by Dr. Jean Lightner
June 4, 2008Foreward by the blogger: When the members of the scientific establishment strike out at any and all who might entertain belief, faith or simply curiosity concerning the creation of the universe by "supernatural agency" i.e. God, they are almost always using the attack as a defense of Darwin's theory of evolution. They maintain almost to a person that somehow the reality of evolution - which is their religion - precludes the existence of a "sentient primal mover", i.e. God.
They also protect their dogma by lashing out at almost anyone - even members of their own establishment - who is so rash as to question the timeline which they have developed over the last century or so for settlement of the Americas, construction of Egyptian monuments and pretty much anything else which calls into question the over-all accuracy of the currently accepted archaeological and paleontological paradigms.
One of the charges frequently leveled against those who discover and seek to publish anomalous evidence is that they are playing into the hands of the creationists... or, gasp: might themselves be closet creationists.
Here is offered, for your consideration, an apparently documented article about the reality of rapid evolutionary adaptation in an animal population. Does this mean that both creation by a supernatural being and evolution can coexist?
According to Richard Dawkins in his book "The God Delusion" scientists "believe in evolution because the evidence supports it , and we would abandon it overnight if new evidence arose to disprove it."
What if the evidence supports evolution as a biological mechanism but throws into question the concept that vast eons of time are required for it to function? Will the scientists then accept, as a possibility, shorter duration of the existence of the human race?
Not likely for, as Mr. Dawkins would hasten to point out, the accepted (by science) timelines are buttressed by a wealth of other evidence of an objective nature such as C14 dating, Potassium-Argon Dating, ceramic industries, tool making complexes, dendrochronology and, in humans and other animals, DNA
The other factor, and this is the real key, is that scientists deal in logic and evidence (at least that is the claim) and creationism is based upon faith in writings (scripture, holy books and such writings) passed down through the generations and held by believers to be unquestionable divine revelation. Which means that any evidence which would throw into question the correctness of the writings must, perforce, be false. Not only false, either, but planted by the evil adversary (or even by God himself) to mislead those of weak faith.
This is a classical "Catch 22" situation: if I am a believer and I find evidence to support my belief, then, that is obviously correct information because it is in agreement with that which I KNOW to be true. Conversely evidence found which indicates that my beliefs might be in error MUST be false as my beliefs are divinely revealed truths.
Mr. Dawkins has taken issue with that mindset on the part of the faithful without regard to which religion they espouse, at least that is how I interpret his position based upon reading his book. He also has issue with many many of the things done by people who have claimed to be doing them in "The Name of God."
He has condemned the Muslim uproar and threats over the Copenhagen Cartoon Caper as well as the craven reaction by some governments and publishers. He has correctly labeled religiously motivated murder in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Israel as what it is: religious intolerance to the point of mass murder...
Anyway... Here is the lead in to the article, follow the link at the end of the excerpt for the finish and supporting documents... You might find it interesting to see how the thoughts are flowing on both sides of the doctrinal fence...
When God first created animals, he created them according to their kinds, with the ability to reproduce, and with instructions to increase in number and fill the earth (and seas; Genesis 1:20–22, 24–28). After the Flood, land animals and birds that had been preserved on the Ark again reproduced to fill the earth (Genesis 8:15–19).
Baraminologists (creation scientists who work to identify created kinds) have determined that many animals represented by a single breeding pair on the Ark have diversified so that today they are typically represented by a whole family. For example, the family Canidae is believed to be made up of animals from one baramin, a single created kind.1 This family includes dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes, and jackals. It consists of 34 species from 14 genera that are widely distributed on every continent except Antarctica, confirming that they have indeed increased in number and multiplied on the earth (cf. Genesis 8:17).2 The Bible mentions dogs,3 foxes,4 wolves,5 and possibly jackals.6,7 Both dogs and wolves are first mentioned less than a millennium after the Flood, indicating that diversification occurred very rapidly.8
Historically, evolutionists have told us that changes in living things occur at a slow, deliberate pace.9 Yet the creation model clearly requires that significant changes be able to occur quite rapidly, if necessary, as animals multiply and fill the earth. Today we see animals that have adapted to a variety of different environments and niches. Is there any scientific evidence that animals can adapt so quickly? Indeed there is! One example in lizards appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences earlier this year.10
A Change in Home
Off the coast of Croatia, in the Adriatic Sea, there are a number of islands. Near the island of Lastovo are several smaller islets. One islet, Pod Kopište, has long been home to a particular species of lizard, Podarcis sicula. In 1971, researchers moved five adult pairs of this species to a second islet, Pod Mrčaru. After some 36 years, researchers conducted a detailed study that indicated this introduced species had not only thrived, but had also undergone significant adaptive changes.
