Is evolution real?

If evolution is caused by random mutations that can morph one species into another species, why aren't there any fossils that are in-between species? Well, I guess there are a few bits and pieces that don't really prove anything. And why is there such an increase in species during the Cambrian explosion? I don't understand how the process of natural selection through favoragle mutations could do this in such a short span of time. The odds are beyond astronomical. Are there any instances of a species evolving into another species that have actually been observed in nature? I don't mean a slight modification of a species like those Darwin birds with the big beaks. That is not a new species, just a big beak that is still a beak on the same bird. Why haven't people evolved in the thousands of years of recorded history? Yeah, we're a little taller, but we eat a lot better so that doesn't mean much either.
Atheist Answer: 

What we have here is a laundry list of creationist talking points. Thanks for rounding them up for me.

There are more than a few bits and pieces of transitional fossils. Here is a list of hundreds of excellent examples of transitional species for which adequate-to-plentiful fossil evidence has been found. If you want to research a couple in detail, I recommend Ambulocetus (which means "walking whale") and the famous Tiktaalik. Suit yourself though, you're spoilt for choice.

The Cambrian period was fifty million years long. The "explosion" itself happened in a relatively short period at the beginning, but "relatively short" in this context can still stretch over several million years. That's hardly instantaneous, and it certainly isn't beyond the capabilities of ordinary evolutionary diversification. The going theory is that animals in general emerged at about that time, or even during the "explosion"; such completely new life forms would have had a lot of licence to spread and change.

The odds of any specific species emerging are astronomical indeed, but given that an almost unlimited number of hypothetical species could have appeared in their place, the odds of something appearing probably approach certainty. Think of the lottery; every entrant has a one-in-umpteen-million chance of winning, but how often does someone take the jackpot anyway? Never more than a few weeks go by before it happens. Why? Because everybody's got a ticket. (As for the odds on the diversity of the Cambrian explosion, just what are the astronomical odds you're on about?)

Use your browser to search this article for the word "observed" to find some recent examples of new species emerging before our eyes. It's true that these examples generally have some important new feature or dimensions rather than being an entirely new type of animal, but unfortunately the sorts of changes I think you'd like to see take thousands of times too long to observe in a human lifespan. Sorry, but it's like asking to watch the erosion of the Grand Canyon. Even if you'd been there when the water was, you might not have noticed a thing even if you stared at it for years. You'd need the equivalent of a time-lapse film, and that's what the geological (for fossils, the paleontological) record provides.

Recorded history is seven thousand years long at the most (writing was only invented about 5500 years ago, so before that it's all symbols and drawings). Current understanding of our pre-human ancestry indicates a new species of primate every one to five hundred thousand years. Recorded history therefore stretches back far enough to allow for 7%, at most, of the change necessary to declare a new species. Given the diversity of human bodies, the sheer deviation from various averages, 7% isn't enough to pick out the actual evolution from plain old human differences.

Again, sorry, but we're just not around long enough to spot this stuff happening around us. Nevertheless, every piece of evidence we have tells us that it does.

- SmartLX


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Ahhh the Cambrian

Ahhh the Cambrian explosion... a common topic that creationists claim can't be explained away by evolution.

Ignoring the countless explanations for it of course.

Such as the higher oxygen levels allowed easier conversion of food to energy in new ways. Or the emergence of bone structures which allowed fossils to be more easily left than would be with the previous groups of organisms (mainly soft-bodied) and the advent of skeletal structures allowing new species to occupy niches that were previously unattainable and allowed them to hold and expand to fill those niches...

Cambrian Explosion period is most likely mainly an apparent explosion. Either way, there's plenty of non-contradictory theories centred around it. Like all things I wish creationists would just leave it alone and find something else to (try) poke holes in.