Information

3.27: Anti-evolution arguments - Biology

3.27: Anti-evolution arguments - Biology


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

The theory of evolution has been controversial since its inception largely because it deals with issues of human origins and behavior, our place in the Universe, and life and its meaning. The implications of evolutionary processes remain controversial, but not evolution itself.

...it is always advisable to perceive clearly our ignorance.

–Charles Darwin.


In Defense of Evolution

Dr. Kenneth Miller is as familiar as anyone in the scientific community with the intelligent-design movement and its attempts to undermine the theory of evolution. A professor of biology at Brown University and coauthor (with Joe Levine) of the standard high-school textbook Biology, Miller testified at the Dover trial as an expert witness for the plaintiffs, the Dover parents who brought suit against their town's school board. Here, Miller, who stresses that he is also a man of faith, talks about why evolution matters, what flaws he sees in the intelligent-design argument, and why the Dover decision hardly means the end of the controversy.


Why So Many Find the Anti-Evolution Argument Appealing

Mr. Israel is visiting assistant professor of history at Sewanee: The University of the South and author of Before Scopes: Evangelicals, Education, and Evolution in Tennessee, 1870&ndash1925 ( Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2004).

After the recent court ruling ordering the removal of evolution disclaimer stickers from district biology textbooks, the Cobb County (Ga.) School Board denounced the case as &ldquoan unnecessary judicial intrusion into local control of schools.&rdquo The case is currently under appeal to the 11th Circuit.

The stickers in question were placed in the books in 2002 when the district finally bought texts actually describing evolution. Under pressure from parents (in the form of 2300 petitioners) to deemphasize evolutionary teaching, the board resolved to affix stickers to the books stating: &ldquoEvolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.&rdquo

Taken literally, the sticker instructions give good advice to students: learning requires critical thought and should be applied not just to these particular textbooks but also to a whole range of items. Just think of the revolution if our students&mdashand we too&mdashwould approach more things with an open mind and critically consider them! But the sticker language has a different, ideological, goal than its brief two sentences suggest. Because it singles out evolution alone for critical consideration, a &ldquoreasonable observer&rdquo may conclude that the stickers are intended to weaken the teaching of evolution, not to improve the overall pedagogy of the public schools.

I&rsquom not a scientist, so I do not think I should launch into an editorial complaining about the disclaimer&rsquos misuse of the terms &ldquotheory&rdquo and &ldquofact&rdquo or a lengthy lament about the state of science education in America. But having recently completed a book on the anti-evolution controversy of the early twentieth century, I was struck by the familiar tone of the Cobb County School Board&rsquos argument for &ldquolocal control of schools.&rdquo Indeed, the school board&rsquos language reinforces my belief that we need to understand the contests over the place of evolution in the public schools in a different framework than the old &ldquowarfare of science and religion&rdquo paradigm bequeathed to us by Andrew Dickson White in his 1896 book of a similar title.1 Ever since publicly funded education grew in the 19th and 20th centuries to reach more children, keep them longer, and teach them far more than simple reading, writing, and arithmetic parents, teachers, preachers, politicians, and others have often disagreed about what or how the schools taught. In the past we have seen controversies about what schools should teach about sex or history and over the place of the Bible, prayer, or the Pledge of Allegiance in the classrooms. But evolution has proven particularly effective at mobilizing parents and other interested parties to assert their control over the public schools.

The driving force of the anti-evolution controversy is and has been control of children, their education, and, through these means, controlling the future of society. This central theme of controlling children to control the future was splendidly stated by the southern Methodist weekly paper, the Nashville ( Tenn.) Christian Advocate, in 1880 when it warned: &ldquoThose who educate the present generation of children in these United States will hold the reins of power when they are grown. Therefore if we turn over the education of our children to others, we renounce our hold upon the future.&rdquo2 Supporters of Tennessee&rsquos anti-evolution statute and the prosecution of high school teacher John T. Scopes in 1925 were the intellectual heirs of this argument for control. The real issue in Dayton was not Darwin, but who got to decide what the students were being taught. Tennessee Governor Austin Peay, the man who signed the anti-evolution bill into law, argued that &ldquoThe people have the right and must have the right to regulate what is taught in their schools.&rdquo3 Peay was not the only one singing this tune. He joined a chorus led by William Jennings Bryan, volunteer prosecutor in the Scopes trial, who had barnstormed the state in 1924 to secure a legislature friendly to the anti-evolution cause. Repeating themes he had stressed elsewhere, Bryan told an audience in Nashville&rsquos Ryman Auditorium that &ldquothe hand that writes the [teachers&rsquo] paycheck rules the school.&rdquo Parents and taxpayers indirectly write those checks, therefore according Bryan&rsquos logic, they should set the curriculum.

Bryan&rsquos majority rule argument proved persuasive to the vast majority of Tennessee religious and political leaders. In the weeks leading up to the Scopes Trial, the editor of the Nashville Baptist and Reflector charged his readers to remember that the question was control, not evolution. &ldquoLet every preacher and layman keep before the public the fact that the thing on trial is not a doctrine, not a scientific hypothesis, but a fundamental principle of Democracy. If Tennessee has no right to pass a law preventing the teaching of Darwinian Evolution in its public schools, then it has no right to pass any law regulating its public school system.&rdquo4 Some academics, preachers, and parents protested the law and denied that evolution was necessarily in conflict with religion. But even M. M. Black, an outspoken proponent of evolution and a frequent contributor to the Methodist newspaper, bowed to the argument for democratic control of the classroom, conceding in the summer of 1925 &ldquothat a State has the right to forbid any form of teaching or instruction in its schools and colleges which the majority of its citizens regard as hurtful to morals and the Christian religion.&rdquo5

Bryan&rsquos crusade against evolution, couched in the language of popular control of the schools, is in fact a perfectly pitched argument for a democratic society. Perhaps this explains the continuing power of the anti-evolutionist appeal. Whether arguing majority rule, protection for their own free exercise of religion, or simply leaning on an appeal to American fairness (if you teach this it is only fair that you teach that too so as not to offend or privilege one group&rsquos opinion), anti-evolutionists appear to be gaining strength and political acumen. Polling on the eve of last November&rsquos national elections found 65 percent of respondents in favor of teaching both evolution and creationism while more than one third favored teaching creationism alone.6 While science most definitely does not work on a vote system, school boards and state legislatures are subject to majority rule.

