These are not rhetorical questions, nor questions designed to get someone into a debate/argument. I’m just curious as to what answers people might have, because as a Mormon I don’t have to disbelieve in the concept of evolution. Could man have evolved from lower life forms and the gospel still be true? I don’t see why not, so it’s not a problem for me, nor have I ever been exposed to anything else in science that conflicts with my religious beliefs.
But I’ve been reading some Richard Dawkins lately, and I have two questions:
1. It seems obvious from examples such as Darwin’s finches or the breeding of dogs that there is some measure of evolution going on in the world. In the latter that has not resulted in any new specie of animal, but in the latter there are about 15 separate species. My question is whether there is any hard evidence, or what is the best supporting evidence available, to show that not just a new species but a new genus, family, order, etc. has arisen via the evolutionary process. It’s one thing to look at two finches located near each other geographically and with similar characteristics and say “These look like they’re related…” But how are fish and birds related, or whales and monkeys? I don’t mean how are they related on a biological map, I mean is there any hard evidence proving their relationship, or what is the best evidence available? Or is some faith involved?
2. Dawkins talks of a “primordial soup” giving rise to higher and higher forms of life. My question is how does one get from completely inorganic materials, the raw elements, to something living? We have the elements of the periodic table, and we have heat, cold, lightening, and other natural forces, but how does any combination of those result in organic material from that which is completely inorganic? If such a thing could happen completely by chance, it seems that with purposeful intent scientists working in a lab could make the same thing happen. But has any scientist been able to take inorganic material and create even the simplest single-celled life form? It seems there may be some faith involved in this belief as well.
I’m not saying I disbelieve either of these theories for the creation of life and the existence of man, I am open to the idea that this is exactly where man came from, but I’m wondering what the strongest evidence available is for either theory and would appreciate anyone who can point me in the right direction.