There is already a question focused on biblical arguments, What are the Biblical and theological problems with theistic evolution?, but I found none focused on scientific reasons. According to creationists, are there scientific grounds for being skeptical of the view that God used Darwinian mechanisms to bring about the diversity of life we see today from a common ancestor? What are the main scientific arguments that creationists put forward to challenge theistic evolution?

  • 1
    This would be a better fit on Stack Exchange Biology since it is specifying scientific objections.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 23, 2023 at 17:22
  • 4
    @NigelJ, in an ideal world, yes. Unfortunately, I doubt anyone that doesn't adhere to the Materialist line is allowed to speak freely over there. The only Answer they're likely to allow is that there are no scientific objections, and incidentally you're crazy for believing that a "god" was necessary in any fashion.
    – Matthew
    Dec 23, 2023 at 21:50
  • 1
    Mark, you might also find this paper interesting. It's approaching the TE question more from a theological/philosophical direction, however, so it's not directly applicable to this Question.
    – Matthew
    Dec 23, 2023 at 21:58

1 Answer 1


The scientific and theistic argument against Common Descent can be roughly broken down into five arguments.


There is no known "natural" source of information, which is necessary for life. A great deal has been written on the subject, and organizations such as The Discovery Institute exist which are dedicated to exposing the many problems with the materialist Common Descent myth.

...But we're allowing God to exist. God can obviously inject information.


One of the major ideas in Common Descent is the existence of a "tree of life". If correct, CD necessitates that every existing organism is descended from an ever-increasingly limited set of ancestors until, at the "root" of the tree, one finds a single, first organism. A corollary is that we ought to be able to identify the origination points of various features and, by ding so, trace the "shape" of the tree.

What we actually find is numerous instances of features present across organisms in a way that permits no such single "tree" to be formed. Additionally, we find similar features arising from highly diverse biological paths, as well as very similar biological paths being used to widely varying purposes. These results require ever-more-desperate "rescuing" devices in order to prop up the now-shambling edifice of Common Descent, but are expected if life was Designed.

Again, if we allow God to exist, this isn't a direct problem, but the idea of Common Descent is looking pretty sketchy.


A useful scientific model is one which is able to make useful predictions about the world. In this respect, Common Descent fails miserably. It suggests that non-intelligent processes are able to produce information (see first point), which has never been demonstrated. It predicted "junk DNA", which has since been disproven. It predicted haphazard and suboptimal functions, most or all of which have been shown to be well optimized within acting constraints. It predicted "vestigial" features, all of which are shown to be either a) nothing of the sort, b) recoverable to full function within a few generations, and/or c) lost much more recently than predicted.

This list contains some additional details, but also discusses "evolution" in the more general sense including cosmological and geological "evolution". Since attempts to wed Common Descent to theism typically assume the Materialist history is generally accurate, scientific issues with that narrative cast doubt on "theistic evolution", just as the above points cast doubt, even if Divine action is permitted as an "escape valve", by suggesting that the entire framework trying to be incorporated is simply wrong. This leads into the next, and most serious problem...


The real (scientific) problem with "evolution" is time. Any form of origins-theory in which the verified process of Natural Selection is attributed to producing biodiversity outside of direct divine intervention relies on hundreds of millions of years having passed. While such time spans are accepted by Materialism, they are based on three pillars:

  1. Uniformitarianism, or the idea that slow processes are responsible for various observations such as present geology, coal, fossils, and numerous other phenomenon has been thoroughly debunked. At this point, virtually every formation of phenomenon alleged to have incurred millions of years has been observed or shown, to be reproducible in decades or less; some in mere hours!

  2. Radiometric dating is based on numerous assumptions, all of which have been shown to be unreliable... even rate of decay! Additionally, there is much evidence (see e.g. the RATE Project) that radioactive decay was massively accelerated at one or more points during history. In general, the field is rampant with inconsistent and outright ignored data.

  3. Astronomical distances suppose that light must have had billions of years to get to Earth from e.g. distant galaxies. However, even Materialist models require energy propagation across present-day distances that would equate to faster-than-light speeds without completely ad hoc rescuing devices. Additionally, if distances really correspond to time, more distant galaxies ought to look "younger"... and they don't. Other possible models can also fit observations without introducing billions of years, and may be of superior explanatory power (e.g. not requiring such rescuing devices as "inflation" and "dark matter").

In addition to these issues with its foundation, there is substantial evidence that Earth, and indeed the universe as a whole, is only a few thousand years old, and that Noah's Flood was a real, historical event of genuinely global scale. Indeed, the Flood is a much better explanation for a great many features of observed geology.

Another serious problem is the many lines of evidence that humans and dinosaurs coexisted, and that dinosaurs were around far more recently than the millions of years alleged by Materialism. (Several articles may be found here.)


Scripture clearly teaches two things: that humans represent a special act of Creation and are distinct from all other animals, and that Creation occurred a few thousand years ago. The idea that one "kind" has "evolved" into anther is not found anywhere, and indeed, is explicitly denied.

Moreover, there are a number of theological issues raised by the idea, some of which are discussed here and here. See also these lists of articles discussing problems with "theistic evolution".


If God exists and is all-powerful, then certainly He could Create the world in any manner He saw fit, in any time frame He saw fit. Insisting He be limited to "naturalistic" means is to deny His omnipotence, as well as His revealed Word; "theistic evolution" calls God impotent, incompetent, sadistic and dishonest.

Materialist claims, such as the Common Descent myth, exist only to exclude God, and when critically examined, their so-called "science" is revealed to be an utter train-wreck. Neither science nor scripture supports Common Descent in any form.

Now, the entire reason for the idea of "theistic evolution" to exist is to try to shoehorn two diametrically-opposed interpretations together, but since one of those interpretations has been shown to be in error, there is little reason to do any such thing. Scientifically, the question that needs to be asked is whether, once we remove the purely philosophical need to explain Creation without reference to a Creator, there remains any part of the Materialist fairy tale (insomuch as it contradicts "young-Earth Creationism") that is useful.

Could there be? Yes, certainly; God is all powerful, and could have Created in whatever manner He wished, leaving whatever evidence He wished. It's equally possible He Created everything last Tuesday (including the words you're reading now). He could be a sadist who is deliberately misleading all of humanity; if so, we would have no way of knowing or disproving that.

The correct approach therefore is to ask 'what is more likely?'. The answer, as shown above, is that, when we aren't bending over backwards to avoid the Creator, it simply makes more sense for Genesis to be an accurate history. The evidence, when not being twisted or ignored in order to exclude God, is more consistent with that view, making it the superior explanation both in scientific terms, and in terms of theology and God's character.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .