Does evolutionary theory provide any useful scientific benefit?


#540

You are assuming the genealogy was to explain how and when (typical Western thinking). To the original author the purpose was to explain why. That is why the genealogies are incomplete and contain symbolic ages not actual ages.

Without writing anything before Abraham would have to have been passed down by word of mouth.


#541

Fossils are certainly a test for “evolution” - the change in life-forms is obvious - but fossils tell us nothing about WHAT CAUSED those changes. The changes could be due to Darwinian evolution or God waving his magic wand or aliens performing feats of genetic engineering - fossils cannot tell us which hypothesis is correct. Likewise, the existence of transitional fossils are evidence of “evolution”, but they don’t tell what caused that “evolution”.

So, like I said, the fossil record is not a test for biological (Darwinian) evolution; rather, it is evidence.


#542

This is like asking “But what principle did Jesus use to change water into wine?” Progressive creation is not a scientific theory - it involves divine intervention and miracles.

No, Progressive creation will not look like evolution - it will look just like the fossil record - ie, lots of gaps, stastis and sudden appearances of organisms with no evidence of evolutionary ancestors. Have you noticed that many paleontologists say evolution is poorly supported by the fossil record?

Sorry, my mistake. I didn’t read your post properly - although, an untestable theory is not my idea of “scientific knowledge”.

This doesn’t answer my question: How can the DNA phylogeny of extant creatures be compared to that of extinct creature whose DNA is unavailable? Any kind of phylogeny of extinct creatures is an untestable theory, not a fact.

A DNA “tree” would no doubt show the “evoluton” of hundreds of dog breeds from the wolf - ditto for lots of other extant creatures. But so what? How is this a test that all life on earth shares a common ancestor?


#543

Of course “evolution” is very important to medicine - immunization, for example, is “evolution”. However, the theory of common descent (which includes human evolution) is useless to medicine.


(William Pennat) #544

I put evolution – at least evolutionary theory – in the same category as cosmology when it comes to utility. Utterly fascinating as a subject for speculation and totally unverifiable, even in principle, in terms of any hypotheses to explain it. This lack of verifiability/falsifiability – the primary criterion for valid scientific hypotheses – is what also makes evolutionary theory, at any rate, not terribly useful. I always argue like this. Evolution itself is a fact, supported by literally tons of fossil evidence and reams of DNA research. Darwinian and neo-Darwinian (and even neo-Lamarkian) theories – not so much. Maybe some version of these is (more or less) true but how are you ever going to verify it, given the time scale of the phenomenon (again, much like cosmology)? It does bother me that many researchers claim that spinning speculations about these processes is “science” but personally, they tend to strike me as by and large intellectual fantasies. (So-called “Boltzmann Brains” are a perfect example of this, a kind of combination of evolutionary theory and cosmology!) Like I say, they make for fascinating reading but are hardly science. And because not science, not providing any useful scientific basis for such things as medical advances, etc.


(Cindy) #545

I actually was thinking about starting a post here and asking members why they think that Evolution matters. I look forward to seeing more responses to your question.

I believe that when it comes to the production of antibiotics, understanding how evolution works would be of great benefit. Same is true for pesticides and herbicides. In other words, in order to be able to control the natural world; we need to know how the natural world works. Evolution is a part of that process.


(Randy) #546

Being able to frequently encounter real data from a multitude of scientific disciplines that invariably fits into a robust paradigm, instead of constantly having to pick and choose what I think fits my presuppositions, matters by helping me trust the God of reason.That counts for a helpful scientific benefit, even for non scientists like me.

I recently read a book called “Survival of the Sickest,” which reviewed interesting traits (like sickle cell and others that helped our ancestors survive the Black Plague) that in some ways are helpful, but in others detrimental. For example, the genes that help with the latter may cause some forms of dementia. Interesting stuff. Thank you.


(George Brooks) #547

@glipsnort

I believe @edgar will have to admit that “progressive creation” looks exactly like Evolution…

which I believe is one of the scenarios embraced by RTB…


#548

Evolution matters to me because I value attaining a coherent understanding of reality. Once I learned that scripture features ancient science and that scientific concordism fails as an interpretive approach to scripture, it freed me from my misplaced skepticism about science as a tool to understanding the general revelation of God in nature. It’s not just about evolution, as stunning as it is when properly understood. It’s about freedom to engage scientific claims with the integrity that we expect from others in our own lives. I now marvel at the way God accommodates to us in the words of scripture rather than expecting it to address modern scientific curiosities.


(Cindy) #549

I am not sure what you mean here. Are you an Old Earther or Young Earther?

I have never felt the need to conform the results of an experiment or the intake of knowledge to my Spiritual beliefs. If they don’t match, I more or less put them in a “I don’t know what’s up with this” category and wait for more data or intake of knowledge. I’m at that point when it comes to plant and plant evolution. It seems as though there is no clear clade chart as plant families seem to move around a lot. It seems as though there is something significantly different there and I find it fascinating. I’m not sure why, but I think that it is a clearer sign of a God behind the force of nature than animal evolution is.

