Posts Tagged ‘evolution’

I’m just about sick of this evolution vs. creation debate that seems to pop up every few decades when the writers of educational policy have nothing better to do (or want to divert attention from their continued inability to stop fucking things up).

There is room for both in the world, and in the textbook.

Generally, given the choice between conjecture and evidence, I’ll go with the side that shows evidence. Which is customarily the side of science and technology rather than faith and dogma. I am willing to concede, however, that I don’t have the whole story, and that science is not infallible.


In the beginning the Universe was created. This fact in and of itself has pissed a number of people off, and either George Bush or Osama bin Laden is probably looking for a reason to make war on it.

Was it created by God, or gods? Was it created from concentrated energy by a humongous kablooie? We may never know.

Here’s something to consider. Who is to say that the aforementioned humongous kablooie was random? Perhaps the Big Bang itself was itself ‘intelligent design’. It certainly strikes me as a convenient way to create a great deal of matter very fast.

Evolution, in and of itself, has been scientifically proven. It does happen. The fact of it still being called a theory is no different than the fact that some textbooks still refer to gravity that way. It’s not even all that much of a stretch to deduce the concept of evolution and the notion of the survival of the fittest from Mendel’s first few breeding experiments with garden vegetables. Ultimately, Darwin was not so stupid as to publish his findings unless there was something pretty solid to back them up.

It has not, however, been conclusively proven that we, Homo sapiens sapiens, evolved from anything. However, given our physical resemblance to Homo erectus, whose existence is also known to be fact, it seems at least feasible.

Perhaps evolution was actually a part of a greater plan. When God (or gods, though for simplicity I shall henceforth use the singular) decided that all things should come to be, perhaps it was His (or Her, but again I shall use the conventional phrasing) desire, His wish, that the world move on, beyond the original boundaries of its design. He would thus have created the laws of nature (including evolution) and the laws of physics (including those governing the formation of planets) as a framework within which this growth could occur.

We all know of the Missing Link in evolution – the piece of the puzzle that would supposedly connect us to earlier, less sophisticated primates, if only we could find it. Perhaps we didn’t actually evolve from them the same way everything else evolved. Perhaps God did put us here in place of other primate species which were dying out. He may have wished to see progress sooner, and thus introduced mankind into his design once everything else was in motion, which would be in keeping with the Biblical assertion that we were created last.

In the same vein, it is possible, ludicrous though it sounds, that the reason for the famous Missing Link is that some more advanced race from another planet chose to cross their own genetic strain with that of early humans, giving rise to an altogether new species – us. The Book of Genesis could simply have been their means of rationalizing it.

The creationists have a tough job here, since they not only have to prove the existence of God but prove that He created humans rather than having them evolve. It is very hard to unequivocally prove the existence of an intangible divine entity.

“God exists, for it is written in this Book.”
“How do we know that we can trust what is written in the Book?”
“The Book is the word of God.”

The circular reasoning takes us nowhere, and yet it is all but impossible for many of us to deny the existence of a greater Being of some sort. Many people, myself included, look in awe at the wonders of nature and find it hard to believe that all of this was created by random chance. We look at the unfathomably complex human body and can’t quite tell ourselves that this grew from a few molecules in some primordial muck.

I have moved away somewhat from actual educational policy. My own view is guided by my number one educational principle: that a student should always be free to ask questions, to find his or her own answers. This is progress. Two billion children learning to regurgitate accepted truths is not education, it is stagnation.

I have no objection to the teaching of creationism in schools per se; I do not, however, want to see the teaching of evolution suffer for it. An underlying problem of teaching creationism is the notion of separating Church and State, which I believe to be a good idea. I do not think, though, that too much religion is being introduced if the textbook simply says that “many people believe that the world, and human beings, were created by a God, as detailed in the Bible, Qu’ran and other sacred texts” and encourages students to consider all possibilities.

I think it best to avoid working with certain other discrepancies unless the student wishes to undertake research on it. For example: the creation happening in seven days versus billions of years, the Earth only being 6000 years old and the 13,000-year-old archeological evidence of cities. I myself attempted to pick out flaws in both sides when I was a young boy. My principal argument against the Creation story back then amounted to “Hey, where did Cain get a wife from?” I also learned of the Missing Link at around the same age.

So I don’t know which is true, or which parts of each are true. I only know that we don’t have all the answers yet, and we won’t get them unless we make sure the next generation knows that the answers are still waiting to be found. Throwing accusations and crying heresy will not help either side of this debate, because it’s a debate that doesn’t need sides. It needs open-mindedness from all parties.

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