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Misconceptions About Evolution, Part 2

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November 22, 2011 Tags: History of Life

Today's entry was written by the BioLogos Editorial Team. You can read more about what we believe here.

Misconceptions About Evolution, Part 2

The website Understanding Evolution, hosted by The University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, offers its readers numerous helpful resources regarding the science and history of evolutionary biology. The site’s stated goal is to “help you understand what evolution is, how it works, how it factors into your life, how research in evolutionary biology is performed, and how ideas in this area have changed over time.” Among its resources is a list of popular misconceptions about evolutionary theory. In this two part series, we’d like to highlight some of the site’s most helpful responses to these misconceptions. The full list, and many other wonderful resources, can be found at Understanding Evolution.

Misconceptions about Evolution and the Nature of Science

“Evolution is not science because it is not observable or testable.”

This misconception encompasses two incorrect ideas: (1) that all science depends on controlled laboratory experiments, and (2) that evolution cannot be studied with such experiments. First, many scientific investigations do not involve experiments or direct observation. Astronomers cannot hold stars in their hands and geologists cannot go back in time, but both scientists can learn a great deal about the universe through observation and comparison. In the same way, evolutionary biologists can test their ideas about the history of life on Earth by making observations in the real world. Second, though we can't run an experiment that will tell us how the dinosaur lineage radiated, we can study many aspects of evolution with controlled experiments in a laboratory setting. In organisms with short generation times (e.g., bacteria or fruit flies), we can actually observe evolution in action over the course of an experiment. And in some cases, biologists have observed evolution occurring in the wild.

"Evolution is 'just' a theory."

This misconception stems from a mix-up between casual and scientific use of the word theory. In everyday language, theory is often used to mean a hunch with little evidential support. Scientific theories, on the other hand, are broad explanations for a wide range of phenomena. In order to be accepted by the scientific community, a theory must be strongly supported by many different lines of evidence. Evolution is a well-supported and broadly accepted scientific theory; it is not ‘just' a hunch.

For more, see the question "What is evolution?"

"Evolutionary theory is invalid because it is incomplete and cannot give a total explanation for the biodiversity we see around us."

This misconception stems from a misunderstanding of the nature of scientific theories. All scientific theories (from evolutionary theory to atomic theory) are works in progress. As new evidence is discovered and new ideas are developed, our understanding of how the world works changes and so too do scientific theories. While we don't know everything there is to know about evolution (or any other scientific discipline, for that matter), we do know a great deal about the history of life, the pattern of lineage-splitting through time, and the mechanisms that have caused these changes. And more will be learned in the future. Evolutionary theory, like any scientific theory, does not yet explain everything we observe in the natural world. However, evolutionary theory does help us understand a wide range of observations (from the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to the physical match between pollinators and their preferred flowers), does make accurate predictions in new situations (e.g., that treating AIDS patients with a cocktail of medications should slow the evolution of the virus), and has proven itself time and time again in thousands of experiments and observational studies.

For more, see the questions "How can evolution account for the complexity of life on earth today?" and "How can evolution account for the complexity of life on earth today?"

"Gaps in the fossil record disprove evolution."

While it's true that there are gaps in the fossil record, this does not constitute evidence against evolutionary theory. Scientists evaluate hypotheses and theories by figuring out what we would expect to observe if a particular idea were true and then seeing if those expectations are borne out. If evolutionary theory were true, then we'd expect there to have been transitional forms connecting ancient species with their ancestors and descendents. This expectation has been borne out. Paleontologists have found many fossils with transitional features, and new fossils are discovered all the time. However, if evolutionary theory were true, we would not expect all of these forms to be preserved in the fossil record. Many organisms don't have any body parts that fossilize well, the environmental conditions for forming good fossils are rare, and of course, we've only discovered a small percentage of the fossils that might be preserved somewhere on Earth. So scientists expect that for many evolutionary transitions, there will be gaps in the fossil record.

For more see out question "What does the fossil record show?"

Misconceptions about the Acceptance and Implications of Evolution

“Evolution is a theory in crisis and is collapsing as scientists lose confidence in it.”

