Sunday, February 3, 2008

Evidence for Evolution or Another Religion?

Many of you are aware of the vast number of social networking web sites one of which is On Digg, members get points ("diggs") if the other members like their posts. Over the past week, I have been reading some of the posts that were of interest to me. There was one post I found particularly intriguing and I will address it here.

The post was titled, "Proof of Evolution." The poster provided this description, "Elephants Evolve Smaller Tusks Due to Poaching - In the last 150 years, the world ’s elephant population has evolved much smaller tusks," and a link to this article. As of today, this post has been "dugg" 1711 times - meaning the net total of all the positive and negative diggs is a positive 1711.

Is this really "proof" of evolution? That depends upon the definition of evolution being proven. The first member comment to this post said, "Before all of you get going, I'd like to officially ban the term "microevolution" from this comment board. This is a clear demonstration of environmental factors causing a physical change in animals. If you don't get it at this point, I fear you never will." This indicates either 1) this commenter believes this is clear evidence of evolution where the definition is "descent with modification" or 2) the commenter does not understand the term "microevolution" and has no ability to debate the relevance of this article without banning this term. Taking a look at the majority of favorable comments and their content, it appears "descent with modification" is the definition of choice, although rampant equivocation by evolutionists would suggest the general agreement in meaning is whatever they want it to mean (including "molecules to man" evolution).

This is probably because most of the readers don't realize small change was once called "adaptation" before all change, regardless of how minor, was deemed "evolution." They make an extrapolation error and assume if small changes are termed evolution, and evolution is major change, then these small changes must prove evolution as a whole. In other words, they believe that very small change, e.g. the change in size of elephant tusks on average, is evidence of molecules to man evolution. One comment provided this void of logical reasoning, "Think of it like money - you can go on about micropayments all you like, but it's just a figure of speech - it's still only money at the end of the day regardless of amount.

To claim that small evolutionary changes cannot amount to large ones is like claiming that lots of small purchases cannot amount to a lot of money." Sorry, but the money analogy is an example of addition, not a proof that small changes over time amount to anything more than small change. The key difference here is that the denomination of money remains the same over time, i.e. $1 = $1 (we won't address the time value of money). However, 1 small change in an elephant is not necessarily equivalent to another small change; therefore, their sum does not provide a predictive outcome.

I could spend endless hours analyzing the countless comments against this Digg post (1128 in total), but let me discuss the fundamental problems with using this article as evidence for molecules to man evolution:

1) The article's author reveals the source of change in mean size in elephant tusks is not a concrete absolute, "Experts believe the rapid evolution of the massive land mammals is due to poaching." Given the vast number of variables that may influence tusk size, no one, not even the "experts" can say with absolute certainty that the change in tusk size is a result of environmental pressures.
2) At present, there appears to be decrease in tusk size between generations. However, the existence of tusks at all (from an evolutionary view) indicates there were previous environmental factors favoring larger tusks. The net change over all time may be nothing; therefore, the sum of these small changes fails to prove anything consequential.
3) There is no additional genetic information. For descent with modification to occur, there has to be a mechanism to add genetic information. This article fails to provide proof of this mechanism because the elephants simply carry the same genetic information as their parents.

Let's pause for a moment and look at the definition of Proof: evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true, or to produce belief in its truth.

The article certainly does not establish evolution as being true. However, judging from the preponderance of comments that disagree with me, it did produce belief in its truth, which leads to an interesting observation...

...the definition of religion is, "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects." So, it appears to me that the article provided evidence of religious observance. Don't believe me? Why don't you read the posts for yourself here. It's the kind of dogmatic belief normally attributed to Christians.


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