Is evolution real?

Hi I am a student curious on learning about whether evolution is a thing if there was a theory of evolution. It was based on an ape and humans being related (Lucy). They say that Lucy is an ape that is a human ancestor.

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Welcome @bigballerqueen -

It’s good to ask such questions. The scientific theory of evolution is actually much, much bigger than the ancestral relationship between early hominids and us; it also encompasses

  • the relationship between the delta variant and the original alpha variant of Sars-Cov-2, and the relationship between the alpha variant and the viruses in Chinese bat populations;
  • the relationships between dolphins and whales and their common ancestors ~30 million years ago;
  • the relationships between modern hippos and whales and their common ancestor 60 million years ago…

In fact, it encompasses all of biological life as we know it.

As a Christian, I believe that God created the universe, and He created the principles that govern the universe that He continues to uphold. Among these principles are the curved space-time of relativity, the probabilities of quantum physics, the laws of chemistry, and evolution.

Does that help? Are you looking for more depth on what the theory of evolution is, or are you wanting more details on the evolutionary relationships among hominids?

Best,
Chris Falter

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If you look at other groups (not to say that the Australopithecus-Homo transition isn’t clear), you can see some extremely obvious sequences, such as those found in Chesapecten, Otodus, the Argopecten gibbus species group, Therizinosaurs, and numerous others.

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It’s a thing all right.

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I would say that Lucy is a hominid, which means that Lucy was our ancestor who was more; like us than like an ape. Apes and humans do have a common ancestor. Lucy was a link to that common ancestor.

I hope that answers your questions. If not ask some more.

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Yes evolution is real. When using scientific terms , the term theory means something more than just a random guess. A theory is the best interpretation of the available data supported by a significant amount of community. It’s not the same as a law, but it’s not less real. A law is something reproducible and tested with variables and constants.

Evolution is not a thing with personhood. It’s a process. It’s the process of speciation and it’s applied to all living things. It gets a bit gray when you begin to talk about viruses mutating and if virus are living things or not and ect… but it goes beyond what I really know and it’s not necessary to understand within the framework of your question.

There are also various subcategories of evolution. Such as coevolution which is now two or more species affect the evolutionary path of the other. Such as when you find seeds that typically need to go through a scarification process in order to successfully propagate them it often means that the seeds evolved in a fruit that was common eaten. A example of this is the pawpaw fruit and how it’s believed to have evolved being eaten by mega fauna such as the giant American ground sloth. It’s a bit more murky though on how it affected the sloths and if it encouraged the development of their teeth and so on. So a better example perhaps is of insects and their host plants. A commonly known one is milkweed and monarchs. The monarch caterpillars have evolved to be able to deal with the toxins of milkweeds. Not just by being able to tolerate some of it but also by instinctively knowing how to bite into the stems to reduce the amount of the milky substance from reaching the foliage they are about to eat.

Another version is convergent evolution. Convergent evolution is most often connected to how a very specific environment affected the morphological benefits of a certain form. The best case textbook example of this is dolphins and sharks. The ocean environment drove sharks and dolphins to looking very similar. That form is so beneficial we essentially use it to make things like kayaks. When we look at dolphins and sharks we see that they essentially work the same way. But that appearance is really just on the base level. When you remove the skin and organs and muscle and are left with just the skeleton you can see that they are very different. Dolphins are tetrapods. Their fins show how they use to have fingers/toes. It shows they use to be land animals. But they went back to the see. Similar to how the bat is a tetrapod who developed into a flying mammal. Just like how sugar gliders are potentially a transitional form for a future flying mammal species that has not yet evolved. But the shark was never a tetrapod. It did not evolve from a animal as far as we can tell that left the land and returned to the water. They skeleton and genes let’s use know they are a fish.

The most common use of evolution is just the generalized concept of a speciation like you mentioned. When this happens it goes through phases. A species becomes several subspecies. These subspecies are subspecies because they maintain most of the morphological similarities. Their basal forms are all very similar. But they have slight differences which are divergent traits. As these divergent traits become more and more obvious and numerous we will often see each subspecies becomes it own species. As time goes these now separated species eventually becomes the parents of their very own genus. That genus begins to have multiple species and subspecies within it becoming a family.

Humans, chimps and gorillas are all in the “primate family”. We can see lots of similarities between us. We can get a good idea of what our basal forms is. A four limbed tailless 10 digit 30 something toothed mammal that has two eyes and so on. But there are some significant divergences in our appearances and genes. Such as spine shape. But when we look at us and chimps we see more similarities than we do with us against dogs. But we see even more similarities between us and dogs ( mammals ) than we do between us and turtles. We see more similar ones between us and turtles than between us and sharks. But we do have more in common with dolphins than with sharks.

With every family ( clade ) you can look at all the genera within it and see the basal traits of each genus. We also can use genetics to verify the same conclusions.

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Welcome, @bigballerqueen . Perhaps we should step back. You stated:

Actually, it is based on a whole lot of things. Fossil evidence, evidence of changes in characteristics in response to changes in the environment, and later genetic evidence. Lucy is just a small example of what is established by many more lines of evidence leading to evolutionary thought, and if that particular fossil were never found, it would make no real difference in the conclusions reached.

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I was curious if it was real or not, because from what I can remember the Bible doesn’t talk much about evolution.

Also, coming from someone who has faith in the Bible, should I believe in evolution or not? I don’t think the Bible mentions evolution and I have read somewhere that if you accept evolution, you can’t believe in God.

