10 Misconceptions about Evolution

(system) #1
One of the difficulties people have with coming to accept the science of evolution is that they have absorbed incorrect or only partially correct information.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/jim-stump-faith-and-science-seeking-understanding/10-misconceptions-about-evolution

(Gregory) #2

Misconception #11: Evolutionary theories are limited and exclusive to the natural-physical sciences.

People who hold this view categorically block out from their ‘science and faith’ conversation many disciplines in today’s universities that actively apply ‘evolutionary’ language and themes. The considerable discourses of sociocultural evolution, evolutionary economics, technological evolution, Darwinian literary studies, sociobiology, evolutionary psychology* and evolutionary philosophy are left silent as if they don’t matter or are just best ignored.

Thus, Malthus’ and Spencer’s ‘evolutionary’ theories are overlooked, while Darwin’s are over-hyped. Dobzhansky’s and Fisher’s views are treated peripherally on the topic of ‘science and religion/faith’, while Lewis H. Morgan, Edward B. Tylor, William G. Sumner, John Dewey, Julian Huxley, Joseph Schumpeter, V. Gordon Child, Talcott Parsons, Julian Steward, Leslie White, Elman Service and Donald T. Campbell are ‘not even peripheral’. One shouldn’t expect any treatment of Gerhard Lenski’s, Boyd and Richerson’s, Stephen Sanderson’s, Tooby and Cosmides’, Steven Pinker’s, Geoffrey Hogdson’s, Elliot Sober’s, Jared Diamond’s, Alex Mesoudi’s or Francis Heylighen’s current ‘evolutionistic’ work at BioLogos anytime soon; after all, they merely deal with ‘human evolution’ in their work. :wink:

The term ‘evolutionary epistemology’ shows ‘No results were found’ in the BioLogos search, whereas it is a major theme in science, philosophy and theology/worldview discourse. And it connects readily with ‘cognitive evolution’, also a topic not on BioLogos’ intellectual radar. How far will (physical) anthropology, biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy and cosmology by themselves without any ‘humanistic’ discussion get BioLogos in promoting evolutionary creationISM primarily to evangelical Christian USAmericans?

BioLogos’ view of ‘science’ appears to be naturalistic rather than (religiously) humanistic; meaning that the only sciences it focuses on are ‘natural-physical sciences’ (with the possible exception of James Kidder’s anthropology, though his approach to anthropology seems to be strictly natural-physical too), with an extraordinarily heavy concentration on biology & genetics. Thus, the gigantic personal questions of human change, meaning and purpose are left out of the conversation…that is, until theology enters, almost entirely without reference to anthropology, psychology, sociology, economics, politics, philosophy, philology, etc.

Misconception #11 restated: no other varieties of ‘evolution’ (change-over-time) than what natural-physical scientists study matter very much for the conversation involving ‘science and faith’.

Perhaps BioLogos will eventually help clear up this misconception.

Misconception #12: Some people mistakenly think that ‘evolution’ is a single, unified, coherent science; that there is a plainly identifiable field of study called “the science of evolution”.

At the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1996, Pope John Paul II expressed the misconception this way, saying “rather than the theory of evolution, we should speak of several theories of evolution”. http://www.firstthings.com/article/1997/03/004-theories-of-evolution It may just take time for some peoples’ communicative language in science, philosophy and theology/worldview discourse to catch up.

*some attempt seems to now be made to Christianise eVo psych through the BioLogos grants program, but results when presented here previously were highly questionable

(Patrick ) #3

Thank you for the link to the video for Misconception #4 - No new information can be added. The video explains it nicely for a genome. I studied information theory as it relates to communication systems but couldn’t figure out how to relate the laws of information theory for communication codes translated to genetic codes. The video explained the biology well without the need for the complex math of information theory entropy.

(Martin LaBar) #4

Thanks for the post. You did a good job with the Misconceptions.

For what it’s worth, I wrote a post, some time ago, related to Misconception 9, namely “I just READ Genesis 1 - but you INTERPRET it,” which may be of interest to those who read your post. It actually concerns more of Genesis than Genesis 1. It is an attempt to respectfully respond to those who say that they take the first part of Genesis for what it plainly says.

(GJDS) #5


“… many disciplines in today’s universities that actively apply ‘evolutionary’ language and themes.”

This is one of the most difficult areas when discussing the subject of “evolution”, because when a term becomes used to speak of a vast number of human activities and natural sciences, it virtually becomes meaningless, or it can mean whatever the user wants it to mean.

Often 'change over time", or “unfolding over time” may be a better use of language than “this or that evolved…” Take as an example, the phrase, “buildings of 2-5 stories evolved into skyscrapers with more than 50 levels”. We would understand this but we would not accept a theory termed “evolution of buildings” as if it were a scientifically examined theory. Similar treatments of the evolution of the Universe is a poor use of language, and instead we are developing models of how the Universe began and unfolded into what we presently observe. When the term is used for both the natural sciences, sociological sciences, medical sciences and biological sciences, as I said before, it becomes almost meaningless, or it can be taken to mean “the arrow of time” to such discussions, which would take us to teleology. Add theology to this long list, and I can understand why people would be confused and discussions become meaningless.

The only positive comment I can make is to suggest people agree to a definition of “evolution” and then stick to using this without deviating to other areas. I prefer to discuss the “Darwinian paradigm” for biology, and use “evolution” in a general sense to discuss human activities as they may unfold to us. I cannot see any value in using “evolution” for the physical sciences, nor medical sciences, and I think using the term within theological discussions is simply ludicrous.

(Frank Ankersly) #6

I find it quite interesting that the article in question was developed as essentially a line of straw-men theories for the author to attack. And even more interesting that he failed to follow the basic scientific method in his article…

• “Arguments” 1 & 2 are little more than simple sophistry.
The over-simplification of arguments against the evolutionary positions are themselves riddled with error and assumption (such as the assumptions of 6-7 million period of the ‘line leading to chimpanzees’, and the “25 million years ago” regarding humans and “Old World monkeys”).

Questions: does anyone else notice that the premise/bias from which the author starts is that of an ancient earth (>50 million year old) ? Does anyone question this?

There are numerous issues with a universe dating more than even 15,000 years, (never mind 1 million or 10s of millions, as he so conveniently tosses out).

  • the burn rate of the sun (based on observed science, the sun is burning/decaying at a set rate; if you roll the clock back more than even 15,000 years, the size of the sun would necessitate that the earth would’ve been uninhabitable - what about 50k yrs, or 100,00yrs ago?!)
  • the author makes a few biased jumps to saying humans come from chips/orangutans/monkeys (using generalizations rather than fact), but bases his arguments on a theory of DNA relativity (ie., that Human DNA is 98%-99% closely tied to that of various chimps/apes/etc). Guess what - pigs are almost as closely (98%)… Dogs are in the 85-86% range, mice - around 80%… This is an argument based on INFERENCE, not on deductive logic.
    in fact, if one were to deduct ANYTHING from the “DNA relativity” idea, one could deduce that all these life forms were designed similarly, or by the same designer… This would be much the way that one could look at a line of BMW cars, inspect their engines, chassis, frames, etc, and deduce that they were probably all designed by the same team of engineers, as they are quite similar in setup; and in comparison to say GMC, one would deduce the same, but one could compare the two and logically deduce the two groups of brands have quite similar DNA (engine, transmission, 4 wheels, doors, etc, but are in fact designed and built on separate continents)…
    The bias from which the author starts quite heavily taints his discussion,and it would have been wise to begin his straw-man attacks by actually providing a statement that he is unwilling to approach the argument in a scientific manner, because he succeeded wildly in his endeavor (intentional or not).

•. (thermodynamics ‘disproves’ evolution).
another straw man… nice.

    - the "law of thermodynamics" is unable to 'prove' or disprove anything. It is in fact a logical deduction based upon observed science:  entropy tends to increase over time, in every component of a closed system. But it cannot prove or disprove anything.  

