Creationist group taints world of science
Published: Sunday, September 18, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
On September 20th 2011 at 7pm, a group of religious fundamentalists will be attempting to disprove a foundational scientific fact that happens to clash with a core belief of their religion. They will try to do this by presenting examples of biological processes that they believe are too irreducibly complex to be explained by science and will conclude that the only possible explanation is that their magical supernatural deity did it.
The fundamentalist group is, of course, the Discovery Institute. The scientific fact is that of evolutionary biology. Their efforts are not merely an absurd waste of time and resources, but a malignant attack on rationality and intellectualism.
The event is a monumental embarrassment to the academic rigor of Southern Methodist University if not humanity as a whole.
By resorting to supernatural explanations for natural processes, the evangelicals from the Discovery Institute are essentially proclaiming that the best explanation for the immense diversity and complexity of life on our pale blue speck of dust hurling through space is lots and lots of pseudoscientific magic.
It's the deepest insult possible to the generations of scientists that stood up to the common superstitions of their time: it took the Catholic Church about 200 years to accept the idea for which they had persecuted Galileo (that the earth was not the center of the universe) and another 200 to apologize (in 1992).
Is the fact of evolution incompatible with religious views? Of course not!
I invite the Discovery Institute and its apologists to follow in the footsteps of the United Methodist Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the United Presbyterian Church, the Episcopal Church and millions of other progressive religions and religious scientists (most notably Francis Collins: evolutionary geneticist and devout Christian) and realize that evolution doesn't have to be a threat to their religious faith. If your entire moral philosophy would be shattered by studying 8th grade biology, I humbly suggest you find a way to adapt your moral philosophy.
Might the current state of evolutionary theory be incomplete?
Absolutely, but millions of scientists in medicine, biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics have reached an overwhelming consensus supporting evolution and are using its principles to save lives and better mankind.
Evolution is a broad scientific theory (with just as much if not more support than the theory of gravity) that explains and connects many directly observable facts and has allowed us to make extremely accurate predictions about the future.
If we don't yet know the mechanism for how every intricate step in a butterfly's development has evolved, we probably will within another 100 years of research and understanding.
Even in the absurd case that evolution is someday proven to be completely wrong, how in God's name would science be made better if we threw our hands up in ignorance and screamed "God did it!" when faced with a question to which we can't immediately find the answer to? How would the knowledge that the Avian Flu was designed by a supernatural deity help us find a cure for it?
Believe what you want, but if it's a belief that fundamentally relies on faith, don't try to undermine hundreds of years of evidence and research by teaching it as science. When I'm old and infected by an opportunistic pathogen threatening my life, I'd much appreciate it if my doctors were taught to take into account the evolution of antibiotic resistance before treating me.