Re: The Genesis Factor

David Campbell (
Mon, 10 May 1999 13:58:13 -0400

>1) The Lord himself warns us to test the fruits of every doctrine before
>we accept it as being true (Mt.7:15-20). On this basis - as I'm sure
>you'll agree - evolution has a poor track record. This alone, in my
>view, should be a major deterrent to all who accept Christ as the way,
>the truth, and the life. [To those who will point to the many bad things
>perpetrated by the Church, past and present, let me say this: wherever
>and whenever the Lord's teachings have been properly applied, great
>goodness and blessing have followed].

Actually, I would disagree. Whenever biological evolution is properly
applied, the result is an understanding of biology and paleontology. Any
metaphysical (e.g., moral) results involve at least infusion of some
metaphysical idea.

To use a non-controversial example, physics and chemistry can be used to
tell me how to build a nuclear weapon. I need something else to determine
whether this is morally proper, and science cannot provide that.
Evolutionary biology can tell us what is likely to be a genetic success or
failure and what the physical consequences are likely to be. What is a
morally proper use of these ideas is again, another question.

The metaphysical premise "Anything that promotes one's evolutionary fitness
(i.e., the proportion of one's genes in the next generation) is morally
acceptible" would produce lots of bad results. However, this is a
metaphysical premise, not evolution. It also has never been advocated by
anyone, in part due to some of the behaviors thereby condoned, but also
because it does not favor its adherents against other people. If I adopted
this as my moral guidance, I could advocate oppression of people who do not
resemble myself, in an effort to put myself ahead of them. However, they
are equally justified in oppressing people who resemble me. Thus, the
popular purportedly evolutionary metaphysical systems are altered from this
to favor their adherents.

Eugenics, some racism (Nazism, for example), social Darwinism, and
communism all claim to be evolutionary. However, they all have the premise
that "Anything that promotes MY evolutionary fitness is morally
acceptible." For those not on the inside, this premise is actually
contrary to the premise that everyone should promote his own evolutionary
fitness. Also, these typically claim that one should seek the purported
good of the group over one's own good. Again, this is contrary to personal
evolutionary fitness for many. Someone with a genetic disorder, for
example, is regarded as inferior by most of these systems, so that he
should refrain from reproducing (if not from living). Obviously, this does
not help him spread his genes.

If I believe that biological evolution is the primary means by which the
God of the Bible created the present diversity of living things, probably
from a single common ancestor, then the resulting moral conclusions will be
to love the LORD my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to
love my neighbor as myself.

The other way in which evolution is frequently claimed to support bad fruit
is claiming that "because we are evolved from animals that do such and
such, we should do it too." This is simply bad logic. We physically
cannot do many things that animals can do, in addition to the insertion of
the absurd moral premise that "anything animals do is morally acceptible
for us". Also, the evolutionary connections are often not sound. For
example, "Chimps are promiscuous so I can be too." Unless I am also
inclined to live in the jungle without a house, eat live termites, and
otherwise follow their example, then I am obviously not being consistent
but merely seeking an excuse. Also, certain details of their reproductive
habits are such as to make most people reluctant to copy them in exact
detail; rather, the chimps are misrepresented as behaving how the speaker
wishes to behave. Another fallacy often used in such arguments is "it is
in our genes, therefore it is OK." Genetic determinism is not true, and
genetic propensities can be good, bad, or neither.

Thus, the science has no moral fruit whatsoever. Purported moral fruit of
evolution is no more valid than the purported bad fruit of Christianity.

>2) The Lord warns us further that we cannot serve two masters (Mt.6:24).
>Are you not aware that evolution carries with it a subtle imperative?
>How else can we explain man's enchantment with it? As far as the TE is
>concerned it is, moreover, the dominant master!

Biological evolution itself has no imperatives. Even the scientific data
itself requires metaphysical imperatives of "it is important to learn about
the world and inform other people about what you learn", "what we can
detect with our senses informs us about the world", and "it is important to
tell the truth" in order to motivate its collection and dissemination.

As a scientific idea, biological evolution has the appeal of a successful
theory. It makes predictions (we should find transitional forms, we should
find increasingly simple forms further back in the record, things that seem
closely related by one line of evidence should be similar in other ways,
etc.) that are widely confirmed, so scientists believe it to be useful.

On the other hand, muddled concepts of biological evolution and Genesis
1-10 have been widely used to try to discredit the Bible. We are sinful
but do not want to admit it, so excuses for dismissing the Bible are always
popular. However, this is a misuse of both science and Genesis.

>3) I am troubled by the clear statements (Gn.1:20-25) that birds were
>created before land animals. How do you accomodate this fact within a
>divinely-ordained evolutionary process?

I am troubled by the clear statements that creation took six days (Gen. 1)
and one day (Gen. 2:4) and that forty-nine years is one day (Lv. 25:8)
unless I conclude that the days of Gen. 1 are not referring to time. Of
course, it would also be possible for God to have evolved birds from
aquatic ancestors; however, the evidence from creation is against that.

David Campbell

"Old Seashells"

Department of Geological Sciences
CB 3315 Mitchell Hall
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill NC 27599-3315

FAX 919-966-4519

"He had discovered an unknown bivalve, forming a new genus"-E. A. Poe, The
Gold Bug