Does biology need the theory that all life shares a common ancestor?

It’s my (very much non-expert) understanding that as Hebrew had fewer words than English, it’s quite common for a broader range of meaning to exist for Hebrew words than for English. But fortunately, we don’t have to look far even under more narrow English definitions!

Definition 2 has nothing to do with a 24 hour day! Does the same hold true for “evening?”

Yep! “2. The latter portion”

Clearly we are not overly restricted in interpretation. The ISV even uses the words “twilight” and “dawn,” none of whose Merriam-Webster definitions support the very specific interpretation you wish to make.

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Bold words! @glipsnort, who works professionally as a computational biologist, told us this:[quote=“glipsnort, post:65, topic:35756”]
I can’t do my work as a biologist without relying on both common descent and natural selection. Specifically, I have repeatedly and successfully used the common ancestry of humans and chimpanzees

Thus you are contending that he has no idea what he is talking about.

You are telling a professional biologist that he doesn’t understand how to do his work. Please tell me, @Dredge, how it is that you have this awesome super-power? And can you kindly solve the P=NP and Turing Halting Problems while you’re at it? I would like some professional help from a guy like you.

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Hold onto your suspenders… I am not playing devil’s advocate at all. The Church teaching that the Bible has to be 100% correct or it is worthless is one of the most toxic Evangelical propositions in the doctor’s bag of Theology.

You would think a position like that would be clear enough that all the Evangelical groups that hold to this principle would pretty much share the same views about an entire range of subjects …not just 6 day Creation.

But in fact, this is not what we see, thus demonstrating the bankruptcy the position. How can the position be valid if we have singing in tongues in one group that think the Bible is error-free, and we have other groups who think singing in tongues is an abomination?

And on the flip side of the coin, while growing up I would have to say that I have known, or know, Hundreds of men and women, in the aggregate mostly Congregationalists, Presbyterians and Methodists, who did not, or do not, believe the Bible is 100% error free. And they feel no compunction at all to jettison their belief in Jesus and the Church because of it.

“All or nothing” is flim-flam bunk. It is taking an epistemological conundrum and turning it into an Occam’s Razor of foolishness.



Your position is simplistic. You refuse to allow Yahweh to be allegorical? How about what Yahweh says to Job in the Book of Job:

Job 38:22-23

“Have you [Job] entered the treasury of snow,
Or have you seen the treasury of hail,
Which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
For the day of battle and war?"

"If Yahweh was really talking about [ giant rooms full of snow and ice,] then He wasn’t telling the truth, simple as that." < I think this wording may look pretty familiar to you…


Nope. They suggest a normal day. But why can’t an author use a week as a literary device to organize their presentation of theological truth about creation? I have read several poems that use a year as a literary device to talk about a person’s life. (Where spring is their youth, summer is the prime of life, fall is middle age, and winter is old age.) No one says, “Well, the word ‘year’ in English can also be used to mean ‘lifetime.’” No one argues that an alternate sense of the word ‘winter’ is old age. That isn’t how literary devices work. And definitely no one tries to argue that the subject of those poems lived their whole childhood miraculously in three months on the basis that ‘spring’ has to mean the literal 92 days between winter and summer.

The endless arguments over what exactly the word ‘yom’ means or can mean in some context miss the point entirely. ‘Yom’ does mean day. The normal kind. But, so what? That doesn’t do squat to prove the Genesis text has to be referring to something that happened in chronological order in six twenty-four hour days and it does nothing to disprove the idea that the author is using a work week as a literary device to structure a poetic narrative.


Sure, laws can have exceptions, but are you arguing against Mendelian genetics just to make Darwinism look more plausible?

We discussed cancer at length and no, cancer is not proof of evolution as it results in death of both the host and the cancerous cells, not “improved fitness”.

Sorry, this is a classic example of faulty argument.

I am not sure what you mean. Can you explain?

As long as you mention chimps and humans, here are a few questions for you:

  1. How would human evolution have happened? Who was the common ancestor of both modern apes and humans? If closer to the modern ape, how come “struggle for survival” didn’t exterminate one of the branches?
  2. Say you are that mythical ancestor that happen upon a bounty of food. How do you “decide” to grow just your brain instead of simply overpopulating the area or growing your full body to the size of an elephant?
  3. Were Denisovans and Neanderthals different species if they could have fertile offsprings when mating with humans?

How so? Don’t humans create more and more “evolved” implements all the time (say in transportation)? How are we failing at that?

I would not use this confusing term - “microevolution” - which automatically implies a “macroevolution”.

