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Thursday, May 12, 2016

What Is "Evolution"? A Review of Differing Definitions

It has come to my attention that different people use different definitions for what “evolution” is and isn’t. This frankly makes it difficult in presentations to accurately refute it, since it can’t be nailed as to what it even means or implies. I’ll give a few examples:

Early Creationism: Micro vs. Macro

Early in the modern creation science movement started by Dr. Henry Morris, there was the teaching in creationist circles that there were two different definitions of evolution: Micro-Evolution and Macro-Evolution. Micro and macro, of course, relate to size (small and big, respectively). Macro-Evolution is defined in creationist circles as one kind of animal changing into another kind of animal (the Biblical “kind” being referred to as found in Genesis 1). Micro-Evolution is defined as variation within a kind of animal. The early teaching of many creationists was that the evolutionists had confounded two theories of evolution (micro and macro) into one unified theory of evolution. Sure, animals evolve with small changes, but no observable large changes have been proven.

However, such a definition (or definitions) of evolution presented a problem. This problem was the evolutionist response, “Well, tons of micro-evolution will eventually lead to macro-evolution (over billions of years).” After all, you have to run short distances if you want to run a mile. The difference is time, and since the evolutionists think they have plenty of it, macro-evolution is thought to be a fact among them.

This response by the evolutionists eventually brought down the popularity of this definition of evolution, as shown by some influential creation ministries.

Hovind Creationism: Six Different Evolutions

One influential figure in the early creation movement was Dr. Kent Hovind. Dr. Hovind originally held to the two definitions of evolution previously mentioned (micro and macro). But after some time, he expanded it to six definitions of evolution and called it the “evolution worldview” promoted in public schools. Here are the six definitions of evolution Hovind gave:
  1. Cosmic Evolution: The Big Bang
  2. Chemical Evolution: The Formation of the Elements
  3. Stellar Evolution: The Formation of the Stars
  4. Organic Evolution: The Origin of Life from Non-Life
  5. Macro Evolution: A Change of Kinds
  6. Micro Evolution: Variation Within A Kind
Such definitions of evolution were unique in the fact that they covered virtually the entire faulty timeline of the universe presented in public schools (along with micro and macro, of course).

Evolutionists didn’t really seem to have a solid objection to these definitions (except the last two, of course). The only objection I could find in my research is that the first four aren’t “evolution” in the biological sense of the word. However, those who use Hovind’s definitions can easily respond by saying “evolution” basically means change, and all these changes are in fact taught in modern schools. The issue then is one of preferred semantics with the first four.

However, Dr. Hovind seems to have done a disservice to these definitions by putting out a $250,000 challenge to have them proven. It isn’t the challenge per se that was the disservice (in my opinion), but rather the conditions of the challenge and its implications. See, he challenged the evolutionists to prove “evolution”. He said in his (now nonexistent) challenge page:
When I use the word evolution, I am not referring to the minor variations found in all of the various life forms (microevolution). I am referring to the general theory of evolution which believes these five major events took place without God:

  1. Time, space, and matter came into existence by themselves.
  2. Planets and stars formed from space dust.
  3. Matter created life by itself.
  4. Early life-forms learned to reproduce themselves.
  5. Major changes occurred between these diverse life forms (i.e., fish changed to amphibians, amphibians changed to reptiles, and reptiles changed to birds or mammals).
In other words, the challenge was that the first five definitions of evolution all be proven and without God. It’s kind of impossible to prove the non-existence of anything (especially God). Plus, there are plenty of deceived souls who believe the first five definitions of evolution and God! They are called theistic evolutionists. That alone sounded SCAM in the minds of many evolutionists. On top of that, to prove “evolution” you needed to prove all five of them. If you only proved four of them, you didn’t prove “evolution”. This was very unattractive to evolutionists. I personally think the offer should have rather have had a prize for if any of these forms of evolution could be proven correct. Regardless, this was a step in the right direction: all the lies in the classroom about the universe were addressed, not just the biological lie.

Modern Creationism: The Focus on DNA

After seeing the problems with the micro-macro distinction in evolution, some creation ministries (such as Creation Ministries International) decided to try to change the terminology of the creation movement. They basically changed Macro-Evolution to Addition of Genetic Information, and Micro-Evolution to No Addition of Genetic Information. Genetic Information is the information found in DNA (the blueprint of every living thing). DNA has unique codes to make up different forms of life.

