Dogs Help Debunk Creationism

Evolution is a fundamental principle upon which modern biology is based. The increase in anti-scientific claims by the religious right denying evolution and promoting creationism has led one research team to point out how their work (as is true of much of the research done in biology) is dependent upon evolutionary principles and helps debunk creationism:

The St Bernard breed of dogs has disproved the theory of creationism, a UK-based team of researchers has said.

Biologists from the University of Manchester say that changes to the skull shape of St Bernards over the last 120 years “can only be explained” via evolution and natural selection.

The research team analysed arrived at their findings by examining 47 St Bernard skulls donated to the National History Museum in Berne by Swiss breeders.

They claim that modern dogs have much broader skulls and more pronounced ridges, while a steeper angle is evident between their nose and foreheads.

“We discovered that features stipulated in the breed standard of the St Bernard became more exaggerated over time as breeders selected dogs that had the desired physical attributes,” commented lead researcher Dr Chris Klingenberg.

“In effect they have applied selection to move the evolutionary process a considerable way forward, providing a unique opportunity to observe sustained evolutionary change under known selective pressures.”

Dr Klingenberg explained that the features highlighted by biologists were “exactly” the features regarded as desirable by breeders.

“They are clearly not due to other factors such as general growth and they provide the animal with no physical advantage, so we can be confident that they have evolved purely through the selective considerations of breeders,” he writes in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

“Creationism is the belief that all living organisms were created according to Genesis in six days by ‘intelligent design’ and rejects the scientific theories of natural selection and evolution.

“But this research once again demonstrates how selection – whether natural or, in this case, artificially influenced by man – is the fundamental driving force behind the evolution of life on the planet.”

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3 Comments

  1. 1
    Mark says:

    Not sure how this experiment ‘proves’ evolution.

    Isn’t evolution suppossed to be micro-change over many generations due to ‘natural selection?’

    All this experiment proves is that you can manipulate genetics. Gregor Mendel already proved this hundreds of years ago… It doesn’t prove that it happened ‘naturally.’

    Am I missing something in this article?

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    “Am I missing something in this article?”

    Yes.

    If it will help, this morning a video with a brief explanation of evolution was added here.

  3. 3
    Daniel James Devine says:

    I agree with Mark, failing to see how this study challenges creationism–since creationists do in fact accept natural selection. I’ve commented on this here.

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