Evolution in the News - May 2011
by Do-While Jones

Run For The Roses

The Kentucky Derby proves us right again!

Darwin correctly observed that there are small variations between individuals of all species. He also correctly observed that when these variations provide a significant survival advantage, these variations will become more common in the general population of that species (if the variation can be inherited).

Darwin erroneously extrapolated this phenomenon. He believed that these small variations could accumulate without limit over long periods of time, resulting not only in new species, but new families, genera, phyla, and even biological kingdoms.

The argument that many modern evolutionists smugly make today is that microevolution is a real, observable phenomenon (and they are right) which, after a sufficiently long period of time, will lead to macroevolution (but they are wrong).

They are wrong for three reasons. First, microevolution creates small variations through loss of genetic information. That is, undesirable characteristics are removed through selective breeding.

Second, macroevolution (if it existed) would require addition of genetic information.

Third, the extrapolation of microevolution to macroevolution is invalid because there is a limit to the amount of variation that can be produced through the loss of genetic information.

The extrapolation fallacy can be illustrated by this analogy. If one observes a freight train going from New York to Chicago, one can reasonably extrapolate how long it will take to get to California; but one cannot extrapolate how long it will take the train to get to Hawaii. The tracks end at the Pacific Ocean, so the train never can get there.

Twelve years ago we wrote an article which claimed there is a limit to how much variation can be obtained through breeding; and that it is invalid to extrapolate beyond that limit. 1 It was based on the fact that thoroughbred horse breeders spare no expense to breed ever faster horses for the purpose of winning the Kentucky Derby.

It was (and still is) our contention that there is a limit to how fast a horse can run. To that end, we studied the winning times of the Kentucky Derby since the race was first run on a 1¼ mile track at Churchill Downs in 1896. We showed that the winning times tended to get faster, up to a point. We called that point, “The Kentucky Derby Limit.”

Twelve more Kentucky Derby races have been run since we wrote that article. Secretariat was the only horse ever to run the race in less than 120 seconds. He did it in 1973, with a time of 119 seconds. If breeding can produce faster and faster horses, another horse should have been able to break the 120-second barrier in the past 38 years.

Last Saturday (7 May 2011), NBC televised this year’s running of the Kentucky Derby. NBC expertly managed to squeeze the 2-minute race into a 3-hour telecast! Animal Kingdom won the race in 122 seconds, proving us right for the 12th straight year. There is a limit to how fast a horse can run 1¼ mile. (There might not be a limit to how long NBC can stretch their coverage, however. )

Once all the characteristics that slow a horse down have been bred out, the horse can’t run any faster. There is a limit to how much variation can be produced through natural breeding.

They can continue to breed horses for the Kentucky Derby for another 137 years, but the winning time will rarely, if ever, be less than 120 seconds. If evolution were true, and microevolution could continue without limit, then the winning times would continue to decrease, and horses would break the 120 second limit routinely.

The plot of Kentucky Derby winning times clearly shows that horses have stopped getting faster. We don’t know which horse will win next year, but we do know the winning time will be 122 seconds, plus or minus 2 seconds. You can bet on it!

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1 Disclosure, June 1999, “The Kentucky Derby Limit