Evolution

It is a matter of grave concern when a nation such as America, whose constitution is one of the greatest historical documents ever written and which has, for so long, embraced the principle of separation of Church and State, is in danger of being held hostage by religious extremists.

If you shout long enough and loud enough, any reasonable person will suspend his arguments to let you finish. When it comes to evolution, the Christian establishment in America is shouting ever louder. When your beliefs are questioned, and they are in danger of being proved incorrect, it is natural that you will seek to defend it using whatever means you can.

Evolution has provided an elegant and simple explanation for the development of life on our planet and it has given scientifically valid reasons to reject creationism, which is the bedrock of the Christian faith. But there are many who still fervently believe that the Earth was created 6000 years ago in 7 days by God and if that is not regressive thinking, I don’t know what is.

Considering that the Bible was written two millennia ago, it is natural that it would contain wrong explanations for several phenomenon. We tend to invoke the supernatural when we fail to find an explanation for something and the men of that time were ignorant about many things. We have always wanted an explanation for our origins and the idea that a supreme being created us and appointed us masters of the world is appealing. It would have been even more so in centuries past. Evolution though, was a game-changer.

When I was in school in Mumbai, science was not a particularly well taught subject. Not many subjects are because teachers tend to stick to textbooks and few of mine made the effort to teach above and beyond what the books contained. Evolution was not very well elaborated and beyond the fact that Charles Darwin came up with it and some short explanation, nothing more was conveyed. As a result, I never gave it much thought. Questions about human origins never played a part in my day to day life and as a result, evolution went unnoticed.

But years later, as I journeyed to America, I was struck by how many pitched battles were being fought between men of science and people of religious faith who came up with an innocuous term to describe creationism. Intelligent Design tends to give creationism an advantage because it sounds a lot more like a scientific theory. This is what it is being claimed as – an alternative hypothesis to explain human origins. But it is not. It is merely a ploy by Christian Fundamentalists to impose their religious beliefs on children.

Considering how desperate they sound, with the screams getting louder and more hysterical, it seems like the ultra religious are playing their last big hand. It seems like the final throw of the dice. But it is time to counter this. An attack on a basic scientific principle, which is the basis of all biology, will not stop at that. There will be attacks on all aspects of science that contradict religion and humanity might be in the danger of being pushed back to the dark ages.

People of reason need to make a stand and rise against this. We need to educate ourselves and educate others about basic science. Will reason triumph or will regressive thinking win? Only time will tell. But we better make a good fight of it.

 

 

 

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15 Comments

Filed under Atheism, Opinion

15 responses to “Evolution

  1. Well said. I think the people best placed to make a stand on this are liberal Christians who reconcile their faith with a proper respect for science. They have a better chance than ardent atheists being taken seriously by Christians caught in the middle, who aren’t sure whether to believe Creationism or evolution. I hope they realise how important this issue is.

    • I get why people would want to attribute questions of our origin to old beliefs. But the truth suffers when people persist in their ignorance. It suffers because impressionable children follow these beliefs and then become adults whose ideologies can be rooted in faith. In order to encourage progress as a species, it is essential to attack ideas that hold us back. This is where it would be easier to get moderate Christians, who don’t completely reject science to take a stand.

  2. I’m not sure that I’d make a plan to attack creationist theology or dogma per se, but rather train, learn, and prepare to defend against all attacks on truth. The sound of religion’s death throws are clearly being heard. I’ve written a bit about this on my blog. The screams will get louder and the louder they get the fewer children will listen to them. The Catholic church is losing young people in record numbers and they’re not going to other religions. Truth will win, the only question is when.

    • No doubt, but as atheists, it is not enough to meet monthly in a pub and merely shake our heads sadly and agree when someone says “Hey! Look at these religious nutjobs!” We have to make our presence felt in a positive light. This is when I fear that vitriolic attacks on religion, the sort of which Dawkins ad Hitchens are famous for, hurt the cause of the new enlightenment.

      • It might be that Hitchens and Dawkins have offended some, or even many. They did do much to put the conversation out on the public square. That said, it takes many kinds of effort to get change and no single method is going to be the only way to successes. I just think that planning an attack is not one of the right ones. Stopping indoctrination, ensuring that children are educated with truth… these are good ways. Perhaps that just semantics.

  3. “When it comes to evolution, the Christian establishment in America is shouting ever louder.”

    Evolutionism is the establishment in America, not Christianity; nor creation. I am a prime example of someone brainwashed in school to blindly accept evolution without question–and I did. Until I grew out of it, got a mind of my own, and did my own research.

  4. @myatheistlife, I agree. Facts are more important than ideologies.

  5. @synapticcohesion, Evolution has enough evidence. What doesn’t have any evidence is the creation of the universe in 7 days. Think about what sounds more absurd.

  6. Complex lifeforms developing on their own sounds a lot more absurd, don’t you think?

    • Not really when you consider the time scale of hundreds of millions of years. I agree that first cause has not been replicated in a lab. But why not accept ignorance and work to find an answer instead of taking what someone wrote 2000 years ago as fact?

      Even if you have legitimate reasons to believe in a creator, why does it have to be the Christian creator? Creation myths have been around far longer than Christianity itself.

      • Hundred of millions of years ago. An arbitrary number given by pseudoscientists who can’t even get their facts straight and use severely faulty dating methods.

        A prime and by no means the only example is the coelacanth–a fish that supposedly went extinct 66 million years ago based on carbon dating methods…until they found this coelacanth still swimming around in today’s oceans. No apologies, no dismissal of carbon dating methods as being bogus and unreliable–even when modern and LIVE animals were also dated as thousands and million of years old by these methods! Because they KNOW the majority of the population will not question men wearing white jackets using jargon that is beyond their comprehension.

  7. If you study evolutionary biology, even a little bit, and look at how small lego blocks can become somplex things it is easy enough to understand that one small thing can lead to another and eventually you will end up with complex life forms. This is testable, provable, and there is tons of evidence for it.

    So, No, is it not more absurd. It is in fact more likely.

  8. Radiocarbon dating is used to date organic material and is valid for measurements up to 60000 years. Other methods are used for dating inorganic matter and older organic matter.

    What your example of the Coelacanth proves is that we don’t know a lot about life in our oceans which is unsurprising considering the sheer size. The dating method can gave the age of the particular fossil but nothing more than that. Whether it was alive or not was speculation and since it was not observed, it was speculated that it was extinct.

    People have faith because it is easier to comprehend. As you and I have made an effort to understand this, so can anybody else. They can reach these conclusions on their own.

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