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Making Sense of Evolution Myths and Misconceptions

Updated on June 12, 2012
The author of the most important book ever written?
The author of the most important book ever written? | Source

Getting to Grips with a Theory

It is said that if you understand evolution, you don't know nearly enough about it. More than 150 years have passed since the publication of On the Origin of Species where Charles Darwin published his compelling evidence that all life on Earth evolved through a process called natural selection. This ground-breaking publication is still causing waves across the world as people struggle to reconcile their personal beliefs on creation with scientific fact (in scientific lexicon, the word theory has a very specific meaning, namely an explanation backed up with evidence.)

The aim of this hub is not to convince anyone one way or the other. The point of this hub is to outline the myths and misconceptions held on both sides of the evolution debate. Perhaps if we spent time engaging with each other, rather than bickering, we could find common ground. Evolution does not disregard, diminish or destroy God or any concept of a deity.

Relativism in a Nutshell

1. It doesn't matter if people don't understand/accept evolution

Many people, particularly those outside of the scientific and religious communities don't see the point of all the bickering between the two sides. After all, the world will keep spinning and life will go on, regardless of the view points of a given individual. On the face of it, this seems a sensible argument, but delve a little deeper and you can see the danger of this misconception.

What if an evolution-denier became President or Prime Minister of a Western Power? Evolution is directly relevent to many policy decisions in fields as diverse as agriculture, fisheries, hospital policy and national security. We live in a technological world that demands scientific literacy, any nation that ignores the scientific method will fall behind.

Ultimately it is not good enough to state that all opinions are equally valid (known as relativism). Making policy decisions based on faith positions instead of using evidence is foolish at best, dangerous at worst.

Keywords

Hypothesis - a proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence, as a starting point for further investigation

Relativism - a philosophical view that states there is no such thing as 'absolute truth'

Theory - a collection or system of ideas intended to explain something, based on empirical evidence.

IS evolution limitlessly creative? Compare your Goldfish to this Angler Fish and the answer initially seems...yes. But things aren't that simple
IS evolution limitlessly creative? Compare your Goldfish to this Angler Fish and the answer initially seems...yes. But things aren't that simple | Source

2.The Sky is the Limit!

Proponents of evolution usually state that evolution is 'limitless creative' and at first glance this idea seems to have some merit. Not only do you look at the variation between fish, birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, bacteria and the myriad of other Phyla in the living world, but look at the difference between a kipper and a deep-sea angler fish. Evolution seems to have invented the jet engine (squid), the wheel (salamander) and the lightbulb (again the Angler) before Man, but there are certain things that are exceedingly unlikely to evolve on Earth.

One such evolutionary direction would be flying plants. Why have these not evolved? There are species of plant that float in the water, why not species that float like balloons in the air? Such structures, however, would be dangerously delicate. These plants would be unlikely to survive to pass on their genes. This seems to be at least one avenue that evolution will not explore (along with machine-gun-toting Zebra...)

3. What Use is Half an Eye?

A particularly persuasive misconception, but a misconception nonetheless. This holds that structures such as the eye, the wing, the immune system and bacterial flagellum are so complex, that they only become useful to an organism when fully formed. As evolution requires a step-wise process, creationists argue that this is proof that evolution is false.

This is nothing more than a lack of imagination. Whilst it may be difficult to conceive how half an eye would be of any use to anything, we must remember that evolution is driven by gaining slight advantages over 'rival' individuals, over vast periods of time.. For a great step-by-step see the video.

4. The Bible is Inerrant, therefore Evolution can't be true

Theists hold that the Bible is the word of God and is therefore not liable to error (it is inerrant ). However, on closer inspection, there are many inconsistencies in the Biblical account - there are two different, opposing versions of the creation story for starters! Whilst the Bible is an excellent source of ethical and moral guidance, it is not a scientific textbook. For example, the Bible states ostriches are careless parents, the Earth is flat (and immovable), and that pi is equal to 3. Clearly, the only logical explanation of these inconsistencies is that the Bible is not inerrant.

5. Evolution is not Testable or Falsifiable and 6. No-one has Seen Evolution

The scientific method is one of testable and falsifiable observation. Many people state that as evolution cannot be observed or falsified, it violates the scientific method and is, therefore, a faith position.

Every DNA analysis and fossil find is a test of Evolution. If a scientist happened to find rabbit or chicken fossils in pre-cambrian rock, Evolution would be disproven on the spot. A Nobel Prize would follow...

As for "Evolution hasn't been observed", that is also misguided. If this were true, all the hysteria over avian and swine flu would be completely unjustified, as there would be no chance of these disease evolving into human-transmissible forms. Ask any Doctor or Nurse and they will tell you of the dangers of superbugs such as MRSA or C. difficile - these bugs evolved from their non-antibiotic-resistant ancestors.

On top of this, just because we haven't witnessed an event, doesn't mean we cannot piece together what happened using evidence. This is what CSI departments do everyday. Using the "You didn't see it, so you can't prove it" argument would mean that all murder trials would have to be settled using video evidence (eye-witness testimony is notoriously unreliable). If our courts trust scientific evidence, perhaps the rest of the world can learn to...it's the same principle.

Do YOU think it matters if people don't understand evolution?

See results

7. Evolution Violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics

The Second Law of Thermodynamics is often quote-mined as proof that evolution cannot possibly be true. This Law states that in an isolated system, entropy cannot decrease (things cannot get less random; things cannot get more complex).

