Sex, Evolutionary Biology, Victorian Scruples, and Religious Orthodoxy

The Victorians are famous for their civilized avoidance of the topic of sex, and Orthodoxy resists heretical ideas by holding tenaciously to doctrine.

Evolutionary biology of the popular variety is a sort of Victorian Orthodoxy.  It resists heretics like me who think that it took Someone to cause something as puzzling and delightful and inefficient and complex as sex.   It modestly changes the subject, usually to more doctrinally appropriate topics such as eras and eons.

When the devout evolutionists delicately explain the creation (Oops!  Wrong word!) of sex, the resulting theories are rather creative (Right word):  The Lottery Principle, The Tangled Bank Hypothesis, The Red Queen hypothesis, and The DNA Repair hypothesis are each wonderfully strange and problematic.  

These theories remind me of my early incoherent guesses about my origin. My ideas about sex, plus my understanding of the character of Dad and Mom, did not allow me to consider the possibility that they could have done that, and that I was the result.   So, I developed the “Mom and Dad entered a trance and were not responsible for their actions” theory and maintained my Victorian scruples and my Orthodox beliefs about my parents.

 “Inconceivable!” nicely describes the possibility that evolutionary biology will ever be able to explain chance development of sexual reproduction for even one species of plant or animal.   For evolutionary biology to work, these first trysts had to happen for all kinds of plants and animals, and they had to work.   It would be insufficient to have romance without viable, fertile offspring produced in each type of organism.    

It’s fun to try to imagine the first accidental corn seed or its evolutionary precursors.   Just how did the first pollen tubes develop at the same time the first stamen were producing the first pollen at the same time the first ears contained the first ovaries with the first female corn parts?   Scientific Orthodoxy demands that I believe anything is possible in a billion years or so, but all of those structures had to develop in a particular “becoming corn” plant or plants at a particular time.   It had to work on that occasion, and it had to keep on working.   The incredible coming together had to actually germinate a seed, and the seed had to contain the genetic material to result in all future corn plants.  (see  http://plantandsoil.unl.edu/croptechnology2005/UserFiles/Image/siteImages/CornPlantGameteSexCellsLG.gif)

A 2007 publication by Gerhard Leubner describing the graphic below says:  “Seed plant pylogenetic tree considering major gymnosperm and angiosperm clades.   Note that the precise evolutionary connections between the different gymnosperm  groups are unkown and that the ancestors of angiosperms are unknown.  Typical seed types visualize steps in the evolution of the seed.”   (G. Leubner, “The Seed Biology Place” www.seedbiology.de).

In other words, modern Biology does not know how seeds may have developed or how the extreme diversity of seed plants sprang up so rapidly in their assigned geologic eon.   Darwin called the problem, “The Abominable Mystery.”    

As I look around this morning and see yellow tulips, and pink cyclamen, and lavender/purple pelargonium, and daffodils of all sorts, “Abominable” is not the word that comes to mind.    Maybe Mr. Darwin’s need for simple naturalistic explanations limited his quest for truth and dampened his enthusiasm for knowledge that did not fit his beliefs.     It would be a great surprise to discover that our modern scientists don’t suffer from the same sorts of bias.

I won’t hold my breath while waiting for someone to discover strong evidence for the evolution of sex through incremental change.  Rather, I expect patronizing pity for silly non-scientists like me who look around us at this amazing world and think we see evidence for design.  What nonsense to imagine that a Creator created all living things, many of them (including me) designed to reproduce in a very complicated and amazing and sometimes unmentionable way!    Heresy!

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4 thoughts on “Sex, Evolutionary Biology, Victorian Scruples, and Religious Orthodoxy”

  1. I would be SO PROUD of my generation if it were known as the Generation-that-proved-Evolution-is-hard-to-prove-because-of…. (you know…. the ‘S-Word’).

  2. Well, that was a lot of fun with truth! You might really enjoy reading Randy Gulliuzza’s writings about our amazing human bodies. (You’d most likely find him on the ICR–Institute for Creation Research–website. He often writes detailed & interesting articles in ICR’s monthly “Acts & Facts” magazine. He also has a great sense of humor :0)

  3. Every single thing that we see in this real world around us–will always, always agree with what we simply read in God’s Word. Those who choose to trust in hypotheses that cannot be tested and have no empirical support, will continue to trust those hypotheses to their own detriment until God opens their eyes to the simplicity of His Word and the mountains (literally) of evidence around them. I don’t think I really like living in this era of apostasy. But I must say, it is very exciting to watch those who recognize truth for the first time and realize how freeing God’s Word is…and how consistent God’s world is with His Word: scientifically, philosophically, economically, practically, spiritually, etc.

  4. This is marvelous Dave! The undergirding thought is stunning in its simple exploration of an unsupportable idea (naturalistic evolution). I had thought of many examples of “irreducible complexity”, but plant sex had never crossed my mind. Possibly I’m too Victorian. A thought that has crossed my mind is how infinitely complex human sex is. Not only is the reproductive system itself complex, but the bazillions of nerve endings in the body and the brain and connections between them to make it the amazing experience it is have to be complex beyond imagination or sorting out! And this leaves out the personal and spiritual aspects of it! Awesome, you heretic!

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