TCS Daily


Why We Are Still Arguing About Darwin

By Lee Harris - January 10, 2008 12:00 AM

Today, almost one hundred and fifty years after the publication of The Origin of Species, we are still arguing about Darwin. How is this possible? If Darwin's theory of natural selection is a scientific theory, as its defenders claim, then why hasn't it been able to establish itself securely in the public mind? Why, in short, is Darwin still the subject of continuing controversy and acrimonious debate?

Contrast this on-going battle over Darwin with the fate of the other great scientific revolutions. The same Christian fundamentalists who argue that public school should teach creationism have no quarrel with the Copernican revolution. No one argues that public schools should be forced to teach the Ptolemaic system because it permits Joshua to make the sun stand still. Yet polls in the USA show that a large segment of American society continues to reject Darwin's scientific revolution.

Modern proponents of Darwin, like Richard Dawkins, have an elegant explanation for this puzzling phenomenon. Those who reject Darwin are ignorant boobs who take the Bible literally. The Bible says God created man in his own image, and so that is what they believe, despite the evidence that shows that human beings share more than 98% of their genes with chimpanzees. Therefore, in order to get people to accept Darwin, you must first destroy their adherence to Biblical fundamentalism. Once people see that the story of Adam and Eve is simply a fairy tale, they will be in a position to embrace the idea that we all descended from lower primates. But is this interpretation really psychologically plausible? Is it only the second chapter of Genesis that stands in the way of a universal acceptance of Darwin's theory that we descended from creatures far more monkey-like than us-like?

The stumbling block to an acceptance of Darwin, I would like to submit, has little to do with Christian fundamentalism, but a whole lot to do with our intense visceral revulsion at monkeys and apes. This revulsion, while certainly not universal, is widely shared, and it is a psychological phenomenon that is completely independent of our ideas about the literal truth of the Bible.

Our visceral revulsion at the mere sight of lower primates has been noted by the Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal. Observing the visitors to the chimpanzee colony at the Arnhem Zoo, de Waal noticed a frequent pattern among them. Many people would stare at the chimps for a few minutes, then, after saying, "Oh I could watch them all day," they would swiftly make their way to the nearest exit. They had had enough monkey business. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, another great naturalist, was equally aware of this deep-seated revulsion against monkeys. In his novel Elective Affinities, a character declares her feelings about monkeys in no uncertain terms: "How can anyone bring himself to expend such care on depicting horrid monkeys! It is debasing simply to regard them as animal [!], but it is really more malicious to succumb to the temptation of seeking in them the likeness of people you know."

This visceral revulsion against monkeys explains why so many people prefer to hold on to the far more flattering mythology of man's creation as it was presented in Genesis. It is not Genesis that turns them against Darwin; it is Darwin that makes them turn to Genesis.

Now the proponents of Darwin will argue that a visceral revulsion is not a logical argument, and the proponents of Darwin will of course be right. From the fact that most people are horrified to think of themselves as descending from the lower primates, it does not follow that they must have arisen from a more respectable ancestry.

At the same time, those who accept Darwin (as I do) need to understand the true origin of the revulsion so many people feel against his theory. For the basis of this revulsion is none other than "the civilizing process" that has been instilled into us from infancy. The civilizing process has taught us never to throw our feces at other people, not even in jest. It has taught us not to snatch food from other people, not even when they are much weaker than we. It has taught us not to play with our genitals in front of other people, not even when we are very bored. It has taught us not to mount the posterior of other people, not even when they have cute butts.

Those who are horrified by our resemblance to the lower primates are not wrong, because it is by means of this very horror of the primate-within that men have been able to transcend our original primate state of nature. It is by refusing to accept our embarrassing kinship with primates that men have been able to create societies that prohibit precisely the kind of monkey business that civilized men and women invariably find so revolting and disgusting. Thou shalt not act like a monkey—this is the essence of all the higher religions, and the summation of all ethical systems.

Those who continue to resist Darwin are not standing up for science, but they may well be standing up for something even more important—a Dawkinsian meme, if you will, that has been instrumental in permitting mankind to transcend the brutal level of our primate origins. Our lofty humanitarian ethical standards have been derived not by observing our primate kin, but by imagining that we were made in the image of God. It was only by assuming that we were expected to come up to heavenly standards that we did not lower our standards to those of our biological next of kin. The meme that asserts that we are the children of God, and not merely a bunch of wild monkeys may be an illusion; but it is the illusion upon which all humane civilizations have been constructed. Those who wish to eliminate this illusionary meme from our general meme pool may be acting in the name of science; but it is by no means obvious that they are acting in the name of civilization and humanity.


