Evolution Ongoing

February 1, 2007 | By | 3 Replies More

This link is to an article on a recent example of ongoing human evolution.  It’s a month old, so many may already be aware, but I post it to point out that in the debate with IDers and Creationists, we who suspect there’s something to evolution are too often caught unprepared by the argument that there doesn’t seem to be any evolution currently going on.  In fact, there’s plenty, but most of it is in species and in ways that just fail to make any impression on critics–who cares if microbes evolve?  It has nothing to do with “us” in any visible way.  Of course, if you were unfortunate enough to be infected by drug-resistent tuberculosis, you might be persuaded to feel differently, but the point is that we don’t see BIG CHANGES happening, which is where the crux of the debate rests.  Evolution claims species evolve from other species and it’s very hard to point to something and say “See, it’s becoming a new species!”

As if it actually worked that way.

Instead, evolution works in other ways and in some instances it seems that a series of small modifications–pardon me, adaptations–over time lead to a major shift in a given species.  Such changes as the one discussed in the article, which is a detected adaptation in digestion shown to have appeared in humans–a specific human population, that is–3000 years ago.  Recent, demonstrable, and clear.

Of course, this isn’t sexy in the way a sixth finger would be or a doubling of cranial capacity or the sudden appearance of–let’s be ridiculous, shall we?–psi powers…

Such changes as digestive adaptation just don’t register with people because they can’t seem to make the connection between what seems like the development of a “tolerance” to evolution in any meaningful way.  That’s because they don’t have the knowledge base–the background information–in short, the education.

But everyone seems perfectly capable of understanding–or thinking they do–Intelligent Design without any prerequisite knowledge.  It appeals to what is laughingly misused, er, called Common Sense.  Naturally, it is never stated that the same knowledge base required to comprehend the finer points of evolution would also enable one to see why ID and Creationism are bogus.  Heaven forbid we get too smart!

In any case, here’s a smoking gun.  Take it and go forth and shoot some holes is bad arguments.

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Category: American Culture, Culture, Education, Evolution, Noteworthy, Science

About the Author ()

Mark is a writer and musician living in the St. Louis area. He hit puberty at the peak of the Sixties and came of age just as it was all coming to a close with the end of the Vietnam War. He was annoyed when bellbottoms went out of style, but he got over it.

Comments (3)

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  1. Scholar says:

    I like the gist of the post, and the article/evidence. However, I don't think the "problem" is as simple as lack of knowledge. The deep-seeded Christian beliefs become crystalized in the neural paths, and can't easily be washed away with a few new facts. Sort of like the old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". Some real truth to it, in that the brain becomes less flexible and slows its growth with aging (or lack of use).

    A paralell example would be trying to learn to play a guitar…at first the fingers (mind) are unable to play even the simplest tune. But after years of dedicated practice, your fingers will become nimble and (neural pathways) will strengthen. Eventually you will be able to play (evaluate rationally) even the most difficult tunes (concepts) skillfully.

    Lately, I've been trying to get a feel for the fundamentalist perspective (not that I agree with it, just curious about what makes em tick). It seems the "problem" is extremely complicated, and involves psychology (id, ego) and brain chemistry (release of endorphins)

    Here is a scholarly link about brain evolution
    http://www.bumc.bu.edu/Dept/Content.aspx?Departme

    and this link is informative and fascinating
    http://cognews.com/

  2. Ben says:

    This week's newsweek has one of the best (up to date) synopses of human evolution I have EVER seen…

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17542627/site/newswee

  3. Ben says:

    Looks as if a Discovery Institute henchman found (invented) flaws in last week's infamous newsweek article…

    http://www.scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2007/03

    also, see PZ's breakdown of the overwhelming Evolution evidence here…

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/06/ann_co

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