Selection vs. Evolution

12/11/07 at 9:52 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Well, they’re at it again, trying to hammer speculation and inference down our throats. Foxnews gave a report on some propaganda from the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. EVOLUTION IS ACCELERATING! Watch out or it may crash!

As a (formerly) well-trained scientist, I was under the impression that evolution arises from mutations, where a mutation is some unexpected change in a living organism (i.e. a newborn with a second eye where only one was expected, lungs where there used to be gills). Let’s see if this report describes mutations:

Most anthropologists agree that humans first evolved in Africa and then spread to other areas, and the lighter skin color of Europeans and Asians is generally attributed to selection to allow more absorption of vitamin D in colder climates where there is less sun.The increase in human population from millions to billions in the last 10,000 years accelerated the rate of evolution because “we were in new environments to which we needed to adapt,” (Henry C.) Harpending (an anthropologist at the University of Utah) adds. “And with a larger population, more mutations occurred.”

In another example, the researchers noted that in China and most of Africa, few people can digest fresh milk into adulthood.

Lighter skin color, need to adapt, better able to digest milk … sounds like selection rather than evolution to me. Anyone who has worked with farm animals and husbandry can tell you the difference. Modern turkeys today raised on a factory farm barely resemble their wild “cousins”. The farm turkeys are so top-heavy from their enlarged chests (more white meat!) that they run the risk of literally falling and not being able to get back up. That is selection and not a mutation.

Two years ago Harpending and colleague Gregory M. Cochran published a study arguing that above-average intelligence in Ashkenazi Jews — those of northern European heritage — resulted from natural selection in medieval Europe, where they were pressured into jobs as financiers, traders, managers and tax collectors. Those who were smarter succeeded, grew wealthy and had bigger families to pass on their genes, they suggested. That evolution also is linked to genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs and Gaucher in Jews.

It’s funny (strange) how in the same paragraph they go from “natural selection” to “that evolution”. I think it’s more than just semantics, as there is this desire from anthropologists and others to actually put their hands on something they can call “evolution”, rather than relying on digging stuff out of the ground and dealing with gaps in the ‘logical’ progression of amoebas to men.

While it’s fascinating to see how man has changed over the millenia, let’s not delude ourselves into thinking we’re evolving. God has blessed men with plenty of variety and different capabilities in order to survive and thrive in the different parts of the world He created.

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