Proving evolution to someone who doesn't believe anything

AronRa

Administrator
Someone emailed me accepting my challenge. Just for clarification, that challenge is:

I will prove that biological evolution is the truest, best explanation there is for the origin of our species, and that it is the only explanation of biodiversity with either evidentiary support or scientific validity. I can prove this even to your satisfaction over the course of a couple dozen mutual exchanges. The only trick to that is that you must properly address every point or query, ignoring none. If you repeatedly ignore direct questions, you will default this discussion, and I will be under no obligation to continue.

This person told me they "don't believe in evolution nor creation". That's an interesting twist. To my experience, the only reason anyone ever rejects evolution is because they've been mislead by religious deceivers. So the first thing we have to do is correct definitions. To help me get an idea where the problem is, I would first ask that person to define what they think evolution is, and what micro and macroevolution are. It would also help if they explain why they don't "believe in" these things, and what it would take to change their mind.
 

Wind Of Change

New Member
I'm very glad you accepted making this discussion with me.
I'm jewish, from Israel (please point out if you see any flaws in my English). I've been lied to all my life by my religious community. now I'm an atheist but evolution just seems really absurd, and I read about it for weeks now, but just can't find the evidence for it. also, I have a few facts that I think prove evolution is wrong, and they are backed by peer review articles. Also, I watched a few of your videos and I have a few questions I would like you to address.

But first, you wanted me to explain a few things.
You don't need to worry about me being like creationists, most of them are lying morons. And yes, I've been lied to from creationists as well, so please, I would really like if that won't happen with evolutionists; when you make a statement I would really like you to back it up, without any deceiving, I just want the truth.

About evolution, again, I'm not like creationists, so I actually read about the subject. When I'm using the word "Evolution" in a general sense, I'm defining it as "a change in the inherited traits of a population through successive generations", And yes, I accept that. when I used the word in my email, I was talking about the theory of evolution, and more specifically - common descent.

Microevolution is evolution within a species, while macroevolution is evolution between species, or above that.
I accept microevolution entirely, and I also accept macroevolution happens (speciation for instance).
But to accept speciation is different from accepting a common ancestor to all animals.

"what it would take to change their mind. "

Well, first, I would like a body of evidence for your claims, second (and most important), everything has to be consistent, and what I mean by that is - I wouldn't want any fact that contradicts what your theory says, and without post hoc excuses, I just want the truth, please.
 

AronRa

Administrator
Glad you've broken free of creationism. Now to expand your understanding. You say you accept microevolution up to speciation, and you acknowledge that speciation crosses into macroevolution. To my experience, if one adequately understands even that much, that should be enough to get the rest. You say your issue is with common descent, but I suspect you already accept at least some of that. Depending on how much you know of zoology, you might accept quite a lot of it. I always thought that taxonomy was the greatest evidence for evolution. In fact it was the first evidence, and made a compelling case which Carolus Linneaus and other pre-Darwinian scientists could not explain.

I'll assume that you already know about my video playlist on the Systematic Classification of Life, which is the best answer I could give to this topic, though it is long and impersonal. So let's start with the Phylogeny Challenge. Creationists usually accept that taxonomy is superficially accurate, but they’ll only concede that to a degree, because they insist that their god miraculously conjured a series of definitely different kinds of animals, which were each specially created separate from one another. Creationists allow that each of these kinds have since diversified—but only within mysterious limits that they refuse to rigidly define—and they say that no lineage can be traced beyond their alleged original archetypes. However, they’re unable to identify what those kinds are, how many there are, or how they could be recognized. I would challenge them to show me their mystic divisions among the following taxa.
• Are mallards related to pochards, wood ducks, and muscovies?
• Are all ducks also related to geese and all other anseriformes?
• Are anseriformes related to galliformes and other neognathes?
• Are neognathes related to paleognathes?
• Are any extant birds related to hesperornis, ichthyornis, enantiornis, or other euornithes?
• Are euorniths related to confuciusornis or archaeopteryx?
• Are all early aves related to microraptor, velociraptor, or other nonavian dinosaurs?
• Are dinosaurs related to pterosaurs, phytosaurs, and other archosaurs?

If evolution from common ancestry is not true and some flavor of special creation of as-yet unidentified kinds is true, then there would be some surface levels in a cladogram where you would accept an actual evolutionary ancestry, but there must also be subsequent levels in that twin-nested hierarchy where life-forms would no longer be the same kind and wouldn’t be biologically related anymore. At that point, they would be magically created separate kinds, and distinctly unique from those listed around it as well as those apparently ancestral to it. So . . .
• Are Bengal tigers related to Burmese tigers and all other tiger species?
• Are all known species of tiger related to each other and all other panthers?
• Are all panthers related to felines and scimitar cats?
• Are all felids related to nimvarids or viverrids? And how could we tell?
• Are all of Feloidea related to any or all other members of the order Carnivora?

