Common Misconceptions of Evolution


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HeretikSaint

I was reading through some of the threads (because I've been away for some time) and I came across a thread on Evolution. I take particular interest in these threads for I am studying to be an Evolutionary Biologist sometime in the future. As I was reading through, a comment caught my eye. Someone had replied (it's not exact but somewhere in the ballpark) "I apply Evolution to animals but I do not apply it to humans because I don't believe humans evolved from apes". Of course I went to hit the reply button only to discover that the thread was locked by the OP's request. Anyway, it really bothers me that this kind of misinformation is spread. Especially if the misinformation is hindering someone's confidence of the theory based upon that misinformation. I thought I would take a moment to clarify some of those misconceptions about Evolution.

Evolution states that humans evolved from apes

There has never been anyone, who has ever understood Evolution by Nature Selection, ever claimed that humans evolved from apes. Apes and humans share a common ancestor but that is the extent of any kind of relation. This common ancestor had evolved in at least two different directions millions of years before humans or apes had come about.

Evolution is just a theory

In a sense this is true. However, the definition of theory is often being used as a synonym for "hypothesis" when people spout this retort. While "theory" does posses a definition irritatingly close to the definition of "hypothesis", a scientific theory such as Evolution does not utilize that definition. The word "theory" when used in the sense of a scientific theory, the definition changes closer to a synonym to the word "fact". Any time someone declares that "Evolution is just a theory!", they might as well be declaring that Evolution is just a fact. Furthermore, gravity is just a theory; the idea that the Sun is at the centre of the solar system is just a theory (Heliocentric Theory); the entire human understanding of electricity, electronics, and our colossal telecommunications infrastructure is all based on Quantum Theory.

Evolution says we came from a primordial soup

Actually, Evolution itself makes no assumptions about where life came from or how it came about. The theory of Evolution only describes how life go to where it is today.

Irreducible Complexities disproves Evolution

This statement couldn't be any more wrong. Opposition to the theory of Evolution usually retort phrases such as "There is no use for a quarter of an eye or half a of wing or a third of a lung". This is just ridiculous thinking. Ask a man with less than perfect vision if he would like to be completely blind. Furthermore, there are worms with proto-eyes that have survived using less than a quarter of a human eye. Fauna will have greater survival chances (compared to non-seeing organisms) by seeing only light; seeing only blurry images; seeing black and white. Implying that only half of a wing is not useful is awful logic. If something were to fall out of a tree (or just out of a tree to escape a predator), half of a wing might provide enough drag to slow the fall of the animal to allow it survive the fall that it might not have survived otherwise. As for the lung. A third of a lung might provide a survival advantage if it were stuck in a pool of water during low tide. The piece of a lung might provide that stranded fish with enough air breathing to allow it to flap from a pool to another pool or from a pool to the open ocean.

Irreducible complexities have also been observed to happen during lab tests on bacterial colonization of Escherichia coli by bacteriologist Richard Lenski and his colleagues at Michigan State University. I wont go into great detail for it would take a chapter to explain and I would implore you to read the research yourself for it is definitely an interesting read. However, the lab yielding a generation that had a mutation that did nothing. Only after many, many generations later did a second mutation allow the bacteria to use citrate as a food which increased the overall amount of the colony. They know mutation A happened at a certain generation due to the fact that any generation before that would not yield the citrate consumption advantage. Mutation A was there and it did nothing. Mutation B might have happened in other generations but with no advantage because of the miss mutation A. Only together did these two mutations yield an advantage.

My point here is that I have this belief that the people who do not believe that Evolution is real believe so for the simple fact that they do not understand it. I've been studying it for quite some time and I can honestly say that I do not fully understand it. Unfortunately people spread misinformation such as "it's just a theory" or "humans come from apes". I know that some of this stuff is taught in schools as well because of the lack of understanding with that teachers possess as well. One of the most uninformed teachings is the phrase "survival of the fittest" which is as incorrect as "humans came from apes". Survival through natural selection has nothing to do with being physically fit. It has everything to do with an organism's ability to adapt, survive, and reproduce in its environment and a gene's ability to survive and reproduce in its environment.

