Evolution As Catch-All Explanation

Evolution As Catch-All Explanation

first_imgIn the scientific institutions and the media, Evolution is the default explanation for everything in nature (and as Small opined, even for human manufacturing and economics).  Most of the time Evolution doesn’t require justification or evidence.  It is applied in broad, sweeping generalities from the authorities.  The explanations are pronounced dogmatically as if to be accepted on faith by the common people.  In a sense, then, Evolution (with a capital E) plays the same role as gods and goddesses in ancient cultures.Silly, silly, silly.  These people only get away with saying such things because we are not laughing loud enough.  Look at them.  They worship cartoony idols (King Charles, Popeye, Yoda and Tinker Bell) that have magical powers.  They say things that not only make no sense, they plagiarize design words and contradict their own core beliefs.  They justify humans’ worst character flaws as artifacts of an animal past.  Get out on the yellow brick road and sing We’re off the shame the Wizard, the blunderful Wizard of Flaws (see lyrics in the 09/05/2008 commentary) as you accomplish your mission to expose charlatanry and bring science back to the real world.(Visited 36 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 If you were taught a precise definition of neo-Darwinism in school, it doesn’t seem to matter to many evolutionists in the media.  In practice, the word “Evolution” seems to act as a catch-all category for explaining anything and everything – whether or not random mutation and natural selection were involved.  Some purpose and design can even be tossed into the mix as long as Evolution is the hero of the story.  Here are some recent examples of how Evolution is employed to explain whatever:Evolution the tool user:  “Evolution has a ‘toolkit’ and when it needs to do a particular job, such as see light, it uses the same toolkit again and again.”  These are the words of Margaret McFall-Ngai [U of Wisconsin-Madison] in Science Daily, explaining why squid can sense light through their light-emitting organs.  The article explained that “molecular machinery” is involved – tangible evidence not of design, but that Evolution has been at work with its toolkit.Guppy race:  Evolution is slow and gradual – except when it is fast and furious.  “What’s the secret to surviving during times of environmental change?” asked Science Daily.  “Evolve…quickly.”  (This sounds like a version of the bumper sticker, “Evolve or perish.”)  Guppies in Trinidad have apparently altered their reproductive habits in just eight years when transplanted to different streams – one with more predators, one with fewer.  How this constitutes evolution when the reproductive apparatus was the same before and after was not explained, but “fitness differences” were defined in terms of survival rate (see 10/30/2002, “Fitness for Dummies”).  Surprisingly, after 150 years of Darwinism, “This is one of only a few studies to look at adaptation and survival in a wild population,” the article said.Spanish hominid:  Evolution got the credit for a fossil monkey with “modern New Scientist) – something that might make Europeans feel superior once again as being in the forefront of human evolution.Mosquitos vs. turtles:  Who will win the evolutionary arms race in the Galapagos?  The mosquitos or the giant tortoises?  Science Daily seems alarmed about the danger to the long-time residents that are so popular with tourists: “Mosquito Evolution Spells Trouble For Galapagos Wildlife,” the article announced.  It said that an “ancient” mosquito population came to the islands 200,000 years ago and has recently developed a taste for tortoise blood.  Park officials are very concerned that diseases that could be introduced by tourists could spread to the island inhabitants, so they are taking precautions by spraying the interiors of planes arriving on the islands.  “It is absolutely vital that these control measures are maintained and carried out rigorously, otherwise the consequences could be very serious indeed,” a scientist said.  He did not explain why there should be a cause for concern, since all of the inhabitants of the islands supposedly evolved according to a well-known evolutionary dogma: the founder principle (see 05/08/2002 and 02/10/2009, bullet 4).  Are they ranking the organisms according to some arbitrary rule?  Are they claiming that human beings have some special stewardship responsibility over the animal kingdom?Saved by the junk:  Functional “junk DNA” has been an argument against evolution, but they have found a way to turn it into an argument for evolution.  PhysOrg printed a story that now claims junk DNA is vital to an animal’s survival – and therefore its evolution – because it allows an organism to adapt quickly.  Tandem repeats (once a category of junk DNA) have been found to influence the activity of neighboring genes.  