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Proving once again that true faith and good science are not in conflict…

“I believe that God designed the universe and created the universe,” Mr. Romney said in an interview this week. “And I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body.”

27 Responses to “Darwin Watch – Romney on Evolution”


  • Well, other than the God part I agree with Mitt.


  • So you now endorse Intelligent Design?


  • No and neither does Romney. In fact while he was governor of Massachusetts he opposed the teaching of intelligent design in science classes. Theistic evolution is different from intelligent design.


  • You are the one that provided the quote “I believe that God designed the universe and created the universe,” Mr. Romney said in an interview this week. “And I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body.”

    And someone serving as governor of the most liberal state in the union might find he had to do some things differently from what he would do when running for President on the Republican ticket.

    There may be minor theological differences between Intelligent design (at least as defined by those at the Discovery Institute), and Theistic evolution or any of the other variations on Creation science, but all focus around God creating the universe, the earth, and life on earth, and most accept that He may well have used evolution, at least to allow His creations to adapt to their environment, whether He used it to create new species or whether He did that Himself.


  • Don, I can see where the first part of Romney’s quote could be confusing but I guess the point I was trying to make (and I admit not very well) is that one can be a person of deep faith and still think the theory of evolution is the best scientific explanation for the origin of species. Even ID acknowledges that all living things are related by common ancestry. Where it differs from the theory of evolution is over the mechanism when it states that there are some things so complex they could not have evolved by the process of natural selection acting on random mutations.

    What scientific theory do you think best explains the data and observations on biological diversity?


  • one can be a person of deep faith and still think the theory of evolution is the best scientific explanation for the origin of species

    That does not compute. I certainly agree that one can be a person of deep faith and still think the aspects of evolution that has been proven, i.e. the adaptation of a species to niches in its environment, because I accept that. Adding “origin of species” means believing that random mutations could originate new species, something that has never been proven, and I find it difficult to believe that a person of deep faith, who believes in a God that could create a world full of different species, would refrain from doing so, and who would just hope that random mutations would do the job.

    Science can explain many things, and scientists are learning more every day. Maybe some day they will discover a theory that accepts God’s role in the creation of biological diversity


  • Don said: Adding “origin of species” means believing that random mutations could originate new species, something that has never been proven,

    Well, first of all you forgot to add natural selection acting on random mutations and if you accept the fact that species adapt to their environment (but do not form new species) how else do they adapt if it is not through this mechanism?

    Second, science is practiced in many ways besides direct observation and experimentation. Much scientific discovery is done through indirect experimentation and observation in which inferences are made, and hypotheses generated from those inferences are tested. For instance, particle physicists cannot directly observe subatomic particles because the particles are too small. They make inferences about the weight, speed, and other properties of the particles based on other observations.

    In historical sciences like astronomy, geology, evolutionary biology, and archaeology, logical inferences are made and then tested against data. Evolution is a well-supported theory drawn from a variety of sources of data, including observations about the fossil record, genetic information, the distribution of plants and animals, and the similarities across species of anatomy and development. Scientists have inferred that descent with modification offers the best scientific explanation for these observations.

    You didn’t answer my question. What do you think is the best scientific explanation for these observations?

    Don said: Maybe some day they will discover a theory that accepts God’s role in the creation of biological diversity.

    I disagree with your premise. That would be like saying “Maybe some day they will discover a theory that accepts God’s role in the trajectories and forces of bodies in motion.” Science alone can say nothing about God but that does not mean it is inherently anti-religious.

    Theistic evolution, however, is a philosophical viewpoint that accepts God’s role in the creation of biological diversity.


  • you forgot to add natural selection acting on random mutations and if you accept the fact that species adapt to their environment (but do not form new species) how else do they adapt if it is not through this mechanism?

    No I did not forget that. I said that I agreed with the theory of evolution (which is natural selection acting on random mutations) being able to allow a species to adapt to an environmental niche. I just don’t believe that it can account for the creation of the multitude of different and distinct features that God created.

    particle physicists cannot directly observe subatomic particles because the particles are too small. They make inferences about the weight, speed, and other properties of the particles based on other observations.

    And many of their guesses inferences have proven wrong, so they come up with another guess inference

    You didn’t answer my question. What do you think is the best scientific explanation for these observations?

    Because I know that you will reject as non-scientific any explanation that does not agree to the Secular Humanists position.

