Defining Evolution Ch 4 Summary: Definition FAILURES

“Evolution is when things change, or Evolve, over time.”

This definition is actually in a textbook I own. But didn’t they just say that Evolution is when things Evolve? There’s not enough substance in that definition to cast a shadow! In Ch 4 the boys at Danny’s talk about the many different definitions for “Darwinian Evolution” which have been proposed by textbooks and web sites, and they will see why they fail.

In this video, your Rent-A-Friend will examine some popular definitions, and spend some time explaining why “a change in allele frequency” fails as a definition. First, he explains the concept:  Population Genetics explained with Rubber Ducks!

Read Thursday Night Nachos (Defining Evolution) Ch 4 HERE.

Defining Evolution Ch 3 Summary: Four Things Evolution HAS to be

Is Evolution just ANY kind of Change? Like, if you could take every worm on earth and toss them into a volcano, would THAT be evolution?

Welcome again to Thursday Night Nachos (Defining Evolution)! In this week’s chapter the boys use the Darwinian Tree of life to discover what KIND of changes are called for, and what Evolution is and is not. After all, a lot of things can happen to living things, whether they be individuals or populations or entire species. But not all of those things are Darwinian evolution. Not all of them will create new kinds of plants and animals and grow the Darwinian Tree of life. In order to make clear what Evolution isn’t, they also contrast it with Biblical Creation. Then they eat a huge pile of Nachos.

In this week’s video, your Rent-A-Friend (Bryan) explains the four things which Evolution HAS to be in order to BE Darwinian Evolution, and grow that Tree of Life, and contrasts it with a description of Biblical Creation.

Read Thursday Night Nachos (Defining Evolution) Ch 3 HERE.


Defining Evolution Ch 2 Summary: History According to Darwin

Where did we come from? How did we- and wolves and cabbages and everything else living on Earth today- come to be?

Welcome again to Thursday Night Nachos (Defining Evolution)! In Chapter 2, the guys down at Danny’s talk about the Darwinian Tree of Life, which is a map of the History of Life on Earth, as told by Charles “Chuck D” Darwin. By studying these pictures, one gets a good idea of what it is Evolution is intending to say happened. Even though you may have suffered through nearly two decades of public school, the facts may surprise you. The key idea is this: Not EVERY kind of change will cause the Tree to grow. Some changes are a metaphorical chainsaw.

In this week’s video, your Rent-A-Friend (Bryan) will explain the tree and help you differentiate between the kinds of changes which make the tree grow and the kinds that hack limbs off. I already know that some people will argue with me about this, but I shall stand my ground in saying that growing a tree and hacking it’s limbs off are NOT the same action.

Read Thursday Night Nachos (Defining Evolution) Ch 2 HERE.  

Defining Evolution Ch 1 Summary: DEFINE YOUR TERMS!

Ask yourself this: How can you argue about something if no one knows what that something is?!??

Welcome to the “Thursday Night Nachos (Defining Evolution)” Series! Part of the reason there is such debate about Evolution is because almost NO ONE knows what it is. In this series, we will examine the story Darwinian Evolution intends to tell, look at the things it has to accomplish to tell that story, and then see if any known mechanisms in nature accomplish those goals. (Spoiler Alert!) We will see, when all is said and done, that the many definitions given to Evolution are paper thin and meaningless, or simply false, calling for addition to be done by subtracting, or for new species to be done by counting the species which already exist. Don’t believe me? Read on, my friends!
Read Thursday Night Nachos (Defining Evolution) Ch 1 HERE.

In this week’s video, your Rent-A-Friend (Bryan) will introduce the series and explain the importance of defining your terms.

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!”)

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!).