     - More importantly, he seems to neglect that in fact the sun's energy AND the universe as we know it ARE in fact a closed system.. Yes of course the earth itself  is not 'closed', but one would be incredibly naive to speak in terms of the universe as an open system while attempting to argue away anything metaphysical (ie, an omnipotent being outside who poured energy in).
     - additionally, he makes the point in the last 2 sentences that the system IS closed, and in fact IT IS INCREASING IN ENTROPY (ie 'things are running down').. perhaps he might retract that thought?

• “new information added to DNA thru natural process”.
ah, yes, the old argument that DNA strains are decreasing in entropy, increasing in quality, having positive genetic mutations then passing those thru gene duplication, and (despite not a single solitary scientifically observed instance for example) evolving into a different species or kind… If only we could wish ourselves into a better world - who’d need a Savior, if we could just say it happened without a shred of evidence??!
I’m sorry, but the fossil record is quite clear that in fact the DNA chains HAVE INCREASED IN ENTROPY, there are no clear records of transition from one kind to another (and trust the scientists - they WOULD BE ECSTATIC TO SHOW YOU IF ONE EXISTED), and yet we still trot out these same unqualified arguments as if they are fact.

• Evolution is a theory in crisis…
nope. it’s not. There are a million suckers born every day, a million others who are happy to see if PT Barnum’s argument is still valid, and yes, still more millions who are simply too intellectually lazy to investigate the facts for themselves. The dear author has nothing to worry about - there are thousands of intellectually lazy folks (many of them attending churches near him) who would rather feel good about their current fad flavor of evangelifish religiousity than actually study and understand the facts.

• “transitional fossils”

  1. Here’s where I give him kudo’s… he outright gave up on this argument, polished that pile of feces by renaming it to ‘intermediate’, and hoped it’d be ignored.

a quick side note: did anybody else look at the fossil photo on the article and wonder where it came from? Please note that EVERY TIME you see a fossil record which has ANY SORT of soft tissue record (ie., any recording of anything non-bone), it is an argument FOR a cataclysmic event, and its very existence corroborates the flood of Noah. It does not in any way corroborate an ancient earth theory. NOT AT ALL. (there are 10-20 different logical reasons for this, which I won’t waste time here going thru, but I find it quite humorous that the very photo used by this guy is in direct opposition to the basis of his theories).

Transitional fossils do not exist in the fossil record.  Why not??  Consider the following:


  1. the earth is millions of years old

  2. all these various ‘evolved’ lines exist

  3. there are supposed records of ‘earlier’ evolved lines

Then why do we not see numerous examples of transitions? The transitions would have to count in the MILLIONS or BILLIONS to have successfully evolved from one species to another. Surely one dumb apething could’ve fell off into a mudpit and be preserved as well as the giant mastadons we have found out in the western US?? Why can’t we find a single one??

• "evolution is historical science and can’t be tested/confirmed"
Sadly, the author has approached this entire straw man argument from a point of utter bias, showing his own false hypotheses in the process.

  • the very basis of his examples pre-suppose that world-wide cataclysmic events NEVER took place (ie., noah’s flood), despite the evidence & documentation of numerous massive regional events even in the past 2 centuries, the nearly universal story being passed down for millennia in numerous unrelated cultures of a worldwide flood, and the evidence for a cataclysmic event of worldwide proportions (this week alone, a well preserved Whale has been discovered high up in a CA mountain) - http://io9.com/a-well-preserved-whale-fossil-has-been-discovered-on-a-1732304484
    do I suppose these pieces of evidence are “proof” of a short earth or of Noah’s flood?? No. but the facts most certainly tend to corroborate the hypothesis.

