Biogeography and Evolution: A big challenge to Christianity

Since my visits to Hawaii islands and Bermuda, starting in 2004, I have become a staunch believer in evolution, by which I mean common descent of all living beings on the planet earth.

The two main proofs for the theory of evolution are molecular biology and biogeography. We do not have to be a rocket scientist to appreciate biogeography, if we look through the smoke screens and bragging rights, the arguments are fairly straight forward.  Biogeography basically means which animals and plants are native to which areas, especially islands.  Sir Charles Darwin wrote in his famous book about biogeography and Bermuda:

“Though terrestrial mammals do not occur on oceanic islands, aërial mammals do occur on almost every island. New Zealand possesses two bats found nowhere else in the world: Norfolk Island, the Viti Archipelago, the Bonin Islands, the Caroline and Marianne Archipelagoes, and Mauritius, all possess their peculiar bats. Why, it may be asked, has the supposed creative force produced bats and no other mammals on remote islands? On my view this question can easily be answered; for no terrestrial mammal can be transported across a wide space of sea, but bats can fly across. Bats have been seen wandering by day far over the Atlantic Ocean; and two North American species either regularly or occasionally visit Bermuda, at the distance of 600 miles from the mainland. I hear from Mr. Tomes, who has specially studied this family, that many of the same species have enormous ranges, and are found on continents and on far distant islands. Hence we have only to suppose that such wandering species have been modified through natural selection in their new homes in relation to their new position, and we can understand the presence of endemic bats on islands, with the absence of all terrestrial mammals.”

The map here is of Bermuda islands in relation to USA.  These observations by Darwin alone prove the common descent. However, the theory of evolution should be understood as three different issues. Firstly, the common heritage of all animals and plants, secondly, the mechanisms for evolution and thirdly whether evolution is completely blind or guided in some sense. The truth of some facts in evolution does not imply the truth of every thing under the umbrella of evolution. One needs to have a nuance position about evolution to be perfectly enlightened.

Incidentally, evolution also exposes the vulnerabilities of Christianity. For other details about theory of evolution, see my other knols and articles on molecular biology and Original Sin.  To read about biogeography click here.

For the impact of biology and evolution on Christianity:

Molecular Biology: A Checkmate to Creationism:

http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/molecular-biology-a-checkmate-to/1qhnnhcumbuyp/83#

Evolution and Biology: A cross for Christianity:

http://www.alislam.org/egazette/eGazette-Nov2008.pdf

Evaluating Original Sin against scientific discoveries:

http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/evaluating-original-sin-against/1qhnnhcumbuyp/15?collectionId=1qhnnhcumbuyp.217#

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