Evolutionary theory is not in crisis; scientists accept evolution as the best explanation for life's diversity because of the multiple lines of evidence supporting it, its broad power to explain biological phenomena, and its ability to make accurate predictions in a wide variety of situations. The vast majority of scientists do not debate whether evolution took place, but they do debate many details of how evolution occurred and occurs in different circumstances. Antievolutionists may hear the debates about how evolution occurs and misinterpret them as debates about whether evolution occurs. Evolution is sound science and is treated accordingly by scientists and scholars worldwide.

For more see the questions "Does thermodynamics disprove evolution?", "How can evolution account for the complexity of life on earth today?" and "How can evolution account for the complexity of life on earth today?"

"Evolution supports the idea that 'might makes right' and rationalizes the oppression of some people by others."

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a philosophy called Social Darwinism arose from a misguided effort to apply lessons from biological evolution to society. Social Darwinism suggests that society should allow the weak and less fit to fail and die and that this is good policy and morally right. Supposedly, evolution by natural selection provided support for these ideas. Pre-existing prejudices were rationalized by the notion that colonized nations, poor people, or disadvantaged minorities must have deserved their situations because they were "less fit" than those who were better off. In this case, science was misapplied to promote a social and political agenda. While Social Darwinism as a political and social orientation has been broadly rejected, the scientific idea of biological evolution has stood the test of time.

"Evolution and religion are incompatible."

Because of some individuals and groups stridently declaring their beliefs, it's easy to get the impression that science (which includes evolution) and religion are at war; however, the idea that one always has to choose between science and religion is incorrect. People of many different faiths and levels of scientific expertise see no contradiction at all between science and religion.

In fact, science and religion can have a constructive relationship. The majority of scientists during the emergence of modern science in medieval Europe, for example, were devout or conventionally religious. Religious belief, then, can function as a framework within which scientific progress flourishes. Religious belief can also be influenced by science. In the Galileo Affair, scientific evidence of a heliocentric universe caused the church to revisit its interpretation of a part of Scripture.

Oddly enough, some people argue that God’s existence is actually a scientific claim and should be tested like any other. However, God’s existence is not something that can be tested by the scientific method in the same way the existence of postulated new elementary particles are tested in supercolliders. Because science provides knowledge about the natural world, no amount of testing or theorizing could prove or disprove the existence of a supernatural creator. Rather than an empirical claim about nature or its laws, the claim that God exists is a metaphysical one, a statement about what there is, whether it be natural or supernatural.

For more see the questions "What is the proper relationship between science and religion?", "Can scientific and scriptural truth be reconciled?", "What were the initial Christian responses to Darwin?", and "What role could God have in evolution?"


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KevinR - #66196

November 22nd 2011

[q]we can actually observe evolution in action over the course of an experiment.[/q]
REALY? You can actually observe how a one-celled organism changed into a monkey? Or more realistically how a lizard begins to sprout wings?
Please give us some credit as to what is really observable as regards scientific  practice.
By the way - “observing” small changes within one living kind or organism and then extrapolating it to having wholesale changes outside of that kind is BAD SCIENCE. The general theory of evolution is bad science. People assume the end-result then go about looking for evidence to support it. Fair enough so far. Where it goes wrong is to then beginning to say that because evolution is true, the evidence MUST be interpreted in that way. This is nonsense. Pure and simple.
The use of the word “evolution” in the quotation is a great equivocation - saying one thing and meaning another - used by all evolutionists [that I’ve encountered so far] whenever the challenge comes up to show how or where it ever happened.


KevinR - #66197

November 22nd 2011

[q] If evolutionary theory were true, then we’d expect there to have been
transitional forms connecting ancient species with their ancestors and
descendents. This expectation has been borne out.[/q]
Sorry. Beg to differ most vociferously on this one. No undisputed transitional forms have been unveiled so far. NONE. Please show photographs of accepted transitional forms that are displayed anywhere in any respectable museum in the world. There are NONE. Get over it.


G8torBrent - #66217

November 24th 2011

Not to be rude, but at some point you just have to stop closing your eyes to the evidence. Ed Babinski as had some good articles about cetaceous evolution on his site.


