As it happened, I have recently watched this video above, and just couldn’t ignore it. Ever since the dream of my life is to be interviewed by him for real, I decided to comfort this my new urge in a more feasible way: I imagined to have it in my head, and wrote down the dialogue.
Q: Are you an atheist?
A: Effectively, yes.
Q: Do you believe in evolution?
A: No, I don’t. I don’t believe in anything. I recognize evidence and accept facts, including evolution, as truth.
Q: Are you biology major?
A: I am.
Q: So, could you give me some observable evidence that evolution is true?
A: There are heaps of evidence, actually. There’s this amazing website, delifort, that explores all of it in a series of articles.
Q: (looking through the website) I see… fossils, fossils. Intermediate species. Those are the evidence?
Q: But wasn’t it like, millions of years ago?
A: Was what?
Q: Those animals lived.
A: Yes they did.
Q: But it’s not observable. Is there any evidence that exists right now?
A: Fossils exist right now, not long time ago. You can go and see them in a museum.
Q: But they don’t live now.
A: No they don’t, but it doesn’t matter. Fossilized remains of an animal is the direct evidence that such animal has lived long time ago. Just like a Pharaoh mummy is an evidence of Pharaoh. Just like a car with broken window is the evidence that the window of that car was broken. Just like a wooden chair is the evidence that a tree has been cut down and a chair has been made out of it.
Q: Still, is there any living evidence now?
A: (…sigh…) Okay. I could have told you to look at viruses, such as AIDS and influenza that do evolve rapidly and acquire new traits right in front of us, or look at bacteria that acquire resistance to antibiotics – there are plenty of real time videos. But I already know what you’ll say: they stay viruses and bacteria and don’t really change. So lets establish some starting point first: do you consider a fox and a bear two different species? Are those two kinds different to you?
Q: I suppose.
A: Then here’s an example for you: dog breeds. They’ve been bred in front of the humanity: it’s not a scientific fact, but a historical fact. Some new breeds are continuously being bred right now. And the mechanism is the same: it occurs through selection.
Q: So dogs became… dogs, is that what you’re saying?
A: It doesn’t matter how you call them. They are the same species only because there is a convention in scientific community not to give away species status to selectively bred kinds. We could call them different species, or call foxes and bears one species: it affects the actual animals none. Ancient dogs became Chihuahuas and Caucasian Shepherds, two different kinds – morphologically, different no less that foxes and bears. Saying that they are “both dogs and hence are the same” is like saying that humans and bats are both mammals and hence are the same.
Q: Still, it’s… well… it was hundreds or thousands of years ago.
A: Then you’ll have to admit that Abraham Lincoln has never existed, since no-one of the living has seen him. And that neither of ancient civilizations, including the ancient Arabia, Kingdom of Israel, Rome and British Empire have existed. You proposed it yourself just now.
Also, I have a question for you as well: do you have any observable proof that you’ve been born to a human mother? That’s a serious question – do you?
Q: … of course, I mean, my mother’s name is ###, you want me to show her picture?
A: Which doesn’t prove that she’s your mother.
Q: My birth certificate says she’s my mother.
A: It’s just a paper. There are millions of papers published saying that evolution is true.
Q: People have seen my mother giving birth to me.
A: People have seen many things. Thousands of people have sworn that they’ve seen unicorns, yetis, dragons and zombies, yet it doesn’t seem that those claims are true. I’d say that even if you had a video of your mother giving birth to you, it wouldn’t be good enough: where’s the proof that it’s indeed you being filmed. Perhaps, you could make a DNA test, but that’s not directly observable evidence. Besides, you don’t really believe in science, do you?
Q: Okay, where are you getting at?
A: Not all evidence needs to be directly observable, as you call it. There are many other ways in science to make conclusions. They do work, and are as good, if not better, than your observable facts: after all, eyesight can be deceiving. You know that you have a liver and a pair of kidneys, yet you probably have never had an ultrasonography. You know that if you let go of that camera right now, it will fall on the ground, even though no-one, including you, has never conducted a freefalling experiment with this camera and in this exact place. You know that if you go home now and heat some water in your kettle, it will boil, even though you can’t see the future. You know that Antarctica does exist, but lets be frank: have you ever been there?
The evolution is one of the most well-evidence-backed scientific concepts. It is true from observable evidence from the past, it is true from how living organisms work, it is true because it’s being practically used, it is true simply from pure mathematics and logic. And it is true from the experiments that you can conduct right now. If you want to deny all that simply because I cannot turn a bacteria into another you right in front of your eyes, then perhaps you should deny the fact that people around you have kidneys first.
So, how was it? Did you like the dialogue? Well, I certainly enjoyed it. Let me know in the comments if you have some objections of things to add. And to the man who’s filmed the video: if you are reading this, then you should know: I am waiting for you