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Thread: So I *might* get to write an article for a Creationist website

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    Default So I *might* get to write an article for a Creationist website

    ....about evolution.

    This site here. I've mentioned it a few times before, nobody probably cared 'cause it's some fringe lunatic site in some far decrepit corner of the internet. But all the same I'm a bit titillated; nothing's set in stone yet, but basically, another frequent poster on the blog was challenged to write a 1000-1200-word essay defending "macroevolution." He declined due to time contraints, so the blog host went ahead and even offered to post the essay if the guy would write it (knowing that he probably wouldn't, I'm sure). The guy still declined, he recommended me instead (I actually offered first), and I said I'd take him up on it, mostly to call the host's bluff (as I am perfectly willing to make some time to write up a short paper on evolution, given that it's one of the subjects I'm now studying as part of my biology prep), but also because I see this as a potentially good opportunity.

    So regardless of whether or not it goes up, I want to write a decent paper on evolution....what I want to know from you guys is, are there any popular arguments against evolution (specifically, "macro" evolution) that you see or hear frequently, that you'd like to see addressed? Can you think of an argument against evolution that you think it would pay to address in a strictly creationist environment? This is a pretty rare chance and I'd like to make the best of it if possible, in as non-confrontational and open-minded (but firm and educational) way as I can manage. I already have a rough outline set up; here are a few examples of the types of things I'll be discussing:

    -) "humans evolving from apes" (response: contemporary species don't evolve into each other, they share a common ancestor)

    -) the "genetic boundary" argument, which states that species can only evolve so far before they hit a "genetic boundary" and thus can't truly "speciate," preventing macroevolution from happening (response: species don't evolve into each other, they splinter off within their own populations and form new sub-species, retaining vestigial relations with their ancestors)

    -) "gaps in the fossil record"

    -) how evolution is falsifiable ("rabbits in the Cambrian")

    You don't need a background in evolution or biology to help me out here, just a rough understanding of creationist objections to evolutionary theory. If you can think of anything that I might have missed, by all means post it, even if you think it might be redundant. I'm trying to amass as much evidence as possible (I still have a week or two to get everything together, no rush) before I set down to write the final draft.

    Thanks much for any help!

    --Tim
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    Quote Originally Posted by Static_Martyr View Post
    ....about evolution.

    This site here. I've mentioned it a few times before, nobody probably cared 'cause it's some fringe lunatic site in some far decrepit corner of the internet. But all the same I'm a bit titillated; nothing's set in stone yet, but basically, another frequent poster on the blog was challenged to write a 1000-1200-word essay defending "macroevolution." He declined due to time contraints, so the blog host went ahead and even offered to post the essay if the guy would write it (knowing that he probably wouldn't, I'm sure). The guy still declined, he recommended me instead (I actually offered first), and I said I'd take him up on it, mostly to call the host's bluff (as I am perfectly willing to make some time to write up a short paper on evolution, given that it's one of the subjects I'm now studying as part of my biology prep), but also because I see this as a potentially good opportunity.

    So regardless of whether or not it goes up, I want to write a decent paper on evolution....what I want to know from you guys is, are there any popular arguments against evolution (specifically, "macro" evolution) that you see or hear frequently, that you'd like to see addressed? Can you think of an argument against evolution that you think it would pay to address in a strictly creationist environment? This is a pretty rare chance and I'd like to make the best of it if possible, in as non-confrontational and open-minded (but firm and educational) way as I can manage. I already have a rough outline set up; here are a few examples of the types of things I'll be discussing:

    -) "humans evolving from apes" (response: contemporary species don't evolve into each other, they share a common ancestor)

    -) the "genetic boundary" argument, which states that species can only evolve so far before they hit a "genetic boundary" and thus can't truly "speciate," preventing macroevolution from happening (response: species don't evolve into each other, they splinter off within their own populations and form new sub-species, retaining vestigial relations with their ancestors)

    -) "gaps in the fossil record"

    -) how evolution is falsifiable ("rabbits in the Cambrian")

    You don't need a background in evolution or biology to help me out here, just a rough understanding of creationist objections to evolutionary theory. If you can think of anything that I might have missed, by all means post it, even if you think it might be redundant. I'm trying to amass as much evidence as possible (I still have a week or two to get everything together, no rush) before I set down to write the final draft.

    Thanks much for any help!

