I know this is low hanging fruit, attacking creationist arguments, as people like Richard Dawkins, Laurence Krauss, etc. have pretty much decimated all of the existing ones, however I don’t believe I have ever taken it upon myself to refute creationist lies about evolution, and so will be doing that now in response to this “essay” or article or whatever by a creationist. They begin by saying,
Refuting Darwin is indeed almost too easy. The theories of Charles Darwin involved The Origin Of Species and The Ascent Of Man. But Charles Darwin never even observed the beginning point of any species, including man; and, in point of fact, neither did anyone else. Nor does the gigantic fossil record provide any empirical evidence showing any species evolving or in any way becoming another species.
I would like to start off by saying that Darawin’s original model of how evolution works is not what we go by today. Darwin did indeed get many things wrong, especially when it came to heredity and genetics mostly because Darwin wrote his book in 1859 (1) and genetics as a science did not begin until 1866 (2). However, his work and general idea of evolution by natural selection is the groundwork of modern biology and has proven time and time again to hold up after testing, as I’ll demonstrate later in this essay. When the writer makes the claim that “Darwin never observed the beginning point of any species and neither has anyone else” this is to imply that if you do not directly wittiness something, you cannot make empirical claims about said thing. Let’s try applying this logic to something else. Let’s say your house gets robbed, and you decide to call the police. The police discover a hair at the scene of the crime, and after DNA analysis it proves that Mike’s hair was at the scene of the crime. Further investigation reveals that Mike’s wallet was also left behind at the scene of the crime. After questioning Mike, authorities discover that he does not have an alibi for the night the crime took place, and they find the stolen goods in Mike’s garage. The obvious conclusion is that based on the evidence, Mike is the thief, but according to creationist logic: because the police weren’t there to see Mike stealing your stuff, they cannot conclude that he did it. As we can tell from this analogy; one does not need to directly observe an event take place, to know that it happened. Scientists did not see australopithecus afarensis turn into homo sapiens (keep in mind one species “turning into” another is not exactly how evolution works as I’ll explain later in this essay) but because all the evidence points that way, they can conclude that it happened. The next claim is,
But the bottom line here is that there was no evidence supporting the theory then, and there is no evidence supporting the theory today. Everything Charles Darwin ever observed and recorded related to what is known as micro evolution, meaning, changes strictly within known species. Changes in color, fur, finch-beaks, more wooly or less wooly coats on sheep, breeds of dog, breeds of cattle, etc., etc., etc. But what Darwin theorized about was what is known as macro evolution, meaning, species evolving into completely other species. The new species would be a clearly identifiable species when it could reproduce itself, but could no longer reproduce with the parent species.
It may be true that in Darwin’s time there was no major support for evolution by speciation (or macro-evolution as he puts it), however like the author states there was evidence for “micro-evolution” and the thing about evolution happening on a small scale, is that it fits perfectly into the theory of evolution. What micro-evolution demonstrates is that when a species is put into a certain environment, they will adapt via genetic mutation and natural selection to better fit their surroundings. A perfect example of micro-evolution occurring would have to be the Marine Iguana, when it branched off from regular Iguanas to live on the Galapagos Islands (3). However, for his claim about “macro-evolution” or speciation, as I will now refer to it as, never being observed; that is astronomically false. The most common evidence used for speciation is that of ring species, for which I will be demonstrating.
