Intelligent Design

Science teaching: Stasis and crickets, and the meaning of life

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tjm, here, comments on crickets’ 100 million years of stability:

Interesting isn’t it? Evolution can explain any result at all. It explains stasis over 100 million of years and it explains change over 100 million years. As they say, a theory that explains anything, explains nothing. Living fossils should falsify evolution. Unchanged fossils, like this one, that are supposedly ancient, should falsify evolution, but no, it gets twisted into evidence for evolution.

Hmmm. Not sure if that’s quite fair.

Stasis, where demonstrated, shows that there is no consistent “force” driving evolution.* Evolution happens where there is pressure for it and it is possible; where there is no pressure, the result is stasis, and where there is pressure but evolution is not possible, the result is extinction.

In this respect, evolution can be contrasted with the rise of warmer molecules in the atmosphere over colder ones. We can explain many things, even about as uncertain a process as the weather, just by knowing that this process will always be observed, anywhere that it is not hindered. Evolution is not like that. It need not happen and usually does not happen.

However, many literary artists whom students will (should) study in school, like playwright George Bernard Shaw, believed in Evolution, a driving force, ever onward and upward, etc. These beliefs can be inspirational, but can also do considerable harm, especially when people conclude (as they do) that they have now found science evidence for their own superiority to their neighbours. Teaching evolution based on the general picture of the evidence would help counter that tendency.

It ought to be obvious to everyone who is not

a member of the Texas Darwin school lobby why we must teach stasis, alongside evolution and extinction, irrespective of whether stasis provides a plank in their evangelism for the Beard Almighty.

* Of course evolution can be guided, and I think the evidence points to that. But it is guided by a design of which it is the outworking, not pushed along by a force.

Oh, and, should we study the designer? I don’t see why, particularly. If I want to teach how a four-stroke engine works, I doubt I’d bring up the biography of the designer. It’ll be enough to get students to grasp the basic concepts. Besides, I’ll have my hands full dealing with people who think that there is a spirit in the car, a spirit that moves it along, when what there actually is, is an intelligent design by which it can be got to move.

3 Replies to “Science teaching: Stasis and crickets, and the meaning of life

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Ms. O’Leary you wrote;

    ‘Evolution happens where there is pressure for it and it is possible; where there is no pressure, the result is stasis,’

    “Evolution’, as it is commonly understood to mean ‘vertical evolution/transfiguration’ into more and more complex forms, does not happen even with pressure/force, or ‘stress’, applied from the environment. What recent science has consistently revealed is that, when pressure/force/stress is applied to an organism, all sub-speciation events away from the parent species will ALWAYS come at a loss of the original ‘optimal’ information that was encoded in the parent species. Thus the fossil record is to be expected to reflect this loss of information in the ‘observed’ loss of morphological novelty and body size, all the while staying within ‘stasis’ since no information gain occurs. This conformation, to what is known as the principle of Genetic Entropy, is born out in the genetic evidence and fossil studies, even the ‘100 mya cricket’ study you cited!

    The following study surveys four decades of experimental work, and solidly backs up the preceding observation that there has never been an observed violation of genetic entropy:

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.(that is a net ‘fitness gain’ within a ‘stressed’ environment i.e. remove the stress from the environment and the parent strain is always more ‘fit’)

    Michael Behe talks about the preceding paper on this podcast:

    Michael Behe: Challenging Darwin, One Peer-Reviewed Paper at a Time – December 2010

    The Paradox of the “Ancient” Bacterium Which Contains “Modern” Protein-Coding Genes:
    “Almost without exception, bacteria isolated from ancient material have proven to closely resemble modern bacteria at both morphological and molecular levels.” Heather Maughan*, C. William Birky Jr., Wayne L. Nicholson, William D. Rosenzweig§ and Russell H. Vreeland ;

    Evolutionists were so disbelieving at this stunning lack of change that they insisted the stunning similarity was due to modern contamination in Vreeland’s experiment. Yet the following study laid that objection to rest by verifying that Dr. Vreeland’s methodology for extracting ancient DNA was solid and was not introducing contamination because the DNA sequences this time around were completely unique:

    World’s Oldest Known DNA Discovered (419 million years old) – Dec. 2009
    Excerpt: But the DNA was so similar to that of modern microbes that many scientists believed the samples had been contaminated. Not so this time around. A team of researchers led by Jong Soo Park of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, found six segments of identical DNA that have never been seen before by science. “We went back and collected DNA sequences from all known halophilic bacteria and compared them to what we had,” Russell Vreeland of West Chester University in Pennsylvania said. “These six pieces were unique”,,,

    These following studies, by Dr. Cano on ancient bacteria, preceded Dr. Vreeland’s work:

    “Raul J. Cano and Monica K. Borucki discovered the bacteria preserved within the abdomens of insects encased in pieces of amber. In the last 4 years, they have revived more than 1,000 types of bacteria and microorganisms — some dating back as far as 135 million years ago, during the age of the dinosaurs.,,, In October 2000, another research group used many of the techniques developed by Cano’s lab to revive 250-million-year-old bacteria from spores trapped in salt crystals. With this additional evidence, it now seems that the “impossible” is true.”

