Observable Proof of Macro-Aging

Observable Proof of Macro-Aging June 22, 2015

James montage

In a discussion on Facebook, a young-earth creationist demanded “observable proof of macro-evolution.”

I realized that the demand is rather akin to someone asking for observable proof of aging. Perhaps one can see “micro-aging” as it occurs in one’s cells. But what proof do you have that the younger person in the photo albums in your house has turned into the older person that you are now?

Change happens – in the individual, in communities, and yes, in species. We can trace the processes and the mechanisms by which the change occurs.

And if you ask for “proof” that evolution has occurred, apart from the overwhelming genetic, paleontological, homological and other evidence, then you might as well be asking for “proof” that I have aged from the child to the teen to the young man to the now older man in the photos at the top of this post.

Either you aren’t seriously interested in the subject, or you haven’t understood even the most basic aspects of what evolution is, what what scientists say about it, and what the evidence for it is.

 

Antievolutionism is a tool of Satan

 

 

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  • Some Guy

    I’m not a big fan of this analogy. You are comparing the life cycle of a single individual to changes among entire populations. If you bring out this example, they’ll rebut it with something like “you will always be a human; you won’t grow into a cat.”

    It’s not that they don’t understand that things change over time, they object to the drastic change over huge amounts of time. I like to point out the wide variety of dog breeds. In just a few thousand years, we have drastically different dogs with different traits. If this is possible over just a few thousand years, imagine what would happen over a few million?

    • histrogeek

      Well analogies aren’t meant to be exact or else they would be descriptions. That said there is too much misuse of the term “evolve” and “evolution” in popular culture.
      Every time my kids watch Pokemon (don’t judge me!), they get a mini-lecture that the correct term should be “the developed form” not “the evolved form.” And then there is the misuse of “mutant.”

      • Thank you for grasping that this is an analogy. They may not deny that change happens, but it can be highlighted that they are being unduly skeptical about change over longer periods of time, while they would see how ridiculous it would be to apply similar skepticism to not quite so long periods of time. Anything that might help them recognize their inconsistency, and other problematic aspects of their stance, is worth a shot, in my opinion.

      • Kitsune Inari

        I’d say that pokémons’ “evolution” is more akin to metamorphosis than to anything else.

        • histrogeek

          True enough. Development is a little easier to say and comes to the same thing.

  • Frank

    There is zero proof that one species changes into another.

    • spinkham

      There is zero proof the universe didn’t pop into existence last thursday. Proof is only useful in talking about math and liquor.

      There’s loads of evidence in many different disciplines that very strongly suggests common descent, which is why there is near total agreement among people in the biological sciences that it occurred. Not only is it the best way to interpret the past evidence, we’ve used it to predict future findings, of which tiktaalik is the most notable example. Models that consistently explain past data and predict future discoveries across a range of disciplines is about as close as we get to something like “proof” in the real world.

      • Frank

        As I said there is zero proof that any species has ever become a different species. None.

        • And there is no proof that I am the person in my baby photos. The question is whether you mistakenly think there should be.

        • Gary

          Just curious. What is your definition of species?

        • spinkham

          Correct, and yet you’re totally missing the point. There’s no proof of *anything* outside of synthetically designed systems of mathematics, and we even have a proof that we can’t prove those for even the set of natural numbers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del%27s_incompleteness_theorems

          A few of the vast number of other things you can’t prove: The memories you have were produced by a being that is contiguous with you, that there is an external world, or the sun will rise tomorrow. That the sun will rise tomorrow is an absolutely wonderful theory that so far makes sense of all past data and makes future predictions we can test, and is built on and supported by the work of many astronomers, physicists, etc. However, there is no *proof* it will rise tomorrow.

