- A fossilized whale bone is found that is older than fossils of animals that are supposed to be the evolutionary ancestors of whales.
- Fossil tracks from a land animal are found that are older than the fossil of the supposed intermediate between fish and land animals.
- Feathered dinosaurs supposedly intermediate between dinosaurs and birds are found not to be dinosaurs but birds that have lost the ability to fly.
If the most compelling evidence claimed to support evolution by natural selection failed to demonstrate macroevolution, that would be a strong indication that there is no evidence that natural selection is the cause of macroevolution.
In 2009, the journal Nature published a document titled 15 EVOLUTIONARY GEMS: A resource from Nature for those wishing to spread awareness of evidence for evolution by natural selection. It was intended to help anyone interested in evolution to explain the case for evolution by natural selection. The only problem is that none of these "gems" actually provided evidence for macroevolution. Some of the "gems" were incorrect interpretations of the fossil record that were exposed by later discoveries. Other gems, at best, only provide evidence for microevolution, the equivalent of breeding different types of dogs. Some gems have nothing at all to do with evolution, unless you first assume what you are trying to prove, ie. that natural selection is the cause of differences in organisms.
The mechanisms of microevolution include loss of function mutations, changes in the frequency of existing alleles in a population, and mutations that can provide a survival advantage in one step. Microevolution requires little new genetic information, if any. Macroevolution involves significant changes to an organism such as development of an eye, or the change from a land mammal to a whale. Macroevolution requires huge amounts of new genetic information. Darwinists cite microevolution as proof of evolution and then act as if macroevolution is proven, but microevolution is not proof that natural selection can produce the large amounts of genetic information needed for macroevolution.
The article Evaluating Nature's 2009 "15 Evolutionary Gems" Darwin-Evangelism Kit at evolutionnews.org makes a detailed analysis of Nature's "gems" and shows that the best evidence for evolution by natural selection does not offer evidence of macroevolution by natural selection. The claim that natural selection can cause macroevolution is not supported by any evidence, it remains an assumption or a false conclusion based on flawed reasoning.
The article at evolutionnews.org also mentions Nature was founded by T. H. Huxley in part to promote Darwinism and naturalism ... which explains the journal's name.
The 15 gems (and why, according to evolutionnews.org, they are not evidence of macroevolution) are:
- Land-living ancestors of whales (New fossils show that whales existed before their "ancestors".)
- From water to land (The supposed intermediate between fish and land animals dates from a time after land animals already existed.)
- The origin of feathers (Feathered dinosaurs said to be intermediate between dinosaurs and birds are now believed to be birds that lost the ability to fly.)
- The evolutionary history of teeth (The study referenced by Nature doesn't provide evidence for macroevolution, or any type of evolution, it is based on existing species.)
- The origin of the vertebrate skeleton (Claims that embryology can reveal information about ancient ancestors is falsified by many cases of homologous structures developing from non homologous pathways.)
Gems from habitats
- Natural selection in speciation (Differences in stickleback fish populations might be due to environmental factors not evolution, at best it demonstrates microevolution.)
- Natural selection in lizards (When a predator causes lizards to develop longer legs and larger body size, it is microevolution not macroevolution.)
- A case of co-evolution (Co-evolution among fleas and their parasites is microevolution.)
- Differential dispersal in wild birds (Studies showing the effects of different locales and migration on genetic variation in birds demonstrate microevolution.)
- Selective survival in wild guppies (Variation in colored spots on guppies is not macroevolution.)
- Evolutionary history matters (The fact that different animals have different morphological features is not proof of evolution by natural selection.)
Gems from molecular processes
- Darwin’s Galapagos finches (Different alleles produce differences in phenotype. This is not proof of macroevolution.)
- Microevolution meets macroevolution (The formation of colored spots on fly wings is not macroevolution. Determining the genetic basis for a phenotype is not proof of evolution.)
- Toxin resistance in snakes and clams (Resistance to toxins due to mutations in sodium channels is not proof of macroevolution.)
- Variation versus stability (Loss of function mutations do not cause macroevolution.)
Gems from the fossil record
The evolutionnews.org article gives detailed explanations of why these "gems" do not provide evidence for macroevolution. Below, I provide a brief summary. For more information see the evolutionnews.org article linked above.
- Land-living ancestors of whales: Darwinists claim there is a series of fossils that show the evolution of land mammals into whales. However, the evolutionnews.org article explains that similarity in fossils is not proof of ancestry. The evolutionnews.org article also points out that the time given for the evolution of whales, ten million years, is too short to have occurred by natural selection. But recent developments have made the situation much worse for Darwinists. A new fossil found since the articles were published has shown that whales lived before some of those fossils that are claimed to be ancestors of whales and it leaves only a few million years for the evolution of whales from land mammals.