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lamminium

At my uni, there were a few people handing out a book titled: "The Origin of Species, 150th Anniversary Edition: Charles Darwin" for free. A friend of mine got it and introduced it to me. My eye then twitched at the line at the bottom of the cover: "Special introduction by Ray Comfort" and soon I was able to verify that the whole introduction was about demonising Darwin and falsifying evolution with constant reference to God and the Bible, and well, for many pages, it all came down to Jesus Christ. After that lengthy unreadable introduction, the original draft of "The Origin of Species" was presented (but whether it was modified in some way, one could only guess).

I guess as long as people intentionally spread misinformation about evolution, the general public will continue to be fooled.

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Memphis

I was reading through some of the threads (because I've been away for some time) and I came across a thread on Evolution. I take particular interest in these threads for I am studying to be an Evolutionary Biologist sometime in the future. As I was reading through, a comment caught my eye. Someone had replied (it's not exact but somewhere in the ballpark) "I apply Evolution to animals but I do not apply it to humans because I don't believe humans evolved from apes". Of course I went to hit the reply button only to discover that the thread was locked by the OP's request. Anyway, it really bothers me that this kind of misinformation is spread. Especially if the misinformation is hindering someone's confidence of the theory based upon that misinformation. I thought I would take a moment to clarify some of those misconceptions about Evolution.

Evolution states that humans evolved from apes

There has never been anyone, who has ever understood Evolution by Nature Selection, ever claimed that humans evolved from apes. Apes and humans share a common ancestor but that is the extent of any kind of relation. This common ancestor had evolved in at least two different directions millions of years before humans or apes had come about.

Evolution is just a theory

In a sense this is true. However, the definition of theory is often being used as a synonym for "hypothesis" when people spout this retort. While "theory" does posses a definition irritatingly close to the definition of "hypothesis", a scientific theory such as Evolution does not utilize that definition. The word "theory" when used in the sense of a scientific theory, the definition changes closer to a synonym to the word "fact". Any time someone declares that "Evolution is just a theory!", they might as well be declaring that Evolution is just a fact. Furthermore, gravity is just a theory; the idea that the Sun is at the centre of the solar system is just a theory (Heliocentric Theory); the entire human understanding of electricity, electronics, and our colossal telecommunications infrastructure is all based on Quantum Theory.

Evolution says we came from a primordial soup

Actually, Evolution itself makes no assumptions about where life came from or how it came about. The theory of Evolution only describes how life go to where it is today.

Irreducible Complexities disproves Evolution

This statement couldn't be any more wrong. Opposition to the theory of Evolution usually retort phrases such as "There is no use for a quarter of an eye or half a of wing or a third of a lung". This is just ridiculous thinking. Ask a man with less than perfect vision if he would like to be completely blind. Furthermore, there are worms with proto-eyes that have survived using less than a quarter of a human eye. Fauna will have greater survival chances (compared to non-seeing organisms) by seeing only light; seeing only blurry images; seeing black and white. Implying that only half of a wing is not useful is awful logic. If something were to fall out of a tree (or just out of a tree to escape a predator), half of a wing might provide enough drag to slow the fall of the animal to allow it survive the fall that it might not have survived otherwise. As for the lung. A third of a lung might provide a survival advantage if it were stuck in a pool of water during low tide. The piece of a lung might provide that stranded fish with enough air breathing to allow it to flap from a pool to another pool or from a pool to the open ocean.

