email - July 2008

The Definition of Evolution

Evolutionists really donít want to get too specific about what evolution really means.

Edward wants to split hairs about the definition of ďthe theory of evolution.Ē But, in splitting the hairs, he just emphasizes the problem.

Dear Mr. Do While,

In your opening to ďSeventy-five These [sic],Ē you stated that:

A famous court case regarding whether or not evolution can be taught in public schools used the following six-part definition of ďthe theory of evolution.Ē

This is incorrect.† The case you cited, McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, did not use that definition.† That definition comes from an act which that court struck down as violating the Establishment clause of the Constitution.† In fact, the court had this to say about that definition:

As a statement of the theory of evolution, Section 4(b) is simply a hodgepodge of limited assertions, many of which are factually inaccurate.

To see the entire case, go here.

Thank you for your time,

Edward

So, letís review what happened. Arkansas passed a law about the teaching of evolution, and the legislature gave a specific six-part definition as to what they meant by ďevolution.Ē They defined it that way because that is what is in the public school textbooks in Arkansas (and everywhere else in the United States). They didnít want it taught to their children because it is factually inaccurate. So, the court was supposed to decide if it was legal to teach evolution this way.

The court didnít like the six-part definition of evolution because it was ďfactually inaccurate.Ē Duh! That was the reason why the legislature didnít want it taught!

What part (or parts) are factually inaccurate?

1. Emergence by naturalistic processes of the universe from disordered matter and emergence of life from nonlife;

It is factually inaccurate that life evolved from non-life. Thatís why the Arkansas lawmakers didnít want it taught in public schools.

2. The sufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of present living kinds from simple earlier kinds;

It is factually inaccurate that mutation and natural selection can create new living kinds. Thatís why the Arkansas lawmakers didnít want it taught in public schools.

3.Emergence by mutation and natural selection of present living kinds from simple earlier kinds;

Since mutation and natural selection canít create new living kinds, it logically follows that new living kinds did not emerge that way. Thatís why the Arkansas lawmakers didnít want it taught in public schools.

4. Emergence of man from a common ancestor with apes;

If mutation and natural selection canít create any new living kinds, it naturally follows that man could not have been created from a common ancestor with apes by mutation and natural selection. Thatís why the Arkansas lawmakers didnít want it taught in public schools.

5. Explanation of the earth's geology and the evolutionary sequence by uniformitarianism; and

Uniformitarianism is the notion that processes in the past were the same as processes in the present, and that the rates of those processes have not changed over time. The alternative view (accepted by some modern geologists) is that geologic structures were formed by temporary catastrophic processes (such as volcanoes, earthquakes, and floods). The evolutionary timeline is based on uniformitarianism. Did the court find that factually inaccurate, too?

6. An inception several billion years ago of the earth and somewhat later of life.

Did the court find that the Earth is not several billion years old? If so, then why should it be legal to teach that it is? Does the court believe that public school textbooks donít teach that the world is billions of years old? Has the court never read a public school textbook?

There are other definitions of evolution. Evolution means ďchange.Ē Nobody argues with that. Microevolution is minor variations in species. Nobody argues with that, and nobody wants that removed from public schools.

The Arkansas legislature wrote that six-part definition of evolution because that was what was being taught as absolute truth in their school system. It is factually incorrect, and so they didnít want it taught any more. If that wasnít what was being taught, then nobody would be upset about it. But the court overturned the law prohibiting that from being taught, and we bet those things are still being taught in some Arkansas schools today.

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