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Friday, July 23, 2010

Evolution, intelligent design and creationism

I was at a huge family gathering last night and don't have a ton of time to come up with a post for today, so I thought I'd ask y'all a question. Especially since I watched the movie, Creation, last night.

In spite of oil spills, nuclear catastrophes and whatever else humans throw at it, I still feel that the Earth and animal life on it (not any specific animal life, mind you) would survive whatever we end up doing to it. Since one of my degrees is in human biological evolution, I am always curious about people's opinions on evolution.

Generally, I usually am surprised at the number of folks who still think that the tenets of creation or intelligent design are true, so I thought I'd devote today's post to getting an idea of what you all thought. It still is, 84 years after the Scopes Monkey Trial, a controversial subject and a taboo topic of conversation.

Ultimately, I'm curious whether or not people who are interested in environmental issues tend to agree with the principles of evolution, ID or the belief of creationism? Or does it really matter?

So, what do you think? Does your understanding of how life is formed and evolved affect your environmentalism? Finally, do you think that America's wishy-washy approach to teaching evolutionary science in schools has made us lose our edge in the biological sciences?

As for the graphic, well, it was just too cute to pass up.

56 comments:

Brad K. said...

I learned evolution in school, and creation in Sunday School. Even in grade school, I understood that both versions were true, in their own context. I still have no problem with that.

I find Intelligent Design, with its deliberate and cynical origins to be unnecessary, error prone, and misleading. And, yes, I do believe that Intelligent Design has led to compromised science and wasted efforts.

Public schools should be teaching evolution, Christian and Jewish-related faith schools should be teaching both. If we are going to be teaching religious philosophy in science class in public schools, we cannot overlook the chance that the Hopi, Sioux, Arapahoe, Buddhist, Wiccan, Islamic, and origin accounts of other cultures might be just as true and a basis for understanding beginnings. Spending tax dollars to teach one religion's version of origins is wrong, no matter how dominant that faith.

Beany said...

I agree with you in that this big blue ball will survive long after we're gone. But I continue to be amazed at the number of people who believe in creationism or follow any sort of religion - especially these days with all the knowledge we have at our figure tips, at the things we can see and experience and the places we can travel to.

My environmentalism is a result of my morality and that it is the right thing to do.

koolchicken said...

I follow the creationism line of thought. In school both were taught, even though most of my schooling was public. No one complained because there were only a few students who weren't Catholic, but since Islam and Judaism follow the same belief it wasn't an issue. Personally I think it's inappropriate to present evolution as fact in the classroom as it conflicts with the religious beliefs of so many. I would be angry with someone teaching my (future) kids something that was the complete opposite of my belief system.

As for how my religion affects my desire to do right by the planet, well I don't think it does. I think it's just the right thing to do, the earth isn't just my home alone. I don't have the right to trash it regardless who or what kicked things off in the beginning.

dixiebelle said...

Evolution...

Or a huge computer with mice doing experiments on us!

Spending time supporting the Earth, it's creatures and communities, gives me a great excuse why I didn't get the housework done!

flyabuv said...

I believe in evolution.

I totally agree with Brad's earlier comment. If creationism is taught in school, it should be in social studies/english, which is where I learned other cultural origin stories, like a Native American one and Greek mythology and the like. Science class is where evolution belongs. I am annoyed when people say, "Evolution is just a theory!" Well so is gravity folks and I think we all believe in that!

I don't consider myself religous now, but I grew up Christian, and I like to think that if you don't take the bible so literally that science and religion don't have to clash. If you believe the bible is true then when God was explaining creation to whom ever wrote Genesis, they probably had no way to comprehend millions of years, the number one million probably didn't even exist. So in Genesis when it says the earth was created in 7 "days" I think each day could mean a much larger chunk of time.

Kim said...

I personally don't follow any religion, and wholly believe in evolution (SCIENCE, everyone!).
When I was sitting in bio my sophomore year, my science teacher asked if anyone believed in Creationism and one Catholic girl raised her hand and began defending herself... My teacher then calmly explained how evolution and Catholic doctrine are completely reconcilable, and she stopped talking immediately.
My mom, a catholic, also believes that God was the power behind evolution (so believes in both), and my dad, an Atheist, believes in evolution only. They are both very big on environmentalism.