    --Tim
    The only argument I can think of is "missing links", although it does not question the logic of the evolution theory in my opinion.
    The only real argument I hear being repeated against evolution is no real argument... it is just people saying that evolution is not (entirely) real because god created all living beings. But this is no real argument as it is not falsifiable and does not falsify evolution theory; rather an opinion.

    ps: It's nice to hear that you have got this opportunity, maybe you can actually persuade some of them to adjust their belief systems a little
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    I'd like to help you any way i can. I'm not studying biology, but i'm taking a great interest into evolution for basically my whole life, ever since i got first magazines about the dinosaurs as a 4-year-old kid, i started collecting fossils back then, prehistoric life just fascinated me. By now i've got myself quite a nice collection, everything from mosquitos in amber to dinosaur teeth, from pretty much all geological periods.


    Anyway, a while ago i watched this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFjoEgYOgRo

    What has striken me as an extremely blatant misinterpretation of the evolution theory is that Wendy Wright demanded Richard Dawkins to present her with a fossil that would be a deffinite proof that humans (and other animals) evolved from slime, as there should be many evidence for it. Well, what fossil would be a definite proof for it? What she failed to understand is that there is no single proof for it - you have to look at the family tree of animals for it, and see how they gradually evolved into new species. Basically all of the transitional fossils are proof for evolution, and there are countless of transitional fossils. Transitional fossils are especially well documented in the case of us, humans. Basically every humanoid fossil is just a transitional fossil: http://darwiniana.org/hominid.htm
    Notice how each previous skull is similar to the next one in line, but also a bit different in some ways? That's because we gradually evolved from the first humanoids. It wasn't a rapid transformation. If somebody tries to disprove the theory of evolution citing tle lack of transitional fossils this could help.


    edit: One more thing you could adress - radiocarbon dating (and other methods) of the fossils. It's not the only method of determining the age of fossils (unlike some creationists seem to believe), as it is only useful for materials that are younger than 62.000 years or so. There are other methods that are useful for materials that are much, much older. Creationists also tend to misunderstand how exactly radiometric methods work - they say that scientists (for example) try to determine the exact time of the extinctions of dinosaurs, so they simply say that the event happened 65,5 or 66 million years ago, run the test, and based on their previous assumption they say the results of the tests confirm their hypothesis. That's not how the method works at all. First you must know what the half-life of a certain chemical element is, run the test to get the results of how much of that element the fossil contains, and from the results you got you can calculate the age of the fossil. This is only a simplified explanation, but roughly that's how it works.
    Last edited by Rooster; 01-07-2011 at 06:22 AM.

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    I think you already mentioned most of the talking points. Maybe you can also focus upon the mostly unnecessary distinction between macro and micro evolution, since macro evolution is just a sum of "micro" evolution over time.

    I haven't checked the website but if it's really a crackpot site then also quickly cover the more silly arguments like why don't contemporary apes evolve into humans.

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    I think you already mentioned most of the talking points. Maybe you can also focus upon the mostly unnecessary distinction between macro and micro evolution, since macro evolution is just a sum of "micro" evolution over time.

    I haven't checked the website but if it's really a crackpot site then also quickly cover the more silly arguments like why don't contemporary apes evolve into humans.
    Most definitely, I have those two down pat --- the apes argument will be addressed when I discuss speciation (I'm going to mention it specifically), and I'm going to define macro and micro evolution at the very start for clarity's sake. I'm going to try and elaborate slightly, though, as people tend to accuse you of "begging the question" if you define them such from the start (you're not, really, but that's the whole point here, is that I'm trying to explain this to people who vehemently do not understand it).

    EDIT: Frank Turek (the blog host) is actually a proponent of an Old Earth model and the big bang (he just believes that Yahweh was in charge of the big bang), so it probably won't be as necessary to explore the specifics of an old earth so much as the evidence for speciation and genetic drift. Really, I think just properly *explaining* evolution will cover a lot of ground here (the explanation alone completely destroys about 75% of common creationist objections). The actual evidence will just be the icing on the cake.

