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The New Assault on Evolution

Updated on January 17, 2012
The phylogenetic tree of life. Public domain image by Ivica Letunic.
The phylogenetic tree of life. Public domain image by Ivica Letunic.

Math students should know up front that the hypotenuse of a right triangle is a direct product of polytheism.

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More than 150 years after the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, the well-established science of evolution continues to be under attack by the forces of anti-science. This time the battles are being fought in state legislatures around the country.

Undaunted by the crushing defeat handed to them in the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover case, which ruled that Intelligent Design was not science and could not be taught in science classes, creationists have begun introducing legislation to undermine the teaching of this foundational theory of biology. While these approaches may deserve credit for their creativity in crafting logical fallacies, they reveal a thorough lack of understanding of - and indeed a great disdain for - basic scientific principles.

Unreasonable Doubt

In New Hampshire, a pair of bills seek to weaken the state's evolution education curriculum with some unnecessary insertion of philosophy.One of these proposed laws, House Bill 1457, would require New Hampshire science teachers to "instruct pupils that proper scientific inquire [sic] results from not committing to any one theory or hypothesis, no matter how firmly it appears to be established." This rather tautological language seems innocuous at first. The history of science is filled with examples of new theories overturning old ideas, as indeed the theory of evolution by natural selection did when it was first proposed.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Gary Hopper (R-District 7), has no such high-minded motives for his legislation. Rep. Hopper, according to Nashua Telegraph "Granite Geek" columnist David Brooks, is specifically targeting the science of evolution because, well, it hurts his feelings. "[T]he conclusion is that we're a bunch of accidents," he told Brooks in an interview last summer, "...you really have no purpose for existence."

Hopper has also voiced his support for teaching of Intelligent Design, arguing the typical creationist rhetoric that life is to complex to have evolved naturally and thus had to have been created. While this statement may be useful to forensics students as a textbook example of an argument from ignorance, it is certainly not valid science.

Attacking the Witness

While HB1457 tries to inject reasonable doubt into the case of evolution, House Bill 1148 is a direct attack on the character of its witnesses. Introduced by District 17 legislator Rep. Jerry Bergevin (R), this bill would require that evolution be "taught in the public schools of this state as a theory, including the theorists' political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism."

It is rather interesting that only evolutionary biologists have been singled out for this political, ideological, and religious scrutiny. If a scientist's political and religious views have the ability to alter the fossil record, erase genetic evidence, and negate instances of observed speciation that show allele frequency changing over time, surely they can be just as damaging to the heliocentric model or the periodic table.

While we're at it, why stop at science? Economics students might be surprised to know that Adam Smith was possibly a Christianity-rejecting deist, for example. And math students should know up front that the hypotenuse of a right triangle is a direct product of polytheism.

A Multi-Front War

These New Hampshire bills are just two examples of a growing nationwide trend. In the past year, bills requiring or encouraging the teaching of "alternate theories" of the origin of the diversity of life have been proposed in Indiana, Missouri, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, New Mexico, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, according to the National Center for Science Education.

While many of these bills have, thankfully, died during the legislative process, the occasional anti-science bill slips through. In 2008, the Louisiana State Education Act was signed into law, calling on educators in the state to promote "open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning." This provision has since been used to support proposals to teach creationism in several Louisiana parishes, and survived an attempted repeal earlier this year.

Perhaps one of the most ironic examples of modern-day evolution can be found in the ever-changing nature of creationist tactics as they adapt to new legal and political environments.

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    • dadibobs profile image

      dadibobs 5 years ago from Manchester, England

      Interesting and up!, The theory of evolution has always been questioned, even when it was published. Charles Darwin did not produce the theory on his own, but the Royal Society gave him the credit, please read my hub, Natural Selection : The Truth. The details and claims within the paper caused a great controversy, and also the manner in which it was published, it left it wide open for critics to claim it was wrong. This sentiment has never left the idea. As humans we will never know untill either somethign evolves before our eyes, or a celestial being explains it.

