The proposition has been advanced, more than once, that our knowledge of past events regarding the evolutionary history of life on earth is analogous to our knowledge of the fact that Napoleon was once in Russia.
I found it ironic that this argument was accompanied by the apparently requisite mocking of people who might disagree as the sort to settle the matter by asking “were you there?”
But that is precisely how we know Napoleon was in Russia. People were there. it is recorded history. We have the testimony of eyewitnesses. None of which applies to, for example, the origins of the eukaryotic cell.
I’ll also note that this is the same reason that at least some of us accept the resurrection of Jesus Christ. People were there. There were eyewitnesses. Isn’t it surprising then how the same people who are inclined to reject the resurrection accept the presence of Napoleon in Russia, and further, will appeal to that as if evolutionary inferences are no different than historical inferences based on people who were there?
I say that Napoleon in Russia fails as an analogy for how we “know what we know” about past evolutionary events. Surely those of us who are on the side of science and reason can do better than that.