I’ve recently read the new book, Old Earth or Evolutionary Creation, put out by BioLogos, RTB, and the SBC. I’d highly recommend it. Props to Dr. John Walton in his chapter on concordism and accommodation. I really appreciated his clarity and I think his writing was the strongest of all of the contributors.
On to the real point of this post. One idea that Fuz Rana put forth to undercut evolution was the idea of homology flowing from archetypes in the mind of the Creator. For example, the vertebrates are similar because they are all based on a sort of general plan in God’s mind. Extending this (my thoughts here, not Rana’s), you might have sub-archetypes for sub-groups like birds, reptiles, hominids, etc. Applying this on the DNA level, you might see the human genome as a design modification of the more general hominid genome archetype, and the hominid genome as a modification of a more general ape genome archetype, going up the chain. Much of the strength of the evolutionary explanation comes from it’s ability to explain the “nestedness” of homologies, and this seems to provide a more “creationist” explanation for those homologies rather than a simple claim to common design. It seems we might even apply archetypes to genetic “scars”, with “scars” simply being modifications to a genetic plan in the mind of God rather than modifications to a real piece of DNA.
I know this idea didn’t start with Fuz Rana, and it goes back to Richard Owen in the 19th century. Although Owen seemed more comfortable with evolution than Fuz is. Why did this idea fall out of favor? What advantage does evolution offer over archetypes? Is there some other aspect of genetics that archetypes don’t account for? Maybe the evidence for evolution better explains the fossil record? Or maybe with archetypes we shouldn’t really expect a nested structure?