panelarrow

Fun with Evolution: Elephant Man?

| 16 Comments

In a recent article called “Darwinism’s Rubber Ruler,” from the Institute for Creation Research, they demonstrate the very flexible nature of evolutionary theory. Read the quote below and ask yourself: If the rare episode of “backward evolution” is true, could an elephant be my forefather?

Indeed, it’s thought that even human evolution may have gone backward. Science writer J. N. Wilford reported, “Australopithecus africanus, which lived in southern Africa, had more archaic, apelike arms and legs than the earlier A. afarensis.” Wilford quoted evolutionists Drs. Henry McHenry and Lee Berger as saying, “For Lucy and her kind to evolve into descendants with more apelike limbs…evolution would have to go backward, which rarely happens.”

Wow! Think of the evangelistic possibilities! For the timid to obey Christ’s command to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation,” they may want to go to the zoo to share their faith—with creation!—starting with animals first, then working their way up to humans!

Now, you may be wondering how an elephant might be my granddad? Well, given the highly malleable texture of evolutionary theory,  (at least according to this article), maybe in rare instances it works sideways and upside down, too. We may even see a somersault….

16 Comments

  1. Well it does say to preach the world to all creation not just to people – perhaps you should start with the parts of creation that would be a match for your wit and intellect – they have rocks in California, right?

    🙂

  2. It’s already been pointed out that they are deliberately misinterpreting natural selection as ‘Survival of the strongest’ or whatever ‘Survival of the Fittest’ is not from Darwin. And the term backwards is also essentially meaningless as well.

    We can point to plenty examples of ‘backwardness’ to use their terminology.
    Cave Fish with blind eyes. Beetles with wings under fused shut shells. Flightless Birds. Did Evolution go Backwards? No, just as time only goes in one way, so does life, tradeoffs are constantly being made and something was selected for or against.

    I suppose you could argue that Blind Eyed Fish, and Trapped Wings are more examples of Gods Perfect Design if it makes you feel better.

  3. Something here is burning.

  4. How does the statement:

    If the rare episode of “backward evolution” is true,

    Have any relation whatsoever to this statement:

    could an elephant be my forefather?

    Did you think that they were talking chronologically when they used the word “backwards”?

    I’m still utterly confused as to what you, Steve, think the claims of evolutionary theory are.

  5. Okay – so ignoring that we pointed out the article was mis-representing long standing evolutionary basics (evolution does not have an end goal – there is no ‘forwards’ and ‘backwards’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ does not entail beating up your neighbor) and is therefore meaningless and demonstrates only the ignorance of the author is, what, more humor?

  6. Perdita said: Okay, Steve. I’ll assume you are being honest and sincere and that you really do want to understand. Can we back-track a bit? Do you understand that the rubber ruler article’s claim about evolution going forward and backward is not a valid criticism of evolution?

    Me: No. I’m not aware of that. Why?

  7. First off, there’s some misrepresentation. As an example of the so-called rubber ruler, the article shows us two scientists saying that africanus having more apelike arms than the older afarensis is a case of rarely happening backwards evolution.

    Indeed, it’s thought that even human evolution may have gone backward. Science writer J. N. Wilford reported, “Australopithecus africanus, which lived in southern Africa, had more archaic, apelike arms and legs than the earlier A. afarensis.” Wilford quoted evolutionists Drs. Henry McHenry and Lee Berger as saying, “For Lucy and her kind to evolve into descendants with more apelike limbs…evolution would have to go backward, which rarely happens.”(rubber ruler)

    But these scientists were not making a claim of ‘backward evolution’. They were saying that they think africanus and afarensis evolved separately.

    For Lucy and her kind to evolve into descendants with more apelike limbs, the scientists said, evolution would have to go backward, which rarely happens. One possible explanation for such an evolutionary reversal, they said, might have been to adapt to a more arboreal environment.

    In a popular account of the findings in the August issue of National Geographic magazine, Dr. Berger said it was more likely that africanus did not descend from afarensis but that the two species evolved separately. They were apparently ”sister species that share a missing-link ancestor.” (NY Times, 1998, just click the link from Rubber Ruler)

  8. Broad-scale evolution is commonly associated with natural selection, or survival of the fittest. But evolutionary theory has recently been expanded to accommodate “survival of the weakest.”3 An article last December pointed to “a growing body of evidence [showing] we are evolving to become more compassionate and collaborative in our quest to survive and thrive.” The same article stated, “Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are challenging long-held beliefs that human beings are wired to be selfish.”4

    You can’t tell from reading it, but this paragraph combines different ideas:

    1- “Survival of the weakest” is from an article about cyclical competition (described as ‘rock-paper-sicsors’ interactions). According to the article, when there are only two competing species, only the ‘fittest’ survives, but when they studied cyclical competition they found that usually the weakest survived.

    “Cyclic dominance is a particularly interesting constellation of species competing with each other. It means that each participant is superior to one other interaction partner, but will be beaten by a third.”
    “What we saw was that in large populations, the weakest species would – with very high probability – come out as the victor,” says Frey.

    2-The article from last December (Social scientists build case for ‘survival of the kindest’ ) has nothing to do with cyclical competition, but is instead about empathy as a survival trait in social animals.

    Following on the heels of ‘evolutionary theory has recently been expanded’, you would think that empathy as a survival trait is new to evolutionary theory, but that isn’t what these reasearchers are saying:

    “Human beings have survived as a species because we have evolved the capacities to care for those in need and to cooperate. As Darwin long ago surmised, sympathy is our strongest instinct.”

    The article doesn’t state just who’s “long-held beliefs that human beings are wired to be selfish” they are challenging…

    …Hey, isn’t that what Christians believe?

  9. A 2007 New Scientist article suggested that, over evolutionary time, things have gotten simpler, not more complex.

    It’s an interesting article, but, no, it doesn’t suggest things are getting simpler. Iit deals with molecular analysis and loss being under-estimated. But I tire.

  10. Good work, perdita, for what it’s worth!

    The linked articles/papers are actually very interesting though, worth a read for sure.

    Steve, any thoughts?

  11. You’re doing an awesome job, Perdita.

  12. Awww, thanks guys.

  13. Perdita,

    You bring up some very good points. Let me look into this further. I may want to drop an email to CRI to get their response. Thanks.

  14. Translation: I’m going to ignore this for a while and hope it’s all forgotten until the next time I bash evolution in a post.

  15. crickets…

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.