The Foundation of Evolutionary Theory

God is the foundation of evolutionary theory.  The theory is so incredible that no one would ever believe this stuff if there weren’t a God to be rejected and denied.

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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41 Responses to The Foundation of Evolutionary Theory

  1. Alex Mackay says:

    The lie of evolution and all it’s glamorous theorems is the mechanism used by atheists to justify their denial of God and his wondrous creation.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hi, Alex. Except, like we were talking about last night, it’s theorems aren’t so glamorous, some of them are just ridiculous. Other than that, you are exactly correct.

    • agnophilo says:

      I am an atheist, but I became one before I knew what evolution was. I don’t see the two subjects as being related at all. Evolution explains what happens after life exists, not where life came from. And life observably evolves whether it was created by god or not. If there is a god and that god creates life, he created life that is adaptable to different environments. Just like if there is a god that created the earth and the earth is round, then god made the earth round. If we find out tomorrow it’s flat then he made the earth flat.

      Assuming the god part anyway.

      I don’t see how evolution implies atheism any more than a round or flat earth would.

  2. The statement is soooooo very true!

  3. You scared me there for a moment, but this sadly is true.

    We spent Saturday with the Iowa young birders for a day of birding and learning. I always come away with a sadness because no one honours the Creator of all these birds. At least when we are present, the mention of evolution itself is minimal. But yet something is not right. They are missing the biggest thing of all. God!

  4. The Birding Bunch,
    I’m also in Iowa, and my wife and I love bird-watching. We spend almost as much on bird seed as we do on feeding ourselves! Birds are a wonderful example of the beautiful diversity in God’s creation.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Glenn, did you click through to the blog? You’ll find it interesting. http://thebirdingbunch.com/.

    • agnophilo says:

      “You’ve made a lot of assertions, but have given no proof. You’ve given “natural selection” an intelligent power. “Natural selection” defines processes of nature designed into it by God the designer. It is not a power in and of itself – it can’t create anything.”

      Natural selection may very well have been initiated by an intelligent designer, but there is no way to test for this so I make no claims about it. And natural selection coupled with spontaneous genetic variation actually is creative, it’s a form of trial and error which produces more infectious and medication-resistant strains of disease, pesticide resistence in insects and many other things all the time. Much of medical science involves dueling with the creative process you claim does not exist.

      • Agnophilo,
        Again, “Natural selection” is imbued with intelligent power in your belief system. You now say it does “trial and error.” You give it “creative process.”

        What you have done is title your god, “Natural Selection.” It creates, guides the design, practices trial and error, etc.

        What you seem to be saying is this: “There was once absolutely nothing, and nothing happened to nothing until nothing magically exploded (for no reason) creating everything and everywhere, then a bunch of the exploded everything magically rearranged itself (for no reason whatsoever), into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs.”

        I know it is a bit of sarcasm, but when I read it today I found it to be quite humorous as a way to describe atheistic, evolutionist cosmology.

        Perhaps you find it rational to think that nothing made everything out of nothing, or that matter is eternal, and that “Natural Selection” is the power behind it all. But that isn’t science.

      • agnophilo says:

        “Agnophilo,
        Again, “Natural selection” is imbued with intelligent power in your belief system. You now say it does “trial and error.” You give it “creative process.””

        It’s not a belief, it’s a fact of biology. Or do you deny that cancer adapts to chemo and radiation? Or that bacteria acquire resistance to antibiotics? Or that humans acquire tolerances to diseases that have effected a certain population for many generations and acquire tolerances for new forms of food that other populations don’t have? This is OBSERVED in nature, it’s not a belief or an assumption or an article of faith any more than atoms or the sun are a “belief”.

        “What you have done is title your god, “Natural Selection.” It creates, guides the design, practices trial and error, etc.”

        The beauty of science is it’s objective and belongs to everyone, nobody owns something that happens in reality. Here is just one of countless examples of natural selection:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escherichia_coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

        “What you seem to be saying is this: “There was once absolutely nothing, and nothing happened to nothing until nothing magically exploded (for no reason) creating everything and everywhere, then a bunch of the exploded everything magically rearranged itself (for no reason whatsoever), into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs.”

        No, that is not what anyone has ever said who wasn’t an evangelist attacking someone else’s view by misrepresenting it. Science doesn’t start at the beginning, it starts with the present and extrapolates both backward and forward, and tests it’s ideas along the way. Science does not claim to know how the universe began, but we know it expanded and cooled after it did because it’s still cooling and expanding, and because we can detect energy left over from that process. And we don’t claim to know how life began, but we do know it evolved because it’s observably evolving right now, and it left a detailed record (both fossil and genetic) of the history of that process going back 3.4 billion years.

        “I know it is a bit of sarcasm, but when I read it today I found it to be quite humorous as a way to describe atheistic, evolutionist cosmology.”

        There is no such thing as atheistic, evolutionist cosmology. Ask christian scientists if the big bang happened and you will get the same answer as asking atheist or muslim or jewish or any other background of scientist. The big bang theory you call atheistic was first proposed by not just a christian, but a priest who taught physics at a christian university. Google it if you don’t believe me.

        “Perhaps you find it rational to think that nothing made everything out of nothing,”

        I don’t believe that, I don’t claim to know or understand that which I do not know or understand. To me that is dishonest and arrogant.

        “or that matter is eternal, and that “Natural Selection” is the power behind it all. But that isn’t science.”

        I don’t know if matter is eternal (it would take a very long time to test that hypothesis) but natural selection definitely happens whether or not it’s the whole story.

      • Adaptation is NOT molecules-to-man evolution. Adaptation can not be extrapolated to claim that dinosaurs turned into birds, or that apes descended into humans.

        The problem with science starting at the current and extrapolating to the past, is that it has to be done with suppositions and assumptions. To then declare it as fact is not science, let alone honest. In fact, you again said, “we do know that it evolved.” NO, you DON’T know that, because no one was there to watch it and there is no factual evidence for it. All you KNOW are the speculations and assumptions, none of which can be proven. The fossil record gives no dates, has no dating tags on them, and all dating methods are based on unprovable speculations.

        The Big Bang, by the way, is getting less and less credibility because there is too much which it doesn’t explain.
        http://cosmologystatement.org
        But Christians who support a “big bang” are usually speaking of a single instance of creation and the start of time, not a singularity of some physical phenomena which started all by itself. And a priest is Catholic, and Catholics do not represent the Christian faith. Catholics long ago compromised and accepted Darwinism.

        “Natural selection” is descriptive of a process – it is not a power with intelligence making trial and error experiments.

        What I mean by nothing you say about evolution is factual is that there is no evidence for anything in regards to evolution. To take adaptation and claim that it can be extrapolated to molecules-to-man evolution is 100% speculation and assumption. There are no facts to support it. You can give me all the links in the world, but you will not find one with a fact about evolution. You will find only speculations, assumptions, and assertions about what happened when.

    • agnophilo says:

      “I keep seeing agnophilo present speculations and assertions, but nothing factual.”

      What have I said that wasn’t factual?

  5. agnophilo says:

    The version of reality where only people who don’t believe in god accept evolution is a fantasy dreamed up by fundamentalists and preachers who, not being able to deal with the actual evidence for scientific ideas, wish to simply paint them as atheistic. The big bang was proposed by a priest who taught physics at a christian university, and this is how darwin ended his book On The Origin Of Species:

    “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

    Evolution is not an atheistic idea, and if you rounded up every atheist scientist on the planet and killed them you would change the percentage of scientists who accept evolution by perhaps one tenth of one percent. If you don’t believe me go find a christian biologist, geneticist, paleontologist or geologist and ask them if evolution holds water. Seriously, go do it.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Thank you for the comment, friend. I don’t think we can make Darwin into a Christian, he considered Christianity “damnable doctrine.” I suspect you and I have a different definition of “Christian”.

      In any event, I’ve talked to both Christian and non-Christian scientists who didn’t accept evolution. (I studied chemistry and physics for two years at a non-Christian university.) It requires incredible unproven assumptions, and calls itself “science” but rejects the scientific method.

      The scientific method requires observation and repeated tests in controlled conditions. No one has ever been able to construct conditions whereby non-living material begins to live (not technically evolution, but broadly considered part of the theory), where an amoeba evolves into a fish, where a fish becomes an amphibian, where birds come from non-birds, and where humans come from non-humans. No one has ever scientifically proven that evolution is >possible<, could actually happen, let alone proven that it did happen. The theory is that conditions were right for each step in the evolutionary process, but no one has ever figured out exactly what conditions would have been right to make it happen.

      It is merely historical speculation, not science at all. No one has ever seen a bowl of "primordial soup." 🙂

      To believe in evolution, you'd have to want to believe it. So many unproven assumptions, some possible, some crazy.

      • Misty says:

        “To believe in evolution, you’d have to want to believe it. So many unproven assumptions, some possible, some crazy.”
        Now, upon looking at such an ending piece, it would be more logical to replace “evolution” with “religion.”
        Evolution is fact. And I dearly hope to see a day when people like you come to realize that.

      • I’m still waiting for evidence of one fact of evolution. I hear plenty of assertions based on speculations and assumptions, but have yet to see one fact.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Hello, Misty. Interesting that you compare evolution to a religion. In that sense, we probably agree. Neither my religion nor belief in evolution can be proven, either scientifically or historically.

        There’s a difference, though. You dearly hope to see people come to believe in evolution, which gives no hope, no peace, no joy. It doesn’t prepare anyone for the life to come. It’s driven by an ugly “survival of the fittest” paradigm.

        What I believe does bring hope, peace, joy, and readiness for the next life. No one ever, on his death bed, rejoiced over his belief in evolution as he contemplated eternity, but I’ve seen Christians rejoicing that they were about to see their Saviour who loves them. Evolution can never give anyone that.

        And my belief tells me to care for the weak, to help the poor, to love my neighbour. Perhaps not all Christians do those things as well as they should, but it is the logical outworking of what I believe. The logical conclusion of a belief in evolution is that I must make myself stronger so that I can survive, even if it is at the expense of others.

      • agnophilo says:

        “Thank you for the comment, friend. I don’t think we can make Darwin into a Christian, he considered Christianity “damnable doctrine.” I suspect you and I have a different definition of “Christian”.”

        I didn’t say he was a christian, I said he believed in a creator. He was a deist. He started out a young earth creationist christian and changed his view based on discoveries in geology which contradicted the teaching at the time that the universe was I think something like 3 or 4 thousand years old. This was long before he developed any science of his own.

        “In any event, I’ve talked to both Christian and non-Christian scientists who didn’t accept evolution. (I studied chemistry and physics for two years at a non-Christian university.) It requires incredible unproven assumptions, and calls itself “science” but rejects the scientific method.”

        I’ve heard this line repeated many times, but it’s based on a fundamental misunderstanding of science and ignorance of the very extensive evidence for evolution. I am a huge science nerd who has taken a particular interest in the subject and even I am finding out new lines of evidence all the time. For instance according to evolution our ancestors laid eggs maybe a hundred million years ago or so (I am too lazy to look it up right now). Anyway it turns out the amniotic sac we are in in the womb is the same as the amnion in a chicken egg and inside of it is even an egg yolk sac, only in the human womb it’s empty, it has nothing in it. But in our DNA we have the genes for making the proteins in egg yolk, but they are deactivated. Chickens also have the genes for teeth, and if you switch them on and grow the chicken you get a chicken with teeth in it’s beak. I found out we have yolk sacs just last week or so.

        “The scientific method requires observation and repeated tests in controlled conditions.”

        Yes and no. Ideally an experiment will take place in a laboratory, but you can’t exactly test theories about the movements of planets in a controlled environment. All the scientific method requires is predictive tests with the potential to falsify the hypothesis. Whether that be predicting future observations (like einstein predicting the angle light would bend around the sun from a star behind the sun in an upcoming eclipse according to relativity, or darwin predicting the discovery of a prehistoric bird with separate digits in it’s wings two years before it was found). Scientists make specific predictions about fossils, predict what we will find when genomes are sequenced etc, which is no different or less scientific than what einstein did.

