Is the Evidence for Evolution Presented in School Textbooks Accurate?

@lou.phillips thank you for your time.
With your background in biology may I ask what you beleive currently about human evolution? Do you think the evidence that is taught in school biology text books is accurate? It states that some humans evolved from apes.
I would appreciate your personal opinion on this.
Once again, thank you very much.

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Brian,

Thank you for your question. Firstly, let me say I am no scientist or biology expert. In fact, I specifically studied molecular biology which almost never gets into evolutionary biology. The understanding I learned most about was micro-evolution which we know is verifiably irrefutable, as in we can still test this today with the scientific method. But with macro-evolution, which is what most people mean when they say evolution, in some of its understandings it can conclude that some humans had a common ape ancestor.

My quick answer to you is no, I dont find the evidence for this understanding of human development entirely compelling or convincing. I do say that with an open mind because I firmly believe that Science and the Bible are not enemies of each other. There are times that science has helped Christians read the Bible more accurately (ie earth revolving around sun versus sun revolving around earth), and so we as Christians need to make sure that we do not treat the Bible as a science text book. It is not one, nor was it ever meant to be one. I do however believe that Scientism, a worldview that says only science can answer the most important questions of life, is not only toxic but inherently false. There are many brilliant Christians who describe themselves as theistic evolutionists, and I think there is compelling arguments for how they see evolution being the mechanism by which God created the universe.
But the question on the origin of life is not primarily a biological question, but a historical one. Biologists have every right to weigh in and present their data as to what looks like may have happened; but the most honest biologists will say there is still mystery as to how it all worked out.

Also, we need to make sure we read Genesis the way the author intended us to read it, not just as 21st century readers. Genesis is a complex book full of different genres of literature. If we take Genesis purely to be literal, we run into our first problem in Genesis 2 which seems to depict a different creation account. We must have a humility in our approach to the authors intent.

But in saying that, here are my biggest take aways that I find to be essential and orthodox for Christianity, regarding creation:

  1. Ex nihilo - out of nothing. God is separate from creation and he is the cause of it all. Creation isnt some how “part” of God, it is categorically different. This is the first indication we are given in our understanding of our relationship to God. He is not part of creation. Also, this wasn’t some big cosmic accident with no design or purpose.
  2. Goodness of creation. Understanding of the goodness of creation allows us to completely dismantle the gnostic understanding of humanity and life. Its not just the spiritual that is good, so is the physical and this goes to show how we should view ourselves. We are embodied souls meaning both the physical and spiritual matter. We dont get to separate the two into dualism.
  3. Special creation of Adam and Eve. I think regardless of our interpretation of Genesis, its evident that the creation of humanity was different than everything else. I very much believe in a very literal and physical Adam and Eve, otherwise I am not sure how we could reconcile Romans 5 and much of the Pauline approach to this topic…. Also some of Jesus words. I am not saying that every Christian has to believe this as well, but I have yet to hear a compelling case as to how they are simply metaphorical.

I realize many people will disagree with my stance on this and like I said, I firmly believe that science was given to us by God to better understand him. Science should never be pitted against the Bible. But when (and this can be tricky) we are faithfully reading scripture and hopefully following the conviction of its truths, if at any point science and scripture conflict, I will land with scripture. Again, this can be hard because we know there have been times in history where we have misunderstood scripture. But with something like Adam and Eve and the essential role of their “literal-ness” all throughout scripture, I am not sure how to reconcile a “fake or metaphorical” version of them. And that puts me in the position to say I do not believe the theory that humanity shares a common ancestor with apes to be accurate. I do not believe it is arrogant to say that that theory is still problematic even outside of a christian approach. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if in 100 years science is saying something very different than what it is saying today with regards to human origin.

Finally, as Christians, we get to say our foundation to believing in the inherent value of human life is far deeper than any other worldview. A worldview that doesn’t adopt a special creation of man and woman is not a worldview that can eventually defeat sexism and racism and eugenics — that worldview will have to borrow capital from the Christian understanding of special creation. So God creating humankind in his image is good news for all of us, especially during a time when we are fighting to persevere why we value life.

I hope this helps and makes sense. This is where I currently am with regards to this topic. I think we must always be careful that we dont shut the door on science because it is a gift God has given us. But scientism is a naturalistic approach to the world we live and that is adamantly opposed to the gospel.

Let me know if you have anymore questions.

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Thank you @lou.phillips. I have definately learned from your response.

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