Lee Borden said...

As a Christian, I believe in an inscrutable Lover/Creator who thinks we humans are pretty cool, despite the stupid decisions we make sometimes. As a thinking human, I find it preposterous to take the beautiful poetry and Essential Truth of the creation stories (there are two inconsistent stories in quick succession in Genesis 1-2) and try to turn them into a substitute for rigorous scientific observation and analysis. Of course I believe in evolution. We can see it going on right before our eyes today. Thanks for asking the question.

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

I don't believe in God per se (or creationism) but I do believe in karma. If we consume more than we need (water, electricity, you name it), I believe something else on this planet has to give. That forms my environmentalism.

Quoda said...

I'd call myself a theistic evolutionist. I am a Christian and I believe in a loving and personal God, I just see that evolution is the method he used in creating the variety of life on earth. To me, this makes God more brilliant than he is made out to be in ID or creationism.

I am actually amazed when I talk to young earth creationists who don't consider the environment. To me, that's like a slap in God's face. I mean, we were put here to be stewards of the resources he gave us (and we're not doing a good job!).

Liz said...

I have no problem with evolution and I accept it as fact, but I also believe that there is a Creator somewhere behind the process. Although I am a Christian, I don't believe in the present-day theory of Creationism espoused by many Christians.

You would think that Christians would be more environmentally conscious, as we are called to be good stewards of what is given to us. Unfortunately this isn't always the case.

Farmer's Daughter said...

I think you already know how I feel... but for those who don't: I have studied and taught evolution for a long time. I subscribe to punctuated equilibrium based on the current evidence, but am open to readjusting that based on new evidence.

I don't think teaching of evolution is "wishy-washy" in my area, it's in the state frameworks here in CT and kids are tested on it in the state test. HOWEVER, I wouldn't describe it as "wishy-washy" in other parts of the country either. In other states, based on what I've seen, it's just plain WRONG. It's left out, which is lying by omission, or it's taught with such a "well this is what some scientists believe, but..." that kids interpret it as not true. In reality, evolution is just as "true" as gravity. It's not "JUST A THEORY."

Sue said...

Evolution. Period. The earth will go on; we've only been here for a short short time, and earth will continue to repair herself. We, on the other hand, will wipe ourselves out if we don't take drastic steps NOW to preserve our species. My #1 concern is pesticide use and how it is affecting our environment. Legislation needs to be passed; unfortunately, congress is in bed with Monsanto, Conagra, etc...

Anonymous said...

Evolution. I don't consider any other theories & I won't be teaching any other theories to my kid.

Evolution impacts my environmentalism deeply. No matter what we humans do, the planet will continue on. Only it might not be suitable for human life. So really, I'd like us to clean up our acts so we don't change our environment faster than we can evolve.

Kairanie said...

I don't really understand why people think that believing in evolution would make them care about the earth more than believing that God created the world (and also why they can't believe both.) My faith in God's goodness makes me want to preserve the amazingly beautiful world he created even more than if I didn't think it had been specially created by someone who loves it.

Adrienne said...

Evolution. I really have a hard time with the fact that there are people who *don't* believe in it. Even if you believe that God or some other higher being created the Earth, there's plenty of scientfic proof of evolution! It's going on all the time! It really is undeniable!

I used to be religious (Protestant Christian) and I can see how one could meld the concepts of evolution and God's creation.
But the "young earth" creationists, which it seems there are more of these days, who out and out deny evolution.... ugh.

Billie said...

I don't understand why it must be one or the other. If God is so amazing why couldn't he have created the process of evolution. Evolution IS amazing.

I personally believe that Genesis is simply a story about the creation of Earth and not the literal truth right down to it being 7 x 24 hours. I do not believe that it precludes the concept of evolution.

Katy said...

I think its important to realize that when Darwin wrote his theory he had no intention of displacing God as the source of all life.

