What is evolution?
Evolution is technically defined as: "a gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form." As it is most famously used, "evolution" is the process by which an organism becomes more sophisticated over time and in response to its environment. The Theory of Evolution is currently the most popular concept of how life reached its current state. Evolution as a biological mechanism is driven by natural selection. This theory is favored by many scientists to explain phenomena in nature, so much so that it is generally assumed as factual in most studies.
In reality, evolution is not without controversy. Religious objections aside, in-depth analysis of evolution raises doubts that the scientific community is hard pressed to answer. Evolution has never been fundamentally proven, and most scientists admit as much. Ironically, many evolutionists defend the theory using arguments once attributed to fundamentalist Christians, such as "it just makes the most sense," and "because I choose to believe it," or "because I refuse to believe the opposite." These scientists fill in the gaps in the evolutionary model using reasonable assumptions, something for which non-evolutionists are often criticized.
Evolution has several important components: Natural Selection, Macro-evolution, and Micro-evolution. Evolution as a theory existed long before any evidence for its components was recorded. Scientific studies eventually were able to interpret data through an evolutionary viewpoint and link these core concepts into the modern theory of evolution.
Natural selection is the machine that drives evolution. This mechanism causes those organisms that are "abnormal" to survive an environmental change, making them the "new normal." Over time, according to the Theory of Evolution, this can cause an organism to change into a totally different form of life. Some evidence of natural selection has been seen in nature, but not to an extent that would change a species in any meaningful way. Every genetic mutation that science has observed changing the form or function of an organism has resulted in handicap or death. It does, however, mean that an ecosystem is vulnerable to rapid change, since organisms that cannot adapt will usually die.
Nobody disputes Micro-Evolution. It is universally agreed that wolves, coyotes, dingoes, jackals, foxes, and the hundreds of different domestic dog breeds probably all came from an original pair of "dogs." This is Variations within a Kind, NOT upward evolution from simplicity into complexity as supposed by Darwinian Evolutionary Theory. The variations are always in a downward trend and are constrained by the genetic code (the dogs do not grow wings and learn to fly). No new genetic information is added, genetic information is always lost: The original pair of "dogs" would have had all of the potential characteristics of all of their various progeny, while the descendants themselves have lost that same potential. The Dog Kind has given birth to many species which in turn became isolated gene pools. The original parents would have had all of the potential traits expressed in all of their various offspring. This is all science has ever observed. There is no known process by which genetic information can be added.
While Micro-Evolution (Variations within a Kind) is observed and well documented, Macro-Evolution is not and thus highly disputable. Macro-Evolution is transition from one Kind of plant or animal into another. Macro-evolution involves large or important changes in the basic function of an organism. This cannot happen during a single organism's life, so it can only be the result of a series of genetic mutations. Every genetic mutation involving form or function observed in laboratories has either been fatal, crippling, or self-reversing. For instance, some bacteria with genetic deviations have survived antibiotics better than those without, but died out quickly once the antibiotics were gone. Macro-evolution is the evolutionists' explanation for how the billions of diverse species on earth came about - Variation from one Kind to another.
As shown above, evolution as the core mechanism of biology suffers from some severe drawbacks. There is an overwhelming tendency of organisms to suffer, rather than benefit from mutation. The balance of earth's ecosystems, including the relationships between species, is nearly impossible to explain under evolution's ever-changing view. In reality, evolution is not really different than other philosophical or religious opinions about the origins of life. It seems to be supported by some facts and seems to be refuted by others. There are gaps in the theory that must be filled by "the benefit of the doubt." In religious circles, this is referred to as "faith."
Learn More about Darwin's Theory of Evolution!
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