Evolution 101- Part 21: Quick Death of the Diamond Squid

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (Last years 3rd place at the “Understanding Evolution Bowl”)

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

What would we observe in the fossil record if evolution happens in “quick” jumps (perhaps fewer than 100,000 years for significant change)?
If evolution happens in “quick” jumps, we’d expect to see big changes happen quickly in the fossil record, with little transition between ancestor and descendant.diamond squid 2

In the above example, we see the descendant preserved in a layer directly after the ancestor, showing a big change in a short time, with no transitional forms.

When evolution is rapid, transitional forms may not be preserved, even if fossils are laid down at regular intervals. We see many examples of this “quick” jumps pattern in the fossil record.

Or maybe you see quick jumps because you have found two different species and the transition never existed. A lack of transition is exactly what the biblical model would predict, because there would be no half cat /half dog, or half bird /half lizard. Each creature reproduces according to its KIND. But worse than the assumption of the evolutionary theory here is the gross misrepresentation of what is found in the rock layers. Paleontologists do not find fossils in neat layers like this. This layering of simple forms to more complex forms is created after the fact as illustrations like the one above. In the real rocks, there is no assortment of creatures. Clams and fish are found with T Rex and flamingos. Clams are found on the top of Mt Everest. Footprints are found in rocks supposedly older than the first tetrapod (4 legged creature) and birds are found in layers supposedly older than the first dinosaur to grow feathers and start evolving into a chicken. Modern human footprints are found in rock layers supposedly MILLIONS of years older than the first human. The geological column is pieced together by imagination based on the evolutionary bias. It does NOT exist.

Does a jump in the fossil record necessarily mean that evolution has happened in a “quick” jump?
We expect to see a jump in the fossil record if evolution has occurred as a “quick” jump, but a jump in the fossil record can also be explained by irregular fossil preservation.

 diamond squid 3

This possibility can make it difficult to conclude that evolution has happened rapidly.

Does anyone else hear the laundry list of excuses? Where else does a scientific model get this much legal defense and yet still make so many excuses? When I teach gravity, I don’t have a lot of “What should we think it we let go of a brick and it fails to fall” lessons. What they essentially have said is, “No matter what the observed data, evolution has happened.” When I say this is faith and not science, this is a fine example of what I am talking about.

We observe examples of both slow, steady change and rapid, periodic change in the fossil record. Both happen.

So evolution happens so slowly that we can’t observe it, and it happens so fast that it doesn’t have time to leave the expected transitional forms. Yes, sometimes we find a variety in the fossil record which is no longer around today, but that doesn’t make it a transition between any two KNDS, only two varieties of the SAME kind. Sometimes- in fact, very often- we just find fossils of things that are still around, like bats, turtles, platypuses, cats, dogs, snakes, fish, clams, birds, etc. Many of which have not evolved AT ALL even on their view, and many of which wind up found in rock layers which- on the evolutionary view- were laid down BEFORE that species own ancestors was supposed to have evolved. This is when a fossil becomes “Controversial.”

But scientists are trying to determine which pace is more typical of evolution and how each sort of evolutionary change happens.

I’m skipping the part that follows, because it’s not really anything new except that it applies some concepts to ancient silverfish instead of modern fruit flies. You can read about fruit flies HERE in Part 16.

This next part is always fun to watch them dance around:

a. Explosion: About 530 million years ago, a huge variety of marine animals suddenly burst onto the evolutionary scene. (Of course, “suddenly,” in geological terms, means in perhaps 10 million years).

Let me illuminate this: For billions of years (on their view) the earth had nothing but single celled bacteria. All of a sudden, they not only accidentally mutated enough information to create multi-cellular life forms, but ALL of the still existing Phyla. Suddenly means, there are no fossils to fill in as transitions before these guys all show up at the same time, almost as if they were created as these separate phyla, as we have found nothing which could be transitional between them.  Also, they managed to evolve into phyla which were ALL so successful that they are still ALL around today. Talk about beginner’s luck! If you can’t see how this explosion completely fails to sit the evolutionary story, yet totally fits the creation account, then I haven’t done my job. Or maybe you aren’t paying attention. Why should I take all the flack around here?