      Great hub

    • scottcgruber profile image
      Author

      scottcgruber 5 years ago from USA

      Thank you for reading and for your comment!

      You're absolutely right - Darwin deserves partial credit at best, for what is really just a first draft of the theory. It wasn't until the Modern Synthesis of the early 20th century that we began to have a good understanding of the how's and why's of evolution. And neither Darwin nor Wallace would have been able to come up with the idea before James Hutton's discovery of Earth's antiquity.

      That's the beautiful thing about science - it's a remarkably collaborative effort, and often with collaborators who have been dead for centuries.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Welcome to HubPages. If you have any questions or concerns please contact me or any other elite member for assistance.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      WOW, a self proclaimed elite member is inviting you to share his counsel, what a warm fuzzy you must be feeling.

      Interesting article, are the protagonist of evolution, creationist?

      Since I consider both speculation, I guess I would be considered a Nutardist.

      Had the native species been allowed to evolve naturally on this planet, I might be willing to believe in evolution, because I believe that is not the case and we had some help, then perhaps the legislation is a good thing after all engaging discussion is a good thing.

      Simple by believing the only two main theories out there doesn't mean another shouldn't be considered . . . doesn't your science allow for other possibilities?

    • melpor profile image

      Melvin Porter 5 years ago from New Jersey, USA

      I do not understand why the theory of evolution is constantly being attack when the evidence of it is all around us and the theory have been validated hundreds of time by researchers from various scientific disciplines. Evolution explains everything there is to know about life.

    • scottcgruber profile image
      Author

      scottcgruber 5 years ago from USA

      @melpor: Exactly. As Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote, nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.

      @somethgblue: Please take a moment to learn the definition of "theory." Creationism is most certainly not a theory. Neither is the idea that alien reptiles from a fictional planet genetically engineered humans to work in their diode mines, or whatever crazy idea you believe.

      Theories are supported by evidence, you see.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      The English word theory was derived from a technical term in Ancient Greek philosophy. The word theoria, ??????, meant "a looking at, viewing, beholding", and referring to contemplation or speculation, as opposed to action.[1]

      Please read ONE of my articles rather than trying to put words in my mouth about some crazy 'theory' about reptiles . . .

      Whether you believe in God or not is beside the point, sidestepping that issue because it is none of my business is weak, but predictable.

      Evolution is a good theory and works to a certain point however since no one has found the missing link, it can't be completely proven and is just a theory.

      History is an agreed upon lie written by those in the power to do so. Orthodox science is constantly being changed as new theories become accepted by the sheeple.

      Only by keeping an open mind and accepting nothing will we have any chance of arriving at the truth, simple by accepting a narrow minded and limited view doesn't make it true.

    • scottcgruber profile image
      Author

      scottcgruber 5 years ago from USA

      I have read one of your articles, actually. The one on your Hollow Earth hypothesis. It was extremely amusing.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Yes, so amusing that Google has kept it on page one of their search engine for three straight weeks, meaning out of 4 million hits mine is in the top ten! When any of your articles can make that claim be sure to let me know . . .

      But let's get back to some science shall we,

      Professor Louis Bonoure, Director of Research at the French National Center of Scientific Research said and I quote " Evolutionism is a fairy tale for grown-ups. This theory (notice he uses this word also, how unscientific of him) has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is useless."

      The Advocate, March 8, 1984. p. 17. In Luckert, Karl W. (ed.) Quotations on Evolution as a Theory. 2001.

      Wolfgang Smith, a mathematics professor from MIT and Oregon State University, made his position very clear when he said and I quote " Today . . . the Darwinian theory ( these scientist keep using that word, hmmm?!) of evolution stands under attack as never before . . . a growing number of respectable scientist are defecting from the evolutionist camp . . . For the most part, these 'experts' have abandoned Darwinism, not on the basis of religious faith or Biblical persuasions, but on strictly scientific grounds." Teilhardism and the New Religion: A thorough Analysis of the Teachings of de Chardin. Tan Books & Publishers, 1998, pp. 1-2.

