Here’s an article about Chernobyl. Quite fascinating—and extremely long!! The pertinent pages are the last two: pp. 6-7. The biologist working at Chernobyl is studying the effects of cesium and strontium, presumably the by-products of fission present at Chernobyl after the reactor failure. It’s been 25 years since the accident. They’ve been studying animals for 17.
What are the results? For the most part, life is abundant at Chernobyl. It’s become a new Garden of Eden (less man, for the most part). But NO new life forms.
What about changed life forms? Well, . . . yes. Here’s what they say:
On the surface, Igor says, the wildlife seems to be thriving, but under the fur and hide, the DNA of most species has become unstable. They’ve eaten a lot of food contaminated with cesium and strontium. Even though the animals look fine, there are differences at the chromosomal level in every generation, as yet mostly invisible. But some have started to show: there are bird populations with freakishly high levels of albinism, with 20 percent higher levels of asymmetry in their feathers, and higher cancer rates. There are strains of mice with resistance to radioactivity—meaning they’ve developed heritable systems to repair damaged cells. Covered in radioactive particles after the disaster, one large pine forest turned from green to red: seedlings from this Red Forest placed in their own plantation have grown up with various genetic abnormalities. They have unusually long needles, and some grow not as trees but as bushes. The same has happened with some birch trees, which have grown in the shape of large, bushy feathers, without a recognizable trunk at all.
All of these documented changes are defects of one kind or another, making them “less fit” in normal populations. This is true of the animals more than for the plants; but even for the plant life present, what good is a birch tree without a trunk? Can you call it a tree?
Now, with all the great amount of variety that mutations can cause in such an irradiated environment, one would think that this would be a great place for Darwinian mechanisms to work their ‘magic’. But that is not what we see. We see deterioration. We see life becoming less fit, not more. We don’t see new species; we see old species that have become bizarre, with “genetic abnormalities”.
And, yet, we know that the lizard species transplanted from one Adriatic island to another back in the 70’s, in but 35 years, became “more fit”, growing “cecal valves” in its stomach, becoming larger, having larger jaws, and changing its behavior patterns. Roughly the same amount of time. One location where the mutations (= genetic variation) form at the normal rate, and another one where mutations form at a much higher rate(= greater genetic variation). But NS supposedly works on genetic variation, and the more variation there is, then the more beneficial changes that are expected.
So what happened? How do you get more change than any kind of Darwinian mechanism can explain (given the time span involved) rendering a species “more fit”, whereas in a location where Darwinian ‘magic’ should be going a ‘mile-a-minute” everything becomes “less fit”? Could there possibly be something wrong in positing Darwinian mechanisms to explain positive morphological change?
Oh, no. That couldn’t possibly be the case. Why? Because “nothing makes sense” without evolution. Just ask an evolutionary biologist.
N.B. I did ask a very well-known evolutionary biologist to explain the changes seen in the lizard species. He never answered the question. And when I pressured him about it on his blog, he simply erased my post from his blog and blocked me out. Ah, yes, the search for truth, wherever it takes us . . . . . .