Archives for: February 2005, 27

Sun, 27 February 2005

Permalink 02:37:49 pm

The Problem With Evolution

I'm no Charles Darwin or Richard Dawkins, I don't even have any qualifications in biology, but there's a part of evolution that I've never seen properly explained. When I was at school, the teaching of evolution went something like this:

'Life started as single cell amoebas. Over millions of years these developed into multi-cell organisms, which in turn evolved into invertebrates.' Ok, fine so far, seems plausible. 'These invertebrates then gradually evolved into fish-like vertebrates. After another few million years fish began crawling out of the sea, using their fins as legs, to become amphibious...' Whoa, hang on there, rewind a second, fish began crawling out of the sea?

My understanding of evolution is that, through natural selection over many thousands of generations, genetic mutations that are beneficial to the species become dominant. The 'using their fins as legs' part I can accept, I can imagine that they were crawling on the sea bed well before they moved to land, it's how they breathed that I don't get.

What type of freak genetic mutation is it that suddenly gives a fish the ability to breathe in water and in air? You can either breathe in air or you can't, there's no in between, so it's a huge leap.

I'm sure that there's a very good explanation, it's just I haven't been able to find it. Everything I've read on the subject explains the transition from fins to legs, not the change in breathing mechanism. From single-cell amoebas to vertibrates I'm fine with, and likewise from land-crawling 'fish' to mammals and birds, it's just the bit in between I get stuck on. And in case you're wondering, this isn't an argument for creationism, it's questioning the current evolution teachings.

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