The Rowdy One

Thursday, July 20, 2006

So-called evolution evidence of Darwin's Galapagos Island finches

In a nationally syndicated Associated Press story last week, science writer Randolph Schmid boldly announced that "finches on the Galapagos Islands that inspired Charles Darwin to develop the concept of evolution are now helping confirm it by evolving."

The one-sided story is based on report, and news release, by Peter Grant of Princeton University, which asserts that a species of "Darwin's finch" has evolved a smaller beak to take advantage of different seeds two decades after the arrival of a larger rival for its original food source. The altered beak size is alleged to show that species competing for food can undergo evolutionary change.

There is a special scientific word for this bold, new confirmation of evolutionary theory. Hooey.

The AP article regurgitates this news release as if it were some sort of news flash. In fact, many science journalists and scientists have been writing about this same finding for more than a decade. The article was also devoid of any balance from scientists who believe this finding to simply be an example of what's termed a cyclic variation.

"The changes are temporary," says Jonathan Wells, PhD molecular & cell biology, Univ. of California-Berkeley. Wells says the beak size oscillatess back and forth as the weather and seasons change.

"As evidence of Darwin's theory, Darwin's finches really don't work," says Wells. But since that perspective didn't make the press release that Schmid ripped and wrote from, it didn't get reported in the AP story -- or the numerous other TV and print stories it spawned.

David Berlinski, post-doc in biology at Columbia University, also believes the evidence is exaggerated to appear to support Darwin's theory. "What we are really seeing is one species oscillating back and forth, with no real change," says Berlinski.

"We may be seeing the development of a entire new species. The Galapagos finch starts off as a finch and in 100,000,000 years you have a Galapagos elephant," adds Berlinski with tongue firmly planted in cheek. "But we need a whole lot more evidence ... if this is to be serious science."

The one hint of balance that Schmid's article offers is mistakenly masked as further "proof." Robert C. Fleischer, a geneticist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and National Zoo, is quoted as saying, "this was certainly a documented case of microevolution."

Ah, but even if this were an example of microevolution, that does not mean that this in any way represents evidence of macro evolution. Which means it offers no real proof of Darwin's sweeping evolutionary theory -- or hypothesis -- if you prefer.

Labels: , , ,

2 Comments:

  • "it offers no real proof of Darwin's sweeping evolutionary theory -- or hypothesis -- if you prefer."

    Actually, I believe I prefer ignornant speculation. Why speculation? Because it's all a wager. A gamble. Taking a chance that all order came from chaos.

    How does one wager even $1, let alone your own soul on the fact that the statistical probability of a single protein was formed by random processes from the boiling pool of goo is 1 in 10 to the 161 power (10 followed by 161 zero's). And that's just a protein! How much more complicated is a human being?

    Check out this book, "The Face that Demonstrates the Farce of Evolution. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0849911818/102-1030977-2967332?v=glance&n=283155

    By Anonymous Kevin, at 11:42 PM  

  • Evolution is a theory in the same way that gravity is a theory.

    Neither can be conclusively proven - & both are quite obviously working to affect the world we live in.

    "How does one wager even $1, let alone your own soul on the fact that the statistical probability of a single protein was formed by random processes from the boiling pool of goo is 1 in 10 to the 161 power (10 followed by 161 zero's). And that's just a protein! How much more complicated is a human being?"

    This sort of garbage is stock pseudo-logic that includes the naked lie of "random processes" - & ignores the existence of VERY complex chemical compounds that occur naturally in any ambient terrestrial setting, let alone their frequent tendency to form new (& often even more complex) chemicals with no more input than water or sunlight.

    There are scores of such bright-sounding "points" used by defenders of faith over reason to butress what is otherwise a highly untenable position ... all easily punctured, like the empty balloons they are.

    Pascal's Wager is one of the most shopworn philosophical fallacies of modern times ... to call rejection of primitive superstition in favor of rational thought a "gamble" is similar to calling a computer a "magic-box" for sheer folly. It is literally an insult to the human mind.

    Opponents of evolution spent decades declaring that the process would never be replicated in a lab ... now that such replication is commonplace, they've moved their own goalposts back & called the whole thing a parlour-trick, now saying it'll never be documented in the wild. Yet now it appears that Peter & Rosemary Grant have done just that - where, pray tell, will those agile goalposts wind up next, I wonder?

    Organisms are wonderfully well-equipped to alter their genes in response to their environment - & any genetic change that produces advantage (especially in adverse conditions) will obviously let the new breed of creature prevail against more poorly adapted stock, period.

    Evolution has given science a huge amount of insight into everything from biology to information theory - the alternative "theory" that now calls itself Intelligent Design has yet to produce a single useful result, & it never will.

    Its advocates may as well be lobbying for teaching astrology in schools alongside astronomy.

    By Blogger jim, at 10:51 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


 
< ? Colorado Blogs # >