KevinR - #66198

November 23rd 2011

[q]ntievolutionists may hear the debates about how evolution occurs and misinterpret them as debates about whether evolution occurs. Evolution is sound science and is treated accordingly by scientists and scholars worldwide.[/q]
Perhaps if the adherents were to come up with a falsifiable and testable definition of evolution then it will begin to gain some kind of respect from those who currently oppose it.
As things stand right now, evolution can be anything and all things, as illustrated in this very article - thrown about loosely, indicating changes within some small part in some living organism and then implying that those changes result in the changes from a one-celled organism into monkeys, rats, fish etc. Please get real.


KevinR - #66199

November 23rd 2011

[q]their beliefs, it’s easy to get the impression that science (which
includes evolution) and religion are at war; however, the idea that one
always has to choose between science and religion is incorrect.[/q]
This is another example of equivocation: saying there’s a war between science and religion when in fact the war is between evolution and religion - in this case Christianity [ though Islamic and Judaic beliefs also oppose it]. People glibly switch between evolution and science as being one and the same thing, thereby vilifying anyone who opposes evolution, anointing them with the anti-science snake-oil.


 


KevinR - #66200

November 23rd 2011

[q] Rather than an empirical claim about nature or its laws, the claim that God exists is a metaphysical one,[/q]
So is the claim that there isn’t

any god. So the atheist’s idea that there is no god brings about the very necessity that things had to create themselves. From which we get to evolution itself. So evolution then is itself not testable as it is the outflow of a metaphysical claim. In exactly the same way that one can have “the existence of postulated new elementary particles are tested in”, one cannot test for evolution. No one was there to observe and record for us the changes from one cell into all of life we currently observe. To gather physical evidence in the present and infer things about the past brings into play some highly questionable assumptions which must themselves first pass the test of reality. As far as evolution from molecules to moles is concerned, those assumptions as still hanging out there, completely unsubstantiated.


Ashe - #66207

November 23rd 2011

KevinR, every thread is the same thing, you post the exact same complaints that have been discussed before, but never come back to discuss them. Inference often is more reliable than direct observation, that is why you can get out of jail many years later based on DNA evidence even though there were a dozen eyewitnesses who testified against you. The transitional forms bit has been discussed many times here, is there some problem you see with for example, Gerobatrachus?


G8torBrent - #66218

November 24th 2011

Upvote. Wait. This isn’t reddit?


beaglelady - #66220

November 24th 2011

I think it’s Answers in Genesis?


ZeroG - #66229

November 25th 2011

This article seems to be written to appeal to the KevinR’s of the world, but he isn’t having any of it. I’m trying hard to find the purpose of these articles on evolution. This article and many others I have read do a good job of representing evolution in the proper manner, however, it seems logic and common sense are being thrown against an unreceptive, uncompromising audience, the creationists.

That being said, I think this site has a purpose and that is a forum for people who have come to the logical conclusion that science and religion are compatible to voice their ideas. A place where those who have moved past the creationist view point can talk about new ideas and perhaps define the line between science and religion.

Articles that appeal to people who will never see the light seems to be a waste of a really good resource here.


Ronnie - #66239

November 25th 2011

ZeroG

I agree with you that this article and others are written with those in mind who believe in biblical creation, but I think also those who are sitting on the fence, undecided or confused about creation/evolution, which is correct and which is not, like a Christian mom or dad who may be facing this issue or a new Christian who has been through the public education system and was only taught evolution. None of these articles will convince me that evolution has happened, or is happening, and I know my posts won’t change the minds of those to whom I respond. I post here for those who visit this site looking to confirm whether evolution can be compatible with Christianity or not and don’t post anything, just read. I give them the “not” point of view. Evolution is contrary to a plain reading of scripture no matter how the words of God are twisted to make evolution “fit”. Science and the Christian faith are compatible, evolution and the Christian faith are not. This is the misnomer given to evolution, that it is “science”, because it is accepted as fact be a majority(?) of people. Even the definition of the word ‘fact’ has been changed (in evolutionary circles), from ‘something known to exist’ to ‘something generally accepted as true’ to make evolution appear to be a more solid theory. Evolution requires a faith of its own if one believes it to be true. Creationists on the other hand, are portrayed as uneducated, distasteful, appalling, liars, and even repeating what we know is not true (I’m still scratching my head on this one), and this is from the posts to this article alone! Even you say creation is something to be “moved past” in order to talk about new ideas, as if its something people ‘get hung up on’. Gods word plainly states 6 day creation is true and I will not “move past” this fundamental biblical truth. It is my hope that those reading this (who are on the fence) will not get caught up in the hype of this issue, and will seriously study this matter carefully. What you believe does matter!

