The Appendix/Cave Fish Eyes/Etc. are (NOT) vestigial


No, nothing that promoted the mutations just an advantage that resulted from the mutation.

Consider a population of fish out in the sun light. A mutation causes a fish to be born blind. Somehow this fish survives and reproduces. Soon there is a small population of blind fish. Now out in the sun the sighted fish would probably have an advantage over the blind fish. It would be easier for them to find food and a mate. This would put the blind fish at a slight disadvantage when it comes to finding food and a mate. What do you think will happen over many generations? I would speculate (like you like to do) that the population of blind fish would shrink and eventually die off.

Consider a population of fish in a cave. A mutation causes a fish to be born blind. This time the blind and sighted fish are on an even footing. Now consider that the blind fish have a slightly lower energy demand due to the lack of eyes. This gives them a tiny advantage over the sighted fish in that they have more energy available to find food or mate. What do you think will happen over many generations? I would speculate (like you like to do) that the population of blind fish would increase and eventually the sighted fish will die off.

(Phil) #162

Blind fish die in nature due to predators as do most albino animals, who get eaten first. A blind albino fish is toast in the outside world.

(Ashwin S) #163

Natural selection selects for increasing fitness. Fitness is a product of environment/ecology.
In that sense its non random as long as environmental conditions/ecological conditions do not change. Over large periods of time taken for evolution to happen, natural selection is random, because the fitness environment changes randomly.
Considering that speciation happens when fitness landscapes change, it is random in its effects.
So Natural selection removes purpose from creation.
Its also a tautology in that it basically means, whatever survives best passes on its genes.
I think i have pointed this out before,

If randomness is not ontological… its not truly random.We are playing word games again.
If all we want to say is “due to unknown causes”- we would say “mutations caused by undetermined causes/mechanisms”. This would indicate randomness is an emergent phenomenon, i.e something emerging out of predictable interactions of large no: of particles leading to an unpredictable pattern. Here the unpredictability is due to the no: of interactions and domino effect… Weather is a good example of this.
Then we should view mutation as an emergent phenomenon and not random at all.
This would lead us to investigate why mutations cause increased complexity (when they do)… just as we investigate why storm fronts/tornadoes etc are formed.
As opposed to assuming ontologically random mutations turning up as and when they do… This is what most scientists do…And this is the version universally presented to the public.
I.e mutations as random… (mutations as even possibly emergent is not mentioned)

The question is not what randomness can mean theologically. The question is what it conveys to those who hear it.And what it means to the scientists who use the word. I think the vast majority of scientists view randomness just the way Krauss and company do… i.e that it could have happened another way, but the die fell on a particular action… as opposed to an event happened because of prior events determining the result.i.e if the conditions repeat, the mutation will repeat.

Define infinitesimal…
I would define it as enough to seed the genes required in the cave populations.

Because i never mentioned linguistics… I dont think linguistics are similar to Biology.
If you find two languages with many words having the same meaning… what would be the reason in linguistics?
a) The languages are linked by a common language.
b) The common words were co-opted into an unrelated language.
Would you assume people arrived at the same words having the same meaning by chance?This is the assumption forced upon us by common ancestry.
Actually linguistics is far more similar to the hierarchy among machines in my opinion… Just like words co-opted in different languages, we have parts co-opted into different machines.
Heirarchies living organisms also look very similar to that in linguistics/among machines…
Assumptions of CA only cause confusions.

No problem with the above scenario… This would imply that the genetic variation required to develop the blind variant is already available in the seeing variety.
I totally agree.
I just would not call the blindness in the cave variety as vestigial… more a part of diversity in the species… plasticity if you will.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #164

Uh, what?

Why wouldn’t common ancestry be more like your (a)? Here’s what I’m talking about: The words bonum (Latin), bueno (Spanish), bon (French), and buono (Italian) all mean ‘good.’ How is this by chance?

“By chance” is the fact that bad means ‘bad’ in Farsi, or ay means ‘I’ in a random Nilo-Saharan language completely unrelated to English. These sorts of coincidences are really rather rare, and they’re not systematic like the genetic relationships we see among languages.

