- Politics and Social Issues
Why Do Protestant Fundamentalists Hate Evolution?
I was given an assignment my Junior year of college, asking me to evaluate the evidence for and against evolution. It was the first paper that required me to think about my beliefs, and how to defend them. began thinking anew about this subject when my 11-year old stepdaughter, while watching the popular television show The Big Bang Theory, proclaimed “the Big Bang Theory is not true, it was God that made the universe”. I should explain that this anti-intellectual attitude is a product of my wife's family's Protestant fundamentalist belief concerning the origin of life. I have attended the church attended by the family, and was baffled by the showing of videos, intended to disprove evolution, of beautiful flowers or why Hippopotamii can hold their breath while swimming underwater.
My own Catholic upbringing allows for a belief in the Christian view of the origin of life, along with an allowance for acquired scientific knowledge.
Charles Darwin, along with his contemporary, Thomas Malthus, formulated the idea that change in biological populations across generations is the mechanism for the biological diversity that we see in present species, and the reason we see speciation in fossils. Evolution in organisms occurs through changes in heritable traits. More desirable characteristics, such as flippers instead of feet for swimming, or feathers instead of scales for flying, are selective traits passed to offspring, sometimes allowing for adaptation to a change in environment. These traits can arise from mutation or genetic drift.
The Catholic Church teaches that the process of evolution is a planned and purpose-driven natural process, actively guided by God. The first humans evolved, and the soul was an addition to pre-existing living matter. Evolution does not necessarily need to be atheistic, a divine plan for the evolution of man is completely in line with Christian beliefs. Religious beliefs that require willful ignorance of our increasing scientific knowledge are one reason for our fading national standings in the areas of science and math education, it' as if scientific reason is subject to popular opinion. Recently, state school boards in Texas, Kansas, Tennessee and elsewhere have introduced anti-evolution curricula. Intelligent design is an updated version of creationism, that the complexity and diversity found in nature is attributed to a supernatural intelligence. Anti-evolutionists point to holes in the fossil record, or resort to attempts at disproving rediometric dating to invent a controversy.