If we are to grasp the basics of the theory, there are certain terms we need to know.
Variation is the belief that there have been small, gradual changes in form which are passed on to each successive generation. Each generation changes slightly and passes on that change.
From those variations there has been a natural selection. This simply means the survival of those most suited to their environment. Take the case of the speckled moth, for example. Against the coal heaps in north-east England the black moth was more suited in camouflage than the white. The birds were able to consume the white moths more easily and the black moths survived. Now that the slag heaps have gone in the area, the white moths are coming back again and the black moths are disappearing. Natural selection is the process whereby those species most adapted to their environment survive. This selection is “natural” because it happens automatically within nature, with no help from outside.
The belief that there is only a slow, gradual process of variation and selection has now changed, however. A Frenchman called Lamarque said that instead of gradual changes there were sudden, large changes, known as mutations. In this situation, progression looks more like a staircase than an escalator.
The concept of micro-evolution is that there has been limited change within certain animal groups, e.g. the horse or dog group. Science has certainly proved that micro-evolution does take place.
Macro-evolution, by contrast, is the theory that all animals came from the same origin and that all are related. They all go back to the same simple form of life. This is not change within individual species, therefore, but a belief that all species developed from one another.
The final term to consider is struggle. In the context of evolution it refers to the “survival of the fittest”.
I am not going to argue the case for or against evolution except to point out that evolution is still a theory. It has not been proven and, in fact, the more evidence we get from fossils the less it looks like being an adequate theory to account for the different forms of life which arose.
- In the fossil evidence, groups classified separately under evolutionary theory actually appear simultaneously in the Cambrian period. They do not appear gradually over different ages, they appear almost together.
- Complex and simple forms of life appear together. There is not a sequence from the simple to the complex.
- There are very, very few “bridge” fossils that are halfway between one species and another.
- All life forms are very complicated: they have always had DNA.
- Mutations, the sudden changes which are purported to account for the development from one species to the next, usually lead to deformities and cause creatures to die out.
- Interbreeding usually leads to sterility.
- Above all, when the statistical probabilities are analyzed, quite apart from the other objections, there is not enough time for all the varieties of life form to have developed.
The theory of evolution is not merely of academic interest, of course. How we each understand our origins has an effect on how we view mankind as a whole. Leaders infected by evolutionist philosophy have had a considerable impact.
Basic to the evolutionist theory is the concept of the survival of the fittest and the struggle which all species face to survive. This is found in some of the philosophies which have shaped our civilized society, and it has caused untold suffering. American capitalists such as John D. Rockefeller have said, “Business is the survival of the fittest.” A similar outlook is found in fascism: Adolf Hitler’s book was called Mein Kampf, “My Struggle”. He believed in the survival of the fittest, the “fittest” being in his view the German Aryan race. It is also found in communism. Karl Marx wrote about the “struggle” between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, which he believed must issue in revolution. The word “struggle” could also be written across the early days of colonialism, when people were simply wiped out in the name of progress.
In short, the idea of the survival of the fittest when applied to human beings has caused more suffering than any other concept in modern times. But it has also faced us with two huge choices as to what we believe.
It faces us first with a mental choice. If you believe in creation you believe in a father God. If you believe in evolution you tend to go for mother nature (a lady who does not exist). If you believe in creation you believe that this universe was the result of a personal choice. If you believe in evolution, you will argue that it was a random, impersonal chance. There was a designed purpose under creation, but under evolution only a random pattern. With creation the universe is a supernatural production, in evolution it is a natural process. Under creation the whole universe is an open situation, open to personal intervention by both God and man. In evolution we have nature as a closed system that operates itself. In creation we have the concept of providence, that God cares for his creation and provides for it and looks after it. But with evolution we simply have coincidence: if anything good happens it is merely the result of chance. With creation we have a faith based on fact, with evolution a faith based on fancy (for it is just a theory). If we accept creation then we accept that God is free to make something and to make man in his image. If we accept evolution we are left with the view that man is free to make God in whatever image he chooses out of his imagination. Accepting one or the other, therefore, has considerable ramifications.