Sometimes we use words that subtly undermine what we value without our realizing it. I am trying to identify these words so I can avoid using them.
For example, when we say parents are we undermining the differences between fathers and mothers by lumping them under one term? Is the word gender similarly undermining the differences between the sexes, men and women? According to Owen Strachan they do.
In this post I want to focus on (1) mutation, (2) evolution and (3) natural selection. With a biblical creationist worldview, should I be using or avoiding these words? If I choose to avoid them, what alternative words should I use to reinforce rather than undermine my values?
Mutations in DNA is the only one of the three that has usefulness from an operational scientific perspective because it represents something that can be measured which could falsify an hypothesis. Random mutational changes in DNA allow us to look back into our past. Measured rates of mutations allow us to anticipate future mutational meltdown through genetic entropy.
Random mutations do not support evolutionary change from something simple to something more complicated. Like other mechanisms found to operate in the natural world it is a measure of decay or entropy. It can only reduce what is complicated to something simpler. Since this does not go against my values I have no need to look for an alternative.
However, when I use the word evolution indiscriminately for any kind of observable change I reinforce the idea that alleged unobserved Darwinian evolution is possible when I would claim it is not. A safe alternative for observable changes is simply to say change.
There are no random mechanisms in the natural world that could account for the kinds of unobserved changes needed to go from non-life to life or from slime mold to mankind over any time period. We would not be here today without an act of creation if we relied only on random, natural processes.
Is it safe to use natural selection to describe the changes that occur within kinds of creatures through random mutations? Charles Darwin created the term natural selection to try to project agency onto nature where no agency exists. The goal was to replace the Creator from Genesis with a mindless nature that somehow could make selections.
In the video below Lauren Pennington interviews Dr. Randy Guliuzza to first show the problem with the term natural selection and then to propose an alternate way of describing change in living creatures.
If you know of other words that we should think twice about using, let me know in the comments.
Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Kedoshim, 6 Iyar, 5782 – May 7, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 19:1 – 20:27
Haftarah: Amos 9:7 – 9:15
Brit Chadashah: 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; 1 Peter 1:13-16
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar