"Instant" Evolution Seen in Darwin's Finches, Study Says, National Geographic, Mason Inman, July 14, 2006
[Graphic: Daphne is the tiny island nearest the "23" on this map of the Galapagos Islands (click to enlarge).
Continued from part #1.]
In 1982 the large ground finch [Geospiza magnirostris] arrived on the tiny Galápagos island of Daphne [As the article says further on, the ancestor of these finches arrives on the Galapagos Islands "about two to three million years ago," so clearly this is not the first time that the large ground finch has arrived on Daphne! Indeed, the same cycle of events has presumably re-occurred at least every ~100 years, in which case it has happened ~200-300 thousand times! In which case, this is not evidence of "evolution" but of stasis, the absence of evolution!], just east of the island of San Salvador (map of the Galápagos).
Since then the medium ground finch [Geospiza fortis], a long-time Daphne resident, has evolved to have a smaller beak - apparently as a result of direct competition with the larger bird for food. [Continuing with the routine Darwinists Fallacy of Equivocation on the word "evolution" (and its cognates). Here again "evolution" (i.e. "evolved") merely means: 2) a minor change in a single characteristic (i.e. beak size) in a species of finch. Note that "evolved" can be both a smaller and a larger average size beak in a particular population. When (not if) the average size of the beaks of the G. fortis population on Daphne island increases again, no doubt there will be triumphant articles announcing that "Finch Beaks Say Darwin Was Right"! Since "evolution" can go in any and all directions, and Darwinism `predicts' all of them, up, Darwin is always `right'!]
Evolutionary theory had previously suggested that competition between two similar species can drive the animals to evolve in different directions. [See previous. And if they did not "evolve in different directions," then no doubt "Evolutionary theory" would have suggested that too!]
But until now the effect had never been observed in action in the wild. [Presumably they mean only for Galapagos finches? But if they are saying that this "character displacement" had "never been observed in action in the wild" in any animal species, then it would show how little Darwinism is supported by empirical evidence.]
In the new study Princeton's Peter and Rosemary Grant closely tracked the two related species for decades. [This also shows how, if a scientific experiment is not supposed to be fully accepted until it has been independently duplicated by other researchers, who are trying to falsify the original experiment, Darwinism falls short. Who is going to track these "two related species for decades" on the Galapagos to see if the Grants were right? Who would even dare to try to falsify research that supported Darwinism? And even if there was someone who was willing to do it and they could obtain funding, if their results contradicted that of the Grants, then it would no doubt be dismissed as "different conditions," etc, etc. Note that this is not saying that the Grants are dishonest, but it is a fundamental principle of science that scientists who want something to be true, unconsciously will notice evidence for it and not notice evidence against it. That is precisely why randomised `blind' experiments that are repeated many times and able to be repeated by others has the highest credibility in science.
As it happens, this very month, Scientific American's resident `skeptic', avowed atheist Darwinist Michael Shermer, has pontificated on about "confirmation bias, whereby we seek and find confirmatory evidence in support of already existing beliefs and ignore or reinterpret disconfirmatory evidence" and bragged about "In science we have built-in self-correcting machinery. Strict double-blind controls are required in experiments, in which neither the subjects nor the experimenters know the experimental conditions during the data-collection phase":
"This surety is called the confirmation bias, whereby we seek and find confirmatory evidence in support of already existing beliefs and ignore or reinterpret disconfirmatory evidence. ... The implications of the findings reach far beyond politics. A jury assessing evidence against a defendant, a CEO evaluating information about a company or a scientist weighing data in favor of a theory will undergo the same cognitive process. What can we do about it? In science we have built-in self-correcting machinery. Strict double-blind controls are required in experiments, in which neither the subjects nor the experimenters know the experimental conditions during the data-collection phase. Results are vetted at professional conferences and in peer-reviewed journals. Research must be replicated in other laboratories unaffiliated with the original researcher. Disconfirmatory evidence, as well as contradictory interpretations of the data, must be included in the paper. Colleagues are rewarded for being skeptical. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. We need similar controls for the confirmation bias in the arenas of law, business and politics. Judges and lawyers should call one another on the practice of mining data selectively to bolster an argument and warn juries about the confirmation bias. CEOs should assess critically the enthusiastic recommendations of their VPs and demand to see contradictory evidence and alternative evaluations of the same plan. Politicians need a stronger peer-review system that goes beyond the churlish opprobrium of the campaign trail, and I would love to see a political debate in which the candidates were required to make the opposite case. Skepticism is the antidote for the confirmation bias." (Shermer, M., "The Political Brain," Scientific American, July 2006)
So presumably Shermer would agree that Darwinists like the Grants who are sufficiently motivated to spend decades living on and travelling to a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific to measure the beaks of finches, would qualify for a "confirmation bias, whereby" they "seek and find confirmatory evidence in support of already existing beliefs and ignore or reinterpret disconfirmatory evidence"?
If so, then where are the "Strict double-blind controls are required in experiments, in which neither the subjects nor the experimenters know the experimental conditions during the data-collection phase"? Where is the "Research [that] must be replicated in other laboratories unaffiliated with the original researcher"? Where is the "Disconfirmatory evidence, as well as contradictory interpretations of the data, [that] must be included in the paper?
If they are not there, and their being there is a defining quality of "science", then presumably Shermer would agree (if he was consistent) that these experiments, and almost all experiments in evolutionary biology, where "unlike `harder' scientists" evolutionary biologists "usually cannot resolve issues with a simple experiment, such as adding tube A to tube B and noting the color of the mixture":
"In science's pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics. For evolutionary biology is a historical science, laden with history's inevitable imponderables. We evolutionary biologists cannot generate a Cretaceous Park to observe exactly what killed the dinosaurs; and, unlike `harder' scientists, we usually cannot resolve issues with a simple experiment, such as adding tube A to tube B and noting the color of the mixture." (Coyne, J.A., "The fairy tales of evolutionary psychology." Review of "A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion," by Randy Thornhill & Craig T. Palmer, MIT Press, 2000. The New Republic, March 4, 2000)
would not qualify as "science"?!
And also, if "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," then Shermer should agree (but his ultimate "confirmation bias"as an atheist would prevent him from doing so) that Darwinism, "the standard scientific theory" which makes the most "extraordinary claims," including that: 1) "human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life," (which I accept); and 2) "but God had no part in this process" (my emphasis):
"In one of the most existentially penetrating statements ever made by a scientist, Richard Dawkins concluded that `the universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.' Facing such a reality, perhaps we should not be surprised at the results of a 2001 Gallup poll confirming that 45 percent of Americans believe `God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so'; 37 percent prefer a blended belief that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process'; and a paltry 12 percent accept the standard scientific theory that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.'" (Shermer M.B., "The Gradual Illumination of the Mind," Scientific American, February 2002. My emphasis)
that we are going to need much better evidence than the cyclical variations in the size of finch beaks on the Galapagos, which have presumably been fluctuating back and forth for the last "two to three million years" and going nowhere!]
Continued in part #3.