Attempts to refute the theory of evolution
continually crop up in various places. The truth is, there is very little dispute over the validity of the theory of evolution within scientific circles. This is not because scientists
as a group wish to discredit religion
in any way, but because with few exceptions, scientists recognize that all the available facts we have at our disposal support the theory
Some have said that a theory must be falsifiable. This isn't a good way to put it, since any theory that's falsifiable (able to be proven false) is by definition an invalid theory. It might be better to say that a valid theory withstands the rigors of opposing tests. Regardless, we have another theory, the theory of gravity, that also has no tests to disprove it. What experiment would you perform that could possibly disprove the existence of gravity? We should keep in mind when bringing this up that scientists still don't know what gravity is, how it works, or how it fits into the simplified model of the universe we're trying to build. We know how it operates, but not what makes it work. It's interesting to note that we accept gravity, though, as quite obvious, but there's more hard evidence to support the existence of the process we call evolution than there is to support the existence of the force we call gravity.
A theory is not necessarily predictive. The theory of chaos, for instance, is inherently not predictive. The theory of chaos holds that things cannot be predicted, and chaos plays a major part in evolution, gene pooling, and natural selection.
To hold up an angelfish and an eel and say that their taking different forms denies the theory of evolution simply isn't good thinking. It overlooks the fact that both the angelfish and the eel are perfectly suited for their environment, and each has a design and set of strategies that make their existence sustainable, meaning that given a stable environment and set of circumstances, they could exist in their present form in perpetuity. This situation complies perfectly with the theory of evolution.
It's very ironic that man has taken a species we now call wolf, and over centuries of breeding have developed numerous breeds of domesticated dogs. All your boxers, bloodhounds, and poodles, were first bred down from wolves. We have, in short, used the principles of evolution to our own ends, by forcing evolutionary pressures on these animals and developing entirely new species (for the domesticated dog is no longer of the same species as the wolf), but still some deny that evolution exists, even while we make it our own tool.
And if you ask anyone familiar with the clothing industry, they're gearing up for making clothes for taller people. This is because the height of the average person in our part of the world has increased in the last few years by about an inch and a half. This is the very process of evolution in play within our lifetimes, with evident effects. As a group, we're growing taller because of our diet, lifestyle, etc. A biological population reacting to its environment. Evolution.
The evidence for evolution comes to us at least 65 million years in the making, but it's not just in the field of biology. Evidence comes from the fields of geology, archaeology, anthropology, zoology, chemistry, and most other disciplines. In short, the theory of evolution is supported by the facts we have at our disposal from all branches of knowledge, each of which forms a part of the complete picture.
***Update (10-19-00): After submitting the above w/u, someone contacted me directly to point out an error. His contention was that wolves and domesticated dogs are indeed the same species. This led to a bit of discussion back and forth with him politely pointing out that dogs and wolves interbreed quite easily...me retorting with the point that their species are very closely related, enough that interbreeding isn't really a problem...he stating that inhibited interbreeding is part of the basic defining quality that differentiates species...my replying that yes, but it's not the only one and that canis lupus and canis familiaris are two similar but different species in the canis family, etc.
I was, of course, relying on my independent research in this area and my studies with a zoologist who once assured me that wolves and domesticated dogs are indeed different species according to our most widely used taxonomical standard.
Every time I replied to my new friend, I always double-checked my facts (I simply hate embarrassing myself). Lo and behold, as I was getting ready to write my latest to him, I found some new information at http://www.kc.net/~wolf2dog/annd2.htm, where it's pointed out that in 1993, with no formal announcements or fanfare of any kind, scientists quietly reclassified the dog family. Both domesticated dogs and wolves are now considered canis lupus. Wolves are now canis lupus X, and crossbred individuals are canis lupus familiaris.
So, my hats off and sincere apologies to my kind correspondent, ShadowNode, with much gratitude for his helping to complete my understanding here. He was right, after all, and I'm glad to have learned something new.