On the Ignorance of Evolution

Ignorance [ig-ner-uhns] (noun) : The state or fact of being ignorant; lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc.

[Note: Above is the definition of ignorance, i.e., a “lack of knowledge”. I don’t mean it to be a derogatory term.]

If there’s a topic that really gets me fired up and ready to talk, it’s ignorance in people when they talk about evolution, creation, etc., and how it relates (or doesn’t relate) to Christianity. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. If people could talk about those subjects and say, “hey, I don’t really know much about what evolution is, but from what I understand, it’s about monkeys turning into people”, I hope I’d at least be able to curb my outrage if they started to bash it in the following breath because at least I could reason that the person acknowledged that they don’t know what they’re talking about, bless ’em. However, nine times out of ten, the people I hear talking about it are people that I’m almost positive have done none of their own homework about the topic, and then spout off what they think it is and their opinions–which really just turn out to be all the other ignorant people’s beliefs because they haven’t researched it either. Last Sunday, I attended my parent’s church and heard a couple of remarks from the pastor about evolution, how it shouldn’t be taught in schools, creation is the only belief, and scientists (he did allow, “not all scientists”) push their own agendas. I will be addressing this below.

Evolution: A process in which, over time, apes turned into humans.

FALSE!!!

Contrary to an unfortunate popular belief, the definition of evolution does not say that monkeys turned into people, but this is just what I was taught–or rather not taught–when I was in grade school and in church. I daresay that’s what a lot of people believe evolution is, especially in the Bible belt of the USA. I will also say that scientists or Christians that are scientists/biologists do not only believe in evolution just because they want to “follow their own agenda”, which I suppose some people think of scientists doing because of their position of “scientific authority”. Charles Darwin, who developed the theory of evolution by natural selection, was scared about the implications his theory would have on what he and his family and actually a lot of his colleagues believed religiously (about God creating everything). It took him a long, long time to develop his theory and to even get it out into the public eye, which he only ended up doing because another scientist was about to get the scoop with a similar theory anyway. Case in point, scientists aren’t just making stuff up to mess with the local bodies of religion. If they are, then they do not make up the majority of the scientific community, and I can almost guarantee that they won’t have many colleagues that will want to review their papers for publishing, which will in turn reduce their credibility in the scientific community.

But back to the implications Darwin’s theory would have. Obviously, the theory of evolution did and continues to create adverse feelings toward what Christians believe about the creation story found in Genesis. My answer to this conundrum is simple: believing in evolution and in God creating the world and everything in it doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. Humans aren’t God; we don’t exactly know all the mechanisms of how everything works or even how they came into being. There are some questions science won’t ever be able to answer; in the same reasoning, there are some things in the Bible regular old humans will never fully be able to understand. Surely no Christian would make the claim that they know exactly how God was able to bring everything into existence–but are we never supposed to even question it? Our understanding of how things worked back at the time the Scriptures were written was, I daresay, not as advanced as today; why wouldn’t things be laid out and explained in a simpler description for people back then to be able to grasp those ideas? Furthermore, science does not prove or attempt to prove anything; that’s just not how science and the scientific method works. The scientific method is all about proving things false. To me, it seems that Christians get so worked up about evolution for one of two reasons: one, their faith is not strong enough to cope with how scientific developments might challenge them to look at the world that God created differently, or two, that they are ignorant about what evolution actually means.

However, you can’t just pick and choose what science you want to believe based on whether or not it jives with you, but I won’t continue ranting on other topics as well (*climate change*, *the age of the Earth*, cough cough). If you have that attitude, then we might as well do away altogether with science and all of its breakthroughs that we’ve been enjoying.

The real definition of evolution:

Evolution: the process by which species change over time. It arises from processes of selection that favor individuals having certain favorable traits over those lacking those traits.

If anything is going to be taught in schools, it should be evolution and not creation. Evolution is science; creation is a part of religion. Evolution has been tested and can be tested–creation can’t! Like I said before, science doesn’t prove anything, but it does help narrow down what doesn’t support whatever hypothesis is put forward. So far, the theory of evolution by natural selection has withstood many tests and observations, even about organisms that have and are living in our own lifetime! We simply can’t do this with creation (unless we find a way to go back in time to whenever God created everything, in which case that means we’ve invented a Doctor Who Time And Relative Dimensions In Space (TARDIS) machine and my dreams have come true). I don’t believe creation should be taught in schools because we have this little thing in the Constitution about separation between church and state; if we favor one religion (Christianity) over other religions within the government, then we don’t truly have religious freedom and who’s to say the government wouldn’t impose another religion (that most of us don’t subscribe to) on the people and kids in schools?

I want to tell you that contrary to what you’ve been told, you can be a Christian and still believe in evolution. Evolution is simply the best theory we have right now about organisms changing and adapting over time and it can be tested. As a Christian, you can still believe in the Bible and that God created all things; however, I don’t remember reading anywhere in there about the mechanism God used to create everything. I know evolution takes millions of years and the Bible says God achieved creation in days, but is everything in the Bible precisely literal? Maybe He dumbed it down for us because at that time we couldn’t fathom how big millions was (like when He explained to Abraham that his descendents would be as numerous as the grains of sand on a beach–He didn’t say “You’re gonna have billions of descendents” and Abraham would be all like, “Huh? Give me something physical I can understand!”). I’ve been asked if I believed whether or not God could have created everything in thousands of years–and I believe He could do whatever He wants; science’s conclusions on evolution and how old the Earth is could be completely wrong. However, that’s the best we as humans can do on figuring out what’s happening. If you believe in anything that science has discovered or done for us since we’ve been using it, you should at least concede that it’s not bad and we shouldn’t stop asking questions.

And please, before you make comments against evolution as an authority figure in front of your congregation on Sunday morning, at least do your research or preface that you have no idea about what you’re talking about. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s just sad.

End rant.

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