Category Archives: EVOLUTION

Why Did I Act Like an Atheist?

As a speaker with the Truth Conferences I have the opportunity to speak to some really great folks, but this Wednesday I got to speak to a bunch of middle school students.  My heart burns to see young people experience/worship Jesus in spirit and in truth, so I acted like an Atheist.  Ha ha ha, I know that sounds weird, but let me explain. 🙂

We are called to love others and tell them about the good news, right?

Well, that is kind of scary, especially when confronted by people who don’t believe what we believe.  It is never comfortable to be challenged, but if we don’t train and prepare to handle tough questions we will be unfruitful in expanding the Kingdom of God.

So, last Wednesday I decided to do some role playing with the middle school students at the Anaheim Vineyard Christian School.  I acted like an atheist and challenged their faith.  Then, we shifted gears and went back to the questions and addressed them through a Christian worldview.  We all learned a lot and had a great time.  If you would like to listen in on the experience, click below.

Are Biology & Theology Separate?

According to a 2017 Gallup poll, 38% of Americans are theistic evolutionists.  Which is strange because, according to Pew Research, evolution is a top reason why young people walk away from faith in Jesus Christ.

Some people hold the idea of, “In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity,”  so they claim evolution to be a non-essential.  Therefore, they believe Christians have the freedom to incorporate evolution into the Biblical narrative.

This post is going to show how theistic evolution is far from being a non-essential and why it needs to be removed from Christianity.  The three arguments made in this post are:

  • Theistic evolution negates the need  for a savior.
  • Theistic evolution suggests Jesus Christ to be sinful.
  • Theology and biology are interconnected.

Yet before we dive in, we must explore why theistic evolution is an illogical idea for two obvious reasons.

First, evolutionists see theistic evolution as an oxymoron, because natural processes cannot be guided by the supernatural.  According to the experts, theistic evolution is completely non-representational of an accurate description of evolution by means of natural selection and in direct conflict with a Biblical Worldview.

Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, Jerry A. Coyne is also the author of Why Evolution is True and has communicated that:
If you accept even a little bit of divine tinkering in the evolutionary process, you’re not standing on some inclusive middle ground—you are, as P.Z. Myers said, halfway to crazy town.  There can be no compromise with superstition, for superstition is the camel’s nose in the tent of science.” (source)


The second reason why theistic evolution is illogical has to do with the fact that is contrary to Judeo-Christian faith.  Every creative and miraculous event mentioned in the Bible is described to have been done so by means of supernatural intervention.  By no means does the Bible describe miraculous events taking place by means of natural phenomena.

Also, prominent theologians like JP Moreland question the theology of theistic evolution, and this video gives good reasons why.

In short, experts in the field of evolution view theistic evolution as false, as do theologians who value a scriptural understanding of the Gospel.


Theistic evolution negates the need for a savior.

An accurate understanding of evolution predicts species to emerge within family groups, and not in one generation.  This means that there could have never been a solitary, male human, Adam.  Sadly, theistic evolutionists believe these words spoken by God must be ignored.

Genesis 2:18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

If Adam were to have been a result of evolution by means of natural selection, he would have emerged alongside other human males and females within a family group.  Adam’s parents would have been fully human, along with his aunts and uncles.  Of course, Adam would have possibly had siblings and cousins that were also fully human.

If Adam was selected by God out of his family group to receive the command to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil then the other humans would have never received a command from God… which they would have never disobeyed.  This suggests that Adam’s parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and cousins would be without sin.   Are there people alive today that are descendants of these other humans that are without sin?

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

The book of Romans is very clear that no one is without sin, so theistic evolutionists claim that Adam’s “supposed” family, somehow, also acquired sin.  There is an idea that Adam is just a representative or archetype of all humans and when the fall happened it was a group that became sinful and then all of the descendants from the group inherited sin.

Yet, do we value Romans 3 in stating all have sinned, yet not value the same author and book in Romans 5 when stating that sin came into the world through one man?

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.

Which verses in the Bible are divinely inspired and which are not?  Which verses should we read literally and which verses are representational of something?  Which verses should be kept and which verses are in need of deletion?  Which verses are breathed by God and which verses are not flawless?

Of course some verses in Scripture may not be literal and could in fact be figurative, but honest examination must be made to identify them.

Tim Keller stated that, “we cannot take every text in the Bible literally… But Paul is different.  He most definitely wanted to teach us that Adam and Eve were real historical figures…” if  “you hold to the view that Adam and Eve were not literal, and you realize the author of Genesis was probably trying to teach us that Adam and Eve were real people who sinned, and that Paul certainly was, then you have to face the implications for how you read Scripture. You may say, ‘Well, the Biblical authors were ‘men of their time’ and were wrong about something they were trying to teach readers.’ The obvious question is, ‘how will we know which parts of the Bible to trust and which not?’” http://biologos.org/blogs/guest/creation-evolution-and-christian-laypeople-part-4

Interestingly enough, Peter Enns the author of The Evolution of Adam and prominent theistic evolutionist is also honest about not knowing how to reconcile this issue.

By saying that Paul’s Adam is not the historical first man, we are leaving behind Paul’s understanding of the cause of the universal plight of sin and death. But this is the burden of anyone who wishes to bring evolution and Christianity together…” (Enns 2012, p. 123)

Theistic evolution suggests Jesus Christ to be sinful.

If Romans 3:23 is true and all have sinned, does that mean Jesus Christ has sinned?  What about these verses?

Psalm 51:5-6 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Matthew 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Christ CANNOT save anyone from their sins if he too is a sinner.

If Jesus was conceived and born to a woman, why is HE not considered sinful?

Scripture tells us that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus is the son of God, therefore, did not inherit a fallen nature from Adam.  Jesus was not born a sinner due to his birthright!  We, however, are sinful because we were conceived by our earthly fathers who are in the direct, biological line of Adam.

Theology and biology are interconnected

Sadly, the “burden” of bringing Christianity and evolution together requires a disconnect within Scripture labeling some verses as God-breathed and some verses as set for deletion.  Also, theistic evolution requires a disconnect  between biology and theology.

Mankind needs to be redeemed because of sin… because we miss the mark… because we are full of disobedience and we inherited this sinful nature from Adam by means of biology.

More than likely, there is not a gene for sin encoded within the human genome.  We do not know where the sin nature is stored or how the transfer from father to child works, but Paul describes his struggle with words that are reminiscent of instinct.

Romans 7:22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.

Much like a baby chick instinctively knows how to peck from its shell, we sin.  Similar to a honey bee building a wax hexagon, we too are instinctual toward sin.  Geneticists have yet to find genes for instincts, while biologists cannot explain how instincts are transferred to successive generations, but we do know the biology of an organism determines its instinctual behavior.  Baby chicks do not build hexagons, and bees do not peck from shells.  Each organism has instinctual behavior that corresponds to their biology.

Likewise, we are under the curse of sin and death because of the biology of being human.  It is still a mystery how this transfer takes place, but we do know that we have received an instinctual inheritance from our fathers all the way back to Adam… this is why we have a propensity for sin.

Thankfully, Jesus is the sinless Redeemer we need to save us.  Thankfully, His biological instincts are not from Adam.  Jesus Christ was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit.  He was not born of the will of an earthly father, but of the will of God the Father… Jesus Christ inherited the perfect biological instinct of holiness.

Why have all people sinned?  Because we have inherited the instinctual biology of sin from Adam, the first man.

Why is it that all people have sinned except Jesus Christ?  Because Adam is not in the paternal line of Jesus, therefore, Jesus did not inherit the instinctual biology of sin.

Biology is fashioning theology as theology is fashioning biology.  The Judeo-Christian narrative is filled with other examples of how the two are interconnected.

Exodus 12:13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

Hebrews 9:22 …without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Leviticus 17:10 I will set my face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people. 11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.

God makes it very clear that whatever is eaten and consumed by our biological bodies could be a theological offense to the Lord Almighty.  Where there is blood there is LIFE, and where there is LIFE there is BIOLOGY.

Blood is biology… yet extremely theological and important to God.

Jesus said that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life(biology) and that no man can go unto the Father except through him… aka the shedding of his blood.

1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

It is clear that God does care about biology and that it is unable to be separated from theology.  God cares about our physical choices, values the shedding of life giving blood, and made the divinity of Christ interconnected with biology.

So, we must ask ourselves if biology matters in regards to all theology.

Does biology matter in regard to the doctrine of Creation?

Is it possible to separate the theology of Creation from the biology of Creation?

The idea of evolution is a game of inference and pseudoscience, so it is illogical to make room for it in Scripture to begin with.  Yet, still many folks are calling themselves theistic evolutionists.  They disregard science and empirical data for hope in the competing religion of Humanistic Naturalism and delude themselves in thinking that the God of the Bible used evolution to create.

What is the theological importance of biology?

The Bible states that Jesus is Life, that life is in the blood, that blood can be the only forgiver of sins, that Jesus was sinless because he was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and all of mankind is under the curse of a sinful nature because of our direct birthright inherited from Adam.

The Scriptures are clear in communicating theology and biology to be completely intertwined throughout the Judeo-Christian Narrative.

Biology = Theology = Biology = Theology

Jesus Christ is sinless because of biology and we are sinful because of biology.  Making room for an alternate biological narrative in the Judeo-Christian faith, negates the problem of sin and our Lord Jesus Christ as the solution.

Is theistic evolution promoted and subscribed to by those who are ignorant to the Truth and/or false teachers with an agenda of eradicating the Gospel?

Why subscribe to theistic evolution at all?

Why Did I Write a 4-Week Discussion Guide?

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

4-Week Discussion Guide for Youth Pastors…

 

Data has been consistently showing most young people to walk away from their faith, but we will not sit by and let it continue. We believe scripture, call Jesus Lord, and are willing to chase after the lost. We know, we must do something. We know it will not happen overnight. We know it will take sacrifice.  I understand the youth pastor world because I have been working with youth since 2006.  I wrote this guide for youth pastors with youth pastors and their volunteer leaders in mind.

The youth of today need loving people to teach them skills necessary for building and managing their own faith. JUMP AND COVER does not work at creating lasting faith.

We are no longer going to put veneers over faith cavities. We need to teach students how to identify faith cavities and help them drill out the rot. We need to give students the porcelain of good reasons.

We are going to defuse the power of awkwardness by embracing it. We are going to foster openness and comfortability of conversation around tough topics. If Pop Culture is engaging tough issues, so will we. Our strategy in building and managing faith will be ROLLING DOWN THE WINDOW and EMBRACING THE AWKWARDNESS.

PURCHASE ON AMAZON

HOW DID WE GET HERE? – $10.00

Help! My Kid is Online…

This is a bit of a book preview on… HELP! MY KID IS ONLINE.

I haven’t had a chance to write up something in great detail, but I wanted to give you a couple of things that will be covered.

1. Why?
Think about why setting up boundaries and/or restrictions for your child is healthy. Your child will respect you for a well thought approach as opposed to just saying “because I say so.”

2. Be honest about the unknown.
Parents today did not grow up with a personal device connected to the internet of today. We do not know what the cognitive ramifications are or will be. We parents are the first parents to navigate the uncharted territory of guiding children into healthy internet use.

3. Lovingly restate your job.
Parents have the opportunity to bless their children with privileges and the internet is absolutely a privilege. If you see it fitting to limit or restrict your child’s privileges, as a loving parent, you must.

There are so many facets to this topic. Each child is different, so you will need to uniquely approach this privilege based on each personality.

Perhaps your child is…
-in need of sheltering from adult content.
-in need of time limits and windows.
-social and actively chatting/texting with others.
-unwilling to let you check in on their activity.
-seeking adult content.
-dishonest about their location.
-fill in the blank…….

Home Wifi:
CleanRouter.com – $20 bucks a month
Clean Router is a company that sells WiFi routers that connect to your existing Internet Service Provider’s modem and/or router. There is a monthly fee attached to the customer care and support, but the cost averages to about fifty cents a day. The best part is that a Clean Router limits access to adult content and gives the ability to set up various parameters for each unique device in your home.

Mobile Devices:
MobileFence.com – Android – $54 bucks a year
OurPact.com – IOS – $7 bucks a month

Computers:
Both Windows and Apple devices have parental controls built in, all you need to do is set up a parent account and an account for each child.

This has inspired me to also create a presentation to help other parents. I’ll keep you updated on the progress.

Much love & Godspeed,
William

Did God Use Evolution?

COMING SOON!

Today, the church is crying for unity, but is the cry for unity of truth… or unity of pop-culture.  Did God use evolution?  Many people think so and they are called theistic evolutionists.

The body of Christ has always had to fight for unity of truth when living with the pressures of pop-culture.  Healthy churches are thriving today because truth is more important than pop-culture.  Followers of Christ are not in a unique time.  People like Kenn Gulliksen and John Wimber united around truth that caused a new movement to emerge.  The Vineyard church is non-denominational, and is unique and different from other movements.

Being different comes about by choosing to branch off.  Yet, this type of division is not always a bad thing.  Division can be very good if done for the truth of Christ.  God has been dividing since the beginning and division is part of His plan when it is taking place for the cause of His truth.

But what is considered to be the truth of God?  Who get’s to “interpret” His truth?  Does each individual get to “interpret” God’s truth how they see fit?  Is interpretation of truth reserved for the religious elite and lay folks must follow suit?

This is the problem.  This is why we have conflict.  We all believe our own interpretation is the best representation of God’s truth and this problem is the reason why followers of Christ have created statements of faith.  We of the Vineyard are a united group, yet we are divided from other groups because of what we hold to be true.  We have created several statements and documents that we are calling the people of the Vineyard to become united around.  Our core values are the “DNA” of the Vineyard movement and they need no interpretation.

Our values are written in a “centered set, main and plain” kind of way and are easy to understand.  One must read our values.  Study our values.  Be united around our values.  If one cannot be united with us, they are causing division, not those who embrace the values.  There are many other movements with different statements of faith.  Anyone may go and unite with others in a different movement that better matches their personal interpretation of scripture, but we of the Vineyard are sticking to the VINEYARD CORE VALUES & BELIEFS.

WHAT IS THE OFFICIAL VINEYARD STANCE ON EVOLUTION?

The Vineyard is divided when it comes to evolution.  On one hand, we have clearly outlined in our CORE VALUES & BELIEFS, that we humans have original parents, created male and female in the image of God (no mention of evolution), and their sin and/or Adam’s sin brought the judgment of death into the world.

On the other hand, we have laypeople and pastors alike who claim God used something faintly similar to evolution as His tool of choice when creating life on Earth… which is called theistic evolution.  Our own seminary of sorts, the Vineyard Institute, has not officially endorsed theistic evolution, but Academic Dean, Derek Morphew had this to say in regard to teaching theistic evolution:

“We [at Vineyard Institute] do have a plan to create a course on science and scripture. If and when that comes out, it would position us, in some way, even if we try to tell students that they can choose not to agree with the lectures. Quinton [Howitt D.Th. – Professor of Theology and Education, and also on the Curriculum Committee] and I attended a summit last year where scientists, theologians and leading pastors met for two days. It was set up by an evangelistic organization, due to the concern that views held by some Christians are a barrier to evangelism.  

“To put it simply, all those involved believed in the science behind evolutionary theory, and in creation, so while they debated what exact term was preferable, they were all basically theistic evolutionists. That is my own view.”

IS THE IDEA OF THEISTIC EVOLUTION LOGICALLY SOUND WHEN IT COMES TO BOTH SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY?

Before one can make a theological argument for theistic evolution, one must first understand two very important aspects of Darwinian thought.

SCIENCE

1 – What is evolution?  Unfortunately, there is no scientifically agreed upon definition of biological evolution.  Charles Darwin failed to offer a concise definition in his book, On the Origin of Species, by Means of Natural Selection.  The Next Generation Science Standards requires the teaching of evolution in public schools, yet has also failed to offer a definition.  Major court cases surrounding the creation/evolution conflict have also failed to outline a concise and scientifically agreed upon definition of evolution, but did tell us what science is.

In the highly publicized 2005 court case Kitzmiller vs. the Dover Area School District, Intelligent Design/Creationism was officially deemed inappropriate for public school science curricula.  The verdict was that Intelligent Design/Creationism is not science because science pertains only to that which can be observed, tested, replicated, and verified.

Is biological evolution a form of science that can be observed, tested, replicated, and verified?  

As previously mentioned, there is no scientifically agreed upon definition, so we do not know if evolution is actual science or not.  Yet, Darwin did give a general idea of what evolution is when crafting the title of his book, On the Origin of Species, by Means of Natural Selection.  He was clearly communicating that natural selection causes the emergence of new and unique, genetically isolated organisms (species).  Ernst Mayr was a well respected ornithologist, taxonomist, and biologist.  He is most famous for his part in developing the Biological Species Concept.  In 1942, Mayr defined species as “a group of interbreeding natural populations that are reproductively isolated from other such groups.”  Mayr’s definition means that organisms that produce viable offspring together are of the same species and organisms that do not produce viable offspring together are of differing species.  This definition is currently the accepted standard that biologists use when studying organisms.  So, can the emergence of new species by means of natural selection be observed, tested, replicated, and verified?

Specialists in the field of evolutionary biology say otherwise:

“Each species is a masterpiece of evolution that humanity could not possibly duplicate even if we somehow accomplish the creation of new organisms by genetic engineering.” – Edward O. Wilson


“A better title for The Origin of Species… would have been The Origin of Adaptations: while Darwin did figure out how and why a single species changes over time (largely by natural selection), he never explained how one species splits in two.” – Jerry A. Coyne


“I shall show the irrefragable power of the inference that evolution is a fact.  Obviously, the vast majority of evolutionary change is invisible to direct eye-witness observation.” – Richard Dawkins

These evolutionists are not unique in their understanding of Darwin’s theory.  It is clear that evolution is based upon inferences that cannot be observed, tested, replicated, nor verified.  No one has ever been able to produce empirical data that scientifically validates the emergence of species by means of natural selection… aka biological evolution.  Biological evolution is pseudoscience and substantiates itself erroneously through bait and switch tactics.  My book, What Is Evolution?, goes deep into this subject and sources evolution-focused scientific journals and biologists.  I discuss in great detail the lack of scientific support with the following evolutionary ideas:

Diversity of Species – The Fossil Record

Punctuated Equilibrium – Genetic Island Formation

Living Fossils – Homology – Embryology

Geology – Paleontology

The Neanderthal & other Hominids – Mutation

Genetic Variation – Vestigial Remnants

Genetic Complexity – Junk DNA

Our Closest Relative

The first thing one must understand before making a theological argument for theistic evolution, is that evolution is not science.  Of course there is a mountain of evidence pointing to origins, but this evidence is claimed by evolutionists and creationists alike.  All who enter this conversation have the same evidence, but no claims based on said evidence can be substantiated through scientific observation, testing, replication, or verification.  I have written extensively on this subject and if you would like to learn more before making an ill-informed argument, read the first three chapters of my book for free.  CLICK HERE to receive a sample.

2 – The second element that must be considered before making a theological argument for theistic evolution is that biologists describe evolution very differently then theologians.  There are important points that are not agreed upon of which plainly show theistic evolution to be a false representation of the Darwinian processes of biological evolution.

  • Evolution by means of natural selection is just that, natural.  Theistic evolution claims evolutionary processes to have been initiated and guided by a supernatural being… yet according to biologists, there is no supernatural element to evolution in anyway.
  • Evolution does not have a pinnacle species nor a goal of any kind.  If one could start the process over again, human beings would NOT be the expected outcome.
  • Evolution explained as a natural process would not produce organisms in the image of a supernatural being.
  • According to experts, evolution is constant and no species is immune to evolutionary change.  So, humans must have already evolved away from the image of God and/or are evolving into an organism that is NOT in the image of God.

Renowned experts in the field of biology view theistic evolution as completely false, for it is by no means a true representation of Darwinian evolution.

THEOLOGY

When it comes to the halls of Academia, it is clear that theistic evolution is illogical, but what about in the halls of theological seminaries?  Does the idea of God creating diverse species by means of something faintly similar to Darwinian evolution line up with Judeo-Christian theology?

Biologos is a major proponent of theistic evolution and does not see a conflict between Darwinian thought and Judeo-Christian faith.  Yet, evolution predicts speciation to occur among groups of organisms, and most definitely not to occur within one generation.  This causes a major problem with how theistic evolution views the first man, Adam.

If theistic evolution is true, Adam could have never been alone.  He would have become the first human by emerging from a group of human-like organisms, yet new species do not emerge in one generation, meaning Adam’s supposed parents must have also been human.  So, then was Adam the first human chosen by God from a group of humans to have a relationship with Him?  If so, how does this affect the doctrine of original sin and the need for a savior?

How did God’s sinless creation become sinful in nature?

Biologos understands this issue and has predicted the entrance of sin into the world in a couple of different scenarios.  First, Genesis 3 could be symbolic and that Adam never actually existed.  The story of the Fall could be an allegorical explanation of sin gradually entering the world.  Perhaps the laws that are written on the hearts of mankind needed certain mental capabilities to develop in order for humans to become aware of sin.  Second, Adam & Eve could refer to a real couple that were seen as leaders in the early human population.  God could have revealed himself to them, given a command to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and they chose rebellion.  From then, sin could have spread genetically, but sin spreading through social interaction is, according to Biologos, a more likely prediction.

Biologos has a policy of avoiding “pat answers,” so they have not given a theistic evolutionary stance on the origin of sin.  Yet, both predictions they have offered are theologically invalid for the following reasons:

1 – Many scriptures and Jesus Christ himself stated that Adam & Eve actually existed and were not symbolic.  Discounting references to Adam & Eve puts the authority of scripture in question and questions the Bible as being a trustworthy document.  Discounting scripture and the words/authority of Christ goes against what it means to follow Christ.  What is sovereign, the personal “interpretations” of scripture made by theistic evolutionists or the Word of God?

Of course some verses in scripture can be figurative, but honest examination must be made to identify them.  Tim Keller stated that,

“we cannot take every text in the Bible literally… But Paul is different.  He most definitely wanted to teach us that Adam and Eve were real historical figures.”

Keller also stated that if

“you hold to the view that Adam and Eve were not literal, and you realize the author of Genesis was probably trying to teach us that Adam and Eve were real people who sinned, and that Paul certainly was, then you have to face the implications for how you read Scripture. You may say, ‘Well, the Biblical authors were ‘men of their time’ and were wrong about something they were trying to teach readers.’ The obvious question is, ‘how will we know which parts of the Bible to trust and which not?’” http://biologos.org/blogs/guest/creation-evolution-and-christian-laypeople-part-4

2 – Messianic redemption is only necessary if a connection with God has been broken by sin.  If Adam & Eve were chosen out of an existing population, those that were not chosen and their descendants were never given a command by God, of which was never disobeyed, therefore this group never experienced sin.  Are there people alive today that do not need a Redeemer?

The answer to this question is a resounding no.  Romans 3:23 and other verses in both New and Old Testaments state that “all have sinned.”  Biologos suggests that family groups in this early population that are not direct descendants of Adam could have acquired sin through social interaction and learned behavior.  Yet, this would suggest some peripheral groups to have never come in contact with sin due to the lack of social interaction.  This prediction then also suggests the possibility of sinlessness to be spread via social interaction.  Do we have the ability to become free from sin via social interaction?  The scriptures are very clear in stating that no one is righteous and that we are sinful from the point of conception.  The Vineyard is also very clear about our sinful nature for the doctrine of original sin is part of our CORE VALUES & BELIEFS.

To recap, theistic evolution is void of both scientific & theological merit, because:

  • Biological evolution in itself is a pseudoscience that has failed to be empirically observed, tested, replicated, and verified.
  • Theistic evolution is faintly similar to the idea of biological evolution and is, in fact, rejected by evolutionary biologists.
  • Theistic evolution questions the authority of scripture, discounts the words of Jesus Christ Himself, and in order to be seen as logically/theologically valuable, one must omit a multitude of scriptures breathed by God.
  • Theistic evolution cannot explain the origin of sin and therefore our need for a savior, suggesting some people do not need Messianic redemption in Jesus Christ.
THE VINEYARD MAIN AND THE PLAIN

Why talk about theistic evolution?  Isn’t it “OK” for the Vineyard or any Jesus following  “centered set” church to leave it alone?  No.  The Vineyard Movement has been very honest about what is called the “main and the plain,” and scripture is just that.  No one can subscribe to theistic evolution without discounting the authority of scripture and going against what the Bible says.

We are a people of the Word and theistic evolution puts the trustworthiness of the Word in question.  We are a people committed to God’s plan of reconciliation, but if theistic evolution is true… what are we being reconciled to… and for what reason?  When it comes to the foundation of the “main and the plain,” theistic evolution is eroding it away.

But could theistic evolution also be a salvation issue?

The thief on the cross came to believe in Jesus and joined Him in paradise that very day.  Yet, what would have happened if by some amazing turn of events that thief had been set free and somehow survived the bodily harm?  Would he have begun to learn and grow in his relationship with Christ?  Would he have continued in his wicked ways of using and abusing others by stealing from them?  If the thief on the cross somehow lived to a ripe old age, he would have to come to a fork in the road.  He would have needed to make a hard decision… would he go his own way and continue to steal, or the way of Christ?  Could the thief have honestly said he believed Jesus Christ to have been Lord of his life if he committed to a lifestyle of abusing others by stealing from them?  This choice is one that truly determines salvation.

In similar fashion, if an atheist evolutionist has an encounter with Jesus, and decides to follow Christ… is the evolutionist saved?  Yes!  Absolutely!  Praise God!

Hopefully this new believer will join a home group or get plugged into a ministry that will disciple them in the Word of God.  The new believer, still an evolutionist will start to notice the reverberation of special creation throughout all of scripture, yet discount it because they subscribe to evolution.  When their new Lord Jesus speaks about sin and a literal Adam, in order to keep hold of evolution, they must believe Christ used metaphor or needs His words to be “interpreted” correctly.  The compromise will grow and grow until, their thoughts are not, “Jesus is Lord, I need to trust Him,” but “Evolution is a fact, I must make sure this new faith in Jesus does not de-validate a Darwinian view of origins.”

Like the thief, they will have to make choices that are in the posture of following Christ, or in the posture of leaning to their own understanding.  If they fail to renew their mind with the mind of Christ and ultimately see the Word of God as second in authority to evolutionary ideas, at that point, their choice is one that determines salvation.  A maturing follower of Christ will loosen their grip on evolution, and will have an increasing sense of value for the authority of scripture.

NOW WHAT?

Theistic evolution is scientifically and theologically irrational.  It is in direct conflict with the doctrine of original sin.  Theistic evolution discounts an exhaustive list of scriptures breathed by God.

The Vineyard Movement and all Christian churches that value scripture cannot continue (in a state of honesty/integrity) without addressing the issue of theistic evolution in one of two ways.

  1. Each community following Jesus Christ must stand firm to their statement of faith, and continue to value the authority of scripture.  Subsequently, the endorsement of theistic evolution in churches, seminaries, and the Vineyard Institute will stop.

OR

  1. Each community that embraces theistic evolution must be clear in their statement of faith that the authority of personal interpretation is valued over the authority of scripture breathed by God.  Subsequently, the doctrine of original sin and the need for Messianic redemption in the person of Jesus Christ will be left open to interpretation.
MOVING FORWARD

Keep in mind, this is NOT a call to promote hard line creationism.  This is a call for the Church to stop teaching the fallacy of theistic evolution.