One thing that may help you is to look up biblical concordism versus biblical accommodation.

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Hi BigBallerQueen!
If you want to discuss the reality of evolution, you have come to a good place, where there are a lot of Christians who live harmoniously with evolution and real, biblical Christianity. Can you give more background to help us understand your question. Why do you think the question is worth asking, for example? Is it important to you to find an answer, and if, so, why?
Thanks!

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It’s OK to be on a journey of inquiry, of exploration of ideas, while living your life fitting in with your family, friends, community starting with school. So are you a high school student? Might I ask in which state? You are very open and it’s a hostile world, especially if you challenge those around you. A natural adolescent proclivity. I’d want to spare you conflict, alienation from something that doesn’t matter as much as relationships. Is it safe for you to be curious publicly?

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Some other good options: Siliquariidae, Vermiculariinae, and Vermetidae are all called worm snails, due to their amorphous growth. They are about as closely related as herons and sparrows.

Tornidae and Cornirostridae: frequently, the only way to tell their shells apart is by larval shell morphology (the anatomy is quite different). They are about as closely related as ostriches and sparrows.

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@bigballerqueen. ranch, I am glad that you believe in the Bible, because that is how we learn about Jesus and salvation. However we must remember that if God had to explain evolution to the ancient Hebrews God would have to write a long book which would leave little space for the really important story of salvation as God worked it out over the ages. Besides there was no way they could have understood it.

If God had put in the Bible all the important information that humans might need, we would have an encyclopedia and we would not need any teachers or researchers because all of that work would have been done for us. I believe that God did it right. God gave us the good news of salvation before God gave us modern science, which has been good, but also has given us the horrors of modern warfare.

Evolution and the rest of science allows us to better appreciate the wonders of God’s Creation. Evolution is good as long as you don’t take too seriously the opinions of some evolutionists. Just remember, opinions are opinions, not facts.

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You’re asking some great questions!

Let’s take a careful look at this question: If the Bible does not talk about some aspect of science, should we not believe the science?

Here are some things we would have to stop believing if we can only believe what’s in the Bible:

  • The germ theory of disease
  • Molecules, atoms, and sub-atomic particles
  • Galaxies and interstellar gas clouds
  • Black holes
  • The heliocentric solar system
  • Gravity as a universal force
  • Protozoa, bacteria, and microspores
  • Etc., etc., etc.

There is a better way to look at this, and it’s called the doctrine of “The Two Books.” Those books are the Book of Scripture and the Book of Nature, both of which help us learn about God.

I just wrote a mini-essay on the Two Books doctrine in another thread. Rather than repeat it, I will simply provide the link so you can read more if you find it interesting:

I accept evolution as I accept other well-established science because I believe in the God who gave us the Book of Nature.

I believe the teachings of Genesis, which show us (among other things) that God created the universe and everything in it, that He has given mankind the role of stewarding His creation, and that we are made to worship Him.

So yes, you can believe in God and accept the science of evolution.

This is a really good point, @Relates. Some scientists think that science is not just a way to acquire truth, as we Christians believe, but it is the only way to acquire truth. Of course we reject this notion because we believe that God revealed His truth in the Scripture and revealed the ultimate truth–Himself–in the Word made flesh, Jesus the Messiah.

I hope you find these thoughts helpful, @bigballerqueen. If you have more thoughts or questions, let’s keep this conversation going!

Blessings,
Chris Falter

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The Bible affirms that God is in control over everything that happens, whether it takes place using natural laws or not. This means that scientific explanations are physical descriptions of how God does things, not alternatives to God. The Bible also describes God as wise and powerful. So He is both smart enough and powerful enough to use or not use evolution, as He sees fit. Thus, evolution is not an alternative to God; claims like “God or evolution” are falling into the error known as the god of the gaps, where God is perceived as only present in things that happen miraculously, and scientific explanations are taking God out of the picture. For example, the silly claims about a photo showing Jesus’ face in the clouds of a hurricane show that He was there and decreased the damage from the hurricane suggest that if Jesus wasn’t there, the storm would have been worse. But the reality is that Jesus is always there.

Another mistake is thinking that evolution is only about animals violently killing each other. On the one hand, it is true that God is at work, even in the events that don’t seem as nice - Psalm 104 speaks of God feeding the lions, and Job tells of our inability to discern God’s goals from just looking at how things are going, for example. But also, evolution includes plenty of cooperation.

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It is utterly irrelevant what the Bible says about God. He doesn’t do things between grounding being and incarnation. His instantiating the prevenient dysteleological laws of nature is Shaddai. Evolution needs no help.

It seems to me that the Bible requires faith but most science only requires simple recognition of patterns in nature. I wouldn’t make nature the test of whether the Bible is true but neither would I make the Bible the test of whether what we observe in nature is true. Can you think of any good reason to make acceptance of either as real dependent on the other?

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We are not talking about the same God then. The God who is is quite capable of intervening providentially, although his interventions are undetectable by science. They are, however, obvious to the eyes of faith because of the meaning infused by their timing and placing. I surmise that as he intervened in the timing and placing of carcinogenic mutations, he also intervenes in evolution to accomplish his purposes, not the least of which is delighting us with beauty and awing us with complexity.

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I think this question is worth asking because I feel like, Christians can’t believe in evolution since the Bible doesn’t talk about evolution. For example, Adam and Eve were the starts of humanity were they not? It is a little important for me to find an answer because it is part of school work. Not only that, I genuinely want to know whether it is real because I tend to get mixed up on if it is real or not.

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