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Darwin’s Failed Predictions, Slide 4: “The role of natural selection in evolution is controversial among scientists (continued)” (from JudgingPBS.com)

Casey Luskin

[Editor’s Note: This is slide 4 in a series of 14 slides available at JudgingPBS.com, a new website featuring “Darwin’s Failed Predictions,” a response to PBS-NOVA’s online materials for their “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” documentary.]

As discussed in Slide #1, proponents of Darwinism often employ the “Evolution” Bait-and-Switch, using evidence for small-scale changes and then over-extrapolating to claim that such modest evidence proves Darwin’s grander claims. In fact, this is precisely what PBS does in its online materials for “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial.”

A PBS web slide asserts, “Evolution happens through natural selection,” and then goes on to discuss small-scale changes in the sizes of beaks in finches on the Galapagos Islands as supporting evidence. Such small-scale changes do not demonstrate that natural selection can cause large-scale evolutionary changes, such as the origin of new body plans or perhaps even the origin of new species. In fact, all of the finch species in the Galapagos Islands remain so genetically similar that they can interbreed after millions of years of alleged evolutionary change.

If anything, the Galapagos finches demonstrate the limits of natural selection. Beak sizes increased during a drought, yet when the drought ended, finch-beaks predictably returned to their normal sizes. As biologist Jonathan Wells observes in Icons of Evolution, the bait-and-switch occurs when “evidence for oscillating natural selection in finch beaks is claimed as evidence for the origin of finches in the first place.”1 Are such Darwinist extrapolations warranted? According to UC Berkeley law professor and Darwin-critic Phillip Johnson, “When our leading scientists have to resort to the sort of distortion that would land a stock promoter in jail, you know they are in trouble.”2

References Cited:
1. Jonathan Wells, Icons of Evolution: Why Much of what we teach about evolution is wrong, page 174 (Regnery, 2000).
2. Phillip Johnson, “The Church of Darwin,” The Wall Street Journal (August, 16, 1999).


Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



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