The history since 1925 has shown us that there are in fact some limitations on that concept of majority rule. Clarence Darrow and the ACLU lawyers representing John Scopes in 1925 took his case with visions of riding it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Their mission was ambushed when a non-compliant Tennessee appellate court overturned Scopes&rsquos conviction on a technicality. No new test cases appeared in Tennessee, but the federal courts have consistently ruled since 1968 that anti-evolution legislation and its more modern descendents Creation Science, Equal Time Laws, Intelligent Design, and Evolution Disclaimers, are unconstitutional.

The Cobb County sticker (and in fact similar stickers have in the past appeared state-wide in Texas textbooks and are currently featured in Alabama) fails to pass constitutional muster because it singles out evolution as apparently the only item in the textbooks that should be regarded with suspicion. Such specificity, according to the January 2005 ruling in the Cobb County case (Selman v. Cobb County School Board), reveals &ldquoto the reasonable observer&rdquo its religious intent and thus the sticker violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Of course, this does not mean that the anti-evolutionists will go quietly. They have adapted their arguments to changing conditions since 1925, first arguing for majority rule to ban evolution or to offer religious challenges to it, at times claiming minority status for their religious beliefs and demanding protection from evolution education supposedly challenging those beliefs, at other times attempting to label evolutionary science itself a form of religion and thus inappropriate for the public schools, and now professing to have only &ldquoscientific&rdquo objections to evolution.

Still the legal evolution continues. Already in the wake of Selman we have seen Alabama&rsquos disclaimer stickers subtly altered in the hopes that they would withstand the appellate ruling from the Georgia case. Clarence Darrow once remarked &ldquoHistory repeats itself. That&rsquos the problem with history.&rdquo The tactics change, but in the end the battle is still about who is controlling the schools.

1 Andrew Dickson White, A History of the Warfare of Science and Theology in Christendom (New York: D. Appleton and Co, 1896)

2 [Oscar Penn Fitzgerald], Nashville Christian Advocate (July 17, 1880), 8.

3 Gov. Autin Peay, &ldquoPeay&rsquos Special Message of March 23, 1925,&rdquo in Ash, ed. Messages of the Governors of Tennessee Volume X 1921&ndash33 (Nashville: Tennessee Historical Commission, 1990), 173.

4 O.E. Bryan, Nashville Baptist and Reflector, May 28, 1925, 2-3.

5 Black, &ldquoChristianity and Evolution,&rdquo Nashville Christian Advocate, July 31, 1925, 8-9.


Fighting for Authority in the Biology Classroom: What is at Stake

An understanding of scientific epistemology and methodology is important because it delineates useful boundaries for the creation–evolution debates. Unfortunately, rather than a dialogue that explores what scientists think about the natural world and why, public conversations are riddled with misunderstandings, distortions, and accusations about the scientific validity of evolutionary science and even the motivations of scientists. As we discuss below, there is much at stake for some people—validation of religious and moral convictions—making rivals of science and religious faith. Indeed, some have suggested that the “pervasive teaching of evolution is almost certainly the principal influence affecting the rise of atheism in our scientific community” (Northwest Creation Network 2009). It is perhaps not surprising then that the scientific case for evolution has come under attack (Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture 1998).

The publication of Darwin’s theory of evolution by means of natural selection pushed modern science into a new paradigm. Darwin changed the way scientists think of organisms, including humans, and in doing so challenged the Christian worldviews of his day. Even in the twenty-first century, Darwin is a controversial figure for some. Ernst Mayr’s declaration is as true today as it was in 1966: “No other work advertised to the world the emancipation of science from philosophy as blatantly as Darwin’s Origin. For this he has not been forgiven to this day…” (Mayr 1966). Previously, humans could be viewed apart from nature, perhaps only a “little lower than the angels,” and distinct from other animals. The Darwinian revolution, however, obliges us to see ourselves as part of nature, linked to all organisms, and perhaps only quantitatively rather than qualitatively different from other animals.

This view of human beings conflicts with the religious views of some—but by no means all—Christians (Sager 2008). Historically, opposition to the theory of biological evolution in this country has come mainly from certain Christian sects (Numbers 2006). Biblical interpretation is a fundamental point of difference among Christians. For some Christians, evolutionary explanations for life’s origin are at odds with the Biblical account and therefore must be erroneous. Other Christians, however, understand the Biblical account metaphorically and readily accept contemporary scientific accounts as truthful. Consider, for example, the statement of Theodosius Dobzhansky, a Christian and ardent evolutionist:

Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology. Only if symbols are construed to mean what they are not intended to mean can there arise imaginary, insoluble conflicts (Dobzhansky 1973a).

Indeed, theologians, clergy, and churchgoers in mainline churches across the country have reconciled human evolution with belief in a transcendent and immanent creator God. Footnote 5

Evolution, however, particularly in regards to human origins, threatens the belief of many Christians that it is only in and through God that human beings find true purpose and meaning in life. The film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, written by and starring Ben Stein, provides a recent example of this position. For his work, Stein received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University, a Christian institution in Southern California. In his acceptance speech for this award, Stein acknowledged that Darwinism clearly accounts for microevolutionary changes within species, but went on to say that “…when it comes to the big questions—existence, meaning—it adds nothing….Under the Darwinist paradigm, life is meaningless. Under the Darwinist paradigm, we are just mud.” Footnote 6 The father of a child killed at Columbine High School in 1999 expresses similar views, even suggesting that had the two teenage shooters not been taught evolution they might not have murdered his daughter and the other victims (Brown and Parker 2003). Clearly, for these individuals, the evaluation of the scientific evidence and reasoning is subordinate to evolution’s perceived moral implications.

For some people, this “link” between Darwinism and moral decline is very real. Footnote 7 In his book Moral Darwinism, Benjamin Wiker traces the metaphysical foundations of Darwinism and the moral decline in modern society to ancient materialistic philosophies (Wiker 2002). In the foreword to the book, William Dembski writes, “…the motivation behind Darwinism today is its alternative moral and metaphysical vision rather than the promotion of science (p. 11)” and “This book is above all a call to clarity, clarifying the moral structure that God has placed in the world as well as the distorting power of naturalism to undermine that moral structure (p. 13)”.

