You Say You Want An Evolution?

Bad news: Humans may or may not be evolving, but they are worse off either way.

The Danger to Our Gene Pool as Fathers Become Older and Older : The New Yorker

Rate of de novo mutations and the importance of father’s age to disease risk : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

A Reporter at Large: Decoding Iceland : The New Yorker

Immune Disorders and Autism – NYTimes.com

In summary, the number of de novo mutations seems to be increasing, and mutations are bad; therefore an epigenetic influence on mutations (i.e., the father’s age) needs to be controlled. This is based on research focused on fathers in an isolated population. Alternatively, humans are overcontrolling their environment, such that evolution cannot keep up; therefore they need to either create artificial environmental influences in order to cope, or they need to force-evolve the population in order to cope. This is based on research focused on mothers.

I don’t blame scientists for using the current paradigm to frame their research hypotheses. I primarily see the rhetorical situation that journalists address a broad cultural problem in terms of limited scientific studies, and then wrap it up with a pseudo-scientific, improper application of general theory. This is identical to the rhetoric of a proof-texting, faith-healing, illiterate country preacher.

The preacher/journalist is just doing his job, even if not well. More problematically, the lazy, ignorant congregants are dependent on his performance to maintain their faith. The attitude of the congregants is what I am concerned about. Fundamentally, evolution is misused: either it may be a hypothesis or an ideology, but it cannot be both at once.

It is disingenuous to say, “Evolution is the only evidence-based explanation”, but then be unable to draw a useful conclusion. Also, it is disingenuous to say, “Microevolution is happening all around us, and macroevolution is irrelevant, since species in the traditional sense are a false category”; again, we see that this distinction makes the theory irrelevant. If something supposedly “good” is good for nothing, I neither know it nor want to know it.

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