Evolution: What We Know and What We Don’t
This entry was originally posted on February 17, 2010.
In this video conversation, Jeff Schloss discusses different meanings of the term “evolution” and observes that some of these are disputed and some are not. For example, genetic change over time is not even a theory; it is simply an observation—we see it. But whether that change over time has resulted in the diversity of species we see now—that is an interpretation of the facts. But, Schloss emphasizes, it is an interpretation that is accompanied by overwhelming scientific evidence—ranging from biogeographic evidence to the more recent discovery of genetic fossils. Further, he notes that this idea—that evolution results in the diversity of species—is firmly established and it is central to our understanding of how organisms work and how they are structured.
Then there is a theoretical aspect to evolution that is not fully settled even among scientists themselves. This meaning of evolution asks what the causes are that drive the evolutionary process. While the synthetic theory of evolution, which suggests that evolution results from the twin processes of mutation and natural selection, is the dominant theory, scientists are not fully in agreement with regard to the extent that other factors play a significant role in evolutionary change.
Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.
As Senior Scholar of BioLogos, Dr. Jeff Schloss provides writing, speaking, and scholarly research on topics that are central to the values and mission of BioLogos and represent BioLogos in dialogues with other Christian organizations. He holds a joint appointment at BioLogos and at Westmont College. Schloss holds the T. B. Walker Chair of Natural and Behavioral Sciences at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, and directs Westmont’s Center for Faith, Ethics, and the Life Sciences. Schloss, whose Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology is from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, often speaks to pubic, church-related, and secular academic audiences on the intersection of evolutionary science and theology. Among his many academic publications are The Believing Primate: Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Reflections on the Origin of Religion