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創造論とIDの危険性についての決議 (3) 進化論

Doc. 11375
17 September 2007

The dangers of creationism in education

Evolution: a genuine scientific theory

進化論: 本物の科学理論

4. As far as the origins of the universe, the Earth and species are concerned, several theories clash with one another and a number of questions remain unanswered. In all periods of history, people have wondered about their origins and the origin of the Earth. Where have we come from? Religions claim to provide them with answers, including the idea that there is a supreme being, one God that is at the origin of everything ? the universe, the Earth and the human race. This belief in an omnipotent “God Creator” is one of the main tenets of the three principal monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

宇宙と地球と種の起源に関して、複数の理論が衝突していて、多くの問題に答えが出ないままになっている。歴史を通じて、人々は自らの起源と地球の起源について不思議に思ってきた。我々はどこから来たのか? 宗教は、宇宙と地球と人種などすべての起源において超越存在すなわち唯一神がいたという考えなどの答えを提供してきた。全能の創造神への侵攻はユダヤ教徒とキリスト教とイスラム教という主要な一神教の主たる教義のひとつとなってきた。

5. In 1802, William Paley (1743-1805), an Anglican archdeacon, developed the idea of natural theology. He wrote that a person who found a watch on a heath could not deny the existence of a superior intelligence that had designed, made and lost the object. God was no other than the watchmaker of the world and human beings discovered the results of his work in the treasures of nature. Various discussions opposing Paley’s idea of natural theology and the Biblical story of Genesis were to arise in the 19th century.

1802年に、英国国教会の大執事だったWilliam Paley(1743-1805)は、自然神学という考えを発展させた。彼は

6. The first major upheaval came about as a result of the work of John Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829), a French biologist. At the beginning of the 19th century, Lamarck presented his basic theory of “transformism” in a work entitled Philosophie Zoologique. A few years later, on 29 November 1859, Charles Darwin (1809-1882) published a work entitled “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”, in which he also put forward the idea that species evolve. Today, it is considered the founding work of the theory of evolution. According to this theory, which contrasts sharply with the knowledge and fears of the time, the biological characteristics of living beings evolve in the course of time and genuine natural selection operates for the survival of species. Through his activities and this work, Darwin proposed to the people of his time a new hypothesis concerning the evolution of species and human beings. His works mark the end of the agreement between natural history and the Christian tradition, as well as the birth of anti-evolutionist movements1.

最初の大きな変動は、フランスの生物学者であるJohn Baptiste Lamarck(1744-1829)の成果によるものだった。19世紀初頭にLamarckは"Philosophie Zoologique"という表題の本で、"Transformism"の基礎理論を提示した。それから数年後の1859年11月29日に、Charles Darwinは「自然選択あるいは適者生存による種の起源」という表題の本を出版し、その中で種が進化するという考えを発展させた。今日では。これは進化論の創立的業績と考えられている。この理論によれば、当時の知識や恐れと対照的に、生物の生物学的特徴は時間を経て進化し、種の生存に対して本物の自然選択が働く。Darwinは自らの活動と著作により、種と人間の進化に関する仮説を当時の人々に提唱した。Darwinの業績は自然史とキリスト教の伝統が一致する時代の終わりを告げるとともに、反進化論運動の誕生をもたらした。

7. From then on, there were two camps that faced one another: those who were convinced that Darwin had to be opposed in order to defend Christian theology and those who thought that the theory of natural selection would enable humankind to put an end once and for all to the theoretical foundations of “religious obscurantism”.


8. Creationism thus came about in opposition to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Since we are dealing with science here, we must be precise about the subject we are discussing: What is evolution?




9. It should be pointed out that our genes, from which the word “genetic” derives, carry information about the characteristics of a living organism, whether it be a simple bacterium or a human being. A gene is a “piece” of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA carries the genetic information of every living being. Moreover, the study of DNA is being used more and more outside the area of scientific research, for example to disprove or verify parenthood or to clear up certain criminal offences. DNA, as will be seen, is very widely used in the science of evolution.