I agree with you here: The historical-linguistics=biology-and-genetics metaphor does break down at some point, and it is precisely at this sort of point, where you have borrowings (a sort of “lateral gene transfer,” if you will). Yes, words can be co-opted. Sometimes lots of words are co-opted. English, for example, has ‘boon,’ ‘bonus,’ and ‘Bon-bons,’ all of which are related to bonum but related because we stole the words from French and Latin, not because the words are naturally related via English’s direct ancestors like Proto-Germanic.

Nevertheless, Chris is right: Linguistic change is a useful metaphor for genetic change / speciation for a number of reasons.

(Ashwin S) #165

You are absolutely right. its like a in many cases. Its like b in some rare cases (Horizontal gene transfer)… But its got a c which linguistics doesnt have (atleast not as much), which is large scale similarity without relationship.

So if genetics is similar to linguistics… there needs to be an explanation for it. It should not be similar. Languages are the product of interactions between thinking populations… While life is supposed to be the product of a mindless process.
But if this is so… why do we see seemingly borrowed similarities without any relationship?
Whats the linguistic equivalent of echolocation being found in Bats and whales?
Shared sentences? groups of words? Whats the linguistic equivalent of echolocation in terms of information?
Is there an analog that works to describe this?
Edit: When we study languages, at what point do we say, a similarity cannot be due to chance?

(Chris Falter) #166

And faith adds it back. And that is the role that faith, not science, should be playing.

For the sake of productive discussion, I will concede your argument that, from the perspective of science, natural selection is not teleological.

Sure, some scientists conflate epistemology with ontology. If you would read the three articles I linked to, you would see that Christian scientists associated with Biologos do not.

Look, Krauss, et al. make the scientific explanation of the universe’s origin into a philosophical one by asserting that theological explanations do not exist. Bear in mind that this scientific explanation is built on quantum randomness. But still you accept the Big Bang, which is the natural history that the science yields. Why not do the same thing in biology? You do not have to deny the Big Bang or quantum randomness to refute Krauss’ atheism. Similarly, you do not have to deny common ancestry or “random with respect to fitness” to refute Dawkins.

I am still waiting for your citation to empirical research on this. Biologists describe the epigean populations as 100% sighted in the references I have read. Kindly help move the discussion forward by either citing relevant research or by conceding the point.

Now who is playing word games? Biologists use the term to describe an organ’s loss of functionality in a new environment.

Biologists refer to the sightless lenses of marsupial moles as vestigial. Do you object in that scenario as well?

In any case, have a great day and a great weekend, Ashwin.


And therefore blind fish are found outside of caves. BTW this is just your assumption to keep your pet theory alive.

What you call it is not important. It is the lose of function which spreads in the population in a new environment. AKA evolution.

(Ashwin S) #168

That’s strange… compare it to Paul’s statement in Romans 1.
Romans 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God himself has made it plain to them.
20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been understood and observed by what he made, so that people are without excuse.

And yet you claim that the people who spend the most time closely observing God’s creation cannot really find any of God’s handiwork in creation…
Forget his eternal power or divine nature… Even his existence cannot be understood through observation…
I prefer to go by Paul’s reason… for this phenomenon.
Romans 1: 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him. Instead, their thoughts turned to worthless things, and their senseless hearts were darkened.
22 Though claiming to be wise, they became fools

Before the big bang, physicists like Einstein believe that the universe had not beginning. I wouldn’t have any hesitation to reject that notion (irrespective of how strongly Einstein believed it). The reason is the same… Teleology.
Scientists have no option other than to accept the big bang… and that’s evidenced by how popular the multiverse idea is… that gives them creation without beginning and hence no creator.

I don’t have to deny common ancestry to refute Dawkins… Though I don’t have to accept or just because Dawkins or anyone else does. There just isn’t sufficient evidence. If science actually comes up with a working model by which the diversity in life can be created through natural means, I would definitely accept it.
Or if they openly admitted to the work of a designer as part of science, then also I would consider it.Till then, things like Convergence leave me skeptical.

