Thursday, August 14, 2008

Evolution Survey

Michael Shermer and the Skeptic Society have put up a website with a survey about evolution:

I encourage everyone to fill it out, as it only takes a few minutes and will help Skeptics and Scientists to communicate evolution more convincingly and concisely to the public.

Here are two of the essay questions and my answers:

To the best of your understanding, and in your own words, please explain what “evolution” means.

"Evolution", when spelled with a lowercase 'e', refers to a change in the gene pool over time. Evolution, when spelled with a capital 'E', refers to the scientific theory that all life on earth is descended from a common ancestor.

If you accept the theory of evolution, please explain in your own words why; or if you do not accept the theory of evolution, please explain in your own words why not.

I accept the theory of evolution because of a convergence of evidence which leads to the conclusion that all living things share a common ancestor and that changes in the gene pool have happened and are happening. Charles Darwin predicted that since we are anatomically most similar to the great apes of Africa, it was most likely that we evolved in Africa, and therefore intermediate fossils (between a small brained knuckle walking ape and homo sapiens) would be found in Africa. Sure enough, this prediction has been proven true. Another evidence for the theory of evolution is the fact that human beings develop a hairy coat called the lanugo when they are in the womb. This suggests that our development was modified (sloppily) from a prior form (a hairier ape than Homo Sapiens).


Aaron said...

Interesting. I filled out the survey, and can say that I am probably a minority among scientists. I reject Evolution, and accept the Bible as the True Word Of God. I am currently a Chemistry major, and am interested in Biology as a hobby. I guess it goes to show that scientists are actually not a united front behind Evolution. I am not arguing against some aspects of it, species adapting to the environment, but species do not change into another species. If you have any doubts, I suggest you read the Bible and pray on it, thank you for your time.

AIGBusted said...

Hi Aaron,

I have (many times) discussed observed instances of speciation. In fact, simply googling "observed instances of speciation" will bring up several pages.

Secondly, the evidence of common descent is just like the evidence used to convict a murderer: Circumstantial. Fossils, DNA, Comparative Anatomy and Biogeography all support evolution.

Thirdly, I have read the Bible. I was a Christian for several years. To see why I rejected it, visit:

And fourthly, 99% of scientists accept evolution. A very small minority rejecting for religious reasons means nothing.

Aaron said...

I visited the site, spent a couple of hours there. Nothing there convinced me to give up the Bible, I have heard most of the things on that site elsewhere over the years. Also, just because a majority says something, does not mean they are right. I guess Christians and Athiests will argue with each other until the end of time and not change each other's minds.

AIGBusted said...


I did not say that a majority means truth. You said that "scientists are not a united front behind evolution", which is not true. The vast majority of Biologists accept evolution.

I guess you're not going to even attempt to respond to my arguments, which is fine with me.

Aaron said...

Well, you mentioned that site as why you eventually rejected Christianity. It is going to take a lot more than a website to shake my faith. You have been very civil, which is more than I can say for most athiests I've met. Your arguments about speciation, the problem is, the Bible is The Word Of God, that stuff is the word of man. The question comes down to, are you going to believe God or man? The problem is, science does not provide every answer, the Bible does not either. The difference is that the Bible has made thousands of prophecies, every one has come true so far. I'll have to find the verse, but I know somewhere in Revelations, they talk about a nuclear bomb, and computers are possibly mentioned as well. I just wanted to bring this up to mention that not everyone that believes in the Bible is an uneducated toothless redneck.

AIGBusted said...


You are assuming that the Bible was written by God. It was written down by men, so you have to take their word for it that it was divinely inspired.

As for the prophecies, I have written an article about them on my website as well. Revelation is so vague that it means many things to many people. With other prophecies, you cannot know whether they were written before the fact.

Aaron said...

I don't assume the Bible was written by God, I know it was. As for the atomic bomb thing, its in Revelations 6:12-14.

I guess we are at a standstill here, your websites aren't going to convince me of evolution or that the Bible is false, and I'm not gonna convince you by preaching at you.

Jeffrey said...

Aaron: "The difference is that the Bible has made thousands of prophecies, every one has come true so far."

What about the prophecies Jesus made about the timing of his second coming?

Matt. 16:28-29: “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (The all-caps is not me shouting but an OT quotation convention.)

Maybe “coming in His kingdom” means different things in different places, but surely here, is it not directly connected to the repaying of every man according to his deeds?

Together with Mark 8:38-9:1: “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power”

and Luke 9:26-27: “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God”

we have a fairly complete picture of what Jesus said before the transfiguration from three different perspectives. Christians disagree with each other about what this means. Skeptics don't. Jesus' words are clear. The only people confused by them are those who assume them to be true.