Science-Engaged Theological Argument for Common Descent

Continuing the discussion from A Test of Common Descent vs. Common Function:

It stars with this comment from @colewd.

Do you also agree:

  1. God can inject mutations into common descent whenever he likes to produce what ever forms he wants.

  2. God alternatively could have made everything without a strong signature for a tree.

Of God can de move create life, he can certainly do both these things. #1 deomonstrates why ID arguments are not arguments against common descent. #2 demonstrates that God could have made life in a way that did not look like common descent, but he did.

That is why the tree structure is de facto evidence of common descent, even when taking theology into account.

That would be the explanation for DNA sequence differences between species as proposed in the theory of evolution.

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Yes, I agree.

Yes, I agree he could but this would probably be a sub optimized design given the raw materials of the universe.

This seems like a good solid theological argument that common descent is possible :slight_smile:

At this point I see a full design signature and half a common descent signature as common descent alone does not explain morphological and genetic differences.

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So @colewd, as a person who believes God exists and was involved in created us, you are now left with a strong argument for common descent.

The rest of the ID debate is merely about whether you can evidentially demonstrate God was involved using the tools of science. That is a minor point, of reduced significance.

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When you say common descent what is that exactly mean? Universal? Partial?

The evidence for common descent of man is much stronger and clearer than UCD, which is why I focus there. If this is true, then there is no reason to theologically object to UCD. Nor is it clear why it matters theologically or scientifically.

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Would it help to clarify that, while a necessary explanation, common descent is not a sufficient one?


You have been consistent here and we have common ground that common descent of man is more likely then UCD. All that being said I think it is an untested hypothesis as we cannot connect the genetic changes with the morphological changes yet.

I think everyone believes in some common descent so the claim is trivial in itself.

I agree with you that the argument should be on more specific claims like human evolution. I think we are in the first inning of understanding if this is true or not.

I do believe that the hierarchal structure that we see is the result of design and not ancestry alone.

I have no theological objection to evolution.

My objection is that the claims are way ahead of the evidence and many times contradicted by the evidence yet not addressed.


What does that sentence mean?


Are you an Old Earther or Young Earther?

This has always struck me as a strange position.

Do you think that God shapes the developing embryo independent of the genome?

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Common descent, while well-indicated, is not a sufficient explanation of the totality of changes we see. There’s more than just physical lineage to account for.



Which is why PeacefulScience embraces the idea that God Mostly DESIGNS via Evolution… rather than mostly through miraculous creation, yes?

Peaceful Science is one of the few places that gets that common descent and design perspectives are NOT mutually excluding, or even necessarily opposing ideas. One is cogent in explaining patterns we see in physical lineage, the other tries to account for the “something extra” of things like human speech, consciousness, abstract reasoning, etc., which have yet to be shown to be incremental improvements in nature. Even if they are, it’s not “God of the gaps,” but God’s handiwork, first and last. Nature in this statistically unlikely Anthropic universe did not “just so happen” to turn out to be as it is; to maintain otherwise is no less a faith position than is theism or multiversism.


I am open to both but currently see more problems with the young earth position.

No. As I said we currently don’t have a way to test the hypothesis other then best fit based on UCD as a working assumption.

@T_aquaticus and @colewd,

If God can program all genomes he can certain determine what other embryonic factors need to be manipulated.

He can also decide to make humans from dust or ribs.