Evidence for Evolution - Your Elevator Pitch

I’m in a different position than many of you. The YEC’s I have discussions with are family, friends & fellow church members. I have no interested in convincing them their position is wrong. I’m interested only in having discussion, and where appropriate pointing out that some of what they believe to be true, isn’t supported by good evidence.

Many of them have never considered acceptance of evolution to be compatible with the theology we share. So I’m the weird one in my environment, though as someone who agrees with them theologically and has some lay leadership responsibilities, I’m also trusted. I also know them (for the most part) to be great, honest people. As part of these conversations, having a elevator pitch that describes why I believe the evidence for evolution needs to at least be considered is helpful. It’s a hook for more conversation, but not appropriate for all cases.


I’m very comfortable talking to the evidence of an old earth, as that was the starting point for me to question YECism. However I’m much less clear on explaining the biological question. Hence the way I phrased my OP.

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This is really great. Thanks for doing that.

You know your friends and loved ones, and I don’t, but my point was exactly that. An elevator pitch about evidence might very well do more harm than good. It will either put the person in a troubling position by suggesting that their theology is endangered by evidence, or it will hinder them from hearing anything coherent about that evidence. I sense that you know this very well and don’t need me to tell you about it. But it makes the elevator pitch even more fraught than it already was.

That being the case, I think that the best strategy, if you’re working on opening minds, is not an elevator pitch but a slow cognitive-dissonance grind. “Planting the seed,” as @stlyankeefan put it. Their minds are closed from within, and can best be opened from within. You can’t do that, but what you can do is work to be sure that the things that ought to bother them are bothering them. Instead of wielding the welding torch, hand it through the door. Be content – since you have all the time in the world to let them break their own chains – to throw a fact at them, now and then, which they can neither deny nor cope with, but recognize that this is a process which is self-guided and which is liable to be slow.

I do know a few people who have been rescued from fundamentalism. But they’ve always rescued themselves; the most anyone else has been able to do is lend a cutting torch now and then.


Maybe you should start with our ability to see distant galaxies. After that I’d really try the order in the fossil record, which deals with both deep time and evolution.

I would suggest that you start with a good theological/biblical “elevator pitch” on why the bible doesn’t specify the age of the earth. This will clear up the real issue connected to hermeneutics and also show that you take the word of God seriously.

Then follow that up with the physics that explains the age of the earth/Universe ( For example: the speed of light and its significance;what radio carbon dating is and so on).

Discuss evolution only if you have success on the above two.

Also, be clear to yourself as to what you believe about God’s role in creation. What is the picture you are painting.
Are you comfortable with the idea of God doing miracles in history?

For a long time I did not clearly interact with the evidence for evolution, because most of it seemed abstract. When I heard statements like “the fossil record and differential distribution of organisms on earth are strong lines of evidence for evolution”, I was always confused as to how they supported evolutionary theories. This inability to comprehend the evidence kept me within the confines of creationism (a mix of YEC and OEC).

What eventually convinced me of the factual nature of evolution was the genetic evidence. To get a biochemistry degree (which I have), you must take courses in molecular genetics. On learning on what DNA is and it’s role in inheritance, as well as it’s role in defining relatedness among organisms, evolution gradually began to make sense. The clincher came the day I saw the creepy similarity between my genome and that of the chimpanzee. If you removed the labels, I would have concluded the sequences belonged to two humans.

Thanks to the evidence from DNA, other lines of evidence began to make sense. Enter the discovery of neanderthal and other archaic fossils, my mind was blown.


And do you think that the claim that no intelligent guidance was at play in evolution is scientifically substantiated?

I think scientists generally say that their models work without having an explicit designer component necessary to make sense of any observations.

Somehow God isn’t mentioned in the weather forecast either, it’s all areas of higher or lower pressure, and evaporation and condensation leading to changes in relative humidity and precipitation, but somehow we’re never told that meteorologists is in some secret atheistic conspiracy out to rob God of the glory of controlling the weather. Go figure!


Science never deals in universal negatives (irony intended). Parsimony is what science uses in this specific case.


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Have to admit that I’m coming to this thread late and have not invested the time to read all of it.

I think the distinction between

  1. “I do not find it necessary to invoke divine intervention to explain the way in which life on Earth has come to have its present variety, because I am satisfied that it can be fully explained in terms of natural processes”


  1. “I assert with confidence that there has not been divine intervention at any point in creating the present diversity of life on Earth”

is important.

Creationists and ID proponents tend to claim that scientists are saying the latter, which is arguably unfalsifiable (and therefore not scientific in Popper’s terms), when they are actually saying the former.


To be fair, I have heard both statements fairly clearly on PS from different evolution proponents. The more reasonable writers claim 1. for sure, some press on 2, it seems the distinction is the level of animosity toward the church or God.

As a non-YEC, non-ID Christian, I would invoke 1. with a tag of (but I believe God is responsible for the natural processes).

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I haven’t found a clear, concise logical argument for quantum physics based on its evidence in terms a layman can easily understand. Shall we therefore discard quantum physics?



Of course not, but when communicating with laypeople, it’s helpful to try to build clear concise arguments.

I think it’s far more helpful to communicate to laypeople that science is more about evidence than it is about arguments.


Yeah. This, ten thousand times over. I find that in disputes over facts – actual, real, hard, on-the-ground facts, whether those are about biological processes, the actual existence of various paranormal beings, or the causes of orangeness in politicians – people with silly views think that argument can fill in where facts fall short. I always say to those people that argument is a mill, but facts are the grist – and the grist is the only thing the mill is good for. We can have an argument about what facts mean; but argument “in the air” is useless.


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If said lay people are convinced they will go to Hell, literally, if they understand the science, no argument is going to help them, however concise.