Darwin made two major points in On the Origin of Species: that living things had evolved, or descended with modification, from common ancestors, and that the mechanism of natural selection was evolution's major cause. These two components of his book often are jumbled together by antievolutionists, who argue that if natural selection can be shown to be inadequate as an evolutionary mechanism, then the idea of common descent necessarily fails. But the two constituents of Darwin's argument are conceptually and historically distinct. common descent was accepted by both the scientific and the religious communities more quickly than was the mechanism of natural selection. Further separating the two components of Darwinism is the fact that the religious objections to each are quite distinct. For these reasons, I will separate these two theoretical concepts in discussing religious objections to evolution.
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