These animals had a variety of new body forms that evolution has been using to produce “spin-offs” ever since, such as these representatives from the Burgess Shale.fossils and friends

b. Extinction: About 225 million years ago, over 90% of the species alive at the time went extinct in fewer than 10 million years.

Yes, they couldn’t swim. They went extinct in 150 days, which, the authors correctly identify here as ‘fewer than 10 million years.’ Although they shouldn’t have rounded 4400BC up to the nearest 225 Million years. That skews the data a little.

Some groups that were dominant before the extinction never recovered. The cause of this extinction is the subject of much debate, but of equal significance is that it set the stage for a massive diversification of taxa that filled the empty niches.

Why the debate? Because despite the many lines of observable evidence and scientific reasoning that tell us that the many rock layers were laid down by water, rapidly (Like the huge deposits of sandstone, chalks, and conglomerates) and that the fossils are mainly resulting from major water related catastrophe (Like entire herds of dinosaurs who drowned as they were buried, and the MANY fossils of birds, dinosaurs and marine animals in the ‘death pose’ indicating they died fighting for air) and that the fossils were formed rapidly (such as fossil jellyfish) the evolutionists will not tolerate any explanations which give credence to the biblical account of creation or the flood. Otherwise, it would be fairly obvious that the only explanation which makes sense is a global flood.

When Charles Lyell invented (Not discovered or calculated) the ancient, deep time version of earth history and a geology to go with it, he did it with the expressed intent of replacing the history of the world as written in the Bible. Darwin based part of his theory on Lyell’s work, and then Lyell used Darwin’s work to support his own. Anti-creationists have been fighting tooth and claw to hang onto both ever since, despite the weak and often missing evidence for either. millions of years graph

I’d just like to remind you, as you look at the chart above, of the large and growing collection of creatures which get grouped under the category of “Living Fossil,” meaning they were THOUGHT to have gone extinct, but did not. That’s all. Just a reminder. Enjoy your chart of mass extinctions.

Also, for more on the topics above, check out these great episodes of Genesis Week, staring robotics engineer and certified genius, Ian Juby:
The Geologic Column
Fossil Record
Flood of Noah and more on the Flood of Noah

Join me next week for part 22.

Evolution 101- Part 18: Gopher Love and the Ice Cream Sandwhich

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (Now with the real flavor of Dolphin Safe Tuna!)

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

Cospeciation: If the association between two species is very close, they may speciate in parallel. This is called cospeciation. It is especially likely to happen between parasites and their hosts.

Ew. Gross. Look away kids!

To see how it works, imagine a species of louse living on a species of gopher.

Can I point out the word “imagine”? Remember that later.And can I point out how awkward it is to tell someone to imagine a blood sucking insect on gopher? I mean, considering all of the things your brain COULD be doing right now, this seems like it ought to be low on your priority list. But here we go:

When the gophers get together to mate, the lice get an opportunity to switch gophers and perhaps mate with lice on another gopher. Gopher-switching allows genes to flow through the louse species.muskrat love

Try go get some Berry White to listen to during this section. It makes it all the more meaningful.

Consider what happens to the lice if the gopher lineage splits into lineages A and B:

  1. Lice have few opportunities for gopher-switching, and lice on gopher lineage A don’t mate with lice living on gopher lineage B.
  2. This “geographic” isolation of the louse lineages may cause them to become reproductively isolated as well, and hence, separate species.muskrat love tree1

Evolutionary biologists can often tell when lineages have cospeciated because the parasite phylogeny will “mirror” the host phylogeny.

 muskrat love brackets
Observing parallel host and parasite phylogenies is evidence of cospeciation..

This example is somewhat idealized — rarely do scientists find hosts and parasites with exactly matching phylogenies. However, sometimes the phylogenies indicate that cospeciation did happen along with some host-switching.