This means they “may allow organisms to tune the activity of genes to match changing environments – a vital principle for survival in the endless evolutionary race.”  Researchers explained, “If this was the real world, only cells with the repeats would be able to swiftly adapt to changes, thereby beating their repeat-less counterparts in the game of evolution.  Their junk DNA saved their lives.”  They did not say who is playing the game or who wrote the game in the first place.Animorals:  Animals can tell right from wrong, claimed The Telegraph.  “Until recently, humans were thought to be the only species to experience complex emotions and have a sense of morality,” the article by Richard Gray said.  “But Prof Marc Bekoff, an ecologist at University of Colorado, Boulder, believes that morals are ‘hard-wired’ into the brains of all mammals and provide the ‘social glue’ that allow often aggressive and competitive animals to live together in groups.”  Gray did not explain what the moral standard was by which to judge moral behavior, nor why social glue is a good thing.  Some aggressive and competitive animals are loners.  If morality is hard-wired, is it really morality?  Who is the judge?Say what?  One article on Science Daily claim that a genetic change to the language-related FOXP2 gene in mice to make them mimic the human form of the gene speaks “volumes about our evolutionary past” (Note: the mice do not talk; they just squeak a little differently.)  Presumably, “Those differences offer a window into the evolution of speech and language capacity in the human brain.”  The scientists involved admitted that “Currently, one can only speculate about the role these effects may have played during human evolution.”  But then, another Science Daily four days earlier had announced, “More Genetic Differences Between Mice And Humans Than Previously Thought.”  It further claimed that some of the newly-analyzed mouse genes are “evolving at an unusually rapid pace, probably as a result of an evolutionary ‘arms race’ among mice and their reproductive cells.”Small talk on cars:  Evolution even applies to car companies.  That’s the point Meredith Small tried to make on Live Science.  Her article, “How Evolution Could Sink (or Save) GM,” contained the following statement, reminiscent of Rockefeller-era social Darwinism: “It would seem that the country should act as a collative [sic; collective?] and care about this,” (i.e., the bankruptcy of General Motors).  “But the reality is that capitalism is like evolution by natural selection, and natural selection can be a harsh reality.”  Taking the edge off, she launched into a discussion about group selection as a possible offset to the ruthlessness of natural selection.  But group selection, she said, doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.  Why should we care about the job losses of people we don’t even know?  She quoted Bobbi Lowe (U of Michigan) who believes “humans are not well designed to operate” by caring for distant members of our species.  We only care about close kin, because that was “critical in our ancestral past when humans lived in small groups,” she explained.  “We also don’t plan well for the future because our hominid history was marked by uncontrollable, unpredictable environments.”  This seems to ignore the many people (and birds and squirrels and ants) who are good long-term planners.  Giving Lowe the mike, Small continued,“We evolved to strive for resources and seldom, if ever, found ourselves evolutionarily ‘rewarded’ for conscious restraint,” Lowe has written.  Instead, she claims, humans are designed by evolution to work well on the short-term, and forget about the more global view on conserving anything because we just can’t do it.”That seems a pretty broad-brush characterization of the human race.  It also raises the question of how evolution could “design” anything.  Meredith Small failed to distinguish between human design and blind forces of nature, so for the above quotes and the following, she wins a well-deserved SEQOTW prize: There are many forces of evolution, but natural selection, biologists feel, is the most important.  It works like this: All sorts of variation is produced (think SUV, compacts, vans, and sedans) and then the environment (think free market) selects for some and ignores others.  The ignored ones are dropped out of the gene pool (think showroom floor or metal recycling plant), and too bad for them.    In this biological (or economic) system, only the best adapted survive.  So what if evolution is presented with something more sleek, in cool colors, or with tinted windows – if it takes too much energy (gas) to use, it will be selected against.    Natural selection operates on individuals, or individual automobiles companies because not all of them are going bankrupt, and that affects the future of the total gene pool, or automobile business.  That’s how biological life, and capitalist economies, have been shaped over generations.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *