Tuesday, 7 May 2013

How Evolution Works

An astonishing 48% of Americans don't believe in evolution, but it's not their fault. How could you believe in evolution, if your whole life, since you were a child, people told you it was wrong, and to not bother with it. Even learning it in school, imagine approaching the topic with the forethought that it was wrong, and taught be a teacher with the attitude "this is just some theory you have to learn". This is the sad reality for many people in America. People think that this is uncommon, or not an issue, but it is.

For those of you who are Atheists already reading this, I'm probably preaching to the choir, but remember the importance to have these arguments well articulated and fully understood to explain to people who don't understand. Many people probably have never heard the other side of the argument in a convincing way before, never been shown the proper way to think.

Today I'm going to go through evolution quickly, simply, and try to dispel some of the misconceptions around evolution. Spoiler alert: Evolution is true.

1st misconception: Evolution doesn't happen in big jumps, evolution works slowly, very slowly. 
One day a monkey didn't give birth to a human, it doesn't work like that. A good analogy is the process of ageing. Compared to yesterday or tomorrow, you don't look very different. But 50 years from now (if you're alive) you will look very different from how you do now, and you won't notice the changes as you go. Except each day is like 100 or 1000 years on an evolutionary scale. 2 or 3 generations of humans don't look that different, but 200 or 300 generations ago, your 300 x great-grand dad, looked quite different from you.

2nd misconception: "It's just a theory".
This is scientific semantics. In the study of science, a "theory" is an idea/law/concept, which is presently accepted to be true, as proved by analysis of evidence or experiment. Gravity is a theory, and we accept that to be true. If a scientist does an experiment about something never done before, and gets results, and forms a conclusion, that conclusion is a theory. Other scientists then do the same experiment, or other experiments that would prove or disprove that theory to try to disprove it. If many scientists can't disprove a theory (because it is true), it is still called a theory.
Theories that are incorrect, often don't last longer than a year among the scientific community. And a theory is almost never formed unless it is almost certainly true.

3rd misconception: There is debate among scientists about the legitimacy of evolution.
There isn't. 99% of scientists accept evolution because of the overwhelming amount of evidence for it.
There are people out there who try to discredit evolution because it conflicts with their religious beliefs. These people are laughed at and mocked by real scientists. It's simply propaganda concocted by creationists and perpetuated by uninformed people.

Hopefully this clears up the sad big 3 misconceptions that are still perpetuated by ignorance of the science. Have these arguments well articulated and ready so you can explain to people who perpetuate them. Most of all, encourage them to do their own research! Tell people to find out for themselves and to think for themselves! 
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