Some Common Arguments For Evolution

So far I have presented some arguments against the Theory of Evolution based on Scientific Laws, the fossil record, the origin of life, mutations, and complexity. Now, I would like to consider some of the most common arguments used to promote the theory.

The Recapitulation Theory

How many of you have heard the phrase 'ontogeny recapitultes phylogeny'? This expresses the idea that during gestation, the human embryo undergoes changes which mimic its evolutionary history. This idea was formulated and published by Ernst Haeckel in the late 1800's. Shortly after its publication, it was revealed that the drawings of the embryos he used were purposely altered to look similar. Haeckel himself even admitted to the deception years later after being convicted of fraud. But the idea, none the less, had caught on. Even though it was disproven in the 1920's, the recapitulation theory made its way into many late 20th century textbooks, sometimes even being refered to as the 'Biogenic Law'. Unfortunately, some of the ideas are still used today. For example, it is sometimes suggested that 'gill slits' and a 'tail' are present at certain stages of human embryonic development. This, of course, is not true. Actually the supposed 'gill slits' aren't slits at all, but just folds in the skin. And the 'tail' just forms the basis of the coccyx, and develops disproportionately quicker than other parts. So, although this theory pops up every so often in an argument or the popular media, it really has been dead for a long time.

Vestigial Organs

Vestigial organs are said to be organs which were necessary in the past evolutionary history of an organism, but no longer have a function. In other words they are useless leftovers. At the turn of the 20th century, there were approximately 180 organs in the human body which were listed as vestigial. Some of the more popular ones making the list were:

Of course, all of these organs have been found to be not only useful, but necessary. And today, all but a few of the original 180 have been crossed off the list. Since then researchers have learned that it is much more advantageous to search for the function of these than to simply consider them useless.

Similarites of Structures

Similarities in structures between different species or similar 'homology' has often been cited as a proof of evolution. An example would be the forelimb bones in man, horses, bats, whales, and dogs. But, just because some things look the same or share the same types of structures doesn't necessarily preconclude that they share the same ancestors also. It is tempting to look at the hand of man and the hand of an ape, see the similarities and draw that conclusion. But, if we do that, we must follow the same logic when we see similarities elsewhere also. For instance, the human eye is very similar to the octopus eye, yet they are so far removed from each other on the supposed evolutionary chain that no one wants to use this as an example of closeness.

Also, now that science has progressed we can determine which genes give rise to certain structures. When this is studied, it demonstrates that the genes that give rise to some of these similar structures are different. In his book Darwin's Enigma, Luther Sunderland sums this fact up nicely with a question-

Since evolution is supposed to be a change in the genes which changes the structures that they control, how could the structures remain virtually unchanged, but the genes that control them become changed completely?16
One might ask 'If these similarities aren't the result of a common ancestor, then why are they there?' Another possible answer is that there is a common designer rather than a common ancestor. As an example let's look at some paintings:


Some might recognize these as works of Vincent Van Gogh. They are different paintings, but the similarities are obvious enough to determine that they are the work of the same artist. In much the same way, the similarities in different creatures may exhibit the handiwork of the same Marvelous Creator.

Antibiotic Resistance

Another often cited and often misunderstood argument is antibiotic resistance. It is true that over the course of time and use, antibiotics become less effective due to resistance gained by the organisms. Our question is weather this resistance is an example of evolution. Are these bacteria actually mutating into new and better organisms? Let's look at the mechanisms by which resistance develops.

  1. Inherent Resistance--There are some organisms which have an inherent resistance to some antibiotics. The resistance mechanism is present all along, even before being introduced to an antibiotic. This was demonstrated to be true by collecting bacteria found in villages where modern antibiotics hadn't been used, and from the frozen intestines of past explorers. These bacteria were challenged with modern antibiotics and some were found to be resistant already.
  2. Transfer of Resistance--It is possible for genetic information to be transfered between bacteria via rings of DNA called plasmids. Sometimes this shared DNA involves information for resistance, and is thus expressed in the receiving organism. Remember that no new information is 'created' by the newly resistant bacteria, it is only information which existed already and is merely transfered.
  3. Resistance Through Mutation--In this type of mechanism, resistance is gained through mutation. But the one thing that these mutations have in common is that they all involve a loss of information. And when not in the presence of the antibiotic, the resistant one may actually be 'weaker' than the rest. The following simplified scenerio will demonstrate this idea.

    A group of bacteria function normally when a certain nutrient enters into the cell through a pump in the cell wall. One bacterium in the group has a mutation where this pump does not work well, but is still able to survive. Now suppose that an antibiotic kills these bacteria, but only when it can get inside the cell through that same nutrient pump. When this antibiotic is introduced to the group, they are all killed--expect the one with the faulty pump. This one then survives and replicates, eventually resulting in a group of resistant bacteria. Notice again that no new informatin was added, and it is actually a weaker, degenerative strain, compared to the original group. This mutation may indeed be beneficial in that circumstance, but it certainly does not produce a better and more complex organism as the theory of evolution demands.

