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More Evidence for Evolution: Did God Create Humans with Gill Slits?

Human embryo compared to other animals

Gary: At one time in history, most people in our western culture believed that human existence began in “the womb” as a tiny miniature version of the infant we see at birth. Little did they know, that in reality, every human starts off his or her existence looking like a fish!

But what should we expect? These people had been indoctrinated for more than a millennia that humans were created in the image of God. But if human beings were created by God, in his image, as the Judeo-Christian holy book says, why on earth did God create human embryos to look like fish? Is God a fish??

Jerry Coyne, biologist and professor, University of Chicago: Well before the time of Darwin, biologists noticed some odd peculiarities when studying how animals develop (embryology) and when studying the similarities and differences in the structure of different animals (comparative anatomy) that did not make sense. For example, all vertebrates [creatures with a spinal column] begin development in the same way, looking rather like an embryonic fish. As development proceeds, different species begin to diverge—but in weird ways. Some blood vessels, nerves, and organs that were present in the embryos of all species at the start suddenly disappear, while others go through strange contortions and migrations. Eventually, the dance of development culminates in the very different adult forms of fish, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and mammals. Nevertheless, when development begins, they look very much alike.

It was [Charles] Darwin who reconciled these [odd peculiarities] found in embryology that filled the textbooks of his time, and showed that the puzzling features of development suddenly made perfect sense under the unifying idea of evolution. Embryology rises greatly in interest, when we thus look at the embryo as a picture, more or less obscured, of the common parent-form [ancestor] of each great class of animals.

…Why do different vertebrates, which wind up looking very different from one another, all begin development looking like a fish embryo? Why do mammals form their heads and faces from the very same embryonic structures that become the gills of fish? Why do vertebrate embryos go through such a contorted sequence of changes in the circulatory system? Why don’t human embryos, or lizard embryos, begin development with their adult circulatory systems already in place, rather than making a lot of changes in what developed earlier [in fish and amphibians]? And why does our sequence of mimic the order of our ancestors (fish to amphibian to reptile to mammal)? As Darwin argued in The Origin, it’s not because human embryos experience a series of environments during development to which they must successively adapt—first a fishlike one, then a reptilian one, and so on. …[E]ach vertebrate undergoes development in a series of stages, and the sequence of those stages happens to follow the evolutionary sequence of its [evolutionary] ancestors.

…All vertebrates begin development looking like embyronic fish because we all descended from a fishlike ancestor with a fishlike embryo. [As the embryo develops] we see strange contortions and disappearances of organs, blood vessels, and gill slits because descendants still carry the genes and developmental programs of [evolutionary] ancestors. And the sequence of developmental changes also makes sense: at one stage of development mammals have an embryonic circulatory system like that of reptiles, but we don’t see the converse situation. Why? Because mammals descended from early reptiles and not vice versa!

Why Evolution is True, pp. 73-79

Gary: Creationists must ask themselves this question: Why did God create humans with gill slits?

fetal development at 4 weeks
Fish or human? (It is a 4 week old human embryo)

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What is The Easiest Way to Disprove Evolution?

Amazon.com: God Made the Animals (Buck Denver Asks... What's in the Bible?)  (9781546011989): Hall, Hannah C.: Books

Gary: If creationists want to disprove Darwinian evolution once and for all there is one simple way to do it: Find an anachronistic fossil!

What is an anachronistic fossil?

The evidence for Darwinian evolution is so strong that scientists can predict in which layer of sediment every fossil should be found. An anachronistic fossil is a fossil found in a sediment layer which defies evolution’s prediction of where it should be. Guess what? Not one single anachronistic fossil has ever (let me repeat that) ever been found!

Dear Creationists: This series of posts on evolution was written because a creationist reader challenged me to provide evidence of a “missing link” fossil. I have done that here, here, and here.

Now it’s your turn: Please produce one anachronistic fossil or admit that creationism is false!