Some Christians and Jews insist that the creation story of Genesis is literally true that is, God created the earth and all life in six days, and Biblical authority is sufficient to dismiss any scientific arguments to the contrary. Footnote 8 Others, the “old-earth creationists,” accept scientific evidence for a four billion-year-old earth, but deny that macroevolutionary changes, such as the transition from reptiles to mammals, are possible purely by natural means. Footnote 9 Common among Christian creationists, however, is a theism that portrays God actively governing natural processes. Both groups insist, for example, that the appearance of the major groups of organisms is dependent upon the action of God.

Additionally, creationists in both camps generally interpret Biblical passages as factual statements about human origins, human nature, and human history (Meyer 2000). Consequently, defending the factual accuracy of the Bible becomes paramount. If the Bible is wrong about our origins, for example, then it cannot be the word of God as previously understood and, therefore, may be wrong about everything else, becoming merely a collection of myths and fables without authority on spiritual matters. For some Christians then, the Bible must be the ultimate authority even in matters of science. Energized by religious conviction, creationists battle the secular scientific community, with the vindication of their faith and their God at stake.

Also at stake is the character of scientific explanations. Scientific inquiry employs a “methodological naturalism” which seeks natural explanations for natural phenomena. The scientific community maintains that there is no basis for testing a non-naturalistic hypothesis against the reality of the natural world therefore, the naturalistic limitation must remain a criterion for scientific explanations. This means, of course, that the scientific community does not entertain the action of God as a viable hypothesis for any biological process. Some anti-evolutionists, however, seek to broaden the scope of “science” to include the possibility of non-naturalistic explanations for natural phenomena (Meyer 1994b, 1996, 2000). ID proponents, for example, want to bring to the table the idea that “certain features of the universe and living things are best explained by an intelligent cause” (Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center 2004). Footnote 10 The intelligent cause could conceivably be a material entity (for example alien intelligence), Footnote 11 which would then be subject to scientific inquiry. Clearly, this is not seriously considered by most supporters of ID who instead link the intelligent designer with the Judeo-Christian God. Footnote 12 They, therefore, reject the rules of methodological naturalism, insisting that scientific evidence does in fact point to an “intelligent designer.” They are fighting for authority over science by challenging evolutionary theory, questioning the science, discounting much of the evidence for biological evolution as speculation and “just-so stories,” and criticizing evolutionists for a supposed unthinking allegiance to naturalistic philosophy (Behe 2006 Johnson 1997b).

It is important to understand that the creation–evolution debates are about much more than merely the interpretation of scientific data. While the scientific community focuses on empirical evidence, political forces drive school boards and the misconceptions about science that creationist arguments perpetuate go largely unchallenged in this context. Consequently, it is particularly crucial to understand motivations, religious biases, and hidden agendas in these debates. There is much at stake in the creation-evolution debates, since legitimizing consideration of a “God hypothesis” within the scientific enterprise redefines the essential nature of science. Given this backdrop to the debates over the teaching of evolution in public schools, it is imperative that biologists explain the nature of scientific inquiry clearly and accurately. Footnote 13


Anti-evolution Attacks on the Rise

Editor's Note: As part of a special report on the theory of evolution and an alternative idea known as intelligent design, LiveScience reviews current legislation and historically pertinent court cases.

Current State Legislation Involving Evolution

In 1925, the Tennessee State Legislature passed the Butler Act, a bill aimed squarely at evolution that made it illegal to teach any theory that denied the biblical account of creation. The bill was promptly challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and thus began the famous Scopes Monkey Trial.

The plaintiff in the case was John T. Scopes, who was accused by the state of illegally teaching evolution to his high school biology class. In the end, Scopes was fined $100 by the judge, but a year later the Tennessee Supreme Court reversed the decision on a technicality and the case never went any further.

Since then, Darwin's theory of evolution has been tried by American courts 10 times (including a trial in Pennsylvania that began yesterday).

Two of those instances have been before the nation's Supreme Court. After each defeat, creationists have reinvented themselves in ever more sophisticated guises. First there was creationism, then creation science and now intelligent design, also known as ID.

On the heel of each reinvention came a rash of antievolution legislation. The same spate of activity has occurred with ID.

This year alone, at least 17 bills challenging evolution's place in the public school curriculum have been considered in 13 states. Many of them also argue that a place be made in the classroom for ID. Here they are:

Mississippi

Pennsylvania

South Carolina

Historical Court Cases Involving Evolution

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…"

Over the years, people attempting to ban evolution in classrooms or to peddle creationism as science have constantly found their efforts thwarted by these sixteen words. Known respectively as the &ldquoEstablishment Clause&rdquo and the &ldquoFree Exercise Clause&rdquo of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, these two statements together form the foundation of religious freedom in this country.

Of the many court cases involving government and religion, nine have dealt specifically with the treatment of evolution and creationism in public schools. LiveScience reviews them here:

Epperson v. Arkansas (1968)

Epperson sued the state, and the case was brought before the Supreme Court. The court ruled that the law violated the Establishment Clause and concluded that the primary motivation behind it was a literal reading of the Book of Genesis. In other words, the court found that there were no secular reasons for not teaching evolution, only religious ones.

Segraves v. State of California (1981)

The California Superior Court disagreed, pointing out that by law, scientific class discussions about the origins of life could focus only on how life might have developed, not on what its ultimate cause might be. Therefore, the teaching of evolution shouldn't be construed as either an establishment of religion or as an infringement upon anyone's religious beliefs.

Legislators in Arkansas thought so, and passed a law requiring the &ldquobalanced treatment&rdquo of evolution with &ldquocreation science.&rdquo When the case reached a federal court, however, the judge struck down the law and ruled that creation science wasn't really science because its language was based on creationist text.

Edwards v. Aguillard (1987)

That was the thinking of Louisiana legislators when they passed the state's &ldquoCreationism Act,&rdquo which made it illegal to teach evolution unless creation science was taught as well.