Can you share the reference. It could be an assertion or generalisation… like saying human beings have sight. Do they give a sample size with confirmation…
If random mutation causes blindness in cave fish. There is no reason they should not in surface fish. The % of blindness in fish would depend on selection. Not the random occurrence.

Wouldn’t vestigiality have to atleast be a species wide phenomenon. In this example, all it takes for a population to become mixed is an infusion of sighted surface fish…
By that definition skin pigmentation in humans among caucasians can be defined as vestigial…
@Bill_II : Would you define skin pigmentation among Caucasians as vestigial? If not why not?

(Ashwin S) #169

Don’t know. Would have to look into it… may be it is… maybe not.
Will get back to you on that.

(Chris Falter) #170

Question: Did the Baconian scientific method exist when Paul wrote Romans 1?

Since the answer is manifestly “no,” the practitioners of the Baconian scientific method are going to have to find some other way of discerning God’s invisible attributes in creation. I suggest that they can find it the same way that epistle readers in 60 AD would have–i.e., through non-Baconian means. Call it divine intuition, perhaps.

That’s not what I claim. I am just saying that Baconian science is not the method for locating God’s action in the world.

It’s in Table S1 of Borowsky’s supplemental data. Note that the ratio of sighted to total fish in the epigean population is exactly 1.00.

It is a population-wide phenomenon. The population can be broader than a species, as in the case of the vitellogenin pseudo-gene in many mammals, or narrower than a species, as in the case of hypogean A. mexicanus.

Christian scientists by the thousands have already accepted the working model, which is commonly referred to as the theory of evolution. BTW, the theory should not be stated as

Mutations + Natural Selection + Time = Evolution

The theory is more like this:

Natural Selection + Genetic Drift + Mutations + Recombination + Gene Flow = Evolution - Reference

Scientists and science writers, both Christian and otherwise, have described the evidence for this theory at great length. If you’re interested in taking a second look at the evidence in the field, I would suggest Francis Collins’ Language of God for the big picture. As scientists have suggested several times on this forum, when you don’t understand the forest of scientific literature, it is very easy to misunderstand the branches and leaves of individual trees (i.e., individual research articles).^

If you want to explore Biologos-related perspectives on the scientific evidence, Biblical hermeneutics, and philosophical issues such as randomness and teleology, How I Changed My Mind About Evolution would be a great place to start.

Grace and peace,
Chris Falter

^Of course, understanding the vast body of literature on which a scientific discipline has built its main theories is not something that can happen with the reading of one book, or even five; nevertheless, a good overview text has considerable value.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #171

If you’re referring to sort of convergent evolution generally, there are lots of examples of this. There’s an entire school of linguistic thought focused on typology and functionalist approaches to linguistics that look at just this sort of thing.

Just to take one fascinating example, take ergative alignment.

This’ll take a moment to get into, but I think you may find it a helpful comparison, and interesting,
I hope.

In English and many commonly known languages, you have “nominative-accusative alignment.” This means that the subject of intransitive verbs like “sleep” patterns with the subject of transitive verbs like “kill.” So we say “I killed him” and we also say “I sleep,” with “I” in the subject (nominative) case. We don’t say “me sleep” and put the first person pronoun in the object (accusative) case.

In Basque, Inuktitut (“Eskimo”), and lots of other languages around the world, they have “ergative-absolutive alignment.” This means that the subject of intransitive verbs like “sleep” patterns with the object of transitive verbs like “kill.” The transitive subject is in the “ergative” case and the others are in the “absolutive” case. So if English were ergative-absolutive, we would say “he killed me” and “me sleep,” with the transitive object and intransitive subject sharing a single grammatical case that differs from that of the transitive subject.


What’s interesting is that this is a pattern found all around the world but in completely unrelated languages. Take this map from the World Atlas of Linguistic Structures (a fun rabbit hole for the interested reader, btw):

Ergative case marking is all the red dots. Languages with ergative case marking are found in the Pacific Northwest & Arctic, Amazonia, Australia & PNG, the Caucasus, the Pays Basque, the Mayan languages (such as where @Christy and her husband work) and a smattering of other places. Needless to say, this isn’t a genetic relationship!