          At this point, common descent has the same status in the sciences as the fact that the sun will rise tomorrow, because it has *earned* that place by virtue of the vast amount of evidence we have and the explanatory power of the theory to that. On the other hand, nothing you will deal with in your whole life outside of simple sums like 2+2=4 can be proven, and that one is only proven by definition. It could be that tomorrow 2+2=4 might not apply to the world you may or may not find yourself in, and you will have to craft a new system of math. There’s no proof that our systems of math apply to the real world, it just has done so remarkably well thus far..

        • Dorfl

          Do you understand that spinkham didn’t actually disagree with what you said? What they did was to point out that it’s trivially true, and so conveys no useful information.

          • Frank

            Yes there is no useful information that proves one species has ever changed into another.

          • You just keep repeating the same falsehoods, and so I gather than you are a troll. If you do not know enough about the scientific evidence to understand that there is indeed useful information which adequately demonstrates the past and ongoing evolution of species, I would encourage you to spend less time making inane comments on blogs and more time reading actual scientific books!

          • Frank

            Still no proof exists that any species has changed into another. It’s a theory, nothing more, nothing less.

            I am quite versed in science and anyone else who is would agree with the above statement.

          • Apparently you are not well-versed enough in science to know what a theory is.

            We can see species blurring into one another in our own time. It is ironic that a human category imposed upon the data for convenience is used by creationists to argue against the conclusions of science!

          • Dorfl

            Yes. Which is why everybody has agreed with the statement.

          • Kitsune Inari

            It’s a theory, nothing more

            This sentence alone is more than enough evidence that you know as much about science as I know about the rules of cricket. With the difference that I’m aware that I don’t know anything about the subject, whereas the same isn’t true about you.

          • Kindly edit your comment to remove the profanity. I try to avoid having that sort of thing on my blog. Thanks!

          • Kitsune Inari

            Reworded. Thank you and sorry.

          • David Evans

            I have a B.Sc. and a Ph.D. in physics and I disagree with the intent of what you say, which is to imply that because “it’s a theory” it must be untrustworthy. I guess you trust the theory of electromagnetism (or you wouldn’t expect your computer to work). What’s different about evolution?

          • lapona

            “It’s a theory, nothing more, nothing less.”
            ===
            Don’t confuse speculations with scientific theories.

          • Dorfl

            Frank: “Your mom is trivially true and contains no useful information!”

    • Kitsune Inari

      If by “proof” you actually mean evidence, then you’re so wrong that it’s not even funny.
      If you don’t, then keep in mind that there is zero proof that the Sun will set this evening. Lots of evidence, certainly, so much that we are pretty much sure that it will, but no proof as such. There is zero proof that if you drop something midair it will fall to the ground either. There is zero proof that your memories are real and haven’t just been fabricated and placed there, “Total Recall”-style. You’re still so wrong that it’s not even funny, but which things exactly you’re wrong about is sightly different from the previous case.

  • SpaceGhoti

    I’m also very fond of checking to see if the creationist in question is colorblind, and then asking them to read this:

  • “Frank,” You are clearly trolling. Displaying your ignorance and being unwilling to even pay attention to what others have written is not what we look for in commenters here. If you would like to be allowed to participate in the conversation, you will have to do better. If you are interested please contact me to let me know.

    • Frank

      It’s ok I don’t need your permission nor do I need to participate in any more of your fallacious thinking.

      • Actually, you do need my permission, and repeating the same falsehoods over and over do not show someone else’s thinking to be fallacious.

        • Frank

          No I don’t. And you should take the same advice.

        • Pete Enns just banned this troll over at his blog.

  • Kitsune Inari

    https://youtu.be/G2y8Sx4B2Sk

    There’s as much evidence that species slowly change into other species as there is evidence of gravity, conservation of momentum, the Dunning-Kruger effect or that the Sun will rise tomorrow.

    Asking for proof (in the logical/mathematical sense of the word, not the alcoholic one) that something happens in reality makes as much sense as asking for a syntactical analysis to smell bitter. Your claim isn’t just merely wrong and false, it’s not even wrong.