Jumping ship

Dr Jim Allan, a Geneticist, Tells of His ‘Double Conversion’

Dr James Allan, M.Sc.Agric. (Stellenbosch), Ph.D. (Edinburgh), retired as senior lecturer in the Department of Genetics, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 1992. He has researched the genetics of fruit flies, snails, chickens, dairy cattle, and fish, and taught students quantitative and population genetics, particularly in its application to the breeding of animals. He spoke recently with Dr Don Batten and Dr Carl Wieland.

Dr Allan told us that he accepted evolution as a young student at university ‘virtually from the word go.’ He says, ‘For about 40 years I believed in the theory of evolution.’ He thought that evolution explained the similarities that exist between living things—such as all living things sharing the system of coding genetic information on DNA—and never questioned the idea. Things shared the DNA code because they had a common ancestor, he thought.

Jim started to go to a different church and heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time. He says:

‘I saw my weaknesses, my sin, my faults. I was converted and I began to read Scripture really meaningfully for the first time.’

However, he carried on believing in evolution, until one day his wife said, ‘Is there any reason why God should not have created all forms of life on the basis of a universal genetic code?’

Jim shared his response:

‘My immediate reaction was one of annoyance. What is she on about?—absolute nonsense! What does she know about such things? And then I got up in a state of irritation and I stalked out of the house. As I walked, I found myself thinking, and I really believe at that stage God spoke to me. He humbled me. I suddenly found myself thinking, you know, maybe she does have a point. Maybe God did create all forms of life on the basis of a universal genetic code. I mean, why should we expect God to do otherwise?

‘This whole argument of DNA—the universality of DNA—is a major plank of the common ancestry argument. I became aware that the Word of God was more important than my concept of science. And I truly can say that I became aware that I’d been worshipping and serving created things rather than the Creator, as Paul said (Romans 1:25).’….

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