The number one evidence cited for the evolutionary dogma is undoubtedly Darwin’s Finches. These tiny birds have developed a near demigod level of legend within the scientific community as the birds which helped Darwin overturn the scientific consensus of his day. They are some of the most studied birds in the world and are consistently used as evidence for evolution. I have several textbooks from the high school and college-level which cite them as one of the best pieces of evidence for evolution. It is time for us to make a closer examination of these birds to see just why all the attention has been focused on them.
When Charles Darwin reached the Galapagos Islands, he encountered birds he had never seen before. They were small and completely unafraid. Darwin wrote they could be caught simply by tossing a hat on top of them. He called them finches and sent numerous specimens back to England. Back in England, more qualified naturalists realized they were not actually finches. Eventually, they were placed in the tanager family. The common name of “Darwin’s Finches” was not popularized until the early 1900s when two popular books appeared on the topic. Today, more than twenty species of Darwin’s finches are recognized by the scientific community.
The birds gained their place as one of the key pillars upholding the evolutionary dogma much later as the result of a study done by two Princeton University professors, Peter and Rosemary Grant. The Grant’s did one of the longest studies ever done on wild animals. In the course of a forty-year study, the Grant’s demonstrated that the finch species on the islands varied in beak sizes in response to changing weather cycles in the Pacific Ocean. In lean times, finches with larger, stronger beaks survived better as they were able to crack large seeds that no other birds could eat. In better, more productive times, smaller multi-purpose beaks did better because they could eat smaller seeds and insects which were too small for the larger, more specialized beaks of other birds. This has become the primary evidence of the evolutionary dogma.
Unfortunately for the evolutionists, the changes in beak sizes do not prove their dogma. Instead, what they demonstrate is the power of natural selection. Natural selection is frequently presented as being equivalent to evolution, at least to the public. However, as we noted previously, natural selection is not evolution. Evolutionists have known this since the turn of the twentieth century. However, they do not often present this information publicly.
In this particular instance, natural selection acts specifically on the size of the beaks of the finches. However, the variations of beak sizes already exist within the finch population. No new traits are gained. No mutational changes occur. The environment just influences which species do well and which do not. That’s it. No new genetic information is formed. Every variation with the length and thickness of the finch beaks is already present within the population. Darwin’s finches are simply an example of natural selection in action.
Natural selection is not something creationists should have issues with, nevermind the natural selection denying crowd. Honestly, I would like to see Dr. Guliuzza of ICR, the primary mover in the anti-natural selection argument, provide an answer to this particular issue. Darwin’s finches are the gold standard of empirical support for natural selection. I’d be very curious to see how Dr. Guliuzza and his followers explain this from their perspective. To date, I’ve not seen it but I hope to eventually.
So what can we make of Darwin’s Finches? They are in all the textbooks as the best evidence for evolution. It turns out, nothing even remotely related to evolution is occurring. While natural selection is acting on these finches, they are not changing into anything they were not already. Speciation is happening, new species do form, but again, speciation is not evolution. Darwin’s finches are an icon of evolution that needs to be submitted to the iconoclast for proper disposal. They have never demonstrated evolution, nor have they ever done anything to advance the modern synthesis of evolutionary dogma, yet they remain in school textbooks and are portrayed to generations of young people as if they do prove evolution. It’s time they were replaced.
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