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Extinction looms for Charles Darwin’s finches, and humans are to blame

Well, it has been a while since I have posted anything here. Partly too much work and partly laziness. I want to get back into things and give you some things to think about and some ammunition to use when out in the real world and the topic of origins comes up. Remember, historical science is not testable, and because of that it is a matter of faith whether you believe in billions of years or creationism. We cannot go back in time and recreate conditions of the early earth since we can never know the exact conditions then. The earth is a big chemical reactor, but without the exact conditions we can never repeat the experiment.

Now, on to the article. I found it rather ironic that the icons of Darwinism, the Galapagos finches are facing extinction. While tragic to see any species disappear, the odd thing is that the finches, which were famous for actually showing “evolution” in action (not that the finches were changing into dogs or salamanders or some such) in that their beaks would change size and shape with a changing food supply. And they did this rapidly, in as little as a year or two. So why can’t Darwin’s finches adapt quickly enough to the changing conditions now? The scientist in this article contends that it is because the finches do not have enough time to evolve a mechanism to cope with the fly infestation. And he blames humans for bringing the fly to the islands. While the latter may be true, the fact of the matter is that the only way one species can cope with changes in the environment is if they have the capability to adapt already in their genes. This has been demonstrated by Richard Lenski at the University of Michigan. He and his staff have gone through over 25 years of generations of Escherichia coli with the only change being the ability to process citrate as a food source. The researcher calls it a mutation, which by the elementary definition it is, but basically all that has happened is that gene has turned off. The genetic make-up of the E. coli did not change, only the way the genes were expressed changed. This is certainly not what is required for molecules to man evolution. The fact of the matter is that E. coli is still E. coli.  In addition, Christiane Nusslein-Volhard and Eric Wieschaus, winners of the 1995 Nobel Prize in physiology proved through 600 generations of fruit flies that every mutation resulted in either a dead fruit fly or had no change of the fruit fly towards becoming a beetle or some other creature. Yes, some had four wings, mostly deformed and none functional, and certainly nothing more or less than a fruit fly.

There are some great experiments that prove that adaptation happens – in nature and in the lab – but no experiment has ever, ever produced one creature to change into a creature not of its kind. As God said in the Bible, He made each animal after its kind.


Extinction looms for Charles Darwin’s finches, and humans are to blame

By Michael Harthorne

Published December 24, 2015


Charles Darwin’s finches of the Galapagos Islands—renowned as a poster child for speciation (that’s “the process by which new species arise,” explainsSmithsonian)—may not be able to evolve fast enough to stave off extinction, according to a study published last week in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

The medium ground finches of Santa Cruz Island are having their newly hatched babies decimated by Philornis downsi, a parasitic nest fly humans brought to the islands half a century ago.

The flies lay their eggs inside the birds’ nests, and the hatching maggots feed on the young birds. “This is like a really bad horror flick,” study author Dale Clayton says.

“The babies can’t withstand even one night with these parasites.” According to Discovery News, the flies were first spotted in the finches’ nests in 1997.

Since then, the population has been growing, and none of the Galapagos Islands is free of the flies. Researchers looked at five years of field research on the medium ground finches specifically on Santa Cruz and came up with three scenarios—good, bad, and neutral—based on breeding, weather, and food supplies, Discovery News reports.

In both the bad and neutral scenarios, the finches have less than 100 years before they’re extinct. According to Smithsonian, the same fate is likely facing some of the other 14 species of Darwin’s finches.

“If Darwin’s finches go extinct, it will be because people brought this fly to the islands,” Clayton says. “If the fly had gotten to the island more gradually, perhaps, maybe the birds would have had more time to adapt.” Researchers believe a 40% reduction of nest infestations could save the finches and are looking at options to accomplish that, Discovery News reports.

(A frog named for Darwin has already gone extinct.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Charles Darwin’s Finches Could Soon Be Extinct

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