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Author Topic:   "Best" evidence for evolution.
wardog25
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Posts: 37
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 1 of 106 (486641)
10-23-2008 10:21 AM


In the "Is it science" topic, there is a thread for best evidence for creation.

I would like to hear what people consider to be the foundational evidence for the theory of evolution.

Edited by wardog25, : No reason given.


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Message 2 of 106 (486729)
10-24-2008 4:39 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
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Admin
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Message 3 of 106 (486731)
10-24-2008 4:50 AM


READ THIS FIRST

This thread was not released to be a vehicle for discussion of the validity of any and all evidence for evolution. It is not for the discussion of whether any particular evidence for evolution is right or wrong. When someone offers the fossil record as foundational evidence for evolution, that is not an opportunity to point out that there are no transitional fossils.

This is thread is for discussion of why or why not any particular piece of evidence is foundational to the theory of evolution. If you'd like to discuss why or why not that evidence is valid then please propose a new thread over at Proposed New Topics.


--Percy
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Huntard
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From: Limburg, The Netherlands
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Message 4 of 106 (486733)
10-24-2008 5:37 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by wardog25
10-23-2008 10:21 AM


wardog25 writes:

I would like to hear what people consider to be the foundational evidence for the theory of evolution.

I consider genetics to be by FAR the best evidence for evolution.


I hunt for the truth
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The Matt
Member (Idle past 3156 days)
Posts: 99
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Message 5 of 106 (486734)
10-24-2008 5:55 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by wardog25
10-23-2008 10:21 AM


If I had to pick one thing, I guess it'd be the following line of reasoning.

Do genes determine to an extent the physical characteristics of an organism? yes.

Is the mechanism for producing more copies of genes perfect? No. Perfect copies are not always created, thus there will be physical variation between individuals across a population.

Are all individuals in a group equally likely to survive and pass on their genetic material to offspring? No. Those with charactaristics better suited to their environment are more likely to have more young.

With these three points in mind, I'm not sure how it could be disputed that over time, there will be changes in the genetic makeup of a species and therefore its physical characteristics.


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Agobot
Member (Idle past 3145 days)
Posts: 786
Joined: 12-16-2007


Message 6 of 106 (486735)
10-24-2008 6:07 AM


The best evidence for evolution you'll ever find is sitting on my balcony patrolling for cats.

http://img129.imageshack.us/my.php?image=24102008494mz8.jpg

If you consider a pekingese wolf, you'll have a lot of explaining to do. Dogs have been a separate species for about 10 000 years(longer than the world has been around :) HAHA )

BTW, does anyone know if a wolf would chase a cat, when he is not hungry? Is this a strictly dog trait?

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.


"Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind" - A.Einstein

"I am a deeply religious nonbeliever - This is a somewhat new kind of religion" - Albert Einstein

"Matter is nothing but the harmonies created by this vibrating string..The laws of physics can be compared to the laws of harmony allowed on the string. The universe itself, composed of countless vibrating strings, would then be comparable to a symphony." - Michio Kaku


    
Larni
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Message 7 of 106 (486736)
10-24-2008 6:28 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by wardog25
10-23-2008 10:21 AM


wardog25 writes:

I would like to hear what people consider to be the foundational evidence for the theory of evolution.

I don't know about 'foundational' but nylon eating bacteria have always seemed to me to be pretty fantastic evidence.

Thinking about foundational however, I would say: Things change.


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Coyote
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Message 8 of 106 (486752)
10-24-2008 10:27 AM


The BEST evidence
The best evidence is how the entire theory holds together, with so many facts being explained by the theory of evolution.

And, contrary to creationists' claims, there are no significant facts which contradict the theory. There are certainly gaps to be filled in, but so far the theory provides a cohesive explanation for those millions and millions of facts and allows predictions to be made concerning new facts.

That's all a theory needs to do, and in this the theory of evolution is one of the strongest theories we have.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
  
RAZD
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Message 9 of 106 (486842)
10-24-2008 9:33 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by wardog25
10-23-2008 10:21 AM


The Diversity of Life, as we know it, from the evidence all around us.
Welcome to the fray, wardog25.

First some tips (as I'm gonna go long on my answer):

type [qs]quotes are easy[/qs] and it becomes:

quotes are easy

For other formatting tips see Posting Tips

Now to the question:

I would like to hear what people consider to be the foundational evidence for the theory of evolution.