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233 Comments

It's all in the family
It used to be said that if you look into anyone's family tree far enough back, you'd find a few horse thieves. Now all we're saying is that we can look a lot further back, and we're finding a bunch of apes.

As evidence of our divine natures, many of us refuse to accept that, but instead push this knowledge out of our minds and slam the door.

To me, we should be proud we've come as far as we have, and vow to improve ourselves a lot further. We're still closer to the apes than we are to the angels.

Faith in an illusion
Is it an illsion that humans have somehow managed to travel to the moon but apes are still digging for grubs with sticks?

Somehow humans became intelligent. That is not an illusion.

And it is not an illusion, that if that intelligence is applied with animal instincts, much harm results.

Having faith that humans CAN apply their intelligence in an attempt to imitate God, instead of animals, is not a bad faith to have.

Capt. Kirk agreed that, yes we are a predatory species, but we can choose NOT to kill, today.

Deny the angels exist?
To what should humans aspire if there is nothing higher than humans?

who to imitate
Instead of aspiring to imitate one of the thousands of various gods that people suppose exist, why not try to imitate another human who is better than you? Everybody can see some other guy who is better in some way, so you could just try to be like them, thus improve yourself.

comparison to primates
Instead of comparing us to primates then, why don't the Darwinists say that we descended from those really cute panda bears, and baby seals, and kittens and puppy dogs? People love those animals so maybe they would mind that.

Tricky, these higher beings
I don't think you get it. The angels most certainly exist.

The angels are our aspirations. They're future Man, struggling to come into being.

The apes are historical Man, the traits we're trying our best to live down. That's why they embarrass us so.

One "human" trait we share with the chimps is sneakiness. There have been innumerable examples, but one will suffice.

A young female wanted to eat a banana, but all the fruit in the area was being eaten by the other youngsters. So she bumped into another one, creating a disturbance.

She then ran up to an adult, shrieking in mock fear. The adult checked out the disturbance and decided the other one was being a bully. So she chased off the other young one to give it a cuff on the head.

Meanwhile the cute kid picks up the banana the other one dropped. Nice trick, huh?

The chimp is certainly acting as a "higher being" in this case, because she utilizes superior brain power in getting what she wants. We are higher still, and can imagine other omperatives for individual and collective nehavior. Some of us, at least.

In that direction live the angels.

Some special skills
I think it's a mistake to feel we're greatly better than the other apes. We're somewhat better.

More specifically, our technology and our music are vastly superior. Our social skills are pretty much the same. And our ordering of society at large is deficient.

But we can write novels.

Slight Correction
"It used to be said that if you look into anyone's family tree far enough back, you'd find a few horse thieves. Now all we're saying is that we can look a lot further back, and we're finding a bunch of apes."

Hate to have to pick on you, Roy (since I believe you and I would be in agreement on this issue), but stating your case the way you did is actually misleading, and in a way that many decriers of evolution often purposefully mischaracterize the theory. In truth, natural selection and evolution doesn't claim that human beings evolved from apes -- it states that human beings and apes share a common ancestor line; an important distinction, that. That's why the oft-resorted-to criticism, "If we humans descended from apes, then why are there still apes in existence?" is a fallacious argumentative tact from the outset -- it attmepts to mischaracterize the actual tenets of evolutionary precepts.

But I get the drift of your post.

One can only observe
how appropriate it is that you've quoted a fictional character in support of a fictional deity.

panda bears, and baby seals, and kittens and puppy dogs
In a sociology class I once had, the professor asked us what was more insulting:

Son of a kangaroo

Son of a cow

Son of a *****

The social proximity increases with each of those and so does the power of the insult. It is this same recognition of closeness that elicits the revulsion the author describes.

Quite a good article...

Not really
"Quite a good article..."

Only with respect to the observations on human anthropocentric preferences and dislikes. However, the conclusion on the value of religion does not follow from the body of the article. Social constructs are as much a feature of evolution as biological and physical characteristics, and Harris should know this. To attribute civilization to religion is simply post hoc reasoning.

Lee Harris is right...
I think Lee Harris is spot on. We do not like the evolution theory because it brings us too close to the apes and the other animals. We like to believe that we are special and have nothing in common with the other animals.

This is the reason why I did not like the evolution theory when I was in high school. What made me grudgingly accept evolution was that so much of human behavior can be so well explained by socio-biology and nothing else.

We are 3% reason and 97% everything else.

