I don’t know if you are familiar with Dmitry Belyayev’s breeding experiment, so I can quickly summarize it. He basically took the most docile looking foxes, had them breed, and too the most docile looking of the offspring, and breed them, and so on, for 40 years. But even just after 20 years or 10 generations, he actually domesticated the silver fox. He completely altered their DNA even. The domesticated foxes had floppier ears, shorter muzzles, and a tail that rolled over the back.
This was done as I’m sure Dmitry was aware of Charles, Darwin’s study of The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication 100 years earlier.
Basically, you have a ‘docile gene’ in 1 fox, however slight, lets just say 1 docile bit of code in the DNA. When you breed them, the offspring makes more foxes ‘randomly’. And of those offspring, there might be one that is shows being slightly more docile than the others. This one might have 2 bits of ‘docile code’ in their DNA. Then they mate and have offspring with a bunch of ‘random’ triats. At some point, all offspring have 1 bit of docileness in their DNA code, but there is always a few with more, that are more docile. So the most docile ones get selected to breed. Now we have all offspring with 3 bits of ‘docile code’ (and a bunch of other offspring with ‘random’ traits) but the most docile of those bunch get selected again. And so on, until all foxes end up with 50 bits of docile code, and it is no longer easy to choose “the most docile”. So you now have this domesticated fox. The DNA of this domesticated fox and all of its offspring have at least 50 bits of docile code (and some more). But the original silver fox still is a group that has some with 0 bits and very few with 1 bit. And of these original foxes, they keep being born with ‘random’ bits of code to help them survive.
Lets say in a second scenario, a breeder takes the most aggressive foxes and does the same experiment. At the end you would now have a breed of aggressive foxes and docile foxes.
Instead of having a human select the traits they want carried on. Lets say a giraffe. The traits of a long neck could be selected by its environment as opposed to humans. The zebra/horse/donkey (whatever a species a zebra evolved from) looking animal starts reaching for high up food, they have 1 code of DNA that encourages them to reach for food up high. They breed and so on and so on, and now they have 50 genes of reaching high in trees. Much like the silver fox that was domesticated that in just 10 generations actually altered the appearance of the ears, tail and head, the giraffe does the same thing. The length of it’s neck is actually altered as well. Until it no longer needs to grow, it can now reach high in the trees, the “selector” (the environment and not humans) can now, no longer tell the difference between the ones stretching or has no need to stretch, and that part of the code stops multiplying in the offspring.
This is basic evolution dumbed way down. And at some point, the DNA becomes so different, that it can no longer mate with the ‘ancestors’. So in this example, the final domesticated silver fox could no longer mate with the original silver fox’s offspring. This was observed and written about by Darwin speaking about ring species. On the Galapagos islands, the birds flew from island to island, with each having a different environment ‘selecting’ them. At some point, the DNA was too different and they couldn’t mate with ones from other islands.
This has been observed and I would assume not argued by anyone. Some Creationists refer to this as micro-evolution, and “agree” that it is a fact. What many claim to say is impossible to prove (as to which I kind of agree) is that Macro-evolution (to which I do think is quite possible, but impossible to prove). Macro-evolution is a made up term, but it refers to the fact that a monkey cannot change into a human. But we have to look at this from a micro scale. What do organisms need for life? They need a means to acquire nutrients, to circulate them. We humans use our bodies and brains to acquire nutrients, as do monkeys. But trees, the use their roots and leaves. If you have one organism that moves to a new location, random offspring occur, and that new environment selects traits to become optimum in that environment. Some are carried/transported to a new environment against it’s will (even the wind blowing some seeds far from its origination) and some chose to move, and some chose to stay. But variety occurs, and random traits are given and different species are the outcome. The DNA doesn’t know that it is a monkey or a human. There is no wall in the DNA that says, I can change up into this point, but then I can’t change anymore. It is it’s own thing that has no awareness of the scope that it is in. It won’t refuse to change, and will continue to change, until the ‘selector’ can no longer cause it to change.
