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!

Poetry Discovered In A Bacterial Genome

Can scientists detect intelligently-designed complexity in nature? It’s an interesting question that came to mind with this latest discovery. Poetry has been detected for the first time in nature although it’s known that this was done intentionally in a lab. The BBC reports on this work…

“Poet Christian Bok has encoded his verse into a strip of DNA and had it inserted into a common bacterium, E.coli. DNA is at the heart of every cell. It is a string of molecules called nucleotides which come in four types – adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C) and thymine (T).

This genetic sequence is used as an instruction manual for cellular operations. Individual commands are contained in shorter chunks of the DNA called genes. Dr Bok used cryptography to embed his poem into the genetics of the bacterium, devising a chemical alphabet in which each letter is represented by a specific triplet of nucleotides. So, for example, the nucleotide sequence “ATA” codes for the letter “y” and GTG stands for the letter “n”. It took him four years just to work out the code.”

Natural section was brought up in the article as claiming it would remove the poem because there was no benefit. Since natural section is being missed used and often times has a variety of meanings for example, Hodge, M. J. S. 1992. Natural Selection: Historical Perspectives. Keywords in Evolutionary Biology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 218 which was quoted in ICR states the following… “A quite general issue has still received no canonical treatment: what kind of a thing is natural selection anyway? A law, a principle, a force, a cause, an agent, or all or some of these things? The view that natural selection is a law has been countered by the view that it is a principle, while that conclusion has been countered in turn by an insistence that it is neither.”

The fact of the matter is it’s possible for scientists to intentionally insert messages into the genetic code which therefore should alert everyone to the idea that creationism or intelligent design is a scientific theory! As a matter of fact, it’s possible for an unbiased observer to distinguish natural law from intelligent design in a living organism by examining the code for the presence of specified information!

Natural section is mindless, there is no caring on what gets tossed out, but a Darwinist would claim functional information aids the survival of the organism but poetry would not, but what’s the difference? In a study to help evolutionary scientists understand natural selection as predicted by evolution, Peter A. Lind, Otto G. Berg, and Dan I. Andersson from Uppsala University conducted an experiment on Salmonella bacterium which was published in the journal of science during November 2010.

Their aim was to come up with new insights on how evolution increases fitness. The researchers were surprised about the results about this experiment because evolutionary expectations were not met. The mutations caused a loss in fitness rather than an increase in fitness! Fitness is supposed to be the strong evidence for evolution yet this experiment adds a new twist, now evolution evidence consists of loss of fitness and gain, another way of the data predicting the theory…

This brings us back to the first question, Can scientists detect intelligently-designed complexity in nature? The answer is, “yes” of course evolutionists will deny that “poetry” is not fitness, the same way they embrace loss in function or fitness as being new evidence for evolution which is why you have a soup full of definitions for natural selection. The evidence however which is detectable, points to a creator, namely God!

Does Purposeful Evolution Really Exist?

Scientists have been amazed at the awesome designs in nature such as DNA where it was once considered to be a simple blob is actually one of the most complex and specialized designs known to man. This amazing design contains an array of special parts required for function as a result, evolutionists invoke another mindless process which includes understanding on how it must be built.

For example, the DNA Damage Repair function which is essential for life was described by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab as evolving this way…

“Homologous recombination is a complex mechanism with multiple steps, but also with many points of regulation to insure accurate recombination at every stage.  This could be why this method has been favored during evolution.  The machinery that relocalizes the damaged DNA before loading Rad51 might have evolved because the consequences of not having it would be terrible.”

Since there are problems with the belief in a slow gradual change where scientists discovered that natural selection does not work. An example of this would be in the study on the belief in protein evolution. In fact it is ridiculously unrealistic. Homologous recombination is a man-made story fused together in order to rescue the slow and gradual story and would not have existed when things like proteins first evolved.

The explanation about evolution given by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab is a strange one considering a mindless process would have to know certain things in order for the design to be successful. How could a mindless process understand there are consequences of not having something would be detrimental to the point where it could mean death? How would that motivate a non-mind to produce machinery and complex mechanisms to avoid such terrible consequences?

Considering the following…

1) Mathematics emerged because the consequences of not having it would make science inaccurate.

2) Life emerged because the consequences of not having it would make the earth a very lonely place.

3) Earth emerged because the consequences of having no planets being able to sustain life in this particular solar system would be terrible and lonely.

4) Eyes emerged because the consequences of not having them would be blindness.

5) The constants of physics became fine-tuned because the consequences without it would be terrible.

6) The machinery that repairs DNA might have evolved because the consequences of not having it would be terrible.

What we have here is something intelligently designed being corrupted by a man-made story on how various mindless processes are able to do the same thing. It’s like trying to build a running car using homologous recombination, how far would that car get built and stay running while experimenting with trial and error with a mindless process for billions of years? And a car is nowhere near the complexity that exists like with DNA!  There is no such thing as “purposeful evolution” it’s called intelligent design, created by God!

Where Is Evolution Going To End Up?

This a challenging question to answer because there has been a distinct pattern of evolutionary explanations that builds itself into the realm of complexity with its stories, some of which are well beyond from what Darwin himself envisioned (spontaneous variation and natural selection) while other evolutionary explanations are well beyond from even what neo-Darwinism envisions which as a result has sparked some angry feelings among some evolutionists…

A new phrase that sounds more like a car race than science, “mating between the quickest,” Physorg reports…

“Three Australian biologists, including lead author, Professor Rick Shine, from the University of Sydney’s School of Biological Sciences, believe they have identified a new evolutionary process based on their invasive cane toad research. Professor Shine said the process, which depends on “mating between the quickest” rather than “survival of the fittest”, challenges the long-held view that natural selection is the only driving force for evolution.”