      In the words of another scientist friend of mine and I quote "Bite Me!"

      and you are a scientist of what exactly, the director of what institute?

      "

    • sparkster profile image

      Marc Hubs 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I recently wrote the hub 'Evolution or Intelligent Design? Or Both?' Yes, Darwin does deserve credit for his theory of natural selection and clearly the evidence shows it exists. But it doesn't explain creation itself and if animals and creatures gradually develop to their environment via a self-mutating gene how is it that we still have apes today that haven't developed into humans like us over the course of the ages? Where is the evidence of all the self-replicated self-mutated various species? It's just not there.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Thank you Sparkster,

      Evolution is a sound 'theory' but it only works so far back and then has some major gaps that doesn't fit the 'evidence', so although I firmly believed in it in my youth, upon further research it just doesn't work.

      Of course part of growing up is being able to concede when you may have some faulty thinking, so perhaps it is just growing pains?

    • scottcgruber profile image
      Author

      scottcgruber 5 years ago from USA

      Blue:

      "Professor Louis Bonoure, Director of Research at the French National Center of Scientific Research said..."

      Nothing of the sort. First of all, Professor Bounoure was never a director or even a member of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and the first half of the quote isn't even from him. The author of that quote was French biologist Jean Rostand, and the exact quote was "Transformism is a fairy tale for adults." (Age Nouveau, [a French periodical] February 1959, p. 12).

      The second half of the quote is from Bounoure, but you've taken it out of context. Here is the full quotation:

      "That, by this, evolutionism would appear as a theory without value, is confirmed also pragmatically. A theory must not be required to be true, said Mr. H. Poincare, more or less, it must be required to be useable. Indeed, none of the progress made in biology depends even slightly on a theory, the principles of which are nevertheless filling every year volumes of books, periodicals, and congresses with their discussions and their disagreements."

      Source: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/ce/3/part12.html

      As far as I can tell, your quote my Dr. Smith is accurate - he is a mathematics professor and creationist with some unorthodox ideas on the philosophy of science. And is certainly entitled to his opinions. For the sake of his students, I just hope he has a better grasp of math than he does biology. Nevertheless, score one point for anti-science.

      If we're going to appeal to authority and/or popularity, I'm happy to play along with you in the land of logical fallacies. You bring me one mathematician, I bring you 1,185 scientists who support the theory of evolution. And they're all named Steve:

      http://ncse.com/taking-action/project-steve

      Now that's how appeal to popularity and/or authority is done, son.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Again Bite Me, Bitch!

    • scottcgruber profile image
      Author

      scottcgruber 5 years ago from USA

      A very mature, logically-sound, and well-written rebuttal. Well done.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Well thank you, I see you can appreciate well thought out theories and rebuttals.

      My contention is this there are NO half fish/half mollusks in the fossil records, there are No half reptiles/half birds in the fossil records, there are no half ape/half modern man in the fossil records.

      Where did they come from, my contention is that evolution is a quick mutation not a gradual process, the fact that you are unwilling to even concede this shows me that you are more willing to regurgitate the tired old rhetoric that lead to this belief system in the first place.

      Explain to me how humans went from hunter gatherers to farmers all at once all over the World? I could see it happening in one spot and migrating all over the World but cultures completely separated from each other all began farming at the same time, how is that possible, were we more telepathic back then and shared information in that manner.

      Obviously we disagree but what is frustrating is that although I'm willing to see your point of view, you fail even to acknowledge any of my points.

      I could fill up a whole hub worth of quotes and scientist that disagree with the evolution theory, but why bother if it is just going to fall on deaf ears so to speak?

