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Evolutionary difficulties

Submitted by on 04.26.2012 – 10:08 pm 71 Comments

In today’s world, the theory of evolution is taught as fact in our schools and no one seems to be allowed to question it. We are not taught to think critically about evolution, but instead to just believe it happened. 

Can we really call that science?

Science, straight from dictionary.com, is the “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation,” but that’s not what evolution is all about.

You cannot observe or experiment with evolution. It’s simply not possible because it’s based on the idea of something coming from nothing (i.e. the Big Bang, evolution of life), which is both illogical and unscientific. It also contradicts common sense, which tells us that a creator must be involved in the process of creation.

Evolution also deals heavily in chance. According to the theory, chance brought about the Big Bang, emitted galaxies from the “bang,” begun to form suns, planets and moons, brought about animals and humans and made us into what we are today. This is very unscientific because it doesn’t deal in fact. Rather, it deals purely in hypotheses and guesswork because no one can prove all of that actually happened.

Teaching evolution as a theory is permissible, to an extent, but teaching it as a fact is wrong. Such teaching does not encourage the advance of science, nor does it teach the younger generation to think critically or skeptically. Instead, it encourages them to believe without question, and that is a problem.

Gravity and the laws of physics can be taught because they are scientifically-proven facts, and that can be tested and proven by students and teachers alike. Evolution, however, can neither be tested or proven. Because of this, we cannot and should not accept it as fact and, instead, should be skeptical of it, just as we should be skeptical of what our government tells us (imagine the traps we’d fall into if we weren’t skeptical of our government).

Evolution is about faith and belief, science is about questioning. Questioning leads us to the truth. It is when we are told to stop questioning that we really need to worry. Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is never to stop questioning.” It’s about time we started following that sage advice.

Andrew Jenson can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu

 

 

 

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71 Comments »

  • Jesse Fisker says:

    You are a creationist moron. You are (falsely) declaring evolution to be a factually baseless theory, making it not worth believing, while believing in a truly factually baseless theory written by people 2000 years ago who apparently had no concept of science. That is hypocrisy.

    You claim that evolution can’t be tested or observed. Have you never bothered to read news about mutating bacteria and viruses out-surviving their competitors to become the predominant race? That is evolution, and it is possible to see it in action because their life cycles are much shorter than ours. If you believe what the professional scientists say, you can observe this on the human timeline by studying fossils that document the various ways the Homo genus has evolved into the Sapiens species.

    Or, you can believe the stories of other creationist morons who thought that God covered the entire world with water because He was mad and that is why the 6,000-year-old dinosaurs went extinct.

    Evolution is taught as scientific theory, which is the best explanation of the evidence we have. Others are not taught because they do not explain the evidence as well as evolution does. Your viewpoint is not taught because it is stupid. Please stop writing about things that you clearly know absolutely nothing about and refuse to think critically on.

    • Jens says:

      This is a great discussion. I have been thinking about it myself and have come to the conclusion that it is very unlikely for the big bang to have happened or for us to evolve from a primal organism to a complex human being.

      It we look at it mathematically, we have a probability times a probability times a probability times a probability times a billion more probabilities for everything to come together as it is now.

      All of these probabilities multiplied together do not favor a likely chance of our world evolving as it is today.

      • Jesse Fisker says:

        The probability of viruses and bacteria evolving are microscopic, but they do it anyway. For each one that mutates a favorable trait, there are probably hundreds that mutated unfavorable ones and died out, and probably millions (or billions) that did not mutate any significant traits at all.

        Trying to apply statistics to our existence is silly. We are absolutely unique (to our knowledge). The odds of me taking all the actions in my lifetime that I have are beyond calculation, there are too many variables. That’s billions of probabilities multiplied by billions of probabilities (every day, seeing how interdependent things are). The odds are against me being here, having made all the choices that I have, but I am. You could explain it all by saying there is a dude in the clouds moving me like a puppet, or (if you had a lot of free time and omniscience) you could follow and explain my choices using various sciences (chemistry leads to biology leads to psychology leads to sociology). I guess it comes down to a matter of intellectual curiosity.

        • Jens says:

          I would agree that anything is possible, but is it reasonable? After researching such topics on my own I find it easier to believe that we are created by God and not chance.

          Jesse, Do you find it more reasonable to say God created everything or we are the result of some spontaneous action?

          • Ian Cognito says:

            But then you see, you are left with the problem of how this ‘God’ thing was created. Was the God creature produced by chance? By itself? By another God which may, in turn, have been created by another(ad infinitum!)

            While the cop out of saying ‘God must have done it’ seems to reduce the amount of thinking required to explain things, it actually adds complexity to the problem. Thus making it, as William of Ockham would have told you, the less likely explanation.

            Thankfully since the 5th century BCE we have had the theory of natural selection, which in its ruthless simplicity trumps both random chance and supernatural explanations of how we came to be.

          • Lou Albano says:

            as already stated elsewhere in these comments, evolution has nothing to do with how life or the universe began. for the last time: the theory of evolution and the big bang theory are in no way connected. if you’re interested in a scientific explanation for the origin of life, here is our currently our strongest hypothesis:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6QYDdgP9eg

            if by some miracle you actually watch that video all the way through, answer me this: do you find Genesis 1:20-27 to be a more sound and convincing argument? if so, are you sure you just don’t understand the science behind abiogenesis?

            and just for one: what is it about the christian creation myth that you find so authoritative against all the many other creation myths that came before and after christianity? is it any coincidence that “by chance” you were born in a country that forces the christian creation myth on virtually every one of its citizens from an age when they are too young to critically examine it?

      • Jacob T. says:

        The chances of any sufficiently complicated thing happening is extremely low. However, SOMETHING has to happen, and this is no less likely than anything else. If this isn’t making sense to you, or if I fail to explain it well, read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, particularly the bits on Anthropic Principle.
        Tl;Dr: your logic is unsound, sorry

      • John says:

        You’re an idiot, plain and simple. Look at the immense scale of the universe. There are literally millions of rocks out there that, under different circumstances, might have led to living creatures, but they did not. With the unfathomable size of the Universe it is inevitable that eventually all of there minute chances will happen. This world is not a highly unlikely coincidence, it is a statistically inevitable occurrence. Given enough time, these events had to happen exactly as they did. Please don’t try to use math and science if you don’t actually understand it. And more importantly, who the hell thought this was an appropriate article for a university publication?

      • Malo says:

        Just because you can’t conceive of small probabilities happening doesn’t mean that they can’t happen. Stop making assumptions about how the universe works and complex mathematics and read books about the subject. You can’t just come to these conclusion because of a badly written opinion article. Take his advice and question everything! Don’t believe it just because another human said it. Where did they here it? Did they recite the information accurately? You’d be surprised how many things people say are absolute bullshit. Just think about any urban legend you’ve ever heard. Google. You can seriously google anything. Anything.

      • ARL says:

        If you look at it “mathematically” as you envision math, no one would ever win a lottery jackpot.

      • Larry says:

        You don’t understand the mathematics of evolution. You can’t just multiply the small probabilities of each step together. Evolution has two parts: variation (such as mutations) and selection, which operates on the variations. Variation causing a particular trait is improbable, but if the trait is helpful, selection of the trait is extremely probable. For example, let’s say only one in a million bacteria is resistant to penicillin (the improbable variation). But if a group of bacteria is exposed to penicillin, the probability that the survivors have the resistance trait is 100% (the probable selection). Then, in the next generation, all the bacteria have the resistance trait. This is how selection makes what was originally improbable into a very probable result. Because variations are improbable, it may take a long time before a favorable one occurs. This is why evolution is slow. But because of natural selection, it is then very likely that the variation will be preserved, and the species will improve, step by step. Bottom line: it is very likely (not unlikely, as you supposed) for us to have evolved from a primal organism to a complex one.

      • Lou Albano says:

        Do you have anything resembling, I dunno, maybe some evidence or research that in any way supports your assertions? You keep mentioning probabilities, but you fail to provide even a single number. Your argument is basically, “it looks hard, I can’t figure it out, therefore I’m right.”

        Also, you do know that evolution and the big bang theory are in no way connected? But while we’re on the subject, here’s an exhaustive list of evidence supporting the big bang theory that I’m sure you won’t read: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/astronomy/bigbang.html

        • Jens says:

          I read your article and it tells me the world APPEARS to be millions of years old. The article primarily focused on rocks and radioactive decay. God created rocks when he created the earth!