Shifting gears to another speed, this time its survival of the slowest, reports Physorg

“In the study, the researchers investigated four genetically distinct clones of Escherichia coli clones, and sampled them periodically to look for the presence of five specific beneficial mutations.They discovered that after 500 generations all lineages had acquired beneficial mutations but two had significantly more than the others, which should suggest they were more likely to survive in the long-term than the other line of bacteria.  What they found instead was that after 1,500 generations the other two lineages had gone on to dominate.”

In another article, there was a call to depart from classical Darwinian evolution…

“In some cases, less fit organisms may out-survive their in-shape counterparts, according to a study reported in the March 18 issue of Science. The finding surprised researchers who assumed less fit organisms would be the eventual losers in evolution’s fight for survival.”

One of the team researchers made a comment about how this long-term evolutionary experiment which continues to “yield surprises,” and then using the unexpected result as an insight into the “richness and complexity of evolution.”  Keep in mind, all the bacteria were still members of the same species, E. coli. And beneficial mutations are in the eye of the beholder much like how fast this alleged evolution goes or if the fit or less fit survive better. Also, sometimes what appears beneficial in one context can have negative consequences in other parts.

On another front considered to be a war zone, there is a pretty big battle for fitness definitions. Nature came out swinging by defending the terms, “inclusive fitness” or “kin selection” in response to Martin Nowak, Corina Tarnita and Edward O. Wilson last August, which argued the idea should be abandoned while keeping classical evolution as the main explanation!

In science...”Online today in Nature, nearly 150 evolutionary biologists challenge Harvard University’s Edward O. Wilson, one of the world’s most preeminent scientists, and two colleagues. At issue is the usefulness of a 50-year-old theory about the role of relatedness in the evolution of complex social systems like those of ants, bees, and humans. Wilson, along with Harvard mathematicians Martin Nowak and Corina Tarnita argue that the theory, called inclusive fitness, does not explain how these complex societies arose; in a rebuttal today in Nature and in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, their critics say that the Harvard trio have misrepresented the literature and are simply wrong.”

“We argue that standard natural selection theory in the context of precise models of population structure represents a simpler and superior approach, allows the evaluation of multiple competing hypotheses, and provides an exact framework for interpreting empirical observations.”

The defenders of “inclusive fitness” or “kin selection” strongly disagreed and raised a concern that evolution was branching off into dead ends which had no compatibility…

“By opposing ‘standard selection theory’ and ‘inclusive fitness theory’, we believe that Nowak et al. give the incorrect (and potentially dangerous) impression that evolutionary thinking has branched out into conflicting and apparently incompatible directions,”  In fact, there is only one paradigm: natural selection driven by interactions, interactions of all kinds and at all levels.  Inclusive fitness has been a powerful force in the development of this paradigm and is likely to have a continued role in the evolutionary theory of behaviour interactions.”

Jerry Coyne released his angry mob mentality with venom (which he has done several times on creationists) because he is on the side of “kin selection”…In his blog he writes…

“The only reason this paper was published is because it has two big-name authors, Nowak and Wilson, hailing from Mother Harvard. That, and the fact that such a contrarian paper, flying in the face of accepted evolutionary theory, was bound to cause controversy.  Well, Nature got its controversy but lost its intellectual integrity, becoming something of a scientific National Enquirer.”

“Oh, and boo to the Templeton Foundation, who funded the whole Nowak et al. mess and highlighted the paper on their website. The lesson: if you’re a famous biologist you can get away with publishing dreck.  So much for our objective search for truth—a search that’s not supposed to depend on authors’ fame and authority.”

Nowak, Tarnita and Wilson remained adamant with their position“Inclusive fitness theory is neither useful nor necessary to explain the evolution of eusociality or other phenomena,” they said.

Science Daily came to the defense of “Inclusive fitness” with their story…

“Bees are probably the most useful group for studying why eusocial organisms have workers that do not reproduce, but the authors got a lot of their basic facts about bees wrong. For example, the authors argue that having defensible nests is the most important consideration for eusociality, but they ignore the fact that there are thousands of nest making animals that are not eusocial,” said Wcislo, a specialist in the biology of bees.”

And finally, evolution of the weakest! According to science daily only the weak survive…

“Conventional rules of survival tend to favor the strongest, but University of Pittsburgh-based researchers recently found that in the emerging world of self-healing materials, it is the somewhat frail that survive.”

Keep in mind, this particular article is not a story about evolutionary theory, rather it’s about a quest to mimic biology in creating flexible materials.  Still, the headline illustrates the pervasiveness of evolutionary lingo! But one could argue that this article is about a Creator with an amazing purposeful design, “In short, a little bit of weakness gives a material better mechanical properties.”

So where is evolution going to end up? It’s leading to nowhere but a dead end, it’s not a search for truth, but how nature could be manufactured without an intelligent mind, God. Yet, it’s a fact, the evidence points to His wisdom which has designed some of the most amazing things we observe in nature. The evolution ‘theory’ is nothing more than invented stories that only attempt to replace God. By so doing, the confusion increases, building faith in naturalism with a framework that has no direction nor a foundation!