Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Scope of Evolution

In reading Karl Giberson's Saving Darwin, which I shall shortly review in full, I was struck by the possibilities presented by Evolution as an explanatory mechanism. I've already noted how Evolution is more complex and difficult to integrate with a definition of the scientific method that is rooted in physics, but the question is: how does this complexity manifest itself?

The amazing thing is the explanatory scope of Evolutionary theory. Giberson writes:

The theory of evolution is a vast and complicated network of interlocking explanatory concepts tying together everything from the age of fossil bones to similarities between human and chimp DNA. There is, quite simply, a mountain of evidence from multiple sources supporting evolution. Organized by evolutionary theory, this mountain of evidence becomes a comprehensible and manageable landscape. Without evolutionary theory, it disappears into the clouds, a hidden and impenetrable mystery of unexplained patterns. (Karl Giberson, Saving Darwin, HarperOne, p. 194).


And what are some of these distinct areas and patterns that evolution explains? Giberson suggests at least five important ones:

  1. The fossil record
  2. Biogeography (the distribution of species around the world)
  3. Comparative anatomy (eg. five fingers in mammals -- from the bat to humans)
  4. Developmental Similarities (embryology)
  5. Comparative biochemistry/physiology (eg. DNA)
Neither Intelligent Design nor Creationism has a mechanism to explain any of these factors.

4 comments:

charles & jenny said...

Whats interesting is the same 5 are used as reasons against evolution.
Fossil record- lack of transition fossils between invertebrate and vertebrate creatures (or for the simple people like me.. no transition fossils)

Design, DNA, etc have been lifted up that if we are created from chaos, why the uniformity across all species? The cell is another area where it used to be considered a cell was a pretty simple organism that is easy to create. The complexity of nucleus and the detailed process actually points to a design.

Again.. I am no expert and merely restating what I have heard. I am a finance guy. I do recommend watching Expelled to at least hear the other side. If nothing else, you can laugh at how crazy they are and feel comfortable about your position. I will try to pick up a copy of the book to help balance myself!

Chuck

Hyeon Cho said...

Though this is not my first visit here, I am glad to know this blog.

Here, in South Korea, there is an association that supports 'creation science.' Of course, there are much more opponents as well.
Though I don't know the current situation between the two groups, it is certain that there have not been public disputes enough.

When I was an evangelical Christian, I thought creationist's understanding of Genesis was very inspiring. Now, well, their interpretation seems to be arbitary in some parts.
But I sometimes doubt if their arguments, even a few, are worth considering. :)

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Hyeon Cho -- welcome!

Chuck, I've not seen Expelled, but I've read Morris, Gish, Johnson, and the rest -- long ago. I was a Creationist before I was ID, now I'm neither.

I would encourage reading Giberson's book. One can poke holes, but if one has nothing else to offer, the debate is a bit moot. The book, by the way, is very readable!

Gary said...

The Bible is fiction. That must be the belief of anyone who believes evolution is fact. Theistic evolutionists are dishonest, irrational, and hypocritical.