The Supreme Court found the act unconstitutional. By implying that a supernatural being created humankind, creation science was an impermissible endorsement of religion. The court pointed out that teachers were never forbidden from presenting alternative scientific theories before the act was passed. Therefore, the real purpose of the act was to tack creationism onto any curriculum that included evolution.

Webster v. New Lenox School District (1990)

A student complained, and when a school superintendent warned him to stop, Webster sued, claiming that his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were being violated.

The case was eventually brought before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that teaching creation science for any reason was a form of religious advocacy and that schools could prohibit teachers from teaching it.

Peloza v. Capistrano School District (1994)

Teaching it in public schools therefore violated the First Amendment rights of both students and teachers, Peloza said, because it imposed a religion on the former and restricted the religious views of the latter.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals didn't agree and dismissed Peloza's claim, saying that it rested on the false assumption that evolution denied the existence of a creator. The court further ruled that a public employees right to free speech could be restricted while on the job because they are representing the government.

Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish Board of Education (1997)

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals saw through the creationist ruse, however, and found that the disclaimer did not in fact promote critical thinking because it essentially told students not to question what they already knew. The judges further concluded that the motivation behind the disclaimer was religious and therefore unconstitutional.

LeVake v. Independent School District 656 (2001)

LeVake sued, arguing that he was being discriminated against because of his religion and that his right to free speech was being violated in order to silence his criticisms of evolution.

The district court judge ruled that it was a public school teacher's responsibility to teach evolution according to the curriculum and that teachers could be prevented from teaching a biology course if they couldn't adequately teach evolution.

Selman v. Cobb County School District (2005)

Five local parents sued the school district, claiming that the stickers inhibited the teaching of evolution and promoted a view about the origins of life that was faith-based.

A district court judge agreed and said the sticker "misleads students regarding the significance and value of evolution in the scientific community." The judged ruled that the stickers undermined the first amendment and that the stickers must be removed.

Challenging Darwin

The number of global actions against evolution by national governments, state legislatures, and state and local boards of education is growing. The vast majority of the cases are in the United States.


Recommendations

The opposition to evolution is strong and continues to impact instructional choices in U.S. schools. The amount of control that districts have over curriculum is slim and getting slimmer due, in part, to the efforts of the accountability movement (e.g., Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, and the No Child Left Behind Act). The court cases make clear that the inclusion of biblical creationism, creation science, or intelligent design in the science curriculum is unconstitutional. Likewise, it is unconstitutional to ban evolution education.

Evolution is one of the four core ideas of biology instruction included in the Next Generation Science Standards, as discussed by Bybee (2012), and is certainly a vital element of science literacy. The issue of evolution in the classroom, though, has little to do with the results of recent court cases. Teachers may still face challenges from passionate opponents of evolution, so eliminating or minimizing evolution instruction to avoid controversy is an entirely understandable, though not responsible, response. Evidence from surveys of biology teachers suggests that teachers do not devote the necessary time to evolution instruction. More concerning is the inference that many biology teachers may, in fact, be sympathetic to a young-Earth view.

An exploratory study conducted by Barnes and Brownell (2016) indicated that college biology instructors do not believe that it is part of their role to get students to accept evolution or to address potential conflicts between religious beliefs and scientific theory. This is important because recent research suggests that how instructors frame the topic of evolution lays the foundation for success or failure in students’ acceptance of evolution. Research by Yasri and Mancy (2016) suggests that students can come to accept evolution with increased understanding of the evidence for evolution. In addition, changes occurred in students’ acceptance when they were provided a framework for understanding religious beliefs and scientific theory in distinct contexts (Yasri & Mancy, 2016).

More research is necessary to answer questions about why teachers devote so little time to evolution instruction and what can be done to increase focus on this vital topic. Science teacher preparation programs can play a critical role in emphasizing evolution instruction in schools. Science teacher education programs should consider the legal, ethical, and scientific imperative of teaching evolution. Sadly, we must admit that we have emphasized the importance of evolution education for decades, but data have not shown a decline in the popularity of creationist views in society. The scientific evidence supporting evolution is no longer in dispute, and the court cases recognize that evolution is a necessary component of quality scientific instruction.

It seems that one way to enhance evolution education is to assist teachers in moving beyond their comfort zones. This is easy to suggest but hard to accomplish because the impediments may be highly individualized. For some, this movement could require learning more about evolution by taking a class, reading a textbook, or reaching out to more knowledgeable colleagues. This could mean broaching a topic with students despite reservations about potential reactions from a community not accepting of evolution. This could even mean remaining open to the idea of evolution, particularly for the 13 percent of biology teachers who see creationism as a viable alternative.

Biology teachers are on the frontline of the battle for evolution education. A useful first step is to understand the religious background of the community where you teach. This means understanding the religious practices of your school and potentially meeting with religious leaders in the community. There are two benefits to such an action: doing this will help you understand the perspectives of local religious leaders, while communicating to those same leaders your perspective. This is good practice even beyond evolution instruction. If the topic may be controversial in your schools, consider offering to testify at a school board meeting or writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Some excellent suggestions for taking such action can be found on the National Center for Science Education website (http://ncse.com) under the Taking Action tab on the home page.

Biology teachers should consider how they introduce evolution to students. Perhaps start by defining science, philosophy, and religion as distinct ways of learning about the world. Southerland and Scharmann (2013) provide an excellent overview with respect to religious questions, aesthetic questions, and scientific questions (among others), as well as offering additional resources for introducing evolution. This practice has relevance for any topics that are politically charged, such as the human influence on climate change.

The proponents of intelligent design and creation science often come to an evolutionary discussion prepared to debate the supposed critiques of evolution. Biology teachers should be well versed in the misconceptions and barriers that impede student understanding of evolution. It is critical to develop a toolbox of pedagogical strategies useful for overcoming them. A detailed listing of conceptual understandings regarding evolution, with respect to specific grade levels, is available at the Understanding Evolution website http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/teach/framework.php. This framework has been aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and is divided into five strands: History of life, Evidence of evolution, Mechanisms of evolution, Nature of science, and Studying evolution. A strong conceptual understanding will allow teachers to “stick to the facts,” and framing the lesson as one strictly about science will allow teachers to talk about how evolution answers specifically scientific questions.

