Repost: The Bottom Line On Evolution

Posted Aug 31, 2004

NOTE: This is a repost of an article I wrote. I originally wrote in back around 2004 or so. I'm transferring it here to keep it together with my recent writings.

Before we begin, let's get one thing clear. This is not about the source of evolution. This isn't about whether evolution proves or disproves the existence of Gods. This isn't about what the source of evolution is or is not. This article is simply about basic evidence that evolution is a reality.

People have disagreed about the truth or falsehood of evolution ever since the topic became famous due to Charles Darwin's research and writings. Please note that I do not claim that Mr. Darwin created the concept of evolution. I said he merely made it famous.

So how can I possibly shed any more light on this topic? What possible point of view could I come up with to add to this long argued topic instead of just adding to the white noise?

First, let's start with a slight change in verbiage. So many people get hung up on the word "evolution" that their mind is shut the moment the word is used. To avoid this problem we'll use the word "change" instead of evolution. Anti-abortion advocates promote the use of the word "murder" instead of "abortion" in order to convey the true meaning of the topic. So too we'll throw away the word "evolution" and use the term "change" to make the topic clearer.

But first, let's make sure we can even agree on this change of phrasing. What are we discussing when we use the word evolution? At the first definition of evolution is worded as such:
"A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form."

The word "change" is a very central word in the definition. Almost every other word can be tossed out but the word "change" must remain to convey the same meaning. So since that word is so important to the central issue of evolution, let's discuss change.

Do things change? The answer seems to be an obvious "Yes". Ancient Rome has changed. The land where the USA resides now has changed, mostly by our own hands. Overall views toward slavery have changed. (Again I said overall. Slavery isn't nearly as accepted as it used to be hundreds and thousands of years ago.) The basic concept of change doesn't seem to be in question. What seems to bring debate is what changes, how much and when.

Let's start with the "how much" debate. If we can agree that things change then they can only change in two ways. They can change a little or a lot. At least it appears to be the only two ways something can change. The truth is that, overall, things can only change a lot. here's what I mean.

Imagine an item, any material item you want. Got one? Good, now make a slight change in it. Make a minor change to height, color, texture, shape, purpose, whatever, just make a small change. Now make a new different change to it in addition to the original change. Now make a third small change and a fourth. Make 20 small changes and now compare your final product to the one you started from. To make this fair, make no changes that push the item back toward its original form. In other words don't make 10 changes from blue to green and back to blue and call these different changes. That's cheating. Also don't just make 20 dents. Make real but minor changes.

So we see that many small minor changes compounded together make a large change. The human body doesn't change in any perceptible way from day to day, however as any of your relatives can tell you, "you've changed so much since you were a baby". Changes may be so small that we miss them, but eventually they do add up and the result is a creature or item that is quite different from how it "started" long ago. But even then, more changes are yet to occur.

Look at the pizza restaurant industry. It seems to have started in the ancient times of Babylonia, Greece, etc. Hundreds of years later we now have pizza delivery and pizza recipes that look nothing like the original pizza baked on un-leaven bread.

But is it possible for enough minor changes to occur for something to be given another name? Can a fly turn into a tiger? Let's look at another example.

The teacup of olden times has made changes until we now have the plastic-lined/paper cups that hold our fast food drinks. Also the cup itself was an eventual creation that came from the bowl.

"Ah-ha", you might say. "So far you've only given examples that show changes which came from Man's conscious mind. You've only shown that evolution can only occur through a conscious effort. You haven't proven that change can occur without intent."

These might be the words I'd hear if I left it alone here. But I have one more example to discuss. I could ask about the dinosaurs and why they aren't around, but maybe you don't believe they really existed. Maybe the fossils and dating techniques are flawed and you don't believe their findings. Here, however is something that you can see with your own eyes this very day.

Whether you believe that Man came from Adam and Eve (meaning a single couple from a single God) or whether you believe that Man came from a single cell life form, here's one thing you must consider:

Look at the differences between Africans and Eskimos. Africans, who live in a hot dry climate, have long thin bodies, dark skin, broad noses, and other features that are perfectly suited toward living comfortably in that type of climate. Eskimos on the other hand are shorter, fatter, and more appropriate toward cold, wet climates.