    Well, what fossil would be a definite proof for it? What she failed to understand is that there is no single proof for it - you have to look at the family tree of animals for it, and see how they gradually evolved into new species. Basically all of the transitional fossils are proof for evolution, and there are countless of transitional fossils.
    That's another theme I'm hoping to establish; I'm gonna try and touch very basically on each body of evidence for evolution (geological/geographical, biological, archaeological, etc.), and then very subtly tie them together in such a way that most people won't realize how they're connected until they read the closing part. Then it will kind of 'click.' Trick them into seeing the big picture, is kinda what I'm shooting for I actually learned that trick from reading Richard Dawkins' book, The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution (he mentions the Wendy Wright interview in there, there's a humorous little excerpt about 3/4 of the way through).

    So many people try to look at each body of evidence on its own and then draw a universal (usually negative, agenda-driven) conclusion. The reason that doesn't work is, the theory of evolution didn't come about because of one small body of evidence. It accumulated gradually over many years, based on many observations; it took a long time for the theory of evolution to become solidified. It wasn't like someone thought it up one afternoon, and then decided to go fishing for evidence later.

    There are other methods that are useful for materials that are much, much older. Creationists also tend to misunderstand how exactly radiometric methods work - they say that scientists (for example) try to determine the exact time of the extinctions of dinosaurs, so they simply say that the event happened 65,5 or 66 million years ago, run the test, and based on their previous assumption they say the results of the tests confirm their hypothesis.
    I'm gonna try to touch a little bit on carbon dating....specifically I plan to focus on the various methods of dating (tree ring dating, radiometric dating, etc.), and how they overlap. First off, just talking about radiometric dating alone, we have several elements (not just carbon-14) that can be used to date, and across several orders of magnitude (rubidium-87, half-life 49 billion years, or fermium-244, half-life 3.3 milliseconds); carbon-15's half-life is 2.4 seconds whereas carbon-15 has 5,730 years. For dating, you use each element like you would a hand on the clock --- the hour hand tells the hour (a wide range), the minute hand tells the minute (a narrower range). There's no one particular element that we use for such dating --- this is interesting because I grew up hearing a lot of these criticisms of carbon-dating, and judging solely from such criticisms, I had the impression that carbon-14 was the only element used for radiometric dating.

    ...come to think of it, I'm glad you mentioned this, as it's the only area I have yet to work into my outline

    The only real argument I hear being repeated against evolution is no real argument... it is just people saying that evolution is not (entirely) real because god created all living beings. But this is no real argument as it is not falsifiable and does not falsify evolution theory; rather an opinion
    You'd be surprised how many "intelligent design" proponents (i.e. creationists) actually support evolution without realizing it. Most of them think that evolution requires abiogenesis theory to function (it doesn't) --- if you were really hell-bent on reconciling science and religion, you could theoretically believe that god created the first life, and that evolution took it from there. Have you heard of the "wedge strategy?" Most of the objections by the more hardcore, organized creationists are actually moral objections that have little or nothing to do with science. NOVA has a cool documentary on youtube about the Dover trial, part of which discusses the wedge strategy --- the central tenets of which are to "defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies" and "to replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God." I'm hoping that dispelling notions of evolution as some kind of moral lawmaking system will help some people open their minds to the science (I resist the temptation to quote Bad Religion saying, "Who knows who is the fittest?" in response to people assuming that "survival of the fittest" necessarily means "big strong people kill little weak people and that's that").

    Really, though, another theme I'd like to briefly touch on is that whether or not "god did it" is completely irrelevant from an evolutionary (or even abiogenetic) perspective; "god did it" is a statement THAT something happened, whereas evolution and abiogenesis theory are statements about HOW whatever happened, happened. A creationist says, "God did it," and a scientist says, "that's nice, but HOW did god do it, then?"
    Last edited by Static_Martyr; 01-07-2011 at 08:54 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Static_Martyr View Post
    You'd be surprised how many "intelligent design" proponents (i.e. creationists) actually support evolution without realizing it. Most of them think that evolution requires abiogenesis theory to function (it doesn't) --- if you were really hell-bent on reconciling science and religion, you could theoretically believe that god created the first life, and that evolution took it from there. Have you heard of the "wedge strategy?" Most of the objections by the more hardcore, organized creationists are actually moral objections that have little or nothing to do with science. NOVA has a cool documentary on youtube about the Dover trial, part of which discusses the wedge strategy --- the central tenets of which are to "defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies" and "to replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God." I'm hoping that dispelling notions of evolution as some kind of moral lawmaking system will help some people open their minds to the science (I resist the temptation to quote Bad Religion saying, "Who knows who is the fittest?" in response to people assuming that "survival of the fittest" necessarily means "big strong people kill little weak people and that's that").
    I was tempted to say "Well nobody knows what happened before the Earth was created, so that's fine if they can believe in evolution when they also believe in god. But of course the thought of people interpreting evolution the way you just described is pretty alarming. Social-Darwinist thinking is dangerous because those people miss the point of evolution, which happens over the phylogeny and not over the course of ones lifetime.