Finally, it is worthwhile to understand the talking points that are promoted by supporters of intelligent design or creationism, as these are frequently brought up in the science classroom. One excellent resource is Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction (Scott, 2009). The book contains writings from creationists with explanatory context and useful rebuttals. A teacher familiar with the objections to evolution is much more likely to be able to sidestep attempts by students to draw the class into a discussion of religious ideas and to focus on the science.


Evidence for Creation

Creation overflows with evidence that points toward the Creator God. The design and complexity of life loudly declare, “There is a God!”

Probability of Evolution

Mathematical and probability calculations powerfully demonstrate the impossibility of biological evolution to produce the diversity and complexity of life.


There Is 'Design' In Nature, Biologist Argues

Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller has to hand one victory to the "intelligent design" crowd. They know how to frame an issue.

"The idea that there is 'design' in nature is very appealing," Miller said. "People want to believe that life isn't purposeless and random. That's why the intelligent design movement wins the emotional battle for adherents despite its utter lack of scientific support.

"To fight back, scientists need to reclaim the language of 'design' and the sense of purpose and value inherent in a scientific understanding of nature," he said.

In a Feb. 17, 2008 symposium at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston,* Miller will argue that science itself, including evolutionary biology, is predicated on the idea of "design" -- the correlation of structure with function that lies at the heart of the molecular nature of life.

Miller will join seven other experts to discuss ways to craft communication efforts around evolution, stem cell research, climate change and nanotechnology that are sensitive to religious communities while remaining true to science.

Miller is a cell biologist and the Royce Family Professor for Teaching Excellence at Brown. Miller is coauthor of four high school and college biology textbooks, which are used by millions of students nationwide, and is regarded as America's leading defender of Darwin's theory of evolution. This year in South Carolina, Miller successfully defended one of his textbooks against an anti-evolution attack before the state school board. In 2005, he served as lead witness in the trial on evolution and intelligent design in Dover, Pennsylvania. His popular book, Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground between God and Evolution, addresses the scientific status of evolutionary theory and its relationship to religious views of nature.

Miller will use arguments from his new book, Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul to be published by Viking Press in May, for his AAAS talk. Miller will argue that the scientific community must address the attractiveness of the "design" concept and make the case that science itself is based on the idea of design -- or the regularity of organization, function, and natural law that gives rise to the world in which we live.

He points out that structural and molecular biologists routinely speak of the design of proteins, signaling pathways, and cellular structures. He also notes that the human body bears the hallmarks of design, from the ball sockets that allows hips and shoulders to rotate to the "s" curve of the spine that allows for upright walking.

"There is, indeed, a design to life -- an evolutionary design," Miller said. "The structures in our bodies have changed over time, as have its functions. Scientists should embrace this concept of 'design,' and in so doing, claim for science the sense of orderly rationality in nature to which the anti-evolution movement has long appealed."

The session is entitled "Communicating Science in a Religious America."

Story Source:

Materials provided by Brown University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


3.27: Anti-evolution arguments - Biology

So You Want to be an Anti-Darwinian
Varieties of Opposition to Darwinism
Copyright © 1998 by John Wilkins
[Last Update: December 21, 1998]

any different people oppose some or all aspects of Darwin's thinking, or the views that have arisen since and go by the term "Darwinism". This essay distinguishes and names the major varieties of anti-Darwinism. It does not attempt to defend or reject any views, just to provide a map to the conceptual territory.


Caution to the Reader
Every one of these viewpoints, although it has a name and often a number of defenders, is only a notional position, and is not held by anyone as bluntly as stated here. People can and do hold a variety of these positions and see no conflict with each other or Darwinism. Just because someone flies a banner doesn't mean there's an army underneath it or a war to fight. The world of science is not a formal logical system, and schools of thought do not resolve most of the time into exclusive camps. Or to put it another way, borders on maps are often arbitrary.

If you wish to disagree with Darwin, it is important to know what aspect of Darwin's thinking, and more importantly of modern evolutionary theory, you are disputing. Many opponents of Darwinism seem to think that because one disagrees with, say, the role of natural selection in evolution, that one automatically disagrees with the idea of evolution itself. Creationists especially seem to slide from "disagrees with some aspect of synthetic Darwinism" to "rejects evolution". One of the more dishonest versions of this tactic lies in the use of comments made in one context (for example, Colin Patterson's talk on the relevance of cladistic methods to reconstruct evolutionary trees in the Symposia on Systematics at the American Museum of Natural History) in an entirely different context (the supposed rejection by Patterson of Darwinism in total, despite his having written a book on evolution accepting Darwinian theory [1], see Patterson Misquoted: A Tale of Two 'Cites' FAQ).

What Darwinism actually is, is of course at issue. It is a term that has many different meanings, depending on the field in which it is being discussed [2]. In, say, artificial life research, Darwinism tends to mean natural selection (in the form of what are called "genetic algorithms"). In systematics it means the reconstruction of ancestral forms and historical sequences of species. In bacteriological research it means the evolution of drug-resistant strains by selection. In organismic biology it means the evolution of new forms of life. In genetics it means the so-called "central dogma" of the inability of information about the state of the body to be reverse transcribed back into the genes, because that view was first proposed by an arch-Darwinian, August Weismann, in the 1880s. And in fact, all of these are just tendencies that vary according to where the researchers are, who you are reading, and the period in which those people lived. "Darwinism" according to Wallace in 1890 [3] is very different to Darwinism according to Stephen Jay Gould or Richard Dawkins.

So, to overcome this confusion of meanings and to ensure that both notional Darwinians and anti-Darwinians alike know what it is they accept and what they object to, this essay covers the varieties of anti-Darwinism, including opposition to transmutationism, common descent, undirected variation, randomness, selection, Weismannism, and monism.

In the Darwin's Precursors and Influences FAQ , I distinguished between seven theories of Darwin's, and I reproduce them here, amended, to provide a list of possible disputes:

1. Transmutationism - that species change form to become other species the alternative view is Statism

2. Common descent - that similar species have common ancestors the alternative is a view I can only call Parallel descent (a view held by Lamarck)

3. Struggle for existence - that more are born than can survive the alternate view is sometimes called Commensualism

4. Natural selection - that the relatively better adapted have more offspring, sometimes called Malthusianism the alternate has no name.