The “main and the plain” are at risk.  The need for a Redeemer is on the line.  Holy scriptures that were once valued and given great authority as words breathed by God are being discounted.  We have not been instructed to alter scripture in order to accommodate a secular belief in what we think is most plausible.  Every word in scripture is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), and every word that we wish had been included, is actually God omitted.

This issue runs deep and is the best foothold the enemy has on the Church today.

At first, it seems unclear why some Christians choose to divest the authority of scripture in order to maintain their faith in theistic evolution, yet an underlying agenda is present.

If the Word of God is able to be “more correctly interpreted” in Genesis, then every book of the Bible is also up for interpretation.  If pop culture says evolution is true, then the Bible needs to be “more correctly interpreted” to reflect this new found truth.

If pop culture says it is OK to sleep around, then the Bible needs to be “more correctly interpreted” to reflect this new found truth.

If pop culture says that our value is based in consumerism, then the Bible needs to be “more correctly interpreted” to reflect this new found truth.

If pop culture says _____________ (fill in the blank), then the Bible needs to be “more correctly interpreted” to reflect this new found truth.

If we become the “correct interpreters” of God’s Word, what then is the point of God’s Word?

Learn about the Evolution Affirming Version of the Holy Bible

What does Vegas tell us about evolution?

I am so very sad about what happened in Las Vegas Sunday night.  What would drive someone to take sport in mass murder?  This is a terrible act and the person who chose to do this must have been numb to the value of human life.

For the past few days, in a paradoxical and refreshing kind of way, the news has been highlighting the good within this horrific tragedy.  There have been reports of folks risking their lives for each other and helping strangers.   Family members have hitched rides and hoped on planes to visit their loved ones still recovering in hospitals in the Las Vegas area.  My heart goes out to the traumatized folks who attended the concert and the people in agony knowing they had loved ones in the midst of the crisis.

This tragedy is going to be realized and felt for years and years.  We can all agree that what happened in Las Vegas on Sunday night was horrific.  And, we could more than likely agree that none of us want to see this happen again.

The scale of carnage that took place during the Las Vegas attack is overwhelming, yet it seems we have been witnessing massacres with a high level of frequency.  If you don’t remember how bad it has gotten, on Monday, the Los Angeles Times posted an article titled: Deadliest U.S. mass shootings, 1984-2017

I read through the LA Times list and felt sick to my stomach.  It is hard to believe that we have gone through so much tragedy in such a short time, and the worst part?.. all this loss of life has been intentional.  Every victim in such catastrophes has been sadistically exterminated.

In fact, most of the victims never knew their killer, and most of the killers never knew their victims.  Conscious and intentional extermination of human life has taken place at these tragic events.  The ultimate goal of the shooters has been to end as many human lives as possible, much like an exterminator.

Las Vegas and so many of these massacres shock us because it truly does feel similar to an exterminator attempting to wipe out as many insects as possible.  Human life is so precious and we become appalled at the idea of someone systematically killing humans as if they were an infestation of ants.

But why is there a difference between a human life and a bug’s life?  Why do we give the name “psychopath” to gun-wheedling-murders, but we say that someone working for a pest control company is a nice guy with a good job?

We, as a society, believe there is a difference between killing a person and killing a bug, yet this is not what we teach our young people.

We, as a society, have made laws designed to punish murderers, but what we do not teach our young people to value human life.

You might be a good parent and be teaching your children to value others, but they are are not getting that from the media nor from science class.

This article is not about the media, but I do have to say the coverage of such events ADDS to the glamorization and copycat-perpetuation of such tragedies.  OK, moving on.

 The issue is one of logic.  If energy and matter popped into existence by chance… and if, by accident, life appeared… and if life then evolved, into a tailless, walking ape, due to mistakes and mutations… then you can only be identified as a lucky mistake who woke up to consciousness.

You obviously would have no purpose and no mission.

Your only moment to moment struggle would be to stay alive and reproduce.

Your habits would revolve around acquiring more resources than your competitors… and your competitors are the other lucky, tailless, walking apes that are also trying to stay alive and reproduce.

According to evolution, your life doesn’t matter.  According to evolution you are a lucky mistake.  According to evolution ALL life on Earth is a lucky mistake, and you are no different than the bug that died on your windshield as you drove to work.  In fact, if evolution is true, your life is no more valuable than the chicken you had for dinner last night.

We are shocked in our country when terrible violence and hatred breaks out, yet evolution is required in public schools. This type of thinking is contrary to itself.

The idea that we are here because of a long chain of random mistakes communicates that nothing matters other than beating the competition.

If evolution is true, our lives can be summed up the same way Carl Sagan describes.  “We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands.”  According to evolutionary experts, we are just cosmic dust that randomly, and by mistake, emerged into existence.  Seriously,  according to an accurate understanding of evolution… that’s it…  human life has no more value than bugs or dust.

SO, WHAT CAN BE DONE?

The reoccurring issue of mass extermination deserves our attention, but it also deserves action.

Unfortunately, there is no “silver bullet” solution.

If we get evolution out of the required curriculum and start teaching students that human life has more value that bugs and dust, the problem will not be solved.  Increasing security in our modern lives will not solve this problem.  Taking a look at gun laws will not solve the problem either.

We must start healthy conversations around all of these potential solutions.  And when these conversations move to action, perhaps then we could decrease the ability for such heinous acts to take place.  More importantly, if we are successful, perhaps no one will even think of doing such a crime because of their high value for human life.

It is obvious that evolution degrades our understanding of the value of human life, but did you know evolution is also undefined, unscientific, and unlawful?  In my book, I explore why these claims are true.  Download a fee sample of WHAT IS EVOLUTION?

Do evolutionists understand they are promoting misogyny and racism?

 

As a global society, we tend to show a lot of love to the bearded man. It’s true, just think about it… most kids go through a phase when they dream of Santa Clause and how the tree will be plentifully stocked.

Could this be the reason we adults still value the works of the bearded?  What is the reasoning?  Why do we give so much credit to the guys who just don’t find the time to shave?

Seriously, there is a long list of heroes and of course, I’m not trying to leave anyone out, but think about the likes of the bearded Father Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Jesus, da Vinci, Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Gandalf, Gerry Garcia, Mr. T, Chuck Norris, ZZ Top, Zach Galifianakis, and Silver Lake hipsters… all of these gentlemen have beards and we love them!

Yet, are we a bit over zealous in accepting the ideas of men with beards?  I mean, here we are in 2017 ‘Merica and look what is happening.  Misogyny and racism are possibly the most visible and volatile they have ever been.

So, what gives?

Well, I have to be honest… I did leave out one bearded fellow from the previous list.  Why would I do that?  Well, I wanted you to read my article and possibly think for a second that I was not going to write about evolution again!  Well yes, this bit of verbiage will also be about the horrors of evolutionary thought.

The battle for who is the most respected bearded man, must definitely be taking place between Jesus and Santa Clause.  Yet, on the outskirts there is a quiet competitor who takes no punches.  When churches and shopping malls fight for our Christmas dollars, Darwin’s evolutionary ideas are dominating every aspect of our modern thought life.

Yes, there is one bearded man that every natural history museum, public science classroom, and university celebrates by revering his ideas in a faithful and religious-like manner.  Sadly, Darwinian ideas are being methodically proselytized by our nation’s educational system and funded by tax dollars.  Of which, is actually illegal.  I have written extensively about this in my book WHAT IS EVOLUTION?

Every child in America is being indoctrinated with evolution.  Yes, due to media and museums even students in private and home education are being brainwashed by the idea that we emerged onto the scene due to minute adaptations that have added up over deep time.  So, if a fellow human has less body hair and lighter skin than another human, according to Darwinian thinking, that person has evolved further away from our “ape-like” ancestor.  Obviously, the opposite is true.  Evolution predicts Caucasians to be the most evolved and a “higher” organism than other ethnic groups.

This type of ridiculous thinking is false because evolution is a lie.  What is scary and kept silent is that those who promote Darwinian evolution wholeheartedly believe it to be true.  The celebrated, bearded, misogynistic, racist himself wrote the following:

“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races[…]  The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”

THE DESCENT OF MAN, AND SELECTION IN RELATION TO SEX. BY CHARLES DARWIN, M.A., F.R.S., &c. IN TWO VOLUMES.—VOL. I. 1871 [page] 201

A true understanding of evolution reveals deep racism within the minds of those who subscribe.  The words of Charles Darwin himself, describe a false reality of certain ethnic groups of humans to be “higher” or “lower” than other ethnic groups.  Yet, modern genetics has proven otherwise.  There is one human genome which shows all humans to be the same species and equal in faculties and capabilities.  Yet, evolution is part of so-called science and is not allowed to be questioned.  Our nation has made it a part of our required curriculum, but for some reason the same educators claim to hate racism.  This makes no logical sense.

Not only do proponents of Darwinian evolution claim certain ethnic groups to be “less than” others, they claim women to be “less than” men.  Again, in the words of Charles Darwin, he states:

“Man is more courageous, pugnacious, and energetic than woman, and has a more inventive genius.”

THE DESCENT OF MAN, AND SELECTION IN RELATION TO SEX. BY CHARLES DARWIN, M.A., F.R.S., &c. IN TWO VOLUMES.—VOL. II. 1871 [page] 334

“The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shewn by man attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than woman can attain—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands.”

THE DESCENT OF MAN, AND SELECTION IN RELATION TO SEX. BY CHARLES DARWIN, M.A., F.R.S., &c. IN TWO VOLUMES.—VOL. II. 1871 [page] 344

Again, a true understanding of evolution shows a dark acceptance of gender inequality.  Confusingly, every little girl in this country is told she can be whatever she wants to be and do any job she wants to do.  Yet, these same girls are being taught the evolutionary idea that they are “less than” their male peers.

I know we have a crazy respect for beaded men, but don’t let Charles Darwin and his proselytizers fool you.  He deserves no respect whatsoever.  Not only has he bastardized science with his approach of fact through inference… his ideas are perpetuating racist hate and misogynistic gender inequality.

Subscribers of evolution are either accepting these ideas without really understanding what they are accepting, or they are unloving people filled with hate.

The worst group of people who are perpetuating Darwinian ideas are those who believe God used evolution.  Known as theistic evolutionists, there is an increasing group of people who believe in evolution and believe God used/uses it.

Subscribers of theistic evolution who fully understand what evolution proposes are the most revolting people of all.  It seems unbelievable, but there are academic deans of seminaries and senior pastors who teach their flocks that God used evolution to create.  I truly do hope these folks are just naive and do not actually understand evolution.  It is bad enough to discount scripture by reinterpreting the Bible to affirm the idea of God using evolution, but to claim that God planned for there to be a human hierarchy of value is blasphemous and heretical.  Learn more about theistic evolution in the post entitled: Did God Use Evolution?

I run the risk of sounding a bit extreme, but everything that is wrong with the world today goes back to the indoctrination of evolution.

Children are taught to be kind and patient, but why?  If evolution is true, they must get what they need before their peers exhaust the resources.

Why are evolutionists shocked by acts of racism, terror, and sexual discrimination?  If evolution is true, these horrors are just part of determining who is the fittest and who deserves to survive long enough to pass on their DNA.

If you subscribe to evolution, you only have two options:

1 – Acknowledge that you are naive and do not understand evolution.

or

2 – Be honest about the fact that you agree with promoting misogyny and racism.

What is the EAV Bible?

EAV Bible

Have you heard about the EAV Bible?  Does the idea of a Bible that affirms evolution seems confusing?  Well, don’t be confused any longer.
 
I created the EAV Bible and it is no more of a “Bible” than the Camping Bible or the Bacon Bible.  Yes, these are real books too!

 

The Evolution Affirming Version or the EAV Bible is just a book that has Bible in the title.  I wrote it because there are many believers that are being misled into accepting the idea of God using evolution to create.
The worst part is that many seminaries across the country are teaching Theistic Evolution to their future pastors and church planters!  ARGH!!  Yikes, this is actually happening and it is CRAZY.
According to a 2017 Gallup Poll 38% of Americans wholeheartedly agree God used evolution to create.  This stance is called theistic evolution.
My book, called the EAV Bible, shows what the Bible would be like if evolutionary explanations were affirmed.  In doing so, scriptures from the authentic Holy Bible are completely omitted.
 
Yes, God is all-powerful and He could have easily used evolution to create the Universe, the Earth, and all living things including humans, but He didn’t… and we know that God did not use evolution for two reasons.
 
First, biologists unanimously agree that an accurate description of evolution involves zero supernatural phenomena. Those who believe God used evolution to create have an inaccurate understanding of biological evolution. The idea of supernatural forces playing a role in the process of natural selection is not only an oxymoron, but is in direct conflict with a modern understanding of evolutionary biology.
 

Second, Judeo-Christian scripture repeatedly details creation taking place via supernatural phenomena. Every biblical reference to the formation of the Universe, Earth, and biodiversity point to miraculous events. Not a single verse in all of ancient scripture suggests anything coming into existence via natural processes. Those who believe God used evolution are in direct conflict with all biblical references to creation. The only way theistic evolution can be seen as an accurate description of how God created is to ignore and exclude authentic scripture.

THEISTIC EVOLUTION IS LOGICALLY BANKRUPT
There is no “happy medium” in the conversations of origins. Complex biological systems exist. Life is diverse and abundant. Yet, how this took place be can only be explained by means of natural or supernatural processes. These are the only two options. Trying to blend natural and supernatural processes is logically and theologically bankrupt. No honest person is able to give good reason for subscribing to the idea of God using evolution to create. Theistic evolution, not only, requires a false understanding of biological evolution, but also requires a multitude of Judeo-Christian scriptures to be untrue.
 
The Evolution Affirming Version is the first of its kind in completely affirming the beliefs and ideas of those who subscribe to theistic evolution.  Don’t worry, I take great steps to clarify the fact that my book is not the real Bible.  Read this disclaimer I made sure was in the book:
The EAV Bible was written for purposes of illustration, and is by no means an accurate reflection of God’s Word.

Authentic scriptures of the Judeo-Christian narrative are the only true Bible and this book should never be mistaken as such.

The EAV Bible is completely new and has been written in order to highlight the blasphemous and illogical idea of God using evolution to create, otherwise known as theistic evolution.
____________________

Learn more scientific and theological ramifications of theistic evolution by watching my SHORT FILM.

There is no honest way to value the Bible while adhering to the idea of evolution.  There is no point in reading scripture through the lens of evolution, for evolutionary ideas exclude the interaction, involvement, and/or guidance of a supernatural deity.  The EAV Bible offers a shocking glimpse into what the Bible would be like if evolution were true and if God used it to create.

Thank you for your interest in this project.  If you feel strongly about this issue and want to help spread the word, I am more than happy to get EAV Bibles to you at cost.

Is evolution scientifically valid?

Defining Evolution:

Is evolution scientifically valid?  The U.S. Court System has failed to define it.  Even though there has been seemingly endless litigation over this topic, major court cases have used the word evolution in the absence of a consistent and scientifically agreed upon definition.

Left Undefined by OUR Educational System

Public schools are required to teach evolution, but have failed to define evolution.  There is no scientifically agreed upon definition of evolution used in our educational system. State and federal educational agencies that create standard curricula frameworks have failed to offer a consistent and scientifically agreed upon definition of biological evolution.

“The NGSS are a set of science education standards, and do not prescribe a curriculum nor any vocabulary list with definitions. Definitions of evolution would come in curricula, which are chosen by individual states, districts, or teachers.”
– Next Generation Science Standards

“The CDE has not published an approved definition of biological evolution.”
– California Department of Education

“LACOE does not provide this kind of assistance and we typically do not provide language for these kinds of curricular questions.”
– Los Angeles County Office of Education

“Not sure if the District has an official definition.”
– Los Angeles Unified School District

Public educators teach evolution based on the direction their thumbs are pointed. This reality has placed the future of science at risk. How logical is it for our nation’s educational framework to require the teaching of biological evolution, yet fail to define evolution?  Without a definition, we must ask: Is evolution scientifically valid?

 

If one of the most prominent evolutionary biologists and geneticists to have ever lived, Theodosius Dobzhansky, said that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,” then let’s define evolution.

define evolution

I have written a book entitled, What Is Evolution?, and I will take you on a journey of discovering what evolution is.  If you would like a free preview of my book, sign up and I’ll email you a sample.

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Defining Science:

Most people have an idea of what they believe science to be, unfortunately, most people’s understanding is far from accurate.  The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences gives a very good, cut and dried idea of what science is when stating…

The first component consists of the formulation of a conjecture or hypothesis about the natural world. The second component consists of testing the hypothesis by ascertaining whether deductions derived from the hypothesis are indeed the case in the real world.” – http://www.pnas.org/content/106/Supplement_1/10033.full

 

evolutionWebster defines science as:

“knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation.”
Webster

 

evolutionThe National Science Teacher’s Association states that science should be the sole idea communicated in science class and then offers this description as part of what science is:

“Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world.”

https://www.nsta.org/about/positions/natureofscience.aspx

 

evolutionThe National Center for Science Education does not offer a definition or outline of science even though science education is their focus and said term is included in their name.

 

evolutionThe federally funded Next Generation Science Standards has complied a list of basic understanding about the Nature of Science which has been named the NOS Matrix. These are the eight basic understandings of the nature of science:

  • Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods
  • Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence
  • Scientific Knowledge is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence
  • Scientific Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain Natural Phenomena
  • Science is a Way of Knowing
  • Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems
  • Science is a Human Endeavor
  • Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World

 

NOS Matrix

 

evolutionIn the court records of the famous case, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, (Trial Transcript: Day 21 am. Session, Part 1 & 2. 4 Nov. 2005.) Professor of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior at Michigan State University, Robert T. Pennock clearly described that as a science-focused community we must “seek explanations in the world around us based upon what we can observe, test, evolutionreplicate, and verify.” In the same case, Molecular biologist and Professor of Biology at Brown University, Kenneth Miller was being cross-examined when he was asked to read Page 27 of Exhibit 649 and his reply was:

“Be glad to. This is the opening of the third section of this book [Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science by National Academy of Sciences], and it opens basically by defining science. And it says, and I quote, Science is a particular way of knowing about the world. In science, explanations are restricted to those that can be inferred from confirmable data, the results obtained through observations and experiments that can be substantiated by other scientists. Anything that can be observed or measured is amenable to scientific investigation. Explanations that cannot be based on empirical evidence are not a part of science.”

– https://www.nap.edu/read/5787/chapter/4

There is no concise and agreed upon definition of science that clearly describes the process, however, from the above references two aspects of science have been made clear.  First, science deals with the tangible world of naturally occurring phenomena.  Second, scientific explanations of said phenomena are based upon empirical data, which is only what we can observe, test, replicate, and verify.  Is evolution scientifically valid?


Do science deniers really exist?
 
Charles Robert Darwin, the author of the Origin of Species, is an icon of historical importance.  His main contribution to the world was his idea of an unintentional, breeder-less version of artificial selection which he called natural selection.  Darwin communicated to the evolutionary community that he believed species, aka biodiversity, to be mutable and therefore emerged into existence via adaptations brought on by natural forces.  In the last pages of his great work, he described how the process of evolution takes place due to natural laws.
It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.

 

Theodosius Dobzhansky is one of the most prominent evolutionary biologists and geneticists to have ever lived.  His words have been quoted countless times and his words most quoted are, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”  Dobzhansky is a notable author and has been published and cited in seemingly endless scientific journals.  If anyone is in “a field which they themselves know well” (Augustine), Theodosius Dobzhansky is such a person.  When it comes to evolution via natural selection, he wrote about the likelihood of supernatural involvement.  “What a senseless operation it would have been, on God’s part, to fabricate a multitude of species ex nihilo (Latin for: out of nothing) and then let most of them die out!  There is, of course, nothing conscious or intentional in the action of natural selection.

 

Edward O. Wilson has authored over twenty books, received two Pulitzer Prizes, was given the National Medal of Science, and held a professorship in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University from 1956 to 1996.  Again, if anyone is in “a field which they themselves know well” (Augustine), Professor Wilson is such a person.  In his book, From So Simple a Beginning, Wilson writes: “Evolution in a pure Darwinian world has no goal or purpose: the exclusive driving force is random mutations sorted out by natural selection from one generation to the next.

 

Francisco J. Ayala is an accomplished professor and evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Irvine.  Under the eye of the famed evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky, Ayala received his doctorate in 1964.  He also has served the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science as President and Chairman.  Being the author of over nine hundred publications and thirty books, Francisco J. Ayala is most definitely a person in “a field which they themselves know well” (Augustine).  In the highly respected Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, Ayala describes evolution.
It was Darwin’s greatest accomplishment to show that the complex organization and functionality of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process–natural selection–without any need to resort to a Creator or other external agent. … The scientific account of these events does not necessitate recourse to a preordained plan, whether imprinted from the beginning or through successive interventions by an omniscient and almighty Designer. Biological evolution differs from a painting or an artifact in that it is not the outcome of preconceived design.  The design of organisms is not intelligent but imperfect and, at times, outright dysfunctional.

 

Also being in “a field which they themselves know well” (Augustine), Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, Jerry A. Coyne is such a person.  Coyne is also the author of Why Evolution is True and has communicated that:
If you accept even a little bit of divine tinkering in the evolutionary process, you’re not standing on some inclusive middle ground—you are, as P.Z. Myers said, halfway to crazy town.  There can be no compromise with superstition, for superstition is the camel’s nose in the tent of science.

 

Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist that held a position at the University of Oxford as Professor for Public Understanding of Science, he is the founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, and a renowned author of many books.  Again, if anyone is in “a field which they themselves know well” (Augustine), Richard Dawkins is such a person.  Dawkins has stated that, “a true understanding of Darwinism is deeply corrosive to religious faith,” and that there is “no scientific reason to believe any sort of supernatural creator.  That came with the understanding of Darwinian evolution.

 

Biologists describe evolution as a 100% natural process.  Some people of faith say that a supernatural being initiated evolution or used it as a tool.  Yet a deity commencing a 100% natural process and stepping away, or acting as the “man behind the curtain” of evolution, sustaining all the intricacies that “science” cannot explain… makes evolution supernatural. Which is a false representation of evolution and is why the evolutionary community completely discounts the idea of theistic evolution.

The conflict is with faith and evolution, for there is NO supernatural element to evolution in anyway… not when it comes to the initiation, nor when it comes to the ongoing “emergence of species.”  Experts in the field of evolutionary biology are very clear about the fact that Darwinian evolution by means of natural selection is just that, natural.

The reality of conflict between evolution and faith, does not mean there is conflict between science and faith.  Most people use science in every aspect of daily life.  Science is good for all people regardless of faith.  The real question at hand has to do with the erroneous use of the word science in place of evolution.  Proponents of evolution tend to call their opposition “science deniers,” yet in reality, those who oppose Darwinian thought are just evolution deniers.  Is evolution scientifically valid?… read: Science or Pseudoscience?

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Is evolution legal?

EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGISTS AGREE:

When it comes real data that can be collected today, the idea that evolution produces new and unique species cannot be observed, tested, replicated, nor verified.  So, we must ask ourselves; is evolution legal?

In fact, experts in the field of evolutionary biology agree:

Edward O. Wilson described each species as being “a masterpiece of evolution that humanity could not possibly duplicate even if we somehow accomplish the creation of new organisms by genetic engineering.”

Jerry A. Coyne suggested a “better title for The Origin of Species… would have been The Origin of Adaptations: while Darwin did figure out how and why a single species changes over time (largely by natural selection), he never explained how one species splits in two.”

Richard Dawkins boldly stated that he will “show the irrefragable power of the inference that evolution is a fact,” yet quickly backpedaled by saying that, “Obviously, the vast majority of evolutionary change is invisible to direct eye-witness observation.”

These evolutionists are not unique in their understanding of Darwin’s hypothesis. It is quite clear that the idea of evolution is based upon inferences that cannot be observed, tested, replicated, nor verified. No one has ever been able to produce empirical data that scientifically validates the emergence of species by means of natural selection.

In fact, the National Science Teachers Association has clearly communicated there is debate “about how evolution has taken place,” and has asked the question of, “What are the processes and mechanisms producing change?”

The fact that biological evolution cannot be observed, tested, replicated, nor verified, and the fact that biologists do not scientifically understand “how” evolutionary change takes place, puts Darwin’s hypothesis in a legal predicament.

LEGAL PRECEDENT:

The 1981 court case Segraves versus the State of California concluded that scientific explanations must pertain to the “how” and do not pertain to an “ultimate cause.”

In the 2005 Supreme Court case Kitzmiller versus the Dover area school district, Robert T. Pennock stated that as a science-focused community we must “seek explanations in the world around us based upon what we can observe, test, replicate, and verify.” Ultimately, this case showed Intelligent Design to be unfit for the public classroom on the basis of it not being able to be scientifically observed, tested, replicated, nor verified.

According to legal precedent, evolution is unfit for the public classroom due to the fact that biologist cannot explain the “how” of evolution. It is also unfit because the main result of evolution is unable to be observed, tested, replicated, and verified.

Evolution is not legal science and is therefore unfit for the public classroom. In addition, there are two more reasons why evolution is being taught illegally in our nation’s public classrooms.

Those who find themselves as subscribers of evolutionary thought believe the emergence of new species by means of natural selection to be true even though it cannot be observed. They believe that somehow, and given millions of years, new species emerged. Yet, if the core aspect of evolution cannot be observed and is included in the required curriculum, our civil liberties are being infringed upon.

CONSTITUTIONALITY OF EVOLUTION:

Webster defines supernatural as being part “of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe.” If science cannot observe it, test it, replicate it, nor verify it… than it is outside of the natural world and therefore supernatural. Why are supernatural explanations being taught as fact in public classrooms?

The belief that new species emerge by means of natural selection can only come through the supernatural and unobservable power of millions of years. Evolutionist, Richard Dawkins, has stated that we “need to define religion as belief in something supernatural.” So then, why is the religion of evolution being taught in our public classrooms?

On December 15, 1791 the Establishment Clause was added as part of the first Amendment to the United States Constitution which clearly states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” If teaching evolution promotes faith in the supernatural phenomenon of the emergence of new species, it cannot be legally included in the US public school required curriculum.

A third reason why evolution is illegal has to do with the scientific journal titled, Evolution. It is funded by tax dollars through the National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences. The journal has stated that the “prevalence of religious belief in the United States suggests that outreach by scientists alone will not have a huge effect in increasing the acceptance of evolution, nor will the strategy of trying to convince the faithful that evolution is compatible with their religion…. another strategy to promote evolution involves loosening the grip of faith on America.”

If educators in the field of evolutionary biology are keen on “loosening the grip of faith on America,” they have the right to do so, but not with public funds. Evolution is undergirded by a clear and honest agenda of the eradication of evolution-opposing faiths. Its publicly funded and required evolutionary curriculum is unconstitutional. The governmental backing of biological evolution is a crime. Until the day comes when evolution’s goal shifts from getting people to reject evolution-opposing faith, can show evolution to be true without having to believe in the unobservable and supernatural power of millions of years, and can scientifically show the emergence of new species by means of natural selection… then we must stop using public funds to support evolutionary education.

WHAT NOW?

Someday the scientific minds of this world will be released from the chains of evolutionary pseudoscience and be able to embrace actual science, technological progress, innovation, and breakthrough. The science class of the future will ask successive generations to focus on the reality of issues facing mankind. Science educators will ask their students how to address hunger, gridlock, energy sustainability, waste, medicine, water scarcity, and terrorism… just to name a few. Students will learn how to quench thirst with clean abundant water, offer speedy and efficient transportation, and end the pangs of hunger with smarter ways to farm. Adopting an approach of teaching how science works is far greater than teaching how to infer conclusions from a bias view of that which cannot be observed, tested, replicated, and verified.

