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Regarding human evolution and evolution in general

  1. Apr 7, 2014 #1
    I spoke to someone that said that the reason we know humans originated from evolution is because there is no other scientifically possible explanation. I originally thought the reason we knew humans originated from evolution because we had explicit evidence of human evolution. Although now that I look back at it, I doubt my knowledge because how is it possible for scientists to have explicit evidence without using a time machine, right?

    Sorry for ignorance. I'd know like to know if this person is correct or wrong.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2014 #2
    I would say that the statement you have up there is correct with the exception that the wording should be changed to something like, evolution explained and predicted all of the observed biological phenomena within the scope of its applicability and no known scientific theory can achieve such a feat. It doesn't necessarily mean that something else won't come along some day, although we can reasonably claim that evolution will only be revised a bit in the details and will likely not be negated fully.

    Regarding the evidence point, we don't have a snapshot of exactly evolution from homo (something or other) to Homo sapiens but we do have a large body of evidence (at the molecular/DNA level as well as morphological) which can only really be explained by using evolution. Getting away from humans, we can observe evolution in bacteria and other models and there is no reason to believe humans are/were not immune to this phenomenon.
  4. Apr 8, 2014 #3
    Evolution is a demonstrable fact.
    The direct/immediate ancestor of modern humans is unknown.
    The fossil record is fragmented.
    Without a complete lineage, we will never do better than "the most probable descent".
    You need to think long and hard about what precisely would constitute "explicit evidence" of human evolution.
    We have fossils of hominids which either were our direct ancestors or are related to them.
    The person who made the claim is wrong. We have created what are essentially new species in the laboratory. Saying that there is only one mechanism to produce a species is nonsense. If I claimed that Aliens from Lyra took Neanderthal DNA and modified it and created the modern human genome, how would that not be scientifically possible? (Granted, there is no evidence for it, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence)
  5. Apr 8, 2014 #4
    This is perhaps a better place to start -

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