The newest exhibit at the Creation Museum is now open. “Natural Selection Is Not Evolution” clears up the differences between natural selection and what would be required for evolution to actually take place.
The exhibit, located near the Flood Geology room in the museum, features a cave-like aquarium with Mexican tetras. The Mexican tetra is normally sighted in its surface-dwelling form, however, in the total darkness of caves, the same species of fish has lost what it does not need-its eyes. The tetra has also lost its pigmentation, so it appears pinkish because of the blood vessels under the colorless skin.
Natural selection, a term used by Charles Darwin to describe a process by which small changes in plants and animals come about, is thought by many to be the primary mechanism for evolution. Many believe that evidence for natural selection is evidence for evolution because they think that with enough time (millions of years) natural selection could account for the larger changes required for molecules-to-man evolution.
Commonly cited as “evolution in action,” antibiotic resistance in bacteria provides a case study that we can use to illustrate four problems with equating natural selection and evolution. First, natural selection decreases genetic diversity, but evolution would require an increase in genetic information. Using the “super bacteria” example, a mutation in the antibiotic-resistant bacteria changes the protein that is the target of the antibiotics. The mutation results in a loss of genetic information—the mutated bacteria can no longer produce the normal protein. Such a decrease in genetic information would hinder evolution, not drive it.
Secondly, natural selection is non-directional, and evolution requires directional change. In other words, we have never seen natural selection bring about a change that would transform fish into land-dwellers or reptiles into birds. Back to our bacteria example, the “super bacteria,” for all the hype they have generated, are still single-celled bacteria. They are no closer to being multi-cellular animals than the non-mutated bacteria.
The third major problem with natural selection as a mechanism for evolution is that natural selection is a selector, not an originator. As can be seen with the bacteria example, natural selection allows certain individuals in the population to survive and produce offspring, while others are eliminated. Natural selection does not create completely new traits.
Finally, natural selection is consistent with creation’s “orchard” of life not the evolutionary “tree” of life. In the orchard concept, the created kinds of plants and animals are the trees of the orchard. Sometimes natural selection causes one of the variations within a created kind to branch off of the original trunk and become a new “species” but it is still a member of the original kind. Natural selection cannot provide the new information needed to change one kind into another kind, like a reptile into a bird. The “super bacteria” and other observable examples of natural selection all illustrate change within a kind, so they do not support the concept of an evolutionary “tree” of life where all of the kinds of plants and animals supposedly descended from one common ancestor.
Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is a compelling example of natural selection in action not “evolution in action.” The natural selection exhibit at the Creation Museum uses real-life examples to show the difference between the two concepts and how natural selection cannot serve as a mechanism for molecules-to-man evolution. The exhibit confronts common misconceptions and provides a biblical understanding of the process of natural selection.
The Creation Museum is located 7 miles west of the Cincinnati Airport. Visit creationmuseum.org for more information, or call (888) 582-4253.