There are two parts of the theory of evolution, which I'll call the Weak Theory and the Strong Theory. There's probably a pretty good case for the Weak Theory. It's the Strong Theory I have a problem with, and today I'm going to tell you why.
The Weak Theory tells
us that we're all descended from lower animals. It's not too hard for us
to believe we share an ancestor with monkeys. I don't know how good the
fossil record really is on this. They used to talk about the quest for
the "missing link"...the fossil specimen that would bridge the gap
between them and us. I don't know how well that continuum has been
filled in over the last hundred or so years, but let's give the theory
the benefit of the doubt.
If you buy into the idea that
we are related from the monkeys, then you have to allow that it can go
back even farther. Were monkeys once tiny like groundhogs, or chipmunks?
I suppose maybe they were. And aren't the chipmunks just overgrown
rodents? Let's agree that there is a chain of descent.
we accept that our ancestors were mice, then all the mammals have an
equally good claim on that line. Which makes us cousins to lions and
tigers, cows and horses, whatever. That's the gist of the Weak Theory.
It actually explains a lot of things: we all have similar skeletal
structures, we all have two eyes and two ears, fingers and toes, teeth,
hearts that pump blood, etc.
But of course it doesn't
stop there. The mice from which we are descended were in turn descended
from lower forms. Once upon a time all animals were reptiles; the mouse
and the frog and the snake are therefore distant cousins; the birds are
another branch of the same family; and so on. The frog was once a fish;
the fish was once a jellyfish; and the jellyfish was once a festering
slime. And so we are told that there is a continuous line of descent,
whereby we can trace our own ancestry to that same primordial slime.
is the Theory of Evolution, and who but an ignorant hillbilly could
possibly doubt it? Haven't we all been shown the evidence in the form of
the fossil record, which clearly shows the continuous transformation of
all these various forms of life from one to another? What, you haven't
seen the fossils yourself? No matter; the scientists assure us that the
case is well established, and that's good enough for me. Because all
that I have described so far is the Weak Theory, and I don't have an
issue with that. It's the Strong Theory that bothers me.
do I mean by the Strong Theory? I'd like you to think about that,
because it's a distinction that people seem to gloss over. I've never
seen it explicitly discussed in quite the way I'm going to tackle it,
and I even wonder if it's obvious where I'm going with this. So I think
I'll let you mull it over for a day or so, and then continue where I