Evolution: There is no debate
By Alan D. Griffin
The debate between intelligent design and evolution has become a mainstay in popular culture as well as academia. The problem with this face-off of ideas is that intelligent design deals with the intervention of a higher entity in the creation of the world and the current animal and plant species which were created in their current biological state.
The reason you cannot pit this religiously based concept of intelligent design against evolution is the simple fact that the theory of evolution being scientific cannot claim or deny the intervention of an intelligent designer because there is no observable or measurable way to test for the existence of such a designer. If there is an intelligent designer or not does not affect the theory of evolution.
The theory of evolution only accounts for changes in allele frequencies in population; also known as microevolution, not the primary mover or chemical reaction that sparked the animation of the initial living organism.
To truly understand the effectiveness of the theory of evolution there are a few terms and concepts that must be understood.
A gene is a portion of the DNA molecule containing base pairs that is the fundamental physical and functional unit of heredity. Alleles are alternate forms of genes, for example the gene for a human blood type in the A-B-O system refers to a specific portion of a DNA molecule on chromosome 9 that in this case is 1,062 letters long. This gene specifies the production of an enzyme, a kind of protein that initiates and directs a chemical reaction. This particular enzyme causes molecules involved in immune responses to attach to the surface of red blood cells. Alleles correspond to alternate forms of this gene that determines blood type, the A allele and the B allele. ( Haviland p.35).
The Hardy-Weinberg principle algebraically demonstrates that that the percentages of individuals homozygous ( possessing identical alleles for a specific gene ) for the dominant allele, homozygous for the recessive allele, and heterozygous ( possessing different alleles for a specific gene) should remain constant from one generation to the next, provided that certain conditions are met. These specific conditions include: that mating is entirely random, the population is sufficiently large for statistical average to express itself, no new variants will be introduced into the population’s gene pool, and all individuals are equally successful at surviving and reproducing.
Geographic, physiologic, and social factors may favor mating between certain individuals over others, thus changes in the gene pool of a population take place, without which evolution could not take place. Because alleles are not “lost” in the process of reproduction, the frequency of alleles within a population should remain exactly the same from one generation to the next in the absence of evolution. Yet, this is not what we observe to be true (Haviland 42). The four main forces in evolution are mutation, genetic drift, gene flow, and natural selection.
Mutation is a chance alteration of genetic materials that produces new variation. Although some mutations can be harmful or beneficial most mutations are neutral. Mutations arise from copying mistakes during cell division.
Genetic drift is the chance fluctuation of allele frequencies in the gene pool of a population. Genetic drift changes the traits that get past down from generation to generation based on the survivability of individuals in a population. An example of this is of a forest animal with advantageous traits being killed in a forest fire before having the chance to reproduce thereby removing his genes from the gene pool of that population. The larger the population the less effect the death of an individual will have on the gene pool, the smaller the population then a larger effect the loss of an individual will have on the gene pool.
Gene flow occurs when two populations of a species is separated for a period of time and then reintroduced to each other, introduce different genes to the gene pool of that population. An example of this would be if a river separates two populations of a species, preventing interbreeding, these two populations would accrue random genetic differences due to isolation. If the river changes course and the two populations can interbreed freely, new alleles that were only present in one population will now appear in both.
Natural Selection accounts for adaptive change, which is a series of beneficial adjustments to the environment. Natural selection comes ultimately to reproductive success, those individuals who have adapted well to their environment will have a greater survivability and therefore a greater chance of reproductive success, survival of the fittest leads to the survival of the fittest genes.
Mutation and gene flow introduce new variants into the gene pool. Gene flow and natural selection show that all members of a population are not equally able to survive and reproduce and that mating is not entirely random (Haviland 42-44).
According to the Hardy- Weinberg principle evolution must take place since the specific conditions needed for evolution to not take place are compromised by mutation, genetic drift, gene flow, and natural selection.
If there is an intelligent designer that created the different species in the distant past they are not the same species that we see today due to mutation, genetic drift, gene flow and natural selection from the time of creation until the present date Many intelligent design theorist will concede to microevolution and reject macroevolution.
The fact of the matter is what is observed as macroevolution is simply the result of microevolution over vast periods of time.
I don’t understand why Macroevolution is so hard for some people to grasp. Small changes over time lead to major changes.
Michelangelo began with a Block of Marble. He then made small adaptations to the block of Marble until the statue of David emerged. Small changes turned a block of marble into something quite different, a masterpiece! You would not say that the statue of David didn’t come from a single block of marble simply because you don’t have every piece and chip of marble Michelangelo sculpted off would you?
Some New Atheists try to use the theory of evolution to disprove the existence of god. This is nothing but an elaborated manipulation of a scientific theory to promulgate a philosophical stance which has undermined the true reality of the theory of evolution and all that it entails.
The theory of evolution cannot prove or disprove the existence of an intelligent designer, nor can any other scientific theory that is currently known. The fascinating thing about human beings is that we have been able to incorporate evolution out of the purely biological and successfully apply it to language and technology thus creating an entirely new avenue of evolution, the evolution of the conscious mind.
Haviland, William A.;Prins, Harald E. L.; Walrath, Dana; McBride, Bunny Anthropology: The Human Challenge, Thirteen Edition, Wadsworth, Belmont,CA, 2011.