The actual ergative case marker itself will vary from language to language. In Inuktitut (Eskimo) it’s -up, -k, or -it, where in Lezgian (in the Caucasus) it’s -di, -a, or -e. What is similar is the grammatical pattern of ergativity. It pops up over and over again, much like echolocation, powered flight, or bioluminescence, because there are functional pressures that support it. It’s a system that works well for certain communicative purposes, for instance (acc. to Du Bois 1987, at least) tracking old versus new information in narratives (“discourse”).

Is this the kind of example you were looking for?

The kind of genetic drift we’re discussing in linguistics is not a conscious process. Borrowing words is conscious. Sound change isn’t.

(Lynn Munter) #172

Interesting question! The amount of skin pigmentation certainly could be considered vestigial inasmuch as we are concerned with the skin’s ability to absorb sunlight without developing skin cancer. Of course there is an offsetting evolutionary factor concerning Vitamin D production in high latitudes, so I guess it would depend if you weight skin cancer a lot more than Vitamin D production.

And then be sure you are recognizing an unconscious cultural bias you may have in that in the USA, we are accustomed to thinking that any visible African ancestry in an individual categorizes them as “black,” even if they are (for example) a 3 or 4 on a scale where 1 is almost no pigment and 10 is maximum pigmentation. In Brazil, to pick another example, it’s the reverse and if you saw someone 3/4 “black” with one “white” grandparent, you would culturally categorize them as “white.”

Did your question reflect this kind of unconscious bias? Maybe, but I can’t say for sure.

At any rate, I very much agree with @AMWolfe’s linguistics. Just because language is spoken by thinking beings doesn’t mean anyone planned out getting from Chaucerian English to what we speak. Each change, though some followed more or less probable options, was mostly random with respect to other changes, or caused/enabled by previous changes (like the Great English Vowel Shift). It’s basically evolution with extra lateral gene transfer.

This is why the arguments that “automobiles and all other complex machinery we have were designed, so life must have been too!” leave me unimpressed. The original maker of a sundial never envisioned a modern digital watch. There was no grand plan to get to one. Each step along the way, you see individuals doing what works best for their immediate goals and needs based on their environment. Development of computers, same kind of progression. The more complex machinery gets, the more crucial a trial-and-error multigenerational testing approach is to have gotten there.

Now granted, people can and do say that God can do anything because perfection. But in that case, stop arguing that He must have designed life like we design a car just because that’s the only way we can imagine He could have done it.

(George Brooks) #173


If @Ashwin_s rejects the idea of Evolution-with-God, I doubt if he will understand the difference between an equation WITH Genetic Drift and Gene Flow
vs. any equation without those factors.

We have already shown him where the BioLogos mission statements agree with him that Evolution-without-God is an invalid school of thought (and is explicitly rejected) - - it seems quite beyond his ability to comprehend that the remaining possibilities would include
the idea that God employs natural operations - -

whether it is
[A] evapoaration/condensation to make rain; or
[B] Mutation and Genetic Drift to make species.

@Ashwin_s makes the stunning claim that Godless-Evolution is validly defined but impossible, and that Evolution-with-God is non-existent, and thus even more impossible!

(Ashwin S) #174

Its a very nice equation. I am sure we can explain some of the variation between species through it. Can we examine each mechanism one by one ? -

  1. Natural Selection: This is a tautology… in that some phenotypes survive better in some fitness landscapes… And the one’s that survive have been selected for to survive. This is a tautology.
    I could just paraphrase it to say, “Lucky organisms survive” (afterall there is no reason one trait is better than the other. It just depends on the environment,predators etc)

Genetic drift : I love how berkeley explains genetic drift :slight_smile:

In each generation, some individuals may, just by chance, leave behind a few more descendents (and genes, of course!) than other individuals. The genes of the next generation will be the genes of the “lucky” individuals, not necessarily the healthier or “better” individuals. That, in a nutshell, is genetic drift. It happens to ALL populations — there’s no avoiding the vagaries of chance.
So the difference between Natural selection and genetic drift is that NS involves luck that makes you better… and genetic drift is “luck that’s just lucky”
Here is a pretty picture of gentic drift

Note:Genetic drift + Natural selection = Organisms that survive are lucky!

