Intelligent Design

Icons of evolution continue to mislead

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It may come as a surprise to learn that evolutionists have a great deal of work to do to put their house in order. Although the title of Kevin Padian’s article refers to common misrepresentation of evolution in textbooks and the media, the abstract makes it clear that many of the problems are “confusingly discussed in the scientific literature” (meaning that professional evolutionists are also at fault). Nevertheless, textbooks are Padian’s main target, and we agree with his thesis that changes are long overdue. Nevertheless, the details of the proposed changes need to be considered critically. We cannot discuss in this blog all the issues raised by Padian, but we shall look at some in each of the three sections in his article.

For more, go here.

6 Replies to “Icons of evolution continue to mislead

  1. 1
    jerry says:

    Very good article. Sums up the issues. Might be interesting to look at the actual article by Padian. I found it here but haven’t read it yet:

    http://www.evolution-outreach.com/content/6/1/11

    We have people commenting here who swear to some form of gradualism as the explanation for everything and then there are anti-ID people who say gradualism doesn’t work or there is no evidence for it.

    Maybe this can be a framework for debate? I wouldn’t bet on it though because too many here require that their ideology dictate their science and logic.

  2. 2
    Chance Ratcliff says:

    From the linked article:

    It is very important to explain to students that small steps (as in punctuated equilibria) and insensible changes (as in classical gradualism) are more like each other than are small steps and very large steps. The latter mechanism – sudden, great morphological changes – has never been seriously considered in evolutionary theory, and the notion that ‘large steps’ create macroevolutionary changes (for example, that a bird could have hatched from a lizard egg) is a caricature.

    My problem with gradualism is that it isn’t a mechanism, it’s a time scale. Lots of things happen gradually, others rapidly. This says nothing about what happens, and how. What exactly is it that happens gradually, and what is the underlying cause? It’s pretty convenient to toss the most significant biological engineering feats of producing novel proteins, organelles, and body plans behind the veil of deep time, but it’s not very illuminating, nor scientific.

  3. 3
    lifepsy says:

    http://www.evolution-outreach.com/content/6/1/11


    Defining evolution

    Following the paragraph above, how does one choose a definition of evolution to use? Because science has no catechisms, there is not a single, standard definition of evolution. But some are more and less useful. A popular one, especially among scientists who work on population biology, is ‘a change in gene frequency in a population’. This means, for example, that an allele with a frequency of 0.75 in one generation can change to 0.73 in the next, and this is evolution. Well, sort of. In the next generation, the frequency can change back to 0.75. So what has evolved? It is like defining a football game as the process of hiking the ball.

    This really needed to be said. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard that silly definition of evolution bandied about the net.

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    I can’t count how many times I’ve heard that silly definition of evolution bandied about the net.

    It is bandied about the net because there is no alternative other than the imprecise use of every day language. Try finding a better definition. There is none which is an indictment in itself.

    Also with the examples on your website this definition would rule out the changes seen in the lizards and fish you highlight. There may be morphological change with no change in the gene pool.

    They are in a mess but they won’t admit it. Maybe the next definition will be a change in either the gene pool or the epigenetics of the population.

    But like any group in denial, they avoid the obvious.

  5. 5
    lifepsy says:

    It is like defining the construction process of building a skyscraper as “the rearrangement of concrete, wood, metal, and plastic particles in space.” Technically this occurs during building construction, but the definition is completely ambiguous and useless and explains nothing.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    from the abstract:

    “The aim of this paper is to produce a template for a more logical, historically and scientifically correct treatment of evolutionary terms and concepts.”

    Also known, for the forever moldable theory of evolution, as ‘herding cats’:

    cowboys herding cats
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yqlTMvp8

    “For over twenty years I had thought that I was working on evolution in some way. One morning I woke up, and something had happened in the night, and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for twenty years, and there was not one thing I knew about it. That was quite a shock, to learn that one can be so misled for so long.”

    “So either there is something wrong with me, or there was something wrong with evolutionary theory. Naturally I know there’s nothing wrong with me. So for the last few weeks, I’ve tried putting a simple question to various people and groups of people. The question is this: Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing, any one thing that you think is true?”

    Can You Tell Me Anything About Evolution?
    November 1981 Presentation at the American Museum of Natural History
    By Colin Patterson
    Audio CD and Annotated Transcript
    http://www.arn.org/arnproducts/audios/c010.htm

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