Why Can’t Evolution Be the Source of Transcendent Moral Values?

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

In two previous blog posts (here and here), I have called attention to the fact that human beings universally take for granted that our moral judgments transcend time, place, and species. We judge certain actions to be morally right or wrong regardless of when these actions occurred, where they occurred, and also regardless of which species of intelligent agent has acted. I take these truths to be indisputable, based on our common human experience.

Biological evolution is a group of many and varied processes which act on all organisms to produce the great diversity of life on earth. These processes have operated on life in dramatically different ways depending on the particular time in earth’s history, the particular places where life resides, and depending on the type of organic species.

I take it that when a person says, “Evolution is the source of moral values,” they are saying that the process of evolution has produced particular bio-chemical brain states in human beings that we identify as moral values and duties. So, here are the problems for those who want to claim that biological evolution is the ground or source of transcendent moral values.

With regard to time, the very word “evolution” entails change over time. A thing could not be said to evolve if it stayed exactly the same forever. Evolution, then, is working to modify and change all organisms all the time. It seems to me to be completely incoherent to claim that timeless, unchanging moral values have been produced by a process which, by its very nature, is changing everything on which it operates. If we are looking for a fixed, time-independent source of moral values, I cannot see how biological evolution even remotely fits the bill.

With regard to place, the results of evolutionary processes are quite dependent on geography. This was one of Darwin’s first insights about evolution, that geography is a major factor in the way that evolution produces biological diversity. No evolutionary biologist would claim that the effects of evolutionary processes are the same across our planet, or even on other planets (assuming life exists elsewhere). But if moral values are independent of place, then how can a process which produces completely different effects from place to place possibly produce moral values?

With regard to species, let’s first look at gods, angels, and demons. Evolutionary processes simply do not apply to immaterial beings. Even an atheist who does not believe that these beings exist, would at least grant that if they did exist, biological evolution would not operate on them. But if evolution is the source of moral values, then how is it coherent to apply evolved brain states in human beings to non-human agents who themselves never evolved?

What about intelligent aliens? An evolutionist would say that aliens, if they existed, did evolve through biological processes, but there is a different problem here. How in the world does it make sense to apply the evolved brain states of human beings to alien beings who evolved completely different brain states? It is inconceivable, given evolutionary processes alone, that alien brains would evolve the exact same moral values that human beings evolved.

As we’ve seen, though, human beings feel very natural in making moral judgments about spiritual beings and aliens alike. We all take for granted that all intelligent agents should be operating under the exact same moral principles. If evolution is the source  of moral values, then we are completely unjustified in morally judging non-human intelligent agents.

To summarize, evolutionary processes are totally and completely inadequate to ground moral values that transcend time, place, and species. If evolution were truly the ground of moral values, then we would only be justified in judging the actions of other members of our human species who live at the same time and place as we do. Since none of us restrict our moral judgments in that way, then clearly evolution cannot be the source of moral values.

  • “I take it that when a person says, “Evolution is the source of moral values…”

    When people reference evolution in relation to morality, they are generally using it simply to explain the phenomenon that humans share a capacity to feel emotions such as ‘moral revulsion’ or empathy. In doing so, they aren’t arguing that evolution is CREATING a transcendent moral value, they’re merely answering a claim that ‘God engraved morality on our hearts’ is the only explanation for why we feel sympathy for others, why from a young age children will attempt to comfort someone else who looks upset etc.

    “human beings feel very natural in making moral judgments about spiritual beings and aliens alike”

    I’m not sure about the aliens example. We’re basically talking about thought experiments and fiction, right? Aliens in fiction are either so humanlike we treat them as such with regards to judging them, or they’re animal-like and we treat them as such too – we don’t tend to morally judge sharks for eating humans. Our moral judgments at any rate tend to be on a knee-jerk basis – we make the judgment and then justify it post-hoc. We might judge an alien to be cruel, but that is apart from any intellectual consideration of its evolutionary history. We basically think ‘Deliberately inflicting pain = cruelty’, regardless of the perpetrator. This is entirely consistent with the idea that we have evolved to have this reaction.