Techno-libertarians such as myself are often criticized because our ideas appeal only to the 3% reason part and that we ignore the 97% non-reason part.

It was my consideration of the 97% non-reason part (while I lived in SoCal in the late 80's) that led me to socio-biology and, hense, evolution in general. The 97% "irrational" part of human behavior can be modeled perfectly with socio-biology and nothing else. The dating game especially (particularly in SoCal) can best be explained by socio-biology.

Close...but I think it's simpler still
First, I think evolution is pretty well demonstrated, both in nature and in models. Second, I don't necessarily see a major conflict between religion and evolution. If one takes The Bible literally, perhaps...but most Christians don't. In God's image, reads to me as "sentient" more than "bipedal"

That said, I think the reason most people have a hard time accepting Darwin is because there is an enormous leap between apes and men. Sure at some level, there are a LOT of similarities...we might share 96% of our DNA with them (whatever) -- how much do we share with yeast? It's insignificant...the 4% that differs is the 4% that matters. We eat, sleep, ****, and screw like they do...but we have agriculture, music, literature, and have spacecraft. They have grooming for lice and the occasional use of sticks as tools. That's more than a slight difference and doesn't *seem* to fit well with *evolution* (rather than revolution).

To becoming "higher" humans.
~

Many say (atheists and such) angels don't exist
If they don't exist, what then to aspire to?

What, exactly are YOUR aspirations? Are they the same for all? Some may aspire to return to the jungle.

What is better?
What is the standard for 'better'?

Better at what, drinking, having more women, being kind...?

What is an improvement? Who decides?

How do you define irrational?
kurt99...just out of curiosity how do you define "irrational"?

And....we can *really* model *97%* of human behavior?
I know some pretty smart people working on modeling behavior, culture, etc...and 97% seems wayyyyyyyyyyyy overstated.

Amen!
"In truth, natural selection and evolution doesn't claim that human beings evolved from apes -- it states that human beings and apes share a common ancestor line; an important distinction, that. That's why the oft-resorted-to criticism, 'If we humans descended from apes, then why are there still apes in existence?' is a fallacious argumentative tact from the outset -- it attempts to mischaracterize the actual tenets of evolutionary precepts."

Preach it, Brutha!

I did no such thing.
I simply noted that a writer in the 60s for a TV show stated that humans don't have to submit to our animal instincts. We can choose.

you need to understand christianity and science to avoid bad mistakes
According to Christianity, we are not to imitate the angels, but God. If you're going to touch on christian themes, it's respectful to get at least close. Lucifer is an angel too, after all. We are definitely not called to imitate him.

The problem of fundamentalist rejection of darwinianism is in its theological poverty, not its revulsion against lower primates. The richer apostolic tradition simply does not claim to know the technical method of creation and reserves the Bible as an inerrant guide to salvation, not a cosmological or biological textbook that must be literally true on peripheral matters unimportant to the central project of the salvation of souls.

Hallelujah, again!
~

Only superficially, however
"Ceci n'est pas une pipe."

Fundamentalist clap-trap
Been reading your John Ankerberg again?

Too bad we are not repulsed by bees or ants.
Then maybe more humans would be repulsed by socialism.

Second that
Good job stinky and good job to Roy as well.

Imitate Bill Gates or Mother Teresa?
Who helped more people?

Who is better?

Easy choice.
Bill Gates hands down.

Evolution underway?
There seems to be quite a few couples these days who cannot concieve.

If there is no other medical reason, could it be nature is playing around with a new human species?

Nice, so they're not ignorant boobs for reason A, its for reason B

"Yet polls in the USA show that a large segment of American society continues to reject Darwin's scientific revolution."

I'm curious what a "large segment" is. I've seen reporting that says roughly 20% of Americans fall into the "extreme right-wing/Christian Fundamentalist" category. And I've seen statisics since then that tend to add credibility to that estimate. Does 20% represent a large segment? Maybe. I'd say its virtually guaranteed those 20% reject Darwin. Add another x% of people who aren't quite as whacky as that 20%, but still take their religion seriously enough to reject science, a large segment that may sum to be.

This concept is interesting, that people may reject Darwin because of a revulsion for primates. I'm inclined to dismiss it because it isn't logical, it seems silly on a concsious level. But it may be possible on a sub-concsious level. But not enough in my opinion to give religious funadamentalists that much credit. I believe they are indeed ignorant boobs because they take the Bible literally and derive a political position from their faith. The political position that Darwin is myth and Creationism is how humans came to be and it should be taught in schools, as such all people should accept it as truth.

