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Evidence for evolution

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The evidence for evolution is too widespread and numerous to be properly covered here. Some key lines of evidence include:

  1. A nested hierarchy of biological charectaristics. The theory of evolution predicts that the properties of different species will not be spread randomly or uniformally across the biodiversity landscape. Instead, a particular pattern - called nested hierarchy - should be maintained. There are several layers of biological properties - anatomial, biochemical, genetic, gene regulation networks, pseudo- and epigenetic, and more. All these seperate lines of data, all obtained from currently living lifeforms, should confirm the same nested hierarchy. This is indeed the case.
  2. The fossil record should match patterns predicted by evolution. It should demonstrate new species gardually evolving from earlier species, a process called Macroevolution. While the evolution of a new specieis may take millions of years, the fossil record should in general show change of speices and extinctions over time, and occasionally transitional forms between species.
  3. The fossil record's Phylogenetic Tree, the tree of life as revealed in the fossil record, should match the genetic information obtained from living organisms. The same nested hierarchy observed above should be seen to develop in the fossil record. The time genetic changes in living animals occured according to the various molecular phylogenies should correspond to the dates the fossil record shows these changes occured; for example, if the molecular evidence points to a common ancestor to apes and humans some 5 million years ago, then the fossils along the branch of hominids splitting from the ape line should all be younger than 5 million years. The paleontological finds should be arranged in time and place in a manner consistent with the phylogenetic evolution; for example, no fish can be found in the Pre-Cambrian era.
  4. Speciation events ("Macroevolution") should be observed, albeit rarely, in living organisms, both in the lab and in natural environments.
  5. Rate of change in gene frequencies and phenotypes within existing species, also called Microevolution, should be consistent with that found in the fossil record and genetic phylogenetic analysis, and should be fast enough so as to allow evolution to have caused the changes observed in life's history. The specific changes observed should also conform to those expected by the New Synthesis or Neo-Darwinian theory, namely be directed by Natural Selection and Genetic Drift. A quintessential example of such intra-species change is the Peppered Moth.
  6. The geographical dispersion of different species and subspeicies should confrom to the patterns predicted by evolution, such as radiation of many speicies from a single point over time. This analysis must take Plate Tectonics and other geological processes into account, of course, as the environment can change substantially over the relevant times.

All these, and many other, predictions of modern evolutionary theory were verified and are continually (albeit often implicitly) verified and confirmed on a daily basis by biologists all over the world.

For a more in-depth discussion of the empirical evidence for evolution, we recommend more specific sites, such as Talk.Origins and Evowiki.

In contrast, no satisfactory theistic explanation for the specific empirical patterns found in nature has ever been provided. There are only two theories even attempting to explain these patterns:

  1. God has set up the world so that evolution will take place as naturalism supposes (Theistic Evolution), or
  2. God has set up the world so that all evidence will point to evolution having taken place just as naturalism supposes, even though it really didn't (making a kind of Deceptive Demon argument) This is logically possible but is in no way consistent with the way Christians see God.

Both of these "explanations" are philosophically vaccous and fail to provide any empirical test for their validty over and above the (simpler) naturalisitc evolutionary scenario.

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