        “No one has ever been able to construct conditions whereby non-living material begins to live (not technically evolution, but broadly considered part of the theory),”

        Abiogenesis has about as much to do with evolution as newton’s laws of motion have to do with thermodynamics. They are attempts to answer two entirely different questions and are based on entirely separate avenues of evidence. Creationists just like to conflate the two because abiogenesis is far more speculative by it’s nature. Evolution explains how life adapts once it exists, which has nothing do with how it came to exist. It is also not logically dependent on abiogenesis or special creation or aliens seeding of life or panspermia or any other notion about life’s origins being true or false.

        “where an amoeba evolves into a fish,”

        Fish didn’t evolve from amoebas. No modern species evolved from any other modern species, that is a common misconception. And no, we did not come from monkeys or chimpanzees.

        “where a fish becomes an amphibian, where birds come from non-birds, and where humans come from non-humans.”

        We have a fossil and genetic record of the whole history of the earth. It happened whether you like it or not. Sorry.

        “No one has ever scientifically proven that evolution is >possible<, could actually happen, let alone proven that it did happen."

        It's an extremely well observed and well accepted part of nature right here and now. You're like those people who say "nobody can prove the big bang happened!" not realizing the big bang isn't past-tense, it's present tense. So is evolution. And yes, that includes "macro" evolution which is also well observed.

        "The theory is that conditions were right for each step in the evolutionary process, but no one has ever figured out exactly what conditions would have been right to make it happen."

        There are gaps in our knowledge of natural history just as there are gaps in our knowledge about regular history. But what you are arguing is tantamount to saying no war has ever taken place because we don't know where every soldier in every platoon was standing in every battle.

        "It is merely historical speculation, not science at all. No one has ever seen a bowl of "primordial soup." :)"

        Actually it's just a matter of mixing the right chemicals if you want to see "primordial soup". We can trace the history of life on earth back 3.4 billion years to a time when there was nothing but single-celled organisms. That good enough for you?

        "To believe in evolution, you'd have to want to believe it. So many unproven assumptions, some possible, some crazy."

        List them.

      • I keep seeing agnophilo present speculations and assertions, but nothing factual.

      • agnophilo says:

        “The logical conclusion of a belief in evolution is that I must make myself stronger so that I can survive, even if it is at the expense of others.”

        Yes, exactly. The same way the logical conclusion of accepting newton’s theory of gravity is that you should jump off a building.

        Science is descriptive, not prescriptive. I have never heard an atheist or secular person or person who accepts evolution espouse the idiotic, depressing garbage you are putting in our mouths. I have only ever heard it stated by evangelists describing (inaccurately) the alternative to their beliefs. The reality is ironically the exact opposite, acceptance of evolution (and being less religious) is correlated with being more charitable. Here are the top ten nations that give the highest percentage of their nation’s wealth to poorer countries:

        Luxembourg – 1.00%
        Sweden – 0.99%
        Norway – 0.93%
        Denmark – 0.84%
        Netherlands – 0.71%
        United Kingdom – 0.56%
        Finland – 0.53%
        Ireland – 0.48%
        Belgium – 0.47%
        France- 0.45%

        Source:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_governments_by_development_aid#Official_Development_Assistance_by_country_as_a_percentage_of_Gross_National_Income_in_2012_.28April_2013.29

        Here are a few dozen nations listed by their rates of acceptance of evolution:

        The top ten countries are basically the same list.

        So by all means believe what you want, but don’t lie about or slander or put words in the mouths of those who do not believe the same as you. We get it enough from religious people already.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        A lot here, I won’t try to answer it all. This isn’t intended to be a debate blog. But I’ll answer some of it.

        “I didn’t say he was a christian, I said he believed in a creator. He was a deist.” Fine. A deist rejects the only God who has ever revealed Himself, instead constructing a god of his own ideas. The god of the deist didn’t even bother to let us know what he expects of us, he just started the ball rolling down the hill and let it go. That god, then, has no right to have any expectations of us. That’s very convenient when you want to run your life yourself.

        “All the scientific method requires is predictive tests with the potential to falsify the hypothesis.” “Potential to falsify”? That’s proof? To prove anything, your test has to be controlled enough to ensure that no factors outside those postulated in your theory are driving the observed results. Alternatively, you can formulate tests to reach a level of statistical certainty, though it’s a little dubious to call that “proof.”

        “For instance according to evolution our ancestors laid eggs” — the evidence you cite is potentially evidence for evolution, or evidence that the One who designed us used a similar design in some ways in others of the things He made.

        “Evolution explains how life adapts once it exists, which has nothing do with how it came to exist.” As I said, it is not technically part of evolution but is broadly included. You yourself mentioned the Big Bang, I said nothing about it. Is that evolution? Why did you bring it in?

        “Fish didn’t evolve from amoebas.” This gives the impression of just arguing. You have asserted that all animals have evolved from single-cell creatures. That is what evolution teaches. So replace “amoeba” with “single-cell creature.”

        You ask me to list the hard to believe assumptions. Since you’ve mentioned the Big Bang twice now, I’ll include it.
        – That an ordered universe could come out of chaos.
        – That life could come from non-life.
        – That single-cell creatures could develop into the complex organisms we see today.
        – That vertebrates could come from invertebrates.
        – That asexual creatures could evolve into male-female creatures. (Which evolved first, the male or the female, and how did it reproduce before the other evolved? You have to believe that both the male and the female came into being at the same time, somehow managed to find each other, and were able to reproduce. The male-female problem is probably the biggest of all. Evolutionary theory is that unused characteristics tend to be discarded, so male reproductive capability would have just faded away if female reproductive capability didn’t exist.)
        – The entropy problem. Life relies on negative entropy, but evolution relies on negative entropy on steroids. Major assumption that this could rely happen.
        – The paucity of observation of beneficial genetic mutations which are also reproducible in offspring. We may see some of these, but evolution requires billions and billions of them.
        – The development of love, true altruism, etc. Of course, many evolutionists don’t believe there is any such thing as true altruism, and that love is simply biology. For those who believe it is more, it’s hard to see how evolution could have developed those things.