    As for making moral judgments of spiritual beings, apologists tell us that we CANNOT morally judge a creator God. That people DO make such judgments – especially when considering the Gods of other religions, shows that our ‘natural instincts’ when it comes to morality are out of step with what the apologist would predict, just as much as they are out of step with what the apologist thinks the ‘evolutionist’ would predict.

  • So it sounds like you deny that transcendent moral values come from the process of biological evolution. At least we agree on that.

    Where, on your worldview, do they come from? And remember, you need to provide a source that does not change based on time, place, or species. If you provide a source that does not fulfill these requirements, then you are denying that moral judgments can rationally or coherently be made about intelligent agents who live in a different time or place, or who are non-human.

  • I take these truths to be indisputable, based on our common human experience.

    There’s your problem.

  • “So it sounds like you deny that transcendent moral values come from the process of biological evolution.”

    I don’t know anyone who makes the claim that they do, and wanted to clear up your apparent misunderstanding.

    “Where, on your worldview, do they come from?”

    If something is transcendent then it doesn’t ‘come from’ anywhere. As soon as you say “X comes from Y” then it isn’t transcendent – it is dependent on Y as its source. See also the laws of logic and maths. Moral values that come from a deity are dependent on that deity and therefore not transcendent. If one cannot judge a God by those moral values then they aren’t transcendent – they violate the requirements you yourself said they’d need to have.

  • ggodat

    Kim Jong Un has a differing moral view. I guess that evolution randomly chose him to be different. Oh well, too bad for those people in North Korea. They have nothing to complain about….

  • Amazing number of non sequiturs you manage to pack into such a short post. Boom roasted.

  • Are you agreeing that moral values are transcendent, but that they just are brute facts about the universe? Given a naturalistic worldview (which I assume you have), to posit moral values as just basic and brute facts about our universe is incredibly strange.

    You also seem to be claiming that the laws of math and logic are transcendent, but that they also are brute facts with no need of explanation.

    I suppose you can hold that viewpoint, but it seems entirely ad hoc on your worldview. It’s as if you’re saying, “All that exists is the material, and everything can be explained by matter – oh wait, except for moral values, the laws of logic, and the laws of math – they are just sort of floating out there by themselves and are not reducible to matter.”

    How is it that moral values, laws of logic, and laws of math apply to all times, places, and intelligent species on your worldview? It seems to me that you owe a better explanation than “they just do, and that’s that.”

  • “How is it that moral values, laws of logic, and laws of math apply to all times, places, and intelligent species on your worldview?”

    Are you saying the supernatural is needed for the laws of maths and logic to remain constant or to exist in the first place? Can you explain how it would work in a non-supernatural universe for the laws of maths and logic to change or be different? Are you conjecturing that 1+1 might sometimes equal 3? Or that the laws of non contradiction might on occasion be suspended? In your view, if there was no God, what WOULD 1+1 equal? Could God make it equal something else?

    Again, how would that work?

    “they are just sort of floating out there by themselves”

    “It seems to me that you owe a better explanation than “they just do, and that’s that.”

    For one, I don’t see how your explanation amounts to more than “God just makes it so, and that’s that”. For two, I don’t see how you explain God’s own existence by more than “He exists, and that’s that”.

  • I have not offered an explanation yet. I have only said that the explanation for moral values must be timeless, spaceless, and not tied to human beings. What you have consistently failed to do is offer any explanation at all on your worldview. That should be deeply troubling to you.

    A worldview which is so impoverished that it doesn’t have the metaphysical tools to explain the existence of moral values, the laws of mathematics, and the laws of logic should be abandoned.

  • Andrew R

    I don’t think you say much there that I hadn’t already addressed in my previous post. My ‘worldview’ doesn’t see something as basic as ‘A=A’ as requiring an explanation – it’s already self-explanatory. I’ve also explained why positing a source for a transcendent law undermines its transcendence.

    Finally, what should I be abandoning my worldview in favour of when I see no alternatives being offered? Supernaturalism is no default option – it would have to better explain phenomena for me to adopt it. Even if my current worldview couldn’t explain everything, that doesn’t mean I should just grab a different one.