I do owe BioLogos gratitude for offering this forum for me to voice my opinion, Thank You.

ZeroG - #66241

November 25th 2011

Hi Ronnie, thanks for bringing your point of view to the discussion. For a long time, Genesis is what kept me from being a believer. Being a geologist, it was harder to believe in a God who didn’t exist in a physical form than it was to believe how the solid earth upon which we stand formed over time. I moved past it, not by ‘twisting’ the ‘word of God’, but by realizing where my beliefs end and where reality begins. I believe Jesus is my lord and savior, and there is no way you or anyone can disprove that belief. My belief in how the earth was created is a different kind of belief, call it a theory. I am open for proving me wrong on this, and I accept any findings or theories to the contrary with sufficient proof. 

Ronnie, how do you reconcile the two different accounts of creation in Genesis? Do you take the Bible literally? Do you believe it is written by God or by man? If you do take it literally, which translation do you believe is the right one?

You are right, what you believe does matter. But I believe it only matters to you. When you cross the line and believe things that have the possibility of being falsified, then you better be prepared to change them when the solid rock of reality hits you square between the eyes.


Ronnie - #66255

November 26th 2011

ZeroG

First of all I am glad to know that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, and I would not do anything to change your salvation, for this is most important!

For many years I struggled with the account of creation in Genesis. Having been taught evolution in school as it were as real as gravity made bible study difficult for me. I was stumped every time I read Genesis, and would make mental notes that the 6 days of creation were probably 6 million, or 6 billion years. This is a logical association when evolution is taught in school and portrayed on television, in encyclopedias and magazines as natural as air and water. Since you are a geologist, I will assume that you were educated in uniformitarian principles of earth history, and this association with the formation of the earth over long periods of time will then be particularly strong. Believing God could have created all things in 6 literal days would contradict years of study. What I’ve learned from studying the creation/evolution issue is that neither the creation account nor evolution are science, but studies in the history of the earth, that neither can be proven or disproven scientifically. That leaves us with who do we believe, God or man. I am not a geologist and it took me several years to, to use your words ‘get past’, the midset that evolution was a bonafide fact and accept it for what it is; as a naturalistic theory of earth history which requires as much faith, maybe more, to believe is valid as the creation account in Genesis. I can imagine the difficulty someone like yourself has with much more extensive scientific education.

In regard to your questions:

I don’t believe there are 2 creation accounts, probably the style of Hebrew writing and the way it is translated to english give the impression there are 2 accounts.

I do take the bible literally, and when there are things which I do not understand (which are many), I put them on the back burner and try to find an answer at a future time. I use the KJV and NIV mostly, although other translations may have a particular verse worded in a better way. I believe the bible is written by God, through man, as in 2 Timothy 3:16: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

I believe God wants us to take him at his word, that he did create this world in 6 literal days. The fact that secular science so adamantly rejects this notion, for me only confirms the we as Christians must make a choice in regard to creation/evolution. I don’t think a Christian who accepts evolution will lose their salvation, but I think it does put ones faith in the wrong place, and may cause someone else to stumble.

I will conclude with what I believe is Gods word specifically rejecting evolution. It is Hebrews 11:3 (NIV): By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.


ZeroG - #66260

November 26th 2011

I try to find the message God is trying to communicate to me in the Bible. Like you I also will put things on the back burner for a day when I am more receptive to that passage. The Bible is a difficult book and has been transformed by the hand of man for 2000 years. As Paul said in 2 Timothy, its main goal is instruction in righteousness.

