googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: What are we talking about anyway?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What are we talking about anyway?

I’m so excited about having a creation blog that I’m not sure where to begin. There’s so much I could talk about but perhaps it’s best to start with some terminology.

On these blogs, I’m going to be using the word, evolutionist quite a bit. For clarity’s sake, an evolutionist is any person (whether a layman or scientist of any discipline) who believes in the creation of life or the universe through natural, gradual processes. Likewise, a creationist is a person who believes in the miraculous intervention of God in creation (that’s is, a sudden creation – not a God-guided evolution). There are different varieties of creationists; I'm a young-earth creationist (YEC).

Now my biggest pet peeve is over the definition of evolution. There are many definitions of evolution but probably the most popular currently is, “a change in the gene pool of a population over time” or more specifically, “any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.” But there exists in that definition a kind of bait-and-switch.

When most people think of evolution, they understand it to mean the common descent of all present biodiversity from a supposed single ancestor over hundreds of millions of years. In other words, you start with something that looks like a bacterium and, through tiny changes in each generation over long periods of time, you end up with a horse, a tree, a bird, a man, etc.

The danger in the above definition is that when any kind of change is observed in a population, then it is cited as evidence for common descent. Has anyone heard of the peppered moth study? It appears in nearly every public school science textbook as an example of “evolution in action.” It’s so easy to find that I won’t detail it here but basically, a population of moths changed from mostly light, to mostly dark, to mostly light again in response to changes in the environment. Now this fit’s the definition of evolution given above so they’re correct in saying this is “evolution.” Here’s where the bait-and-switch comes in: Evolution is change, we see change, therefore all life has a common ancestor. Incredible!!

Here’s how I see it. What happened with the pepper moths is natural selection. Natural selection is an observed phenomenon wherein animals become adapted to their environment. This is accomplished because those traits not suited to an environment are eliminated (sometimes called "survival of the fittest"). In the case of the peppered moths, the dark moths stood out against the trees while the white moths were camouflaged. Therefore the dark moths were more often eaten. This isn’t really rocket science. If I started with a population of mice, then killed every poor critter that wasn’t born white, I’d eventually end up with a population of white mice. Duh! So we see that natural selection is the ELIMINATION of traits from a population.

But for evolution to happen, animals must ACQUIRE traits. For a dinosaur to become a bird, for example, it must acquire feathers. The supposed first ancestor did not have feathers - or hair, scales, or even skin. It did not have bones or muscles. It did not have a heart, brain, lungs, or any organ. For a bacterium to evolve into everything we see around us, it had to acquire traits all along the way.

What we observe, natural selection, is the exact opposite of evolution. We see animals losing traits all the time. We don’t see animals acquiring traits.

The next time you hear people describing evolution as “change” remember that not all change is equal. Animals losing traits cannot turn a molecule into a man. It doesn’t matter how long you wait. You can’t build a company by losing a little bit of money each year. It doesn’t matter how long you work at it.

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