The important (and often forgotten) part of the law is that things only go from more complex to less complex in an isolated system. Our planet is not an isolated system. Therefore evolution does not violate this law.

All humans started as a single fertilised egg that grew in complexity to become a fully grown human being. Same principle.

Once upon a time, red squirrels were considered perfectly adapted to their habitat.
Once upon a time, red squirrels were considered perfectly adapted to their habitat. | Source

8. Evolution Begats Perfection

Even experienced Evolutionary Biologists can make this mistake. It is often spouted that Evolution results in organisms "perfectly adapted" to their environment. This is a fallacy: think of your own job - do you need to do it perfectly? No. You need to do it just as well, or a tiny bit better, than any competitors for your job.

The red squirrel is perfectly adapted to live in UK forests, right? Wrong - it would seem that the grey squirrel is quite a bit better adapted...

The human eye is far from perfect, as is the human respiratory system. Natural selection only requires something to work - not to work perfectly. As such, once a clumsy design has been selected for, ancestors of that animal are stuck with it until they evolve a work-around improvement.

9. Religion and Evolution are Incompatible

Just like water and oil, evolution and religion do not mix. Well, as any of my Year 10 students can tell you, water and oil can be forced to mix - just add an emulsifier. Religion and Science are two sides of the same coin - our existence is richer for having both. As stated by Evolutionary Biologist, Stephen Jay Gould:

"Science tries to document the factual character of the natural world, and to develop theories that coordinate and explain those facts. Religion, on the other hand, operates in the equally important, but utterly different, realm of human purposes, meanings, and values.

10. If Humans Evolved from Apes, Why are There Still Apes?

I have saved the most asked question for last. Often laid as a trump card, this argument is based on flawed thinking. After all, the people of the Americas came from (to name but a few) England, Ireland, Spain...these countries still exist. The emergence of a new species does not require the extinction of the old one. Dogs evolved from wolves, and there are still wolves. A species is a group of animals that can interbreed to create fertile offspring. If two populations of the same species become separated, and then diversify to such an extent that they cannot interbreed when brought back together, a new species has evolved .

(PS - for the record, humans and apes shared an ancestor, humans did not evolve from apes - they are our cousins, not ancestors)

BONUS: The Evolution of Whales

Evolution can neatly describe how whales evolved. It is one speciation event that we have plenty of fossil evidence for. Take a look at the video for an excellent summary

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    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Flying plants would be no less delicate than butterflies, and we have those.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "Every DNA analysis and fossil find is a test of Evolution. If a scientist happened to find rabbit or chicken fossils in pre-cambrian rock, Evolution would be disproven on the spot. A Nobel Prize would follow..."

      Nah. They'd just re-date the rocks.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Isn't the whole point of these discussions so that we can learn from them? I would regard myself as a 'Young Earth Creationist' with a limited knowledge of all the issues but nothing I've come across here has changed my views (though the debate is fascinating) To me there is too much order in our universe for it to be ny chance. I reject the evolutionary model on that ground and the fact that evolution at present runs counter to a number of established sciences ( I can think of three at the moment) that's why. All Itry to do is point out that where a law exists there are no exceptions 'just to fit a theory ' unless you have hard facts

    • mrphysh profile image

      John S. Brigham 3 years ago from North Carolina

      I have been following this thread and enjoying it......

      consider these two scenarios:

      First scenario: 800 million years ago cyanobacteria got a hold in the oceans of the third planet from the sun. 300 million years later, the atmosphere moved from CO2 dominated to oxygen dominated. Eukaryotic cells came on the scene and multicellular organisms became possible. Animals appeared taking advantage of the new atmosphere. In another 100 million years animals start competing on land with the plants. 100 million years after that dinosaurs start walking around. There is a big asteroid and the dinosaurs are wiped out, making room for mammals. A million years ago hominids, lots of them, appeared. And then maybe 60,000 years ago humans appeared. Okay.

      Scenario two: Some sort of creative intelligence created the whole thing.

      Step back and be objective. Which is the more plausible? The first scenario implies that it is all accidental. Just luck and happenstance. The earth is just a freak of physical science. (James Crick said that the probability of DNA being created by chance is the same as the chance of a hurricane going through a junk yard and making a fully functional Boeing 747)

      Creative intelligence seems like a better bet.

      Humans evolved from monkeys? That is not obvious to me.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Thanks for that. I agree that o did miss the point on your previous discussion and apologize. You are right about all life being carbon based. The issue is how life started. Even theistic evolutionists say 'God '