In your previous response you said evolution, not science, was in conflict with the scripture. But here you quote Hebrews 11:3. This quote is not talking about evolution, but rather something that has more recently been charaterized as deep science or the Big Bang theory. I am not pointing out this inconsistancy to discredit you, but rather to point out how difficult it is to read the Bible. 

I believe the only true meaning in the words in the Bible is in how it transforms me into the person I was made to be. The creation story in Genesis, to which the Hebrew story refers, speaks deeply to my sense of greatness and wonder with the universe. It humbles me. It allows me to see everyone, even people who disagree with me, as being created by Him. The words and phrases chosen by man to describe the steps He used are just weak attempts to put into words the awesomeness of His creation.

Focusing on how evolution conflicts with your notion of what God is trying to say, doesn’t get you or anyone else, closer to righteousness.


Ronnie - #66264

November 26th 2011

ZeroG

I agree with your description of the creation story in Genesis, it humbles me as well. I think God could have created everything in an instant had he wanted, he is that powerful. But he took six days. Why would he list 6 days and put the genealogies starting with Adam, which yield about 6000 years of earth history if it weren’t true? Correct me if I’m wrong, but the evolutionary view of earth history is hundreds if millions of years of geological and biological evolution, am I right? IF God used evolution as his method of creating, don’t you think he could have said so in the bible? Or why even have a creation story? It’s an important issue for me because, like I said earlier, an education in evolution hindered my study of the bible and I’m sure there are many others like me. Furthermore, if Gods method of creation isn’t important, then why are Biologos and others so insistant that evolution IS the way God created?

I wish I could say more but I’m busy at work.


ZeroG - #66265

November 26th 2011

I believe it is written 6 days only because it was easier to tell that way. The story was told in person long before it was written down. It was just easier to remember all of the parts of creation by pinning them to a day. Thats about all I read into the 6 days.

Why didn’t God reveal evolution to us through the prophets? Two reasons I can think of: 1) It wasn’t that important. 2) It wasn’t something man could understand at the time. 


beaglelady - #66261

November 26th 2011

For many years I struggled with the account of creation in Genesis.
Having been taught evolution in school as it were as real as gravity
made bible study difficult for me.


Have you ever seen gravity?

I believe God wants us to take him at his word, that he did create this world in 6 literal days.

So do we eat the literal flesh and drink the literal blood of Jesus at Holy Communion/the Eucharist? 


Peter Hickman - #66209

November 23rd 2011

It seems to me extraordinary that there are both those like KevinR who claim that, “No undisputed transitional forms have been unveiled so far”, and those who claim that thousands of transitional forms have been identified.


Ronnie - #66216

November 24th 2011

The only thing we really know about fossils is where they were found.


Where they lived, when they lived, who their ancestors were and how they came to be fossilized requires assumptions about what happened in the past to answer.

If one holds to an evolutionary worldview, then he will see the fossil record as support for evolution. If one holds to the account of creation in Genesis then he will see the fossil record as a result of the flood and its aftermath. It comes down to what one believes about the past

The idea that there are transitional fossils cannot be verified with any certainty so the claim that they exist is based on a worldview and not science. There will always be people on both sides of the fence.

beaglelady - #66219

November 24th 2011

Where they lived, when they lived, who their ancestors were and how they
came to be fossilized requires assumptions about what happened in the
past to answer.

Good grief, we don’t even know where they lived?  And I thought it would be not far from where they died.

If one holds to the account of creation in Genesis then he will see the
fossil record as a result of the flood and its aftermath.


That makes it easy!  Animals didn’t die and become fossilized before the flood of Noah. All fossilized animals died from the flood even if they were buried in volcanic ash or show signs of being butchered, eaten etc.   I think I understand now.  (Those silly scientists and their research!)


Ronnie - #66223

November 25th 2011

Good grief, we don’t even know where they lived?  And I thought it would be not far from where they died.

Have you seen an animal die and become fossilized? Has anyone observed this?

