, the experiments provide evidence that the vertebrate head mesoderm diverged during the early phases of vertebrate evolution. Furthermore, comparison of embryos of hemichordates (a basal deuterostome), amphioxus (a basal chordate), and vertebrates revealed that the somites likely arose from the “endomesoderm” tissue of an ancient deuterostome ancestor. The evolutionary origin of somites has been the central question in zoology for more than 150 years, and in this study, Onai et al., revealed the enigma. Regarding the evolutionary mechanism for the emergence of head mesoderm, they found that the head mesoderm emerged upon the segregation of mesodermal genes between the front and back parts (rostro-caudal axis) of organisms.

“Taken together, our findings revealed a different evolutionary origin for the vertebrate head mesoderm, suggesting that it evolved from the repatterning of an ancient mesoderm and diversified even before the emergence of jawed vertebrates,” concludes Dr. Onai.

The magical thinking stands out clear when you learn how to recognize it. These evolutionary biologists then commit the fallacy of extrapolation to say that it explains where we came from!

In summary, the finding that the cell clusters present in the head mesoderm are distinct morphologically and molecularly from somites, favors a new model where the vertebrate head mesoderm diverged during early evolution. This sheds more light on the age-old debate on the evolution of the vertebrate head and can help us advance the understanding of our own origins.

Use it or lose it: How seagrasses conquered the sea (Geomar, 26 Jan 2024). If you expect to see class struggle—and if that’s the only explanation as a Soviet propagandist you are allowed to consider—you will find class struggle. If you set your mind’s eye on evolution, to take a “deep evolutionary look,” what will you find? Evolution!

See how these biologists announced their evolutionary focus, and were willing to accept dozens of miracles to preserve it. Pay attention to the synonyms they use for Darwinian evolution: “came about” or “arose” or “adapted”.

To begin, the research consortium took a deep evolutionary look at the structure of the genomes themselves, followed by a comparative analysis of their more than 20,000 genes and relevant pathways that have evolved into the specific marine adaptations. Next, the 23 collaborating research teams each focused on different complementary structural or functional gene sets including their physiological functions. A key question was whether genomic adaptations came about in parallel, or whether they arose independently and maybe even involved different gene sets.

Evolution was the only explanation in their toolkit. And so they found evolution: stuff “came about” and “arose” by evolution, no matter how many miracles were required for Darwin’s Blind Selector to perform.

Professor Dr. Olsen points out: “Seagrasses underwent an extremely rare set of adaptations. Whereas re-adaptation to freshwater environments has occurred more than 200 times in flowering plant evolutionary history – involving hundreds of lineages and thousands of species – seagrasses evolved from their freshwater ancestors only three times – involving 84 species.

To maintain the Darwinian narrative, the authors brought in auxiliary hypotheses involving jumping genes, whole-genome duplications, and convergence. Auxiliary hypothesis are often brought in as rescue devices when a theory runs into trouble. These auxiliary hypotheses here are rescue devices for Darwin’s Stuff Happens Law. , e.g., “The results also showed that ‘jumping genes’ – transposable elements – played a major role in creating new genetic variation for selection to act upon.” This sentence personifies the blind, uncaring, impersonal process of natural selection, making it sound goal-directed. Another: “The team also found several adaptations to be the result of convergence.” Correction: convergence was called upon to rescue the evolutionary explanation.

By making observations with Darwin-colored glasses on, they could only see everything as somehow the result of mutation and selection.

Exam Time

Complex green organisms emerged a billion years ago (University of Göttingen, 22 Jan 2024). Now that you have seen how to debunk evolutionary bunk, try your hand at this press release. Here are the relevant quotes:

[1] Of all the organisms that photosynthesize, land plants have the most complex bodies. How did this morphology emerge? A team of scientists led by the University of Göttingen has taken a deep dive into the evolutionary history of morphological complexity in streptophytes, which include land plants and many green algae. Their research allowed them to go back in time to investigate lineages that emerged long before land plants existed.

[2] While delving into the complex evolutionary history of Klebsormidiophyceae, the researchers faced challenges in resolving phylogenetic relationships using traditional markers. To overcome this, they employed hundreds of genes obtained from the transcriptomes of 24 isolates from different continents and habitats. “Our approach, known as phylogenomics, was to reconstruct the evolutionary history taking into account whole genomes or large fractions of genomes,” explains Dr Iker Irisarri, Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change. “This extremely powerful method can reconstruct evolutionary relationships with very high precision.” ….

[3] These results were used to explore the evolutionary history of multicellularity within streptophytes. The study showed that an ancient common ancestor of land plants, other streptophyte algae, and Klebsormidiophyceae was already multicellular. Professor Jan de Vries, Göttingen University’s Institute for Microbiology and Genetics, concludes: “This finding sheds light on the genetic potential for multicellularity among streptophytes, indicating an ancient origin for this crucial trait almost a billion years ago.

So does this explain where giant redwoods, magnolias and roses came from? Go back to the principles at the top of this article for assistance in debunking these claims of Darwinian evolution for complex land plants.

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