          If Adam were to measure the rock sitting there on the first day, his readings would not say 1 day. He would measure the same readings your website gave. Your article does not disprove this! Your article is good at measuring such things but if you measured these after the first day of creation, you would get an age greater than one day.

          6000 is not a set in stone number for Christians. We believe it to be between 6000 and 10000.

          I apologize for my ambiguity. I am a mathematician.

          • Lou Albano says:

            “I read your article and it tells me the world APPEARS to be millions of years old. The article primarily focused on rocks and radioactive decay.”

            it’s true. the world does appear to be millions–BILLIONS even!–of years old. and the reason it appears as such is because we have astonishingly consistent ways of verifying this using data and experimentation.

            “If Adam were to measure the rock sitting there on the first day, his readings would not say 1 day. He would measure the same readings your website gave. Your article does not disprove this! Your article is good at measuring such things but if you measured these after the first day of creation, you would get an age greater than one day.”

            a rock that is only a day old is one day old. I’m not sure I get your point, and I’m fairly positive you don’t get mine. here it is again: why does the bible have more authority and authenticity than all of the knowledge that we have accumulated after it was “written,” edited, translated, edited again, re-translated, edited a few more times, etc.?

            have you ever leveled the same amount of incredulity you have for science towards your bible? I’m sure the bible has been pounded into your head since birth, but did you have a moment where you thought, hang on a minute, let me make sure this stuff actually makes sense?

            “6000 is not a set in stone number for Christians. We believe it to be between 6000 and 10000.”

            so your creation “science” has a margin of error of about 80%? doesn’t look very sound to me. and to be clear, not all christians subscribe to your fundamentalist interpretation of history. not even the pope denies evolution anymore.

          • Jens says:

            Here’s what I meant when I said “If Adam were to measure the rock sitting there on the first day, his readings would not say 1 day. He would measure the same readings your website gave. Your article does not disprove this! Your article is good at measuring such things but if you measured these after the first day of creation, you would get an age greater than one day.”

            When God created the earth, he created full grown trees as well. The trees are only days old, but fully grown. God created fully grown trees on the earth. Trees take many years to grow. The tree “appears” to be older than it actually is. Applying this to the earth, God created everything on it as it is now. He did not start the big bang and let it go from there. This is what I meant when I was referring to your article.

            I maintain that the Bible is God’s Word and apply the ministerial use of reason each case. If it is God’s Word, then I believe it to be true. Yes, it has been reedited numerous times, but the saving message is still preserved. I am able to read the New Testament in it’s orignal language (Greek). So I know what the Bible really says. I believe God’s creation is a testimony to His glory.

            The Bible has NOT been pounded in my head. That is not how we work. We don’t beat Christ into people. And yes….I QUESTION THIS STUFF ALL THE TIME!!! I have the highest regard for science. I love it! Science is about a lot of observation. I do not like it though when theories such as the big bang, or that we, human beings, evolved from a simple organism into a complex being are taught as scientific facts.

            I don’t deny evolution. Things change and evolve! I do not believe we have sufficient evidence to state as a fact though, that we evolved from some simple organism into a complex being. Not only us, but how did animals turn out differently than us? When did this evolution stop? How did a man evolve? What are the steps? Did scientists recreate this experiment?

          • Lou Albano says:

            for whatever reason, it won’t let me respond further to your comment, so I’ll do it here because I can’t let this slip:

            “The Bible has NOT been pounded in my head. That is not how we work. We don’t beat Christ into people.”

            you have GOT to be kidding me. did you not grow up in america? this is such a profoundly infuriating statement that I don’t know if I can rebutt it with a level head. I guess my perspective is pretty different, being an atheist that has had to hide his beliefs for most of his life for fear of reprisals and awkward interventions.

“And yes….I QUESTION THIS STUFF ALL THE TIME!!!”

then why won’t you answer my questions? of all the creation myths human beings have invented in 50,000 or so years we’ve been around, how did you determine that the christian myth is the only true one?

            “I don’t deny evolution. Things change and evolve! I do not believe we have sufficient evidence to state as a fact though, that we evolved from some simple organism into a complex being.”

            but we do. we have observed speciation and macroevolution in our lifetime. these slight changes in generations, multiplied over thousands (if not millions) of generations add up into very big changes. we can see this in action in the fossil record. we can trace the path of almost every class of creature on the planet. there’s no reason to think that human beings are somehow immune from this process. in fact, here’s a pretty recent and easy to navigate summation of what we know about the human beings lineage thus far: http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-evolution-timeline-interactive

            “Not only us, but how did animals turn out differently than us?”

            evolution isn’t just a blind march forward. organisms evolve in response to challenges from their specific environment. and every region of the earth has its own challenges, whether it be elevation, climate, the presence of predators, the availability of resources, etc. some species don’t necessarily need to re-adapt in order to flourish and may go through thousands of generations without any meaningful speciation. all other animals on earth need not go extinct just because one new species appears.

            “When did this evolution stop?”

            it hasn’t. as long as there are environmental pressures to adapt to, organisms will evolve. here’s a study that was published just one day ago that details how: http://www.livescience.com/19993-humans-evolving-natural-selection.html

“How did a man evolve? What are the steps?”

see the above smithsonian link.

            “Did scientists recreate this experiment?”

if you’re asking whether or not “scientists” cloned a pair of plesiadapis and carefully observed them for 50 million years, then the answer is no.


        • Jens says:

          Sorry for posting here, but I couldn’t post below.

          You wrote, “you have GOT to be kidding me. did you not grow up in america? this is such a profoundly infuriating statement that I don’t know if I can rebutt it with a level head. I guess my perspective is pretty different, being an atheist that has had to hide his beliefs for most of his life for fear of reprisals and awkward interventions.”

          I feel quite the opposite! I was suprised to feel you have to hide. MY beliefs are ALWAYS under attack. I’m sorry if you are treated wrongly because of your beliefs. People have no right to judge you.

      • Dan says:

        Your conclusion is wrong and your math does not apply. Furthermore, this whole discussion has conflated three separate notions: the origin of the universe (the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago), the origin of life on Earth (roughly 4 billion years ago), and the evolution of the first life into a complex collection of plants and animals with various levels of intelligence.

        If you study the physics, you’ll learn that the Big Bang is understandable and actually inevitable. If you study abiogenesis, you’ll learn that there are many probable, viable ways that the first life could have formed on Earth. And if you study evolutionary biology, you’ll learn that natural selection in the context of random mutations and sexual reproduction is also inevitable and leaves a mountain of tangible, concrete evidence.

        • Jens says:

          I have indeed studied physics and mathematics and I don’t see why the Big Bang is inevitable. Why MUST it be the big bang? Why is creation ruled out? As I have studied science and mathematics I have found it to point to a creator. I disagree with the age of the earth and the universe. I have calculated this value in my physics courses, but it only tells us that the earth “appears” to be 4 billion years old. Genesis tells us that God created the earth with full grown trees, which appeared to be 10 or 20 or 30 or 100s of years old. God created everything as it is now. Full grown animals, trees, sun…ktl.

          I have not read much of Hawking in my studies, I will read him and learn more about the subject and get back to you on some points. But from my studies I have ever more confirmed the notion that we were created.

          • Lou Albano says:

            “I have indeed studied physics and mathematics”

            this statement is profoundly removed from “I am a physicist” or “I am a mathematician.” just what exactly have you been studying that has lead you to such a thoroughly unscientific conclusion? a conclusion so at odds with the thoroughly tested and verified fundamentals of so much of our knowledge? I’m willing to bet you’ve been reading frauds like Kent Hovind and Ray Comfort.

            let’s suppose the christian god did indeed create, a mere 6000 years ago, a world with the appearance of being 4 billion years old. (presumably, he also created the ruins of civilizations that came and went before 4000 BCE.) what could possibly be the reasoning for this? how is it more reasonable to believe in some jester god over hundreds of years of tested and verified archeology, geology, physics, and chemistry?

            and furthermore, how can you even pretend to be qualified to weigh in on the subject of the big bang theory if you haven’t read Hawking? that’s not unlike saying, “I’ve studied christianity, but I haven’t really read much Jesus.”

            and now it’s time for your homework. regarding the age of the earth: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-age-of-earth.html

      • Aaron says:

        Ah, the classic “big scary numbers” notion. I concur that a tornado in a junk heap won’t make a 747, but that’s not how evolutionary forces work on populations. Unlike Creationism, there’s no need for a *poof* you’re something else moment. The sculpting of gene pools over long periods of time explains the diversity and complexity of the life on Earth today.

