Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears at the website TC Palm, which hosts several Florida newspapers and doesn’t bother to identify any of them, but their weather reports are for places like Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, and Stuart, Florida. It’s titled Evolution theory takes leaps that are not possible for species. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. As we usually do, we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. Okay, here we go:
The Jan. 19 letter from Dan Vignau rebutting Joseph Hagan’s Jan. 7 letter contains misinformation.
He’s talking about this: Generations of research have backed up what Darwin deduced. That was a good letter, but we never blog about those because they’re no fun. Today’s letter, however, is a different matter. It continues:
Vignau uses breeds of dogs as an example of how evolution works, but then correctly calls it selective breeding, which is NOT evolution but the forced change to an organism caused by artificial means.
We know all about it, and so did Darwin. He started with human selection of animals and farm products, which is observed to cause changes in future generations of the species involved, and then he devised a theory about how natural forces also select for inherited effects. But you know all that. Let’s read on:
It can be deliberate, as the case with dogs, or accidental, as with hake crabs of Japan.
Those crabs are a good example of unintended selection by humans, and we’ve never seen the subject mentioned by one of these letter-writers before. Carl Sagan referred to them in his famous “Cosmos” series on television. Wikipedia mentions that in their article on Heikegani. See also Samurai Crabs. The letter continues:
Vignau states Charles Darwin didn’t have a theory until he visited an isolated area with life-forms never seen before. Not quite.
Yes, quite. Darwin’s five-year round-the-world voyage on the Beagle occurred when he was right out of divinity school. He didn’t conceive of his theory of natural selection until he read Malthus, a couple of years after his return home. Here’s more:
What Darwin found, among other things, were finches of many different species unlike those anywhere else.
Good grief! Darwin found a whole boatload of specimens, and the finches were relatively trivial — although much has been made of them since. Moving along:
As a side note, all the finches were, in fact, the same species. Darwin based his findings on the differences in the beaks. Recent research has shown they are all the same species but have adapted different beaks to coincide with the niches to which they have adapted.
Darwin had considerably more evidence than those finches. By the way, they’ve been classified into several species — and technically they’re not finches. You can read about them here: Darwin’s finches. Another excerpt from today’s letter:
As with many others, some use “evolution” to describe what is really adaptation. There have never been any data showing evolution itself. Evolution, the idea that everything evolved from a simple organism to the more complex, has never been observed anywhere in nature.
How does “adaptation” occur, and how does that differ from evolution? The letter-writer doesn’t tell us. As for his claim that evolution has never been observed, we won’t bother refuting that again; we’ve done it too many times already. On with the letter:
This is where the second law of thermodynamics comes into play. It is correct to state that evolution violates the second law since this law is a statement on entropy. Everything runs down, not up. Evolution, by definition, is an upward process. Therefore, it violates this law.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We won’t waste your time refuting that either. Besides, the letter-writer is obviously correct — that’s why the whole universe is nothing more than plasma. That ol’ second law has degraded everything. And now we come to the end:
Cats don’t become dogs; mice don’t become elephants. There is no proof of evolution from lower to higher forms of life or from one family of animals to another as required by evolution.
So there you are, dear reader. Cats don’t become dogs, adaptation isn’t evolution, and the second law of thermodynamics too. This was quite a letter.
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