“Are Some Evangelicals Beginning to Question the Existence of Adam and Eve?”

This week, on the Colbert Report, I heard something that shocked me: some evangelical Christian scientists were beginning to publicly doubt that humanity could be descended from one man and one woman, as described in the book of Genesis.

The reason it shocked me is that I couldn’t believe that someone who identified himself as an evangelical Christian would ever accept evidence that his beliefs were mistaken, or publicly admit to it if he did. In my experience, that just does not happen. I had to dig up more information on it.

It looks like the original report was from NPR, but I found even more interesting information elsewhere. At the bottom of this article (on what appears to be a religious-oriented site):

Back in 2006, National Geographic provided some interesting information on the American public’s take on evolution. The U.S., when compared to other Western nations, is essentially much less inclined to accept evolution as fact:

In the U.S., only 14 percent of adults thought that evolution was “definitely true,” while about a third firmly rejected the idea.

More recent (2010) Gallup data shows 40 percent of the nation embracing the notion that God created man in his current form, with only 16 percent claiming that God played no part in the process of creation. While the scientific and Christian communities continue to grapple with internal disagreement, it seems the creationists are thus far winning the PR war.

The data presented there is factually accurate, but misleading, and I think it was deliberate. The 2010 poll actually had three options:

  • Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process. (16%)
  • Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process. (38%)
  • God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so. (40%, “down from 47% in 1993 and 1999”)

So 54% of people are actually professing a belief in evolution in 2010. The 2006 data seems to have a similar bias, but in a quick search I couldn’t find the hard numbers on it.

That gives me faith in humanity: if even in the US people are getting more inclined to look beyond the doctrines handed down from religious leaders — and doing so at a rate I find frankly astonishing — then we may actually be able to survive the current political crapstorm between intelligence and obstinate idiocy.


  1. I already know the truth, the polls are just showing that other people are finally realizing it too. 😉

  2. You need to state clearly what you mean by evolution. We are not talking about whether or not changes occur through time (they do), about the size of the change or whether or not natural selection happens (it does), but rather the type of change required to change microbes into men——the type of changes that increase the genetic information content (information as specified complexity).The three billion DNA “letters” stored in each human cell nucleus (the “computer control room” where DNA is located and information is transferred from DNA to RNA) convey a great deal more information (known as “specified complexity”) than half a million DNA “letters” of the “simplest” self-reproducing organism. For instance, the DNA sequences in a “higher” organism, such as a human being or an horse, code for structures and functions unknown in the sort of “primitive first cell” from which all other organisms are said to have evolved.

    None of the alleged proofs of “evolution in action” to date provide a single example of functional new information being added to genes. To claim that mere change proves that such information increasing change will occur is like saying that because a merchant can sell goods, he will sell them for a profit. The origin of information is an insurmountable problem for the general “microbes to man” theory of evolution. So far, all observed change is always in the direction of lower specificity (loss of genetic information). Today, there is even a specialized branch of information theory called bio-informatics—the study of biological information.

    Informed ID theorists do not deny that copying mistakes (mutations) can be beneficial, by the natural definition that they help the organism. But in all known cases, they still add no new information. The best known example is sickle-cell anemia, a common blood disorder in which a mutation causes the sufferer’s haemoglobin to form the wrong shape and fail to carry oxygen. People who carry two copies of the sickle-cell gene (homozygous) develop fatal anemia. But this misshapen haemoglobin also resists the malaria parasite (Plasmodium). So humans who are heterozygous (have both a normal and abnormal gene) have some advantage in areas where malaria is prevalent , even though their haemoglobin is less effective at its job of carrying oxygen. Which is why Dr. Felix Konotey-Ahula, M.D. (Lond.), FRCP, DTMH, one of the world’s leading experts in sickle-cell anemia, a serious chronic and painful blood disorder, states, “Demonstrating natural selection does not demonstrate that ‘upward evolution’ (fish to philosopher) is a fact, yet many schoolchildren are taught this as “proof” of evolution.” He points out that “the sickle-cell gene is still a defect (an inherited random change or mutation), not an increase in complexity or an improvement in function which is being selected for.. and having more carriers of the sickle-cell genes results in more people suffering from this terrible disease. He concludes that science would be far better served by scientists working on “factual lines rather than theoretical evolutionary concepts”

    .Dr. John K.G. Kramer, formerly associate editor of the scientific journal LIPIDS (Ph.D. in biochemistry), completed three years of post-doctoral studies as a Hormel fellow at the Hormel Institute and as an NRC fellow at the university of Ottawa. He has identified, characterized, and synthesized the structure of numerous food, bacterial, and biological components and has published 128 refereed papers and numerous abstracts and book chapters. He states, “No one has ever demonstrated macro evolutionary changes on a molecular level, yet, many people readily speculate evolutionary links between bacteria, plants, animals, and man. If macroevolution is unlikely on a molecular level, how can the whole be changed? Endless DNA sequence comparisons do not explain evolutionary development. Furthermore, the changes (mutations) observed on a molecular level, such as DNA, are predominately disruptive, and always with loss of, not gain in, information and complexity.