"It is not Genesis that turns them against Darwin; it is Darwin that makes them turn to Genesis."

Well said. It is people who cannot accept reality who tend to turn to religion. No wonder its so difficult for religious fundamentalists to accept that their faith is just that. That reality is that they don't really know, but refuse to accept that truth in favor of belief that they do know the truth. They can believe with all their heart they hold the truth, but its irrational to ignore the reality- that no one really knows the truth for sure.

"Now the proponents of Darwin will argue that a visceral revulsion is not a logical argument, and the proponents of Darwin will of course be right."

Couldn't say it better myself.


"Our lofty humanitarian ethical standards have been derived not by observing our primate kin, but by imagining that we were made in the image of God. It was only by assuming that we were expected to come up to heavenly standards that we did not lower our standards to those of our biological next of kin. The meme that asserts that we are the children of God, and not merely a bunch of wild monkeys may be an illusion; but it is the illusion upon which all humane civilizations have been constructed. Those who wish to eliminate this illusionary meme from our general meme pool may be acting in the name of science; but it is by no means obvious that they are acting in the name of civilization and humanity."

Fantastic paragraph. It puts me in my place a little bit, and I like it. I agree with Harris that religion, even if its an illusion, has contributed to the evolution of civility in humanity. Thus has positives to contribute. The open question I have is, do we reach a point in that evolution of civility where religion is no longer needed for these contributions?

My own answer as of right now is yes, but that can change, its not set in stone. I also see at this point that we humans can slip back into a primitive culture pretty easily. That maybe we're one traumatic event away from dropping a few notches down the civility meter. It happened to a degree after 9/11, there are still many people today affected this way by 9/11.


"Why, in short, is Darwin still the subject of continuing controversy and acrimonious debate?"

I'll still peg the answer as "religion", and more succinctly the endeavor of religious fundamentalists to gain political power. This is an interesting article though. Its worth consideration.

darwinism is a faith
take some of the elements and zap a couple of times and call me when you have life.

i haven't seen it.

science is based on experimentation. otherwise, it is a hypothesis and a faith based belief.

Creationist mythology
Mr. Harris could profit from reading science writer Nicholas Wade’s book, “Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors.” Not all human groups have evolved away from our common human-chimpanzee ancestor about six million years ago, or our evolutionary “bottleneck” in northeast Africa about 50,000 years ago, at the same speed. Some groups are seriously lagging, although it is the height of political incorrectitude to point this out. This fact and the refusal to accept Darwinism are but two aspects of the same psychological reality: our inability to handle the truth about biology and many other sciences (e.g., geology and Peak Oil). The myth of a magical, instantaneous appearance of Adam and Eve (from Adam’s rib, no less!) out of nowhere due to Yahwéh’s wizardry about 4,000 years ago is hardly different in kind from countless other creation myths found in other religions of the world. But clinging to this and other fantasies about our divine provenance — and the supposed rights they allegedly confer — just because they are comfy is quickly leading the world to its doom through overpopulation and the resultant planetary exhaustion. As a species, we prefer genosuicidal myth to life-saving, although uncomfortable, acceptance of reality. So we are now waging war against Nature. Guess who will win.
— Theedrich

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."
http://www.fotuva.org/feynman/what_is_science.html

Darwin is Dead
Only one's arguing about Darwin are Creationists. Darwin wouldn't recognize contemporary evolutionary theory. Besides he's dead.

"Our lofty humanitarian ethical standards have been derived not by observing our primate kin, but by imagining that we were made in the image of God."

Baloney. Humanism of that sort, its secular or original Christian version, leads to post modern emptiness. Our ethical standards derive from natural law: We are by nature imperfect but reasoning, self-reflective, moral animals.

"Darwinism" is science!
Sorry, but science is not just based on experimentation; it also includes observation, conceptualising, modelling, etc., etc. Foreinstance Newton, Einstein, atomic physics, astronomy, evolution and much else.


I haven't seen atoms, but I can still accept (believe?) in them.


Science allows predictions to be made; It took nearly 150 years for one of Darwin's predictions to be confirmed.


Science can usually be falsified (Popper); all attempts to 'falsify' Darwinism have been unsuccessful.

Don't mix up the origin of life and the evolutionary process.

Come on....You can't possibly believe this...
bunch of bunk...

"Our lofty humanitarian ethical standards have been derived not by observing our primate kin, but by imagining that we were made in the image of God. It was only by assuming that we were expected to come up to heavenly standards that we did not lower our standards to those of our biological next of kin."

