left biblioblography: Evolution, Evolution, Everywhere, What Is A Fanatic To Think?

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Evolution, Evolution, Everywhere, What Is A Fanatic To Think?


Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!

Humanity's penchant for denial is no exaggeration, as  Stardust’s recent post illustrates. But, as the old X-Files TV show’s motto said, “The truth is out there”, and I’m not talking about left field either.

A ten-year-old study from Harvard illustrates speciation in the E. Coli bacteria, for one example. Ten years later, another study on E. Coli not only verifies this, it lists the mutations as…beneficial. (Collective gasps are heard in the revival tent.)

And along a similar vein, it turns out that bacteria can actually influence speciation in wasps, by repairing damaged sperm. (Shouts of “Blasphemy!” can be heard from the audience.)

And an old hoary chestnut has been roasted on the fire – yes Virginia, there are indeed pre-Cambrian fossils of microbes.

And of course, there are 29+ evidences for ‘macroevolution’ – ranging in scope from morphological intermediates to cetacean atavisms (and human babies with tails). This also extends to vestigial molecular structures. The typical creationist response is that many of these items are predicated on scale, and they scramble desperately to muddy the waters when the evidence is presented.

One of the more amusing stupidities cited by the creationist, is this quote from the Origin of the Species:

    Firstly, why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?
    But, as by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?
    Lastly, looking not to any one time, but to all time, if my theory be true, numberless intermediate varieties, linking closely together all the species of the same group, must assuredly have existed.
    Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.

Darwin was no geologist: relatively little was known about the formation of fossils, how difficult it was to become one, what with scavengers, tectonic plate shifts, highly alkaline soils, erosion, weather, all the variables that prevent ‘insensibly fine gradations’.

And evidence abounds. From genetics to paleontology, from anatomy to geographical distribution, it seems incredible that anyone would raise a fuss about something so fundamentally obvious.

What do you call someone who rejects evidence in favor of warm fuzzy feelings and mythology? Supply a punchline, and discuss amongst yourselves.

Till the next post, then.

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Efrique said...

Actually, Darwin was pretty good at geology and had found quite a few fossils himself. The ones he found high up in the Andes, for example, were an important part of him understanding just how old the earth must be.

Whenever a creationist quotes Darwin raising a difficulty with evolution, you need to find where he said it - because each time he raises a difficulty, he deals with it, and usually in a comprehensive manner.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Efrique - actually, Darwin may've been good @ geology, but he wasn't an actual geologist, & didn't have access to a great many of the tools we have today.
I actually wrestled w/that observation somewhat - but I ran w/it. So he wasn't officially a geologist (he actually took a class & found it incredibly boring), but he was a pretty good autodidact.
& yes, usually the creationist OOCQ (out of context quote), when read in context, was the technique of addressing the problem by showing an understanding 1st, & dispatching it 2nd.