The flood account in Genesis states the fountains of the great deep were broken up. This catastrophe would have and could have transported plants and animals that are fossilized today far away from their original habitats. Furthermore, the shape of the land masses and their landscapes would be markedly different than before the flood so that their original habitat may not even exist.

The power of moving water is well documented, as have been seen from the recent tsunamis in Sri Lanka and Japan. The Genesis flood could very well have been the mechanism that produced the fossil record.

This does however require one to believe the flood account over the theory of uniformitarianism.

Terrance - #66225

November 25th 2011

Both Ronnie and KevinR represent what many find so distasteful about creationism. It is not merely the generally appalling standards of scholarship, the absurdity of the scientific claims, the innumerable logical fallacies, the continued questioning of the honesty and integrity of anyone who disagrees with them, or even the woeful ignorance, it is the continued repitition of outright falsehoods even after the errors have been explained and corrected - what can only be called lying. To say there are no transitional fossils is a lie. Every person trained in paleontology (including creationist Kurt Wise) recognises that there are a great many fossils that meet the necessary requirements for them to be defined as ‘transtional’. Likewise, it takes only a pretty elementary examination of the facts to determine that is not supply a matter of ‘opinion’ or a result of an individual’s worldview that establishes mainstream geology as a far better explanatory framework for the relevant data than flood geology. YEC Andrew Snelling said so himself at the Sixth International Conference on Creationism;

even nearly five decades after The Genesis Flood we still have no
comprehensive model of earth history explaining the geologic (strata and
fossil) record that includes general agreement on Creation Week rocks.
Pre-Flood/Flood and Flood/post-Flood boundaries.”

Yet both Ronnie and KevinR continue to repeat what they know isn’t true.


Ronnie - #66232

November 25th 2011

Terrance

I am stating my point of view for the sake of discussion. Where exactly have I questioned the honesty or integrity of anyone? Have I called anyone a liar?

Transitional fossils are a necessary component of evolutionary theory, and when they are called into question, outspoken proponents of evolution will sometimes defend their position in the derogatory manner which you have done in your post.

beaglelady - #66226

November 25th 2011

This catastrophe would have and could have transported plants and
animals that are fossilized today far away from their original habitats.


So why don’t we find everything,  just everywhere?


ZeroG - #66266

November 26th 2011

The study of geology is based on the theory of continental drift, or that the surface of the earth is covered in large cooler plates which move over a more fluid hotter center. If you look at the Atlantic ocean floor, you will see a ridge. If continental drift occurs, then you should see new rocks forming in the gaps left between two plates drifting apart. The age of the rocks on either side of this ridge in the Atlantic should be the same. Newer rocks closer to the center on both sides, older rocks the same distance away on either side.

They have measured the age of rocks on each side of the ridges in the Atlantic, and the ages of the rocks confirmed the theory. The continents move, slower than we can perceive.

If God is so smart and powerful, why would He waste His time trying to make the earth look like it is old? Seems like more work to me. And when you aren’t contrained by time (like us humans) why not take as long as you need to create it? 


HornSpiel - #66211

November 23rd 2011

The above reminds me of one of Herman Cain’s recent statements: “I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy.” 


beaglelady - #66213

November 23rd 2011

We can all see transitional fossils in any decent natural history museum.  There’s no need to worry about claims about this or that.

And in general, the fossils available for viewing by the general public usually comprise only a small percentage of the fossils in the museum’s collection.


sy - #66258

November 26th 2011

Ronnie

Leaving aside for the moment the entire issue of whether evolution is good science or not, I am very curious as what makes you believe that accepting evolution is true is not compatible with Christianity. In other words, if Gen.1 were not a literal but an allegorical account of creation, (Same idea of God as the creator of everything, just a different method), what impact could that have on the belief in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior?

And if Gen 2 is about the creation of the first man with a soul, rather than the creation of the first human couple (as in fact a literal reading could be interpreted to mean), how does that change the fact of the Fall, and the need for Christ’s sacrifce to redeem us from sin?

I ask these questions from a sincere desire to understand, as a Christian, what are the theological or spiritual barriers to you in acceptance of God’s gift of scientific knowledge. I have heard some answers from other creationists, but I am interested in yours. Thanks.


