There is nothing that stresses me out more and keeps up at night than being unsure about things. Being undecided. This has been my situation regarding origins for the last month or so. But with the help of this forum and its members I have been able to form what I think is a coherent and reasonable position. To describe my position I think I need to define evolution. It can take multiple forms so I want to define each of them. You will see how each definition entails the previous one,
- Evolution- a change of gene frequencies in a population over time.
There isn’t a person on earth who doubts this happens. Most people will refer to this most basic definition as microevolution. This is actually the type of evolutionary change I’m most interested in. I’m interested in human adaptability. That is how we react culturally and biologically to our environment. Here’s a good overview of some of our biological adaptations as a species: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5154245/
- Evolution- understood as the thesis of common ancestry. The process by which new species emerge as the modified descendants of pre-existing ones. It accounts for both the unity and the diversity of life.
This is what biologists are referring to when they say evolution is a fact. Its universally accepted in academia and accepted by many ID proponents and progressive creationists. I also accept it and have no real reason to doubt it. It’s also worth pointing out the truth of common ancestry is completely independent of mechanism. Too much time is wasted using perceived shortcomings of mechanisms to argue against common ancestry and using evidence for common ancestry as evidence for mechanism. It happens on this forum. Let’s be careful of that.
- Evolution- understood as evolutionary theory. The scientific theory that explains how evolution has taken and still takes place on Earth, with reference to particular, old and current, aspects of life on Earth and to particular episodes of its history.
Now this is where the controversy is for those ID proponents and progressive creationists who accept common ancestry. They aren’t sure that modern evolutionary theory and its proposed mechanisms can explain the entirety of the grand evolutionary story. I for one think modern evolutionary theory is just fine and at this moment there is no reason to adopt intelligence as an additional explanatory mechanism within evolutionary biology. But I am completely open to this possibility and I encourage work to continue on these types of questions.
So I adhere to 1-3. But my firm commitment is to 1&2. I think this makes my position a modest and reasonable one since I am completely open to modifications to modern evolutionary biology if needed.
I don’t think I would have come to these conclusions if it wasn’t for this forum introducing me to new thoughts and ideas and history I was completely unaware of. So please keep participating and encourage others to do so.
Also, be on the lookout here soon for the story of my journey back to Christianity here on Peaceful Science. It’s proving more difficult to write than anticipated but I will have it completed soon.