Saturday, April 28, 2012
Anyone can see evidence for evolution with their own eyes.
Really bad joke everyone has already heard before: Where does an 800 lb. gorilla sleep? Anywhere it wants to.
I looked it up. Gorillas weigh only 600 pounds or less (about equal to a fat American who eats cake all day). Fortunately they are friendly creatures and they even have a sense of humor that's equal to or better than what human apes have.
For example there's this thing I didn't see but I read about it. At a zoo a crowd was watching a large family of gorillas. The largest male gorilla there started chasing a baby gorilla, looking like he wanted to kill the baby. After a long chase all over the place, the baby gorilla turned around and made a threatening gesture to the 600 pounder who was chasing him. To the great relief and laughter of the crowd, the huge gorilla pretended to look horrified and he turned around and ran for his life as the baby gorilla chased the gigantic gorilla all over the place. Obviously these are extremely intelligent creatures.
I also read about a young boy at another zoo who was goofing off (young boys are experts at getting themselves in trouble) and fell over the railing, landing among a large number of gorillas. A huge female gorilla picked up the little boy and held him in her arms to keep him safe until the zoo keepers were able to take the boy from her. That young guy got his money's worth for his zoo visit that day. How many people can say their life was saved by a lady gorilla? I repeat, these are extremely intelligent and altruistic creatures which is what I would expect from one of our closest non-human cousins.
At Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo (it's free) I was standing not more than one foot away from a huge gorilla who was sitting on a stool. We were separated by very thick glass. I turned my head away from him to talk to some friends. Meanwhile this very intelligent ape was planning a practical joke and I was going to be his victim. As I turned my head again to face him, the 600 pound gorilla with perfect timing threw his entire massive weight at me at full speed. He knew that in the one second I had to react I would forget about the thick glass separating us and he was right. He could see the horror on my face as he smashed into the glass with his entire gigantic body. It was a perfectly planned and executed trick he played on me.
Even more amazing was his reaction when he saw me shaking my finger at him (as in you naughty gorilla). The gorilla was laughing. Because of the thick glass I could not tell whether or not his laughter could be heard but most definitely he was laughing just like any human ape would laugh. And he was laughing for the same reason any human would laugh which was his completely successful attempt to terrorize me without actually harming me.
What I witnessed, what I saw with my own eyes, was evidence for the evolutionary relationship between modern human apes and modern gorilla apes. I saw a gorilla act exactly like a human would act under the same circumstances (except a human could never have performed this practical joke so successfully). This similar behavior (a mean sense of humor and the ability to laugh and the intelligence required to think something was funny) between people and gorillas is strong evidence for the idea we share an ancestor with these priceless creatures, an ancestor who according to DNA evidence lived about nine million years ago (according to http://timetree.org/).
There is of course much stronger evidence for our evolutionary relationship with the other Great Ape species, for example the predictions biologists made about human chromosome two and the evidence from ERVs. My point is what I saw was evidence for evolution and it most certainly was not evidence against evolution. The intelligence of the other ape species only makes sense if evolution is true.
At Chicago's Field Museum I had just looked at a fossil of a small dinosaur. I walked around a corner and then I saw a skeleton of a modern ostrich. This was a long time ago when the idea that modern birds have an evolutionary relationship with one lineage of dinosaurs was still controversial. It's now considered fact thanks to recent fossil discoveries in China.
When I saw the ostrich skeleton I noticed it looked a lot like the small dinosaur I had just seen. I walked back and forth between these two exhibits and I kept noticing many similarities between these creatures, separated in time by more than 65 million years. I was seeing with my own eyes evidence for the evolutionary relationship between modern birds and dinosaurs.
In both of these examples, (the intelligent gorilla with a sense of humor, the ability to make me look like a fool, and the ability to laugh at my horror) and (the similarities between a small dinosaur and an ostrich), I was not looking for evidence for evolution but I found it anyway. I should not have been surprised to see it. Everything in nature only makes sense if evolution is true. Some evidence is not very strong and some evidence is extremely strong, but all evidence is for evolution. There is no evidence against evolution (despite what dishonest know-nothing Christian tards say about it).
Knowledge about evolution makes nature many times more interesting. A person who understands science can both appreciate the beauty of nature and what makes it beautiful.The Bible thumpers and the terrorists who deny the 150 years of scientific progress that has repeatedly shown evolution is true don't know what they're missing.
"The religious imagination is paltry and petty compared to the awesome reality."
-- PZ Myers