How to defend Evolution
I was watching an interesting program last night that aired on the History Channel. It was a two hour special on how we came up with the Big Bang theory. It was really quite fascinating and it showed how that theory really is the most plausible theory that we have regarding how everything came into creation. I then ran across this list of how to defend evolution.
- Start by making sure your friend can explain to you the scientific method and what “theory” means. Science builds its theories in order to comply to observable facts. It is theoretical and open to revision as fact dictates. A good scientist would reject or revise the evolutionary theory based on the facts that are progressively presented. In fact, evolutionary theory has been revised many times over and will continue to be revised in the future as the facts demand. This might be all you need to do to reach agreement.
- Find out what your friend believes about the bible. Do they think that it is inerrant, i.e., free from errors? Do they think that bible stories could be interpreted as metaphors or should they be taken as the literal truth? You will learn a lot right here.
- Point out that your friend thinks that this creation story is the right one, even when there have been so many creation stories (that contradict each other) over the course of human history. [You could ask why they think this one is better than the others, but you won’t win any more friends that way!)
- Discuss with your advocate whether or not children look like their parents. Do they inherit traits genetically? And can we notice any trends over time — for example, people’s feet are bigger today than they were 200 years ago. If they admit that traits are passed on genetically, move on to step 2.
- Discuss how variation occurs from one generation to the next due to random chromosomal mutations. Animals (and people) can have slightly different colored skin, hair/fur and dimensions from their ancestors. Show that these differences can be advantageous (eg: a giraffe with a longer neck can eat more leaves, be healthier, live longer, and reproduce more)
- Discuss whether animals who are badly adapted to their environments will die. e.g. could a white crocodile sneak up on its prey as well as a dark green one could? Of course it couldn’t! So the green croc would have a better chance of survival, and a better chance and procreation, while the poor white crocodile is starving to death, the green croc is having lots of (green) babies.
- If your creationist defender has agreed with you so far, they have all but lost their argument. Ask them to imagine a fish having two babies: one with weak fishy fins and watery lungs, and one with strong fins and lungs able to breathe air out of water. Which one would survive? well, quite possibly both. The water-dwelling one can find food in the sea, while the air-breathing one is free to proliferate on the land. Natural Selection has begun!
- Note, an informed creationist might ask where the previously non-existing genetic information for air-breathing lungs suddenly came from.
- Tell your advocates that evidence of transitional phases is all around us — it’s just that, alas, we do not live long enough to witness prolonged evolution over hundreds of thousands of years.
- Inform your creationist friend about the infinitesimal chance of an animal becoming a fossil. One has to fall in the right place, be covered in the right material, be buried under tons of rock, left for eons, then brought to the surface through tectonic activity, and then dug up and discovered! This means that the fossils we do have can only provide us with a partial picture of things. But even though there are gaps in our knowledge, we can still get a fairly good idea of how things went — just like if you read a novel with every other page ripped out, you’d still get a very good grasp of the story.
- Point out that relying on God for an explanation of life on earth seems like a rather lazy way of looking at things. Life on earth is complex and intricate, and to say that God just snapped his fingers and brought it into existence seems like a cop-out.
From the Crazy Christian Blog