If the youth of today are taught to face problems and are asked to address such issues in the light of scientific progress and innovation, our nation will be in a position of continued and sustainable breakthrough… bringing wealth and prosperity for generations to come.

Let’s make science the focus of our nation’s science classrooms!

Does evolution take imagination?

CarrollRecently, a critic has voiced being unhappy with my referencing of the work of Sir Gavin deBeer and thinks I should have referenced Sean B. Carroll instead.  The claim was that deBeer is an old source that is no longer worth mentioning in light of a younger scientist that happens to be more relevant, accurate, and up to date.

This argument seems to be logical until we remember that Darwin’s Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was published nearly a century before the work of deBeer that is in question.

Darwin’s most famous book was published in 1859, so are evolutionists no longer willing to mention the work of Charles Darwin?  It is quite obvious that WHEN a book is published, is not as important as WHAT is published in the book.  Like Darwin, the work of Sir Gavin de Beer has lasted the test of time and is still regarded by evolutionists as relevant and accurate.

Carroll

The critic was so kind as to recommended me the book Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Sean B. Carroll.  I’m not sure what this critic was hoping I would find, but while reading their said recommendation, I did not find a word that discounted the writings of Sir Gavin de Beer.  I did, however, find Carroll’s view of science to be appalling for his inclusion of REVELATION & IMAGINATION.

In his book, Carroll writes about a strange view of the nature of science that is in contrast to the scientific method and what the National Academy of Sciences has outline to be scientific.

Carroll Uses Revelation to Understand

 “The physicist Victor Weisskopf (also a pianist) noted, ‘What is beautiful in science is the same thing that is beautiful in Beethoven. There’s a fog of events and suddenly you see a connection. It expresses a complex of human concerns that goes deeply to you, that connects things that were always in you that were never put together before.’

In short, the best science offers the same kind of experience as the best books or films do. A mystery or drama engages us, and we follow a story toward some revelation that, in the very best examples, makes us see and understand the world more clearly.” Endless Forms Most beautiful – page 14

Carroll communicates that the same type of “revelation” found in music causes a scientist see a deep connection and more clearly understand the world.

Granted, music can bestow revelation and it is a beautiful thing for the person it is happening to, but music is subjective.  The revelation that one may experience or feel deeply when listening to Beethoven is not able to be replicated by all lovers of music.  Perhaps in heart of another, the music of Kanye West produces the same sense of revelation.  All the while causing fog and disconnection in the heart of the one who experiences revelation via the music of Beethoven.

Science is not like music at all.  Music is subjective and is different for all who engage in it.  Science is only that which is capable of producing empirical data that can be scientifically validated by others who follow the same, clearly outlined method.

Carroll’s view of science is that of an Amazonian Shaman.  The hocus pocus of revelation is not part of science in any way.  However, if one is looking for an accurate view of science, the National Academy of Sciences does a good job.

“There are 2 basic components in the process by which scientific knowledge advances. The first component consists of the formulation of a conjecture or hypothesis about the natural world. The second component consists of testing the hypothesis by ascertaining whether deductions derived from the hypothesis are indeed the case in the real world.” – PNAS

Revelation seems to be important to Carroll’s personal beliefs of which he has the right to hold.  Yet, when it comes to the testing of his revelation-based-science “in the real world,” empirical data has yet to be produced.

Carroll thinks Imagination Is NECESSARY

The second scientific atrocity Carroll promotes in his “up to date and accurate” book is the idea that imagination is a necessary factor in grasping scientific concepts.  He writes:

“…we may marvel at the process of an egg becoming an adult, but we accept it as an everyday fact. It is merely then a lack of imagination to fail to grasp how changes in this process that are assimilated over long periods of time, far longer than the span of human experience, shape life’s diversity. Evolution is as natural as development.” Endless Forms Most Beautiful – page 5

It seems Carroll communicated that discounting the scientific validity of biological evolution is only done so by those who lack imagination.

Yes, this is true and thank you, Carroll!!!  Finally, someone has come out and precisely identified the fuel that has powered the evolutionary debate since 1859!  Evolution absolutely does require imagination in order for it to be accepted.  Sixty-six percent of Americans do not subscribe to evolution.  We live in a science-focused society and we know science is good and true.  This is why only 33% of American’s subscribe to the imagination-based-pseudoscience of evolutionary biology.

Carroll

Perhaps the issues I am having with Carroll’s “up to date voice” on the subject of evolution is the fact that he gives scientific value to philosophical and mystical ideas.  Granted, Sir Gavin deBeer may be old school, but at least deBeer did science that could be validated with empirical data.  I cannot say the same for Carroll’s non-scientific use of revelation & imagination.

However, please do not assume that I am communicating revelation and imagination to be worthless, for they do in fact have value.  Science can be furthered greatly by the testing of new hypotheses created by using revelation & imagination… or art, music, religion, and pretty much anything one could think of.  Yet, creating a hypothesis is not science, it is only the first step in the scientific method.

In science, questions are good because they lead to hypotheses which are the attempts at answering said questions.  Once an educated guess or hypothesis is made, the next steps must be taken in order for true science to happen.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, once created…

“Hypotheses guide observation and experiment because they suggest what to observe…  What distinguishes science from other forms of knowledge is the process by which this knowledge is justified or corroborated, at least provisionally, by observation and experimentation.” – source

Conclusion of Carroll

In science, revelation and imagination can only be valuable if leading to a hypothesis.  Yet, a hypothesis is only valuable if it leads to positive testing results, replication, and verification by others… aka empirical data.

Carroll’s claim of imagination being necessary for accepting the idea of biological evolution is correct, it just is not reflective of how science works.

Learn more about why evolution is undefined and far from being able to fulfill the scientific criteria clearly laid out by the National Academy of Sciences.  Read a previous blog post entitled: The Science of Evolution

Is criticism allowed?

the cognitive bias of biological evolution

The fossil record is highly prized by the evolutionary community for they claim it to be overwhelming supportive of common ancestry.  When the similarities in structure and body plan of one specimen are compared to that of another, the approach of drawing relational ties is done via, what evolutionary biologists call, Homology… yet can it stand up to criticism?

criticismThe ever so infamous community-based, online encyclopedia called Wikipedia has an exhaustive page dedicated to biological homology.  As in all evidence claimed to support evolution, of course, homology has a few points that drift away from what the National Academy of Sciences describes as being science.  In my efforts to bring clarity to the undefined subject of biological evolution, I decided to create a criticism section on the Wikipedia page dedicated to biological homology.

At first, I was shocked that no one had felt my sentiment and chose for them self to create a criticism section on the homology page.  For, in typical fashion of biological evolutionists, the blending of philosophical inferences with “almost” empirical data  was being touted as undeniable fact.  I had to speak up and direct these science deniers back to the reality of empirical methodology and in doing so, I posted this:

Attempting to support evolution by means of homology is questionable for two reasons.  The first has to do with our human bias.  Author of Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research and Everyday Experience, E. Bruce Goldstein who earned his PhD from Brown University and is also a graduate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh wrote about confirmation bias saying it is, “the tendency to selectively look for information that conforms to a hypothesis and to overlook information that argues against it.”[1] Studying fossils with any preconceived notions about said fossil decreases the ability to be scientifically objective.  In regard to homology, the preconceived notion of evolution causes dissimilar features to go unmentioned while features that are comparative become overly highlighted.  If a paleontologist claims Neo-Darwinian explanations to be a fact before the analysis of newly discovered fossils begin, it is not possible to make visual comparisons that are free of confirmation bias.

criticismThe second reason why identifying homologous similarities becomes dubious has to do with striking resemblances between one phylum to another.  It is not possible to reconcile the homologous attributes of organisms that are not considered to have a recent common ancestor.  For example, cuttlefish and macaws have homologous beak structures, yet are not considered to share a recent common ancestor. Color changing mechanisms like chromatophores in the skin of a chameleon also exists in cephalopods, yet again, no lines of relationship are drawn. Homologous similarities that are beyond the bounds of a phylum tend to be excluded from the possibility of having common ancestry. Relational comparisons are drawn between winged creatures of like phylum, yet the possibility of common ancestry is excluded from winged creatures of varying phyla. Organisms of obtusely different classifications that possess homologous features are claimed to not share a recent common ancestor.  There is no empirical means of determining when structural similarities no longer infer relational ties from one organism to another. Arbitrarily determined, one similar feature among organisms does in fact confirm recent common ancestry, but a similar feature between members of varying phyla does not.

Sir Gavin de Beer was an evolutionary embryologist, Fellow of the British Royal Society, and served as Director of the British Museum of Natural History.  He has done extensive research on the embryonic development between organisms that are visually and structurally homologous.  His experiments were designed to trace the development of certain attributes from the moment of fertilization until full development.  The results of his work revealed that fully formed corresponding homologies do not develop from the same embryonic location.  Sir Gavin de Beer realized that similar attributes develop from a fertilized egg in different locations, depending on the species.  This means that if homologous structures do not develop from the same embryonic location, then they are not genetically related because their development is not controlled by their homologous (similar) DNA.  In short, embryonic homology promptly discounts any possible attempt of supporting evolution via genetic homology.  Sir Gavin de Beer said it best when saying, “It is now clear that the pride with which it was assumed that the inheritance of homologous structures from a common ancestor explained homology was misplaced; for such inheritance cannot be ascribed to identity of genes.”[2]

Homology makes visual, embryonic, and genetic comparisons, yet none of these evidences are able to be empirically validated.

To my surprise and ten minutes after it was posted, my criticism section was no longer in the table of contents and all that I had written was deleted.  I do not like to name call, so I will resist the use of the “T” word (rhymes with “roll”), but there is one individual who has taken it upon themselves to be the gatekeeper/discourager of free speech.  They explained to me why my post was deleted.

“This is not written in an encyclopaedic tone.” – user: Theroadislong

I did not agree, so I re-posted my (fantastic and extraordinarily encyclopedia-like) criticism… yet again, it was immediately deleted on the grounds of being improperly cited.  I was also accused of self-promotion, because one of my cited links pointed to my recent book.  Not the for sale page, just the proper citing of an author that Wikipedia requires.

In hopes of actually being able to have my post last longer than the steam rising from my morning coffee, I deleted the citing of my book and took zero credit for the work.  Having respected the proper etiquette when posting to Wikipedia, my post was once again deleted, yet this time I was told to…

“Please stop your disruptive editing. If you continue to vandalize pages by deliberately introducing incorrect information, as you did at Homology (biology), you may be blocked from editing. Please stop adding your own pseudoscientific opinions” – user: Theroadislong

criticismBeing called a disruptive vandal for adding “pseudoscientific opinions” seemed a little much.  I could not help but think there to be something else going on with this person.  So, I responded with the following:

Many Wikipedia topics have a criticism section. Why is the topic of biological homology not allowed to have a criticism section?

You have stated that the article in the criticism section has information that is incorrect. Identify the incorrect information and state how and why you believe it is incorrect.

Completely deleting the criticism section of any topic is a violation of free speech and shows the fragility of the topic being criticized.

Thank you for keeping Wikipedia a platform where all voices can be heard.

As expected, I did not receive a response from this person who is so desperate to protect the fragility of evolutionary biological homology.  Yet, the looming question I have has to do with criticism in general.  Which topics are allowed to be criticized and which ones are not?

Who get’s to share criticism?

Why is there such a discrepancy when it comes to the topic of how we got here?  Why do the Wikipedia pages of homology, embryology, genetic drift, speciation, and evolution (to name a few) not have a criticism section?

Surprisingly inconsistent, the other side of the argument suggesting ideas contrary to evolution is allowed to be criticized.  What is the reasoning of granting free speech to the critics of creationism and Intelligent Design, while defaming and blocking free speech of the critics of Darwinian thought?

Some may blame this on the nature of Wikipedia, and that is true to some extend, yet I implore you to make note of this elsewhere.  For other than in a group of creationists, any critic that communicates evolution to be less than scientific is immediately discounted and defamed.  Silence is the only acceptable form of communication for those who have questions for evolutionary biology.

The essence of science is questioning.  Subscribers of evolution do not like questions.  In fact, the National Academy of Sciences has a lot to say about what the criteria of science is and biological evolution fails to meet the criteria.  Yet, no one is allowed to mention this.  No free speech in 2017 America.  Wow!

Want to learn about other illegal aspects of evolution?  Watch this short film.

short film: HOW DID WE GET HERE?

SHORT FILM RELEASE

On Darwin Day 2017, I released the short film titled: How Did We Get Here?  Yes, as in the late Charles Darwin best known for authoring the infamous title On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was being celebrated, I chose to question his work.  He is so closely associated with biological evolution that many folks call the idea Darwinism.  Darwin changed the world with a groundbreaking hypothesis and this is why he is celebrated.  The vision of International Darwin Day is to:

“…inspire people throughout the globe to reflect and act on the principles of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth as embodied in Charles Darwin. It will be a day of celebration, activism, and international cooperation for the advancement of science, education, and human well-being.” – http://darwinday.org/about/

While many celebrate Charles Darwin’s idea of natural selection being the means of species originating, we need to seriously question the science of biological evolution.

Interestingly, Charles Darwin never defined evolution and did not show how natural selection produces new and unique species.  Evolutionists today are still working in the absence of a scientifically agreed upon definition and are still at a loss when it comes to showing how new and unique species emerge into existence.

Unfortunately, no evolutionist has shown to be brave enough to mention these issues and therefore stays quiet and ignores intellectual honesty.  Those in the Darwinian community of thought are not curious as to how we got here, they are all as sure as sure can be that an undefined process called biological evolution (of which we do not know how) produced all of the unique and diverse species.

When questions are raised against the un-observable, un-testable, un-replicatable idea of natural selection producing new and unique species; evolutionary biologists discount the inquiry and defame the inquirer.  For evolutionists, holding fast to Darwinian ideas is more important than seeking truth through the scientific process of inviting questions.

The film is partially based on the book WHAT IS EVOLUTION? and questions three aspects of Darwinian thinking:

  • Is theistic evolution (God-Initiated-Evolution) theologically valid?
  • Is biological evolution scientifically valid?
  • Is biological evolution legally valid?


THE GOAL OF THIS FILM IS TO MAKE A LONGER FILM

This short film is essentially a business card for the full length documentary.  The information covered in this short film needs to be expounded upon in greater detail, plus many other points of evolutionary thought.

More Time.  This short film is packed full of information and very large ideas are covered in a matter of seconds.  Evolutionary concepts, theology, and scientific information will be more deeply explored in the full length documentary.

Interviews.  Quotes are great, but watching the actual person speak on camera is better.  I would like to interview theologians, biologists, law professionals, and people on the street.

Back Story.  The topic of how we got here is so polarizing and has been for many years and many different reasons.  The history of the conversation will be covered in the full length documentary.

Future Story.  The goal of the short film and the full length documentary is to rid the world of the pseudoscience of biological evolution.  Which means, the future of science education will look much different then it does today.  Part of the film will be dedicated to interviewing and brainstorming with science educators.

You.  Do you imagine a future that is free of the shackles of pseudoscience?  Do you want to see educators turned back to empirical methodology, aka actual science?

What is Theistic Evolution?

Theistic evolution is an accommodation or blending of Darwinian ideas into religious texts.  Essentially, it is the idea that an all-powerful deity used the “tool” of evolution to create biodiversity.

According to the Pew Forum, 25% of Americans believe that humans evolved due to God’s design.

Some theistic evolutionists call their stance, “Creation by Natural Selection.”  Could this be a viable position, are supernatural forces involved in the natural process of evolution?  What does the evolutionary community have to say about theistic evolution?

 

theistic evolution
Charles Robert Darwin, the author of the Origin of Species, is an icon of historical importance.  His main contribution to the world was his idea of an unintentional, breeder-less version of artificial selection which he called natural selection.  Darwin communicated to the evolutionary community that he believed species, aka biodiversity, to be mutable and therefore emerged into existence via adaptations brought on by natural forces.  In the last pages of his great work, he described how the process of evolution takes place due to natural laws.
It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.

 

Theodosius Dobzhansky is one of the most prominent evolutionary biologists and geneticists to have ever lived.  His words have been quoted countless times and his words most quoted are, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”  Dobzhansky is a notable author and has been published and cited in seemingly endless scientific journals.  When it comes to evolution via natural selection, Dobzhansky wrote about the likelihood of supernatural involvement.  “What a senseless operation it would have been, on God’s part, to fabricate a multitude of species ex nihilo (Latin for: out of nothing) and then let most of them die out!  There is, of course, nothing conscious or intentional in the action of natural selection.

 

theistic evolution
Edward O. Wilson has authored over twenty books, received two Pulitzer Prizes, was given the National Medal of Science, and held a professorship in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University from 1956 to 1996.  In his book, From So Simple a Beginning, Wilson writes: “Evolution in a pure Darwinian world has no goal or purpose: the exclusive driving force is random mutations sorted out by natural selection from one generation to the next.

 

theistic evolution
Francisco J. Ayala is an accomplished professor and evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Irvine.  Under the eye of the famed evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky, Ayala received his doctorate in 1964.  He also has served the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science as President and Chairman.  Being the author of over nine hundred publications and thirty books, Francisco J. Ayala is most definitely a person in field which he knows well.  In the highly respected Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, Ayala describes evolution.
It was Darwin’s greatest accomplishment to show that the complex organization and functionality of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process–natural selection–without any need to resort to a Creator or other external agent. … The scientific account of these events does not necessitate recourse to a preordained plan, whether imprinted from the beginning or through successive interventions by an omniscient and almighty Designer. Biological evolution differs from a painting or an artifact in that it is not the outcome of preconceived design.  The design of organisms is not intelligent but imperfect and, at times, outright dysfunctional.

 

theistic evolution
Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, Jerry A. Coyne is the author of Why Evolution is True and has communicated that:
If you accept even a little bit of divine tinkering in the evolutionary process, you’re not standing on some inclusive middle ground—you are, as P.Z. Myers said, halfway to crazy town.  There can be no compromise with superstition, for superstition is the camel’s nose in the tent of science.

 

theistic evolution
Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist that held a position at the University of Oxford as Professor for Public Understanding of Science, he is the founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, and a renowned author of many books.  He has stated that, “a true understanding of Darwinism is deeply corrosive to religious faith,” and that there is “no scientific reason to believe any sort of supernatural creator.  That came with the understanding of Darwinian evolution.

 

Many other experts in the field of evolutionary biology are also very clear about the fact that Darwinian evolution by means of natural selection is just that, natural… and not supernatural in anyway.  So, what does this mean when it comes to theistic evolution?

 

Theistic evolutionists claim evolutionary processes to occur naturally, yet a supernatural being guides said processes either naturally or supernaturally depending on the situation.   Biologists describe evolution as a 100% natural process. The idea of a supernatural being initiating a 100% natural process and stepping away, or is the “man behind the curtain” of evolution, sustaining all the intricacies that “science” cannot explain… well, this describes evolution as being less than 100% natural.  According to biologists, there is NO supernatural element to evolution in anyway.  Not when it comes to its initiation, nor when it comes to the ongoing “emergence of species.”
CONCLUSION
Theistic evolution is completely rejected by those whom have created and support the idea of evolution.  The evolutionary community views the idea of theistic evolution as illogical, void of empirical support, and by no means a true representation of Darwinian evolution.  Renowned experts in the field of evolutionary biology view theistic evolution as completely false.  Biologists are in agreement that supernatural mechanisms are not involved in any Darwinian evolutionary processes whatsoever.

Evolution & Science Teachers?

evolutionPublic Schools are mandated to teach students that evolution is a fact.  The federally funded Next Generation Science Standards require it’s teaching and The National Academies Press has developed the curricular framework for K-12 science education.  Although many parents have various reasons, currently, there is no legal way of limiting their child’s exposure to evolutionary indoctrination.  Public schools in this country are mandated to teach evolution.  If you do not like the idea of your child being taught evolution you need to start asking these FOUR questions:

1- WHAT IS SCIENCE?

Most people have an idea of what they believe science to be, unfortunately, most people’s understanding is far from accurate.  The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences gives a very good, cut and dried idea of what science is when stating…

evolution

The first component consists of the formulation of a conjecture or hypothesis about the natural world. The second component consists of testing the hypothesis by ascertaining whether deductions derived from the hypothesis are indeed the case in the real world.” – http://www.pnas.org/content/106/Supplement_1/10033.full

 

evolutionWebster defines science as:

“knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation.”
Webster

 

evolutionThe National Science Teacher’s Association states that science should be the sole idea communicated in science class and then offers this description as part of what science is:

“Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world.”

https://www.nsta.org/about/positions/natureofscience.aspx

 

evolutionThe National Center for Science Education does not offer a definition or outline of science even though science education is their focus and said term is included in their name.

 

evolutionThe federally funded Next Generation Science Standards has complied a list of basic understanding about the Nature of Science which has been named the NOS Matrix. These are the eight basic understandings of the nature of science:

    1. Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods
    2. Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence
    3. Scientific Knowledge is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence
    4. Scientific Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain Natural Phenomena
    5. Science is a Way of Knowing
    6. Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems
    7. Science is a Human Endeavor
    8. Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World

NOS Matrix

 

evolutionIn the court records of the famous case, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, (Trial Transcript: Day 21 am. Session, Part 1 & 2. 4 Nov. 2005.) Professor of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior at Michigan State University, Robert T. Pennock clearly described that as a science-focused community we must “seek explanations in the world around us based upon what we can observe, test, evolutionreplicate, and verify.” In the same case, Molecular biologist and Professor of Biology at Brown University, Kenneth Miller was being cross-examined when he was asked to read Page 27 of Exhibit 649 and his reply was:

“Be glad to. This is the opening of the third section of this book [Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science by National Academy of Sciences], and it opens basically by defining science. And it says, and I quote, Science is a particular way of knowing about the world. In science, explanations are restricted to those that can be inferred from confirmable data, the results obtained through observations and experiments that can be substantiated by other scientists. Anything that can be observed or measured is amenable to scientific investigation. Explanations that cannot be based on empirical evidence are not part of science.”

– https://www.nap.edu/read/6024/chapter/2

There is no concise and agreed upon definition of science that clearly describes the process, however, from the above references two aspects of science have been made clear.  First, science deals with the tangible world of naturally occurring phenomena.  Second, scientific explanations of said phenomena are based upon empirical data, which is only what we can observe, test, replicate, and verify.

2 – WHAT IS EVOLUTION?

Unfortunately, there is no concise and scientifically agreed upon definition of biological evolution.  Even though the Next Generation Science Standards require the teaching of evolution they, nor any other publicly funded educational agency has produced a definition for said term.

evolutionMy book, What Is Evolution? explores the issue of our public educational system mandating evolution, yet leaving undefined.  It would be my pleasure to send you the first three chapters for free.  CLICK HERE to receive your FREE sample of What Is Evolution?

There is much irony in mandating biological evolution, yet not offering a concise and scientifically agreed upon definition.  The K-12 Science Education Framework funded in part by the National Academy of Sciences does not offer a definition of evolution, but states that the process of scientific inquiry has been “hampered by the lack of a commonly accepted definition of its constituent elements. Such ambiguity results in widely divergent pedagogic objectives —an outcome that is counterproductive to the goal of common standards.”  https://www.nap.edu/catalog/13165/a-framework-for-k-12-science-education-practices-crosscutting-concepts

The question of “What is evolution?” still remains even though the term has been left counterproductively ambiguous.  If you would like a detailed description of biological evolution, THE FIRST THREE CHAPTERS OF MY BOOK do a good job, but are too long for the sake of this article.  In hope of moving faster, let’s look to Darwin’sevolution most famous book for a working definition of evolution.  Shockingly, Darwin did not include a definition of evolution in his book, but the title says a lot: The Origin of Species, by Means of Natural Selection.  So, if life’s diverse species did indeed originate due to natural selection, then confirmation/falsification could be found through the process of science.

Based on the two aspects of science previously mentioned, is the emergence of new and diverse species a naturally occurring phenomena that we can observe, test, replicate, and verify?  Does natural selection lead to the emergence of new and unique species?  What empirical data has been compiled through observation and experimentation that confirms the origin of species to be by means of natural selection?

evolution

At this point, supporters of evolution turn the conversation toward the evidence that has been compiled.  Yes, there is a mountain of evidence that supports evolution and I wrote about it in my book, What Is Evolution? and the blog post entitled; Evolution Has a Mountain of Evidence.

Scientifically speaking, evidence is used to recreate the proposed phenomena/hypothesis which displays its ability or inability to produce empirical data.  If a scientific theory has evidence, but has an inability to produce empirical data, the theory in question is not scientific.  Remember, in the book Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science by the National Academy of Sciences, states:

“Explanations that cannot be based on empirical evidence are not part of science.”

If evolution is not “based on empirical evidence,” why would anyone consider it to be “part of science?

3 – DOES MY CHILD UNDERSTAND WHAT SCIENCE & EVOLUTION ARE?

Kids are smart!  In fact, kids are naturally inquisitive toward science and naturally opposed to evolution.  Yes, it’s true.  Studies have shown that children are born with a propensity toward denying evolution.  If you’d like to learn more, read this blog post: Evolution and Kids.

Take a deep breath and relax.  Talk to your child about what science actually is, they will understand.  Do the same with evolution.  By teaching your child true science, they will never accept the false science of evolution.  Reinforce the aversion they naturally feel toward evolution by reinforcing their inquisitive feelings toward science they can observe, test replicate, and verify.

4 – WHAT WILL BE TAUGHT IN SCIENCE CLASS?

evolution

Evolution is referenced directly and indirectly in just about every nature special and/or documentary on PBS.  It is not uncommon to have some family education time watching Nova or the Discovery Channel, when out of nowhere we get blindsided by the pseudoscience of evolution.  The mute button can never be close enough in those moments… But there is good news!  Unlike subjecting yourself to the unknowns of public broadcasting, a science teacher will tell you what will be covered in their classroom.

Don’t be nervous when asking for the class syllabus.  Be honest about your reason.  Chances are your child’s science teacher has already encountered other science loving parents like yourself.  Only 33% of Americans subscribe to the idea that evolution produced humans via natural forces.  In fact, you may come to realize that your child’s science teacher does not subscribe to evolution themselves.

Once you understand what will be covered in class, explain to your child the nature of science.  Go through the syllabus and sniff out all of the non-science and chat it out.  When they hear each section covered in class, they will not fall for junk science.  They will actually learn the subject matter better than the other students.  Your child still needs to get a good grade, so they will need to learn evolution.  Don’t freak out, just help them learn about evolution in a scientifically accurate way.  They will come to the conclusion that evolution is pseudoscience.

evolution

Scientific American has an article entitled Drawing the line between science and pseudo-science.  In it the intricacies of this subject are outlined and talks of how real science…
“can find evidence to establish with certainty that a claim is false. However, we can never (owing to the problem of induction) find evidence to establish with certainty that a claim is true. So the scientist realizes that her best hypotheses and theories are always tentative – some piece of future evidence could conceivably show them false – while the pseudo-scientist is sure as sure as can be that her theories have been proven true. (Of course, they haven’t been – problem of induction again.)”
 CONCLUSION

Do you desire truth?  Are you willing to work at teaching your children to do the same?  Regardless of your convictions, true/real science will always produce empirical data.  Are you willing to humble yourself and make sure your child understands truth?

evolution

I dive much deeper into this conversation in my book What Is Evolution?  Get a free sample of the first three chapters by CLICKING HERE.
Keep Calm, and Do Science!