I think its also important to realize that we have no idea how we got here. We can't prove that we were created by God and we can't prove that we were created by a Big Bang.

We just know that we are here. We just know that if we look around us we can track the evelution of life.

All of that to say I don't belive intelligent design should be tought in public schools. I do think that parents should pass down the orgin stories of their culture to their children. I think orgin stories play an important roll in shapping our world view.

CitricSugar said...

I went to Catholic school and we were taught evolution. We were also taught that God is responsible for all life on the planet. BUT the Catholic Church has said that even they realize that the bible is in many ways metaphorical and not literal - and that was taught to us, too. The Pope has also come out (Haha - interesting choice of words...)for environmental stewardship. It still astounds me that there are people who take the bible literally and yet throw stewardship out the window.

I personally subscribe to the evolutionary school of thought (rife or not with metaphorical overtures) because the evidence towards it is the strongest and most likely - so I treat evolution as fact. But IF someone shows up down the road with a stronger theory and the evidence to back it up, I am open to the idea that our tiny human brains haven't evolved to a point of 'correct understanding', (I've yet to hear it) but I believe that saying anything is a concrete 'fact' is as arrogant as claiming we were God ourselves (whether or not you believe in one). There have been so many "facts" in this world that were known to be irrefutable and have since been discarded as hokum, but were the best of what we could understand at the time. I think science, like faith, must be continually examined and measured against what we've collected together as truth.

Stephanie said...

I believe in Creation, but I do believe that animals and humans evolve to adapt to their surroundings.

I don't think it changes how I feel about the environment. I don't sit and ponder it much.

Deb the Turtle said...

I have a strong faith in God - and don't feel a need to worry about the beginnings myself (i.e. creation or evolution) - what matters to me is the now and the future and I feel a sense of responsibility to care for this Earth we live on both as a means of environmentalism and as a Prayer of Gratitude.
The whys just don't effect my day to day hows...

swiggett said...

My views on the subject are actually inline with what Liz said. I believe in evolution, but can see a Creator/God in the background. Helps, I suppose, that I see God as a mainly hands-off-unless-needed, loving deity.

(Teaching Creationism or Intelligent Design in a science class seems foreign/wrong to me, and I grew up south of the Ohio River. I, too, agree with Brad that religious and cultural origin myths are best suited for an English or Social Studies classroom.)

I don't know that my religious or scientific thoughts led to my environmental mind set. It just makes sense to care for one's living space.

megan said...

I know that it isn't always the case, but here in middle America the shunning of the "theory" of evolution is often accompanied by a general distrust of the sciences. That, to me, is a huge issue. I've had way too many conversations with acquaintances who feel that the rapture will take place before we ever need to worry about the damage we've done to our environment. And these discussions were not with the typical religious extremists. I think it's just an easy way of thinking that allows one to opt out of taking responsibility for actions that are harming the Earth. Like I said, I know that there are exceptions, but that kind of thinking makes it much more difficult to put policies into place that protect the world around us.

Lola said...

Evolution. If you don't believe in evolution you probably have not read enough about it. Go out there and teach yourself. Just like I did with God. I am raised catholic but honestly, after over 10 years of doing science, I came to the conclusion that there is no God. God just fills in the gaps of the unknown. Eventually, if our species survives enough to do all the research necessary, we will know the unknown and religion and science will have to come together. Believing in God does not exclude evolution. After all, we still don't know what caused the Big Bang, right?

Elisabeth said...

I agree with Quoda and Katy.

I majored in Anthropology and have been religious (Protestant Christian) all my life. I believe in a personal God that created everything, including evolution. I do not consider the two to be mutually exclusive. Does it makes sense to say that I see God as the catalyst and evolution as his proxy? Furthermore, I view God's creation as an expression of his love for me. In turn, I want to be and should be a good steward of it.

Lisa said...

I believe 100% in creationism and I do also believe that all organisms can evolve. But what sparked it all? A creator.

Have you heard of the documentary "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" - it was really well done and Ben Stein tried to delve into the topic without a bias.

Nicole S. said...