    There are other examples, such as wingless beetles that survive on windy islands because they can’t fly, so won’t be blown into the sea, and animals in dark caves with shrivelled eyes that are less prone to damage. And one way that the Straphylococcus bacterium becomes resistant to penicillin is via a mutation that disables a control gene for production of penicillinase, an enzyme that destroys penicillin. When it has this mutation, the bacterium over-produces this enzyme, which means it is resistant to even huge amounts of penicillin. But in the wild, this mutant bacterium is less fit, because it squanders resources by producing unnecessary penicillinase Still another example is a cattle breed called the Belgian Blue. This is very valuable to beef farmers because it has 20-30 percent more muscle than average cattle, and its meat is lower in fat and very tender. Normally, muscle growth is regulated by a number of proteins, such as myostatin. However, Belgian Blues have a mutation that deactivates the myostatin gene, so the muscles grow uncontrolled and become very large. This mutation has a cost, in reduced fertility. A different mutation of the same gene is also responsible for the very muscular Piedmontese cattle. In all these cases, a mutation causes information loss (reduced specified complexity), even though it is “beneficial.” Therefore, it is in the opposite direction required for particles-to-people evolution, which requires the generation of new information. In the case of sickle-cell anemia, ID theorists would say that the sickle-cell gene is a change in the direction of loss of specificity (genetic information) which can confer immunity to malaria; in other words, an information loss that’s beneficial.

    As I have indicated, “microbes-to-man, from the goo, through the zoo, to you” evolution requires changes that increase specific complexity or genetic information, therefore not simply any old change is evolution. Further, so far, all observed change is always in the direction of lower specificity (loss of information). And even if the occasional information-increasing change in the sense of specificity were found, it would not confirm that “from the goo, through the zoo, to you” evolution has a viable mechanism, since this would predict many such changes to be observed. So while there are beneficial changes, none have increased information in the sense of specificity, as general “microbes to man” evolution requires.

    There is not one example of a genetic mutation (as Richard Dawkins well knows) that has increased the information in the genome of an individual or organism. Natural selection and mutations which account for adaptability and genetic variations within species (creation allows for same) always result in loss of genetic information, so that it does not matter how much time (millions or billions or trillions) of years one allows for vertical molecules-to-man evolution to take place, it will never produce the kind of change Darwin proposed—from one basically distinct kind to another (a biblical kind is far more than a modern specie) because such vertical or upward change from simple to complex requires an increase in genetic information in the genome, not a loss of information. Moreover, recent discoveries reveal DNA to be far more complex than neo-Darwinism ever dreamed. Scientists have even discovered that there is not only “data” contained in DNA, but also layers of “meta-data”. The implications of this are profound for the creation/evolution debate because if true, the case for explaining neo-Darwinian evolution just became orders of magnitude more difficult.

    It is time for us to stop teaching ( brainwashing is more accurate) our school children with this “Frog to prince, fairly tale for grownups.”

  3. Well done, Rayburne, if a little wordy.

    […] To claim that mere change proves that such information increasing change will occur is like saying that because a merchant can sell goods, he will sell them for a profit. […]

    An excellent analogy, because if a merchant doesn’t sell goods for a profit, he won’t be a merchant for very long. Likewise, a genetic change that harms the organism overall won’t survive. Useful or neutral changes accumulate and are passed on to the next generation; harmful ones are discarded.

    As I’m sure you know, copying mistakes aren’t the only source of genetic change. Radiation damage can introduce completely random changes too, and viruses have been shown to carry genetic information even between completely dissimilar species. Such a change will almost always be at best neutral, often damaging, occasionally even fatal — but must, on rare occasion, be beneficial. That’s where the “new information” could come from.

    Scientists accept that evolution is the source of all the varied species on Earth because they must. Science can only address natural processes. Saying that a supernatural entity did it is a scientific dead end, because there’s no way evidence could ever be found to show that such a thing did or didn’t occur. Science by definition can only move forward by offering theories that fit the observed data and can accurately predict previously-unknown data as well, as the theory of evolution has been shown to do.

    The theory of evolution doesn’t actually claim that life arose from the primordial soup without any help, as many seem to think. It simply offers a mechanism by which living things can evolve over time, one that fits the observed data and predicts other things that we can find evidence for or against. It doesn’t address where life originally came from at all (though there are separate hypotheses that try to, and likely just as unprovable as creationism).

    I’m satisfied that the theory of evolution is correct, but please do try to poke holes in it. That’s the only way science can advance. If you come up with an alternate theory that science can work with, and that fits the observed facts and predicts new ones better than the theory of evolution, you may supplant it. I don’t expect that will ever happen, but that’s my opinion, not science.

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