Friday, January 21, 2011

Some common misconceptions about evolution

A common misconception about evolution: "If humans are descendants of Chimpanzees, how come there are still Chimpanzees? See answer in this blog post.

Blogger Ron Workman posted this following interesting collection of common misconceptions about the theory of evolution (See original post here). Thanks, Ron.

1. You talk openly about how diseases are becoming stronger. You found a way to argue that disease has become more resistant to penicillin yet you also claim there isn’t solid proof of evolution. Bravo! That alone takes talent.

2. You eat corn. This may be hard for many of you to believe but corn is completely man-made. It DOES NOT occur in nature and never has. Without humans, corn would cease to exist in only a few years. Even the smartest of you might not even be aware that corn isn’t a “Natural” food. Please look this up.

3. You own a dog or at least acknowledge that dogs exist. I know you might not be aware of this, but dogs were also created by man. They do not occur in nature. Wolves, foxes, jackals, coyotes do but they aren’t the same thing as a household pet. I know you like to imagine little herds of teacup poodles roaming the lands in packs but it just never happened.

4. You think that people believe that man came from monkeys. To keep it simple: No. It didn’t happen and funny enough, at no point in the history of mankind has anyone claimed this other than people trying to debunk human evolution. The Scopes “Monkey Trial” is probably a big reason this idea took off. We came from apes. How do we know? Because Human Beings are apes. An ape is not an animal itself but a classification of Hominoid. If you are an adult and don’t know and understand this you should be ashamed.

5. You think that walking upright proves something. It doesn’t. It is learned. If you could leave a baby on an island and come back 20 years later, it almost certainly wouldn’t be standing. The process of balancing on 2 legs not only needs to be learned but also (concerning the method in which we do it) takes some brain power and evolution to even allow its possibility. Our physiological sense of Equilibrioception went in a different direction compared to other apes.

6. You have a skewed idea of time. Imagine a friend missed your birthday by one day. How about one week or a month? What if they had your age wrong? These things can happen right? What about if they missed it by 100 years? 1000 years? 100,000 years? What if they missed by one million years? You have to agree that it is virtually impossible for someone to make this error. Over 60 million years happened in between the end of the Dinosaurs and the beginning of what would become modern Humans. So, it isn’t as simple as saying that humans and dinosaurs didn’t live together. Even the consideration of it as a possibility should show just how horribly uneducated and wrong someone can be. It is also very hard to grasp gradual change over time. Aside from average height (more because of improved diet) and foot size (diet & possibly better footwear), you cannot notice anything different between Humans today and thousands of years ago.

7. You use air quotes when saying that evolution is only a “Theory” and not proven. This can also fall in with thinking evolution is a “belief” as well. Do you believe in gravity? That is a theory. Do you talk about climate change? That is also a theory (barely). What about thinking that germs are what cause disease? Theory. A theory has been tested and virtually proven. I say virtually because it can be expanded. If an idea was proposed and not tested, it would be a hypothesis which is an unproven theory. Calling Creationism a hypothesis is almost a stretch. It does not even have the ability to be tested. It is a belief.

8. You don’t understand that Darwin wrote The Origin of Species and not the Origin of Life or Man. Darwin stayed away from speculating at all at how man came to be or about how life began. If you picked up the book and read it the possibility that you might begin to understand it increases. From knowledge like this, you could attempt to form valid ideas and opinions.

9. You missed the memo that every person on Earth is not identical. I know you may think that I am oversimplifying this but hear me out. Imagine every single person on Earth was raised the same, experienced the same exposure to nature, ate the same food etc. They would not look the same as they grew older. They would still maintain variations in skin color, eye and hair color, epicanthic folds (eyes) as well as many other racially defining characteristics. A no-brainer right? If there is no evolution, how do we explain individuality? How could there be any difference from person to person at the genetic level? How could those simple things converge or diverge at all without evolution?

To be honest, it makes me a little sad that even one person could have a viewpoint which counters anything on this list. I like the idea of at worst, those people researching these things in an attempt to prove me wrong. Research is the path to understanding.

[Update] I made it through this post and didn’t even have to mention things like the Appendix in human beings. Mad skills.

Also see this list of five major misconceptions about evolution.

The excellent website provides accessible information about evolution and common misconceptions.

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