A Few Reminders about what “Evolution” Actually Means

Somebody sent me this news story from MSNBC on a type of shark recently discovered off the coast of Australia, which was found to be the offspring of two different types of sharks.1 The person who emailed me was concerned this find backed the theory of evolution, and ergo, disproved the need for God and threatened the credibility of the Bible.

I think a few reminders about “evolution” are in order.

In a debate William Lane Craig had with the evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala, Ayala was upfront about the term “evolution” and how it is an accordion style word. Ayala states that evolution can typically mean three different things:2

1. Present day organisms are descendents (with modifications) from organisms that lived earlier.

2. Explanatory mechanisms that supposedly account for the specified complexity found in biological organisms.

3. The reconstruction of the evolutionary tree of life that show all branches going back to one ancestor in the past.

Ayala candidly admits that while the first is true, the second two are matters of tremendous dispute among all scientists (religious or non-religious), and there is much that is not known in these areas.

When intellectually honest biologists say, “evolution is a fact,” they refer to the first point. And, in truth, I don’t have any Christian acquaintances that deny that either.

But the second and third points are what intelligent design calls into question. DNA coming into existence from a purely natural, unguided, non-intelligent source? Not a chance.

As to the third assertion, some studies show that humans and chimps have DNA similarities approaching 90-95%, and the similarities between humans and mice is 90%. Does this prove a common ancestor? Not at all. Instead, it points to possible common material composition and a common Designer, which is in keeping with the first chapter of Genesis.

Let’s also not forget, that while philosophical naturalists act as reductionists and say humans are nothing more than their material composition, deep down we really know different. The imago dei (image of God) is there. Human beings were a distinctive creative act, again, as stated in Genesis 1.

So is the shark finding in Australia “evolution in action” as the MSNBC article claims? Sure. Two sharks got together and made another modified shark. Does this threaten the claims of Christianity or the Bible?

Hardly…

  • 1. http://futureoftech.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/03/9921974-australias-hybrid-shark-reveals-evolution-in-action#comments
  • 2. http://rfmedia.org/av/video/is-intelligent-design-viable-craig-vs-ayala-1

 

 

 

 
 
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