Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Does evolution really happen? (Part 1)

Today Wifey was trying to make spaghetti and dropped some pots on her head. She says it hurts when she smiles, so I'm going to try and write about something a little more serious today. I told her, "Whatever you do, don't read Matron Down Under," but I think she read it anyway.

Earlier this afternoon, Wifey and I were talking about what I've learned in my current job. It's a job I'm really overqualified for, but it's not like anything I've done before, and I've learned some valuable lessons. For example, there was the time when I was sitting in a dark room for two hours listening to a lawyer lecture on intellectual property, and my head kept bobbing.

My manager sat me down, and in no uncertain terms made it clear that falling asleep in meetings was unacceptable. She described it as a waste of the company's resources to have me there. I wanted to explain to her that any sleep I may have gotten during that meeting was far more useful than what I would have gained by staying awake, but I'm not that dumb.

Then there was the time I came in at 6AM, took my lunch from 8:30-9:30, and learned that it's not good enough to tell the guy in the cubicle next to me I'd be out. Who knew?!

In my case, evolution happens. I'm getting laid off, effective July 1st. But I've learned a lot in two years of paper-pushing. I think I've picked up a few things that will help me throughout my life, like no matter how ridiculous it is to have to sit through a two-hour lecture at 7AM where some lawyer goes on and on about intellectual property, don't fall asleep! It's bad!

I have mixed feelings on evolution though. I really want to understand it better. And I want to approach the issue genuinely. So let's just do the first half today, and we'll cover the rest tomorrow.

First of all, let me say that I'm a freak for the Discovery Channel. So is Wifey. It represents more than 50% of TV viewing in our house. And I love the shows on evolution, human and otherwise. Did you see the one called, "The Future is Wild?" Supposubly, 200 million years from now, intelligent squid will rule the earth. Weird, you say? Cool, says I!

I do believe in microevolution, otherwise known as "species variation." It's been proven in laboratories. This is where a certain species will adapt to a given environment. If you've ever been to the museum and seen an ancient piece of armor, you know what I'm talking about. Those guys were like four feet tall! That's species variation, and it's what Darwin was talking about when he described the finches with the different beaks, adapted to different food sources.

One of the primary arguments employed against evolution is that it's not biblical. Well, I can follow that logic. But I would argue that evolution can find viable support in the Bible. The Bible says we're made from dust. Evolution says we're made from dust. There is a school of thought called "Theistic Evolution," that argues that God set creation in motion using evolution as a tool, and continues to guide evolution as an outflow of the creation process.

Ok. Biblically, I guess I can buy that. At the same time, I know someone's getting upset reading this, because a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2 is preferable. Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn't. If you're quite certain the Bible should be interpreted literally from cover to cover, pick up this book and see if it changes your mind just a little bit:

When most of us say the Bible should be interpreted literally, what we really mean is that the Bible should generally be interpreted as plainly as possible, and a straight-forward meaning should be assumed unless there's a good reason to believe something different.

Consider Jesus' parables. When Jesus said, "A farmer went out to sow his seed," he wasn't reporting the news. He was telling a story to make a point. That's why we call it a parable. So not everything in the Bible was meant to be interpreted literally. If we do interpret those sections literally that are not intended as such, we're not reading the Bible properly.

With me so far? Don't crucify me, please. I'll do my best to offend everybody before we're done.

I think I've just established a plausible premise that evolution and a conservative interpretation of Genesis 1-2 are compatible. If not, please let me know. I want to be teachable here. And I'm no expert on this stuff. In fact, whether you agree or not, leave a comment and let me know! I'm curious to hear what you think.

Tomorrow I'll get back to this question, and tell you a few of the reasons I don't personally believe in macroevolution. And here's a hint: none of them have anything to do with the Bible.



  1. Solid, you still made Wifey laugh. And it did hurt.

    I'm so glad you aren't bald :)

    And you are born to teach, in case you haven't noticed.

    Now get down here and watch 24 with me.


  2. Ok, you guys are adorable. And I live in fear that our pot rack will crash down on my head while I'm making dinner--poor Wifey! Oh--and 2 hour lectures at 7am sound like torture. I'm sure that's listed in the Geneva Convention somewhere.

    Thanks for that post--you said alot of what I've often thought, but am not smart enough to articulate. I think if we interpret everything literally, we're in some trouble. Plus, who want to have hair like a flock of sheep?

    Oh--and thanks for the blog props!