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  1. Andrew Lacayo

    in the end may be I’m just using too narrow of a definition of “after their kind” and may be God intended more flexibility in that phrase than I’m allowing it to have.

  2. Andrew, in my science and Mormonism blog, I have a post giving my reasons for believing that creation after their kind and evolution are both important in creation. I won’t go into the details here, since my essay is online for all to read, but I will say that evolution without “after their kind” would lead to instability in creation.

  3. Damian

    Bryce, this is my first view of your website. I have loved the other content.

    I applaud your temerity in venturing into this topic, because it has provoked an interesting discussion.

    But I have to say that I side with the comments of Eric, and Rob, D. Rolling Kearney who have challenged some aspects of your views.

    I am not a scientist but I look at evidence for a living. From what I have read, evolution can explain the evolutionary workings within a species, but it doesn’t provide sufficient evidence to explain how the species got here in the first place.

    Unquestionably, we have a definitional problem, because “evolution” is much too broad a term. We need to distinguish between “micro-evolution” (adaptation within a species) and “macro-evolution” (changing from one species to another). Too often, we use the term “evolution” is used to refer to either or both. This creates tremendous confusion.

    I believe in micro-evolution, because I think it is amply demonstrated, but I do not accept the macro-evolutionary theory, because I think it is anything but proven. Indeed, I think the evidence goes against it.

    I believe in science. I believe that true science, when properly understood, is compatible with true religion. Micro-evolution is compatible with my beliefs and with my reason. Macro-evolution conflicts both with my faith and my reason, for reasons that follow:

    *on a religious basis, the scriptures tell us that God commanded each species of plant and animal life to multiply “after their kind,” Micro-evolution, adaption of species to survive (including organisms such as insects adapting to pesticides, or bacteria adapting to antibiotics), and the use of science to enhance breeds, etc., explains the variety we have within species, and is perfectly compatible with science, the scriptures, and our own life experience.

    Macro-evolution, on the other hand, requires at some point that one animal or plant species will morph into another in a completely random fashion. Again, evolutionary adaptation within a species does not prove this. Micro-evolution might result in a variations in size, color, coat, and other characteristics in the dog species, but doesn’t change a dog into another species.

    Scientists sometimes point to an isolated fossil record somewhere to try to demonstrate species jumping, but I haven’t found the evidence compelling, nor is evidence of species jumping found in the volume that would be required to explain the variation and extent of different species that we have now. More on that below.

    *I think any theory has to have some basis in common sense. True macro-evolutionary theory–especially if not guided or directed by a creator–requires that random collisions of molecules originating in some primordial soup result in ever more complicated and sophisticated species until, voila!, here we sit as human beings talking about it.

    Reason tells me that randomness would produce the opposite result–more disorganization and less sophisticated organisms. The macro-evolutionist answers, “well, it is possible, and in fact we are here, which proves that it happened.” That is a tautology: “evolution happened, therefore it happened.”

    Yes, I guess anything is “possible.” It is possible that an ape playing on a typewriter could eventually create a Shakespearean sonnet. But the chances of that happening are so infinitesimally small and so contrary to common sense and experience that we dismiss the possibility out of hand. Similarly, while it is “possible” that random collisions of atoms could create life and then result in increasing complexity and organization (up to and including the human brain), is so unlikely as to resemble fantasy rather than science.

    *for species to have begun and then transmuted sufficiently to provide the infinite variety that we have today, we would have to have literally billions (indeed, probably trillions) of examples of mid-species forms showing how an amoeba became a mouse, and how a mouse became a whale, etc. Where is this shown in the fossil records? The scale and scope that would have been required is not shown in the fossil records. Indeed, fossil records dating back hundreds of millions of years old show species remarkably similar to what we have today. And the Cambrian explosion (in which a variety of life forms appear at once) leaves insufficient time for all of these species to have evolved from lower life forms.

    *in order to support the theory, macro-evolutionists have to assume virtually unlimited time in order for the process to work. But the passage of time still doesn’t answer the questions: how do these random mutations result in increasingly sophisticated and complicated and interdependent organisms and structures? From what we see in nature, mutations make the creature less able to survive, not more.

