Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rational Response- Why are There Still Monkeys?



I have been inundated with ridiculous responses to my writings lately and decided that I needed to have my say about this "argument".

"If Evolution is true, then why are there still Monkeys?"

This is the second most common argument against Evolution (the first being a fundemental misunderstanding of the word "theory") and I can't sit idly by and listen to it any more.

ARGH!!!!

I just needed to get that out of my system.  Now on to the article...

First let me comment on the logical fallacy in the very question. 

This is a classic Argument from Ignorance (I will cover this in the next Logic-101 series) where someone doesn't know the answer to a question, or a claim doesn't make sense to him and they feel that is enough reason to dismiss the scientific model. 

This is clearly untrue.  It is not something based in a positive knowledge of how the model fails, but based on a persons inductive reasoning not being able to reconcile the model with his experience and knowledge.

This is not how we determine scientific knowledge.


Huh?  It's how I do it!
 We determine it by attempting to debunk it through real and contrary evidence, we test it, we observe the results, we ensure that those results are common by repeating the tests and ensuring the same results every time, and we ensure that those tests produce predictable results.

That is called the Scientific Method folks.

But on to the explaination.

The first thing that needs to be understood is that we didn't evolve from "apes", we evolved from what is called a common ancestor.  This common ancestor would not be recognizable as a modern ape.

They might look more like this...


The next thing to understand is that evolution is a conditional process based on the variations in a population.  That variation is predicated on what attributes of that being help it to survive long enough (in it's specific environment) to have offspring. 

Different populations, and different environments will not have the same variations as both the gene pool and the requirements of the environment will be different (as will it's genetic drift).

Over large periods of time these populations go their seperate ways along the evolutionary path based on the reproductive success of the variations specific to their population.  These variations only produce very minor changes that are practically impossible to see in short periods of time, but over very large periods of time they will produce a population that would no longer be similar enough to the other groups to be able to inter-breed. 

BINGO- Humans and Chimps via Speciation!

TA DAH!!

This is a very short and very basic explanation, which is by no means comprehensive but I hope that you get the basic idea.

The common ancestor of my example doesn't even have to die out.  It could have (but didn't) survive if one group was well adapted to its environment and another developed to be well suited to a different one.  Individuals don't evolve, populations do.

I don't want to get any further into it, as I will end up muddling the explanation.

But I hope that you have gained a very basic understanding of this very common quesion.

I'm still confused...

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