Talk about a false choice. Either we come up to heavenly standards or we are brute animals. This is obvious fallacy. What about rationality?

A funny bunch of apes you all are
This article is holds just enough truth to make one think. Therefore it is useful garbage.

There are many reasons why so many people do not accept Darwinsim; either in it's more basic Charles Darwin theories or in their present expanded form. But one of the biggest is that it still doesn't quite work.

I think everyone agrees that "natural selection" and "environment" will combine to allow changes for survival; but these are generally small differences; or micro-evolution. It is the big picture (macro-evolution), from single-celled organisms to the present complex lifeforms that don't add up to so many.

And it is the lack of those "missing links" that makes real thinkers on this issue doubters. And that has nothing to do with religion, it is simply good science.

So good, in fact, that some present "evolution theories" don't even make the claim that one species directly descended from another anymore.

Which brings us to humans. According to the descent theory, we are descended from neanderthral, then we are not, and neanderthral was a seperate branch that died off. One of the biggest reasons for the changed theory is that Homo sapien came on the scene at about the same time (and possibly even 20,000 years before) neanderthral. Pretty hard to descend from a species your known ancestors are older than.

While some religious adherants deny evolution on direct interpretation of the Bible, most do not even go there. It is the missing, provable links, big chunks of, what should be, obvious changes that split a spin off species which then carried on when the original died off; this is the biggest problem for most Darwinist doubters. But there are other reasons as well. Revulsion, as described in this article, is certainly another.

Darwin gave us the first real peek at a natural phenomena, small-scale physical change as a survival mechanism, and we need to recognize him for his contribution to science and the advance of human knowledge. But his theories, and the theories of many others who have followed, are simply that. And 150 years of scientific advance have yet to "prove" those theories.

Personally, I have no problem at all with a human evolution from an ape-like ancestor; I also have no problem with the possibility of a "creation" theory. Since the science is no where near to proving this issue in any meangingful way, both reamin simple "beliefs" in a possible explanation for man's existance.

I wonder why anyone needs to have a "religious" belief in either theory?

The Evolution-Creation Struggle
I suspect that anyone reading Michael Ruse's "The Evolution-Creation Struggle", Harvard, 2006, would come to quite different conclusions than this 'article' did.

Oh stop it!
>"There seems to be quite a few couples these days who cannot concieve."

What is this crap? Where do you see that couples are not conceiving and NO medical reason is found?

One of the basic facts is that couples, at least in industrialized Western countries, are waiting far too long to have families. Once women get to a certain age the chances for successful conception fall dramatically. This combined with the ease of contraception ensures that birthrates will drop.

It took five years, a shitload of $, and the right doctor to conceive my first child. My wife and I waited nine years into our relationship before we began working on it.

Nature is not a conscious force that plays with us. Why you would believe that lack of conception is the harbinger of a new species is quite beyond me. Sheeeesh.

"And he went and hanged himself"
"The richer apostolic tradition simply does not claim to know the technical method of creation and....

"Go, thou, and do likewise."
... reserves the Bible as an inerrant guide to salvation,"

Utterly wrong
I can scarcely imagine a more wrong-headed argument than to ascribe resistance to the theory of evolution to a dislike of other (lower) primates.

I do not accept the premise that humans are repelled by monkeys. The article adduces no evidence, other than an observation that people don't spend all day in the monkey exhibit at the zoo. How much time do they spend in the tiger exhibit? Let's face it, they are at the zoo to see as many animals as they can, and have to allocate their time. Anyone have evidence that the primates are getting short shrift?

The fundamental objection to Darwinism is this: if all that is results from random mutation, there is no point to anything. There is no basis for choosing A or B. There is no reason to strive. Ultimately, there is no reason to go on living. Anyone who accepts Darwinism and has not committed suicide simply hasn't thought through all the implications of Darwinism.

I invite you, whether you agree with me or not, to join me in a thought experiment: *what if* Genesis 1 is an accurate description of how the universe came to be? How would our philosophies, morals, science, governance, be different. Please see http://gen-1-1.blogspot.com

marjon - thanks for the link
this underscores the basis of science. take an observation. make a hypothesis. create an experiment and test the hypothesis.

i liked the example of the bird and its ruffled feathers.

Food for thought
If someone describes huimself as an atheist, and says that therefore angels don't exist, that's fine by me. All he's doing is calling the same things by other names.

Lots of people used to wonder how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. Which to me shows they just weren't thinking. Angels, of course, dance en pointe-- on the POINT of the pin.

