Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Misconceptions of Evolution (Part 1)

Evolution does indeed get a bad reputation today due to the fact of many misconceptions. People who do not fully understand something, should never try to disprove it. Most, in general the misconceptions come from one group of people, yes that is correct the creationists. The people so bent on disproving anything that conflicts with their "theory" they will try and convince you evolution, along with many other things to be false. They state questions which pertain to no understanding of Evolution expecting us to give a serious answer, half-truths, and of course "facts".

Moving on. What is Evolution? Evolution is the process in which an increase, or decrease of information changes, and is beneficial to animals is passed on from generation to generation. Simply put, if a mutation occurs which is benefits the organism in some way, that organism is now regarded as more suited for it's environment, this in causes a greater chance for this mutation to be passed on through reproduction, while other insufficient genes that existed prior to possibly die out. Misconceptions are used to "disprove" this theory, but always fail. The sad thing is, the majority takes these misconceptions as fact, and there in Evolution does get a bad reputation.

Two other things before we move on which is a misconceptions on their own. Evolution does not explain how life started. The event that made the first single-celled organisms. It explains after life started, how it eventually over billions of years became all life you see around you. Evolution is a Theory. Theory does not mean guess, not in the scientific sense anyway. A theory is a collection of Hypothesis, reproducible/observable tests, and observations.

Misconceptions in questions:

"If evolution is true, and we evolved from monkeys, why are their still monkeys?"
Couple points on this.
  • This pertains to the idea that evolution teaches the whole race of an animal must change if it gets a mutation beneficial.
  • Shows no understanding of Evolution at all.
  • Monkeys and Humans descended from a common ancestor, if we had evolved from monkeys there is still a possibility they would still exist.
  • If a group of the same animal trys moving up north, and the rest of it's race is living down south. The group of animals, if they continue to live up north where conditions are harsher will eventually adapt to the climate, maybe gaining extra fur or other traits to coup with the cold. This changes the actual species of the animal, however the animals down south would stay the same if they were adapted to it.
I do hear this a lot, it is quite a silly question to ask really. It is the same as me asking "I came from Scotland, why are there still Scottish people?" sounds silly right? It is the same question however.

How do you know the earth is X years old? How do you know Evolution is true? You were not there to witness it."
I could ask you the same thing about your religion. However there is a difference, we have proven methods to date an object. Likewise we can date objects such as fossils and use the fossil records to see changes through the evolutionary change of events.

If Evolution is true, why does X animal exist?"
This usually pertains to an animal, or species that "could not of evolved". They often bring up such animals as the woodpecker. All of it's features it needs to live today would of have to have evolved at once for it to survive. However they do no understand Evolution does not work that way. They view the earth as it is now, not as it was when this traits were beginning to evolve. Traits do not have to benefit an animal to evolve. The trait simply could do nothing at present for the animal. If a trait or mutation is negative to the animal, it usually dies out, when it does nothing, or benefits the animal it is usually passed on. The woodpecker for example uses it's large hard beak to get to it's food source now in trees. However it also needs a long tongue, and a certain type of skull to absorb in pacts to protect it's brain. When the woodpecker was another bird, it may have eaten it's good like birds do now, however it's traits could have evolved without any benefit. When however the woodpecker saw it could get it's food much easier from the tree now, it started eating from the tree.

If Evolution is true, how could the eye EVER form? It is just to perfect."
I was going to write a lot on this, then I remembered someone else can explain it much better then I ever could.

Misconceptions in claims and "facts":

"Evolution can not be true because it violates the second law of thermodynamics."

What is the second law of thermodynamics folks? Entropy. Entropy states energy and matter in a closed system will revert to it's most disorderly state. This claim is coupled usually with "
For Evolution to be true, our planet would have to have energy added from outside the system". Two points on this.
  • Our planet is not a closed system.
  • The second statement is true.
The first time I heard the second statement, I stated "You know what, your right. Evolution is a lie, no outside energy is being added in to the earth. Thank you for proving me wrong, I will now go outside and sunbathe in my ignorance.". If you have not caught on yet, the sun adds energy to our earth. In fact all energy you get comes from the sun. When you run your car on gas, the energy comes of the sun. All the food you eat, the energy comes from the sun. For entropy to go against evolution earth would have to be a closed system. If earth was a closed system, no life would exist.

Darwin refuted his own work, therefore evolution is wrong."
It does not matter what Darwin said. We do not worship Darwin in any way. I think creationists have it in their heads that if they prove Darwin, or the inventor of any theory to be against his own theory, or a bad person they win. Darwin could of refuted his own work till he died, he could of been a child molester and destroyed an entire race of people, it would not of changed if evolution was wrong or not. Say I was the inventor of math, I have just invented the concept of 2+2=4. 5 years later I find something that convinces me 2+2 does not equal 4. Does 2+2 not equal 4 now? The thing is, if something is proven, it is not proven wrong because the creator does not like it or approve of it anymore.

The thing is, Darwin did not refute his work to begin with. Creationists usually cite a few quotes from Darwin, however do not state the full quote.

Science can not explain X, therefore Evolution is wrong."
This usually pertains to something such as how did life start. Evolution doesn't explain that, because that is not part of it. It also pertains to the thing is wrong with it, it is automatically wrong. Not the case most of the time. Which leads into the next point.

Science changes all the time, first it was global cooling, now it's global warming, and that means you can not trust science, and religion has never changed, therefore it is right. Evolution must be wrong then."
Science is subject to change. If new data comes to conflict with a theory, or an aspect of a theory, the theory will be changed to fit the new data, or thrown out. Religion is dogma, never changing. When evidence comes to conflict with any religion, it is regarded as some sort of evil and disregarded by the religious. Rational is it not?

"Creationism is a THEORY like Evolution, so it should be taught, and regarded at the same level of Scientific research."
Not quite, Creationism is not a theory, it is a hypothesis. I already clarified this beforehand on what a theory is. To date, no creationist has ever brought up reproducible tests, or observations that lead to the fact of Creationism. Likewise there is no such thing as a Creation Scientist, until proof is shown that gives Creationism some weight.

"There is no transitional fossils on date."
There is hundreds of thousands of fossils on date of transitional creatures. If you want to see them, go to a museum.

"For Evolution to be true, we would not like each other. We would all be trying to be the best, all savages, because that is "survival of the fittest".".
Huge misconception. Survival of the fittest does not always mean strongest, fastest or smartest. Likewise I think most animals realize they can not survive alone, we have the urge to pro-create to continue our species. To ensure survival of your race, or species you would have to work together, not fight. Evolution never really meant survival of the fittest, but survival of the most adapted. If you adapt to your environment you have more of a chance of survival. Noticing with help you can survive easier was another trait developed in most animals. Morals also grew out primitive rules such as this.

Finshing up on that point I will be returning to this subject more then once. There is many misconceptions, and only a few covered in here. Leave a comment if you feel I did not cover something completely, or have an error anywhere.