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Day 1264: Evolution Isn’t Just About Darwin

NYTimes Essay | Darwinism Must Die So That Evolution May Live

Equating evolution with Charles Darwin ignores 150 years of discoveries, including most of what scientists understand about evolution. Such as: Gregor Mendel’s patterns of heredity (which gave Darwin’s idea of natural selection a mechanism — genetics — by which it could work); the discovery of DNA (which gave genetics a mechanism and lets us see evolutionary lineages); developmental biology (which gives DNA a mechanism); studies documenting evolution in nature (which converted the hypothetical to observable fact); evolution’s role in medicine and disease (bringing immediate relevance to the topic); and more.

By propounding “Darwinism,” even scientists and science writers perpetuate an impression that evolution is about one man, one book, one “theory.” The ninth-century Buddhist master Lin Chi said, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” The point is that making a master teacher into a sacred fetish misses the essence of his teaching. So let us now kill Darwin.

My emphasis above reiterates that evolution is an observable fact, but how we tie the facts together into something larger is theory, subject to change.

I highly recommend that you read Simon Winchester’s Krakatoa.  Not only does the book describe over and over again how civilization exists by geological and meteorological permission, but also explains the irrefutable data discovered by Alfred Wallace at a time when advances in geology (and what would later come to be known as plate tectonics) and evolutionary biology were beginning to fit hand in glove.   Darwin was by no means the first and only arrival at this important gate.

… Darwin had been incubating his thesis for two decades when Alfred Russel Wallace wrote to him from Southeast Asia, independently outlining the same idea. Fearing a scoop, Darwin’s colleagues arranged a public presentation crediting both men. It was an idea whose time had come, with or without Darwin.

To refute evolution is to deny the age of the rocks from which your gasoline and plastic come from and to ignore the underpinnings of modern drugs and medical care.  Geology, chemistry, biology – all of these go hand in hand.  Accepting what fits your lifestyle and denying that which contradicts your faith is tantamount to a lie, and a very shaky footing from which to make educational policy.  Learn more, discuss more and think about it.

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8 comments… add one
  • Holly February 11, 2009, 10:00 PM

    I try to be open-minded, but this is where I draw the big, fat, neon-flashing line. Blatant idiocy is just too much for me.

    When Kansas started teaching creationism as an act of law a few years back, I remember hearing someone say, ‘well, at least they’ll be ahead of the rest of us in Astronomy. Because no one else knows what planet Kansas is on.’

    I think it’s the only rational reaction one can have.

  • joejoejoe February 12, 2009, 7:41 AM

    It’s the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and there are lots of commemorative events in the UK. There are lots of stories and features on the BBC about Charles Darwin the man. Here are two I found excellent.



  • Blair Tyson February 12, 2009, 8:15 AM

    ..but, isn’t evolution “Intelligent Design”? What’s the hoopla all about?

  • Maitri February 12, 2009, 2:42 PM

    Blair, “intelligent” has an anthropomorphic connotation. Whose or what’s intelligence? If the process by which evolution occurs is inanimate, it cannot be termed “intelligent.”

  • Blair Tyson February 12, 2009, 5:23 PM

    Note the caps on I D. If you believe in a higher power you can credit It with putting the whole scheme together. Not necessary for me, but perhaps a way to dampen the anger of people who don’t or can’t understand.

  • liprap February 12, 2009, 7:31 PM

    Darwin – the original Chuck D!

  • Marco February 13, 2009, 10:11 AM

    Good post! and the earth is only a few billion years old.

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