Friday, 22 September 2017

Where's the Evolution? Why, here!

One of the more common tactics evolution denialists employ is to juxtapose photographs of fossils and contemporary organisms, and claim that the apparent absence of change means evolution never occurred. There are many fundamental problems with this problem, such as the fact that poor quality photographs of fossils fail to pick up the subtle morphological details that are apparent when the actual fossils are examined, morphological stability in environments where there are no strong selective pressures, not to mention the fact that even in the absence of marked morphological change, there will nonetheless be strong evidence of change at the genomic level which is of course not apparent in a grainy photograph.

Arguably the most notorious proponent of this deceptive tactic is the Turkish evolution denialist Adnan Oktar, otherwise known as Harun Yahya. Oktar is hardly alone, with many special creationists using this approach to attack evolution. One example is the Facebook page Where is the evolution? which has in turn triggered the creation of another page Here is the evolution, which exposes the intellectually vacuous approach of their approach by focusing on the fundamental concept of evolution - descent with modification produces an evolutionary tree.

While I strongly recommend people read(and follow) this excellent page, an example would not go astray. This example is a classic example in that it shows  the misleading 'appeal to similarity', the failure to grasp the concept that evolution is a tree not a ladder, as well as an example of the lack of knowledge of the person behind the meme who failed to grasp that the fossil being compared to a modern hedgehog not only was not a hedgehog, but belonged to an extinct family of mammals!