        There are more I could list, but that’s enough to make the point. You can have explanations for some of these things. You can even make the point that some of them certainly could have happened. I won’t argue that. The point is that a godless or deistic view of origins requires us to assume all of these things happened, it can’t prove that any of them did happen via evolution/Big Bang/spontaneous generation, and there are too many of them.

        I probably won’t continue this debate at any length. I’m guessing you’ll want to respond, and that’s ok, but I think my readers can see where I’m coming from pretty well.

        But I will respond to the part about putting stuff in other people’s mouths in a separate comment.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Jon — “The logical conclusion of a belief in evolution is that I must make myself stronger so that I can survive, even if it is at the expense of others.”

        agnophilo — ” I have never heard an atheist or secular person or person who accepts evolution espouse the idiotic, depressing garbage you are putting in our mouths.” and “So by all means believe what you want, but don’t lie about or slander or put words in the mouths of those who do not believe the same as you.”

        Looks to me like you’re the one who is putting words in people’s mouths. 🙂 I never said atheists/agnostics ever say any such thing. I said it is the logical conclusion of their belief. I have never accused atheists of being logically consistent. Never have, probably never will. 🙂

        As to the statistics, several things. First, I’d be dubious about how accurate they are. But conceding that they may be accurate, any believer who takes Jesus’ words seriously will give to the poor in secret. There will be many acts of charity which are unknown, unlogged, unannounced. Atheists may well do the same, but Christians are commanded to do it. So no statistic will ever be remotely close to a good measure of this. As a minister, sometimes you hear about these things, usually from the recipient, who may not know who gave. So you know it is happening.

        People give for a variety of reasons. Some do it to feel good about themselves, some do it so other people will say/think good things about them, some do it thinking somehow it will satisfy God and earn their way towards Heaven (as if God could be bribed or needs money), etc. Christians give because we love God and He teaches us to love others. He’s given us so much, and we want to give.

        The Bible tells us that even atheists are made in the image of God, and God is a giving God, so it is no surprise that they give. I never said they don’t. But true altruism isn’t consistent with their philosophy. Giving for a purpose (to gain respect, to improve society so you have a better living environment, etc) IS consistent with an evolutionary outlook. But true altruism, the kind Jesus taught, is not.

      • agnophilo says:

        “Fine. A deist rejects the only God who has ever revealed Himself, instead constructing a god of his own ideas.”

        Lots of gods have supposedly “revealed” themselves, thousands in fact. And a deist does not construct a god based on his own ideas, he refuses to do so. A deist believes there is a god but that that is all we can know, he does not claim what that god is, wants, doesn’t want, will do, won’t do, has done etc. Not making stuff up about god is not the same as inventing one of your own, it’s the opposite. Theists on the other hand tailor god to their own beliefs, personality and culture.

        “The god of the deist didn’t even bother to let us know what he expects of us, he just started the ball rolling down the hill and let it go. That god, then, has no right to have any expectations of us.”

        Deists don’t believe a god necessarily has any expectations of us or intervenes on our behalf.

        “That’s very convenient when you want to run your life yourself.”

        I resent this implication that so many evangelicals make that anyone who does not believe as they do does so out of convenience or a desire to sin. A deist or an atheist believes we are responsible for our own actions, and most non-theists take that responsibility very seriously which will be born out by many statistics which show non-believers making disproportionately high contributions in many areas of society, the arts, the sciences, military service, academia and so on. Theists who think they are only good because of their religious beliefs and therefore someone who isn’t religious must be selfish or wicked are like children who think avoiding punishment from a parent or seeking their approval is the only possible reason to go to bed at a reasonable time and eat your vegetables and brush your teeth. Part of growing up is learning to do the right thing for the right reason, not just because you’re told to by someone who knows better than you do. I work hard, pay my taxes, help people, am kind to people and try to improve myself because I see the value in these things.

        “Potential to falsify? That’s proof?”

        No, it’s testability. If something cannot even potentially be falsified it cannot truly be tested. An experiment must have the potential to support or contradict a hypothesis to be a valid test.

        “To prove anything, your test has to be controlled enough to ensure that no factors outside those postulated in your theory are driving the observed results. Alternatively, you can formulate tests to reach a level of statistical certainty, though it’s a little dubious to call that “proof.”

        It is impossible to control for all possible unknown variables because they’re unknown. All tests are a matter of degrees of probability, but the more tests we do the higher the degree of probability the hypothesis is correct and the lower the probability is that all the predictions came true for some other reason.

        “the evidence you cite is potentially evidence for evolution, or evidence that the One who designed us used a similar design in some ways in others of the things He made.”

        You’re comparing apples and oranges. One is a prediction fulfilled by a future discovery (along with hundreds of thousands of other similar predictions), ie an actual test, and the other is abductive reasoning, ie “if x were true it would explain y and y is true therefore x is true” which is a form of logical fallacy, since x is not necessarily the only or the best explanation for y. Abductive reasoning is not evidence, it is only useful for generating hypotheses which must then be tested. Another reason it’s a fallacy is that a common designer doesn’t necessarily have to design two things the same way at all, whereas common ancestry requires species to be similar in very specific ways and to very specific degrees. If we found a tree that had toes for instance that would completely contradict the common ancestry model which says that plants and animals split off long before the development of bony digits. Similarities in living things always adhere to a family tree pattern, and when we do see common structures on different evolutionary branches like wings on birds and wings on insects, the similarity is always skin deep, they are made by different genes, made out of different materials etc. If they were not then evolution would by definition be wrong.

        “As I said, it is not technically part of evolution but is broadly included.”

        By you and creationists, it is no more based on the same evidence or dependent on evolution (nor is evolution dependent on abiogenesis) than a certain interpretation of what caused the US civil war is logically dependent on the theory of evolution. The two are based on entirely different avenues of evidence and are in no way related to each other except for the fact that one took place before the other, which is irrelevant to whether one or the other is accurate.

        “You yourself mentioned the Big Bang, I said nothing about it. Is that evolution? Why did you bring it in?”

