Re: [asa] Microevolution

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Fri Sep 19 2008 - 07:22:24 EDT

Jon Tandy wrote: "the special "image of God" nature of humanity"
Could you define this a bit more carefully please Jon? I've never seen anything like it, but I regularly note the usage of the biting phrase 'the nature of' especially when it comes to discussing humanity. What I mean is why did you choose the adjective 'nature of' rather than something like 'spirit of' humanity or 'character of' humanity? Some would say it is not our 'nature' but our 'spirit' which makes us special (as distinct from [other] animals). Please don't call this 'mere equivocation' and dismiss my concern with a wave of the hand. It makes a BIG difference to the meaning of your argument as a whole and also to the concerns of creationists who are employing the dichotomy of micro- and macro- in their argument. 
For example, Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote about 'the biological basis of human freedom.' Yet this is a reversal of the top-down explanation commonly given in the Christian tradition in which he lived. So you now had a bottom-up explanation (similarities with Marxism rather evident) whereas a responsible orthodox (or Orthodox) spiritual interpretation would likely still ascribe freedom not to biology, but to another source. Don't you think? This imo gets closer to the heart of micro- vs. macro- challenges than appeal to any single academic discipline. According to your categories, it fits into d., which you call a 'religious claim.'
As an aside, the last time I was in a room full of IDists the topic of 'microevolution' and 'macroevolution' came up. None of them knew that the terms were coined by Russian entomologist Yuri Filipchenko in 1927. Then Paul Nelson used the micro- and macro- division to argue against Darwinism / neo-Darwinism, i.e. the common micro- Yes, macro- No. Later I asked him if he'd ever thought to look to economics as a model for his argument - both micro-economics and macro-economics are widely accepted fields. He said that sounded interesting. Anyone think he'll look into it?)

--- On Fri, 9/19/08, Jon Tandy <> wrote:

From: Jon Tandy <>
Subject: [asa] Microevolution
Received: Friday, September 19, 2008, 7:38 AM

It seems that most of those today who are anti-evolution based on a literal reading of Genesis are willing to accept "microevolution" (which they define as variation within species or possibly change between species, but not at higher levels).  This morning I thought about several claims, which I think are generally held.  The first, second and fourth claims are religious, the third is scientific (not saying that any of the claims are necessarily correct).
a. If God declared his creation "good" and "finished" in the first two chapters of Genesis, then evolution's claims that species can adapt and change over time contradicts a literal reading.
b. God created the various "kinds" and told them to reproduce "after their kind", which is taken to mean that there can't be change between species.  They continue to reproduce according to how God created them originally.
c. All mutations are detrimental.
d. Evolution of humans from apes and other animals with common traits as humans puts humans on the level of animal, and nullifies the special of humans who were made "in the image of God".
However, given that microevolution is accepted by creationists, what does microevolution entail?
1. Species can mutate from their originally created "good" condition.  This means that the creation was not "finished" in Genesis 2, but continues to adapt and develop over time.
2. Natural selection along with mutation can be observed to cause species to develop in beneficial ways for their perpetuation, which means that natural selection must be accepted by anti-evolutionists as a viable mechanism for positive change within or between species.
3. This means that not all mutations are necessarily detrimental or "bad".
4. If a given species can change over time so that it produces entirely different "kinds" of entities, to me this undercuts the whole idea of animals always necessarily reproducing "after their kind" (meaning within the same originally created "kind").
5. Just as humans share common, apparently inherited characteristics with other animals, humans are also made of the same atoms and chemicals as all the rest of creation.  If chemistry and particle physics don't contradict the special "image of God" nature of humanity, then why should common biological elements be considered any differently?
Thus, acceptance of microevolution (which is tacitly acknowledged by most creationists) requires acceptance of the possibility of beneficial mutations and natural selection and fundamental change from God's originally created "kinds".  Acceptance of the common chemistry within the human species is equivalent to the common elements of biology.  Thus, all the above arguments against macroevolution seem to be contradicted by logical comparison with microevolution.
Does this line of reasoning make sense?
I realize this still doesn't answer the belief that "kinds" include not only species but genus and maybe even family, and some allow for microevolution within groups larger than the species.  In response it is asserted that the creationists' definition of "kind" is ad hoc and inconsistent, meaning simply "all the areas in which I don't want to admit the possibility of macroevolution."
And of course another line of evidence is the biological data showing not only change between species, but between families, orders, and even phyla.
Jon Tandy
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Received on Fri Sep 19 07:22:58 2008

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