I know my facts and stuff about evolution, there's just one thing that I honestly don't know how to explain to her and was wondering if any of you know... I'm sure you probably know I just haven't done research on it.
My mother keeps arguing with me about the races in the world. She keeps telling me that if evolution is so real why are there people around the world located at a certain location that have a certain feature different than others.
For example, in Africa people are dark. In Asia, people are light with their eyes different, in the middle East people are somewhat dark, etc.
I honestly cannot explain to her why this is the case because I honestly don't know.
Could you guys help me out here? Thanks!
The caps, they burn....
Caps lock is cruise control for cool!
Academics call this "confirmation bias". What your mother is doing is engaging in a kind of false induction. She is trying to argue that evolution should be questioned on the basis of this concrete observation she has made when in reality her argument is in favor of natural selection.
Skin pigmentation is most likely the result of selection pressures that favored different skin colors in different regions of the world. So, her observation just supports TOE, imo.
I did a quick search and found this:
hope this helps,
Now posted at kirkomrik.wordpress.com as well.
That was informative & useful. I really enjoyed Christina Rad's debunking of Ray Comfort, but I haven't been able to find the video anywhere lately.
Hey Artor - glad it was useful - kk
From what I understand, scientists believe that skin color evolved as a way to maintain levels of two essential vitamins, D3 and folate. Melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color, protects our skin from UV rays, which deplete folate but activate production of D3. This means 1) too much melanin and you'd be D3 deficient in colder climates and 2) too little meanin and you'd be folate deficient in warmer climates. Both of these deficiencies could have resulted in lower survival rates in our ancestors. Nowadays, scientists speculate that our diets have developed to the point that skin color is no longer a factor (e.g. we can get enough D3 and folate in our diets regardless of our skin color and where we live). Tada, it has nothing to do with the human construct of race. Here's one link where you can find this information: Science 2.0
Some people forget that evolution is not a single, all or nothing process. It occurs on many levels (macro and micro evo), and the results are not perfection but rather just "good enough." Simply put: If it doesn't kill you, make you sterile, or destroy your chances of mating, you better bet it's going to stick around - and welcome to the wondrous diversity within a species. For more info, you can also look at ontogeny vs. phylogeny and the different types of evo (convergent, parallel, divergent). Questions, like the one your mother asked, come from a poor understanding and oversimplification of the facts and theories relating to evolution. Good luck!
"Questions, like the one your mother asked, come from a poor understanding and oversimplification of the facts and theories relating to evolution."
I completely agree with this statement. Evolution is like a big tree with many branches, we are not evolved directly from monkeys but Human & Monkey share common ancestors at some point in the evolution. Similar to two different small branches in the tree has a common big branch.
I like that you emphasized the trade off between folic acid and vitamin D here, driving selection for more or less melanin production. I could imagine that it would make it easier to grasp, more intuitive.
Kari: First of all, you may THINK you know the "facts and stuff" about evolution; but, like most Americans, you clearly don't.
Variations in physical features of populations that are separated geographically from other populations over long periods of time, within a species, are not only consistent with the process of evolution, they are inseparable from it. If they have not yet been through enough generations to diverge so much that they are unable to procreate with others from their ancestral stock they are called “races;” or more scientifically, “varieties.” They are the BEGINNINGS of an evolutionary process of adaptation and change over time. Populations that are subjected to specific environnmental conditions - climate, availability of food, etc. - will inexorably and incrementally develop characteristics that make it easier to survive to the age of reproduction within that particular environment. And it follows that other populations exposed to other conditions will develop different characteristics amenable to those conditions. People who live in very hot desert climes are less likely to require hairy bodies to keep them warm than those who live where it is cold; and people who live in northern latitudes will need lighter skin in order to better absorb the solar radiation necessary to metabolize vitamin D. Blue eyes will tend to predominate over brown eyes wherever the sun is less intense than in equatorial regions. And so forth.
Any time a population of living things finds itself in one unchanging environment for long periods, it will likely not change very much. But if a portion of their kind migrates or is physically separated for some reason, and finds itself in a radically different environment than its cousins, it will change over generations to better accommodate to the new circumstances. As long as those changes are sufficiently minor (eye color, hair color, nose shape, etc.) to allow procreation to continue unabated, even between separated populations, they are called “races,” or more scientifically - “varieties.” However, given enough generations - millions of years - those changes accumulate so many changes that the chromosomes and genes can no longer link up properly following mitosis. At that point, they cannot reproduce and they become - by definition - different “species.” Furthermore, the longer the time available for them to accumulate changes, the more they will differ That is why, given many millions of generations, a population of monkeys could become the ancestors of apes, orangutans, chimpanzeees, and more - including humans.
But, to return to the original question: the phenomenon of races is an unavoidable part of the evolutionary progression. Race differentiation is only the first step of evolution.
Just to be clear, the categories of race, as referred to by the OP, which are largely based on skin color and physical characteristics, are not actually recognized by scientists as races per the definition above.