Barbara Kingsolver wrote an essay on this called "A Fist In the Eye of God" in the book Small Wonder (excellent essay, excellent book). At one point in the essay she writes, "I have never understood how anyone could have the slightest trouble blending religious awe with a full comprehension of the workings of life's creation."

As others have pointed out in so many words, people who dismiss something as "just a theory" must be completely unaware of the definition of scientific theory.

Evolution should be taught in school- too many teachers and school systems are afraid of it. I believe that it's contributing to scientific illiteracy with too many students arriving at college completely unprepared to understand or study life science.

simply_complicated said...

I believe in evolution. I will be teaching my children evolution in a science context, and other world formation mythos (from both my own religion and others) including christian, native american, Norse, and Wiccan creation stories, as well as others, as part of Cultural studies. I think only Evolution should be taught in Science classes, with creationism being put in its' proper place in social and cultural studies.

i respect creationism, but ONLY as it comes as part of a cultures mythos and belief set, and influences that particular culture. I don't believe it should be 'forced' upon the masses as truth, wether the masses are churchgoing christians or not.

Sarah C said...

I believe that god and science both had a part in the creation of this planet.

For evolution, I turn to science, and for the hearts of men, I look to god.

Kristijoy said...

Hey! My major was Biological anthropology and human evolutionary genetics was also my focus. Word.

I agree life the universe and everything will go on just fine after our stint here is done.

Cyn said...

There’s enough evidence for evolution to be taken as a fact, but that only shows how we’ve grown and can continue to grow. The chance that all the little details came together so perfectly on their own so that the universe could be, so that a livable planet, life itself, and the human race could be must be unimaginably outstanding. In my opinion, you’d have to be pretty arrogant to think that there isn’t anything more than luck on your side.

That being said, science is for science class, religion is for humanities classes, religious leaders, and parents, and your personal beliefs should be based on your personal experiences.

Allie said...

I do belief the theory of evolution is spot on. However, I also believe in the basic tenants of the Old Testament. I see no reason why these two things should contradict one another.

Additionally, I do agree that the Earth and animal life with continue along, regardless of what the human animal does to the planet.

Stephanie said...

As a Christian, I believe in Creationism. If the topic of Creationism can be called into question or seen metaphorically, then what other parts of the Bible can we similarly compromise on? The basic foundations of the religion can very quickly fall apart if aspects of the Bible become negotiable.

As far as environmentalism and Christianity go for me, I don't see them as absolutely mutually exclusive. On the one hand, humans are told to have dominion over the animals and to subdue the earth, and according to Revelation, the world will, sooner or later, be destroyed by fire and re-created. So I don't feel that humans are just another species who should go to great lengths to have no environmental impact whatsoever, given our relative position and the impermanence of the present world. However, I heard a quotation once that went something like, "How we treat the creation says a lot about how we view the Creator." I think this is exactly correct. I view the Earth as a gift, and if we completely rape and pillage it, that's pretty disrespectful to God as the giver of that gift. So I think viewing the environment with awe and treating it respectfully is important, although it isn't *the* most important thing.

Citizen Green said...

I have been a biology teacher for 20 years - just recently retired. There is a ton of evidence for the theory of evolution, or it would not be called a theory. Recent discoveries in DNA technology have supported older evidence and opened up new ideas about evolution. One should not say "I believe in evolution." because beliefs belong to areas that cannot be tested. I accept the theory of evolution because of the huge amount of evidence.

My passion for the environment is definitely related to the awe for nature that I have. Evolution was always my favorite topic in high school biology to teach. Teachers must know how to help students know the difference between science and religion. Both serve a great purpose.

Linda A

Dea-chan said...

Wow, with such a volatile topic, I read all of the comments (33 atm) beforehand, to see what your readers have been saying.

Frankly, I agree with pretty much everything said thus far! As a polytheist, I certainly believe that the gods influence this world, both in the past and future. As a thinking person, I can clearly see evolution happening around me.

I certainly hope that life will continue on this planet, no matter what we do to it. If we drive ourselves extinct to save the planet, so be it. But with such a lush, giving planet, it'd be a shame to irreconcilably trash it.

