The evidence for Evolution

By Steve Pryde


In this article I want to list some of the reasons why so many people, including the vast majority of scientists, believe in evolution.

Even if you are a creationist, it's important to understand not only
what other people believe, but also why they find it compelling. If you cannot fathom how any sane, rational person could believe in evolution, then maybe what you call 'evolution' is not actually what people believe. Maybe they believe something else, instead.

So let's take a look at some lines of evidence...


22 comments:

  1. Fed Up With ReligionNovember 21, 2016 at 1:26 PM

    Great article Steve, thanks for posting John.

    It’s interesting, I was watching a BBC Documentary, series is called Horizon, S55E16, The Lost tribes of Humanity.

    They now have evidence of Neanderthal DNA mixed with the Human Genome, as well as evidence of DNA from the Denicovans, evidence of DNA going both ways, i.e. interbreeding, as well as trace amounts of DNA in present day individuals in Africa of an as yet unidentified group of an Ancient Human subspecies.

    How are the creationists going to handle that I wonder?

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    1. It has been known for a while that we have Neanderthal DNA in our genome. We have the entire Neanderthal genome mapped as well, which is pretty significant I think. Not to mention the fossil evidence for the large number of hominid species.

      How will creationists handle it? Well, given that they deny the significance of us sharing genes with Chimpanzees (and bananas for that matter, along with basically every other living organism), I doubt this will make any difference. God just decided to use the same DNA in different species. No reason. He just did it that way. And that's their answer to everything. No matter how much all the evidence points clearly towards biological evolution, they simply declare that it's all an illusion, and that everything was actually created instead. Because the Bible says so.

      But another amusing fact is that creationists have disagreed over whether various fossils are apes or humans.

      It's only a matter of time before young Christadelphians realise their parents never studied biology and that perhaps they should either study it themselves or accept the overwhelming evidence from those who have studied it. More than 99% of the world's biologists accept evolution, and those who deny it, do so for religious reasons.

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    2. Or, my favourite statistic: there are more scientists named Steve who accept evolution than there are scientists in total who deny it.

      Of course, the number of scientists who agree with something is not proof that the thing is true. But when virtually every scientist who has spent their life studying the natural world believes that all the evidence points to evolution, anyone who wants to disagree had better put up some pretty damn good evidence, including explaining why all of the other scientists are mistaken. For a creationist to think they're smarter than all of them simply because they've read a book full of Bronze-age mythology, is just a classic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

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  2. Well I for one am with the opinion of Dr. Thomas on this particular subject.

    For it logically and sensibly provides an explanation of the 'problem' many seem to have regarding the age of the heavens and the earth and the
    creation of Adamic Man just a mere 6,000+ years ago.

    See Elpis Israel, chapter 2)

    This explanation is what I believe to be the case in regards to the
    tremendous age of the Universe and Earth's pre-existing state before the new
    creation of Adamic Man some 6,000+ years ago.

    Jeff...





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    1. As Dr Thomas and others correctly observed, there is abundant evidence from Geology (and many other fields of science) for an old earth. There is also plenty of evidence from Cosmology and Astrophysics for a very old universe.

      But what I don't understand is how you get a young creation to fit in that picture. If the rocks are old, surely the fossils inside those rocks and buried in the very same rock layers are similarly old?

      How does a recent creation just 6000 or so years ago explain the myriad of hominid and human fossils dating to a much earlier time? We've also got forests that are much older than 6000 years.

      What I'm more interested in, however, is how you would account for the evidence for common descent between humans and apes, including quite a number of shared genetic errors and viral sequences in the same positions in both human and ape genomes? I discuss this in the article above, that you're commenting on.

      The scientific explanation, and the one I think makes the most sense of all available evidence, is that an ancient ancestor contracted a virus, that copied its DNA into the host genome, infecting the germ cells. The mechanisms responsible for this are well known today and it can be replicated in the lab, so we know how viruses do this. Then, these DNA sequences were passed on to its descendants, and their descendants etc, over many generations, which is why both modern apes and humans all share these same genetic sequences in the same position in our genomes. The position of the viral insertions when they occur are random, so no two individuals would be expected to have the same sequence in their DNA at the same location, even if they caught the same virus, unless they both inherited their DNA from a common ancestor.

      Read more here:
      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section4.html#retroviruses

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    2. It's important to point out that whatever ancestor we inherited these genetic sequences from, it was neither a modern ape nor a human. It would not have looked the same as any animal we would recognise today, although it may have had some familiar features. Modern apes and humans are very distant cousins.

