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Six Meanings of Evolution

I read with great dismay the May 24, 2010 article by Karl Gilberson in USA Today entitled “Atheists it’s time to play well with others.” I could not believe this author is a professor anywhere, let alone at a supposedly Christian college! The complete lack of common understanding of what science is stands out clearly, so I will try, as patiently and gently as possible, to explain his lack of understanding.

In Mr. Gilberson’s article he continually alludes to “science” and “religion” and marvels that those who hold to “religion” cannot “accept” science which he insists must include the evolution theory and the big bang. Obviously no one explained to him that science means knowledge. Modern science is a collection of all the things we know in various fields. As a fifteen-year-veteran high school biology teacher, I always feel compelled to speak out when someone such as Mr. Gilberson, tries to sneak in the evolution theory as part of scientific facts. The word evolution has six different and unrelated meanings or stages. One definition is scientific fact, but the other five are not. Therein lies the problem.

The Six Meanings of Evolution

Cosmic evolution: the origin of time, space, and matter from nothing in the “big bang”
Chemical evolution: all elements “evolved” from hydrogen
Stellar evolution: stars and planets formed from gas clouds
Organic evolution: life begins from inanimate matter
Macro-evolution: animals and plants change from one type into another
Micro-evolution: variations form within the “kind”

Only the last one, micro-evolution, has anything to do with real science. For all of human history we have observed variations within the kinds such as 400± varieties of dogs coming from a dog-like ancestor such as a fox or a wolf. Dogs produce dogs and corn produces corn. There may be great variations within the basic kind but that is NOT evidence that dogs and corn are related! Every farmer on planet earth counts on micro-evolution happening as he develops crops or herds best suited for his area, but he also counts on macro-evolution NOT happening. Anything other than minor changes within the kind is not part of science. Evolution as defined as macro-evolution is a religion in every sense of the word. People are welcome to BELIEVE the first five types of evolution, but they are not part of science or common sense.

I would encourage you to watch Eric’s Creation Minute on the “Six Types of Evolution,” or check out “Lies in the Textbooks” which deals with many of the scientific problems with the macro-evolution theory.

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21 Responses to Six Meanings of Evolution

  1. Corey August 24, 2010 at 7:21 am #

    So, creationists believe in super evolution.

  2. Jay Liverstitch August 24, 2010 at 8:30 am #

    Mr. Hovind, I can’t believe you’re still trotting out your list of the 6 definitions of evolution.

    You know what I’m about to tell you, but I’m going to say it anyway.

    The word “evolution”, like nearly every word in the English language, has several related meanings, yes. The term “Theory of Evolution” however, refers only to the scientific theory explaining how life on earth has, and continues to diversify. “Evolution” in this sense, refers only to “change in allele frequency over time”, or more colloquially, “living forms change with every subsequent generation”.

    Can the term “evolution” refer to how the universe has changed since it’s earlier form? Certainly. One of the definitions of “evolve” is “to change”. But to claim that when biologists speak of evolution, they are referring to “cosmic evolution” is pure hogwash, and I suspect you know this.

    On a related note. You often claim to love science. You should know, however, that this list you frequently spout, attacks not only “The Theory of Evolution” but broad categories of science from nearly every scientific field. If you don’t accept what you term the “first 5 definitions of evolution” you are NOT accepting MOST of science.

    Your list attacks the accepted scientific fields in the following order:

    1. Cosmology – Astronomy – Particle Physics
    2. Chemistry – Particle Physics – Physics
    3. Physics (including General Relativity), Geology, Archeology, Paleontology
    4. Biochemistry
    5. Biology – Biochemistry – Paleontology

    For you to not accept the first 5 of your definitions, you have to not accept pretty much everything we know about the above very broad fields of science, many subcategories of specific fields, and many more fields I have not mentioned. These fields ARE science. How can you ever claim to love science when you spend your life attacking it?

    On a personal note, you once came and spoke at my church when I was much younger. In significant part, I credit the presentation you gave and the misinformation you spread, with stunting my education for many years to come. I believe that you are sincere in your efforts, and genuinely believe you are doing good. But in reality, you’re spreading untruth and promoting ignorance. If the God you believe in does exist, I doubt he looks upon this highly.


  3. die kerze August 24, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    Here we go again.

    “Obviously no one explained to him that science means knowledge.”

    Because obiously it doesn’t. Science is the method to aquire new knowledge.

    “Modern science is a collection of all the things we know in various fields.”

    No it’s not. Otherwise we would rely soly on what we already know, it’s like living by an ancient book.

