The Top Five Misconceptions About Evolution

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One Response to The Top Five Misconceptions About Evolution

  1. alfy says:

    This looks like a reply to the claims of fundamentalist Christians. In my experience, there is no point in debating or discussing the issue with them. Their opening gambit is always the same. The Bible is literally true, so that ends any rational discussion. If you ask them which parts of Darwin’s theory does not hold water, you get no response because (1) they don’t know the structure of the theory, and (2) they can’t produce any arguments in rebuttal of any part of it.
    Biologists at all levels, from teachers of GCSE Biology, up to university professors, don’t waste their time with people or students who want to deny evolution. They simply get on with their work, and leave the fundamentalists in their own little cocoon of confident ignorance. This is in much the same way that physicists don’t bother with people who believe the earth is flat.

    My only quibble with this post is the phrase, “The survival of the fittest.” Philosophically, it is a tautology, or circular argument. How can you define, “fittest” ? There is only one way. These are the ones which survive. So the full statement is, “The survival of the ones that survive.” A circular argument and hence meaningless.

    For example, sickle cell anaemia is a genetic condition which affects the red blood cells. It is a harmful condition which makes it difficult for children with the trait to survive. However, a percentage of people with SCA continue to survive. The reason is that SCA seems to confer some resistance to malaria, which is a parasite of red blood cells. What happens if SCA sufferers move to places where malaria is not endemic?

    The experiment has been tried. During the slave trade, thousands if not millions of black people, with SCA, were transported from West Africa, where malaria is endemic to the USA where malaria is not endemic. The number of SCA sufferers in West Africa is 12% . It is only 6% among the black people of the USA. How does SCA rate in terms of “fitness”. In non malarial areas SCA means a person is “less fit”. In a malarial region SCA means “! a bit more fit”. So the whole issue of “fitness” depends on circumstances.

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