    Revival and identification of bacterial spores in 25- to 40-million-year-old Dominican amber
    Dr. Cano and his former graduate student Dr. Monica K. Borucki said that they had found slight but significant differences between the DNA of the ancient, 25-40 million year old amber-sealed Bacillus sphaericus and that of its modern counterpart,(thus ruling out that it is a modern contaminant, yet at the same time confounding materialists, since the change is not nearly as great as evolution’s ‘genetic drift’ theory requires.)

    Dr. Cano’s work on ancient bacteria came in for intense scrutiny since it did not conform to Darwinian predictions, and since people found it hard to believe you could revive something that was millions of years old. Yet Dr. Cano has been vindicated:

    “After the onslaught of publicity and worldwide attention (and scrutiny) after the publication of our discovery in Science, there have been, as expected, a considerable number of challenges to our claims, but in this case, the scientific method has smiled on us. There have been at least three independent verifications of the isolation of a living microorganism from amber.”

    In reply to a personal e-mail from myself, Dr. Cano commented on the ‘Fitness Test’ I had asked him about:
    Dr. Cano stated: “We performed such a test, a long time ago, using a panel of substrates (the old gram positive biolog panel) on B. sphaericus. From the results we surmised that the putative “ancient” B. sphaericus isolate was capable of utilizing a broader scope of substrates. Additionally, we looked at the fatty acid profile and here, again, the profiles were similar but more diverse in the amber isolate.”:
    Fitness test which compared ancient bacteria to its modern day descendants, RJ Cano and MK Borucki

    Thus, the most solid evidence available for the most ancient DNA scientists are able to find does not support evolution happening on the molecular level of bacteria. In fact, according to the fitness test of Dr. Cano, the change witnessed in bacteria conforms to the exact opposite, Genetic Entropy; a loss of functional information/complexity, since fewer substrates and fatty acids are utilized by the modern strains. Considering the intricate level of protein machinery it takes to utilize individual molecules within a substrate, we are talking an impressive loss of protein complexity, and thus loss of functional information, from the ancient amber sealed bacteria. Here is a revisit to the video of the ‘Fitness Test’ that evolutionary processes have NEVER passed as for a demonstration of the generation of functional complexity/information above what was already present in a parent species bacteria:

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – ‘Fitness Test’ – video

    Testing the Biological Fitness of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria – 2008

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:


    Thank Goodness the NCSE Is Wrong: Fitness Costs Are Important to Evolutionary Microbiology
    Excerpt: it (an antibiotic resistant bacterium) reproduces slower than it did before it was changed. This effect is widely recognized, and is called the fitness cost of antibiotic resistance. It is the existence of these costs and other examples of the limits of evolution that call into question the neo-Darwinian story of macroevolution.

    List Of Degraded Molecular Abilities Of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria:

    Evolution Vs Genetic Entropy – Andy McIntosh – video

    The first effect to be obviously noticed in the evidence, for the Genetic Entropy principle, is the loss of potential for morphological variability of individual sub-species of a kind. This loss of potential for morphological variability first takes place for the extended lineages of sub-species within a kind, and increases with time, and then gradually works in to the more ancient lineages of the kind, as the ‘mutational load’ of slightly detrimental mutations slowly builds up over time. This following paper, though of evolutionary bent, offers a classic example of the effects of Genetic Entropy over deep time of millions of years:

    A Cambrian Peak in Morphological Variation Within Trilobite Species; Webster
    Excerpt: The distribution of polymorphic traits in cladistic character-taxon matrices reveals that the frequency and extent of morphological variation in 982 trilobite species are greatest early in the evolution of the group: Stratigraphically old and/or phylogenetically basal taxa are significantly more variable than younger and/or more derived taxa.

