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:
A Ring Species is a connected series of neighboring populations that can interbreed with relatively closely related populations, but for which there exist at least two "end" populations in the series that are too distantly related to interbreed. This usually happens in species spanning a broad morphological continuum across a wide geographic range which members of a local population can interbreed with members of adjacent populations, but end members of the continuum cannot interbreed. Often such non-breeding-though-genetically-connected populations co-exist in the same region thus creating a "ring". Ring species provide important evidence of evolution in that they illustrate what happens over time as populations genetically diverge, and are special because they represent in living populations what normally happens over time between long deceased ancestor populations and living populations.
Ring species also present an interesting case of the species problem, for those who seek to divide the living world into discrete species. After all, all that distinguishes a ring species from two separate species is the existence of the connecting populations - if enough of the connecting populations within the ring perish to sever the breeding connection, the ring species becomes two distinct species. Nature itself isn't prone to neat black and white paradigms.
The image showing the Arctic Circle shows the Larus gulls interbreeding ring. Points 7 and 1 can interbreed, however points 6 and 3 cannot.
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
- Philosophy and Theology
- Miscellaneous Anti-Evolution
- Biblical Creationism
- Intelligent Design
- Vedic Creationism