    That would be like saying “Maybe some day they will discover a theory that accepts God’s role in the trajectories and forces of bodies in motion.”

    Trajectories and Forces of Bodies in Motion can be directly observed, and experimented with. No scientist has ever been able to observe the creation of a new species through evolution (although they have observed adaption of a species to a niche in its environment

    Science alone can say nothing about God but that does not mean it is inherently anti-religious.

    But denieing His role in something does.

    Theistic evolution, however, is a philosophical viewpoint that accepts God’s role in the creation of biological diversity.

    As does Intelligent Design


  • Don said: And many of their guesses inferences have proven wrong, so they come up with another guess inference.

    So now you are questioning atomic theory? I may regret this but please tell me how the current scientific theory on the nature of matter which serves as the foundation of modern chemistry and physics, has been proven wrong?

    Because I know that you will reject as non-scientific any explanation that does not agree to the Secular Humanists position.

    Theistic evolution does not agree with a “secular humanist position” and I agree with it. But that is beside the point. A philosophical outlook should not be the determining factor behind a scientific theory. It is independent of it. Again, what scientific theory best explains the origin of species?

    Trajectories and Forces of Bodies in Motion can be directly observed, and experimented with.

    You’re missing the point. We are having two separate discussions here – one about the nature of scientific proof and the other about philosophy/religion and science. My comment was in reference to the latter. Would you agree that just because a scientific theory (any theory) does not mention God it does not make it anti-religious?


  • tell me how the current scientific theory on the nature of matter which serves as the foundation of modern chemistry and physics, has been proven wrong?

    At one time sub atomic particles were either protons, neutrons, or electrons. Every year they discover more types. There are at least six types of quarks (the ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘bottom’, ‘top’, ‘strange’, and ‘charmed’ quarks), plus gluons, photons, neutrinos, and God knows what else. As I understand it the ask the same question on the final each year, but the answer is different because of what was discovered that year.

    what scientific theory best explains the origin of species?

    Since you accept Theistic evolution, how about “God Knows”

    Would you agree that just because a scientific theory (any theory) does not mention God it does not make it anti-religious?

    Sure, but one that one that says “You can’t talk about God, we must separate church and science, and we assume it was all random chance” certainly is.


  • Don said: At one time sub atomic particles were either protons, neutrons, or electrons.

    The theory has been refined and added to over time but protons, neutrons and electrons are still very much a part of the atomic theory. Please tell me what inferences have proven wrong? You said there were many.

    Don said: Since you accept Theistic evolution, how about “God Knows”

    That’s the philosophical part, but where’s the scientific part? If you can’t give an answer would you at least agree that the theory of evolution (though imperfect and incomplete by your standards) gives the best scientific explanation for the origin of species that we currently have?

    Don said: Sure, but one that one that says “You can’t talk about God, we must separate church and science,…

    Would you agree that science can offer only natural explanations for natural phenomena?

    Don said:…and we assume it was all random chance”

    No, that’s not what the theory says. Natural selection is anything but random.

    PS I am really enjoying our discussion so far. Thanks for being such a gentleman, Don. :-)


  • The theory has been refined and added to over time but protons, neutrons and electrons are still very much a part of the atomic theory. Please tell me what inferences have proven wrong? You said there were many

    When I was in school they KNEW that protons, neutrons, and electrons were all there were. Then they discovered mesons, and then mu mesons, then quarks, anti-quarks, gluons, etc. etc. etc.

    would you at least agree that the theory of evolution (though imperfect and incomplete by your standards) gives the best scientific explanation for the origin of species that we currently have

    No, not as far as the CREATION of a new species. It accounts for diversity and adaptation to the environment.

    Would you agree that science can offer only natural explanations for natural phenomena?

    Which is why it gets confused when it tries to come up with an explanation for something involving God.

    No, that’s not what the theory says. Natural selection is anything but random.

    The reference of “it” was to the creation of a new species. Natural selection is not the mechanism Evolution uses for CREATION of a new species, but rather why it survives over the competition.

    PS I am really enjoying our discussion so far. Thanks for being such a gentleman, Don.

    Doing otherwise only ticks people off, and it is a technique used by people that can’t think of a reasonable response. I am unlikely to convince you this way, but the chances would be less if I acted like the south end of a horse facing north.


  • Don said: When I was in school they KNEW that protons, neutrons, and electrons were all there were.