      It's similar to the way you and your fourth cousins still share some common DNA inherited from your great-great-grandparents. We share a lot less DNA in common with chimpanzees than you do with your cousins, but even so we do share over 98% of our DNA with chimpanzees. It's just that you share over 99.99% (and then some) of your DNA with your cousins, and still over 99% with all other humans alive today.

      Shared DNA on its own is not enough to prove common ancestry however. It is the shared errors and viral insertions within the DNA that makes common descent the only viable explanation.

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  3. Reading from E.I. we understand that:

    "The duration of the earth’s revolutions round the sun previous to the work
    of the first day is not revealed; but the evidences produced by the strata
    of our globe show that the period was long continued. There are indeed
    hints, casually dropped in the Scriptures, which would seem to indicate,
    that our planet was inhabited by a race of beings anterior to the formation
    of man.

    The apostle Peter, speaking of the “false teachers” that would arise among
    Christians “by reason of whom the way of truth would be evil spoken of,”
    illustrates the certainty of their “damnation” by citing three cases in
    point; namely, that of certain angels; that of the antediluvian world; and
    that of Sodom and Gomorrha.

    Now the earth, we know, was the place of judgment to the contemporaries of
    Noah and Lot, and seeing that these three are warnings to inhabitants of
    earth, it is probable, that they are all related to things pertaining to our
    globe in the order of their enumeration -- first, judgment upon its
    pre-Adameral inhabitants; secondly, upon the antediluvian world, which
    succeeded them; and thirdly, upon Sodom after the flood.

    Peter says, that “the Angels,” or pre-Adameral inhabitants of the Earth,
    “sinned;” and Jude, in speaking of the same subject, reveals to us the
    nature of their transgression. He says, verse 6, “the angels maintained not
    their original state, but forsook their own habitation.”

    From which it would appear, that they had the ability to leave their
    dwelling if they pleased; secondly, that they were sometimes employed as
    messengers to other parts of the universe; this their name (aggeloV,
    aggelos, one sent) implies: thirdly, that they were forbidden to leave
    their habitation without special command to do so; and fourthly, that they
    violated this injunction and left it.

    Having transgressed the divine law, God would not forgive them; “but casting
    them down,” or driving them back, “He committed them to everlasting chains
    of intense darkness to be reserved for judgment” (2 Peter 2:4).

    Hence, it is clear, when they were driven back to their habitation, some
    further catastrophy befel them by which their committal to darkness was
    effected. This probably consisted in the total wreck of their abode, and
    their entire submergence, with all the mammoths of their estate, under the
    waters of an overwhelming flood. Reduced to this extremity, the earth
    became “without form and empty; and darkness overspread the deep waters”
    (Genesis 1:1)." End of Extract.

    It is also apparently obvious from the remains of dinosaurs and 'cave-men' etc, that there has been more then one inhabitant on the earth before the advent of Adamic man [made in God's image ,etc] some 6,000 years ago.

    As the Bible is silent on the exact execution of such events the serious Bible Student leaves it to when in God's good time all will be revealed.

    Meantime "The just shall live by faith" and unconcern themselves with what Almighty God has decided, that is, for now, to have it remain undisclosed in this present dispensation.

    Jeff...

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    1. There is no evidence for any "advent of Adamic man" (as you put it). The fossil and skeletal remains we have of ancient humans are anatomically similar to modern humans going back over 100,000 years. Same with many other modern species. Likewise there is no evidence of any catastrophe and no gap in the geological record that we might attribute to a re-creation just 6000 years ago.

      Once again you haven't engaged with anything I wrote. Is this a discussion or a monologue?

      Then you said:
      "As the Bible is silent on the exact execution of such events the serious Bible Student leaves it to when in God's good time all will be revealed.

      Meantime "The just shall live by faith" and unconcern themselves with what Almighty God has decided, that is, for now, to have it remain undisclosed in this present dispensation."

      Well, sure, you can always feel comfortable with the evidence if you shut your eyes and pretend it isn't there.

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    2. Well as human written history does not go back more then about 5,500
      years, no-one can irrefutable know exactly how and why appeared Adamic humans on the planet some 6,000 years ago.

      Cave men and dinosaurs where so long ago, they are not even in the same equation.

      Why does not written history go back any further then present day, Adamic Man?

      Because they did not have the intelligence or intellectual capability to do so?

      I believe that only when a human was created in "God's own Image" and given sufficient intelligence to understand, and to be able to comprehend reading and writing, etc. did human history finally begin to be accumulated for the coming generations of Adamic human beings.

      Up until then the apes and brutish men and beasts which roamed the planet where of no consequence before Almighty God and His plan of salvation for Adamic Mankind.

      Jeff...