  • ggodat

    Amazing how you still continue to ignore logic and beg the question on this subject. You assume morals are what they are and anyone not agreeing with you is wrong but you offer no explanation as to why you are right. It is pure simple logic to understand that for any objective moral law to exist there must first exist one that has the authority to define it.
    You on the other hand think they can just exist and that somehow murder is bad but no one with authority to define murder as being bad exists! If that is the case then morals are just another random byproduct of evolution and are not to be trusted. They can change and most likely will depending on who is in power and their “opinion”.
    Simple, something from nothing is as believable as unicorns, but i guess some people do believe in them…

  • Andrew R

    I’ve no idea whose posts you’re responding to, but it’s not mine.

  • ggodat

    nope, it was.

  • Then your comprehension skills are poor. “evolution randomly chose him to be different” has nothing whatsoever to do with what I wrote, suggesting that you were responding to a post of your own imagining.

    “It is pure simple logic to understand that for any objective moral law to exist there must first exist one that has the authority to define it”

    ‘Pure simple logic’ states that if someone’s having to define the law then it isn’t objective – its existence is SUBJECT to that person’s definition. Furthermore, before he defined it then the law didn’t exist, therefore it’s only true AFTER it got defined, and therefore doesn’t apply in all times (one of Bill’s preconditions of it being transcendent).

    “depending on who is in power”

    That’s your argument, not mine.

    If I were you I’d stick to quoting sitcom characters – making cogent points isn’t your forte.

  • ggodat

    Oh, you poor angry Brit. Quit trying to be like Simon and learn something once in a while. Your cognitive skills seem to be lacking a bit..

    You claim that because God defined law that the law is subjective to all because the law is SUBJECT to God? That’s just incorrect logic. By this you define EVERYTHING that exists as subjective. So you agree then that any moral is not that but just an opinion? That’s what you are saying! As far as time is concerned, please read Einstein’s theory of special relativity. Time began, it has not always existed. God is outside of time and does not require Himself to define a moral law for Himself because He is the pure definition of moral. He cannot be amoral. His moral law is defined for ALL OF HUMANITY and is therefore OBJECTIVELY true for all of humanity for all times (and that is for all times that time has existed along with humans because without either a moral law would be unnecessary, get it??).

    Try twisting your cap 15 degrees to the right… maybe that will relieve the pressure in your brain and allow you to think more clearly.

  • “By this you define EVERYTHING that exists as subjective.”

    Nope, because I don’t think everything was defined or created by God.

    “You claim that because God defined law”
    Er no, I’m an atheist, so I don’t believe in God. You’re the Christian here, remember?

    “So you agree then that any moral is not that but just an opinion?”

    Nope, because I don’t think morals were created by God. That’s your argument, not mine. Do try to keep up Greggy – now you’ve gone from confusing my posts with ones in your head to confusing my posts with your own (guess that must mean you’re the poor and angry one)!

  • ggodat

    So Simon, where then do ye morals commeth from ? Did they just randomly pop into existence like your ancestors? If not, please explain why they should be followed by anyone?

    I have quizzed you so many times in the past about the laws of Thermodynamics and i see you still have no answer to refute them and how they demand that the universe came into being. I guess that the shows on the BBC just pop into existence also? No one creates them…

  • Josh Wiltshire

    The way I see it is that if morality is actually a thing, then it must transcend those who it is applied to, otherwise it can be broken without repercussion and shown to hold no meaning. Like a sports game with no refs where the players decide to hold themselves responsible, like a children’s game where the ground is lava but now little timmy has just decided he has anti-lava sneakers and can defy the made up rules.

    In a world where morality can never transcend those who conjure it up, mankind simply can not define the morality of mankind, as it would hold no real meaning.

    The morality mankind comes up with on their own would be nothing more than honor among thieves.

    If the morality was not always there, then the question can always be asked of where it has come from, which would mean it could change, which would mean it couldn’t be accepted as true morality.

    From an evolutionary perspective, murder, rape, theft, etc. should all be acceptable acts and everything that a man does could only be defined in one of two ways: as an evolutionary benefit or an evolutionary hindrance. But there would be no such thing as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

  • Andrew Ryan

    All those acts harm a species. Even from an evolutionary perspective your argument doesn’t work.

