Axe and Swamidass: Should Christians Embrace Evolution?

Sean McDowell interviews on June 10th on his YouTube channel. This is the first public dialogue between Doug Axe and myself.


What is Doug Axe’s position on evolution? Do you know? If not, it’s going to be an odd dialogue.

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I believe he is an old earth creationist. He argues Christians don’t even have to think about evolution because it is so obviously false.

He’s your typical progressive creationist. Evolution within basic created types. He told me God designed these types with the ability to adapt to their environment.


4 posts were split to a new topic: Should We Engage with Pseudoscience?

Do you have any idea what a “basic created type” encompasses?

All the necessary genetics were already in place in the original species for all that change to occur

The first member of a genus, family, order. That all other members evolve from. Like Ann Gauger thinks human evolution happened at the level of genus. So she thinks habilis (I think I remember her arguing that habilis should be outside homo) or erectus were the original types and then all members of Homo evolved from them.

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Those are three quite different things. But it’s typical of creationists to leave such things vague, though they’re always sure that humans are a separate “kind” from chimps.

Incidentally, why “Christians”, specifically? Should their approach to acceptance or rejection of evolution be different from that one recommends for other people? It seems to me that if there are valid reasons why Christians should reject evolution, those reasons should apply to all.


Yep. They see no reason to believe that kinds have to be at the same taxonomic level across the biosphere. So may be at the level of genus. Some family and some order. @AJRoberts has even suggested phyla

And yet they have no clear idea of which genera, families, orders, or phyla are “kinds”, or any criteria to recognize them and distinguish one kind from two. If kinds really existed, one would think they would be easy to discriminate. Perhaps Joshua can discuss this with Axe.

They have things like baraminology and discontinuity systematics that they think helps them recognize them. Famous examples being the canids, galliformes, and Proboscidea

If you actually look at the results of those “fields”, they’re just simulated science.

Oh I agree. The important point of my post is where I said “they think helps them recognize them.”

Two of the major baraminology methods are “what does the Bible say?” and “what does your intuition say?”; seriously, that’s in the textbooks.

That presumes science to be a means of obtaining knowledge that supersedes anything that is believed thru religious faith, or at least that if something is known to be true according to science, then religious faith will not contradict this. Not everyone sees things that way. For instance, the YEC Todd Wood understands and accepts that all the scientific evidence shows beyond any reasonable doubt that evolution is true, and creationists cannot answer this evidence. But his faith is that creationism is true, anyway.

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Basically YECs believe that our rational faculties alone cannot be fully trusted to be able to arrive at correct conclusions about empirical reality without the correction from the Bible. This is a fundamental assumption that is at the root of why people like Todd Wood remain creationist despite knowing that the evidence says otherwise. This fundamental assumption is similar to solipsists who don’t believe in the existence of other minds, or Flat Earthers who don’t believe in any empirical evidence except that which is immediately accessible through the senses.

In contrast, scientists generally believe that we can correctly arrive at correct conclusions about empirical reality by careful, repeated application of the scientific method. We also trust empirical findings by other competent scientists.

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I don’t believe it does. If Christians should believe something about the world based on some special way of knowing, then everyone should believe it. If it’s only true for Christians, then it isn’t true. It would be extreme relativism to think otherwise. If evolution is true, Christians should embrace it; if it isn’t, they shouldn’t.


YECs would say that it’s not only true for Christians - it’s true for everyone, but only Christians can recognize the truth. That’s why they’re also generally evangelistic about Christianity.