• “Evolution is Man’s word”

  • well, actually, yes, evolution is, of all theories on the history of the world, the VERY youngest, and as such is most certainly an idea generated by man. The ancient Mayans, the Greeks,the Romans, all the 6 or 7 great ancient empires would laugh at the sheer naivete shown in these unsubstantiated postulations.
    Therefore one SHOULD question whether or not the Word of God (which is actually the central focus of the authors attack) has anything to say on the matter…

  • Could the author show ANY biblical support for evolutionary process in scripture? (he didn’t, and his lack of biblical references should give pause to consider his validity)

  • Does scripture point TOWARDS or AWAY FROM a young earth?

  • Does scripture lend credibility to or against inter-kind transition?

I find it fascinating that the ONLY time the author referred to Scriptures was when he grossly divorced phrases from their context to make arguments on his behalf. I’m sorry sir, but 1 Samuel 2:8 is a PRAYER of a woman worshiping God. It’s not a theological dissertation, but rather a point of praise and worship… unless of course you also want to infer from 1Samuel 2:1 that Hannah has a horn (in which case we need to consider your sanity in addition to your lack of facts). Good grief, at least practice a mere SMIDGEN of integrity in your practice of hermeneutics.

In fact, when one looks at Scripture, the plain reading of Scripture DOES support an intelligent Designer creating a universe in a short time period, it is corroborated by the fossil record, it is corroborated by numerous pieces of evidence, and this should lead us to ask deeper questions.

"• Scholars accept evolutionary creation out of desire for advancement"
Good question. Yes, it’s known that Bethel parted ways with the author. Yet, it could well be argued that on the other hand that academics at Princeton, Yale, Harvard, (and numerous other previously religious institutions) took the opposite direction out of the desire for professional advancement, leaving only a very few handful of biblically rooted schools to hold onto some old-fashioned idea that the Word of God is actually true.

  • Questions a thinking person should ask himself:
    Why does one feel the need to ‘reinterpret’ Scripture, in an effort to make scripture “agree” with “scientific consensus”???
    This leads one to a deeper question: IS science settled??
    (if one is really placing this much value in scientific consensus, please remember that less than two centuries ago, “settled science” concluded that the negro [black man] was not human, and this was even taught in churches and places of higher learning… perhaps all ‘science’ isn’t settled???)
    The same ‘settled science’ taught us some other whoppers - that the practice of blood leeching was healthy, and that smoking was good for the respiratory system.

  • If in fact we evolved over millions of years, why is there evidence of sin at the beginning?
    why don’t the fossil records show us a panacea of perfection before sin?
    Why does sin exist, if there was not an original Adam and Eve and sin?

  • Why is the historical account of the lineage complete from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Jesus, and why do these lineages show a total of around 4500 years?

  • If God wanted us to believe that He created the world over millions of years, why did He wait until 2,000 years AFTER JESUS CAME, to show us this new divine explanation? When Jesus was here on earth why didn’t He set the record straight? Why are we to believe this over say, Joseph Smith, who also claims to have received new revelations?

  • Why did Jesus refer specifically to Abel, Noah, Lot, Jonah, and why did He specifically quote the Torah numerous times, if these were not real, actual, specific times and places?? IF Abel is a fable, then Jesus is a liar, and ALL of the Bible is invalid. Jesus subjected HIMSELF to Scripture, and as such, validated the authority of the Word of God. Why does the author not hold the same respect for the authority of Scripture? Specifically, Jesus attacked his contemporaries who did NOT regard scripture as the Inspired Word of God, to such an extremity that He warned them that EVERY TINY BIT would come to pass.

  • As “settled science” continues to evolve (ie., we learn more about the universe thru the scientific method, and thereby refute/reject previously held positions of “settled science”), why do we CONTINUE to NOT find evidence which refutes the Biblical narrative of creation? Why don’t we find ‘missing link’ fossils? Why do we find large amounts of fossils bearing soft tissue impressions (which would corroborate a sudden world-wide cataclysmic event such as the Flood)?

  • Why do we continue to find oddities in fossil records, such as the finding of supposedly VERY OLD fossils higher up in strata, and relatively complex/recent fossils deep down in other layers? Should this fact make us question the premise of the layer-based dating theory?