    • profile image

      smileysock 3 years ago

      Lawrence,

      You bring up a funny point of contention. Thomas Aquinas got flack because of abiogenesis. Life can come from nonliving sources as carbon is a nonliving source that makes up all of life on Earth. The problem is that the only experiment that we know of that tried to test that was Ulery and Miller. The problem with that experiment is that the conditions were completely wrong. The issue with the science of origins is that there are lots of ideas about how it could happen and ideas that suggest that tRNA replication could self-replicate as early genetic material, but there is no experiment that demonstrates that indeed tRNA can spontaneously do such a thing. The only experiment I know of, again, manipulated the conditions and provided extreme pressures and selection that has not been proven to have occurred. Natural adaptations go a long way in explaining how populations of animals can become separated and adapt to new surroundings. Going back to the MRSA thing, the issue is that the MRSA bacteria is usually already present, but the selective pressure of antibiotics causes that specific bacteria to flourish as compared to those that antibiotics killed. That's a falsifiable claim that if you treat penicillin resistant bacteria along with nonresistant bacteria with penicillin, the resistant bacteria will thrive. That is natural selection. The Theory of Evolution, as put forth by Darwin suggests that all life originated from a single organism. As far as I know, no one has come up with a credible falsifiable experiment to prove that. That is an issue I have with Darwin's theory. All of the science, so far, comes from cladistics where humans subjectively decide that one thing looks like another. A lot of new genetic data, which is more objective, has discredited a lot of those schemes, which is true of whales. For instance, the chimpanzee Y chromosome is very different than human (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&am... The explanation for that is that Y chromosomes evolve differently. So clearly, the mechanisms of evolution are unknown. Creationists point this stuff out all the time, which gets scientists in trouble, making them less likely to put forth these ideas. Scientists know that we don't understand the complete mechanisms of evolution, but pop scientists, who end up winning the day, refuse to admit it. On the other hand, the creationists use any data that suggests that our current understanding of the mechanisms of evolution are wrong (which is correct), but use it to suggest that evolution is completely wrong. What they should be doing is designing experiments, which they don't. So in the end, no good science comes out of evolution anymore because you have a bunch of amateurs messing everything up.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      It's interesting what you are saying but the fact is the tests were done back in the 1870's by Louis Pasteur who showed that life cannot come from non living sources. Some evolutionary sources now claim that Biogenesis isn't a science and want to go back to Abiogenesis that the ancie Greeks believed in and has been discredited!!

      I agree about the ark but that wasn't a scientist that did that but a carpenter who wanted to prove that the dimensions given in the Bible were correct and the ark would have floated.

    • profile image

      smileysock 3 years ago

      Are you familiar with Denis Noble? He is against a lot of neo-darwinism and a brilliant scientist. I think the problem is that a lot of scientists know there are lots of things wrong with current evolutionary theory, but are afraid to say anything. That does a huge disservice to science, but that is how it has always been. People like Dawkins are completely wrong, yet they have the biggest voice right now. They also have tons of followers who are not scientists that actively attack any scientist with opposing views. Someday, scientists will be able to get funding to do the necessary experiments. However, right now, they are prevented.

      http://www.voicesfromoxford.org/video/physiology-a...

    • profile image

      smileysock 3 years ago

      Robert, I just believe that science should only test falsifiable hypotheses. It just so happens that a lot of evolutionary research makes observations and case studies like psychologists and sociologists. Because of this, we really have no understanding of the actual mechanisms of evolution. No one has tested what it takes to cause a prokaryotic bacteria to become a eukaryotic bacteria. The research just says that these differences occurred at some point because that's just how it has to be. There have been studies where researchers have measured changes in the genes of bacteria over tens of years with no evidence that they can get bacteria to become something else. This is strange, to me, because we can add genetic material and remove it at will in bacteria. For instance, the whole flagella debate ended because scientists pointed out that there were some structures in bacteria that kinda look like parts of a flagella. Saying that a different bacteria has a part of the flagella and isn't dead does not actually directly test the question. They never actually tested whether irreducible complexity is not true. The easiest way to test it is to insert each separate part of the flagella into a bacteria with no flagella and see if any of those individual parts kills the bacteria. However, no evolutionary biologist has tried it. Instead, they choose to test the unfalsifiable claim that since one part doesn't kill bacteria, then all parts don't. The creationist people are the ones that should be doing these experiments, but they aren't. They spend the money on museums and arks. Basically neither are doing good science.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      A good one for getting dome scientific perspective is 'God's secret formula' by Dr Peter plichta a German physicist, chemist and mathematician.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Thanks Bruce. I'm familiar with AIG and do like a lot of what they put out but chose to avoid their material in replying for the reason you stated. Also I find it better to go to the source and not third parties

    • profile image

      smileysock 3 years ago

      Bruce, here is an article about how the theory of evolution is changing. The average scientist thinks very differently about the failures of evolutionary theory to describe the world, albeit, still thinking it is the only possible way. At one point, intelligent design was a reasonable theory that could be published. Then politics happened. It was not unreasonable to say that the probabilities of life origins didn't work based on the current theory. The new arguments are similar to how the average physicist thought about how Newton's theories fail to explain certain phenomena. It just so happen that it is a fact that certain phenomena are not explained well by the current theory of evolution. The problem is that the average hubpage person is not aware. Anyway, the article is from Nature, perhaps you think that is a young earth organization. A lot of scientists just happen to feel that the mechanisms of evolution as are understood are not sufficient. It is not saying that evolution is wrong. http://www.nature.com/news/does-evolutionary-theor...

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      You're right. I am a believer in a young earth. But almost none of the information I've put on here I'd from those sources. I am enjoying the debate but realize without irrefutable proof opinions will not change. All we ask is to keep an open mind and stop presenting evolution as fact because it isn't and many scientists including Nobel laureates don't accept it

      These aren't 'creation nuts ' but the best and brightest

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Actually carbon14 has a half life of 5,700 years and is not used for anything older than 50,000 years. The preferred method is uranium 238 dating which I am researching st the moment. It supposedly had s half life of 4.5 billion years but since the 1970s scientists have suspected it to be unreliable as massive variations in radiation levels have been given using it in meteorites. It's not conclusive but enough to undermine its credibility as a system for dating rocks. I'm working on a hub dealing with it at the moment. Should be ready in a fee days

    • profile image

      smileysock 3 years ago

      I can't believe I got an email about this thread. I remember how this guy doesn't understand evolution. In 2 years, the fact that we are no closer to understanding the origins of life is amazing. Also, the fact that biologists are trying to change the mechanisms of evolution because of epigenetics. This stuff was known 2 years ago, but things are getting difficult. Anyway, I now realize that the amateur scientist on hubpages just doesn't have the technical knowledge to understand the honest issues with evolution. The debates among scientists in the field are completely different than on hubpages. Reading the article again, I realize this author is confused about the theory of evolution and the concept of natural selection. It is an honest mistake that many make.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      The fossil record is dated by the rock it's found in. The rocks are dated by the fossils in the rocks! They tell us that fossils take years to create yet in AD 68 Vesuvius did it in hours!

      Clearly the present system of dating fossils is inadequate! Don't try to claim carbon14 dating as its not accurate. That system dated volcanic rock from mount st Helens at three million years when the rock was only thirty years old!!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      You are right in saying that our planet isn't an isolated system (2nd law of thermodynamics) BUT the universe is one (aaccording to physicists) hence the law does apply because we exist within that system

    • mrphysh profile image

      John S. Brigham 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Evolution is an academically and intellectually appealing theory. But the smoking gun of proof should be in the fossil record and it is not there. So evolution remains a theory.

      Is this an important question? The article says it is important, but I could not follow his argument. I am a biology teacher and am comfortable ignoring the subject.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Wonderful hub. I commend you on your fine education, and the work you do. I am a true believer in God, and in Evolution. I truly believe I experienced the presence of God once during a moment while administering CPR to my mother when her heart stopped beating one morning. I want go into the details here, but I have in a few of my hubs.

      As for evolution, I've never found it conflicting because I have always considered human growth, and animal growth, or any growth for that matter in living organisms to be a snapshot of evolution because growth is and evolving process from infant stages to adult stages , but in a much faster process.

      To get to my points, I read the Bible, and enjoy the Bible, but I have never believed God sat down and wrote the good book, humans collectively seem to have written it,and humans are subject to all kinds of exagerations, and imperfections unlike a God.

      I love reading the Bible, and enjoy the knowledge in it along with it's great ethical value, and mystical thoughts, and words that have different messages when thoughts are related to it's words.

      Evolution is obvious do to the factual findings of fossils, and because of so much logic involved in it, but I have always wondered why there has been such a sensational conflict between evolution, and creation. I personally believe that God, and eternity, and foreverness could have the ability to possess both of these ideas in some form of mystical reality that seems to me to be quite possible. I believe in something fantastic which I prefer to call that fantastic entity God,and I believe in science, scientific facts, and in experiments that have logical, and interesting facts, and knowledge.

      This is where I stand in my beliefs. I do not expect everyone to believe in everything I believe in, but what I believe in satisfies some kind of summation too all of what seems to demand some kind of explanation to what I recognize in my life. I voted Up On your Hub, and I have personally experienced the greatness of God, and think I understand the complexities involved to some small degree the wonders of either a complex reality, or mysteries that I find not easy to explain. God Bless You.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Your wife is probably more evolved than you. After all, she did start out as a rib bone from an already fully developed male, so she had a head start, right?

      Men could be pigs since they came from dirt. And since evolution doesn't exist, they are just full of 'dirt' to this day. :-)

      Great hub and I need to link to this one. (please excuse me from causing my hub to "evolve".)

    • TFScientist profile image
      Author

      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      My wife constantly implies she is more evolved than I...

    • Historicus profile image

      Jerry Desko 5 years ago from Cashtown, PA

      I once went out with a girl who stated men are pigs. Does that mean we have more evolving to do or has she evolved past the point men have??

    • TFScientist profile image
      Author

      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      I'm drawing a line under that particular conversation thread, as we seem to be moving in circles. If anyone has any other questions or criticism about the hub, please leave a comment - I would love to hear your feedback, provided it is constructive!

    • TFScientist profile image
      Author

      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      Yet again you ignore the evidence I gave you

      Yet again you cannot give me an alternative

      Yet again you show your ignorance..

      We shall agree to disagree. I cannot convince anyone who will not listen to reason, logic and evidence, and you cannot convince me to give up an evidence based position for a faith-based one. You are twisting what I say, you are twisting genetic science. Of course MRSA did not evolve because of penicillin. It is not PENICILLIN resistant staph...quote mining again...I have given you three separate pieces of evidence for the whale point. You have ignored them all. If you will not engage I will no longer engage with you.

      Thanks for your comments. I wholeheartedly disagree with most of what you have said, but it has made for an entertaining and protracted conversation. I have left slightly more informed than I started. I hope you have also.

      I will repeat for all to see (although if you bother to read my hub it is there) macro-evolution can be disproved easily - show me precambrian rabbits. Every fossil, cladistic analysis, phylogenetic investigation, breeding experiment is a test of evolution. If you don't understand that, I cannot help you.

    • profile image

      smileysock 5 years ago

      Look, I will comment on this part because this is the only important part of this discussion:

      Micro and Macro evolution are classic evolution-denier arguments. As soon as you accept micro evolution, macro MUST follow. These tiny changes over VAST time add up to change one species into another.

      If a population becomes segregated, each subpopulation becomes subject to unique selection pressures. This makes different mutations advantageous in each environment. Natural selection slowly causes advantageous mutations in each environment to spread through the population. Each population is segregated from the other, so these mutations do not get passed between them. Eventually the two communities become SO different from each other that they can no longer interbreed to form fertile offspring. It is at this point that a new species has been formed.

