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

To the best of my knowledge, all applied biology operates at the level of microevolution. In stark contrast, macroevolution is useless and exists only in the La La Land of theoretical biology. Unfortunately, the science of biology was long ago hijacked by atheists, who preach to unsuspecting and naive biology students that macroevolution is somehow “essential to understanding biology.” Nonsense, I say. The truth is, macro’ is just an atheist creation story (aka atheist theology) and is as irrelevant to science as a fairy tale.

For a biologist to be effective (read: useful) there is simply no need to believe, for example, that humans and chimps share a common ancestor or that whales evolved from a deer or that all life on earth evolved from some single-cell organism.

[quote=“gbrooks9, post:56, topic:35756, full:true”]The preachers who say that the Bible has to be infallible or you have nothing - - make the same sounds, to me, as the Austrian politicians just before WWII … it was all or nothing. It was a lie then. And it’s still a lie.
[/quote]
For a moment there, George, I thought you were being serious! But after reading some of your other posts, I put one and one together and realised that you must be Biologos’ resident jester or devil’s advocate or something. Phew … you had me worried!

That is my understanding of “yom” as well. But in Exodus 20:8, Yahweh is instituting the seven-day week (that exists to this day), so here He is directly equating the “six days” of Genesis with six days of 24 hours duration.

Plus, in the Genesis account, each of the six days is delineated by “there was an evening and there was a morning”. Why? Well, surely there is only one sensible answer - the author wanted the reader to know that each day is a literal day - ie, 24 hours. No one in ancient times would have interpreted it in any other way. If he Lord wanted “day” to mean a very, very long, then He surely went about it in a strange way!

If God used evolution over millions of years to produce life as we see it today, why didn’t He just say so? Why beat about the bush with a mendacious fairy tale about six days of creation?

@Dredge, you are not representing conservative YEC or ID-believing Christians very well with rhetoric like this. Please have the courtesy to deal with those (like @glipsnort) who have dedicated decades of their lives to understanding and applying biology with a bit more respect.

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Are you truly audacious enough to claim to know exactly what was in God’s mind as He inspired the writing of Exodus? Could you at least concede it is possible that He could have meant something other than 6 24-hour periods?

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The problem with your position is quite simply that there is no stark contrast.

One of the first things you learn once you get into biology is that the nice neat definition of species is often useful, but not at all rigid. Many species don’t interbreed with neighboring species under normal conditions, but may hybridize occasionally in unusual circumstances. But expanding the definition to ‘genus’ level doesn’t simplify matters: a few cross-genus hybrids are possible too. And once you get into plants and other life that routinely self-fertilize, the definition of species gets even more arbitrary.

Baraminology is an attempt to sort all living things into ‘kinds’ that could and could not be descended from each other, but it turns into an exercise in hair-splitting at whatever level you choose to work. There is no obvious division between ‘kinds’ of animals, much less plants, fungi, protists, etc. How many ‘kinds’ of deer are there under the umbrella Cervidae? Shouldn’t this be a trivially easy question to answer, if macroevolution is false?

What if everyone is overthinking the interpretation of ‘God created all kinds of animals?’

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I’m audacious enough to apply simple common sense to Scripture, but not audacious enough to try and squeeze the square peg of an atheist myth into the round hole of God’s Word.
Please explain why each of the six days in Genesis is delineated by “there was an evening and there was a morning”? Do these words suggest a very long period of time to you? If so, please explain how you came to that rather odd conclusion.

If Yahweh meant the “six days” in Exodus to be milllions of years, this is something akin to a Jehovah’s Witnesss equating “144,000” to the “24 elders”! Yahweh said the creation in question took “six days” - these are His exact words. If He was really talking about millions of years, then He wasn’t telling the truth, simple as that.

You are not going to like this answer, but I accept the Genesis account as figurative poetry relating the truth that God is responsible for and sustains life. The “take home” message is that God created the universe and everything in it. If you take every single word of the Genesis account literally, you run into problematic questions like “What were evening and morning prior to the existence of the sun?”

Personally, I am not going to limit God to what my own intellect can understand. Although it isn’t always comfortable, I can face questions about theology and science without fearing the answers. I can accept that sometimes my own theology may be in error without questioning the truth of the Almighty.

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@Dredge

Where did you come up with this idea?

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I think he has transformed the idea that whales and deer have a common ancestor (which is correct according to biology) into the idea that whales evolved from deer, which is quite different and of course incorrect according to biology.

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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
[/quote]

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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@Dredge

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.

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@Dredge

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…

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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.

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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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthopan_morgani 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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