Irreducible complexities have also been observed to happen during lab tests on bacterial colonization of Escherichia coli by bacteriologist Richard Lenski and his colleagues at Michigan State University. I wont go into great detail for it would take a chapter to explain and I would implore you to read the research yourself for it is definitely an interesting read. However, the lab yielding a generation that had a mutation that did nothing. Only after many, many generations later did a second mutation allow the bacteria to use citrate as a food which increased the overall amount of the colony. They know mutation A happened at a certain generation due to the fact that any generation before that would not yield the citrate consumption advantage. Mutation A was there and it did nothing. Mutation B might have happened in other generations but with no advantage because of the miss mutation A. Only together did these two mutations yield an advantage.

My point here is that I have this belief that the people who do not believe that Evolution is real believe so for the simple fact that they do not understand it. I've been studying it for quite some time and I can honestly say that I do not fully understand it. Unfortunately people spread misinformation such as "it's just a theory" or "humans come from apes". I know that some of this stuff is taught in schools as well because of the lack of understanding with that teachers possess as well. One of the most uninformed teachings is the phrase "survival of the fittest" which is as incorrect as "humans came from apes". Survival through natural selection has nothing to do with being physically fit. It has everything to do with an organism's ability to adapt, survive, and reproduce in its environment and a gene's ability to survive and reproduce in its environment.

Good Post!, i'm glad someone took the time to do this!

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speedstr3789
My point here is that I have this belief that the people who do not believe that Evolution is real believe so for the simple fact that they do not understand it. I've been studying it for quite some time and I can honestly say that I do not fully understand it. Unfortunately people spread misinformation such as "it's just a theory" or "humans come from apes".

Well, your whole speel has just been debunked because as you point out...it's your belief. Nothing more.

Then you go on to say that people who do not believe is because they do not understand yet in the same breadth you say you don't fully understand.

So basically your interpretation is no more valid than someone Else's.

You sound like a junior wannabe Evolutionist who thinks because he's read some text books and maybe taken some junior classes that you are correct and everyone else isn't when in reality you have no more proof of one "theory" over the next.

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dancedar

Great post, although I fear flame-bait!

My interpretation of 'survival of the fittest' is most fit for the environment from being physically fit to take advantage of things over others. Physically fit - to run faster, yes, but that infers most fitting for the environment. Bleh, not explained well but hope it makes sense. May re-read CD's Origin book now, it's an amazing piece of work.

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carmatic

One of the most uninformed teachings is the phrase "survival of the fittest" which is as incorrect as "humans came from apes". Survival through natural selection has nothing to do with being physically fit. It has everything to do with an organism's ability to adapt, survive, and reproduce in its environment and a gene's ability to survive and reproduce in its environment.

i thought 'fit' had more meaning to it than simply an athlethic person... like, for example, in hard disks, the overall condition of all its systems as reported by SMART is called 'fitness' ...

but if you apply the ability to adapt , survive etc etc, to a person, wouldnt you say that someone who is 'fit' would fit the description as well?

You sound like a junior wannabe Evolutionist who thinks because he's read some text books and maybe taken some junior classes that you are correct and everyone else isn't when in reality you have no more proof of one "theory" over the next.

there is no such thing as an 'Evolutionist' ... there are Creationists, and there's everyone else

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HSoft

there is no such thing as an 'Evolutionist' ... there are Creationists, and there's everyone else

Nope, not true. There are more than just two strains of thought on how we came about.

For example, re-incarnation does not fall into either category but some people believe in it.

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brentaal

Nope, not true. There are more than just two strains of thought on how we came about.

For example, re-incarnation does not fall into either category but some people believe in it.

How exactly does reincarnation answer the question of where we came from?

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+M2Ys4U
Evolution states that humans evolved from apes

There has never been anyone, who has ever understood Evolution by Nature Selection, ever claimed that humans evolved from apes. Apes and humans share a common ancestor but that is the extent of any kind of relation. This common ancestor had evolved in at least two different directions millions of years before humans or apes had come about.

Humans are apes.

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0sit0

Well, your whole speel has just been debunked because as you point out...it's your belief. Nothing more.

Then you go on to say that people who do not believe is because they do not understand yet in the same breadth you say you don't fully understand.

