Sorry Christians, but we don’t get to just ‘not believe in’ evolution

"Do you like Taylor Swift?" is a different kind of question than "Do you accept evolution?"

“Do you believe in evolution?” It’s an incredibly common question in the church today, and at first glance, it may seem perfectly straightforward and innocent enough.

But it isn’t. Because, unfortunately, it is informed by a presupposition that is completely and utterly false. You see, the underlying assumption here is that accepting evolution is merely a matter of personal preference, along the lines of “Do you like Taylor Swift?” or “Are you a fan of ‘The Walking Dead’?” It implies that there is no objective truth in the matter to speak of, which reduces it to a toss-up, a question of “belief” and personal choice: “Do you choose to believe in this story, or do you choose to believe in this other story?”

We don’t do this to other scientific questions. We don’t ask people if they “believe in” gravity, or ultraviolet light, or atoms and molecules, or exoplanets, or germs. But, for some reason, we think evolution is a different animal.

Well, it’s not. There is enough evidence for evolution by common descent to fill libraries and museums all over the planet (and, in fact, it does). The evidence for the ancient age of the earth and universe is even stronger; indeed it is — quite literally — written in the stars.

Now, this evidence does not “prove” anything. Evidence is just a record of the past, and like any record, it has to be interpreted. But the one thing that we Christians — we who claim to know and represent the God who not only created the world but was also the very door through whom truth entered itcannot do is ignore the evidence.

The evidence of endogenous retroviruses, identical proteins and pseudogenes, atavisms, comparative phylogenies, nested heirarchies, vestigial structures and organs, fixed-action patterns, continental distribution, island biogeography, ring species, the fossil record, the many observed examples of natural selection at work and so on, must all be explained by any Christian worldview that would seek to supplant evolution as a viable explanation of why life looks the way it does. And, it must not only “explain” this evidence, but it must do so in a way that is more plausible and intellectually satisfying than evolution.

I’m not trying to stack the deck in favor of Darwin’s theory here. It is only reasonable that the truth would answer the call of the evidence in a more intellectually satisfying way than something that is not the truth.

By James McGrath, Exploring Our Matrix.

By James McGrath, Exploring Our Matrix.

This is why — even though I understand their concerns — I sometimes get frustrated talking with young-earthers who begin and end their case against Darwin with the theological or biblical claims they have against his theory, as though it were up to me (or anyone else) how God chose to create the universe, and as though “evolution” is something I just dreamed up so I’d have something to discuss on the Internet.

Questions like “Why would God use evolution?” or “Why would he take 14 billion years?” certainly are interesting and important ones for contemporary believers to wrestle with. But starting with such questions is the wrong way to approach this topic, and the pursuit of knowledge in general. As I’ve said before, such a hermeneutic — applied to scripture consistently — would have us still believing the sky is solid and the earth is flat. Quite simply, we Christians do not have the privilege of structuring reality according to what might best suit our theology or our reading of the Bible.

If the diversity of life on this planet today is the result of billions of years of evolution — as all of the evidence in numerous independent fields of inquiry indicates — then that’s just the way it is, and it doesn’t matter if it makes us uncomfortable or wrecks our neat theological models. We can’t choose to simply “not believe in” a well-evidenced scientific theory because we’re not satisfied with the way our theological hang-ups to said theory have been addressed.

We have to live in the same world everyone else does, and we have to address the facts that concern that world. We can’t simply pretend the facts aren’t there, nor can we just wave them away with appeals to God’s miraculous power and expect everyone else to applaud our brilliant non-explanations.

Don’t be a skeptic. Check out GOE’s Facebook and Twitter page — as well as our new store! — today.

Tyler Francke

  • Larry Bunce

    I am enough of a child of the ’60s to want to say, “right on, brother..” (Or should that be “write on?”)
    You hit the nail on the head today (to coin another phrase.)

