Recently a friend on facebook posted some religious propaganda. I am normally not one to care if someone wants to openly express his or her belief about a particular God or religion. That would be very
hypocritical of me considering I study why people believe in religion.
I do, however, have a breaking point.

Case in point this is the post my friend made that prompted me to write the next few blogs.

I don't think we should be able to discuss evolution if we can't discuss faith. Evolution is just a theory.
Keep God In Schools!
The cause now has 1,380,040 members and has raised $3,957.
Their mission: Allow teacher's to discuss their faith when a student asks a question regarding said faith.

Those there are fighting words.

My response:

Evolution is not just a theory first off. It is a fact. Changes in gene
frequencies over time occur and these changes result in variation among
and between species. It is considered a theory because the mechanisms
underlying it are constantly being tested and revised, however,
evolution itself is a fact.

Someone that thinks that evolution should not be taught because it goes
against their beliefs is as ridiculous as when it was illegal to read
or teach anything other then the earth being the center of our solar
system. If you do not want evolution taught then you should not have
your children learn about pretty much most anything from the life
sciences (biology, zoology, geology, chemistry, etc.) because most
fields rely on evolution to help guide their theories. Also lets not
forget about medicine. One of the reasons we can make antibiotics to
treat people is because we have an understanding of evolution. Should
you force people not to get antibiotics because the scientists who make
it use evolutionary theory?

By bringing these counterarguments up I just real want to bring to
light some of the many misconceptions people have about evolution. I
have no problems with people who believe in God, scientology, Buddhism,
whatever. What crosses the line for me is when ones religious agenda
get shoved into something that should and must remain objective.

Scientists are not out to bring down religion. In fact only until very
recently has science really even begun to research the why’s and how’s
of religion, including myself.

The problem between science and faith (which is creationism) is when
religion comes along, and it always does, and tries to hinder
progression. Evolution is not the first scientific theory to go against
the church and/or the bible and it will not be last. It will always
eventually become widely accepted.

A very long time ago religious texts were created to help explain
events that humans lacked the technology to explain. Eventually some
super smart innovator comes along and discovers through observation and
a strong desire to learn about the inner workings of the world a new
explanation. These innovators could not be satisfied, nor should they
be satisfied, through simple explanations such as God did it and
therefore too complex for us mere humans to understand. Imagine the
type of world we would live in if nobody ever questioned religion and
the bible. Actually there is an example of this. It is known as the
Dark Ages.

So historically when these innovators came along the church, in order
to protect their religious doctrine, prosecuted and forced these
innovators to either give up their research or go underground with
their work.

The list of those who earned the wrath of the Church reads like a Who's
Who of Science: Copernicus, Bruno, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Halley,
Darwin, Hubble, even Bertrand Russell. The Church has also been on the
wrong side of the social sciences for over 1,500 years, actively
promoting slavery, anti-Semitism, the torture and murder of women as
witches, sexual repression, censorship and the Inquisition, Crusades
and other aggressive wars, and capital punishment for misdemeanors.

Eventually an innovator comes along and discovers something that goes
against what the bible says (example: Galileo was one of the first
scientists to argue for a non earth centered view of the solar system,
in which planet revolve around the Sun and not the earth. The bible
however tells us in Genesis that the Earth and the Heavens were created
for man and as such everything centers around us. Actually knowledge
that planets revolved around the Sun emerged as early as 3rd century BC.

1) First the Church tries to crush the “heretical view” through
censorship and persecution of scientists. (Galileo under repeated
threats of torture, finally renounced his beliefs. He was then placed
under house arrest, and not freed even after he went blind)

2) Eventually however science prevails and evidence becomes too obvious
to ignore. (It would not be until 1758 before the Church decided to
drop the general prohibition of books advocating heliocentrism from the
Index of Forbidden Books.

3) Church retracts early objection and then incorporates it into the
religion. (Pope Pius VII approved a decree in 1822 by the Sacred
Congregation of the Inquisition to allow the printing of heliocentric
books in Rome)

The same will ultimately happen in the case of evolution. It took the
church roughly 220 years since Galileo to openly accept the theory. And
in fact there are some people today who irrational still believe the
bible interpretation instead. Furthermore the theory of evolution has
only been around for 151 years, give it some time.