OK, remember the word “Imagine” earlier? That’s what this paragraph just admitted to. This hypothetical situation hasn’t been observed, but if you begin with an evolutionary bias, then SOME things we observe sort of hint at this having happened in the past.This web site the Berkly kids have put together is founded on the faith that Evolution is FACT, that is REALLY HAPPENED, and is supposed to show us how Evolution has been SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN. Yet, how many of their examples of the FACTS that support evolution are hypothetical, rare to non-existent, or require a lot of assumptions about what the observed data MIGHT mean? Are you noticing that you don’t need to wait for me to call their FACTS into question? These guys are already doing most of that for me, and that’s on the examples they feel pretty good about. They’ve got a bunch more they GLOSS right over.


Like the speciation discussed previously, I can see how this kind of thing can occur, at least in theory, but even if we find a hundred examples in the field (Which, by their admission, we have not) THIS IS NOT EVOLUTION! Variations within a kind are not evolution UNLESS they are the result of an increase of new genetic information. Replace gopher with island and parasite with finch and this is the same event as before- a species with a wide range of genetic information for certain traits is put in a situation where some of those genes are beneficial and thus a certain phenotype does better than others.

NO new information has been formed, and the only possible outcomes are 1. Information stays the same but not all of it is expressed, or 2. Some genes are lost because their expression does not help survival and thus those who carry those genes don’t live to pass them on. Once again, this can NEVER, even in 4.5 billion years, result in the kind of changes that turn bacteria into wolves and cabbages. All this will do is turn gophers into gophers, lice into lice, owls into owls, and finches into finches. There is no justification for calling it evolution because- and stop me if I am going too fast- NOTHING IS EVOLVING.

Macroevolution encompasses the grandest trends and transformations in evolution, such as the origin of mammals and the radiation of flowering plants. Macroevolutionary patterns are generally what we see when we look at the large-scale history of life.

Which is (allegedly) in the distant past and therefore is unobservable, and thus is not science but faith.

It is not necessarily easy to “see” macroevolutionary history; there are no firsthand accounts to be read.

Which is basically what I just said. It not only isn’t observable now, it was never observed. I actually HAVE a firsthand account of how all living things came to be. It’s called Genesis chapter one. If you’ve been following so far, all of the evidence which the Understanding Evolution Team has put up in support of evolution has actually done a better job of supporting the Genesis account. I don’t think they intended it to be that way, but observed facts and logic are stubborn that way. They don’t always dance to the tune you play them. 

Instead, we reconstruct the history of life using all available evidence: geology, fossils, and living organisms.

Once we’ve figured out what evolutionary events have taken place, we try to figure out how they happened.

Just like in every other section of this site, they never stop to ask IF evolution has happened, but expect you to start with that bias in your head before you even look at the evidence.They don’t even try to say, “Here is the data, what reasonable conclusions can be drawn from it?” Instead, they seem to say, “Because we know Evolution happened, what does the data tell us about HOW or WHEN it happened?” Somebody tell me the definition of “blind faith in a religious dogma” again? Because I suspect it’s different than the definition for “Observational science.”

And if you think I am reading too much into their position, just wait. In a later section they will actually say that NO ONE is asking IF evolution happened, only how and when. I don’t make this stuff up you know. And when you don’t believe me, it hurts my feelings.

Just as in microevolution, basic evolutionary mechanisms like mutation, migration, genetic drift, and natural selection are at work and can help explain many large-scale patterns in the history of life.

Just as in microevolution, no. No they can’t. What little worked for them in micro evolution fails horribly here in the macro. That there are events and situations which can change a finch into a finch does nothing to support the entertaining fairy tale that a bacteria can change into a wolf.

The basic evolutionary mechanisms — mutation, migration, genetic drift, and natural selection — can produce major evolutionary change if given enough time.


A process like mutation might seem too small-scale to influence a pattern as amazing as the beetle radiation, or as large as the difference between dogs and pine trees, but it’s not. Life on Earth has been accumulating mutations and passing them through the filter of natural selection for 3.8 billion years — more than enough time for evolutionary processes to produce its grand history.