What are three questions that matter?

Deep down inside, we all have a desire to know how we got here.  Some claim it was God (creationists), some claim there was a first single cell and it increased in complexity (evolutionists), and some (theistic evolutionists) claim it was a blend of God and evolution.

 

Theistic evolution is a philosophical/religious idea that acknowledges the existence of a supernatural creator (God) and purely naturalistic (Darwinian) explanations for the emergence of biodiversity to also be true.  There are differing strains of theistic evolution, but regardless of the varying details it has emerged within most religions that have an account of origins recorded in ancient texts and oral traditions.  Judeo-Christian faith seems to be at the forefront of this conversation, but in short, theistic evolution is the accommodation of Darwinian thought into any religious text pertaining to the origin of life’s biodiversity.

 

According to the Pew Forum, 25% of Americans believe that humans evolved due to God’s design and for the sake of clarity, this letter will focus on the accommodationists of Darwinian evolution within the fold of Christianity.

 

In modern times, theistic evolution has many champions like John Walton, Francis Collins, and N.T. Wright, however St. Augustine of the fifth century is referenced more than any other.  When writing of ignorant Christians speaking with intelligent non-Christians, St. Augustine wrote:

The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?

 

In essence, the heart behind theistic evolution is pure.  If a learned and educated non-Christian were to hear a Christian’s opinion on the origin of life’s biodiversity that conflicts with empirical data, then the non-Christian would be less likely to value the resurrection of Jesus Christ and therefore remain a “lost” soul.  Most theistic evolutionists have accommodated Darwinian evolution into scripture because they agree with Darwinian ideas and so they will not be “criticized and rejected as unlearned men” in order to win “those for whose salvation we toil.”  For if a non-Christian is “in a field which they themselves know well” and hears a Christian “maintaining his foolish opinions about our books,” the Christian accommodationist believes they have a limited ability to share the Gospel.  Most theistic evolutionists are God fearing and Jesus loving people that have let the conversation and the logic rest at this point.  In doing so, they have grown comfortable with their accommodation of Darwinian evolution into the holy scripture.  So much that some theistic evolutionists are senior pastors of churches that teach their communities to follow suit.  I do not believe there is a malicious bone in the bodies of most theistic evolutionists, but I do believe they have failed to honestly and logically answer three very poignant questions.

 

1 – What is evolution?
Unfortunately, there is no scientifically agreed upon definition of biological evolution.  Conversations on the subject are riddled with confusion and misuse of terms.  Yet, science is the only reason to subscribe to the idea that life’s biodiversity emerged due to natural forces, even though there is no scientific consensus and agreed upon definition of biological evolution.  Many claim there is a conflict between faith and science, but in reality there is good reason to accommodate science into one’s system of beliefs.  In fact, a faith that ignores science will ultimately be a faith comprised solely of fools.  Yet, a faith that adulterates its core belief to accommodate pseudoscience will also become a den of fools.  Theistic evolutionists must be confident in what evolution is and in empirical data that supports it.  The conversation starts and stops with science, so if you are a subscriber of evolutionary thought, start reading peer reviewed scientific journals like the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which describes science as being twofold.

The first component consists of the formulation of a conjecture or hypothesis about the natural world. The second component consists of testing the hypothesis by ascertaining whether deductions derived from the hypothesis are indeed the case in the real world.

 

The “result” of evolution is species, aka life’s biodiversity.  Darwin became famous for authoring the book Origin of Species and explained how Natural Selection worked.  He wanted to explain how all of the differing species originated and therefore started with species being the result and worked his way backward to the origin.  Shockingly, Darwin did not include a definition of evolution in his book, but the title says a lot: The Origin of Species, by Means of Natural Selection.  So, if life’s diverse species did indeed originate due to natural selection, then confirmation/falsification could be found through the process of science.

 

Is the emergence of new and diverse species a naturally occurring phenomena that we can observe, test, replicate, and verify? Does natural selection lead to the emergence of new and unique species? What empirical data has the scientific community produced that confirms the origin of species is, in fact, by means of natural selection?

 

The “means” of evolution has to do with change taking place over time due to the natural selection of genetic mutations.  So the basic idea of evolution is that all of life’s biologically diverse species came to be via the accumulation of “survival-increasing” adaptations brought on by environmental pressures that select certain organisms to pass along acquired genetic mutations.  In essence, life under selective natural pressures produces extraordinary adaptations.  These adaptations add up over long spans of time to produce beautifully diverse species.  The following equations are a simple way of understanding this concept.

 

EVOLUTION
Life Adapting + Time = Diverse Species
or
Common Ancestor + Change in Allele Frequency = Biodiversity

 

Taking cues from the National Academy of Sciences, what empirical tests of evolution have produced data that confirms the emergence of diverse species to be the result of life adapting over time?  Is this something that can be tested and confirmed by observations made in the real world?

 

Science is the only reason to subscribe to evolution and if evolution eludes what the National Academy of Sciences identifies as being scientific, then what is it?  To help you in this process, I have written two books.  In What Is Evolution?  I do not mention scripture nor the Creation account of Genesis, for this book is focused on empirical data and poses many questions toward evolutionary ideas.  I hope you join me.
2 – Does the Supernatural influence evolution?
As previously stated, theistic evolutionists have accommodated Darwinian evolution into scripture in order to reconcile their agreement with Darwinian ideas.  Also, they hope to not be “criticized and rejected as unlearned men” in order to win “those for whose salvation we toil.”  For if a non-Christian is “in a field which they themselves know well” and hear a Christian “maintaining his foolish opinions about our books,” the Christian accommodationist believes they have a limited ability to share the Gospel.

 

I believe the idea of theistic evolution was developed so that the evolutionary community would not immediately discount Christianity and therefore the Gospel could be shared.  If a Christian accepts that God used Darwinian evolution to create, then evolutionary biologists will not think of them as having a foolish opinion of a field that non-Christians know well.  Unfortunately, this is a ONE WAY street.  The Christian accommodation of evolution makes the theistic evolutionist believe he does not look like a fool, but the non-Christian evolutionary biologists still identifies said person as being foolish.

 

Charles Robert Darwin, the author of the Origin of Species, is an icon of historical importance.  His main contribution to the world was his idea of an unintentional, breeder-less version of artificial selection which he called natural selection.  Darwin communicated to the evolutionary community that he believed species, aka biodiversity, to be mutable and therefore emerged into existence via adaptations brought on by natural forces.  In the last pages of his great work, he described how the process of evolution takes place due to natural laws.
It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.

 

Theodosius Dobzhansky is one of the most prominent evolutionary biologists and geneticists to have ever lived.  His words have been quoted countless times and his words most quoted are, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”  Dobzhansky is a notable author and has been published and cited in seemingly endless scientific journals.  If anyone is in “a field which they themselves know well” (Augustine), Theodosius Dobzhansky is such a person.  When it comes to evolution via natural selection, he wrote about the likelihood of supernatural involvement.  “What a senseless operation it would have been, on God’s part, to fabricate a multitude of species ex nihilo (Latin for: out of nothing) and then let most of them die out!  There is, of course, nothing conscious or intentional in the action of natural selection.

 

Edward O. Wilson has authored over twenty books, received two Pulitzer Prizes, was given the National Medal of Science, and held a professorship in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University from 1956 to 1996.  Again, if anyone is in “a field which they themselves know well” (Augustine), Professor Wilson is such a person.  In his book, From So Simple a Beginning, Wilson writes: “Evolution in a pure Darwinian world has no goal or purpose: the exclusive driving force is random mutations sorted out by natural selection from one generation to the next.

 

Francisco J. Ayala is an accomplished professor and evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Irvine.  Under the eye of the famed evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky, Ayala received his doctorate in 1964.  He also has served the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science as President and Chairman.  Being the author of over nine hundred publications and thirty books, Francisco J. Ayala is most definitely a person in “a field which they themselves know well” (Augustine).  In the highly respected Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, Ayala describes evolution.
It was Darwin’s greatest accomplishment to show that the complex organization and functionality of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process–natural selection–without any need to resort to a Creator or other external agent. … The scientific account of these events does not necessitate recourse to a preordained plan, whether imprinted from the beginning or through successive interventions by an omniscient and almighty Designer. Biological evolution differs from a painting or an artifact in that it is not the outcome of preconceived design.  The design of organisms is not intelligent but imperfect and, at times, outright dysfunctional.

 

Also being in “a field which they themselves know well” (Augustine), Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, Jerry A. Coyne is such a person.  Coyne is also the author of Why Evolution is True and has communicated that:
If you accept even a little bit of divine tinkering in the evolutionary process, you’re not standing on some inclusive middle ground—you are, as P.Z. Myers said, halfway to crazy town.  There can be no compromise with superstition, for superstition is the camel’s nose in the tent of science.

 

Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist that held a position at the University of Oxford as Professor for Public Understanding of Science, he is the founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, and a renowned author of many books.  Again, if anyone is in “a field which they themselves know well” (Augustine), Richard Dawkins is such a person.  Dawkins has stated that, “a true understanding of Darwinism is deeply corrosive to religious faith,” and that there is “no scientific reason to believe any sort of supernatural creator.  That came with the understanding of Darwinian evolution.

 

Many other experts in the field of evolutionary biology are also very clear about the fact that Darwinian evolution by means of natural selection is just that, natural… and not supernatural in anyway.  So, what does this mean when it comes to theistic evolution?

 

Theistic evolutionists claim evolutionary processes to occur naturally, yet a supernatural being guides said processes either naturally or supernaturally depending on the situation.  Due to this paradox, the evolutionary community views the idea of theistic evolution as illogical, void of empirical support, and by no means a true representation of Darwinian evolution.  Renowned experts in the field of evolutionary biology view theistic evolution as completely false.  Evolutionary biologists are in agreement that supernatural mechanisms are not involved in any Darwinian evolutionary processes.

 

Christians that have adopted theistic evolution are still seen as fools by non-Christian evolutionists, and therefore have not increased their ability to share the Gospel.  The accommodation of Darwinian evolution to scripture is a ONE WAY street that nullifies any attempts of avoiding the negative scenario of which St. Augustine described.

 

3 – Where is evolution in scripture?
Theistic evolutionists place confidence in the idea they are “honest” interpreters of the Word of God, but is this true?  If evolution does not conflict with scripture and is an honest interpretation, then would not the ancient Hebrews and the Apostles have accommodated for evolution long ago?  Yet, we do not see the accommodation of Darwinian ideas into scripture until recent times because the scriptures do not reference an inkling of such a notion.
If one were to find empirical data that supported evolution and somehow could avoid “foolish status” among non-Christian evolutionists, where in scripture would the compromise end and who would get to say so?
I am hopeful we Christians can all agree that scriptures detailing the baptism of Jesus are true.  “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” – Matthew 3:17
Yet, if the words of God recorded in the account of the baptism of Jesus are true and agreed upon, then other points in scripture when God speaks, must also be agreed upon.  “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” – Genesis 2:18
Theistic evolution claims that man was never alone, for evolution takes place in a group of organisms over great spans of time.  If man were to have ever been alone, the evolutionary production of a suitable helper would have taken eons, which is much too long in regard to the lifetime of said lonely man.  According to the logic of theistic evolutionists, did God actually speak the words “It is not good for the man to be alone?”  What about the baptism of Jesus, did God say “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased?”  Where does the accommodation and compromise end?  Should we delete some of the verses when God spoke?  What about the Psalmist’s words?  “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalms 139:13  What knits a human together in their mother’s womb, God or naturally existing self-arranging molecules?  According to evolution, there is zero supernatural involvement.
If theistic evolution accommodates evolution into scripture on account of science and therefore must logically disregard such verses like, “It is not good for the man to be alone,” then where does the compromise end? Is the need for a savior nonessential enough to delete? When Paul was speaking of sin and death, he wrote: “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” – 1 Corinthians 15:21-22

 

Paul also wrote: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people...” – Romans 5:12

 

Are these words of Paul able to be dismissed? How does a theistic evolutionist reconcile our need for a savior? Interestingly enough, Peter Enns the author of The Evolution of Adam and prominent theistic evolutionist is honest about not knowing how to reconcile our need for a savior. “By saying that Paul’s Adam is not the historical first man, we are leaving behind Paul’s understanding of the cause of the universal plight of sin and death. But this is the burden of anyone who wishes to bring evolution and Christianity together…” (Enns 2012, p. 123)
What other verses in scripture are able to be disregarded?  Science and empirical data obtained through observation has verified Archimedes’ principle of buoyancy to be true.  Real science shows that men cannot walk on water and logically, a theistic evolutionist must side with the empirical data. According to the logic of theistic evolution disregarding the miracle of creation due to what modern science says about it, the account of Jesus and Peter walking on water must also be disregarded due to what modern science says about this miracle.
If the miracle of creation is disregarded and supplanted by “science,” where in scripture would the compromise end?  The miracle of the virgin birth?  The miracle of Jesus turning water into wine?  The miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand?  The miracle of Jesus and Peter walking on water?  The miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Scripture is paramount to most Christian movements and the Vineyard Movement is no different when outlining their Core Values.
Every community of faith has two major obligations in regards to its faith, namely absolute faithfulness to the Word of God, and sensitivity [not conformity] to the world in which that community lives. This means that the Vineyard movement must express the historical, biblical [not extra-biblical], orthodox Christian beliefs that we hold in common with all Christians, [theistic evolutionists have let go] and the particular doctrines that are our distinctive voice [which is the supernatural power of God – yesterday, today, and forever], in terms that are relevant to 21st century Christians.” (emphasis added)

 

What did Jesus say about evolution?
When speaking of marriage He quoted Genesis 1:27 said:
“…at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’…” – Matthew 19:4
If Jesus Christ himself spoke very clearly that, from the start, humans were made male and female… how could an honest person take these words to mean that over eons, an asexual and unicellular organism evolved into a group of humans?  In the time of Jesus there were also folks who doubted the authenticity of Genesis and Jesus confronted them by saying, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” – John 5:46
Jesus Christ also mentions Abel as a real person equally as real as Zachariah.  In Matthew 23, Jesus said to the teachers of the law and Pharisees, “…upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel (son of Adam) to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” – Matthew 23:35
Jesus Christ himself references Adam and Eve as actually being the first humans to have been miraculously created by God.  Jesus never alluded to Genesis as being mythical, metaphorical, or some form of Hebrew poetry because according to the book of John, Jesus was an eye witness to all of Creation including the miracle of of Adam & Eve coming into existence.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1
Nowhere in scripture does Jesus, nor any other author, give an inclining of the possibility of Adam and Eve never actually existing.  Also, nowhere in scripture can we find an inclining of evolution.
Are followers of Christ Jesus willing to distort the words of Christ Jesus in order to fit Darwinian ideas into scripture? What is worth drawing a line in the sand over, reserving the right to lean on our own understanding, or trusting the Lord with all our hearts?

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will direct your paths.”

1 Peter 3:15 – “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.”

Revering Christ as Lord is trusting that the words of Jesus Christ are true.  The idea of accommodating biological evolution into scripture is far from trusting and revering Jesus as Lord.

CONCLUSION
For some, the false science of evolution can be easily accommodated into scripture.  Yet after a simple examination of scripture, it is obvious that theistic evolutionists are in oblate contrast to the word of Christ Jesus himself.

 

Theistic evolution is an idea that, I hope, some Christians are subscribing to because of their love for the lost.  I hope they are trying to help remove barriers for people to come to Christ.  This is a noble reason and I believe it pleases God.  Yet, now that this reason has been shown to be against the words of Christ, Christians who accommodate Darwinian ideas need to take a hard look at their compromise.

Think about these three questions.  Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to Truth.  If you are a theistic evolutionist that believes your reasoning is pure and you can be honest in answering these questions, then praise God!  But, there is a stark reality for those who twist scripture and 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 does of good job of making this truth known.  “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

 

 

Are the people of the Word opposed to science?  Absolutely not, we fly to far flung countries, drill wells, install solar panels, give medicine, and so on.  Science is good and it is a gift, but do people of the Word give value to scripture because of science?  Absolutely not, for it is by faith that we understand.  We give value to scripture because we believe.  Science shows that walking on water is not possible, yet by faith Christians hold fast to the miracle of Jesus and Peter doing so.

 

There is no empirical way of validating the possibility of a supernatural force bringing all things into existence out of nothing.  The scriptures validate this:

 

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom (scientifically know) what God has done from beginning to end.
– Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

By faith (not empirical data) we understand (not know) that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
– Hebrews 11:3

 

There is no empirical way of validating the possibility of a natural force bringing all things into existence out of nothing.  Science has revealed the Law of Conservation of Energy which shows that energy/matter cannot be created nor destroyed.  The origin of all energy/matter is beyond observation, test-ability, repeat-ability, and verification which means any explanation requires faith.  Yet by faith Christians hold fast to the Miracle of Creation.  We do not lean on our own understanding, we trust and believe in the miracle of the virgin birth, the miracle of the resurrection, and many others.  We have not been instructed, nor given the authority to alter scripture in order to accommodate a belief in what we think is most plausible.  If every word in scripture is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), then every word that we wish had been included, is actually God omitted (Proverbs 30:5-6).  The words of James Scott reiterate this truth, “God used the writing efforts of inspired men to speak his word to us. He did not merely approve or endorse what they wrote, or have enough influence on what they wrote that he could claim it as his own; rather, he caused them, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to write what they wrote. God did not concur with what the human writers wanted to write; they concurred with what he wanted to write.
(Scott, J. W. 2009a. The inspiration and interpretation of God’s word, with special reference to Peter Enns, part I: Inspiration and its implications. Westminster Theological Journal 71, no. 1:141)

 

What scriptures actually support the idea of theistic evolution? When it comes to actual scientists in the field of evolutionary biology, who supports theistic evolution?  Darwinian accommodation into faith only comes from the ideas of those looking to suit their own desire of pushing the evolutionary agenda. In doing so theistic evolutionists find themselves with a new and unique faith.

 

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4:1-5

 

So, you may be asking yourself, now what?  In this conversation of asking how we got here, there are three main camps.  Unfortunately, each camp has assumptions about folks who are in a different camp and the assumptions quickly leave the realm of science to engage philosophy and theology.  Case in point, anti-evolutionists are considered pro-creationists and therefore pro-theism, while anti-creationists are considered pro-evolution and anti-theistic, but then there are theistic evolutionists that are quickly considered non-scientific by the evolutionists and pro-evolutionists by the pro-creationists.  We all have a smug arrogance at times and it is ridiculous.

 

 

In addition to subscribing to evolution, creationism, or theistic evolution, perhaps there is a fourth stance.  For if anyone from the main three camps could step up to the microphone with empirical data and put this debate to rest, they would have.   We must choose to be aligned with true knowledge.  In Greek, “gnosis” is the word for knowledge.  To say we have “gnosis,” means we know.  Inversely, our inability to know is called “agnosis.”  When it comes to origins, what approach is more logical and honest than to claim scientific agnosis?  Our inability to know how all of the diverse species originated is not something to be ashamed of nor afraid to admit.  In fact, understanding that we do not know furthers scientific investigation and protects us from becoming erroneously dogmatic.  It is clear that evolutionists are not setting up empirical data producing scientific tests, and scripture calls believers to have faith.  So, the next time you are asked to label yourself and/or choose a camp when it comes to the explanation of the origin of diverse species, call yourself an “Empirical Agnostic,” because scientifically we cannot know.  Yes, the term “Empirical Agnosticism” is a bit self-contradictory and that is why it works so well when used in regard to the origin of biodiversity.  There is no scientific honesty from those who claim to have complied empirical data in regard to the emergence of diverse species, for there is no way to observe, test, replicate, nor verify this said emergence.

 

Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard P. Feynman stated:  “I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing.  I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.” https://youtu.be/I1tKEvN3DF0

 

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

What is an Orphan Gene?

Orphan GeneCommon descent is a core aspect of evolution, however just one “Orphan Gene” puts this idea on its head.

According to evolution, in the distant past there were only unicellular organisms and due to selective natural pressures various species are said to have emerged.  The inference of common descent has been made due to the striking visual and genetic similarities we see throughout all life on planet Earth.  Yet, there is a good question to be asked.  If the reason why all life has genetic echoings is due to the passing of DNA to successive mutated forms, then how does evolution explain even one orphan gene?  In short, why do geneticists find unique genes in every species that are not represented in the DNA of “lower” closely related forms and where do said genes come from?

 
“For many years, it had been considered extremely unlikely, if not impossible, that genes with no detectable homology could emerge. With the availability of the full genomic sequence of yeast, however, this picture changed. About one third of the entire set of genes in baker’s yeast has no sequence similarity to genes from other organisms. Because nothing was known about their ancestors, these new genes were termed orphans.”

The discovering of homologous sequences within the DNA of various genetically isolated organisms gives much support to the inference of common descent.  Yet, there are two contradictory aspects of genetic research of which evolutionary biologists have swept under the rug, so to speak.

1 – If common descent is supported by homologous gene sequences represented across various forms of life, can a species specific orphan gene also be used to support the inference of common descent?
 
Is it scientifically possible or even logically honest to claim similarities to support a proposed idea, but claim dissimilarities to also support said idea?  An orphan gene has no representation across various species, yet are represented in every species.
2 – If common descent is supported by homologous gene sequences represented across various forms of life, why then do said homologous sequences produce various attribute depending on the species?If two separate species have the same genetic code in their DNA, why does same code produce differing body parts?

 

“The conservation of similar developmental genetic toolkits despite a diversity of life forms, and the inverse paradox—the development of similar morphologies despite the phylogenetically variable presence of the genetic tools that are thought to be responsible for those forms.”

Sir Gavin de Beer was an evolutionary embryologist, Fellow of the British Royal Society, and served as Director of the British Museum of Natural History.  He has done extensive research on the embryonic development between organisms that are visually and structurally homologous.  His experiments were designed to trace the development of certain attributes from the moment of fertilization until full development.  The results of his work revealed that fully formed corresponding homologies do not develop from the same embryonic location.  Sir Gavin de Beer realized that similar attributes develop from a fertilized egg in different locations, depending on the species.  This means that if homologous structures do not develop from the same embryonic location, then they are not genetically related because their development is not controlled by their homologous (similar) DNA.  In short, embryonic homology promptly discounts any possible attempt of supporting evolution via genetic homology.  Sir Gavin de Beer said it best when saying, “It is now clear that the pride with which it was assumed that the inheritance of homologous structures from a common ancestor explained homology was misplaced; for such inheritance cannot be ascribed to identity of genes.”source  If the work of De Beer revealed that homologous structures among differing species do not develop from the same embryonic location, then no genetic relationships can be drawn between two species with homologous sequences because their development is not controlled by their homologous DNA.  Due to this fact, what significance is there in finding similar genetic sequences in the genome of varying species?  Also, what significance is there in finding an orphan gene (unique genetic sequences) in the genome of varying species?

Science is the only reason to subscribe to evolution.  So if evolution eludes what is identified as being scientific, then what is it?  To help you in this process, I have written a book entitled What Is Evolution?  My work has been focused on compiling empirical data that reveals many questions in the light of science.  I hope you join me in this journey.  If you would like a free preview of my book, sign up and I’ll email you a sample chapter!

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Orphan Gene

What is the science of evolution?

science of evolutionThere is only one reason to subscribe to evolution, and that reason is the belief that evolution is science.  So, what is the science of evolution?  I have heard arguments, read books, gone to lectures, watched documentaries, read blogs, read scientific journals and every notion of Darwinian thinking is based on its valid representation of science.  If evolution is the way forward and worthy of subscribing to, then the science of evolution must be overwhelmingly true.

So, what is evolution and what does science have to say about it?

science of evolution

In my book What Is Evolution? I ask many questions, but the question of most importance is the title.  For, no concise, legal, and scientifically agreed upon definition of biological evolution exists.  Yet, it is a required subject and the federally funded Next Generation Science Standards do not offer a definition of evolution.  With that said, neither does the California Department of Education, nor the Los Angeles Unified School District of which most states across the country follow California’s lead.  For such a highly contested term to be touted as fact and required to be taught, it seems peculiarly unjust to leave biological evolution without a definition.

Another good question has to do with why evolution remains undefined.  Curious?  I have already addressed this issue in a previous post entitled: What is macroevolution?

What is evolution?
Well, the best definitions out there are drastically different, but the ones that include evolution’s “result” and “means” are the most accurate.
The “result” of evolution is species, aka life’s biodiversity.  Darwin became famous for authoring the book Origin of Species and explained how Natural Selection worked.  He wanted to explain how all of the differing species originated and therefore started with species being the result and worked his way backward to the origin.

The “means” of evolution has to do with how change takes place and the natural selection of genetic mutations fills the bill.

science of evolution

 

The idea is that life’s biologically diverse species came to be via the accumulation of “survival-increasing” adaptations brought on by environmental pressures that selected certain organisms to pass along acquired genetic mutations.  In essence, life under selective natural pressures produces extraordinary adaptations.  These adaptations ad up over long spans of time to produce beautifully diverse species.
EVOLUTION
Life Adapting + Time = Diverse Species
This equation is at the core of understanding the science of evolution and is the basis for the Darwinian explanation of biodiversity.
The “result” of evolution is:  Diverse Species
The “means” of evolution is:  Life Adapting + Time
What is science?
Yes, science does seem like a straight forward idea, but many so called scientists do not do science.  The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is a journal put out by the National Academy of Sciences and it describes science quite eloquently in the following article.

“There are 2 basic components in the process by which scientific knowledge advances. The first component consists of the formulation of a conjecture or hypothesis about the natural world. The second component consists of testing the hypothesis by ascertaining whether deductions derived from the hypothesis are indeed the case in the real world. This procedural practice has become known as the hypothetico–deductive method, often characterized as ‘the’ scientific method. It is of the essence of the testing process that the predictions derived from the hypothesis to be tested not be already known, if the observations to be made are to serve as a genuine test of the hypothesis. If a hypothesis is formulated to account for some known phenomena, these phenomena may provide credibility to the hypothesis, but by themselves do not amount to a genuine empirical test of it for the purpose of validating it. The value of a test increases to the extent that the predicted consequences appear to be more and more unlikely before the observations are made.” – http://www.pnas.org/content/106/Supplement_1/10033.full

 

PNAS continues to explain science by making it clear that once a hypothesis is ready for testing it must undergo four steps.


1

“First, the hypothesis must be examined for internal consistency. A hypothesis that is self-contradictory or not logically well-formed in some other way should be rejected.

2

“Second, the logical structure of the hypothesis must be examined to ascertain whether it has explanatory value, i.e., whether it makes the observed phenomena intelligible in some sense, whether it provides an understanding of why the phenomena do in fact occur as observed. A hypothesis that is purely tautological should be rejected because it has no explanatory value. A scientific hypothesis identifies the conditions, processes, or mechanisms that account for the phenomena it purports to explain. Thus, hypotheses establish general relationships between certain conditions and their consequences or between certain causes and their effects. For example, the motions of the planets around the Sun are explained as a consequence of gravity, and respiration as an effect of red blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to various parts of the body.

3

“Third, a hypothesis must be examined for its consistency with hypotheses and theories commonly accepted in the particular field of science and to see whether it represents any advance with respect to well-established alternative hypotheses. Lack of consistency with other theories is not always ground for rejection of a hypothesis, although it will often be. Some of the greatest scientific advances occur precisely when it is shown that a widely-held and well-supported hypothesis is replaced by a new one that accounts for the same phenomena that were explained by the preexisting hypothesis, and other phenomena it could not account for. One example is the replacement of Newtonian mechanics by the theory of relativity, which rejects the conservation of matter and the simultaneity of events that occur at a distance, 2 fundamental tenets of Newton’s theory.

