Are Humans Still Evolving? A Creationist Responds to Population Study

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By Gina E. Ryder, Christian Post Contributor
October 5, 2011|10:43 pm

New scientific research suggests that even in modern societies, humans are still changing and evolving in response to the environment.

Published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the study supports the idea that the inclination to have a child at a younger age is the result of inherited genetic traits.

Paul Taylor, the director of ministry development at Creation Today, told The Christian Post that this study does not offer new information, as similar research on the topic was released from Norway in 1980s.

Taylor raised concern with the study’s loose definition of evolution. Researchers operated around the definition that says evolution means that organisms change over time based on inherited traits.

“They clearly have erroneous of definition of evolution, which is a change in frequency. It does not constitute a proof of change in human beings. It requires a spontaneous generation, which is impossible,” said Taylor, who is also the co-presenter of Creation Today’s TV segments.

Researchers at the University of Quebec at Montreal examined a church database of records for residents of an island population in Quebec, Canada. They found a genetic push toward younger age at first reproduction and larger families.

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According to study researcher Emmanuel Milot, this is the first direct evidence of natural selection in action in a relatively modern human population.

The study is based on data from 30 families who settled on ile aux Coudres, located in the St. Lawrence River outside of Quebec City, between 1720 and 1773.

Researchers analyzed data from women who married between 1799 and 1940 and compared their social, cultural or economic differences with the age they had their first child.

Over a 140-year period, age at first reproduction dropped from 26 to 22. This 30 percent to 50 percent variation is explained by genetic variation in the population, not by other factors, such as changes in cultures and social attitudes.

Taylor told CP that that this research directly contradicts leading evolution research from Steve Jones, senior genetics professor at University College of London, whose research suggests human evolution has come to a halt, with evidence suggesting mutation is decreasing.

“The Bible says that human beings are product of God’s direct creation. Jesus clearly believed that. When he was asked about marriage, he referred his listeners immediately to Adam and Eve at the beginning meaning at the beginning of the world not at the beginning of human history,” said Taylor in an interview with CP Wednesday.

According to CNN, the study "is probably one of the very best confirmations so far that human populations are still evolving," said Yale University professor of evolutional biology Stephen C. Stearns.

CP reached out to Jonathan Dudley, author of Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics to gauge his reaction on the recent study.

Dudley emphasized that Christians who believe God created the earth can find value in scientific explanations. He also found the population study to be interesting.

“It challenges what a lot of scientists believe about what can challenge evolution,” said Dudley, who seemed excited about observing evolution in modern society as opposed to studying it from thousands of years ago.

"What we learn from that population is that evolution is possible in relatively modern times in modern humans," Milot said. "Where it is going to occur and in what ways is a different question."

 

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