Mutations/recombinations : -
I love how berkeley explains the limits of what mutations can do -

There are some sorts of changes that a single mutation, or even a lot of mutations, could not cause. Neither mutations nor wishful thinking will make pigs have wings; only pop culture could have created Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — mutations could not have done it.

I more or less agree with this. Mutations can cause significant variation. However, it will take many mutations to create differences of the order seen between species.
Recombination is also a valid source of genetic diversity.
Same for migration/gene flow.

Te only issues is that these are all random processes and the should not add up to create the flow of changes that takes a mammmal to becoming a whale. Thats not have random processes work. They do not add up!

The work of adding up must be done by natural selection… However, the fact that Genetic drift is a major mechanism in evolution shows that NS is not all that powerful.It cannot control genetic variation to the level required to create diversity… too many random factors would have to act in sync.And by their very nature, genetic drift and gene flows undermine natural selection.
Also we should note that selection works best when there is genetic diversity, i.e in large populations. As populations become smaller, the genetic diversity reduces and the influence of selection reduced while that of genetic drift occcurs.
Currently the concensus is that speciation occurs mainly in small isolated populations. So the effect of Selection in speciation process should be less as compared to drift. This means there is very little directed change… and since mutation is random and mostly neutral or deleterous, occurrence of novel phenotypes should be extremely… on a macro scale, this ssould essentially be a zero sum game (if probability is true)…
I feel We can say only the below with absolute certainty -
Natural Selection +Genetic Drift+ Mutations + recombination+geneflow =Minor changes with limited adaptability to environment
We should keep in mind that geneflow, genetic drift etc can cause the changes brought about by mutation/Recombination and natural selection to revert back to the original condition.

ya… because it wouldn’t be evolution… it would be creation through natural processes driven by God.

(Ashwin S) #175

Does it matter?Paul shows a chain of events -
Denying Gods glory in creation --> Dullness of the sense --> Idolatory.
Are scientists somehow exempt? It doesnt look liek it. I am attaching a recent survey result shared in sandwalk for your information. out of 149 evolutionary scientists surveyed, 4.7% turned out to be theist… i.e 95% were athiests and deists (approx 90% athiests).
Do you think this is a coincidence?

Guess your suggestion didnt take!.
we can deny reality, But its a natura lprogression even if we discount Pauls explicit teaching.
The design/put togtherness for a purpose of the universe is undeniable. If God is not given the glory, then it has to be given to natural phenomenon… and when that proves unviable (because nature obviously doesnt have the ability to create); it will have to be attributed to matter/universe itself (i.e pantheism)… give it a few generations, and humanities need to worship someone will lead it to paganism and idolatory.
This is a historic progression.

Then its not an evolutionary concept. How do you differentiate vestigiality from genetic/phenotypic variation in a species? is it just a type if intraspecific variation? Then whats its significance?

Not really. When the options to chose from are limited, similarity can easily be explained by chance/function etc. For example, if i flip a coin, and i get heads,… and my friend does the same and he gets heads… its not strange at all. There were two options to choose from and a coincidence is not strange… So if a thousand guys, tossed coins … and 600 turned up heads…There’s nothing strange going on.However, If a 1000 guys flip a coin and all of them get heads… the coin being biased in some way is a better explanation than chance. So in such cases, functional advantage would be a good example. In linguistics, the function advantage is sufficient to explain what you said because the solution is being invented by intelligent minds (even trial and error done by thinking people is a process of invention).

In evolution, there are many probable solutions to a problem.And each solution is the coming together of several incremental changes which also were one among many options. So when the same solution is evolved in an unrelated manner with extremely similar proteins… chance is not good explanation. Inheritance is.
However, in cases of convergence, assuming a common ancestor would mess up the tree… So selection presssure acting on mutations arising by chance is assumed to be the cause. I would bet on one of the two below being true-

  1. The mutations are not caused by chance, but rather some mechanism that ensures they arise based on triggers from certain niches…(i.e there is a bias which creates these muations as solutions and hence the selection option becomes more probable)
  2. The tree is wrong.

