One of the most contentious topics of debate within the scientific community is the veracity of evolution. Except that it isn’t. It’s not. Evolution has the support of over 99.9% of the members of the scientific community. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or hilariously misinformed.
What is Evolution?
Evolution, unlike many of the other scientific topics that people like to deny, is a particularly touchy issue. Climate change and vaccinations do not tend to clash with personal beliefs, but the way that evolution outlines the development and history of the world’s organisms fly in the face of many people’s religious beliefs. The theory of evolution states that the reason that we have such diversity of life on earth right now is the result of many random mutations over the span of 3 billion years. The process started very simple, with single celled organisms and much later branched onto multicellular organisms. Random mutations that produced desirable traits were more likely to be kept and passed on to the next generation. Eventually, these traits accumulated and created entirely different species.
This directly contradicts the literal interpretation of the creation stories of the judeo-christian bible. God is said to have created all that exists in the span of six days, rested on the seventh, and then began selectively smiting his creations until the advent of his son, who absolved everyone of sin. Something along those lines. The key point is that science only contradicts the bible if you take the bible literally, which is something that not many people do anymore. In fact, the Catholic Church has been a supporter of evolution for the past sixty years.
The majority of religious resistance to evolution comes from protestant Christianity. Protestants see the theory as untruthful because they personally believe that the earth is between 4000 to 10,000 years old and that various other forms of science used to verify evolution are themselves faulty. In the past few decades a new movement of anti-evolutionism emerged. Calling themselves creationists, they represent the people who wholly believe in creation as the origin of biological diversity on the planet, who believe that carbon dating, paleontology and archaeology that contradicts them is false, and who viciously and ardently protest the teaching of evolution in schools.
In the past few years Creationists had largely lost all form of credibility and deciding that they needed a rebranding, formed a new movement called “Intelligent Design”. Don’t be fooled; intelligent design is merely creationism under a new banner, a banner that uses less religiously charged words in the hopes of fooling people who don’t know any better. To their credit, at least two “creation” museums have been set up. These museums teach customers that evolution is false and gives them a whole myriad of made up, cherry-picked, falsified and just bad evidence to support their claims.
How does this affect us?
Recent surveys have shown that the United States is consistently behind other countries in terms of acceptance of evolution. One poll states that as much as 40 to 50% of college students do not accept evolution. This shows not only a problem of non-acceptance, but a problem of spreading false information. Accepting denial of evolution invites denial of a whole range of important scientific topics.
The most vulnerable are the children. Think of the children! THE CHILDREN! In all seriousness, children are the most easily indoctrinated because of their inherent lack of opinion on anything. The government cannot control what parents teach their kids but it can control what is taught in public schools. To make sure that our children are being taught what is evidence based, logical and methodical, we should bar any attempt to introduce creationism to any local, state or national science curriculum.
The beautiful thing about science is that it does not need people to believe it for it to be true. Evidence and logic are on evolution’s side and it is up to the new generation of scientists, teachers, policy makers and parents to make sure that the next generation has a healthy appreciation of evolution and all other forms of scientific thought, for the good of our people, and the good of our world.