That the first "gem", the best argument for macroevolution by natural selection, was a total misconstruction of the fossil record should be enough to convince anyone that Darwinists are not using sound logic when making their conclusions from the evidence. Darwinists should have understood that those fossil ancestors could easily have been species of differing similarity without being a series of ancestors and they should not have claimed the fossils were proof of macroevolution by natural selection.
- From water to land: The fossil that Nature claims is from an animal intermediate between fish and land animals, tiktaalik, is actually more recent than fossils tracks made by a land animal. Contrary to what is written in the Nature article, tiktaalik is not an intermediate between fish and land animals, land animals already existed at the time the tiktaalik fossil was formed. There is currently no evidence of an intermediate between fish and land animals.
- The origin of feathers: The Nature article claims that a certain species of feathered dinosaurs are intermediates between dinosaurs and birds. However according to the evolutionnews.org article, these species are now considered not to have been dinosaurs but were birds that had lost the ability to fly.
- The evolutionary history of teeth: Nature claims that a study of teeth formation in mice is evidence for evolution because it predicts a relationship between certain aspects of tooth formation and diet. This is not evidence of macroevolution. At best it might be a result of microevolution. However, this example is based on existing species and does not show any evidence that it is a result of evolution by natural selection, they are simply assuming what they are trying to prove.
- The origin of the vertebrate skeleton: Nature claims observations of the development of the head and neck in mice embryos tell us about the evolution of structures in long extinct species. But it doesn't. The evolutionnews.org article explains there are many example of homologous structures in embryos of different species developing by non-homologous pathways. What you see in an embryo is not proof of what happened in the embryo's supposed ancestors.
Gems from habitats
- Natural selection in speciation: Nature claims differences in different populations of stickleback fish show evolution in action. However these traits could be caused by environmental factors not genetic differences. At best it would be an example of microevolution.
- Natural selection in lizards: According to Nature, in an experiment in which a new predator was introduced to an island, male Anolis lizards were found to develop longer legs while females developed larger body size. This is an example of microevolution, and it is not "natural" it was caused by an experimenter.
- A case of co-evolution: A study of water fleas and their parasites showed that over time as the fleas develop resistance to the parasites, the parasites adapt to overcome that resistance. These "flea-sized" adaptations are an example of microevolution.
- Differential dispersal in wild birds: Studies showing the effects of different locales and migration on genetic variation in birds only demonstrates microevolution.
- Selective survival in wild guppies: A study showed that guppies with rare color patterns had a survival advantage. This is supposedly a evidence of how genetic diversity can be maintained. It doesn't explain macroevolution, it is about maintenance of existing genes not the mechanism by which new genes arise.
- Evolutionary history matters: Moray eels have a unique mechanism of capturing prey. Most fish suck in prey by opening their jaws, but because the moray's head is so short, insufficient suction is generated. Instead, the moray moves its pharyngeal jaw forward to snatch its prey. This is not evidence for evolution any more than any feature of any organism is evidence for evolution.
Gems from molecular processes
- Darwin’s Galapagos finches: A study of finches showed that increased expression of the calmodulin gene coincides with changes in beak morphology. This is evidence that genes determine morphology and variations in morphology are due to differences in genes. It says nothing about macroevolution.
- Microevolution meets macroevolution: A genetic regulatory element in fruit flies that is involved in forming pigmented spots on the wing binds to transcription factors that are components of wing development and also binds to a transcription factor that is "fundamental to development as a whole". Supposedly this shows the regulatory element evolved over time from a single purpose to multiple purposes. However pigmentation spots on the wings of files qualifies as microevolution not macroevolution. Furthermore this not evidence evolution by natural selection any more than any heritable characteristic of any organism is evidence of evolution by natural selection. These "gems" are supposed to prove that evolution occurred by natural selection. This gem simply explains the genetic basis of a phenotype. You have to already believe that unguided genetic mutation and natural selection is the basis for the diversity of life in order to believe this "gem" has anything to do with evolution by natural selection.
- Toxin resistance in snakes and clams: Garter snakes develop resistance to newt toxins and clams develop resistance to red tide algae toxin both through a mutations involving sodium channels. This is evidence of microevolution not macroevolution.
- Variation versus stability: The fossil record seems to show species are stable for long periods of time and changes species occur over short periods of time. This is supposedly explained by "evolutionary capacitance" which involves genetic diversity that is unexpressed except in times of stress. You might wonder how changes in gene expression caused by stress could be heritable and cause evolution. What the nature article doesn't say is that the experiments designed to study evolutionary capacitance relied on loss of function mutations and these mutations produced deleterious effects on the organism. Loss of function mutations do not cause macroevolution.
Gems from the fossil record