So basically your interpretation is no more valid than someone Else's.

You sound like a junior wannabe Evolutionist who thinks because he's read some text books and maybe taken some junior classes that you are correct and everyone else isn't when in reality you have no more proof of one "theory" over the next.

He said he believes people who don't agree with Evolution is because they don't understand it, he never said he believes in evolution... lol.

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Solid Knight

It's a combination of reproductive success and luck actually. The luck part comes down to uncontrollable things like forest fires or meteors.

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carmatic

Nope, not true.??There are more than just two strains of thought on how we came about.

For example, re-incarnation does not fall into either category but some people believe in it.

which was exactly my point, these Creationists seem to want to polarize the world into the two strains of thought you were talking about... them and these so called 'Evolutionists' ....?

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HSoft

How exactly does reincarnation answer the question of where we came from?

Some people believe God created man.

Other people believe in Evolution.

Some people believe in re-incarnation. Re-incarnation doesn't mean that orignally you had to be human. It's just another viewpoint.

All I'm saying is there are more than 2 viewpoints on how humans came to be.

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Hani

Great post mate. Evolution is by far my most favorite scientific theory as it gives a logical and scientific explanation of how we came to be.

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carmatic

Other people believe in Evolution.

thats one other thing... your not supposed to 'believe' in evolution, instead you believe in the process of is-this-right-or-wrong which leads to the formation of the idea of evolution

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azure.sapphire
<br />Well, your whole speel has just been debunked because as you point out...it's your belief. Nothing more.<br />Then you go on to say that people who do not believe is because they do not understand yet in the same breadth you say you don't fully understand.<br />So basically your interpretation is no more valid than someone Else's.<br />You sound like a junior wannabe Evolutionist who thinks because he's read some text books and maybe taken some junior classes that you are correct and everyone else isn't when in reality you have no more proof of one "theory" over the next.<br />
<br /><br /><br />

No, it just means that he was paying attention in his secondary classes (as in high school, if not elementary school). Evolution is accepted science. One does not have to take biological or anthropology classes in college in order to understand the principles of basic scientific concepts. It might, however, help to do so.

<br /><a href='http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Handbook-Vance-Ferrell/dp/B000SSV7RO' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>http://www.amazon.co...l/dp/B000SSV7RO</a><br /><br />It's available for free on their site <a href='http://evolution-facts.org/Handbook%20TOC.htm' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>http://evolution-fac...dbook%20TOC.htm</a><br />
<br /><br /><br />

Absolute nonsense. Come on you can do better than drudging out arguments from the last two decades that have been shown to be illegitimate over and over again.

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s1k3sT

That book is rubbish as it just promotes YEC. It fails badly at trying to convince people that it contains scientific literature.

Did you even read it, or are you just repeating what you've been told?

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+SOOPRcow

Some people believe God created man.

Other people believe in Evolution.

I tend to look at them both as separate subjects. You can believe in god while still believing in evolution. Evolution happens, we can see it every day through normal breeding. The real question is what started it all :)

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s1k3sT

Evolution happens, we can see it every day through normal breeding.

What?! What animals are currently evolving?

Hell, which animals can be proven to have evolved through fossil records?

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+SOOPRcow

You know how kids can look like both of there parents (e.g dad's nose, mom's eyes extra) ? There ya go, same thing.

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vincent

Did you even read it, or are you just repeating what you've been told?

I've read it, the volunteer that works at my office brings in his copy once a week and i go through it with him.

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s1k3sT

You know how kids can look like both of there parents (e.g dad's nose, mom's eyes extra) ? There ya go, same thing.

You know how people think their pets look like they do? Did we evolve from the pets or was it the other way around?

I've read it, the volunteer that works at my office brings in his copy once a week and i go through it with him.

Well, at least you checked both sides. I just don't understand how you can read it and yet claim it "fails badly at trying to convince people that it contains scientific literature."

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