  • Josh Wiltshire

    Harming a species doesn’t matter. The point is that the strong survive and the weak die off. Then of course reproduction is important as well. The word ‘harm’ in this sense is vague and would only apply on a personal level, not to a whole species. The strong murdering the weak would be an evolutionary benefit, as there are more strong to reproduce and less weak. If the strong stole from the weak, that would work the same way. Either way, it is taking away resources from the weak and giving them to the strong, allowing the strong to reproduce, which means that their genes are passed on, not the genes of the weak.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Of course harming a species matters. A species that spends its time fighting each other an individual level will be at a disadvantage to a similar one that works together. And it matters at a tribal level two. Imagine two tribes near each other. In one it’s perpetual internal war, with everyone thieving and fighting and raping each other. In the other tribe, everyone collaborates and order is maintained.

    Which tribe do you think would thrive? Clue: the latter one.

  • Josh Wiltshire

    So you are implying that humans are in danger of being overthrown by some race of animals as the dominant species? What species are we fighting against?

    I can see what you mean, that if two very similarly populated and genetically equal strength species are currently fighting over the right to survive, that one species killing each other off would be a hindrance. However we aren’t even close to being in that situation now and from an evolutionary perspective we should be having more holocausts, to try and kill of those with inferior mutations, from a purely evolutionary perspective. I don’t actually believe that, it would be horrible, but that is what would make sense. Less humans would mean more resources for those who are strong. There are surely many ‘unnecessary’ humans from an evolutionary perspective.

    Take for example the existence of the mentally and physically handicapped. Why should we help them since they won’t be able to repay us and increase our own chances of survivability, nor have a generally positive impact on our species?

    Why should we allow those with inferior traits to reproduce? We are obviously not in danger of extinction, so shouldn’t we only allow the ‘best’ humans in our world to reproduce while just forcing those with inferior traits and skills to die off?

    Why should we give to charity or to the poor when we could donate our money to help the rich and powerful become even more rich and powerful?

    If we are intelligent enough creatures that understand the process of evolution, wouldn’t that mean that hitler had the right idea and the rest of us are all merely blissfully ignorant? Once again, I obviously don’t believe that, but from a purely evolutionary perspective it would make sense. Evolution isn’t about the survival of individuals, as long as the species survives and grows stronger then it shouldn’t matter at all what happens in between, should it?

    The fact is that any code of morality achieved through evolution would not be transcendent and wouldn’t actually be true morality. Evolution can’t obtain true morality, therefore it can’t obtain any morality at all. Even if something was a genetic disadvantage, like murder, what makes it inherently wrong? The answer is nothing, as a randomly formed universe has no purpose and no goal, it is not striving towards anything. A universe that relies upon chaos to exist is not going to take an reverse entropic method towards order and morals, rather it would continue to be chaotic, and nothing would be right or wrong by any definition.

  • Andrew Ryan

    No, I’m not implying that.

    We’re talking about how we got to be who we are now, right? To explain that we look at our evolutionary history, the forces that shaped who we are over hundreds of thousands of years as higher primates, and millions of years before that as other mammals.

    The questions you ask are answered by doing that, looking at our past. What benefitted us as a species was developing empathy for each other’s suffering. As a species we care for each other, for the most part.

    I hope this helps. There are loads of books on the subject. A complicated subject that’s hard to summarise in a couple of posts!

  • Josh Wiltshire

    A naturalistic presupposition is made to say that we must have evolved into what we are, since we are what we are.

    Without said presupposition, the process of evolution bringing us to where we are is extremely unlikely. While the idea that the laws of morality were put there by a lawgiver makes more sense and has less problems.

    I am sure there are many books that craft theories to explain why morality exists, and why we aren’t savage like wild animals. However that is not really much more than relying on the infinite monkey typewriters to put us where we are. If our species came to be through a series of genetic mutations, assuming the anthropic principle was to blame is another result of a naturalistic presupposition. Morality works in the same way, that since we are moral creatures, then those who automatically refuse to believe in the supernatural can simply not arrive at a supernatural conclusion and must rely on ‘good enough’ possible (possible referring to things that are accepted by the scientific community as not naturally impossible) theories in order to provide any answer at all.

