I find it so interesting that one of the reasons Darwin was accepted so rapidly was the church was already teaching extra-biblical ideas as biblical, and Darwin “proved” that [the] “biblical” idea was wrong, thus undermining the Bible because people didn’t read the Bible for themselves. [They] just believed what the church told them it said!
Sarah S., Austin, Texas
Geology’s Influence on Darwin
I found one glaring omission in the article [“The Pursuit of Darwin”], in the section reading, “Who Influenced Darwin?” Other biographies about Darwin mention that the young naturalist carried a copy of Principles of Geology (Volume 1) by Charles Lyell onto the Beagle with him. Given the fact that the “sacred cow” of evolution is the supposed long ages entertained by Lyell, I would give a large space for the connection between these two men.
Tony H., Columbus, Indiana
Lyell’s influence is mentioned in footnote 10, which explains that Darwin took Lyell’s book along with him and converted to gradualism and uniformitarian geology a few weeks into the voyage. Lyell was only one influence early in the development of Darwin’s ideas on evolution. For a discussion of the three main legs propping up his ideas, see “Finding God in Galápagos,” p. 40 (Answers Vol. 4, No. 1).
Ukranian Better Equipped
“I am a Ukrainian engineer who temporarily works in Pittsburgh. I appreciate the exceptional quality of the materials in Answers, especially in the last two issues [on the themes of earth history and Darwin]. I find myself more equipped with the answers that I can give to people around me who do not believe in the Creator God and the veracity of the Bible. The article “Evolving Tactics” is very revealing, troubling, and eye-opening—especially “The Name-Calling Era of the Early Twenty-First Century” part. The article really encourages me as a believer to say what I say in meekness and fear. And I like this kind of fear, which is to me the fear to upset or let down our Creator and Savior who entrusts us with His Gospel to carry to the unsaved.
Denys D., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
A Love of Discovery
After Jesus reviewed Old Testament history concerning Himself, a couple of young men asked, “Did not our hearts burn within us?” That’s how I felt as I read “Building a Community for Discovery”! I remember my high school days studying physics, chemistry, and biology. I was so excited at how God made things! The periodic table of elements was a thrill! Gravity, magnetism, astronomy, life of all kinds! What a God! . . . I’m now 77 and still thrilled at everything I learn about how the Creator did things! Your comments on the Biology Study Group also excited me. How wonderful that people “from fields as diverse as theology, geology, paleontology, microbiology, biochemistry, and statistics” are getting together.
Fred B., Felton, Pennsylvania
Good Conversation Starter
I devoured the latest issue on my travels to the U.S. I like the tear-out posters in the back. Some of them decorate my walls in the living room, which can be a good conversation starter.
Lucien T., United Kingdom
A recurring term in this latest issue is the word species. I’ve searched many times to find a precise definition of this word, but have come up empty. Can someone please provide a clear and concise definition of the word species, and what criteria are used to determine if two animals of the same kind are of the same or different species?
Mike K., Ypsilanti, Michigan
The problem is that there are lots of different ways to define species to accommodate different theories. For the most part, a species is a group of organisms within a genus that naturally reproduce and have fertile offspring. So a red wolf (Canis rufus) and a gray wolf (Canis lupus) are different species even though most people can’t tell them apart. They don’t reproduce in the wild, so they are considered distinct species.
One criterion for placing animals in a biblical “kind” is their ability to interbreed. The two fox species above, for example, can interbreed in a zoo, so they are part of the same kind. The same would go for coyotes (Canis latrans) and domestic dogs (Canis familiaris).
The line gets blurry when we try to determine all the species within a kind because some species have lost the ability to interbreed. Scientists working in the field of baraminology are still studying the boundaries between the created kinds, as described in “Building a Community for Discovery” and in their technical literature (see Understanding the Pattern of Life  by Todd Charles Wood).