Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The truth about evolution

I hope this doesn't turn into a rant, but it might. You have been warned.

Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has not failed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is not just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is no conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been no failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well.

I say these things not because I'm crazy or because I've "converted" to evolution. I say these things because they are true. I'm motivated this morning by reading yet another clueless, well-meaning person pompously declaring that evolution is a failure. People who say that are either unacquainted with the inner workings of science or unacquainted with the evidence for evolution. (Technically, they could also be deluded or lying, but that seems rather uncharitable to say. Oops.)

Creationist students, listen to me very carefully: There is evidence for evolution, and evolution is an extremely successful scientific theory. That doesn't make it ultimately true, and it doesn't mean that there could not possibly be viable alternatives. It is my own faith choice to reject evolution, because I believe the Bible reveals true information about the history of the earth that is fundamentally incompatible with evolution. I am motivated to understand God's creation from what I believe to be a biblical, creationist perspective. Evolution itself is not flawed or without evidence. Please don't be duped into thinking that somehow evolution itself is a failure. Please don't idolize your own ability to reason. Faith is enough. If God said it, that should settle it. Maybe that's not enough for your scoffing professor or your non-Christian friends, but it should be enough for you.

I think that's all I want to say today. Rant over.

UPDATE: I'm getting a lot of traffic just to this one post, so I want to let all you one-hit wonders know about the follow-up posts that further explain my points here. If you want to figure out what kind of creationist would write such heresy, please have a look at the rest of the story:

Reflecting on the truth about evolution looks at some of the initial reaction to this post.
The nature of science explains how science works from a scientist's perspective.
I'M A CREATIONIST! reaffirms my doctrinal commitments so I can't be written off as an evolutionist in disguise or some other nonsense like that.
The nature of evidence gets to the point: How can I say there's evidence for a theory that I reject?
I'm not alone gives a bit of the feedback I've gotten from sympathetic Christians and creationists.
The nature of explanation further expands on evidence and theories that are wrong.
Explanation clarification responds to questions from a reader.
The nature of faith opens my discussion of belief and evidence.
The nature of idolatry asks the question, Have we exchanged our faith in Christ for idolatry of arguments about Christ?
The evidence for evolution doesn't really live up to the title, but it's a funny post so you should read it. Or not. Whatever.
The nature of evolution addresses what I thought was glaringly obvious but people keep bugging me about what I mean by "evolution."