I’ve talked to loads of people on this subject. I’m an avid believe in evolution, but I haven’t found many of the same.
In fact, I’ve talked to doctors, medical students, even PhD students and fully fledged scientists. A lot will believe in evolution, but many will be sceptical of it. I have found so far, two main reasons for this.
The first is due to the complexity of life. They find it hard to believe that something like us could evolve through random mutation.
The second is religion. The religious will often fall back on the first reason and state that their must be intelligent design.
I have one answer for this: time.
Evolution happens a few mutations at a time, evolving us literally one generation at a time. It’s so slow that we are unlikely to see a difference in humans in our lifetime.
However if we expanded our view over several thousand years we would definitely see differences. Want an example?
For this I have to leave humans and go to farm animals. This is a normal cow:
It looks pretty normal right?
OK because of us interfering with evolution, we now have cows that look like this:
So what has happened?
We have been breeding cows for millennia. When we find a cow with slightly more muscle, we tend to see it as better stock, so we breed it, get it’s children, and then eat it. It’s children have inherited their parents trait of ‘slightly more muscle’. We then take the child from that group with the most muscle, and breed it again. Then repeat until today.
What has ended up happening is that this Belgian Blue Bull has inherited so many mutations that it can’t regulate how much muscle it makes sufficiently. Therefore it’s muscle goes into overdrive, giving us one massive cow.
How long did it take? supposedly over 8000 years.
Mutations occur at fertilisation (as there is only once cell at this point, so only that cell needs to mutate).
Cows can give birth after two years. So in 8000 years, there is a possible 4000 generations. That’s 4000 possible mutations from a single cow then, to a single cow today.
This is what I’m trying to get at. Evolution doesn’t occur quickly, it occurs through each generation over a very long period of time. It took that bull pictured above 8000 years, and 4000 babies, to get that little bit more muscle.
Want to know the craziest thing? People say evolution has stopped for humans, and often people think evolution is slowing down (I used to). But actually the time we are at right now, is the fastest period of evolution ever!
As thing’s get more complicated and there are more chances of mutations getting by without killing anyone, evolution can act more readily.
Billions of years ago, evolution was much slower. One of the biggest leaps in evolution ever, was one of the smallest. The jump from a single cell organism, to a multicellular organism (even if it was just two cells) took nearly 3 billion years.
That’s 3,000,000,000 compared to the cows measly 8,000. Just to add one cell.
Edit: Here’s another bloggers take on the validity and purpose of one of the common counter arguments – Intelligent Design