Creationism Evolving

Jerry Coyne, biologist, University of Chicago:

The fossil record teaches us three things. First, it speaks loudly and eloquently of evolution. The record in the rocks confirms several predictions of evolutionary theory: gradual change within lineages, splitting within lineages, and the existence of transitional forms between very different kinds of organisms. There is no getting around this evidence, no waving it away. Evolution happened, and in many cases we see how.

Second, when we find transitional forms, they occur in the fossil record precisely where they should. The earliest birds occur after dinosaurs but before modern birds. We see ancestral whales spanning the gap between their landlubber ancestors and fully modern whales. If evolution were not true, fossils would not occur in an order that makes evolutionary sense. Asked what observation could conceivably disprove evolution, the curmudgeonly biologist J. B. S. Haldane reportedly growled, “Fossil rabbits in the Pre-Cambrian!” (That’s the geological period that ended 543 million years ago.) Needless to say, no Precambrian rabbits, or any other anachronistic fossils, have ever been found.

Precambrian Rabbit (blue-red gradient)" Greeting Card by anatotitan |  Redbubble

Finally, evolutionary change, even of a major sort, nearly always involves remodeling the old into the new. The legs of land animals are variations on the stout limbs of ancestral fish. The tiny middle ear bones of mammals are remodeled jaw bones of their reptilian ancestors. The wings of birds were fashioned from the legs of dinosaurs. And whales are stretched out land animals whose forelimbs have become paddles and whose nostrils have moved atop their head.

There is no reason why a celestial designer, fashioning organisms from scratch like an architect designs buildings, should make new species by remodeling the features of existing ones. Each species could be constructed from the ground up. But natural selection can act only by changing what already exists. It can’t produce new traits out of thin air. Darwinism predicts, then, that new species will be modified versions of older ones. The fossil record amply confirms this prediction!

Kurtzgesagt's map of evolution : interestingasfuck

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Scientists Say Whales Descended from a Cow-Like Land Animal. Creationists Say, Udder Nonsense!

Stuckasaurus: Vintage Creationist Dinosaur Art: The Amazing Story of  Creation

I once attended a lecture by American creationist, Duane Gish. During the lecture, Gish made fun of biologists’ theory that whales descended from land animals related to cows. How, he asked, could such a transition occur, since the intermediate form [“missing link”] would have been poorly adapted to both land and water, and thus couldn’t be built by natural selection. To illustrate his point, Gish showed a slide of a mermaidlike cartoon animal whose front half was a spotted cow and whose rear half was a fish. Apparently puzzled over its own evolutionary fate, this clearly maladapted beast was standing at the water’s edge, a large question mark hovering over its head. The cartoon had the intended effect: the audience burst into laughter. How stupid, they thought, could evolutionists be?

“It’s an udder failure!” said Gish.

Let’s forget the jokes and look to nature. Can we find any mammals that live on both land and water, the kind of creature that supposedly could not evolve [according to creationists]?

Q: What could be better than seeing a #hippo underwater? A: Not much! |  Hippo, Aquarium, Adventure

Easily. A good candidate is the hippopotamus, which, although closely related to terrestrial animals, is about as aquatic as a land mammal can get. Hippos spend most of their time submerged in tropical rivers and swamps, surveying their domain with eyes, noses, and ears that sit atop their head, all of which can be tightly closed under water. Hippos mate in the water, and their babies, who can swim before they can walk, are born and suckle underwater.

…Hippos are obviously well adapted to their environment, and its not hard to see that if they could find enough food in the water, they might eventually evolve into totally aquatic, whalelike creatures.

But we don’t just have to imagine how whales evolved by extrapolating from living species. Whales happen to have an excellent fossil record, courtesy of their aquatic habits and robust, easily fossilized bones. And how they evolved has emerged within only the last twenty years. This is one of our best examples of an evolutionary transition [“missing link”], since we have chronologically ordered series of fossils, perhaps a lineage of ancestors and descendants, showing their movement from land to water.