So what is a ring species? A ring species is when a certain species becomes geographically isolated from one another across a large area, so much so to the point where one species branches off into another. Has this ever been observed? Of course. One well studied and known ring species is that of salamanders in the Ensatina eschscholtzii group, located in mountains along the west coast of North America. In 1949, a scientist named Robert Stebbins (4) described a very interesting pattern of geographical variation in these salamanders. That being, two distinct forms of Ensatina salamanders, differing dramatically in color, coexist in southern California and interbreed there only rarely. These two forms are connected by a chain of populations to the north that encircles the Central Valley of California, and through this ring of populations the color patterns of the salamanders change gradually. Stebbins thought that this situation arose when an ancestral population of salamanders, in northern California, expanded southward along two fronts, one down the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the other down the coastal mountains. The two groups gradually became different as they moved south. When they met again in southern California, the two expanding fronts were so different that they could no longer interbreed, and were therefore different species. Recently, a team of researchers led by David Wake (5) has taken a closer look at the genetic relationships among salamander populations using DNA sequences and other molecular traits, and the genetic evidence has supported Stebbins’ original hypothesis. The geographical variation, when combined with the inferred history revealed by the molecular traits, allows us to envision the small steps by which a single ancestral species in the north gave rise through evolutionary divergence to two species in southern California. Another perfect example of speciation occurring, and being observed through living evidence, is that of the Greenish Warblers. The Greenish Warblers are a species of bird that live in the forests of Central and Northern Asia as well as Eastern Europe. A study into this ring species conducted by the university of California (6) set out to determine the genetic variation within this area. What they found was that through genetic differences in song, and therefore mate attraction, the different subgroups of Warblers became so reproductive isolated that they branched off into two different species who could not interbreed. Further research into this done more recently has confirmed what the original study found (7)(8). The writer’s next argument is,
Modern forensic scientists have shown that Neanderthals, supposedly extinct, are represented in the human population today, indicating that the Neanderthal was/is merely a breed (race) of man, and not another species at all. All of Darwin’s famous finches remained finches; all of his sheep remained sheep; nothing he ever observed ever became another species. The simple fact that many species in the Galapagos Islands appeared to be unique to the Galapagos Islands proved nothing whatsoever regarding the theory of evolution of species.
For his claim about Neanderthals he provided no source, so I cannot deduce where he got this idea from, but it’s an interesting topic so let’s look into it. Even after googling “Neanderthals are alive today” I found no scientific articles or even creationist blogs trying to make this claim, but I did find something else. According to a scientific paper published by Tom Higham [et al.] (9) found through archaeological analysis that Neanderthals disappeared around 40,000 years ago in Europe, after modern humans had reached the continent. No where does it imply that Neanderthals never went extinct and are still around today. I have a feeling that the creationist writing this essay may have been confused when he heard from a 2012 study that humans and Neanderthals interbred at one point (10), however this research does not conclude that this means Neanderthals still exist today. As for the author stating that “all of Darwin’s famous finches remained finches; all of his sheep remained sheep; nothing he ever observed ever became another species” this is true, and this is because Darwin never said that his study of these creatures showed macro-evolution, if you’d actually read his book you’d know that he was using these examples to demonstrate genetic variability and natural selection. By understanding this, we can dismiss his last claim of that paragraph which is: “Every single thing Darwin observed was related to micro evolution, and not macro evolution. He only theorized about macro evolution”. Because that’s simply false.
For the rest of the essay, the author provides no further evidence against evolution, and especially doesn’t cite anything published in the scientific literature. He tries to make the claim that evolution is mealy a “religion, or faith-based or superstitious belief system” when in reality he is describing Christianity. Evolution is a scientific fact supported by mountains of evidence, some of which I gave in this essay, whereas creation is complete idealist superstition supported by no mainstream, well-published scientists; because all the scientists who view the evidence have no choice but to accept it, because it is just too overwhelming. This will wrap up my essay, if you have any questions please comment or DM me on Instagram, thanks for reading.
- Rassman K, Tautz D, Trillmich F, Gliddon C (1997), The micro – evolution of the Galápagos marine iguana Amblyrhynchus cristatus assessed by nuclear and mitochondrial genetic analysis
- Stebbins, R. C. 1949. “Speciation in salamanders of the plethodontid genus Ensatina.”
- Wake, D. B., and K. P. Yanev. 1986. “Geographic variation in allozymes in a ‘ring species,’ the plethodontid salamander Ensatina eschscholtzii of western North America.”
- “Speciation in a ring”, Darren E. Irwin, Staffan Bensch & Trevor D. Price
- Irwin, D. E. 2000. “Song variation in an avian ring species.”
- Irwin, D. E., S. Bensch, and T. D. Price. 2001. “Speciation in a ring.”
- Higham, Tom; et al. (21 August 2014). “The timing and spatiotemporal patterning of Neanderthal disappearance”. Nature
- “The Date of Interbreeding between Neanderthals and Modern Humans”, Sriram Sankararaman, et al.