Do We Have Misconceptions About Evolution?

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A recent article in the Sunday Times claims that “of all the scientific fields, evolution probably carries the most common misconceptions.” It then goes on to describe 10 alleged misconceptions of evolutionary ideas. Many of these misconceptions are topics we’ve already pointed out and covered on our website. As Christians we need to be careful not to misrepresent what evolutionists believe, so we encourage Christians to avoid certain arguments. But some of the alleged misconceptions about evolution that made the Sunday Times list are actually not misconceptions at all!

The article begins with a common argument that misinformed creationists often use, "It's only a theory.” Now, as we’ve pointed out before, saying that evolution is a “theory” actually raises it to a level it doesn’t deserve. You see, scientists use “theory” differently than laypeople do. When we say “a theory” we usually mean a mere idea, but scientists mean something totally different. They mean a hypothesis (educated guess) that has stood up to testing and observation and forms “an explanatory framework that allows them to understand natural processes.” Now, despite what the article states about evolution, it certainly doesn’t meet these criteria. Molecules-to-man evolution has never been observed, nor can it be tested (since the alleged past cannot be repeated), and, although evolution is used by many scientists to explain the past, it constantly has to be changed to match new evidence—not the mark of a good theory! Evolution is a belief, and a blind faith belief at that. In fact, it’s a belief that lacks credulity.

The article then claims that a second misconception is that “Evolution is not observable.” It then goes on to state that antibiotic resistance is proof of evolution. But, as we’ve demonstrated many times before, change in bacteria is not evolution; it’s adaptation. Bacteria remain bacteria. No new information is being added to the genome, something that is crucial for evolution.

Next they claim that another misconception is that "It's for atheists.” True, not every evolutionist is an atheist. But, at its heart, it cannot be denied that evolution is inherently atheistic. It ignores the true history revealed in God’s Word and explains life without any need to appeal to a Creator, often going to great lengths, in fact, to avoid it. Really, the secularists cling to molecules-to-man evolutionary ideas because it’s their way of attempting to explain the origin of universe and life by natural processes—it is inherently an atheistic religion.

The article then lists a fourth misconception as "Evolution means improvement.” The author then goes on to describe natural selection and “the characteristics conserved" by it and how these aren’t necessarily all beneficial. But evolution and natural selection are not the same thing. Natural selection describes small observed changes that result in a loss or reshuffling of genetic information. Molecules-to-man evolution is the unobservable, imaginary process by which these small changes somehow add additional information into the genome and change an amoeba into an astronaut.

The author then lists a very common misconception, "Humans descend from apes.” Many creationists will wrongly argue “If humans evolved from apes, why are apes around today?” We’ve addressed this one as well and pointed out that evolutionists do not believe that humans descend from apes but from ape-like ancestors (that even evolutionists actually picture like an ape!). According to this false line of thinking, humans and apes are descended from a common ancestor so they are “cousins.” Of course, we know that humans did not evolve from ape-like creatures—and neither did apes! We were specially created by God.

The next misconception they mention is the idea that, according to evolution, “Life evolves randomly.” Mutations themselves are in fact random, and both evolutionists and creationists agree on this point. However, to my knowledge creationists never say that natural selection is random because it does select organisms that are best suited for a particular environment which makes it non-random. The writer of the article has set up a straw man. Regardless of the randomness or non-randomness of mutations and natural selection, they still cannot fuel evolution. Both result in a loss or simply a reshuffling of information, not the addition of brand-new information that evolution requires.

Another misconception according to them is that evolution is "a search for the origin of life.” Now, this is true—biological evolution doesn’t deal with the origin of life. Chemical evolution does. But without the origin of life evolution can’t go anywhere! So the two are intricately tied together. But the origin of life is impossible. You can’t get life from non-life because the law of biogenesis, which matches with everything we’ve ever observed in nature, states that life only comes from other life. Life doesn’t arise from non-life.

They then list another supposed misconception, "Humans have stopped evolving.” Now, according to evolutionary ideas about the past, that’s true: there’s no reason for mankind to stop evolving. But, of course, we know from God’s Word and from observation that mankind is not evolving to become something better. Mankind started out perfect in the Garden of Eden, but sin brought death and suffering into creation. We’ve been dealing with downward change ever since as mankind suffers due to harmful mutations and things like cancer. Mankind certainly is not evolving to become something better—we’re suffering from the Curse and will continue to do so until Jesus returns and ushers in the new heavens and the new earth. Based on the Bible, our prediction is that humans will continue to degenerate until Jesus comes.

Another alleged misconception is that evolution is "A theory that legitimizes racism.” The author quotes an evolutionist who claims that evolutionary ideas are not inherently racist because we see animals cooperating together in nature and therefore humans can and should too. But evolution is inherently racist. The fact that some animals cooperate together is inconsequential to the fact that evolution promotes a competition with the strongest surviving and the weakest dying out. Even the late evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould wrote, “Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1859, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory.” Evolution gave fuel to racist ideas and some of the fruit of evolutionary thinking was seen in Hitler’s death camps. A biology textbook used in the public schools in America in the 1920s taught students the Caucasians are the highest race—based on Darwin’s ideas! It said, “The Races of Man. - At the present time there exist upon the earth five races . . . the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America.”* Of course, in a biblical worldview, there is no room for racism. We’re all one race, created in God’s image, and descended from Adam and Eve. Thankfully, most evolutionists now agree with what the Bible has said all along—that there aren’t multiple races of humans, one any better than another.

Lastly, they say, "The study of evolution is useless.” This is not a misconception—I couldn’t agree more. Evolution, a wrong idea about the history of Earth based on man’s fallible opinions, has contributed nothing to our knowledge of Earth’s history or our technology. Instead, we need to start with God’s Word and interpret the world through the true history given to us by the infallible, perfect Creator. At the Bill Nye debate and a number of times since, I have asked Bill Nye or any secularist to give just one example where belief in molecules-to-man evolution is needed to develop a piece of technology! They can’t give one idea—not one—because molecules-to-man evolution is a belief, a religion!

You can learn more about common misconceptions creationists have and arguments that we should avoid. I encourage you to make sure that you aren’t inadvertently using any poor or weak arguments as you seek to honor the Lord by obeying His Word: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

*George William Hunter, A Civic Biology Presented in Problems (New York: American Book Company, 1914), 196.

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