The question is: “are you using your hypothesis to predict or are you using something else”. The classic Darwinist example does not require “evolution” to explain, but simple deduction instead.

You’re confusing Genetics with Evolution. Think Mendel vs. Darwin. One makes sense and you can verify any time, while the other doesn’t and you can’t. We’re only using Mendel’s work on a daily basis, not Darwin’s.

[quote=“glipsnort, post:74, topic:35756, full:true”]
You’re missing an important distinction. If all you do is explain an observation after the fact, then all you’ve done is generate a hypothesis. That’s what Gould was complaining about: making up stories and assuming they were correct. Predicting new observations based on your hypothesis is a very different matter. That’s how you test whether your story has any truth to it. It’s how you do science, whether it’s applied science or not. [/quote]
Steve, thanks for explaining the Gould quote. That makes sense to me.
The concept of Prediction also makes sense and sounds like a solid argument. Trouble is, my knowledge of biology is too pathetically puny to understand how you use the common descent of humans and chimps to make an accurate prediction about … whatever it is you’re talking about.
I wonder what a creation scientist would make of your “prediction” method, but I probably wouldn’t understand that point of view either!

[quote=“glipsnort, post:75, topic:35756, full:true”]
Why is it so important that it have implications for applied biology? Isn’t the more important question whether it’s true or not?[/quote]
Applied science works - therefore the scientific theory underpinning each particular application must be true. This is my (somewhat simplistic, but reliable) method for evaluating the veracity of a theory. This is one reason I have little interest in theoretical science - without an applied use I have no way of knowiing if it’s true or not.

Furthermore, if I don’t accept a scientific theory due its lack of an applied use, what am I missing out on? As far as I can tell - nothing. Paper science isn’t on my list of life’s essentials.

And last but not least: I strongly suspect that applied biology only requires knowledge of what exists now - not knowledge of how life supposedly came into existence over millions of years.

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A post was split to a new topic: Why it is important to accept that Adam was a historical person

[quote=“cwhenderson, post:76, topic:35756, full:true”]
What biological evidence is there for the existence of evolutionary barriers called “kinds”?[/quote]
Does thousands of years of animal and plant breeding, using every conceivable breeding trick in the book, count as evidence? If you suggested to a dog breeder that something that isn’t a dog could be eventually be produced from one of their stock, they would laugh at you. Is it possible that your average dog breeder is much more in touch with reality than your average evolutionist?

As far as I know, the “rapid speciation” AIG refers to is still limited to “kinds”.

Do you think the God who created the universe and everything in it would be capable of creating the diversity we see today from the creatures that survived the Flood? I would say - of course He could - easily.

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I read it on some evo site. There are variations on the theme - all rather amusing.

Sorry, but no, the inability of selective breeding to generate new species of dogs (or cats) does not count as evidence of “kinds”. I know very little about dog breeding, but I do know that highly pure bloodlines are quite rare and thus greatly prized. Interbreeding is much more common, which will continuously “shuffle” the gene pool. Additionally, the time scale required for speciation is generally quite a bit longer than the time since animal domestication…

After decades of denying speciation, it is fascinating to read the recent rhetoric from AiG claiming that not only does speciation occur, it occurs at a rate orders of magnitude faster than the theory of evolution would suggest. Ken Ham states “The scholars doing the research for this project are predicting from their research on living and fossil mammal, amphibian, reptile, and bird kinds that there may have been as few as 1,000 land animal kind represented on the Ark.” AiG also completely comfortable with an estimate of 8.7 million species on the planet today. Admittedly, not all of these 8.7 million species are land animals, but we are still faced with ~1,000 land animals evolving (and yes, they would have HAD to evolve) into millions of land animal species in ~4,000 years. The math simply doesn’t add up.

Let’s take a look at a statement from the Ark Encounter page: “The biblical concept of created “kind” probably most closely corresponds to the family level in current taxonomy. A good rule of thumb is that if two things can breed together, then they are of the same created kind. It is a bit more complicated, but this is a good quick measure of a “kind.”” Ignoring the inaccuracy of the description of Family, their use of the word “probably” would suggest that they don’t really have a good concept of exactly what a “kind” is.

I know it is uncomfortable to examine the implications of what the science tells us, but we DO NOT have to abandon the Bible in order to accept the science. What I consider essential theology remains unaffected by accepting the well-established science of evolution. Accepting evolution does bring up interesting discussions about Adam and Eve (, but our sin and subsequent separation from God, the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, and His triumphant resurrection remain intact! Keep an open mind and genuinely try to learn and I’d be willing to bet you will come away with an understanding that Bible-believing followers of Christ can still accept the science of evolution. Listen and learn instead of arguing and plugging your ears, what do you have to lose?