I'll start off with some definition of what we are talking about ... to make sure we are talking about the same thing. In the science of evolutionary biology there are two (2) basic processes:

  1. the change in hereditary traits in populations from generation to generation.
  2. the reproductive isolation of daughter populations from the parent populations or other daughter populations.
The first is a basic definition of "evolution" (the process that is the subject of the theory), and it is similar to other definitions used, including Darwin's original formulation ("Descent with Modification") and what is often called the genetic definition (the change in the frequency of alleles in a population over time). It is also similar to what is used to teach the science of evolutionary biology at the university level.

The second is a basic definition of "speciation" where descendant populations become genetically dissimilar with isolation as time passes due to the process of evolution operating in different ecologies and through different sets of new mutations\traits that arise in populations of otherwise similar organisms, and because of the lack of sharing of those new mutations\traits with the other populations.

Each of these processes operate through several mechanisms, some shared some not. Natural selection is one such process, and the one that Darwin recognized as being able to cause descent with modification. Ecological changes are also a mechanism, as evolution is a response system, and populations of organisms will respond to different ecologies with different "fitness" selection.

Darwin's insight was that these simple processes were sufficient to explain the diversity of life as we know it

  • from life on earth today,
  • from history (accounts of now extinct life),
  • from prehistory (cave paintings and other archeological artifacts),
  • from the fossil record (the natural history of life that has lived on earth in the past) and
  • from the genetic record (although he did not know about genes he figured out that there was "a" mechanism that transmitted hereditary traits from one generation to the next, and that populations were related by common ancestry, genetics has just given us better information on what the various mechanisms are and how we can determine the common ancestry history from the evidence in the genes).

This is what the theory of evolution is (as opposed to the process and the science):

(removed material repeated on another thread see Evolutionary Theory Explains Diversity)

Theory: the processes of evolution and speciation are sufficient to explain the diversity of life we see in the world today, in historical accounts, in prehistorical records, in the fossil record and in the genetic evidence.

This can be tested against the diversity of life: is there any evidence from the vast record of diversity of life that cannot be explained by these processes?

By this process of testing the theory against all the known evidence of the diversity of life, from the world around us, from history, from prehistory, from the fossil record, and from the genetic record ... and not finding any evidence that contradicts the theory ... this vast mountain of evidence then all becomes validation that the theory is correct.

Note that this is how science operates: take observations, develop conclusions from those observations and then formulate a theory based on those observations and conclusions, and then test the theory.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : clarity, structure

Edited by RAZD, : reduced content also posted elsewhere


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by wardog25, posted 10-23-2008 10:21 AM wardog25 has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Percy
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From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 10 of 106 (486869)
10-25-2008 7:29 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by RAZD
10-24-2008 9:33 PM


Re: The Diversity of Life, as we know it, from the evidence all around us.
Remember those standardized English tests given in high school? There was always a section where you'd have to read a passage of a page or two, then answer questions about it. Inevitably there'd be a question that seemed to have no unambiguous answer, leaving one reading and rereading the passage searching for clues.

I was just reminded of these tests, because when I finished reading your post it I feared it would be followed by the question, "What does RAZD believe is the foundational evidence for the theory of evolution?" for which I would have no answer.

For me the foundational evidence for the theory of evolution comes from its foundational book, Origin of Species. A huge amount of evidence is described there, so if I were asked to choose just one it would be where Darwin describes how both animal breeding and evolution in the wild draw upon the same principles.

--Percy


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wardog25
Member (Idle past 3168 days)
Posts: 37
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 11 of 106 (486876)
10-25-2008 9:25 AM


In response to The Matt, Agobot, and maybe Huntard (depending on what aspect of genetics you were referring to):

Why is it that microevolution is so often presented as foundational to the theory of evolution when microevolution is both accepted and celebrated by creationists and evolutionists alike?

To me it seems that microevolution is just a matter of interpretation, and cannot be used as evidence for one side or the other.


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Huntard
Member
Posts: 2870
From: Limburg, The Netherlands
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 12 of 106 (486878)
10-25-2008 9:39 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by wardog25
10-25-2008 9:25 AM


wardog25 writes:

Why is it that microevolution is so often presented as foundational to the theory of evolution when microevolution is both accepted and celebrated by creationists and evolutionists alike?


In biology the term "micro-evolution" is not used anymore. Biologists only refer to evolution now. Evolution is the change of the genetic make up in populations over time. This has been observed to happen, in fact it is very easy to test. The modern day science of genetics is thus a supreme tool in providing evidence for evolution.

