Evolution Vacillation

I have to thank my buddy Kevan Moore for sparking this thought.  We were at the Atlanta Zoo.   (By the way, seeing a real, live panda in person is even cooler than you think it would be.  But I digress.)

While we were looking at one of the endangered species exhibits (I forget now which), Kevan piped up, asking why, if we subscribe to the theory of evolution, are we concerned when any animal becomes “endangered?”  Isn’t that just evolution at work, weeding out the inferior species?

I responded sarcastically, “Oh no!  You must understand that these species are only endangered because we—mankind—have hunted them down in our arrogance to make them trophies, or we have disturbed their habitats in our recklessness so that they can no longer flourish.  For nature to kill off her own species is fine, but for us to do it is abomination!”

Then it occurred to me.  Evolution theory says that mankind—uh, humankind (sorry) is simply nature’s most evolved species.  In other words, we’re not outside of nature; we’re very much a part of it.  So what’s the harm if our behavior causes other species to fall out of existence—species less capable, less fit, less able to adapt?  Such is the binding arbitration of evolution.

So is mankind—uh, humankind part of nature or not?  Can we just make up our minds already?

2 thoughts on “Evolution Vacillation”

  1. You are confusing natural selection and evolution.

    At least your children’s education is in good hands…

    Here, check out this primer:

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIIMechanisms.shtml

    That evolution happens is about as debated (in the sciences) as trying to argue that the Internet as it exists today is fundamentally the same experience as it was in 1996.

    Here is what is debated in evolution:

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/VIIBigissues.shtml

    That’s it.

  2. @Khalihs, I admit that Kevan and I were being somewhat imprecise with our terms although not on purpose. First, to clarify, by “evolution” we were referring to the idea that one species/kind can evolve into another, typically, “higher” form of life. Kevan and I both know that natural selection is one of the mechanisms by which that kind of evolution is claimed to take place. Furthermore, we both admit that natural selection accounts in part for variation within species and the extinction of entire species. But what he and I both reject is that one species/kind can change over time, by any means, into another.

    My point about the idea that man is just another product of (Neo-)Darwinian evolution is to point out hypocrisy/inconsistency on the part of those who subscribe to the idea. It is intellectual dishonesty to claim that man is essentially just another animal operating by instinct (however more sophisticated that instinct may be than that of other animals), but also to make a moral judgment about his behavior while making no such judgment about others in the animal kingdom. We don’t judge lions for fighting each other to the death; that’s what they do: they’re lions! We don’t judge spiders for eating their mates; they’re spiders! If man is a product of the same random processes that produced spiders and lions, how can it be immoral or in any way undesirable for man to wipe out a species—whether on purpose or by accident? That’s one of the mechanisms by which the world continues its march toward a higher, more sophisticated existence. Right?

    With regard to your pejorative characterization that the idea of species-to-species evolution is settled “in the sciences”, I don’t see anyone arguing (“in the sciences” or elsewhere) that the 1996 Internet experience is in any way comparable to today’s Internet experience. But we do have voices like Dr. Michael Behe, Dr. Stephen Meyer, and the late Dr. Duane Gish—all scientists—challenging the idea that there has been species-to-species evolution. Furthermore, I can demonstrate how 1996 technology is incapable of supporting today’s Internet experience, and I can produce documentation and material exhibits of the changes that brought us from 1996 to now. You, on the other hand, can neither produce a dog from a whale or a robin from a lizard nor show me a contiguous line of fossil evidence to support the idea that life on this planet evolved from less sophisticated organisms (not to mention non-living matter) to more sophisticated organisms. When you can do that, the debate may be settled. Until then, however, evolution of non-life to life to more sophisticated life will continue to rest not on the foundation of genuine science, but rather of faith.

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