Having been reading, watching, thinking, living evolution quite a bit over the last bit. I'm awestruck at how so many people who don't even understand the concept of evolution dismiss it as nonsense. To do so would hold a strong likeness to me claiming that some surgical procedures promise for success is utterly zero. While I may have some anatomical knowledge, it is certainly nothing in comparison to that of a surgeons. While some may have general knowledge of evolutions claims, it is certainly nothing in comparison to that of a biologists, a geologists, an anthropologists. So how can so many people be comfortable making a statement parallel to heart surgery does no good. From PBS's series on evolution, I quote Emi Hayashi, a Christian Biochemistry student at a very Christian institute of higher education, Wheaton College.
We cant have that many idiots out there in science. That's just not possible. So for a Christian to point their finger at scientists and say "you're wrong," without having any understanding what [the scientists] are talking about is laughable. They have to understand where scientists are coming from. They have to understand: This is the data, this is what we have, now can you make sense of that with the Bible? [1]
The fact of the matter is that most atheists and evolutionists are more educated on the theology of the bible and Christianity than anti-evolution Christians are on the science of evolution. Being generally scientifically-minded, the average atheist and evolutionist takes in a concept before outright rejecting it. Its in the way we work. We don't take things blindly like the Christian.

Over mothers day weekend, I was channel surfing at my moms house. I fell upon a public access program that featured a fundamentalist Christian preacher. He was ripping evolution apart. It was, as Hayashi put it, quite laughable. One of his biggest points was the changes in geological estimates of the planets and universes ages. He pointed out that in 1850, earth was estimated to be around 50 million year old and then by the year 1960, it was estimated at over 2 billion years old. I cant quite recall the numbers he used, so I'm making these numbers up and giving him the benefit of the doubt on their accuracy. The exact numbers are not the issue. Even their accuracy is not the issue. He had the entire audience laughing while joking that the planet aged nearly 2 billion years in just over 100 years. He even made a comment along the lines of, Is it me or do these scientists seem confused? Or is it maybe that they just don't know what they are talking about? I laughed as the audience did. However, I was laughing at them not with them. What it boils down to is that in science, we can look back at old data. We can reanalyze this old data with newer, better, more sound methods. We can take a step back and admit that the previous analysis was flawed. We can accept the new analysis for its superiority over the old analysis and move on.

I have nary a doubt that this man was well-versed with the work of Ken Ham. Ham also appeared in the What About God? portion of PBS's evolution series and is best-known for his website AnswersInGenesis.org. One of Ham's most laughable statements in the program was when he said (paraphrased): When someone says to you "millions of years ago," you politely say to them "were you there?" in response. He then goes on to say that the flood depicted in Genesis is very much a real event. I have only one question for Mr. Ham: Were you there? Quite a selective application of demanded proof isn't it, Kenneth? Quit brainwashing our children.

Evolution is really very simple when you get a grasp on it. It is the journey toward getting this grasp that troubles most. Very well put by Douglas Adams, "The thing about evolution is that if it hasn't turned your brain inside out, you haven't understood it." Jesse has already laid out the basics of the theory of evolution, so I wont go into great detail here. But the beginning is to understand what is commonly referred to as micro-evolution. This is, briefly, modification of a species so slight as to not change the general form of the being. Darwin's research with finches of the Galapagos Islands illustrates this form of macro-evolution very soundly. Based on very minor differences in vegetation and available food, the beaks of finches on different islands were shaped a bit differently.
From Dr. Robert Rothman @ RIT
From Out of This World
This is a classic example of adaptation through modification. An application of this tree of life principle over a broader scheme gives us micro-evolution. Macro-evolution is simply myriad occurrences of micro-evolution of many, many years. Eventually, these modifications of a species lead it to no longer be identified as a member of its original species and it is then necessary to classify it as a new species. Darwin's tree of life is the foundational bedrock of modern biology. To reject it is to reject all of biology and it easily follows, all of science.

I can hold a small amount of respect for Ken Hams ways. He talks about the Genesis ordering of the cosmos and says if we don't believe it then the bible is wrong about astronomy. If we dont believe the flood then it is wrong about geology. And lastly, if we dont believe it about Adam and Eve then it is wrong about biology. The only thing we differ about is that he believes the bible is correct about these things and I do not. As he argues, if we arent to believe the bible about astronomy, geology, and biology then why believe it about morals and salvation?

While some argue, and in a way I agree, that Christian evolutionists should be viewed as allies in the grand realization of evolutions truth. While I commend these Christians for not staying blinded by the facts of evolution, I am very curious at how they reconcile their evolution acceptance with biblical creation. Many of them say that there is on conflict. Ive heard it been said that evolution answers an entirely different question than what religion does. Id really like to know what these two questions are to me, they both attempt to ultimately answer on question: How did we, as humans, come to be?

Michael Ruse, a professor at Florida State University, is one such person who advocates and alliance between atheists and Christian evolutionists. As an attempt to paraphrase him would be unjust, I quote:
At the same time, we who love science must realize that the enemy of our enemies is our friend. Too often evolutionists spend time insulting would-be allies. This is especially true of secular evolutionists. Atheists spend more effort running down sympathetic Christians than they do countering creationists. When John Paul II wrote a letter endorsing Darwinism, Richard Dawkins's response was simply that the pope was a hypocrite, that he could not be genuine about science and that Dawkins himself simply preferred an honest fundamentalist. This was just plain stupid. Traditional Christians hate biblical literalism as much as atheists do more, in fact, because it sullies their religion. Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt did like Stalin and Communism. But in fighting Hitler they realized they had to work with the Soviet Union. Evolutionists of all kinds must likewise work together to fight creationism: Dont ignore differences, but dont make them a reason for inaction. [2]
I'm actually a bit torn on this whole issue, and I need to explore it a bit more. I have had minor contact with Professor Ruse after reading his piece in Playboy. I agree that converting all Christians to the realm of theistic evolution may be a step in the right direction. I also think I may agree with Dawkins in that Id much rather prefer an honest fundamentalist.

One last thing that I often wonder about in regards to this whole ID educational movement is what exactly they want taught in the classroom. With evolution, there are many items for a teacher to include into a lesson plan: the fossil record, the geological column, demonstrated variances within a given species, the theory of natural selection through adaptation and mutation. These are things that can easily be talked about and scene with a scientific eye. Suppose ID were let in the classrooms of our children. What the hell would the lesson plan look like? I picture this: The world in which we live is beautiful, isn't it? It must have had an intelligent designer who planned it to be as such. The IDers talk about presenting all the facts, but the only fact about their proposed subject matter is that there are no facts about their proposed subject matter. I feel dirty pointing to Ruse again, but he sums up my final cry for education nicely. Being a native of England, he offers a view of our American education system that most cant see from the inside.
Darwinian evolution is mainstream science. In countries like the U.K., France and Canada, this is accepted as the norm. I grew up in England; I got evolution. My kids grew up in Canada; they got evolution. The United States is different. Survey after survey shows that intelligent-design theorists are preaching to the choir. More than half the nations citizens believe evolution is false [3]
This country's founding for religious freedom may just have been the worst thing ever, for it fostered the development of unrestricted fundamentalism which has scarily become the norm.
sources:
1. PBS. Evolution. What About God? DVD
2. Playboy. April 2006. Faith & Reason by Michael Ruse. pg 133.
3. Playboy. April 2006. Faith & Reason by Michael Ruse. pg 128.

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Tags: education, evolution, ignorance

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