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Distance Education at Trinity School Of Apologetics And Theology
The Theory Of Evolution has captured everyone’s attention. Whether a person has studied science or not, he gets interested in this subject because of the wide publicity given to it. If you are a person like this, I welcome you to this brief scientific discussion.
If you have no background in science, you might wonder if you will be able to follow this write-up! Don’t be discouraged. We have used the simplest possible language so that you may not have to struggle with science dictionaries. Further, in the course of this study, we do not assume any science background on your part. Consequently, even difficult ideas are explained in simple language.
We consider this book as only a preparatory material. Once you cover this much ground, you can inquire for our more advanced material on Evolution.
Who Should Study This Course: Anyone interested in Evolution/Creation can study this book, but some people will find it specially useful. They are:
1-Parents having school going children. This book will help them to answer their children objectively and authoritatively on Evolution/Creation.
2-Any person who has ever wondered about Evolution/Creation.
3-A persons who personally has no doubts on this subject, but who is called upon to help others facing doubts on this subject.
What Is The Syllabus: Evolution is a vast subject, and it cannot be exhausted in a few lessons. At the same time, every course needs to be restricted in length due to practical constraints. Consequently, we have chosen an introductory syllabus, yet we cover enough ground to help you make an informed decision on this subject.
You must always remember two things. First, if a particular subject is not covered here, that is not because of our ignorance. Rather that is because of the limited length of this book. Second, if you are not satisfied by the ground covered in this introductory material, you can always move to the more advanced materials offered by Philip Communications. Please remember that most people getting material from Philip Communication have no background in science, and an introductory course is unavoidable for their sake.
The present course includes the following topics:
I-The history of evolution and concepts related to evolution/creation:
a-What is the meaning of evolution
b-What is the meaning of creation
c-What is scientific truth
2-Can we scientifically compare evolution and creation:
a-What is a scientific model
b-The evolution model
c-The creation model
3-The evolution of man and animals.
4-What does the scientific community say:
a-Quotations, books, references
For most people the name of Charles Darwin is synonymous with evolution. However, this is a wrong identification. The idea of evolution is several thousand years old. Man has always been speculating about origins and putting forward different hypotheses about all this. Many of them were no different from what they teach you in the name of modern science.
Darwin got a name because he proposed a theory that appealed most to his contemporaries. This was the first testable theory. (And it is precisely this testability that is going to help us in this course)
Darwin proposed his version of the theory in the last century, but he was unable to advance any proofs in support. He, however, was confident that others will be able to discover such proofs. (Darwin’s book THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES is available in many college libraries, and you can easily verify what has been said above). Even more than a century after his time, proofs are still missing.
After Darwin many people modified his theory. Some even proposed newer theories. Today there are several mutually competing and conflicting theories, but no one tells this to the average student.
The Meaning Of Evolution: It is time now to define our terms. A discussion on an important subject like evolution can get hopelessly bogged down if one does not define terms.
The word evolution is used in general in four ways. First, some people use this word to refer to development. For example in statements about the “evolution of ideas” or “evolution of cars” people are talking about their development. Second, some people use this word to refer to change. For example, “the evolution of a tree from it’s seed”. Here evolution stands for change or growth.
Third, some people use the word evolution to denote the changes within the same kind of creature. For example, one pair of dogs can give rise to a variety of dogs. This kind of change is seen everywhere, and it is often called micro-evolution. It must be remembered that micro-evolution produces changes only within one basic kind.
The fourth, and most important usage is for denoting a large change from one kind to another. For the sake of clarity, this is often called Macro-Evolution or Mega-Evolution. Most of the times the prefixes Macro or Mega are dropped and people talk only of “Evolution”. Their reference is to Mega-Evolution. In this course we will use all three terms (Macro Evolution, Mega Evolution, Evolution) inter changeably. Whenever we have to refer to Micro-Evolution, we will use that specific terminology to avoid confusing it with Mega Evolution.
According to Mega Evolution, everything seen in the universe (stars, planets, solar system, biological life, etc.) is the result of evolution. Starting from primordial (primitive) matter, it all went through a process of self-organization and the result is what we see around today.
