3.31.2006

The Theory's Guide to the Idiots of Evolution

In 1831, the young naturalist Charles Darwin sailed to the Galapagos Islands on the H.M.S. Beagle. He returned with a theory that shocked the world. In the early 1800s, genetics was basically limited to the understanding that "A tall pea plant and a short pea plant usually make a tall pea plant, but we don't know why" -Gregor Mendel. The mainstream scientific community held the misconception that reproduction did not change the descendant creature. But Darwin's observations put an end to this idea. Darwin noted that in the dryer seasons, the majority of the finch population on the islands of Galapagos had strong, thick beaks for cracking open dried-out nuts and the like. In the wet season, the average beak was generally finer and more adept to eating green vegetation. Our young naturalist supposed that perhaps the two different kinds of finch were not actually different species, but that perhaps there was but one strain of finch that adapted to changing environment. Kudos, Charley! You hit the nail on the head! Natural selection or microevolution exists due to the doctrine of "survival of the fittest". The better equipped an organism is, the more likely it is to survive and pass on its genes. The weaker genes are "naturally selected" out of the gene "pool", thus giving this phenomenon the name of "natural selection." Darwin had no concept of genes or DNA. He saw adaptation and assumed that this was a random process that was basically infinite in its abilities. Maybe, he thought, these finches and the eagles we have back home both descended from the same kind of bird-like-thing, but they have slowly adapted to become what they are today! Then the young man had a brainstorm. Or, shall we say, a braintornado. What if all the animals we see today descended from the same basic life form over millions and millions of years of adaptation! Why, this even explains away the need for God! I ought to write a book! And The Origin of Species was born, and with it the simple theory of universal ancestry and adaptation or MACROEVOLUTION. Darwin knew that he had no evidence as of yet from fossils to support his theory, but he was confident that fossils would be forthcoming as the science of paleontology grew. Unfortunately for Darwin and his theory, the study of genetics was on the forefront of scientific inquiry. And genetics showed that a "simple cell" was not simple at all. Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) defined each and every organism, and although some variation in DNA was possible, it was very limited. The natural selection Darwin had observed was the "cutting out" of inconvenient sections of the DNA that led to unfavorable traits. And cutting out bad parts cannot lead to Darwinian evolution. If a car factory does nothing but "remove bad parts", it will have rather light cars, but it will never spontaneously produce airplanes! Now, changes do occur in DNA. They are called mutations. Random copying errors. The scientific community latched on to this idea and proposed that perhaps beneficial mutations occurred that gave a particular organism its evolutionary edge. Then, natural selection kicked in and made sure that only this mutation would survive to the next generation: thus substantiating evolution! But we have yet to find a case of mutations acting in concert with natural selection to turn T Rex into a toucan or a monkey into me. And we also have yet to find a record of anything half-way to becoming something else set in the stone of the fossil record. Sorry, Charley. In Him, David S. MacMillan III

2 comments:

aly said...

Fantastic, and how true. The title, by the way, was brilliant:)

Anonymous said...

Heres a link which explains that Intelligent Design is a fraud, its founder William Dembski can not back up his own claims. Dembski