    Maybe you could try to make them doubt these beliefs by making the big bang theory more credible or... I don't know, it's pretty tough to convince someone to not believe in something anymore when there's no evidence against it since there is no evidence at all about that time.
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    Alright, here's a rough draft (no sources cited, still got a final proofreading to go). If you guys can give it a quick read and give me any criticism that pops into your mind, that'd be great. I'm sure they'll have plenty to say about it over there, so I wanna get the kinks out of it before I even send it in.

    I was recently challenged to summarize the "best evidence for macro-evolution" that I could find in 1200-1500 words. However, as it is impossible to comprehensively discuss evolutionary theory in so few words, I will simply touch on some of the universals --- common misconceptions, objections and arguments, incorporated into what I hope will be seen as a sort of basic overview. In fact, as many of the objections I encounter tend to be based on a misunderstanding of some aspect of evolutionary theory, I'm hoping that simply explaining it properly will help dispel many of the myths about evolution and objections to evolution.

    Before I get started, let's discuss what evolutionary theory is not; evolutionary theory is not a statement of "morality." Evolution is a statement of what we believe happens. It says nothing about whether what happened was "good" or "bad" or "prescriptive." It is simply a descriptive theory of the development of life on earth. There is no real or necessary moral component to evolution, so this essay will not be addressing moral objections to evolutionary theory. Evolutionary theory says that evolution happens whether we want it to or not.

    Also, evolution is not concerned with "random chance" as a driving force. In fact, natural selection, the primary driving component of evolution, is the exact opposite of random chance: it is the principle by which nature favors that which helps something survive, and rejects that which makes survival more difficult. Nothing "random" about it.

    Now, let's start with one of the most common objections: How did the first life arise, according to evolution? This is a simple question; evolution does not have (nor does is require) an answer here. Evolutionary theory can be tested whether life was created by an "intelligent designer" or whether it arose naturally. So I will not go into much detail here, except to say that any life which was formed naturally would have to be simple by definition, thanks to the law of probability (simplicity begets simplicity --- if the first life were complex, it would require an origin as complex as itself, probably moreso, conditions which are exceedingly improbable). However, even if the first life was some kind of miracle that had been zapped into existence rather suddenly, then evolution could still be tested; the only predictions evolution makes about the origin of life are: (1) it was simple; and (2) that it was the ancestor of every creature that exists on earth today.

    How do we know (2) is true, you might ask? We can observe that all life on earth is related from one simple fact, which we will discuss more in a moment: we are all made of DNA. DNA is the basic building block for life as we understand it. There has been no discovery of any other life on earth (or anywhere else) that is not built on DNA. Even bacteria and viruses have DNA. The simplest and the most complex organisms have DNA. If we ever do discover a form of life which does not have DNA as its foundation, then we will have a counterexample to the claim that all life on earth is related; according to most naturalistic abiogenesis theories, the origin of life probably only happened once, or during a very short "window" of time --- pit that against the long, long time it would take for evolution through natural selection to produce varation and speciation, and you will see that it was not likely that very many sources of life sprang into being naturally, at separate times. In fact, a naturalistic origin of life almost requires a startling degree of improbability; if a naturalistic origin to life were very probable, we would be seeing a lot more of it, wouldn't we? So it's safe to hypothesize that there was probably just one (or very few) "original ancestor(s)." If the generation of life from nonliving matter is indeed that improbable, then this ancestor(s) would (naturally) have to be the origin of all other replicating life on earth. This self-replicating organism would eventually give rise to the first "population," or group of organisms of the same species.

    All that is required for natural selection, the foundational aspect of evolution, to take effect is a self-replicating (or "reproducing") population, such as the one described above. Once we have a self-replicating population, we have "competition" for resources --- against nature, even against other organisms (organisms sometimes compete even against their own genetic relations or family, without even realizing it, such as siblings who have to share food). With such a simple organism as the first natural life, this competition would of course be very simple, almost poetic --- the organism might not even be aware that it is competing --- but by the simple fact of its existence (and its continued efforts, guided by natural, unthinking chemical processes), it "competes," with nature and with others of its kind (whether or not it "means" to), for the resources which drive these processes.