    “One definition is scientific fact, but the other five are not. Therein lies the problem.”

    One definition is scientific fact, but the other five have been made up by you. Therein lies the problem.

    What Evolution really means is descent with modification by means of random mutation and natural selection.

  4. Jack Napper August 24, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    Cosmic evolution: the origin of time, space, and matter from nothing in the “big bang” — NOT EVOLUTION

    Chemical evolution: all elements “evolved” from hydrogen — NOT EVOLUTION

    Stellar evolution: stars and planets formed from gas clouds — NOT EVOLUTION

    Macro-evolution: animals and plants change from one type into another — speciation! Lotsa success “micro-evolutions”

    Micro-evolution: variations form within the “kind” — we’ll give this one to you if you can actually define “KIND” and mechanism is to halt the process outside of it

  5. Rocky Salit August 24, 2010 at 11:42 am #

    Science and religion are not incompatible. Only the narrow view that God can only create in the way you interpret the interpretation of Genesis conflicts with what is found naturally. Science is a study of what is natural and cannot nor will not speculate on the supernatural.

    This whole 6 forms of evolution is a straw man argument.

    “Cosmic evolution” is not about nothing but about a quantum vacuum and energy. It is also about the rapid expansion of space-time. It has nothing to do with the change in allele frequencies over successive generations.

    “Chemical evolution” is what exactly? Nuclear reactions, because that is what your description describes. Nuclear fission and fusion, both have been observed to occur in stars and fission has been replicated on this planet (nuclear power plants and nuclear bombs work by nuclear fission). Again this has nothing to do with the change in allele frequencies over time.

    “Stellar evolution” is according to you the formation of stars and planets. This too has been observed in the various stages of formation (look up the Pillars of Creation/Eagle Nebula). This isn’t even about things changing but about gravity (unless you count the nuclear reactions going on inside the star). Nothing to do with changes in allele frequency over time.

    “Organic evolution” also known as abiogenesis. This is something that we know only a little about but some interesting studies have been coming out. This is based on chemical reactions (you know like baking soda and vinegar being combined, is that some form of evolution now?) producing self replicating nucleotides. Then these nucleotides (more than likely RNA strands) self replicate with the occasional error or mutation (and now we are talking about evolution). Abiogenesis is only about the formation of these self replicating nucleotides.

    “Macro and Micro” evolution, I am lumping these two together because they are the same thing. I still insist that you have no problem with evolution but with abiogenesis. You insist that it starts at the level of “kind” (which is utterly devoid of meaning as you nor any other creationist defines the word with any meaning) while science is pointing heavily towards self replicating nucleotides. After that it comes down to changes in the allele frequency over successive generations due to mutation and culled by natural selection (and of course in some cases artificial selection).

    For all of human history we have observed variations within the kinds such as 400± varieties of dogs coming from a dog-like ancestor such as a fox or a wolf.

    So what is a kind? Are dogs, wolves, coyotes and jackals the same kind? Are foxes and those others the same kind? What about Amphicyonidae is it part of the dog kind? If yes, does that make bears part of the dog kind too?

    Dogs produce dogs and corn produces corn.

    Where in the Theory of Evolution does it say otherwise? A dog is still a wolf, which is still a canine, which is still a carnivore, which is still a mammal, which is still a chordate, which is still an animal, which is still a eukaryote. Corn is still maize, which is still teosinte, which is still a grass, which is still a monocot, which is still an angiosperm (flowering plant), which is still a plant, which is still a eukaryote.

    There may be great variations within the basic kind but that is NOT evidence that dogs and corn are related!

    Kind is still useless without a meaningful definition. You are right, variation is not evidence that dogs and corn are related. There are several other lines of evidence that point to a universal common ancestor. Including DNA, shared retroviruses and shared proteins. The idea of common designer can explain some of this but it does not fully explain everything such as different designs for eyes and flight. It also adds an extra layer of on top of the explanation that needs an explanation about who or what that designer is or are. Occam’s razor (“entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity”) would then favor evolution because it can explain the similarities and the differences, very well, and it does not add the extra assumption of designer.

    but he also counts on macro-evolution NOT happening.

    What do you mean? If you mean your straw man that corn will suddenly produce something that is not corn, then even evolution doesn’t count that as happening. If it did we would have to throw out evolution as that would falsify it.

    What would falsify creation or common designer? I asked this earlier with no response.

    Anything other than minor changes within the kind is not part of science.

