Secrets Of The TradeUnderstanding Evolution” website has a surprising number of errors. One of the more egregious ones is on a page that is intended to clarify the concept of natural selection. It is entitled “Misconceptions about natural selection,” but it begins with what is perhaps the worst of all: “natural selection can produce amazing adaptations.”
While it is true that the species display a wide assortment of amazing adaptations, they have nothing to do with natural selection. Remember the chameleon that changes color? A recent study discovered the incredible mechanism responsible behind it:
Many chameleons, and panther chameleons in particular, have the remarkable ability to exhibit complex and rapid colour changes during social interactions such as male contests or courtship. It is generally interpreted that these changes are due to dispersion/aggregation of pigment-containing organelles within dermal chromatophores. Here, combining microscopy, photometric videography and photonic band-gap modelling, we show that chameleons shift colour through active tuning of a lattice of guanine nanocrystals within a superficial thick layer of dermal iridophores.
Wow—active tuning of a lattice of guanine nanocrystals. Biology students will recognize guanine as one of the four main bases used to form the chemical letters in our DNA. The chameleon forms crystals of guanine to control the reflected light. In an outer layer of skin, the chameleon has guanine nanocrystals in a triangular shape in special light-reflecting cells called chromatophores. Then, in a deeper layer the chromatophores contain brick-shaped guanine nanocrystals. The active control occurs in the outer skin layer. Using some sort of cell signaling, such as hormones, the triangular guanine nanocrystals are excited, altering the crystal spacing and with it the wavelength of the reflected light and so changing color.
It is a fantastic mechanism and, needless to say, natural selection plays no role in it.
What about the origin of this mechanism? Did it evolve via random mutations and natural selection? According to the paper it did. In fact the authors write that they have demonstrated such an incredible feat:
Combining histology, electron microscopy and photometric videography techniques with numerical band-gap modelling, here we show that chameleons have evolved two superimposed populations of iridophores [chromatophores] with different morphologies and functions
Is that true? Does the paper “show that” this incredible active color control mechanism evolved?
In fact this claim is utterly false. The paper shows nothing of the sort. In fact the authors admit they cannot even settle on an “evolutionary scenario.”
They also admit that the mechanism is an evolutionary novelty:
This combination of two functionally different layers of iridophores [chromatophores] constitutes an evolutionary novelty that allows some species of chameleons to combine efficient camouflage and dramatic display, while potentially moderating the thermal consequences of intense solar radiations.
But it gets worse.
Not only do the authors lack a convincing evolutionary scenario for what must be an evolutionary novelty, but they fail to present an explanation for how this fantastic active color control mechanism evolved.
I’m not saying their explanation is weak. I’m not saying it lacks credibility. I’m not saying it is yet another “just-so” story. I’m not saying it is improbable. I’m not saying any of those things for the simple reason that there is no explanation given. Nothing. Nada. What the research does show is some of the details of how this fantastic mechanism works.
Believe it or not, for evolutionists, elucidating structure, mechanism and function equates with demonstrating that it evolved.
Newcomers to evolutionary literature might be nonplussed. How can a research paper unequivocally state that it “shows” X, and then do nothing of the sort? Nothing at all.
In fact this rather strange literary device runs throughout the evolutionary genre. Researchers make utterly unfounded claims of discovering, demonstrating, confirming and proving evolutionary events, and then journalists follow along with popular articles rehearsing the refrain. Evolution is demonstrated yet again.
And not just evolution.
Evolutionists also say that examples such as this are demonstrations of natural selection—demonstrations of natural selection producing amazing adaptations.
This brings us back to the UC Berkeley “Understanding Evolution” website. It abuses science in its utterly unfounded claim that “natural selection can produce amazing adaptations.”
In fact natural selection, even at its best, does not “produce” anything. Natural selection does not and cannot influence the construction of any adaptations, amazing or not. If a mutation occurs which improves differential reproduction, then it propagates into future generations. Natural selection is simply the name given to that process. It selects for survival that which already exists. Natural selection has no role in the mutation event. It does not induce mutations, helpful or otherwise, to occur. According to evolutionary theory every single mutation, leading to every single species, is a random event with respect to need.