    At this point, some people raise the objection, "how does a simple life-form become more complex?" They have a particularly odd way of phrasing it, by asking, "how can new information enter the genome?"

    The best way to answer is through example: take hemoglobin in human blood. All of our globin genes are related to each other (that is, moreso than to any other gene in the body). They appear to have "speciated" from a single "parent" globin gene at some point, within our great great great (times a thousand) ancestor. At some point, that globin gene duplicated, perhaps because of a mutation, and made "copies" of itself. Over time, these benign genes mutated separately on their own, until they adapted to each other's presence within the same chromosomes, isolating into two "clusters," the alpha and beta clusters. This splintering process continued again to give us the zeta cluster and the alphas used in adult humans. Further, this mutation happened far back enough along our descent that it is visible in many nonhuman species --- species which were descended from the same common ancestor as humans, the ancestor in whom these mutations took place! That is certainly an odd phenomenon --- or it would be, if we did not have evolution to explain the connection.

    So the simple answer to the information question is: one gene suffers a benign mutation, creating a copy of itself. Later, that copy mutates further, but in a different way than the original, creating "new" information.

    And now, moving on, we come to the crux of the matter: speciation. This essay was written with the assumption that you accept what is called "micro-evolution," so I won't go into detail about that or about artificial selection (dog breeding is a great example of both "micro-evolution" as well as artificial selection), but rather, I'd like to discuss what is normally seen as the logical result of "micro-evolution," called "macro-evolution." Whereas micro-evolution consists mostly of mutation and genetic drift, both of which can be demonstrated easily in just a few generations of selective breeding (such as with dogs), macro-evolution is what happens when this takes place over a much, much longer period of time --- as the title implies, "macro-"evolution is the stacking-up of large amounts of these traits with time, such that they displace the "norm" of a population (or even drive two or more populations apart). Many people have a hard time accepting "macro-evolution," but strangely, accept "micro-evolution." I've been asked to present the "evidence" for macro-evolution, but since I think this rejection of "macro-evolution" is due in part to a significant misunderstanding of what macro-evolution is, I will first diverge and explain that a little bit.

    Macro-evolution is otherwise referred to as "speciation" --- the "splintering" of a population into two or more sub-populations of different "species." The common misunderstanding comes from the use of the word "species" --- a "species" in the biological sense is not necessarily a completely different (or even radically different) creature from its parent population; rather, there are a few basic criteria used to determine what sets apart different "species" in similar populations. Given my strict word limit, I'll only focus on one, the simplest --- the "Biological Species Concept," under which a "species" is defined simply as "being reproductively isolated from other species" (which simply means, "they cannot or do not interbreed"). Further muddling the situation is the definition of "reproductive isolation," which, in evolutionary theory, does not necessarily even have to be literal reproductive isolation --- there are many cases of "speciated" birds which fit the technical definition of "reproductive isolation" from one another, and yet in theory are still capable of interbreeding. This also happens with flowers; flowers tend to only reproduce with their own "species," although many are capable of (and sometimes take part in) reproduction with other species (this is called "cross-pollination" or "hybridization"). The fact that they can technically interbreed, though, does not make them the same species. So in order to truly appreciate what is meant by "speciation" in evolutionary theory, one must understand how a "species" is defined. Also important, though, is how speciation occurs.
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    (cont'd)

    Reproductive isolation happens when a population is divided (usually by a natural barrier, like a mountain range or a lake or ocean) into two or more sub-populations, which then adapt separately. An example would be an insect, which latches onto a bird or mountain-dwelling animal near the base of a mountain range; the insect's host travels across the mountain range to the other side, and the insect finds its new home there (or somewhere along the way). That insect goes on to form a new "population" in a separate location, and ultimately, that population adapts (through natural selection) to its location in a way that is different from the way the original population adapts. Over a long period of time, these two populations will drift so far apart that their mating rituals may no longer overlap; across a much, much longer period, interbreeding may even become completely impossible, as with the Oenothera gigas, a form of evening primrose which was "artificially selected" to such an extent that it was no longer capable of interbreeding with its parent species.