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    3. No one can irrefutably know anything at all so that argument doesn't hold. We do know a lot about ancient humans "beyond reasonable doubt", which is a far better standard.

      Humans did not appear on the planet 6000 years ago. Anatomically modern humans have been around for at least 100,000 years, with some estimates ranging much further back. There is no evidence for a recent creation event. None.

      The oldest evidence for writing dates to around 3100 BCE and is from ancient Sumer. Egyptians also invented writing around this time. Both civilizations believed in gods other than yours.

      You can believe whatever you want, but nothing you mentioned after the words "I believe" is backed by any evidence. Belief without evidence is delusion.

      Once again you did not address the point about shared genetic errors.

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  4. Steve stated:
    "Belief without evidence is delusion."

    Well...."The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky displays what his hands have made."
    Psalms 19:1 (GW)

    "What can be known about God is clear to them because he has made it clear to them. 20 From the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what he made. As a result, people have no excuse."
    Romans 1:18-20 (GW)

    Steve also stated:
    "Once again you did not address the point about shared genetic errors."

    I cannot really see any 'problem' seeing that Almighty God created all the lot of them...{;o;}

    Dinosaurs, Apes, brutish beast like creatures, then finally Adamic Man. Only this time made in God's own Image and with a superior intelligence and understanding, thus this creature was now able to write and record it's detailed history, not like the other previous manifestations of past primitive living beings.

    Jeff...
    Note: Christ's parable of the sower makes interesting reading to a real understanding of why so many people ultimately fall away after coming to a knowledge of him and his offer of immortality.

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    1. If we are to infer God's qualities by looking at natural things, then we must conclude that he really, REALLY likes watching animals and people suffer in horrific ways, and then die agonizing deaths, all without having any idea why they were forced to go through such pain.

      But this is a distraction, since there is no evidence for such a being, and believers can't even agree on what such evidence might look like.

      You seem unable to comprehend the implications of shared genetic errors.

      Sure, you can say that God just happened to make everything complete with a ton of details that would make it appear as if we had evolved. But this is a contorted view, and unfalsifiable. You may as well believe we all popped into existence last Thursday, complete with all our memories pre-formed.

      Your other distraction, the parable of the sower, also suffers some giant flaws. Who planted the seed, and who created the field and prepared the soil? If a farmer actually did plant seed on infertile ground, it wouldn't be the ground's fault.

      But let's stay on topic, shall we? Why do we share the same viral DNA remnants in our genomes in the same position as other great apes? Your paternity test has come back...guess what it says.

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    2. Steve has declared:
      "But let's stay on topic, shall we? Why do we share the same viral DNA remnants in our genomes in the same position as other great apes? "

      I would be most surprised if we didn't share similar DNA, seeing as the one and only Creator was responsible for all such manifestations of living creatures.

      >Your paternity test has come back...guess what it says.

      Exactly what I thought it would declare....{;o;}

      Seeing the Lord God made use of a myriad of animal and inanimate objects which are quite close to man [I saw somewhere we share 50% of our DNA with a Banana] being the inevitable consequence of the following dictate:

      "God giveth it a body even as it pleased him, and to each seed a body of its own. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fishes."
      1 Cor 15:38-39 (ASV)

      Jeff...

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    3. Sigh. It's not just similar DNA. It's the same errors (caused by genetic mutations) in that DNA in exactly the same places.

      For example, the gene responsible for synthesising vitamin C is broken in the same way in both humans and chimpanzees (and many other species), but functional in many other species. The same gene is broken in different ways in Guinea pigs and some bat species.

      The problem with creation is that it is not falsifiable or testable. You can always just say, "God just did it that way". There is no observation or test that could ever rule this out. Even if we looked completely different, and had no shared DNA, you could still claim, "God just did it that way". A claim that can't be tested cannot be confirmed to be true. To believe it is simply self deception.

      Meanwhile the theory of evolution is falsifiable, can be tested, and matches every observation we've ever made. We've refined various aspects of the theory as new data is discovered, but the underlying idea is still the same.
      Creation explains nothing, since it can't account for vestigial traits or explain why humans can't synthesise vitamin C. Evolution explains all of that and much more. It explains the fossil record, our DNA, the millions of different species that form a branching pattern over time, and so much more. The primary reason people reject it is because they have a prior commitment to beliefs they learned as a child. Not exactly the height of rationality.

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    4. Yes, most know it by the name "The *THEORY* of Evolution" ie, 'Blind chance' or the more sophisticated phrase unintelligent 'Spasmodic mutant configurations' .....{;o;}

      It takes a far greater leap of faith to believe in the speculative THEORIES above, then to an All Powerful Awesomely Intelligent Creator of the Universe.