There was a documentary a while back about how if humans disappeared RIGHT NOW how long it would take for each individual action to fade, as well as how long before no trace of humankind is left. I believe it was only a 100 years or so before cities are unusable.

Aydan said...

I'm a Christian. I believe that God made the universe, the world, and everything in it; I don't claim to know how He did it, and I believe it's possible that what we call evolution was His tool.

As a Christian, it makes me sad to see what we're doing to the planet. I believe that God called us to be stewards of the planet, and messing it up and hurting others in the process does not qualify as good stewardship; there are several parables in the New Testament about good and bad stewards.

Also, knowing that God made the wonders of the natural world makes them, to me, even more wondrous, and makes me want to protect them even more. (Something I like to say, especially about species of "lesser importance," is that if God made something, He had a reason and we shouldn't wipe that species out for our own convenience.) It also makes me think He is even more wondrous!

BathCake said...

I am a practicing Catholic. I went to Catholic schools. What I was taught, and believe is that God started evolution. He created and set into motion all the things that we know.

I now home school and I teach the same.

~Erin

meg said...

Evolution. Science.
The earth will be here in whatever wrecked shape we leave it in when we fade out.

Creationism, etc. should NEVER be taught in public schools. That is a personal belief system based on religion. Religion has no place in public school.

Amanda said...

I think that Stephanie put into words my views. She did a much better job than I could have.

I believe that we were created by an amazing God. When you look at a painting you know there was a painter, when you look at a sculpture you know there was a sculptor. Why would someone look at creation and think there was no creator?

God gave us an amazing planet to live on, Specifically designed to give us everything we need. I want to take care of the gift God has given us.

Brad K. said...

@CitricSugar,

When you say, "It still astounds me that there are people who take the bible literally and yet throw stewardship out the window", I am reminded of the forebears of the modern day Amish and Mennonites in Europe, the Anabaptists. One of the core beliefs is that toil for the enrichment of the land is a form of worship of God, and they hope to pass on with the sweat of honest labor on their brow.

The Anabaptists began what became known as "modern" agriculture, before the chemical and machinery companies, and Congress, turned farming int agribusiness. The Anabaptists began managing the tilth of there fields, of rotating crops, lettings fields lay fallow, cover crops, weeding, and other innovations. Because their crops were abundant compared to their neighbors, and they kept to communities of their own faith - they were accused by the Christian Church as witches. There prudent farming practices were branded magic and deals with Satan - and the Anabaptists were persecuted, killed, and mostly driven from Europe.

The Church of the time was not interested in ministering to the earth, in husbanding natural resources. They served the rich, and the powerful, and dabbled in politics and secular power. The terms "heathen" and "pagan" refer to the practice of making city and town leaders Christians, and leaving the farmers - those living among the heather - to their "old religion". Eventually the church expanded to incorporate the earthly pagan festivals (harvest festival, Beltane, Imbolc, and others). Don't look to the historical church for leadership in nurturing the land.

Today the Catholic Church is learning, along with the rest of the reluctant world, that resources do run out. That endless supplies of contributions do dry up when jobs end, and when food gets expensive or scarce. Like much of the world today the Church is being backed into resource husbandry by necessity. Like any (Obama Administration) politician, the Church still finds the practice of feeding hungry people immensely powerful in gathering followers. They will continue to be slow to champion local food and economic security, because that dilutes their ability to wield (withhold) largesse.


@ Stephanie,

About "The basic foundations of the religion can very quickly fall apart if aspects of the Bible become negotiable." First - a word of caution. Martin Luther was a devout monk, devoted to the Catholic Church of his day, and believed with his whole heart. But he ran up against exactly this observation that you make - and lead to the Reformation and the formation of Protestant faiths.

I stated that I accept the theory of evolution, and current scientific thinking, as being a useful model for understanding our world, for both utilizing and husbanding resources, and understanding consequences of the choices we make in the world.

Creation, to me, is a useful and necessary part of the Judeo-Christian faith. I just don't try to apply it in non-faith contexts. Likewise, applying too much science to understanding the bible distracts from the message available.