        I also mentioned the civil war. Does that make it a part of evolution?

        [“Fish didn’t evolve from amoebas.”]

        “This gives the impression of just arguing.”

        You said something that was inaccurate and I corrected it. How is that inappropriate? I didn’t say “you idiot” or something.

        “You have asserted that all animals have evolved from single-cell creatures. That is what evolution teaches. So replace “amoeba” with “single-cell creature.”

        Fine.

        “You ask me to list the hard to believe assumptions. Since you’ve mentioned the Big Bang twice now, I’ll include it.”

        The big bang is a conclusion based on observation, not an assumption.

        “- That an ordered universe could come out of chaos.”

        That’s chaos theory, not the big bang. And “chaos” is a nebulous concept, the universe appears to be chaotic and orderly depending on what you mean and what level of magnification you are viewing the universe from.

        “- That life could come from non-life.”

        Again, irrelevant. And not something science has concluded.

        “- That single-cell creatures could develop into the complex organisms we see today.”

        We have the fossils, it happened. How is that an assumption?

        “- That vertebrates could come from invertebrates.”

        Again, invertibrates appear in the fossil record followed by similar vertibrates. A conclusion based on evidence, not an assumption.

        “- That asexual creatures could evolve into male-female creatures. (Which evolved first, the male or the female, and how did it reproduce before the other evolved? You have to believe that both the male and the female came into being at the same time, somehow managed to find each other, and were able to reproduce. The male-female problem is probably the biggest of all. Evolutionary theory is that unused characteristics tend to be discarded, so male reproductive capability would have just faded away if female reproductive capability didn’t exist.)”

        You are thinking of male and female in purely human or at least mammalian terms, when biologically it’s just a genetic mechanism and even single-celled organisms have “sex” (ie exchange DNA), as do plants. Maleness and femaleness doesn’t require complex sex organs or mammary glands, those are evolved particulars of certain types of species and I see no reason why they would not be able to evolve like anything else.

        “- The entropy problem. Life relies on negative entropy, but evolution relies on negative entropy on steroids. Major assumption that this could rely happen.”

        The notion that entropy is a “problem” for evolution or makes it impossible is a misconception promoted by creationists who misinterpret the second law of thermodynamics which states that in an isolated system all matter tends toward disorder. The earth is not an isolated system, it has vast amounts of stored energy from meteorite impacts (molten core) and it receives even more energy from the sun every day, which if you know anything about earth science is what allows life to exist thermodynamically. Creationists insist it is thermodynamically impossible for life to build up complexity and thus evolution is impossible but if that were true it would also be impossible for babies to grow into adults or wounds to heal, which is also a buildup of complexity.

        “- The paucity of observation of beneficial genetic mutations which are also reproducible in offspring. We may see some of these, but evolution requires billions and billions of them.”

        Beneficial mutations are relatively rare (as are birth defects) but the number of mutations in a single generation of a species ranges into the trillions. Creationists claim that beneficial mutations are either impossible or happen very, very rarely when anyone who wants to can, with relatively little effort, produce experimental conditions which demonstrate beneficial mutations, especially with populations of plants, insects or microbes that reproduce more quickly than animals.

        “- The development of love, true altruism, etc.”

        Love and altruism are both useful biologically (and thus potentially evolvable), ie a parent that loves and cares for and is willing to risk their lives for their offspring will pass their genes on more likely than one that abandons their offspring or chucks them to the wolf that’s chasing them to slow it down. I see no reason that they would not evolve, I would be surprised if they didn’t.

        “Of course, many evolutionists don’t believe there is any such thing as true altruism, and that love is simply biology.”

        Many people believe humans are incapable of being “truly” selfless regardless of their views on evolution (I am not one of them). Ironically a week or so ago I argued against this point of view with a religious, anti-evolution conservative.

        “For those who believe it is more, it’s hard to see how evolution could have developed those things.”

        I wouldn’t say love is “simply” or “merely” biology, I don’t see how something having a mechanism at it’s heart diminishes it. Pain is biological, does it make it less agonizing? Why should love having a mechanism make it mean anything less? To me this is just cynicism.

        “There are more I could list, but that’s enough to make the point.”

        Listing things you don’t understand or misunderstand makes a point, but not the one you were trying to make.

        “You can have explanations for some of these things. You can even make the point that some of them certainly could have happened. I won’t argue that. The point is that a godless or deistic view of origins requires us to assume all of these things happened, it can’t prove that any of them did happen via evolution/Big Bang/spontaneous generation, and there are too many of them.”

        While it’s true that we have no direct record of the evolution of the brain because it is not hard enough to fossilize we can still deconstruct roughly when and how it evolved by comparison to the brains of species that split off from our lineage at different times. We don’t know everything about the process but we do know a lot, and what we do know isn’t negated by the things we don’t know.

      • agnophilo says:

        [Jon — “The logical conclusion of a belief in evolution is that I must make myself stronger so that I can survive, even if it is at the expense of others.”]

        I replied to this and explained why this is not true, which you completely ignored.

        “Looks to me like you’re the one who is putting words in people’s mouths. 🙂 I never said atheists/agnostics ever say any such thing. I said it is the logical conclusion of their belief. I have never accused atheists of being logically consistent. Never have, probably never will. :)”

        You’re just playing word games.

        “As to the statistics, several things. First, I’d be dubious about how accurate they are. But conceding that they may be accurate, any believer who takes Jesus’ words seriously will give to the poor in secret.”

        This is true, but ironically the social expectation sets up something called social desirability bias, which makes religious people over-report their charitable giving and church attendance dramatically when polled. By some studies when people are asked “have you been to church in the past week” as many as 50% of the “yes” responses are lies (when compared to head counts and other forms of generating statistics). That too is ironic, since jesus forbade public prayer. Other polls (which are often shoved in the face of atheists as proof of how more moral theists are) supposedly prove theists give so much more to charity when if you do the math the amount american christians say they give to charities totals more than all the charities in the US receive in a year by objective records. The same is true of volunteerism polls. And no I’m not making an argument, I just thought you might find it interesting.