10. Populations evolve when individuals with certain characteristics (such as tallness) have more descendants than other individuals. The characteristics inherited from the individuals with many descendants become more frequent in the following generations:


  • Biological evolution is defined as a modification of the genetic characteristics in the course of time within a group of living beings or a population.
  • Adaptation refers to the characteristics of an organism that improve its ability to survive and reproduce in total harmony with its natural environment. Adaptations are the result of natural selection.
  • Biodiversity results from the repeated separation of one species into two or more new species (which specialists call “speciation”). When a single species separates into two, the two resulting species share numerous characteristics as they derive from a common ancestor.

  • 生物進化は、集団内での時間を経ての遺伝的特徴の変化と定義される。
  • 適応は、自然環境に対応して生存・繁殖の能力を高める、生物の特徴を指す。
  • 生物の多様性は、専門家が種形成と呼び、ひとつの種が2つになり、さらに多くの新種へと種が分岐していくことを繰り返すことの結果である。

11. Evolution thus explains how organisms adapt to their environment (by natural selection), how the diversity of life was formed (by speciation) and why different organisms share characteristics (through a common ancestor). In this connection, it is important to stress that it is wrong to claim that human beings descend from monkeys. They are closely related to monkeys and have a common ancestor but there is no direct line of descent between the two.


12. There is a considerable body of scientific evidence concerning evolution. Scientists have shown that evolution is a fact because of


  • the evidence provided by palaeontological data,
  • the numerous cases of characteristics shared by organisms with a common ancestor,
  • the reality of continental drift,
  • direct observations of genetic changes in populations.

  • 古生物学的データによる証拠
  • 共通祖先により多くの特徴を共有する生物
  • 大陸移動の事実
  • 集団内の遺伝的変化の直接の観察

13. It should be pointed out that the human being is just one of the links in the long chain of evolution.


14. Scientific advances and discoveries in the field of genetics have made it possible to demonstrate the existence of genetic mutations that come about at random and are not oriented towards a particular goal. It is the modification of genes in the descendence of living beings that defines biological evolution. Among the organisms that reproduce by sexual means, genetic variability increases through crossing over, the independent assortment of chromosomes and fertilisation. These various mutations and any other processes that rearrange the genetic information combine to bring about the evolution of species and populations and tend to reinforce the variability of individuals and species on the planet. Genetic modifications trigger morphological, biochemical and behavioural differences. Natural selection and/or genetic drift have an effect on the differences between individuals or species in order to produce evolutionary changes.


15. Apart from demonstrating the process of evolution, scientists have been able to show the consequences of this process for life on Earth. Three main characteristics define the latter: the adaptation of organisms to their environment, speciation (the repeated separation of one species into two or more new species), which contributes to the diversity of life on Earth, and the existence of common ancestors. Evolution involves these different characteristics of that life.


16. Palaeontological data, such as the fossil record, provide clear proof of the evolution of species and individuals in the course of time. Fossils are the preserved remains of organisms that lived a long time ago. They enable biologists to reconstruct the history of life on earth and, even though a number of uncertainties remain, provide evidence to give weight to the idea that species have evolved in the course of time. Palaeontology also confirms the existence of new groups of organisms on the basis of organisms that existed previously.


17. The fact that these organisms share common characteristics is consistent with the biological blueprints of the evolutionary relations. One of the main propositions of the theory of evolution is that organisms should carry in themselves the evidence of their evolutionary past, and this is indeed the case. The similarities in the models of development can be explained by their descent from a common ancestor. The proteins and DNA of organisms that share a common ancestor are closer than the proteins and DNA of those that do not share a recent common ancestor.


18. Continental drift, which is the result of the splitting up of the Pangea (the old supercontinent comprising almost all the land that emerged from the Carboniferous period at the beginning of the Jurassic) at least 200 million years ago, also enables proof of evolution to be furnished. The fossils of organisms that evolved when the continents were connected have a wider geographical distribution than those of organisms that have evolved more recently. The effect of continental drift was to separate families of living organisms and thus bring about their development, independently of their descent, as well as the appearance of new species and the extinction of others.


19. Finally, scientists have been able to observe, whether in the laboratory or in nature, genetic changes in the course of time in the populations or species studied. They have also been able to trigger genetic modifications themselves by crossing species. This is called artificial selection. Natural and artificial selection make it possible to provide evidence of evolution.


