Micro-evolution is the process by which species adapt when under pressure from environmental factors. Hixie’s post rather niftily demonstrates how micro-evolution works using coins. It’s a pretty well-supported scientific theory; I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think it’s true.
Macro-evolution, on the other hand, is what people generally mean when they say “evolution is only a theory, it might not be true!” (We’ll have to forgive them their verbal ambiguity.) This is the doctrine that the processes involved in micro-evolution were also responsible for the origin of life.
“What?” I hear you cry. “Macro-evolution is not a doctrine! It’s a scientific theory!” Well, what is a doctrine?
- It’s a basic position that you hold about the nature of reality that’s not provable – it’s a faith position.
- It’s something that you put your trust in, and live your life on the basis of.
- It’s something you urge others to believe as the truth.
More familiar examples of doctrines are “Jesus Christ is the Son of God”, “All religions are equally valid”, and “God created the universe”. So is macro-evolution a doctrine?
Macro-evolution is certainly not provable (point 1). It’s never been observed in progress. It certainly doesn’t explain all the observed data, such as the mystery of the Cambrian explosion, and requires the assertion of some things for which absolutely no evidence has yet been discovered, such as the existence of transitional species. Therefore, those who hold it to be a fact certainly do so as a faith position.
Those who believe that life was created by mechanistic natural processes are certainly putting their trust in that fact, and living their life by it (point 2). If they are correct, and therefore there is no creator God, then they are fine. But if they are wrong, and God does exist and does care what people believe, then they are in big trouble. In other words, they are betting their eternal destiny on being right.
And lastly, macro-evolutionists definitely urge others to believe that their view is the truth (point 3). Even if you discount such militant atheists as Richard Dawkins, every time someone asserts that macro-evolution is true, they are implicitly claiming that other views are false, their position is better, and that people should change their minds.
So, those who believe in macro-evolution as the basis for the origin of life are certainly no more “scientific” than those who believe life was created by God. Both positions are doctrines requiring faith.
“All of us who study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we feel it is too complex to have evolved anywhere. We all believe as an article of faith that life evolved from dead matter on this planet.”
Nobel Prize winner Harold Urey