March 2, 2011

Creationism vs. Evolution - An Update

UPDATE 2
 "On Evolution, Can Religion Evolve?," The Washington Post, On Faith, August 23, 2011

UPDATE
Polling Creationism and Evolution Around the World:

"A new poll conducted by Ipsos for Reuters News in twenty-four countries found that 41% of respondents identified themselves as "evolutionists" and 28% as "creationists," with 31% indicating that they "simply don't know what to believe," according to a press release issued by Ipsos on April 25, 2011."
...
"The "evolutionist" view was most popular in Sweden (68%), Germany (65%), and China (64%), with the United States ranking 18th (28%), between Mexico (34%) and Russia (26%); the "creationist" view was most popular in Saudi Arabia (75%), Turkey (60%), and Indonesia (57%), with the United States ranking 6th (40%), between Brazil (47%) and Russia (34%)."
...
"Consistently with previous polls, in the United States, acceptance of evolution was higher among respondents who were younger, with a higher level of household income, and with a higher level of education. Gender was not particularly important, however: the difference between male and female respondents in the United States was no more than 2%."

Supreme Being(s), the Afterlife and Evolution:
"Half of global citizens (51%) surveyed believe there is some form of ‘divine entity’: either a 'God or Supreme Being' (45%) or 'many Gods or Supreme Beings' (6%). This compares with two in ten (18%) who 'don’t believe in God/Gods/Supreme Being/Beings' and another three in ten (30%) who are 'undecided' of which 17% say 'sometimes I believe, but sometimes I don’t' and another 13% say 'I’m not sure if I believe'."
...
"Just over half of global citizens (51%) say they believe in some form of afterlife: one quarter (23%) believe in an afterlife 'but not specifically in a heaven or hell', two in ten (19%) believe 'you go to heaven or hell', another 7% believe 'you are ultimately reincarnated' and 2% believe in 'heaven but not hell'. Alternatively, one quarter (23%) say 'you simply cease to exist' whereas another quarter (26%) say they 'don’t know what happens'."

Human Evolution
Much debate has focused on whether humans were the products of either a spiritual force creation or the force of nature by way of a gradual evolution.
  • Four in ten (41%) identify as “as 'evolutionist's' and believe that human beings were in fact created over a long period of time of evolution growing into fully formed human beings they are today from lower species such as apes.” Those most likely to believe in this are from Sweden (68%), Germany (65%), China (64%), Belgium (61%) and Japan (60%).
  • Three in ten (28%) global citizens refer to themselves as “creationists and believe that human beings were in fact created by a spiritual force such as the God they believe in and do not believe that the origin of man came from evolving from other species such as apes” led by those from Saudi Arabia (75%), Turkey (60%), Indonesia (57%), South Africa (56%) and Brazil (47%).
  • Almost one third (31%) of the global population indicate they “simply don't know what to believe and sometimes agree or disagree with theories and ideas put forward by both creationists and evolutionists”. Those from Russia (40%) are most likely to be unsure followed by those from Italy (39%), Argentina (38%), Poland (37%), Spain (37%) and France (36%).

ORIGINAL POST
This non-issue will likely be with us for quite some time.  Creationists say the theory of evolution is "flawed," is "only a theory," does not "disprove" creationism.  Evolutionists say the evidence overwhelmingly justifies acceptance of the theory of evolution when compared to the evidence and reasoning of religion; statements like "only a theory" show an ignorance of scientific "theory."

Science does not claim or attempt to disprove creationism.  The onus of proof rests with the proponents of creationism, not those who refuse to accept it because it lacks a well-reasoned argument or convincing evidence.  It is nonsense to require others to disprove something you have not proven in the first place but have merely asserted to be true.

From Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller

Science supports explanatory models that provide reasonably accurate accounts of evidence, observations and experiments.  Scientific models produce a truth that is far more useful for providing for humankind's basic needs, including solving the problems of living and of the biosphere, compared to models based on belief, faith and religious tradition.

Nevertheless, creationists in the US ceaselessly try to discredit evolutionary theory, the bedrock of biological sciences, and insist that religious faith in creationism (currently under the guise of "intelligent design") be taught in science classrooms.

Regrettably, this will be a long drawn out struggle over a non-issue.  It will continue to turn otherwise good young minds away from science and distract scientific efforts at solving the technological, medical and other challenges of modern life.  Equally ominous, it will keep our leaders (politicians), who control our vast weapons arsenals and treasure, praying to deities for guidance on secular problems and courting the votes of the religious.

From Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller

Stay informed and speak up for the teaching of evolutionary theory in science classrooms.  Religion has no place in the science classroom.  Here is some good material from Scientific American for understanding the problem:

Creationism vs. Evolution: The controversy over evolution rages on. Win all your debates against creationists with the science in our special report.  Scientific American, September 10, 2008

Creationism Controversy: State by State Interactive Map (Updated)  Scientific American, March 2, 2011

Can religious teachings prove evolution to be true?, BBC, July 5, 2011

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