  • Why do we continue to use such natural anomalies as the Grand Canyon as “evidence” for a long earth, when the recent OBSERVED SCIENCE of rapid erosion and regional reshaping of the Mt St Helens area has shown all previously held ‘science’ regarding this shaping process to be utterly fallacious?

edit: my apologies for the various font changes - for some reason the site seems to reinterpret tabs as new fonts?

(James Stump) #7

I’m not claiming that these are good objections to evolution, merely that there are people who hold to them. It is not difficult at all to find real people who have advanced these lines of argument. The fact many anti-evolutionists don’t hold them does not mean that they are not misconceptions held many other people (sorry for all the negatives in that sentence!). Right?

(Gregory) #8

Well, Jim, Since the OP is about ‘misconceptions,’ I hope you’ll allow that BioLogos also could hold some.

One example: I am against evolutionism and so, officially, is BioLogos (Questions). Yet, I am openly and unashamedly, as a scholar, an ‘anti-evolutionist,’ meaning that I take a position anti-evolutionism. That does not mean, however, that I am anti-evolution, particularly in the biological sciences. This indicates a significant and meaningful difference.

Alternatively, BioLogos seems to misconceive of the difference between ‘anti-evolution’ and ‘anti-evolutionism’ because many of the BioLogos leadership consider themselves (theistic) ‘evolutionists’ who somehow nevertheless claim to be against ‘evolutionism’. Can you please clarify this?

If that doesn’t make sense to you, Jim, just think of how much less it makes sense to us. BioLogos is officially anti-evolutionism: https://biologos.org/common-questions/christianity-and-science/biologos-id-creationism/

How about start with this: Are you/do you consider yourself a(n) (theistic) ‘evolutionist’, Jim or not? This thread is about evolution (in strictly natural-physical sciences), not about evolutionism, right?

(James Stump) #9

Yes, you’re right Gregory. When the -ism in “evolutionism” is understood to mean “this theory can explain everything”, I’m wholeheartedly anti-evolutionism. If only everyone would use terms consistently–including me! Thanks for the clarification.

(Gregory) #10

Thank you, Jim. So, does this mean, since you are anti-evolutionism, that you are an anti-evolutionist too? Or does it mean you have a different idea of what “is understood to mean” ‘evolutionism’ and ‘evolutionist’ than what I’ve just expressed? Glad to be of communicative clarity service.

(sy_garte) #11

Gregory, I think it might help to clarify some things about the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection. (TOE). That theory, often abbreviated as “evolution”, is a biological scientific theory that applies solely to the diversity and origin of biological species. It does not apply to telephones, car styles, clothing fashions, or anything else, which also change over time. The reason this is so is that Darwinian evolution requires a number of strictly biological properties, including death, inheritance, variation, and a mechanism to link genotype to phenotype. In other words, it is a very technical theory that applies only to life as we know it on Earth. So when people talk about evolving cultures, or evolving ideas, (memes included) they arent dealing with the TOE. Evolutionism, the idea that the laws of the TOE apply to everything, or even to anything not biological is scientifically invalid.

To illustrate this a bit, the targets of natural selection are organisms. The targets of selection for technological changes (like phones) are not the phones, but the marketing analysts at the companies making the phones, who are conscious intelligent designers (meaning artificial instead of natural selection is at play here). This is why Jim can logically claim to be anti evolutionism while being an evolutionist. (as am I).

(sy_garte) #12

As a biologist, I can only address a few of your points. The homology between the DNA sequences of different mammalian species is indeed high. We do in fact share many genic sequences with dogs, pigs, mice as well as with other primates. But the deduction of common descent of man from the primate line, (rather than say from dogs or pigs) comes from some specific evidence in the details of those sequences. These include common pseudo genes, rearrangements of chromosomes (#2 in particular) that show strong evidence for a historical connection, and other details that are best explained by common descent. Could all of this have been done by God? Yes, but to what purpose?

