Random Apologetics – Evidence for Evolution

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Topic randomly selected from a list of apologetic questions.

#52. What are the key pieces of evidence for evolution?

Earlier I talked about the implications of evolution. Now I’m going to take a brief look at the key evidences for it. I cheated & googled this – what are you going to do about it?

1. Ancient Organism Remains

We’ve found fossils, bones, insects in amber, petrified wood, and even ancient animals preserved to this day in ice (I recall not too long ago some villagers in Russia were eating a preserved mammoth).

So what do remains tell us about evolution? By their existence alone, very little; but they are the primary evidence from the past that we have to work with. Dating methods can tell us these remains are very old, but that alone doesn’t prove evolution. I believe the case for evolution from organism remains involves arranging them sequentially to form a kind of pattern. So if we can see that the oldest remains are generally the most simple forms of life, & the newer remains are generally the more complex forms of life, this corroborates the idea that all lifeforms are related, with the more complex forms having evolved from the less complex forms.

Of course, this pattern only corroborates the theory of evolution. In other words; it doesn’t rule evolution out; but neither does it indicate that evolution is true.

2. Fossil Layers

I would think fossil layers are a component of ancient organism remains, but I suppose it is a particularly important part of the case for evolution. Fossils are found in sedimentary rock because it is formed by adding layer upon layer of dust, dirt, & debris (including dinosaurs). We know how sedimentary rock is formed (well, I don’t; but I know what scientists say – I guess that’s going to have to do because I’m not going to get a science degree) & we can see distinct layers of sedimentary rock, indicating different conditions, sediment materials, etc. This helps compare various strata (distinct layers).

Fossil layers help to compare ages of fossils. When dinosaurs are always found below elephants, it suggests they lived & died much earlier than elephants did. I don’t know if we actually find any elephant fossils, but I don’t care. You get the idea.

3. Similarities Among Living Organisms

Here’s the main point, in my understanding. Look around. There are a number of distinct body types. Zebras, donkeys, and horses are quite similar. Chimps are very similar to humans. It seems natural to suggest that similar animals are related in some way. With genetics, we can see that similar animals have similar DNA.

All of this corroborates very nicely with the theory of evolution, but again there doesn’t seem to be any positive evidence. If God were to create all animals in a day, and He wanted to make two kinds of animals that were very similar, wouldn’t you expect Him to use similar DNA?

But I think there’s a little more to it than this. Scientists claim they can identify copying errors in genes in humans that are the same in some primates supposed to be relatives. If this is correct, this would seem to be positive evidence for evolution. This is where it helps to be an evolutionary scientist. How are the rest of us supposed to take claims like this? I try to give the benefit of the doubt & if possible go with the majority opinion

There is another factor when you add geology into the picture. For example, I’m sure you’ve noticed that certain continents form a very obvious jigsaw puzzle. If we suppose that, for instance, Africa & South America were once joined (& how can we not suppose this?), we can then look for similarities in plant & animal life in those two areas. It turns out (so I’m told – remember, I’m not a scientist), that you have a very peculiar similarity in some plant & animal life between those two far away continents. If plants & animals were simply randomly distributed, there should be arbitrary similarities (for example between south africa & Alaska, or Germany & Australia), but what we seem to find are similarities between regions bordering each other, and regions that were clearly at one time bordering each other. Very peculiar, in my mind.

4. Similarities of Embryos

I guess the similarities of embryos goes along the same lines as above, so I’m not going to get into this too much. It strikes me as not particularly odd that various animal types would develop from nearly identical embryos; whether evolution is true or not.

Ask the Doctor; maybe he knows

So there you have it; 4 factors that are seen as strong evidence of evolution. If you were trying to figure out whether I believe in evolution or not, you may have been frustrated. I am skeptical of evolution in general, however there are aspects I find compelling. It seems to have some explanatory power, but significant holes. Since I know that God exists & is the creator, I know that all life being related is not too difficult for Him, but I can’t figure out how it works & I’m not particularly worried about it. On the other hand, creating everything distinct is perfectly reasonable as well.

Random Apologetics – Implications of Evolution

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I’m going to take a break from the evidence for the existence of God series I’m working on & shift gears for today.  Mrs. Igniscient found this list of 65 apologetics questions every Christian parent needs to learn to answer.  I am a Christian parent; therefore, if my logic is correct, the author of the list is suggesting that I need to learn to answer all 65 of these.  I didn’t read through the whole list, but it looks like fun, so I’m going to start picking questions off the list.

Since the questions are arranged by subject, I think this will be more interesting if I choose the question randomly, so I’m going to do this scientifically – by rolling an 8-sided & 10 sided dice… or die?  No, I don’t think dying will help.

And…

#56: What are the theological implications for an acceptance of evolution?

Hmm… I’m starting to think the scientific approach may be flawed…

Ok, so I guess I’ll start with a brief definition of evolution.  I assume the topic is specifically biological evolution, as the word can be used in relation to a variety of issues in science & just about anything else that changes (that’s a lot of stuff).  So as I understand it, biological evolution is the theory that over vast amounts of time, species have changed into new species through purely natural causes; and thus that all modern life can be traced back to one (or several) original lifeforms.

So, what are the theological implications of this?  Most notably, this would eliminate a literalistic interpretation of Gen. 1-3.   I’m actually pretty comfortable with this, as I already don’t think the purpose of Gen. 1-11 is to accurately record ancient history.  For me there is no serious theological issue with evolution.  This doesn’t mean I accept the theory; I do not feel that I understand the theory or its proposed mechanisms well enough to judge the scientific merit of the theory; but I remain doubtful.  In any case, whatever way God did create plant, animal, & human life on Earth is ok with me.

I’m sure I raised more questions than I answered, but I’m satisfied with that.  I’ll deal with those questions another time.