Whale Fossils - Crystalinks

It’s been recognized since the seventeenth century that whales and their relatives, dolphins and porpoises, are mammals. They are warm-blooded, produce live young whom they feed with milk, and have hair around their blowholes. And evidence from whale DNA, as well as vestigial traits like their rudimentary pelvis and hind legs, show that their ancestors lived on land. Whales almost certainly evolved from a species of artiodactyls: the group of mammals that have an even number of toes, such as camels and pigs. Biologists now believe that the closest living relative of whales is—you guessed it—the hippopotamus.

So maybe the hippo-to-whale scenario is not so far-fetched after all!

–biologist Jerry Coyne, Why Evolution is True, pp. 47-49

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Scientists Discover the “Missing Link” Between Reptiles and Birds!

Archaeopteryx Pictures & Facts - The Dinosaur Database

Biologists tells us that birds evolved from early reptiles. But how could a land-dwelling animal evolve the ability to fly? Natural selection, creationists argue, could not explain this transition, because it would require intermediate stages in which animals have just the rudiments of a wing. Of what use is half a wing? This would seem more likely to encumber a creature than to give it a selective advantage.

But if you think a bit, it’s not so hard to come up with intermediate stages in the evolution of flight, stages that might have been useful to their possessors. Gliding is the obvious first step. And gliding has evolved independently many times: in placental mammals, marsupials, and even lizards. Flying squirrels do quite well by gliding with flaps of skin that extend along their sides—a good way to get from tree to tree to escape predators or find nuts. …But we no longer have to only imagine this step: we now have the fossils that clearly show how flying birds evolved.

Since the nineteenth century, the similarity between skeletons of birds and some dinosaurs led paleontologists to theorize that they had a common ancestor—in particular the theropods: agile, carnivorous dinosaurs that walked on two legs. Around 200 million years ago, the fossil record shows plenty of theropods but nothing that looks even vaguely birdlike. By 70 million years ago, we see fossils of birds that look fairly modern. If evolution is true, then we should expect to see the reptile-bird transition [“missing link”] in rocks between 70 and 200 million years ago.

10 Facts About Archaeopteryx, the Famous 'Dino-Bird'

And there they are! The first link between birds and reptiles was actually known to Darwin, who, curiously, mentioned it only briefly in later editions of The Origin, and then only as an oddity. It is perhaps the most famous of all transitional forms [“missing links”]: the crow-sized Archaeopteryx lithographica, discovered in a limestone quarry in Germany in 1860. …Archaeopteryx has just the combination of traits one would expect to find in a transitional form [“missing link”]. And its age, about 145 million years, places it where we would expect.

Archaeopteryx is really more reptile than bird. Its skeleton is almost identical to that of some theropod dinosaurs.

Reptilian traits: a jaw with teeth, a long bony tail, claws, separate fingers on the wing (in modern birds, these bones are fused), a neck attached to its skull from behind (as in dinosaurs) instead of from below (as in modern birds).

Birdlike traits: large feathers and an opposable big toe (probably used for perching)

It isn’t clear whether this creature, though fully feathered, could fly. But its asymmetrical feathers—one side of each feather is larger than the other—suggest that it could. Asymmetric feathers, like airplane wings, create the “airfoil” shape necessary for aerodynamic flight.

After the discovery of Archaeopteryx, no other reptile-bird intermediates [“missing links”] were found for many years, leaving a gaping hole between modern birds and their ancestors. Then, in the mid-1990s, a spate of astonishing discoveries from China began to fill in the gap. These fossils, found in lake sediments that preserve the impressions of soft parts, represent a veritable parade of feathered theropod dinosaurs. …the most striking of all of these discoveries is Microraptor gui, “the four-winged dinosaur”. Unlike any modern bird, this bizarre, thirty inch long creature had fully feathered arms and legs, which when spread out were probably used for gliding.

