Each of these theories is an explanation that has been confirmed to such a degree, by observation and experiment, that knowledgeable experts accept it as fact.Besides clouding the judgment of the scientist, “accept[ing] it as fact” provides easy access to the next step of error – that of the unwarranted extrapolation. It should come as no surprise, then, that data which is viewed through the evolutionary paradigm is so readily attributed to the workings of evolution. Indeed, the extrapolated conclusion is, The evidence for Evolution is overwhelming. But let’s take a look at some of the visual evidence presented in the article and see if we can also identify the instances of Evolutionary Lensing and unwarranted extrapolations. The Jacobin pigeon. From the article,
Domestic breeding of fancy pigeons like the Jacobin… was [Darwin’s] analogy for selection in the wild.Consider that domestic breeding is an phenomenon guided by intelligent action. Why should an activity guided by the intentions of a mind be used as an analogy for a supposedly mindless and purposeless activity of nature? We’re shown an image of a naked mole rat (links to a Macromedia presentation). The text states,
The naked mole rat shows that mammals can evolve, like social insects, to include specialized workers and queens.If by the phrase, that mammals can evolve, they simply mean “change,” then they have a point. Change within a species is easily observed. But consider that, despite its “evolution,” the naked mole rat is still a mole rat. That it can eventually develop entirely new structures, such as fins instead of legs, is left to the realm of unwarranted extrapolation. A rendering of a flying fish is displayed, and we read,
Although the fish’s wings are rudimentary compared to a bird’s, [Darwin] realized that they derive from the same evolutionary process: They enable the fish to soar to escape predators. (emphasis added)Note the connection being made here, for it is resplendent within the evolutionary paradigm. Similar structures connote either a similar derivative process or common ancestry, or both. The Madagascan sphinx moth, with its 11 inch long proboscis, is displayed as an example of “coevolution” with that of the Madagascar orchid Angraecum sesquipedale which has an 11 inch long nectar receptacle. From the article,
Such mutual adaptation – moth to the flower, the flower to the moth – is called coevolution.Such “mutual adaptation,” a phrase inherently biased, could also be called a pre-designed system. Under the heading of Survival and Adaptation: Natural Selection, we read,
Insectivorous plants such as the Venus flytrap occupy nutrient-poor soils, where competition is less severe, and survive by supplementing their diet with captured insects.Are we to infer that because the Venus flytrap occupies nutrient-poor soils that it survived only because it evolved the ability to eat insects? A skeleton of an orangutan is shown, along with a detail of the bone structure of its hand and that of a human hand. The text,
Similarities of anatomy imply common origins. The orangutan has long arms, but its paired forearm bones resemble the radius and ulna in a human. The orangutan hand is so similar to ours that it might fit in a first-baseman’s mitt. (emphasis added)Turning the page we see a skeleton of an extinct whalelike creature called Dorudon and read,
Dating back 40 million years, it had a detached pelvis near the end of its tail and useless little legs. Like the human hand, an early whale’s front foot retains a five-fingered bone structure; a vestigial rear foot has lost several toe bones, but its very existence testifies to the whale’s descent from a four-legged ancestor. Illuminating by spotty, the fossil record is like a film of evolution from which 999 of every 1,000 frames have been lost on the cutting-room floor. Still, Gingerich and others have found dozens of intermediate forms – missing links that are no longer missing. (emphasis added)Intermediate or transitional? Do we gloss over the speed with which a supposedly wolf-like creature evolved into a whale simply because we have fossil evidence of whalelike creatures? Do similarities of structure imply common origin or do they imply common design templates? Look for examples of common templates in the world of intelligently designed objects – they’re all around you. A photo of six dead finches. Notable for the diversified sizes and shapes of their beaks, these finches are presented as evidence for evolution because,
…isolation – plus time, plus adaptation to local conditions – leads to the origin of species. It seemed more logical than assuming they had been created and placed in the Galapagos individually.Yet a logical analysis of the finches reveals that the changes found insure that they remain finches. Convergent Evolution – we see photos of a Jamaican twig anole, a Puerto Rican twig anole, and the Hispaniolan twig anole. All share a similarity in structure, yet DNA analysis reveals that they are not genetically related to each other. Conclusion? -
…such adaptations have evolved independently on the separate islands. …The lesson: Although variations occur randomly, similar ecological circumstances sometimes yield uncannily similar adaptations.Evolutionary lensing demands that we only consider evolution as the creator of the phenomenon. Unwarranted extrapolation results in the conclusion, or “lesson,” that uncannily similar adaptations are the product of evolution. In other words: 1) evolution is fact, 2) we see a particular phenomenon, 3) explanation? – Evolution. Finally, we see a photograph of a TB-infected patient, and the heading, Medical Research: How Evolution Touches You. The text,
Bacteria and viruses evolve too. Infectious agents such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, adapt quickly and acquire genetic resistance to drugs.Rather than point out the blatant Evolutionary Lensing and unwarranted extrapolation in this set of "evidence," I will leave it for the reader to discern. The final sentences of the article succinctly reveal the overarching conclusion we must logically draw from Darwin’s theory.
Peter Kibisov, a former convict in Russia, carries two enduring remnants from his prison time: a Crucifixion tattoo and drug-resistant TB. He hopes God will help him, but evolution-based science is what guides the search for an earthly cure. (emphasis added)At worst, God is dead; at the very least, he's unnecessary. How interesting it is that the author thinks the research for an earthly TB cure is driven by evolution-based science. Has he not considered why we humans should even care whether a weaker member of the species dies off? UPDATE: The Discovery Institute's Jonathan Wells has a review (of the National Geographic article) titled, National Geographic Ignores The Flaws in Darwin's Theory Also, check Phil Steiger's post, National Geographic and Evolution vs. Intelligent Design, at Every Thought Captive; and thanks to Greg Wallace's link at What Attitude Problem? UPDATE II: Another link / review at Everything I Know Is Wrong, and thanks to Touchstone Magazine's Mere Comments blog for the link.