Over the past several years, there has been a struggle between proponents of science and the proponents of religion. This struggle has been about the most important aspect of all biological sciences: the theory of evolution. The scientific community touts it as an ever-growing realm of science as more and more evidence is piling up in support of evolution. Yet the religious right continues to ignore the evidence while saying their religious interpretation can and should be taught as science in our classrooms.
There are countless studies that support evolutionary theory ranging from paleontological evidence, morphological evidence, molecular biological evidence, vestigial evidence, embryological evidence, geochemical evidence, paleoenvironmental evidence, chronological evidence, agriculture, and real-time observation of evolution in action, just to name a few. In today's time period, only one who is seriously ignorant of the scientific method, scientific theories, spoon fed wild creationist ideas, who does not investigate the evidence provided can still brush off evolution as "only a theory."
The main problem most religious persons have is thinking that the Genesis story has to be read literally. Jesus himself spoke in parables, stories to tell a deeper religious truth but not meant to be taken literally. The Bible is not meant to be a biological textbook; it is a spiritual guidebook for our lives. There are many Christians who accept evolution as a fact (which it is) and still believe Jesus died for them.
No Bible-based science
Never miss a local story.
No accepted science has ever been based on the Bible, but not for lack of trying. Up to the 19th century, serious scientists tried to accommodate literal readings of the Bible to what they saw in nature. Young-earth creationism failed early on, so scientists tried gap creationism, day-age creationism and other attempted reconciliations. But purely Bible-based science has always failed. True science is based on reality as expressed in the world.
The creationists say God's word, the Bible, must be our ultimate authority. The Bible says it; I believe it, and that settles it. This claim really means, "My view of the Bible is the ultimate authority." In practice, then, this claim displays a great deal of arrogance, hubris and close-mindedness. It says that the final word on how the universe operates depends on one's personal interpretation of what to believe.
The theory of evolution does not deal with abiogenesis, which is the hypothesis for how life first started. Abiogenesis belongs in the realm of cosmology and chemistry. Regardless of how life appeared, evolution began once it did. The definition of this wondrous process is "allele frequency change over generational time." These allele changes can do amazing things; look at the different breeds of dogs or chickens that would not be possible if evolution were "just a theory." Study the reptile-to-mammal transition, research the reptile-to-bird transition or investigate the fish-to-amphibian transition. Explain how crocodiles are more closely related to birds than lizards, how lungfish are more related to humans than they are to other fish or how the closest living relatives of whales are hippopotamuses. Why do monotremes lay eggs? So far, the only thing that can explain these observations is evolution.
The evidence for evolutionary theory is too vast to accommodate in a tiny paper, so I encourage everyone, as I myself did, to conduct independent research on the topic. Once I was a fervid opponent of evolution because I did not know about the mountains of evidence in support of it. One great site online is www.talkorigins.org. Not only does it provide written work, it also gives great references for even deeper areas of study and a list of creationist claims and rebuttals. God evolved our minds to think.
This weekly column features opposing views from readers. These opinions are contrary to those expressed on this page or which otherwise take issue with something that appears in The Herald. All commentaries submitted become the property of The Herald and may be republished in any format.