    • Thanks, Larry! I’m fond of “Rock on,” myself, which I suppose would make me a child of the ’70s? I’m not, really, but I’ve always been a fan of classic rock. However, I also sometimes say “Preach it!” which I think makes me a child of the 1800s or something 🙂

  • Alan Christensen

    Great article! I’m reminded of J. Vernon McGee, who used to have a radio series called “Through The Bible,” commenting, “I don’t know why God would wait for a rock to get old.” I don’t either, but apparently he did! “Why” is probably an unanswerable question. A little off your topic today, it also occurs to me that arguments like “Evolution led to Nazism” (besides being stupid) are irrelevant. You can’t throw out the evidence because of the conclusion it might lead to.

    • You can’t throw out the evidence because of the conclusion it might lead to.

      No kidding, and if we could, we’d tragically have to throw out the Bible, because of the horrible things people have (mis)used it to support over the years. My favorite response to that tired old claim is, “Yeah? No wars, conquests, genocides or any other senseless acts of violence were ever perpetrated by humans against other humans until poor Darwin came along?”

  • Will

    I have a feeling Taylor Swift accepts evolution, too. She is a smart girl.

    • Maybe she should write a song about it. Then we’d know for sure.

  • Tim

    Sad to see that while you give lip service to the truth that evidence
    and the interpretation of said evidence are not the same…..you then
    continue on to refer to creationists as ‘rejecting evidence’ rather than
    ‘rejecting an inference or conclusion (i.e. an interpretation of
    evidence)’

    • Well, “rejecting evidence” is so much easier and quicker to say than “rejecting the most obvious, straightforward and reasonable interpretation of the evidence, which is supported by virtually every scientist in every field remotely relevant to the study of said evidence.”

      • Tim

        yes, its quicker to say. Both it doesn’t mean the same thing. So its not accurate, is it?

        Evidence and conclusion aren’t the same. Why would we give the impression that they are?

        • No, they’re not exactly the same thing, but they’re very similar. There are basically two dangers present: One is equating “the most obvious, straightforward and reasonable interpretation of the evidence, which is supported by virtually every scientist in every field remotely relevant to the study of said evidence” with “fact.” That is the sin you claim I’m guilty of. The other danger would be equating “the most obvious, straightforward and reasonable interpretation of the evidence, which is supported by virtually every scientist in every field remotely relevant to the study of said evidence” with “just one theory, a guess, really, among many other competing and equally valid theories.” I think my sin is the lesser of two evils.

          • Tim

            no, sorry they aren’t similar at all.

            If a creationist had made a statement that their conclusion was ‘evidence’, we would never hear the end of it from evolutionists. And rightly so.

          • Tim, do you think the virtually unanimous consensus of all of the men and women who study this exact issue should bear weight in the discussion or not?

          • Tim

            as I’ve mentioned in another thread there isn’t ‘virtually unanimous consensus’

            Theistic evolutionists say ‘evolution’ and they mean one thing.

            Naturalistic evolutionists say ‘evolution’ and they mean something different.

            So let’s not kid ourselves.

            But that doesn’t even address the point we were discussing.

            Evidence and conclusion are not at all the same thing. As long as you are stuck defending the false notion that they are, I don’t know how much progress can be made toward a real discussion of science.

            I mean really, if you misunderstand terms that are so basic to the scientific method, where do we even go with that?

          • K, let’s phrase it like this: 99.9 percent of scientists in the relevant fields of inquiry — regardless of whether they believe or disbelieve in God — agree with the following tenets: 1. Life changes over time. 2. Life exhibits strong evidence of common ancestry. 3. The universe is more than 6,000 years old.

            That’s what I mean by “virtually unanimous consensus.” If you do not believe this consensus exists, I would ask you to show some evidence to the contrary.

            Yes, I know the difference between evidence and a conclusion based on the evidence. My point was simply that not all conclusions are created equal. I think that the overwhelming consensus of the experts who study a scientific issue should be weighted a lot more strongly than the conclusions of those who freely admit that their interpretation of the Bible trumps any material evidence that could ever be found. In fact, I think that, in terms of establishing “fact,” such an overwhelming consensus is a lot closer to “evidence” than it is to the patchwork “theories” set forth by those who are desperately trying to preserve their outdated interpretation of scripture. But that’s just me.

