I realize the semantics of debate- but I am saying both sides have their heels dug in. I find it hard to believe that people are actually on the fence- that some people consider "the jury to be out" as it were. Either you buy BS by the batshitload or you don't.
You would be surprised by how many people genuinely know nothing about evolutionary theory. It is not taught adequately in public schools and when it is addressed, it is in such an environment of bitterness and controversy that it is distrusted.
Evolution has two parts, no? First a random, chance change occurs. Then a selection process occurs, which is non-random as you say. If a change is bad, the creature does not propagate. If good, it survives to propagate.
“Bad” and “good” are value judgments, and evolution makes no such value judgments. The changes can be logically categorized three ways: (1) such that they do not impact reproductive success, (2) increase reproductive success, or (3) decrease reproductive success. No values, no morals, just reproduction.
Because there are so many possible change that could take place, way more than a billion, it would take a long time to get to one that can not only survive but produce a beneficial change.
Mutations can exist in perfect harmony with the rest of the “normal” genetic code. Most people, when considering evolutionary theory, forget the idea of a reproduction-neutral mutation/change.
I really do not know where you get “way more than a billion” from, however.
Now, on top of that, punctuated equilibrium expects us to believe that the hundreds of thousand of changes necessary to go from one species to another all occurred at once. So we have billions times hundreds of thousand, divided by a few thousand in the population.
Do you know how DNA transcription works? There are a finite number of chemical compounds involved in DNA. I am very very confused by these seemingly-arbitrary numbers you are throwing around.
What are these “hundreds of thousands” of changes that are needed?
And why would we need two spontaneously produced creatures of a new species? You are making it seem as if a chimp gave birth to a human one day; the human tried having sex with a chimp cousin and it didn’t work. That is not how natural selection works. The vast majority of all speciation results not from dramatic mutation, but from population dispersal (which is relative based on the mobility of the given species - 10 feet might as well be 1000 light years to most primitive life forms).
Let’s walk slowly through an example:
Take a population of an animal, let’s call it AnimalX. This population of AnimalXs are separated by the umpteen different factors that separate populations (natural land formations, hunting patterns, social politics, etc…) and they live separately and do not interbreed although they are still physically capable of doing so. You end up with two groups from the same population that live separately and do not interbreed.
Let us also suppose that the environments of the two groups are slightly different. The original population lives in an arid region and the splinter group migrated to a more deciduous area.
After thousands of years, each group has adapted to its area and this happens via genetic mutation.
Now, you accept that these adaptations are possible, but you postulate that any change involving the physical capability to reproduce is not