      Jeff...

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    5. Actually Jeff, a "theory" in science is the gold standard. It is not the same as the colloquial definition of the word. Evolution is one of the best attested theories we have, alongside the theory of gravity, germ theory, and atomic theory (theory of atoms). It is not speculative at all, but rather the conclusion arrived at through much observation and research, not faith.

      It is far from "blind chance". Natural selection is very much non-random. This is high school level science.

      One of the things that ended up changing my mind was that I set out to understand evolution as best I could at least as well as those who accepted it, in order to try to disprove it (I was a creationist before). I think you would benefit from a similar line of enquiry.

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    6. Jeff,
      I grew up with Christadelphians telling me that the "theory" of Evolution was just that, a theory. They failed to understand, as did other Creationists, the difference between what a person might say "I have a theory about that", in other words, they had their own idea about something, and the scientific meaning of the word, which Steve has clearly outlined for you.
      By the way, you are so far out with your understanding of evolution as you have stated it. Please look into it further. After all, you are a person who claims to be wedded to truth.

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    7. A poll of religious groups, just a handful of years ago. sought to find out the percentages of each group which accepted the scientific theory of evolution.
      Interestingly, the Jewish community came out third highest at 77%. Catholics 58%, mainline protestants at 51%, and surprisingly, as many as 8% of Jehovah`s Witnesses.
      It would be interesting to hear from Christadelphians about whether they too accept it. They could post using a pseudonym if they wished.

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    8. Steve stated:
      "Actually Jeff, a "theory" in science is the gold standard. It is not the same as the colloquial definition of the word. Evolution is one of the best attested theories we have, alongside the theory of gravity, germ theory, and atomic theory (theory of atoms). It is not speculative at all, but rather the conclusion arrived at through much observation and research, not faith."

      What does the Oxford Dictionary have to say?

      [https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/theory
      1 A *supposition* or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.‘Darwin's theory of evolution’]

      Supposition:
      [A belief held without proof or certain knowledge; an assumption or hypothesis.]

      If people think we came about through the by product image of an Ape, then so be it.

      Then you have to ask yourself where are the remains of the half-Ape Half-men secretly buried...for there must be myriads of them, we have fossils of creatures from millions of years ago, but no half-Ape half-human Adams, just brutish beasts even today, just Apes and humans and no inbetweens?

      Jeff...
      Note:I sincerely believe the Scripture teaching:
      "God made man in his own image". If people wish to believe they came from illiterate monkeys, then so be it.

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    9. Steve stated:
      "Evolution is one of the best attested theories we have, alongside the theory of gravity, germ theory, and atomic theory (theory of atoms). It is not speculative at all, but rather the conclusion arrived at through much observation and research, not faith.

      QUOTE:
      "Natural Selection is a theory because it is backed by observable evidence but is not considered the definite cause as to why organisms can evolve due to surrounding debate" https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=is+natural+selection+a+theory&oq=is++natural+selection

      Jeff...

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    10. Jeff, I am not going to teach you how evolution works or why it is known to be a fact. The information is widely available and easily found online, if you would simply search.

      I recommend you read, "The Blind Watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins.

      There are many fossils of other hominid species. Your claim that there should be "half ape half human" species is misguided and simply shows your misunderstanding. We are apes. And we did not evolve from modern chimpanzees or any other modern species. Rather, they are our distant cousins. Our lineages branched off and diverged from a common ancestor that was neither human nor chimpanzee, about 6 million years ago, as evidenced by the fossil record and genetics. Since then there have been many different species which are known from the fossil record. Many of these are considered "human" but not homo sapiens sapiens. You can probably visit your local museum and discover this for yourself. Or just search online.

      The reason they are not still around is because they were out competed by us, or some other cause. We actually share some Neanderthal DNA as well, suggesting that at some point our ancestors interbred with them.

      Please consider learning about evolution via a sincere quest to understand it. Otherwise you are just wasting everyone's time here, including yours.

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    11. As for your Oxford definition, yes a theory in science is our best explanation for the observable evidence. That's as good as it gets. It isn't just some random guess. There is no comparable theory to evolution that can explain all available data from fossils, genetics etc., and is falsifiable and testable.

      Evolution is both fact (it happened and continues to happen) and theory (explanation for how it happened/s).

      Your quote about natural selection comes from socratic.org, which is just user submissions. Meanwhile, the very same answer you quoted also says evolution is a fact.

      Natural selection is not the only mechanism behind evolution. But it is observable and testable.

      If you're looking for evidence for evolution, start here:
      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

      For observed evidence of speciation, see here:
      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

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