    Did your teachers actually say that? I can’t believe that’s true because that’s not how real science works. Scientists are constantly building on and improving accepted theories but that doesn’t make the older observations necessarily wrong and depending on the class you were taking subatomic theory and quantum physics may not have been appropriate. Protons, neutrons and electrons are still very much a part of the theory. Again, what inferences that lead to the atomic theory have been proven wrong?

    Don said: No, not as far as the CREATION of a new species.

    Then what scientific theory explains it better?

    Which is why it gets confused when it tries to come up with an explanation for something involving God.

    Everything involves God. Why is the theory of evolution any different than the theory of gravity in this respect? (and please don’t go back to the proof argument since that is a separate discussion.)

    Don said: Natural selection is not the mechanism Evolution uses for CREATION of a new species, but rather why it survives over the competition.

    According to Darwin it is. The survival of certain traits within a population can lead to divergent evolution (also known as adaptation) when a population splits and becomes geographically isolated from each other. Now add more splits and hundreds of millions of years to that process and you get the creation of new species. Of course that’s an oversimplification, but you get the idea.


  • Did your teachers actually say that? I can’t believe that’s true because that’s not how real science works.

    Certainly, because at that time that was all they knew. In earlier years I belive it was “known” that the atom was the smallest possible thing (that was before it was split)

    Again, what inferences that lead to the atomic theory have been proven wrong?

    That the atom just consisted of protons, neutrons, and electrons

    Then what scientific theory explains it better?

    Science does not know everything, and a theory does not win just because the is nor a better theory

    Everything involves God.

    I agree. I wish the Secular Humanists realized that.

    Why is the theory of evolution any different than the theory of gravity in this respect?

    My understanding of Creation is that it involves God directly interveaning, wither as the Intelligent Designer, or as descrobed here. My understanding of gravitation does not require His intervention.

    (and please don’t go back to the proof argument since that is a separate discussion.)

    Interesting approach. Rule out the primary response and challenge your opponent to respond without referring to it.

    According to Darwin it is.

    Without mutation there would be nothing for natural selection to work on.


  • Dont know what it was in the above but I had to rescue the comment out of the Akismet Spam area.


  • Don, do you consider the atomic theory as it stands today the best explanation (so far) for the structure and nature of matter?

    Don said: Science does not know everything,…

    I agree but science is constantly improving and building upon itself. Science will never explain everything but it gives us a good framework for understand the empirical world. There will always be room for improvement but that doesn’t mean we discard what we “know” now.

    Don said:…and a theory does not win just because the is nor a better theory

    A good scientific theory is broadly applicable and explains a great deal. It also makes predictions about things not yet observed. Would you agree that the theory of evolution is useful in this sense?

    Don said: My understanding of Creation is that it involves God directly interveaning,…

    Why couldn’t evolution be considered God’s method of direct intervention?


  • do you consider the atomic theory as it stands today the best explanation (so far) for the structure and nature of matter?

    I know of no better explanation, but you should ask the Designer

    There will always be room for improvement but that doesn’t mean we discard what we “know” now.

    True wisdom comes from not only knowing what you know, but also knowing what you don’t know, and not pretending that speculation you cannot prove is as solid as that which you can prove.

    It also makes predictions about things not yet observed. Would you agree that the theory of evolution is useful in this sense?

    No, because it treats as absolute facts its predictions about things not yet observed.

    Why couldn’t evolution be considered God’s method of direct intervention?

    In terms of creation of life and new species, it is not a very direct way of intervening. For a God that can create the entire universe (the Big Bang) just by speaking, to wait billions of years for random chance to do something does not seem tlike “direct” intervention.


  • Don said: I know of no better explanation,..

    But we can’t see subatomic particles. We can only infer their existence. Even the Big Bang theory requires some extrapolation since we did not observe it nor can we recreate it. The evolution of new species, though they exceed the duration of human experience, have still been indirectly observed through evidence of genetics, paleontology and biogeography. Why do you have a different standard for the theory of evolution?

    Don said: No, because it treats as absolute facts its predictions about things not yet observed.

    But the theory of evolution HAS made predictions that have turned out to be true particularly when it comes to common descent. Doesn’t that make it a useful theory?

    Don said: In terms of creation of life and new species, it is not a very direct way of intervening.

    It may not seem like it to you but that doesn’t make it untrue – this is really a question of philosophical perspective. In my opinion God exists outside of time.

    Don said: For a God that can create the entire universe (the Big Bang) just by speaking, to wait billions of years for random chance to do something does not seem tlike “direct” intervention.

    The creation of our own planet didn’t happen until billions of years after the Big Bang. Do you question that as well?


  • But we can’t see subatomic particles.

    I can’t see God either, but I can see evidence He exists.

    We can only infer their existence. Even the Big Bang theory requires some extrapolation since we did not observe it nor can we recreate it.

    True, but the Big Bang is consistent with this. The use of evolution for the creation of species is not consistent with this.

    The evolution of new species, though they exceed the duration of human experience, have still been indirectly observed through evidence of genetics, paleontology and biogeography. Why do you have a different standard for the theory of evolution?

    Because it is not consistent with this.

    The creation of our own planet didn’t happen until billions of years after the Big Bang. Do you question that as well?

    No because I read about it here.


  • Damn, that is the second comment caught by Akismet. I am getting tired of creating a detailed response, only to have to rescue it from Akismet.


  • OK, so your objection to common descent is not based on the lack of observation (which also applies to the Big Bang theory and the atomic theory). Your real objection is that it does not agree with a literal interpretation of Genesis. Don, are you a Young Earth Creationist?

    In reference to my question about the formation of our planet Don said: No because I read about it here.

    My point was that the earth did not appear instantly, it took several more billion years to appear – the same is true for life. Given the fact that the theory of evolution has made predictions that have turned out to be true, would you agree it is a useful theory?


  • Your real objection is that it does not agree with a literal interpretation of Genesis.

    A literal interpretation would be that the universe, including all life on earth, was created in six days, a few thousand years ago. But I don’t reject any interpretation of it.


  • Don,

    1. Are you a young earth creationist?

    2. Do you consider the theory of evolution a useful scientific theory?


  • 1. Are you a young earth creationist?

    Asked and answered. I just said a literal interpretation would be that the universe, including all life on earth, was created in six days, a few thousand years ago. But I don’t reject any interpretation of Genesis.

    2. Do you consider the theory of evolution a useful scientific theory?

    As far as explaining changes to a species to adapt to its environment, yes. I just reject the unproven extension that the same process must explain the creation of all species.

    I am not going to convince you, and you are not going to convince me, and while I enjoy intellectually sparing with someone that does not resort to ad hominum attacks, I am getting tired of having my comments caught by Akismet and declared spam, so let us end this thread here.


  • Don, I’m sorry but I don’t understand your answer. First you define what a literal interpretation of Genesis means (but don’t say either way if you believe it) and then you say other interpretations are acceptable too. If that were true you wouldn’t be quoting verses from Genesis to me when I ask you scientific questions.

    Could you just give a yes or no answer?

    Don said: I just reject the unproven extension that the same process must explain the creation of all species.

    But your objection to common ancestry is based on an arbitrary and unreasonably high scientific standard. You have already admitted to accepting other theories that are not observed but inferred. I gave examples of how the theory of evolution has lead to predictions (as it specifically applies to common ancestry) that turned out to be true. That is one of the corps tenets of a good scientific theory.


  • then you say other interpretations are acceptable too. If that were true you wouldn’t be quoting verses from Genesis to me when I ask you scientific questions.

    I do not insist on a literal reading of Genesis, therefore I am not a young earth creationist as you term it, however I respect their right to believe it must be read literally, as well as the way I interpret it.

    But your objection to common ancestry is based on an arbitrary and unreasonably high scientific standard.

    Proof. Yes, that is a high standard.

    You have already admitted to accepting other theories that are not observed but inferred.

    Like in atomic theory? True, but the experiments that lead to the inferences are well defined, and are repeatable in many other labs, and still as I indicate they keep discovering new parts to the atom every year.

    And as I said earlier, I am not going to convince you, and you are not going to convince me, and while I enjoy intellectually sparing with someone that does not resort to ad hominum attacks, I am getting tired of having my comments caught by Akismet and declared spam, so let us end this thread here.


  • You’re right, Don. I will never be able to convince you that the theory of evolution is the best theory so far that science has offered to explain biological diversity. And you will never be able to convince me that religious objections are appropriate when it comes to science. They are two very separate yet equally important ways of knowing our world. As Augustine argued, the purpose of the Bible is to instruct us in the knowledge of salvation, not science.

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