Problems for THeistic Evolution

Date: Sun Jun 01 2003 - 13:56:56 EDT

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    My wife and I got a big belly laugh out of comments made about my
    views in the June PSCF by my friend Bob Newman. The article, Robert
    C. Newman, "Some Problems for Theistic Evolution, PSCF
    55(2003):2:117-128 is an excellent article. I thought I would make a
    few comments.

    First, like many anti-evolutionists, Newman appears to think chance
    and design are incompatible. He writes:

    "Has God so hidden himself that humans could not detect his activity
    anywhere in the history of life on earth, not even by statistical
    means?" p. 118

    I would point him to an upcoming article by Gordon Simons and myself
    in Sept PSCF entitled Random Worms. Without giving away the story
    line, Gordie and I (mostly Gordie) analyzed the statistical structure
    of gene orientation in many different organisms. What we found was
    that the lower organisms appeared to be less randomized in their
    statistical structure than were the higher organisms, fruitflies,
    nematodes etc. The technical details of our work will be published
    in Journal of Theoretical Biology. Volume 222, Issue 4, Pages 407-530
    (21 June 2003)

    The PSCF article examines the role of chance in God's creation and
    the bad theology of dismissing randomness in the world.

    Bob further writes:

    "On the other hand, marine life, particularly those sorts having hard
    body parts not soluble in water would presumably leave a pretty
    complete record. In any case, the actual fossils that do survive do
    not appear to be an imperfect record of the sort of gradual process
    DArwin envisioned." p. 121

    No matter how many times one points out that there are transitional
    forms, anti-evolutionists deep six the concept and deny it happens.
    Take a look at

    The microfossils clearly show a gradual transition.

    Bob further writes:

    "For the higher cateagories in the biological classification sscheme,
    the separations between categories are hundreds or thousands of
    mutations, so we should have hundredds or thousands of large
    intermediate populations which are nearly as capable of leaving
    fossils as their ancestors, and descendants. This we do not see, and
    it is a scientific problem for all forms of gradualistic
    evolution--whther theistic or not." p. 121

    This idea that all evolution must entail hundreds of thousands of
    mutations is not seen in the data. Look at:

    for information on the Monkeyflower in which only 8 mutations can
    change the flower from a bumblebee to a hummingbird 'designed' flower.

    Bob writes:

    "As a matter of fact, the fossil record pictures life as something
    like a large series of bushes, with the major body plans for the
    animals all being formed in the brief period known as the Cambrian
    Explosion." p. 122

    This violates the genetic information which indicates that lineages
    extend way back into the pre-cambrian. I have just read a book, In
    the Blink of an Eye, by Andrew Parker. I will write a review of PSCF.
    This book advances the idea that the explosion was caused by the
    evolution of vision. His thesis on the Cambrian explosion is the
    only one I have heard that actually answers all the questions. Thus,
    this would bring into question the idea that the major body plans
    "formed" during the Cambrian explosion. They merely took on armor to
    protect themselves from predators who could SEE them.

    I was gratified to see Bob on p. 123 argue for a position I have long
    argued for, that is that Genesis teaches that the LAND and Water
    produced life. God did it through secondary processes. And I was
    gratified to note that he acknowledges that the phrase 'after their
    kind' says nothing about reproduction.

    I think the best part of the article is when, in his exegesis of
    Genesis 2, he says:

    "It seems that nephesh represents a breathing being, and hayah is the
    usual adjective for 'living,' so that Adam becomes a living,
    breathing being. The implication is that Adam was not alive before
    this happened, even though hsi body had already been formed." p. 124

    He then criticises thous evolutionary positions in which Adam is a
    special creation as conflicting with this exegesis. I absolutely
    agree with this. But then it seems a bit contradictory to call my
    view 'quirky' (which I got a huge laugh out of) when it is the only
    view that actually fullfills his own exegesis.

    He writes:
    "For other versions in which Adam is descended from apes but is still
    a real special creation, the only problem is the remark in Gen 2:7
    about Adam becoming a living being. This has been handled by Glenn
    Morton in a satisfactory (though quirky) way by suggesting that Adam
    was a non-viable mutation of an ape that consequently died but God
    brought to life again. All these views come unter the category I call
    'Adam-type' theistic evoution. I see no large exegetical or
    theological problems here." p. 124

    It is clear from genetics that we share many of the same gene
    histories and pseudogenes with the chimp. No rational person can deny
    this. My question is this: Is there any other scenario which can be
    advanced which has Adam's body made prior to the 'breathing' and
    which still explains the genetic connection with the apes and the
    need for the strange creation of Eve?

    I know of none. But if it is quirky to advance theories that
    actually match the facts, then I remain

    Quirkily yours

    Glenn [qui R. ky] Morton [my middle initial really represents the R
    in Quirky. :-)

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