5. Sexual selection - that the more "attractive" organisms of sexual species mate more (and have more offspring), causing unfit traits to spread again there is no alternate, just a denial that it happens

6. Biogeographic distribution - that species occur close by related species, explaining the distributions of various genera this view, first published by Wallace, is in opposition to the older "single centre of creation" notion.

7. Heredity -

a. Darwin's own theory was called " pangenesis " and is no longer accepted (it was a form of what we now call " neo-Lamarckism ", or the inheritance of aquired characters),

b. Weismannism - the more modern view that genes don't record information about the life of organisms.

To this I must add four other more recent theories:

8. Random mutation - the notion that changes in genes aren't directed towards "better" alternatives in other words, that mutations are blind to the needs imposed by the ecology in which organisms find themselves

9. Genetic drift/neutralism - the view that some changes in genes are due to chance or the so-called "sampling error" of small populations of organisms. Molecular neutralism is the view that the very structure of genes changes in purely random ways.

10. Functionalism - the view that features of organisms are neither due to or are constrained by the shapes (morphology) of their lineage, but are due to their functional, or adaptive, benefits.

Darwinism, in common with several other sciences dealing with historical change, also is sometimes held to assert -

11. Gradualism - the view that changes do not occur all at once, and that there are intermediate steps from an earlier stage to the next.

Each of these "Darwinian" theories can be, and have been at some time in the past 150 years, challenged, and the end result called "anti-Darwinian". Anti-Darwinisms include [4]:

Special creationism (sometimes just " Creationism " [5], the view that species are created "specially" in each case): challenges 1, 2, 6 and usually 8. Examples : the last biologist to be a special creationist was Louis Agassis (d. 1873) [6].

Orthogenesis (linear evolution, aka Great Chain of Being thinking, the view that evolution proceeds in direct lines to goals, also sometimes called teleological evolution or progressionism): challenges 8 and 9. Examples: Lamarck, Nägeli, Eimer, Osborn, Severtsov, Teilhard. Often found as vague statements in more orthodox biology (in terms like "primitive" and "advanced" forms instead of the usual meanings in biology of older and derived) [7].

Neo-Lamarckism (aka Instructionism , the view that the environment instructs the genome, and/or the view that changes occur to anticipate the needs of the organism): challenges 7b, 8 and 9. Examples: Darwin, Haeckel, ED Cope, S Butler, Kropotkin, GBS Shaw, Kammerer, Koestler, E Steele [8], Goldschmidt [9]

Process Structuralism (aka Formalism , aka Laws of growth tradition , also called Naturphilosophie , deriving from Goethe and Oken - the view that there are deep laws of change that determine some or all of the features of organisms): challenges 3 to 5 and 10. Examples: Goethe, Geoffroy, D'Arcy Thompson [10] , Goodwin, Salthe, Gould, Løvtrup [11]

Saltationism (in texts before about 1940 also called " Mutationism " or " Mutation Theory ", the view that changes between forms occur all-at-once or not at all): challenges 11, and sometimes 2. Examples: Galton, TH Huxley, De Vries, TH Morgan, Johannsen, Goldschmidt [12]

For historical purposes, it is worth noting that all of these except Special Creationism have been held by people who thought themselves good Darwinians. Of course, many eugenicists also thoght they were good Darwinians (including Darwin's cousin Francis Galton, his son Leonard, RA Fisher and Karl Pearson [13]). However, TH Huxley and Galton were saltationists, Gould is a (partial) process structuralist along with Richard Lewontin. Darwin himself, and his disciple George Romanes, were also Instructionists, and the number of orthogenetic Darwinians is hard to list (cf Ruse 1997). However, to disagree with "Darwinism" today, you must challenge some, preferably more than one, of these theses.


Variation of Opinion within Biology

Moreover, within biology itself there are a wide range of opinions, some of which are sometimes called anti-Darwinian either by the biologists themselves or by others wishing to use this difference to "prove" that Darwinism is on the nose.

Pluralism is the view that more than natural selection is not the sole, nor perhaps the main active process in evolution (may deny all or part of 4, 5, 7b and 8). Sometimes this view is allied to the views called collectively Hierarchicalism and also to Process Structuralism (eg, Gould and Eldredge and their collaborators), which rejects the view known as Genic Reductionism (as presented by Dawkins, GC Williams and Maynard Smith) - which claims that the "units of selection" are genes. Hierachical views of evolution tend to deny that selection acts on genes (or just on genes, depending). Gould [14] has also argued for a high degree of contingency in evolution, but this is not, nor has it even been, un-Darwinian - even the strictest selectionists have allowed for contingency. Opposing Pluralism is Monism , the view that all evolutionary (and indeed biological) phenomena can be brought under a single set of consistent theories or mechanisms.

It is sometimes held that Genic Reductionism is identical to another position known as Neo-Darwinism , or to another called Synthetic Darwinism . This is wrong. Neo-Darwinism was a school of thought from the 1880s to the 1930s which made natural selection the main and perhaps sole cause of all evolution. It was started by AR Wallace and Weismann, and it tended to deny the efficacy of drift (9, although this was not directly stated until the 1930s by Sewall Wright) and sexual selection (5). It was not accepted by all, or even most, Darwinians and never caught on outside Britain and to a lesser extent Germany.

Synthetic Darwinism was christened by Julian Huxley [15] in 1942 as the marriage (sometimes uneasy) between Mendelian genetics and Fisher's reworking in mathematical terms of the theory of natural selection (1 through 6, 7b, 8 and 9). At the same time the views of Sewall Wright that much change is due to non-selective change (9) were incorporated into the synthesis.

Genic Reductionism is actually the result of taking the Synthesis and using the recently developed techniques of Game Theory [16] to model changes in populations. To do this, one needs a carrier of fitness to make the math work, and the gene seemed to be the obvious entity. The debate spilled over into the 1970s and 1980s as the Units of Selection debate[17]. The issue focused around whether selection could act only on genes in individuals or whether it could also select groups right up to and including species themselves [18].

Genic Reductionism is also called, variously, Ultra-Darwinism [19], "hard Darwinism", "selectionism", and "panadaptationism" or even just "adaptationism", although selectionism and adaptationism are common to all varieties of Darwinism (and some nonevolutionary views as well), and Darwin and his immediate followers had no knowledge to speak of about genes.