A Change in Diet and Head Shape
The lizards on the second islet, Pod Mrčaru, had longer, wider, and taller heads. In addition to the increase in size, there were also distinct changes in head shape. An increase in bite force was associated with these changes, which appear necessary to allow the lizard to adapt to a diet that is significantly higher in plant matter. While the parent population on the first islet has a low level of plant consumption (7% of diet in spring; 4% summer), the lizards on Pod Mrčaru have a much higher level (34% and 61%). Roughly half of the plant matter consumed on Pod Mrčaru is of high cellulose content, such as leaves and stems.
A Change in the Digestive Tract
Animals don’t have the ability to digest cellulose by themselves. Herbivores rely on microorganisms in their digestive tract to digest cellulose and provide them with usable nutrients. In some animals the microorganisms ferment the food in the foregut (i.e., the beginning portion of the stomach, as in ruminants, kangaroos, wallabies, and leaf-eating monkeys), while many others are hindgut fermenters. The lizards on Pod Mrčaru have a cecal valve which slows down food passage allowing the microorganisms time to ferment it in the hindgut. This structure is not present in the parent population from Pod Kopište or in a closely related species, P. melisellensis, which had previously inhabited Pod Mrčaru but has since become extinct there. The cecal valve is present in other herbivorous lizards in this family (Lacertidae). This suggests that certain structures important to the survival of an animal in one environment may not be retained in the population if they move to a different environment and the structure is no longer useful. However, the structure may reappear if conditions change and it then becomes important to survival.
Nematodes were also found in the hindgut of the lizards on Pod Mrčaru, but not in the parent population from Pod Kopište. Nematodes are a fairly common find in herbivorous lizards.11 While normally they are recognized as parasites, there has been at least one case, in bullfrog tadpoles, where a mutualistic relationship with a nematode was identified.12 In this case, the presence of the nematode was associated with greater fermentation yields and accelerated development of the tadpoles. It remains to be seen if the nematodes in the lizards have a net positive, negative, or neutral effect.
A Change in Population Density and Behavior
The population density on Pod Mrčaru appears to be much greater, likely due to the larger, more predictable food base. The social structure also seems to have changed as the lizards no longer appear to defend territories. The changes in mode of food acquisition (i.e., browsing rather than pursuing prey) and social structure may have contributed to the shorter hind limbs and lower maximal sprint speed previously observed in these lizards compared to the parent population.13
Pondering the Source of the Changes
Since the large heads and cecal valves were present in hatchlings and juveniles, the authors suspect genetic changes may underlie these differences.14 However, only mitochondrial DNA was sequenced, which was identical in both populations of P. sicula. One wonders what the source of such a genetic change might be; 36 years is hardly enough time to suspect that a beneficial random mutation might have occurred. Natural selection can only be invoked after a genetic change has occurred; it doesn’t explain the appearance of a genetic change, but can explain why it becomes more or less common in the population. The authors suggest that further studies should address other possible factors (i.e., phenotypic plasticity and maternal effects), which may account for this divergence between the two populations. Regardless of the final findings, this study clearly shows that animals can adapt rapidly, just as creationists would expect, given that God provides for His creation and intends the earth to be inhabited (Psalm 147:8, 9; Matthew 6:25–34; Isaiah 45:18).