I'll start with Matt's first post first and I'll humour EastSide later on if I feel up to it...
Quote: Originally Posted by MattUK
Two of the biggest weaknesses of evolutionary theory are:
- There is no adequate explanation for the origin of life from dead chemicals. Even the simplest life form is tremendously complex.
- The fossil record, our only documentation of whether evolution actually occurred in the past, lacks any transitional forms, and all types appear fully-formed when first present. The evidence that "pre-men" (ape-men) existed is dubious at best. So called pre-man fossils turn out to be those of apes, extinct apes, fully man, or historical frauds.
1. This is not a weakness of evolutionary theory. Evolution does not apply to the spoon I am currently eating soup with, so why would it apply to other similarly lifeless, inert things?
One does not need to jump to the conclusion that we were created by a godlike entity and that evolution is flawed just because we haven't exactly figured out the origin of life - to do that in itself, one needs proof.
For an interesting read, check out the Origin of life article on Wikipedia at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_life (external - login to view)
. People are working on these problems right now, though the progress is relatively slow. As more minds press the issue, and technology increases, I have no doubts we will figure this thing out. It's neat where some people figure evolution begins: before life as we know it. Read the article for yourself for some really cool ideas...
2. The fossil record is not our only documentation of whether evolution actually occurred during the past.
The fossil record in itself is merely the cherry on top - that's all. We could be without the entire fossil record and there would still be overwhelming amounts of evidence in favour of evolution. At the same time, the fossil record does nothing to disprove evolution. It's just a bonus for evolutionary biology.
Remember that at any given time and place, the conditions may not be right for an organism to leave behind a fossil. Relatively few organisms leave behind fossils.
Also, the very idea of a species can often be misleading. In terms of sexual creatures like ourselves, species are generally understood as "groups of actually or potentially interbreeding natural populations (external - login to view) which
are reproductively isolated from other such groups". Keep that in mind and maybe read en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_evolution (external - login to view)
. The difference between you & I, and an early homo erectus are very clear, but the line blurs between an early human and a late erectus, to the point that the line pretty much isn't there. When is it one species, when is it the other, when do we give it its own name and call it its own species, when do we label it an 'intermediate species'? I figure that might be where some of the, what you call 'dubious evidence', comes from.
As to the types of evidence we have for evolution, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evoluti...e_of_evolution (external - login to view). I could basically repeat it here, but that would be pointless when it is already there. It's only several paragraphs long, so it does not take long to read. If you need specific cases for evidence after reading that article and maybe following through on a few obvious sources, I will be happy to find some for you. The point is, we don't just collect fossils, we analyze DNA and other molecules, among other things, and these sources provide us with vastly more than fossils ever could.
Last edited by humanbeing; Oct 6th, 2006 at 05:04 PM..