Evolution: Fact or Fiction?

Evolution: Fact or Fiction?

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Evolution: Fact or Fiction?


One of the greatest questions of all time is: "Where the heck did we come from?" One of the most popular answers to this question is creationism, the idea that everything was created by a higher being. Another idea is evolution, the idea that all living organisms descended from a less complex organism. Up and coming in the last century, evolution possesses a new way of thinking that is being greatly accepted by the scientific community. Despite this fact many people argue that evolution has no facts to support it and there are several reasons why evolution can't happen.

Evolution is the gradual change in an organisms gene pool over time, basically evolution is described in any change in the genetic makeup of an organism. The easiest way to show this is by stating examples of low level evolution as it has been observed. The best know case of this kind happened in England during the industrial evolution. There were two varieties of the English Peppered moth before the revolution, a light and a dark colored moth. The dark moth was almost nonexistent, as it was easy for predators to catch on the light colored trees. As the industrial revolution progressed, the amount of pollution in the air turned the trees a soot color, and as a result the light moths were easy for predators to spot. The light colored peppered moth all but died out, and was on the verge of extinction while the dark colored moth was thriving. In the last several decades the pollution in England has dropped and white moth is making a come back, and the dark moth is heading back towards oblivion. (Harter)

 

The moth example is considered by many to demonstrate evolution, but people against the idea of evolution say it isn't. The only thing that it showed was that nature uses natural selection to weed out the weaker of the stocks. The moth case is a clear example of natural selection not evolution because no change in the gene pool of the moth happened. Saying that the peppered moth example doesn't show evolution is preposterous. Natural selection is one of the greatest tools of evolution, as stated by Charles Darwin in his book, Origin of Species. "It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good" wrote Charles Darwin in chapter 4:Natural Selection.

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Natural selection is natures way of discovering if an organism is complete enough to survive, by weeding out the good and bad qualities of organisms. (Darwin)

 

Another method used to demonstrate is by way of transitional fossils. Transitional fossils are fossils of a species during evolution from one organism to another, as it shows characteristics of both it's original and new organism. Over 65 million years ago the dinosaurs became extinct, and shortly there after mammals and birds became present on the earth, but where did they come from? Small mammal had been around with the dinosaurs, but there were no birds. One idea is that birds evolved from dinosaurs. This idea is illustrated in the fossils of Archaeopteryx. Archaeopteryx is considered a transitional fossil between dinosaurs and birds, as it demonstrates characteristics unique to both of these species. (Nedin)

 

People who disagree with evolution simply state that Archaeopteryx isn't a transitional fossil but a bird. This claim is based upon the idea that if it has feathers and fly's it's a bird. Another method of discrediting Archaeopteryx is by claiming that "crow-sized bird fossils" have been discovered that are almost 75 million years older than the Archaeopteryx fossils, then latter go on in their argument to discredit the techniques used to date fossils, obviously they only use the evidence when it suites their purpose. (Wallace)

 

The small bird example actual goes to help the Archaeopteryx theory, the fossils are older than Archaeopteryx but they are not as abundant. The author of "Five Major Evolutionist Misconceptions about Evolution" refuses to state anything else about this "crow-sized" bird like fossil, to justify if it was a bird or not. In 1998 Protoarchaeopteryx robusta and Caudipteryx zoui were discovered in china, each is a small fossils found, with impressions of feathers along their backs. Despite this they are clearly not birds; as they lack in major bird qualities, like a reverted big toe. These were more transitional fossils, bet from dinosaurs to Archaeopteryx. (Nedin)

 

The major transitional features of Archaeopteryx are prevalent if you look at the fossil, first is the feathers. Feathers are a clear defining factor of being a bird, but Archy doesn't posses a beak. Instead of a beak he has a free jaw bone devoid of a keratin covering, a distinct non-birdlike feature. There are also teeth present in the jaw of Archy, and no bird has teeth . The pubis bone of Archy is facing backwards, just like that of a bird. In birds the vertebrae of the trunk region are fused, but Archys vertebrae are free. In birds the neck attaches to the skull from below, Archys neck attaches from behind. Archys bones posses air sacks, just like birds. (Nedin)

 

One of the most prominent arguments against evolution revolves around the second law of thermodynamics. The laws of thermodynamics deal with the exchange of energy, heat and the resulting entropy of a system after a reaction takes place. The second law of thermodynamics states "No process is possible in which the sole result is the transfer of energy from a cooler to a hotter body." Arguers against evolution claim that the 2nd law says that things tend towards entropy, and while this is true it is using a broad generalization to "prove" some thing. The second law is restated as "The entropy of a closed system cannot decrease." Entropy is the randomness of an object, and a closed system is a system in which no energy can enter or exit. Thus the second law says evolution can't happen because things get more disorderly over time, while evolution claims things become more orderly. (Nedin)

 

This doesn't make sense towards evolution, first life it's self is definitely not a closed system. Energy can easily enter and leave your body. The sun provides enough for the life on earth ten fold, and thus more energy is taken into the system from the sun everyday. If you break an organism down into a single system you can see it is clearly not a closed system, if you were a closed system no energy could be taken into your body and thus you would never need to eat. Energy is lost from your body in the form of heat and waste. Clearly life is not a closed system thus making the idea that evolution can't happen because entropy must increase in a closed system is false. It is easy to see that order can come from disorder in nature, snow flakes form in to perfect geometric shapes from falling ice and dust, and reproduction takes place. If you agree with the idea that the second law prevents evolution because thing must become more disorderly, then you can't believe in reproduction. Two cells fuse together and begin to change, in a sense evolve, and start to form into a life form. By the way of thinking that evolution can't happen because of the 2nd law, then reproduction couldn't happen, as a child is much more organized than the egg and sperm cell from which it sprouted. (Isaak)

The idea of evolution is not new to the world, and is rapidly becoming more popular as more evidence that supports the theory is discovered. It is important to state that many scientist now claim that evolution is a fact, that the gene pools of organisms become more complex. As it is also important to state that the methods by which evolution happen are still theories. Darwin's theory of evolution is still a theory because the methods can't be proven, but the actual change can be. (Moran)

Sources Cited:

Harter, Richard. "Are Mutations Harmful?" www.talkorigins.com. [online], Available: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mutations.html May 23, 1999

Darwin, Charles. "Chapter 4:Natural Selection" Origin of Species [online]. Available: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/origin/chapter4.html December 12, 2000

Nedin, Chris. "All About Archaeopteryx" www.talkorgins.com [online], Available:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/archaeopteryx/info.html January 15, 1999

Wallace, Timothy. "Five Major Evolutionist Misconceptions about Evolution" www.trueorigin.org [online], Available: http://www.trueorigin.org/isakrbl.htm 11 December, 2000

Isaak, Mark. "Five Major Misconceptions about Evolution" www.talkorigins.com [online]. Available: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html November 16, 1998

Moran, Laurence. "Evolution is a Fact and a Theory" www.talkorigins.com [online]. Available: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html January 22, 1993
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