    No definition of kind makes this statement pointless. Evolution works off of small changes over long periods of time. No one is claiming that a dog will suddenly give birth to something that is not a dog, that is your straw man argument.

    Evolution as defined as macro-evolution is a religion in every sense of the word.

    From Merriam-Webster:

    Religion – 1 a : the state of a religious
    b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
    2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
    3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
    4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

    What is the God of your so called “macro” evolution? How does one service or worship it? What are the personal sets or institutionalized systems of religious attitudes, beliefs and practices? What kind of faith is required when evidence is present?

    People are welcome to BELIEVE the first five types of evolution, but they are not part of science or common sense.

    Again you are creating a straw man in calling them evolution.

    You also are trying to conflate the word believe to use its religious meaning instead of the meaning “to accept as true”.

    Common sense is not part of science. Science is a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific method. It doesn’t matter if it goes against common knowledge or your beliefs. It only goes where the evidence leads and that evidence has led to the Theory of Evolution for the last 150 years.

  6. Nigel McNaughton August 24, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    Ah the infamous Hovind family ‘Let me redefine Evolution for you’. It’s amazing how many creationists these days define Evolution as ‘Science I refuse to accept on religious grounds’.

  7. James Clark August 24, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

    The main problems with Organic evolution and Macro-evolution, in this engineer’s opinion, is that evolutionists overlook or misunderstand two other areas of science: information theory and design theory. (Also, language theory, as it relates to information theory.)

    When confronted with information theory, they propose that information can arise spontaneously, and pretend to prove it by referring to natural formation of patterns. But patterns are not information; they can only be used to encode information if semantics are defined. I’ve spent 43 years designing communications systems, trying to minimize the loss of information. I’ve got 41 patents, but nobody has invented anything that increases information.

    They also overlook or misunderstand design theory. Complex designs can only be created “top-down”, starting with a purpose; but evolution, according to the evolutionists, works buttom-up without any purpose. Bottom-up methods are only effective for design adjustment or adaptation, and the capability for adjustment must be part of the design.

    BTW, I recall an evolutionist observing that a lot of engineers are creationists. Perhaps he was inferring “what do they know about biology?” But engineers have to make science actually work. Could-be, might-be, story-telling science doesn’t pass muster. And system engineers, in particular, know the value of knowing more than one branch of science.

  8. H. Bosma August 25, 2010 at 4:39 am #

    Kent, really seriously doubt your knowledge of science would stand any ground if checked.

    Again you come up with your 6 kinds of evolution.
    First of all, the first 4 have nothing to do with the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution describes adaptations and change with organisms and the diversification of life. How life, earth, organic molecules etc came into being is irrelevant for this scientific theory.

    The fact that you discard macro-evolution is based on your definition of what species are and your concepts of time.
    If we have a lizard which over time gradually loses its legs, we will call it a snake. That would be macro-evolution. However, what we see now in the world is the organisms we classified as distinct species, if we go back in time the ancestors of these species would both be called the same.

  9. lee pallister August 25, 2010 at 6:57 am #

    Dear Mr Hovind

    Praying for you and the family.

    John 9 vs 39
    Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world
    He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

    John 9 vs 39
    And Jesus said, for judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

    John 14 vs 27
    Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you, let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

    Micah 7 vs 8
    Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when i fall, I shall arise, when I sit in darkness, The Lord shall be a light unto me.

    Psalm 53:1
    The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good

    Luke 16vs15
    And he said unto them, ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God Knoweth your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of god.

    So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
    Hebrews 9 vs 28.

  10. Kim Haynes August 25, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    I just found your site last night and stayed up pretty late watching a good portion of the Seminar on dinosaurs in which I really did enjoy. I am really looking forward to reading more from the site and in watching and listening to all the seminars and sharing the link with others of how to get here. Thank you Dr. Kent Hovind, & Eric Hovind for making Truth so much more understandable and in using the gifts and ministry’s GOD has given you in exposing the shames of other false religions on these topics that are often overlooked by many others, but looks like to me this is definitely your callings.
    As for the six meanings of Evolution, I find them and other information on this site to be much more informative and accurate than so many of these other people that continue to resist and turn away from the GOD and HIS Bible as being the ultimate authority and the truth to all matters. It is really amazing how distorted all these self so called authority’s would try to hide truth and to keep themselves rather than GOD as the authority. If they are messed up in these areas as they are, I feel sure they are messed up in many other areas of life too. It really gets me, the way they blurt out so much as though they are so smart, but yet because of the fantasy of what they say and not being able to distinguish between a lie and truth, generally they have spoken volumes of rhetoric that have very little credibility in defending their twisted doctrine to what they have said. I guess it is nice to have a large vocabulary of words, but seems to me; just throwing them out to try to impress others when they are not in line with GOD’s Word is only foolishness. I had rather have only a few words in my vocabulary that state the truths of GOD, than to have thousands of words that are foolishly spoken and to have not put GOD in HIS rightful place and have brought Glory, Honor, and Praise to The only One that deserves it ultimately. GOD open their eyes!

