The Science of Evolution

What exactly is evolution?  What makes it science?  And where is the evidence?  Let’s do a quick rundown of what evolution is, and why the majority of the scientific community accepts it without question.

WHAT IS EVOLUTION?

Contrary to popular belief, evolution does not say A) life came from non-life, B) the Big Bang formed the universe, and the most common misrepresentation, we came from chimps.  In fact, evolution is a little more complicated than that, but is easily understood if you look at it thoroughly.  First, imagine an extremely primitive single-celled organism, just swimming around in the Paleozoic seas.  This would be the first-ever life form.  Now, imagine that life form splitting into two slightly different organisms.  We know this happens, because we’ve clearly observed bacterial evolution numerous times.  Anyway, these slightly different organisms begin to occupy new niches in the ocean, and the evolutionary arms race is on!  Over time, the creatures evolve so far as to dominate the land, and eventually we have the great diversity of life on earth!

WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE?

There are numerous evidences for evolution, the most famous of which is, of course, the fossil record.  Many creationists say that there are barely any transitional forms, or that the ones that exist are fragmentary, but that actually isn’t true at all.  For instance, let’s look at this quote from Kent Hovind’s blog.

“Are you aware that the ambulocetus was made from very few bone fragments and many experts do not think it is a missing link at all?”

I don’t know how this fossil is fragmentary, unless you stretch the definition real far:

Ambulocetus, the Walking Whale

We also have numerous transitional forms linking fish to amphibians (like Tiktaalik), birds to reptiles (like Archaeopteryx),  mammals to reptiles (like Thrinaxodon), and of course, primates to humans (like the famous “Lucy”).  Fossils alone are great evidences for evolution, but we can go even further and enter the world of genetics, or biogeography (which shows us amazing examples of genetic drift).  All in all, there are some spectacular evidences for evolution out there.  There’s a site with a huge list in my links.

BUT ISN’T EVOLUTION UNSCIENTIFIC?

Not in the least, header!  A scientific theory must explain a wide variety of observations, and evolution does just that.  Most creationists say that since evolution isn’t observable or testable, it’s religion, not science.  But evolution is in fact observable, just not in real time.  We can observe transitional forms and genetic drift.  And we can test genetic similarities in different species.  But wait, the creationists say, is evolution falsifiable?  And does it make predictions?  Yes, and yes!  There are multiple things that could disprove evolution, such as, to quote a famous evolutionary scientist, “fossil rabbits in the Precambrian”.  Evolution also predicts what transitional forms may look like, and where in time they will be found.  However, being observable, testable, making predictions, and being falsifiable are four huge problems for creationism?  Why?

  1. You can’t observe something being supernaturally created.  If you could, that would potentially turn evolution upside down.  But no one has ever seen something being created.  The creationists say that the Bible is true because it’s the word of God, but can you prove that a deity wrote it?
  2. Similar to the above problem, you can’t supernaturally create something yourself.  The closest you could come to proving the Bible would be to replicate Noah’s Ark, or something material that you could try to build.
  3. What predictions does creationism make?  Everything they believe already happened, apparently.  And even then, there are multiple Christians and creationists who have their own views of the Bible, not all of which say the exact same things.
  4. If God could do anything, he could make anything look like something else.  So, even if we have solid, conclusive evidence of evolution (which we do have), the creationists could just pop in and say “Well, God made it look that way.”  They could say that, but that would be shooting their own feet.  My point is, anything could be counted as evidence for God.  Creationism, therefore, isn’t falsifiable.
There is lots of evidence to show that evolution is scientific fact, not just a theory, or, as some creationists say, a belief system.  There is lots more information in my list of links.
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