    • scottcgruber profile image
      Author

      scottcgruber 5 years ago from USA

      Good questions, Blue. I don't know the answers to them all at the moment. Rather than participate in your Gish Gallop in this comment thread, I will be happy to research them individually and use them as the subjects of future hubs.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Agreed, I finally realized why your thinking frustrates me so much . . . as I usually don't get all worked up on some ones opinion and that is and I hope you don't take this as an insult because I think you are a very smart individual . . .

      . . . but I realized that I used to think very similar to the way you think which is very logical and dogmatic and it wasn't until I had what I will call a educational awakening of the spiritual variety, that I realized that the truth is so fantastic that most people are unwilling to even conceive of it.

      I agree to disagree and prefer to unbalance the equation with my gish gallop, after all if we all thought alike, life would be pretty boring!

      Besides being right all the time can get tedious!

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Or here is a thought, maybe evolution does work and it just happens much quicker than anyone has ever realized, instead of thousands and millions of years the mutation process takes place in four or five generations, hence there would be far fewer fossils to recover . . . I wonder why I had never thought of that before, hmmm!

    • scottcgruber profile image
      Author

      scottcgruber 5 years ago from USA

      All the evidence collected in the past 150 years would seem to suggest otherwise, but you're welcome to research the topic. It's certainly possible that evolution might occur more quickly in a population under a certain set of circumstances that are conducive to a rapid mutation rate. Why don't you look into the literature and see what others have found on the subject?

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      I've been reading this book called The Source Field Investigations by David Wilcock that suggest that evolution follows the precession of equinoxes, which list all kinds of mutations involving electricity and DNA manipulation.

      It does seem to indicate evolution maybe speeding up, the plethora of information for and against any argument is truly staggering considering the amount of information at ones fingertips.

      I apologize for being a jerk, sorry!

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 5 years ago from east of the equator

      Welcome to Hub Pages. I enjoy sound intellect and the ability to articulate complex subject matter. You possess both. I am following.

    • Will Apse profile image

      Will Apse 5 years ago

      Frankly, if you are teaching in a Christian community which has problems with the theory of Evolution, you should be prepared to address the issues.

      It then comes down to time constraints and the abilities of teachers to lead fruitful discussions, I imagine.

      Education that rides roughshod over a community's views is pretty objectionable.

      I certainly believe that meaning is as important as truth- which is why, as an atheist, I am horrified by aggressive secularism.

    • scottcgruber profile image
      Author

      scottcgruber 5 years ago from USA

      @Will Apse:

      Good points, though I think the facts of evolution speak for themselves. Sometimes education is going to challenge a community's views. I believe this is part of education's job - challenging students' preconceived notions and helping them to think critically about important topics. Whether the objection is over banned books or well-established science, education needs to present the ideas and facts without political influence.

    • Apostacy profile image

      Apostacy 5 years ago from Near Toronto

      This was a terrific and informative article as well. It is my personal oppinion that religion should be kept out of a childs life until they are old enough to examine the evidence and make their own decision. Students can then decide whether to go to "Liberty University" or a real university. Furthermore, the ones who choose Liberty University must go on to be a member of the church as a profession, while others do real things, that matter, and are real. Lol.

    • scottcgruber profile image
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      scottcgruber 5 years ago from USA

      @Apostacy: Thank you for reading!

      I think there's a place for religion in education - I think all world religions should be part of the curriculum early in a child's life. It is, for better or worse, an important part of world culture. Just as nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution, nothing in world history makes sense except in the light of religion. Let children understand that there are many different people in the world with many different beliefs. Kids are smart - they'll understand.

      However, I don't believe in indoctrination in one religion. This is exactly what creationists are trying to do, and it is horrifying. I've seen church groups taking children through natural history museums explaining that the scientists have got it wrong and that none of the dinosaurs evolved. That is criminal.

    • Apostacy profile image

      Apostacy 5 years ago from Near Toronto

      You're absolutely right. A large part of History is religion, can't argure with that. It also makes sense of why and how our civilization is the way it is, can't argue with that either. Of course, it doesn't change the fact that the dogmas and tenets of religious belief are absolute poison for the mind, so it's a bit of a coin toss IMO.