        “There will be many acts of charity which are unknown, unlogged, unannounced. Atheists may well do the same, but Christians are commanded to do it. So no statistic will ever be remotely close to a good measure of this. As a minister, sometimes you hear about these things, usually from the recipient, who may not know who gave. So you know it is happening.”

        I agree, which is why I used foreign aid which is democratically decided by a society and a matter of objective public record, rather than being based on individual self-reporting which is ridiculously unreliable.

        “People give for a variety of reasons. Some do it to feel good about themselves, some do it so other people will say/think good things about them, some do it thinking somehow it will satisfy God and earn their way towards Heaven (as if God could be bribed or needs money), etc. Christians give because we love God and He teaches us to love others. He’s given us so much, and we want to give.”

        You seem to be saying that “people” give for selfish reasons as opposed to christians who give out of love and selflessness. I get that you mean “true” christians but everyone considers themselves a “true” christian. Isn’t it better to say that selfless, loving people give out of noble intent and selfish, manipulative or narcissistic people give (when they do) for selfish reasons? No religious group has a monopoly on goodness.

        “The Bible tells us that even atheists are made in the image of God, and God is a giving God, so it is no surprise that they give. I never said they don’t. But true altruism isn’t consistent with their philosophy.”

        I’ve already explained that evolution is a description of something in nature, not a moral worldview.

        “Giving for a purpose (to gain respect, to improve society so you have a better living environment, etc) IS consistent with an evolutionary outlook. But true altruism, the kind Jesus taught, is not.”

        Yeah, that’s why so many secular liberals are worried about global warming when they know it will mainly only negatively impact future generations. Do you honestly think I am not capable of caring about someone else or doing a kind thing out of concern for someone? Have you known many atheists well in person?

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Well, my friend, as I said I won’t debate this at length, and you look like you are in it for the long haul. Some of your comments are mere talking points against perceived creationist arguments that don’t actually address what I said, but we’ll just go round and round. You aren’t changing your mind and I’m not changing mine. I’m sure you think you’ve responded to my points, but you’ve missed many.

        So I’ll keep it very narrow. First:
        Jon: “The god of the deist didn’t even bother to let us know what he expects of us, he just started the ball rolling down the hill and let it go. That god, then, has no right to have any expectations of us.”

        agnophilo: “Deists don’t believe a god necessarily has any expectations of us or intervenes on our behalf.”

        Response: Can you tell me any practical difference between rejecting/denying God and believing in an absentee god?

        You came to a Christian blog, very upfront that it is written from a Christian perspective of belief in a Christian God who does have expectations. You responded to a post that links rejection of that God to evolution by asserting that Darwin was not an atheist. But deism and atheism are both a complete rejection of the God I worship and to Whom I referred in the post.

        Second:
        agnophilo: “Theists who think they are only good because of their religious beliefs and therefore someone who isn’t religious must be selfish or wicked are like children who think avoiding punishment from a parent or seeking their approval is the only possible reason to go to bed at a reasonable time and eat your vegetables and brush your teeth.”

        Response: Another “talking point.” Someone on this thread said this: “The Bible tells us that even atheists are made in the image of God, and God is a giving God, so it is no surprise that they give.” That would be me, in response to you, right above the post in which you said that.

        In fact, we are all sinful, religious and atheists alike. The good that is in us has been marred by sin. The Christian faith is in the work of God to undo that damage, and it begins when we trust Christ. But the good is neither wholly absent from the unbelieving nor unmarred in the believing.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        “Do you honestly think I am not capable of caring about someone else or doing a kind thing out of concern for someone?”

        Honestly, that you ask that tells me there are too many words in this thread, and too many words being imported into this discussion that others may have said but simply aren’t here.

        I never said you aren’t capable of caring about someone else. So perhaps we should just leave it. I’ll not close the thread. You can say more if you choose. You’ve been civil and respectful in the discussion and I appreciate that.

  6. Alexander Mackay says:

    I believe that evolution requires new functional information, now I have seen evolution of technology, buildings, aircraft, motor vehicles and such, so to me evolution exists, but every example of evolution requires an input from a designer and to me design is equal to creation. Now I will agree that science and the practitioners of science will claim that evolution holds water and there are as many who will disagree, the arguments are circular. I would also concede that evolution is not an atheistic idea, but evolution is an Ideology by which many atheists hold to in their quest to deny God. I recently watched a debate on-line between some theists and atheists one of the atheists was a Professor Richard Dawkins well known atheist and anti-religious fanatic, Professor Dawkins entire argument was based on evolutionary theory, he went on to claim that Christianity was hindering science and that any person who was studying science who wasn’t an atheist was described as deluded, ignorant and stupid. He made many attempts to debunk Christianity and Islam, and in my opinion he failed miserably at both. The theists had enough respect for science to research the scientific subjects which were included in the debate, on the other hand Professor Dawkins paid only lip service to the subject of theism. I for one do not consider atheists to be deluded, ignorant or stupid, I would not be so naive to bring such an insult. I as a Christian I do believe that many atheists are simply lost.

    • agnophilo says:

      Evolution is a functional part of our world, it is a sort of dynamic process of cumulative trial and error which may be similar to how our own minds produce creative ideas. After all an engineer does not magically solve a design problem, he has to generate many possible solutions, some of them good, some of them bad, and someone else inevitably comes up with a better solution later (thus advancing technology) Natural selection is similar, it works based on genetic mutations producing vast amounts of variations and the useful variations being passed on at higher rates than the neutral or harmful ones (like birth defects). It too produce good and bad “ideas” and is a creative process. It does not require a mind behind it just as our minds do not require a mind behind the mind to produce the ideas. There is at it’s core a basic, logical mechanism which may mirror in some way the mechanism behind our own minds’ creative process.

      • You’ve made a lot of assertions, but have given no proof. You’ve given “natural selection” an intelligent power. “Natural selection” defines processes of nature designed into it by God the designer. It is not a power in and of itself – it can’t create anything.

      • Michael Gleason says:

        Observed mutations seen in nature can indeed result in significant changes. However, observed mutations seen in nature do not create new genetic information that did not previously exist. New information requires a Designer. Natural selection can only select from what already exists.

