Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On Evolution

I came across a date today, and I don't remember it exactly, but it was in the year 1859.  (Hey, do you remember every date you see?)  So, that's 140 years ago.  Which made me do some thinking.  What was life like in 1859?  Wikipedia says we had a grand total of 33 states.  Right there -- that says a lot.  Abolition was the hot topic; the Civil War would break out two years later.

Now, that might make it sound like a lifetime ago.  Which it was.  But in 140 years, some things haven't changed a bit.  Example: one of the biggest headlines of the year announced U.S. Congressman Daniel Sickles' arrest for shooting a man who had an affair with his wife.  Yup.  That was 1859.  People are people.  Always have been, always will be.  ...Everything else, though -- science, inventions, technology -- has evolved so drastically it would be hard to believe it's only been 140 years.  In fact, most things have evolved and eventually discarded.

Yes, everything has evolved.  Except, ironically, the big hit of 1859: evolution.

It was 1859 when Darwin's The Origin of Species was published.  Immediately, it sold out.  How many ideas from 1859 are (1) even still around, let alone (2) widely, generally discussed, and (3) touted as general fact?  I mean, 1859?  Weren't we still bleeding people using leeches?  Weren't doctors prescribing mercury and lead as medicines, and cocaine for toothaches?  

I'm not saying evolution is wrong.  I'm just saying it has some holes.  Holes that, as time has marched on, tend to be getting larger instead of smaller.  And it sure would be nice if science continued to explore multiple explanations for the wide variety of life on this planet, rather than just trying to patch the same old holes for 150 years.  And I'm not just talking intelligent design.  How about something totally unheard of?*  After all, the very idea of science, its very essence is to question, to probe, to search out.  But science has accepted evolution (for lack of a better explanation) cart blanche and now (1) refuses to consider other explanations brought forth, and (2) ridicules those ideas, (3) just keeps trying to patch those same old holes.  And the idea that every living thing has evolved from a single-celled organism -- well, proving it?  That's a pretty big hole.

*Scientist Michael Ruse suggests crystals.  He is considered one of the great scientists of our day, so I will not laugh out loud.  Or if I do, it's a blog, and you'll never know.


Robinsonfamily said...

You have a very strong argument. I have never agreed with evolution as it pertains to us coming from other species. Now with your argument I have even more problems with it. You are completely right.

Emily said...

When I started reading htis, I was going to suggest you watch Expelled. Have you actually seen it? I found terribly interesting, and tragic, in a way. Seeing people say so fiercely that anyone who does not believe in evolution and in intelligent design instead is a moron is saddening to me. Also, it really isn't a scientific issue to people like that. It's all about religion. In the interview Ben had with (I believe) the same guy who was talking about crystals, the scientist actually said that perhaps aliens came down and planted life on this planet, thus making life being put in place by intelligent design. Just so long as it's not God, you know...it's fine.

Amanda said...

This is an interesting perspective compared to what Ryan and I were talking about after finishing a temple session last week. It's amazing the "evidences" that are skewed as much as possible to cover up (push out of the way) those plain and simple truths.


I agree that it's silly that so many scientists accept a theory that has a lot of holes. Furthermore, it's silly that any scientist can study life and deny that there is an all-powerful Creator.

But do you think it's possible to believe in both evolution and creation? I do. I think that our church teachings make it very clear that God created every living thing in it's own sphere with a command to multiply and have joy and fill the measure of it's creation. And that man was created very distinctly and separately from other animal life.

Along with this, we can see by studying history and researching current animals today that Heavenly Father had a lot of wisdom with the way that he invented genetics. There is room for adaptations- for evolutions. Animals have a divine instict- put in them by God- to do all they can to survive. And an ability to be bread in a way that makes new animal forms (such as new plant life bread from the Egyptians and new breeds of horses bread from Europeans).

Principals found in the theory of "survival of the fittest" are very real and to me testify how incredibly wise our Creator is. While he uniquely formed everything separately (key belief in Creationism), he created a way for those creatures to be flexible and adapt (key belief in Evolution). I think it is so fascinating!!

Chelsea said...

I took the most interesting class at BYU from an incredible professor - a world renowned geneticist and strong LDS member - all about evolution. He said that we know next to nothing about the gospel, and also next to nothing about evolution. On the first day he said that many people use evolution as a way to disprove God, but he said that it would be preposterous of him to try and see where they interrelate or don't: the gospel is perfect and not going to change and our understanding of evolution is merely a way for us to try and understand a way that God might have created us. He spent numerous days showing chromosomal "evidence" of human evolution. I was fascinated that such a spiritual man could center his life's work around evolution. He said that in Genesis we learn WHY God created man but not how, and he feels that by studying science and in particular evolution he is trying to study the HOW behind the way God created us.

Anyway, I am no scientist and don't feel like I know enough to "believe in" evolution, I can only say that I know that we were created in the image of God. It is very interesting how you put it into the context of the times, however!

Jeremiah said...

Mickelle, I am just a little curious as to what the holes in the theory of evolution are? I might add that there are holes in our understanding of the theory of gravity as well, which does not seem to run into controversy. I have to confess that it tickles me pink personally to think that were organic evolution to be applied to all other species but humans, many of us would have little to no difficulty at all in accepting it. Please do not regard this as bashing your view or anything. I have only seen a small clip from Expelled, with the scientist talking about how evolution leads to the inevitable disbelief in God. Rest assured that this is not representative of the entire scientific community. Was it Dr. Jefferys that you took the class from? I had him for a couple of classes and he is phenominal.

Emily said...

To Jeremiah, it may not be representative of the whole scientific community; but the point Expelled makes is that if you are prominent (or even somewhat prominent) in that community, there is absolutely no room for Higher Intelligence, and certainly not for Creationism. That's the point of the movie. There have been dozens and dozens of examples where scientists, once highly regarded, were either fired or demoted. So to say that it is not the belief of the entire community is almost laughable, since if there is a scientist who thinks of Intelligent Design as being possible, he is quickly laughed at and harshly judged.

Mickelle said...

I wrote a response really quickly to SarahLynn yesterday, and when I checked for it today, it never posted!

Here's the jist of it:

(1) I totally believe in inter-species evolution. I totally believe in survival of the fittest. I feel badly that my post didn't make that part very clear.

(2) I totally do not believe in the over-extension of evolution to the point where it explains all life on earth. We did not all evolve from the same type of one cell. It just didn't happen.

(3) The thing that worries me the most is that all future research and theories tend to use presupposed, existing theories, i.e. evolution. So we're spinning further and further from the truth because we started with "truth mixed with error." (That is, evolution is a correct principal that has been applied to conditions incorrectly.)

Mickelle said...

I forgot one.
(4) Okay, the other thing that worries me is what Emily so eloquently described in brief, and describes in detail: those scientists looking for alternate theories are discounted, and often their careers are jeopardized for the sake of their courage to question evolution.

No belief in science should be so heatedly defended when it can't be thoroughly proven.

And nobody should tarnish someone else's career because they choose to question things out for themselves, rather than accepting any idea just because everybody else takes it for granted to be fact.

To Jeremiah, yeah, I'm no scientist. I know you well enough to know no offense was intended, so of course none was taken. And I do believe that one can believe in evolution and God, no qualms with that. (I especially LOVED Chelsea's comment)

As to what the flaws in the theory of evolution are, well, I feel a little out of my depth in being the one to explain them. I think highly of your opinion, and although I do believe evolution to have flaws, I'd love to hear more from you on the topic one of these days and learn from it!

Missy said...

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Jeremiah said...

Mickelle, thanks for clarifying some of your thoughts. I gotta start off with the ID thing. The reason that scientists do not buy into Intelligent Design is because there is absolutely no evidence to support the concept of irreducible complexity, which is the premise of ID. Proponents of ID have identified traits in living organisms that they felt were too complex to have independently evolved, as removal of any part would make the trait inoperable, and thus incapable of making the organism fitter. Unfortunately for Michael Behe and pals, every instance that they have claimed to have been irreducibly complex has been demonstrated to actually exist in a reduced state naturally. Intelligent Design is not testable, experiments cannot be designed to support it, there is no data used to explain it, and supporters fail to use any science whatsoever in its favor, so if scientists are skeptical, cynical, or even downright derisive, and say that ID is not scientific, they are correct. I believe in an Intelligent Designer, aka God, but he did not leave any fingerprints behind, unless you count cutag(the nucleic acids that make up DNA and RNA). Expelled is too agenda driven to be considered objective, so I would seriously consider researching whatever "facts" it claims before buying them (yeah, I realize that nothing is truly objective). More on this stuff later.

Greg said...

Well written!