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Veracity of the Theory of Evolution
by Eduardo Diaz Diaz


Evolution is a revolutionary concept that took the human world by surprise when it was first proposed by Darwin almost 150 years ago, encountering a heavy amount of criticism and speculation that hasn’t been able to deny the feasibility of this process taking place. The theory of evolution has survived the great amount of change experienced in our modern time of swift advances in science & technology which has only modified it slightly and maintained it’s existence as a valid and reasonable theory, allowing it to hold up remarkably well under the intense and unrelenting scrutiny and testing of the scientific community.

Haven’t you ever wondered about how life came to be ? Why is it so varied ? Why do some living beings seem to look more alike than others ?

These are all questions to which evolution finds a reasonable and scientific answer supported by tons (and I really mean tons) of evidence. It is a process of gradual change that substantiates how life arose from non living matter and slowly developed throughout millions of years into diverse groups of living creatures that are in fact related due to a common ancestor, which have and will continue to develop into other species. Humans aren’t and never will be the uttermost achievement of the evolutionary process.

With that idea in mind I would like to use this essay not as an explanation of evolution, but as a written inquiry on it’s standing in our modern time, recent developments, evidence in favor and a study of it’s veracity. In essence this is an analysis of the status of the theory of evolution at the end of the 20th century.


"And on the first day God created..." Man, in his desperate search for answers,attempted to find an explanation to how he and his world came to exist. This was the motivation behind the many myths of creation that prevailed in human religions and cultures, of which the most remarkable and famous is the Biblical account ; which is simply that, a majestic and enlightening explanation that uses a creator’s power as a backdrop and is not supported by any reasonable evidence. Many religious believers firmly reject the evolutionary theory because of the faith they have in a belief that has been the foundation behind their perspective of life, but it is simply a tale created by a human group that tried to satisfy it’s search for answers and came to the point were they had to make them up.

Science, in contrast, is in search of the ultimate and most reasonable explanation supported by the evidence, where beliefs are not an influence in the search for answers. This is the only way to obtain an objective explanation that is adept to reality.

Sigmund Freud often remarked that great revolutions in the history of science have but one common, and ironic, feature: they knock human arrogance off one pedestal after another of our previous conviction about our own self-importance. In Freud's three examples, Copernicus moved our home from center to periphery, Darwin then relegated us to "descent from an animal world"; and, finally (in one of the least modest statements of intellectual history), Freud himself discovered the unconscious and exploded the myth of a fully rational mind. In this wise and crucial sense, the Darwinian revolution remains woefully incomplete because, even though thinking humanity accepts the fact of evolution, most of us are still unwilling to abandon the comforting view that evolution means (or at least embodies a central principle of) progress defined to render the appearance of something like human consciousness either virtually inevitable or at least predictable. The pedestal is not smashed until we abandon progress or complexification as a central principle and come to entertain the strong possibility that H. sapiens is but a tiny, late-arising twig on life's enormously arborescent bush - a small bud that would almost surely not appear a second time if we could replant the bush from seed and let it grow again.

The veracity of the theory of evolution is evident when you compare it with the technological application of other laws and theories. Electrons or their equivalent *must* exist, else our machines based on the theories and ideas about electromagnetism wouldn't work. We know gravity exists because we're not floating all over the place, and so the laws of gravity maintain their standing when applied to the real world. By the same token evolution *must* exist, or else genetic engineering wouldn't work and we would be incapable of cloning and manipulating living beings, things which have been recently accomplished and apply the concepts of evolution, thereby obtaining results.

I think this might be one of the reasons why many folks consider evolution a principle instead of merely a theory. It is also a fact that life evolved, so evolution is a fact. How it evolved is not known just as it's not known how there is a "gravity". How evolution and gravity work is a theory (s). Their existence is a fact. There are laws that apply to each (some more predictable than others).

I do not think that electrons are not real or that the planets are illusions...but everything we know via the scientific method can only be accepted provisionally---and yet, our theories on electricity work perfectly---and TV, radio, and modems all work like we would expect them too.

The same can be said about evolutionary theory. Everything we expect in genomes, populations, lab experience, ecology, paleontology, all fit the model great! For the moment, we consider it to be the unifying idea in that way, it is TRUE...but true only in the loosest sense of the word!

