Ken Ham has been having a grand time redefining evolution. It’s interesting in a twisted kind of way: the anti-evolutionists are now at the point of having to accept natural selection as true, and are simply declaring that sure, natural selection is fine, it’s just not evolution, which we hate.
Often evolutionists claim speciation is evidence of molecules to man evolution–they couldn't be more wrong https://t.co/EU5AmQxiIF
— Ken Ham (@aigkenham) November 18, 2016
Ask evolutionists for their best evidence for evolution and they'll usually point to speciation or drug resistance etc-they're not evolution
— Ken Ham (@aigkenham) November 18, 2016
He’s linking to an article by Georgia Purdom that is a fine example of selective use of information, and represents AiG’s weird stance. It begins with a hypothetical dialog. It’s really weird.
Let’s listen in on a hypothetical conversation between a biblical creationist (C) and an evolutionist (E) as they discuss some recent scientific news headlines:
E: Have you heard about the research findings regarding mouse evolution?
C: Are you referring to the finding of coat color change in beach mice?
E: Yes, isn’t it a wonderful example of evolution in action?
C: No, I think it’s a good example of natural selection in action, which is merely selecting information that already exists.
E: Well, what about antibiotic resistance in bacteria? Don’t you think that’s a good example of evolution occurring right before our eyes?
C: No, you seem to be confusing the terms “evolution” and “natural selection.”
E: But natural selection is the primary mechanism that drives evolution.
C: Natural selection doesn’t drive molecules-to-man evolution; you are giving natural selection a power that it does not have—one that can supposedly add new information to the genome, as molecules-to-man evolution requires. But natural selection simply can’t do that because it works with information that already exists.
You know, that last bit is actually sort of true: natural selection shapes, or selects, the variation that already exists (although, indirectly, natural selection does create new conditions in the environment by changing allele frequencies, and those changing frequencies can create new probabilities for recombination…but I’ll give her a pass on that for now, because it’ll just lead to arguments about defining “creative” vs. “unpredictable”). But evolutionary biologists already know about all that. She’s not saying anything that we’d find surprising.
She goes on, though.
From a creationist perspective natural selection is a process whereby organisms possessing specific characteristics (reflective of their genetic makeup) survive better than others in a given environment or under a given selective pressure (i.e., antibiotic resistance in bacteria). Those with certain characteristics live, and those without them diminish in number or die.
Hey, guess what? That’s what we’d say from an evolutionary perspective, too! Unfortunately, this state of blissful concordance cannot last.
The problem for evolutionists is that natural selection is nondirectional
Nope. That’s not really a problem, because a) selection is directional in the short term, shaping the population towards greater adaptedness to local conditions, and b) we generally don’t believe in any kind of long term directionality. It’s the creationists who believe in a mysterious
molecules-to-man kind of pressure.
—should the environment change or the selective pressure be removed, those organisms with previously selected for characteristics are typically less able to deal with the changes and may be selected against because their genetic information has decreased…. Evolution of the molecules-to-man variety, requires directional change. Thus, the term “evolution” cannot be rightly used in the context of describing what natural selection can accomplish.
It is correct to note that selection is largely a conservative force — it prunes out variation from a population. So she is right that if natural selection were the only force operating on the gene pool, the distribution of variants would get smaller and smaller over time.
Gosh. If only there were some other forces acting on populations to produce a constant source of new information that apparently Answers in Genesis has never heard of. If only there were other processes that generated new genetic variants that natural selection could act on…
Surprise! There is! It’s called “mutation”.
No matter what the exact value of the human mutation rate, every single possible point mutation will happen in just a few generations somewhere among the seven billion or so people on Earth. And each individual who lives to the ripe old age of 60 (i.e. youngsters) will have experienced a huge number of somatic mutations.
Let’s also note that we have a large body of phenotypic variation, not all of which is genetic but which is observable, measurable, and quantifiable, and which AiG ignores. We also have deep information about population structure and patterns of inheritance and descent with modification that directly contradicts AiG’s claim that we are descended from a population of two people only 6,000 years ago.
You cannot imagine how stupid Purdom’s article looks to anyone who has some knowledge of genetics and populations, unless you actually know a little bit about those disciplines. She is willfully ignoring a huge part of genetics in order to make a truly idiotic argument.
We’ve all laughed at this clueless quote from fundies.
One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn’t possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it.
Purdom has basically said the equivalent.
Natural selection reduces genetic variation in a population. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn’t possible: UNLESS there is a giant source of new mutations supplying the population with huge amounts of variants. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it.
You bet we would.