        This kind of argument has been debunked numerous times and from numerous angles. Try “Climbing Mount Improbable,” both as a book and for the video series. It covers this in depth. We both know you won’t but maybe someone who stumbles upon this thread will have the opportunity to learn something new.

      • Lance says:

        The chance that you would have posted this at that specific time with the number of mistakes you made and the force you pressed the keys with and the keyboard you bought made out of the specific amount of plastic it is made of is just as unlikely as evolution, yet it happened, so why would you so easily dismiss a factually based theory so easily?

      • Devin Gay says:

        It’s true that the probability of life coming together as it is, is quite vast. But understand as well that the universe is an unbelievably vast place; estimates say there are at least several hundred billion galaxies in the universe. In our galaxy alone, we can estimate there are about 2.5 billion habitable planets; that is, planets that may experience living conditions similar to Earth. So we can figure there could be somewhere around 500,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets out there on which life could have happened.
        Now think about how many cells are in your body. Each one of those cells contains self-replicating DNA. There are an estimated 50,000,000,000,000 cells in there. Think about how many cells, how many individual strands of DNA are in all of humanity combined: about 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 cells. That’s 23 zeros. Now bring all of the animals on the planet into the mix, think about all of the genetic material in all of life on Earth combined. All of the parts, the individual elements, that make up all of that DNA and all of those cells: that was all here, on this planet, mixing together in the ocean, combining and reacting in different ways, until eventually it found a combination that replicated itself, the precursor to our genetic material; once something formed that could replicate itself, the rest is easily explained by the theory of evolution, which, as I mention in my other comment, is a theory derived from massive amounts of empirical evidence, and is in fact the way life works: the fact that you are a genetic combination of your father and mother is a shining example of evolution. The point you should derive from this example, is that however vast the odds against life happening may seem, there were still at least as many opportunities for it to happen in the universe.

      • Hannes says:

        I am a mathematician and I can ensure you that mutations over billion of years would be with certainty become something, when it is some mutations have an upper hand to others. I could describe it as an invers Murphy’s law, which basically would translate into: Where something can go right it will, if given enough time. These “right” mutations would then have a greater probability to survive and reproduce, and then this process would iterate over and over again.

        There is hugh amount of mathematical data and reasoning to support this.

      • Carlos Diaz says:

        I really hate the “what are the chances?” Argument. It truly shows a lack of critical thinking in the part of the person that brings it up. It is a version of the sharpshooter’ fallacy. Imagine you toss a coin 50 times, every result you get will have aprobability of 2^-50, EVERY result, picking a particular result and saying “look, what are the chances?” Is both miningless snd stupid.

      • Lizz says:

        Just because it is improbable doesn’t mean its impossible. Also, the universe is vast, and there are probably more star systems with livable planets within them. Science has already shown some exist. You would expect, with the universe being so vast, that at least one livable planet would hold life.

        Also, do you have any sources on statistical evidence? If you do, they may or may not be reliable considering SOME OF THESE THINGS ARE PRETTY DANG HARD TO TEST TO ANY DEGREE.

        However, even if your evidence is sound, statistics do not guarantee anything. I’m in a stats class now. You can get the PROBABILITY, but that only says so much, and that only means something if certain tests are done, so we don’t even know if your results truly are significant.

    • Rene G Castillero says:

      To Jesse:
      “Have you never bothered to read news about mutating bacteria and viruses out-surviving their competitors to become the predominant race? That is evolution, and it is possible to see it in action because their life cycles are much shorter than ours.”

      This is a valid point in support of evolution, but not in the extreme that you are suggesting. This is what we call micro-evolution. Instead of letting me do all the talking (which your solipsist attitude will be sure to condemn), please research Micro-evolution vs. Macro-Evolution.

    • Rene G Castillero says:

      To Jesse:

      In Response to: “Have you never bothered to read news about mutating bacteria and viruses out-surviving their competitors to become the predominant race? That is evolution, and it is possible to see it in action because their life cycles are much shorter than ours.”

      This is a valid point in support of evolution, but not in the extreme that you are suggesting. This is what we call micro-evolution. Instead of letting me do all the talking (which your solipsist attitude will be sure to condemn), please research Micro-evolution vs. Macro-Evolution.

      In Response to: “You are a creationist moron. You are (falsely) declaring evolution to be a factually baseless theory, making it not worth believing, while believing in a truly factually baseless theory written by people 2000 years ago who apparently had no concept of science. That is hypocrisy.”

      I know for fact that you have read the previous article published by this author, and you still missed the point about faith. As you yourself acknowledged in the previous article that because “there sure is some evidence that contradicts them, but theories are the best explanations of the facts we are aware of…”, this requires you and other individuals to have FAITH in this theory. Now tell me, wheat is the difference between your FAITH and Andrew’s Creationist faith?

      Contradictions in your argument reveals error, fix them, before continuing.

      • Jesse Fisker says:

        Despite their differences, both macro- and microevolution rely on the same established mechanisms of evolutionary change. My purpose in discussing microevolution was to offer a way his religiously-shrunken mind to grasp the greater concept of macroevolution, which it does. Your urging to look up the differences only illuminates your ignorance to the science of evolution.

        As far as the difference in faith, I will try to explain it in a manner you might understand: trusting your boss (or employees) to do their job is not the same as believing there is a man in the clouds who thinks black people and women are lesser forms of life. I think religious people would be offended if you implied that me trusting scientists to follow scientific principles was the same as them loving their holy ghost. The difference between Andrew’s beliefs and mine is that I have facts to back up mine, whereas he does not.

        Your criticisms only serve to show how ignorant you are, but keep it up! Practice might make you…want to research what you pretend to understand.

  • Le sigh says:

    http://iwastesomuchtime.com/on/?i=3324

    ^ It has never been truer than this moment. Seriously.

  • EvolutionIsFact says:

    Whales have legs inside their bodies that are not attached to their skeletal structure or their nervous system. They are remnants of the evolution of their development.

    Would God have put leg bones in a whale? Is that “intelligent design”? No.

    Evolution: Proved. Creationism: Disproved. You’re welcome.

  • jason says:

    Fossils. Ow and discovery science, few days days ago they had an interesting segment on how this universe is just the other side of a black hole from another universe. And so on and so forth. But yeah… Fossils man, fossils…

  • Root says:

    Science is a methodology built on top of doubt, questioning and experimentation in order to obtain knowledge and you’ve taken that important first step.

    Knowledge is and always will be demonstrable and verifiable and you must prove your claims of any knowledge before being granted respect as being knowledgeable.

    So, keep questioning, figure out a way to test the theory and figure out a way to test your hypothesis or else no one should believe any claim you make.

    It is a moral obligation of every scientist or philosopher towards society in general to question and offer counter-proposals in such a manner that knowledge gained is preserved in our society and doesn’t get replaced with non-knowledge.

    For instance: there are many times when people in our society misunderstand the healthy skepticism that exists among scientists, whom are seeking validation of knowledge through questioning, with the false idea that a lack of evidence exists for a conclusion or that the questionable validity of one theory/hypothesis validates an alternative hypothesis. Just because one may be incorrect, it does not prove another correct. Validation through independent experimentation or proper demonstration is still required in order for any alternative counter-proposal given to be anything more than a guess.

    I wish you luck in proving the scientific theory of evolution wrong. In parting, let me reflect the common sentiment of the entire true scientific community and say provide us proper evidence for validation that can be independently verified or take the morally correct path and leave the scientific community.

  • Jason Perry says:

    Just a couple things to add:

    Andrew, your article is flawed from the start by saying that evolution is taught as fact and no one is allowed to question it. It is clearly taught and regarded amongst informed individuals as a theory. As such, it is updated as contradicting discoveries are found, but the theory still stands because it is the MOST reasonable explanation that anyone has found.
    Also, i must assume that you went to a religious school where asking questions was strongly discouraged enough for you to make that statement. i know every instructor that has taught me always encouraged questions.