            So anyway, I ask you again: Should the overwhelming consensus of relevant scientists on the following three issues (1. Whether life changes over time. 2. Whether life exhibits strong evidence of common descent. And 3. Whether the universe is more than 6,000 years old.) have a strong bearing on the discussion?

          • Tim

            I don’t think a simple appeal to authority is enough to establish something as correct.

            Of course their views should be carefully read and analyzed. But they shouldn’t be simply accepted at face value.

            Yes, life does change over time. I have no problem with that. Some have referred to this as ‘microevolution’, or ‘change within a species’ and as you’re aware its not really under dispute.

            The interesting thing about this is that evolutionists try to softsell their theory with plain vanilla definitions. Very often we hear “evolution is just the change in the frequency of alleles over time, and that’s all it is. Why can’t you accept that?”

            The truth is that ‘that’s NOT all it is’ and evolutionists are well aware of it. Evolution includes as its consequence the origin of species.

            Some people try to separate the two, but its rather disingenuous to do so unless we suppose that ‘origin of species’ can occur by some means OTHER THAN evolution. No? Okay then, it needs to be understood that it is part and parcel of evolutionary theory.

            So instead of saying just ‘life changes over time’, come out and say what you really mean. Tell us that you believe in ‘origin of species’ (speciation) even though you cannot verify the event in any organism which has an objective definition of species.

            This is why evolutionists love to talk about ‘evolution in the laboratory’ because the definition of ‘species’ in bacteria is arbitrary. Anytime we want to call some bacteria a ‘new species’ there is no objective test that must be met.

          • Professor_Tertius

            Tim, you appear to think that Tyler is off on his own in how he describes everything from evolution to the definition to species. You would do well to spend some time learning the fundamentals of The Theory of Evolution. Your wanting a rigid definition for “species” that identifies the “first member of the species” and “last member” tells us that you don’t understand how evolution works.

            Also, the consensus in science about evolution is not just an argument from authority. No the consensus is not the foundation. The foundation is EVIDENCE and that PRODUCES the consensus because the evidence clearly points to it.

            If you sincerely believe you have discovered evidence which you can use to debunk The Theory of Evolution, by all means publish it. That’s how science works. If your evidence and arguments are compelling, scientists will recognize it —–just as Einsteins physics was so compelling that it trumped
            Newton’s physics. (Newton’s physics wasn’t all wrong. It wasn’t
            completely correct at all velocities.)

          • Tim

            “I know the difference between evidence and a conclusion based on the evidence. My point was simply that not all conclusions are created equal.”

            sorry, I thought your point was what you said, not something you didnt say.

            You said ” they’re not exactly the same thing, but they’re very similar.” So I thought that was your point.

            You didnt say “not all conclusions are created equal” So I was unable to read your mind and know that this was your supposed point.

            I took what you wrote as your point. How silly of me.

            So, just to make sure we are on the same page, please explain your understanding of the differences between evidence and conclusion, and why rejecting someone’s conclusion should never be referred to as ‘rejecting evidence’.

          • You said ” they’re not exactly the same thing, but they’re very similar.” So I thought that was your point.

            You didnt say “not all conclusions are created equal” So I was unable to read your mind and know that this was your supposed point.

            This part, which you ignored, is why I said they’re “very similar”: “in terms of establishing “fact,” such an overwhelming consensus is a lot closer to “evidence” than it is to the patchwork “theories” set forth by those who are desperately trying to preserve their outdated interpretation of scripture.” They’re not exactly the same thing, but in terms of the weight they should have on the discussion, they’re very similar.

            So, just to make sure we are on the same page, please explain your understanding of the differences between evidence and conclusion, and why rejecting someone’s conclusion should never be referred to as ‘rejecting evidence’.