    Meanwhile, without the naturalistic presupposition, a creator makes much more sense, just like how our legal system came to be because we intelligent creatures put it there, rather than whatever alternative.

    Coming up with a possible answer is not the same as coming up with a reasonable answer, and that is one of the main issues with science these days. That far too often the possible is accepted over the reasonable because of arbitrary presuppositions.

  • Andrew Ryan

    No suppositions are needed to accept evolution. It’s supported by the same scientific method that enables us to have this conversation, or that allowed us to put man on the moon, split the atom and cure diseases. It’s not just about finding ‘possible answers’.

  • Josh Wiltshire

    No suppositions are needed to accept anything, as the acceptance of something does not require proof, nor evidence. It requires faith. However, it is suppositions that cause those who use them to arrive at naturalistic explanations when a supernatural explanation would make more sense. The only problem is that most if not all evolutionists just choose to automatically assume that the supernatural does not exist.

    Evolution is not supported by the scientific method because macro evolution has never ever been observed. It has been theorized as an offshoot of natural selection and nothing more (natural selection itself not conflicting with creationism at all). The only reason it is believed to be so necessary is because of naturalistic presuppositions that pretty much say “Only a natural origin is possible because we personally do not want to believe in the supernatural.”

    Evolutionary and general atheistic science is indeed about just finding ‘possible answers’. Look at the origin of the universe. They are willing to go as far as citing the multi-verse theory as a ‘possible answer’ even though they will never be able to prove it. Same thing with evolution; it is originally just a ‘possibility’ that has been accepted as fact even though macro evolution has never been observed and the only ‘evidence’ for it is an extremely vague fossil record and flawed, assumption reliant dating methods.

    The current quest for evolutionary scientists is to just find a ‘possible’ answer. Because there is currently no possible answer to the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the origin of morality, etc. and all they can hope to do is come up with something that sounds ‘good enough’ to them to be ‘possible’ and then print it as fact in school textbooks.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Josh, you need to read up on the scientific method and evolution, as you’re saying too many untrue things about both for me to keep up with.

  • Josh Wiltshire

    I don’t need a PhD in the field. I don’t need to know all of the tiny little things that people can cite over and over in order to ‘catch me’ because I didn’t take a class on each of them in college.

    I was under the impression that the scientific method required observation at some point, and no macro evolution isn’t just natural selection over a longer period of time, there are key differences that are required that we have not observed. They can’t just be lumped into the same boat and accepted as virtually the same thing.

    Of course, you could always make assumptions to guide scientific theories, and that seems to be a popular method.

    Evolution has a severe lack of evidence. Most only believe it because they automatically decline any alternative and that is why it seems so reasonable, so ‘obvious’. However evolution severely lacks evidence. Especially if you stop looking at the in between parts and try to take a shot at the origins. The origin of life, origin of the universe, etc. these things simply can’t be answered by science. Existence can’t naturally come from non-existence and life can’t naturally come from non-life.

    Meanwhile, presuppositions aside, God makes sense in all cases. We aren’t required to come up with all new theories because “The world seems fine tuned for life.” or because “A transcendent morality seems to exist in humans.” or because *fill in the blank*

    It is a much shorter leap of faith to believe in a creator, than to believe that our fine-tuned orderly universe somehow formed itself from complete chaos and randomness. The only problem is that people just refuse to believe in the existence of the supernatural for no worthy reason. Most people choose to not believe in God for arbitrary reasons like “Because I don’t need him!” or “Because he just didn’t exist!” or “Because I believe in science!” even though their statements are actually not based in science at all, but instead based in complete conjecture.

    Life, the universe, morality. It all makes sense, it all EASILY makes sense with God. However, for some reason man clings to only what they can see and refuses to believe in anything else. They operate only within their own sights, unable to see the world for what it really is. They choose to conjure up ill-founded theories that only seem reasonable because they have automatically rejected the idea that there could be an alternative. That’s really all there is to it.

