Re: evolution method

Mark Phillips (mark@ist.flinders.edu.au)
Mon, 21 Dec 1998 00:10:25 +1030

Dear Andrew,

> I was wondering how different folks felt about separating the
> theory of descent from common ancestors from the different
> mechanisms named as the motors of evolution. From a christian
> perspective I am comfortable with the idea of an unbroken chain of
> life from simple to man but would still like to remain uncommitted
> on darwinism as some present it. Do the believers on this list who
> really grasp biology feel that the evidence for descent and the
> mechanisms themselves are logically separable or is this wishful
> thinking?

I am not an expert myself, but the position you present is basically
the same as my present beliefs on the question.

the notion of "common descent" from that of "mechanisms to explain
this common descent".

My understanding is that there is quite strong evidence for "common
descent" whereas evidence for the theory that natural selection is
responsible for this common descent is not so obvious. However, I was
challenged on this point recently by a young earth creationist. He
claimed that the fossil record shows that that animals have pretty
much stayed the same throughout history. I suspect the evidence says
otherwise but not knowing a lot on the subject, found it hard to
refute him. Is there anyone here who could outline the evidence for
common descent?

Cheers,

Mark.

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