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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Just the Facts, Ma'am!

I ran across some interesting observations on the Creationists / Evolutionists debate on Les's site S.E.B. and a few other locations.

(We had some of this discussion a few days ago on Half of all Americans are idiots! Boy, this is a good way to make friends and influence people, eh!)

Aside from the fact that 56% of Americans believe in Creationism while only 44% believe in Evolution, (These figures are arbitrary and should only be used as a general guideline.) it also found that the percentage of Creationists was quite a bit lower in Canada and even lower in the rest of the world!

In spite of Fundamentalist Christian and Islamic pressure, the Southern, Catholic States are still 70% pro-Evolution, Great Britain and the Northern Countries of Europe are 80% pro-Evolution and Australia and New Zealand are 95% pro-Evolution,

Compare this to the U.S. (56%-44%) where, in general, older adults (those 55 years of age and older), adults without a college degree, Republicans, conservatives, and Southerners were more likely to embrace the Creationism positions in the questions asked. (75%-25%)

Those with college educations, Democrats, independents, liberals, adults aged 18 to 54, and those from the Northeast and West support the belief in Evolution in larger numbers. 75%-25%)

Aside from regional differences, if we look at the beliefs of members of the major political parties we find a wide variance as well. According to CBS News, a recent Gallup Survey shows that 68% of Republicans Disbelieve Scientific Explanation of Creation!
A Gallup poll released Monday said that while the country is about evenly split over whether the theory of evolution is true, Republicans disbelieve it by more than 2-to-1.

Republicans saying they don’t believe in Evolution outnumbered those who do by 68 percent to 30 percent in the survey. Democrats believe in Evolution by 57 percent to 40 percent, as do Independents by a 61 percent to 37 percent margin.

Or, as Jon Stewart might say; (From S.E.B.)

OK, Republicans, we understand that you’re devout. We understand that you love God.

That’s simply beautiful, it really is.

Regardless of that, you have to stop cherry-picking the facts.

Evolution is a fact, just like some of those other facts that are somewhat less controversial, like Helio-Centrism. The church no longer arrests and executes people who believe that the sun is at the center of our solar system because there’s just simply such an abundance, a cornucopia if you will, of observational evidence, that no rational person would claim otherwise.

The same is true for the facts of evolution: That species emerge and change over very long periods of time.

That some species that used to exist, no longer exist.

Further, it is a fact that humans appeared relatively recently in the history of our world.

The facts are irrefutable.

They are written in the very bedrock of our planet.

They are there for everyone to see, everywhere: older species in strata below newer species.

Never an exception.

No human jawbones have ever been found in a Tyrannosaurus nest.

No dinosaurs after 65 million years ago.

No Australopithecenes after about 2 million years ago.

No Homo Sapiens before about 500,000 years ago.

None!

Anywhere!

Now, while you can certainly take a religious position on the explanation of Evolution, you cannot take a religious position on the existence of Evolution.

In other words, you can certainly disagree with the leading scientific Theory of Evolution, which explains how such facts as we observe everywhere in the world came to be (and does so quite nicely, thank you very much), but you can only disagree with the facts of Evolution to the same extent that you can disagree with the fact that the sun is at the center of the solar system, or that Pasteurization helps preserve foods, or that DNA codes genetic information for all species on earth.

We need to remember that, as Stephen Jay Gould said, there’s a difference between a fact and a theory, and Evolution is both:

Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty.

Facts are the world’s data.

Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts.

Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them.

Einstein’s theory of gravitation replaced Newton’s, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome.

Humans evolved from apelike ancestors, whether they did so by Darwin’s proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.

If you’re planning on rejecting the Theory of Evolution, the scientific mechanism that Darwin proposed almost a century and a half ago, you have to follow the rules.

The rules are simple.

Come up with a better explanation for the fact of Evolution.

Just make sure it doesn't require anything beyond what we can expect from our normal, natural, very non magical world.


Allan W Janssen is the author of The Plain Truth About God-101 (what the church doesn't want you to know!) www.God-101.com

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