Evolution and stubbornness

evolutionIt puzzles me that a third of Americans don’t believe in the Theory of Evolution. Why is it controversial? Sure, the Bible says that God created the world in six days, but really?

Of all the theories that science has thrown into the public consciousness, evolution is one of the most obvious and easily understood. Horticulturists and farmers use selective breeding all the time to strengthen their stock, or to select for specific characteristics. It’s not rocket science.

Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859. It’s not a new idea. It’s not conceptually difficult to understand. Anyone who has parents or children or brothers or sisters can experience it first-hand. After Darwin published his theory, the biologist Thomas Huxley famously declared, “How stupid of me not to have thought of it!”

The precise mechanisms of inheritance – including an understanding of dominant and recessive factors – were meticulously studied by Mendel and presented in 1865.

The detailed workings of DNA and genetics were not uncovered until the 20th century, but the principles of heritability have been well understood by science for 150 years and are entirely non-controversial.

Our evolutionary heritage is clearly preserved in our DNA for all to see. We even have the genes for growing a tail (they are switched off in humans.)

We can see evolution at work in the current human population. For example, people who live at high altitude can have a third more oxygen-carrying red blood cells than those of use who live closer to sea level.

What is the mystery? There is none. One thing holds back public acceptance of science. It is not ignorance. It is not stupidity. It is stubbornness.

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24 responses to “Evolution and stubbornness

  1. I love it when people say, “Well, it’s just a theory.” (You know, like gravity.) 😉 It’s always fun to explain what a scientific theory actually is. I think “theory” and “theoretically” are so often used when “hypothesis” and “hypothetically” are actually meant, people have gotten really confused about things.

  2. I so agree. Nothing is so apparent as evolution. And I think maybe that stubbornness has more to do with meshing creationism with evolution rather than just being willing to accept evolution. You don’t have to give up one for the other.

  3. When you write of “stubbernness” do you mean an unwillingness to allow other arguments, different views?

  4. That’s one of the reasons I love science. It accepts the fact that there is a possibility of a better solution and call each concept a ‘theory’ however obvious it may be. Where as in religion, even the most impossible things are believed to have happened because ‘its said so’ in the Bible/ Quran/ Torah/ etc.

  5. I think it’s funny when people pit Darwin against Christianity, too – Darwin was a Christian!
    I recently began my own spiritual hunt, and started ato attend a church and did a Bible study with the pastor’s wife, and I sited one reason for my doubts against Chrisitanity as evolution. Interestingly, she felt that evolution fit into Christian beliefs, not just in the 7-day creation stuff, but evolution over time, in that it was God’s will and, well, creation that things changed in the pattern that we see as evolution.
    It was interesting, but I can’t say I was converted, and decided to begin a blog as I develop my beliefs. If you are interested, check it out at Seed To Seedling through my Gravitar (the iPad’s limitations are frustrating and don’t let you make a link very well or I’d put one in).

    • I don’t take the view that evolution disproves religion. But as our knowledge of the world increases and ignorance recedes, religious belief is getting pushed back into a smaller and smaller corner.

      • I don’t think evolution disproves religion either, it compliments my paganistic beliefs quite well actually. I think that it can also fit into other views, such as Christianity though I had only ever before heard of evolution vs. Christianity, so I was pleased by my friend’s view.
        Do you really think that religious views are getting pushed back throughout the world? In US government and schools of course it is, yet it seems to remain a strong significance in people’s lives, as far as I can see. I think though that organized religion is seeing a surge in competition from a large amount of people who are choosing their own path though.

  6. I wrote a post a few years ago titled, “What Americans Believe.” Here’s the link if you’re interested: http://mindfuldigressions.com/2012/06/10/what-americans-believe/
    As an American, I find it incredibly frustrating that so many Americans reject evolution in favor of creationism. But as I noted in my post, 42% of Americans believe in ghosts, 32% believe in UFOs, and 61% believe in the virgin birth. So what else would you expect?

  7. Judging by the creationists that I know, many of them see it as something they’re supposed to believe, and they hold that belief as an anthropological signal that they’re part of a certain group. Often holding that belief in the face of intellectual disdain is a badge of honor for them.

    I’m not sure how to reach these folks, but I do know that ridicule is rarely the answer. All it usually does is cause them to dig in deeper. I think the best approach is simply to express the wonders of science and hope that convinces some portion of them to investigate further. For most of them, creationism is a shallow belief that they’ve never really examined too closely.

  8. Quite the contrary selfawarepatterns. I am not forced to believe in God. I choose too. The real question is how so many people can believe and accept as truth the theory of evolution as fact. First of all, remember, it’s just a theory? There is no proof to back up your belief in the big bang theory or some organism crawling out of the water and some millions of years later grow limbs and some millions of years later turn into something else and millions of years later became some monkey and millions of years later evolve into a bigger monkey and then for some reason there is a missing link? And then millions of years later supposedly evolve into man? The missing link is missing because there is no link to begin with. Where is all the evidence and proof of all the millions of years gone by between so-called evolving into some other creature? All this makes no sense at all and requires much for faith to believe than it does to believe that there is some supreme being that created everything? In order for anything to evolve, it must first of had to be created in the first place? Again, you can’t get something from nothing and that again requires an astonishing amount of faith to believe that something came from nothing. Where did that something come from to begin with for the big bang to occur? It is far more logical to accept a Creator than all that evolution nonsense. Think about it, which came first, the chicken or the egg? evolution can’t explain it, but creation does.