To me it seems that microevolution is just a matter of interpretation, and cannot be used as evidence for one side or the other.

A matter of interpretation? what other interpretations for: "the genetic make up of a population changes over time" are there?


I hunt for the truth
This message is a reply to:
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PaulK
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Posts: 13368
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 13 of 106 (486879)
10-25-2008 9:46 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by wardog25
10-25-2008 9:25 AM


The questions of "what happened" and "how it happpened" are related but separate. Macroevolution falls mostly in the realm of "what happened". Microevolution is foundational to the question of "how it happened" since it shows mechanisms that are plausibly capable of explaining what has happened.

If want to deal with the "what happened" question, the issue is one of providing an explanation for the major patterns observed in our study of life - including the past life.

One example is that - even using the Linnaean taxonomy of Darwin's time life may be arranged into a nested tree to a very good explanation. This is not typically true of objects designed by humans. However such a result would be the expected outcome of a process based on "descent with modification" - evolution.

Niles Eldredge did a study on the development of trombones and found it to be quite different from what we see in living beings.


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wardog25
Member (Idle past 3168 days)
Posts: 37
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 14 of 106 (486888)
10-25-2008 10:46 AM


In biology the term "micro-evolution" is not used anymore. Biologists only refer to evolution now. Evolution is the change of the genetic make up in populations over time. This has been observed to happen, in fact it is very easy to test. The modern day science of genetics is thus a supreme tool in providing evidence for evolution.

A matter of interpretation? what other interpretations for: "the genetic make up of a population changes over time" are there?

But this is my point entirely. No species has ever been shown to change into another species, yet evolutionists insist it is possible and even (as you mentioned) define the terms to support their side.

So it is a matter of interpretation whether microevolution demonstrates evolution or not. Creationists completely affirm that animals change within species (or kind). We just know that there are limits. Evolutionists know there are limits too, they just insist there aren't any limits in certain areas.

For example: Say I'm breeding dogs and I get a dog that is 1 foot taller. Could we keep breeding for millions of years (provided we could stay alive that long) and get a dog that is 200 feet tall? No, there are limits.

So if you can't breed indefinitely and get a 200 foot tall dog, why can you breed indefinitely and get a completely different kind of animal?

Changes within a species do not demonstrate that the species can change to something else entirely. Therefore microevolution is not foundational evidence for the theory of evolution.

Edited by wardog25, : No reason given.

Edited by wardog25, : Quote was not showing correctly.


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Huntard
Member
Posts: 2870
From: Limburg, The Netherlands
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 15 of 106 (486891)
10-25-2008 11:05 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by wardog25
10-25-2008 10:46 AM


wardog25 writes:

ut this is my point entirely. No species has ever been shown to change into another species, yet evolutionists insist it is possible and even (as you mentioned) define the terms to support their side.


Through genetics, one can track the point where the current creature branched off from it's common ancestor with another creature.

So it is a matter of interpretation whether microevolution demonstrates evolution or not. Creationists completely affirm that animals change within species (or kind). We just know that there are limits. Evolutionists know there are limits too, they just insist there aren't any limits in certain areas.

Evolution is the change in genetic make up in a population over time. That's it, that's all it is. So if "Creationists completely affirm that animals change within species (or kind)." They agree evolution is happening. And about those limits, how can: "the change in genetic make up in a population over time." be limited?

For example: Say I'm breeding dogs and I get a dog that is 1 foot taller. Could we keep breeding for millions of years (provided we could stay alive that long) and get a dog that is 200 feet tall? No, there are limits.

It probably wouldn't be a dog anymore the way we define "dog" today. But I don't think any biologist is going to say that we can have a 200 foot dog. There were however some pretty big land creatures out there, you know them by the name dinosaur. So, big land animals ARE possible.

So if you can't breed indefinitely and get a 200 foot tall dog, why can you breed indefinitely and get a completely different kind of animal?

Because you keep adding small changes in the genetic make up over time, which will eventually lead to a different species. (by the way, a species is not the same as a kind, or if it is, Noah's got a bit of a problem)

Changes within a species do not demonstrate that the species can change to something else entirely. Therefore microevolution is not foundational evidence for the theory of evolution.

Yes it can, look at the genetic record. And I never said micro evolution WAS evidence for the theory of evolution. As a matter of fact, I said that "micro evolution" is not used as a term anymore.


I hunt for the truth
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