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Views on the Theories of Evolution



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"Views on the Theories of Evolution"
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If knowledge is to rule at Helium, I think that someone with some knowledge of the issues of evolution needs to step in an provide some insight to the people that are using strawmen arguments to argue against evolution. The starting point needs to be a defining of the issues involved in the debate.

There are three main aspects to the debate. The first, of course, is the scientific understanding of evolution. The facts of evolution in biology are irrefutable, and are corroborated by the other phsysical sciences including physics, chemistry and geology. Working biologists use the framework of the Theory of Evolution in order to design their experiments and analyze their work. It is extremely fruitful in several ways. For example, it led to the germ theory of disease by which we are able to design serums, vaccines and antiobotics to cure diseases which were once fatal. It has led to the ability to produce insulin using living tissue from other animals. The most important thing to learn here is that evolution is the unifying framework of the science of biology, and without it biology is a set of jumbled facts.

The second aspect is the philosphical/religious aspect. I see that other writers here have defined it in terms of atheism versus religion. It is convenient to argue against evolution in this light and to pretend that there are holes in the theory, considering that this threatens religions which demand a literal reading of their various scriptures. Rather than face the knowledge that their scriptures are not literally true, they attack evolution by creating strawmen or by using incomplete knowledge of evolution to claim that the theory has too many holes. An example of this is the promotion of intelligent design's "irreducible complexity" as a way of filling gaps with the imposition of a designer. The flaw in this approach is that as science learns more about the nature of evolution, the gaps get smaller and god will shrink. The proponents of this fallacy do so at their peril. Stephen J. Gould said that science and religion serve different arenas and don't necessarily step on each other's work.

The third aspect is the cultural aspect. Some feel that their way of life is threatened by evolution, that the teaching of it promotes nihilism. After all, if we are merely animals, then there is nothing to prevent us from acting like animals. This completely ignores the development of social structure, and results from the fallacy of adverse consequences. "If the result of a fact is something that I don't like then the fact isn't true."

What I see happening is that strident people are fighting evolution because it impinges on their world view, and to borrow a phrase for them it is "an inconvenient truth." If their objection is religion, then perhaps they need to start examining religious beliefs which can't handle the evidence readily available from the study of nature. I invite all of the other writers to take a serious look at evolution and examine the true facts, not the facts as presented solely by the amti-evolution crowd.

Science is an objective process of understanding nature. It is designed to be subject to scrutiny. It is testable and falsifiable. Evolution has withstood the challenge of the scientific method. Introducing intelligent design into evolution adds nothing to its understanding. Standing by literal Creationism is foolish because it denies visible evidence.

People need to look at science for what it is, and not the bogeyman that they make it out to be. It is not a conspiracy of atheists, it is not elitist. It only requires taking the time to understand what is learned by its processes.

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