Interbreeding and Hybridizationlatest such study, published in February of this year, describes how a particular protein affects the embryonic development of the finch’s beak. All of this makes for a good case study in adaptation. Unfortunately, it also is a good case study in the misrepresentation of science by evolutionists.
The Grant’s observations of how the Galápagos finches adjusted to shifts in the food supply led to four important findings: the adaptation was rapid, preexisting, cyclical and complicated.
First, the finch populations adjusted to food supply changes just as the temperature in a room changes with your setting of the thermometer. Adjust the thermometer upward and the temperature in a room soon rises. Adjust the thermometer downward and the room cools. The one tracks the other. The finches were not randomly searching some design space—a process which would require long periods of time.
In fact, second, the finch populations were not finding any new designs that were not already present. Just as the room temperature varies between the same old values, the G. fortis shifted between preexisting beak shapes and sizes.
So not surprisingly, third, the G. fortis beak design oscillated back and forth along a cyclical trajectory, morphing between preexisting designs, as the weather and food supply oscillated.
Finally, fourth, these beak designs are varied by extremely complex embryonic development mechanisms. The latest paper, for instance, reports on the ALX1 gene which encodes a transcription factor that influences the finch beak shape and size.
What is a transcription factor? It is a protein that binds to special places in the DNA and regulates gene expression. In other words, a transcription factor is a protein that regulates the creation of other proteins. That is a complicated affair, but the story does not end there. The latest paper finds that this gene must have been transferred between species via hybridization events.
All of these four findings are directly opposed to evolutionary theory and expectations. The process is supposed to be slow, not rapid. The process is supposed to construct new designs, not choose from preexisting ones. The process is supposed to continue off in a direction and arrive at new species, not oscillate back and forth. And the process is supposed to arise naturally, from brute, simple events. The process is not supposed to be based on complex, preexisting, mechanisms.
None of this makes any sense on evolution. In fact Darwin was persuaded that the finches were powerful evidence for evolution because they were different species, not mere variants. In other words, for Darwin they were powerful evidence because, he believed, they did not interbreed.
But interbreeding between the finches is precisely what science has been finding. In this case, the adapting beaks are influenced by the hybridization of the ALX1 gene. Precisely the opposite of the premise which led to the celebration of the Galápagos finches as compelling evidence for evolution in the first place.
Nonetheless, evolutionists have consistently misrepresented the story of the Galápagos finches as an ongoing, powerful modern day confirmation of Darwin’s findings and arguments. The Wall Street Journal calls the new finding “a vivid illustration of evolution working,” and Science Daily informs readers that changes in the finches beaks are “all driven by Darwinian selection.” The new paper, meanwhile, begins with the statement that Darwin’s finches “constitute an iconic model for studies of speciation and adaptive evolution.”
I don’t mind if evolution is true, but I do mind defending it, or any scientific theory, with gross misrepresentations of the evidence.