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The BBC’s Evolution Of Shrinkings Spines Error

The April 15, 2004 edition of BBC Online carried a report headed “Genome reveals limb number recipe.” The report, prepared by BBC science writer Paul Rincon included a study (1) published in Nature magazine concerning the genetic mechanism responsible for the pelvic spines of sticklebacks, which the fish are believed to use for defence against predators. Although those which live in salt water have spines, there are also examples of spineless ones in fresh water.

According to the BBC report, scientists compared the genetic maps of the spined and spineless species of sticklebacks and established that spine production was linked to the gene Pitx1. Experiments on this gene showed that the size of the spines could decrease according to the activities of the gene. However, with regard to the gene sequence, no difference was found between the two species, although differences were determined in terms of the regions where the gene is expressed. It was established that in the larvae of those fish with pelvic spines the gene Pitx1 is expressed strongly in various regions, including the pelvic area, although it is not expressed in the region where spines would normally grow in those fish which lack them.

The researchers interpreted the results from an evolutionist perspective, maintaining in the BBC report that these offered important clues as to how rapid changes came about in the so-called evolution of animal species. The scientists in question also expressed their belief that during the alleged evolutionary process snakes and whales could have lost their feet by a similar mechanism.

However, the way that this research is presented as evidence for evolution is solely based on preconception. The findings obtained in the research were taken out of the framework of observed phenomena and adopted as a dogma, and made to fit in with wide-ranging speculation (such as that of the evolution of whales). The error in interpreting the finding reported on the BBC as proof of evolution is set out below.

The alleged of evolution of whales is treated as a scientific fact on the BBC. This scenario assumes that a dog-like mammal living by the edge of the sea began to live in the water and turned into a whale following a series of adaptations. This scenario is as fictitious as the transformation it proposes is complex and wide-ranging. The arguments evolutionists put forward to support this imaginary scenario are limited to specious interpretations of a very small number of fossils. 

Moreover, marine mammals have their own unique characteristics (physiological features regarding vision and communication in the water) that are absent in land mammals. The claim that these evolved from land mammals imposes on its proponents the responsibility of showing how new genetic information belonging to these features could have come about. According to the theory of evolution, these specific features must have come about with the addition over time of new genetic information to a land mammal”s DNA. However, evolutionists are completely at a loss to explain how the whale could have acquired new genetic information during this imaginary process. That is because there are no scientific findings at all that might support this. Experiments and studies in the field of genetics over a period of a hundred years or so have revealed not a single such finding for evolutionists to put forward. The countless studies in this field have shown that mutations have never brought about new genetic data and have never produced new species or characteristics.

The well-known evolutionist geneticist Professor R. Goldschmidt admitted this in 1952:

It is true that nobody thus far has produced a new species or genus, etc., by macromutation [a combination of many mutations]; it is equally true that nobody has produced even a species by the selection of micromutations [one or only a few mutations]. In the best-known organisms, like Drosophila, innumerable mutants are known. If we were able to combine a thousand or more of such mutants in a single individual, this still would have no resemblance whatsoever to any type known as a [new] species in nature. (2)

In an article titled “How Are New Species Formed?,” published in the scientific journal New Scientist in 2003, the biologist George Turner made the following confession:

Not long ago, we thought we knew how species formed. We believed that the process almost always started with complete isolation of populations. It often occurred after a population had gone through a severe “genetic bottleneck”, as might happen after a pregnant female was swept off to a remote island and her offspring mated with each other. The beauty of this so-called “founder effect” model was that it could be tested in the lab. In reality, it just didn”t hold up.Despite evolutionary biologists” best efforts, nobody has even got close to creating a new species from a founder population. What”s more, as far as we know, no new species has formed as a result of humans releasing small numbers of organisms into alien environments.(3)

As we have seen, despite all the laboratory research, no results that might constitute evidence for such macro-evolutionary scenarios as the evolution of the whale have ever been obtained. The study reported on the BBC does nothing to ease the evolutionist dilemma in this sphere. That is because there is no question in it of new genetic information being added to whale DNA in any manner whatsoever, and the genetic mechanism under discussion functions according to existing genetic information.


Presenting this study as evidence for the whale evolution scenario stems from the fact that the BBC has adopted evolution as a dogma right from the outset. When the findings in question are looked at objectively it can be seen that they offer no support at all for imaginary macro-evolutionary scenarios. Our advice to the BBC is that it take pains to remain within the bounds of the objective facts in reporting scientific research, and we call upon it to put an end to the support it gives to unscientific scenarios solely for the sake of Darwinism.


1. Tim Stephens, “Computer analysis shows scientists could reconstruct the genome of the common ancestor of all placental mammals,” UC Santa Cruz Currents Online, 6 December 2004;
2. George G., Simpson, Tempo and Mode in Evolution, Columbia University Press, New York, 1944, pp. 105, 107.


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