If I had a nickel for every time someone has equivocated natural selection with molecules-to-man evolution, we could probably build a second Ark Encounter! The popular misconception that natural selection is synonymous with molecules-to-man evolution has even resulted in one theologian publicly accusing me of embracing evolution! This same, tired idea was the subject of a recent commentary piece titled, “This Is Why Evolution Is Poorly Understood by Our Students—and Even Our Science Teachers.”
The author bemoans the popularity of intelligent design and the statistic that “more than a third of people in [the UK and US] reject the theory of evolution outright or believe that it is guided by a supreme being.” This secularist is quite upset that her religion of atheistic naturalism does not reign supreme. She says that, “It is critical that the voting public have a clear understanding of evolution. Adaptation by natural selection, the primary mechanism of evolution, underpins a raft of current social concerns such as antibiotic resistance, the impact of climate change and the relationship between genes and the environment.” She then continues throughout her article to talk about the importance of understanding natural selection and how best to get children to think this way.
Now, here at AiG, we would agree that a proper knowledge of natural selection is important. We spend a good deal of time researching and talking about natural selection. But natural selection is not “molecules-to-man evolution” (hereafter referred to as evolution)! It is true that evolutionists will use the term evolution for natural selection, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who believes in natural selection believes in Darwinian evolution!
Natural selection removes or reorganizes genetic information, allowing different traits, such as different beak sizes (e.g., the finches of the Galapagos), to show up. Those organisms best suited to their environment survive while the others die off or don’t reproduce as well. Of course, those that thrive pass along their unique combination of genes to the next generation, skewing the gene pool in their favor. Eventually this can allow new species (such as a new species of finch) to arise. But this isn’t evolution! It’s really just an outworking of the phenomenal amount of genetic variability God built into each kind of organism.
Evolution requires an addition of brand-new information so that novel traits (never seen before) can arise. You can’t change an amoeba into an astronaut without adding new information and new features! But natural selection can’t do that. It can remove or reshuffle information, but it can never create brand-new information. Because natural selection is the exact opposite of evolution, it can’t be a mechanism for this unobserved process. And mutations don’t add new information either.
We always see organisms reproducing according to their kind, just as it says in Genesis (Genesis 1). There is a huge amount of variety within a kind (think of poodles, Great Danes, wolves, dingoes, and boxers), but one kind has never been observed to turn into another kind, nor is there a mechanism for this imagined evolution.
We need to teach children and teens about natural selection, but we need to do so in the context of observational science and a biblical worldview. Show them that God created organisms to reproduce according to their kind (not species, which is man’s arbitrary, invented term; kind is usually at the family level of modern classification). But He also put plenty of variety within their DNA so that they could survive and thrive in a changing world. When we start with God’s Word, we have a proper foundation for understanding and teaching science regarding what we observe.
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This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.