Evolution is What?

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We recently received an accusation from an atheist that we couldn’t refute evidence for evolution because didn’t know what evolution is. He went on to say:
“You clearly don't even know what the definition of evolution is so let me make it clear. Evolution is very simply a change in allele frequency in a population of organisms over time. That's it. That definition includes loss of function mutations, lethal mutations, neutral mutations and beneficial mutations because, no matter what you've been told, evolution is not a process by which bigger and stronger and faster and better things "win" over smaller or weaker or slower or worse things. If a single organism in a population dies, that population has evolved. If a single organism lives and has more babies than another organism, that population has evolved. If a population of organisms is wiped out by disease, that species of organisms has evolved. If an entire species of organisms goes extinct, that means life has evolved. Sometimes humans can grow tails which clearly proves that we are apes.”

Editorial Comment: So let us define evolution. During the 1960’s high school textbooks pictured ape-like creatures progressively standing upright as they evolved into man and this conveyed a non-technical idea that man had ascended from lesser creatures, and was not a created being. Evolutionary tree diagrams showed amoebae at one end and man at the other, and these definitely got across the concept of living things changing from simple single celled organisms to complex and different organisms.

By the time this editor had finished three years of genetics on top of a degree in geology, the definition of evolution had evolved to be a change in allele (gene variations) frequency. However, this does not explain how living things, with genes, evolved from non-living chemicals, without genes. Neither does it explain how the large complex organisms acquired new genes that are not found in simple single celled organisms. Furthermore, if evolution is merely a change in gene frequency, what word should be used to describe the process of changing a single cell into a worm, or apes into people?

The gene frequency argument is used to confuse people by getting them to admit that because change in gene frequency does occur, therefore they can jump to the conclusion that evolution is true, so therefore creation must be wrong. But despite our atheist friend’s definition above, clever people finally figured out that events such as dying will change the gene frequency, but definitely do not cause anything to evolve as they can only leave behind the survivors that already exist. Likewise, to say that life has evolved if some species go extinct is equally absurd since it would mean that life is fully evolved only when everything is dead. Presumably the dinosaurs are now fully evolved.

Finally, due to the sheer unworkability of every suggested definition, the word evolution has evolved to mean change – any change, with the result that people conclude that if change is true, evolution must be true and therefore creation must be false. This is one more part of a trend in science to define all biological processes as evolutionary, and therefore make evolution true by definition, rather than by observation.

Therefore, we will work with the traditional definition of evolution, as understood by the general public and presented in the popular media, i.e. a process by which chemicals turned into living cells and cells then turned into more and more complex organisms, culminating with ape like creatures turning into humans, which is the real concept our atheist is on about as proved by his final statement: “Sometimes humans can grow tails which clearly proves that we are apes.” Showing that his real definition is the same one that Darwin and every evolutionist on the Discovery channel or BBC or the school board really means - that man ascended from lesser creatures, and was not a created being.

For our answer to his claim that human can grow tails, see Evolution Gene Challenge in this Fact File.

Evidence News 20 July 2011

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