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Evolution Explained

Science

A common question is 'what exactly is evolution, and the theory of evolution?'

According to WikiPedia, 'evolution is a change in the traits of living organisms over generations, including the emergence of new species'.

Evolution has gone from being one of the most controversial of theories when first stated by Darwin for its perceived undermining of the idea of God, to being generally widely accepted now by virtually everyone.

Partly this is due to the fact that over time theories tend to lose their shock value and gain acceptance. Also the more secular world we live in has helped stop the religious objection, but also of course that is perfectly possible for the two to be true together, there is not even close to a logical contradiction between the two statements: 'Evolution is true and God exists'.

One of the biggest objections to evolution has come from those that think that there has to be more to life and our current existence than just random choice.

That is, that evolution must somehow only be part of the story, as there is no goal orientation, or teleology in it, it is just blind chance (the blind watchmaker).

Often the apparent design in current lifeforms seems to argue for some sort of guiding hand or intelligence behind the creation. It is hard to believe for many than random processes and blind chance could result in all the creatures and lifeforms that we see around us.

Certainly one interesting point is about so-called intermediate stages.

Many can understand how species survive once 'fully adapted' but what happens in those intervening periods where the adaptations to environment are forming over tens of thousands of years - how does the species survive these intermediate periods where for instance a horn is just starting to form or a tail just growing but still pretty useless?

Additionally, many have wondered whether there has been enough time for just 'blind chance' to produce the staggering away of life we know exists, given the rough age at which life is acknowledged to have begun.

Another objection often made is with regard to the actual content of the theory which is, let's face it, staggeringly simple.

Essentially, that change occurs and new species occur from random mutations in genes that lead to some individuals to be better adapted to environment 'e' at time 't' than others, and therefore if conditions remain close enough to 'e' at time 't + n' such that the advantage holds, that individual and its decendents are more likely to survive and breed than other members of that species, ultimately leading to the formation of a new species.


By: Stephen

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