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MSNBC’s Birthday Present to Charles Darwin: Puff-Pieces on Evolution (Part 2)

As part of their celebration of Darwin’s 200th birthday, MSNBC has been printing puff-pieces promoting evolution. In Part 1, I discussed their piece using weak and controversial evidence documenting the alleged dinosaur to bird transition. In this section, I’ll be discussing another little piece they published, “Seven signs of evolution in action.” This piece takes very little time to rebut, and those familiar with weak arguments used to buttress evolution in this debate will likely be able to guess the arguments used in the “Seven signs” piece simply by my rebuttal. In fact, the interesting part about this piece is not so much the rebuttal, but the quality of evidence that MSNBC is using to promote evolution:

7 Signs of Microevolution in Action

  • Sign # 1: Darwin’s finches are evidence for trivial microevolution.
  • Sign # 2: If humans are doing the selecting, then it isn’t natural selection — it’s artificial selection!
  • Sign # 3: Humans aren’t evolving — we are only getting taller/stronger/healthier due to a better diet / living condition etc. Since this type of change doesn’t affect our DNA, it isn’t true “evolution” unless you’re a Lamarckian. It’s for this reason that many scientists have proclaimed that human evolution is now effectively over!
  • Sign # 4: Bacterial resistance is a common and is a trivial form of evolution.
  • Sign # 5: Longer legs in toads? Again, this is microevolution. And the legs were only 6% longer — when you’re dealing with legs that are only a few inches long anyways, we’re talking about millimeters of change. This is not impressive evolution.
  • Sign # 6: As for flatfish evolution, we discussed this a long time ago at National Geographic Finds Opportunity to Conflate Intelligent Design with Creationism while Misreporting Fish Fossil.
  • Sign # 7: A type of lizard that is “dropping their limbs”? Ignoring the inconvenient truth that Australian skinks DO have quite functional limbs, at best this provides evidence for loss of function. How about explaining gain of function?

In the third and fourth installments, I’ll discuss MSNBC’s longer piece pushing allegedly transitional forms from the fossil record.


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.