Evolution 101- part 22: Half Way to Flatworm

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (Battle Cry: “Stop Asking Questions!”) http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

BOLD font is me, Rent A Friend 2000, being Bold.

Looking at complexity: Life is full of grand complications, such as aerodynamic wings, multi-part organs like eyes, and intricate chemical pathways. When faced with such complexity, both opponents and proponents of evolution, Darwin included, have asked the question: how could it evolve?

 frog bird etc
Complex adaptions: bird wings, insect wings, vertebrate eyes, and insect eyes.

Science does not sweep such difficult questions under the rug, but takes them up as interesting areas for research. The difficulty is as follows.

OK, I’ve got it! “Evolution did it!” Send that to everyone and let’s go to lunch. Oh, and let’s make fun of the creationists for claiming God did it.

Since many of these complex traits seem to be adaptive, they are likely to have evolved in small steps through natural selection. That is, intermediate forms of the adaptation must have evolved before evolution arrived at a fully-fledged wing, chemical pathway, or eye.

Note the use of the phrase “must have evolved” in the place of actual evidence. This is a statement of faith, not of science. Also, there are MANY examples of biological systems which are irreducibly complex- meaning we know through study and observation that they need multiple specific parts all at once for the system to work AT ALL. Like a machine, these systems, organs, organelles, chemical pathways, and protein machines could not have formed through small steps and gradual accumulations, but must have had all of their necessary parts immediately. They will gloss over this fact in the following section.

But what good is half a wing or only a few of the elements of an eyeball? The intermediate forms of these adaptations may not seem adaptive — so how could they be produced by natural selection? [Editor’s Note: Produced by Natural Selection? Keep this question in mind.]

There are several ways such complex novelties may evolve:

  • Advantageous intermediates: It’s possible that those intermediate stages actually were advantageous, even if not in an obvious way. What good is “half an eye?” A simple eye with just a few of the components of a complex eye could still sense light and dark, like eyespots on simple flatworms do. This ability might have been advantageous for an organism with no vision at all and could have evolved through natural selection.
flatwormA Planaria flatworm with its light-sensitive eyespots.

Michael Behe covers this well in his book, Darwin’s Black Box. While the arguments against this evolutionary cartoon are valid, a better argument is an examination of the irreducible complexity of light sensitive cells which turn light into sight (And the chemical cascades which do the job of making sight possible). These cells, like all cells, are very complex, but unless they are fully functional, they do the organism and themselves no good, and thus would be weeded out by natural selection. Building these cells one piece at a time is impossible, not merely unlikely, as they depend on multiple parts and processes to function at all.

And do I have to point out that, even after THEY explained that Natural Selection only selects from what is already in the population- meaning it takes AWAY genetic information- they again want to give credit to Natural Selection as being able to produce the ability to see? Remember when they said this back in Part 14? “Natural selection just selects among whatever variations exist in the population.” So, sure,  those flatworms which can see may survive better than those that can’t, but that doesn’t do anything to explain where the complex machinery of sight came from.

  • Co-opting: The intermediate stages of a complex feature might have served a different purpose than the fully-fledged adaptation serves. What good is “half a wing?” Even if it’s not good for flying, it might be good for something else. The evolution of the very first feathers might have had nothing to do with flight and everything to do with insulation or display. Natural selection is an excellent thief, taking features that evolved in one context and using them for new functions.hairy dino

Once again we are skipping the actual, observable complexity of real feathers for some dark streaks which we will declare to be feathers. First problem- fossils of modern birds have been found in rock layers older than this. Secondly, these dark fibers have also been found on fossils of an ichthyosaur- a dinosaur which is a lot like a dolphin. Either these dark lines are, as some have proposed, protein strands from the decay of the dead animal as it fossilized, or a fish like dinosaur was also growing feathers. And third, even if this is a lizard with feathers, so what? That no more proves it was evolving into a bird than the beak proves birds evolved from turtles or parrot fish. That leap is based, not on the evidence, but on the evolutionary bias used to color the interpretation of evidence or maybe an odd species.

One of the best reasons for this dino to bird theory is fossils like Archeoraptor being put forth by magazines like National Geographic. You need to see the facts behind this amazing fraud for yourself. Here’s a spoiler-  they were told MONTHS BEFORE they published on it. They had been shown (By a pro-evolutionary lab who examined the fossil) that archeoraptor was a fraud made of several different animals in several different kinds of rocks. Even so, National Geographic shrugged it off and published it as fact anyways, KNOWING it was a fruad. Watch the story here.

I love science, kids. I love Biology, and I love studying all kinds of living things. But I can tell you one thing from observation: If Natural Selection was anything to shout about, these kinds of science frauds would have gone extinct many years ago. Even the flatworm can see that I’m right.

Join me next week for part 23 (The Big Finish!).

Rentafriend2000@hotmail.com

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About rentafriend2000
Rocking my 40's with a heart full of love and muffins, science and technology. Jesus loves me and wants me to totally rock! And I am here to help.

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