Ronnie - #66270

November 27th 2011

Sy

I’ll be honest and say that I don’t think a belief in evolution impacts ones salvation. The bible says if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart you will be saved.

I think Genesis 1 is a quick summary of what God created on each day, and Genesis 2 gives more details of the same time period (the week of creation). I can see the possibility that some may take Genesis 2 as another creation account or as you say the creation of the first man with a soul, but I believe that to be a result of the style of writing in hebrew and its translation into english. Elsewhere in the bible Adam is called the first man, and nothing is said of any man existing before Adam. Death was introduced into the world as a result of Adams sin, and Christ, the last Adam, has redeemed us from our sin. If evolution were true, then there would have been millions of years of death prior to Adam. Death is called the enemy, and Jesus died to defeat that enemy. If evolution were true, then there would have been millions of years of death before Adam, then what would be the significance of the pronouncement of death for Adams sin?

In your last paragraph you ask what are the theological or spiritual barriers to my acceptance of Gods gift of scientific knowledge. I agree that scientific knowledge is a gift from God but your question assumes evolution to be scientific knowledge, and by implication creation to be anti-scientific. Both evolution and creation are historical philosophies concerning the origin of the world and of life, yet are vastly different from one another. Both sides if you will claim scientific evidence supports their respective views about the past, so which is correct? I think the way evidence in the present is interpreted to determine what may or may not have happened in the past is affected by the philosophy to which one holds. To claim evolution is scientifically true is a false statement. Why then is evolution called a fact by many? I wish I knew the answer to that question. My personal belief is just as the devil deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden by questioning ‘did God really say?’, he is still active today calling into question the validity of Gods word in many ways, including the use of evolution as “scientific fact”. Please don’t take this to mean that I think those who believe evolution are of the devil, I don’t, but I do think he will use any means at his disposal to get people to turn away from God. If he can get the first few chapters of Gods word to be not believeable, then the rest of the bible will follow. In my view, the creation/evolution issue is more theological than scientific. 

stanman - #66437

December 8th 2011

The answer is actually quite simple. Genesis 1 is an overview account of scientific events which led to the creation of the first human soul in Adam some 6 to 7000 years ago (according to the greek Septunigant, about 8000 years ago) which then kickstarted human civilization. Prior to any life existing there were the angelic beings (read in Ezekiel for more detail) and Satan sinned bringing death into the universe. Once death came, God made something good out of it by producing life from this death by evolution eventually leading up to Adam. Adam could have lived forever by eating from the Tree of life but did not, and so in that sense death came to all men. When Jesus came along he defeated death and when he returns it shall be destroyed, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Basically, evolution says that life undergoes extreme suffering, hardship, trials and excruciating death, and out of that death comes new and better life. christianity teaches that Christ underwent this and now we have new and better life through him. Evolution teaches that man is linked to all other animals. Christianity teaches Jesus is the link between man and God. there is no contradiction.


Menno van Barneveld - #66412

December 6th 2011

Misconception “Evolution is not science because it is not observable or testable.”
The observations of evolution in the wild are about changes in frequencies in genes for environmental differences. There is no emergence of new genes that help the tolerance for the new environmental changes. So there is no sign of macro evolution in the observations. If changes in the genes are made in the laboratory, then one can say that the experimentor is acting for God. He proofs that macro changes are possible if made artificialy, making the act of God pausible.
Although there have been macro changes in the past, it cannot be observed wether God and the holy spirit came into action to make the changes possible or not. This makes the arguments of “Understanding Evolution” void as it concerns macro evolution. This is not a misconception.

Misconception “Evolution is ‘just’ a theory.”
Evolution in micro by diverging species from one kind is possible, but God can still act by stopping diverging in a way that does not fit in His plan.
But macro changes will not happen haphazardly at the right time to fit in the plan of God. If God would not have taken the actions for macro changes to create new species then the Christ would not have appeared at the right time and his churge would not gain the planned number of followers at the time of take off of the church in the clouds of heavenbefore this old heaven and earth will pass away. So macro evolution is not just a theory, it is mere fantasy.


