Second in a series, the first can be found here.
This post is focused on two terms used in discussions about the history and origins of life. The terms “species” and “speciation” are used extensively to demonstrate that modern evolutionary theory, neo-Darwinism (a.k.a. “molecules to men” via natural processes alone) is a fact. Similar to the previous post I would like to inoculate the lay reader from being bullied by the usage of these terms. I can’t possibly give this a thorough treatment, but I hope to arm you with some questions and smidgeon of skepticism. I intend to do this in two ways. First, I want to define the terms, describe their history, and how they are used in neo-Darwinian circles. Second, I want to offer some thoughts about how “species” is used in the field of paleontology.
Words. When it comes to communication, everything, literally everything, comes down to words. A vast system of sentences, propositions, grammatical structure, arguments, and syllogisms are all constructed with words. Behind every word is a set of meanings. In this sense, words are merely a placeholder, a token, through which everyone receives the meaning intended by the speaker or author.
What happens when words lose their meaning? What happens to communication? That region of communication dependent on those ambiguous words begins to fall apart. This post is a reminder of a particular example that has no small import for Christian apologetics, evolution.
Since it began Christianity has been involved in debates. From Jesus’ encounter with the Sadducees to dealing with early heresies on down to the present day, Christians have encountered arguments against their worldview. Learning to deal with external arguments is a central task of the Christian apologist.
There are however many doctrinal issues that are arguably internal debates within orthodox Christianity. Two qualities typically set these issues apart from other doctrinal topics that confront today’s apologists. First, both side of the discussion are typically considered orthodox views. Second, these topics sometimes generate far more “heat” than “light.”