    Jens, one thing that makes evolution much more plausible to me is the time scale involved. Obviously, there countless steps required to evolve from single celled organisms to humans. However, over the course of 4.6 BILLION years, it becomes much more plausible. especially when you consider Jesse’s point that only the best, or most suited to survival, pass on their genes.
    if you’re wondering how likely genetic mutations are, look at how many ‘diseases’ people are born with. A genetic disease is not different than a genetic mutation.

  • Russell says:

    1. Evolution has nothing to do with origins. It pains me to see you blantantly lie about the facts around evolution. Contrary to what you may believe is true, evolution is supported many facts and observations. 2. Evolution can in fact be challenged, the only problem is that no one has been succesful at providing any other explanation that has equal merit and supporting evidence. 3. Even if you could disprove evolution, that doesn’t say anything about the particular god you think is real. Religion is so filled with controversy and false claims it is ridiculous. 4. Just stop spreading misinformation and actually learn about what you are attacking, maybe then you won’t seem so ignorant to others. That is all.

  • Chuck Darwin says:

    What to know why America is losing is falling so far behind other countries in education? Then look no further than opinion pieces such as this. Like all creationist tripe everything in this article is completely wrong, a misleading sack of garbage where the author cites their personal lack of knowledge as supporting facts for their argument. The principle of evolution is fact, all of the studies and research into its mechanics have only served to reinforce this truth. The idea of species changing and diverging over time has been demonstrated and observed over and over again. The common denominator of all creationist (evolution doubters) is that they don’t bother to seek out or attempt to understand the scientific research, and then use their personal ignorance about the subject as proof of its fallacy.

    The nature universe is complex and the truths that describe it are equally so, those who lack the curiosity and capacity to seek out those truths will always cling to simple explanations especially ones that take the burden of understanding off of their shoulders. If you don’t like science that’s fine don’t study it, but please quit trying to validate your choice to be ignorant by trying undermine it.

  • Fred Nek says:

    Many years ago, the Saturday Evening Post April 1 issue cover contained a picture with numerous errors in it. It was, in effect, a contest in which the ojective was to find the errors. I can only assume that Mr. Jensen’s comments are offered in the same vein. OK. Here goes.

    1. Evolution has nothing to do with the big bang.
    2. Evolution has nothing to do with the formation of galaxies, the sun or planets.
    3. Evolution does not hold that animals developed from “chance”. Animals developed because of selective survival of animal mutations. This is not chance. Things survive because the mutation permits them to survive.
    4. Evolution is experimentally observable. Merely by way of example, I direct your attention to experiments concerning the evolution of bacteria to acquire the ability to digest different nutrients described in Richard Dawkins’s book, “The Greatest Show on Earth”. Also see experiments concerning the examination of DNA of various related species contained in the expert testimony in the Dover School Board court decision. This shows the DNA “footprints” of the evolution process.

    Regarding the comment above about the big bang by Jens (I assume Jensen), are you the least bit familiar with the discovery that distant galaxies are all moving away from the earth at ever-increasing velocities (the discovery that prompted the big bang theory). Are you the least bit familiar with the Doppler Shift of light produced by these galaxies, which shows that they are moving away from us? Are you the least bit familiar with the background microwave radiation discovery at Bell Labs by Arno Penzias confirming the Big Bang theory?

    I am quite surprised that a university periodical would publish an opinion piece by someone so utterly lacking in the relevant knowledge.

    Best regards,
    Fred Nek

  • Kate says:

    Just because you are uneducated on something or do not understand it doesn’t make it false. Do some research. I’m sure any legit university professor could even find you a K-12 version to help you understand. Try Berkeley: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/search/topicbrowse2.php?topic_id=46

  • Jean Netherton says:

    The very first sentence “In today’s world, the theory of evolution is taught as fact in our schools and no one seems to be allowed to question it.”, is wrong. The remainder of the article doesn’t do any better.

    And by the way, Gravity is a theory. And, you can test evolution.

    Have you read a book on either? I doubt it.

  • Peter Sosna says:

    “Science, straight from dictionary.com, is the “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation,” but that’s not what evolution is all about.”

    Wrong, that is exactly what the Theory Of Evolution By Natural Selection is. A successful scientific theory should explain all observations, be internally consistent, and make successful predictions. The Theory Of Evolution does all of that in spades! It is the most attacked theory in all of science and after 150 years of withering attacks it stands stronger than ever before.

    “You cannot observe or experiment with evolution. It’s simply not possible because it’s based on the idea of something coming from nothing (i.e. the Big Bang, evolution of life), which is both illogical and unscientific. It also contradicts common sense, which tells us that a creator must be involved in the process of creation.”

    This paragraph demonstrates a deep misunderstanding and ignorance of our scientific understanding. Adding Paley’s watch argument at the end does not help your case at all. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmaker_analogy)

    “Evolution also deals heavily in chance. According to the theory, chance brought about the Big Bang, emitted galaxies from the “bang,” begun to form suns, planets and moons, brought about animals and humans and made us into what we are today…”

    Again, your lack of understanding is remarkable. Evolution does not deal heavily in chance; you need to do a lot more reading. Furthermore, The Theory Of Evolution By Natural Selection says nothing about The Big Bang, or the beginning of life. Do you even know the names of the branches of science that deals with those things?

    “Teaching evolution as a theory is permissible, to an extent, but teaching it as a fact is wrong…”

    Here you have gone from merely ignorant to stunningly so. Yes, teaching The Theory Of Evolution By Natural Selection as fact would be wrong, because it is a theory. In science a Theory is the highest level an idea can attain. It is higher than a mere fact; a Theory is what explains facts. The Theory Of Evolution By Natural Selection,(which is different than Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution, but I’m not sure you would understand the distinction, so I won’t go into it), explains the Fact Of Evolution. Yes, it is a Fact. If you don’t believe humans evolved from early primates I suggest you do a Google search for “Endogenous retroviruses in the human genome sequence” or read this article about the Vitamin C Gene. http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/05/larry-moran-vitamin-c-pseudogene-is.html

    Come up with an alternate Theory that explains all of that better than The Theory Of Evolution By Natural Selection, without resorting to the supernatural and then maybe we will have something to talk about.

  • Sir Craig says:

    Wow. Starting off with an incorrect definition of evolution (you described abiogenesis, not evolution, when you stated “something from nothing”) is not the way to write an op-ed. To parrott every creationist talking point without understanding the hypocrisy of your position screams intellectual dishonesty. So why am I not surprised?

    You’re at a college, right? Try going after some of that education instead of living life in oblivion?

  • Ian Cognito says:

    a) What does the big bang have to do with evolution?
    b) Fruit flies, little beggars evolve so fast it’s hard to keep up with their latest trend! Mucho evidence just from that little species..

  • Alex says:

    The Argonaut should be absolutely embarrassed for publishing this. Not accepting evolution as fact is ignorant to the point of psychosis. Spouting creationism as any sort of relevant alternative is even worse. This sort of behavior is what’s holding this country back and keeping us in a dark-age mentality. It’s disgusting and shameful.

    You may as well have published an opinion piece on why blacks are inferior to whites, because that’s what this equates to in terms of ignorance and intellectual dishonesty.

  • Timothy Lum says:

    “The important thing is never to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

    Mr. Jensen, you ought not have this situation both ways. In your article, I identify 22 statements of asserted fact or truth (or approximately one per sentence): these are criticisms of evolution that are not asked as clarifying questions. Assertions are not questions.

    That critique aside, I would like to address your concerns as best I can.

    “In today’s world, the theory of evolution is taught as fact in our schools and no one seems to be allowed to question it.” – Asking questions is fine. Asserting that evolution is false (or has been falsified) without first understanding what evolution entails and second without evidence which does, in fact, falsify it is not fine. If you, or anybody else, has evidence that evolution did not occur (and an explanation which encompasses the previously accumulated facts plus the new evidence), then you are welcome to bring it forth, falsify evolution, and claim your Nobel prize. Nobody can stop you from presenting the facts, but you must have facts to present.

    “We are not taught to think critically about evolution, but instead to just believe it happened.” – While your science education may be an oddity, science courses are charged with presenting the facts. To the extent that evolution has been presented, it should have been presented as a framework explaining the fact that we dig up certain fossils from specific sedimentary layers and the fact that existing species are subject to modification over time and most do not appear within the above-mentioned fossil record. Being the only currently available explanation that makes sense of these observed facts, I can understand how it may come across as being presented uncritically or forcibly.

