What Does One Mean By Evolution?

Can you define evolution? Is it a mechanism, and if so, what is the mechanism? Is evolution a sequence? And if there is a disagreement on both to what extent do they represent the same idea? These are some of the questions brought up by Jonathan Bartlett in his thought-provoking article

“One of the keys to holding a reasoned position is to understand the varieties of views on a given subject. Only then are you even able to really understand your own position. When you engage deeply with a variety of positions, even if you disagree with them, it often expands your understanding of the entire issue considerably.

 “Another reason to become acquainted with a range of views is to prevent yourself from being bullied by a “consensus of opinion.”  Many times when a “consensus” is formed, it is done by heaping together a large swath of diverse opinions into a single position, or by creating a category so big it is meaningless. When those positions are then picked out and examined individually, it turns out that the “consensus” is nothing of the sort, but rather a ploy to make the argument seem more sound than it is.”

The explanations of evolution are very complex in such a way that it revolves around “stuff happens” which can be untestable or non-confirmed ideas or even just interpreting the idea into the data in one way or another. Most people know evolution by natural selection but does that also mean “materialism” or “biological self-organization” or “teleological selection” or what?

What do you mean by evolution? If evolution is a heritable variance in reproductive success which results in the adaptation of a population to its environment then why for example would bacteria which is the most adaptive species on the planet in the most simple to extreme environments would evolve into higher levels of species which do not have those amazing adaptive abilities?

Do you think of evolution of being just “Darwinism or atheism?” The term “Darwinism” has a variety of different meanings in the science literature which is it to you? Jonathan Bartlett makes an excellent point by encouraging creationists in particular and others to be familiar and hold an understanding of various viewpoints on the subject.

Natural Selection Being Questioned

In Darwinian evolution, natural selection is the holy grail for replacing an intelligent designer which becomes something that acts like it, but is really a mindless process with a purpose (fitness). There has been a growing divide within evolutionary establishment where molecular geneticist, Robert James Shapiro describes the distinction from those who believe and his friend (Wilkens) who reviews his book and reiterates it, “that selection has a ‘creative’ and crucial role in evolution and, on the other, there is a growing body of scientists (largely those who have come into evolution from molecular biology.”

Wilkens who is very concerned with such an idea as self-organization rather than natural selection even though it still a natural cause, states…

“The arguments from paleontological evidence for the importance of natural selection largely concern the observed long-term trends of morphological change, which are visible in many lineages. It is hard to imagine what else but natural selection could be responsible for such trends, unless one invokes supernatural or mystical forces such as the long-popular but ultimately discredited force of “orthogenesis.”

I am curious to know what scientists think who believe in self-organization that are being told if they don’t accept natural selection they would have to invoke a creator? This is circular reasoning. What has happened is, the criticism comes from an argument against creationists but this is not the issue because self-organization is believed to be a natural cause. Is it the fear and reason which he believes along with many others that self-organization will lead people to creationism or intelligent design? Is this science where one follows the evidence to where it leads rather than structuring it a certain way because of what people may think?

In Wilkens closing statement, he writes…

“My final disagreement with Jim [Shapiro]’s general argument concerns a truly fundamental point, however: the dismissal of natural selection as a shaping force in evolution. Thus, it is stated, at the very start of the book (top of p. 1): “Innovation, not selection, is the critical issue in evolutionary change. Without variation and novelty, selection has nothing to act upon.” While all evolutionists would agree whole-heartedly with the second sentence, most would reject the first. The matter of selection is then virtually ignored until the final section of the book. There we read, as one of nine bullet-points that summarize the core message: “The role of selection is to eliminate evolutionary novelties that prove to be non-functional and interfere with adaptive needs. Selection operates as a purifying but not creative force.”

Both premises either self-engineering or natural selection require “stuff happens” where the organism from non-living matter acquires amazing abilities that enable them to come up with engineering miracles to create life and sustain life on various complex levels. It is nothing more as Wilkens demonstrates in his rejection of self-organization that random formation of replicating RNA is based on ideology rather than science!  There has been no observation of a chemically or geologically plausible pathways to nucleotides or RNA strands.  The modern intelligent designed movement answer to why Darwinism can’t work is because it doesn’t have an intelligent agent which they say solves the information problem and would allow a pathway to go from non-living matter to living cells to man. That too is an ideology!

Nature was engineered and creatively designed by one mind namely God, not some unexplainable intelligent agent nor natural selection or self-organization!

Evolution Observed Using Intelligent Design?

Breaking news, various media outlets report that what was expected to occur within billions of years, happened in a lab in just 60 days without “mystical complexity or a lot of the things that people have hypothesized — special genes, a huge genome, very unnatural conditions,” said evolutionary biologist Michael Travisano of the University of Minnesota, co-author of a study that was published on Jan. 17, 2012.

Evolutionists believe multicellular life forms evolved from single-celled ones but are unable to explain how single cells could unlearn the selfishness that is required for survival and learn to work as a team.  Also a very important aspect that is used quite often to measure evolution is called fitness.  This is also  important to use in determining the value of this particular experiment.

The subject of the experiment was yeast. In Wired, the experiment went like this…

“Once per day they shook the flasks, removed yeast that most rapidly settled to the bottom, and used it to start new cultures. Free-floating yeast were left behind, while yeast that gathered in heavy, fast-falling clumps survived to reproduce.”

