One of the most common debates between scientifically-minded individuals and the (willfully or circumstantially) uneducated is over the reality of evolution as an active system. Many individuals who don't accept the existence of natural selection and adaptation come armed with certain arguments above and beyond a simple refusal to believe. The following are three of the most common attacks on the concept along with a way to quickly and easily refute them with facts and logic.
1. The Missing Link Has Never Been Found
Concerning the evolution of the hominid genus, many detractors fall back against the fallacious concept of "The Missing Link". They state that the scientific community has yet to produce a fossil of a biological ancestor that bridges the gap between ape and human. The core of this argument is a deep misunderstanding of evolutionary history and a very outdated concept that hasn't been relevant for decades. The counter-argument here is the fact that humans didn't "evolve from apes", but that apes and humans, being primates, had a common biological ancestor from which both gradually evolved. We will never find a "missing link" because the process of evolution is slow and a given species doesn't manifest discreetly in the fossil record.
2. The "Tornado Through a Junkyard" Analogy
Easily the most absurd argument against evolution is the analogy that it is like a tornado going through a junkyard and somehow assembling a working airplane. The implication in this idea is that the sheer complexity of life as we know it is far too nuanced to have come about by a random process. This points to a fundamental misunderstanding of natural selection. To refute this argument, it needs to be approached in chunks. First, primitive life was not in a "junkyard" where all the constituent pieces of a complex organism already existed. Rather, each component of each organism on the planet developed gradually in response to environmental pressures. Evolution is not a massive, chaotic process like a tornado, but a very slow system of actions and reactions. It is indeed absurd to imagine a complicated, multicellular entity manifesting out the primordial soup, but it is only reasonable to imagine that same entity developing in bits and pieces over the course of millions of years.
3. Carbon Dating is Unreliable
When detractors of evolution want to attack the massive time scale necessary for the process to occur, they usually go after the limited reach of carbon dating. Using the science of radiocarbon analysis, the age of a given organic object can be determined up to approximately 60,000 years, which is hardly enough time for any significant evolutionary developments to occur. For the dating of fossils that are likely millions of years old, carbon dating is indeed useless. The mistake detractors make is the assumption that there are no other dating methods available. Processes like Uranium-Lead dating can stretch back hundreds of millions of years, while geological studies can determine relative ages by identifying clear layers in the Earth's crust. Such dating methods have existed for decades and are constantly being refined.
It is important to understand that it is a social responsibility of science-minded individuals to educate those around them when the opportunity arises. Armed with clear, concise facts, the reality of concepts like evolution can be properly defended.