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  • Darwins +690/-3

Several things to keep in mind.

First of all, we have enough DNA evidence to show evolution to be true, even if we didn't have a single fossil to look at.

The fossil record supports evolution, in that it is the only explanation that science can find that accounts for the diversity, the differences in fossils from different periods, the ability to predict which types of fossils will be found in what rocks, and too the fossil record is consistent with plate tectonics and the timeline offered by both.

The fossil record is consistent with biological discoveries (DNA, current speciation, evolution of characteristics in various animals), geology (and no, science does not do a circular reasoning thingy where they date the rocks by the fossils and then date the fossils by the rocks, as often claimed by fundamentalists), it is consistent with the many applicable varieties of radiometric dating, and the fossil record is consistent with the finding of chemistry, climatology, geography and oceanography. To name but a few.

We can track the evolution of dinosaurs along side the evolution of plants. Early plant eating dinosaurs could only eat soft plants, because their mouths had not yet evolved to eat harder materials. But that is about all there was. Soft plants. But as some plants evolved wood structures, so too evolved the plant eating dinosaurs, whose mouths became stronger and better able to eat harder plant foods. And the fossil recored has many an example of plants and animals evolving along side each other as they evolved. Of course, that is mostly animals evolving to eat new types of plants, but the evolved together, not out of sync. And all of this has been studied enough that we can say with confidence that newly discovered fossil beds will reveal a similarly consistent history.

Note that there are no big, meat eating dinosaur fossils in rocks from the Cambian period, where there nothing big and meaty to eat had evolved yet. There is a reason for that.

Gigantic new fossil beds were just discovered in Canada. People who doubt this story should run out there, dig up some stuff in the wrong place, and prove the whole theory wrong. Except they won't be able to, because none of the billions of fossils found have been in inexplicable locations. We can predict, based on the geology, exactly what kinds of fossils will be found, how old they are, and we can also say with certainty what sorts of fossils will not be found in those new formations. If we can do that, isn't is possible that maybe we're right about something?

Note that while DNA in fossils is rare, we can sample the DNA from bugs trapped in flowing sap from many millions of years ago, and what we find is consistent with evolution. Note that when we say we have fossils of insects from the Paleozoic Era, we can say with confidence that we will never find a bird in the same rock layers, because birds hadn't evolved yet. if ID'ers could go out and find just one fossilized bird in rocks identified by scientists as being from the Pennsylvanian period, you guys would win. Evolution would be disproved. Because the timeline revealed by the fossil record, DNA histories, geology, etc. would no longer be reliable.

And again these findings are consistent with other discoveries made across scientific disciplines.

In short, if one looks only at the evidence, there is no other conclusion that can be reached. There are of course squabbles about some of the details, but the general concept of evolution is so obvious now that to claim that it couldn't have happened requires a lot of blindness to the facts.

And note that though I just used the phrase "no other conclusion can be reached", science is still exploring, and it is not impossible that they could find something brand new that they didn't know about in science that indeed disproved evolution as we know it. And if they do, they'll mention it. Yes, it would be controversial for awhile, but if true, we'd eventually figure it out and have a new model of reality for you to diss. Unless your god showed up in the process.

And your question about microevolution/macroevolution. That is an invention of ID'ers, and not relevant to science. A whole bunch of little evolutionary changes will eventually add up to big ones. It is basic math. What reason to organisms have to never change? If DNA is what we use to pass traits on generation to generation, and the process is not foolproof, and if we have enough millions of years to play with, why would everything be the same over time scales that large.

And if things change enough, why would they still be able to mate with much different cousins? If some of the changes involved changes in diploid count or reproductive structures, then we have the definition of a new species.

There is plenty online for you to read about the snake/lizard thing. The question that science is trying to answer now is where that change took place, in the water or on land. There are arguments for both. But the questions isn't whether or not it happened. It is only where.

I know the whole thing sounds fantastic. But if that is where all the evidence takes us, then evolution appears to be true. It didn't happen because we could wrap our minds around it. It happened, and it is our job to decide when and how. Or to find another explanation for all the variety that we've found. And believing in a God create a world where, at present, over 99.9% of all the species that ever existed are extinct, would seem a bit futile. Given what would obviously be some sort of incompetence on his part.

If you are going to get all hung up on one thing again, in this case the proof that fossils demonstrate evolution that you are demanding, while you simultaneously assume it to not be true, this thread isn't going to work either. If you can present an alternative as to how there were, when your god made the place, close to 9 trillion species, but now there are less than .1% left, we'll listen. Until then, its looking like they all evolved here.

ID has the hard job here, not us. We've got too much evidence to back up the scientific POV. And none to back up yours. You should stop arguing with us and go find something that counters scientific claims.
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median This is an excellent post. Thank you very much. February 28, 2014, 04:47:58 PM