A lot in biology makes perfect sense without evolution. E.g. the physical adaptations of the giraffe to cope with its height are functional requirements ...
Further to my previous remarks, I would point out that only evolution makes sense of the fact that these are adaptations. Why should the neck of the giraffe, which is long and goes up, bear such a striking resemblance to the neck of, say, a pig, which is short and goes along?
(If we found two analogous designed objects, such as a footbridge across a short stream and a radio mast, which had the same basic plan, which were so obviously variations on the same theme, this would not make sense to us, we would be deeply puzzled.)
Now evolution does make perfect sense of the pig and the giraffe: they have common ancestry, they are adaptations of the same thing, and per the theory of evolution, evolution cannot scrap a design and go back to the drawing board.
Without evolution, how would you make sense of it? A creationist might get as far as "God chose to do it that way for some reason", but what is the reason?
This is a particularly good example because it is CRR's. He had the whole of nature to choose from to find one thing that does make sense without evolution, and he chose something that flagrantly doesn't.
Should we tell him about the recurrent laryngeal nerve?
Darwin's "Origin of Species" was published in 1859. The term biology in its modern sense appears to have been introduced independently by Thomas Beddoes (in 1799), Karl Friedrich Burdach (in 1800), Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus (Biologie oder Philosophie der lebenden Natur, 1802) and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (Hydrogéologie, 1802). [wikipedia]
I think it was still considered a branch of Natural Science in Darwin's day.
However the study of biology goes back to Aristotle and Galen in ancient Greece, and probably goes much further back in less formal format. Observation and reasoning about the natural world goes back to the beginning of man.
Sure, but did people back then make sense of biological facts, or did they merely accumulate them?
People looked at rainbows for thousands of years too, but they didn't make sense before we had a theory of optics. (Of course, people had explanations back then too, usually variants on "God did it by magic", but that didn't actually make sense of the rainbow 'cos of being wrong.)
I still don't understand what Darwin did to advance biology.
No, you don't.
Are you saying that without him, biologists would not be aware, for example, that the interplay between mutations and natural selection can produce heritable changes in a population? Animal and plant breeders had been aware of such things for thousands of years.
No, they hadn't really understood it. Natural selection was seen as exerting only conservative pressures.
Without Darwin, would biologists have discovered drift, lateral gene transfer, recombination, etc, etc? Of course they would have.
No-one said otherwise.
If Darwin is responsible for nothing more than coming up with the theory that all life evolved from a common ancestor, then he has not contributed anything at all to the advancement of biology - all he's done is come up with a useless idea that is, at best, a curiosity of history. I mean, of what practical use is it to belief that whales evolved from some deer-like creature over a period of 50 million years?
No-one claimed that making sense of biology is invariably of practical use, just that one can't make sense of it except in the light of evolution.
If I said that nothing in the dynamics of the Solar System made sense except in the light of gravity, and acclaimed Newton as a brilliant scientist, would you reply: "So what's this got to do with Newton? Gravity has been a known fact for thousands of years."
Poor Tangle, you keep throwing up this line, but it's simply a mindless regurgitation of something you learn in atheist Sunday school. You have obviously never stopped to consider it's validity ...
What odd lies you tell. Do you actually hope to deceive Taq when you lie to him like that, or is it just a gratuitous display of dishonesty?
But you need to first realise that Darwinism is a cult. It hides itself under the cloak of science, but it is a full-blown cult nevertheless.
Try this exercise (which I would recommend to every member of the cult of Darwinism) - write out 30 times every day, "Mr. Charles Darwin is really Mr. Useless", and then, "Evolution = biology + the atheist cult of Darwinism" 30 times, and then, "Evolution is not a fact" 30 times.
"You've joined a cult! This is bad. Here, let me prescribe you some religious mantras that you should recite 30 times daily."