Thursday, January 24, 2008

is there evidence for macroevolution?

After I cross-posted my last blog entry to The Daily Kos I got some good comments and discussion. The poll was done just for fun, sort of tongue-in-cheek though it did offend a couple of friends! That doesn't bother me so much, but one friend actually said she FORGAVE ME as if a difference of theological opinion is enough to cause a Christian friend of 20+ years to not forgive me? What about Jesus saying forgive 7 x 7 times?! I just wish we could all have a sense of humor here, people! :)

Anyway I believe that we have to stand up for Truth and that is why I am adamant about evolution. I KNOW evolution is fact. I have Faith in God and Christ. There's a big difference.

So the comment from a random person I don't know on Daily Kos was:

It surprises me to here [sic] so many argue against ID and in support of Evolution on the basis of facts when most of the facts I've heard on these posts are either wrong or the arguments are lacking the facts. First it's important to know what the basis of ID is and what the followers believe. Not what the religious conservatives who tried to use ID in there favor to get religion back in school believe it is. It's a story of "really don't be on my side" because the conservatives are not helping the idea behind ID. Also to those who boldly call evolution a fact and not a theory. The science has the evidence to support the evolution of species due to natural selection. However, Evolution remains a theory that has plenty of gaps in going from one family to another. Apparently I must have had a terrible evolution teacher when I took the course in college because the gaps are amazing when you actually look at the details. Probabilities and mathematics are a science. You can prove how statistically improbable something is due to its complexities. How different is that basic concept than ID.


And my response:

You must certainly have had a very bad biology teacher because the evidence for macroevolution - NOT just microevolution and natural selection - is overwhelming not scant.

The very fact of the universal genetic code in itself overwhelmingly supports common descent of all organisms from bacteria to human(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_code). That is just the beginning. Other basic facts (not theory) in support of evolution are:

  • the shared muscle & bone arrangements in all vertebrates, which have been modified to fit the function in various creatures (birds versus whales versus bats versus fish etc)

  • evidence from convergent evolution (unrelated organisms will evolve in very similar ways to rspond to similar evolutionary pressures)

  • evidence from similarities of flora & fauna on Africa and South America and other continents due to plate tectonics (the continents used to be connected, so organisms on continents that used to be connected are more similar genetically than continents that were not connected - or in relation to time apart since at one point everything was one land mass which then moved apart into Gondwanaland and Laurasia, and then further split).

  • The fact that geneticists can actually detect specific changes in genes and how that affects traits in one closely related organism to the next.


This is just the very beginning of evidence!!

I get frustrated that people who have had a single Biology class in college, learning evolution for a max of 3-4 weeks, think that they can debunk the whole thing by saying there'e no evidence. Try taking a bio class again, or reading about evolution from a non-biased source (scientists) or take an Evolution class. Or sit in on one. Whether or not there is a God/ "designer" is not a question that science can answer! Trying to redefine science so that it appeases Christians/IDers/anti-evolutionists is doing a grave injustice to our society, our world, Christianity, and Truth itself!

2 comments:

David said...

I would add a couple of fallacies to the comment you discussed on this post which you didn’t comment on, but I would like to highlight. First, the basic definition of Biological Evolution is: change in allele frequencies through time. This is an undeniable fact, that we can and do measure, and is the central "fact" upon which the Theory of Evolution is based. Second, "Theory" in science SUPERCEDES "fact". Theory is an amalgamation of many facts, and is more powerful than any mere fact. This is more a problem of the misuse of the word "theory" in the language of many non-scientists. The idea purported in the comment suggests that the facts don’t back up the Theory of Evolution. This is fundamentally not true. Those suggesting it are either ignorant or lying. As to the so-called “gaps” in lineages, those pieces to the puzzle are constantly being filled in; so much so that I would suggest that there no longer are “missing links”. Lastly, the idea that we can use mathematics and statistics to suggest evolution is highly improbable is a fundamental misuse of mathematics and statistics and highlights the innumeracy plaguing our society.

If ID proponents really wanted to honestly have their ideas considered as scientific, they could publish data which support their ideas in a reputable quantifiable way. I guarantee, if a person were to do such a thing, they would be instantly famous. They will not do this though, I suspect because most are aware that the ideas are not supported by experimental data. Instead, ID proponents rely on the ignorance of non-scientists to win in the court of public opinion. This is quite dishonest and underhanded in my view. Make no mistake; the Theory of Biological evolution is alive and well. The losers if ID proponents have their way in removing sound science from the classroom, will not be Evolutionary Biologists as the field is more healthy, alive and supported by “facts” than ever before. Rather the losers will be kids who will miss out on opportunities to advance in any biological science field, as they may not fully understand or are skeptical of the central, most important, well supported theory upon which all of biology is coming to rest.

WENDEE HOLTCAMP said...

great thoughts. Sorry it took so long t oget them on here. For soem reason I didn't see that there were comments to be moderated until today!