While many Christians and non-Christians see science and religion (theology) as in perpetual conflict, I find they integrate well. They operate by the same principles and are committed to discovering foundational truths. My passion is helping Christians see how powerful a tool science is to declare God’s glory and helping scientists understand how the established scientific discoveries demonstrate the legitimacy and rationality of the Christian faith.
Closely related to the phenomenon of repeatable evolution is convergence. Convergence refers to the widespread tendency in nature of unrelated organisms to possess nearly identical anatomical and physiological characteristics. The wings of birds and bats is one textbook example of convergence. Birds and bats are unrelated organisms, with birds belonging to the class Aves and bats to the class Mammalia. Though superficially similar, the wing structures of birds and bats are fundamentally different. Another common example of convergence—one in which the fundamental structural differences are not so obvious—is the remarkable anatomical similarity shared by the modern placental wolf and the extinct Tasmanian wolf.
Both the creation and evolutionary paradigms offer an explanation for convergence. Creationists view convergence as the intelligent activity of a single Creator who employs a common set of solutions to address a common set of problems facing unrelated organisms in their quest for survival. Evolutionists assert that convergence results when unrelated organisms encounter nearly identical selection forces (environmental, competitive, and predatory pressures). Natural selection then channels the random variations believed to be responsible for evolutionary change along similar pathways to produce similar features in unrelated organisms.
Since both the creation and evolutionary frameworks attempt to explain biological convergence, an analysis of this feature of nature can be used to evaluate the two paradigms. When critically assessed, the evolutionary paradigm is found to be woefully inadequate when accounting for all the facets of biological convergence. On the other hand, biological convergence is readily explained by an origins model that evokes a single Creator.
Two remarkable examples of complex biological features recently recognized as being convergent are bat echolocation (the ability of an organism to orient itself based on perceiving reflections of sound it emits) and parrot, songbird, and hummingbird forebrain structure. A recent DNA sequence analysis has just confirmed two earlier studies that, from an evolutionary perspective, requires echolocation in bats to have evolved independently in two separate groups (microchiroptera and megachiroptera). This study, along with previous analyses also indicate that the strikingly similar limb structures of bats and flying lemurs used for flying, likewise, must have evolved independently, when the data is interpreted from an evolutionary perspective.
Another recent study, employing behavioral differences in gene expression in brain tissue, has demonstrated that the brain structure of hummingbirds, songbirds, and parrots responsible for vocal learning (the ability to “learn” vocalizations by imitation rather than by instinct) is essentially identical. This is surprising, since these three birds are unrelated to one another. That is, the seven distinct structures in the forebrain of these three groups of birds that are responsible for vocal learning are convergent. From an evolutionary perspective, these structures must have evolved independently of one another on three separate occasions.
These examples highlight the difficulty that convergence creates for the evolutionary paradigm. No known evolutionary mechanism can account for the nature of biological convergence. Convergence has been far too common throughout life’s history, has involved exceedingly complex structures, and has occurred in situations in which the forces of natural selection have been vastly different. Biological convergence is an important component in the argument that life, throughout Earth’s history, is a result of the supernatural activity of a Creator.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
1 Corinthians 2:7
but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
— Will Myers
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