As for entropy, of course the Earth is subject to entropy, as are all of us. (Having a toddler in the house is the best proof of the second law). But thermodynamics states that energy can overcome the trend to higher entropy, and we are subject to a huge supply of energy from the sun, which is why life can flourish and increase in complexity. As for increasing information from mutations, I have long been puzzled by the creationist claim that that is impossible and never seen. Where does that idea come from? It is quite simply and clearly wrong. Increased information from mutations are seen all the time, including in laboratory experiments, even in my own laboratory. Sorry, that idea needs to be simply scrapped.

(Patrick ) #13

Never heard this one before. Care to show me some physics on this. I’m at 4.567 billion year old for the age of the sun. And another 5 billion years until it runs out fuel. Can you help me see the mistakes in the nuclear reactions?

(Larry Bunce) #14

A study in 1979, not published, and withdrawn by its authors, showed that the sun was shrinking by 5 ft. per hour, based on measurements of solar eclipses since the 18th century. Astronomers analyzed the data and discovered that the sun’s diameter oscillates on an 80 year cycle. If the sun were constantly shrinking as fast as originally thought since the beginning of time, its diameter would have exceeded the earth’s orbit 20 million years ago.

(Frank Ankersly) #15

First let me apologize - i had my multiplication off… by a factor of 1,000.

The model of sun size decay is based on measurements taken over a 400 year period, and there are several views taken in the interpretation of the data. one can be found here…

In doing the math again (based on an average of the 2 main possible decay speeds), the size of the sun (based on current models of universal orbit, planetary alignment, and a handful of other factors) would’ve had the earth touch the surface of the sun around 15 MILLION years ago (not 15,000, as I did the math incorrectly).

That said, if the earth was close enough to touch the sun even 100 MILLION years ago, how does one account for the 100s of millions of years necessary for a life-sustaining climate for all the various flavors of evolution as currently postulated?

a bigger picture question should be considered, IMHO: what biases/assumptions is the observer carrying, when he approaches the question, which influences his question and his answer?

There are (as we all know) multiple dozens of ways to interpret the data derived from most scientific observations, and this covers 1 or 2 of them.

Obviously the nuclear process of the sun has multiple factors -it should (at one point) necessitate EXPANSION of the diameter, at other points a decrease, although these could be cyclical, and there should also be an overarching decrease over the long-term (if one considered all of history to be a closed system) from beginning to end.

There are several other base assumptions which should be considered, when making broad age-base assumptions regarding the age of the earth (whether you take input from a factor such as this or not)…

My studies in this over 35 years have led me to believe that much of the time our interpretation of known/available data points are the real problem. Yes we often get bad data ( for example, the early studies done on determining the amount of dust falling n the planet yearly, which has had to be scrapped repeatedly, due to improper/fallacious methods of acquisition)… But more often than not, the data may be closer to reality, but the problem begins when we approach the question from the incorrect angle…

(Frank Ankersly) #16

"I’m not claiming that these are good objections to evolution, merely
that there are people who hold to them. It is not difficult at all to
find real people who have advanced these lines of argument. "

James, I’m a bit confused here. You seem to be putting these out as your ‘top 10’ of arguments, but in fact most of these are really described in high-school level arguments against evolution, and certainly not neither fitting for a serious discussion of origins or as a way to bolster the OEC flavor of the week that Biologos seems committed to.

It seems a bit odd to me that the arguments are really more as a straw-man flavor, rather than actually finding and discussing the factual data behind them. Surely BL has some scientists who could refute them?

I’m sure you’ve determined I am a believer of the YEC model, but the fact is that so much of the data proposed by BL is riddled with holes that it’s quite challenging knowing where to start.

For example: Taken from “Common Questions”

According to Young Earth Creationism (YEC), a faithful
reading of Scripture commits Christians to accepting that the earth is
young, between 6,000 and 10,000 years old. YEC claims that Scripture is
not compatible with the idea that humans share common ancestry with
other life forms on earth, and most YEC proponents feel that evolution
is a direct threat to Christianity.