This is the miracle which this whole sad story is clinging to- the impossible becoming actual because of the vast amounts of time they propose we’ve had for it to happen. This is why evolution is SO DESPERATE to defend deep time. Deep time is the last chance for this weak sauce theory, but if you’ve been reading up till now you should know that NO amount of time will be enough because none of the proposed mechanisms CAN produce the changes they claim it does.

The impossible does not become actual because of deep time. You cannot spend your way out of debt no matter how long you spend. Organisms losing genetic information will NEVER gain information by losing it, no matter how many millions of years they do it. And when you consider the VAST amount of new genetic information it takes to turn a bacteria into a multi cellular life, and then into a sexually reproducing one, and then a warm blooded placental one, and then a hairy canine one- each of those changes with constant mutations for a billion years each would never happen. You cannot transverse the impossible with enough time. You simply fail for billions of years.

DNA is information, and information ONLY comes from an intelligent will acting to communicate according to a code system. This does not change due to billions of years. Natural Selection only REMOVES genetic variety. This will not result in a gain of information even in billions of years. Over and over deep time fails to save the day, and the sad thing is, the main reason for believing in deep time is a preexisting belief in evolution. This is why evolution has been the cancer eating away at science in the western world. It is the religion which trumps all logic, reason, evidence, and observation.

Case in point: Chemistry tells us that proteins CANNOT last longer than a few tens of thousands of years. After 50,000 years, even in the most ideal conditions, ANY protein will have fallen apart. Present day bio-chemistry tells us this based on experimentation, field discoveries, and observations. Then, Mary Schwitzer found blood vessels and blood cells in a T Rex bone (The first of many recent dinosaur bones with proteins and cells in them). Richard Dawkins has an article on his web site entitled, “Tyrannosaurus rex protein proves dinosaurs evolved into birds.” Did ANYONE question the age of the dinosaurs or the evolutionary time line? Nope. Everyone just decided it is REMARKABLE how protein structures managed to last so much longer than we previously thought they could.

Let me do the math for you: Proteins cannot last longer than 50,000 years. Thus no intact protein structure can be older than 50,000 years- in fact no INTACT protein structure could be THAT old. The T Rex is said by evolutionary time to be 60 million years old. This is a factor of 1200:1.

Get out a nickel and look at how thick it is. It takes about 12 nickles stacked up to make an inch. Now imagine that the thickness of that ONE nickle is the amount of time it takes any once living tissue to turn to dust. That’s under the most ideal conditions. Would you like to question our present day observational science? No problem. Double the time it takes proteins to break down. Now double that. Now Triple that. Supposing biochemistry is wrong by a factor of TWELVE, we can now get proteins- the once living tissues- to last for a FULL INCH. This is 600,000 years- 100,000 times longer than ANY Egyptian Mummy is alleged to be. So, where are those dinosaurs supposed to have lived? More than EIGHT FEET AWAY. Get out a tape measure and just look at it. 

If you want to look at the facts and then ask what they tell us, here’s one. We have INTACT dinosaur tissue- skin, bone, blood and veins. When- according to the existence of that issue- did those dinosaurs live?

Observation tells us an ice cream sandwich in the Sahara desert will only last for one minute. You drop your ice cream sandwich in the desert sands of Africa, under the summer sun, and in 60 seconds it is nothing but a memory.  Now imagine I find a lunch box in the Sahara sands which I claim has been laying out in the sun for 20 hours (Yeah, it’s a long day. It’s just a metaphor, work with me).  When you open the lunch box you see an ice cream sandwich, still mostly intact. Do you marvel at how our understanding of ice cream has been inaccurate? Or do you suggest that this lunch box has NOT been out in the sun for nearly a full day? Apparently, if you’re a Darwinist, you declare that everything we know about ice cream is about to be rewritten. Then you get interviewed by major news channels and magazines, all of which, I may add, feel the need to keep their ice cream in the freezer.

