Why no unicorns?

If you believe macro evolution to be true, then why is not possible to believe unicorns or faeries can or could have existed?

Posted: February 26th 2011

flagellant www

There are many things that could exist but there is no evidence for them, Russell’s teapot , for example. One of the principal features of atheism is a sceptical approach to all statements which aren’t supported by evidence. If there is none, extreme doubt is triggered.

You mention the possibility that unicorns or fairies could exist. Just because you can ask the question doesn’t make them likely. Here’s a fascinating article about the origin of the unicorn myth. Here’s another about fairies . It gives us a measure of how people can be taken in: Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was a victim of a well-crafted hoax by two young girls who claimed to have photographed fairies. (And, since the great author was a spiritualist, we might have predicted that he would be a likely victim: if you believe one sort of nonsense, you are vulnerable to more.)

Evolution is true. The empirical evidence for it from different and independent scientific disciplines is overwhelming; it would long ago have been falsified were it incorrect. Mentioning myths like god, fairies, unicorns and, (for good measure) Santa Claus – because they might one day be found – is pointless. Unlike evolution, there is no serious evidence for any of ‘em.

Posted: March 1st 2011

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George Locke

You presume that believing in “macro evolution” is a sign of excessive credulity. On the contrary: failure to accept the overwhelming evidence for common descent is failure indeed, and it suggests you have a hard time accepting inconvenient truths.

Posted: February 28th 2011

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Blaise www

Approach it definitionally:
By definition, unicorns and faeries are magical.
By definition, magic is supernatural.
By definition, supernatural things are outside of reality.
If you accept the rules of science, by definition, things outside of reality aren’t real.

Ergo, if you believe evolution/ science, unicorns and faeries could never have, and can never exist.

Posted: February 28th 2011

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SmartLX www

For one thing there’s no evidence that unicorns or faeries have ever existed. While it is of course possible to believe that they have existed or do exist, there’s no real basis for doing so.

As for whether they could evolve in the future, the answer is yes and no. A population of horses that found a use for headbutting things might well evolve hard structures on their heads, maybe even a rhinoceros-style horn or a narwhal-style spike. If a species of insect with some vaguely human feature, e.g. standing on its hind legs like a mantis, survived better because humans were reluctant to kill it, it could eventually evolve more human aesthetics until it looked like a little person. However, the supernatural qualities attributed to mythical unicorns and faeries are beyond the power of natural (or artificial) selection to bestow.

Posted: February 27th 2011

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Steve Zara www

Macro evolution happens. But it’s not really macro evolution. At least not usually. Macro evolution, creationists say, is a leap from one kind of creature to another. For example, it’s when a new species appears that cannot breed with its ancestors.

That does happen. It happens very, very rarely in animals when genomes double. There is a huge rat in South America that is a new species with many more chromosomes than its ancestors. It appeared in one generation as a single mistake multiplied the genes.

Macro-mutation is very common in plants. A single error can produce a new species, and because plants can spread in all kinds of ways, a single individual can start a new species. We have seen this happen in recent history, in nature. We have seen new species arise, and out-compete their ancestors. Natural Selection in action.

Never fairies though. That can’t happen. It’s very easy to explain why. Mutations and so-called macro-mutations are the result of a single error. The history of life is a long story told by the Chinese whispers of genes over a billion generations. One mis-spelling 600 million years ago is trivial then, but led to a new class of creature, perhaps splitting off the insects from the vertebrates. A vast difference in hindsight, but all journeys start with just one step. Macro-mutations are always micro with respect to mechanism: a single error here, a single slip there.

Fairies would require a vast array of mutations to produce the wings with their veins, muscles, nerves and bones. That isn’t one step, but a leap to the moon. It’s not a micro mechanism.

Unicorns, on the other hand, are feasible. A horn could arise step by small step.

Best to forget about macro evolution. It’s always how far you can get keeping your genetic feet on the ground. There are no leaps to the heavens.

Posted: February 26th 2011

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Paula Kirby www

Just because evolution explains all life forms that exist, it does not follow that it must at some time have produced every single life form that our overactive imaginations are able to dream up.

Before it is reasonable to accept that something exists, or has existed, we need evidence.

There is not and never has been the slightest evidence for the real existence of unicorns or fairies – which is why they have become by-words for things that are purely imaginary.

Posted: February 26th 2011

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brian thomson www

So, let me get this straight: you’ve looked at the amazingly evolved diversity of life on this planet – everything from the blue whale, and duck-billed platypus, to the tiger, kiwi, or dragonfly – and you’re wondering why some specific mythical creatures aren’t around? Well, they are: the myths date from long ago, when imagination filled in the gaps in our knowledge. There are clear links between these myths and real animals.

If you didn’t know that a Firefly was an insect, and hadn’t seen one close up, you could easily think it was a little flying spirit with magical powers. As for unicorns, well, a look at Wikipedia will explain the origins of that myth. There are already animals with a single horn e.g. the rhinoceros or the Narwhal, and some two-horned antelope (eland, oryx) can appear to have a single horn if viewed from certain angles.

Posted: February 26th 2011

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Reed Braden www

You don’t seem to understand anything at all about evolution—or biology, for that matter.

Evolution occurs when an individual has a trait that allows it to survive and reproduce better than others of its species. It passes that trait on to its children, and those children, like their parent, thrive better than the rest of their species in their generation. Over vast amounts of time, this trait becomes a common feature within the species if it continues to bring success to the individuals who express it.

It’s insanely more complicated than that, but that’s a quick definition of evolution—specifically evolution by natural selection—aimed at someone who obviously never stayed awake during a single middle/high school biology class.

Evolution does not predict that a horse will ever give birth to a unicorn. There is nothing intrinsic to a Narwhal’s horn that would benefit a horse, nor does a horse’s skull have preexisting features that could conceivably stretch to become a horn. If you’re looking for cases of biology creating unicorns, you should look to the deer and other horned ungulates. There have been a few cases of European deer with a single-pronged antler in the middle of their skulls, but this mutation is not an advantage to breeding or surviving, so the gene for unicorn-like deer antlers does not easily propagate to future generations. The multi-pronged dual antler plan is better for deer, so that is what they will likely keep (with some small variations) for hundreds of thousands of years into the future.

Posted: February 26th 2011

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Mike the Infidel www

We believe evolution is true because of the massive preponderance of evidence. It has nothing to do with things people dream up.

Posted: February 26th 2011

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