      This has never, ever been substantiated completely or fully. The only thing evolutionists can't point to are things like MRSA, which, again, has not been shown to evolve. It has just been shown that some Staph have resistance and some do not and that they can pass this resistance to other bacteria. MRSA did not evolve in patients because of penicillin. Just like a person can have blue eyes and others can have brown. Next, there is no evidence for your description of a cow turning into a whale. You came up with a hypothesis but there is no way to prove it. The other observation is the changing of dogs. That was forced. It does not prove that it can naturally happen. Just like me throwing a ball does not prove that a ball can throw itself. Just because it can happen doesn't mean it does. Macro Evolution is no different from religion because there are no controlled experiments. That is something you have never addressed.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

      Yes you are write, but it is not easy for believers to accept the truth.

    • TFScientist profile image
      Author

      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      True :) But it shouldn't be...

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

      I think this is an endless discussion.

    • TFScientist profile image
      Author

      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      Wow - that dinosaur post is extremely impressive. Never heard of anything like it. Thanks for the info! :) It still doesn't disprove evolution though.

      Yes randomness is required for mutation. However, to model the effect of a mutation on general populations and see how a given allele can spread and change a population does not require randomness. As such computer modelling is a perfectly good supplement to experimentation.

      "Your evolutionary process had to have happened one of two ways. The animal jumped into the ocean at some point or that the Marsh turned into an Ocean. Where other missing steps could explain it?" Over geological time these marshes can expand and burst their banks, creating rivers. This has even been observed in the time of our species. Rivers lead to the sea.

      "The cold virus can have small mutations that change its coat so that our immune cells don't recognize it and one gets sick" This IS evolution, one species of virus changing over time! Evolution is not limited to a fish evolving into an amphibian

      Micro and Macro evolution are classic evolution-denier arguments. As soon as you accept micro evolution, macro MUST follow. These tiny changes over VAST time add up to change one species into another.

      If a population becomes segregated, each subpopulation becomes subject to unique selection pressures. This makes different mutations advantageous in each environment. Natural selection slowly causes advantageous mutations in each environment to spread through the population. Each population is segregated from the other, so these mutations do not get passed between them. Eventually the two communities become SO different from each other that they can no longer interbreed to form fertile offspring. It is at this point that a new species has been formed.

      You must stop quote mining. I didn't state that MRSA gained its antibiotic resistance from fungi. I stated that antibiotic resistance is visible long before human use of antibiotics because almost all antibiotics originally come from other organisms. Plants, animals, fungi and bacteria have huge chemical arsenals to attack each other. Pencillin, after all, comes from the fungi Penicillium.

      Humans using these chemical artificially creates a selection pressure for those individuals that either spontaneously mutate or gain antibiotic resistance via bactieral conjugation. This fixes a gene in that population and is an example of evolution due to natural selection.

      The very beginning of life still remains a mystery, and there is no way to conclusively prove this. That doesn't mean that 'Goddidit' or that evolution was NOT the route cause. It also is not an argument for evolution acting upon these replicators to create the huge diversity of life on our planet

      You still haven't given me an alternative...

      "The fact is, mutations can occur in DNA that can produce a difference in an animal. However, it does not explain the diversity of animals today" WHY?

      Give me an alternative

    • profile image

      smileysock 5 years ago

      Sorry, here is the dinosaur post:

      http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinos...

      You said

      "Evolution is a two step process. Whilst mutations are random,"

      So randomness is necessary for computer models because you have to have the first step. I worked on these models and know that the randomness is a big issue.

      There is no evidence that Staph evolved anti-biotic resistance from fungi. You were trying to say, which is wrong, that Staph evolved anti-biotic resistance because of treatment with penicillin.

      "Ask any Doctor or Nurse and they will tell you of the dangers of superbugs such as MRSA or C. difficile - these bugs evolved from their non-antibiotic-resistant ancestors." You are talking about a clinical setting.

      Your evolutionary process had to have happened one of two ways. The animal jumped into the ocean at some point or that the Marsh turned into an Ocean. Where other missing steps could explain it?

      The fact is, mutations can occur in DNA that can produce a difference in an animal. However, it does not explain the diversity of animals today. The cold virus can have small mutations that change its coat so that our immune cells don't recognize it and one gets sick. Evolution can explain these small processes, but Evolution does not explain how life came about or how proteins became cells which became multicellular organisms. It is fine if you say that things can adapt, but it is not correct to say that natural selection is even capable of driving macro-evolution or whether random proteins and nucleotides were able to form the first organisms. You cannot say that because there is no proof and there is no way to prove it.

    • TFScientist profile image
      Author

      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      I approve your comment only to demonstrate that you are laughable.

      I never once said a marsh would change to an ocean. You inferred that because you cannot counter my arguments.

      I listed my problems with your so-called 'evidence' you ignore it. You link the smithsonian - I cannot access it.

      I ask for an alternative, you have nothing. You actually cite examples of evolution, but then change the definition to try and say bacteria EVOLVING resistances to different antibiotics is actually not evolution at all. That resistance came about as a random mutation that was then selected for (EVOLUTION). How that resistance then transmits is further evolutionary change. Organisms changing over time in response to environmental factors acting on genetic changes is EVOLUTION.

      Are you even aware where most of our anitbiotics come from? OF COURSE THERE WAS ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE millions of years ago. Antibiotics come from micro-organisms, particularly fungi, as chemical weapons used against other micro-organisms. This is why they kill micro-organisms. I thought you worked in the Biomedical Sciences and you don't even know this!

      You have not been able to come back to ANYTHING I have laid against you.

      You have not look at a single source I have posted, you are skim reading my arguments and looking for something to bicker about.