    “You cannot observe or experiment with evolution.” – This is demonstrably false. While clearly noticeable alterations to organisms tends to take several hundred generations (and often more, depending on the trait), it is an undeniable fact that domesticated animals are modified versions of their wild predecessors. Evolution merely advances that an organism’s traits are passed on to their descendants and selective pressure will favor certain traits over others. Human interaction is still a form of selective pressure which has resulted in a host of observable examples of modified organism strains through the centuries (examples of which include most all food crops, domesticated animals, many microbial strains, fruit flies, and so on and so forth). Evolution of microbes, for instance, is the reason why antibiotics must be used conservatively and why we receive regular vaccinations against the “same” illness; point of fact is that the flu is different every year thanks to its high rate of reproduction and the survivability of strains that have not yet been inoculated against.

    “It’s simply not possible because it’s based on the idea of something coming from nothing (i.e. the Big Bang, evolution of life), which is both illogical and unscientific.” – Evolution and the big bang are two separate theories; Biological evolution deals only with changes to living organisms and does not concern itself even with the origin of the first replicating cell (that’s Abiogenesis). The big bang deals only with the most likely origin of our observable universe. Further, the big bang theory makes no statement regarding the actual origin of the universe, but only details the likely state of the universe moments after it had begun. No scientist in the field would submit that they know where the material and energy required for the big bang came from, because no information from that state has yet been collected around which to form an explanation. Stating that evolution is false because it doesn’t explain the origin of the universe is a bit like saying gravity is false because electromagnetism doesn’t explain the existence of crepes. It makes no sense.

    “It also contradicts common sense, which tells us that a creator must be involved in the process of creation.” – Common sense is a highly unreliable moderator of what is true, Mr. Jensen. Did common sense dictate that we lived at the bottom of a gravity well on a mote of dust, spinning through a vacuum around a fusioning ball of superheated hydrogen gas? Or that illness was caused by creatures smaller than we could see? Or that matter was actually made up of tiny charged particles that were mostly empty space? Or that a 747, weighing near to a million pounds, could fly? Or that the world was round? The list of things which “common sense” stipulated that have been demonstrated as false is almost as long as human history. What common sense usually is, in actuality, is the *first* offered explanation by an ignorant (and I mean this in the most literal sense as one who merely lacks knowledge), single individual that makes the most sense given that individual’s particular upbringing and knowledge base. Because of this, it is also often the worst explanation, and must be kept in check against other explanations and cross examination to see if it actually holds against scrutiny. This is largely why humanity developed the scientific method; as a means of checking which ideas work and which ones do not.

    Further, as it so happens, an intelligent agency need not be involved in the creation of things we might identify as designed. Look to sand dunes or craters for crude examples of structures which a child, basing their explanation only their innate intuition, would likely identify creative agency similar to their own in. How else might a child explain the perfect circle of an impact crater? By saying a giant chunk of iron fell from the sky with such force that it exploded upon impact and that the size of the crater was proportional to the energy delivered by that falling body? I highly doubt that common sense would be sufficient for the child to arrive at the correct explanation.

    “Evolution also deals heavily in chance. According to the theory, chance brought about the Big Bang, emitted galaxies from the “bang,” begun to form suns, planets and moons, brought about animals and humans and made us into what we are today.” – First, as I stated before, evolutionary theory does not deal with the origin of the universe, the formation of solar systems, or even specifics about what the earth must have been like for the first replicator to appear. Evolution only deals with what happens once you have variation within a population and inherited traits. The fact that a highly improbable state exists is no argument against the veracity of the explanation for how that state likely came to be, for no matter how improbable our universe’s current state might have been, the universe did in fact have to have *some state*. In any case, the result offered by biological evolution (change over time) given inherited traits, variation within a population, and selection is so probable as to be certain. In any system with those three characteristics (inheritance, variation, selection), it would be miraculous if evolution did *not* occur (or the populations remained constant and unchanging over time).

    “This is very unscientific because it doesn’t deal in fact. Rather, it deals purely in hypotheses and guesswork because no one can prove all of that actually happened.” – Again, this statement is demonstrably false. The facts are the organisms we have recovered in the fossil record, the distributions of organisms around the world, our own studies and experiments with living (and non living organisms) both in gross traits and embryology down to genetic levels of detail and, yes, a fair amount of lab-work and thought. Just because you are not aware of (or choose to ignore) the facts does not mean they do not exist. In this day and age, you are precisely one search query and two clicks from a wealth of knowledge on this subject; you have a responsibility to examine the facts prior to declaring they are null and void.

    “Teaching evolution as a theory is permissible, to an extent, but teaching it as a fact is wrong.” – By whose standard? Yours? You who know not even the difference between a theory and a fact? Evolution is a scientific theory, yes, which places it in exactly the same category of scientific knowledge as the theory of universal gravitation, the theory of electromagnetism, the germ theory, the theory of plate tectonics, and so on and so forth. In lay language, a theory is synonymous with a guess (“It’s only a theory”). Were the lay person speaking in scientific terms, “It’s only a theory” would translate (at best) to “It’s only a hypothesis”. More likely, it would translate to, “It’s just a direction of investigation that I haven’t yet formed a proper, falsifiable hypothesis to.” There are often multiple specific meanings to words and, unfortunately, a scientific “theory” is not the same as the general “theory” you might hear in church or youth group.

    “Such teaching does not encourage the advance of science, nor does it teach the younger generation to think critically or skeptically.” – Actually, it does, in much the same way that teaching a student how to draw a straight line or rudimentary shapes furthers the field of art. One must know the basics first before beginning serious investigations. In this case, one cannot expect (and one generally does not find, as your article demonstrates) that those lacking the basic building blocks of a scientific education (even as little as knowing the difference between a fact and a theory) are in a poor position to field substantive critical commentary against it.

    “Instead, it encourages them to believe without question, and that is a problem.” – I agree; teaching belief without question is a serious, serious problem. That said, where did you receive these arguments from and why do you trust them? I expect that you have given your sources serious critical examination in the spirit of questioning and tentative belief.

    “Gravity and the laws of physics can be taught because they are scientifically-proven facts, and that can be tested and proven by students and teachers alike.” – And here we run into another semantic problem. First, science does not deal in proof. When you drop a ball in the classroom, you have not *proven* gravitation, you have demonstrated it. Science deals with demonstrable, observable facts and the most probable explanations that offer predictive value for those facts. All explanations in science (what the lay person might call knowledge) is tentative and conditional on the basis that we do not observe any violations of the facts upon which those explanations are built. To date, no violations have been observed to the theory of universal gravitation, but we’re bound to come across some at a future date and will then have to modify the theory to account for those discrepancies. That’s how and why science works; it is constantly improving its collection of explanations.

    “Evolution, however, can neither be tested or proven. Because of this, we cannot and should not accept it as fact and, instead, should be skeptical of it, just as we should be skeptical of what our government tells us (imagine the traps we’d fall into if we weren’t skeptical of our government).” – Again, this is just demonstrably false. Evolution has been tested and is actually one of very few explanations that is in and of itself almost a tautological proof of being correct. Evolution by natural selection effectively states that “those organisms better suited to reproduce will likely reproduce more successfully than those that are not.” If you can falsify that statement, you will have for the most part falsified the theory of biological evolution. I agree that you should be skeptical of it, just as you should be skeptical of any and all claims of knowledge that are advanced upon you. Once the mountain of facts and explanations are offered, however, you would be intellectually dishonest to disregard them as if they did not exist.

    “Evolution is about faith and belief, science is about questioning. Questioning leads us to the truth.” – Wrong, wrong, and wrong. First, biological evolution is about explaining change over time in populations. Nowhere in the explanatory statements of biological evolution are there any edicts compelling the audience to accept the ideas therein on faith (unlike certain other texts). Science is about falsification; it’s about taking offered explanations, then finding as many creative ways to prove those explanations false as possible. When no such methods are possible, then and only then is the explanation tentatively accepted as the best currently available model with the understanding that it’s going to get thrown out the minute data arises which falsifies that model. Lastly, questioning will never land you at the truth to the extent that truth may be approximated; finding answers to questions does, and the more and better those answers get, the closer to truth we are. Humanity is not going to get anywhere if people just sat around and asked questions in exactly the same way that a classroom of curious students will learn absolutely nothing if nobody hearing those questions seeks out an answer. They’ll have only improved by the barest of increments if, as a collective, they seek out only one answer which is based only on cursory research into the topic, common sense, and a general disinterest with factual accuracy.

