Monday, April 7, 2008

Observable Evolution

In this post I'd like to cover something that is brought up a lot in debate between creationists and atheists. Creationists somehow have this delusion that if they can prove evolution to be false it will prove their religion to be true. Unfortunately I must tell these people that this is not the case. Just because we can't understand something does not mean simply that: "My God did it." By sitting back and claiming that everything we can't legitimately prove is a result of some divine being, we are committing intellectual suicide. What we need to be doing is what scientists are doing every day, examining the world critically, coming up with new ideas and theories as to how and why things are the way they are. Understanding the way everything works is the key to improving the quality of life, which is the ultimate goal for any species after survival and reproduction are achieved, is it not?

Something I hear from a lot of creationists is what I like to call the Pokémon Theory of Evolution or PToE. This mostly stems from, in my opinion, a complete ignorance on the subject of biology and the process of Natural Selection. Some people I think also are simply unable to grasp the concept of how old our planet is and how much time has passed to arrive with the current species and how specialized most of us have become. Creationists will say that we can't observe evolution, so what proof do we have that it even happened? Well we try to tell them the incredible amount of fossil evidence we have but a lot of times this is not refuting what they meant by not being able to observe evolution. What they think should happen is that a fish should be swimming along in a shallow pond and all of the sudden sprout some legs and lungs and start walking around on land the next day. This is why I like to call it the PToE, people think evolution should work the way it does in the popular game series.

It may seem like a simple concept to some, Natural Selection and why it makes sense. I just think that the problem is the concept of how much time has passed and how much time is needed for evolution to actually take place. It's not that evolution can be traced to a single event, evolution is happening constantly. It would be a ridiculous amount of work and probably couldn't even be done to monitor the evolution of a species but it is always happening in the genes. An excellent example of actually observable evolution is in the virus that causes AIDS, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The reason we can't fully cure HIV is because a single virus can spawn a billion copies every day. Combine the high rate of reproduction with the sloppy process of copying genetic material causing an excess of mutations and you have observable real-time evolution. While nearly all instances of HIV may be wiped out by one drug, there will inevitably be a few survivors with some immunity that are then reproducing, essentially evolving the virus quicker than we can cure it.

Hopefully this will give fellow atheists and evolutionists a nice edge in the never-ending and futile debate with creationists. I found the link fascinating and informative, some nice supplemental information about evolution and HIV.


1 comment:

Uwastudent said...

Some well made points there. Keep up the good work.