4

“The fourth and most distinctive step in testing a scientific hypothesis consists of putting the hypothesis on trial by ascertaining whether or not predictions about the world of experience derived as logical consequences from the hypothesis agree with what is actually observed. This is the critical element that distinguishes the empirical sciences from other forms of knowledge: the requirement that scientific hypotheses be empirically falsifiable. Scientific hypotheses cannot be consistent with all possible states of affairs in the empirical world. A hypothesis is scientific only if it is consistent with some but not with other possible states of affairs not yet observed in the world, so that it may be subject to the possibility of falsification by observation. The predictions derived from a scientific hypothesis must be sufficiently precise that they limit the range of possible observations with which they are compatible. If the results of an empirical test agree with the predictions derived from a hypothesis, the hypothesis is said to be provisionally corroborated; otherwise it is falsified.” – http://www.pnas.org/content/106/Supplement_1/10033.full

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science of evolution

PNAS has clearly shown that science is hugely dependent upon experimentation for it can verify a proposed hypothesis.  Experimentation can verify a hypothesis.  So, if the idea/hypothesis of evolution were to be scientifically tested via experimentation, how would it fare?

The “result” of evolution is:  Diverse Species
The “means” of evolution is:  Life Adapting + Time

In regard to “result” and “means”, what evolutionary experiments have been constructed and empirically followed through?Also, what predictions could reveal if the proposed hypothesis of evolution is able to be proven wrong?

science of evolution

Karl Popper’s work is held in high regard among the scientific community and he concluded that true scientific experimentation can only take place if the experiment is designed to be falsifiable.  Falsifiability is the idea that a hypothesis or a theory must be disprovable in order for it to be scientific.  Popper was very clear in communicating that falsification is the validating factor of a theory’s scientific credibility.  If a theory cannot be falsified then it is considered pseudoscience.

Is it possible to prove the science of evolution to be wrong?  What experiments have been created with the falsifiability of evolution in mind?  Some evolutionary biologists have agreed that finding a fossil out of order could most definitely put Darwin’s theory in question, yet can this be considered an experiment?  Is finding a fossil the same as setting up an experiment that would produce empirical data?  In other words, if one were to find rock layers containing mammals that were below organisms from the Cambrian, what empirical data would be collected and could that data give the ability of the scientists to falsify the hypothesis?  This idea has been covered in a previous post entitled: How is the Age of Rock Determined?

Falsifiability is a grave problem for evolution and its means of applying age to a specimen further complicates this issue.  Why do subscribers of Neo-Darwinian thought believe that following a chart compiled in the Victorian era and using index fossils is a good way to date fossils and rock layers?  Is it logical to say that finding a mammal in Precambrian aged rock is a good way to falsify evolution?

science of evolution

If subscribers of evolution believe that finding a mammal in Precambrian rocks seems like a valid statement of falsification, what about finding a Precambrian aged organism alive today?  Jerry A. Coyne stated that, “species of animals and plants living today weren’t around in the past, but are descended from those that lived earlier.”  Why then do we find organisms thought to have gone extinct millions of years ago still alive today?  Do these “living fossils” further exacerbate the reality that evolution is unfalsifiable?  When naturalists unearth fossils containing organisms with a striking resemblance to organisms alive today, a common approach to explaining away this problem is to say that some organisms are so well adapted to their environment that they did not need to change.  Does this “living fossil” explanation make sense knowing that our environment is constantly changing?  Another issue with this explanation is that it is a hypothesis that predicts the opposite of the main idea of evolution.  Which organisms are immune to evolution and which organisms are most susceptible? Does the adding of hypotheses that are in stark contrast to the main concept of a theory causes said theory to be unsinkable, otherwise known as unfalsifiable?  If evolutionary explanations include both transitional fossils and living fossils as validation of evolution, how could Darwin’s theory ever be falsified?

science of evolution

J. William Schopf is a renowned author, paleobiologist, discoverer of Precambrian microfossils, director of the Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life, and professor of earth sciences at the University of California in Los Angeles.  Yet, he perpetuates the “unsinkable” nature of biological evolution when speaking of a 2 billion year absence of evolution in sulfur-cycling bacteria.  J. William Schopf stated in an interview with ABC News that it “seems astounding that life has not evolved for more than 2 billion years — nearly half the history of the Earth.”  The century old Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America published the work of J. William Schopf pertaining to said bacteria.  His paper claimed the bacteria’s evolutionary stasis gives promising evidence for evolution.  Mr. Schopf continued by saying, “Given that evolution is a fact, this lack of evolution needs to be explained.

Essentially, J. William Schopf stated that no observable evolution is evidence of evolution because evolution is a fact.  Using this logic, perhaps one might explain that no observable speciation is evidence of speciation because speciation is a fact.  No observable beneficial mutation is evidence of beneficial mutation because beneficial mutation is a fact.  Much like Bill Nye’s explanation of “the missing nature of missing links is actually further proof of evolution,” this type of rationale one could illogically verify anything.

Of course, Mr. Schopf explains the bacteria’s evolutionary stasis by saying these “microorganisms are well-adapted to their simple, very stable physical and biological environment.  If they were in an environment that did not change but they nevertheless evolved, that would have shown that our understanding of Darwinian evolution was seriously flawed.
– http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/scientists-discover-organism-that-hasnt-evolved-in-more-than-2-billion-years

Does this type of logic help support the possibility of evolutionary falsification?  What does this finding mean for the idea of genetic drift?  Genetic drift is one of the major and well accepted hypotheses of evolution which proposes that a geographically isolated population experiences speciation due to mutation and random sampling, even in an unchanging environment.  Given millions, or in this case billions of years, genetic drift would have caused enormous evolutionary change.  Another issue with Mr. Schopf’s logic has to do with the inverse.  How might one explain observable changes in the environment, but observe evolutionary stasis?  Over the eons, oceans and continents have changed in shape and size, plus the climate has drastically changed.  We can observe a multitude of organisms alive today that have thrived in active and changing environments, yet have remained in stasis.  Does evolutionary thought seem logical if both static and changing environments are home to organisms in evolutionary stasis?  Does the science of evolution seem falsifiable if one can claim to understand evolutionary stasis in a static environment, but then also claim to understand evolutionary stasis in a changing environment?  Is empirical data valued by those who claim that evolutionary stasis can exist in both changing and unchanging environments?

Many in the field of evolution take cues from Jerry A. Coyne when he stated in his book Why Evolution is True that “in every case, we can find at least a feasible Darwinian explanation,” yet later when speaking of explanations contrary to evolution he said, “if you can’t think of an observation that could disprove a theory, that theory simply isn’t scientific.

Can Jerry A. Coyne and others in his field have their cake and eat it too?  Are they scientific when stating all things support evolution, but then say that something is not true science if an observation disproving said theory cannot be made?  Can we believe evolutionary biologists like Professor Schopf when they use an organism’s evolutionary stasis when in a stable and unchanged environment to support evolution, but then also believe that an organism’s evolutionary stasis in a changing and dynamic environment also supports the theory?

David Deutsch is an author and Oxford Professor in the Department of Atomic and Laser Physics at the Centre for Quantum Computation.  He has been very clear in communicating that, “truth consists of hard to vary assertions about reality.”  He goes on to say that, “easy variability is the sign of a bad explanation, because, without a functional reason to prefer one of countless variants, advocating one of them, in preference to the others, is irrational.  So, for the essence of what makes the difference to enable progress, seek good explanations, the ones that can’t be easily varied, while still explaining the phenomena.
– https://www.ted.com/talks/david_deutsch_a_new_way_to_explain_explanation/transcript?language=en

What does the absence of falsification, by means of its “easy variability,” communicate about the scientific validity of evolution?  I dive deep into this question and many others in my book, What is Evolution?  Join me in this journey.  If you would like a free preview of my book, sign up and I’ll email you a sample chapter!

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Evolution, Creation, Theistic Evolution, or Empirical Agnosticism?

Empirical AgnosticismWhen it comes to the origin of life’s biodiversity, some say there are only three camps, but in fact there are four; Evolution, Creation, Theistic Evolution, and Empirical Agnosticism.
Yet, does anyone have a clear grasp of what they are standing up for or standing up against?  Evolution is a word that most presuppose comprehension.  When asked, an opinion is quickly shared and regrettably all parties involved tend to befuddle each other.  If one were to claim our populace to have a good working definition of evolution and those who support or oppose its validity communicate from that same interpretation, they would be speaking erroneously.

 

The same is true for Creationism… there are camps within the camps that further dissect ideas creating opposition between those who see their dissection as being most true.

 

Yet, when it comes to the conversation surrounding the origins of the diverse life we see today, there is an unhealthy and smug arrogance in believing there is a correct explanation of origins.

 

No matter if you find yourself in the evolution camp, the creationism camp, or the theistic evolution camp… you will not find a shred of empirical data that supports your camp or any camp’s best explanation for the emergence of new species.  This conversation has been and is about that which cannot be observed, tested, replicated, nor verified.

 

Can we truthfully speak of how life became so diverse in any way other than by acknowledging our inability to scientifically know?  Will true innovators and scientific minds of the future continue spending time and tax dollars on touting inferred conclusions to the origin of life’s diversity?  Will it someday be understood that, scientifically speaking, we will never know how biodiversity came into existence?  If we desire scientific breakthrough, innovation, and prosperity we must communicate true scientific “gnosis,” which is Greek for “knowledge.”  To say we have gnosis, means we know.  Inversely, our inability to know is called “agnosis.”  When it comes to origins, what other approach is more logical and honest than to claim scientific agnosis?  Our inability to know how all of the diverse species originated is not something to be ashamed of or afraid to admit.  In fact, understanding that we don’t know furthers scientific investigation and protects us from becoming erroneously dogmatic.

 

Scientific American has an article entitled Drawing the line between science and pseudo-science, in it the intricacies of this subject are outlined. The article speaks of science and how it “can find evidence to establish with certainty that a claim is false. However, we can never find evidence to establish with certainty that a claim is true. So the scientist realizes that her best hypotheses and theories are always tentative — some piece of future evidence could conceivably show them false — while the pseudo-scientist is sure as sure as can be that her theories have been proven true.

 

Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard P. Feynman offered a similarly elegant idea by saying, “I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing.  I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.

 

In this conversation of the emergence of diverse species, there are three main camps.  Unfortunately, each camp has major assumptions about folks who are in a different camp and the assumptions quickly leave the realm of science and engage philosophy and theology.  Case in point, anti-evolutionists are considered pro-creationists and therefore pro-theism, while anti-creationists are considered pro-evolution and anti-theistic, but then there are theistic evolutionists that are quickly considered non-scientific by the evolutionists and pro-evolutionists by the pro-creationists.  We all have a smug arrogance at times and it is ridiculous.

 

My question is simple.  Is it possible there is another stance in addition to evolution, creation, and theistic evolution?  Let’s be frank, if anyone from any camp could step up to the microphone with empirical data and put this debate to rest, they would have.  None of these labels are both honest and honoring of science.  Let’s be pro-science.  When it comes to the debate at hand, I choose to be aligned with science because faith, inference, and extrapolation cannot be validated empirically.  The next time you are asked to label yourself and/or choose a camp, call yourself an “Empirical Agnostic.”  When it comes to the “How” of how we got here, scientifically it is impossible to know.

 

Are you bold enough to join me in a new stance?  My book, What Is Evolution? not only asks hard questions about the science of evolution, it also asks honest questions about labels and camps.

What is macroevolution?

Biological evolution is plagued by much confusion when it comes to the conjecture of those whom choose to engage the topic.  What is evolution?  As clearly outlined in a previous post entitled, Why I wrote the book, What Is Evolution?,  there is no clear, concise, legal, and scientifically agreed upon definition.  The reason evolution has not been defined is because of the clear intention of those who subscribe to Darwinian thinking to keep the term elusive.  If evolution is not a real term with a real definition, then it can be described as anything.  We all know the Grand Canyon is big and beautiful, and the Colorado river is cutting the canyon floor deeper each year.  We all know that evolution is a fact because the Grand Canyon used to be a plateau that has changed over time.  No one can disagree with this, hence evolution is a fact.

The problem of not having a definition of evolution causes some to use the term interchangeably with the term erosion.  The Grand Canyon formed due to the power of erosion and the claimed process of simple life diversifying into various complex species is not erosion.

Many subscribers of Neo-Darwinian thought use the word evolution in a “catch all” kind of way.  They mold, shape, or stretch it to fit in place of domestication, artificial selection, natural selection, migration, adaptation, trait variation, reproduction, speciation, erosion and the list goes on.  Granted these processes are cogs in the machine of evolution, yet much like a transmission is part of an automobile; no one is calling it a car.  In order to compensate for this erroneous why of using evolution in a “catch all” kind of way, the National Academy of Sciences (and many others) has split it into “micro” and “macro.”  Microevolution tends to encompass natural mechanisms and processes that are well defined terms and observable facts such as domestication.  Darwin heavily relied upon the fact of domestication of which has been extrapolated into the idea of new species emerging, aka macroevolution.  This further exacerbates the issue of the elusive nature of evolution of which I have already posted details that outline this reality.  Feel free to read: Why Evolution Is a Fact.

As previously stated, the processes of evolution are well defined terms like domestication, artificial selection, natural selection, migration, adaptation, trait variation, and reproduction to name a few.  So, in evolutionary conjecture, there is no reason to confusingly use evolution or microevolution in their place.  The most scientifically honest way to speak of adaptation would be to use the word adaptation, would it not?

So, where does this leave us when it comes to macroevolution?  Darwin wrote a book called The Origin of Species.  He and his successors are on the quest of explaining how diverse species emerge.  The most honest and honoring way of describing their said quest is by focusing on the emergence of, and the origin of species… aka macroevolution.  As suggested in my previous post, the following definition of biological evolution could very well be the most scientifically accurate and clearly written to date.

Evolution is the emergence of diverse, genetically isolated organisms from a common ancestor, by means of natural forces that select genetic mutations to be laterally and/or vertically transferred to successive generations.
 

This definition of biological evolution brings a greater level of understanding to the term because it clearly outlines its result and means.  If all of life’s biodiversity is the result of evolution then it must be stated up front.  The subsequent means of how the result came to be is just as imperative and that is why it is included.

In my book What Is Evolution?, I dive deep into the details of this definition and I also explain why I chose each word.  Join me in the journey.
So, if evolution is the emergence of diverse, genetically isolated organisms… aka new species, then what empirical data supports it?  Unfortunately, speciation/macroevolution is claimed to have taken place over geologic time therefore we are unable to observe, test, replicate, and verify it.  Below is a description of macroevolution from Berkeley’s Understanding Evolution. 2016. University of California Museum of Paleontology. 31 May 2016 <http://evolution.berkeley.edu/>.
Macroevolution encompasses the grandest trends and transformations in evolution, such as the origin of mammals and the radiation of flowering plants. Macroevolutionary patterns are generally what we see when we look at the large-scale history of life.


“It is not necessarily easy to ‘see’ macroevolutionary history; there are no firsthand accounts to be read. Instead, we reconstruct the history of life using all available evidence: geology, fossils, and living organisms.


“Once we’ve figured out what evolutionary events have taken place, we try to figure out how they happened. Just as in microevolution, basic evolutionary mechanisms like mutation, migration, genetic drift, and natural selection are at work and can help explain many large-scale patterns in the history of life.


“The basic evolutionary mechanisms — mutation, migration, genetic drift, and natural selection — can produce major evolutionary change if given enough time.

According to the scientific community, macroevolution/speciation cannot be substantiated by empirical data but is inferred to take place if given enough time.  Inference is the foundation that macroevolution is built upon and it is no secret.  When speaking of the validity of evolution and how it is substantiated through inference, Richard Dawkins outlines in his book The Greatest Show on Earth that he “will take inference seriously,” and that he will “show the irrefragable (WEBSTER: impossible to refute) power of the inference that evolution is fact.”

Is Mr. Dawkins correct?  Can inference be used to show that something is a fact?  Can the National Academy of Sciences call evolution a fact if its main idea of macroevolution/speciation is upheld by inference?  Can inference ever produce empirical data?

 

Science can logically call upon inference when forming a hypothesis.  Once the hypothesis is made, experimentation is necessary to confirm the hypothesis, and inference is no longer part of the process.  Charles Darwin inferred speciation from the fact of adaptation, but instead of setting up experiments to observe speciation, evolutionary biologists have unscientifically used the fact of adaptation as confirmation of Darwin’s inference of speciation.  This circular type of thinking is the reason why evolution is in question.

Some people outside of the evolutionary community believe that macroevolution/speciation is observable and have compiled so called examples.  BioLogos which is the most prominent voice of theistic evolution has posted an article that attempts to show observable evidence for new species emerging and it is entitled: Speciation and Macroevolution.  Even though theistic evolution paradoxically claims there to be some kind of supernatural involvement in the completely natural process of evolution, I will engage three of the points made in this article and respond accordingly.

Firstly, in the article Speciation and Macroevolution, the author states:

It’s pretty clear to most of us that life can change over time. For those who aren’t convinced, just take a quick trip to your local animal shelter. Each of the dog breeds there, from the Great Dane to the Chihuahua, descended from a single ancestral population.

Yes, life can change.  It is obvious that due to breeder selection, dogs have changed.  Dogs are still dogs and still able to breed with their ancestor the wolf.  So, even though physical/visual changes have taken place, no macroevolution/speciation has happened.  Also, it is important to recognize that life can NOT change over time.  We hear that unicellular organisms changed into a myriad of other forms making way for the emergence of biodiversity including the human species, yet we still have unicellular organisms.  Are they immune to change?  Why have many organisms like bats, turtles, frogs, alligators, crocodiles, dragonflies, bees, mosquitoes, opossums, cycads, koalas, platypuses, cockroaches, chevrotains, lungfish, nautiluses, crinoids, horseshoe crabs, ferns, ctenophores, stromatolites, elephant sharks, pygmy right whales, ginkgo biloba trees, coelacanth fish, wallaby pines, many types of bacteria, and microfossils shown zero evolutionary change in comparison to their fossilized counterparts?  Are some organisms able to defy evolution?  Learn more from a previous post entitled: What About Fossils?

Secondly, continuing with the BioLogos article:“Biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant had been studying finches since 1973. They lived on an island called Daphne Major in the Galapagos. It was here that they conducted their studies. When they first began their studies, only two species of Finch lived on Daphne Major: the medium ground finch and the cactus finch. But, in 1981, Peter and Rosemary noticed that an odd new finch had immigrated to the island. It was a hybrid, a mix between a cactus finch and a medium ground finch. It didn’t quite fit in with the other birds. The odd misfit had an extra large beak, an unusual hybrid genome, and a new kind of song. But somehow he was still able to find a mate.

According to Ernst Mayr, who developed the Biological Species Concept BSC, any interbreeding organisms capable of producing fertile offspring are the same species.  So, if the cactus finch and the ground finch created a hybrid that then found a mate, all said finches are of the same species.


The female was also a bit of a misfit and had some hybrid chromosomes of her own. So their offspring were very different from the other birds on the island.

Different like dogs are different, but all able to interbreed and produce fertile offspring.


Rosemary and Peter continued to carefully watch the odd hybrid line. 


Technically not a hybrid, just a line that varies visually.  Still the same species.


“They wondered if the birds would become isolated from the other finch species on the island or if they would eventually re-assimilate. After four finch generations, a drought killed off many of the birds on Daphne Major. In fact, almost the entire hybrid line was exterminated. Only a brother and sister pair remained. The two family members mated with each other, producing offspring that were even more unique than their parent line. From that point on, as far as biologists Peter and Rosemary could tell, the odd population of finches mated only with each other.

If this “odd population” of finches only mated with each other does it mean it is a new species.  What if the same scenario from the beginning happened again?  Two groups of birds that were thought to have been unique species mate and created fertile offspring.  This scenario only shows that no matter how different finches on the Galapagos can look, they are still the same species, due to the observable fact that interbreeding and the production of fertile offspring takes place.

Thirdly, continuing with the BioLogos article:

Another example of speciation, or macroevolution, also took place on an island—this time, on the beautiful Portuguese island of Madeira. According to history books, the Island of Madeira was colonized by the Portuguese about 600 years ago. The colonizers brought with them a few unassuming European House Mice, which they accidentally left on the island. It’s also possible that a group of Portuguese House Mice was dropped off later on.

“Recently, Britton-Davidian, an evolutionary biologist at University Montpellier 2 in France, decided to collect samples of the Madeira mice and see how those original populations had changed over time. What she found was surprising. Rather than just one or two species of mouse, she found several. In only a few hundred years, the original populations of Mice had separated into six genetically unique species. The first mouse populations had 40 chromosomes altogether. But the new ones were quite different. Each new variety had its own unique combination of chromosomes, which ranged in number from 22 to 30.

“What seems to have happened is that, over time, the mice spread out across the island and split into separate groups. Madeira is a rugged volcanic island with crags and cliffs. So it makes sense that this would have been easy to do. There were many isolated corners for the mice to occupy. Over time, random mutations occurred—some chromosomes became fused together.”


The problem with this scenario is that we do not know how many various species of mice where accidentally imported to the island.  We also do not have data on whether or not the island had an indigenous species of mice before the Europeans arrived.  In fact, there could have been multiple species of pre-European indigenous mice.  Claiming that speciation occurred in this instance is deplorably unscientific.  There simply is not enough data to make this scenario empirical in anyway.

 

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What examples of macroevolution/speciation can be repeated, tested, observed, and verified by empirical data?  Why do those who promote the inference of macroevolution/speciation whole heartedly believe it to be true, even in the absence of empirical data?
In my book, What Is Evolution?, I ask many other poignant questions.  Join me in the journey.

Is evolution a fact?

The National Academy of Sciences was created by an “Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the National Academy of Sciences is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.”
The National Academy of Sciences clearly states that evolution is a fact, yet confusingly dissects it into three unique definitions:
Evolution: consists of changes in the heritable traits (physical or behavioral characteristic[s]) of a population of organisms as successive generations replace one another.  It is populations of organisms that evolve, not individual organisms.”
 
Microevolution: Changes in the traits (physical or behavioral characteristic[s]) of a group of organisms within a species that do not result in a new species.”
 
Macroevolution: Large-scale evolution occurring over geologic time that results in the formation of new species and broader taxonomic groups.”


Why does the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) hold the position that evolution is a fact, yet fail to offer a single and concise definition?  In my book What Is Evolution?, I dive deep into the question of why evolution is not defined consistently and scientifically.  Join me in the journey.
Some people have criticized me by claiming that I am drumming up conspiracy theories as to why there is no concise definition.  Also, I have been told that everyone knows what evolution is and there is no need for a concise definition, but is this true?
Charles Darwin and his great work The Origin of Species, the NAS, the Next Generation Science Standards that outline our federal educational framework, state departments of education, local districts, school boards, textbook publishers, and court transcripts from every major case dealing with origins have all failed to outline a concise and scientifically agreed upon definition of evolution.  The idea that I am drumming up a conspiracy is false.  There is no concise and scientifically agreed upon definition of biological evolution.  Period.
The second criticism I have received has to do with the idea that everyone already knows what evolution is, but do they?  Even the well respected NAS is confused as to what evolution is and perpetuates the issue.  For example, the following definition found on the same page as the previous three, is strikingly similar.


Adaptation: The adjustment or changes in behavior, physiology, and structure of an organism to become more suited to an environment. According to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, organisms that possess heritable traits (physical or behavioral characteristic[s]) that enable them to better adapt to their environment compared with other members of their species will be more likely to survive, reproduce, and pass more of their genes on to the next generation.”
 
The definition of adaptation found on the NAS website sounds indistinguishable from:
 
Evolution: consists of changes in the heritable traits (physical or behavioral characteristic[s]) of a population of organisms as successive generations replace one another.  It is populations of organisms that evolve, not individual organisms.”


And

Microevolution: Changes in the traits (physical or behavioral characteristic[s]) of a group of organisms within a species that do not result in a new species.”


Does the NAS give a clear understanding of evolution and microevolution in the light of the given definition of adaptation?  Any person can see that these three definitions are essentially interchangeable.  Logic tells us that these three can all be identified by the term “adaptation.”
The emergence of new species – genetically isolated organisms – is the result of evolution and so much of what the idea encompasses that Jerry A. Coyne wrote in his book Why Evolution is True, “if speciation didn’t occur, there would be no biodiversity at all.”  The subsequential means of how the result came to be is just as imperative.  Darwin was on the right train of thought when he gave a hint toward the idea of harmless mutation (genetic mistakes that do not decrease an organism’s ability to survive) and genetic drift (the random sampling of traits/genetic information from two parents, in turn creating offspring with their own unique traits/genetic information) when he stated species to be “mutable.”  The two mechanisms of mutation and genetic drift, when combined with natural selection, are the evolutionary means of life’s biodiversity, aka the emergence of diverse species.
The reason we humans are on a quest to understand the enormous diversity of life on Earth, is the enormous diversity of life on Earth.  Simply stated, Charles Darwin wrote The Origin of Species, because he wanted to explain the origin of species.  Evolution’s life blood is the emergence of new and unique kinds of living things.  If speciation is not included throughout the conjecture, then those engaged are spuriously depicting evolution and perpetuating the confusion that has trickled down from the NAS.  For, evolution is the emergence of diverse, genetically isolated organisms from a common ancestor, by means of natural forces that select genetic mutations to be laterally and/or vertically transferred to successive generations.  An even more simplistic way of communicating it is to say that evolution is speciation caused by naturally occurring selective pressures.
Claiming that changes in an organism’s traits is the same as evolution is a false claim.  Granted, trait change/variation is a claimed mechanism, but it is not synonymous with the term evolution.  There is an enormous amount of trait variation found among various offspring that have the same parents.  Siblings can display drastic trait variation even though the source of genetic information is the same.  Add eons to this idea, plus various gene pools not limited to siblings, and we get the extreme trait variations found among humans.  Swedes and Aboriginal tribes people have gone through extreme adaptation and extreme trait variation, yet both are human and are able to interbreed.  Humans, regardless of trait variation brought on by genetic drift or adaptation due to natural selection, are all the same species.  Claimed mechanisms of evolution are real and observable, but those who use various mechanisms like “adaptation” or “trait variation” interchangeably with “evolution” are spreading spores of confusion and are deplorably unscientific.
So, when it comes to the NAS and the four definitions I have mentioned in this post, only macroevolution comes close to being deemed as confusion-free and as an accurate representation of biological evolution outlined by Darwin and his successors.  The other three definitions fall under the idea of adaptation by selective pressures, of which is not interchangeable with the word evolution.
In my book, What Is Evolution?, I propose that evolution should be defined as the emergence of diverse, genetically isolated organisms from a common ancestor, by means of natural forces that select genetic mutations to be laterally and/or vertically transferred to successive generations.  I give very good reason as to why this is an accurate definition by referencing countless experts in the field of evolutionary biology and their conclusions.
The title of this post is: Why Evolution Is a Fact.  Evolution is a fact because it remains an elusive term that can be described as almost anything, therefore, when asked what evolution is; it can be elusively described as a fact.  There is no scientifically, nor legally agreed upon definition, but one day there will be and on that day the confusion will end, the fog will rise, and the double talk will cease.
If you have an opinion about the origin of species and life’s biodiversity, I suggest you ask yourself a poignant question, What Is Evolution?

