Creation,  Evolution,  Philosophy of Science,  Science

AiG vs. BioLogos: Dr Venema (BioLogos)

Dr Venema from BioLogos is professor of Biology at Trinity Western University in BC, Canada. Dr Venema is a theistic evolutionist (or evolutionary creationist, as he calls it).

Here are my notes:

Three assumptions:

  1. If every square inch of creation is under the Lordship of Christ, then science is an act of worship. 
  2. If God is the author of both books–the Bible and nature–then there cannot be a contradiction. 
  3. If there is apparent conflict between our study of the Bible and nature, it is only apparent. 

A theory is an explanatory framework that has survived testing and makes accurate predictions.  Evolution is this kind of theory. It makes accurate predictions, holds up to testing and has not yet suffered from disconfirming evidence.

“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (Dobzhansky).

Speciation is much like the development of languages over time. Populations become separated and language changes a develops through incremental changes. Species and languages do not transmit their features perfectly and thus change. Just examine the changes from an ancient version of the Bible in Anglo-Saxon up to the present ESV. The change is fairly dramatic.

The analogy is helpful for understanding change in species over time. It also explains how a species may begin. We do not have an example of the beginning of language but we know it developed because we have language.

Whale example: A whale is the result of an evolution from a terrestrial creature adapted to living in the sea. The extra bones are explained by left overs from hind limbs that at one point in the history of the evolution of the species. A whale embryo is a four limbed creature, but does not develop limbs in development as it is overridden before full development. A molecular program runs to develop limbs but another molecular program overrides it. A whale starts off with two nostrils at the front of the face but then move to the top of the head.

Genetic evidence: Present days whales show an adaptation from a terrestrial life. Some of the genes of whales are dedicated to a sense of whales. But whales do not need a sense of smell for any reason. Yet if they once lived on land, then they did. They have the equipment for smelling and some genes that restrict their use. The genes show that whales were once earth dwellers.

Humans also show signs of evolution in their genes. We share much in common with primates. So, do we share DNA similarities? We are 95% genetically identical. Pseudogenes are recognizable in the same way you might recognize an abandoned building. Genes can be almost all there but has lost features that are necessary for functioning. For example, there is an order of genes that includes a pseudogene in humans that is also present in the mouse genome but the gene in the mouse is functioning. This shows common ancestry between mice and humans.

Egg laying animals carry and pass on vitellegenin pseudogenes. Are there the same genes in marsupials? Yes. There are also similar patterns in opossums and even humans.

Design arguments in Christian history: John Edwards argues that the sun could not fuel itself yet it burns without disappearing. Since there is no natural explanation, God must either directly cause the fire or he must add fuel to it. Solar fusion now explains this phenomena. This is analogous to those who debate evolution with young earth views. Those who think evolution is in conflict with design are wrong. God’s design could well be evolution.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.