Microraptor gui: Bird-Like Dinosaur | AMNH

…as these fossils get younger, we see the reptilian tail shrinking, the teeth disappearing, the claws fusing together, and the appearance of a large breastbone to anchor the flight muscles. Put together, the fossils show that the basic skeletal plan of birds, and those essential feathers, evolved before birds could fly.

…The existence of transitional fossils [“missing links”]—and the evolution of birds from reptiles—is fact.

—biologist Jerry Coyne, Why Evolution is True, pp. 39-47

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Scientists Discover “Missing Link” Between Fish and Land Animals!

Tiktaalik roseae

How did early fish evolve to survive on land?

One of the greatest fulfilled predictions of evolutionary biology is the discovery, in 2004, of a transitional form [“missing link”] between fish and amphibians. The discovery of Tiktaalik roseae is a stunning vindication of the theory of evolution.

[The fossil record indicates that] until about 390 million years ago, the only vertebrates were fish. But 30 million years later , we find [in the fossil record] creatures that were clearly tetrapods: four-footed vertebrates that walked on land. These early tetrapods were like modern amphibians in several ways: they had flat heads and bodies, a distinct neck, and well-developed legs and limb girdles. Yet they also show strong links with earlier fishes, particularly the group known as “lobe-finned fishes,” so called because of their large bony fins that enabled them to prop themselves up on the bottom of shallow lakes and streams. The fish-like structures of early tetrapods include scales, limb bones, and head bones.

If there were lobe-finned fishes but no terrestrial vertebrates 390 million years ago, and clearly terrestrial vertebrates 360 million years ago, where would you expect to find the transitional forms? Somewhere in between. Following this logic, University of Chicago scientist, Neil Shubin predicted that if transitional forms [“missing links”] existed, their fossils should be found in [sediment] strata around 375 million years ago. Moreover, the rocks would have to be from freshwater rather than marine sediments, because lobe-finned fish and early amphibians both lived in fresh water.

Searching his college geology textbook for a map of exposed freshwater sediments of the right age, Shubin and his colleagues zeroed in on a paleontologically unexplored region of the Canadian Arctic: Ellesmere Island, which sits in the Arctic Ocean north of Canada. And after five long years of fruitless and expensive searching, they finally hit pay dirt: a group of fossil skeletons stacked one atop another in sedimentary rock from an ancient stream. When Shubin first saw the fossil face poking out of the rock, he knew that he had at last found his transitional form [“missing link”].

Reconstruction of Tiktaalik roseae

[The fossil he found] Tiktaalik roseae has features that make it a direct link between the earlier lobe-finned fish and the later amphibians. With gills, scales, and fins, it was clearly a fish that lived its life in water. But it also has amphibian-like features. For one thing, its head is flattened like that of a salamander, with the eyes and nostrils on top rather than on the sides of the skull. This suggests that it lived in shallow water and could peer, and probably breath, above the surface. The fins had become more robust, allowing the animal to flex upward to help survey its surroundings. And, like the early amphibians, Tiktaalik has a neck. Fish don’t have necks—their skull joins directly to their shoulders.

Most important, Tiktaalik has two novel traits that were to prove useful in helping its descendants invade the land. The first is a set of sturdy ribs that helped the animal pump air into its lungs and move oxygen from its gills (Tiktaalik could breath both ways). And instead of the many tiny bones in the fins of lobe-finned fish, Tiktaalik had fewer and sturdier bones in the limbs—bones similar in number and position to those of every land creature that came later, including ourselves. In fact, its limbs are best described as part fin, part leg.

Tiktaalik…is a fossil that marvelously connects fish with amphibians. And equally marvelous is that its discovery was not only anticipated, but predicted to occur in rocks of certain age and in a certain place.

—biologist Jerry Coyne, Why Evolution is True, pp 35-38

Why Evolution Is True: Coyne, Jerry A.: 8601400309193: Amazon.com: Books

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The Fossil Record Proves, Without a Doubt, that Creationism is False

Gary: If life began as creationists want us to believe, then when looking at the pattern of fossil deposition in the layers of the earth’s sediments, we should see the following pattern: Fossils of lions, tigers, and bears should be present in the same sediment layers as those of dinosaurs. But this is not the case! What we actually find—over and over and over again— is the following:

Quote: The first organisms, simple photosynthetic bacteria, appear in sediments about 3.5 billion years ago [in the deepest layer of sediment containing evidence of previously living life forms], only about a billion years after the planet was formed. These single cells were all that occupied the earth for the next 2 billion years, after which we see the first simple “eukaryotes”: organisms having true cells with nuclei and chromosomes. Then, around 600 million years ago, a whole gamut of relatively simple but multi-celled organisms arise, including worms, jellyfish, and sponges. These groups diversity over the next several million years, with terrestrial plants and tetrapods (four-legged animals, the earliest of which were lobe-finned fish) appearing about 400 million years ago. Earlier groups, of course, often persisted: photosynthetic bacteria, sponges, and worms appear in the early fossil record, and are still with us.

Fifty million years later we find the first true amphibians, and after another fifty million years reptiles come along. The first mammals show up around 250 million years ago (arising, as predicted, from reptilian ancestors), and the first birds, also descended from reptiles, show up 50 million years later. After the earliest mammals appear, they, along with insects and land plants, become ever more diverse, and as we explore the shallowest rocks, the fossils increasingly come to resemble living species. Humans are newcomers on the scene—our lineage branches off from other primates only about 7 million years ago, the merest sliver of evolutionary time.

No theory of special creation, or any theory other than evolution, can explain these patterns [in the fossil record].

—Jerry Coyne, biologist, professor at the University of Chicago, in his book, Why Evolution is True, pp 26-29.

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What is the Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

Israel-Palestine: There Is No Two-State Solution

I had always assumed that if the Israelis were to agree to return the entire West Bank and Gaza that the Palestinians would accept this offer and peace in the Middle East would finally be achieved.

Boy was I wrong!

Lately, I have been watching Youtube videos on this subject from both the Israeli and Palestinian perspectives. This is what I have learned:

Israel has offered to return over 90% of the West Bank and Gaza and the Palestinians have refused. The Palestinians want all the land—no, not just 100% of the West Bank and Gaza strip—but every square inch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea! After all, they say, they and their ancestors have owned this land for hundreds of years. The British had no right to give away their land to the Jews. The Palestinian Arabs never agreed to the British partition.

I also learned that many Jewish settlers and right-wing Israelis believe that every square inch of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea belongs to them and they see nothing wrong with establishing settlement after settlement on Arab occupied land even if it means displacing Arabs from their homes. They want the Arabs out! After all, their ancestors owned the land 2,000 years ago.

Who is right?

I would say, both are right. Both sides have legitimate claims to the land. So who should get it?

Here is my suggestion: The international community must impose a solution; not a perfect solution but a fair solution. After viewing the intensity of the passions and beliefs on both sides (in particular, the religious passions and beliefs), I believe that this conflict will never be resolved if left to the two warring parties. And only if the United States applies its full weight and support to this imposed solution would it work.

That’s my two cents. What’s yours?

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Sorry, Young Earth Creationists: Radioactive Dating is Very Accurate

Clocks in Rocks? Radioactive Dating, Part 1 | The Institute for Creation  Research

Growing up in fundamentalist Christianity, it was drilled into my head from an early age that radioactive dating is highly inaccurate. “These dating techniques are not precise. They are nothing more than guesses. Bible-believing Christians can be confidant that the earth is only 6,000-10,000 years old.”

Sorry, fundamentalist Christians, but this is simply ignorant nonsense.

Jerry Coyne, biologist and professor: Since about 1945 we have been able to measure the actual ages of some rocks—using radioactivity. Radioisotopes are atoms that contain an unstable combination of neutrons and protons, or excess energy in their nucleus. Certain radioisotopes are incorporated into igneous rocks [rocks formed from the solidification of molten rock material]. Radioisotopes gradually decay into other elements at a constant rate, usually expressed as the “half-life”—the time required for half of the isotope to disappear. If we know the half-life, how much of the radioisotope was there when the rock formed (something that geologists can accurately determine), and how much remains now, it’s relatively simple to estimate the age of the rock.