What does the future hold?

“The future depends on what we do in the present.” – Mahatma Gandhi
The future will ultimately reveal if the United States continues to innovate and discover new scientific breakthroughs.  Yet, how the future potentially unfolds is up to those of us who are here and now in the present.  What approach to knowledge and the discovery of how things work has brought mankind measured prosperity?  If we study the innovators that have ushered in waves of technological breakthrough, what would we learn?  To be prepared for the future, we have to place a high value on science, empirical methodology, and teach successive generations to do the same.
No matter what Americans believe when it comes to the origin of life’s biodiversity, most of us can be in hopeful agreement that a bright future is what we desire for this country.  The United States has not only been at the forefront of many industries, but has actually realized their inception.  We have been steadily opening new doors that have fostered new ideas in the minds of each generation.  Any technological greatness this country has come to savor is due to the focus of time, energy, and funding we have shown each successive generation in the area of scientific progress and innovation.  Dr. Michio Kaku is a renowned author, television personality, and Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City College of New York.  He has clearly communicated that science is the “engine of prosperity” and the wealth of civilizations today has come from scientific discoveries.  Therefore, if we are to truly embrace what we have learned from our past and continue to be a society that is driven by prosperity, we must stay ever mindful of how and with what we are shaping the minds of the generation that will follow us.
The question of what should be taught in the public science classroom must be posed.  How do we shape the minds of each successive generation in order to prepare them for scientific progress, innovation, and breakthrough?  What would the future look like if we asked each successive generation to focus on the reality of issues facing mankind today?  What if real questions were asked of science students, ones that would ask how to address hunger, gridlock, energy sustainability, waste, medicine, water scarcity, and terrorism to name a few?  Is learning how to satisfy a pondering or an inquisitive itch the same as learning how to quench one’s thirst with clean abundant water, offer speedy and efficient transportation, or end the pangs of hunger with smarter ways to farm?  Adopting an approach of teaching how science works is far greater than teaching how to infer conclusions from a certain view of evidence.  If the youth of today are taught to face problems and are asked to address such issues in the light of scientific progress and innovation, our society would be in a position of continued and sustainable breakthrough bringing wealth and prosperity for generations to come.
So, where does this leave us when it comes to explaining the origin of species?  Life’s diversity is a fact.  Life’s diversity is, therefore most would agree that life had an origin.  Yet, this topic has been plagued by contention for generations, and throughout this contention there has been an unhealthy and smug arrogance in believing there is a correct explanation of origins.  Can we truthfully speak of how life became so diverse in any way other than by acknowledging our inability to scientifically know?  Will true innovators and scientific minds of the future continue spending time and tax dollars on touting inferred conclusions to the origin of life’s diversity?  Will it someday be understood that, scientifically speaking, we will never know how biodiversity came into existence?
If we desire scientific breakthrough, innovation, and prosperity we must teach true scientific “gnosis,” which is Greek for “knowledge.”  To say we have gnosis, means we know.  Inversely, our inability to know is called “agnosis.”  When it comes to origins, what other approach is more logical and honest than to claim scientific agnosis?  Our inability to know how all of the diverse species originated is not something to be ashamed of or afraid to admit.  In fact, leaving the door open to other possibilities furthers scientific investigation and protects us from becoming erroneously dogmatic.
Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard P. Feynman offered a similarly elegant idea by saying, “I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing.  I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.”
Curricula that engages the origin of life’s biodiversity support a fact-through-inference approach to science.  We must ask if this approach produces anything close to being deemed an “engine of prosperity.”  In order to maintain our scientific edge, the United States must agree to teach empirical methodology and set aside hope-filled philosophy.  Do we believe our children’s precious time and tax dollars should be spent on anything other than science in our nation’s science classrooms?
In my book What Is Evolution?, I dive deep into asking hard questions that most wish to avoid.  Join me in this journey of clarity.  If you would like a free preview of my book, sign up and I’ll email you a sample chapter!

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Complexity ex nihilo?

 The effects of time are apparent, but it is such a fleeting thing, idea, concept, system of measuring the span between events.  Is time a human invention or is time eternal?  Will there be a time when time is no more?  What about before time?  Was there a time when time had yet to exist?  If so, where did time come from?  How did time emerge into existence?
The Universe is amazingly complex and dynamic.  Governing physical laws maintain the cyclical and seemingly ever expanding attributes of what we are able to currently observe.  Every facet of every celestial body is complex is in its movement and in the make up of its matter.  It seems, the most solitary and lifeless rocks that appear to be insipidly careening through space are in fact quite complex.  The Rosetta mission funded by the European Space Agency has been collecting extraordinary data from the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet that shows its great complexity.
Of course we do not know if there is life elsewhere, but Earth has it and talk about complex!  The most simple of all unicellular organisms is far from simple.  Life is complex, period.  Yet, the are additional layers of complexity to be observed if our focus shifts toward multi-cellular organisms.  No other aspect of complexity has baffled the human mind like that of life and its own varying levels.
Is complexity eternal or finite?  If complexity is eternal, does it also increase eternally?  Does complexity decrease on an eternal scale?  If the opposite is true and complexity is finite, was there complexity before it emerged into existence?  Will there be a time when complexity is no more?  What about before complexity?  Was there a time when complexity had yet to exist?  How did complexity emerge into existence?  Where did complexity come from?  What is complexity?
WEBSTER: Complexity
1 :  the quality or condition of being difficult to understand or of lacking simplicity <the complexity of a problem>
2 :  something difficult to understand or lacking simplicity <the complexities of business>
 
The Universe has a deep level of complexity when it comes to energy, to the atoms that make up the elements, to the physical laws that govern, and all the way to Earth’s unicellular & multi-cellular life.  So, if complexity is the lack of simplicity, then simplicity is the lack of complexity.  Therefore, if complexity is not eternal and it did indeed have a beginning, then it must have emerged out of something that did not contain complexity, could it have been simplicity?  Perhaps all of the complexity in the Universe came from nothing?
Yes.  In fact, science has been consistently revealing empirical data that shows all complexities in the Universe lead back to an ex nihilo event preceded by another ex nihilo event.
“Ex nihilo” translated from Latin, is “out of nothing.”
We can observe the Universe and all of its complexity, but every aspect leads to empirical data that reveals an ex nihilo event of which are explained by ideas that are void of empirical data.  Let me say that in simpler terms.  All of the things we can see give us information that said things had a beginning, but the explanations of how things began are ideas and not information we can see.  For example, life.
Paleontologists have shown that fossils suddenly appeared.  There are rock layers that are void of fossilized organisms and then rock layers begin to reveal fossils.  Just like our lives had a beginning, empirical data from the fossil record shows that all life had a beginning, but how did life emerge?  Here we are with yet another conundrum.  First, it seems that everything came from nothing… now we are looking at an event that suggests life came from non-life.  So, what gives?  *On a side note, the graphic to the right showing various strata and the fossils there in, happens to be less than accurate.  Obviously, we have reptiles, amphibians, jawed fish, jawless fish, and invertebrates alive today.  Also, dinosaurs are just an extinct line of reptiles.  So in reality, the fossil record shows all forms of life from their ex nihilo emergence to their points of extinction.  With that said, all extant (not extinct) fossilized organisms on the bottom of this chart are also found in every layer as we move to the surface.  The reason why charts like this one are inaccurately assembled has to do with the fact that some organisms are immune to evolution and have been defying it for eons.  I go into great detail in regard to this matter in my book What Is Evolution?, and I also have briefly covered it in a previous post entitled: What About Fossils?  OK, back to ex nihilo.
Does nothing produce anything?  Did everything come from nothing?
Does the absence of life produce life?  Did life come from non-life?
Even though there is no scientifically agreed upon definition of evolution, evolutionary biologist do agree that the emergence of life is NOT part of biological evolution.  Biological evolution is suggested to have begun after the first simple organism(s) emerged into existence.  Granted, the emergence of biodiversity (aka species) is complicated enough, it is probably better to leave the whole “absence of life” producing “life” well alone.  With that said, the emergence of life is the biggest “gimmie” evolution could have ever received.  It is no wonder that evolutionary biologist do agree that the emergence of life is NOT part of biological evolution.
So, if the emergence of life is the biggest “gimmie” that evolution has ever received, what are the other “gimmies” of evolution?  Could it be evolution itself?  Darwin thought so, and so do many others in the field of evolutionary biology.
In his book The Origin of Species, Darwin wrote, “from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.”  He communicated that one species became many diverse species which he called “descent with modification from a common ancestor.”  He wrote of how mutation is the engine of life’s diversity.  His idea that species are “mutable” is at the heart of his work because it refers to an ability of one life form or species to mutate into another.  This is speciation and it is the result of evolution.  Lamentably, Darwin did not give a clear explanation of how “mutable” species mutate.  Jerry A. Coyne wrote in his book Why Evolution is True, that a better title for Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species would have been “The Origin of Adaptations: while Darwin did figure out how and why a single species changes over time (largely by natural selection), he never explained how one species splits in two.

Yet in many ways this problem of splitting is just as important as understanding how a single species evolves.  After all, the diversity of nature encompasses millions of species, each with its own unique set of traits.  And all of this diversity came from a single ancient ancestor.  If we want to explain biodiversity, then, we have to do more than explain how new traits arise – we must also explain how new species arise.  For if speciation didn’t occur, there would be no biodiversity at all – only a single, long-evolved descendant of that first species.”

Today we see fully formed species living, thriving, and reproducing.  Yet, we do not see species split into new species.  Even under the most extreme artificial selective pressures mimicking millions of years of evolution, breeders have yet to observe an emergence of a new species.  In the fossil record we DO see an abundance of fully formed species, but new species abruptly appear in an ex nihilo kind of way, “out of nothing.”  Could it be that speciation, aka the emergence of new life forms, is also a major “gimme” of evolution?
What is evolution?  If it doesn’t have anything to do with the emergence of life, nor the emergence of species, what are we talking about?  Could it be that life’s biodiversity is attributed to the idea of evolution based on hope?  If we see how dog breeding has produced French Poodles, Bulldogs, and Great Danes from wolf stock, are we supposed to “believe” that, given enough time, a new species will eventually emerge?
When it comes to natural phenomena, empirical data is collect through what can be observed, tested, replicated, and verified.  So, what empirical data has been collected through what can be observed, tested, replicated, and verified when it comes to the natural phenomenon of evolution?
In my book, What Is Evolution?, I dive deep into the journey of asking questions.  Will you join me?

Is There Anybody Out There?

In 1902, Georges Méliès directed “A Trip to the Moon” (in French: “Le Voyage dans la Lune”) and for the first time, audiences watched fanciful moments of humans interacting with extra terrestrials.  The imagination of the world was captured, successive generations of filmmakers followed suit, and with it ushered in a wave of new ideas that still dominate the entertainment industry today.  Putting aside the entertainment value, is there any scientific value to the idea of extra terrestrials and what does it tell us about evolution?

Of course we all know this guy… Carl Sagan.  Wait, if you don’t know him, look him up.  He’s quite fascinating and we owe him a great deal of thanks and appreciation for his ability to get the American public and the world to be interested in science.  He also got us interested in some pseudoscience-ish stuff alongside the science, but for the most part he was great!

He was instrumental in the founding of S.E.T.I. which is the scientific endeavor of Searching for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence.  It used to be funded by the U.S. Government, but public funds are no longer used to support the search.  Sagan was interested in searching for intelligent life because he believed its existence was a numbers game.  With all of the billions and trillions of solar systems in the Universe, he thought there must be life out there as intelligent as us.  A colleague of Sagan’s by the name of Frank Drake developed an equation that was used to estimate the number of intelligent extra terrestrial civilizations and it produced a number that made the idea of S.E.T.I. a “no brainer.”  In our galaxy alone, Drake estimated there would be ten civilizations that are capable of broadcasting a signal.  Adding this information to the number of galaxies in the universe, of which NASA estimates between 100 and 200 billion, and according to Drake’s equation there should be trillions of civilizations that are broadcasting, which confirms Sagan’s numbers game.

 

So, where is everybody?  Why have we not heard anything?  Where are all of the extra terrestrials?  Why have we not received a probe from some other civilization?  We have put multiple probes on Mars and back in the 1970’s we launched the Voyager Interstellar Mission.  In fact, Voyager 1 is the fastest moving object ever created by humans with a speed of 38,600 mph.  If we can send probes, what about the other “trillions” of civilizations out there?

 

Distance is the problem right?  It would just take way too long.  Well, according to the National Academy of Sciences and the work done at NASA through the Kepler Mission, the closest Earth-like planet is 12 light years away.  Knowing that light travels at 186,000 miles per second and there are 31,536,000 seconds in a year; 12 light years equals 70,388,352,000,000 miles.  A probe traveling at the same speed as Voyager 1 could travel 12 light years in 1,823,532,435 hours or 208,165.8 years.  Of course, we are not talking about anything being plausible for a single human lifetime, but over the course of deep time, a couple hundred thousand years is nothing.  Also, keep in mind that Voyager 1 was one of our first attempts at sending an interstellar probe and it moves fast.  In the future, we hope to go much faster, but let’s keep current numbers for the sake of this article.

 

What does this information tell us about extra terrestrials?  Remember, the Earth is young in comparison to other formations in space.  Most scientists agree the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and the Milky Way Galaxy is 13.2 billion years old.  So, if another earth-like planet exists and it is just slightly older than our planet, say 4.6 billion years old… it could be up to 480 light years away and the intelligent civilization on said planet would still have enough time to send a probe to us.  Estimating the age of an Earth-like planet that hosts an intelligent, probe-sending civilization in our galaxy could be anywhere between 4.6 and 13.1 billion years old… my question is, where are all the probes?  We can point our satellites at Voyage 1 and listen to it, why are we not hearing other probes from other civilizations?  The Keplar Mission has generated data that shows, in our corner of the Milky Way, there are 603 Earth-like planets that orbit a Sun-like star at a proper distance to be deemed as “habitable.”  So, where is everybody?  The planets are out there, the time and distance make sense, but why are we all alone?

When it comes to S.E.T.I. and any other attempt/mission to find out if we are or are not alone in the Universe, what is the elephant in the room?  What I mean is, there seems to be a huge assumption that everyone agrees with, but it is not being brought up.  Yup, you guessed it… evolution.  Take a look at Drake’s equation:

 

N = The number of civilizations in The Milky Way Galaxy whose electromagnetic emissions are detectable.
R* = The rate of formation of stars suitable for the development of intelligent life.
fp = The fraction of those stars with planetary systems.
ne = The number of planets, per solar system, with an environment suitable for life.
fl = The fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears.
fi = The fraction of life bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges.
fc = The fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space.
L = The length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space.

 

Granted, this equation is not an absolute, but the equation outlines parameters that are agreed with.  For example “fl”and “fi”:

Life appearing (abiogenesis) and intelligent life emerging (evolution) are two hugely mysterious concepts of which science has no empirical data to support.  The answer to the question, “Is there anybody out there?,” is a question.  What logic is behind the search for extra terrestrial intelligent life if we know its existence is dependent upon abiogenesis and evolution of which do not have supporting empirical data?

Of course many folks would stop me and say, first, abiogenesis is not part of evolution and second, there is empirical data that supports evolution.  My response to the first part would be: Isn’t life a necessary ingredient for life’s diversity?  If evolution cannot take place without life, then wouldn’t you say the origin of life is kinda important?  Darwin had pondered abiogenesis and even wrote about it in a letter to his friend Joseph Dalton Hooker.  He said that life may have begun in a “warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, lights, heat, electricity, etc. present, so that a protein compound was chemically formed ready to undergo still more complex changes”. He went on to explain that “at the present day such matter would be instantly devoured or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed.” In other words, the presence of life itself makes the search for the origin of life dependent on the sterile conditions of the laboratory.

 

Secondly, if there is empirical data in support of evolution, we must first ask the very poignant and important question of “What is evolution?”  My book What Is Evolution? dives deep into this question.  Seriously, what is evolution and why is it undefined by public school curricula and court case transcripts?  If we could define evolution, clear away the clouds of confusion, and get the scientific community to agree upon the definition, then we could talk about what empirical data supports evolution.

As it stands now, evolution has no agreed upon definition so all conjecture surrounding empirical support for the idea is pointless.  In my book, I offer a working definition based on many thoughts presented by prominent voices in the evolutionary community.  With that working definition, I invite readers to explore empirical data and evolution.  For example, what can science show us about evolution when it comes to the fossil record, extant organisms living today, homologies/visual similarities, pre-humans like the Neanderthal, mutation, genetic variation, vestigial remnants like whale hips, genetic complexity, DNA, our closest relative, and many other topics?  If you are a human and you have ever wondered or questioned how that happened, you need to read my book, “What Is Evolution?

What is the best evidence for evolution?

Evidence for evolution.  We hear that said quite often when it comes to the conversation surrounding how we got here.  When I say how we got here, I’m referring to the process/event(s) that ushered life’s abundant diversity onto planet Earth.  So, when it comes to this topic, what is the best evidence for evolution?  Of course, I have already written about evolutionary evidence and how there is a mountain of it, feel free to read that post HERE.  But this post is going to be about specific evidence.

 

evidence for evolution
As most of us do when in need of information, I started with a Google Search: “best evidence for evolution” and Five Proofs of Evolution was the first on the list.  It is an article posted by Richard Peacock on evolutionfaq.com and for the most part seems to be consistent with many other sites that post evolutionary proofs.  So, once again I am inviting you to dive into this journey with me of making science stronger by asking questions.

 

evidence for evolution
My book, What Is Evolution? asks a very timely and necessary question of the evolutionary community… why is there no concise and scientifically agreed upon definition of biological evolution?  One would hope that the top search result for “best evidence for evolution” would include a definition for the term in question.  Yet like so many other sources, this article also fails to outline a working definition of evolution before expounding said proofs.  Why is that?
number 1

The first proof or evidence for evolution mentioned in Peacock’s article is “Universal Genetic Code.”  Every organism alive today has DNA.  We humans have it and so do unicellular organisms.  Is this proof that all life evolved from a common ancestor?  How many other scenarios could also use this same evidence?  If “Universal Genetic Code” is strong evidence for evolution/common ancestry, what else should we see?  As we move up the tree of life from unicellular organisms to humans, should we observe an increase in genetic complexity?  Why would an ancient and “lower” organism like a bullfrog have a genome that is 200 times bigger than the genome of a human?  Why do chickens have 32 chromosomes more than humans?  Yes, all life does have a “Universal Genetic Code,” but why is there no consistent increase in genetic complexity as we move from lower to higher life forms?  Is “Universal Genetic Code” good evidence for evolution?  I dedicate a large section of my book to these types of questions and I invite you to join in the conversation.

number 2
evidence for evolution

The second proof or evidence for evolution previously mentioned in Five Proofs of Evolution is the fossil record and how, “it shows that the simplest fossils will be found in the oldest rocks, and it can also show a smooth and gradual transition from one form of life to another.”  Of course we must acknowledge some assumptions, for in this quote there are two things that need to be addressed… the age of rocks and the idea there is a smooth transition from species to species represented in the fossil record.  Is the age of a rock able to be determined with certainty?  In a previous post entitled, How is the age of a rock layer determined? I asked many questions about determining the age of rock layers and how many circular patterns of reasoning are used.  With that said, if we were able to determine an accurate age of a rock layer, are simple organisms the only thing to be found in the oldest rocks?  What about new rocks, why are the same simple organisms found in new rock layers?  Why are the same simple organisms still alive today?  Are some life forms immune to evolutionary change?  I posted on this topic already, and I titled it What About Fossils?  Feel free to read it, because I go into great detail in regard to the fossil record and the conundrum of how some organisms defy evolution for eons.

evidence for evolution

Does the fossil record show a smooth transition from species to species?  Can this idea be used as a “Proof” of evolution?  Today, biologists struggle with the same issue of transitional fossils of which Darwin himself struggled.  In the Origin of Species, Darwin wrote:

Why does not every collection of fossil remains afford plain evidence of the gradation and mutation of the forms of life?  We meet with no such evidence, and this is the most obvious and forcible of the many objections which may be urged against my theory.  Why, again, do whole groups of allied species appear, though certainly they often falsely appear, to have come in suddenly on the several geological stages?

An explanation has been created for this problem and it is called punctuated equilibrium.  Stephen Jay Gould was an American paleontologist that put much time and energy into the American Museum of Natural History in New York, he was a Harvard professor, and the co-creator of a theory called punctuated equilibrium.  Gould and his co-creator wrote that the “history of evolution is not one of stately unfolding, but a story of homeostatic equilibria, disturbed only ‘rarely’ (i.e., rather often in the fullness of time) by rapid and episodic events of speciation.

This theory was created to explain the abrupt appearance of fully formed species in the fossil record.  Punctuated equilibrium predicts evolutionary events to have taken place far too quickly to have been documented in the fossil record, thus explaining the sudden appearance of new and fully formed fossilized species.  In layman’s terms, punctuated equilibrium explains that we do not see new species gradually appearing in the fossil record because species emerge faster than the amount of time needed for fossilization to take place.

Is it logical to claim that speciation happens faster than fossilization, yet also claim the emergence of species takes place over millions of years?  Is true science being represented when evolutionary biologists, not only promote the idea of punctuated equilibrium, but also state that evolution unfolds over eons?  When speaking of evolution, biologists claim that speciation could have taken millions of years or it could have happened so quickly that the fossil record was not able to document the change.  Does this type of rationale confirm that empirical data and logic are paramount to evolutionary thought?  Or does this type of rationale confirm that hopeful inference is paramount to evolutionary thought?

number 3
evidence for evolution

The third proof or evidence for evolution covered in the previously mentioned article has to do with “Genetic Commonalities.”  Of which sounds very similar to the claim that “Universal Genetic Code” is a proof of evolution.  Although basing a proof once again on genetics seems repetitive, let’s assume it is not and search for variation.  A gene is a gene.  If it is used to code functional proteins for hair, teeth, fingernails, or red blood cells in our bodies; other organisms also possessing hair, teeth, fingernails/claws/horns, and red blood cells have the same protein coding genetic sequences.  Perhaps this is the reason proof number three is thought of as unique.  If there is a “Universal Genetic Code” for red blood cells and in that code we find “Genetic Commonalities,” does it not feel like we are repeating ourselves.  Obviously, feel free to scroll up and re-read my response to proof number one… it is very relevant to this third proof as well.  There is a claim, however, that chimpanzees share 96% of their genes with humans.  Is this true?  Does this prove evolution?  I have posted about this idea already in Genetics/DNA – part three.

number 4

The Fourth proof or evidence for evolution is “Common Traits in Embryos.”  Again, this proof seems to be going back to genes and DNA.  Common Traits, Genetic Commonalities, and Universal Genetic Code sound like the same thing just stated differently… three different times.  Well, not shocking, I have already covered the idea of embryo commonalities being proof for evolution in the same article Genetics/DNA – part three.  But here is a quote from that article, if you do not feel like going back again to re-read it.

In short, embryonic homology promptly discounts any possible attempt of supporting evolution via genetic homology.  Sir Gavin de Beer said it best when saying, ‘It is now clear that the pride with which it was assumed that the inheritance of homologous structures from a common ancestor explained homology was misplaced; for such inheritance cannot be ascribed to identity of genes.’  If the work of De Beer revealed that homologous structures among differing species do not develop from the same embryonic location, then no genetic relationships can be drawn between two species with homologous sequences because their development is not controlled by their homologous DNA.  Due to this fact, what significance is there in finding similar genetic sequences in the genome of varying species?

number 5

The fifth proof or evidence for evolution is “Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics.
The article states that, “bacteria colonies can only build up a resistance to antibiotics through evolution.”  Of course, I need to stop and ask a question.  If bacteria builds antibiotic resistance through evolution, than what is evolution?  A lack of evolutionary definition is not unique to this article, it is a major issue in our educational system, judicial system, and scientific community.  Why is there no scientifically agreed upon definition?  I go into great detail in regard to this question in my book What Is Evolution?, I invite you to join me.

evidence for evolution

So, if bacteria evolves resistance, does that me all resistances in biology are from evolution?  If bacteria and other unicellular organisms can evolve resistance so quickly, then why have they remained the same species for “billions of years?”  Is speciation, the emergence of diverse life forms, part of evolution or not?  Darwin wrote a book called the Origin of Species, would he have changed the title of his book if he knew about bacteria’s ability to evolve resistance, but not evolve into new species for eons?  We must ask ourselves, when bacteria adapt to a new environment that includes antibiotics, is this evolution?  If so, what about situations when organisms are exposed to natural pressures that do not require a new resistance for survival, if there is an evolutionary change are we talking about the same type of evolution?

Evolutionary biology is like a merry-go-round of terminology.  When folks use the word evolution and fail to give a concise and scientifically agreed upon definition, clouds of confusion envelop the conversation.  What Is Evolution? is a book that was written to start a conversation that is clear.  Join me in this clarity with a free sample of my first three chapters.  CLICK HERE

How is the Age of a Rock Determined?

Darwin claimed there to be an “imperfection in the geological record.”  He stated in The Origin of Species that “geological formations of each region are almost invariably intermittent; that is, have not followed each other in close sequence.”  Geologists are still wrestling with this conundrum today.  Sediments become overturned.  Lava flows cut through ancient bedrock and fill their path with granite.  Rivers cut layer after layer and carry fragments of older layers to new locations depositing composite layers.  Tectonic forces lift lower layers and create mountain tops out of rock containing fossilized waterborne organisms.  No layer is perfectly in place.

Evolutionary biology is completely intertwined with deep time, eons upon eons.  So, the real issue comes back to which rock layers are considered most ancient and which are considered to be most recent.  If we are to compare fossil evidence of varying tree of life locality; timing is of the essence.  So then, how might age be applied?  In The Origin of Species Darwin gave an estimate to the erosion process when he said, “a cliff 500 feet in height, a denudation of one inch per century for the whole length would be an ample allowance,” making said cliff a flat plain in 600,000 years.  Yet, it is also likely for an entire hillside to peel off into the ocean after a heavy rainstorm.  Denudation and the laying down of rock layers takes place at varying rates, and anyone’s guess to the timing is up for debate.

The United States Geological Survey holds the stance that, “the actual length of geologic time represented by any given layer is usually unknown or, at best, a matter of opinion.”  So, in order to have a geologic age more concrete than opinion, some believe the best way to determine the age of a certain layer is to determine what index fossils are contained in such layer.  Index fossils are used to date and correlate varying rock strata.  For example, if one were on a hunt to find a 540 million year old rock, then a 540 million year old index fossil would be the best clue to look for.  An index fossil of the right age is what one should look for when identifying rocks from the Paleozoic, which began roughly 540 million years ago.  Paleozoic strata is not comprised of one type of rock, in fact, its composition varies quite drastically and ranges from limestone to quartz-feldspar schist.  One could find Paleozoic rock on a mountain top or in a riverbed.  The most common determining factor when identifying this particular layer of strata is finding an index fossil.

Trilobites are what some people call a rudimentary organism and a good index fossil to look for when identifying Paleozoic rocks, but why?  Look to Darwin’s tree of life.  It is quite obvious to see that rudimentary life is at the base of the tree and the least rudimentary is toward the top.  Of course Darwin was the first to explain that natural selection was how he believed life to have become so diverse, but he was not the first to see life as changing from simple to complex.  The Victorian era was ripe with young naturalists who spoke of rudimentary organisms changing into less rudimentary ones; this era was when the geologic periods were invented.  Of course, the most basic of organisms were placed into the strata at the bottom of the chart and as the complexity of an organism increased, it was placed higher on the chart.  Then a rough estimation of how long it might take for a rudimentary organism to diversify into more complex species was bracketed over that particular era.

