Something interesting came up today. A fairly normal creationist troll popped up at Panda’s Thumb and began demanding evidence for micro-evolution. Yep, not content with just demanding proof of macro-evolution, he wanted evidence of micro-evolution.
I find this quite interesting, even Intelligent Design proponents accept micro-evolution. Heck, most Young Earth Creationists accept micro-evolution. They have to accept it to get from 2 wolves/dogs to the several hundred breeds of dog we have today.
This particular thread is just comedy gold. Since the mods have shut down the thread (with good reason might I add, the guy is a troll and refuses to learn after literally years of saying the same thing), I thought I would deal with his mistakes here.
The first problem is that he demands evidence for micro-evolution defined as “any slight change in species accomplished by an unguided/unintelligent natural process.”
So, I asked him if he would accept evidence using the correct definition of micro-evolution rather than his incorrect form. I asked him four times and he only acknowledged the question after the third time saying he would address it in the next post. He did not.
What is a real definition of micro-evolution*?
Microevolution is a change in gene frequency within a population over time.
Microevolution is simply a change in gene frequency within a population.
Microevolution refers to evolution that occurs at or below the level of species, such as a change in the gene frequency of a population of organisms or the process by which new species are created (speciation).
Definition – study of evolution within species, evolution at the level of populations, changes in gene frequencies in populations, populations must be variable for evolution to occur, variability among individuals must have a genetic basis
OK, that’s two encyclopedias and two universities. I see nothing about ‘undirected’ or ‘unintelligent natural process’.
Do you want to know why ‘undirected’ isn’t in there, it’s because evolution is directed. But not in the way people think about ‘directed’. There isn’t an “Intelligent Designer” saying ‘go forth and subdue the Earth’.
The direction comes from selection. And for almost the entire history of the Earth, there was no intelligence to select.
Look at it this way, you have two organisms that are quite similar. However, there is some subtle difference. One of the organisms dies, the other survives and reproduces. That difference has been selected, not by an intelligent agent, but by the environment that the organisms inhabit.
So, I think we can see that no one, and certainly no Biologist would accept his definition of micro-evolution. He is demanding evidence for something that doesn’t exist (this is called a strawman and is a logical fallacy).
Before I get into the evidence for actual evolution, I would like to comment on one additional mistake this particular creationist makes.
Antibiotic resistance causes great harm to people. Your comments do not make sense.
This was made in response to a comment by another poster that antibiotics and the generation of a process in bacteria to use citrate as a fuel. (This is a one sentence description of a multi-page series of threaded comments. You can read them at the Panda’s Thumb link above.)
Unfortunately, what the creationist fails to understand is that humans are not the sole living thing on the planet. Nor are we the reason for everything else on the planet to exist. Bacteria existed long before we did and will continue living on this planet until the sun grows into a red giant and swallows the Earth. Humans, I doubt will last that long.
You see, bacteria don’t give a rat’s left testicle about humans. Go ask a bacteria, they can’t even identify humans. All they care about is living and reproducing… which is basically what all living things care about (with minor allowances given for some primates).
The reason the quoted statement about makes no sense is that we cannot judge the bacteria’s success and fitness by it’s effect on us. That would be like judging the fitness of a dump truck in it’s ability to bring three young children to school each morning. That’s not what it does.
If a bacteria infects a human and survives the assault of the immune system and further survives the assault of the chemical antibiotics, that is one highly fit bacteria. Yes, it makes us sick. That’s what it does and it’s bloody good at it. It’s unfortunate for the human infected, but well, we’re not judging the human now are we.
Am I making sense?
OK, now for the evidence of micro-evolution. Ready?
It’s a whopper.
You might want to sit down.
Stunning revelation about to unfold.
That’s right. Truly amazing isn’t it. But not just any parent, I actually have two parents that both contributed genes to me. Now look at the one thing that all those real definitions of micro evolution have in common.
“the change in frequency of genes in a population”
So, when I was born, the number of ‘A’ blood genes increased by 1. Also, the number of ‘B’ blood genes increased by 1. That’s a change in the frequency of genes in a population. Microevolution.
When one of my parents dies, the genes that the parent carried will be removed from the population and the frequency of genes in the population will change again. Microevolution.
It really is that simple. But I predict that you guys want something a little more than that.
So, time for a squee picture.
The original Scottish Fold was a white barn cat named Susie, who was found at a farm near Coupar Angus in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1961. Susie’s ears had an unusual fold in their middle, making her resemble an owl. When Susie had kittens, two of them were born with folded ears, and one was acquired by William Ross, a neighbouring farmer and cat-fancier. Ross registered the breed with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in Great Britain in 1966 and started to breed Scottish Fold kittens with the help of geneticist Pat Turner. The breeding program produced 76 kittens in the first three years—42 with folded ears and 34 with straight ears. The conclusion from this was that the ear mutation is due to a simple dominant gene; if one parent provides the gene for straight ears, and one parent provides the gene for folded ears, the kittens will be Folds.
Micro-evolution right there. A novel mutation that caused the ears to change shape. No, it doesn’t matter if the mutation is beneficial or deleterious to the organism. This a novel gene, we can pinpoint the time, place, heck the organism, in which the mutation took place.
The frequency of this gene went from ZERO to 1. That’s a massive increase in the frequency of genes in a population. Yep, that’s micro-evolution all right.
There you go, every new thing in an organisms population and every birth or death is an example of microevolution… as correctly defined.
* I’m still not a fan of the designation of ‘micro’ and ‘macro’ evolution for reasons I’ve discussed earlier.