    • Apostacy profile image

      Apostacy 5 years ago from Near Toronto

      @dadibobs - I'm not sure if this was pointed out, but we can watch bacteria, mice, and other smaller forms of life with rapid reproductive systems evolve, with our very own eyes. Evolution: The fact. While I won't advocate that evolution disproves God, I will at every chance I get defend the fact that it is just that; a fact.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      It ain't even close to a fact, maybe it's fact if your a brain dead sheep!

    • Apostacy profile image

      Apostacy 5 years ago from Near Toronto

      The fact that all biological systems, solar systems, galactical systems and beyond change slowely over time is a fact, my friend. An observable fact.

    • Tymolen profile image

      Tymolen 5 years ago from Montana

      Thanks Scott. Your Hub (and debate with #somethblue) was both stimulating and intriguing. I remember a teacher of mine that would read Darwin’s theory to us before lecturing biology. This memory and your hub inspired my question; what were the social effects on the youth during the transition from teaching Supreme Being beliefs to Natural Selection as they grow into society?

      I feel as though the new teachings would start a friction in religious housings at the time. Couldn't this have lead to domestic quarrels, and children questioning their parental guidance? If so one should look closer into the work of Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s theories of Freakonomics, more specifically the chapter on the negligible effects of good parenting on education. Thank you for your time.

    • scottcgruber profile image
      Author

      scottcgruber 5 years ago from USA

      @Tymolen:

      Interesting question... I'm not sure - I don't really know much about family social structure circa 1859. I can't imagine Darwin's theory would be any more of a family-fracturing force than, say, Matthew 10:35 -- "For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."

      It also seems to have been a time when there was less conflict between science and religion, and some great scientific discoveries - oxygen and genetics, for example - were being made by members of the clergy.

    • Tymolen profile image

      Tymolen 5 years ago from Montana

      Thanks for the response @scottcgruber.

      It is interesting that Mendel discovered genetics in 1857, while studying at a public college to become an Abbot. Although I don't think this proves that the "clergy" new what they had really discovered. Like any new discovery, it was not yet finite what exactly genetics were. For example; the double helix of DNA, the modern foundation of genetics, was not discovered until 1953 by Watson & Crick. Currently I believe that the discovery of genetics could be evidence to either Creation or Scientific theory. I do not feel like this was the case at that time however. For it was still a young science with many possibilities and controversies. Bringing us back to my point.

      This learning period between 1860's and early 1900's were the learning periods of the parents of the people who fought during World War I. This may have been just a coincidence, but one must toy with the idea that there could have been a moral confusion (of the masses) caused by Religion's modern enemy Science.

    • Insane Mundane profile image

      Insane Mundane 5 years ago from Earth

      I never understood how anybody would have to "believe" in evolution, as everything evolves, adapts, and acclimates to thier surroundings over time; it's just nature working its magic, if ya will. However, I do see the religion and "belief" in those lost beings that think they have spawned from a single-cell amoeba, over time. WTF?

      And, although you clearly think it is just some cute gesture via your forum response, there really is a "missing link" (among many others) between the Homo Erectus and the Homo sapiens, that the theory of Evolution can't explain.

      The "assault" on Evolution? Ney, but you can perhaps call it a "reality check" on Evolution, if it makes you feel better.

      Other than that, thanks for sharing additional links that most likely feature ongoing drivel and methodical jargon; I may check some of 'em out, later...

    • scottcgruber profile image
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      scottcgruber 5 years ago from USA

      Good question, Insane. I'll research the current literature on homo erectus/ergaster and write about it in a future hub.

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 5 years ago from The English Midlands

      Very interesting, thought-provoking and frightening.

      The crux of the problem, I think, could be that most prople simply do not understand the definition of a 'scientific theory' and how it differs from a hypothesis, an idea, a suggestion, etc.

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