I have been sorely lacking in science lately. But Cracked!.com posted an article that got me going again, along with my wellplaced rage at the internet, specifically some submissions to the site I do admin with.
I've made posts and references to evolution quite a few times now, although not in the depth I plan to take it to this evening before bed.
So a lot of evolution's opposers take things to reducto ad absurdium - that is, reducing an argument to absurd lengths to show its stupidity. "Have you ever seen a whole pile of [non-living compounds] come together after millions of years, to be come [common object]? OF COURSE NOT. THAT'S ABSURD." Except that's not how it works. Here's a brief guide to evolution, as best explained.
So, here we have an amoeba. He's a cool dude.
While not actually a one-celled, primordial-ooze kind of creature, it's a good enough representation, and it's basically just to give you the basic idea.
So after a long time and millions of generations, our cool single-celled organisms start to change. This change isn't noticeable straight away. It's not, as many people think, "and then one day one of them had feet". No. It's small, wide-spread changes overtime. Although I feel the need to post this, just for a laff.
Eventually, over countless generations and variants, these little cool squishy things become...other things. These things, for example.
That cool little ferret thing there is a pretty good representation of a first mammal.
And that's all there is to it. No "transitional forms". You want to know why? Because the idea of a transitional form goes against evolution, completely and utterly (sorry, creationists, this never happened). Every individual in a species is a "transitional form", taking in its environment, learning from its mistakes and passing on these to their young. That's why mammals are such successful creatures who evolve so quickly - because mammal babies are born so defenseless, they require so much more input from the parents.
|Pictured: helpless, adorable.
Because of this increased need of parental care, the parent animals can pass on not just genetic behaviours, but learned behaviours, individual things learned throughout the parent's lifetime. A good example of this is through cats - anyone who has had a cat who has kittens would notice that the kittens, as they grow, copy their mother's own behaviour that she had learned since coming to live with you (for example, my kittens now know corn to be a source of buttery goodness thanks to their mother).
This kind of evolution is, to say the least, a little scary. Why? Because humans aren't very good at it. People (that is to say, the kind of people who think the world is ending this saturday) blame the world's problems on "sin" or "the youth today" (or the gays! and hippies!). But it's evolution at work - because just a few genetic freaks or mentally ill individuals can corrupt a whole generation through learned and further taught generations (like prejudice against goths being taught by parents to children, and then those children go out and victimise goths, and then those goths are victimised and may strike back through suicide or violence from perpetual bullying, thus continuing the cycle).
Hey, speaking of homosexuality, that's all a part of evolution. How? As a population grows too dense in one area, more people are born to be attracted to their own sex - that is, so they can care for children, but not produce them. It's natural population control. It's a sign that the earth is trying to stablise the enormous strain of human population. It also occurs in places with a very high stray animal population.
Unfortunately for humanity, however, we aren't quite evolving at the pace of other animals. Sure, we're poisoning everything, and we have guns and weapons, but everything else is picking up the pace along with our sudden leaps.
Never to fear, though. When the dolphins and cats rise in coalition with the dogs, we'll be long-dead.
|Oh wait, no, the dolphins are already massing.
Evolution is starting to get sick of us. I hardly blame it. We've started claiming that it doesn't exist - and that must make evolution mad.
Another argument is that "if evolution [often evoLIEtion by people who think they are witty] were real, how come there are still monkeys?" (or this gem from the bright minds of creationism).
And the answer is simple: because our species of ape took one way, and others did not. If that kind of logic were sound, how come every kind of cat isn't a tiger? Why isn't every dog a great dane? It's like "different strokes for different folks", really. Every environment makes different mutations. Lemurs, for example, more or less stopped evolving because they were perfectly suited to their environment.
|Oh, did I neglect to mention - lemurs are pre-simian. They're
what apes used to be before they were apes.
Evolution, whether you choose to believe it or not, happens to be a fact of reality. Animals are evolving before our eyes. We are evolving, too (albeit slowly). Funny thing about facts - they don't need you to believe them. They're just as they are.
There is such beauty in the world. And that beauty is precious, random chance. Whether there is some all-powerful being playing a Sims game with some really screwed free will algorithims or whether we're all alone out here on some rock orbiting a yellow star isn't relevant. What is relevant is, chase the morning. You only live once. So stop complaining, stop being stupid and live it.