Re: Believing in theory of evolution requires faith (Letters, April 13)
Dog breeds are the products of evolution by artificial selection: From a set of puppies, people identified individuals they liked, such as those who grew into adults that were good at killing rats, or protecting sheep.
These were bred and the selection step was repeated. A few from the next litters might have killed more rats than their parents or were better at protecting sheep. Again, the best were selected to produce another generation. These experiments were done independently in different places and, consequently, we now have lots of terriers, and German, Belgian and Australian shepherds.
Faith is not a factor here. Breeder’s records tell us that evolution by artificial selection is what led to the diversity in domestic species that we see today. Evolution by natural selection argues that the same process takes place in nature.
To Darwin, the idea that evolution by artificial selection had generated various breeds of dog, cat, cattle, sheep, etc., but that different wild species were created independently, seemed unnecessarily complicated.
In the Origin of Species, he proposed that nature, like a dog breeder, allows only some individuals to reproduce. These individuals differ from others and the features that enhanced survival and reproduction in one place might not be the same as those that were selected in another. This way, evolution by natural selection led to changes that generated new varieties, which eventually became new species.
Darwin’s observations were consistent with this theory. Evolution, whether by artificial or natural selection, predicts that related species will be connected geographically.
Creationism doesn’t make such predictions. A creator could place deer and monkeys anywhere, yet, on islands more than 300 miles from the mainland, Darwin found only flying and marine mammals.
Creation does not explain why all species, from bacteria to pine trees to humans, have DNA. In addition, Darwin also noted that if species were perfectly matched to their environment, as one might expect from creation, then invasive species wouldn’t stand a chance.
Ruth Magnusson said she examined the theory of evolution and rejected it, after looking to science for explanations. I hope this inspires her to look again.