            I think that rejecting the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community on a few objective truth claims, in favor of the cobbled-together semantic arguments set forth by non-scientists in an effort to preserve an outdated interpretation of a few Bible passages that can be interpreted in other reasonable ways without deference to the faith, is every bit as egregious an intellectual and logical error as “rejecting evidence.” Is it the exact same thing? No. Is it very similar? I think so.

          • Tim

            Sorry we will have to disagree. I don’t think science is done by poll or by majority rule, which is essentially what you are proposing.

            Evidence is what drives science, not opinion (no matter how well informed we may suppose it to be).

            They don’t carry equal weight, not even close.

            One fact can overthrow the opinion of the whole (scientific) world.

            Let’s look at a fact.

            A member of one species cannot conceive/give birth to a member of a different species. (But evolution requires it.)

            Tell us SPECIFICALLY how the very first member of a new species is born (i.e. how the new species originates). Don’t gloss over the point of speciation. It must be verifiable, or its not science.

          • Evidence is what drives science, not opinion (no matter how well informed we may suppose it to be).

            Yes, the evidence is king, but theories are what tie the evidence together. It is only in theories, and the application of them, that science has any explanatory or creative power. Yes, a fact can absolutely overturn or falsify a theory, but a fact, by itself, can never lead to a new invention or scientific breakthrough, nor can a fact explain itself.

            A member of one species cannot conceive/give birth to a member of a different species. (But evolution requires it.)

            No, evolution does not require that a species gives birth to another species. Evolution requires that species, gradually and over long periods of time, diverge and change into different species. No evolutionary scientist believes a bacterium will beget a cat or a dog.

          • Tim

            ” No evolutionary scientist believes a bacterium will beget a cat or a dog.”

            And of course I didnt say that.

            But you do believe that new species must ‘originate’, correct?

            Therefore, a member of one species MUST conceive and give birth to a member of a new and different species.

            And evolution requires that this basic fact of biology must be violated billions of times.

            Even if we say that the parent species and the child species are ‘very closely related’, they are still different species, correct? But organisms only give birth to their own species, right?

            Also we must include the fact that none of the parent species will be able to interbreed successfully with the ‘new species’ that has just been born.

            uh oh.

            The family line of the very first member of the ‘new species’ is gonna be very brief unless a second one is born (evolves with a compatible mutation) in a hurry.

            In the same place.

            At nearly the same time.

            And of the opposite gender.

            And somehow they are able to find (and mate with) each other among the population of nearly identical, but other species, organisms.

          • No, this is not right. No evolutionary scientist believes that speciation occurs this quickly, such that an individual would be born that is so genetically distinct from its parents that it can’t interbreed with its parent species. It is like the populations in a ring species: each population is a little different than the adjacent ones — one step on a continuum — but not so different that they can’t interbreed. But if the “ends” remain isolated long enough, or if the intermediate populations die off (thus “breaking” the chain) then a new species has indeed formed.

          • Tim

            I didn’t say anything about quickly.

            The runup to the speciation event can take as long as you would like to say. It doesnt matter if its 100 days or 100 million years because AT SOME POINT the *very first* member of a ‘new species’ must be born, right?

            If it is a new species then it cannot interbreed with any but its own species. If it can still interbreed with the ‘old’ species then it’s not a new species at all.

          • I didn’t say anything about quickly.

            You said one generation. That is incredibly fast evolution.

            Evolution takes many generations, and no evolutionary scientist predicts that an individual would be born that is so genetically distinct from its parents that it is a separate species. What is suggested is that an individual would be born that is so genetically distinct from its great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents that it would not be able to interbreed with them (hypothetically speaking, of course). If this individual survived and passed on its genes, and its genes permeated the gene pool of its population, then the species will have evolved from its ancestral form (the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent generation). But that doesn’t mean that they would be unable to interbreed with their parent generation. Just as, with the ring species, the “end” population can interbreed with the adjacent populations, but not the other “end” population.

          • Tim

            “What is suggested is that an individual would be born that is so genetically distinct from its great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents that it would not be able to interbreed with them (hypothetically speaking, of course)”

            Can you say unfalsifiable?

