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The Theory of Evolution

Evolution functions on these basic premises:

  • There are a number of imperfect replicators on Earth competing for limited resources (food / land)
  • The environment that these imperfect replicators inhabit determine which replicators are
  • successful and which ones are not by means of reproductive success.
  • Child replicators inherit their parents' DNA, this includes all positive, negative, and neutral replication errors.
  • The combination of these factors (imperfect replicators + limited resources + heritability) is what is responsible for the diverse number of species on the planet.

In order for a scientific theory to be successful, it has to explain what's going on in nature better than any other theories. Below is a list of empirical evidence (things we observe happening/going on in nature) that need explanation:

phyletic gradualism/punctuated equilibrium Punctuated equilibrium (or punctuated equilibria) is a theory in evolutionary biology which states that most sexually reproducing species will show little to no evolutionary change throughout their history. When evolution occurs it happens sporadically (by splitting) and occurs relatively quickly compared to the species' full duration on earth. Punctuated equilibrium is commonly contrasted against the theory of phyletic gradualism, which hypothesizes that most evolution occurs uniformly and by the steady gradual transformation of whole lineages (anagenesis).

Punctuated equilibrium is the currently favored theory for the fluctuating patterns of evolution observed in the fossil record. The theory does not in fact refute Darwin's gradualism, it just added the ideas of catastrophism and stasis.

The above list is a list (not all-inclusive) of the things we find in nature that need a biological explanation. The Theory of Evolution is the scientific theory that attempts to explain why we find these things happening in nature - such as birds with teeth. Birds having genes for teeth is strong evidence that they had an ancestor that did have teeth (dinosaurs).

All birds have genes for teeth that are not "turned on", just like all humans have genes for tails that are not turned on (most of the time).

Then we have Creationism. Creationists are people who believe that, in this context, life on Earth was willed into existence by their god(s). Creationsim is anti-science right off the bat - they start with their conclusion and try to shoe-horn the Universe into their assumed conclusion, ignoring any evidence to the contrary:

One side's methodology is extremely biased, the other's is objective. Which is which?

Most Creationists function under the false axiom that if they "prove" the Theory of Evolution false, this means that Creationism is true. This is could be categorized under the logical fallacy of a False Dichotomy. Proving the ToE false in no way means that Creationism is true. In order for Creationism to be found true, Creationists would have to provide evidence of creation.

Once that happened, then the Creationist would have to provide evidence that their respective god(s) did indeed perform the creation event.

Below is an index (off site) of common Creationist claims initially compiled by Mark Isaak of Talk.Origins :