Recently, the issue of self-organisation of biological systems has been held to be anti-selection (Kauffman[20], denying 4), although the first proponents of self-organisation (Eigen & Schuster) thought it was then subjected to selective bias. Kauffman has since been convinced that his views are consistent with modern Darwinism by Maynard Smith.

  • Hierarchicalism: Salthe [21] , Eldredge, Vrba [22]
  • Process Structuralism: Gould, Goodwin, Ho, Kauffman [23]
  • Neutralism: Margulis, Kimura [24]
  • Holism/Group selectionism: Wynne-Edwards, EO Wilson, DS Wilson [25]
  • Monism: Dawkins, Maynard Smith [26]

Which of these will find their way permanently into the orthodox camp remains to be seen. Some who think of themselves as anti-Darwinians complain that Darwinism is a shifting target. It certainly has incorporated such challenges as Mendelism, mutation, random drift and neutral evolution. This is, however, a feature of scientific traditions, if not of axiomatic formal philosophies.


Rates of Change and Phylogenetic Histories

Let us now consider the Punctuated Equilibrium debate. This is supposed to be anti-Darwinian because it challenges Darwin's "gradualism", which he is supposed to have inherited from Charles Lyell, the geologist (11). However, Darwin himself stated that evolution would proceed at different rates, and two founders of the Synthesis - Mayr and Simpson - both developed theories of relatively rapid change and speciation events. When Gould and Eldredge first proposed their Punctuated Equilibrium Theory they held it to be well within orthodox Darwinism, and after some varying emphases over the next 20 years, it is so held to be orthodox again. The sort of Uniformitarianism that Darwin did inherit from Lyell worked on the assumption that the causes in operation in the modern period are not qualitatively different from those of earlier times. However, they may differ quantitatively in rate and strength, and if the evidence is that they have, this is not a disproof of Darwinism as expressed from 1859 to the current day.

A different but related problem is that which I mentioned above when I named Colin Patterson's talk at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York, to a group of systematists (professionals who classify species and relate them to each other). The assumption in J Huxley's work in 1942 was that evolution is the basis for a natural classification scheme - species most recently separated are more closely related. A group known as the "Pattern Cladists" held that it is logically impossible to identify ancestors, and so this natural classification cannot be achieved (they were and are in favour of a different logical basis). Patterson entitled his talk "Evolution and Creationism" at the suggestion of fellow pattern cladist Gareth Nelson (meaning that natural classification neither said anything about nor depended upon evolutionary history), which has been taken from the sphere of classification and extended to the domain of biology in general [27]. Now, pattern cladists are evolutionists, and deny none of the 11 Darwinian theses, except in the context of generating phylogenetic histories. There, they call the evolutionary systematists "Darwinians" and deny they are in that camp.

To be an anti-Darwinian is at once easy and very hard. It is easy if you deny the core tenet of evolution (1) or if you assert that some of the other 10 theses are core Darwinian views and then deny them (but that doesn't make them so - as Lincoln said, calling a tail a leg doesn't mean dogs have five legs). But it is very hard to find any other feature than (1) that is truly inflexible in Darwinism, and so long as the general outline of Darwinism is retained, the emphases can be shifted. The denial of any one of the other 10 theses is not denial of all of them, and rejection of the exclusivity of one of them is not rejection of its validity altogether. To be anti-Darwinian requires hard empirical work to disestablish several of these theses, and to show Darwinian modes of thought to be unnecessary or misleading.

  • Bowler PJ (1989) Evolution: The history of an idea , University of California Press:Berkeley, Calif. (Revised edition)
  • Brandon RN and RM Burian (1984) Genes, Organisms, Populations: Controversy over the units of selection , MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Dawkins R (1982) The Extended Phenotype: The long reach of the gene , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, revised 1989
  • Depew DJ and BH Weber (1995) Darwinism Evolving: Systems dynamics and the genealogy of natural selection , Bradford/MIT Press: Cambridge, Mass.
  • Eldredge N (1989) Macroevolutionary Dynamics: Species, niches, and adaptive peaks , McGraw-Hill: New York
  • Eldredge N (1995) Reinventing Darwin: The great evolutionary debate , Weidenfeld and Nicholson: London
  • Goldschmidt R (1940) The Material Basis of Evolution , Yale University Press: New Haven
  • Gould SJ (1989) Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History , Norton: New York
  • Gould SJ (1997) The adaptive excellence of spandrels as a term and prototype. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94: 10750--10755
  • Hull D (1988) Science as a Process: An Evolutionary Account of the Social and Conceptual Development of Science , University of Chicago Press: Chicago
  • Huxley J (1942) Evolution: The modern synthesis , Allen & Unwin: London
  • Jablonka E and MJ Lamb (1995) Epigenetic Inheritance and Evolution: The Lamarckian Dimension , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK
  • Kauffman SA (1985) Self-organization, selective adaptation, and its limits: A new pattern of inference in evolution and development. In: Evolution at a Crossroads: The new biology and the new philosophy of science , eds DJ Depew and BH Weber, MIT Press: Cambridge Mass. 169-207.
  • Kauffman SA (1993) The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution , Oxford University Press: Oxford
  • Kauffman SA (1995) At Home in the Universe: The search for laws of complexity , Penguin: Harmondsworth
  • Keller EF and EA Lloyd eds (1992) Keywords in Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Mass.
  • Kevles DJ (1995) In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the uses of human heredity , Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Mass. (Revised edition)
  • Lloyd EA (1988) The Structure and Confirmation of Evolutionary Theory, Greenwood, Westport: Conn.
  • Lloyd EA (1992) Units of Selection. In: Keller and Lloyd 1992.
  • Løvtrup S (1987) Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth , Croon Helm, London UK.
  • Luce RD and H Raiffa (1957) Games and Decisions: Intorduction and Critical Survey , Wiley: New York
  • Mayr E (1982) The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, evolution, and inheritance , Belknap/Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Mass.
  • Nitecki MH ed (1988) Evolutionary Progress , University of Chicago Press: Chicago
  • Ruse M (1997) From Monad to Man:
  • Salthe SN (1985) Evolving Hierarchical Systems , Columbia University Press: New York
  • Sterelny K and PE Griffiths (forthcoming) Sex and Death: An introduction to the philosophy of biology
  • Thompson D'A (1917) On Growth and Form , Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK (Second edition 1942)
  • Wallace AR (1890) Darwinism: An exposition of the theory of natural selection with some of its applications , Macmillan: London, 2nd edition
  • Wilson DS (1992) Group Selection. In: Keller and Lloyd 1992.

