Two professors share views on evolution

By Grace Simcox
Staff Writer

Two professors shared countering views as part of a debate on evolution on Feb. 27 at 9 p.m. in the Gentile Gallery. 

John Bergsma, a professor of theology and biblical scholar, shared his disbelief in evolutionary theory while Daniel Kuebler, a professor of biology, argued for evolution.

Bergsma defined evolutionary theory as, “a theory of development of all life from one original life form through very small, gradual changes over a very long time until reaching all the diversity we see today.” 

Bergsma noted that “if the word (evolution) has any meaning at all … the fossil record is the way of checking if that’s true.”  

Through a series of Darwinian quotes, Bergsma explained that “Darwin recognized the fossil record contradicted his theory.” 

Further, Bergsma included a quote from Steven M. Stanley, a highly decorated paleontologist who holds a doctorate from Yale, who said, “‘The fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another.’” 

Kuebler argued that “evolution is not antithetical to creation,” explaining the notion of synergy between faith and science. 

Kuebler began by addressing the limitations of evolution; namely, that it is “dependent upon the order inherent in the universe since science can only explain the material realm.” 

Kuebler noted, “Darwin did not say that the theory of evolution always had to be gradual; it could be rapid at times.” 

The biology professor gave the example of times in which the amount of atmospheric oxygen is high, enabling more rapid evolution among larger animals.  

Further, Kuebler introduced the idea of mosaic evolution in contrast to linear evolution, exemplifying this theory with hominin, the complex fossil record related to humans. 

Although the two professors were at odds in their use of the Cambrian explosion as a piece of evidence for their side of the argument, both agreed upon the denial of gradualism.