Menno van Barneveld - #66423

December 7th 2011

Misconceptions about “Evolution and religion are incompatible.”

 

According to Genesis 1 it is God who speaks what has to be done and the holy spirit does do the work. God is in command.

The creation is able to exist without the sustainance of God, but the stearing and control of God is necessary to keep the creation on track. This is the point at which the Biologos premiss has to be adjusted.

Because of this evolution is only possible on micro scale. And even then it might be possible that God acts to whipe out unwanted developments.

Macro evolution is not possible. God has to send out His creative word and the holy spirit has to work to change an individual living being to create new species. And on this point faith is at war with the science of evolution, because e volution is not able to bring forth new species.

Then science has neglected one important aspect of faith, that is the time track in the Bible.

In the Bible are some prophecies that are restricted to exact times to happen.

Some happenings that I know are:

The number of years after the start of the creation of the universe that God will let descent the new temple from heaven in 2370 AD, being about 1.75 billion years.

The number of years after the start of the creation of our solar system that God will let descent the new temple from heaven, being about 130 million years.

The calling of Abram being the year zero of the Jewish calendar.

The birth of Christ being August the 12th 3 BC at 3:45 h local time, while at 3:15 h the planets Venus and Jupiter came in conjunction above the horizon, the sign that triggered the wise men in the East, Venus for Mary and Jupiter for Joseph.

The start of the Geat Tribulation at 1 Nissan 5780, two days after the erection of the sign of the abomination of desolation; at midnight UCT from March the 22nd to 23rd 2020 the planet Mars and the exoplanet Pluto will rise in conjunction above the horizon of Jerusalem. The abomination is that Mars and Pluto are idols, and the desolation will come from Mars being the god of war and Pluto the god of the underworld.

The passing away of the old heaven and earth in 2335 AD, starting the 1000 years reign.
It might be clear that these happenings would be impossible if evolution would be left at its own. Only the acting of God to take the right steps at the proper time can make the plan of God come true.


David Smart - #66449

December 9th 2011

beaglelady (#66213, 23 November 2011):
“We can all see transitional fossils in any decent natural history museum.”

Moreover, all living organisms are potential transitional fossils (and “potential” only because not every organism will undergo fossilization).

sy (#66258, 26 November 2011):
“What makes you believe that accepting evolution [as] true is [incompatible] with Christianity? In other words, if Genesis 1 were not a literal but an allegorical account of creation ... what impact could that have on the belief in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior?”

Whether as creationists or evolutionists (of whatever stripe in either case), we collide against a theological barrier primarily on the question of Adam, and that is because Scripture intimately connects his historical reality to the gospel of Christ and the biblical theology of salvation. To the extent that our view of Genesis and origins treats Adam as an historical person who covenanted with God as our federal representative and in whom all mankind is condemned as covenant-breakers there are no theological barriers. If Adam is an historical person on our view (be what it may), then there is not a salvation issue.

Ronnie (#66270, 27 November 2011):
”[I believe that] just as the devil deceived Eve in the garden of Eden by questioning, ‘Did God really say?’ so he is still active today calling into question the validity of Gods word—in many ways, including the use of evolution as ‘scientific fact’. Please don’t take this to mean that I think those who believe evolution are of the devil. I don’t. But I do think he will use any means at his disposal to get people to turn away from God. If he can get the first few chapters of God’s word to be not believable, then the rest of the Bible will follow.”

Does that include young-earth creationism as one of the means at his disposal to get people to turn away from God, to make the first few chapters of God’s word to be not believable? I genuinely hope that we do not see a special pleading fallacy get committed on that point. Whether leaving the faith or struggling to accept it, there are a lot of people who, given the young-earth creationist interpretation, have found “the first few chapters of God’s word to be not believable.” God is the author of both creation and Scripture, but not the author of confusion. Given who God is, his general and special revelation will not conflict.


Ronnie - #66473

December 10th 2011

Scripture does say God created all things in 6 literal days approximately 6000 years ago, if one does not believe that, the onus is on them to prove God wrong. I think the reason so many have a hard time believing this is due to evolution being taught as scientific fact instead of the philosophical worldview it really is.


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