It isn't Darwin's legacy that promotes the idea of unguided natural process, it’s the evidence.
Biblical creationists don’t have a prayer when it comes to any kind of honest argument with an evolutionist. They never did which is why biologists such as Thomas Huxley would crush theologians on a regular basis. Creationists rely on dishonesty to promote their cause such as labeling evolution a religion that needs faith. They attempt to portray Charles Darwin as the divine prophet of the atheists. There’s only one problem with this argument. It’s absolute rubbish. Accepting evolution is not a pledge of allegiance to atheism, although it does grease the doorway to some extent. The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams recognizes that humans evolved from other animals. As far as we know, Williams is not an atheist. Pope John Paul II recognized the realities of evolution in 1996. As far as we know, the Pope was not an atheist.
But why let facts spoil creationist dishonesty and nonsense? If they allowed that to happen, there wouldn’t be any creationists. They must portray their opposition as extremists. The whole argument of creationist rest on this; we don’t know precisely how life began or the beginning of such complexities as the eye and therefore, since we don’t know, a man claiming to speak for god thousands of years ago must be right. That’s it! If we don’t know all the answers, the Bible is true. The news commentator Bill O’Reilly echoed this sentiment in a discussion with biologist Richard Dawkins. Since you can’t tell me how the Big Bang occurred, I’m sticking with Christianity. O’Reilly has kept smirking ever since insisting he kicked Dawkins’ butt with his genius argument.
Shameless ignorance does not stand on equal ground as science. Filling the gaps of science with the god of Abraham is not backed up by evidence nor does it provide any value in discovering the truth. In fact a magical designer only pushes the question to who designed the designer. And surely any kind of divine designer would not be jealous and vengeful as the flawed deity of Western religions. A complacent attitude of “god did it” has always been a barrier to scientific progress. Every advancement that’s ever been made has been a result of challenging authority, even the authority of men claiming to speak for god which is all religion has even been.
Everything in the universe points to simple origins. Hydrogen came before helium. Single-celled organisms came before multi-celled. The fossil record without exception demonstrates a progression of species complexity over time. There are things we don’t know such as how random molecules became the first living single-celled organism, but we do know that only single-celled creatures existed long before something multi-celled was formed. No matter if the first living thing was divinely guided or not, evolution was still very much involved. Anyone possessing common sense that’s also objective, scientifically educated and intelligent believes in evolution, even if they question if absolutely everything happened naturally.
Science is fundamentally different than religion because nothing is regarded as divine indisputable knowledge. Science does not rely on ancient men claiming to speak for god; science relies on empirical evidence and reason. Christian fundamentalists believe that every word in the Bible must be taken literally such as Genesis. No atheist believes that everything Charles Darwin wrote cannot be challenged. No one thinks of him as a divine prophet and the philosophical foundation of science dictates that evidence trumps any kind of human authority. It is not who is right but what is right that’s important.
Evolution is bigger than Charles Darwin. Other scientists were on the cusp of that discovery. So why do we know the name Darwin so prominently? Why do we know the name of the Beatles? It’s because they were a damn good rock band. But without the Beatles there would still be rock and roll. We know the name of Charles Darwin because he was a damn good scientist. But without Darwin we would still have science, and we would still have evolution.
Fellow scientist Thomas Huxley challenged some of Darwin’s theories. Huxley stated that it would be a mistake to dogmatically claim evolution must always take very long amounts of time and can only be the result of natural selection. Did this mean Huxley was not an evolutionist? Absolutely not. Despite a few disagreements, Huxley was a true, tenacious and noble defender of his dear friend Darwin's work.
“What if the orbit of Darwinism should be a little too circular?1 What if species should offer residual phenomena, here and there, not explicable by natural selection? Twenty years hence naturalists may be in a position to say whether this is, or is not, the case; but in either event they will owe the author of "The Origin of Species" an immense debt of gratitude...... And viewed as a whole, we do not believe that, since the publication of Von Baer's "Researches on Development," thirty years ago, any work has appeared calculated to exert so large an influence, not only on the future of Biology, but in extending the domination of Science over regions of thought into which she has, as yet, hardly penetrated.” – Thomas Henry Huxley
1 – Reference to the first heliocentric belief that the earth’s orbit around the sun was circular but later discovered to be an ellipse.
Evolution is not an extremist position as the creationists would lead people to believe. Evolution is not a religion. Evolution is not an argument of a moral code for mankind; it’s an argument of reality in nature. Evolution does not require faith. Evolution is what we know to be truth through empirical evidence and reason. The position of Christian fundamentalists are extremist as even the scientifically challenged religious folks like Bill O’Reilly laugh at the notion of taking the Bible literally and recognize that Biblical stories such as Noah’s flood are fables. Many people of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith consider a literal interpretation of god blowing into dirt and cracking off a rib to be absurd. Rather than recognize the majesty and reality of evolution, the creationists try and bring science down into the same realm of their own ancient fairy tales. But as Stephen Hawking said, science will win over religion because it works.
James Kirk Wall
A tour of a creation museum
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