JUST A THEORY?
“Today the theory of evolution is about as much open to doubt as the theory that the Earth goes round the Sun.”
– Richard Dawkins
There is a great misconception that has been running through the minds of all ill-informed people. ‘Evolution is just a theory.‘ How many times have you heard this? How many times have you used this in a debate? To be brief about this ridiculous nonsense: before you go into battle, know thy self and thy enemy.
Evolution is the natural process in which biological populations change, develop, adapt and speciate over time. This process continues objectively outside of the influence of man. We can observe it and test it. It is a fact. The theory of evolution is the scientific study of the mechanisms which evolution uses and goes through to create that process.
Evolution is the observable fact and the theory of evolution is the study of the mechanisms of that observable fact.
MIXING ABIOGENESIS WITH EVOLUTION
Another common mistake is mixing evolution with abiogenesis. They are two completely separate things. Evolution deals with how life developed, while abiogenesis deals with how it arose.
I am not going to go into detail about abiogenesis.
If you want to learn a bit about abiogenesis, follow this link: https://youtu.be/bdozVq81gog
NATURAL SELECTION AND DARWIN’S FIVE THEORIES
Natural selection is one of the central mechanisms of evolutionary change and is the process responsible for the evolution of adaptive features. It is Darwin’s most famous theory; it states that evolutionary change comes through the production of variation in each generation. Individuals with characteristics which increase their probability of survival will have more opportunities to reproduce and their offspring will also benefit from the heritable, advantageous character. So over time these variants will spread through the population.
This is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts of evolution.
In the fifth edition of the Origin, Darwin began using the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ as shorthand for natural selection. ‘Survival of the fittest’ is a poor description of natural selection and it is misleading. In Darwin’s context, ‘fittest’ simply means ‘best suited to a particular environment’. In other words, if you have that advantageous character best suited to the environment you are in, you will survive; if not… And from there: natural selection. In a sense your environment decides who lives and who dies.
For instance: let’s say that there are two animals living in a jungle, one is red and the other is green. The whole jungle is green which means that the red animal will be more easily spotted by predators and will have a lesser chance of reproduction than the green animal.
In order for natural selection to work, it has to occur along side other things. Biologists and historians have identified five theories which Darwin outlined in On the Origin of Species, and which work together to bring about evolution.
These five theories were:
- Evolution: species come and go through time; while they exist they change.
- Common descent: organisms are descended from one, or several common ancestors and have diversified from this original stock.
- Species multiply: the diversification of life involves populations of one species diverging until they become two separate species; this has probably occurred billions of times on earth!
- Gradualism: evolutionary change occurs through incremental small changes within populations; new species are not created suddenly.
- Natural selection: evolutionary change occurs through variation between individuals; some variants give the individual an extra survival probability.
Scientists took a while to see this, but as more and more evidence was accumulated and these ideas were tested it became clear that Darwin was right all along.
In summary: random mutation occurs; if that random mutation helps the species stay alive a little longer in its environment, it will be able to reproduce; those who weren’t so lucky become extinct.
‘SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE! SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE!’
“It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane.”
– Richard Dawkins
As I explained earlier, evolution is a process. It is an observable fact. It is being observed every single day by evolutionary scientists. Evolution by natural selection is probably the most supported theory of all the theories concerning any aspect of the natural world ever. It is even more well-supported than the Big Bang. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence.
If you claim that evolution has no evidence to support it, you are lying to yourself, you’re being extremely ignorant and you don’t want to change that.
And one more thing. Humans don’t come from monkeys. We share a common ancestor.
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