tope asked in Science & MathematicsBiology · 1 decade ago

what is the difference between direct and indirect evidence of evolution??

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    garrysylvester has a glimmer of the correct answer, but then took it to an absurd conclusion.

    Direct evidence is the observation of evolution as it occurs. Indirect evidence is looking for signs of its results.

    But then garry eliminated indirect evidence as being evidence at all! This shows a complete lack of understanding of science.

    Allow me to explain. (And in the process, answer your question about the difference between direct and indirect evidence.)

    Evolution is defined as "change in allele frequencies of a population" ... or "change in the inherited traits of a population over time". To see this *directly* takes experiments such as those performed routinely by geneticists using organisms like fruit flies that have two properties (1) they have some visible trait that is easy to count; and (2) reproduce fast enough that we can see changes within a few generations. Centuries of breeding of livestock, crops, cocker spaniels, racehorses, and championship orchids also is direct evidence of evolution (as the breeder is *deliberately* manipulating breeding partners in order to *cause* a change in the frequencies of certain traits).

    garry is absolutely wrong when he says the following:

    > "We do have direct evidence for genetic change through selection. Eg farm animals. This is often quoted as direct evidence for evolution, but it is not."

    Of course it is! Evolution *IS* "genetic change." That is how it is defined. So if we see "genetic change" in a population ... this is *direct* evidence of evolution.

    But garry's bigger error is in his dismissal, with a wave of his hand, of *indirect evidence*.

    Indirect evidence includes all the evidence that this same process of evolution has been occurring for a very long time (billions of years), and that modern species are related by common ancestry (e.g. that wolves, foxes, and coyotes, while now separate, non-interbreeding *species* have a common genetic ancestor). Indirect evidence includes fossil evidence, evidence from radiometry, stratigraphy, DNA, shared genetics, shared junk DNA, the very existence of junk DNA, proteins, physical structures, vestigial structures, homologous structures, atavisms, the ways that embryos develop, biogeography (the distribution of organisms on the planet), the immunity of insects to pesticides, etc. etc. Even the way that viruses adapt in a single year to our flu vaccines (which is why we need new flu vaccines) would seem to be direct evidence, but if we are not directly measuring the *frequency* of a certain trait (like immunity to a vaccine), it would more correctly be called another piece of *indirect* evidence.

    To dismiss all this (as garry has) as simply not evidence at all, is to dismiss the role that indirect evidence plays in science.

    For example, do we have *direct* or *indirect* evidence that the sun is made of hydrogen? Answer ... indirect. We cannot take a direct sample from the sun ... we never will. We *deduce* from the lines in the spectrum of sunlight the unmistakeable signs of hydrogen. That is *indirect* evidence ... but it is absolutely compelling evidence.

    The same with evolution. We *deduce* that evolution has occurred, and that any two modern species share a common ancestor, from the unmistakeable *signs* of that evolution ... indirect evidence. But that is absolutely compelling evidence.

    The same is true with most findings in astronomy. And astrophysics, and geology, archaeology, paleontology, atomic and subatomic physics, quantum theory, much of chemistry, etc. etc. ... all founded primarily on *indirect evidence* ... and all perfectly valid fields of science.

    ---- P.S. -----

    I like firedawg's theory. I rarely give creationist answers in the Biology section a thumbs up, but I did in his case.

    At least his theory is honest, and self-consistent. (It is also theologically profound ... but that's a topic for the R&S section.)

    His theory, of course, is not a scientific theory ... because by definition it is untestable (as it postulates that the Creator would go through the trouble to create false evidence of a long history ... and therefore any evidence of long history is explained away).

    But at least firedawg does not attempt to deny that the evidence (like fossil evidence of dinosaurs) exists at all. He also recognizes that his theory is a personal one that would have to be accepted on the basis of personal faith. That is at least honest.

  • golub
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Indirect Evidence Definition

  • 3 years ago

    Direct Evidence Definition

  • 4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    what is the difference between direct and indirect evidence of evolution??

    Source(s): difference direct indirect evidence evolution:
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  • 1 decade ago

    Someone more versed in the subject can probably answer this better than I can, but I do have a personal theory regarding evolution and creation that might be of interest to you.

    As has been shown over and over there are missing links at every level of the evolution chain. I personally believe that there is a reason for this. While not being overly religious, my background does influence my views. My dad is a Baptist preacher, and my belief on the subject actually surprised him.

    In a nutshell(as much as I can), I do not believe that a single dinosaur ever drew a breath of air. One could argue the fossilized evidence, and I would agree that is does seem that they did exist. However I like to ask people if Adam had a belly-button? I believe he did. Some disagree because he was created, not born, according to the Bible. My take on this is that Adam was created with a history. Examination of his bones would have shown evidence of adolescent growth. Possibly even evidence of childhood injury.

    Likewise I believe that the earth and the rest of the universe were also created with a history. Trees were created with rings(since no fossilized trees have ever been found without them). The mountains, valleys, rivers and other landmarks also having been created with a history, or pre-history of erosion and other geological factors. I agree that the big-bang did happen. I just happen to believe that when God said "Let there be light" It happened, but that it didn't take billions of years to expand into what we see with our telescopes, I believe it did happen in an instant, or in a twenty-four hour day. Each planet, star, moon, comet and every other feature in our universe coming into being with that pre-history stamped into every aspect. Be it meteor crators, erosion by whatever means, evidence of millions of years of exposure to everything we see as affecting our universe, I believe to have been created with that history stamped on everything at the same time as it was being created.

    Again, this is just my personal theory. I'm not asking you, or anyone, to look at it the same way. I haven't placed all of my theory here, but enough of it to invite conversation. Maybe this will help.

  • 1 decade ago

    All evidence for evolution is indirect.

    We see animals and plants with features that we can explain in terms of evolution. Indirect evidence.

    Direct evidence would mean seeing one species turn into another. We don't have this evidence.

    We do have direct evidence for genetic change through selection. Eg farm animals.

    This is often quoted as direct evidence for evolution, but it is not.

    It is similar to saying that we found a brick so therefore we have evidence that houses existed. It is to put our interpretations on the evidence. (The brick could have been in a fence for example)

    Natural section exists, but has not yet been shown to create new species directly

  • 5 years ago




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