BioLogos Debate: Common Ancestry?
Updated: Jun 27
My debate on the BioLogos Facebook page kicked off via direct interaction with the official BioLogos Facebook page administrator, as shared in Part 1 of 7 of this blog post series called the “BioLogos Debate.” Immediately after the initial back-and-forth with BioLogos, one of their supporters, LA, jumped in with a comment. I provided a detailed response back to LA’s comment. Parts 2 through 4 of this series encompass that segment of the debate. After this, BioLogos rejoined the discussion and attempted to answer my three original questions. After reading, absorbing, and analyzing their comment, along with the links they provided, I took a couple days to carefully craft my response. Since my response is lengthy, I will only share part of my response in this post, and save the remainder of my response for the next two posts.
Below is Part 5 of 7 of the BioLogos debate.
Kevin Hadsall Here are short answers to your questions. I would encourage you to join our discussion forums at discourse.biologos.org to interact with our community there. 1. It is impossible to know in advance what evidences you will accept or dismiss as "faulty", but scientists observe genetic "scars" in DNA that match up with striking precision with "scars" in chimpanzee DNA, strongly suggesting common ancestry. http://biologos.org/blogs/guest/genetic-scars-compelling-evidence-for-human-evolution 2. Nylonase. http://biologos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/intelligent-design-and-nylon-eating-bacteria
Here's another cool example:
3. We never "equate" nature with God's Word. Nature is God's handiwork, and science is a way to learn about it. And in those places where science can inform our interpretations of Scripture, it should! It has corrected faulty interpretations in the past (see: Galileo). Also, do you think the earth is round? Do you think the Earth rotates around the sun? Do you dismiss the idea of a solid dome over the earth that holds up a cosmic ocean? Because if you do, and if you were to take a time machine to different eras of church history, they would use the exact same arguments against you, accusing you of accepting worldly ideas instead of the "plain reading" of Scripture. So what makes you think that your plain reading is better than theirs? And perhaps this history of interpretive mistakes calls for us to reevaluate our understanding of what Scripture can tell us about nature? I apologize if my previous comment to you was taken as disrespectful. I thought your original comment was worded in a unnecessarily aggressive fashion and I was responding to that.
Apology accepted. Indeed, I am not trying to be “aggressive,” as I am only seeking respectful discussion and debate. Thank you for circling back and providing a response. I took note of the discussion forum, and thank you for the heads up on that. For now, I will continue the discussion on here. I will respond point-by-point, but using multiple replies, since Facebook won’t let me post this all at once. “1. It is impossible to know in advance what evidences you will accept or dismiss as ‘faulty’…” In regards to the topic of historical science, the debate is not really about the evidence itself, as it is with the topic of observational science. In historical science, you and I can observe the same exact circumstantial evidence: rock layers, fossils, DNA similarity, and so forth. We both have the same evidence, but we have different presuppositions, and those presuppositions lead to different interpretations of that evidence. Those differing interpretations lead to different conclusions about the past. In observational science, sometimes the evidence itself is called into question if the “evidence” is exaggerated, fabricated, or tampered with. These are the principles that I will employ while responding to your specific points. “…but scientists observe genetic ‘scars’ in DNA that match up with striking precision with ‘scars’ in chimpanzee DNA, strongly suggesting common ancestry. [link]” First, my original Question #1 dealt with the age of the universe, but that’s okay, I will respond to the point that was presented. I do not see any cited sources for the original research that this article is referring to, so I am unable to dig in to the details. Therefore, I am unable to comment on the article’s specific claims regarding DNA mutation “scars.” Can you point me to the original research? For now, I will focus on the general argument that similarity in human and chimp DNA is proof of common ancestry. This argument commits the logical fallacy of Affirming the Consequent. The argument says this: 1. If humans evolved from ape-like creatures, then we would expect to see similarity in human and chimp DNA. 2. We do see similarities in human and chimp DNA. 3. Therefore, humans evolved from ape-like creatures.
To say that this is proof of ape-to-human evolution is faulty logic because creation scientists would also expect to see DNA similarity between humans, apes, and other organisms, due to a common Creator/Designer. In this view, God chose to use many of the same proteins as building blocks. As Dr. Georgia Purdom (PhD, Molecular Genetics) points out: “Much of the similarity lies in the regions of the DNA that result in proteins (the genes). It seems logical that if a protein performs a certain function in one organism, and that function is necessary in other organisms, then the same protein would be utilized by multiple organisms. Just as paintings from the same painter look similar, so do the proteins (and thus, genes) from a variety of organisms designed by a common Designer” (https://answersingenesis.org/human-evolution/are-humans-and-chimps-related/).
As I mentioned before, in regards to historical science, the primary disagreement stems from differing worldviews. I admit that my presupposition is biblical creation. Do you confess that your presupposition is the evolutionary worldview? As for the observational science, there is some disagreement as to the actual percentage of DNA similarity. While many scientists often claim that humans and chimps share 96-98% similarity, other scientists make the case that it could be 80% or lower (https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/fresh-look-human-chimp-dna-similarity/).
There is so much more that I could have said to BioLogos to refute the supposed ape-to-human evolution, especially from a theological perspective. However, the specific purpose of my response was to teach BioLogos and their supporters the fact that their evolutionary beliefs are not based in observational science, but are based in faith. Since the evolutionary worldview (based in the religion of humanism) requires faith, and since the evidence can be used to confirm biblical creation, then why, as Christians, should we ever believe anything else other than the Bible?
I will share the second part of my response in my next blog post.