Investigating the Pace of Evolution

Here’s an evolutionary article from Brock News claiming that the pace of evolution is faster than evolutionists thought. I’ve commented on similar articles and thought I’d see if there’s anything new.

The traditional view of evolution tells us that evolution occurs slowly, over millions of years. It happens so slowly, that, in our human lifetime, we’ll never observe it. Supposedly, no human existed when invertebrates evolved into vertebrates, or fish evolved into amphibians, etc. However, now that humans exist and can record history, we don’t see evolution happening.

This would appear to be a problem for evolution. After all, if evolutionists want us to believe in evolution, but we can’t observe it, then how do we know it actually happens? By blind faith?

Well, evolutionists have changed their tune. Today, evolution happens rapidly, faster than previously believed. In fact it happens so fast, there’s no excuse NOT to believe in evolution. Right? Not so fast.

According to this article, bighorn sheep have horns 10 percent smaller than 20 years ago, adapting as a result of trophy hunting. Brock University Assistant Professor Kiyoko Gotanda commented, “In some species, anywhere from two to 200 generations is enough to exhibit change.”

Did you catch that? If we change the way we view and think about evolution, it can happen within TWO generations! Remarkable.

Professor Andrew Hendry said, “We have come a long way from the old view of evolution as a slow process to the point where we are now realizing that everything is evolving all around us all the time.”

Okay, so what’s the deal? Is evolution real? And is it fast or slow? If we blindly accept their explanation, then the answer is YES! But hold on, there’s more going on than meets the eye.

As a creationist, I don’t believe in evolution. But I do recognize change from one generation to the next. I’ve blogged about those changes extensively, so I can’t be accused of ignoring facts or denying science- a favorite tactic of evolutionists. What is happening here is a redefinition of what evolution means and how it’s viewed. Evolutionists simply move the goalpost when it suits them, and that is what they’ve done. Today, evolution just means any kind of change from one generation to the next. Change has become the very definition of evolution. Is there anything wrong with that?

There are many problems with defining evolution as “change”. For one, the word ‘change’ is so broad that it’s not meaningful. Consider, if man with brown eyes marries a woman with brown eyes and they have three children, one with green eyes, one with hazel and the other blue, is this an example of evolution? Well, if evolution is defined as ‘change’, then, yes, the children have evolved different colored eyes. But this is not the traditional definition of evolution. We know children are different from their parents, but that doesn’t mean they’ve evolved. No, traditionally we would call this inheritance, which is more meaningful, and shouldn’t be confused with evolution. Traditionally, evolution has been understood to mean an organism became a completely different kind of organism with a completely novel body plan over a long period of time- such as a fish evolving into an amphibian. A fish would have needed to evolve legs, feet, skin, lungs, etc., none of which existed in the ancestor population.

So, it’s not really helpful to claim that these bighorn sheep “evolved” in any sort of way. The offspring simply inherited DNA from their parents, and those with smaller horns naturally were less attractive to trophy hunters, so they survived and passed their genes on to the next generation, while those with larger horns were shot and didn’t get to pass as many genes on to the next generation. None of these bighorns evolved anything new- feathers, gills or horns. They gained no new genetic information that wasn’t already present. They simply passed along that which was already there.

Therefore, I think it’s dishonest and unhelpful to refer to any kind of change as evolution. If these scientists didn’t use the word ‘evolution’, their findings wouldn’t be so sensational. What they observed is ordinary. This isn’t any different from Darwin’s finches inheriting different sized beaks from their parents. It’s nothing new. Darwin knew about this when he published his findings in the Origin of Species in 1859. Why are scientists so surprised to discover something Darwin already knew about more than 160 years ago?

I think the answer is to convince as many people as possible to believe in evolution. And this article serves that purpose. Most readers will accept the findings without question. To that end, I’ll point out that the authors refer to this type of evolution as “contemporary” evolution. It’s just a redefinition of terms that causes confusion.

Since bighorn sheep have always had the genetic information for horns, the size of their horns shouldn’t be called ‘evolution’ at all, let alone ‘contemporary evolution’. It would only be evolution if the parent population did not have the genetic capacity to produce offspring with horns. We’re talking about two different processes that shouldn’t be confused as one in the same. The terms aren’t interchangeable. And that’s why I can reject evolution on one hand and accept speciation on the other. I can differentiate between two processes. One can be observed (inheritance, adaptation and speciation) while the other cannot (evolution) and must be believed by faith. Simply referring to inheritance as evolution does not legitimize it, although many have accepted it without skepticism or critical thinking.

Another interesting point to note is that the article provides a subtle refutation of evolution. It actually states that “body size does not increase through time”. If that is true, then how did animals get to be the size they are? If evolution were true, then body size should increase or “evolve” through time. But if not, then evolution can’t be true. Something had to cause animals to grow to their current size.

Further, the article mentions adaptation, which is often used synonymously with evolution. However, adaptation cannot be the same thing. Bighorns, for example, are not evolving horns for the first time. The horns are already present. Adaptation occurs when the existing horns become more suited for their environment. This has nothing to do with how the horns got there in the first place.

Lastly, the article provides a disclaimer, cautioning us that more research is needed to infer evolution. They admit the changes could be inherited, or generated by phenotypic changes. But neither of these causes should be considered evolution. Even the phenotypic changes are a result of DNA coding.

The bottom line is that this article is misleading. The research does not infer evolution and should not be interpreted as such. A better explanation comes from a Biblical worldview. God created animals to reproduce according to their kind, and the horn size of bighorn sheep varies according to their DNA.

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