The Neosecularist

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Challenge Evolution With Legitimate Questions – Not With Semantics

In Tennessee, a bill dubbed the “monkey bill” is on its way to becoming law – if Tennessee Governor, Bill Haslam (a Republican) signs it when it reaches his desk.  The bill is meant to allow “challenges” and “questions” to current evolutionary teaching.  Its supporters hope it will do more to undermine evolution and persuade people to embrace alternatives like creationism and intelligent design (which for the most part are one in the same).  The bill’s detractors worry that it is nothing more than a backdoor for religion to enter the public schools.

Evolution, and more to the point, biological evolution – which is defined as a change in the allele (genes) frequently over time – is a fact.  (The “theory” part of evolution does more to confuse those who don’t understand it.  For those that do understand evolution, and still deny it – like Answers In Genesis – “theory”, and its meaning, is stretched and warped into something altogether sinister.)  And while there is debate within the scientific community with regards to individual ideas and constructs about evolution – science and scientists are not in disagreement in accepting evolution, the incredible mounds of evidence and documentation that exist, as being fact.

There ought not be any fear or worry when someone questions the reliability of the evidence for evolution.  That ought to be welcomed as an opportunity to explain evolution and why evolution is real.  But when anti-evolutionists pontificate about the “complexity” of organisms, and use that as reason enough to reject evolution and postulate intelligent design, that is nothing more than semantics.  And what is going to happen to those students who do challenge evolution as fact because they have been brought up to reject it for creationism/intelligent design, who are presented with the facts, the evidence, the documentation, and still reject evolution?  How will that be handled?

The assertion by creationists is that evolution cannot be fact because of  the “complexity”, and because of the perceived “design” element within nature.  They also use words such as “accident”, “mistakes”, “randomness”, and ask, “How can evolution be fact if everything is a result of an “accident”, if everything, including humans, is the result of “random” occurrences and “mistakes”?  And then they smile and exclaim, “a-ha!”  Well, none of that disproves evolution, and certainly does not overturn the evidence for evolution.  What it proves as that evolution can in fact assemble chemical reactions into “complexity” and beauty against however many perceived odds.

But – what if there actually were no “mistakes” within evolution?  What if there was not ‘randomness”, or “accidents” or even “complexity” itself within evolution?  Guess what?  There’s not!

Not in the layman’s terminology, anyway.  Without getting too technical, everything is, and everything is a result of, chemical reactions, and chemicals bonding to one another, which in turn transform into other things, and so forth and so on.  As for “complexity”, how we define complexity is not how complexity is defined within the parameters of evolution.  In other words – there is no actual “complexity” within evolution, merely a string of events (chemical reactions) over time which, for myriad reasons, change their allele (genes) frequency.  What is really all that “complex” about any organism?  That we may not understand the “how” part of the inner workings of an organism does not make that organism complex, or complexly constructed.  What we see now in any organism is not how it originally looked, even those that have remained unchanged for tens of millions of years.

Evolution, and teaching evolution, ought not try to replace God or religion.  And while evolution is a fact, that it is in no way disproves God or makes religion obsolete.  And it works to anyone’s disadvantage to attempt using evolution as a means in which to push religion aside and push it into that symbolic “ash-heap of history”.  We know tens of millions of people accept both evolution and God, and accept that God used evolution and worked through evolution.  We can neither prove or disprove that God did, because we cannot test for the supernatural and it is a waste of time attempting to debate what we cannot test for.  In any event, that is irrelevant.  We can test for evolution and what is natural.

When anyone challenges evolution, even in public school, teachers ought to stand up to the challenge and meet it head on.  Yes, some people will attempt to use creationism and intelligent design as a backdoor to get religion back into the public schools.  If they have to be that sneaky about it, then it means their ideas don’t have much, if any, weight, scientific or otherwise, to stand on.  Evolution has plenty of weight, plenty of merit, to stand on, regardless of the challenge.

So – who’s worried?

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