Tuesday, 11 February 2014

It's Evolution, baby!



Two main questions: Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern, scientific era? Why is this post with a strange title and introductory image?

Evolution vs Creationism

Some days ago there was a very interesting debate between the leading creation apologist and bestselling Christian author Ken Ham which was joined at the Creation Museum by Emmy Award-winning science educator and CEO of the Planetary Society Bill Nye to discuss Evolution vs. Creation.

For a lot of people this is an interesting topic and many do pick a side. For me it was also interesting to read a Pew Survey that has shown that one in three Americans does not believe in the theory of Darwinian evolution:

The Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project report released Monday found that 33% think “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.” Sixty percent agreed with evolution. Among those who agree with human evolution, about half attribute it to “natural processes such as natural selection.” Whereas, 24% of adults say “a supreme being guided the evolution of living things.”
The survey also found disagreement across political and religious lines. Among white evangelical Protestants, 64% say that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. The survey found that half of black Protestants responded the same way. Whereas 78% of white mainline Protestants say that humans and other living things have evolved over time. Seventy-six percent of the religiously unaffiliated, 68% of white non-Hispanic Catholics and 53% of Hispanic Catholics agreed with evolution. Republicans are less likely to say humans evolved compared to Democrats or independents, Less than half of conservatives or 43% agreed with evolution compared to 67% of liberals and 65% of independents.
The survey is based on telephone interviews conducted March 21-April 8, 2013, with a national sample of 1,983 adults. The margin of error for the results is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Since during these days there is a bit of discussion on this topic, I will also share some food for thought - a simple and quick explanation on Evolution.

In nature, we normally observe the following:
  1. Animals reproduce and have offspring, but they do not reproduce exact copies. For instance, children may look like their parents, but not exactly, there is a variation due to several genetic factors.
  2. These differences between close generations (e.g. parents and their children) tend to be small, but also unpredictable in the near term, lets see an example: lets suppose that a random child is taller than average or has an extra finger, that child is not taller or extra-fingered because his/her parents needed to reach high things or play extra piano keys. So in a "shorter-term" there is no big evolution between parents and offspring, there is a random variation, rather than being a direct response to the environment. Those variations come from random differences in genes.
  3. In a lot of situations animals often have more offspring than the environment can support and animals that are BEST SUITED to the environment tend to have more likelihood to survive and reproduce. For instance, if there is a drought and there is not enough water, offspring that need less water or that are slightly smaller and so can get in faster to get more water will tend to survive and reproduce. What we are seeing with this example is a process of natural selection which preserves some changes (genetic code) between generations in a non-random way.
As a result, over time, the proportion of traits, what we would now refer to as the frequency of genes in a population, will change, in keeping with natural selection. This is evolution.

I find hard to understand the creationism side and I can not agree with the belief that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time”, but maybe that is because I did not have a religious background... although I was born in a very religious country.

So with an open-mind I am still waiting to hear a credible creationism view. Do you know one?

If you are interested to hear/see the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye please see the video below (2 hours 45 minutes):




It's Evolution, baby!

You might be wondering why this post is call "It's evolution, baby"... Well, that sentence is taken from a Pearl Jam song "Do the Evolution". I was fortunate enough to see them live quite recently at BigDayOut 2014 in Sydney... and I was double-lucky since they played this song. See their video below:



When speaking about "Do the Evolution", vocalist Eddie Vedder stated:

"That song is all about someone who's drunk with technology, who thinks they're the controlling living being on this planet. It's another one I'm not singing as myself."

Pearl Jam has stated that the novel Ishmael influenced the writing of Yield (album where this song is taken), and according to the novel's writer, Daniel Quinn, this song comes the closest to expressing the ideas of the book. Vedder stated:

"This Daniel Quinn book, Ishmael...I've never recommended a book before, but I would actually, in an interview, recommend it to everyone....But this book, it's kind of the book of my ... My whole year has been kind of with these thoughts in mind. And on an evolutionary level, that man has been on this planet for 3 million years, so that you have this number line that goes like this [hands wide apart]. And that we're about to celebrate the year 2000, which is this [holds hands less than one inch apart]. So here's this number line; here's what we know and celebrate. This book is a conversation with a man and an ape. And the ape really has it all together. He kinda knows the differences between him and the man, and points out how slight they are, and it creates an easy analogy for what man has done, thinking that they were the end-all. That man is the end-all thing on this earth. That the earth was around even so much longer before the 3 million years. Fifty million years of sharks and all these living things. Then man comes out of the muck, and 3 million years later he's standing, and now he's controlling everything and killing it. Just in the last hundred! Which is just a speck on this line. So what are we doin' here? This is just a good reminder...And I'm anxious to see what happens. You know, I've got a good seat for whatever happens next. It'll be interesting."

Essentially, this song is about the human evolution when thousands of years ago when humans became more than 'just an animal' and did not need to live by the fundamental rules of ecology. Some scholars defend that the human race is jealous, greedy, and war-prone by nature. Some defend that living outside of our ecosystem's rules has being destroying the planet, expanded our population to breaking point and may very well prove to be our extinction... not so good news for evolution-defenders!

If you are interested in reading a bit more about "our" story and "our" evolution I suggest that you read a previous post, click on the link below:


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Blog Editor and Owner: Luis Aparicio Fernandes (or Mikey) is a Business Expert and a Traveler based in Sydney, Australia. He is a member of The International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma due to his achievements in business. You can follow Luis on Google+, and LinkedIn.