The idea of index fossils must be examined.  Is claiming that fossilized organisms are contained in certain rock layers based on when said organisms evolved into existence free of bias?  Does not the mentioning of index fossil presuppose the validity of evolution?  So then, is it accurate to say that using index fossils to validate evolution is free of circular reasoning?  How scientific is it to use the idea of index fossils when attempting to validate or falsify evolution?

According to the National Parks Service, the usual method geologists use when giving an age to a specific rock layer is by identifying index fossils.  Yet, is the giving of age to rock formations based on index fossils an accurate method?  Is the categorization of a fossilized organism into one of the geologic periods free of bias?  If a fossilized mammal were to be found and the researcher chose to date the specimen using the index fossil method, the chemical composition of the rock encompassing the organism would not be analyzed.  Mineral content and proximity to the surface would also not be a factor in determining its age.  If a researcher uses the index fossil method to date a fossilized mammal, the specimen would be placed in or after the Mesozoic because it required a longer amount of time to evolve into a mammal.  Yet, if a fossil of a trilobite is captured in the very same type of stone, with the very same chemical composition, containing the same trace minerals, and having a similar depth or proximity to the surface, its age would be classified as being part of the Paleozoic because it is a trilobite and according to Darwin’s tree of life, trilobites are located near the base of the trunk.

What empirical data suggests that using index fossils is a good way to date fossils and rock layers?All fields of science that improve our understanding of the world and bring us new and innovative breakthroughs welcome questions.  My questions are asked in order to do just that.  I want to improve our understanding of the world, so I ask questions.  One must stop and ask themselves a question, why do evolutionary biologist feel threatened by questions instead of welcoming them?

Thank you for reading my questions.  I invite you to continue this journey in my book, What Is Evolution?

Are Humans Still Evolving? – part two

This is my second post in regard to a video I wrote about earlier this week.  I titled my previous post, Are Humans Still Evolving? – part one, and I commented on the idea of genetic island formation.  Feel free to give it a read and then come back to this post when you are done.
The “Brain Stuff” host from the video Are Humans Still Evolving?, mentioned that “human populations have evolved so their lactase production persists, allowing the digestion of milk.”  Of course, the title of my blog and book is What Is Evolution?, so I must pause before we dive into the idea of lactase persistence being an evolutionary mutation and ask first, what is evolution?
If humans drink milk, does that mean we evolved?  Most infants drink milk and have no issues of intolerance to lactose, and many adults drink milk also not having issues.  So, if an infant grows up in a dairy rich society and as an adult consumes dairy (never experiencing digestive complications) did evolution take place?  On the other side of the world an infant is born into a dairy-free society and is no longer afforded milk once weening occurs.  If this infant consumes dairy as an adult and experiences digestive complications, does that mean no evolution has occurred?  Which scenario displays change over time?  Which scenario better explains evolutionary theory?
When someone claims the human ability to consume dairy as adults is due to evolution, the question of “what is evolution?” immediately comes to mind.  Is it scientifically logical to say that a lack of change in human diet is evolutionary change?  Or does it make more sense to say that change in the human diet is due to evolution?  In my book What Is Evolution?, I write about change and how we must be honest with that fact that when the word evolution is used, we really don’t have a consistent use or understanding of it.  Also, in a previous post I asked the question, Why Leave It Undefined?… feel free to read it if you have the time.
So, what about our ability to process lactose?  Genetic variation is the cause of many different traits across the human species.  Being able to process lactose is a genetic trait.  Much like a band playing a song and their audio engineer mixing the levels of each instrument and microphone, our DNA can turn on and turn off varying traits.  For example, we humans are able to consume dairy as infants due to a DNA switch that is activated.  If dairy is no longer a main staple of one’s diet, the switch usually is deactivated in order to save energy by no longer producing lactase.  The information contained in our DNA which gives us the ability to digest dairy does not disappear, the switch just gets turned off and its information is no longer being accessed, causing lactose intolerance.
When it comes to a sound board, is the audio engineer able to add more sliders and inputs on the fly, or must he work with the inputs he has available?  Although adding cello to a musical composition would be an excellent choice, he cannot for two reasons.  First, there is not a cellist within the group of musicians.  Second, the soundboard has no available inputs to add the signal that would be coming from the proposed cello.  Such is the case when observing human DNA.  We have switches that contain information on how to produce lactase the enzyme needed to digest lactose.  If the switches in our DNA that control lactase production are turned on or off, one would be able to consume or not consume dairy.  This is what causes tolerance and intolerance of lactose.
Trait variation does indeed vary, but according to genetic research and empirical data, are geneticists observing new sequences evolve?  Is it an honest statement to say that “human populations have evolved so their lactase production persists, allowing the digestion of milk?
The “soundboard” of human DNA is constantly being re-mixed and new levels of certain traits are going up and down, but are geneticists observing the number of switches increase?  Is genetic information being added, or just remixed due to random sampling?  There are so many questions when it comes to evolution and how traits have emerged, but “what is evolution?” must be the first question we ask.
Join me on this adventure of making science stronger by asking questions.  My book What Is Evolution? will guide you into more and more conversations like the one we just had.  Enjoy!

Are Humans Still Evolving? – part one

I recently watched a YouTube video created by Brain Stuff – How Stuff Works, entitled Are Humans Still Evolving?  The host of the video covered many impressive facts about evolution.  So many facts, that I am going to take some time to ask questions for each one of them.  This post is the first of a few more to come in regard to this video.
Of course, the question of humans still evolving demands two major assumptions.  First, the assumption is that we humans evolved into our current form from an organism lower on Darwin’s Tree of Life.  Second, this question of humans still evolving assumes that we have an understanding of what evolution actually is.
In my book, What Is Evolution?, I outline in great detail the fact that we do not have a scientifically agreed upon definition of evolution.  Our legal system has seen case after case, but has failed to define it.  Plus, our public educational system requires the teaching of biological evolution, yet also leaves the term undefined.  So, of the two assumptions in the question, Are Humans Still Evolving?, at least one of them is already false.  With that said, let’s jump into the first major claim of this video.
 
“Most experts agree that to give rise to a new species (like mutants) we’d need some kind of geographic isolation from other humans. Otherwise, cross-breeding makes it less likely that mutations will be established in our gene pool. And with a densely-packed planet full of planes and cars it’s highly unlikely we’re going to find that kind of seclusion.”
 
The host of this video mentioned geographic isolation which is an evolutionary first step to what is called “genetic island formation,” otherwise known as speciation.  When a group of organisms are on a genetic island, it means that said organisms are unable to transfer genes with organisms outside of the group.  No one is certain how genetic island formation takes place, but most believe “allopatric speciation” to be the best explanation.  “Allopatric” is a Greek word comprised of “allo” which means “other” and “patric” means “fatherland.”  In essence, a group of organisms might find themselves split in two by a geographic separation.  For example, one way allopatric speciation may occur is for a group of land dwelling organisms to be separated in a storm.  Perhaps some of the group members drift to a neighboring island on a tree trunk and then begin to colonize.  The population of interbreeding organisms is separated geographically and therefore becomes unable to interbreed with the whole population due to separate localities.  Time goes by, mutations and genetic drift add up which cause the two groups to adapt and change at different rates due to differing selective pressures.  In the future, ocean levels may drop creating a land bridge or perhaps tectonic forces bring these two populations together again; the possibilities are endless.
The idea is that once the previously separated group of a single species are reunited via geographic barriers no longer being a factor, the two are supposedly unable to interbreed due to the accumulation of genetic mutations.  The two groups, in theory, have become two unique species.  So, what does empirical data confirm about this idea?
Allopatric speciation (the emergence of diverse species via geographic separation) is the best explanation evolution has for life’s biodiversity.  Yet, biologists today are collecting data that suggests the opposite.  According to research performed by San Diego State University, biologists have noticed that geographic separation and habitat “fragmentation can lower migration rates and genetic connectivity among remaining populations of native species, reducing genetic variability and increasing extinction risk.”  The California State Parks system released similar information that said, “From a land-borne species perspective, these wildland remnants end up trapping some species with little or no available resources for survival, which can lead to extirpation (extinction).”
In evolutionary circles, the term “bottleneck” is used to describe the process of a population moving through a reduction of members.  This reduction could come through geographic separation, natural disaster, disease, over hunting/fishing, or any cause that would “thin out the herd” so to speak.  A reduced population is a reduced gene pool which is a very important part of the evolutionary founder effect of a new colony.  Species that have become geographically isolated in a reduced gene pool are inferred to have eventually become genetically isolated, emerging as a new species.  According to Neo-Darwinian hypotheses, genetic bottlenecks are the catalyst for speciation, but what does the data say?
The University of California at Berkeley communicates that “small populations face two dangers – inbreeding depression and low genetic variation…  [for example] a population of 40 adders (Vipera berus) experienced [an] inbreeding depression when farming activities in Sweden isolated them from other adder populations.  Higher proportions of stillborn and deformed offspring were born in the isolated population than in the larger populations…  For Swedish adders, the solution to the inbreeding depression problem was simple – introduce adders from other populations.”
Empirical data shows inbreeding to be far from beneficial and in most cases will cause a smaller, separated population to go extinct.  Also, there is no data to suggest that populations would become genetically isolated from the original group if divided.  For in the Swedish countryside, the introduction of adders from another population showed to be reproductively beneficial, highlighting the lack of speciation among the bottlenecked population.
If observation tells us that geographic separation of species leads to an inbreeding depression and inbreeding leads to many negative effects and extinction, why would the idea of “genetic island formation” seem plausible?  Could inbreeding have produced a positive result in the distant past?  When a bottleneck or reduction in a population is observed today, empirical data shows it to be very detrimental for the affected population.  Is it logical or even scientific to claim allopatric speciation to be the cause of genetic island formation if supportive observation and empirical data cannot be collect?  Scientifically speaking, does the data surrounding geographic isolation support the idea of the emergence of a new species of humans?
Questions are good.  Questions make science stronger.  The video in question is a well made video, I am just asking if the content can be supported by empirical data.
My book What Is Evolution?, is full of questions that ask for nothing other than scientific answers.  I hope that you will join me on this adventure!

What Came First, the Honey Bee or the Honeycomb?

A question like “what came first, the honey bee or the honeycomb?” is usually reserved for the chicken and the egg.  The jury is still out on the timing of when the popular breakfast ovum emerged in comparison to its popular dinner meat counterpart, a.k.a. poultry.  How could an egg exist without there first being a hen to lay it?  How could a hen exist without it first hatching from an egg?  Argh!  This blog entry has nothing to do with pasta, but the round about thought pattern of egg-chicken, chicken-egg is a sure-fire way to cook a noodle.

What empirical data do we have in regard to honey bees and honeycomb?  Well, like the egg, honeycomb is the place where young bees develop and then hatch out of.  Also like the egg and how the yolk nourishes the young chick, honey is what most bee larvae eat.  Why did I say “most?”  Some larvae that are destined for the “throne” are fed royal jelly so they develop into a queen bee, but for the majority of honey bees, honey is their main staple.

 

Unlike the egg and how it comes with a yolk and egg white already inside, honeycomb doesn’t come with the honey inside.  Bees work very hard at collecting nectar from flowers which in turn is made into honey that bees store in honeycomb cells for future consumption.  Yes, honey bees spit back up the nectar.  As a bee drinks nectar from a flowering plant, the nectar goes to a nectar sack.  This reservoir is also called a honey-stomach and when it is

full, the worker bee flies back to the hive to offload the key ingredient in honey production.  The nectar is passed from bee to bee not only warms the nectar, but also

dehydrates the nectar as the water content absorbs into each passing bee.  Once the water content is low enough, the last bee pours the “almost honey” liquid into a honeycomb cell to cure a little more.  Once the cell is full, the liquid has lost enough water, and is identified as honey; worker bees cap the cell with more wax to keep the new honey clean and fresh.

 

It is anyone’s guess as to the actual mathematical prowess of a honey bee, with that said, the hexagonal shape of  an individual honeycomb cell is the most efficient way to utilize costly bee’s wax.  The cylindrical hexagons of a honeycomb offer the most efficient ratio of storage area to bee’s wax than any other shape/structure.  One pound of beeswax can store approximately 22 pounds of honey.  There is no better way to store honey and keep the cost of wax under control other than using the honeycomb hexagonal shape.  Yes, wax is expensive.  According to data collected by the York County Bee Keepers Association, to produce one pound of honey, approximately 10,000 bees visit roughly two million flowers, and fly almost 50,000 miles.  In order for a bee’s wax glands to biochemically convert honey into beeswax, they must consume approximately seven pounds of honey to produce one pound of wax.  An additional third pound of honey is consumed in order to produce enough wax to store one pound of honey.

Bees are dependent upon the honeycomb when it comes to reproduction.  Bees are dependent upon the honeycomb when it comes to their source of food.  Yet, the honeycomb can not exist without the bee constructing it from wax their specialized glands produce.  Adding to the mystery, wax production is dependent upon a reliable source of stored honey.

What came first, the honey bee larva or the honeycomb it hatches from?  What came first, the honey bee larva or the honeycomb it is fed from?  What came first, the honey bee wax gland or the stored honey needed to fuel wax production?  What came first, nectar producing flowers in need of a pollinator or a pollinator with a honey-stomach in need of nectar?  So many questions arise and they all have the ability to cause one’s head to spin.  I’m not going to even touch the idea of how bees know the recipe for honey or how to build mathematically astounding structures capable of storing honey at an extremely high level of efficiency.

Why such an interest in the honey bee?  Recently, I came across a paper in the

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences entitled, Recombination is associated with the evolution of genome structure and worker behavior in honey bees.  In it, the word “evolution” or a derivative like “evolve” or “evolutionary” was used ninety-three times.  Yet, not a single use was associated with a working definition for this particular paper.  Why would professional scientists write a paper that is included in a prestigious journal like the PNAS and use a word like evolution so profusely, but fail to outline it’s meaning or their idea of what its working definition is and why it is relevant to this particular study?  In the first paragraph of the abstract, confusion sets in when it comes to what the idea of what evolution is by stating that within societal insects like honey bees, “worker behavior(s) evolve more quickly.”

 

What is evolution?  I wrote a book about this question because of papers like this.  Not only does our public educational framework use evolution and require its teaching without defining it, our National Academy of Sciences publishes papers focused on the topic of which they too do not offer a working definition.  When I read something, anything and a word is used over and over again, I look up that word to make sure I understand what it means.  Yet, there is no concise and scientifically agreed upon definition for evolution.  Why is that?  Perhaps this paper was written with an ambiguous outlook of evolution because its writers want us to cross examine their use of the word with empirical data.

I like empirical data, because its so observable, testable, repeatable, and verifiable.  It is so much better than ambiguous ideas that are based in assumptions and philosophy.  So, let us take this paper to the all encompassing light of real data.

In this paper, there is a claim that societal insects evolve rapidly when it comes to their behavior.  Since we have no idea what evolution is, now we have to start assuming.  Is it change over time?  Is it what Darwin was looking for, “the origin of species?”  In order to move on, let’s define evolution in the broadest possible way and call it “change over time.”  Obviously, this encompasses many non-biological processes like erosion and oceanic salinity, but for the sake of moving on let’s go with “change over time.”

What is worker bee behavior?  Building a hive?  Tending to the larvae?  Producing wax?  Foraging for nectar?  Producing and storing honey?  Building honeycomb?  Protecting the colony?  Moving the colony to a different location?  Could these all be associated with worker behavior?  Have these behaviors changed over time?  Have these behaviors changed quickly over time?

Humans have been keeping bees for a very long time.  Some anthropologists would agree that our relationship with honey bees precedes our relationship to cultivating the soil.  Has the behavior of worker bees changed since then?

Paleontologists have estimated that bees emerged 60 to 130 million years ago.  Bees and their honeycombs are represented in the fossil record, which documents behavior… right?  Fossilized honeycomb is an ancient chunk of behavior data.  We can see that honey bees made honey comb millions of years ago, now we can test the idea of rapid evolution.  How does the behavior of bees today compare to the behavior of bees in the distant past?

 

Does the behavior of worker bees evolve quickly?  Does the behavior of worker bees evolve?  What is evolution and why does it go undefined?  I invite you to join me on the adventure of attempting to understand how every living organism of this planet came to be.  Purchase on Amazon: What Is Evolution

 

What about genetics? #03

In a previous post entitled Genetics/DNA – part one, I stated that there are a few things we must address in regard to DNA before conclusions are made.  The first has to do with the most noticeable structures called chromosomes. The second notable aspect of an organism’s genome has to do with coding and noncoding sequences.  In this post, a third aspect of DNA will be covered and it has to do with the computer-like information stored in the rungs of the double helix called base pairs.

 

Each parent, in sexually reproducing organisms, passes along strands of information stored within DNA’s ladder-like rungs called polymers.  New polymers are constructed by using half of each parent’s polymer, called a monomer.  When two parental monomers are joined together, a new polymer or rung on the double helix ladder is created.  This pairing is the basis of genetic code and these polymers are referred to as base pairs.  Much like the binary language of computers that use the two variants of ones and zeros, genomes use five variants.  DNA strands are sequenced using the letter representations GACT.  The studying of these sequences is where evolutionary biologists have pieced similarities together.

 

In the binary language of computers, green is represented by 1-1-0.  If one were to convert a photograph of a human and a chimpanzee side by side in a jungle into the binary language of computers, one would instantly see similarities.  The binary code 1-1-0 for the color green would be quite prevalent, yet so would the code for black, which is 0-0-0.  The code for green could accurately be describing organisms that produce chlorophyll, but no species of plant could be determined.  Unfortunately, all non-plant, green organisms like leaf bugs and iguanas would also fall into the same descriptor of binary code 1-1-0.  Continuing to view our jungle photo in binary code, black would also be dominantly repetitive, but what would it’s code represent?  Perhaps both chimpanzee and human pupils would be linked to having a strong correlation, but binary code 0-0-0 would also be representational of lifeless shadows.  As in the analogy of a photo converted to binary language, finding similar genetic sequences in various genomes of varying organisms also demonstrates to be inconsequential.

 

 

Sir Gavin de Beer was an evolutionary embryologist, Fellow of the British Royal Society, and served as Director of the British Museum of Natural History.  He has done extensive research on the embryonic development between organisms that are visually and structurally homologous.  His experiments were designed to trace the development of certain attributes from the moment of fertilization until full development.  The results of his work revealed that fully formed corresponding homologies do not develop from the same embryonic location.  Sir Gavin de Beer realized that similar attributes develop from a fertilized egg in different locations, depending on the species.  This means that if homologous structures do not develop from the same embryonic location, then they are not genetically related because their development is not controlled by their homologous (similar) DNA.  In short, embryonic homology promptly discounts any possible attempt of supporting evolution via genetic homology.  Sir Gavin de Beer said it best when saying, “It is now clear that the pride with which it was assumed that the inheritance of homologous structures from a common ancestor explained homology was misplaced; for such inheritance cannot be ascribed to identity of genes.”  If the work of De Beer revealed that homologous structures among differing species do not develop from the same embryonic location, then no genetic relationships can be drawn between two species with homologous sequences because their development is not controlled by their homologous DNA.  Due to this fact, what significance is there in finding similar genetic sequences in the genome of varying species?

 

Another interesting aspect of base pairs represented in human and chimpanzee genomes has to do with numbers.  The claim is that a 95% relational tie can be made due to the study of the genetic material in our DNA, yet what percentage does just the base pair information give us?  Chimpanzees have 2.9 billion base pairs in their genome and we humans have 3.2 billion.  For the sake of this argument, let’s say that the first 2.9 billion base pairs in our genome are a perfect match to that of chimpanzees.  Without a single variant on any given polymer, there would still be 300 million differences between the two genomes.  Humans have an extra 300 million base pairs.  So, what would be our percentage of being genetically related to chimpanzees based solely on the first 2.9 billion polymers being a perfect match?  2.9 billion divided by 3.2 billion is equal to 0.90625, meaning that in this fictitiously error free scenario of comparing base pairs, we are approximately 90.6% related to chimpanzees.  Adding in the potential mismatches, the thousands of differences in coding and noncoding sequences, and the fact that humans and chimpanzees have a different number of chromosomes, how scientific is it to claim a relational tie between these two organisms at all?

 

While we are on the subject of base pairs and the number we have in our genome compared to chimpanzees.  Evolutionary speaking, it makes a lot of sense that we have a larger genome because we are “higher” lifeforms.  Yet, is that really the case across all life?

Before life began, 3.5-ish billion years ago, DNA was nonexistent or extremely rudimentary.  This is why rudimentary organisms are placed toward the trunk of Darwin’s tree of life and highly evolved and complex organisms like humans are placed on the branches.  There is an idea that complexity of life increases as one travels from the trunk to the branches.  So, do we humans have the largest and most complex genome?  It is larger than a chimpanzee’s, but is there a consistent increase in genetic complexity from trunk to branches on the Tree of Life?  Do unicellular organisms have the least amount of base pairs in their genomes?  According to Darwin’s Tree of Life, there should be a consistent increase in genetic complexity as organisms move from

rudimentary or “lower” to “higher” lifeforms, yet what does the data show?  The sequencing of various species has revealed their genomes to be all over the board.  There is no consistent genetic data that verifies the idea of “lower” to “higher” or rudimentary to complex.  Some unicellular organisms like the Polychaos Dubium have 670 billion base pairs which is 200 times larger than ours.  Yet, a puffer-fish which is drastically more complex than a unicellular organism or a flower, has only a mere 390 million base pairs.  How accurate does the Tree of Life seem in light of empirical data found in various lifeforms’ genomes?

 

What genetic data supports relational ties between species?  What genetic data supports the idea of descent with modification from a common ancestor?  What data supports the idea that complex DNA evolved from less complex DNA?  What aspect of the field of genetics has generated empirical data that verifies evolution?In my book What Is Evolution?, I dive deep into these questions and many others that need to be asked.  I hope you will join me.

What about genetics? #02

Of all the micro-processes that take place in the human body, it seems that DNA has become the most interesting to we humans.  Of course, it is the basis of life, but it also plays an active role in the traits and functions of every living cell on planet Earth.  The sequencing of various genomes across the animal kingdom have caused some researchers to draw relational lines between certain species.  What does genetic information tell about biological evolution and common ancestry?

 

As noted in a previous post entitled Genetics/DNA – part one, there are a few things that must be addressed in regard to DNA before conclusions are made.  The first has to do with the most noticeable structures called chromosomes and what they are. The second notable aspect of an organism’s genome has to do with coding and noncoding sequences, of which will be covered in this post.  A third aspect of DNA has to do with the computer-like information stored in the rungs of the double helix called base pairs.  I will cover information involving the data that surrounds the third topic in my next post.

 

The delineation between coding and noncoding genes is needed due to the importance of sequences that manufacture functional proteins and the sequences that regulate their manufacture.  This relationship is still much of a mystery, but could be analogically explained by similarities with an ink jet printer.  When you and I print a photo or a document, the printhead produces the image, yet it must be guided and controlled by the software on the computer in order to produce the desired image.  Like a printer, coding sequences “print out” proteins necessary for life to function, yet the noncoding sequences are like the computer “software” that regulate the process of the manufacturing of said proteins.

 

When drawing lines of relational comparison between organisms, does the number of coding and noncoding genes seem to support evolution?  For example, below is a list of some organisms and their gene types.  If a researcher were asked to draw comparisons based solely on the data in the absence of the organism’s name, what relationships would be made?

 

ORGANISM CODING    NONCODING
Chicken – – – – – 15,508 – – – – – – 1,558
Chimpanzee – – 18,759 – – – – – – 8,681
Cat – – – – –  – – 19,493 – – – – – – 1,855
Dog – – – – – – – 19,856 – – – – – – 3,774
Cod – – – – – – – -20,095 – – – – – – 1,541
Human – – – – – – 20,296 – – – – – 25,173
Armadillo – – – – 22,711 – – – – – – 5,984

 

What does empirical data reveal by an organism’s number of coding and noncoding sequences that suggests common ancestry?  Does the field of genetics and the number of coding and noncoding sequences give empirical data that verifies evolution?  What empirical data in regard to genetics verifies evolution?  In fact, what is evolution?  I dive deep into this question in my book, What Is Evolution?  I hope you will dive deep with me and start to ask real questions that science should be more than willing and able to answer.

What about genetics? #01

DNA is the insanely complex code of instructional information that is the basis of life.  We have it in every cell of our bodies and so does every other organism on the planet.  Deoxyribonucleic acid is a molecular, double helix structure that stores the plans for traits, processes, functions, and the instructions needed to regulate all of the above.  What does DNA and the genes represent by its ladder-like rungs tell us about evolution?
I wrote about evidence and how evolution has much of it in a previous article entitled, Evolution has a Mountain of Evidence.  Biologists have been communicating to the public that genetic research has added to the ever growing mountain of evolutionary evidence, of which it has, but what does the data show us?  Of course we all know (or should know) that pseudoscience is about looking for evidence to support what we believe, yet science is about gaining empirical data through observation and experimentation of which can be repeated and verified by others.  So, what does genetic research have to say about common ancestry?
Before any comparisons can be made, one must first understand how the information is stored/contained in a genome/DNA.  The first and most noticeable structures are chromosomes.  These structures categorize and house the varying number of strands of DNA.  In sexually reproductive organisms, the sex genes are housed in their own chromosome(s).  The number of chromosomes an organism has is very important in determining what traits it will have.  A second notable aspect of an organism’s genome has to do with coding and noncoding sequences.  Proteins and how they function are at the heart of the information contained in DNA.  So, when a sequence is referred to as a coding sequence, geneticists are referring to its ability to create functional proteins.  Noncoding sequences are highly functional in regulatory capacities.  A third aspect of DNA has to do with the computer-like information stored in base pairs.  Now that I have mentioned three aspects of DNA, I will cover the first in this post and the other two in subsequent posts.

 

Coyote – 78 Chromosomes
Chicken – 78 Chromosomes

 

Is the data offered in regard to organisms’ relationships and common ancestry straightforward?  Humans’ possession of 46 chromosomes and chimpanzees’ possession of 48 may seem to be a trivial discrepancy, yet the detailed information in chromosomes is so drastic that many organisms with the same number of chromosomes are of extremely different species.  The coyote and the chicken both possess 78 chromosomes, so are relational comparisons being made because of this?  Extreme difference in species is reflected with organisms that share the same number of chromosomes with chimpanzees.  Although no evolutionary biologist is claiming that deer mice and the tobacco plant are close relatives, they do share the same number of 48 chromosomes with the chimpanzee.  Information housed in the varying number of chromosomes an organism has is so diverse, should we not question relational ties between humans and chimpanzees with a two chromosome discrepancy?  What data revealed by the quantity of an organism’s chromosomes is evident evidence of humans’ common ancestry with chimpanzees?  What observations and experiments have been repeated and verified that shows this evidence to actually be empirical data?  In my book, What Is Evolution?, I dive deep into this subject and ask many more questions, like why would a “lower” life form like a chicken have a greater number of chromosomes than a “higher” life form like a human?

Does evolution have a mountain of evidence?

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that supports evolution.  In fact, biologists describe it as being an enormous “mountain of evidence.”  It has become enormous due to how long the evidence has been collected.  Darwin published his most famous work, The Origin of Species, in 1859, but evidence had already begun to add up beforehand.  For hundreds of years, evidence has been discovered and compiled that overwhelmingly supports biological evolution.