Anyway, as far as the Bible. There are clearly two different stories in Genesis. I had always thought that the second being a more detail oriented one was a reasonable theory but when one of my Religious Studies professors pointed out that the order of creation is quite different, I re-evaluated that assumption.

The Bible, like all religious texts started out as an oral tradition. It was actually quite a long length of time between the oral tradition of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the written text. The idea that it should be used as a source of Science is absurd in my opinion as we simply have no way of knowing what the original message to Moses was. The New Testament, specifically the life of Jesus; is what I look to for my spiritual beliefs. Science journals is what I look to for Science.


#550

I’m an evolutionary creationist, and thus believe in an old earth and deep time. I am persuaded (especially by genetic evidence) that the biodiversity on earth is best explained by evolution with common ancestry.

Thanks for sharing your views. To be sure, all of our knowledge is incomplete. Now we know in part, then we shall know fully, even as we are fully known. (1 Cor 13) Nevertheless, an incomplete yet intellectually coherent body of knowledge can be of great value in shaping our worldviews.

Let me know if you want me to explain further or define the terms I’m using such as concordism, ancient science, etc


(Cindy) #551

I am curious about the “ancient science found in the Bible” statement that you made. As far as concordism; that seems to depend on who is saying it. As far I am aware, the basic idea is to harmonize what one reads in scripture with the evidence in front of their eyes.


#552

Maybe one of the moderators can find the link to the most recent thread on this topic. In short, scripture features an ancient science in the sense that there are hundreds of scientific inaccuracies in scripture concerning astronomy, geology, and biology. A few examples:

Astronomy:
The sky is flat and solid. (Gen 1, Isaiah 34)
There is an ocean in the sky. (Gen 1, Psalm 42 &148)
There are only 5 planets. (Zech. 4)
The sun is not a star. (1 Cor 15)

Geology:
The earth has pillars. (1 Sam 2)

Biology:
The heart is the seat of thought. (Gen 6, Isaiah 14)
The kidney is the seat of thought. (Ps 16)
Lagomorphs ruminate. (Lev 11)
Humans exist in the loins of their ancestors (Heb 7)
Mustard seeds are the smallest seeds. (Mk 4)

What we learn is that God never revealed to the ancients any new scientific information that was not “common knowledge” to the ancient world of antiquity. These statements are incidental vessels that God used to accommodate the real messages he intends for people to know in all time periods. It was never God’s intent to teach science in the Bible–that’s not the purpose of special revelation.


(Cindy) #553

OK, yes-obvious misstatements in the Bible. I had understood you to say rather the opposite, that Science could be gotten from the Bible in places.

Thanks
Cindy


(Christy Hemphill) #554

Here is the definition of concordism from the Dictionary of Christianity and Science written by John Sodon:

Concordism refers to the position that the teaching of the Bible on the natural world, properly interpreted, will agree with the teaching of science (when it properly understands the data), and may in fact supplement science. The concordist not only believes that nature and Scripture will harmonize, but sees specific references in the Bible to current scientific understanding of the universe. The concordist, then, looks for those close parallels in order to show that Scripture concords or agrees with the scientific conclusions.

Because the concordist holds Scripture as entirely truthful, there cannot be any ultimate contradiction between Scripture rightly interpreted and nature rightly interpreted. In both Scripture and nature, of course, there is potential for error in the interpretation. Concordism, however, assumes that the correlations can be made, believing in a degree of accuracy of interpretation (though not infallibility) in current science and in showing the Scripture supports clear scientific conclusions…

So basically, for a concordist, you can’t arrive at an interpretation that acknowledges the text says and the ancient audience believed “the heart is the seat of thought,” because that does not correlate with scientific reality. You have to see it as some kind of figure of speech. Or you might insist that “the earth has pillars” is some kind of reference to tectonic plates, even though the ancient authors had no knowledge of this and had an entirely different conception of what the land rested on. Or that the “ocean in the sky” really means the troposphere.


(Cindy) #555

OK, I guess I just don’t see a need to worry about whether the writers of the Bible thought that the Earth had pillars or whether our hearts “thought”. Those passages clearly are not meant to be Science lessons. For instance, Job 9:6 reads:

Job 9:6 Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. (Job 9:6 KJV)

This is clearly talking about God and how as the Creator of all things; is obviously quite powerful. The passage is not meant to convey a lesson on tectonic plates and how they work. The idea that we need to take every last word and justify its use in a passage just seems like a pointless waste of time.

So, we (Jason, you, and I) are in agreement that we do not need to worry about why the author of Job used the word “pillar” in this verse, correct?


(Christy Hemphill) #556

Yes, I think so. :slight_smile:


#557

It is a fact that the fossil record reveals that life-forms have changed over billions of years, a history that could be described as “evolution”. However, fossils tell us nothing at all about what caused that evolution.
DNA doesn’t confirm that the fossil record is the result of biological evolution.


#558

As I’ve already stated, progressive creation looks like the fossil record; but the fossil record doesn’t look much like Darwinian evolution (which has been noted by lots of palaeontologists).


#559

What is your coherent understanding of how the fossil record jumps from jelly-fish, worms and sponges to fish and animals?

What is your coherent understanding of the fact that there is no evidence of evolutionary ancestors of insects?