Finally let me remind people that Creationism is not science. It can
not produce any testable theories? It has no valuable information to
offer science? It is illogical, going against the progression of
information from so many different fields of research. It breeds narrow
mindedness, lacking in intellectual creativity and freedom of
discovery. What creationism does do is two things. First, it spends a
large amount of time arguing against science, in particular evolution.
Regurgitating the same old arguments that have been proved erroneous
time and time again. Second, it tries to muddle actual science with the
bible. Go to a creationist museum and see a dinosaur with a saddle on
it’s back and a human riding it. Or when they use the great flood to
attempt to explain the effects of millions of years of erosion of
rocks. For what purpose? What can viewing the world like this, so
restricted and inaccurately, possible do to progress technology.
Scientists would not even begin to understand global warming, without
understanding that the earth is older then a laughable 10,000 years.

Which brings me to my very last point I promise. So you want teachers
in public schools to teach creationism in schools...what kind of
creationism are you referring to?

1) Flat Earth creationism - God created the world with a flat surface
6,000 years ago. All that modern science says about shape, size, and
age of the Earth is wrong, and evolution does not occur.

2) Modern geocentrism - God recently created a spherical world, and
placed it in the center of the universe. The Sun, planets and
everything else in the universe revolve around it. All scientific
claims about the age of the Earth are lies; evolution does not occur.

3) Young-Earth Creationism - The belief that the Earth was created by
God a few thousand years ago, literally as described in Creation
according to Genesis, within the approximate time frame.

4) Old-Earth Creationism - which maintains that the physical universe
was created by God, but that the creation event of Genesis is not to be
taken strictly literally. This group generally believes that the
Universe and the Earth are as described by astronomers and geologists,
but that details of the evolutionary theory are questionable.

5) Gap creationism, also called Restitution creationism - the view that
life was immediately created on a pre-existing old Earth. This group
generally translates Genesis 1:2 as "The earth became without form and
void," indicating a destruction of the original creation by some
unspecified cataclysm.

6) Day-age creationism - the view that the "six days" of Genesis are
not ordinary twenty-four-hour days, but rather much longer periods (for
instance, each "day" could be the equivalent of millions of years of
modern time).

7) Progressive creationism - the view that species have changed or
evolved in a process continuously guided by God, with various ideas as
to how the process operates. This accepts most of modern physical
science including the age of the Earth, but rejects much of modern
biology or looks to it for evidence that evolution by natural selection
is incorrect.

8) Intelligent Design movement - "The theory of intelligent design
holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are
best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such
as [Darwinian] natural selection." Intelligent design styles itself as
a philosophical approach to the origin of information. Ostensibly,
intelligent design does not oppose the theory of evolution. However,
the leading proponents of intelligent design are Christian theists who
vociferously oppose evolution and acknowledge to their constituency
their strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that they can
get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of
God, before the academic world and into the schools.

9) Jewish creationism includes a continuum of views about creationism,
on aspects including the origin of life and the role of evolution in
the formation of species as debated in the creation-evolution

So which creationism “science” is your group raising money for? I guess
that would depend on your particular religious beliefs. You know there
is only one type of scientific methods used in all fields of science.

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Comment by Jim DePaulo on March 13, 2010 at 12:34pm
When I taught the evolution unit to my high school biology classes I compared evolution to metabolism. Both are demonstrable processes yet all the exact mechanisms of either process are not fully understood and that is where the theories are centered. I think a more accurate phrase would be the Theories of Evolutionary Mechanisms.
Comment by Dorksome on March 12, 2010 at 10:04pm
Rhett I think you make a excellent point. This particular bog I actually wrote very quickly. I wrote all three blogs over a 2 hours period. My goal was to get the information back out to my friend as quickly as possible. I do agree with you and if I had more time to plan it out I would have modified it more as that.

You last comment is intriguing- "Making evolution a fact, although it is, diminishes its significance hugely because facts are relatively uninteresting."

As someone that studies evolution I would say that facts are interesting to us, we have evolved to want to learn information about our environment. I also believe, however, that religious concepts tend to become more interesting and thus remembered better because they violate a basic expectation of how something should behave. Because it is simply encoded across multiple domains. What makes something like evolution less appealing then creationism also comes down to also how we process the information on a cognitive level plus the power of groups, etc.
Comment by Allen D. Berrios on March 12, 2010 at 7:31pm
Excellent blog, can't wait to read the rest! =)
Comment by Garrick McElroy on March 12, 2010 at 2:56pm
I'm loving your blog so far :O

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