      You are obsessed with randomness using computer models, but, and I shall say this slowly, EVOLUTION. IS. NOT. RANDOM.

      You have NO clue how evolution works. You profess to work in biomedical sciences. If you have a biological degree you would realise what you are saying is, frankly, stupid.

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      smileysock 5 years ago

      If you read any evolutionary textbook, all the data comes from comparing fossils. Comparing two things and making a judgement is not the scientific method. If I ask, are there different animals that seem to live in marshes that could jump in the oceans and become whales and point out a hippopotamus, that is not the same thing as testing a hypothesis. I am just saying that it seems possible. The fossil record tells us that there are things that look possible, but that is not evidence that they are possible. That is not a controlled experiment. One of my favorite books is Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True? He provides not one experiment that is testable in a controlled environment. You suggest doing computer simulations as an experiment in a controlled environment. I pointed out that that is not an experiment because you cannot produce randomness with a computer. You also mention MRSA, which is 1) not an experiment and 2) not evidence of evolution. MRSA is an example of a mutation in staph that had already existed but since bacteria can transmit plasmids explains how the bacteria were able to transmit the resistance. Penicillin resistant staph showed up so quickly because the bacteria already existed not because they quickly resisted penicillin. It just happened that Penicillin was only recently being used. You can read about it here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC282169...

      Essentially, it was all transmitted. If one bacterium had developed the same resistance in America as did in Europe, then it would suggest a new bacterial class. Instead, plasmids were transmitted. It turns out that antibiotic resistant bacteria existed in prehistoric times: R. McQuire, “Eerie: human Arctic fossils yield resistant bacteria,” Medical Tribune, December 29, 1988, pp. 1, 23

      The biggest hole was the fact the red blood cells survived for 65 million years, which you said did not happen. It is here:http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinos... There is currently no explanation for how that is possible based on the theory of fossilization and our knowledge of how things decay.

      As for the cow, you said a MARSH formed around it. And what you are saying is that eventually the MARSH became an OCEAN. What is your evidence for that?

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      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      "Okay. Since you do not like using evidence, I must do it." LOL. You just make comments with nothing to back it up. For example:

      "I have read that article and several text books on science that fails to provide any evidence" WHAT BOOK, WHAT ARTICLE?

      "How about the fact that Dinosaur blood cells can survive for 65 million years?" WHERE DID THIS COME FROM?

      "Scientists are constantly finding holes in evolution but they are never seriously challenged." GIVE EXAMPLES

      "The implications of scientists admitting Evolution is not possible is for political reasons" PROVE THIS POINT

      "I showed you how Peer-reviewed is not perfect" Your so called 'Evidence' is the blog of a random. Not reliable, not admissible. The scientific peer-review is the product of hundreds of years of academia - it is not accepted "for its own sake" Once again a glaring admission of your own ignorance of scientific endeavour.

      "A marsh is very different from the ocean" All part of the STEPWISE process of evolution, seriously are you even reading my responses?

      It is MRSA (not MERSA)

      "Since Man can do something doesn't mean nature can do it. I can build a house, but nature cannot. Your logic is deeply flawed." Is that it? No evidence based come back? Just a gut-feeling? A mere childish retort? This is why evolution-deniers are seen as absurd, you demand evidence in opposition, but when asked for any yourself, it never materialises.

      MY logic is deeply flawed!? You have yet to give me an acceptable alternative to Evolution, or even disprove a single point I have made.

      As for the Galileo point, it is true that Barberini and Galileo WERE close, until the publication of 'Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World' in 1632, in which Galileo questioned the omnipotence of God. Galileo was convicted of heresy and the Pope resisted all efforts to have him pardoned. Source? The New Catholic Encyclopaedia and the pastor at my school. You are mistaken.

      The Staph point. Just wow. MRSA EVOLVED resistance to Methanocyllin! I use it as an example of evolution in action.

      You are changing the thrust of your own argument to try to keep me off balance.

      Let's try a different tack (as you refuse to engage with me): What is your alternative to Evolution?

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      smileysock 5 years ago

      Okay. Since you do not like using evidence, I must do it.

      1) The Church did not attack Galileo for his science but for several other things. Realize many scientists of the time were accepting Copernicus but were not in the inquisition. Galileo was also a good buddy with Pope Urban. You are not correct about this and need to accept this. The truth of History will change when new things are discovered. Same goes for Evolution.

      http://www.traditioninaction.org/History/A_003_Gal...

      I showed you how Peer-reviewed is not perfect. It may be the highest attainment, but that doesn't mean it is something that should be accepted for its own sake. You did not comment on the evidence I presented.

      A marsh is very different from the ocean. I have read that article and several text books on science that fails to provide any evidence. All the information is just a mere interpretation.

      Since Man can do something doesn't mean nature can do it. I can build a house, but nature cannot. Your logic is deeply flawed.

      MERSA is not a new species of Staph but it is just resistant to a specific antibiotic. You are changing the definition of species to fit your argument.

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      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      Moving the goalposts. This is getting wearysome.

      The Church persecuted Galileo because of his views on Heliocentricity - something that went directly against the Bible, and against the incumbent Pope.

      Peer-review is the gold standard of scientific publishing, and if you were involved in the field you would know this. Don't take the views of a blog as gospel.

      Red blood cells cannot survive more than three months IN A LIVING ANIMAL, let alone exposed to the elements. Warm blooded-dinosaurs does not disprove evolution. You are making statements and comments with NOTHING to back up your claims.

