The quote in the title of this blog post was the concluding sentence of an article entitled, “The Devolution of Evolution” in the science news magazine, The Scientist. The author, Leonid Moroz, is a professor of neuroscience, chemistry, and biology at the University of Florida College of Medicine. The author’s main complaint is that evolutionary ideas are not being taught in graduate school and medical school. I can personally attest to this, as there was very little direct teaching about evolution during my time in graduate school.
Dr. Moroz states why he believes evolution is not being taught: “. . . evolutionary biology and biosystematics courses . . . have quietly lost their place of eminence . . . “outcompeted” by escalating specialization and the increasingly technical nature of many biological sciences.” Basically, what he is saying here is that observational/operational science that is important for everyday work in the lab (science that gives us planes, cars, medical discoveries, etc.) is being taught instead of historical science like evolution. He thinks this will cause a loss of “strategic advantage” and “long-term perspective.” But will it?
As he states later in the article, “Many, if not most, breakthroughs in biology and medicine have come by studying experimental models representing the entire spectrum of life . . . .” Notice he uses the word experimental, which is the heart of observational science—it is testable, falsifiable, and repeatable. This cannot apply to evolutionary ideas, which fall under the category of historical science and are not testable, falsifiable or repeatable. Yet, read what he says in the next sentence: “The doctor’s pragmatic interest in healing and repair and the synthetic biologist’s ambitious dream to build a new life-form require a deep understanding of life’s evolutionary history.” Talk about a paradox! He just effectively refuted his previous sentence by saying that a “deep understanding” of a completely non-experimental science is essential.
Many scientists (including myself) do not begin with man’s ideas about the past. Instead, they start with God’s Word and have accomplished great things in the world of observational science, showing that evolutionary ideas are not essential or necessary to do good science. In fact, many times evolutionary ideas are an impediment to discovery in observational science.
For example, consider “junk” DNA. For many years the part of our DNA that does not contain instructions for producing proteins was ignored by the scientific community due to the belief that it was an evolutionary leftover and not important. With the sequencing of the human genome and the discovery of very few genes, scientists finally realized they needed to look at the “junk,” and to their surprise, found it is functional. This was not surprising to creation scientists who believe that God intelligently designed DNA (of course, mutations have occurred since the Fall) and that the “junk” DNA does indeed have important functions and is really not junk after all (see part one and part two of my article on this subject).
Webster’s online dictionary defines biology as “a branch of knowledge that deals with living organisms and vital processes.” Dr. Moroz’s equation of biology with evolution has nothing to do with observational science, but rather his view of historical science that starts with man’s ideas about the past instead of God’s Word. He states, “It is by mastering the ‘how’ underlying such principles [cell biology, genomics, medicine] that we are trained to ask why?” According to his starting point, the answer to “why” will always be evolution, but according to my starting point, the answer to “why” will always be creation. I hope this helps you see that this is truly not a battle of the evidence but rather a battle of worldviews and battle for truth. Are you prepared to give an answer for the hope that you have? (1 Peter 3:15)