          • It’s not at all unfalsifiable. All you would have to do is demonstrate that species are genetically fixed, and that subsequent generations do not genetically differ from their ancestral generations in any way. Then we would know that such a scenario as I have suggested is impossible. Good luck with that, by the way, and I’m sorry that your fantasy view of how evolution works turned out to be…….uh…..er….um….a total misconception.

          • Tim

            “All you would have to do is demonstrate that species are genetically fixed, and that subsequent generations do not genetically differ from their ancestral generations in any way. ”

            No, sorry. As we’ve discussed that would be ‘variation within a species’ or as some term it ‘microevolution’. And that isnt in dispute.

            Everyone agrees that children and their parents are not genetically identical. Your desperate use of a strawman is an indication that your argument is out of fuel.

            What you need to be able to do is to actually VERIFY (ever heard that word in a science class?) your idea of speciation.

            But you have constructed it in an unfalsifiable way.

            Of course a living homo sapiens today isnt going to encounter and mate with an ancestor from a few million years ago in order to prove that speciation has taken place!

            And you know that, but you propose that as your hypothesis?

          • It’s not “my” hypothesis. It is the basic scientific understanding of how evolution works: gradually and over long periods of time and many generations. I appreciate your difficulty in understanding that two parents can’t simply “give birth” to an entirely new species, but that’s simply not how it happens, and no evolutionary scientist is suggesting that it is. In fact, if that ever occurred, it would falsify evolution, and scientists would have to come up with a new theory.

          • Tim

            Every organism belongs to a species, correct? There’s no such thing as an organism that belongs to ‘no’ species.

            Every organism can only give birth to members of it’s own species, correct?

            Given that these are the facts, origin of species would require that one or both of these biological principles must be violated millions of times.

            You are homo sapiens, correct?

            And your parents were too, right?

            And their parents were too, right?

            And their parents were too, right?

            And their parents were too, right?

            And their parents were too, right?

            And their parents were too, right?

            And their parents were too, right?

            And their parents were too, right?

            And their parents were too, right?

            And their parents were too, right?

            And their parents were too, right?

            Keep going back one generation at a time , and DONT SKIP ANY, and tell me is every generation of your ancestors back to the beginning also homo sapiens?

            If the answer is “No, at some point my homo sapiens ancestor was born of parents which were not homo sapiens” then we see that your view of evolution contradicts basic biology and therefore it is pseudoscience.

          • Now you see the difficulty of species classification. It is an arbitrary, top-down view of life as though the barriers between species are firm and distinct, when in fact, that is not the case. Populations change over time, as you’ve admitted. And given very long periods of time, there is absolutely no logical reason to think that small changes would not accumulate to produce large-scale changes. Given such a process, an offspring could eventually be produced that would be very different from its distant ancestors, while being only minimally different from its immediate family. I honestly don’t understand your difficulty in grasping the idea. You can choose to believe that’s not how it happened if you want, but the principles are not that complicated.

          • Tim

            “And given very long periods of time, there is absolutely no logical reason to think that small changes would not accumulate to produce large-scale changes. ”

            What you refer to as ‘logic’ is actually just an assumption, is it not?

            Do you have evidence instead of just hopeful wishing that the ‘large scale changes’ you assume COULD happen: A) actually DO happen, and B) are of the kind that would prevent interbreeding with previous generations?

            The answer is , No you don’t because by definition its an untestable and therefore unfalsifiable proposition.

            “Given such a process, an offspring could eventually be produced that would be very different from its distant ancestors, while being only minimally different from its immediate family. I honestly don’t understand your difficulty in grasping the idea.”

            Again, “could”. An assumption. With no evidence that it actually DID happen. And happen billions of times.

            “I honestly don’t understand your difficulty in grasping the idea.”

            I understand the idea very well. I am waiting for the evidence that its more than an idea.

            Its funny that when evolutionists get stuck in the corner, they go all “oh you just don’t understand!” on everyone.