    • aagrove9, I fear that you’re only making the case for the last sentence in my comment. If you look into this, really look into it, you’ll discover that that evidence is staggeringly pervasive and overwhelming.

      On the big bang cosmology, astronomers observe that the universe is expanding. If it’s expanding, it was smaller yesterday, and smaller still the day before. Follow that to its conclusion and everything started in a hot dense state, now estimated to be around 14 billion years ago.

      Even before modern dating methods, it’s been obvious to geologists since the 18th century that the Earth was orders of magnitude more ancient than implied by a literal reading of Genesis. Those dating methods, of which there are dozens, all give similar answers, that the Earth is billions of years old.

      Evidence for evolution includes what Steve mentions, along with the fossil record all around the world, the way embryos develop through every previous evolutionary stage before morphing into their final form, the fact that we have to have a new flu shot every year since the flu virus is constantly evolving, and many other things.

      I could go on for thousands of words, but this is just a comment and whole libraries have been written on this stuff. I urge you to check some of it out. The universe is orders of magnitude older, unimaginably vaster, and filled with more wonders than anything the ancient writers could have imagined. Hundreds of millions of Christians keep their faith while accepting the scientific view of reality. If they can do it, so can you.

      A vast world of wonder awaits you if you’re just willing to explore it.

      • First of all, I’d like to thank everyone that has remarked in a civil and respectful manner. Secondly, I’m sorry to get back so late, it’s tough when I’m writing myself and reading and replying to others and so on, it takes time to try to get back with everyone, I’m sure you all know how it is. Anyway, I believe science actual helps the belief that there must be a higher supreme being that must have had created everything as opposed to all this coming from nothing. Again, it takes much more faith to believe that everything came to be from nothing than to be in a supreme being that created everything. Science itself shows the intricacy of how life actually must have a creator than coming into existence from nothing. There are several verses, but for time and space, I will offer this one from 2Peter 3:5 “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:” You see, What this verse is basically saying is, that God had built in age into the heavens and the earth. So yes, the earth could show that it is thousands of years old, or perhaps even millions of years old, but that wouldn’t prove anything other than God had built in time and age into His creation. Many people miss this verse or have not even known about this verse? Biblically speaking, the answer to all the animal fossils that are found and believed to be dinosaurs are simply the scattered animals of the flood. In reality, when they started discovery these so-called dinosaur bones, they were simply those of animals that had been drowned in the flood, and animals laying upon other animals thereby causing the illusion of some unknown animal that never existed by only in some man’s imagination. The fact that all those dinosaurs that have been puzzled together were never found like that, never found intact to convincingly prove that this is what they supposedly look like. They just pieced them together with whatever bones they found within the dug up area. Back in the sixties I remember the players involved acknowledging that none of those pieced together dinosaurs where ever found like how they are resembled. Also, this would be in total conflict with the creation of God, since God created all the animals on the sixth day, and Adam named all the animals. If indeed those dinosaurs existed, we surely would have had a name for them and some proof of their existence and not having some scientist name them with their made up man-made names. Thanks for listening.

        • I have to point out that those fossils have been carbon dated to millions of years BC, and many fossils have been found in a complete state. When we turn to astronomical evidence, we find that the universe must be nearly 14 billions years old – much older then the Earth – and so any literal reading of the Biblical creation of 6 days is false.

  9. Agree, agree, agree!!!

    Fondly,
    Elizabeth

  10. aagrobe9, you ask good questions, and that is the path to discovery. As selfawarepatterns says, there are many excellent sources of information. I have written about some of these topics on my blog.

    Age of the Earth – https://blogbloggerbloggest.com/2014/03/31/the-age-of-the-earth
    The Big Bang – https://blogbloggerbloggest.com/2013/08/03/what-the-universe-looked-like-before-hubble
    Common misconceptions about the Big Bang – https://blogbloggerbloggest.com/2013/09/14/big-bang-theory-misconceptions

    There is, in fact, masses of proof, or evidence for these “theories”. If you really want to find out what kind of proof exists, and why your idea of a missing link is mistaken, I recommend you read Bill Bryson’s excellent book, A Short History of Nearly Everything. It’s extremely well researched and well written, has no axe to grind, and explains what the theories are, what evidence supports them, and how they were developed.

  11. I really don’t believe in evolution, what!! man couldnt have evolved from apes…Adam and eve where the first human beings and not apes LOL…not me obviously.

    visit http://www.phonemastas.wordpress.com

  12. Americans don’t believe in evolution and think that Socialism=Communism.

  13. What I find most ridiculous of all is the presumption (by Darwin) that since evolutionary process was obvious in the animals he had observed, then all of the animals on earth must have originated without benefit of a creator. It is perhaps Darwin’s stubborn insistence to put this particular “conclusion” in print that drives so many potential evolution evangelists to stomp away from the reading in utter rage. Darwin’s unfounded presumption has done a lot to stall acceptance of his research, and that of subsequent naturalists. So… yeah, stubbornness–though evolution is a fact in action all around us, some folks stubbornly denounce the “theory” simply because of a not-so-well-thought-out statement.

    • I don’t know if Darwin ever presumed that, although many might regard it as a logical conclusion, rather than a presumption.
      If complex life emerged naturally from simple life, and if simple life resembles nothing more than complex biochemistry, the role of a Creator of life seems to be obsolete.
      However, evolution is much like the Big Bang theory, which says nothing about how the universe was created, only about how it has behaved for the past 13.7 billion years.

  14. In America, everything is controversial.

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