Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I Want Video Evidence of Evolution

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I was recently browsing twitter and stumbled upon a Christian who was asking for video evidence for evolution. Of course, anyone who knows anything about how evolution actually works can immediately see how ridiculous of a demand this is. It is so silly in fact that the first instinct for many people might be to simply call him an idiot and move on. It's tempting to assume they are just screwing around, making demands that are impossible just to derail the conversation. If you've thought a lot about evolution these ideas become second nature, it's easy to forget that many people don't have the slightest idea how evolution works. Add to this misinformation they are getting from Church and various bits of media, it's not terribly surprising that some pretty huge misconceptions are out there.

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Evolution doesn't happen to an individual. An animal doesn't evolve into another animal. If you didn't know anything about evolution, but you watched pokemon, perhaps you might think the first picture I linked is supposed to be the evolution of an individual instead of the evolution of species. If that has happened at some point in the past, and there are still monkeys, why couldn't it happen again in the future? Why couldn't we get it on video at some point? It's interesting how a potential misconception can snowball and lead to such a ridiculous question, and yet, with this incorrect starting point, why not? It's a shame pokemon didn't use the word metamorphosis instead of evolve, it seems to match what is happening much better. Is that the mistake this person made on twitter? I don't really know, it's the only thing I could really come up with though. How else could they expect we could get evolution on video?

So the question becomes, how do you respond to these types of ridiculous requests? As I said, it can be tempting to just call them idiots and move on. I see this as a missed opportunity. It seems much more useful to explain that evolution happens to populations and not to individuals. No individual ever evolves, you have the same genes you were born with you entire life. Will they absorb this information when you tell them? Probably not, but hopefully it will sink in. And of course, there is always the possibility that someone else is watching who isn't so invested in the argument that can learn from the exchange. Once you call them an idiot it's game over.

5 comments:

  1. Would they take Dawkins computer evolutionary models as evidence? (one could make an evolutionary video using these programs) More than likely not as they would say its "designed" by scientists so this proves a designer. But that is pretty much the only thing I could come up with.

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    1. I can't imagine they would take computer models as evidence, those would only be a possible way things could have happened, not really evidence itself. Hell, I wouldn't take computer models as evidence either, I would tend to think computer models are more useful to test hypotheses and show you where to look for actual evidence.

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  2. I've given up responding to such individuals, even if you could give them what they want, they'd ignore it so what's the point?

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    1. I guess it really just comes down to whether you think people's mind can be changed. Can this guy's mind be changed? Probably not, but it is possible. I like the thought of repeatedly putting these ideas out there and letting them marinate.

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  3. I want video evidence of Jesus.

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