No, a theory is not something that would be a fact or a law if only there were enough supporting evidence for it. A theory is a detailed explanation of how and/or why certain phenomena occur, usually in terms of more basic phenomena; it is neither a fact nor a law. Creationists have polluted the scientific meaning of the term "theory" by squawking that "evolution is only a theory, not a fact." But comparing theories with facts in this manner is like comparing apple trees with apples: although the objects are related, the comparison is pointless. For example, the theory of relativity explains how and why time slows down for moving objects (an observed fact). Likewise, the theory of evolution by natural selection explains why earth's life forms have changed through time (another observed fact). Theories may be modified or even overturned, but only in favor of a better or deeper or broader explanation of a body of observed facts.

Something that may or may not be important here: natural selection is just a proposed mechanism of evolution. All the evidence we have indicates that organisms have changed through time, and we know through observation that the allele frequencies of a population can change over time. This would indicate that the statement "Evolution does occur" is a fact. Proposing that it occurs via natural selection is a theory.

Primates are visual animals, and the pictures we draw betray our deepest convictions and display our current conceptual limitations. An error that artists have always made in the portrayal of evolution is painting the history of fossil life as a sequence from invertebrates, to fishes, to early terrestrial amphibians and reptiles, to dinosaurs, to mammals and, finally, to humans. There are no exceptions; all sequences painted since the inception of this genre in the 1850s follow the convention.

Yet we never stop to recognize the almost absurd biases coded into this universal mode and which we need to and have come to change in the last couple of years. No scene ever shows another invertebrate after fishes evolved but invertebrates did not go away or stop evolving! After terrestrial reptiles emerge, no subsequent scene ever shows a fish (later oceanic tableaux depict only such returning reptiles as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs). But fishes did not stop evolving after one small lineage managed to invade the land. In fact, the major event in the evolution of fishes, the origin and rise to dominance of the teleosts, or modern bony fishes, occurred during the time of the dinosaurs and is therefore never shown at all in any of these sequences - even though teleosts include more than half of all species of vertebrates. Why should humans appear at the end of all sequences? Our order of primates is ancient among mammals, and many other successful lineages arose later than we did.

We will not smash Freud's pedestal and complete Darwin's revolution until we find, grasp and accept another way of drawing life's history. J.B.S. Haldane proclaimed nature "queerer than we can suppose," but these limits may only be socially imposed conceptual locks rather then inherent restrictions of our neurology. New icons might break the locks. Trees - or rather copiously and luxuriantly branching bushes - rather than ladders and sequences hold the key to this conceptual transition.

We must learn to depict the full range of variation, not just our parochial perception of the tiny right tail of most complex creatures. We must recognize that this tree may have contained a maximal number of branches near the beginning of multicellular life and that subsequent history is for the most part a process of elimination and lucky survivorship of a few, rather than continuous flowering, progress and expansion of a growing multitude. We must understand that little twigs are contingent nubbins, not predictable goals of the massive bush beneath.


In our time the theory of evolution has come to be a fact and the central concept of biology, it is certain that gradual changes took place in living beings and that they are all related. What still isn’t positively known is how it takes place, is natural selection the answer ?, what other methods could the process take place with?

The only new ideas that have changed about evolution is the notion that it is guided to a subsequently higher complexity, but instead the survival of the fittest that sometimes might need to obtain superiority over other creatures by adapting properly to it’s environment, complexity mostly ensues over competitors but it isn’t always the answer.

Indeed, you only need to stop and think about how lucky you are to form part of a species that has come to explore the concept of it’s own origin and mysterious development. The only question know left to answer is the universality of evolution. If life is ever found in other planets (which it surely will) we will come to question ourselves if evolution is also responsible for the development of the alien being and if our common ancestor is non living matter, in essence the Big Bang that originated time and the universe.

The history of life is not necessarily progressive, it is certainly not predictable. The earth's creatures have evolved through a series of contingent and fortuitous events, so let's continue our journey into the life's past by consulting the opinion of Sthephen J. Gould, an acclaimed paleontologist, expressed in the following article:

The evolution of life on Earth by Stephen J. Gould

©1997 Eduardo Diaz Diaz

Last updated: June 20th, 1997