Chapter 4 on natural selection in Darwin’s Origin of Species is a brilliant description and explanation of microevolution…not macroevolution. This is where the creation/evolution debate started.
I believe the 13 different varieties of Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos archipelago originally came from a single small group of finches, which found their way to one or more of these islands sometime in the distant past. The differing program lifestyle habits of each varied finch observed today (it has been said that the differences are so varied now that these finches would likely be classified as subspecies if they were not so closely situated on this island chain) accompanied the physical, inbuilt genetic variation in a correlated way we do not currently understand…and may never understand.
I am not a biologist, ecologist, or paleontologist. My expertise is in building construction. But most if not all of the literature pro and con in the creation/evolution debate is amenable to commonsense reasoning by non-expert, scientific laypersons. For me the weight of the evidence falls on the side of an intelligent designer God, with microevolution providing the inbuilt variableness…evidenced in the human breeding process through artificial selection…that was apparent long before Darwin.
Lions, cheetahs, and leopards most likely diverged or “radiated” from a single ancestral large-sized cat…but their lifestyle habits accompanied their unique physical differences simultaneously in real time…otherwise we have physical improvements for survival that are not put to immediate beneficial use…as a result of lifestyle habits lagging behind in time…which is unacceptable to Darwinism.
The corresponding lifestyle habit change must accompany the beneficial physical variation in order for natural selection to identify and make its “blind” selection…to match the effective utility of artificial selection (intelligent design) in the human breeding of agriculture, livestock, race horses, and dogs, for example…for Darwinism to work.
Yet in nature today we see no transitional intermediates in this regard…no infinitesimal gradations in lifestyle characteristics…but instead discrete, distinct, discontinuous wholes coherently matched with a diversity of varied body-plans…inconceivably vast in number, complexity, and precision.
This parallels the discrete, distinct, discontinuous wholes we can categorize as the adventures of faith of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Ruth, and Esther in the Old Testament…to Joseph and Mary, Peter, Paul, Priscilla and Aquila, Timothy, and Luke in the New Testament, among many others…all connected yet all different…revealing the same God at work in both arenas…in nature and in human redemptive history.
One important question for laypersons to ponder in the creation/evolution debate: Is the hypothetical overlay of naturalism over the obvious gaps of discontinuity in the physical characteristics we see in the living world…a bridge too far to cross…when we add in the small lifestyle habits of program change that must correspond precisely with each and every “selected” character that improves survivability according to Darwinian macroevolutionary theory?
To my thinking the gaps between the lifestyles of flying, swimming, running, leaping, jumping, burrowing, camouflaging, natural instinctive behavior, and conscious human thought…with their accompanying widely divergent physical characteristics…are too large and fundamentally discontinuous to be joined gradualistically in Darwin’s “tree of life”….even when attempting to use creative, hypothetical imagination to close the gaps…in lieu of factual evidence.
The differences in lifestyle programs that perfectly coordinate with the physical differences…that separate a lion from an elephant from a water buffalo from a giraffe from a homo sapien…into complete wholes having distinct and discrete differences with no incrementally transitional intermediates in between their behavioral characteristics…this last piece of commonsense evidence for me removes Darwinian macroevolution out of the range of rational believability.
I think that the scientific pursuit of an understanding of information, in addition to mater and energy, will take us right up to the edge of divine creative methodology. We possess the intellectual capacity and the cognitive reasoning skills to adventure there. And it appears to this Christian believer that God has not only left the door wide open for us…through an orderly and intelligible natural world…but has placed so many clues along the path that our scientific journey will eventually reach that edge…if not beyond.
But if it turns out that this is as far as human investigative efforts can go…if it turns out that there is an impassible boundary limit that separates divine creative thought processes beyond which we cannot go…then so be it. This in itself would be a final definitive answer to our questions about some aspects of ultimate reality…that initially started the modern Scientific Revolution.
That the narrow parameters of human scientific investigation could ever discover the natural explanation for the existence of life, or of self-conscious thought, or of an absolute moral standard, or of such immeasurable and unquantifiable realities as love, friendship, honesty, loyalty, fidelity, determination, ingenuity, bravery, humor, self-sacrifice, and individuality, to name only a few imponderables…is an open question that commonsense I believe would answer in the negative.