RE: [asa] Microevolution

From: Jon Tandy <>
Date: Fri Sep 19 2008 - 10:03:11 EDT



As you know, words have many meanings. "Nature" could mean "made of natural
stuff", and it could just mean the "character of". It was the latter sense
in which I used the word. And I think I would characterize my current
feeling on the subject as you said, that the "image of God" must refer to
our spirit, and/or the special relationship and responsibility bestowed upon
humanity by God. Since Genesis says that mankind was created from the same
"dust of the earth" as the animals, it would seem not to be a special
inherent and inherited biological characteristic that sets us apart as
having the "image of God". Another point might be that because "God is
Spirit", then our being in his image would relate to the spirit.


Jon Tandy


From: [] On
Behalf Of Gregory Arago
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 6:22 AM
To:; Jon Tandy
Subject: Re: [asa] Microevolution


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


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


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


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 10:03:37 2008

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