Alternative Views of Evolution

Dear Reader,

So two things in my life have come together (I love it when that happens!). I have been reading John Taylor Gatto’s book Weapons of Mass Instruction (see my review here) and I have also been doing a series of posts on Christian views of creation. Well, Gatto’s book is mainly about our public schools here in America, but along the way he mentions a contemporary of Charles Darwin, Alfred Russell Wallace, who also came up with the theory of evolution. Gatto’s point in mentioning him is to show how some ideas get perpetuated by the schools while others get sidelined. Darwin, he contends, had prestigious friends and so we know all about him and his ideas. Wallace was a poor man and  a socialist so his ideas got ignored.

What really interested me about all this is that Wallace apparently had other ideas about how evolution happens. We all (well, me at least) tend to think of evolution as “survival of the fittest.” This has led creationists to criticize it on the grounds that it is brutal and violent and therefore could not have been around before the Fall and also is not in character with how they see a good God creating. But Wallace’s picture of creation was a very different one:

” . . . Darwin contending that biological advance occurs through deadly competitions which over time eliminate the weak from success in reproduction, and Wallace arguing that adaptation and cooperation  are the important elements.” (Weapons of Mass Instruction, p. 124)

So I am not really in the position to evaluate the scientific merits of one position versus the other, but I am very intrigued by the idea that there could be different views of how evolution happens. And if evolution need not be a brutal affair, does that change how we as Christians view it? Could it indeed have been used by God as a method of creation? (Of course, there are many other points to consider in this whole debate; I hope that my ongoing series has and will touch on many of them.) Perhaps here is an alternate understanding that does away with one objection to evolution at least. I also wonder if there could have been a change after the Fall. That is, what if evolution was more cooperative before the Fall and the brutal aspects we see only came to be afterwards?

It certainly makes one think that there are many more possible views than we are usually presented with. It is not just creationist versus evolutionist. There is a lot of nuance and different combinations of beliefs here.



2 responses to this post.

  1. […] creation and evolution in a number of previous posts (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here; I told you there were a lot, and technically that series of posts is not finished though […]


  2. […] Alternative Views of Evolution […]


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