An engineer asks: Who understands evolution?

Hello everybody,

i am new here, but it was my pleasure to meet some of you already.

On regular basis, I am accused of not understanding evolution. The user Stephen Matheson is a good example… He accused me multiple times, however, he never answers my questions…

I am an engineer, and indeed, i have to admit i don’t understand your theory of evolution. I am trying to understand, i read a lot, but it is not easy … the theory is changing all the time, a lot of contradictions, a lot of very absurd just-so stories … really not easy to understand…

So, let me ask a question (i put this question to Stephen too, but he just ignored it):

If i don’t understand evolution, how many of you (including Stephen) do understand how evolution works?

Here is the reason why i ask:

I have noticed, that a year ago, there was a science conference, in Royal Society London, around 300 scientists from around the World were present, it took 3 days…

“The World’s Top Biologists Have Met to Discuss Whether We Should Update Evolution”

“… a team of researchers has now proposed an update to our current understanding of evolution - one that could completely shift our understanding of how species evolve.”

so, when i see such headlines, and someone like Stephen accuses me of not understanding evolution, so what should i think?

Stephen, i will ask you again, are you sure you do understand?

Could someone finally comment on Royal Society Meeting? It seems to me, like nobody wants to talk about…

Martin, I understand it fairly well for a layperson. But I have an undergrad degree in biology and a med school education in cell and molecular biology and microbiology. As others have suggested, you would benefit from sitting with a biology textbook to better understand evolutionary biology. You are obviously a smart guy. I would walk through it with you if there weren’t others here more qualified to do so. You will need to get past the false dichotomy between evolutionary biology and design. I have been immensely blessed by this realization.


Who understands evolution?
Michael Behe does. Read “Darwin’s Black Box” and “the Edge of Evolution”.
Jonathan Sarfati does. Read “The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution”
Douglas Axe, “Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed”

That should get you started.

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thank you Jason, honestly… you are a nice guy.

However, i am an 21st century engineer … i know what i see … and i know what these guys have… basically, they have nothing… their theory is flawed like hell and “absurd in the highest possible degree” … Jason, i do my biology study, and the more i do, the more i am convicted that all these things were designed … of course, these things were design to adapt, to a certain level… i don’t know what the level is… but this designed adaptation - these guys mistaken it for evolution of kinds …
That is why they can’t show us common ancestors …not a single one… they just draw pictures…

Yep, I’m sure.

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great, you understand, but you won’t answer my question why there is a need to update the theory…

Royal Society Meeting, London, November 2016

tell me, are these ‘the versions’ of the ET taught in schools?

The other thread demonstrates why I don’t think discussing evolution with you is a good use of my very limited time. Fortunately for you, there are abundant scholarly resources available to you, at no cost, so you can explore the Royal Society meeting, its attendees, their work, the work of their colleagues and critics, and countless other opportunities to learn the most basic facts about evolutionary theory. Your writings on the other thread show that you lack even a basic understanding of the biological topics you love to write about.

Since you are now at the level of taunting me about whether I understand evolution, I will leave you to your task of learning about the things you claim.


“Update” means adding new observations and mechanisms, not overwriting previous ones which are “no longer working” or something like that. That happens in virtually every area of science, if everything there is to know about q subject was exhausted, then scientists could just stop working and go home. If we extend your logic to these other areas, then basically every single scientific theory in existence is “bad science”, since scientists are still studying and trying to “update” them with new discoveries.


Stephen, alright, i got it, i don’t understand evolution, you said it like 10 times, 5x yesterday and 5x today…

will you finally answer my very simple question?

why there is a need to update the theory of evolution ?

it is a very very simple question … why the Royal Society Meeting ?

Why in 2014, secular scientists James A. Shapiro (Jerry Coyne’s colleague) and prof. Denis Noble launched a project called THE THIRD WAY OF EVOLUTION?


have you heard of the THIRD WAY OF EVOLUTION project?