Those who promote creationism’s bewildering inanity should be able to show exactly where and why uniquely created kinds could not be grouped together with any parent clades that would otherwise only imply an evolutionary ancestry. Throw away any other argument you might be thinking about; none of them compare to this! If creationism is true of anything more than a single ancestor of all animal forms (if not the entire eukaryote collective), or if the concept of common ancestry is fundamentally mistaken, then there must be a point in the tree where taxonomy falls apart—where what we thought was related to everything is really unrelated to anything else; and unless you’re a scientologist or a Raelian, that criteria must apply to other animals besides ourselves. So . . .
• Is the short-tailed goanna related to the perentie and all other Australian goannas?
• Are all Australian goannas related to each other and the African and Indonesian monitors?
• Are today’s terrestrial varanids related to Cretaceous mosasaurs?
• Are varanids related to any other anguimorphs including snakes?
• Are anguimorphs also related to scincomorphs and geckos?
• Are all scleroglossa related to iguanids and other squamates?
• Are all of squamata related to each other and all other lepidosaurs?
• Are lepidosaurs related to placodonts and plesiosaurs?
• Are lepidosauromorphs related to archosaurs and other diapsids?
• Are all diapsids related to anapsids or synapsid “reptiles” like dimetrodon?
• Are all reptiles related to each other and all other amniotes?
• Are all amniotes related to each other and all other tetrapods?
• Are all tetrapods related to each other and all other vertebrates?
And so on. Which of these are related? Which of these are created?

Remember, if there is any validity to creationism whatsoever, or if there is some critical flaw in the overall theory of evolution from common ancestry, that flaw must be found here or it simply can’t be anywhere else. That is the phylogeny challenge. This challenge has been unanswered for more than ten years for the simple reason that there is no such thing as a “kind.” There is no point where any collection of animals appears to be original baramins. Baraminology is without basis because it is impossible to identify any point in taxonomy where everything that ever lived isn’t evidently related to everything else.

Every animal, including humans, belong to a sequence of parent clades ultimately culminating in one encompassing category for all of them. Worse for creationists, that sequence continues from there, such that it also includes fungi, plants, and every other kind of eukaryote into a single category, so that at some level we’re all the same “kind.” To quote pioneer environmental activist John Muir, “When we try to pick up anything by itself, we find it attached to everything else in the Universe.”
 

Wind Of Change

New Member
I think I agree with almost everything you just said, but remember, I'm not a creationist.
The phylogeny challenge is for those who claim that the "tree" should indeed collapse somewhere, but what I think is that it's not really consistent with evolutionary theory. Lets talk about convergent evolution for instance, I think I know what your theory says for example about eyes of humans and cephalopods, they evolved separately, right? So I would like to hear from you, what is convergent evolution, when does it occur, what it will never do (the example you like to give for what it will never do is Pegasus, right?). So the final question is why the separate eyes is fine with evolution, but separate feathers is not?

If I missed something, let me know.
 

AronRa

Administrator
Feathers are very complex structures, having been formed with a specific sequence of a dozen or so specific traits. Whereas eyes have very different fundamental structures and the only commonality being that they different apparatus that are all photo sensitive.

None of that qualifies as convergent evolution though. A better example of that would be comparing different lineages independent evolving similar attributes for the same purpose, like comparing dolphins and ichthyosaurs for example. Likewise, hyenadons, mesonychids, some metatherians and even some Permian therapsids all achieved very similar body styles to Carnivoran predators, all because they're doing much the same job.

If you don't think the phylogenetic tree collapses anywhere, then I am at a loss to understand why you don't accept common ancestry?
 

Wind Of Change

New Member
Ok, I don't understand why the eyes are not convegent evolution, would you mind explaining that?

And I mean, Look at that "convegent evolution", its not just superficial similarity, these are deep layered functions, that share too many functional similarities between the two animals:


"If you don't think the phylogenetic tree collapses anywhere"

I don't think a any precise tree is forming.
 