      Your cow comment proves you are not reading the information above which very simply shows how whales evolved. The fossil record shows us very neatly how whales evolved. They would not have taken a decision to just “jump into the ocean.” They would have been marsh or shore dwelling creatures that slowly spent more and more time in the water. As this happened they became better adapted for this lifestyle. This made them spend even more time in the water etc. etc. For more info, check out the link I gave you earlier (http://www.talkorigins.org/features/whales/ )or take a look at this easy video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx079oEgKKs

      “The comment about Man having to purposefully breed things suggests that something outside of nature has to breed things to produce something close to evolution.” You deliberately leave out the rest of my statement. Man only used the tools that nature acts upon. We can speed up evolution, we did not invent it. If man can act upon certain mutations that it sees as ‘beneficial’ and select for these, nature can do the same. Darwin’s finches are a great example of this. A mutation for a larger beak breaks into the population. These birds can eat different, larger seeds than the rest of the population, they become very successful, and pass their genes on. Over a long time, large beaks become prevalent. Accompanied by other genetic changes, the new species of bird cannot interbreed with the original species.

      You are changing the meaning of evolution to suit your argument. Bacterial conjugation (the sharing of plasmids) is a method by which bacteria can pass on mutations to each other. These mutations can be acted upon by natural selection creating a new species (series of animals that cannot interbreed with its previous iteration). THIS IS EVOLUTION.

      Evolution is a two step process. Whilst mutations are random, natural selection is not. http://goo.gl/IxgRg.

      You have not read my hub properly.

      You have not engaged with any of my arguments

      You are do not understand the scientific basis of evolution and are making no attempt to.

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      smileysock 5 years ago

      Wow, there are so many things wrong with your comments. First, the Church persecuted Galileo for his interpretations of the Bible which had nothing to do with his somewhat suggesting that the Earth revolved around the sun (something that he actually did not prove).

      Next, peer-reviewed publications mean very little. Did you know that more than 50% of experiments published in top tier journals are not reproducible?

      http://lifescivc.com/2011/03/academic-bias-biotech...

      I actually have spoken with people from pharmaceutical companies and they would put it at 70%. So peer-reviewed really means very little.

      Did you know scientists have found that Dinosaurs were warm-blooded? How about the fact that Dinosaur blood cells can survive for 65 million years? Scientists are constantly finding holes in evolution but they are never seriously challenged. They just say, well, we were wrong about this, let's move on. I know evolution is a step-by-step process, but at some point some cow like thing jumped into the ocean. That is a decision that is not possible. The comment about Man having to purposefully breed things suggests that something outside of nature has to breed things to produce something close to evolution.

      As for controlled experiments, computer simulations are not experiments. It is impossible to produce randomness with a computer so ipso facto, the data is meaningless because randomness has to be necessary for evolution. Superbugs come from bacteria sharing plasmids not evolution. Also, the bacteria are still bacteria. They did not become multicellular.

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      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      Yes I do know that people used to think the Earth was flat. The Church heavily persecuted Galileo for his theories too. Which theory of relativity are you talking about?

      "Evolution cannot technically be disproved" Have you even read my hub? Every fossil and phylogenetic analysis is a test of evolution. Evolution could be disproved in a heartbeat if we found chickens or rabbits in precambrian rock. You are concocting a conspiracy to suite your own ends. All papers published on phylogeny, cladistical analysis or archaeology are peer reviewed in high quality journals - they adhere to the scientific method.

      The fact that you are saying cows jumped into the water and became whales demonstrates that you do not understand a key component of evolution - geological time. Evolution is a step-by-step process where TINY changes accumulate over time, acted upon by natural selection. If you accept that man can change wolves into dogs, brassica into cauliflower and bananas from their seedpod ancestors, you must accept that this can occur naturally. Man merely sped up the processes, but used the same tools, selection of 'beneficial' mutations.

      No controlled experiments? I'm sorry but again that is a gap in your knowledge. Computer simulations aside, we have witnessed the evolution of superbugs.

      Please, please PLEASE. Read my hub, then criticise the theoretical basis of evolution

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      smileysock 5 years ago

      You know that people used to think the world was flat and that the sun revolved around the Earth or that Einstein refused to accept the theory of quantum mechanics right? Or that scientists disagreed with the theory of relativity? The problem with Evolution is no controlled experiments are possible. Looking at some fossil does not test whether a cow would actually jump into the ocean and become a whale (let alone two whales). I actually find the flood account more likely. I'm sorry, rapid Evolution in the fossil record is still not explained. Yeah, some scientists have made some suggestions, but again, no real, controlled experiment has ever been done. The reason Evolution is not disproved is due to the fact that no controlled experiments are possible. I am sorry, if I said I was going to test the hypothesis that some bones look similar in my middle school Biology class, I would fail the assignment. Yet that sort of experiment is accepted at prestigious Universities. Evolution cannot technically be proved wrong because it has never been proved true by actual scientific standards. This is just like String theory. The implications of scientists admitting Evolution is not possible is for political reasons. Think about it, it would not provide an answer to the origin of species for secularist. The fact that some silly observations by Darwin (which other scientists made previously) became some big deal is still odd to me. It really does seem like Evolution is a religion. Think about how insane it is that a cow woukd jump into the ocean. Even that a hippo would is insane.

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      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      @Jainismus: Thank you for the comment and the like :) You raise an interesting point. Whilst I agree with you, to me the holes in religious texts are less important so long as the texts are being used for the purpose to which they were written. Religion is all about faith.

      They are great sources of comfort, philosophical thought and provide good frameworks by which to live one's life.