Martin, you apparently maintain a rather imperialist view of professions in which engineers reign supreme, and are able from their uniquely objective perspective to pass quick judgment on all other professions and areas of expertise.

Can you not see what breathtaking arrogance this is? It would be like me walking into a hospital and thinking I can critique the knowledge and practices of a cardiac surgeon just because I have a working knowledge of physics and mathematics.

One of the marks of philosophical and intellectual progress is when a person becomes aware of how much they don’t know, and how misleading their own common sense can be and has been about so many things. Leading figures in each field are often the ones who show the most humility about the limitations of their knowledge. It appears you have nothing but confidence in the unlimited scope of your engineering sensibilities and assessments. Such a confidence is professionally necessary when you design a bridge for people to drive over; but it is not serving you well as an appraiser for what other very smart people can and have done in entirely different professions.

Can you at least agree that as Christians, we should have built right into the heart of our faith a call to humility about what we ourselves can and cannot accomplish and know? I think you have some of that humility even if you don’t often let it show through your words here. I sure appreciate a lot of other people here who are a lot smarter than I am and very patient to come down to our lay level. I learn from them, and I think you do too. But their patience can wear thin, I’m sure, when you are constantly telling them “they have nothing.” At least consider that maybe they have answered your questions, or in some cases perhaps you have asked questions that are more just statements in disguise that just disregard or insult others that do know a lot more about it than you give them credit for. Just words for thought.


@martin_r, Brian answered your question above – no need to pester Stephen about it. As you say, it’s a simple question and was given a simple answer. Please try to engage with that before asking it again.


“Explain evolution to me” is kind of like coming on to an internet forum and saying “Explain calculus to me.” If you want to be able to understand technical journal articles, you need more than a cursory description.

Lucky for you, BioLogos provides a free introductory course. How about you complete it, and check back when you can ask more informed questions and understand the answers scientists give you?


No, but if it is trying to do major overhauls in the basic postulates of evolution, I doubt it is taken seriously by mainstream scientists. Evolution is not my direct research area, but I have never seen a paper proposing something other than aditional mechanisms that do not contradict previous ones (at least not the central ones).

Those are ID writers and at least here in the US ID is NOT taught in public schools. They may attack evolution but I would not take everything they say about the theory to be correct.

For a book about evolution written by someone who knows evolution you could try “What Evolution is” by Ernst Mayr. Or as Christy suggests use the resources that are available here.

From the site:

Pardon the pun, but The Theory of Evolution is constantly evolving. This doesn’t mean the theory is broken, wrong, or should be thrown out. There are many different mechanisms that are involved in evolution so the theory has to be expanded as new ones are discovered. It is the normal course of scientific discovery.

To make an application to your field, when a bridge collapses the result is not throwing out all we know about how to build a bridge. An analysis is done to identify what went wrong and the collective knowledge of how to build a bridge is expanded.

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it is a project launched in 2014 by James A. Shapiro (Jerry Coyne’s colleague) and prof. Denis Noble (co-author of pace maker)

Have a look at the project’s title page

these are secular scientists, they don’t doubt evolution, they doubt neo-darwinism… also some strong words about natural selection …

These guys sound like intelligent design advocates… (they are not, they have a disclaimer on their title page)

Bill, too late, i know who these guys are… i know US creationists, ID advocates, i know them all… not in person of course…

Bill, too late, look at my other posts, i clearly state that these guys have this disclaimer on their page … i know that THE THIRD WAY are secular scientists, but sound more like intelligent design advocates…

@martin_r, I do not understand evolution in the details either, and unlike engineering where you can put a number on everything, biology is messy with multiple factors involved, some of which are poorly understood, though more and more stuff indeed can be quantified as discussions here have shown me.

ID tends to put God’s action in those unquantified factors, and perhaps He is an active force in there, but that is more philosophy than science. EC people do see the beauty of God’s handiwork in the evolutionary process and creation, so that aspect is not the exclusive domain of the non-EC crowd.

I admire your desire to better understand, and wish you (and the rest of us) well in the process.

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