Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Evolution Revisited

As always, I continue to argue against creationism and show the overwhelming evidence that supports evolution. I am always looking around for new evidence and new examples - an ever-present lens I view the world through (which, to me, makes it so much more amazing through my eyes). I had an interesting thought last night that I thought should definitely be shared.

If evolution is false, then why do animals have mating rituals?

As a note, I have decided that the argument 'because God wanted it that way' just does not cut it when having a scientific discussion. It is forever deemed by me to be a non-answer, about a relevant as saying 'I like tacos'. Think of all the hundreds of things we've deemed unexplainable in the past - rainbows, conception, whether the earth is the center of the universe, chemical reactions, gravity - that we explained away with 'it is the will of God (or Allah, or whatever)' that we now can explain with science and well-known scientific laws and facts. To believe that we've suddenly and mysteriously hit a ceiling where God's workings are so mysterious we will never be able to see the forces working in the background is to bury one's head in the sand in the face of reality. If you're going to have a scientific argument, you've got to have some science in there - as many creationist arguments do, or attempt, at least.

Also, it makes God seem like a whiny three-year-old - 'because I WANT IT'. And I don't like to think of God like a three-year-old.

So why, then, do animals have mating rituals? Many mating rituals are dangerous - deer, rams, and others clash antlers/horns that can result in serious physical damage. Lions, sea lions, and some monkeys fight each other directly, causing injury and even death. Those that are not directly dangerous consume time and resources - peacocks make themselves a slow and flashy target for predators, birds waste time having elaborate displays and preparing collections of objects or nests when they could be gathering food, walruses stand for hours on beaches making a noisy display to attract females.

Certainly a better option would be to just mate with whoever is the closest member of the opposite sex, then return to normal life. After all, if evolution is false, it doesn't really matter who you mate with - your species is safe, no matter who mates with whom. It will remain at exactly the same fitness level and will not become stronger or weaker. So with such security, why waste such resources??

I could only really think of two arguments.
1. Females like to pick the best mate.
Well, yea. But why do they like to do this? To ensure fitness of their offspring. Fitness only matters if evolution is true.

2. Males want to have lots of children by mating with lots of females (fighting off other males).
Well yea, but why do they want to have lots of children? These aren't humans - they don't actually love their kids - in most species, they won't even help raise them. In many species, they'll actually try and kill them if they run into them! So why would they want to have lots of kids? Oh right, to pass on genes. But that only matters if evolution is true.

So apart from the argument that God really loves watching lions, monkeys, and sea lions mauling each other to death on a seasonal basis (which, from reading the Bible, isn't too hard to believe, actually...), I feel that mating rituals are a pretty good example that there's obviously some reason why picking a good mate is worth the effort expended and risk induced. That reason is evolution.

Change in frequency of alleles in a population. Fitness.

Please do let me know if you have any other arguments, as I like to test all my theories and ideas to the limit to make sure they stand up. Otherwise, perhaps I must reconsider my stance.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Interview with a Sibling!

Elizabeth, of The Spotted Ottoman Blog, recently interviewed her 14-year-old sister on her perspectives on a few things in life. I am shamelessly stealing her idea to interview my brother Kenneth (who is also 14) and my younger twin sisters, Alice and Heather (who are 10). I changed up the questions a bit, but I thought this might be some interesting insight. I am also considering a second post with my answers, my sister Elizabeth (Libby)'s answers (she is 19), and my dad's answers! Stay tuned!

•  Kenneth

•  Heather

•  Alice