What difference does believing in evolution make?

Investigation in progress
Investigation in progress

In this post, the word evolution refers to the theory that unguided natural forces such as mutation and natural selection can explain the emerge of life from non-life, as well as the diversification of simple single-celled organisms in the diversity of animal life that we observe today, and in the fossil record. mean merely change over time, or variations within types “micro-evolution”. I mean molecules-to-man evolution, with nothing detectable done to guide any part of the process by any outside intelligence, be it natural or supernatural.

What else do people believe when they accept evolution as true?

Evolution News reports on a new poll:

From the earliest days of civilization, humans have considered themselves exceptional among living creatures. But a new survey by Discovery Institute of more than 3,400 American adults indicates that the theory of evolution is beginning to erode that belief in humanity’s unique status and dignity.

According to the survey, 43 percent of Americans now agree that “Evolution shows that no living thing is more important than any other,” and 45 percent of Americans believe that “Evolution shows that human beings are not fundamentally different from other animals.”

The highest levels of support for the idea that evolution shows that humans aren’t fundamentally different from other animals are found among self-identified atheists (69 percent), agnostics (60 percent), and 18 to 29 year-olds (51 percent).

The theory of evolution is also reshaping how people think about morality. A majority of Americans (55 percent) now contend that “Evolution shows that moral beliefs evolve over time based on their survival value in various times and places.”

“Since the rise of Darwin’s theory, leading scientists and other thinkers have insisted that human beings are just another animal, and that morality evolves based on survival of the fittest,” says historian Richard Weikart, author of the new book The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life (Regnery).

What this new survey shows is just how pervasive these ideas have become in our culture. Many people no doubt continue to believe that humans are unique, but most do not think that evolution supports that position. Many critics of my earlier scholarship will be disconcerted to see this data, which powerfully supports my arguments about the way that Darwinism devalues human life, a key point I explain further in my new book.

Weikart is a professor of history at California State University, Stanislaus, and a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture.

So, it definitely makes  a difference whether you believe in evolution or not. I have found that even Christians who believe in evolution have some very weird things going on elsewhere in their worldviews. Let’s just say that I don’t know any conservative Christians who accept evolution.

Take a look at Howard Van Till, who taught at a seminary for many years. He always asserted that evolution and Christianity were compatible. That’s what he told his students. He was regarded as one of the foremost proponents of theistic evolution – the view that God exists and sits around doing nothing while animal diversity appears without any detectible design work on his part.

Take a look at this event that Van Till did for a FREETHOUGHT group a while back.


by Howard J. Van Till

Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Emeritus
Calvin College
Presented 5/24/2006 for the Freethought Association of West Michigan
Lightly edited 5/26/2006

Precis: Born into a Calvinist family, shaped by a Calvinist catechism training, educated in the Calvinist private school system, and nurtured by a community that prized its Calvinist systematic theology, I was a Calvinist through and through. For 31 years my teaching career was deeply rooted in the Calvinism I had inherited from my community.

During most of that time it was a fruitful and satisfying experience. Nonetheless, stimulated in part by the manner in which some members of that community responded to my efforts to practice what I had learned from my best teachers, I eventually felt the need to extend my intellectual exploration into philosophical territories far outside the one provided by Calvinism. Did I complete the lengthy journey from Calvinism to Freethought? The listener will be the judge.

Freethought is a politically correct happy-clappy term for atheism, by the way. Trying to put a positive spin on it, I guess.

Evolution means unguided evolution. It means that natural processes do all the work, and there is nothing required from any supervening intelligence – natural or supernatural. That idea has consequences for your worldview.

One last point, and this is important. I don’t reject evolution because I find the consequences of the idea distasteful. I reject it because it is not supported by the evidence in two crucial areas: the origin of the simplest living replicating organism, and the sudden appearance of a wide variety of body plans in the Cambrian explosion within a very short period of time. I have no problem with science challenging my interpretation of the Bible – that’s why I am for an old universe and an old Earth. But evolution is not scientifically grounded – it’s really a philosophical speculation that is required by a metaphysical assumption called naturalism. And since I am an adherent of experimental science, and not theoretical speculative philosophy, I reject it. And so should you.

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2 thoughts on “What difference does believing in evolution make?”

  1. The Cambrian Explosion and abiogenesis are both areas that are incompatible with the current view of evolution, but they’re not the only areas in which evolution is extremely problematic if not downright impossible. The complete lack of evidence that mutation and natural selection can add any significant amount of new information to the genome of any organism is a huge hurdle that has yet to be even adequately addressed, much less answered. And that’s the foundation upon which the modern evolution synthesis has been built. The foundation has no evidence. That’s reason enough to doubt the whole thing.


    There are several other blaring inconsistencies as well, including widespread mismatching between morphological and genetic phylogenies, a lack of fossil evidence for transitional forms between major groups of organisms, complex traits that would have had to evolve multiple times over evolutionary history when the chance of even once is astronomically improbable, and so on.

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