In the wake of Darwin’s revelations, the life science disciplines began to scramble in order to make sense of evolution and how it applied to their respective fields. In time, much of the established dogma was abandoned as new material flooded the scientific landscape. It was not a smooth transition by any stretch, with many proposing alternative variations of evolution and the processes that drive it. Ultimately each was abandoned. During the next century, between the years 1936 and 1947, a consensus was agreed upon by the authorities in a range of fields. This agreement, known as the Evolutionary Synthesis, came to be the foundation of modern evolutionary thought.
Their model of evolution was compelling. In short, it declared that:
- Evolution is a gradual process of tiny, incremental genetic changes, themselves the products of mutations that have afforded greater survival statistics within any given species, and that…
- Given the nature of mutation and heredity, evolution appears to occur faster in segregated populations of life, such as those isolated by habitat or geography.
The authorities also agreed that the evidence for this model of evolution was quite clear from the fossil record, itself demonstrating a feasible progression of life from simple to complex, and an unimaginable range of speciation at each level.
It was a deceptively simple explanation for a complex topic, elegantly outlining a process by which pure naturalism could ultimately replace any and all other explanations for the existence of life. Today, the model is heralded by its advocates as a glittering tower of the triumph of science over the irrational, and an example of reason overcoming superstition.
The evolution paradigm is now continuously studied and modified with new hypotheses and fresh mathematical models. Life, the authorities proclaim, appeared some 3.8 billion years ago, and from that first simple cell, after untold generations of speciation and alteration, came the wide variety of the five kingdoms (1) that we see today, a total of some 10-15 million living species,(2) itself only 1% of all the life assumed to have existed through history.(3) Ask any mainstream authority – from school-level educators to ivy league professors – and they will most likely confirm that evolution, without a doubt, is truly undeniable, unquestionable, and unavoidable as a process of biology.
To demonstrate the veracity of the notion, mainstream sources regularly provide unmistakable examples of evolution at work. A favorite is Darwin’s finches, in which the beaks – through pressures imposed by dietary needs – have become stronger and heavier in some while becoming more delicate in others. Another oft-cited case involves the peppered moth (Biston betularia) which, because of environmental conditions, radically reconfigured their natural coloration over the course of several generations, altering them again later when conditions returned to normal.
More recently, proponents have begun to refer to the new developments seen in some Escherichia coli populations. Since 1988, the lab of Richard Lenski has documented the changes seen in twelve cultures of E. coli that originated from a single ancestor, accounting for no less than fifty thousand successive generations! Comparisons of the modern E. coli to those from 1988 have demonstrated that they are changing, accumulating untold millions of mutations,(4) and some, unlike their forebears, have begun seeking novel sources of nutrition in the form of citrate.(5)
The confidence with which the scientific community has imbued the evolution paradigm has not been overlooked by other disciplines, with the concept being adopted in some form or fashion by many. The media for instance has become one of the most outspoken advocates for the promotion of the model in recent years. Whereas evolution was once primarily discussed in classrooms and lecture halls, now children are being exposed to the idea as soon as they can read. In all forms of media, from scholarly tomes to wee ones’ books, blockbuster films and small-screen television specials, and all manner of news broadcast and documentaries in between, evolution is on full display, and oftentimes with it the whole secular concept of our history. The idea is popular beyond measure, widely and wholly accepted nearly worldwide, and promoted with a vigorous zeal more befitting of political propaganda than a typical scientific concept. Its endorsement is inescapable.
Those industries are not alone in their acceptance of the notion, as even within the hallowed halls of some of the most steadfast bastions of faith has the notion found a home. Many non-Christian religions either readily accepted the model as truth or otherwise acquiesced in time, and in like turn, various sects within the Christian body eventually began to accept the model as well. The modern Catholic Church, for instance, has become an outspoken proponent of the notion, embracing the evolution paradigm with as much ease as Augustine and Aquinas had in their own acceptance of comparable ideas. Even the venerated Pope John Paul II, in a 1996 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, spoke out about it, declaring the paradigm as “more than a hypothesis.”(6) The Vatican’s support for the notion may be an explanation for why Catholic numbers have remained fairly stable (approximately 22% of the American population) while essentially all other Christian denominations are experiencing a loss of adherents.
Truthfully, how could these and other such institutions counter the evolutionary scenario advanced by science? The authorities publish their research, theories, and findings, only to have it absorbed and vigorously redistributed to the less technical masses by the media, entertainment industry, and education systems, citing example after example as proof for the new doctrine. What good would resistance to such opposition do, especially if it is, as they insist, abundantly clear and unmistakable?
The only realistic outcome to such opposition – indeed what we actually see with our statistics – is that those outside of the faith will view those within as even more backward and ignorant than they already do, catalyzing a steadily increasing apostasy. People are leaving the church because they can’t refute what mainstream science insists is fact and see little reason to reconcile belief with the assertions of the authorities. Furthermore, children and young adults are in large part avoiding the Christian faith altogether, and they will in time represent nothing less than a lost generation. Other believers simply defer to the experts, trusting their knowledge and expertise, acquiescing to the notion of “theistic evolution.” Indeed, it has been said that, “In one form or another, Theistic Evolutionism is the view of creation taught at the majority of mainline Protestant seminaries, and it is the official position of the Catholic Church.”(7)
Evolution, no matter theistic or otherwise, is a direct contradiction to the literal interpretation of the Genesis account, allowing death, pain, and suffering into the world prior to the fall. Yet still many denominations have acquiesced under the pressures imposed by the outside world, causing untold numbers to doubt the truthfulness of the Genesis account of creation. Once disbelief in one aspect of the Bible has set in, where does it stop?
In reality, there is no need for acquiescence on the part of the church, no justification for theistic evolution, and certainly no need to abandon the faith and authority of Scripture. Oh, if Darwin only knew…
Notes & References
- monera, protista, fungi, plantae, and animalia
- Miller, G. Tyler & Spoolman, Scott E, “Environmental Science,” 14th ed,Brooks/Cole2012, California, pg 65
- Stearns, Beverly Peterson & Stearns, Stephen C., “Watching, from the Edge of Extinction,” Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1999
- Lenski, Richard E., “Phenotypic and Genomic Evolution during a 20,000-Generation Experiment with the Bacterium Escherichia coli,” 2003 Janick, Jules, ed., Plant Breeding Reviews, New York, Wiley, 24 (2): 225–65
- “Historical contingency and the evolution of a key innovation in an experimental population of Escherichia coli,” Blount, Zachary D., Borland, Christina Z., & Lenski, Richard E, (2008), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105 (23): 7899–906
- Pope John Paul II, “Truth Cannot Contradict Truth,” ed. Kevin Knight, New Advent, 15 Feb 2009
- Scott, Eugenie C., “Antievolution and Creationism in the United States,” Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 26, 1997, pg. 271
– This was an excerpt from “Remnants of Eden: Evolution, Deep-Time, & the Antediluvian World.” Get your copy here today. God bless! –
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