And the answer is... they ALL dance that way.

"What, exactly are YOUR aspirations?"

My aspirations are to convince everyone I talk with that nothing we are fighting for is as important-- or as effective-- as the need to stop fighting.

Evolution
Evolution is in fact still underway. I was talking with my dentist the other day. And he told me that over the period of his career people have been losing their wisdom teeth. They used to appear by age 18 in almost everyone. But more and more, they never come in now.

Since the only organic cause they've found for the increase in autism to date has been a genetic predisposition, I wonder whether nature isn't just changing out the old model, purposeful human being for new model, solitary, inward-dwelling human beings.

It's something to think about.

Well
"I wonder why anyone needs to have a "religious" belief in either theory?"

Quite right. The difference is that there is some empirical evidence for evolution. The fact that there are some missing links in no way detracts from it; on the contrary, like life the theory evolves as new evidence is uncovered.

One slight quibble with this bit:

"And 150 years of scientific advance have yet to "prove" those theories."

In science you do not actually "prove" a theory the way you prove, for example, congruency of angles in geometry. What theories have is a body of evidence in support of them. They become modified when additional evidence is added, or discarded when evidence shows them to be fundamentally wrong. A clear example is Newton. His law of gravitation is not wrong, but it is incomplete. Hence Einstein's theory of relativity. Moreover, the theory of evolution does not stand in isolation. It is supported by complementary evidence and understand of our world in disciplines including earth sciences and astronomy.

Thus, you cannot "prove" evolution in the QED sense. What would disprove the theory of evolution would be for example the discovery of some version of homo sapiens existing in, say, the Triassic.

What Harris has missed is the most critical aspect of evolution. There is no constancy, no absolute truth. Our understanding of the universe changes as new information is discovered. There are many who cannot contemplate the notion of flux or constant change. The desire for an absolute truth is much of the motivation which drives the need for a religious perspective.

Perhaps a second aspect of the rejection of evolution is its method. Natural selection means selection through competition; those species who cannot survive contact with other species or which lose their environmental niche die. There's nothing of goodness or morality in it. Rather it's much closer to the Hobbesian war of all against all.

Well I'll be a son of a...
penguin.

A truly sad comment
on the low value you place on human life and human abilities.

"Ultimately, there is no reason to go on living. Anyone who accepts Darwinism and has not committed suicide simply hasn't thought through all the implications of Darwinism."

Sorry, but this is simply nihilism. The fact that you feel that humanity is of so little intrinsic worth says a great deal about you and nothing whatsoever about the evidence pertaining to the evolution of life.

I truly pity you, clutching desperately at religion with such desperation.

Copernicus and Galileo
It was about 200 years after Copernicus that Galileo was tried. We're only 150 years after Darwin, and he's reached much more acceptance in that time. We like to think we have evolved beyond where we were in the Renaissance, but in many ways, we really haven't.

The answer is elsewhere
As someone who believed in the Darwinian theory and have no religious reasons to reject it, I was taken by surprise by the furor against it. So I investigated it starting in 1999 and what I found was amazing. There is no empirical evidence for a gradualistic approach to evolution and this is admitted by many in the science community. It is their dirty little secret.

However, they all close ranks against what they consider a real danger to science and that is creationism especially Young Earth Creationism (YEC). I too believe YEC creationism is nonsense and only fueled by dogmatic fundamental Christian ideology. However, because creationism is nonsense it does not automatically make Darwinian evolution or what is better called the modern synthesis good science. It isn't.

There are world wide attempts to force consensus on this. Does this sound familiar? Early last year the EU prepared documents to squash creationism but in their wide net they included any criticism of Darwinian evolution. All criticism of Darwinism is labeled creationism. The National Academy of Science has just done the same using specious reasoning in a new book. The main defense is always the assertion that it is true and no one of any consequence denies it.

I have looked for anyone who could provide empirical evidence to support a gradualistic form of evolution and have found none. I have read books by Dawkins, Ayala, Carroll, Ken Miller and others and have still not found it. A lot of clever rhetoric and blatant distortions but little relevant data. By the way there isn't any good empirical examples in the textbooks that also are not trivial. The examples are always simple things or speculation.

So I believe there is a growing number of people like myself who have no religious ideology guiding our views but are skeptical of what is being forced down our throats. I have no problem with apes. I think they are fun animals and very intelligent as far as animals go. Hello cousins.

Now
having cited Feynman, would you care to mention which side of the debate he takes, based on the address you cited?

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