Saturday, September 23, 2006

Darwin finch could disappear from Galapagos islands, etc

Darwin finch could disappear from Galapagos islands, The Independent, Daniel Howden, 22 September 2006 ...

[Graphic: Amniotic Egg, Memorial University of Newfoundland]

The Galapagos islands could be about to witness the first disappearance of a species in the 170 years since Charles Darwin's historic visit, after scientists warned that the mangrove finch has been driven to the brink of extinction. There are fewer than 50 pairs of the birds, the rarest of all of Darwin's finches, left on the group of islands. Despite occupying just one square kilometre of mangrove forest, their habitat is under threat from the arrival of humans. Darwin's finches are the primary example of evolution through natural selection and a living link to the scientific breakthrough that enabled us to understand our own ancestry. ... Darwin's finches are composed of 13 closely related species, collected during his stay on the islands in 1835. Although of a broadly similar size, the differences in the size and shape of their beaks demonstrated a high level of adaptation. Darwin did not immediately realise what he had discovered and it was only through the review of his research by the ornithologist John Gould, three years later, that the breakthrough in our understanding of evolution was made ... Now that the Peppered Moth has been discredited as "a flawed if not fraudulent experiment," "Darwin's finches" become "the primary example of evolution through natural selection" (my emphasis). But in that case, it is evidence of the failure the natural selection of random micromutations to do anything more than adapt species to a cyclically fluctuating local environment, ultimately leading to extinction! Absent Darwinist faith, it is not evidence of what created birds in the first place.

Indeed, it is evidence that directed mutations by an Intelligent Designer (who I assume is the God of the Bible) were needed to create birds in the first place, including "the flight feather of a bird, the amniotic egg" (see above) and "the avian lung" for which "no convincing explanation of how they could have evolved gradually has ever been provided" and which Michael Denton (who is an agnostic) admits "represent prima facie evidence for Divine intervention in the course of nature" (my emphasis):

"Compounding the problem was the additional challenge, to all evolutionary theories both directed and undirected, that at a gross morphological level the organic world appears to be markedly discontinuous. There are innumerable examples of complex organs and adaptations which are not led up to by any known or even, in some cases, conceivable series of feasible intermediates. In the case, for example, of the flight feather of a bird, the amniotic egg, the bacterial flagellum, the avian lung, no convincing explanation of how they could have evolved gradually has ever been provided. The morphological discontinuities and especially organs or adaptations of extreme complexity, exhibiting what Michael Behe terms `irreducible complexity,' have, ever since Darwin, provided ammunition for special creationists who have claimed that these `morphological gaps' could not have been closed gradually by natural evolutionary processes and that they represent prima facie evidence for Divine intervention in the course of nature." (Denton, M.J., "Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe," Free Press: New York NY, 1998, pp.274-275)

Odd Evolution: Crickets Lose Their Song, Livescience, Jeanna Bryner, 22 September 2006 ? In just a few generations, the male crickets on Kauai underwent a drastic genetic change that rendered them incapable of belting out courtship songs, according to a new study. Typically, male field crickets sport curved wings, and by rubbing a sharp ridge of one wing with a rough part of the other, the cricket produces a mating call. But this serenade also attracts a parasitic fly. Once the insect spots a singing cricket, it deposits larvae onto the cricket. The larvae burrow into the cricket's body, where they mature and subsequently kill the cricket as they emerge from its body. Researchers led by Marlene Zuk ... have monitored the crickets on Kauai since 1991. With each visit, the team heard fewer and fewer singing crickets. Then, in 2003 they realized the crickets were abundant but 90 percent of the males had flat wings. The scientists figure that the quiet mutation protects the crickets from the parasitic fly. But how do they attract females? Turns out, the flat-winged male crickets have altered their behavior so they can mate successfully. The song-less males rely on the few male crickets with "normal" wings. By congregating around a serenading male, the silent crickets enable females to find and mate with them. "Instead, the behavior of the flatwings allows them to capitalize on the few callers that remain, and thus escape the fly and still reproduce," Zuk said. "This is seeing evolution at work." Rather, "This is seeing" Darwinist self-deception "at work"! Like Darwin's finches, these crickets are just adapting to a local environment. They are not evolving into anything else. Again, this is evidence against naturalistic evolution and evidence for supernatural creation by an Intelligent Designer (who I assume is God).

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
Genesis 2:18-20a 18The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." 19Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. ...