Different isotopes decay at different rates. Old rocks are often dated using uranium-235 (U-235), found in the common mineral zircon. U-235 has a half-life of around 700 million years. Carbon-14, with a half-life of 5,730 years, is used for much younger materials like wood, bone, or human artifacts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Several radioisotopes usually occur together, so the dates can be crossed-checked, and the ages invariably agree. The rocks that bear fossils, however, are not igneous but sedimentary, and can’t be dated directly. But we can obtain the age of fossils by bracketing the sedimentary layers with the dates of adjacent igneous layers that contain radioisotopes.

Carbon Dating
Carbon-14 dating

The claim by Young Earth Creationists that radioactive dating is unreliable —because the rates of decay might have changed over time or with the physical stresses experienced by the rocks—is specious. Since the different radioisotopes in a rock decay in different ways, they wouldn’t give consistent dates if the decay rates changed. Moreover, the half-lives of isotopes don’t change when scientists subject them to extreme temperatures and pressures in the laboratory. And when radiometric dates can be checked against dates from the historical record, as with the carbon-14 method, they invariably agree. It is the radiometric dating of meteorites that tells us that the earth and solar system are 4.6 billion years old. (The oldest earth rocks are a bit younger—4.3 billion years in samples from northern Canada—because older rocks have been destroyed by movements of the earth’s crust.)

THE HISTORY OF EARTH - YouTube

And there are other ways to check the accuracy of radiometric dating. One of them uses biology, and involved an ingenious study of fossil corals. Radioisotope dating showed that these corals lived about 380 million years ago. Scientist John Wells of Cornell University discovered another method to determine the age of these corals. He made use of the fact that the friction produced by ocean tides gradually slows the earth’s rotation over time. Each day—one revolution of the earth—is a tiny bit longer than the last one. The length of the day increases by about two seconds every 100,000 years. Since the duration of a year—the time it takes the earth to circle the sun—doesn’t change over time, this means that the number of days per year must be decreasing over time.

From the known rate of slowing, Wells calculated that his corals were alive —380 million years ago if the radiometric dating was correct—each year would have contained about 396 days, each 22 hours long. If there were some way that the fossils themselves could tell us how long each day was when they were alive, we could check whether that length matched up with the 22 hours predicted from radiometric dating.

Growth rings in coral fossils

The coral fossils can do this!

As corals grow, they produce both daily and annual growth rings. In the fossil specimens, one can see how many daily rings separate each annual ring, telling us how many days were included in each year when the coral was alive. Counting rings in his coral fossils, Wells calculated that these fossils experienced about 400 days per year, which means that each day was 21.9 hours long. That is only a tiny deviation from the predicted 22 hours. This clever biological calibration gives us additional confidence in the accuracy of radiometric dating.

—Excerpts from Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne, professor of Evolution at the University of Chicago, chapter 2.

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Creationists Are Right: Missing Links Do Not Exist

118 Alligator Eggs Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images

The term “missing link”, as used by creationists, implies that one day in the primordial past, a mother alligator was happily watching her eggs hatch when out of one of her eggs popped an ostrich with an alligator tail! “I’m the mother of a freak!” sobbed the mother alligator. “One day they will call him a…missing link!”

Silly? Absolutely. But that is how creationists see the concept of evolution. How could reptiles have given rise to birds, as evolutionists claim, if there are no fossils which are half reptile and half bird? How could apes have evolved into humans if there are no half ape/half human fossils?

And they are right. Scientists will never find the fossil of an ostrich with an alligator tail or an upright walking human being with a long ape tail.

Why?

Answer: Believers of creationism do not understand the concept of “transitional forms” otherwise known as “intermediate species”. The fact is, every generation of a species is a new transitional form.

