Re: Social problems and evolution

Russell Maatman (
Tue, 10 Mar 1998 09:32:17 -0600

George Murphy said on Monday, March 09, 1998 8:18 PM

> Russell Maatman wrote:
> > One thing that particularly bothers me when it's assumed that physical
> > similarity between human beings and animals, living or extinct,
> > evidence for the descent of human beings from animals. Rather, I want
> > assume that God creates in a way so that whatever it is, it "fits" into
> > this kind of universe. So DNA similarity or any other kind of
similarity is
> > no more than an indication that it was created to fit. That argument
> > not _rule out_ descent, but neither does it prove such descent.
> >
> > My simplistic example: Moons, planets, and stars are spherical. Why?
> > obey the laws of this universe. We'd be a tad surpised to find a
> > planet. There may well be "descent" among moons, planets, and stars.
> > descent could not be proved by the fact that each such object is
> But we understand why a sufficiently large body should be
> approximately spheroidal - the surface must be an equi[potential for
> gravitational + centrifugal force so there's no force tangent to the
> surface. We don't know any reason why the particular genetic code homo
> sapiens uses should be the same that other organisms use. Admittedly
> there might be such a reason other than common descent, but until there
> is another plausible suggestion, common descent is the best explanation
> we have.
> George

George, suppose someone says to you that the gaps in the fossil record
exist because God created groups of living things separately and that there
are no fossils to be found in the gaps. This is a typical YEC argument. You
might--at least for the sake of the argument--concede that there are some
"missing links" between groups of fossils. But you would probably add that
those links might be found, and then the "god" of the other person becomes
a bit smaller. You'd be correct. Every time God is invoked to fill in for
our ignorance, and later we find that we really didn't need God for some
supposed gap in our knowledge, our "god" would diminish. Too many
Christians have gone down that road.

In our discussion of human evolution, you seem to depend on as-yet-unknown
mechanisms to link the human race to other hominids. Aren't you falling
into the same trap as the person who invokes God wherever there is a
mystery? That person says our ignornace points to divine action; you seem
to be saying that the fact we are presently ignorant about a gap tells us
some scientific discovery will be made in the future. In the one case,
ignorance is proof that God acts; in the other, ignorance indicates a
mechanism will be found in the future.

I'd rather go back to my original point. Genetic and structural similarity
cannot be proof of descent, given that the organisms are subject to the
same physical laws. There is, of course, no "god of the gaps"; our God is
active in whatever happens. And we simply do not know that mechanisms
presently unknown will be discovered, or are discoverable.


Russell Maatman
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