    *as mentioned by some posters, macro-evolution does not explain the origins of life, or the phenomenon of intelligence. Random collisions of molecules doesn’t explain how we perceive that we are able to make choices among alternatives. Is this an illusion? How can free will exist in a random universe?

    *macro-evolution glosses over the application of the theory to even the simplest mechanisms, let alone the complexity of something like, for instance, a human eye. Could even a simple mechanism like a mouse trap evolve? For this to occur, you would have to have the intersection of the board, the spring, the bait platform, all in the right size, and in a certain orientation, combined with a simultaneous application of force that cocks the mechanism. As unlikely as this is, how much more unlikely is it that all of the variables simultaneously come together to result in an eye that collects light and transmits images by electrical impulses through an optic nerve to the brain?

    *in the absence of evidence, macro-evolutionists have pretty well insisted that we take these things on faith–or that we believe that because micro-evolution is proven, macro-evolution is a fact. It becomes a religion in which heterodoxy is severely punished: no other point of view can be explored. Frankly, I don’t have the blind faith to believe in macro-evolution based on what its adherents have shown me. It is like the junkyard explosion resulting in a 747 aircraft. The wonder of life in all its forms, the spinning of the earth in its orbit, the organization of the universe, the miracle of birth, makes it much easier for me to believe that God set all of these things in motion.

    Perhaps some day, macro-evolutionists will come up with better evidence to support the theory. Until then, I don’t have the blind faith necessary to accept these fantastic explanations.

    I truly believe that in the “big movie,” we will be shocked at the credulity we showed to believe in something so contrary to reason and experience. I believe we will find that the “wisdom of their wise men shall perish,” and that, in the final analysis, the emperor had no clothes.

  4. Hi Damian, thanks for your comment. I can’t address all your comment right now, but I would suggest reading more books about evolution. The evidence is quite overwhelming for full blown macro evolution, and it is accepted by most academics, including LDS scholars.

  5. Cody Andrews

    “The theory of evolution is as much a theory as the theory of gravity, the theory of continental drift, the theory of plate tectonics, the theory of relativity, the theory of cells, the theory of atoms, the theory of heliocentrism (the Earth revolves around the Sun), and a host of other theories that we take for granted today as facts of life.”

    I believe that it should be noted that, while there is a “theory of gravity”, there is Newton’s Law of Gravitation. Listing off theories without their counterpart laws seems like sweeping things under the rug.

    However, this is not me saying that I am against any of the points you have made. This is a well written article and I will certainly need some time to study it in a more thorough manner.

  6. Preston Christensen

    Damian, Those are some interesting points that you made and you are not the first to make those observations (assuming they are indeed your observations). Just a thought or two from someone who has considered many of the same things. One of the ideas that you described is something called “irreducibly complex systems”. It essentially states that there are certain systems that rely on a certain number of parts for it to work, and for each of those parts to randomly evolve would be like guessing a 100 character combination in a limited amount of time. It is not a bad argument and the more you study biology the more of these systems you will see both on the organ level and on the cellular level. What it ignores however, is that these systems have developed from simpler systems with DIFFERENT functions. For every example that has been brought forward there are very logical explanations for how they came about.
    While there really is mountains of good evidence supporting speciation (or macroevolution). I do appreciate the point you seem to bring up that many academics take a “leap of faith” as it were on other topics. It seems to me that many are so set in their philosophical presuppositions that they are left with no choice but to come up with strange ideas like the multiverse (admittedly not a topic I am very expert on at all). In other words, the idea of a creator, God, or even any higher power is not even worthy of any sort of consideration what so ever. They treat the absence of God (or any higher creative power) as if it were an a priori fact, which it certainly is not.
    Anyway, just a few thoughts I had. I don’t think it is demeaning to us or to God to think that He used evolution as one of his many tools of creation. After all, as the author pointed out. We were created from dust. I have other thoughts on how we were created in God’s image in what SEEMS to be a random mess.
    As for your paragraph on free will, that is a VERY interesting and a VERY old debate. Although LDS doctrine is clear on the fact that we have free will, what exactly that means is still hard to know. Once you really press the idea further you will find even the brethren have somewhat differing ideas on that topic.
    if you are interested in the philosophy of biology from an LDS perspective. I would recommend “Evolving Faith” by Steven Peck from BYU. I’m sure there are hundreds of books on the topic, that is just one I have read.

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