Tuesday, February 15, 2011

When Does the Simple Become So Complicated?

 About three years ago I started to develop a curiosity for the subject of evolution and I started a self educating crash course by reading and listening to any and all things relating on the subject. Completely ignorant on the subject, I had no clue what the topic was about nor was I even remotely aware of the controversy that evolutionary theory was known for.
I had never heard of evolution in high school,of course I was a complete sciencephobe. I had no interest in knowing what the inside of an earthworm looked like.Why would anyone who doesn't plan on majoring in biology even need to know such things? This was a typical attitude I had towards the sciences (and math).
Several months ago I decided to investigate a little further into why evolution was never mentioned in my biology class. My theory was that the subject was treated the same as sex education back in those days. In the early to mid 1990's if you wanted your child to sit through a week of a sex education course it required a signed permission slip from the parents. Knowing now what I did not know then I just figured the subject of evolution was just too controversial to even warrant an hour of lecture in class. So thinking this I contacted my old biology teacher via facebook and presented him with the following question:
(NOTE:: I wrote his wife whom, was also a math teacher in my old high school,and she answered on his behalf)
"What was Henry County's official position on teaching evolutionary theory in the early to mid 1990's?"
She replies. "His answer is that officially evolution was taught,but since he did not believe in it,he did not teach it"

To help you understand what a tragedy this statement is; Consider this:
A biology teacher/professor that does not teach evolution is the equivalent of a physicist that does teach about gravity or a Christian pastor not teaching about Jesus 

Evolution,unlike your religious beliefs, is not a belief system. Let's repeat:
Evolution is not a belief system. You can no more say that you do not believe in it any more than I can claim I do believe. Its simply not a matter of personal beliefs. Evolution does not require a thumbs up,an official endorsement,a seal of approval,nor a papal approved blessing for it to be reality. It happens whether you approve of it or not.
Evolution happens...whether you like it or not (my bumper sticker) You either accept it or deny it.

Would you question your doctor's diagnosis as a "theory" after he presented to you all the evidence that supports your condition? Of course not. Even so....Go seek a second, independent opinion on your diagnosis from another doctor across the other side of the world. Would, after hearing the same diagnosis from doctor #2 also cause you to deny the facts? Of course not. But this is exactly what the Ray Comfort's and Kirk Cameron's of the world do when it comes to evolution. They reject facts and evidence of a subject that they know very little to nothing about. That's what it means to be ignorant and they play the roles well.

 Professor Richard Dawkins,author of "The Greatest Show on Earth;The Evidence for Evolution" refers to creationists as "history-deniers"  Over 40% of the American population think that humans and all other forms of life were created by God within the last 10,000 years. Its a literal interpretation of Genesis' account of the story of creation. As Prof. Dawkins so eloquently puts it.

   "If the history-deniers who doubt the fact of evolution are ignorant of biology,those who think the world began less than ten thousand years ago are worse than ignorant, they are deluded to the point of perversity. They are denying not only the facts of biology but those of physics,geology,cosmology,archaeology,history,and chemistry as well."

If some 44% of our neighbors deny this much science and history, then is it any wonder why American school children are falling too far behind their global counter parts in math and science? By denying and simply mistrusting science in our country,we are completely eroding our society as a whole. 

Darwin help us.

**Special thanks to Christopher Lassiter, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology, at Roanoke College for taking the time out of his busy schedule to edit and offer corrections/ideas for my blog. Next round is on me ;)
Reference: "The Greatest Show on Earth;The Evidence for Evolution" by Prof. Richard Dawkins

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