On Friday March 6, the Reverend Ron Whitehead wrote a letter addressing the theory of evolution in an inaccurate manner. Reverend Whitehead stated that evolution was “just a theory.” With all due respect, I fear that the Reverend does not understand what a scientific theory is or what is required for something to become a scientific theory. In science, the word theory applies to a well tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations. Scientific theories are built upon evidence and well-tested experiments. The Reverend also stated that evolution has not and never will be proven. I am sorry to say that if evolution was not supported by sufficient evidence it would not be considered a scientific theory.
Evolution is a scientific theory and gravity is also a scientific theory. I seriously hope that the Reverend does not deny the existence of gravity. Should he leap from a tall building he will find that gravity is not “just a theory.” Evolution by natural selection predicted that bacterial resistance would happen when antibiotics were introduced. Given time, heredity, and variation, any living organisms (including bacteria) evolve when a selective pressure (like an antibiotic) is introduced. Should the Reverend ignore this fact, and forego his doctor’s properly prescribed antibiotic he could wind up in as much trouble as he would by ignoring the theory of gravity.
The Reverend also repeated the common misconception that humans evolved from monkeys. This is not true. Humans and monkeys share a common primate ancestor; we did not evolve from modern monkeys. However, both humans and monkeys, like all other life on this planet are still evolving today.
The Reverend went on to imply that morality comes from the Bible. I can agree that there are some good moral values portrayed in the Bible, however there are also many ideas sanctioned by the Bible that our society today would consider misogynistic, unethical and immoral. For example, the Bible promotes civility and love (I Corinthians 13). But it also supports slavery (1 Peter 2:18; Ephesians 6:5-9)
I consider myself to be a moral and ethical person. I believe that these morals and ethics are determined by what mankind has learned over time to be beneficial. I can decide whether an idea is moral on the amount of good it produces. I do what is right because what is right usually helps the people around me and produces the greatest amount of good. I value courage and truth, and I find it truly courageous to do what is right, not because I am seeking a reward, such as an afterlife, but because I am helping my fellow man.
I would also like to point out that acceptance of evolution by natural selection does not mean that one cannot believe in God. And no, your wife is not a monkey, but she is a primate just like you and me.