    I hope that clarifies some of what evolution entails. Please do not, in your future writings, make assertions about what evolution is or is not and then mask such a hatchet-job with a plea for continued inquiry. Your article is not an inquiry, containing as it did only one (rhetorical) question.

  • Michael Chui says:

    I strongly disagree that gravity and the laws of physics are scientifically-proven facts. To claim that they are is pretty blisteringly stupid, especially given the number of times they’ve been revised and modified in the past few hundred years. Obviously, their categorization as “facts” is uncertain at best and wrong at worst.

  • Tanya says:

    Evolution CAN be observed – through the fossil record. It is tested again and again through the discovery of new fossils and new species.

    Evolution is also a fact – it can be observed and tested, albeit on the micro level – by “forced/guided” evolution under controlled conditions.

    You bring up the laws of gravity – the law of gravity is simply gravity boiled down to its equations (physics). i.e. something falls at 9.8 m/s^2.
    The theory of gravity explains WHY it falls at 9.8 m/s^2. Do you see the difference here?

    You also say evolution say stuff comes from nothing – NO! This is simply false. You are equating abiogenesis/big bang theory with evolution. Evolution occurs AFTER organisms already exist. STOP!

    “Evolution is about faith and belief” NO! STOP! You are thinking of creationism. Have you opened up an evolution text book? Taken a look at what the theory of evolution says and teaches? How we can track changes through a population and through generations? My guess is that the answer to that question is no. Or if you did, you didn’t understand it.

    Science does, and can, change. This is the strength of science. At the moment evolution is the strongest theory, based on real, hard evidence and science that explains change over time, natural selection and how we came to be. If you have a better idea – that leaves out the supernatural (completely untestable) please have it peer reviewed and have it taught in schools.

    You also need to read some Lawrence Krauss and Neil Degrasse Tyson for some fascinating information about the “big bang”.

  • Ryan Hall says:

    Wow. This is UI should be embarrassed that their paper published this article. The legitimate scientific community supports evolution 100%. Doubt of evolution only demonstrates ignorance.
    Dark in the absence of light. Cold in the absence of heat. Religion in the absence of rational thinking.

  • Sarah says:

    Reading this article brings three simple points (other than “this has nothing to do with the Big Bang, so why are they being compared?”), to my mind:

    1. Please don’t conflate abiogenesis with evolution. One states that life possibly came from non-life; the other, that life can change based on certain traits being favored at certain times.

    2. Evolution is not chance-based. It is not like playing dice (unless you load them). Evolution (by natural selection) is based on certain traits being useful to a population, giving individuals with those traits a greater chance to reproduce.

    3. We can see evolution in several places. The fossil record is one of these (Tiktaalik is an excellent example of a transitional fossil [though the term "transitional fossil" is a bit of a misnomer, as all life sort of flows and it can be difficult to distinguish where a species separates itself]). The other examples that we can see are in the microbial world, where short lifespans and limited complexity allow for quicker evolution than us complex, long-lived primates.

    Bonus point: I like lists and love biology. In fact, I have a blog that involves making lists (and charts) of things in the Bible. In (another) fact, I’m studying for a microbiology degree. Not that it matters to my “argument” (except, perhaps, that I’m learning about this sort of thing for my degree), but on the internet it’s sometimes easy to forget that there are people behind the words.

    Second Bonus Point: I didn’t notice until I re-read the article for the fourth time, but it states that “Gravity and the laws of physics… are scientifically-proven facts…” This is not actually true. Gravity is something we are 99.99999…% sure about, but it is possible that there is another phenomenon we know nothing about in its place. It has not been and can never be proven. Same with the laws of physics. (And now I no longer end on a nice “I’m a person too” note. Wouldn’t want to get carried away.)

  • Riddles says:

    You know you could have avoided making a complete embarrassment of yourself if you had done some research.

    1- Evolution is a fact. You are allowed to question it and in classes you have never attended you are looking at it critically. Like the story of the boy who cried wolf, whenever someone says that evolution is wrong, people will immediately think of you as yet another scientifically illiterate creationist.

    2- You can observe and experiment with evolution. Just because you never looked it up, doesn’t mean you can’t.

    3- Evolution says nothing at all about “something coming from nothing”. Evolution is about change and variation on the genetic level within populations of species over the course of generations. It is not about animals coming from nowhere and has nothing to do with the big bang in the slightest. Any claims otherwise come from pure ignorance on the subjects.

    4- Lots of things in science go against “common sense”. Common sense says that metal can’t stay up in the air but we have done it.

    5- Evolution has nothing to do with the big bang, formation of planets or the origin of life. It is about the origin of species. Describing evolution in the manner you have done would be like describing creationism as drawing pictures on a piece of paper and then burying them in the dirt to create trees that produce your creation like fruit. It is nowhere close to what it actually is like and anyone who believes it is a buffoon, much like anyone lumping the big bang and abiogenesis in with the theory of evolution.

    6- You do not understand what theories and hypothesis’s are within the realm of science. are you aware that a scientific law doesn’t work like the kind of law you can be arrested for breaking? In science, a theory is the result of a hypothesis that has undergone rigorous and highly critical peer review and come out unscathed. The theory is an explanation for observable facts that holds no flaws. Bet you didn’t know that. I also bet you didn’t know that we have more evidence for the theory of evolution than we do for the theory of gravity. And no, the theory of gravity is not another name for the law of gravity, that is a different thing.

    7- Again, we have gotten plenty of evidence on evolution, it does not go away because you haven’t made an attempt to look.

    8- You don’t deserve to quote Einstein as if he validates your ignorance. You aren’t questioning, you are denying. If you were truly questioning then you would be asking how evolution works. Instead you are denying it does, claiming it has no evidence. You would see it if you actually looked for it.

    You are quite an embarrassment to your university. they would no doubt be ashamed at having produced someone so ignorant and misinformed of something yet so adamant at it being wrong.

    There is nothing wrong with saying you don’t know, in future rather than spew the laughable rubbish you have about evolution, just admit that you don’t understand the subject and withhold opinions until you have. And don’t deny that you don’t understand it, you made it clear when you claimed that evolution was about the formation of the universe, planets and life as well as claim that there was no evidence for it and no way to test it.

  • Sean Shepherd says:

    How is it unlikely that we evolved to a complex life form. Have you heard of natural selection? It solves the mystery pretty well.

  • Ryan says:

    This article is absolutely absurd. Can’t believe a college student would say that evolution=”something coming from nothing.” I think you should do a little more research before you create ridiculous definitions like this. This is not evolution at all.

  • anon says:

    you’re assuming “evolution” is being taught to explain the origin of the universe (ex. the big bang theory) however, evolution is literally teaching how species change over time. that is all. there is plenty of evidence for it and it has been observed, questioned, and nearly perfected by many great scientists. there can be no denying evolution. you can believe whatever you want about how the universe came to be, or what you want about human evolution; but to deny the change of species over time is simply ignorant and moronic. if you want to teach creationism in school, can we teach evolution in your church?

  • Daniel says:

    You have a very big flaw in this, and that is that you assume that the Big Bang theory and evolution actually have something to do with each other. In no evolutionary paper or textbook will you find an answer for the origin of the universe. That isn’t what evolution claims to answer. Evolution only answers how life has evolved into higher, more conscious forms such as humans and how natural selection continues to work in the animal kingdom even today.
    Guess what? We still question evolution, we still try to ask questions about it, and we’re trying to keep on figuring it out, just like we do with the Big Bang theory, and I use “we” very loosely seeing as a majority of people question it, but very few are actually curious to learn about it since they are blinded by dogma. There is plenty of evidence for evolution such as geological remains, fossil records, and the undeniable proof that we can see it happen in action with microorganisms.
    Public school children do not “believe without question” but they encourage actual critical thinking. I’d like to see you come up with a better alternative and teach a belief system that will fail in a school since no one would dare question and claim anyone who does as blaspheming. If evolution is about faith and belief, then that’s no reason to teach religion either, now is it?
    It is outrageous to claim that we are not allowed to question evolution. We most certainly are, but it shouldn’t bother you that when facts are used with incredible accuracy and accepted by all major sciences, then people will believe those facts.
    One last thing: With the obviousness that you don’t understand evolution, I should tell you that evolution does not claim that humans evolved from monkeys. I know you didn’t say anything of the sort, but I am inferring that’s what you think evolution is. When people claim that that old picture of a monkey slowly turning into a human is fiction, I have no choice but to agree with them. Evolution doesn’t mean a dog will suddenly become a horse, it means humans and other primates came from the same species. Just like your family tree isn’t just “Grandfather, father, you,” evolution isn’t just “monkey, monkey, half monkey, you.”