So i am inconclusive on CA beyond certain limits.

We may not be aware of using our brains to do something. That doesnt mean we havent!
A product of interactions between intelligent humans will have inputs from said intelligence… That is inevitable. Atleast culture/aesthecis/function etc will play a role and the selective force will be peoples preferences.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #176

I’m going to leave the linguistics behind, because you are adamant that all linguistic changes are “intelligent” even when they are subconscious and even when they are rooted in the functional mechanics of language production / articulation / perception / etc. I think you stretch the definition of “intelligent” to the breaking point, but I can see I’m not going to win this one, so let’s move on.

You do realize that when traits arise independently within different branches of the tree of life, they always differ genetically and usually morphologically as well, right? I hope @T_aquaticus will correct me if I’m wrong here, but I’m virtually sure about this. It’s not as if scientists look at identical morphology and identical genetics for identical traits and say, “Oh but if we admitted they were related, it would falsify evolutionary theory! This has to have arisen independently. Yeah, yeah, that’s it, independently!” No. The TOL is the conclusion, not the starting point, of the investigation.

(Dennis Venema) #177

Yes, you’re correct. There are differences at the DNA level despite the similarities at the morphological level. In reality it’s not difficult to determine if a trait is convergent or was derived from a shared common ancestor. The only time this breaks down is for very simple “traits” such as single nucleotide polymorphisms where there are only four options (A,C,G or T). For genes, or structures involving multiple genes, there is enough data to work with to distinguish convergence from common ancestry.

One example I use in class is the optix gene in butterflies. Same gene, independently co-opted to be expressed in the wing for pigmentation. Very similar pigmentation patterns resulted in two lineages that did not inherit the pattern from a common ancestor. At the DNA level, we can see those differences.

(Chris Falter) #178

Hi Ashwin,

The linchpin of your argument is the following assertion:

As a data scientist, I can assure you that you are very much misinformed. Many search algorithms use a random walk together with a loss function to produce highly efficient solutions. The loss function acts in a very similar manner to natural selection in the biological realm.

You are telling me that it is impossible for my code to work. My reply is that I committed it, and it’s working in production.

Look, you don’t have to believe me. Find out for yourself; go pursue a graduate education in computer science or data science. As a bonus, you’ll have a lot of fun along the way.

Isolated populations find themselves in a different environmental setting than the ancestral population. This in turn results in a different set of selection pressures on the isolated population.

Thus I have no idea of how you arrived at your assertion. Have you conducted field studies? Do you have any citations to research that supports your assertion?

Would you care to provide the link? I didn’t see it on your post.

While you’re at it: you seem to be advocating that Christians reject any scientific theories that are formulated within a scientific discipline whose practitioners are predominantly atheist. Am I understanding you correctly?

Let’s take a look. The theory states that phenotypes change as populations undergo genetic change under the forces of natural selection, mutation, mutations, recombination, and gene flow, and that some of these changes produce vestiges. I also made the statement you quote:

It is a population-wide phenomenon. The population can be broader than a species, as in the case of the vitellogenin pseudo-gene in many mammals, or narrower than a species, as in the case of hypogean A. mexicanus .

The two statements I have made (about evolutionary theory and about the relationship of vestiges and populations) seem 100% compatible. I’m not following your logic.

When the structure exhibits a reduction or loss of functionality compared with its functionality in ancestral populations, then it is regarded as vestigial. So the sightless lenses of marsupial moles are classified as vestigial.

The variations in skin pigmentation among humans would seem to be a case of phenotypic variation, as resistance to skin cancer and the ability to manufacture vitamin D from sunlight vary along with the pigmentation. However, I am not a medical practitioner or anthropologist, so I would be welcome any corrections.

Let’s not miss the key point: evolution explains the existence of both vestiges and phenotypic variation. @DennisVenema @T_aquaticus @T.j_Runyon - As biologists, would you agree with this statement?

