Evolve, damn you! EVOLVE!
I checked out the story that Drudge pointed to a coupla days ago (see item below
, with the pic of Prince Chuck); seems that one Professor Steve Jones is going to argue before the Royal Society Edinburgh that "evolution is over". I checked the Prof. Jones' academic position, expecting to find that he has an appointment in the Department of Comparative Cultural Asininity, but no, he is, according to University College London's website, Professor of Genetics in the Department of Biology. That's sad, because then he has no excuse.
Friends and neighbours, evolution hasn't stopped, is not going to stop, cannot stop, until all the molecules in the universe sign a non-proliferation-of-energy treaty, outlawing all intermolecular collisions, and you know that will only last until the first rogue molecule can't resist the urge to kick some nearby water in the ass, and the next thing you know, there's caloric all over the place and everybody's vibrating and bonding, and one group puts up a Berlin Van Der Waal ...
Sorry, sorry... Anyhow, you argue, the guy is arguing that human evolution has stopped. What exactly that means is not clear, but from the context of the article I assume he means that there is no selective pressure on the human gene pool, that which genes get carried on to future generations is essentially random and not influenced by nature. A biologist should know better on several counts. The most obvious one: evolution is slow, so you can't generalize from a hundred or thousand or five thousand years. However, more important is the fact that for evolution to stop, the environment in which the organism under study operates must be static, and, brothers and sisters, it plain ain't so. Now you may say, "Hah! Somebody's reading 'The Future And Its Enemies'" and yea, right you may be, but there ain't one among you can testify that Mother Nature stands still. The last poor sap who said that
was an anaerobic archaebacteria:
ARCHIE THE ARCHAEBACTERIA: This oxygen thing? It's a fad. You just wait and see. These kids will get tired of metabolizing carbon dioxide soon enough.
The last I heard, he and the last of his kin were living in a volcano and making ends meet by pimping their children to structural biologists. You want to see the gene pool change? Come up with a test to detect trisomy 21 before birth, or tweak height or eye colour or sex or --- but wait, you say, that doesn't count, that's not Nature, nossir, that's Man! And I will smack you upside the head and tell you that's a stupid distinction, but fine, be that way.
Take a virus; anybody want to argue that viruses don't evolve, I got a big friend with a big stick and a big case of this year's influenza, the new and improved version of last year's influenza, who will set you straight on that score. Viruses evolve constantly; they have to, to stay ahead of the immune systems of their hosts. The taxonomic name for viruses which don't evolve is "extinct". Whether or not a virus kills a given infected individual is at least in part on that person's genetic makeup, and people, that's all it takes to exert selective pressure. If Bob The Wiener-Hearted hadn't died just before the Battle of Hastings in 1066 from a bad egg-salad sandwich, and if his descendants averaged 1.5 offspring each, there'd be over 10,000,000 people running around today whose genes carried some of the Wiener-Heart imprint. Even if Bob's untimely demise meant that he had only 1.5 little Wiener-Hearts instead of 2.5, that's seven million fewer Wiener-Genes in the pool. In short, a single death or a single life is magnified greatly by the passage of time.
There are a zillion other arguments against the end of evolution to be made that I'll just leave alone. The point is: you can't preach the end of evolution without implying that nature is unchanging, and you can't argue that unless you're a dumbass who's Not Paying Attention.
Here endeth the lesson.