Christy, I’d meant to reply to you earlier…
No, certainly the existence of bacteria over 3.5 billion years wouldn’t falsify evolutionary mechanism. Rather, it would be lack of any significant, novel changes or mutations over that period. Though to my knowledge we have no way of knowing that kind of data over that period… correct me if I’m wrong, but we don’t have any way of determining the precise structure, organelles, proteins, specific genetic changes, etc., from fossilized bacteria.
I’m only curious about what we could in fact observe. - So the only thing we could examine empirically is the bacteria we’ve been able to directly observe.
In other words, I understand there are significant de novo changes, or very, very rapid acccumulation of small coordinated changes all seemingly coordinated, that are required to get from land animals to whales, flightless to flying animals, precise fine tuned echolocation, or even from primitive primates to humans.
If these beneficial, functional, de novo changes are expected to happen in a vastly smaller population over a “mere” 1 million generations or so, I would expect to see some comparable de novo changes during the general timeframe we have been able to empirically observe bacteria and protozoa.
Basically, my impression is that, over all the period over the last ~ 70 years or so we have been able to examine bacteria and protozoa in serial… with huge population sizes and very fast generation times, we have still seen nothing but small changes, the kind that would be insufficient to explain the genetic leaps involved in multicellular animals over comparable generation times.
But some here have said I’m comparing apples and oranges, as bacteria don’t evolve as quickly as multicellular life does, with its smaller genetic code.
My inveterate skepticisms cries “how convenient,” and it seems too much like the superhero from “Mystery Men” who could turn invisible, so long as no one was watching.
multicellular life evolves great novelties in a relatively short amount of generations. But generation times are simply too long to see evolution happen, I am told. OK, I say, let’s see if it happens in an organism we can observe many generations quickly! Oh, no, you can’t see that either, because if they generate fast enough for you to see evolution happen, those organisms evolve too slowly for you to see it.
How convenient for the theory. So evolution happens so long as I’m not watching, it seems. Though I try to maintain an open mind…
But I’d like to have some objective sense, hence my bottom line question…
Over just how many generations, of how many different populations, and what kind of organisms, specifically, would we have to observe organisms remaining essentially unchanged before we could start to legitimately doubt the ability of the “natural selection+variation” mechanism to account for novel complexity in life? Even if we’re talking to collaborated efforts of scientists over the next million years. How long would we have to have observed organisms reproduce but not evolve new complex features?
That is, how many times would we have to ”repeat” and “test” the theory, and observe it fail to produce similar or at least analogous results, for us to consider falsifying the theory?