Thursday, August 12, 2010

Conserving Evolution?

Sometimes I wonder about things. This is one of those times. Just a brief observation of something that seems a little bit illogical to my tiny brain.

Wildlife conservation is a big business these days, with regular updates on endangered species like the elephants, tigers, pandas, turtles and many more. Much is made of the declining populations and number of breeding pairs left in the world.

Yet at the same time, those most involved in conservation work are the same people who likely believe in evolution, both micro (within species adapting to their particular environment e.g. the urban moths becoming darker to blend in with the polluted cityscape) and macro (producing new species and explaining the origin of everything). But surely this is illogical? Surely their evolution theory should desist any such conservation efforts because that's the way evolution has always worked - species unable to adapt or survive in a changing world are lost while 'progress' is made through new species better able to cope.

Are they to some extent elevating conservation over their belief in evolution? Why would one species worry about the survival of another species anyway? Or are the conservationists displaying the fact that humans aren't just animals like any other species, but that we were made in the image and likeness of God, and given dominion over the animal kingdom to tend and care and rule over it under God?

Evolution and conservation doesn't seem to sit as well together as creation and conservation. Yet we often fail in our responsibilities and stewardship of the earth's resources. Saving animals is good, but not as good as saving people from the wrath to come.


  1. Good point Gary, yes the theory of evolution does not sit well with any kind of altruism! I think the concern for conservationists is often because it can clearly be seen that it is human greed / carelessness that is responsible for so many species becoming endangered. Of course the only real answer to the human problem is found in Jesus Christ, the One through whom everything was Created in the first place...

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  3. The theory of evolution sits perfectly well with altruism... I should know as I had to write a 10,000 word paper on it as an undergraduate 20 years ago. One of the best popularisers of the theories that underpin altruism was everyones favourite atheist Richard Dawkins in his documentary, and subsequent additional chapter to his seminal "Selfish Gene" entitled "Good Guys Can Finish First." Christians critiquing science from a position of ignorance doesn't do our case any good.
    However Gary, you could well be right about conservation and creationism (or at very least a belief in the core principles behind the Genesis creation accounts) sit more comfortably together than evolution and conservation, indeed many hard core evolutionists would also argue that conservation is self-defeating or at least only a way of maintaining living museum specimens! others suggest that the technological advancement of humanity has effectively meant that, in the short term at least, we have short circuited evolution... many more unfit human genes are being passed on than in previous generations, so really what we do to preserve the flora and fauna of the planet is only a function of the (temporary) end of evolution... Some then say that either evolution will kick in again with a mighty thump, wiping out humanity and all the artificially preserved species, or that we will actually succeed in draining this planet of all its usable resources.
    I obviously don't believe the latter, but I do believe that we, as the crown of creation, in whatever way you want to understand that, have a responsibility to live in the image of our creator, and part of that is stewardship of the earth and its creatures. Yet all too often, we are shown up by atheistic hard-core evolutionists, whose orthodox belief may be in survival of the fittest, but behave otherwise, looking after the weakest parts of the created order

  4. apologies for the multiple posts... Blogger seems to be going a bit bonkers with me at the moment... Also apologies for the length of the previous post... So many issues!

  5. I admit my 'position of ignorance' - A (very) little knowledge about something can be more dangerous than no knowledge at all! I think the ceiling of this one is significantly above my head and I will say no more...

  6. Thanks for the contributions - it was something I had been thinking about for ages and was written more in wanting clarification and more understanding rather than being confrontational.

    So while there may be inconsistencies in the evolutionists (believing evolution but conserving species), there are the same but opposite inconsistencies in the Christian camp (believing in stewardship and dominion but doing nothing about it).

    There certainly seem to be plenty of disaster-type movies around all showing some sort of catastrophic fate for the world (The Day After Tomorrow, 2012 etc) - perhaps expressing the fears of many for what will happen to the world. Yet we have the promise that the Lord Jesus will return to end the world as we know it, not some ecological or nuclear disaster. Then, He will institute the new heavens and the new earth, perfectly restored. I wonder if there'll be dodos then?