SPLATS about the evidence for evolution
For an explanation, see
the main splats page
Evolution is a fact. There are Darwinian explanations of evolution and others. Right now, Darwinian explanations make the most sense of all the evidence.
No scientific evidence of any sort exists to suggest evolution did not happen: the different records are all consistent in their indications of past history.
Take 2 on evolution: every competent scientist accepts evolution as a fact. Their only questions are on the fine detail of what caused it to happen as it did.
Our notion of species only works to describe a slice of time. Over long periods, most species change out of all recognition, even if superficially similar.
Scientists can be wrong about the details of evolution without evolution being wrong. Evolution happened: the study of evolution is about finding out how.
A classic case study of evolution, industrial melanism in the Lepidoptera, the evolution of dark moths in response to smoke pollution, is now in doubt.
Small parts of our fine understanding of the mechanisms of evolution change all the time, but the grand notion of evolution by natural selection still stands.
It is very easy for people who do not understand evolution to 'prove' it is wrong when all that is wrong is their understanding and knowledge of the facts.
No opponent of evolution has ever managed to offer a proof that evolution doesn't happen which has ever made any impression on any real scientist.
Evolution can be seen happening in small ways, but it takes perhaps half a million years for different species to develop so that it shows in the anatomy.
Biochemical changes and changes in gene frequencies can happen very much faster than changes in appearance, but anti-evolutionists ignore them.
Evidence for evolution is found in many things. One type involves fossil forms, the locations of modern forms, and the order of appearance of different types.
Evidence for evolution is found in comparative anatomy. The same basic plan is found across many types of plant in tissues, flowers, leaves and more.
Evidence for evolution is found in comparative anatomy. The same basic plan is found across many types of animal in structures like the heart and the eye.
All vertebrates show similar patterns in their anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, teeth, digestive systems, reproduction, embryology, and even in their genes.
The pentadactyl or five-fingered limb is found in most of today's vertebrates, and is seen in bird and bat wings, arms and legs and flippers of all sorts.
The wings evolved in different tetrapods are quite different: bird wings have feathers on skin over limb bones, bat wings are membranes over limb bones.
The wings which evolved in different groups of animals are different from mammals: insect wings are flattened bladders, flying fish wings are modified fins.
When living things have descended from a common ancestor, the chemistry of their cells will be remarkably similar, with similar or identical genes.
Evidence for evolution is found in the genome of every living thing. Very many genes are repeated, and closely related organisms have more common genes.
Traces of evolution may be found in the molecular evidence: chemicals in the cell, which are the product of genes, some of which will have been conserved.
Blood traces in and on fossils, DNA retrieved from amber and other unchanged matter can all provide evidence for evolution having happened in the past.
So-called junk DNA can indicate how things evolved, their phylogenetic relationship, but may also play a more important role than the name suggests.
It is unlikely that close parallel evolution happens very often, and when it does, it will not be so obvious when you look at the anatomy beneath the surface.
In 1680, anatomist James Tyson wrote: "If we view a Porpess on the outside, there is nothing more than a Fish, but if we look within, there is nothing less."
What Tyson had seen was the effect of convergent evolution which changes the outward appearance of an individual, while leaving internal arrangements unchanged.
Lamarckism and neo-Lamarckism might explain evolution, but doing so makes little sense as there is no good evidence that acquired characteristics are inherited.
Survival of the fittest is a poor way of describing natural selection, since fittest remains undefined, and will always shift its meaning as conditions change.
Social Darwinism has nothing to do with evolution, because it is about people trying to justify greed and hypocrisy. Social Darwinism cannot explain altruism.
Many animals demonstrate altruism, risking or 'sacrificing' themselves for the common good, which is hard (but not impossible) to explain in evolutionary terms.
A less mainstream view of evolution is found in the Gaia hypothesis which is interesting but lacks any sort of fossil evidence, partial Gaias or mini-Gaias.
One of the weaker evidences for evolution is found in recapitulation, but that line of argument still offers a reasonable case, compared with counter-arguments.
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