Is Your City Driving Evolution?

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If you live in a city, stop and look around—life might be evolving before your eyes! A new study looked at data from 192 separate studies and determined that cities are “pushing some [organisms] to evolve and even spawning new species more quickly and more often than you might think.” (Spoiler alert: this isn’t really evolution!)

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the claim that humans are somehow driving evolution. Articles about lizards “rapidly evolving” and bird beaks being shaped by birdfeeders were in the news recently. A new study found that this “evolution” is occurring in city-dwelling groups as diverse as mammals, plants, birds, and insects and that “there’s actually now an overwhelming surge of evidence just in the last five to 10 years that a myriad of species are evolving in cities.”

The researchers gave several reasons why cities are shaping species:

  • Urban pollution boosts the mutation rate.

  • Highways and other features are dividing populations from one another.

  • City parks and other green spaces, where many city plant and animal populations live, are isolated from one another.

  • Certain features helpful for city life are being selected for, thus causing a population shift.

And these changes are very rapid. One of the study’s authors commented,

In the last 20 years especially, we’ve become increasingly aware that [what they call] evolution can actually happen a lot faster that [sic] we originally think [sic]. You can detect and literally watch evolution happen in as little as two generations. So in as little as 10 generations, you can see relatively rapid and marked evolution, genetically and in the traits.

A Bait-and-Switch

This article defines evolution as

the change in species over generations caused by changes in how common different genes are in the population. Those genes, in turn, can have huge effects on how organisms look, behave, and respond to their environment.

One of the researchers involved with the project defines evolution this way:

Evolution is defined in its simplest form as a change in the frequency of alleles or genes within a population through time.

He goes on to say that, as you track these changes in gene frequency, you have “direct observable evidence for evolution.” Is this really observable evidence for evolution?

Well, if you use either of those definitions for evolution, creationists agree—“evolution” happens. But what they are doing (and I find secularists often do this, especially in the public schools to brainwash students) is a “bait-and-switch.”

They say “look, we see small changes within a species—that’s evolution,” and then they’ll also use the word evolution to describe amoebas eventually turning into man. They use “evolution” to describe natural selection and adaptation (which is observable) and then use evolution for massive changes between kinds (which has never been observed). It’s a bait-and-switch!

Not the Same Thing

But natural selection and adaptation are not the same thing as evolution. We observe animals adapting to their environments—and adapting very rapidly within just a few generations. But this adaptation doesn’t add any new information into an organism’s genome. It eliminates or reshuffles existing information—it doesn’t add it.

This adaptation doesn’t add any new information into an organism’s genome.

Evolution requires the addition of massive amounts of brand-new genetic information. To change a single-celled organism into a man, you need to add huge amounts of information to code for arms, legs, hair, eyes, and so on. But there is no known process that creates brand-new genetic information!

This study does nothing to bolster evolutionary ideas. Rather, it further shows that God has created each kind of organism with a remarkable amount of genetic information. This allows kinds to adapt to new and diverse environments (if they couldn’t do this, life would quickly go extinct as conditions change). This study highlights the wisdom of our Creator who designed all life with the genetic information it would need to adapt in a changing world.

Learn more in Dr. Georgia Purdom’s article, “Is Natural Selection the Same Thing as Evolution?

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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