“Within just a few weeks, individual yeast cells still retained their singular identities, but clumped together easily. At the end of two months, the clumps were a permanent arrangement. Each strain had evolved to be truly multicellular, displaying all the tendencies associated with “higher” forms of life: a division of labor between specialized cells, juvenile and adult life stages, and multicellular offspring.”

The authors admitted that this was not “natural selection” at work,  “by selecting for yeast cells or clusters that settled most quickly.”  Their reasoning for the lab experiment was this was give them knowledge on how this could have worked in the distant past. They have the idea if they can perform it in the lab, nature could surely do it also. A problem with that is, this is how they would accomplished it in the lab but how do that know that this is how nature would accomplish the same task in the real world?

So during the experiment the scientists would select to keep only the large clusters that sank to the bottom, then select the best snowflake-formers to survive and reproduce.

Remember evolution is measured in terms of “fitness” so how fit were the artificially produced ones from the originals? Michael Behe comments on the research with this…

“… Examination showed that the fast-sedimenting cells formed clusters due to incomplete separation of replicating mother-daughter cells.

“The cell clusters also were 10% less fit (that’s quite an amount) than the beginning cells in the absence of the sedimentation selection. After further selection it was seen that some cells in clusters would “commit suicide” (apoptosis), which apparently made the clusters more brittle and allowed chunks to break off and form new clusters. (The beginning cells already had the ability to undergo apoptosis.)”

The experiment fails the fitness factor, the yeast became less fit than the originals. Also how could it be called evolution in general when the yeast could form snowflake clusters before any selected pressure was applied to them? In other words, no new ability, they were the same snowflake clusters producers throughout the process. No new information had evolved in the lab and when you take into account the failed measure of fitness, the breaking news was just all hype.

The Truly Amazing, and The Bizarre in Science

All living things ranging from animals to humans rely on the ATP ability to manufacture a “energy pellets” in order to survive. There have been some remarkable discoveries on how the  ATP synthase works. It continues to astound with truly amazing features.

A team of scientists in Germany have detected  the rotary engines of ATP synthase and other parts of the respiratory chain and created a diagram that resembles a factory. The design of the ATP is highly advanced with engines that are arranged in pairs, the F0 parts are observed to almost touching, their F1 parts separated, by angles ranging from 40° to 70° depending on the species. And quite interestingly, the authors of the paper mention that the ATP isconserved during evolution”.  Have they grasped a better understanding about how evolution works? No! Have they grasped a better understanding of its design and how it works? Yes!

Last week it was reported that scientists turned a chicken into an alligator, well not quite that profound but rather, “rewinding evolution: scientists alter chicken DNA to create embryo with ‘alligator-like’ snout.” Since mutation experiments have been falsifying evolution, evolutionary scientists are trying to advocate a more simple approach to the problem. Flip some switches, and new information is created or at least that is what is believed.

The scientists who altered the DNA in the chicken by inserting a protein gel into the eggs to that would restrict certain gene regulators actually created a deformity or another words a defect. There was no new information created in the genomes which would turn the chicken into an alligator. This research lacks any value for trying to understand evolution with malformations. Rather this is great research for studying birth defects and how to prevent them!

In another story, Jerry Coyne who is an American professor of biology and known for his public opposition of creationism and the modern intelligent design movement, recently, natural selection has been an interesting topic for him because of what he had written in various publications. The first being, “The Improbability Pump” where it says…

“In principle, natural selection is simple. It is neither a “law” nor a “mechanism.” It is, instead, a “process”–a process that is inevitable if two common conditions are met.”

Jerry says it simple, but is it? He writes about natural selection again in his book, “Why Evolution Is True” and on page three it says…

“In essence, the modern theory of evolution is easy to grasp. It can be summarized in a single (albeit slightly long) sentence: Life on Earth evolved gradually beginning with one primitive species—perhaps a self-replicating molecule—that lived more than 3.5 billion years ago; it then branched out over time, throwing off many new and diverse species; and the mechanism for most (but not all) of evolutionary change is natural selection.”

I ask again, simple Jerry? Are you really trying to tell us natural selection is that simple? So which is it? Is natural selection a mechanism or not or is it just a process or a combination of both and why? His writings on the subject are a bit confusing which is not surprising considering evolution is full of confusing stories that evolve over time due to falsifications. One wonders about the growing complexity in evolution, which perhaps has it gotten to the point where it is even confusing to those who are trying to tell the public it’s factual? Sure does looks that way!

On August 23, 2011, MSNBC reported that daddy-long-legs has remain relatively the same after the supposed assumed time frame of 300 million years. There are other species that have been quite amazing, not showing evolution. The fossil record is becoming less and less Darwinian as more studies are done with it. It is not as bizarre as calling certain animals, “living fossils” as though they came back from the dead and now are alive!

What was thought to be just a fossil from long ago is actually swimming pretty good in the water. A report by phys.org

“A new species of eel found in the gloom of an undersea cave is a “living fossil” astonishingly similar to the first eels that swam some 200 million years ago, biologists reported on Wednesday.”

Where is the evolution? Labeling it incorrectly as a “living fossil” like Charles Darwin, doesn’t explain evolution. When you take away all those millions of years that evolutionists believe in, and you discover that the resemblance of these creatures to their fossilize ancestors means they are not separated by millions of years through evolution but variants within in kind that was designed by God!