Peppered Moth

Probably the most popular argument for evolution is the peppered moth (Biston betularia). It has been used to demonstrate the idea of natural selection in relation to evolution. Let's take a closer look at this and see what it really demonstrates.

Before the industrial revolution, the forests in Great Britain were mostly made up of light colored trees. At this time, the peppered moth existed in both light and dark colors, but the population was predominantly white. The pollution which resulted from all the new factories eventually turned the bark of the trees dark, and with this, there was a population shift and the dark colored moths became the majority. This occurred because the light colored ones lost the natural camouflage of the light trees and were thus more easily spotted by birds. Since then, Clean Air acts have been passed, and again a shift occured, increasing the population of the light colored moths. It is true that this demonstrates how natural selection works, but it doesn't speak a word about evolution. What started as a peppered moth, existing in both light and dark colors, remains a peppered moth in both light and dark colors. Where is the evolution? Where is the emergence of a new and better species? What this observation actually demonstrates is that even through altered environments, a moth will always continue to be a moth.

Horse Evolution

If you have been to any natural history museums, the above display should be familiar to you. It is the standard account given for the evolutionary path of the modern day horse. As with other 'examples of evolution', it certainly does look convincing. The tale goes like this:
Our modern day horse started out about 60 million years ago as a small, four-toed animal called Eohippus or the "dawn horse" formerly known as Hyracotherium. From there it grew in size, lost a toe and was known as the Mesohippus. The larger, Merychippus then came on the scene, followed by the one-toed Pliohippus. This then was replaced by Equus, our modern day horse.

This seems like a neat, easy to see progression, but let's look at some lesser known facts. To start out with, some paleontologists argue that Eohippus isn't related to the horse at all. It is actually more similar to our modern day hyrax, which accounts for its original classification as Hyracotherium. Also there is nowhere in the world, except museum displays, where this series is found in successive strata. Actually, the one-toed creatures are found alongside and even BELOW the three-toed type in the strata. Eohippus fossils have been found with certain species of Equus as well.
But the story doesn't end here. When depicted in displays and textbooks, the toes are often highlighted to suggest a progression. But why don't they discuss things like the ribs. Beginning with Eohippus there are 18 pairs of ribs. This number changes to 19 pairs, then 15, then back to 18 for Equus. And as with all other supposed lines of ascent, all these creatures are fully formed and fully functional with no partial or transitional forms filling in the gaps to connect them.

Archaeopteryx

Probably the most famous of all fossils, the Archaeopteryx fossil is said to contain the image of a truly transitional creature. Discovered in Germany in the mid 1800's, the species was said to have had characteristics of both reptiles and birds. It had teeth and claws as some reptiles do and feathers like birds. Having features of both of these types of animals, it was heralded as an example of a reptile on its way to becoming a modern bird. But, as good investigators, we must consider some other things before it gets our stamp of approval. For instance, let's look at the teeth. Is that really a reptilian feature? Not all reptiles have teeth, some do and some don't. Some fish have teeth and some don't. Some mammals have teeth and some don't. There were even some birds that had teeth. So the fact that it had teeth, doesn't necessarily link it to reptiles. When compared, the teeth on the Archaeopteryx were not even similar to reptilian teeth.
When we consider the claws, again we must realize that we aren't necessarily dealing with an exclusively reptilian feature. There are actually birds living today such as the hoatzin and ostrich which have clawed wings. After years of study, Archaeopteryx has been classified as a bird. It had fully formed feathers, a large wishbone, as well as the brain and jaws of real birds. So, after all the hype, we see that it was nothing more than a bird with a couple specialized features.

To further solidify the point, let's discuss what it would take for a reptile to change into a bird. First of all it would somehow have to change scales into feathers. The truth is, scales are a far cry from feathers which are very complex and specialized. Scales are actually just folds in the skin. Feathers on the other hand come from follicles inside the skin. They also possess an intricate structure of tiny hooks and barbs making them strong and waterproof. They are also lightweight with the correct aerodynamics for flight. Some other differences between reptiles and birds that would have to change are:

Again, there is no evidence whatsoever in the fossil record of any gradual change in any of these systems or even any conceivable working models of change.

Cavemen

Ever since the idea that humans evolved from apes became popular, there has been a race to discover the missing link. This link would be a creature caught in a stage between distinctly ape and distinctly human. Over the years there have been many candidates to fill this role, some popular and promising and others an embarassment to those embracing them. Let's look at some of these characters.

There are also some stories which would make the 'best-if-forgotten' list... Of course, there have been many more candidates besides these, but there are no universally accepted or unchallenged specimens that can be considered human ancestors. All are either true humans or true apes, no in-betweens. One might ask why there have been so many promoted as such or how so many scientists are so easily fooled. The answer goes back to the field goal at the beginning of our discussion. If someone believes that evolution is true, this belief is reinforced in school and in the media, and the object of their chosen profession is to discover the missing link, then it should be no suprise to us when they think that they have found one. By the way, after 150 years of research, there is still only one thing that we know for sure about the 'missing link', do you know what it is?
clickhereto find out the answer.