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elk
Kim A. Cabrera image, bear-tracks.com
Male elk bugling during the fall rut. Large male elk are known as bulls. Male elk have large antlers which are shed each year. Males engage in competitive mating behaviors during the rut, including posturing, antler wrestling and bugling, a loud series of screams which is intended to establishe dominance over other males and attract females.
Male elk bugling during the fall rut. Large male elk are known as bulls. Male elk have large antlers which are shed each year. Males engage in competitive mating behaviors during the rut, including posturing, antler wrestling and bugling, a loud series of screams which is intended to establishe dominance over other males and attract females.

Evolution Questions on our Hike

As I view trees, flowers, bushes, insects, deer, elk, rabbits, chippers out on the trail, and especially their tracks, I often wonder how they manage to survive.

Just today when Kenn and I were hiking the Amole Canyon Trail we talked about elk, with enormously large paw prints in the mud along the trail.

How could elk give birth to baby elk and nurture them to growing elk-lettes.

I mean, considering the difficulty that domestic cows and horses often have in birthing their young, how do elk manage without human help?

That also raised bigger tangential questions.

 

How is it that one species, developing aberrant genes, gives birth to an entirely new species?

Seems to defy logic!

Neither Kenn nor I had ever heard of a rational explanation. We wondered where we could get a good factual answer.

Which of course raises the question of whether or not Evolution is a theory, or a fact, a question that seems to get a lot of press.

 

The National Academies of Science gave its verdict:

“In science, a ‘fact’ typically refers to an observation, measurement, or other form of evidence that can be expected to occur the same way under similar circumstances.

“However, scientists also use the term ‘fact’ to refer to a scientific explanation that has been tested and confirmed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing it or looking for additional examples.

“In that respect, the past and continuing occurrence of evolution is a scientific fact.

Because the evidence supporting it is so strong, scientists no longer question whether biological evolution has occurred and is continuing to occur. Instead, they investigate the mechanisms of evolution, how rapidly evolution can take place, and related questions.”

 

So why not accept that verdict? Right?

Well, it doesn’t seem to us as simple as that. There is the “Turkey” problem, the Problem of Induction.

I’m quoting from Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book, The Black Swan that is all about the unpredictable in life, way out beyond science’s ability to forecast anything with certainty.

Taleb says, “The uberphilosopher Bertrand Russell presents . . . what people in his line of business call the Problem of Induction . . . (capitalized for its seriousness) – certainly the mother of all problems in life. . .

“There are traps built into any kind of knowledge gained from observation.

“Consider the turkey that is fed every day. Every single feeding will firm up the bird’s belief that it is the general rule of life to be fed every day by friendly members of the human race . . .

“On an afternoon of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, something unexpected will happen to the turkey. It will incur a revision of belief. . .

“The history of a process over a thousand days tells you nothing about what is to happen next. This naïve [turkey’s] projection of the future from the past can be applied to anything.”

 

Two Twentieth Century Turkeys

We saw two dramatic examples of this Turkey Problem in the last century – the unexpected Turkey Problem in Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation.

His observations were factual, as was his computations. What was theoretical was the generalized law itself.

And his Turkey met his Thanksgiving Day when a young pup, Albert Einstein, came up with a new theory which explained more than Newton’s Law, which was theory.

Newton’s gravitation theory couldn’t explain why the universe was expanding instead of contracting under universal gravitation pulling all things together.

So, now we have Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, derived from his observations of facts. It will be a theory until some facts don’t jibe with it, and assembled a new theory.

Likewise, quantum physics is a theory that may be breaking Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

I am simply indicating here that new turkey facts do change theories. And virtually all theories are subject to change due to these unexpected observations.

The theory aspect of evolution does not seem to be in the process of evolution. It is in the genesis of new species.

So far as we can see, the facts do not support the species genesis generalization.

The theory part of evolution quite plainly is the generalizaation that is subject to a turkey somewhere along the line.

There just seem to be too many gaps. And evolutionists don’t have a way of bridging them.

Not without words like “maybe,” “it could be,” “perhaps,” “we might presume.” All of which are guesses. Not facts.

If some viewer has a good answer to this origin of species generalization of Evolution Theory I’d love to hear it.

To change the subject, how about a fun read.  Check out my latest book, Backpacker & Hikers’ Handbook.

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