      Provided religious texts are not seen as scientific textbooks, or used to explain natural phenomena around us, there is no issue with the errancy of holy texts. It is only when people use 'evidence' from the Bible to support their scientific standpoint that this becomes an issue.

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      Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

      "I do enjoy it when people state that there are plenty of holes in evolution. If this were true then a scientist would have disproved it by now, making his name and earning the Nobel Prize. " I liked this.

      People those who see holes in evolution theory, do not talk anything about the holes in their religious literature.

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      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      I do enjoy it when people state that there are plenty of holes in evolution. If this were true then a scientist would have disproved it by now, making his name and earning the Nobel Prize. There is no good reason for science to hang on to a 'flawed' theory for 150 years - the reason Evolution is still accepted by most rational people who have analysed the evidence is that it is correct. There is no conspiracy to keep Evolution. It would be far more interesting and exciting if it were disproved, and it can be.

      Cite one piece of legitimate, peer-reviewed, published evidence that Evolution is wrong.

      The so-called Cambrian 'Explosion' took place over more than 10 million years - the animals did not simple appear out of thin air. The Cambrian was preceded by millions of years of evolution, and this continued during the 'Explosion' The fossil record gives us a step-by step view of what happened (http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/VIIB1...

      A four legged animal can easily become a whale - phylogenetic analysis and fossil records have tested and proven this. (http://www.talkorigins.org/features/whales/)

      I agree that many evolutionary biologists refuse to engage with those who disagree with their ideas. There are many legitimate reasons for this. However, I feel this debate would be better served for prestigious institutions to take each ID case and scientifically disprove them. Unfortunately, all too often when a scientific case is made against these religious claims, the opponents of evolution move the goalposts, ignore the evidence, or attack the character of the organisation/person.

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      smileysock 5 years ago

      My problem with the scientific rigor is based on the lack of testing hypotheses. Also, there are plenty of holes in Evolutionary theory. The biggest unknown is how life began. All current ideas have not been shown to explain it. There is also the Cambrian explosion. There is also the idea that cows became whales. Currently, it is possible to test whether the sum of parts of flagella are actually useful. I am familiar with one paper that mentioned some of the parts could exist apart, but that only partly answers the question. I'm sorry, I read the Intelligent Design book and Meyer does do a good job of presenting his case. My problem is that instead of proving his ideas wrong, evolutionists just said he was trying to push religion.

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      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      I completely agree that people like Richard Dawkins have far too much influence. They are aggressive in their pursuit of evolution-deniers. I believe we have reached an impasse - I will not be able to convince you I am correct, and you will not convince me that I am wrong.

      I would like you to expand on the 'lack of scientific rigor' comment. Accepting the Bible as inerrant shows a far greater lack of any scientific rigour.

      I have studied evolution for over a decade and have yet to find a hole in it. Far better minds than me have been unable to disprove evolution in the 150 years since it was proposed as the best explanation for the diversity of life on our planet.

      Thank you for engaging with my hub

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      smileysock 5 years ago

      The Bible does not state it is 3. You must calculate that pi is 3 based on measurements given by the Phonecians. The Bible never says directly that ostriches are careless mothers. It can be inferred however. I am sorry to tell you that you are wrong and rely on silly arguments. This it was scares me about Evolution. Such lack of scientific rigor and research done by Evolutionist is unacceptable in my opinion. People like Richard Dawkins should not have so much influence.

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      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      First off, the sarcastic tone is not appreciated and won't be accepted again. At the time of writing the Bible, many cultures had calculated pi to a much greater degree of accuracy, so stating it is 3 is not acceptable. 3.14 does not equal 3. The ostrich passage states that the animals in question are careless parents, which is untrue. Any tree that can be seen throughout the world suggests the world is flat. I stand by my comments and far more prestigious publications than mine have also used them for similar purposes.

      The Bible is a philosophical and religious text. It is not inerrant. It is not a scientific textbook. We do not turn to it to describe how a foetus develops into a fully grown organism, we should not turn to it for scientific explanation for how life began.

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      smileysock 5 years ago

      I hope you don't apply the same thoroughness to other things in life. As for pi, 3 is perfectly equal to 3.14 based on the preciseness of measure. That passage relies on the usage of body parts for measure. If the answer were 8, that would be bad. The flat earth passages are Daniel, which is a vision and not a literal tree in history. The Job pass does not mention a flat Earth at all. There are better passages like Revelation 7:1 which talks about four corners of the Earth. As for the ostrich, nothing in that passage is false. Ostriches lay eggs on the ground. They will also eliminate eggs because only so many can be incubated. Lastly, males care for the chicks. Great researching!

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      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      @smileysock:I have researched this thoroughly :) Here are the passages that prove my points:

      Pi = 3: 1Kings 7:23-26

      Ostriches: Job 3913-17

      Flat Earth: Daniel 4:11, Job 38:5

      Thank you all for the positive comments. I look forward to some interesting discussion

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      smileysock 5 years ago

      I am actually writing about topic number 5 and will publish that shortly. It is actually the biggest misconception. Also, if you want to sound credible, you need to realize all the instances discrediting the inerrancy of the Bible are not accurate.

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      Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

      It is an interesting Hub, everybody should read it. I liked your last sentence: (PS - for the record, humans and apes shared an ancestor, humans did not evolve from apes - they are our cousins, not ancestors). I have observed that most of the people, including many writers are not aware of this fact.

      Shared and voted up.

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      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This was an interesting read. I never thought about the ape being a cousin rather than an ancestor.