  11. Joshua Powell August 25, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    Even if #1-4 are excluded from the definition of evolution, they are still required for #5 to be true! If #5, then #1-4.
    It’s like #5 is a car and #1-4 is a surface to drive on. It’s always a car, but without a surface to drive on, it just isn’t going anywhere.

  12. Nigel McNaughton August 25, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    James is ignoring many things.

    First is that there are different kinds of information. Information is created naturally in countless ways.

    Second, Scientists in the lab (as in actually doing experiments) have documented the creation of genes and information from random dna. There are plenty of papers on de novo gene creation. A cool one is Japanese researchers randomizing the dna of a gene on a bacterium and seeing what happened. It only took 7 generations for the bacterium to have measurably improved the gene and this improvement continued for hundreds of generations. And it ended up with an entirely new gene, it wasn’t the same as the old one.

    You might also be thinking of the Salem Hypothesis, that many Creationists turn out to be Engineers.

  13. Jack Napper August 25, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    @James Clark

    Thank you for the STRAWMAN arguments and the copy and paste from Discovery Institute fellows.

    I had a laugh at your inability to grasp any of the concepts you wrote about. I nearly busted a gut when you mentioned language theory and top-down bottom-up nonsense.

    Please keep ’em coming.

  14. Nigel McNaughton August 25, 2010 at 11:04 pm #

    Joshua, but the car doesn’t care where the road came from.

    Your cook book usually doesn’t care where you bought the ingredients.

    The Theory of Evolution doesn’t care where the universe came from or how stars formed. God Did It could be the right answer. What you (and everyone else who uses the same argument) are ignoring is that of course Cosmology has changed *Dramatically* in the last 150 years. It’s gone from a steady state universe to the The Big Bang.
    You must think it strange that Biologists weren’t running around screaming ‘AaAhhh Cosmology Changed!! Now everything is wrong!’ Because they didn’t do that.

  15. H. Bosma August 26, 2010 at 1:35 am #

    @ Joshua,
    You clearly do not understand science.

    Why are #1-4 necessary for evolution to be true???
    The theory of evolution only states how the diversity of life came about.

    Like in your car analogy (which goes wrong on so many levels).
    #1-4 in the case of the car, only make it possible for the car to function, they state nothing about the likelyhood a car exists.

  16. Mark James August 26, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    According to my dictionary evolution is defined as ‘A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.’

    So let’s look at some of these scientific claims:

    The universe started out with a big bang and over time it has become more orderly. Sounds like it evolved to me.

    Hydrogen and helium gave rise to all the elements? Gas clouds became stars and planets? Organic chemicals got together to produce living organisms? Surely all examples of simple things changing and becoming more complex over time.

    To suggest that any of these processes haven’t involved evolution is tantamount to accepting Kent’s basic hypothesis, which is – correct me if I’m wrong Kent – that everything was put in place pretty much as we see it today!

  17. die kerze August 26, 2010 at 5:37 am #

    @ Rocky Salt:

    I don’t even bother with the term “kind” anymore, because they will never define it. They use it in a way that fits their purposes, sometimes it is species, sometimes genus, maybe even phylum.

    @ Jack

    The information hype really seems to be the favourite toy of the discovery institute people.
    It has shown to be false several times, the example i like most is Lenskis study, which also proves that irreducible complexity is false, even on the gene level.
    What i find hilarious is that babbeling about compley systems have to be top-down, which is proven to be false by economics in the general or capitalism in particular, because we may not count marcantilism, which is top-down indeed.

  18. Ryan Vinter August 26, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    Dr. Hovind i totaly agree with what it is you have said in seminar 7 that u can debate with aithiests and waste a lot of time, simply because they do not want to hear. They cant hear for there ego has blinded them from the answers that is right in front of there face!

  19. Nigel McNaughton August 26, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

    Isn’t that pretty irrelevant since the topic has nothing to do with Atheism?

  20. Ryan Vinter August 28, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    Who said anything about Atheism ?

  21. Nigel McNaughton August 28, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    Oh sorry Ryan, “aithiests”.