            Evolutionists brag that they have lots and lots of evidence. Let’s see evidence instead of ‘well it coulda happened!’

          • What you refer to as ‘logic’ is actually just an assumption, is it not?

            No, what I refer to as “logic” is logic. Sort of like saying, if it’s possible for you to 10 steps, from your front door to the sidewalk, it’s also possible — given more time — for you to walk 1,000 steps, to your friend’s house across town.

            The evidence that “it did happen” is in the vast evidence for common descent that has been found in many overlapping and independent fields of inquiry. Some of them are mentioned in this article. You can find primers on many more at Wikipedia. As I said in the article, given the vast evidence, it falls to the anti-evolutionist to explain why separately and divinely created “kinds” of animals bear such strong witness to common ancestry and an evolutionary past.

          • Tim

            Is it possible, given enough time, for you to walk from New York to London?

            No.

            Why?

            Because a barrier (an ocean) prevents it.

            There are reproductive barriers between species. Members of different species cannot interbreed successfully. And a member of one species cannot conceive/give birth to a member of another species.

            See, the ‘logic’ of your position must take reality into account.

            Its not a simple mathematical matter of 1000 steps + 1000 steps, or ‘small changes adding up over time into large changes’.

            That is not how species are defined.

            You are confusing math with biology. They aren’t the same.

          • Reproductive barriers are irrelevant to this discussion. There are no genetic “barriers” within genomes that would prevent a population from gradually changing to such a degree that it could be classified as a distinctly different species from its ancestors. Small changes, over time, add up to large-scale changes. There is no reason to think they couldn’t or wouldn’t.

          • Tim

            Again, species aren’t classified on the basis of numerical comparisons of their DNA.

            They are classified on the basis of their ability to interbreed.

            If they were classified on the basis of numerical comparisons of their DNA, the question would be “How many changes have to take place before there is a new species?” and there is no answer to that because it is a false concept of species.

            You keep wanting to establish your own method for classification apparently, but that’s not the method that is used by biologists, Tyler.

            Of course reproductive barriers are relevant. The fact that you can’t address them with any coherent argument doesn’t mean they aren’t relevant.

          • You keep wanting to establish your own method for classification apparently, but that’s not the method that is used by biologists, Tyler.

            My views on this matter are not some crazy aberration, Tim. The problems associated with the species classification are widely known and discussed within the biological community. It’s known as the “species problem.” Look it up.

          • Tim

            “whether some mysterious “barrier” exists”

            ha ha

            well, to most of us it’s not all that mysterious to acknowledge that only homo sapiens can give birth to homo sapiens, Tyler. I can explain more about things like birds, bees and such if you are in the dark.

            “It’s called the “species problem.””

            Yeah I know about the species problem. Its the problem that happens when you want to have your cake and eat it too, i.e. when you want to claim ‘origin of species’ happens but you refuse to say what a species is.

            You’ll continue to have that problem every time you abandon verifiability in science and insist on the right to arbitrary ‘standards’.

            Biology has an objective definition of species. I cited Dawkins, Mayr, Gould to that point. At least they (even though they are evolutionists) are scientist enough to admit that. You apparently can’t even bring yourself to do that.

            Evolution doesn’t have an objective definition, can’t have one. That’s why it contradicts biology, and that’s why its pseudoscience. Evolutionists want to use the definition when its convenient and abandon it when its not. There are dozens of attempts at an alternate definition for species, yes I know all about them. You know why science (real science, like biology) doesn’t embrace them? Because biology already has an objective definition, what good would an arbitrary (opinion based) defintion be? not much

            That’s not objective science, Tyler.

          • Tim

            “Whether a species can reproduce with another species is a completely separate issue.”

            No, it’s not. Because evolutionists claim that a new species ‘originates’ but that at the same time the new members of the new species can somehow still interbreed with the old species.

          • Chris

            Is it possible, given enough time, for you to walk from New York to London?

            No.