Join me next week for part 19.

Evolution 101- Part 17: Ring Around the Species (or, How to Turn Owls into Owls)

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (Free Toy Inside!)

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

A plausible model
We have several plausible models of how speciation occurs — but of course, it’s hard for us to get an eye-witness account of a natural speciation event since most of these events happened in the distant past.

Just to reiterate: Science requires observation. These guys just admitted that this part of the story CAN’T be observed, as it happened in the distant past. Oh, you’re saying, but they said “MOST of these events happened in the distant past.” Doesn’t that mean SOME are happening today? Just go back to Part 16 and read about Iguana Island to see the observational evidence from recent times and I’ll let you decide how “Plausible” it is.

We can figure out that speciation events happened and often when they happened, but it’s more difficult to figure out how they happened.

Once again I am having trouble not being sarcastic. Let me just summarize their first two main points: We can’t observe speciation, and we don’t know how it happens. But we KNOW it happens and when. We just can’t say WHAT happens when it happens because we’ve never watched it happen. See? Even that sounds sarcastic. Try this sometime, folks. It’s not as easy as it looks.

However, we can use our models of speciation to make predictions and then check these predictions against our observations of the natural world and the outcomes of experiments.

Wait, check these predictions against WHAT observations? Just a few lines up they admitted that they COULD NOT observe much because it all happened in the distant past. Now they have enough going on to verify predictions? Am I still reading the same web site?

As an example, we’ll examine some evidence relevant to the allopatric speciation model.

Allopatric, according to Wikipedia, means geographic speciation… speciation that occurs when biological populations of the same species become… isolated from each other to an extent that prevents or interferes with genetic interchange.

Scientists have found a lot of evidence that is consistent with allopatric speciation being a common way that new species form:

  • Geographic patterns: If allopatric speciation happens, we’d predict that populations of the same species in different geographic locations would be genetically different. There are abundant observations suggesting that this is often true. For example, many species exhibit regional “varieties” that are slightly different genetically and in appearance, as in the case of the Northern Spotted Owl and the Mexican Spotted Owl. Also, ring species are convincing examples of how genetic differences may arise through reduced gene flow and geographic distance.

Anybody else notice that they failed to tell you what Ring Species are? If they are convincing examples, why are we told NOTHING about them? This doesn’t disprove evolution of course, I’m just starting to notice more and more how sloppy the authors of this web site are. Come on Understanding Evolution Team! Get on the ball!

 owl city
Spotted owl subspecies living in different geographic locations show some genetic and morphological differences. This observation is consistent with the idea that new species form through geographic isolation.

I think Hobbits are a Ring Species. Think about it.

  • Experimental results: The first steps of speciation have been produced in several laboratory experiments involving “geographic” isolation. For example, Diane Dodd examined the effects of geographic isolation and selection on fruit flies. She took fruit flies from a single population and divided them into separate populations living in different cages to simulate geographic isolation. Half of the populations lived on maltose-based food, and the other populations lived on starch-based foods. After many generations, the flies were tested to see which flies they preferred to mate with. Dodd found that some reproductive isolation had occurred as a result of the geographic isolation and selection for different food sources in the two environments: “maltose flies” preferred other “maltose flies,” and “starch flies” preferred other “starch flies.” Although, we can’t be sure, these preference differences probably [Editor’s note: “Probably”] existed because selection for using different food sources also affected certain genes involved in reproductive behavior. This is the sort of result we’d expect, if allopatric speciation were a typical mode of speciation.

Once again, I have no problem with this in theory. I don’t doubt that within each kind we have lots of different varieties popping up, like the cat kind producing lions and tigers and panthers and cheetahs, and all varieties being adapted to their environment due to what we could call Natural Selection. On this we have no disagreement. What we don’t have is a solid definition of species. And as the paragraph above admits, the researchers can’t say WHY a group of flies prefers a similar group. Maybe they just like the smell of those who live on the same food. This is why I swore off Taco Bell many years ago.  

