Saturday, May 3, 2008


(Update May 19, 2014: I still think there is a need for a distinction between totally materialistic, naturalistic evolution and supernatural Creation. But since this post was first published, I think I've come up with a better term. I now use "total-natural" for totally naturalistic in contrast to "supernatural," which is already a word we understand.)

In articles and debates about evolution, there is a distinction between micro-evolution and macro-evolution. Micro-evolution means that there can be small changes in the genes which occur randomly and lead to small changes in species, even to the point of causing a new species, genus, and perhaps family. Macro-evolution is the theory that there are changes, presumably quite large, that are needed for major changes in animals at a higher level (it goes up by order, class, phylum and kingdom).

Beyond micro-evolution and macro-evolution we still need to distinguish an evolution that supposedly happens completely by matter and energy under physical laws with no supernatural intervention. The name for this is materialistic, naturalistic evolution. I'd like to use a shortcut since this is a long name. So sometimes I will write it as "matna-evolution."

For one thing, we can sort out those who do not accept the process of evolution at all from those who think evolution may have happened but not by chance. One can say, as I think most Intelligent Design advocates do, that micro-evolution can be matna-evolution, but macro-evolution is not matna-evolution, or at least up to now has not been proven to be so. On the other hand, most current scientists believe evolution happened and that it was totally by material, natural means. They believe in matna-evolution.

I know this sounds confusing, but so do a lot of terms until we get used to them. It is meant to accompany the meaning of "random" as a term understood by laypersons as "happening by chance." The "random" and "chance" are understood as operating totally by the laws of physical and chemical nature as it is understood now and without supernatural intervention. I have noticed the meaning of the term "random" changes depending on who uses it: physicists, chemists, geneticists, theologians, philosophers. We need a common understanding of these words so everyone can communicate as clearly as possible about the complex questions of how biological life came to be.

Though matna-evolutionists say evolution is in part by selction of the fittest, implying that selection eliminates chance, the selection depends on chance changes of the gene from mutation and other supposedly random mechanisms. They cannot escape from the premise that their type of evolution is completely based on chance.

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