“Let’s Talk About Evolution”

This was the title of a video production in which women scientists from around the world testified of the importance of evolution. The SCOPE project that developed the video stated the following:

This video was produced to allow scientists to explain, in their own words, the importance of evolution to science — and the related importance of teaching evolution in schools. Our goal is to convey the fact that evolution is an amazing, uplifting discovery that has served as the genesis of countless advances in many fields of science. We also wanted to highlight female role models in the science community.

I encourage you to watch the video in its entirety, but I wanted to share with you some highlights. When asked to “talk about evolution,” these were some of the responses:

  • Evolution is a change in population over time.
  • Evolution is change in gene frequency.
  • Evolution is about competition. The most successful organisms . . . survive to carry those traits that help them be successful into the next generation.
  • Evolution is not a theory. Evolution is actually an observable phenomenon that is afforded by a significant body of evidence.

The way in which these scientists described evolution is not in the molecules-to-man sense, especially if it is “observable.” Rather, they seem to be describing variations and adaptations that occur within populations of organisms in the present. If that’s how they define evolution, then I’m an evolutionist! I have no doubt they believe that—given enough time—these small changes could lead to large changes and one kind of animal could evolve into another kind. But to my surprise, that was not discussed in the video.

The scientists were then asked, “Why is evolution important?” Here are a few answers:

  • Science wouldn’t be the same field it is today without the theory of evolution. Scientists employ its basic principles every day. Whether it’s studying MRSA, cancer, or AIDS. Natural selection and mutations that drive evolution are crucial to understand for the study of biology.
  • I just don’t think we could have gotten as far as a society in terms of medical breakthroughs if we didn’t know what we do about evolution.
  • Well, bacteria in particular are able to mutate to get around antibiotics. It’s another example of evolution. We need to understand this so that we can develop drugs that will actually get around bacteria’s incredible ability to evolve quickly to get around the drugs we use today.
  • Evolution informs conservation processes, management strategies, agriculture, medicine—and integrating evolution into these frameworks means that we can keep people healthy, we can keep people fit, and we can help preserve the incredible beauty of the life that surrounds us.

Notice again how evolution is used to describe something that happens in the observable present. If we define evolution as they have in the previous section, then I wholeheartedly agree. However, the popular definition of evolution almost always implies the molecules-to-man sense. I believe these scientists are trying to purposely equate (because this is what they believe) what I would term as variation and adaptation in the present (observational science) with evolution in the past (historical science). In other words, they believe these types of changes in organisms in the present, when given enough time, will lead to organisms changing from molecules to man. No thinking person can deny that bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics in the present, so the conclusion many people will draw is that if this is an example of evolution then evolution (in the molecules-to-man sense) must be true.

The last question they were asked is, “Why should evolution be taught in schools?” And these are some of the responses:

  • You really won’t have a full grasp of the basis of science like the life sciences and medicine unless you have an understanding of evolution.
  • Evolution is a central part of so many theories in biology and science and genetics to taxonomy to behavior and to the study of disease. The principles of evolution are central to the way that these disciplines work and without evolution there is no way of explaining them.
  • It’s pretty hard to be scientifically literate if you don’t understand evolution.
  • If you don’t teach kids evolution, you’re not teaching them science.
  • I don’t even know how you could teach anything about the natural world without evolution.
  • Teaching children about evolution is like teaching them about math, language, and technology means giving them the keys to understand the world around them.  These kids will be tomorrow’s doctors, lawyers, business people, soldiers, and politicians. Evolution is important to all of these professions. If kids don’t grow up to understand the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria for example, they won’t be able to create new medicines, legislate rules for its use, or to keep our troops safe from biological weapons.
  • If we tell our children the story that evolution tells us, we can instill in them an appreciation and respect for nature.

In other words, if you don’t believe in or understand evolution (by which they mean molecules-to-man evolution, although they define it in a limited sense that most creationists would agree with), then you can’t be knowledgeable in science and other professions or truly understand the natural world. The last comment especially struck me as inconsistent with an evolutionary worldview. If all living things came about by random chance, and there is no meaning and purpose in life, then why should we appreciate and respect nature? Evolutionists might believe we should, but they don’t have a foundation for that belief and instead must borrow from a biblical worldview (Genesis 1:28).

As a woman scientist myself, it saddens me to see these women scientists come to very different conclusions than I have about the world around them. It also, as Ken Ham would say, puts a “fire in my bones” (Jeremiah 20:9) to reach women with the importance of building a biblical worldview and defending the Bible from the very first verse for their own sake and the sake of their children. I am very excited that in a few weeks I will have the opportunity, along with several others, to do just that at the Answers for Women conference at the Creation Museum. Check out the website for more information. I look forward to seeing you there.

Keep fighting the good fight of the faith!