The evolution of evolution. An elusive quest for truth.
Ever since Charles Darwin’s book, “The origin of the species” evolution has been used to justify the social bias de jour, from white supremacy to male supremacy, to evolution of thought, evolution of speech, evolution of social behavior. The argument is: “There is no god, therefore all has congealed by chance, we are all animals anyway.”
In my childhood in Sweden our family lived is a small community where grades 3-6 were taught together in one class. This meant that the teacher did allow a lot of freedom to explore on my own books in the school library. They had not thrown away any old books the last forty years, so I had quite a selection of old textbooks to choose from. One in particular caught my eye. It was about anthropology and classification of races by skull index (Cephalic index, see fig). It was originally based on the works of the Swede Anders Retzius (1796-1860). His research was to classify old bone fragments, but his findings were now extrapolated to explain the evolution of man. There were pictures of people of all kinds of races, with the Nordic, blond and blue eyed being the most evolved, and the black race, with some exceptions much closer evolutionary to the apes. Not only that, but since men have 40% larger brain volume on the average than women, men are further evolved and that is the reason women should not vote. Being 9 years old I believed everything, since it was in a book. I especially liked being superior to girls.
The next time evolution was taught it was the standard stuff with the horse’s hoof being a nail; fishes grew legs instead of fins and so on. We also have a lot of rudimentary organs, not only the appendix, but tonsils and tailbones too. Since the organs are rudimentary, we can remove them without impunity, especially tonsils. And this time around in evolutionary teaching dogs can evolve to look quite different, but people are all equal, and girls are as smart as boys (especially the blond Lithuanian girl that later emigrated to Canada. I had to admit she was both cute and smart).
The third time around, this time in high school biology we tackled some of the hard stuff, mutations being a necessary ingredient for evolution. I read up on radiation gardens, where we can grow superior plants, since we know that at least 10% of mutations are beneficial, just weed out the bad ones and superior plants will emerge.
The radioactive gardens are now but a memory, since it was discovered that nobody could find any positive mutations that way. The closer you got to the source, the worse it got.
It turns out that positive mutations are rare indeed. The ones most commonly found are in viruses, but they are positive only from the virus’s point of view. Survival of the fittest tends to weed out bad mutations, but does nothing to explain the mechanism for speciation creep; it tends to reinforce the speciation boundaries. The genetic code that allows adaptions in species is already there, so when the changed environment occurs, we are changed accordingly. None of the mechanisms we have used to explain evolution holds up to examination. The mathematics is just not there. And a system this complicated and beautiful, where so many parts of it are at a mathematic optimum is not possible to bootstrap. The mathematical probability that this could have occurred by chance is less than the chance of finding the right elementary particle in the known universe. We are left with the humbling fact that we do not know the mechanisms. Yet the textbooks still explain discredited mechanisms as evolutionary facts to yet another generation of kids, thus depriving them of the wonder that there is something beyond themselves, which they can try to grasp. They are left not realizing that there is always one more level of understanding that is beyond them. By not accepting any explanation other than what can be deduced from observation and then presenting them as sufficient facts to explain a mechanism that cannot mathematically have occurred, the scientific community is violating the fundamental rules of scientific exploration. Do not present as fact a mechanism that has no possibility of having occurred by chance.