  • Lou Albano says:

    You keep using the word “theory” but I don’t think it means what you think it means. A theory is not just an educated guess, but an explanation for a group of repeatedly and empirically tested and observed phenomenon. And few theories are more venerated by evidence than evolution. It’s taught as “fact” because it has to be. If a theory doesn’t work, then you cannot build a body of information upon it and evolution is so crucial to our understanding of biology that to subtract it from the annals of science would be akin to replacing the bottom floor of a skyscraper with Jello. It absolutely can, and has been, tested and observed time and time again. Here’s a pretty big list of specifics: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

    And consider this: why is it that we need a different flu shot every year? If not evolution, then what is it that allows the flu virus to constantly foil our attempts to eradicate it?

    Did you do any research whatsoever before you wrote this?

  • Joshua Camp says:

    Few public schools teach Evolution as fact. Most public schools infact EMPHASIZE that it is a theory. You can believe what you wish to believe.

    Evolution is a theory, it can be proven wrong. But people believe in Evolution because there is evidence to support it. Creation seems to be believed in because the Bible says it, yet there is no evidence, but a book.

  • Griffin Cummings says:

    The scientific theory of evolution deals with the change of a population’s genetic makeup over time, not the big bang (which has its own theory, surprisingly called the big bang theory), which you ascribe it to. I’ll not delve into topics pertaining to the BBT, as I am not a physicist. I am, however, an evolutionary biologist.

    There are plenty of solid scientific research studies that have investigated the effects of selection pressures on populations and found that the populations can in fact evolve. Most recently, one of our most popular model organisms for genetic studies, Drosophila melanogaster, was left in the dark for 50+ years . The population that came to arise was genetically divergent than the model organism that we study today and had adapted to its dark environment. Hence, the population and its genetic makeup evolved.

    The premise of this article, that we are simply not taught to think critically and skeptically about evolution, is skewed. I look at the evidence, such as any other scientist worth their degree would, and judge it for myself. I have found it, as has many others before me, to be without reproach.

    My professors do not teach evolution as a fact, but as a theory based on facts, tested and found to be an adequate, if not unbreakable, theory.

    It is quite obvious you have little to no background in science and that your only investigation into primary literature comes from some type of non-peer reviewed text. I could make guesses as to what text that may be, but I’ll not make such assumptions here.

    I find your particular brand of propaganda disgusting, illiterate, and uneducated. I don’t know what type of degree you may be pursuing. If it is journalism, you should stop now. If it is biology, you aren’t paying attention in class. If it is religious studies, then you have no quarter with this topic.

  • Jesus says:

    I find it funny that you are commenting on these theories as being “unscientific” when you obviously haven’t the slightest sliver of scientific thought in your entire brain. The only resource cited in your article is dictionary.com, but I’ve got to say great research my friend! Maybe you should have some ‘faith’ in the actual scientists that created these theories based on scientific research and lifetimes of study into the practically endless field of physics (which you say is scientifically proven, and SURPRISE, is used to prove the big bang theory). I assume your experience with studying is strictly limited to ONE book, written thousands of years ago by a no-name. We have witnessed evolution first hand many times (see the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria). No one is telling you not to ask questions, PLEASE DO! Maybe, god willing, you will learn something.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/10/4/l_104_03.html

  • Cuong Le says:

    You are confusing two different theories. The Big Bang Theory is a theory that discusses how the universe came to be. Evolution is a different theory that explains a change in the gene pool of a population over time. Evolution is taught as a theory in public schools and not as a law (like Newton’s Laws). Jesse mentioned the adaptive change in microorganisms as indicative of evolution- and he/she is right.

    Another example that has persisted is the Galapagos Islands and the Finches. Darwin came up with the theory of natural selection came to be. Based on the availability of food on each island, the same animal- a finch- adapted both anatomically and behaviorally to survive and procreate. The beak sizes were different based on the hardness of the seeds on each island. Finches on the same island have also occupied different niches (one finch feeds on small seeds and one finch feeds on medium seeds and the beak sizes follow). The finches with the right size beak were able to eat and survive to create offspring. That’s natural selection.

    El Nino hit the islands and changed the climate and availability of food on each island. In the response, the finches that used to have small beaks and ate small seeds died out because they weren’t equipped to eat the harder shelled seeds. The finches with larger and stronger beaks survived and reproduced. This supports microevolution (evolution in a short time period) and is evidence for evolution.

    TL;DR: Natural Selection, selective pressures, adaption, evidence. Evolution is DEFINITELY not all about faith and belief like religion with no concrete reproducible evidence.

  • Joe Jordan says:

    It’s rare to see such poor research, fallacious arguments, and 7th grade writing even on the Internet. If you say something is not scientific as an argument to supplant it with something else unscientific, you have a problem with your basic reasoning. Then add to that the body of evidence supporting evoloutuon and now you not only have poor reasoning but you are either willfully ignorant ( lying ) or simply ignorant.

  • Devin Gay says:

    “You cannot observe or experiment with evolution.”
    We have both observed:
    http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/Moths/moths.html
    and experimented: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2012/03/14/fifty-seven-years-of-darkness/
    with evolution.

    “It’s simply not possible because it’s based on the idea of something coming from nothing (i.e. the Big Bang, evolution of life)”
    Evolution has nothing to do with the Big Bang, and it does not mean something from nothing; it is simply change over time and several generations.

    “Gravity and the laws of physics can be taught because they are scientifically-proven facts”
    Gravity is a theory, just like evolution. The word “theory” throws some people off, as it has become slang for “guess” to the layman. A scientific theory, in fact, could be considered much firmer than a scientific law: Newton’s law of gravity, to which you are no doubt referring, has actually long ago been found to be inaccurate. Einstein’s theory of relativity is required in calculations that require extreme precision.

    “Because of this, we cannot and should not accept it as fact and, instead, should be skeptical of it”
    You are correct: we should be skeptical. We should always be skeptical of such large claims about the origins of the universe. You see, true skeptics require evidence, and scientists strive to provide and interpret that evidence; they fuel each other. What you fail to see, and would understand if you had done even one iota of actual research on the subject about which you are writing, is that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming. Change over time happens; this is an observable fact.

  • Gomer Pyle says:

    Stupid article.

    “Gravity and the laws of physics can be taught because they are scientifically-proven facts, and that can be tested and proven by students and teachers alike.”

    Does it bug you that gravity is a theory? There are galaxies out there that defy the current laws of physics for reasons we don’t know. But you wouldn’t argue that you’re going to start floating upwards now would you?

    “Evolution, however, can neither be tested or proven”

    What evidence are you using to back this statement up? None.

    You then go to state that evolution is part of the big bang theory? Uhhh what? Those are two very seperate theories. You know what’s also illogical and unscientific? The fantasy of a god. There is exactly zero evidence supporting it. Why do creationists have a problem with ourselves trying to figure out how we came to be? Is it because that if we could prove it, the belief of god would no longer be needed and would no longer receive funding to support their cult? Nooo it couldn’t be…

  • Piscador says:

    Andrew, this is an interesting article and thought provoking article. However, you have made a number of errors that show that you don’t really understand how evolution works. I suggest that you read one of the many excellent layman’s guides to evolution (particularly Richard Dawkin’s “The Blind Watchmaker”).

    There are some other things you have said that I have issues with.

    1. You’ve stated (in your first paragraph) that evolution is taught as fact in schools. This true, because like most other science it is regarded as fact. If, for example, a student criticizes a teacher’s explanation of the theory of gravity he/she had better have some pretty good evidence to support that criticism.

    2. Your claim “that a creator must be involved in the process of creation” is purely an assumption. Unless empirical evidence can be produced that such a creator exists, it must be discounted.

    3. The word ‘theory’ in science has a specific meaning that is different from the common usage: a theory is an explanation for observable phenomena, e.g. the theory of gravity, the theory of relativity, the germ theory of disease or the Big bang Theory (which, by the way, has absolutely with evolution). Theories can and are rejected or modified if they fail to explain new observations. The theory of evolution itself is constantly being tinkered with.

