When Darwin was developing his theory, the age of the earth was not well understood. Darwin himself advocated a 400 million year or more age for the earth, which he considered to be required for the new species to evolve. Not surprisingly, arguments that the earth must be younger were one of Darwin’s “sorest troubles.” As Cherry Lewis of the University of Bristol has explained, “The age of the Earth was hugely important for people like Darwin who needed enormous amounts of time in which evolution could occur. As Thomas Huxley, Darwin’s chief advocate said: ‘Biology takes its time from Geology’.”
Eventually those arguments fell by the wayside and in the twentieth century the age of the earth was extended into the billions of years. All was well as evolution had its much needed deep time. You can read more about this here. The point is that because evolution is based on random chance, it would require a very long time to construct biology’s many wonders.
But a century later the story is changing. What science reveals is remarkable changes can come about in only a few years time as populations respond to environmental shifts and challenges. The reason such change can arise quickly because it is not by chance. It is not brought about by random mutations undergoing natural selection. Instead, it is directed by complex adaptation mechanisms, built-in to the species.
Amazingly, the response of evolutionists has been to claim this is yet more proof of evolution. They do this by equivocating on evolution.
The definition of evolution
As we have pointed out before the word evolution can take on different meanings. Probably the most concise definition of evolution is: the origin of species by strictly natural means. More generally evolution refers to cosmological origins as well as biological origins. In other words, the naturalistic origin of everything.
For centuries now theologians, philosophers and scientists have insisted upon the truth of this naturalistic origin of the world for religious reasons. Today we simply say that evolution is a fact. The problem, however, is that the origin of species by strictly natural means runs afoul of the science. Over and over evolution’s explanations and expectations turn up false or unlikely. One problem, such as with the evening primrose, is that the biological change we do observe tends to be in the form of rapid and effective directed adaptations to environmental changes brought about by built-in sophisticated mechanisms.
Not only is this change not caused by chance events such as random mutations, but evolution does not explain scientifically how such sophisticated adaptation mechanisms could have evolved in the first place.
So one strategy evolutionists have adopted is simply to redefine evolution merely as change over time, or as changes in allele frequencies over time. You can see examples of this here, here, here and here.
Of course such definitions are vacuous and trivial. Indeed they would render creationism as a form of evolution. But they make evolution undeniably true. And they immediately transform contradictory findings, such as directed adaptations, from problems to confirmations. This brings us to the problem of evolutionary blowback.
Evolution is motivated and justified by theological concerns. As such evolution is a vector for religious influence and control of science. But the harm does not stop there. To absorb and sustain science’s many refutations of their dogma, evolutionists equivocate on evolution and redefine it as the unfalsifiable concept of change over time. Consequently all new findings, no matter how contradictory, are simply interpreted as some new form of evolution, no matter how absurd.
In the evening primrose study, evolutionists now use the term real-time evolution as a euphemism for the observed rapid adaptation. As one report explained, “evolution can happen more quickly than was previously assumed, even over a single generation.” The report also included explanations from evolutionist Marc Johnson making clear the equivocation:
Johnson says that evolution, which is simply a change in genotype frequency over time, was observed in all plots after only a single generation. … “What this research shows is that changes in these plant populations were not the result of genetic drift, but directly due to natural selection by insects on plants,” says Johnson. “It also demonstrates how rapidly evolutionary change can occur -- not over millennia, but over years, and all around us.”
It is the ultimate form of blowback. Evolution is redefined as mere genetic change over time and so then mere genetic change over time becomes yet more confirmation of evolution. The evening primrose response to the lack of insects is not interpreted scientifically as an adaptation, but rather as a demonstration of evolution, even real-time evolution.
Of course there is nothing in these new findings to suggest the adaptations of the evening primrose could somehow accumulate to provide the large-scale changes evolution requires to explain the origin of species. Indeed evolutionists have no scientific explanation for such large-scale and complexity occurring spontaneously, as they claim it must have.
But none of that matters because evolution is now genetic change over time. When it comes to confirming evolution, evolutionists point to the trivial. And then when it comes interpreting evolution, evolutionists insist it is a fact that the biological world arose by itself. Should we laugh or cry?
Religion drives science, and it matters.