I see this as a "render unto Caesar that which is Caesars', and render unto God that which is God's" kind of thing. Use science to understand the world that God made, and the Bible to worship and learn what God would have us know about faith and the soul.

Anyway, that is my thought.

Olivia said...

Being a Canadian and long out of public school, I am unfamiliar with the term "intelligent design."

Back in my day, I guess we were taught evolution. It's been so long that I don't really remember. However, my dad was a research scientist and he taught me to always be a little skeptical about anything that scientists declared to be true since science is itself always evolving. Even in his lifetime, there were things that he was taught that later proved to be either false or incomplete.

I am a Catholic but I was never taught by the Church that creationism was a fact. I have a graduate degree in theology and in all my studies I never came upon such a teaching either.

Clearly, we just do not know how life originated (since none of us now living was there at the beginning) so what is the point of arguing it? We are here now and that is what we should be focusing on.

Personally speaking, it is my faith that informs my decision making and how I live my life.

Sarah said...

Evolution, all the way.

I do not think it has really had any impact on my environmentalism, maybe with the exception being the acceptance that we alone are responsible for ourselves on this planet.

I think America's approach to a lot of things in our education system has made us lose our edge in the world.

Finally, a question to the creation / ID folks: If god created the process of evolution, who created god?
(The usual response is something like: god has always existed, which basically means "I don't know" and is not a very useful answer for a number of reasons.)
And what is so unbelievable about a universe with complex, diverse life forms arising without the impetus of a creator?

Greenpa said...

Personally, I "believe" in Gravity.

I'm uncertain about Quantum Mechanics and Heisenberg, though.

singledebt said...

I was raised an anti-religious household. I was not necessarily raised to be atheist (never specifically told there was no god) and believe in evolution. However, I believe in God now, but not a specific religion. I really don't see the two as conflicting, only if you literally interpret the bible.

Aydan said...

@Sarah:

In response to your question, my answer to "who created God" is that I don't think God was created. The reason it doesn't bother me to not know is that there are a lot of things I don't understand, like particle physics and the intricacies of the universe. Furthermore, there are lots of things no one understands, including aspects of the two things I just mentioned. So it seems to me that, well, if I can't understand everything about the creation, I'm sure not going to be able to wrap my head around the creator.

Your other question: it's my belief that there is no theory out there that explains why the universe happened. The Big Bang and evolution explains how, but not why. That's why it's so unbelievable to think of it as a universe without a creator-- the creator is the why, not the how.

E said...

Evolution. Science.
What Meg said.

knutty knitter said...

What Meg said :)

viv in nz

Crunchy Chicken said...

Bucky - Sigh. I need to delete your comment, it's just way too abusive. Sorry.

Brad K. said...

Bucky,

Consider - talk about your points, and ideas - and leave out the parts about other visitors to the site and other people. I find gossip - talking about others - is one of the true social evils.

Bucky said...

Sorry, Crunchy, for the over-the-top comment. I knew it was too much when I posted it (there might have been a glass or two of wine involved) and knew you would pull it down of course. I'll try to play more nicely with others. Promise.

Still ... I have no idea how one attempts to "reason" with someone who believes that the world is only 6,000 years old, and that dinosaurs and man lived together and expects to be raptured away from the serious environmental consequences of their actions at any second. Facts be damned. There is a very popular bumper sticker here in East Texas: "The Bible Said It. I Believe It. That Settles It."

Well, no, actually it doesn't, but that is beside the point. I don't think that people with that mindset are capable of rational thought about issues that conflict with their deeply held religious beliefs.

Many Texas schools teach ID (i.e., "what the Bible and god tell us and what we know to be true") in science class along with a brief mention of evolution ("a 'theory' that tell you your momma was an ape"). That is, if they even mention evolution at all.

If you followed the Texas textbook adoption scandal this spring, you'll recall that the Christian fundamentalists on the Texas Board of Education attempted to remove any reference of evolution from textbooks and replace it with Creationism/ID. The elimination of the teaching of evolution in schools is actually a plank in the Texas Republican Party platform.

