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When the politics of climate change clash with the politics of Darwinism, expect a big fight – but which wins?

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copepod Tigriopus californicus/Morgan Kelly, UC Davis

An interesting clash is shaping up between the truisms of Darwinian evolution and those of climate change, as reported in “Can Evolution Outpace Climate Change? Tiny Seashore Animal Suggests Not”, (ScienceDaily, June 9, 2011):

Animals and plants may not be able to evolve their way out of the threat posed by climate change, according to a UC Davis study of a tiny seashore animal. The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.The tide pool copepod Tigriopus californicus is found from Alaska to Baja California — but in a unique lab study, the animals showed little ability to evolve heat tolerance.

Most observers would doubt that the 10 observed generations were enough, but the significance of the findingis that there was no trend toward heat tolerance, in terms of the Darwinian slight advantage:

At the outset, copepods from different locations showed wide variability in heat tolerance. But within those populations, Kelly was able to coax only about a half-degree Celsius (about one degree Fahrenheit) of increased heat tolerance over 10 generations. And in most groups, the increase in heat tolerance had hit a plateau before that point.

Plateau? Does that sound a bit like fixed limits on variation? Apparently so:

“The critical point is that many organisms are already at their environmental limits, and natural selection won’t necessarily rescue them,” Grosberg said.

Some ask, does this mean that man-made global warming has a slight edge on Darwinism, in the “what everyone must believe” stakes?

Believers in evolution acknowledge the extinction of the vast majority of species ever to exist.
Even though for by far the vast majority of these "species" there's no evidence they actually ever existed in reality. Amazing belief system, that. And I thought Darwinian theory was supposed to be parsimonious. Mung
Hmm. Believers in evolution acknowledge the extinction of the vast majority of species ever to exist. Why would one copepod or even much of life not surviving global warming impact the theory of evolution? The accepted future of the solar system is that the earth becomes a desiccated planet with molten rock in a couple billion years! It just isn't an evolutionary prediction that every specie survives through all time! This post is like saying dinosaurs didn't adapt to an asteroid strike and subsequent climate change, therefore evolution is limited! Of course it is. DrREC

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