Happy Darwin Day!
Two hundred and seven years ago today, Charles Darwin was born. Each year, on the anniversary of his birth, the world celebrates “Darwin Day” to commemorate the importance of his life and the enduring legacy of his brilliant scientific work.
Although Darwin certainly didn’t get everything right, (scientists rarely do!) he put us on the path toward understanding a great deal about the relatedness of life on earth and the process of change over time that leads to the diversity of life we see on earth today.
Thanks in large part to the significant fossil and genetic breakthroughs of just the last 20 years, we now understand much more about the evolutionary process. And scientific work continues to this day to better understand the mechanisms behind these changes. As we learn more, this can lead to improved treatment and prevention of diseases, better practices for care of habitats and the environment, and other positive outcomes we can’t yet predict.
So because it’s Darwin’s Day, I thought it would be a great time to recommend you check out this new video (~11mins.) from our friends at statedclearly.com, What is the Evidence for Evolution?
Darwin is remembered for his simple but startling thesis: that all life on earth is related, and has evolved through countless small changes over long periods of time. But where’s the evidence for such a thing? The video points to whale evolution as a test case - scientists think whales evolved from land mammals, but how do we know? You’ll want to check out the 4 independent lines of evidence they present, all leading to a very convincing case for evolution. Jon Perry and his team are working to produce more great videos like this to make learning about evolution fun and fairly easy. They’ve also made videos on the following topics:
- What is DNA and How Does it Work?
- How Does New Genetic Information Evolve?
- What is Natural Selection?
Although the statedclearly.com folks don’t explicitly approach science from the perspective of faith, we share their passion for helping others learn more about evolution, and I’m excited about their work. The videos are engaging, colorful, and scientifically accurate, while also intentionally avoiding anti-supernatural rhetoric that we people of faith should find objectionable. Their work contributes to a growing collection of high quality evolution-focused videos completed within the past few years. (I point to some others here, in the BioLogos K-12 Educators Resource Center.)
Not that long ago, a college student approached me at a convention and asked, “What is the evidence for evolution. I don’t know of any.” She said that she had seen evidence for microevolution (small scale changes), but nothing on large scales changes that reveal the relatedness of all life (sometimes referred to as “macroevolution.”) I was fairly stunned by her question, partly because it was so wide open. We get these questions online fairly often, but this was in person. There was too much to say - I instantly felt overwhelmed. She genuinely seemed to believe that evidence like this doesn’t exist.
If I could go back and re-do that conversation, I think I’d start off by saying, ”There’s this great video you should watch….”