    A general rule of thumb for the ‘Deterioration/Genetic Entropy’ of Dollo’s Law as it applies to the fossil record is found here:

    Dollo’s law and the death and resurrection of genes
    ABSTRACT: Dollo’s law, the concept that evolution is not substantively reversible, implies that the degradation of genetic information is sufficiently fast that genes or developmental pathways released from selective pressure will rapidly become nonfunctional. Using empirical data to assess the rate of loss of coding information in genes for proteins with varying degrees of tolerance to mutational change, we show that, in fact, there is a significant probability over evolutionary time scales of 0.5-6 million years for successful reactivation of silenced genes or “lost” developmental programs. Conversely, the reactivation of long (>10 million years)-unexpressed genes and dormant developmental pathways is not possible unless function is maintained by other selective constraints;

    Dollo’s Law was further verified to the molecular level here:

    Dollo’s law, the symmetry of time, and the edge of evolution – Michael Behe
    Excerpt: We predict that future investigations, like ours, will support a molecular version of Dollo’s law:,,, Dr. Behe comments on the finding of the study, “The old, organismal, time-asymmetric Dollo’s law supposedly blocked off just the past to Darwinian processes, for arbitrary reasons. A Dollo’s law in the molecular sense of Bridgham et al (2009), however, is time-symmetric. A time-symmetric law will substantially block both the past and the future.

    Some Further Research On Dollo’s Law – Wolf-Ekkehard Lonnig – November 2010

    Further facts that conform to the principle of genetic entropy:

    “According to a ‘law’ formulated by E. D. Cope in 1871, the body size of organisms in a peculiar evolutionary lineage tends to increase. But Cope’s rule has failed the most comprehensive test applied to it yet.”(body sizes tend to get smaller rather than larger)
    Stephen Gould, Harvard, Nature, V.385, 1/16/97

    “Also that mammalian life was richer in kinds, of larger sizes, and had a more abundant expression in the Pliocene than in later times.”
    Von Engeln & Caster Geology, p.19

    “Alexander Kaiser, Ph.D., of Midwestern University’s Department of Physiology,,, was the lead author in a recent study to help determine why insects, once dramatically larger than they are today, have seen such a remarkable reduction in size over the course of history.”
    Science Daily, 8/8/07

    Rare Insect Fossil Reveals 100 Million Years of Evolutionary Stasis – February 2011
    Excerpt: “Schizodactylidae, or splay-footed crickets, are an unusual group of large, fearsome-looking predatory insects related to the true crickets, katydids and grasshoppers, in the order Orthoptera,”,,, Although the fossil is distinct from today’s splay-footed crickets, its general features differ very little, Heads said, revealing that the genus has been in a period of “evolutionary stasis” for at least the last 100 million years.

    Giants among us: Paper explores evolution of the world’s largest mammals
    Excerpt: The researchers found that the pattern was indeed consistent, not only globally but across time and across trophic groups and lineages—that is, animals with differing diets and descended from different ancestors—as well.

    What is conspicuously missing in the preceding paper is any mention of the gross lack of transitional fossils between ‘kinds of mammalian species’. What is very interesting in what they do mention, is the strong emphasis they put on the consistency of larger fossils first, smaller fossils later. This finding clearly is not something that ‘random’ Darwinian evolution would predict, but is clearly something that lines up very well with the Dembski/Marks’s Law of Conservation of Information, as well as with the principle of Genetic Entropy.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:


    Don Patton – Entropy, Information, and The ‘Deteriorating’ Fossil Record – video

    This following tidbit of Genetic Entropy evidence came to me from Rude on the Uncommon Descent blog:

    At one of the few petrified forests that sports ginkgo wood, I was told by the naturalist that ginkgos are old in the fossil record—they date from the Permian back when trees were first “invented”. She said that there are many species of fossilized Ginkgoaceae, but Ginkgo biloba, is the only living species left. – Rude – Uncommon Descent

    The following site points out that there is a fairly constant, and unexplained, ‘background extinction rate’. My expectation for extinctions, at least for the majority of extinctions not brought about by catastrophes, is for the fairly constant rate of ‘background extinctions’ to be attributable directly to Genetic Entropy:

    The Current Mass Extinction
    Excerpt: The background level of extinction known from the fossil record is about one species per million species per year, or between 10 and 100 species per year (counting all organisms such as insects, bacteria, and fungi, not just the large vertebrates we are most familiar with). In contrast, estimates based on the rate at which the area of tropical forests is being reduced, and their large numbers of specialized species, are that we may now be losing 27,000 species per year to extinction from those habitats alone. The typical rate of extinction differs for different groups of organisms. Mammals, for instance, have an average species “lifespan” from origination to extinction of about 1 million years, although some species persist for as long as 10 million years.

    Psalm 104: 29-30
    You hide Your face, they are dismayed; You take away their spirit, they expire And return to their dust. You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the ground.

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