Adaptation

Bryan Fischer, former minister and current right-wing talkshow host, has concluded that he has the means of defeating Darwinism in four easy steps: first law, second law, fossils, and genes.

Isn’t that easy?

Well, not so much.

220px-Charles_Darwin_seated_crop

1. First law

By this, he means the first law of thermodynamics. Said law states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed in a closed system. Recall that matter is superconcentrated energy, as Einstein’s famous equation tells us.

456px-Einstein_1921_by_F_Schmutzer

Our universe is a closed system, and Fischer claims that this means that the universe cannot have come into existence on its own. Of course, how the universe actually did come into existence isn’t specified, other than to say, God did it, which qualifies as passing the intellectual buck.

What he also doesn’t recognize is the possibility that the universe–or the collective multiverse–always existed. There is nothing illogical in an infinite series, despite how disturbing that notion has been in Western philosophy.

2. Second law

The principle here is that closed systems tend toward disorder. Put another way, the energy of a system, while not destroyed, becomes unavailable to do work. The early work on this was done by this fellow:

220px-Clausius

one Rudolf Clausius, who gives the impression with his look that he might know something about disorder. But this law, along with the first, explains why perpetual motion machines are impossible. Energy available to do work runs down over time. Fischer claims that this invalidates the concept of evolution, but what he misses is that the law applies only to closed systems. The general entropy of the universe increases, but local regions can trend the opposite way. Our planet receives energy from the Sun, making us energy trust-fund babies.

3. Fossils

I like trilobites.

688px-Kainops_invius_lateral_and_ventral

For whatever reason, they’ve always struck me as an aesthetically pleasing creature. Unfortunately, they went extinct some 252 million years ago, but they had a good run.

Fischer claims that there are no transitional forms in the fossil record, thus the idea of gaps. This has been tossed about in the more than 150 years since Darwin’s publication, but it’s a lot of heat without light.

For one thing, every creature in existence is a transitional form from ancestors to descendents. While species may last for a long period, there is inevitable change over time, and the fossil record shows this.

And then there’s the fact that only a tiny percentage of individual creatures actually fossilize. It’s the equivalent of looking at a set of encyclopaedias and seeing C, F, P, T, U, V, and Z. The sequence is there, but a lot is missing. That doesn’t deny the sequence. It just shows that we’re missing intermediate steps. But the overall history is clear.

Of course, what Fischer doesn’t notice is that there are no trilobites in rock layers younger than 252 million years of age. It’s odd–for his beliefs, anyway–that a consistent chronology of Earth’s living organisms can be seen all over. If as his narrative insists, lots of species died off in a single global flood, we should see a jumble of fossils, instead of an orderly pattern.

4. Genes

Here, Fischer tells us that mutations never produce good results and that changes from one species to another haven’t been observed, anyway.

EscherichiaColi_NIAID

The ones pictured are E. coli, a good reason for being careful about cooking meat. But evolution is also why the antibiotic, triclosan, is becoming worthless. It’s been used in soap for too long, and some nasty germs have adapted to it. That is because individual bacteria show different combinations of genes, and those differences arise through mutation. Many mutations are bad, and those cause the death of the organism. But some are beneficial.

There’s an irony, though, that somehow I think Fischer has missed. Are you familiar with the fish symbol for Christ?

200px-Ichthus.svg

They’re ubiquitous here in the south. The Greek word, ichthus, meaning fish, just so happens to be the initials of the phrase, Jesus Christ, son of God, savior, also in Greek. And there’s the frequent references to fish in the Gospels, the story involving a lot of fisherman. As does today’s subject, Bryan Fischer, but let’s not go too far down that punny path.

The fish showed up a while ago as the original bumper ornament, existing peacefully in its natural environment. Later, a bit of speciation occurred when a cross appeared as an eye on some of these fish.

But then, due to selection pressures, new species came along:

Darwin_Fish_01.svg

And predictably, whenever a niche is filled in nature, there will come along other species to compete for those resources:

Truth_fish

More than that, new environments are exploited by new species:

800px-Gefiltefish

220px-Cthulhufish

200px-FSM_Logo_on_bumper

434px-Trekhtys.svg

Of course, the reality of nature is that if species that don’t adapt, particularly ones that can’t shed maladaptive behavior, end up like this:

308px-Hanged_Ichthys.svg

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Adaptation

  1. Flying Junior

    I guess your post has more to do with evolution than creation, but it is tangential.

    I remember as a ten-year old child pondering why there was any matter at all? I never once imagined the creation story to be true. As far as I know, they didn’t really teach it very seriously in Presbyterian Sunday School in the 1960s. Yet I am fairly sure I was agnostic bordering on atheist. The question of whether or not there was a God had no bearing on my profound thoughts about the origin of the universe.

    I finally decided that if there never had been anything, ever, no one would have even been around to think about creation. It just didn’t make sense. I figured that there simply needed to be a universe so that there could eventually be people. My favorite model was a sort of instantaneous coming into being. All of a sudden, all of the stars and planets simply began. I still think it makes about as much sense as the big band theory.

    Reply
    1. Greg Camp Post author

      Well, if the universe did pop into existence yesterday, it did so looking like a universe that’s almost fourteen billion years old that got its start in a Big Bang. But that is possible.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s