The evidence for common ancestry is so overwhelming that even the biologist Michael Behe (whose books advocate “intelligent design,” and who is a senior member at the Discovery Institute) concurs. Behe wrote in his second book:
“Evolution from a common ancestor, via DNA changes, is very well supported” (p. 12).
“[O]ne leg of Darwinʼs theory—common descent—is correct” (p. 65).
“The bottom line is this: Common descent is true” (p. 72).
“Despite some remaining puzzles, thereʼs no reason to doubt that Darwin had this point right, that all creatures on earth are biological relatives” (p. 72, emp. added).
On page 60, he writes: “For the past ten million years the population of the line of primates leading to humans is thought at best to have been roughly about a million or so” (emp. added).
Another senior member at the Discovery Institute, Michael Denton wrote a bestselling anti-evolution book (before Behe) in which Denton questioned common ancestry, but in his next book Denton accepted the evidence for common ancestry. In fact Denton went from espousing the impossibility of evolution to espousing the inevitability of evolution. All he had to do was look at the evidence. Source
Another senior member at the Discovery Institute, the biologist, Jeffrey P Schloss, is pro-common ancestry as well. But he left the Discovery Institute and the I.D. movement, and wrote a lengthy critique of the Expelled film. Source
There are also prominent young-earth creationists who admit that the evidence appears to favor (it looks like) humans and apes share a common ancestry. Below are some of their admissions:
Dr. Kurt Wise (Ph. D. in paleontology from Harvard as a student of Dr. Stephen Jay Gould, the nationʼs most famous evolutionist; Wise is a young-earth creationist who has spoken at many creationist conferences):
At a creationist conference Dr. Kurt Wise showed a slide of a fossil sequence that moved from reptile to mammal, with some transitional fossils in between. He veered suddenly from his usual hyperactive mode to contemplative. “Itʼs a pain in the neck,” he said. “It fits the evolutionary prediction quite well.” Source
In various macroevolutionary models, intermediate [species found in their expected evolutionary order relative to one another in the geological strata]…It is a Very Good Evolutionary Argument…Evidences for Darwinʼs expectation of stratomorphic intermediate species include Baragwanathia [intermediate] between rhyniophytes and lycopods, Pikaia [intermediate] between echinoderms and chordates, Purgatorius [intermediate] between the tree shrews and the primates, and Proconsul [intermediate] between the non-hominoid primates and the hominoids. Darwinʼs expectation of higher-taxon intermediates has been confirmed by such examples as the mammal-like reptile groups between the reptiles and the mammals, and the phenacdontids between the horses and their presumed ancestors. Darwinʼs expectation of [fossil] series has been confirmed by such examples as the early bird series, the tetrapod series, the whale series, the various mammal series of the Cenozoic (for example, the horse series, the camel series, the elephant series, the pig series, the titanothere series, etc.), the Cantius and Plesiadapus primate series, and the hominid series. Evidence for not just one but for all three of the species level and above types of stratomorphic intermediates expected by macroevolutionary theory is surely strong evidence for macroevolutionary theory. Creationists therefore need to accept this fact. It certainly Can Not said that traditional creation theory expected (predicted) any of these fossil finds. Source
Dr. Todd Wood (Ph. D. in biochemistry. His advisor was developed a suite of computer programs used for DNA analyses; Dr. Wood works at the Center for Origins Research at Bryan College):
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 Iʼm crazy or because Iʼve “converted” to evolution. I say these things because they are true. Iʼm motivated this morning by reading yet another clueless, well-meaning person pompously declaring that evolution is a failure…Creationist students, listen to me very carefully: There is evidence for evolution, and evolution is an extremely successful scientific theory. That doesnʼt make it ultimately true, and it doesnʼt 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 Godʼs creation from what I believe to be a biblical, creationist perspective. Evolution itself is not flawed or without evidence. Please donʼt be duped into thinking that somehow evolution itself is a failure. Please donʼt idolize your own ability to reason. Faith is enough. If God said it, that should settle it. Maybe thatʼs not enough for your scoffing professor or your non-Christian friends, but it should be enough for you. Source See also Woodʼs admission that the chimpanzee and human genomes are as near as those of different species of cats, yet creationists admit cats all share a common ancestry, so why not chimps and humans? Source
Dr. Gerald E. Aardsma(Ph. D. in nuclear physics from the University of Toronto, conservative Christian, young-earth creationist):
I think there is enormous evidence of biological evolution(meaning extensive changes to flora and fauna)—again, in virtual history. Note that the Bible does not say that biological evolution Can Not happen;it says that biological evolution Did Not happen. That is, the Bible clearly teaches that we got here by Creation, not by Evolution. [emphasis by Dr. Aardsma]“In the beginning God Created the heavens and the earth,” not “In the beginning God Evolvedthe heavens and the earth. ”But none of this excludes the possibility of biological evolution in virtual history. In fact, the teaching in Romans 8:20, that the creation was subjected to futility at the time of the Fall, meshes rather well with evolution being the thing seen in the virtual history data, for the hallmark of evolution is not purpose, but random chance and meaninglessness.
Click here for lengthier statements from the above creationists.
Let me add the following:
The evidence for common ancestry coheres in ways that creationism does not. We get the same tree of life with the same relative branches and order of species succession when we line up the relative geological order in which fossils of species are found arising over time(from fish to amphibians to reptiles and mammals though evidence on much finer scales also exist), and again when we compare the most likely morphological changes such as starting with fish leaving the sea partially to become amphibians, then wandering from the sea more to lay hard eggs on land as reptiles, and finally developing better hearing as in mammals and full warm bloodedness with limbs aligned vertically beneath the torso supporting it directly from below instead of legs splayed out to the side as in amphibians and reptiles. Early mammals then moved from egg-laying echinoderms to being able to rear their young internally. But a third line of evidence dovetails with the fossil and morphological evidence, namely the evolutionary trees of life based on the comparative biochemistry and comparative genomes of living species.
Christians Who Are Pro-Evolution
Around 2010 the Christian and biologist who headed The Human Genome Project helped produce a new organization for pro-evolutionary Christians called BIOLOGOS that features articles by biologist Dennis Venema (a former I. D. ist). So the bandwidth of discussion between Christians concerning the question of “origins” now includes pro-evolutionary Evangelical Christians. And things are starting to look especially bleak for the “historical Adam & Eve” point of view. Besides the genetic difficulties involved (that Venema discusses at BIOLOGOS) thereʼs the question of how one can speak of death as a special curse passed along to Adamʼs descendants when pain, death and extinction were commonplace for over a billion years before species of upright hominids began to evolve, and, ironically, without death the last upright hominid species left standing(our own modern day species of human)would never have evolved in the first place.
Why Does the Idea of All Living Things Being Related in the Flesh, Rather than Solely in Godʼs Mind, Sound So Repulsive to Some Believers in God? Are there Parts of Creation that are Unworthy of Being the Physical Predecessors of Humanity?Labels:creationism, Discovery Institute, evolution, human evolution, intelligent design, todd wood, Young-Earth Creationism
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