Your children are new transitional forms of you and your partner, having the same DNA as both of you but in different combinations. And your grandchildren will be yet another transitional form, being more unlike you than your children. Continue repeating that process generation after generation. The changes will be gradual but there will be changes. Now, take that incremental change, occurring over many generations, and have it continue to occur over millions of years! Tiny changes can eventually become big changes. That is evolution, my fundamentalist Christian friends.

There are no “missing links”. But that doesn’t mean that science hasn’t found some very peculiar intermediary forms. Here is one example, a bird-like dinosaur:

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Archaeopteryx has long been considered a “missing link” between birds and dinos. But that term obscures the reality of how evolution works. (NMNH Paleobiology Dept / Smithsonian)

Archaeopteryx (‘original bird’ or ‘first bird’), is a genus of bird-like dinosaurs. … These features make Archaeopteryx a clear candidate for a transitional fossil between non-avian dinosaurs and birds. Thus, Archaeopteryx plays an important role, not only in the study of the origin of birds, but in the study of dinosaurs.

Trust science, not ancient texts written by scientifically ignorant, superstitious peoples.

THE BRAIN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM

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What Evidence Proves Evolution True and Creationism False?

Developing the Evidence Base for Nutrition Recommendations

There are two kinds of evidence that prove Darwinian evolution true and biblical Creationism false.

I. The first kind of evidence is obtained by using the six tenets of Darwinism to make testable predictions (not that Darwinism can predict how things will evolve in the future, but that it predicts what we should find in living or ancient species when we study them).

Rock Layers: Timeline of Life on Earth - Prehistoric Planet

—Since there are fossil remains of ancient life, we should be able to find some evidence for evolutionary change in the fossil record. The deepest (and oldest) layers of rock would contain the fossils of more primitive species, and some fossils should become more complex as the layers of rock become younger, with organisms resembling present-day species found in the most recent layers. And we should be able to see some species changing over time, forming lineages showing “descent with modification” (adaptation).

Untitled

—We should be able to find some cases of speciation in the fossil record, with one line of descent dividing into two or more. And we should be able to find new new species forming in the wild.

Evidence for Evolution - ppt download

—We should be able to find examples of species that link together major groups suspected to have common ancestry, like birds with reptiles and fish with amphibians. Moreover, these “missing links” (more aptly called “transitional forms”) should occur in layers of rock that date to the time when the groups were supposed to have diverged.

Examples of Genetic Diversity

—We should expect that species show genetic variation for many traits (otherwise there would be no possibility of evolution happening).

The Imperfection of Evolution and the Evolution of Imperfection

—Imperfection is the mark of evolution, not of conscious design [Creationism]. We should be able to find cases of imperfect adaptation, in which evolution has not been able to achieve the same degree of optimality as would a creator.

Natural Selection Cartoon Storyboard

—We should be able to see natural selection acting in the wild.

II. The second kind of evidence which proves evolution true and creationism false are “retrodictions“: facts and data that aren’t necessarily predicted by the theory of evolution but only make sense in light of the theory of evolution. Examples are:

—patterns of species distribution on the earth’s surface.

Chapter 8 Evolution and Natural Selection Darwins dangerous

—peculiarities of how organisms develop from embryos.

Animal development - Embryonic induction | Britannica

—the existence of vestigial features that are of no apparent use.

Darwin spent some twenty years amassing evidence for his theory before publishing The Origin of Species. That was more than one hundred and fifty years ago. So much knowledge has accumulated since then! So many more fossils found; so many more species collected and their distribution mapped around the world; so much more work in uncovering the evolutionary relationships of differing species. And whole new branches of science, undreamt of by Darwin, have arisen, including molecular biology and systematics, the study of how organisms are related.

As we shall see [in future posts], all the evidence—both old and new—leads ineluctably to the conclusion that evolution is true.

—Excerpts from Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne, professor of Evolution at the University of Chicago, chapter 1

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