    From a logical point of view, it would make sense to believe in a creator. The only obstacle is that people arbitrarily choose to not believe in God, and for what reason? For no good reason. They cling to pride and arrogance, which blinds them to the obvious and requires them to jump through hoops to explain that of which is easily explainable through another method. A method that has never been altered due to newly found information, a method that has always stayed the same and a method that holds no contradictions and keeps being shown to make more and more sense (to the clear minded) each and every time we make another significant scientific discovery.

  • Andrew Ryan

    No, a PhD is not needed, just a basic understanding. We can directly observe the evidence, just like we new about the existence of the planet Neptune long before it was directly observed, due to the effects the unseen body had on other objects in the solar system.

    I can’t copy and paste on this iPad, but there’s a good passage on this on TalkOrigins’ website. Google your way to the page ‘Five Major Misconceptions About Evolution’ and look at the section “Evolution has never been observed”.

    You also discuss the origin of the universe and of life (biogenesis). Neither have anything to do with evolution.

  • Josh Wiltshire

    Directly observing ‘evidence’ is not the same as directly observing evolution. True that it would be very difficult to do so, but there is a difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution, and the observing of micro-evolution does not prove the existence of macro-evolution.

    Now, I am not a biologist, but I was under the impression that animals had the ability to fight off hostile infections and what not, that even we as humans could build up immunities over the course of our life span. I might not have it exactly correct, but wouldn’t the same thing apply to insects and bacteria developing immunities to pesticides and antibiotics? I believe the point of evolution is not that it is directed by some force, not that it is reactionary, but that it is random. A random mutation or change that causes the animal to be better able to survive and therefore they reproduce while the animals of the same species less fit to survive die off without reproducing.

    The whole “Insects evolving resistances to pesticide” thing has me scratching my head, as they would obtain such a resistance through the insects life span, attempting to fight off the pesticide and their offspring inheriting their progress towards that goal and building upon it (once again, this is just my interpretation of how such a thing happens, I am not an actual biologist). Instead evolution would say that the insect would randomly mutate an immune system better suited to combat the pesticide, but wouldn’t actually be formed as a reaction to said pesticide.

    A generally better immune system should be an overall positive change, but this immunity to pesticide sounds like it is specifically tuned to find off the pesticide. If this was a result of evolution, the fact that the insects weren’t already immune to the pesticide implies that before the introduction of the pesticide and after the pesticides removal that the immunity would serve as a hindrance to the insect.

    If the immunity was randomly evolved and wasn’t a general hindrance to the insect outside of the effects of the pesticide, then it should have already evolved in theory. I believe this is the same way that bacteria immunities to antibiotics work.

    This immunity sounds like a reactionary change, rather than a random mutation.

    Also, yes natural biogenesis and a natural origin of the universe have to do with evolution in the way that they both have to exist in order for evolution to also exist.

  • Andrew Ryan

    There’s no real difference between micro and macro evolution. There’s just evolution. Just like there’s no ‘micro erosion’ and ‘macro erosion’.

    I don’t understand your beef with insects evolving resistance to pesticides. Why not google your way to an explanation of how it works? Also, remembered that evolution itself is not random.

    Your point about biogenesis and cosmology is a non sequitur. It doesn’t matter how life or the universe began when discussing evolution. Ten men could disagree completely on biogenesis and cosmology and yet have no disagreements at all about a single aspect of evolution.

  • Josh Wiltshire

    Evolution requires randomness to happen. Without random mutations and what not it wouldn’t exist.

    Macro and micro evolution are different. The real difference is that micro-evolution is completely possible in Creationism while macro-evolution is not.

    Insets and pesticides is micro-evolution. Bacertia and antibiotics is micro-evolution. Finch beaks changing is micro-evolution.

    While micro-evolution can change the degree of an already existing structure, like a beak’s size or shape. Macro-evolution suggests the introduction of completely new structures as well as the knowledge to use them. Maybe evolutionists like to blur them together but they are different. Micro-evolution happens within a species while macro-evolution changes one species into another. There really is no reason to believe that micro-evolution can lead to macro-evolution besides assumption.

    Look up the “Macroevolution” conference that took place at the University of Chicago in 1980.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Speciation has been observed Josh. Follow the links I suggested to you and you’ll see examples.

