Evolution is only a theory

For some reason the theory of evolution seems to raise the hackles of some fundamentalist Christian groups. Other Christians accept the theory of evolution and still find room for God in their worldview. I certainly don’t want to speak for either group, but perhaps the side that each group comes down on is directly correlated to how strictly they interpret the Bible. Because if you literally believe that God formed Adam from the dust of the Earth on the sixth day of Creation, and Eve maybe in the late afternoon from one of Adam’s ribs, then it’s probably got to be nigh impossible to also believe that humankind evolved. And if humans didn’t evolve, then the whole theory has to be wrong.

The human brain does a pretty good job with cognitive dissonance. But two ways the human race came into being? It’s too much, and it would force a person to reject something. Hm. What to choose. Reject God? Nah. Too drastic. Reject Christianity? Nah. Too scary. Reject the literal interpretation of the Bible? Nah. Too chaotic. Reject evolution? There you go. And science itself is responsible for providing the weasel words to make it all possible: it’s only a theory.

But that’s where they usually stop. They learn just enough about the science to find a way to reject it, and then refuse to research any more into it. The “only a theory” argument is so easy to debunk it’s laughable. Yet it still continues to be effective. The problem? Science–as a discipline–is too humble. Not that there aren’t haughty scientists. But the idea that science is always changing its mind about things is pretty powerful, and is a great tool in the hands of those who wish to reject its current findings.

You can latch onto the idea that the truth you’ve been taught about God is the perfect truth, and that secular science can only ever approximate that truth. So these poor scientists who have no faith are trying their best to understand the world but you know, they just can’t get there without God. And so they come up with these crazy ideas, often based on their agenda to remove God from society, and then do their best to reject, censor, and hide any data that might disprove their pet theory. But someday the truth of God will be known by all. It’s only a matter of time.

You know, you can almost see the logic in that approach. Just don’t learn any of the actual details about the science you want to reject. Because then it gets messy.

These evolution-rejecting fundamentalists love to say it’s only a theory. But don’t bother trying to explain what the word theory means. Don’t pull out the polysyllabic word hypothesis on them, either. Just say, “Yes. Science uses the technical term theory for the large body of evidence supporting evolution. Just as it uses the same word regarding gravity. And the Earth revolving around the sun? Only another theory. And while we’re on the subject, I’m sure you know the word science uses to describe Christianity: myth.”

Let science be humble. But you don’t have to be. That’s my theory.

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9 responses to “Evolution is only a theory”

  1. Tongue Sandwich™ says :

    Nothing is more repugnant than the notion that religious beliefs are beyond criticism.

  2. theguywiththeeye says :

    I disagree. We need to aim for a state of hyper-hyperbole 🙂

  3. geneticfractals says :

    I met a physicist from CERN (WWW, Higgs Boson etc) recently who told me categorically that neither he nor real scientists believe in truth. They only speak of likelihood. This wasn’t because they were humble but because a) how could you be sure of anything you say and b) it is the only model that considers all possibilities.

    So, likelihood instead of truth. Evolution is likely. Hmm, yes, that sounds good. How about “God is likely”? Now the day that Christians say that, is the day we may be able to have a sensible discussion.

    • the frogman says :

      I like that. Likelihood rather than truth. You win more converts with “I know” than with “I think it likely,” but the latter definitely feels more honest.

  4. makagutu says :

    i like your working theory

  5. cocacolafiend says :

    As someone who studies biochemistry as part of their degree, it can be a little overwhelming at times to think that there was no designer involved.

    The pathways by which you respire, create your amino acids and nucleotides, replicate DNA etc. are so complex.

    But then you remember, it took millions of years before those pathways were perfected by natural selection.

    Evolution is truly a wonderful thing. (c:

    • the frogman says :

      Just about every mechanism in the human body has amazingly intricate details. Even something as seemingly mundane as vomiting has a highly complex coordination of various bodily systems in order to function properly. It’s almost miraculous.

  6. gpicone says :

    I am always amazed at how people can believe that the 7 billion people alive today could be the offspring of just 2 original people…of course that might explain why we are all crazy and hate each other! 🙂

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