• Define “common ancestry”.
•Why does BL assume that a close DNA structure = common ancestry?

  • this assumption (logically) seems to require an ancestral tree (ie, man descended from other kinds).
    IF that is your definition of 'common ancestry"
  • why not assume a common designer instead of a common ancestry? a CD view (common designer hypothesis) is much more valid when looking at the actual observed data, than a common ancestry.

You don’t have clear-cut evidence of that flavor of ‘common ancestry’, and in fact the strongest fossil records are sketchy at best (we may have nearly intact fossils of various other creatures, yet we have yet to find more than a minimal (sub 5%) fossil record of a skeleton that is “neither human nor ape” (ie., a missing link).

The actual SCIENCE and scientific data as currently observed doesn’t support a common ancestry (lack of links between kinds, lack of huge amounts of fossil groups which would’ve been necessary, and much more), but yet BL seems committed heavily to make base assumptions on such unsupported theories. why?

(Patrick ) #17

That’s okay, we are a factor of a 1000 closer, now we are only different by another factor of a 1000.
You are at 15 million and I am at 4.567 billion. I will got back and redo my calculations and you do the same. We can probably get closer in agreement.

(James Stump) #18

The “common design” argument has never been persuasive to me. On the assumption of evolution, the fact that the skeletons of horses, bats, dolphins, and humans are nearly identical (bone for bone), is not surprising; it is surprising on your assumption that God used the same design plan for animals that gallop, fly, swim, and walk upright.

But then beyond that, if God had wanted to use the same design plan but leave compelling proof that common ancestry is false, using different codons for the same amino acids would have been the ideal place to do it. That would be almost unexplainable on the assumption of common ancestry. But in closely related species, the codons are the same.

I understand that you are committed to a particular interpretation of Scripture, and therefore you need to get the science to support that. If you’d admit that, we could have a more productive conversation. The fact that there aren’t any non-Christian scientists who defend a young earth position should raise questions about what is driving your scientific conclusions.

(Gregory) #19

“Jim can logically claim to be anti[-]evolutionism while being an evolutionist. (as am I).” – Sy Garte

Sorry, Sy, but that doesn’t make sense linguistically. If a person rejects evolutionary theory, they are technically anti-evolution. If a person rejects evolutionism, they are technically anti-evolutionism. And if a person is an evolutionist, they accept the ideology of evolutionism, not simply (biological or economic, etc.) evolutionary theory. If a person accepts evolution, they simply accept limited evolutionary theory, not necessarily also the ideology of evolutionism.

You are only an ‘evolutionist’ if you accept ‘evolutionism.’ That is why I am an anti-evolutionist; because I am ideologically anti-evolutionism, not anti-evolution. If you personally choose not to acknowledge those ‘other’ fields wherein ‘evolutionism’ is forged, as I have shown carefully in this thread, it doesn’t automatically make them therefore not exist. Please don’t blame the amazing exactness of the English language for this.

Thus, your basic linguistic choice has failed, Sy. This says nothing at all about your levels of competence or communication strictly in biological sciences. Would you be willing to reconsider how you communicate generally about evolution, evolutionists and evolutionism, given this very specific (and well researched) advice?

In this thread on misconceptions, Jim is caught linguistically because evolutionists logically promote evolutionism. Likewise, BioLogos is caught by both defending and rejecting ‘creationism’, i.e. in calling themselves ‘creationists’. Sorry if that’s uncomfortable; it’s nevertheless just realistic.

(Steve Schaffner) #20

There is nothing in linguistics that dictates what the word “evolutionist” must mean. Solely from the principles of linguistics, it could mean “one who accepts biological evolution”, or “one who accepts an all-encompassing ideology of evolution”, or “one who likes the taste of cayenne pepper”; words mean what they’re used to mean, and nothing else. In actual usage, “evolutionist” carries both of the first two meanings. Its use in the first sense can therefore be criticized as being unclear, but it is not incorrect.