Most creationists have been repeatedly lied to about how evolution works by the likes of Eric Hovind, Ken Ham and Ray Comfort. I hope to tell you enough of the truth that you are willing to read a textbook or two about how it works such as Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution or Dr. Daniel J. Fairbanks’ more advanced Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters
What Evolution Is Not
Evolution is the study of how populations of plants and animals change over long periods of time. It has nothing to do with the big bang, the creation of stars, abiogenesis (the origin of life) or plate tectonics. Creationists are taught to conflate all science that contradicts the bible as evolutionism. Some creationists insist the earth is flat and the sun revolves around the sun and there is a celestial ocean. Creationists lump any science that denies that is also lumped into evolutionism.
If you have ever watched a movie when a man morphs into a wolf, you might have imagined this is an example of evolution. It is not. Why?
- Evolution is incredibly slow. It would take perhaps 100,000 years to notice any difference.
- In evolution, individuals animals do not change at all over the span of their lives. The cumulative change comes from their offspring being slightly different from the parents, generation after generation.
- In evolution, offspring are always the same species as their parents. New species form when creatures become sufficiently genetically different from distant relatives
Evolution would not work if all animals in a population were identical. There are two main sources of variability:
- Sexual reproduction. Each offspring has a random combination of half the father’s genes and half the mother’s.
- Mutations. These are tiny one-molecule errors in copying DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid). Two-headed calf-type mutations are much rarer. Most mutations are neither beneficial nor harmful. Fetuses with harmful mutations nearly always die in the womb early in gestation without being noticed.
Consider a litter of puppies. They will not all be identical. They will have different patterns of spots. Some will be bigger. Some will be more active. Some will be friendlier. There will probably be a runt of the litter. Some will sleep more. Some will like to fight with their mates. What caused these differences?
Even creationists agree that litters of puppies are not identical and it happens because the puppies are not genetically identical. This is half of the theory of evolution. Bloody obvious, eh?
Let’s imagine distemper infects the puppies. It is a horrible thing to behold. However, typically, some of the puppies will survive. Why? Some have better immune systems. Some are better at staying hydrated. Some are just generally stronger. These traits are controlled by their genes. Evolutionists refer to this horrible winnowing as natural selection the other half of the theory of evolution.So lets imagine the puppies grow up and have puppies of their own. When distemper strikes the new batch of puppies, a greater proportion of them will survive because they are offspring of dogs that survived distemper, and probably passed on the genes for that resistance. The effect confers better and better resistance with every successive generation. We have seen the same thing happen with humans with extremely virulent diseases. Evolutionists refer to this gradual improvement over generations as evolution. If you are a creationist, what in any of this do you deny?
Creationists sometimes concede that rabbits could evolve buck teeth, but never that a clam-like creature could evolve into an octopus. They don’t understand that the creation of new species usually requires billions of generations. Imagine the difference between two clam species. Imagine you create a morph of a billion intermediates between them. The intermediates would look absolutely identical. Morphs on TV are done with perhaps only ten intermediates. Nothing detectable changes at each generation, but after a billion generations you have a whole new species that looks quite different.
Imagine evolution were slowed down by a factor of 100 million, so a that a billion years of evolution occurred in ten years. If one clam species morphed into another, it would be still way way too slow to see anything happening. No matter how big a change you need, if you have enough tiny changes, if you are patient, you will reach your goal. Consider the mere 80 million sediment layers of the Grand Canyon add up to quite an impressive gorge. An inch is pretty small, but a billion inches is 15,783 miles. Even a whale is composed of microscopic cells. A second is insignificant, but you if add up 31,540,000 of them you get a year.
If a clam evolved into a octopus, it would take billions of years. It would take billions of the tiniest imaginable steps. It is too slow to watch in real time, but you can follow it in the fossil record.
All plants and animals can be organised into a family tree. Morphology and genetic similarity are used to group species into categories and subcategories. This is a refinement of the original Linnaean system. Each nested category is called a clade. Creatures do not evolve outside their clades. No matter how long you wait, a wolf will not evolve into something that looks like a rabbit. Rabbits live on a distant clade in the tree of life. Creationists like to falsely claim the theory of evolution predicts this. However, a wolf can evolve into something you would never recognise at first glance as belonging to the wolf family — like a whale.
~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:69)
- Natural selection is not random. It as ruthless and picky as an American Idol judge who kills all but the top 3 contestants then forces them to breed to create the next generation of contestants. The most common lie creationists tell is that natural selection is completely random.
- Evolution is about successive generations in a population improving. Individuals do not change.
- Evolution never allows individuals from different species to create a new species, e.g. crockoduck.
- Evolution is extremely slow. It is rare to observe it in real time. Usually only viruses, bacteria and insects evolve fast enough to notice.
- Evolution produces amazing creatures, but it has IQ (Intelligence Quotient) 1. It has no foresight or planning ability. It just tries new combinations and keeps the best for the current conditions. This leads it to do some very stupid things. An intelligent designer would not make such blunders.
- Artificial Selection is just a type of natural selection, where people tweak how nature winnows. Consider that all types of dogs have evolved in only about 10,000 years. Tiny difference add up.
- New species are created every day. It is so common, evolutionists have names for four different types. One of the most common creationist lies is speciation has never been directly observed.
- If the environment stops changing, the animals in it stop evolving. They have gone about as fer as they can go. When the environment starts changing again, animals start evolving again.
- Some creationists believe that evolution is impossible, however they also believe god sped it up millions of times faster than usual just after Noah’s ark to replenish the earth from a sampling of kinds (e.g. a cat) to fill the earth with a full complement of species (e.g. lion, tiger, cheetah, leopard, mountain lion). Then they believe god stopped evolution again, despite all observation to the contrary. There is no evidence for any of this. When you understand at the molecular level how evolution works, you will dismiss that as wishful thinking.
- It is very rare for one species to have evolved directly from another, like the creationist straw man that humans evolved in one step from a monkey. Nearly always what happens is two related species each evolved in a chain from a common ancestor, that has long gone extinct.