  7. Charlie Baggett says:

    I’m not going to argue about whether evolution is true or not, it would be pointless because we’re never going to agree on that, but I did want to respond to what you said here:

    “And my belief tells me to care for the weak, to help the poor, to love my neighbour. Perhaps not all Christians do those things as well as they should, but it is the logical outworking of what I believe. The logical conclusion of a belief in evolution is that I must make myself stronger so that I can survive, even if it is at the expense of others.”

    (I tried replying to the comment directly but there was no reply link.)

    There are non-religious people who are kind and caring and charitable too and they don’t need the Bible to tell them to be that way because that’s not about religion, it’s about being a decent person. The Bible isn’t the source of goodness and morality, the majority of people can be good people without being told to be or with the fear of going to hell or the promise of heaven forcing them to be that way.

    Belief in evolution is about the past, not the present/future. It’s an explanation of how we came to be what we are now, not an instruction manual on how we should live our lives. I really think you’ve misinterpreted the whole “survival of the fittest” term and projected meaning onto it that isn’t actually there.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Charlie. We only have comment nesting three deep here, so to reply to a third-deep comment, you just have to go up to the nearest “reply” button above it.

      You are, of course, 100% correct that there are non-religious people who are kind, caring, and charitable. But those behaviours are not consistent with how evolution tells us the world works.

  8. agnophilo says:

    “Adaptation is NOT molecules-to-man evolution.”

    The fossil record goes back 3.4 billion years, we know there was a time when there were only single-celled organisms. You can say those organisms were created but we know that life evolved from them because it left traces.

    “Adaptation can not be extrapolated to claim that dinosaurs turned into birds, or that apes descended into humans.”

    Not by itself perhaps, but there are many lines of evidence supporting the idea of common ancestry. Like 24 known species of dinosaurs with feathers, some with wings. And not just wings, but wings that have the specific intermediate traits not found today which darwin predicted, like separate digits. And we have a ton of intermediate hominid fossils. And if you know what “ape” means you know the term still includes humans, the same way the term “mammal” includes humans. You scoff at the idea of our being related to other apes when our closest relative shares 95% of our genes and extinct ones like neanderthals actually bred with humans, we have some of their DNA in us right now. How are we not related to them?

    “The problem with science starting at the current and extrapolating to the past, is that it has to be done with suppositions and assumptions. To then declare it as fact is not science, let alone honest.”

    Science doesn’t work that way, it is based on tests and predictions. Scientists posit a possible explanation and then only accept it once it’s undergone rigorous repeated tests and intense peer review. You are claiming that evolution hasn’t undergone any scrutiny or tests either out of ignorance or a desire to justify a position you see as being in conflict with the theory, but that’s simply not the way science works. “It takes more faith to accept evolution” is a good talking point, but it’s not true.

    “In fact, you again said, “we do know that it evolved.” NO, you DON’T know that, because no one was there to watch it”

    If you come home and there is a pile of cinders where your house was that morning but nobody saw what happened is it a mystery? Or did your house burn down? The standard that eye witness testimony is the only valid form of evidence and forensic science doesn’t count is arbitrary and ridiculous.

    “”and there is no factual evidence for it.”

    That is either ignorant or dishonest.

    “All you KNOW are the speculations and assumptions, none of which can be proven.”

    Again, tests and predictions not speculation and assumptions.

    “The fossil record gives no dates, has no dating tags on them, and all dating methods are based on unprovable speculations.”

    The fossil record is in the geological column which contains rocks that formed during different eras, the age of which can be cross-confirmed by 18 different forms of radiometric dating. It also contains the history of ice ages, mountain formation, various forms of sedimentation and erosion, volcanic eruptions and other things which do not happen quickly. Not to mention that when we go from the lower layers to the higher ones we see the gradual appearance of every trait we find in nature today in species that do not exist today. You are free to ignore that, but it’s not speculation, it’s facts, and facts which can be predicted using evolution science.

    “The Big Bang, by the way, is getting less and less credibility because there is too much which it doesn’t explain.
    http://cosmologystatement.org

    It’s a big universe, and we don’t fully understand it. Do you think scientists pretend to understand things like dark matter or inflation? These names are place-holders for things we do not yet understand.

    “But Christians who support a “big bang” are usually speaking of a single instance of creation and the start of time, not a singularity of some physical phenomena which started all by itself.”

    The actual scientific theory does not even attempt to say where the singularity came from or say anything about there being or not being a god.

    “And a priest is Catholic, and Catholics do not represent the Christian faith. Catholics long ago compromised and accepted Darwinism.”

    I’m sure they’d say the same about you. Everyone thinks they’re the only “true” christians, even the KKK. Realistically I’m sure everyone’s got it at least a little wrong.

    “Natural selection” is descriptive of a process – it is not a power with intelligence making trial and error experiments.”

    It isn’t conscious but it can produce the same results as conscious experimentation, solve problems, re-design things. Because if you try ten random things (or ten million) and one works, and there is a mechanism for selecting the successful attempt, it doesn’t matter if that mechanism is a mind saying “yeah lets go with that one” or an environmental selective pressure, the result is the same.

    “What I mean by nothing you say about evolution is factual is that there is no evidence for
    anything in regards to evolution.”

    Then why do over 99% of even the christian scientists accept it? Are they all stupid?

    “To take adaptation and claim that it can be extrapolated to molecules-to-man evolution is 100% speculation and assumption. There are no facts to support it. You can give me all the links in the world, but you will not find one with a fact about evolution. You will find only speculations, assumptions, and assertions about what happened when.”

    I’ve already given you evidence, to be unconvinced is one thing but to claim there is no evidence is either dishonest or outright delusional.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Let’s avoid statements like the last sentence, please.

      Even if your statements were supported, that would not be within the keeping of the commenting guidelines here. Many of your statements are unsupported (99% of Christian scientists, for instance, or 3.4 billion years, for another — there’s absolutely no way to have any kind of certainty on those dating methods).