Let me conclude by asking you to consider some evidence that you have not yet responded to:

Grace and peace,
Chris Falter

(Chris Falter) #179

No, I think it is not a sample that leads to strong conclusions.

Broader surveys lead to different conclusions. Here is a summary of a recent survey of over 22,000 scientists in 8 different nations:


If we are to draw our conclusions from the religious opinion and practice among biologists and physicists in France, the UK, and the US, then we should eschew the theories of physics and biology that they support. But wait: the scientists in Taiwan and Hong Kong are more religious than the general population in those countries! How did that happen? And scientists in India and Turkey are about as religious as the broader society.

Now let’s take a look at a broader range of scientists from a 2009 Pew survey:


Note that religious belief is less common among physicists and geologists than among biologists and medical researchers.

So if we are throwing out scientific theories based on religious opinion surveys among scientists, let’s be consistent! Good-bye, Big Bang, quantum mechanics, and plate tectonics! You seemed so compelling and well-supported by the evidence, but then I discovered that the majority of scientists who work in your fields of endeavor do not agree with me on religious belief! :wink:

Let’s take a look at two more surveys, both by Edward Larson of the University of Georgia. In 1997, he discovered that about 40% of mathematicians, biologists, physicists, and astronomers

“said they believed in a God who, by the survey’s strict definition, actively communicates with humankind and to whom one may pray ‘in expectation of receiving an answer.’” Source

In 1998 Larson surveyed just “leading” scientists, defined by their membership in the National Academy of Science. This group would be roughly comparable to the group surveyed 15 years later in the research cited by Sandwalk. The 1998 survey revealed a far lower adherence to religious belief and practice than Larson’s 1997 survey. Here are Larson’s own words on the survey result:

Our survey found near universal rejection of the transcendent by NAS natural scientists. Disbelief in God and immortality among NAS biological scientists was 65.2% and 69.0%, respectively, and among NAS physical scientists it was 79.0% and 76.3%. Most of the rest were agnostics on both issues, with few believers. We found the highest percentage of belief among NAS mathematicians (14.3% in God, 15.0% in immortality). Biological scientists had the lowest rate of belief (5.5% in God, 7.1% in immortality), with physicists and astronomers slightly higher (7.5% in God, 7.5% in immortality).

Again, if we are to base our acceptance of scientific theories on the religious beliefs of leading scientists, then we are duty-bound to reject a lot more than evolution.

But should we be accepting/rejecting scientific theories on this basis? The National Academy of Science–the American organization to which leading scientists belong–made an official publication about evolution and religious belief. Here is a one sentence summary in their own words:

The evidence for evolution can be fully compatible with religious faith. Science and religion are different ways of understanding the world. Needlessly placing them in opposition reduces the potential of each to contribute to a better future.

As a Christian, I want my beliefs about God’s world to be guided by God’s Word, rather than opinion surveys of scientists. So I–together with the leadership of the National Academy of Science and 33-40% of the broader American scientific community–agree with the 5% of leading biologists and 7% of leading physicists who who regard faith as compatible with scientific theories and evidence. The other 95% of leading biologists and 93% of leading physicists will have to live–somehow, I’m not sure how they can do it—with our disagreement.

Grace and peace,
Chris Falter

(George Brooks) #180


This makes absolutely no sense.

Special Creation is “poof”!

Evolution is mutation, natural selection and common descent.

If God uses Evolutionary operations, it is God-guided Evolution… it does NOT become “Creation-by-Natural-Processes”.

Ask the average YEC why he rejects “Creation-by-means-of-Evolution” and you will see that your terminology is not viable.

That’s like saying if God makes it rain by means of evaporation and condensation… then it’s really “a miracle by natural processes”.

That’s *STILL Rain-by-Evaporation/Condensation - - whether it is with or without God.

You have made a very special effort to reject any attempt to recognize Evolutionary processes as NO LONGER BEING EVOLUTION if God operates those processes.

Can you find a single credible citation that supports this bizarre use of the English language?