While all of his arguments in the last chapter of his book are convincing, the ones that I think are his best are the ones that most swayed me once was first learning about the specifics of evolution at a young age. The first one being his comparison of evolution in the natural world to the breeding patterns that humans do in their domesticated animals. I like this one a lot because it’s something I often cite whenever I’m in an argument with people who aren’t quite convinced of the theory of evolution’s validity. I think it’s the most common sense approach to teaching evolution. Humans like to have animals that serve a specific purpose, and will breed animals that they believe will produce an offspring who will achieve this purpose. If we can believe that humans stumbled upon this process largely accidently and without thinking about it, what makes the natural world so different? The other one of Darwin’s arguments that most convinces me is his regarding how similar in bone structure nearly all animals are. However, While Darwin’s description of the similarities of bone structures in multiple animals of varying ecosystems is certainly convincing, I think X-rays drive the message home even further. Additionally, in addressing the opposition, Darwin spoke on how we lack the fossil structures of “parent” species, or genus that link one earlier form of organism to a later one. While Darwin admits that this is true, he also argues that the process of the formation of fossils is so specific and takes such a massive amount of time, that it’s largely unlikely that we would find these fossils as quickly as many people hope to.
To me, Darwin’s most convincing piece of evidence is the similarities in skeletal structures in a broad variety of organisms. It’s always amazed how animals that seem so different in outward appearance can all have a similar foundation. It’s a great piece of evidence as not only does it prove Darwin’s own theory, it also disproves the traditional biological view of the time, that species are inherently different from one another. If this was true, then wouldn’t their bone structures all be fundamentally different from one another? On a personal note, this piece of evidence goes hand in hand with one of the most interesting experiences of my academic career. In school, while learning about evolution we were given similar arguments that Darwin gave, even displaying side by side X-rays of different skeletal structures in animals. However, our biology teacher took it a step forward, and displayed next side by side images of fetuses of various animals. Bone structures are one thing, but it’s incredible how all early fetuses seem to share the same structure. I remember this being so much so that there were audible gasps from people in the room, and it just seemed to be a moment where it dawned on us all how interconnected animal life seems to be on this planet.