[ 1 ] Patterson 1979 Evolution

[ 5 ] Creation is, of course, a core doctrine of many religions, most of whose theologians and theoreticians have no quarrel with Darwinism. Consequently, it is a mistake to think of the doctrine of creation in itself being opposed to the idea of evolution. To distinguish this sense of creationism , and also ordinary uses of the terms formalism and mutationism , from the anti-Darwinian senses, I shall capitalise them.

[ 9] Goldschmidt 1940, cf Jablonka and Lamb 1995 for an historical review

[ 10] Thompson 1917 (1942), Gould 1997

[ 16] Developed from 1928 by von Neumann, cf Luce and Raffia 1957.

[ 17] Lloyd 1988, 1992, Brandon and Burian 1984

[ 18] Lloyd 1988, DS Wilson 1992

[ 20] Kauffman 1985, 1993, 1995, Depew and Weber 1995

[ 23] cf Depew and Weber 1995 for a review

[ 24] cf Depew and Weber 1995 for references and discussion, also Sterelny and Griffiths (forthcoming)


In America’s dysfunctional society, people need God more than Darwin.

That was the summation Wednesday of prominent evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, a University of Chicago professor of ecology and evolution who has worked for years to counter creationists’ anti-evolution arguments.

Coyne, author of the 2009 book, “Why Evolution Is True,” cited surveys that indicate American acceptance of evolutionary theory is near the bottom among its peer nations. A 2006 survey showed that just 40 percent of Americans accepted the truth of the statement that “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.” That was roughly half the number in France, Japan, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In fact, out of 34 countries, America’s acceptance of evolution was next to last, only ahead of Turkey.

Other surveys show that 40 percent of Americans believe God created humans as they are and that just 12 percent believe that evolution should be the only theory of how species originated that is taught in American science classrooms.

Coyne called the situation “a national embarrassment” and traced America’s low acceptance of evolution ultimately to a dysfunctional society, with high levels of income inequality, drug use, infant mortality, and other negative measures, relative to other industrialized democracies.

This social insecurity promotes high levels of belief in religion, whose tenets disagree with the central ideas of evolution, Coyne said. He cited a 2009 study that showed that the more dysfunctional a society, the higher its level of religious belief.

“If you live in a society that is dysfunctional and unhealthy, where people are doing better than you, you need solace from somewhere. You get it from religion,” Coyne said. “The thing that blocks acceptance of evolution in America is religion.”

In his talk, sponsored by the Harvard Museum of Natural History as part of its “Evolution Matters” lecture series, Coyne gave an outline of evolutionary theory along with specific examples that bolster its accuracy.

He addressed the common “it’s only a theory” argument by pointing out that the understanding of “theory” in everyday speech and in scientific terminology is different. Among scientists, a theory is not the same as a guess or a hypothesis. A scientific theory is an explanation of a natural phenomenon that is bolstered by data. With enough supporting data, a theory approaches fact. He compared the theory of evolution to “atomic theory” (the idea that matter is made up of atoms) and “germ theory” (which posits that diseases are caused by germs), both widely accepted as fact today.

The overall trend in the fossil record presents a strong argument for evolution, Coyne said. If evolution is true, one would expect to see more complex creatures evolving from simpler ones over long reaches of time, with ones most resembling today’s creatures found among most recent fossils, which is the case.

Other evidence in favor of evolution continues to mount, with scientists directly observing evolution in action for some 300 species and uncovering more and more transitional species in the fossil record. Birds have long been thought to have evolved from reptiles, because they share some characteristics and because reptiles are found much further back in the fossil record. In recent years, Coyne said, paleontologists have uncovered feathered dinosaurs, further bolstering the idea that birds evolved from reptiles. Another example is the fairly complete record of horse evolution from a smaller, many-toed relative to the large animal we know today that runs around on one large toe on each foot.

The evolution of whales and dolphins is another example. Scientists have long held that they descended from air-breathing land mammals, but that has been doubted by creationists because of the radical changes required in their body plans. Fossil evidence has slowly filled in the transitional species, Coyne said, until today there is a fairly complete record of what was a rapid transition over just 8 million years from four-legged land mammals to fluked and finned deep-diving whales.

More evidence comes from embryology, where vestiges from ancestral species still crop up. Dolphin embryos, for example, still bear rear leg buds, and human embryos develop a hairy lanugo coat, normally lost 36 weeks into gestation. Genetics also shows evolution’s traces, with inactive genes identified from precursor species. In humans, genes exist to manufacture vitamin C, something we, along with gorillas and chimpanzees, lost, presumably because of our ancestors’ fruit-rich diet. There are also genes for enough olfactory receptors that our sense of smell could rival that of dogs and cats. In both cases, the genes have been silenced.

“Our genome is a graveyard of dead genes,” Coyne said.

Despite this evidence, many Americans refuse to believe in evolution because they hold tightly to religious beliefs, most of which are taught in childhood well before young people learn of evolution, Coyne said. Three-quarters of Americans profess an absolute belief in God, and 63 percent believe in angels.

The problem with evolution from a religious point of view, Coyne said, is that it doesn’t just assail religious views of human origin, it also erodes the religious underpinnings of the idea that humans are somehow special, that our lives have purpose and meaning, and that we need to be moral. He cited another poll that asked Americans what their response would be if presented with a scientific fact that contradicted their religion. Sixty-four percent said they would reject fact in favor of faith.

The answer, Coyne said, is to address society’s ills so Americans live in a more secure and level society.

“We should create a society that is more just, more equal, more caring,” Coyne said. “Regardless of how you feel about religion, I think that’s one thing we can all care about.”



Comments:

  1. Izaan

    I agree, this remarkable opinion

  2. Safin

    This information is not true

  3. Tekasa

    And indefinitely it is not far :)



Write a message