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Evolution: Meanings & Misconceptions

For many Christians reconciling notions of creation from the Bible with the theory of evolution continues to be troublesome. In order to get our heads straight it helps to have some understanding of what we mean when we say evolution and what it’s proponents say it is not.

Justin Taylor summarizes an essay by Stephen Meyer and Michael Newton Keas and lays out six different meanings of the term evolution:

  1. Evolution as change over time
  2. Evolution as gene frequency change
  3. Evolution as limited common descent
  4. Evolution as a mechanism that produces limited change
  5. Evolution as universal common descent
  6. Evolution as the ‘blind watchmaker’ thesis

The argument being that Christians should have no problems with definitions 1-4 but can legitimately question nos 5-6.

At the same time proponents are also striving for a better understanding of what we mean by evolution and identify five common misconceptions.

  1. It is just a theory
  2. That evolution is synonomous with ‘survival of the fittest’
  3. That humans descend from chimps
  4. That because no one was there it cannot be proven
  5. That because Darwin got some stuff wrong the whole thing is wrong

People of faith do themselves no favours when they argue against something that no one actually thinks or believes and we need to engage with the deeper issues.

Read this if you want to know some history as to why religion and science have been pitted as enemies or to listen to an enlightening discussion on religion and science then In Our Time: Science & Religion is excellent. Follow the next link more posts on evolution

 

Photo by tmkeesey

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