 

In the light of so much evidence, why do most people find themselves pointing their thumbs down at the idea of common ancestry?  Why do only 33% of Americans give a thumbs up to the idea that humans evolved into existence via natural processes?

 

 

Is it possible that 67% of the U.S. population happens to be improperly educated on biological evolution?  Yes, this is part of the reason because educational institutions have failed to define the term consistently, of which I go into great detail in my book What Is Evolution?

 

Could there be an other reason why most Americans do not accept biological evolution even though there is an enormous mountain of supportive evidence?  Could the reason some folks dismiss the validity of evolution have to do with what is at the heart of Empirical Research?

 

Penn State University offers insight into Empirical Research in the below article:
“Empirical research is based on observed and measured phenomena and derives knowledge from actual experience rather than from theory or belief. 
 
“How do you know if a study is empirical? Read the subheadings within the article, book, or report and look for a description of the research ‘methodology.’ Ask yourself: Could I recreate this study and test these results?
 
“Key characteristics to look for:
-Specific research questions to be answered.
-Definition of the population, behavior, or phenomena being studied.
-Description of the process used to study this population or phenomena, including selection criteria, controls, and testing instruments (such as surveys)”

 

What part of evolutionary research is empirical?

 

Is evolutionary research based on “observed and measured” phenomena?

 

Does evolutionary research derive knowledge from “experience rather than from theory or belief?”

 

Can evolutionary researchers “recreate” or “test” study results?

 

Is there a consistent and scientifically agreed upon definition of the “phenomena being studied?”

 

Evolutionary biologists have a mountain of evidence at their disposal, have they used this evidence to construct tests and experiments that produce empirical data?

 

Why leave the phenomena being studied void of a definition?

 

Why base research on the interpretation of evidence rather than on observation and the measuring of said phenomena?

 

These questions are begging for an answer.  I dive deep into these and many others in my book entitled: What is Evolution?

Why Leave It Undefined?

Evolution is a term that most people believe they understand.  The most simplistic way of describing it would be, “change over time.”  Yet, is this sufficient?  Do seasons evolve?  What about trees loosing their leaves in the fall and then growing new ones in the spring, is that evolution?  What about a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly, is that evolution?  The Grand Canyon was a plateau and now a river has cut through it getting deeper every year… is that evolution?
 
What about things we humans have made?  Has hunting technology evolved?..  Irrigation methods?..  Food storage and production?..  Transportation?..  Communication?…  Technology?…  What about Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie compared to the computer generated version in today’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse?
 
Evolution has been left wildly ambiguous.  It seems the idea of evolution can be used in just about any context.  Yet, when evolution is used in describing the “how” of life’s diversity, including the emergence of our species, the conversation feels much different.  Why is that?  Why can we chat openly and freely about the evolution of the baby bottle or the soda bottle… or the evolution of funding the new space race, but when evolution turns to biology and the emergence of life’s diversity, the conversation becomes far less open and free.

 

It is obvious that evolution can mean different things.  Many illustrators, drinking coffee into the wee hours of the morning might protest that seasonal leaf production among trees is not the same thing as producing an animated series for Disney.  The non-biological process of water eroding our nation’s most famous canyon is different from a fat caterpillar instinctively metamorphosing into a butterfly.

 

Of course, there could be some strange instance, but I am assuming no one has ever gone to court over the teaching of butterfly life cycle… Or no one has ever sued a school district because Steamboat Willie was played in a film history class.  Why?  We understand that “change over time” is not the best description of what Charles Darwin made famous.  He wrote the Origin of Species and attempted to explain how life’s diversity emerged.  This type of evolution is what strikes a chord in people.

 

So, why leave evolution undefined?  Why make it part of the required educational framework from federal standards, to state standards, to district standards and leave the term open for interpretation?  Could it be that we all know that mostly positive feelings come from the mentioning of butterflies, trees, Mickey Mouse, and the Grand Canyon?  If these things experience evolution, then biological evolution seems to be just as worthy of positive/happy feelings, right?  Only close minded and strange people are opposed to things that generated positive/happy feelings.  I’m not sure what the reasoning or the motivation is for our educational system and the evolutionary community to avoid the crafting of a concise, consistent, and scientifically agreed upon definition of evolution, but we need a definition.

 

In my book What Is Evolution?, I dive deep into the reality that such a contentious idea is undefined and I ask many other questions that need to be addressed.

Science or Pseudoscience?

It seems funny and almost unbelievable today, but at one time alchemy was treated as true science.  Many prominent scientific figures supported the idea and it was taken seriously.  Isaac Newton was the most trusted and famous scientist to have dabbled in the Middle Aged, sorcery-like attempt of the purification of the elements.  Most alchemists were financially driven for their hope was to find a way to convert lead into gold.

Of course, we have a better understanding of the elements now and have come to the realization that alchemy is more of a pseudoscience.  It is something that kinda seems like science, but is on the lookout for evidence to confirm itself as opposed to finding ways to show its lack of worthiness.  In fact, pseudoscience is “a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific methods” which are “systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.”
Scientific American has an article entitled Drawing the line between science and pseudo-science, the intricacies of this subject are outlined. It talks of how real science “can find evidence to establish with certainty that a claim is false. However, we can never (owing to the problem of induction) find evidence to establish with certainty that a claim is true. So the scientist realizes that her best hypotheses and theories are always tentative — some piece of future evidence could conceivably show them false — while the pseudo-scientist is sure as sure as can be that her theories have been proven true. (Of course, they haven’t been — problem of induction again.)”
Now that we have an idea of the difference between science and pseudo science, how should biological evolution be classified?
Does evolutionary curricula include contradictory evidence?  Do evolutionary biologists emphasize supportive data or search for ways to establish their claims to be false?  What is evolution, science or pseudoscience?  I write in great detail about this subject in my book, What Is Evolution?

What are the chapter titles?

My book title is the question, What Is Evolution?  Not only is this question the title, but it is also the first and foremost of all questions in the book.  Sure, there are other questions made in the book of which are the titles for each chapter.  In this post, I am going to dive into the first four chapter titles in order to give you an idea of what is covered.

 

Chapter 1.  WHAT IS EVOLUTION?

There is a real need in the United States to outline a scientifically agreed upon definition of biological evolution.  In chapter one, I talk about the reality of how our educational system has made the topic compulsory, yet has failed to communicate what it is.

Prominent organizations like the National Academy of Sciences have working definitions of evolution, and I highlight how and why they use their unique version.  Professors of biology and leading evolutionary voices also have working definitions of evolution and their definitions are highlighted in this chapter as well.  I attempt to find common themes across the evolutionary conversation by discussing each description/working definition and its consistencies with the others.  This process fleshes out commonly agreed upon results and means of evolution which gives a better understanding of what a definition could look like if the scientific community came together to form one.

 

Chapter 2.  WHAT ARE SPORES OF CONFUSION?
Evolution is confusing due to its lack of being scientifically defined.  It becomes even more confusing when it is used interchangeably with of other terms.  It is not uncommon for proponents of Darwinian thinking to speak of how evolution works and use terms like domestication, natural selection, adaptation, trait variation, and speciation to name a few.  It is perfectly acceptable to use these terms for they are part of what makes up the idea of decent with modification from a common ancestor, yet this chapter asks if each of these terms could be accurately/scientifically used interchangeably with the word evolution.

 

Chapter 3.  IS EVIDENCE EVIDENT?
Evolution has become part of our culture and is required in public schools due to the mountain of evidence that is in its support.  This chapter asks questions in regard to how evident this mountain of evidence actually is.  The following have been used to validate and better explain evolution, but what evidence is evident when it comes to the diversity of species, the fossil record, punctuated equilibrium, genetic island formation, living fossils, homology, early-human fossils like the Neanderthal, genetic mutation, genetic variation, vestigial remnants, increased genetic complexity, DNA, and our closest relatives like the chimpanzee?

 

Chapter 4.  WHAT EMPIRICAL DATA SUPPORTS EVOLUTION?

There is no reason to subscribe to any “scientific idea” unless it is actually science, aka something that is able to produce empirical data.  This chapter will cover science, scientific prediction, observation, the processes of evolution, the mechanisms of evolution, the idea of falsifiability, and scientific inference.  Questioning is the essence of how we humans have acquired the knowledge of which we consider to be the advancement of science.  I question many aspects of biological evolution in my book What Is Evolution?  I hope you will join me in being brave enough to question.

Why Is Evolution So Difficult to Understand?

“Evolution is almost universally accepted among those who understand it, almost universally rejected by those who don’t.”
 – Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist that held a position at the University of Oxford as Professor for Public Understanding of Science, he is the founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, and a renowned author of many books.  If his above quote is true, and lack of understanding is the reason why some reject evolution, then we must do a better job of educating the public.  According to a 2014 survey by the Pew Forum, only 33% of Americans subscribe to the idea that humans evolved into existence via natural processes.
With a 0.6% margin of error, this survey suggests that 67% of Americans do not subscribe to the idea that humans evolved into existence via natural processes, therefore, Mr. Dawkins believes two thirds of our population does not understand evolution.  This is a major problem for science education due to biologists’ claim of evolution to be foundational to their course of study.  How could this be?  How could such an important, underpin of an enormously important field of study be so misunderstood?  Could it stem from the idea that most people just don’t know what biological evolution is?
In my book, What Is Evolution?, I dive deep into many questions, but the question of why evolution is so confusing and misunderstood runs throughout the book.  There are many reasons why the public does not fully understand this topic, like the fact that no biologist ever defines evolution the same way as another and the fact that many words like adaptation, domestication, trait variation, and speciation are used interchangeably in place of evolution.  Yet, the main reason why most Americans are so confused on this subject has to do with public education and its failure to tell us what biological evolution actually is.  This fact is so important that I chose to outline it on the back cover of my book.
click photo to view larger

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Are Questions Part of Science?

Science is the focus of my work.  I have embraced the reality that we humans have discovered a fantastic way to understand how the world around us operates.  Observation leads us to making educated guesses, those guesses can be tested, replicated by others, and then a level of verification can be reached.  We build on each generation’s scientific work.  What is possible today is only because of discoveries that have been laid down piece by piece much like a brick wall.  At times, there are “bricks of discovery” that happen to be crumbling and somehow find themselves incorporated into the wall of science.

Crumbling “bricks of discovery” exist because they have not fully gone through the “kiln” of observation, testing, replication, and verification.  Researchers can become overly excited or attached to a hypothesis and the necessary time needed in the “kiln” of science is ignored.  This erroneously causes under-fired bricks to be added to the layers of “bricks of discovery” in the wall of science.

My book, What Is Evolution?, questions aspects of what made Darwin famous in a scientific sense.  The field of evolutionary biology has laid down many “bricks of discovery” into the wall of science, some have been fired in the “kiln” long enough to maintain their structure and some have been taken out of the “kiln” too early.  The essence of my book asks what is evolution and what is the empirical data that supports it?  That’s it.


In regard to my post What About Fossils?, I received a comment from a reader that accused me of spreading “creationist non-sense” by misinforming people because of my faith.  Interestingly, my book is absolutely void of references to creationism, let alone my personal beliefs.  My work is nothing other than asking questions in regard to empirical data and evolutionary biology.

Science is the questioning of ideas.  If there is empirical data suggesting that a hypothesis cannot be observed, tested, replicated, or verified then it must be questioned.  No other field of science is hostile to questioning.  No other field stirs up so many emotions when the “facts” are in doubt.  The evolutionary community should be accepting and willing to be questioned.  The scientific process only makes science stronger.  Yet, doubting evolution is considered unacceptable.  Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard P. Feynman stated that “Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.”  So, if no serious biologist doubts evolution, what does that say about the culture of serious biologists?
Richard P. Feynman

What About Fossils?

Yes, I have a fossil collection.  As a young boy, I couldn’t think of anything more interesting than fossils and dinosaurs.  Most birthdays or at Christmas, I would receive some sort of chisel, pick hammer, or rock polishing equipment.  I would save up and buy fossils, but once the word got out that I was a collector people just started giving me really great images captured in stone.
For the most part, an image is what a fossil gives.  Essentially, fossils do not contain organic matter anymore, because the body of an organism is replaced by minerals and sediments.  So, what can we know about fossils?  When I say know, I actually mean what empirical data can be verified?
Did you know that there have only been two types of fossils ever found?  The most famous type of fossils are the ones that represent organisms that are extinct, like the T-Rex.  Yet, there is another set of fossils that are less famous.  The second type of fossil that has ever been unearthed are those of extant organisms, like a shrimp.  Extant is the opposite of extinct, it means that said organisms are still found living today.
 
If all fossilized specimens can be placed into the category of extinct or extant, what does this tell us about evolution?
Neo-Darwinian evolution predicts that due to natural selective pressures, mutations and genetic drift add up causing the emergence of new and diverse, genetically isolated organisms (species).  According to our current understanding, all living organisms evolve.  If a fossilized organism is found to be identical to a living organism today, cause in point the butterfly from a previous post, paleontologists tend to classify it as a unique species that is different from its extant (living) counterpart, but why?  What empirical data verifies the necessity for classifying two identical organisms as separate and unique species?  Why not classify fossilized shrimp with its living counterpart under the same scientific name?  Could it have to do with the highly scientific value of empirical data?  If empirical data shows that some organisms do not evolve, what would that say about the scientific validity of our current understanding that all living organisms evolve?  Perhaps, some organisms evolve and others do not?
Many claim the fossil record to be a great representation of how evolution works, but does it?  One type of fossil shows amazing and unimaginable organisms that are now extinct.  We cannot compare these types of fossils to a living counterpart and gain empirical evolutionary data.  On the other hand, we can compare fossils of extant organisms with their living counterparts and actually gain empirical evolutionary data.
The empirical data that has been scientifically gathered in the absence of inference and extrapolation shows all extant organism found in the fossil record to defy evolution.  Eon after eon has passed, natural pressures have been hammering down on the humble shrimp, and nothing has changed.  If shrimp can defy evolution and we can actually observe this fact, why then would we assume organisms we cannot observe to have evolved?  What logic and empirical data verifies evolution when it comes to the fossil record?
Shrimp are not alone, many other extant organisms alive today have been defying evolution for eons.  The question is begging for an answer, what is evolution?  I dive deep into this rabbit hole and present many other questions in my new book What Is Evolution, enjoy!

Did Evolution Give Us Surfing?

I found myself stuck in traffic and the car in front of me had two bumper stickers.  One sticker said, “Pray For Surf.”  The other sticker was the iconic evolutionary succession of multiple figures starting with an ape and ending with a man.  Except this sticker ended with a man holding a surfboard.  It’s meant to be comical.  There are other renditions of this same idea with an astronaut at the end or a man on a computer.  Long story short, the person who owns the car in front of me is more than likely a surfer and not necessarily an evolutionary biologist, but who knows… maybe he is both!
There is something about the stickers that is playful and actually caused me to smile in traffic.  Yet, while looking at both of these images stuck to the same bumper, I started to wonder.  Let’s say we agree there is a great deal of fun happening with these two stickers.  Now let’s look to the deeper meaning of each sticker.
The ape to surfer image is referencing the idea that over time, a species will morph into another species.  In short, due to natural processes, at some point an ape-like organism mutated enough to emerge as a surfer.  According to the main claim of evolutionary biology, this natural process is how surfers came to be.  Why does the word “natural” keep popping up?  Darwin coined the term “natural selection” in his greatest work, The Origin of Species.  He extrapolated the idea from “artificial selection” and or “breeder selection” which is known as domestication.  He used the word “natural” to describe how an organism becomes lucky enough to produce a successive generation.  In artificial selection, there is a breeder who is outside of the naturally occurring world.  A dog breeder is the decision maker in determining how certain dogs become lucky enough to produce a successive generation.  Which is lucky for the dog, but is actually an intentional decision made by artificial selection… aka the breeder.  On the inverse, a natural selection has to do with no outside intentionality, organisms become able to reproduced do to luck.
In my book, What Is Evolution?, I go into great detail when explaining natural selection, but here is a quick example.  Imagine two bucks in the forest.  One is strong and well suited for defending his right to produce a successive generation, the other is smaller and down right weak.  Yet, as they drink from a near by stream, due to erosion, a large boulder crushes the larger buck and naturally selects it to not produce a successive generation.  The scrawny buck is lucky and will go on to have many successive generations.  This example shows how selection in nature takes place without intention, purpose, or meaning.  The entire theory of evolution by natural selection, of which Darwin proposed, is based on this idea of being lucky to have offspring.  The inclusion of any force beyond nature not only goes against what Darwin communicated, but it is beyond the bounds of science itself.

Molecular biologist Richard Dickerson spoke of science and natural forces when he developed his number one rule called the “Game of Science.”  Dickerson stated that science is like a game and the only rule is to “see how far and to what extent we can explain the behavior of the physical and material universe in terms of purely physical and material causes, without invoking the supernatural.”

So, getting back to the bumper stickers…  Is it logical and/or consistent with science to say that surfers are produced via natural processes, but surf-able waves could be produced by petitioning some force that is outside of the physical and material universe?  If a + b = c, then we can clearly understand that c – b = a.  How frustrating is it to claim that sometimes c – b = HASHTAG?
Of course these stickers are fun and playful.  I like them!  Yet, is it possible to claim that both are a logically consistent and supported by empirical/scientific data?  Food for thought.

How do kids feel about evolution?

Yesterday morning over breakfast, I asked my ten year old daughter a hypothetical question.  I asked if a baby cow was raised by pigs, would it oink or moo?  She looked at me like I was stupid and firmly said, “MOO!”  I responded with a thank you and another question of performing plastic surgery on a Golden Retriever.  Again, my question was a hypothetical situation where a Golden Retriever gets it’s hair died black and shaved short like a Doberman Pinscher.  The dog’s ears and tail are also trimmed to mimic the appearance of a Doberman Pinscher, for all practical purposes this Golden Retriever now looks like a completely different breed.  Since it looks like a Doberman Pinscher, it is right?  Her jaw dropped and looked at me like I was her annoying little brother, of which she doesn’t have one.  “Dad,” she said, “are you serious?  Do really think the dog is different now?  It would still have Golden Retriever babies.”

 

Why was I pestering my ten year old daughter with these questions?  I wanted to put to test something I read in an article recently entitled: This is why evolution is poorly understood by our students — and even our science teachers by Nathalia Gjersoe of The Guardian.  In it she speaks of a psychological study performed on pre-schoolers age 2 – 4 years old.  The study was designed to test certain biases that all humans are born with.  These biases are entrenched into our way of thinking regardless of what our family of origin thinks of the topic and the article talks about two of them.
Psychological essentialism is the first bias the article talks about and it has to do with the idea that species are internally maintained and unable to change.  The idea of an unchangeable essence or attribute that is deep in the core of a species goes against Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.  For this reason the study was created.  You see, proponents of evolutionary education are frustrated and desire to teach minds that are free of opposition to their curriculum.  Perhaps this reality could be giving us a hint as to what part of a scientifically agreed upon definition of evolution could be.  If the idea of unchanging species goes against the idea of evolution, then could it be safe to say that changing species is complimentary?  What is evolution?  Well, according to this study, part of it has to do with the emergence of new species.  I go into great detail in regard to this idea in my book, What Is Evolution?
The second bias covered in the previously mentioned article is called promiscuous teleology and it means that all things have purpose and are designed for something.  Teleology is the act of deriving explanations of how things work based on function as opposed to what caused their existence.  For example, explaining that shoes are for wearing on your feet is chosen more frequently than describing that shoes are made by people operating machines in a factory.  Our human bias that favors the idea all things existing for a purpose also goes against Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.  “Purpose” suggests an entity and/or phenomena that goes beyond nature and dips into the supernatural realm.  Purpose is not able to be scientifically observed, tested, replicated, and verified; of which makes science educators keen on getting rid of such a bias.
Yet, I have a question?  Could an experiment be set up that scientifically tests the whole breadth of this article?  Sure, I verified the scientific claims of our human bias with my daughter, but I mean the other stuff… the motives.  Are species changeable or unchangeable?  Is everything in the Universe full of purpose or not?
I’m not going to touch the idea of testing “purpose,” but what about species?  What if we did convince pigs to raise a cow, or two, or three?  Scientifically speaking, was my daughter wrong?  Would a cow grow up to moo or oink?  This is something that could be tested and we could observe, repeat, and verify the result.  Is the opposite true?  What tests could be set up to show that species do change into new species?  Could this idea be scientifically observed, repeated, and verified?  Why do proponents of evolution want to get rid of a bias that can be scientifically tested and replace it with something that seems unable to be scientifically tested?

What is convergent evolution?

My question is simple, What is Evolution?  Most think my question has been answered and that our general populace has a good understanding of biological evolution.  Sadly, most people are mistaken.  As I highlighted in yesterday’s post, there is no consensus on evolution and it is no wonder why confusion has fogged our understanding of the idea.  In fact, researchers and science reporters pile on more layers of confusion each passing year.

 

For example, reporter Rachel Feltman wrote an article for the Washington Post titled, 40 million years before butterflies existed, this creature evolved with strikingly similar looks.  The article speaks of an evolutionary phenomenon called “convergent evolution,” and how it explains why fossils of butterfly-like creatures exist in the fossil record before butterflies actually came into existence.

 

Writers of scientific journals and articles like the one I have mentioned tend to dive head first into new evolutionary ideas without defining evolution beforehand.  The main point of the article/scientific paper is that nature produced a butterfly-like creature 40 million years before the butterflies we now know of.  The butterfly wings are the same, the patterns on the wings are the same, their mouth parts (proboscis) are the same, and the fossilized organism is for all practical purposes a butterfly.  Except it can’t be.

 

Although we do not have a consistent and scientifically agreed upon definition of evolution, there are some aspects of evolution that can be agreed upon.  Firstly, most proponents of Neo-Darwinian evolution would say that relational ties are important.  Meaning, the most recent common ancestor of two differing species (if found) could explain volumes about the relationship between the two said species.  Secondly, WHEN a common ancestor emerged onto the scene is very important.  There is a strong rule of thumb that no “higher” organisms like rabbits would be found in layers below a “lower” organism like a trilobite.  Why?  Because that is what evolutionary theory predicts.  This is why the idea of “convergent evolution” was developed.

 

If a fossil is found that has homologous (similar) features to an organism that it could not be related to, the researchers claim convergence.  Case in point, the butterfly-like creature is said to not be related to butterflies today because butterflies did not emerge into existence until millions of years later.  These two organisms have homologous features, yet cannot be related due to vast swaths of time, therefore the label of convergent evolution is placed over their similar features.

 

When it comes to other organisms that do not have the butterfly “timing issue,” a lack of common ancestry become the reason to claim convergence.  Take the
shark and the dolphin, for example.  When studying these two organisms it is obvious that many/most of their features are homologous.  Yet, they cannot be related because evolutionary theory predicts sharks to have emerged from a water-born fish-like ancestor and dolphins emerged from a land-born quadrupedal (four legged) mammal.  Therefore the label of convergent evolution is placed over their similar features.  But, when do structural similarities no longer infer relational ties from one organism to another?  The entire field of paleontology revolves around identifying structural similarities and then forming relational ties.  When a fossil is unearthed, its structure is studied and said organism is classified by its structure.  What does this mean in light of the idea of convergent evolution?  Is it safe to say that the relational ties made between extinct organisms found in the fossil record are accurate?  Does convergent evolution seem consistent or scientifically valuable?

What is convergent evolution?  What is evolution?  I dive deep into these and many other questions in my book What Is Evolution?

Here are some compilations of other “convergences” that don’t make sense.

Why did I write a book about evolution?

Throughout my time working with young people, mainly high school and middle school students, I was asked many questions.  Most commonly asked questions of my students had to do with situations revolving around their peers, boyfriends, girlfriends, or parents.  As we know, relationships can be all consuming at times.  Days seem to be swallowed up by the emotional fog produced by relational turmoil.  Everyday tasks can feel like an impossible mountain of work when the people closest to us are at the center of every passing thought.

 

Another commonly asked question had to do with the “HOW” of “How did we get here?”  The “WE” meaning humans and all life on Earth of course.  Kids are deep.  Well, some kids have their moments of deep reflection.  Yet, in a world with instant entertainment at their finger tips, surprisingly, many tweens/teens brood over their own existence.  I was personally asked to clarify the intricacies of evolution dozens of times, but had no idea how to respond.  In order to better serve my students I asked a question of myself, what is evolution?

 

The question, “WHAT IS EVOLUTION?,” rocketed me into a new season of life.  I began to read scientific journals like Nature, Science, Evolution, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and The Journal of the American Medical Association.  I set up Google alerts for the latest articles and findings in the evolutionary community.  My copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species was never too far out of reach.  I watched documentaries and read New York Time’s best sellers on evolution.  I went as far as to contact heads of Biology Departments at major universities.  Getting an education on the subject of biological evolution caused me to feel a bit like Alice tumbling into a seemingly endless rabbit hole.

 

I had never liked the idea of “BELIEF” in evolution, due to my interest in science.  Belief is for things that cannot be observed, tested, replicated, nor verified.  Reading journals, watching documentaries, and chatting with evolutionary professionals I realized that there is a mountain of scientific evidence and research when it comes to the subject at hand.  There is a great deal of science that goes into evolutionary research!  With that said, I discovered a seemingly small inconsistency across the sources I had found.  No journal, publication, book, documentary, or professor offered a consistent and scientifically agreed upon definition of evolution.  In fact, some descriptions I found were in oblate contrast to each other.  Yes, even professors at prestigious universities (of which I will leave name-less) would send me their favorite or personal definition(s) of evolution which would conflict and/or minimally coincide with another professor’s idea of evolution.  In all of my research I have yet to find the same definition of evolution twice.

 

Knowing that evolution is a compulsory subject in U.S. public schools, I decided to contact some educational agencies.  The federally funded Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) has created an educational frame work from which many states have adopted.  The NGSS does not offer a definition of biological evolution at all.  So, I contacted the California Department of Education and received the same response.  Next, I contacted the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), which is the second largest school district in the United States after the New York City Unified School District.  Not surprising, LAUSD also does not offer a definition of biological evolution.  If a definition is taught in the classroom, it comes from one of the many various definitions provided by the current textbook of choice for that district.  Many teachers have the freedom to create their own curriculum which allows them to teach their favorite definition of biological evolution, even if it is their own.  Yikes!  Although the percentage of science teachers is more than likely a different number, 34% of Americans do not subscribe to evolution.  Imagine a science teacher that does not subscribe to evolution, yet has the freedom to create their own curriculum and define evolution as they please.  Sure, evolution is part of the required educational framework, but without a standard definition; where does this reality leave the future of science education?

 

Being completely baffled, I turned to high profile court cases surrounding the evolutionary contention.  Reading court transcripts going all the way back to the 1925 Scopes trial, I thought that I would absolutely find a definition of evolution.  Not a single case in the United States has ever offered a consistent definition of biological evolution that could be cross referenced with another case.  In essence, the legal battle that has been raging over evolution has failed to produce or outline a consistent, scientific, and legally agreed upon definition.

 

How could such a contentiously debated idea have become part of our nation’s required science curriculum, yet been left ambiguous?  The reality of failing to define biological evolution is far from being deemed just for those who oppose it, and frightening for the future of science education.  Leaving evolution as an ambiguous term is dishonoring of students, parents, and science.  I have written a book that explores this issue in greater detail and it is titled, What Is Evolution?