A Biologist’s Perspective

What is evolution?

 

This a question that most conservative Christians would love to answer with a slurry of arguments and facts. Beginning in Pre-K, good Christians are taught to combat the evils of this horrible theory. In fact, just the mention of the despicable word will throw many Christians into a frenzy.

On a daily basis, I am confronted and challenged on my beliefs on evolution. I have established myself as a creationist, but there is so much more to evolution than just the beginigs of life. In fact, I have come to realise that the beginings of life is just a small part of evolution. I have been learning about evolution for about 6 years now and I have come to realize something. Conservative creationists rarely understand exactly what evolution really is.

However, how many of you have actually taken the time to listen to the theory of evolution . . . all of you, right? After all, the way you formed your opinions was by listening to a humanists evolutionary arguments and then shooting back a plethora of geological facts and scriptures to show that you know the real truth.

However, I have the sinking feeling that we have not listened to what the evolutionist have really been saying. You see there are actually two parts the theory of evolution and we have unfortunatelythought they are the same thing.

Big Bang – the big band theory is no longer accepted at face value in the scientific community, but spin-offs of it are. In fact, there is actually a fair amount of evidence for the theory that the world started in a sort of “bang”. Astronomers calculations have shown that everything in the universe is actually shooting out from a single point. The center of the point is unknown right now, but it is known that the Milky Way galaxy is becoming increasingly farther from near solar systems and galaxies as it travels through space.

The Big Bang theory starts with the presence of gases, but they cannot explain where the gasses came from (hm . . . maybe God). I am a creationist, but who says God couldn’t have spoken and “bang” it happened.

However, the problem with the theory really isn’t in the creation of the universe because that can be reconciled to God. The problem actually starts when scientists claim that intelligent life was created from inorganic molecules that randomly assembled to form cells.

I know that I am probably losing some of you on this so let me explain. Humans are formed of tissues and organs. These are what hold us together and they are all made out of tons of cells. Each individual cell is actually independent of another cell. Each cell is composed of thousands of molecules that assemble together to for things like DNA and vesicles (they are like cells inside of cells). One of the most basic molecules, amino acids, is composed of specific chemicals. According to evolutionists, the chemicals that are in amino acids can randomly assemble in the right conditions to form the amino acids and then the amino acids can assemble to form cells.  The scary thing is that they are almost correct. Experiments have shown that these chemicals, if placed together, will arrange themselves into the amino acids and then the amino acids will assemble into other structures. However, to the best of my knowledge, they have not yet shown that the amino acids can assemble into cells.

In here lies the problem with the Big Bang. The problem is not with the explosion, the problem is with the absence of a creator with a divine touch and an investment in the creation of an world.

Origin of Species/Natural Selection – This form of evolution is in no way to be mixed with the Big Bang. In reality, this form of evolution has nothing to do with the beginning of life.

This theory is based on two basic premises.

The first is that there is variation in a species. Basically, we are not all like each other. Guess what, a lot of this variation is due to mutations. No, not extra arms coming out of you skin, but more like the suntan you get when you go to the beach. The suntan you receive is not bad, however, the energy from the light enters your body and messes with your DNA. This mess will most likely just kill the cell with the “mutated” DNA.  However, every once in a while, the change in the DNA will lead to something unexpected like skin cancer. The change in the DNA didn’t kill the cell, but now the cell won’t operate like it is supposed to so it just keeps growing a reproducing, leading to cancer. Then, every once in a while, the mutation will actually lead to something beneficial.

The second premise is that the individuals who have the genes that will favor them most will be able to create the most offspring with the same genes.

If you put these two statements together, you will have the premise that everyone is different, and those who are best favored will be able to reproduce the most and their genes will be represented the most in the next generation.

Now I know this doesn’t work with humans because we are monogamous, but look at something like corn. Years ago, farmers would plant corn and save the best to replant. The would lead to better looking crops than the year before. Then, the farmer would take the best of the second crop and replant it. Over many years, the farmers have now been planting many many crops and selecting the best so that now we have the big juicing corn that is harvested these days.

However, lets look at an example that we can all relate to better. Why isn’t penicillin effective anymore? When penicillin was introduced, it destroyed all kinds of bacterial infections and diseases. However, today it is ineffective against almost anything.

The bacteria didn’t “grow” resistant to the drug. However, there were many bacteria with many different DNA. When penicillin came in, it killed all of the bacteria. Well, it killed all except 8 out of 1000. However, those 8 bacteria had a little different DNA which was resistant to penicillin. These bacteria had genes which favored them (kept them from getting killed) and guess what? They were able to pass along their penicillin resistant genes to the next generation where the other bacteria couldn’t pass along their genes. So the next generation ended up being penicillin resistant.

This is the basis of evolution, the bacteria didn’t grow wings, but they did become resistant to penicillin. This can also be seen in an experiment involving two fish populations.  The same species of fish was placed in a stream with a waterfall. One group of the fish was put up above the water fall where birds could hunt them. These fish couldn’t travel down the water fall where a second group of fish were planted and were protected from the birds by dense trees.

These fish had two primary coloring patterns. A bright patter and a dull pattern. Scientist observed that at the upper group of fish, the birds would spot and hunt the bright colored quicker and easier than the other fish. In fact the bright fish were eaten so quick that they couldn’t pass their bright genes to the next generation, so the next generation was primarily dull colored. In fact, after a few generations, there was no longer a bright colored gene in the group at the top of the water fall. The bottom of the waterfall was hidden from the birds  so the bright fish we not eaten. In fact, the females prefered the the bright colored fish so there were more bright colored offspring in the next generation and in a few generations there were very few dull genes in the lower population.

So, now there was a group above the water fall with only dull coloring and a lower group with primarily bright coloring. The fish were kept in their different environments and became used to and adapted to their environments. In time, there two populations were put together and would not mate because they had become so different.

This is the essence of natural selection. The two fish groups were created from the same group of genes. Then, over time the two groups were faced with different challenges and responded to them in different ways which used and prefered different genes. After doing this enough times, the fish had were composed of different sets of genes.

 

This is true evolution. This is what the term really means. This is a reality that faces us everyday and this the evolution that we cannot deny.

3 thoughts on “A Biologist’s Perspective”

  1. Great post. Creation/evolution is one of my soap box subjects. I've been training our kids from day one how to regonize evolutionary thinking in the things they read because when I was growing up, my parents never talked to me about it.

    Consequently I grew up believing monkey to man AND Creation…of course two completely irreconcilable concepts. It wasn't until I was a teen that I even though that they weren't compatible. I was so ready to believe anything I was told since I'd never been directed by my parents in the fact that not everything I learned at school was true.

    I'm making sure I don't make that same mistake with my own children.

  2. Good post. Macro and micro evolution do tend to be mixed up sometimes. I have appreciated Ken Ham's work in this area.
    I could be wrong on this, but I am thinking that species origin and natural selection are 2 distinct ideas.

  3. There is a difference between speciation and natural selection but the two are also very intertwined and it is easier to explain them as the same thing for the purposes of this post.

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