Macro Evolution is a grand, all encompassing, theory that maintains that everything in this universe is the result of blind chance. This is a philosophical outlook that finds expression in terms of various theories. These theories try to explain the evolution of different aspects of universe. For example, the Big Bang Theory tries to explain the self-formation of the universe. Theories of Biological evolution try to explain the formation of life, and so on.
What Is The Meaning Of The Term Creation: CREATION is just the opposite of Mega Evolution. According to the principle of Creation, everything in the universe has a plan and purpose behind it. According to it, the origin and destiny of the world is in the firm control of a Creator.
Creation does not negate the chance processes that take place in the world. But it stipulates that the origin and destiny of the universe is not the result of chance processes.
Further, when God created Man, He asked humans to subdue the earth. Consequently creationists believe firmly that man should study the world systematically. In fact modern science is the direct result of Protestant Reformation — as discovered by historians of science.
Creationists firmly believe that a systematic investigation of the world yields fruitful results — and modern science has already demonstrated that.
What Is Meant By Scientific Truth: Science is the result of man’s quest to understand nature. On the other hand, Technology refers to the use of materials. Science developed only slowly in the ancient world, but technology grew very fast. Thus we see that technology of making mummies, medicines, tools, and buildings was highly advanced in different civilizations, but there was no corresponding growth of science. The present-day explosion of science is hardly five centuries old. Historians of science have discovered that the Protestant Reformation was the factor that gave this impetus to modern science.
Modern science bases all its investigations upon the firm foundation of repeatable experiments. Several intermediate steps are also involved and it can all be summarized in the following simplified diagram.
Scientists first collect data and analyze them. On the basis of this analysis they propose one or more hypothesis. This hypothesis is checked with further experiments. The hypothesis is modified or rejected in the light of these new observations. Eventually some conclusions start to emerge. These are checked further with the help of more experiments. Possible ways of contradicting the hypotheses and conclusions are devised and checked with the help of more experiments.
Observations, hypotheses, and conclusions are made to interact continually with each other till firm conclusions start emerging. These are usually termed as “laws” or “facts” of science. As long as a given information does not emerge as a fact, it remains only a mere hypothesis or theory. Thus scientific knowledge is made up of three categories of information, observations, hypotheses, firm conclusions. Out of these three observations make any sense only when conclusions arise out of them. Thus we are left with two categories ! hypotheses and conclusions.
Many kinds of hypotheses are possible. Similarly, many kinds of conclusions are also possible. For example, tentative conclusions, doubtful conclusions, and fully reliable and firm conclusions. For the sake of clarity and ease of use we can put them all into two categories: “theories of science” and “facts of science”.
All the information in science can be classified as theory or facts. Theories are not firm, nor unchangeable. On the basis of repeated observations theories are either modified or rejected, to be replaced by yet newer theories.
The aim of science is to discover facts and laws. Theories are a necessary intermediate stage, and what helps the process is experiments and observations. Experiments and observations are therefore the final testing ground for all theories. Experiments, observations, and facts are the testing ground for scientific truth of any kind. The Theory of Evolution is no exception. It is a theory (as the name itself implies), and it will be vindicated or rejected on the basis of empirical observations.
The Theory Of Evolution is a very important subject. You should study it both to clarify your personal doubts as well as to help others who question you.
Change within the same category of animals and plants is called Micro Evolution. Wider changes across boundaries — where one kind of animal or plant changes into an entirely different kind — are called Macro or Mega Evolution.
In this course we are not concerned about Micro Evolution. Our goal is to investigate Mega Evolution. We would like to see whether it is an established facts or only a theory.
According to Evolution, everything seen in the universe is the result of blind chance. According to Creation, everything is the result of planned creation.
Scientific investigation proceeds through a continuous interaction of observation, hypothesis, and inferences. Two kinds of information develops as a consequence of this interaction: Theories of science and Facts of science. Theories keep changing, but facts do not. Theories represent non established information while facts represent established and confirmed information. We would like to know whether the idea of Mega Evolution is an established fact or only an unconfirmed hypothesis.