  • Josh Wiltshire

    Deciphering evidence of speciation as the direct observation of speciation doesn’t work. Also, you didn’t provide me with links.

  • Andrew Ryan

    I told you what to google to get there – for some reason this website doesn’t allow me to copy/paste when I’m using an iPad. Have a look. Go to the talkorigins website, look up speciation observed, look up macro evolution, look up myths of evolution.

    I don’t know what you mean by ‘doesn’t work’.

  • Josh Wiltshire

    Just pausing here and wondering how we got into biology from morality. Whatever. From what I see on the site it seems to first define what a species is and then from there goes into the process of determining what plants or animals actually have been able to produce separate species.

    I myself find the observations referenced in that article not very convincing. Sure, they found plants and some flies that through laboratory experiments diverged into two groups that couldn’t reproduce with the other. But I find it silly to assume that those observations prove that reptile scales can mutate into feathers just because their own defined prerequisites are met.

    People can say “It’s the same thing!” until they are blue in the face but that doesn’t make the task of bridging micro-evolution and macro-evolution non-existent.

  • Andrew Ryan

    That IS what is meant by species and speciation. It remains true irrespective of how convincing you personally find it.

  • Josh Wiltshire

    So evolution is only true in terms of how we define it? From what I see this “definition” isn’t exact and is still quite up in the air. A quick glance at wikipedia gave me a link to the “Species problem” which says that a single definition of species (being able to interbreed) is insufficient for all forms of life.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Why not explain what you mean by speciation then Josh.

  • Josh Wiltshire

    A definition of ‘speciation’ is not required in order for different kinds of animals to exist. We are merely arguing semantics and not reality. A required definition is only necessary for those making a naturalistic presupposition. You are asking a creationist to define a term that only applies to the theory of macro-evolution. You are asking me to define a word to describe something that just doesn’t happen.

    We should get onto the topic of cosmology and origin though. The theory of evolution is vague and riddled with outs and misconceptions (mostly ones having to deal with its relation to intelligent design).

  • Andrew Ryan

    “We are merely arguing semantics”

    The difference between ‘micro-evolution’ and ‘macro-evolution’ is purely semantics.

    “We should get onto the topic of cosmology and origin though.”

    Josh, if you can’t understand evolution, I don’t see how you can attempt a conversation about cosmology.

  • Josh Wiltshire

    If the difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution was purely semantics, then we wouldn’t be able to say “Micro-evolution has been observed but not macro-evolution.” yet we are indeed able to say that.

    Cosmology is much simpler. Dealing with origin is logic, reasoning, etc. much more than evolution that is simply infested with pre-suppositions, false assumptions, wordplay, vagueness and misinterpretations. It’s not that I don’t understand evolution, it’s just that I don’t agree with evolution and your definition of evolution involves the ‘fact’ that it is definitely true, so to deny that ‘fact’ is like denying an aspect of evolution itself.

    Another huge difference is that with evolution, scientists can just throw huge numbers and randomness in as ‘irrefutable’ explanations, and that is usually what a debate on evolution resorts to.

    You can’t come to a conclusion on origin with a naturalistic pre-supposition. I have come to acknowledge that the closest I can come to proving the existence of God is to use the process of elimination to show that a natural origin is impossible, which it very much is. Many just choose to ignore that fact though, saying “We will figure it out someday.” and thinking that somehow negates the fact that science currently contradicts a natural origin.

    You can not hold the current beliefs of the scientific community and also believe in a natural origin.

  • Andrew Ryan

    “Yet we are indeed able to say that”

    Sure you can say it, but it isn’t true, and when I asked you to explain the difference between the two you fobbed me off with a reply about ‘speciation being ill defined’. You’re basically saying stairs exist but staircases don’t. The only difference between the two is scale.

    And no, you don’t understand what evolution is.

  • Josh Wiltshire

    From what I have seen. Micro-evolution is a change in degree that occurs in a creature on a structure that already exists, while macro-evolution causes new structures to be introduced. I believe it is different for a finch’s beak to change in shape or size than for them to grow a new structure with a radically different purpose.