So if change were not possible, and we all came from one single source how could we explain such a difference. Based on those rules, there are only two possible explanations.

  1. We had separate sources of origin. This theory is dangerous to say the least for it leads to attempts at separatism that have failed for the entire history of mankind. (Remember Japan once separated themselves from outside contact and looked what happened to them.) This theory also forces us to pin down which group came from which source. Just for those who failed history classes, it was this kind of concept that helped promote slavery and other atrocities.
  2. One group actually came from "the source" and the others did not. This leads to the inescapable conclusion that one group is truly Human in the real sense and all the others are not. This theory too has been tried in the past and has failed to survive. (Perhaps it's a concept that can't evolve enough to survive)

Perhaps you've noticed that both these explanations are actually the same theory but worded differently. Just another example to show that explaining the differences in the human race without evol... um, I mean change, is essentially impossible.

The only plausible explanation for Africans and Eskimos is that change occurs over a long period of time even to the human race. To make matters worse, let's throw in Europeans and Asians. There are considerable physical differences between these four groups of human beings.

Speaking of the Eskimos, did you know they are descendants of Asians, not American Indians? Eskimos and Indians are cousins, not parent/son. However many would be hard pressed to see an Eskimo and a Chinese and immediately see the resemblance.

But perhaps you could say that those are just cultural adaptations to the climates, not full blown evolution of changing into another species. Let's remember our rule of cumulative minor changes. If enough small changes occur, then it's the same as a large change. Do you really think that in a few hundred thousand years that more minor changes won't be placed on top of what's already occurred?

Looking at the whole of the human race also reminds us of other important but often-overlooked facts of change. Not every change is for the better. Some changes are just changes. Some are for the worse. Also just because changes occurred doesn't mean that the original group disappeared. Remember, Eskimos are descendants of Asians and both are still here and both have changed in their own way.

Evolution simply means change. If enough small changes are placed upon each other, soon a large change occurs.

Businesses change. Industries change. Weather changes. Herd sizes change. Eating habits change. Everything evolves.

This is normally the place where I would end this article. However, I have one very important point about evolution to discuss.

Survival Of The Fittest?

Now that we've used the word evolve, let's talk about a major flaw in current evolution theory.

In the current view, evolution is summed up in the phrase "Survival of the fittest". This term suggests that only the best of the best survive and all the rest die out. If this is true, why are there so many species of beetles, cats, monkeys and every other type of creature? According to "Survival of the fittest", only the best or the fittest survive. All the rest, by definition die out. However, is this the way things really work?

When hungry lions attack a herd, most of the herd survives. It is the tired, the weak, the unprotected young, or simply the unlucky that are sought by the hunters. Those that can't hold their own and keep up with the rest for whatever reason are separated from the herd and killed for food. It is not the most fit that survive, it is the least fit that die.

Male rams compete during mating season for the right to the largest selection of mates. However only the truly bad males get no mates at all. Even those that lose against the best rams in the herd get to mate. Those that were fit, survived, not just those that were fittest.

To apply "Survival of the fittest" to humans, we would have to assume that only the first place winner of contests would get a mate. We would have to think that most people in an earthquake died, not lived. Yet, this is not reality.

Survival of the fittest, if it were true, would mean that population levels would always stay very low. However many insects and animals have huge populations and they're growing.

For the last strike against this misunderstood concept, let's remember that particular lines of creatures can separate into two or more lines and those lines can all survive and evolve on in their own path. Remember the Asians and Eskimos? Survival of the fittest doesn't account for diversification.

We must also remember that Survival of the fittest doesn't take into account animal and plant interdependence. Enough plants must survive for herbivores to eat and enough prey must survive to feed carnivores. If life were only survival of the fittest, not enough could survive at any level to sustain the others. In this case we talk of quantity over prime quality.

So it is not "Survival of the fittest" that dictates evolution. Instead, the true phrase should be "Survival of the fit". Those that are fit enough survive and maybe even procreate.

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