The weak examples this site is giving makes me want to send them to the library, or at least Wikipedia. Also, as the point of this site is to explain the evidence for evolution. In the owl example above, or the fly example, we have no case to think the populations gained any new genetic information. Two kids of spotted owl may well have come from a single original kind of spotted owl, but you can get more than 2 million five card hands from a deck of 52. What does it prove? Just like every other example, nothing.You can shuffle, show off, and lose lots of cards without accounting for the creation of a single one, let alone the whole deck. To explain even ONE card, you need a designer.

The most likely explanation, based on all observable data is that these two owl populations, if they started as the same species, lost some information which has caused them to be identifiably different, like the dog varieties, or they are merely expressing specific parts of their genes due to environmental factors like the Galapagos finches. Neither option will turn bacteria into wolves or cabbages, and that, I would like to remind you (And the authors responsible for this web site) is the point of evolution.  A process which turns owls into owls but cannot turn bacteria into cabbages and wolves is NOT evolution. Its just shuffling the cards that were already in the deck.

Why this is so funny to me is because I hear atheists ALL of the time saying “Evolution has proven that there is no God.” In light of this section’s scientific proof, the argument goes like this. “Because owls turn into owls, there is no God.” If Socrates was still with us, I’ll bet he’d have a few follow up questions to that declaration.

The creation story in the Bible says that God made all the kinds, and we would expect that he would make them full of genetic variability so there can be many different varieties resulting through time. A few chapters later Noah takes two of every KIND (not variety) onto the ark, and post-flood those kinds reproduce and spread around the world. This is why we have the great varieties we do with far fewer kinds. As the genes are selected or lost, new varieties arise and display more of the tremendous information possessed in the original kinds, but each variation lacking some information which the earlier generations had. This is why the poodle, while physically distinct from the other dogs (And yet the same species), is also a horrible collection of harmful mutations when compared to the genome of the wolves or even mutts we have today. The observed facts fit the creation model. They do NOT support evolution, and calling this kind of dissemination of existing genes “Evolution” is simply false, as it would be to Play Black Jack and then claim the dealer invented the ace of spades by dealing.

Join me next week for part 18.

Evolution 101- part 16: The Mystery of Iguana Island

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (with special guest star Charlie Sheen!)

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

Defining microevolution: Microevolution is evolution on a small scale — within a single population. That means narrowing our focus to one branch of the tree of life.

I think you’ll find it means further applying the term “Evolution” in a place it doesn’t belong. Here’s a metaphor: Getting rich is merely the result of differentiating your financial income. Remember when your boss cut your Christmas bonus in half? That was an observable difference in your financial income. It’s proof that you are getting rich!

And now, on with the show: Read more of this post

Evolution 101- part 15: Co-Evolution and Fish Repair

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (with a low tonight of Evolution 92, and tomorrow a high of Evolution 105 with gusts of Empiricism out of the east)

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

Coevolution: The term coevolution is used to describe cases where two (or more) species reciprocally affect each other’s evolution. So for example, an evolutionary change in the morphology of a plant, might affect the morphology of an herbivore that eats the plant, which in turn might affect the evolution of the plant, which might affect the evolution of the herbivore…and so on.

This would make sense if there was any reason to believe evolution was happening in the first place. So far we have seen none, so providing a scenario where competition or mutual benefit might provide ever changing conditions for natural selection to act in becomes a mental exercise, but still completely unrealistic. For this to matter to the over all scheme of evolution, they need a mechanism by which information is ADDED to the genomes of both species, making it at least twice as unlikely to happen by mutation and other previously discussed mechanisms. If you tear pages out of Green Eggs and Ham AND Peter Rabbit, you will not end up with Lord of the Rings AND The Hobbit. You need some method of adding HUGE amounts of information which, in this case, now relates to the information being added to another volume. Read more of this post

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