Evolution: What We Know and What We Don't Know

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What is meant when a scientist uses the term “evolution”?

In this video, Jeff Schloss discusses some things we should be mindful of when we discuss evolution. He begins with the observation that when we use the term “evolution,” it is not always exactly clear what we are actually discussing unless we denote the intended usage.

For example, the evolution of genetic change over time is not even an idea or a theory, it is simply an observation—we see it.

The evolution we discuss when we consider whether that change over time has resulted in the diversity of species we see now—that is an idea and an interpretation. But, Schloss emphasizes, it is an idea that is accompanied by overwhelming scientific evidence—ranging from biogeographic evidence to the more recent discovery of profound examples 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.

The last part of evolution, however, is really a theoretical aspect—and one that is not fully settled—even among scientists themselves. This part of evolution asks what the causes are that drive the evolutionary process. While the synthetic theory of evolution, which suggests that evolution results from a twin process of mutation and natural selection, is thedominant theory, scientists are not fully in concordance with regard to the extent that other factors play a significant role in evolutionary change.

Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.

Stephen Freeland, Astrobiologist and the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at UMBC - See more at: http://biologos.org/about-us/advisory-council/stephen-freeland#sthash.uAYTnpWV.dpuf

As a Christian and an evolutionary biologist, I support with enthusiasm the work of BioLogos as part of my personal commitment to nurture dialog (dia-Logos!) between science and the Christian faith. I identify most strongly with the organization’s eleventh article of belief (“What we believe”): We believe that conversations among Christians about controversial issues of science and faith can and must be conducted with humility, grace, honesty, and compassion as a visible sign of the Spirit’s presence in Christ’s body, the Church.

- Stephen Freeland, Astrobiologist and the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at UMBC - See more at: http://biologos.org/about-us/advisory-council/stephen-freeland#sthash.uAYTnpWV.dpuf
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