Evolution has both random and non-random processes. The random processes are
mutation & variation, but the nonrandom process is natural selection. By
weeding out the "unfit" variations & mutations, natural selection is a force
pushing for improvement. It gradually moves each population of animals
towards the best fit to its environment. The current generation of coyotes
is probably the smartest yet, for example, because its chief enemy, Man, has
ruthlessly weeded out the dumbest, most trusting ones, by gun, trap , &
poison. Wolves & tigers & bears have done less well.
Richard (ugh) Dawkins explains all this well in his book" Climbing Mount
Improbable". Of course, he goes on to argue that since natural selection
can "design' better living things without someone to oversee each step,
therefore there is no Designer. Kenneth Miller agrees with Dawkins about the
power of NS, but disagrees with his no Designer argument. Miller argues that
God may intervene in a way subtler than we can now detect to influence
evolution in a direction that would produce Man, or at least some creature
that could bear the divine image. Others could argue that God influenced
human evolution more directly.
I myself do not like definitions of evolution that describe it as "
undirected" and "impersonal". With all due respect, how do these atheists
KNOW this ? an ant in an ant farm might think he got there out of an
undirected process. That's about how we compare to God. I would push for
softer language like " apparently undirected" or "impersonal in the opinion
of some" in these definitions. The definition of National Association of
Biology Teachers uses" natural" and "unpredictable" instead of "undirected"
and "impersonal", which kind of leaves a little more room for God. Read
their statement at
In short , Wally, I agree that the current definition of evolution as a per
se undirected process is what is driving a lot of opposition to evolution,
even from folks who are not fundamentalists. After all, conservative
fundamentalists are only 20 per cent of the population but 44 per cent of
all Americans reject evolution. Most of the rest say God used evolution to
create Man, so most of the people who accept evolution DO NOT think it is
necessarily undirected. Lets get these atheistic presuppositions out of the
definition. Maybe the ASA could come up with a definition that at least
respects the beliefs of a majority of Americans.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On
Behalf Of Walter Hicks
Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 1:08 PM
To: Jan de Koning
Subject: Re: Science Education and the Church
Jan de Koning wrote:
> The term "evolution" does NOT evoke purposeless. I don't know were you
> that idea from. Nothing is purposeless in this world. Everywhere and in
> every subject, God is involved. Just taking one word out of context to
> it is involves purposeless and is therefor against God is very
> dangerous. It might mean that other words are for God? We know
> better. We know that none of our works is sinless. I find the searching
> out one word, and saying it is against God a dangerous business.
> Personally, I find it extremely dangerous when certain Christians take
> one theory and declare it against God and His Christ, and by doing so
> estrange many students from the Christ of Scriptures. I met several of
> these when I was still teaching, who were on their way out of the church,
> and thus out of community with Christ, because somebody told them that
> were not Christians if they "believed" in "Evolution." My answer took
> weeks of talking, but came down to: "Do you believe, that our faithful
> is trying to fool us in nature?"
It is often said to me that people "talk past" one another on this list.
I certainly have to agree with that. I did not make up the notion that
random mutation plus natural selection was the evolutionary theory. That
was Darwin's idea, not mine. In talking about the secular world, I like
to use secular documents. They are ones that are used to teach our
children in public schools. Here is a quote from an encyclopaedia on the
" Darwin's theory of the evolution of species through natural selection
starts from the premise that an organism's traits vary in a non
deterministic? way from parent to offspring, a process
called "individuation" by Darwin. This theory does not make any
specific claims as to how this process works, although more recent
scientific discoveries in genetics explain several
mechanisms that occur in the process of reproduction: in the case of
both asexual and sexual reproduction, random mutation (including DNA
transcription errors); in the case of sexual
reproduction (which mixes the DNA of two parents into an offspring),
gene flow and genetic drift are also important mechanisms. Competition
(typically among males to impregnate
females) for mates produces sexual selection - a process which Darwin
considered secondary to ecological in most species."
Note the term "random mutation".
The fact that Christians disagree is no surprise. Of course we do.
Unfortunately, most disagree by saying that man was directly created by
God some 10,000 years ago. When I talk to anyone who disbelieves in
evolution, it is because the above definition of evolution is the one
that think is meant. Hence, they elect to believe that evolution is not
You really do miss my point, Jan. I am trying to say that if the above
theory is what is taught in schools (and it is), and then Morris and
other Christians accept that definition, the ball game is lost. The
correction has to be a scientific one, acceptable for non-Christian
schools --- not a theological one that cannot be taught in public
schools. There is adequate scientific reason to do so, but it will
happen only if we try.
This is not to discredit anything that you say, Jan. I agree completely
with you and George, that God is in control and His methods are whatever
He wishes. I wonder if He wishes that we would make an effort to correct
the current secular notion of evolution. Maybe not.
Walt Hicks <email@example.com>
In any consistent theory, there must
exist true but not provable statements.
You can only find the truth with logic
If you have already found the truth
without it. (G.K. Chesterton)
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