Something that should be read by anyone who wishes to argue about evolution, especially those who would attempt to disprove it
What truly irritates me is that the majority, the truly and utterly vast majority of people who attack evolution do not actually understand it, at all, in any way whatsoever that could not be construed as a contradiction to the term "understand". Why is it that people who do not know anything about evolution think they can comment on it? Because it contradicts their religion? Do we find these same people discoursing on Relativistic Kinematics or Quantum Electrodynamics? Indeed, do we find such people attempting to discourse on anything except evolution? Do they imagine that evolutionary biology is somewhat less complex than any other scientific discipline, such that they do not need to study it to talk of evolution?
So, when debating someone who claims to be able to "disprove" evolution, take a step back. You can save colossal amounts of time by asking the following questions:
1. Do you understand the three fundamental principles of evolution?
You will find that the vast majority, perhaps 98%, do not, in fact, understand the three principles of evolution, and hence, by definition, they do not have any right (whatsoever) to comment on evolution. So, if your opponent cannot answer question one, which is really incredibly simple, then don't debate with them. Tell them to go away and read. (Hell, the book doesn't even need to be a scientific book, if someone thinks they can "disprove" evolution without knowing the three principles of evolutionary biology...then they should just read something)
For the 2% that do, move onto a harder question, but still one that should be basic knowledge for anyone who claims they can "disprove" evolution:
2. What is a homology, and what are the three types of homologs? (The fourth is more esoteric, but bonus points if they can get it)
3. What is a clade, and how does it occur?
4. With respect to prokaryota, protozoa, and muticellular eukaryota, what is the relationship between the diversity of the organisms in these groups, and the complexity of the organisms in these groups?
5. What are the four sub-types of speciation, and which one does not involve geographic seperation?
Anyone attempting to "disprove" evolution should surely know this. It is basic evolutionary biology..yet the asking of these questions eliminates a huge portion of your possible opponents. Clearly, we are not exactly endowed with experts who valiantly charge forth in their attempt to refute evolution. The asking of these questions also has the good effect of eliminating the most retarded people such as those who conflate evolution and the origin of life, or argue that evolution is a random process, or an argument for thermodynamics, or other utter nonsense.
If they know these...then well done! You may ask them what their argument is.
If their argument is about molecular mechanisms, you should expect them to know something about developmental biology and molecular evolution. So...
1. What is exaptation?
2. What is a Hox gene?
3. What is the position variegation effect?
4. What is the difference, in terms of gene expression, between heterochromatin and euchromatin?
If they know these...well done. You may listen to their argument.
You get the idea...if their argument is about the fossil record, ask...
1. Do you actually understand why a "transitional fossil" is meaningless in terms of morphology and gene flow?
2. Are you aware of what the build up of silt does to the vast majority of decomposed animals?
3. Do you actually understand the reasons for the occurance of the Cambrian Explosion?
If they know these, well done. You may listen to their argument. Although, if they did know these, it is hugely unlikely they would be making an argument at all.
If you were unfortunate enough to get a someone who argues from thermodynamics past the first net, then ask only one question
1. Could you please look out the window at the big yellow thing?
These are not unreasonable requests. No, the questions are not too harsh. People who argue about things should know about them, and should study them. Why is it that people think they are exempt when it comes to the discipline of evolution? Seriously, I am interested in the answers!
"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.