A note from Jason Petersen:
This is an article that was sent to me by a woman that I had the privilege of interviewing in the summer of 2013. Shortly after the interview, she expressed interest in joining our ministry as a contributor. She wrote this article and asked me to post it on my website. Jessica has a Bachelors Degree in Molecular Biology and a Masters Degree in Health Sciences from the University of Central Florida. We are very blessed to have her as a contributor in our ministry!
Written by Jessica Roberts, M.S.
Do you agree with the Theory of Evolution? Do you believe in evolution?
These two questions actually suppose more of a difference in what they are
asking than you would initially think. This is the word game that science and the
media play to confuse and frustrate those seeking to separate fact from
theory…or in my opinion regarding this, fact from fiction. However, I’m not going
to start off my first apologetics article by writing against evolution. Instead I
merely want to define it. Thus, whether you are a Creationist, Intelligent Design
Advocate, or evolutionary biologist, I think you can agree with me that we would
all be better served in our causes if we would start off by properly defining our
Macro vs Micro? Never heard of it!
Many are not aware of the terms macro-evolution and micro-evolution. Rest assured;
they do exist. I did not learn them from a Creationist textbook, church, or any pro-religious
organization. The first time I stumbled on these concepts was in my Biology 101 class at
University of Central Florida- a very secular school that wants no part with religious affiliations
in their science classes mind you.
Macro-evolution is the theory popularized by Darwin and has taken our institutions by
storm. It is the belief that organisms change on a grand (macro) scale from one kind to the next
over a very, very, very long time (ie. Unicellular to multicellular organisms; fish to reptiles to
birds and other land mammals). It is the belief in the Tree of Life- that if we were to trace our
current genomes back to their roots, it would show all living organisms are descended from
ONE common ancestor. Thus, when someone is asking about the Theory of Evolution, what
they are really asking is, “Do you belief in Darwin’s conclusion that all living creatures evolved
from one prototype cell millions to billions of years ago?” “Do you believe that man and apes
share a common ancestor rather than human beings being a distinctly formed organism with no
genetic heritage in common with apes?”[Note: Evolution does not say man came from apes that are like the ones living today. Rather
it argues that we came from a common ancestor and then evolved in different directions.Whether you believe in this theory or not, you won’t do either position any good if you start off misquoting it. Hence, the whole reason I’m writing this article!]
Micro-evolution is what we can observe today presently, rather than a fundamental
theory of origins. It is what is known as the process of natural selection- that over time (which
we can easily observe) change happens in small increments and causes change within a kind
(genetic family) into diversification (speciation). For example, the breeding of dogs into
different species is a great example of micro-evolution. Or the finches on the Galapagos Islands
that Darwin observed. He noted the variety of beaks that the birds possessed depending on the
season and the climate. Those organisms who have traits better suited to their environment
will thrive and dominate over other species lacking that trait. Over time this leads to the
organism muting out certain alleles (genetic traits) that serve no pragmatic purpose and
selecting for alleles that give them a survival benefit. However, at the end of this period of
micro-evolution, no new genetic info has been created. Rather it’s only a modification of the
genetic material that was already in the blueprint of their DNA. This is a completely scientific
process to believe in because it is repeatable and observable.
So if someone asks me if I believe in evolution, I can technically say a hearty “yes” but not necessarily a whole-hearted “YES”
because I’m not sure if they are lumping in macro-evolution (which is a theory of origins) with
micro-evolution (which is an observable process believed to be the cause of macro-evolution).
This would be akin to walking through the malls in December and having the Santa Claus
who is taking pictures with the kiddies come up to you and bluntly ask, “Ho ho ho, do you
believe in me?” Well “yes and no” would be my answer. A more appropriate response would
be, “What do you mean by ‘me’ Santa? Do you mean do I believe that you are a human being
standing in front of me who is living? Or do I believe in a man named Saint Nicholas who
philanthropically gave gifts to children to commemorate the gift of Jesus’ birth? Or do I believe
in a man with flying reindeer who shimmies down chimneys to bestow gifts on children mainly
in the U.S. who probably need toys the least compared to anywhere else in the world?” If I
were to answer “No, I don’t believe in you” or even “Yes” that could make me appear like a
lunatic if I didn’t begin by defining my terms. So it is with this debate on “evolution.”
I propose that we separate in our discussions/debates what it is we are arguing about. I
think any Creationist or Intelligent Design proponent would gladly say they agree in evolution if
you defined it as micro-evolution/natural selection. However, to say I can’t believe in micro-
evolution without acknowledging that macro-evolution must also be true is like saying I can’t
participate in gift-giving during the holidays unless I believe in an omnipresent fat man with a
white beard and cherry nose whose alias is Kris Kringle.