Frightening.

As for environmentalism, I am happy to see some Christians commenting here that they feel a responsibility to be stewards of the world their god gave them. I wish more Christians felt this way. It seems the predominant theme from the pulpits is that god gave man dominion over the earth ... and drill baby drill!.

And to Brad, I actually do appreciate your comments about my very rude posting, but personally, I think that ridicule and derision are best ways to respond to people who believe, contra all factual evidence, that man rode around on T-Rex five thousand years ago. Facts and ideas aren't going to persuade those people, so why even try? I just prefer to laugh at them.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Everyone is not entitled to their own facts, however. If you want to believe that "the Bible said it, I believe it and that settles it" that is fine. If you want to think that Global Warming/Climate Change can't possibly be true because it got cold this winter, that's fine too.

Now please go sit in the corner and be quiet. The adults need to have a conversation. There are real problems that need to be solved.

Bucky said...
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bahamablonde said...

I don't think that religion necessarily plays a defining role in whether or not a person feel environmentally inclined.
I am not religious, but I would consider myself spiritual. And whether you believe in "God" or the universe or nature or energy or life force or whatever different people decide to call it, I think that if you are truly in touch with "it", it's only natural to cherish and protect the earth. It's impossible not to stand in awe of nature (and evolution is a part of nature)when you're really aware of the world around you.
I get the feeling that people who deny evolution are just extremely out of touch.

Amanda said...

HI Bucky!

I have a hard time understanding why you feel the need to speak with "ridicule and derision" to anyone who believes differently than you do.

If everyone tried to belittle people who think differently than you... isn't that a little frightening?

Bucky said...

Hey there Amanda.

I am afraid that you have misunderstood somewhat. I don't "speak with 'ridicule and derision' to anyone who believes differently than [I] do." Which implies that I find everyone who disagrees with me ridiculous. I never said that at all. Those are your words, not mine. I just find ridiculous those who are willfully ignorant of the facts and are trying to force the rest of us to live in their ignorance.

If you want to believe that the earth is flat and only 6000 years old and that the sun revolves around the earth, well, you are entitled to your feelings. What you are not entitled to is the right to force the rest of us to ignore reality and adhere to your misguided beliefs. When you use the power of government to teach our children a lie, then I think you deserve all the ridicule that I can muster.

When your willful ignorance is impacting my life (climate change deniers, for instance), then I think that shame and ridicule are the appropriate response.

When someone tells me that they have divined the "TRUTH" and that facts and reality don't matter ... well I think that they deserve ridicule and derision.

Not all viewpoints are valid, Amanda. Some things are true and some things are not. It doesn't matter what anyone feels or believes. Reality is a bitch that way.

Laura said...

First, some clarification. From wikipedia... "Colloquially, 'theory' can mean a conjecture, an opinion, or a speculation that does not have to be based on facts or make testable predictions. In science, the meaning of theory is more rigorous: a theory must be based on observed facts and make testable predictions." Therefore, when scientists and those who believe scientists say 'Evolution is a theory', they don't mean 'Hey guys, I have this really complicated, cool theory that is totally untested and unfounded!' they do mean "Evolution is a well-supported body of interconnected statements that explains observations and can be used to make testable predictions."
Read on at the wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_as_theory_and_fact

Maybe it's clear already but, in case it's not, I am definitely an atheist. I am actually very surprised that you have so many religious readers, Crunch. I have been atheist in some form for as long as I can remember. My more involved environmentalism came about in my 20's. For me, delving into the truth about the big questions that come up in life just seems to naturally lead to the knowledge that God and the Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy/Santa Claus are bedfellows and we can't keep living and breeding as we have been in the past few hundred years and expect to continue to have food and clean water. I don't know if not teaching evolution in schools has caused us to lose our edge in bio sciences but it sure can't be helping.

You mentioned that you are usually 'surprised at the number of folks who still think that the tenets of creation or intelligent design are true'. What are your thoughts on religion, Crunchy. And how does that affect your environmentalism?

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