This cartoon on natural selection is one of my all time favorites from my collection.You have to realize that once I became an atheist I still did not accept evolution. At that point I didn’t trust anything. It took some studying and even a couple of years before I even felt like I had a grasp on the basic concepts of evolution since my mind had been warped by creationism. Christian literalists seem to have the imagination to picture talking snakes, animals being snapped into existence, a woman being created from a rib and all sorts of fairytale nonsense, but when it comes to biology that can’t make the leap from the example of artificial selection to natural selection. The reason is that they can’t understand the lack of intelligent purpose (forethought if you will)–“eyes were designed for seeing and have been that way from the very start.” It has to be all or nothing instead of gradual steps even though all we see around us is gradual steps from biology to civilization. Nothing ever pops into existence in a perfect form. It takes time to weed out the flaws and strive towards perfection.
To me, artificial selection now represents the gateway to understanding evolution. If under man’s selfish need for ridiculous looking dogs a wolf can turn into a pug over time by manipulating breeding habits what would happen to an animal under the brutal forces of nature–over millions of years?! Hell, what if we stuck with artificial selection and keep breeding dogs into new shapes and forms for a million years? We would eventually get some strange creatures. Per Wiki, “A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring.” If we continue to modify certain breeds of dogs with an emphasis on change we will eventually come to the point where they will not be able to breed with other dogs and certainly not wolves. I don’t believe it counts, but it is unlikely a pug could boink a wolf now anyhow (unless you held it up and frankly, I’m not getting near a wild wolf with a horny pug).
The natural world is a designer, just not one with purpose or an intelligence behind it. If a mammal has access to more food in the sea it slowly adapts to the water. If a mammal finds success with eating food that flies it too finds a way to fly. Survival presses down on every species to compete or be eaten. As a human species, it may be harder for us to realize this because we don’t compete with tooth and claw anymore, it’s about our brains. I wonder if creationism would be so prevalent among Americans if they had to fight predators every day and got to thinking: why did God design these animals to kill me?
I realize my examples are simplistic in comparison to the complexities of biology, but I believe artificial selection does provide small examples of variability within species. Even creationists accept microevolution though they hate to use that term. The next step is to start studying the fossil record and seeing the transitions from one species to another. No it is not a complete record because we are dealing with a natural history that didn’t care about leaving a trail of bones to be categorized. We’re lucky to have many of the specimens we’ve found thus far.
If creationist proponents, as I tend to hear ignorant and often arrogant remarks about us all coming from monkeys and how could anyone be so stupid as to believe that, want to think that evolution defies commonsense, let’s pause for a moment. What do they believe? Have you read The Bible? You can’t own commonsense when your faith is an affront to it. Don’t tell me evolution is ridiculous when you say the world was brought to its knees by a woman eating a piece of fruit by listening to a talking snake–a talking snake!! You’re going to hear me say “talking snake” a lot because I am very tired of literalist Christians thinking they are more intelligent for not accepting evolution. You believe in a friggin’ talking animal! You want to engage us in your science then please explain the anatomy of the snake’s vocal chords in order to form words under possession by Satan.
BTW: I would also like to know why God thought it necessary to invent incest and didn’t just create multiple pairs of coupling humans? The God of Genesis is ridiculously inept in his creative efforts if he wields the power he claims.