20. In order to illustrate this point, let us mention a few examples that show the process of evolution:


Research on the fight against AIDS has brought to light new aspects that confirm that evolution has taken place. After developing new treatments for HIV that appeared very promising, researchers discovered that this virus was rapidly evolving in order to keep adapting to its environment. HIV has a particularly elevated mutation rate but that in itself does not make it possible to explain the fact that this virus evolves by considerably increasing its ability to resist clinical therapies. There is often an interval of about ten years between the moment when an individual is afflicted by the virus and when the first AIDS symptoms are triggered. During this period, no appreciable increase in the HIV concentration in the blood is established. However, scientists have shown that the virus has produced millions of viral descendants during this period, which implies that enormous quantities of virus are destroyed very quickly after they have been produced. The body therefore hosts many different strains of HIV that compete with one another and fight to survive against the various clinical therapies. More generally, the recent changes in the AIDS virus are evidence of the ability of any organism to evolve.


21. The resistance of many insects to new pesticides shows they are similarly able to adapt to a new environment in which only those that are most resistant will survive. Resistance to antibiotics also tells us a great deal. Today, many species of bacteria are resistant to all kinds of antibiotics because, as a result of natural selection, only the few bacteria that have resisted have been able to multiply.


22. It is important to note that the number of means of verifying the hypotheses put forward has increased since Darwin. From the form of the fossils discovered to the study of their DNA, the cross-checking of information makes it possible to achieve considerable objectivity.


23. There can be no doubt that evolution is a genuine science.


24. As Guillaume Lecointre, a professor of zoology at the National Natural History Museum in Paris, points out, science is the totality of operations that produce objective knowledge. A statement on the world can only be described as objective if it has been verified by an independent observer. This verification depends on three factors: scepticism, rationality and logic and, finally, methodological materialism. These three pillars ensure the objectivity of a scientific result.

パリ国立自然史博物館の動物学教授であるGuillaume Leocintrは、科学が客観的知識をつくりだす活動の総体であることを指摘した。独立した観察者によって検証される場合のみ、世界について客観的に記述できる。この検証は次の3つの依存する。すなわち、懐疑主義、合理性と論理、そして最後に方法論的唯物論である。これら3本柱が科学的結果の客観性を保証する。

25. Scientific research on the subject of evolution has been no exception.


26. At present, scientists from all nations, races and religions agree on the existence of evolution and accordingly no longer try to find out whether it has actually taken place but “how” this has happened. A number of questions remain within the scientific community with regard to understanding all the processes that lead to evolution. In particular this work consists in revealing the mechanisms that have governed the present structuring of biodiversity2. However, no science is ever complete and new discoveries regularly enable progress to be made on understanding “how” things are as they are.


27. In addition, as Herve Le Guyader emphasises, evolutionist thinking now pervades all areas of biology and, through the historical dimension of the process of evolution, also affects the sciences of the Earth and the universe. The advances in evolution research have in fact resulted in broadening the basis of this theory, so that today the evolution of populations, including human populations, is only part of evolution as a whole. Research being done on evolution is still providing more evidence for the truth of the theory of evolution.

さらに、Herve Le Guyaderが強調するように、進化論者の考えは、進化の過程の歴史的次元を通して、今や生物学の分野全体に広がっており、地球と宇宙の科学に影響をおよぼしている。進化の研究の進展は事実として、この理論の基礎を拡大し、今では人間集団を含む集団の進化が進化全体の一部でしかない。進化に関する研究は、進化論の真実について、さらなる証拠を提供している。

28. One of the discoveries that has been made in the study of our planet and has been confirmed many times, is the dating of the major events that have marked its development:


  • the solar system, which includes the Earth, was formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago;
  • life appeared on Earth at least 2.5 billion years ago (in the form of unicellular bacteria);
  • about 200 million years ago Pangea began to split up to form the continents we know today;
  • homo sapiens, ie human beings, emerged between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago.

  • 地球を含む太陽系は約46億年前に誕生した。
  • 生命は少なくとも25億年前には、単細胞細菌の形で地球に出現した。
  • 約2億年前、パンゲア大陸は分裂し始め、我々が今日知っている大陸を形作り始めた。
  • ホモサピエンス、すなわち人間は10~20万年前に出現した。

It is thus not hard to understand why these discoveries have presented a challenge to those who apply a strict interpretation to the first part of the Bible, ie Genesis.


最終更新:2010年01月16日 23:45