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Add Water


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Personal)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/12/16

Evolution is the theory of life. Any deviancy simply asks, “How wrong are you?”, rather than, “What alternatives?”

Often, in the creationist community, as seems typical among religious fundamentalists, the leaders are lunatics, exploitative, or ignorant. The followers are often exploited or kept at a low cultural level, including science as culture — knowledge, and process.

My sympathies are with the followers and not the leaders in the sense.

You can ask, “How old is the Earth?” Creationist in public won’t answer or can’t answer, typically. Nonetheless, several paths of evidence, including multiple types of radiometric dating, for example, point to a 4.54-billion-year-old Earth. Biblical literalists estimate 6,000–10,000 years.

One of these is incorrect, to quote Eddie Izzard.

Its other obvious lines of evidence come from the gradualism in other sciences rather than the nonsensical notion of instantaneous creation of any life. Gestation of a child takes time.

For some time, two schools competed: catastrophism and gradualism. Then gradualism simply won out. Things evolve slowly over time. Solar systems develop over longer periods of time. Universes change and unfold slowly over deep time too. Human beings grow and mature in predictable stages too. Not all at once; all signs point to gradualism.

One pseudoscience, as he works from pseudohistorical documents — including the Bible — Velikovsky, posited catastrophism and garners many followers on the fringe today, of various stripes of creationist.

A form of catastrophism in the Solar System to explain biblical events with stellar, planetary, and astronomical events, the flood for Noah, the plagues visited upon Egypt, and so on. It’s not science. Why?

It assumes certain things as true then works backward to suit the (Biblical/religious) narrative rather than form the theory based on the evidence from the experiments first. It’s backward in the scientific process and, therefore, pseudoscience.

The proper, and a bad joke, response as to how things arose as life: add water or add time.

Things change slow relative to us, because of long reproductive lifespans — 20–30 years between generations and increasing. Bacteria adapt faster because of faster reproductive cycles. We see an adaptation of organisms to different environments.

With the small adaptations within a species, we simply come to the next notion: take 4.54 billion years, “add ‘water’” or simply add time, and the small changes become the phenomena like speciation.

That is to say, changes within the species over long periods of time leads to speciation or creation of new species. We have, in practical terms, an infinite amount of time to work with here. The theological notions for this are kinds.

But since the Christian God created kinds as extant today, they cannot change into new kinds, as this would violate the principles of God’s creation; therefore, the terms one can find in some Christian universities, for example, are micro-evolution, change within species, as a reality, and macro-evolution, change into another species, as an impossibility.

In some places, this is dogma, and it’s wrong. In particular, “kind” remains a theological term, and a creationist one, and not a biological sciences terms. Species is the biological sciences term. “Kinds” implying a religious world and catastrophism — an incorrect view; “species” implying evolution, gradualism, and biological sciences — a correct view. Why the latter?

Some species become isolated in a bottleneck, geographically, from others, say via geological shifts or climatic events. This can take hundreds of thousands and millions of years for speciation. Adaptive mutations slowly conform to the developing group of the former species to the new environment, where it has been forced by external events to remain now.

Over sufficient time, more bad or useless mutations produce mediocre organisms but others produce functional mutations slightly more advantageous to the organisms in the context of the new and myriad environmental pressures there.

It could even be maintained as a species for millions and millions of years. Some organisms simply do not have pressure to change because of stable geologic conditions for millions of years, whether on land or in the sea. Sometimes, as with Neanderthals, there can be both genocide and interbreeding.

Our ancestors killed them and mated with them. In genetic studies, we have about 3% Neanderthal DNA in us. But the pathways to speciation can be multiple. The bottleneck is one example with new environmental challenges.

What happens to those unable to adapt over time? They die. Survival of the fittest simply meant — not strongest, fastest, and most intelligent but — better suited to the current environment.

One example is human beings and chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas. We share common ancestry, as animals and primates, with precursors millions of years ago. We evolved differently or founded different evolutionary pathways for survival and reproduction.

We can trace a 100,000-year genome history from the Great Rift Valley to every part of the globe including 12,000–15,000 years ago to North America across the Bering Land Bridge during the last major ice age.

Our earliest archaeological evidence of Indigenous populations in Canada date about the same time. It is about the convergence of evidence in archaeology, in genetics, in geology, and then the massive fossil collections all around the world.

Another, which is only one set of lines of evidence, is, as you mentioned, forms of radiometric dating relevant time periods, whether deep geological time in the tens of millions of years or the deep human recorded history time of only several thousands of years.

Carbon-14 is the most famous. But there’s probably more than a dozen including Potassium-Argon. There are many in use at this time. The decay rate of them provides the relative estimates. The radioactive elements have certain half-lives, which help give estimates — plus or minus — as to the age of things.

Different telescope magnifications help for different magnitude research questions in astronomy similar to different radiometric dating methods help for temporal research questions in geology, archaeology, and so on.

In theological terms, this creates new “kinds,” against biblical assertions, or, in biological sciences terms, new “species,” in line with modern unguided evolutionary theory.

These amount to functional explanations about the world with evidence, theories to encapsulate them, and reason to link them.

This is different than narrative a la the Bible then fitting everything to it: the Bible says on the first day in Genesis, etc., the Garden of Eden, Adam from dirt, Eve from rib, snake tempting Eve, Eve tempting Adam to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, this the Fall, etc., virgin birth of the Son of God, death-burial-resurrection, and forgiveness of sins for a new life in Christ.

An easy first question: what evidence of the Garden? If none, then no Fall, and if no Fall, no need for Christ. This aside. Where is the functional explanation of the world akin to the above based on your question?

The short of the long to the example question: human beings are either supernatural creatures or part of the natural world, or created or evolved. Evidence states: humans evolved and, hence, we come from the natural world and exist as part of it.

As such, what did humans evolve from here? Answer: a common descent from pre-human mammals, which makes humans cousins, evolutionarily speaking for the species, with chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas who exist today. We did not come from monkeys but share common evolutionary roots.

To get it: nature simply added water.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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