AronRa

Administrator
Ok, I don't understand why the eyes are not convegent evolution, would you mind explaining that?
As I said, feathers are very specific in their design, an orchestration of different features in a particular order that would not happen the same way twice. Eyes however began as completely different structures and in some instances followed different paths, but ultimately they all have to achieve certain parameters like adjustable focus, color perception, depth perception, directional gaze and so on; that being their only commonality, and thus the only aspect we could call convergent. Look at the photo-receptive organelle within a single-celled protist. Technically, that's an eye, but everything else starts with photocells and this isn't even a cell. So the development of eyes are unique, and they happened so many times because having some kind of eye is incredibly useful.
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"If you don't think the phylogenetic tree collapses anywhere"
I don't think a any precise tree is forming.
Have you seen my Phylogeny Explorer Project? It's an attempt to render the entire phylogenetic tree of life as a navigable encyclopedia of biodiversity. We're using only peer-reviewed cladograms to create one ultimate combination of them to demonstrate that there definitely is a very precise tree forming.
 

Wind Of Change

New Member
I agree with most of it, although: "different features in a particular order that would not happen the same way twice."

Why did you ignore my link? I gave you a link of 2 completely different animals with surprising phenomenon of convergence in terrestrial and aquatic enviorments; sandlance and chameleon. Experiments revealed unusual similarities in the visual system and its behavior in both creatures. The chameleon and the fish move their eyes in the same and unique way. While one eye is in motion, the other eye is not moving. In addition, both of these animals use cornea for focusing. All other reptiles and fish, on the other hand, use the lens of the eye to focus images on the retina. In addition, the chameleon and sandlance have skin cover on their eyes to prevent them from being prominent from their predators and prey. Their method of predation is also the same. The chameleon's tongue trajectory during prey is the same as the sandlance when it leaps onto its prey.

Isn't it too complex to happen twice?
 

AronRa

Administrator
Why did you ignore my link?
I didn't.

I gave you a link of 2 completely different animals with surprising phenomenon of convergence in terrestrial and aquatic enviorments; sandlance and chameleon. Experiments revealed unusual similarities in the visual system and its behavior in both creatures. The chameleon and the fish move their eyes in the same and unique way. While one eye is in motion, the other eye is not moving. In addition, both of these animals use cornea for focusing. All other reptiles and fish, on the other hand, use the lens of the eye to focus images on the retina. In addition, the chameleon and sandlance have skin cover on their eyes to prevent them from being prominent from their predators and prey. Their method of predation is also the same. The chameleon's tongue trajectory during prey is the same as the sandlance when it leaps onto its prey.

Isn't it too complex to happen twice?
Evidently not. We know how evolutionary principles can follow avenues of practicality this way, and we don't know of any other option that could do this. What other option is there?
 

Wind Of Change

New Member
Evidently not. We know how evolutionary principles can follow avenues of practicality this way, and we don't know of any other option that could do this. What other option is there?
If it was a pegasus and a bird, would you say that too?

"We know how evolutionary principles can follow avenues of practicality this way"

show me, how evolution explain that.
 

Call Me Emo

New Member
If it was a pegasus and a bird, would you say that too?

"We know how evolutionary principles can follow avenues of practicality this way"

show me, how evolution explain that.

Convergent Evolution isn't the problem you're making it out to be. We've actually observed multiple instances of convergence in Botany for example, so we know it definitely could and does happen.
Screenshot_20200315-221336.png Screenshot_20200315-221342.png Screenshot_20200315-221347.png
However the convergence are always either variations of the same original template (like how some people just happen to resemble actors), or superficial similarities from different origins (Dolphins and Sharks).

You'll never find however the same feature (particularly a complex one) appearing in two distinct lineages who's basal ancestor did not possess that trait. Only a designer not limited by the principles of Phylogeny can produce such a thing..
.. like creating an Invertebrate with a Vertebrate style inner ear system.
Screenshot_20200315-221453.png

Did you look into the differences between the examples you've previously given??
 

AronRa

Administrator
Lots of evolution deniers say they accept microevolution, but they don't really know how it works or what any of the mechanisms are. As I said before, if you adequately understand microevolution, you'd already know the answer to the question you're asking now.

Natural selection was the first working evolution mechanism to be identified, but it is not the most basic one. Genetic drift is the most basic. Therein every individual in every generation carries its own unique mutations, continuing to grow apart from the rest of their kin. Likewise, collective populations continue to build up their own unique mutations on the larger scale. So that most evolution is just different varieties in all shapes and colors and most of that has little or nothing to do with procreation or survival. But what you're talking about now is a mutation with a definite advantage, one that would be selected for--incidentally, as a matter of population genetics.

Understand also that evolution at every level is just a change in physical or chemical proportions. This one is a very slight alteration in one aspect of muscle control. This same mutation could easily occur in many other species, and likely has occurred in many other species too, but didn't offer in them the technical advantage that it does in the two listed species, because of the way they hunt. So there was no selective preference in any other species where this same mutation might have occurred. Even your own citation supports this. So I'm not sure what the issue is.

Nor does any of this call common ancestry into question in any way, especially after you said there wouldn't be any place where the phylogenetic tree breaks down. Of course you also said you didn't think there was a tree to begin with. So maybe you could clarify what your apprehension is?
 

Wind Of Change

New Member
Aron, to make it clear, are you saying that the similar hunting style is incidental, and the other similar traits followed from that in not so incidental ways (i.e same selective pressures), because of the similar hunting style?
I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm asking because I'm trying to understand.
 

Call Me Emo

New Member
@Call Me Emo
Thank you, I accept convergent evolution, but this case in particular seemed strange because of the high complexity.

you wrote:


Could you expand on that?

I mean saying two things are complex and similar gives no real indication as to how similar they really are. For example, i can say that sharks amd whales are both similar and complex organisms, but it gives no indication as to how far the similarities in complexity goes. The only way to do that is to study the full anatomy of each.

Do you have anything where i can see the anotomical comparisons of the eyes you're talking about? Or do i have to go get it myself?
 

Wind Of Change

New Member
Well, the similarities are explained in the citation, but no, I didn't study the anatomical features of their eyes.
And its not just the eyes, there are a few similarities in those 2, and according to what they say, those are very precise similarities.
 

AronRa

Administrator
Well, the similarities are explained in the citation, but no, I didn't study the anatomical features of their eyes.
And its not just the eyes, there are a few similarities in those 2, and according to what they say, those are very precise similarities.
They would have to be, wouldn't they? I mean, there are so few ways one could achieve any improvement in this area.
 

AronRa

Administrator
Aron, to make it clear, are you saying that the similar hunting style is incidental, and the other similar traits followed from that in not so incidental ways (i.e same selective pressures), because of the similar hunting style?
I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm asking because I'm trying to understand.
This same mutation could, and perhaps did occur in a number of other similar species, but if those animals hunt differently, such that this slight tweak would not have aided them, then there wouldn't have been any selective pressure to keep and preserve that trait through subsequent generations. That only happens as a matter of population mechanics when the new attribute affords some selective advantage.
 

Call Me Emo

New Member
So you said you accept microevolution and speciation....but not Macroevolution in the sense that all animals are related. Fair enough

Now I'm not going to attempt to prove Evolution to you.... That's Aron's task. I just want to find out how much Evolution you're familiar with or already accept, then see how much you're willing to accept.

As you can see I'm more familiar with Plants, so I'll be using plenty of them during the course of this interaction. I'd also try to use Plants that you're most probably familiar with so we both understand what's being said or presented.

I'd first start by asking, are you familiar with the evolution of Brassica?
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Screenshot_20200316-030607.png

The Evolution of Brassica Oleracea
 

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Wind Of Change

New Member
This same mutation could, and perhaps did occur in a number of other similar species, but if those animals hunt differently, such that this slight tweak would not have aided them, then there wouldn't have been any selective pressure to keep and preserve that trait through subsequent generations. That only happens as a matter of population mechanics when the new attribute affords some selective advantage.
Okay, it does make sense, I accept that.

There is something you said in one of your videos and I'm not sure I get it.

you said:

Primates are collectively defined as any gill-less, organic RNA/DNA protein-based... ... metabolic, metazoic, nucleic, diploid, bilaterally symmetrical, endothermic, digestive, triploblast, opisthokont, deuterostome coelomate with a spinal cord and 12 cranial nerves connecting to a limbic system in an enlarged cerebral cortex with a reduced olfactory region inside a jawed skull with specialized teeth including canines and premolars, forward-oriented fully enclosed optical orbits, and a single temporal fenestra, -attached to a vertebrate hind-leg dominant tetrapodal skeleton with sacral pelvis, clavicle, and wrist and ankle bones; and having lungs, tear ducts, body-wide hair follicles, lactal mammaries, opposable thumbs, and keratinized dermis with chitinous nails on all five digits on all four extremities in addition to an embryonic development in amniotic fluid, leading to a placental birth and highly social lifestyle.

Is this the definition of a primate?

And if so, can you give me the definition of a monkey by attributes and characteristics like you did here^?
I mean, according to phylogenetics, all you got to do is to take these characteristics, and add the clades characteristics up to monkeys, right?
 
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