      You may be a “science nerd” who has taken a particular interest in the subject, but I studied physics and chemistry (Washington University in St. Louis) and actually know something about those dating methods and the assumptions on which they rely. You won’t find any physicist who knows anything who would bet any significant amount that 3.4 billion years is within even 25% of accurate, and many think the dating methods are absolutely worthless. If you’re going to throw around “dishonest or delusional” you’d better face up to the fact that you’re making statements that are highly dubious.

      • agnophilo says:

        “Let’s avoid statements like the last sentence, please.”

        Can we also avoid ignoring each others’ statements?

        “Even if your statements were supported, that would not be within the keeping of the commenting guidelines here. Many of your statements are unsupported (99% of Christian scientists, for instance,”

        http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_publia.htm

        “or 3.4 billion years, for another — there’s absolutely no way to have any kind of certainty on those dating methods).”

        The earliest layers in the geological column contain only fossils of single-celled organisms and never contain things like human remains, modern species or DNA. Even if you ignore the 3.4 billion year figure there is still a record of life on earth.

        “You may be a “science nerd” who has taken a particular interest in the subject, but I studied physics and chemistry (Washington University in St. Louis) and actually know something about those dating methods and the assumptions on which they rely. You won’t find any physicist who knows anything who would bet any significant amount that 3.4 billion years is within even 25% of accurate, and many think the dating methods are absolutely worthless.”

        Even if it has a 25% margin of error that doesn’t make it worthless. I googled radiometric dating, clicked on the wiki article and the first method I looked at said:

        “The uranium-lead radiometric dating scheme has been refined to the point that the error margin in dates of rocks can be as low as less than two million years in two-and-a-half billion years.[13][18] An error margin of 2–5% has been achieved on younger Mesozoic rocks.[19]”

        2-5%, not 25%.

        “If you’re going to throw around “dishonest or delusional” you’d better face up to the fact that you’re making statements that are highly dubious.”

        It is one thing to say you’re not convinced by the evidence but to deny any exists is absurd. Trillions of fossils may not be enough to convince you but they are evidence. Genomic sequencing may not be enough to convince you but it is evidence. Species exhibiting traits from their ancestral past in the womb and having DNA for traits they do not exhibit at any time may not convince you, but it is evidence. And so on and so forth.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Listen, your link simply doesn’t say what you claim. Even if it is accurate, it says 5% of all scientists hold to a creationist view. So where in the world do you get 99% of Christian scientists? It isn’t even 99% of all scientists.

        And guess what, I don’t believe wiki on anything controversial, and radiometric dating is controversial. The fact that you call on wiki tells an awful lot. I’m glad science is a hobby for you, but a scientist wouldn’t do that for something in his field.

        You’re taking what you’ve been told on faith. You don’t actually know any of this stuff. You’ve not done the experiments, you’ve not done the base research. Sorry, but that’s actually pretty obvious.

    • Agnophilo,

      The fossil record goes back 3.4 billion years
      Assertion with no proof. All dating methods are based on assumptions, and if the date found does not give what is looked for, then it is tossed.

      we know there was a time when there were only single-celled organisms
      No we do not. No one observed it. It’s just an assumption base of evolutionist dogma.

      we know that life evolved from them because it left traces.
      No we don’t know this. More assumptions and speculations based on dogma.

      there are many lines of evidence supporting the idea of common ancestry.
      Assertion with no fact. Common design is a better hypothesis.

      Like 24 known species of dinosaurs with feathers, some with wings.
      Lots of assumptions. “Dinosaur” means “terrible lizard.” There are no lizards with feathers. Having “wings” means nothing – flying squirrels have wings. Pterodactyls and similar creatures are not lizards or birds.

      we have a ton of intermediate hominid fossils
      Only assertions that they are, with nothing really found except either ape type or true humans. And “ape” only includes humans in the evolutionist world.

      Neanderthals bred with humans because the were fully human.

      True science does work as you say, but evolutionism doesn’t. It makes assumptions based on speculations based on evolutionist dogma. No facts, no rigorous peer review based on evidence (just speculations).

      If I come home and a pile is cinders is where my house was, that is verifiable, bonafide in the present informational facts. Fossils aren’t like that. All they tell you is that they were once something living and there are no date tags, genealogy tags, etc. All that is added by evolutionist bias.

      I am neither ignorant nor dishonest about evolutionism. I have been studying it for decades and as yet have found no factual data. Just like here, you have provided nothing factual.

      There are no tests for evolution because it happened in the past if it happened at all. You cannot see it happening. Predictions are made on assumptions and speculations from the evolutionist’s bias.

      The fossil record is used to date the geological column (and in no place on earth is it like the standard chart) and the geological column is used to date the fossils; that is called circular reasoning. Radiometric dating is based on too many assumptions – for example, all we have is the current amount of the material to be tested and an assumption must be made to decide how much it started with so as to come up with a figure of how many years have gone by to decay; who is to say that the element tested for past decay wasn’t the original amount!

      The earth-covering flood Noah rode through explains all the deposition of layers and fossils around the world. Your assumptions are based on uniformitarianism rather than positing the idea of cataclysm. You hold on to only one idea because it fits your ideology. And, by the way, it isn’t as nicely layered as evolutionists make it out to be – too often what is supposed to be “younger” is above the “older,” and then there are polystrate trees which penetrate several layers in the “geologic column.”

      Yes, Catholics may say the same about me, but every protestant will tell you as I did, and if you ever take time to read the Bible and compare it to Catholicism (or visit my blog where I examine it) then you would learn that Romanism is a corruption of the original church. That is why there was a Reformation. True Christians are identified by their adherence to non-negotiable doctrines.

      You kill me. You continue to say what “natural selection” can do and everything you say it can do requires an intelligence behind it. It only works by loss of information – it doesn’t add more information.

      If all the world accepted that it was right to kill Jews, would that make it right? And, no, not “over 99% of even the Christian scientists accept it.” What did you do, just make up that figure?!?!

      No, you have not given evidence. You continue to make assertions based on assumptions and speculations undergirded by your evolutionist world view.

      I’m still looking for facts – real evidence that isn’t just asserted.

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