    4. When you say “It also contradicts common sense”, remember that in the past common sense told us that the world was flat, that the sun orbited the earth and that mental illness was caused by demonic possession.

  • Dylan says:

    Hello, I read your article and noticed some factual inconsistencies in your argument. Though I understand that it is your opinion that evolution should not be “taught as a fact” in schools, I would still like to clear up these errors.

    1. You are confusing the Big Bang Theory with the Theory of Evolution (By Means of Natural Selection, I assume, as this is the most accepted). These two theories have nothing to do with each other. Evolution does not claim something comes from nothing, it simply claims that populations of organisms change over time as individuals more fit/better adapted to the conditions of the current environment survive to pass their genes on to the next generation. The Big Bang Theory describes the origins of the universe, not the pattern that describes current life on Earth.

    2. Evolution can be measured and it can be observed. Similar to what Jesse says above, bacterial populations can quickly gain resistance to an antibiotic (like penicillin) in a laboratory setting. If one applies penicillin to a colony of bacteria on a pteri dish, one can see that some bacteria survive this antibiotic (due to genes that confer resistance to penicillin, which can be observed in DNA studies). One can then observe this population producing offspring that are, too, resistant to penicillin. The conclusion? A population of bacteria that has evolved antibacterial resistance.

    If you don’t like this one, there is also the evidence of fossils of ancient, extinct organisms that gradually change with strata layers as one approaches the surface to resemble current, extant species (evidence of change of species over time). Or the presence of a pelvis in whale skeletons (a vestigal structure left over since it had evolved from a land-dwelling ancestor). The list goes on.

    3. Evolution by Means of Natural Selection is taught as fact simply because there has yet to be any (scientific) evidence in the contrary. But this does not mean no one questions anything relating to evolution anymore. Experiments are run and re-run all the time, showing that that skepticism that is so important to science is not missing in relation to the field of evolutionary biology.

    Once again, I understand your opinion is that evolution should not be taught as a fact in school. I just wanted to correct a few commonly-held fallacies about evolution as to stop more misinformation from spreading.

    Thanks,

    Dylan

  • Christopher Dennis says:

    I’m glad the Arg found someone to fill the shoes of the great comedian Benjamin!

  • Kyle DeHart says:

    I guess we shouldn’t teach gravity anymore either, since it’s just a theory.

  • Jade Duplessis says:

    Well, the first mistake you made was talking about evolution as if it were an idea that cannot be tested and holds no fact behind it. You say that we blindly believe in evolution, when logic should actually lead people to the idea of a creator.

    I’m beginning to think you have never researched evolution at all. If you had, you would know that there is a mountain of facts to back it up. Yes, it is a theory, and being a theory it is inherently made to be questioned, but it is made to be questioned in a scientific fashion with proof and evidence. After all, a theory is the analysis of a set of facts in relation to one another (mirriam-webster.com). This means that a theory is a logical inference based on a set of TESTABLE facts.

    Please, tell me which facts logically lead us to the idea of a creator? There are none. Science has been closing the gap on this argument for centuries, people can plug the closing gaps with a creator all they like, but eventually there will be no more room.

    I do believe that your problem with evolution is that it is, as you say, taught as fact in our schools. I would argue that it is the only theory that is stressed because it is the only theory that has such a hard factual, scientific backing. Unlike creationism, which encourages people to put down the books and assume that a mastermind created everything. Sorry, but that is not logical.

    I would also like to point out that we can actually see evolution in real time. Did you know that we have found species, identical to species in normal living conditions, that have actually adapted to be able to live in highly pressurized, extremely cold, or completely pitch black environments? Now, most creationist enthusiasts would argue that this is ‘microevolution’, which it is, but that there is no evidence for ‘macroevolution.’ I would, in turn, politely point to the fossil record.

    Now, I am fully aware that this is an opinion article, but does this really have place in the academic world?

  • Mike Steffens says:

    I fully agree with Jesse and I’m glad he took up the responses on this article. I’ll go one step further and provide an example that actually completely destroys an anti-evolution argument claiming that evolution cannot account for an increase in genetic complexity. That example is Nylonase. It is a strain of Flavobacterium that under environmental conditions was able to survive based on mutations that favored its existence. Not only does this describe evolution by natural selection, but the mutation is an awesome example of how genetic information can be added so as to remove the problem of the mutation being detrimental to the current genetic code. Once again, education fixes articles such as this.

    Also, you continuously say that we’re taught evolution as a fact in schools. First off, how many schools have been trying to ban the teaching of evolution in the last 10 (or further if you’d like) years? And how many actually teach it as a fact as you say? I look back on my 10th grade biology class almost every day and am thankful that I had a biology teacher who actually taught evolution how it should be taught: as a central tenet of biology. It’s absolutely unbelievable how many schools only teach it as a “theory” and ignore the fact that it is a theory in scientific terms, not in the general definition of the word. They are completely different and any attempt at misrepresenting it is an act of intellectual dishonesty for the proposition of personal anti-science propaganda, or the manifestation of complete ignorance and scientific illiteracy.

    And I love Jesse’s analogy of probabilities. As he said, the probability of him being exactly where he is today is almost infinitely miniscule and was the result of billions and billions of extremely small decisions. Personally, I would be in a completely different place right now if it weren’t for seemingly minor decision altering experiences. The statistical argument is overused and relies on hindsight for weight. Say for instance, you take a tree that has a thousand branches. If you were an ant and traversed it, the choice of taking one of two splits near the base is pretty small. Take the next branching and there are more choices and more complexity. Keep splitting this and you have an extremely complex path that happened as the result of so many small choices. Any small choice would have put the ant in a different place. But once the ant is at the end of a branch, you wouldn’t say “this can’t happen because there are a thousands of other routes the ant could have taken instead therefore it couldn’t have happened”. That argument completely ignores the fact that any place in time you find yourself at, you could make the exact same argument. The build up of miniscule changes can add up to an unbelievable amount of possibilities in diversity. Stop rehashing the same arguments you hear from creationists on a regular basis and actually study what you make such strong claims about. If you keep an open mind and are intellectually honest with yourself, you’ll realize these arguments are illusions. If not, well, you’ll just keep spewing the ignorant dribble that is present in this article and continue to make this university look like it resides in Medieval times.

    Oh, and one more thing. If you were familiar about the topic, you wouldn’t mention the Big Bang or the origin of life at all in this article. The Big Bang is a cosmological based theory, which has absolutely nothing to do with evolution. Neither does the origin of life. The origin of life is studied in abiogenesis. Just to illustrate the point, evolution discusses the evolution of life. If there is no life, then evolution is completely irrelevant to the argument. During the Big Bang, we know of no life forms that were existent, and the origin of life is exactly that: the origin. It has nothing to work with that evolution requires. So please, educate yourself before writing arguments such as this. Or just ignore these comments and continue spewing anti-intellectual bullshit that combats your exact notion of critical thinking and become yet another icon of hypocritical dialogue that results in ineffective debates and a lack of continued knowledge of the universe and our place in it.

  • Nikki says:

    This is why I have a problem with the Argonaut. A lot of the opinion articles are based on strong opinions that are highly contentious about beaten to death topics with NO supporting evidence or even any specific details about anything. This topic has been debated for decades, meaning there’s a lot of literature on the topic to help you support and develop your argument, as well as offer counterpoints to those against you. If you’re going to denounce evolution, you’re not going to do it with your opinion alone, especially when you seemed to grasp the idea incorrectly. Further, you didn’t even take the opportunity to offer solid information about why creationism is more credible. You need WARRANTS and better background knowledge before you decide to write this. Amongst friends, argue how you want, but clearly nobody took you seriously because this is not a casual discussion with friends. It’s a scholastic publication.

    I couldnt be more in disagreement with this article, but I would at least respect it if it had any specific information about anything. This sounds like a journal or blog entry from a high schooler and it’s articles like this that made me never want to be a part of the Argonaut. This publication offers students a unique opportunity to bring issues to light and develop opinions in the university community, and yet it keeps squandering this by allowing angsty opinions with NO substance to be considered journalism. Even somebody that knows virtually nothing on either topic will surely have an opinion about this issue, so please rise above lay-person arguments and show that you’re an opinion writer, not just a guy with opinions. I’m not asking for NYT worthy opinion articles, but at least try and follow journalistic principles…

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