No one here has precisely defined what they mean by Darwinism.

So, it seems you define “Darwinism” as only what is contained (and only what is contained) in the Origin of the Species (and possibly other writings of Darwin)?

Well, then obviously i cannot use it because Darwin didn’t know about proteins, DNA, RNA, chromatin, or much of anything else like that.

If so, I suppose that I should have written:
“Does biology need Darwinism: if Darwinism could be removed from the science of biology, would it suffer? …”, my answer would be “yes”. Particularly the area where we use molecular evolution to actually determine 3D structures of proteins or RNA."

Whatever imprecision I may be guilty of, the fact of the matter is that molecular evolution techniques, which often incorporate many of the concepts of Darwinism, work and work quite well.

By Grace we proceed.


Thus you are contending that he has no idea what he is talking about.

You are telling a professional biologist that he doesn’t understand how to do his work. Please tell me, @Dredge, how it is that you have this awesome super-power? And can you kindly solve the P=NP and Turing Halting Problems while you’re at it? I would like some professional help from a guy like you.
I respect glipsnort’s opnion, since he is a professional biologist, but there may be another side to the story and/or a flaw in his argument.

To consider all the judgements of science professionals to be infallible is a tad naive and childish, isn’t it?


The reason the history of dog-breeding is not particularly helpful to a discussion on Evolution is that dog breeding has been conducted as an exercise in how much diversity can be created while maintaining reproductive compatibility. You can’t bring the favorable traits of one dog lineage to another if the two lineages cannot produce offspring.

One of the key premises to Speciation (a corollary to Common Descent) is that unless there is extreme population isolation at work, long before you can produce dramatic differences in phenotype, you have to create enough genetic distinction that two or more populations can no longer successfully mate to produce fertile offspring.

How else would you get a breed of air-breathing mammals that prosper mating and birthing in the wide open ocean - - instead of in a fold in a fertile valley of Earth?

How else would you get a breed of rodent to fly with less effort than some birds do?

How else would you get a breed of marsupial to develop jumping legs that put many insects to shame - - even in a proportional comparison?

One might be tempted to say “by the grace of God’s special creation” . . . but this doesn’t explain the incredible consistency we find in the fossil record … where we find numerous transitional forms, for numerous animal Genus or Geni, that are all long gone… and where the forms we consider most closely related to the end forms we know exist today are consistently found buried more recently than the forms we consider more similar to the proposed common ancestors.

The only conclusion that fits all the facts is an ancient Earth and Speciation.


Sure, I’m skeptical whenever a scientist strays outside his/her area of expertise. There is little that Richard Dawkins speaks of philosophy and religion that I do not disagree with, for example.

I think it’s more than a tad foolish and naive to question the Pope about Catholicism, Hugh Ross about astronomy, or Steve Schaffner about biology.


There are two possibilities here. The first is that you mistook an anti-evolution website for a pro-evolution website, and second is you accepted the caricature of evolution on an anti-evolution website as true.

In either case this diction of evolution is false. If you believed it to be true, the it is small wonder that you are opposed to it.

However you need to get you information from sources you can trust like a good book on the subject. BioLogos has many suggestions. Don’t read Dawkins, but a textbook.



More than a tad foolish? It’s a page right out of Grog’s handbook - - it’s borderline insulting. It would be like questioning Brad’s credibility by charging “he is merely working for donors who might be tempted to tell him what to write.” @Dredge wouldn’t be the first one to head in that direction …

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@Dredge and @cwhenderson:

The purported Bible category of “kinds” is viable, when you look at exactly how kinds are described.

Kinds are aggregations of life forms that produce more of the same.

This does not mean a Lion can produce a Cougar… because they are both a feline “kind”. It means a Lion represents a Kind, and a Cougar, which produces its own offspring, is a different Kind from a Lion.

“Kind” cannot mean “similar group” - - no matter how the YEC’s use the term. It’s not how the Bible uses the term.

For those who know that Lions and Tigers can produce fertile offspring, it raises the obvious question that while a Cougar may not be part of a Lion’s kind, it does seem that Tigers are !

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From what I understand about what “kind” means, which admittedly isn’t much, there is a wide range of theological interpretation of the term. Some theologians adhere to a very similar description to yours, @gbrooks9 - organisms capable of producing fertile offspring. Others view it as a much more flexible term. I’ve read descriptions equating the term with what we would mean in modern English by saying “God made all kinds of animals”. I think theologians are far from a consensus opinion on how best to interpret the word.

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