13
Aug
08

Evolution and Gravity

I was reading an article on the recent decision to allow UC not to admit students from Christian high schools who haven’t learned the basics of biology as it is taught throughout the public school system and one thing that kept coming up was the argument that evolution is as well supported a theory as gravity. This is wrong if you really think about it. Not saying evolution isn’t that well understood or supported, but rather that it is better supported (or at least better understood) than gravity.

Gravity, at the base of it, is the theory that mass attracts mass. We can see that in effect, so we know it, but we don’t know how mass attracts mass. There are many, many theories (curvature of space, gravitons, god is pushing stuff together…), and it may be that all of these are wrong, most of them are effects that we have come up with because we can see that mass attracts mass and that greater mass has a stronger attractive effect. Also that proximity is a major factor in the equation.

Evolution, on the other hand, we understand extremely well. We know the mechanism (mutation due to levels of background radiation), we know the process (if something works for an individual creature it will allow that creature to breed more often, allowing more of that thing that works to enter the population) and we can re-create the conditions in a lab with perfect understanding and get the expected results. Gravity has already been radically altered (quantum entanglement really messes with the whole thing) while evolution has only needed (ironically) gradual and minor re-working.

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