    It's very important to understand, though, that what happens here is not the spontaneous generation of a brand-new "species;" "speciation" in this sense refers specifically to the branching off of individual populations from the "parent" species, which then become reproductively isolated (whether socially or biologically).

    However, speciation is not the only form of "macro-evolution." Over a long period of time, small, accumulated mutations can cause significant changes even within a single population. A couple things to remember when talking about mutations within a single population:

    (1) "mutations" simply means errors in gene copying, usually during embryonic development; mutations are a lot more frequent than you might think, given the sheer size of most genomes, although most are benign (have no effect on the creature's survival), and so they are inconsequential. But some are harmful (and therefore their carriers are more likely to die, and so natural selection "weeds them out" and they disappear from the population), and others still are helpful, which means that they are "favored" by natural selection because their carriers are more likely to survive and pass on their genes;

    (2) positive mutations which occur tend to be accepted into a population with time, through an observed phenomenon called "genetic drift;" over time, successful mutations become more and more frequent in the population until they displace the norm, becoming the new "average."

    There is more to this line of thinking than just theory, though; if two organisms are speciated from a common ancestor, then there should be some evidence of this --- some sort of "vestigial" biological trace of the offspring species' relationship to the ancestor (though not usually to each other --- contrary to popular objections, contemporary species (such as humans and apes) do not evolve into or from each other). A prime example of such a vestigial relationship is the connection between the laryngeal and vagus nerves of the giraffe, and the vagus nerve of the shark --- in the shark, the vagus and laryngeal nerves travel along what would be the neck in a mammal, passing along the arterial arches that connect to the shark's heart. It's a very straightforward process with no diversions. However, the giraffe's laryngeal nerve makes a rather large detour along its neck (over 10 feet in the case of a tall giraffe), around and through several other major organs, before connecting to the vagus nerve near the base of its neck, by the heart. This seems odd --- the functionality would be improved manyfold if the nerves connected closer to their point of inception, as they do in the shark. So why the detour? As things stand, the giraffe can barely utter an odd noise because of the odd path of its laryngeal nerve. This relationship makes a bit more sense when we realize that sharks don't have a neck, whereas mammals do. Somewhere along the line of evolution from their common ancestor, the elongation of the giraffe's neck came into conflict with the functionality of its laryngeal nerve, and a trade-off was made, whereas the shark never had this problem because it never evolved a neck. A similar odd case happens with the path of the vas deferens from the testis to the penis --- the vas deferens drapes noticeably over the ureter from the kidney, a vestige from the descent of the testis from its original position much higher up in the body.

    These examples are important for more than just showing evolutionary vestigial relation, though --- they also demonstrate the fallacy of the term "de-evolve." Natural selection is not a "directional" force in the sense that artificial selection is; it does not move "one way" and then "back up." No, natural selection cannot back up; it is self-correcting, but it always works with what it has. This is the binding principle of evolutionary theory which allows us to prove the relationships of organisms through common descent --- because evolution cannot "retrace its steps," it always leaves a trace of evidence where it has taken place. Vestiges exist in all creatures, which help point us towards a common origin.
    So? Eh? Eh? Whaddaya think? Too short? Too long? Comprehensive enough?
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    Looks pretty good. I only have one small suggestion. Evolution doesn't necessarily favor adaptations for the sake of survival, but more specifically reproduction. Suppose an organism is very well-suited for its environment and can avoid predators and live a long life, but it rarely produces offspring. That organism will seem to be quite fit in the short term, but in the long term it may be out-produced by a more fecund species that relies on the same food supply. Or, a mutation within the original species may favor higher reproductive rates while shortening its lifespan, provided its offspring live long enough to reproduce in turn.

    Not too big a deal, but I just thought it would be good to point out to them that evolution isn't about producing creatures that are just swift, strong, and sneaky. It's really a numbers game.
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    Hmm...looking back, I guess the wording there is a little odd/ambiguous. Come to think of it, I remember reading almost exactly that in Richard Dawkins' The Greatest Show On Earth.

    ....now if I can just squeeze down the word count on top of that....

    P.S. Irrelevant but funny side story....I was once asked by someone on that site, "if evolution is true, then why don't we all have super powers? If we've been evolving and 'getting better' for billions of years, then why are we not super beings by now?"
    "I'm sorry
    For all the things that I never did
    For all the places I never was
    For all the people I never stopped
    But there was nothing I could do...
    "

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