Instead of a focus on big vs. small changes, there was a focus directly on the blueprint of life. The creation hypothesis concerning genetics is that no new information will be added to the DNA of anything. In other words, even the micro changes to a creature will never be in the right direction — they will never be the right kind of changes that would change soup into you. That’s because living soup needs new genetic information to build arms, legs, etc. The same with the rest of the evolutionary theory. Since no change was in the right direction anyways to create new kinds of animals, the objection that small changes can become big changes was defeated. Sure, small changes become big changes — but in the wrong direction! The animal “evolving” would die of disability before turning into another kind of animal because the genetic code wasn’t being added to (it was actually commonly degrading over time!).

Some creation ministries that still really like the words “micro-evolution” and “macro-evolution” still hold on to them, but have severely redefined them so that they no longer mean the same things. The Institute for Creation Research, for example, have mixed the micro-macro concept with CMI’s genetic focus and have come up with two new terms: Vertical Evolution and Horizontal Evolution. They still use “micro” and “macro” but only when they then define it as “horizontal” and “vertical” (respectively). Horizontal Evolution is defined as a change that doesn’t ADD (upward) genetic information. Vertical Evolution (upward) is defined as an ADDITION of genetic information. Running on a street won’t get you in space, and neither will the new “micro” get you to “macro” evolution. While such a redefinition is a step in the right direction, continuation of using “macro” and “micro” (which mean BIG and SMALL) will be confusing for someone, especially the evolutionist.

A Comeback of the Old Micro-Macro: Enter Ray Comfort

Recently, creationist Ray Comfort released a film against evolution called “Evolution Vs. God”. In it, he brings back the old creationist concept of micro and macro meaning small and big, but with different terms (this is possibly due to the fact that he used to be friends with Dr. Kent Hovind who also promoted the micro-macro distinction). He first tosses out “micro-evolution” in place of simply “variation within a kind”, and then replaces “macro-evolution” with Darwinian Evolution. But other than the change in terminology, it’s the same definition as the classical creationist definition of evolution (which brings back the evolutionary objection associated with it).

But even though this was a huge mistake to bring back faulty terminology that doesn’t take into account genetics, there was one good improvement: the name “Darwinian” applied to evolution. “Darwinian” implies evolution specifically in the field of biology connected with Charles Darwin. Sometimes, Neo (new) -Darwinian Evolution is used in popular contexts to imply Darwin’s ideas applied to genetics (DNA was unknown of in Darwin’s time). However, simply “Darwinian” gets the point across that this is the modern theory of Darwin’s suggested biological evolution.

A Solution to the Definition Debate

Here, I will be providing my own definition of “evolution” gleaned upon by the previous attempts by creation scientists. I believe Dr. Hovind’s concept of touching all subjects of the public school’s indoctrination program is excellent. I also think the focus on DNA should replace the old micro-macro concept, and I also prefer to NOT call Biblical variation within a kind “evolution”. The following is my modified formula:
  1. Cosmic Evolution: The Big Bang
  2. Stellar Evolution: The Formation of Stars
  3. Chemical Evolution: The Formation of the Elements
  4. Galactic Evolution: The Formation of Galaxies
  5. Organic Evolution: The Origin of Life From Non Life
  6. Darwinian Evolution: The Addition of New Genetic Information
As you can see, this is very similar to Dr. Hovind’s formulation of “evolution”, with some important differences. First of all, Stellar and Chemical Evolution are switched. This is because the modern theory of the evolution of the universe has stars forming first to then produce all the elements by fusion and supernovae. I added in Galactic Evolution, since Hovind’s didn’t seem to have the formation of Galaxies or Planets (which is important, since you can’t have life evolving without planets — plus there’s some problems with the modern theories of galaxies evolving). I removed “micro-evolution” since that’s Biblical and shouldn’t be called evolution, and changed “macro” to “Darwinian” (since it covers the modern biological theory of evolution).


I hope this will spark some dialogue in the creation movement to solidify what we actually mean by “evolution”, so that we can refute the same devilish theory taking lost souls to hell by the billions. Please share with me your thoughts in the comments section.