So if this is all true, then why is there no missing link? The “missing link” is the false non-existent state that Creationist claim to disprove evolution. Since there is no ‘almost monkey, almost man’, then it couldn’t have occurred. To explain that, we have to look at a continuum. There are many continuums in the world we live in, but I like to use black and white, because it is very easy to understand opposites and we can observe the differences and explain them easily. But with related to “the missing link”, I would also challenge anyone to find the missing link between a 20 year old and a 20.5 year old. This is a continuum, a gradual change that is imperceptible. But when looking at the difference between a 4 year old and a 40 year old, it is simple. But we will use black and white. There is a continuum of shades of gray in between that in imperceptible. If you hold two shades right next to each other, and ask anyone to tell the difference, they can’t. It isn’t until enough shades separate them, that you can slightly begin to tell the difference, and it is when looking at black and white, you can only see that next to each other, they are opposite. So if you are adjusting the darkness of the white ever so slightly, when does it start becoming gray? Or stop becoming white? If you are looking at a window of 2 shades only, in a continuum of 1 trillion shades, do you ever know a “stopping” point? If you were told you are the DNA, and you are not allowed to be black, only white, but you have to change, you have to move towards the darkness, you can’t remain the same, when do you stop?
Just like an environment that demands change, and selects 1 shade darker every generation. That DNA cannot see black and white (the big ‘picture’), it only sees one shade next to it. It is only one who can see the big picture (the full spectrum/continuum) can now tell, hey, that was a money, and now it is a human. That can’t change from white to black though, it has a ‘wall’ that prevents it. Obviously white isn’t black and black cannot become white, it is TOO much of a change, it is a Macro-change. Only Micro-changes can occur, just one shade at a time. But we have trillions of different continuums with trillions of shades in each of them and that is where the trillions of species come from. The one gene on it’s own continuum scale has no clue what the gene of another continuum scale is doing. But they can interact with each other. It is possible that only when certain spectrums align that interaction may occur. And that one gene is fine doing its thing until 1 gene on another spectrum changes 1 shade closer to it, and it can now interact with that gene, where as it couldn’t before. Like when a tail grows, there was no need for flesh or fur there, as there was nothing there. But now that there is some veins and cartilage and muscle there, there has to be flesh that protects it. Now we have multiple different continuums interacting with each other, but still all genes are completely unaware of the entire continuum they are on, and the fact that black is on one side and white is on the other. They just keep changing shades over generations.
What evolution is not is “random” in that you have a bunch of random genes trying random shades on a continuum until something works. This is the argument behind the taking all the disassembled pieces of a Rolex in a shoebox and shaking it up a trillion times and out will come a complex Rolex. No one believes in that level of random. But random in that the offspring could have 1 or more very slightly different random attributes, that might get selected and keep getting selected. Like if Dmitry found the foxes with ever so slightly larger eyes, and kept choosing the ones with slightly larger eyes. The fact that one of the offspring has a slightly larger eye is very random and probably won’t do any good or bad for it. BUT, if that is selected by Dmitry (or the environment) and this random trait keeps occurring and getting selected, the DNA is going to change and the foxes will eventually all have larger eyes. And it is quite possible that this large eye random occurrence only randomly happens every 10 generations. But if something (like the environment) is around long enough to keep choosing it, eventually, the species will end up with larger eyes….”randomly”.
This is why I believe in evolution (even Macro-evolution) as a Christian. It isn’t as far fetched as some make it out to be, it isn’t illogical at all. Though I do believe God did program His creation to evolve. He gave it the ability to ‘randomly’ adapt to it’s surroundings. But no, I do not believe in the big bang as a ‘random’ event, that everything came from nothing. Except to say that the universe as we know it came from God, and everything we have came from nothing in that sense, and the big bang is a very plausible event that God could have triggered. And at some point, God clearly placed living organisms on this earth. And at some point humans became what we are now, and God liked that, and chose us to be the potential bearers of His image.
Though I will caveat all of that with the fact that I could be completely wrong. I have no clue to the truth, as I wasn’t there. But much more importantly, I don’t really care all that much of how (though no disrespect as I know this is what this entire website is somewhat centered around the how) (the inner workings, obviously God is the how) it happened? More of the why it happened. God created what He created to give Him glory as He deserves all glory! Our amazing Creator created it all. Just like the programmer who built the code for windows operating system. But all that code does nothing until the ON button is pushed, and it begins to ‘build’ itself with ever improving complexity the further it boots up until it is booted up and the programmer can rest and rule over the operating system, interacting with it and controlling it to end up at the will of the programmer and for His glory. Which is the why, and the importance of admitting we might not know how the universe was made to what it is today, but we have a role in it, a God given role to allow God to help us glorify Him in all we do!