I believe in the theory of evolution. I believe that species change and develop over time and that humans as we know them didn’t suddenly appear exactly as is.
Not everyone shares this belief. There are a good number of people out there who think evolution is a big lie.
Some skeptics doubt evolution because they claim it has never actually been observed. This seems like questionable logic. I mean, I’ve never witnessed a live human birth, but based on the evidence presented to me, I feel safe in concluding that it happens.
In case you were curious, I was behind a curtain for the birth of all three of my children. I will admit there is a slight possibility that while I wasn’t looking, a stork flew into the delivery room with the babies en tow. But if that’s the case, then why did Mrs. Cutter get so big? Did she just let herself go for nine months?
As for evolution never being observed, that isn’t entirely accurate. For instance, microevolution has been observed. It seems likely that the reason that macrorevolution hasn’t been observed is mostly because recorded human history is an insanely small percentage of the planet’s history. (At least according to most scientists, that is. More on this later.)
In terms that are easier to understand, observing microevolution is like watching a clock’s minute hand. Observing macroevolution is like watching the hour hand.
The primary source of evolution doubt comes from Creationists. These are people who take the Bible literally and believe that the Earth was created in seven days, with mankind placed on the planet in its present form. I will discuss this more in a future post, but for now I’ll just say that if was raised to accept the Bible as absolute gospel, then I might believe that too.
There are some people who take the Bible’s version of creation so much to heart that they even build museums depicting humans and dinosaurs living together.
The first instinct many of us has is to laugh at these Creationists for being so backwards. Humans and dinosaurs – living together? That’s ridiculous!
Why do we think this is such a foolish thought? Mostly because fossil records place dinosaurs on the planet many millions of years before the earliest humans.
While the existing fossil records do make a compelling case, I can’t say that I’m 100% convinced.
For one reason or another, the existing fossil records only provide a very small snapshot of history. As any statistician will tell you, small sample sizes can lead to erroneous conclusions.
In addition, it’s possible that scientists have been completely wrong about the ages of fossils. Scientists have confidence in their methods of dating fossils, but when it comes down to it, there’s no way of actually knowing if they are correct. Unless a time machine is invented, there’s always going to be a small measure of doubt.
Keep in mind that science is always evolving (pun intended). Next week, a new fossil might be discovered that calls everything we thought we knew into question. Or perhaps a new technique for specimen dating will be discovered that would invalidate all existing evidence.
It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that science was completely turned on its head by a new discovery.
So while it’s fairly safe to feel confident in the theory of evolution, let’s not forget that it was once safe to think that the Earth was at the center of the universe. As silly as it might be to think of humans riding around on dinosaurs, future generations might think that our beliefs are just as silly.
This post has been part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. In case you couldn’t tell, today’s letter was E, and the topic was “Evolution.”