            Had to correct just some of the misinformation Tim apparently believes…. it appears that it is possible, This guy is doing almost exactly that. Because one is not creative enough to visualize a solution, is not proving a negative.

          • Hey, that’s cool! Thanks for the link. I hadn’t heard about him before.

            But be careful about trying to correct misinformation Tim believes. You could spend the next few years working on that and not even scratch the surface.

          • Tim

            “Now you see the difficulty of species classification. It is an arbitrary, top-down view of life as though the barriers between species are firm and distinct, when in fact, that is not the case.”

            Species is not an arbitrary term.

            “”Where we have sexual reproduction a species can be objectively defined as a group of organisms which reproduce sexually amongst themselves but don’t reproduce with members of other species. Where we don’t have sexual reproduction – as in asexual species, or in fossils where we have no idea of how they reproduced – then there is no objective definition of the species, and the species just becomes like the genus, the family or the class. It’s subject to arbitrary human decision.” — Richard Dawkins

            ” Species are nature’s objective packages. I have given a historical definition of species–as unique and separate branches on nature’s bush. We also need a functional definition, if only because historical evidence (in the form of a complete fossil record) is usually unavailable. The standard criterion, in use at least since the days of the great French naturalist Georges de Buffon (a contemporary of Linnaeus), invokes the capacity for interbreeding. Members of a species can breed with others in the same species but not with individuals belonging to different species. This functional criterion is a consequence of the historical definition: distinct separateness of a branch emerges only with the attainment of sufficient evolutionary distance to preclude interbreeding, for otherwise the branch is not an irrevocably separate entity and can amalgamate with the parental population.” — Stephen Jay Gould

            “Some recent authors have dealt with the concept of species as if it were merely an arbitrary, man-made concept, like the concepts of reduction, demarcation, cause, derivation, prediction, progress, each of which may have almost as many definitions as there are authors who have written about them. However, the concept biological species is not like such concepts. The term ‘species’ refers to a concrete phenomenon of nature and this fact severely constrains the number and kinds of possible definitions. The word ‘species’ is, like the words ‘planet’ or ‘moon,’ a technical term for a concrete phenomenon.” — Ernst Mayr

          • Tim

            Don’t dodge the question: “is every generation of your ancestors back to the beginning also homo sapiens?”

          • Go back far enough in my ancestry, and you will find an animal with which I would not be capable of breeding. You can call it whatever you like.

          • Tim

            “Go back far enough in my ancestry, and you will find an animal with which I would not be capable of breeding.”

            And your evidence for that is……….?

            Assertion is not enough. Evidence, please.

            “You can call it whatever you like.”

            What you call it is important. You are the one claiming speciation. That has a very specific meaning. You can’t simply gloss over it and say ‘well it happens somewhere, somehow’

            You have to be able to verify that Species A can (and did) produce Species B, and show *how*.

            If Species B was a ‘new species’ at some point, what were the parents of the very first member of Species B? Is it consistent with biology to say that Species B can be born of Species A?

            That’s the thing about things like birth. They are verifiable events in history. You can’t just wave your hand and pretend like Species B just showed up out of the blue.

          • Guest

            Tim, could you please point out where in the attached picture black becomes white?

          • Mark

            Tim, can you tell me where in this picture black changes to white?

            Think of black and white as two different species and all of the shades of grey are the variations within the species. Once the variations reach a certain point (namely inability to interbreed) we have a new species.

          • Hey, thanks for the illustration! Yes, this is exactly what I’m talking about. For whatever reason, Tim refuses to see species as anything other than this (attached photo), but that’s simply not the way it works, and he even admits as much by ackowledging the wide variety that exists within populations.

  • Donovan Tull

    I feel very sorry for those who don’t believe in evolution. It’s a beautiful thing.

    • I agree, but what do you mean exactly? Please elaborate.

      • Donovan Tull

        Sure. I find evolution beautiful because it just feels like an incredibly intricate puzzle, with each step being an incredible new species, which are simply incredible to see approximations of. I’m probably not explaining it very well, but it is wonderful to behold, for me at least.