Evidence for Evolution, ctd: Facebook Edition
I had a little Facebook debate with a friend’s friend on whether evidence exists for “any species evolving into another species. ” Here’s the debate as it currently stands. I’ll be sure to add any updates. I wrote my remarks at 1 in the morning so I’m taking the liberty of cleaning up a few grammatical errors (nothing of substance) and linking a few more of my points for easier reference for any curious readers. I cut out some random Boo Yahs! and such things by some commentators before and in between the substance of our debate.
RMB: Scientists are sure of evolution in the sense that Darwin’s Finches had changing beaks, but there is very little and very weak “evidence” of any species evolving into another species. I’m just saying…
Me: I hate to break it to you (by which I mean, I “love”) but even with evolution at that level there is a huge amount of evidence. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you haven’t looked that deeply into the mainstream scientific literature. There is an amazing amount of fossil, genetic, geological, and other evidence (no quotes) for evolution. Any critiques that say otherwise are deliberately misreading the facts or ignorant of them. I’m not slamming religion in this instance, but consider why opposition to evolution is WHOLLY theological, not scientific, and that should tell you everything you need to know.
RMB: this is a hard forum in which to really have this discussion but let me just say that I have read works by famous evolutionists like Gould, Asimov and Dawkins and I always feel that there is a stunning disregard of facts and glossing over things that have little or no evidence to support them. The fossil record supports me in my view. Rather than showing long periods of minor changes that clearly lead to a new species, there are long periods of minor change followed by a blink of a few million years in which thousands of new species suddenly appear. And I prefer to leave religion out of it. Thhe fact is that transitional species don’t exist in any real way. Even Crick (Nobel Prize winner for co-discovering DNA) believed that DNA changes that would cause one species to become another are so implausible that is is more likely that extraterrestrials left what some see as the building blocks for evolution on our planet in a last ditch effort to keep life in the universe when they faced extinction. And thats a crazy thing for a very intelligent person to say, so it’s saying quite a bit about how he felt about evolution.
As for me, well I think that some primordial soup turning into human life is about as likely as a tornado whipping through a junkyard and coming up with a boeing 747.
Let’s clean up some other misrepresentations you let clutter your argument. First off “a blink of a few million years” (which sounds ludicrous already but I know what you’re getting at) is more like 20 million years! You must be referring to the Cambrian Explosion. Although that is a short period of time in the geologic history of the earth, it is still a very long time for evolution to work. The emergence of evolved fossils during this period is mostly explained by soft bodied creatures developing harder mineralized bones and shells which more easily fossilize. If we followed your faulty logic we’d have to conclude flatworms just appeared! After all, they (and their cousins) are incredibly common (about as many types as there are mammals) but not a single fossil of one has ever been found.
It’s also telling that you’re pulling out-of-context statements from evolutionists to somehow disprove evolution, as though they support your view. If they were making arguments which disproved evolution, they wouldn’t be evolutionists would they? I couldn’t find exactly what quote you were referring to in reference to Crick [update: I found it: he’s referring to the origin of life, not evolutionary change], but understand he certainly accepts evolution by natural selection and is a harsh critic of creationism. Here’s a quote from him: “They [creationists] also usually deny that animals and plants have evolved and changed radically over such long periods, although this is equally well established. This gives one little confidence that what they have to say about the process of natural selection is likely to be unbiased, since their views are predetermined by a slavish adherence to religious dogmas.”
Let me just close by saying, even if no fossils were ever found, evolution today should not be in doubt, but the fact remains that the libraries we have filled with fossils should convince anyone willing to look with an open mind. I don’t mean to be rude, but to argue that “transitional species don’t exist in any real way” is a willful disregard of the evidence. Here’s just wikipedia’s incomplete list.
My favorite recent example is Tiktaalik.
What is amazing about that find, other than its clarity, is that the scientist who found it predicted a creature like that must exist in that specific area where it was found. Then found it. Read his book: Your Inner Fish.
Amazingly, if you look at all the fossils discovered from earliest to most recent, you see a clear path from more primitive to what we find in modern animals today. Not a single out of place fossil! No rabbits in the precambrian, as the quip goes. What else could explain that except for evolution? All disparate fields of modern science converge and confirm the truth of evolution. Pretending that the science is on your side is disingenuous – admit that your opposition is motivated by religion not science; your string of creationist talking points already gave you away.
(image from Discovery News)