Origin of Species

Editorial: Creation vs. Evolution and the Fear That Drives Both

In 1859 Charles Darwin turned the world on its side by publishing the book On the Origin of Species. This book outlined his observations on evolution and introduced the concept known as natural selection. Darwin’s theories have since gained wide acceptance in the scientific community and have laid the foundation for evolutionary biology. His theories have also been used to drive a solid wedge between the religious and scientific communities. This unfortunate result can be seen playing out even today as my esteemed colleague, Debjyoti Bardhan, points out in his article “South Korea’s Scientists Strike Back At Creationism; Force Withdrawal of Omission of Evolution“. To me the fundamental problems at the heart of this debate are that of power, fear, and lack of mutual respect.

Origin of Species
(Courtesy Wikipedia)

He Didn’t Start the Fire

Contrary to the noise you hear on both sides of the creation vs. evolution debate, Darwin didn’t set out to stick it to Christians when he published his theories. Some may be surprised that early in Darwin’s life, he actually considered going into the clergy. As a matter of fact, Darwin struggled with his thoughts on God his entire life and in a letter to John Fordyce he proclaimed, “It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man may be an ardent Theist & an evolutionist.” But the fire that burned between science and the church started long before Darwin’s time. One could point to the debate between Galileo and the Roman Catholic Church. Galileo correctly observed that the earth was not the center of the universe. He supported the heliocentric view meaning the earth was just a planet that circled the sun. This view got him in a lot of heat with the Roman Catholic Church. His views were deemed heretical and didn’t agree with church authorities of that day. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t have the tools he needed to really prove his argument. On the flip side, Galileo wasn’t entirely correct either. The sun was the center of our solar system however, as we know now it was not the center of the universe.

All of this history reminds me of the saying “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” One of the things I observe in this whole debate is that both parties involved seem to get drunk with power. Nothing is more unbecoming of science than when scientists wield their power and influence to push a social or political agenda. How many studies have I seen lately funded by some special interest group with the “surprising” result that the “scientific” conclusion agrees with those of the group. In the same line of thought, nothing can be more opposite of the life that Jesus lived than these so called “Christians” who would threaten the very lives of scientists with whom they do not agree.

2 thoughts on “Editorial: Creation vs. Evolution and the Fear That Drives Both”

  1. I didn’t like the article. In science and in scientific matters, there is a right and a wrong. Creationism is plain wrong, having no peer-reviewed publications in its favour. It can’t be a matter of opinion.

    Unrelated to the previous comment – kindly correct the factual mistakes: “Unfortunately for him, he didn’t have the tools he needed to really prove his argument.” – Oh yes, he did. The epicyclic motion of planets was known before Galileo. Further he saw moons of Jupiter. Galileo was no fool just propping up an agenda for the sake of it.
    ” On the flip side, Galileo wasn’t entirely correct either. The sun was the center of our solar system however, as we know now it was not the center of the universe.” – You have to consider the knowledge of the day. You can’t use the advantage of hindsight.
    “Nothing is more unbecoming of science than when scientists wield their power and influence to push a social or political agenda.”- Last time this happened was?
    “They too live in fear as they feel creationism threatens their research” – Oh no no, they don’t. Most scientists are simply indifferent to this rising tide. Some take it up. Others simply feel that it’s not their duty – there is so much of pseudoscience already, why bother with this particular one? Only if creationism can provide researched material challenging the known facets of evolution can it ‘threaten’ research

    1. Yes in science, there exist a clear cut classification of right and wrong statement. But in philosophy there need not.
      Galileo was a genius, but that doesn’t mean he had the entire heliocentric theory on unshakable grounds. There was indeed some serious rational opposition against it, and it took almost a century more for scientists to solve it completely.
      Ref: Almagestum Novum
      PS: There always existed many great, but unfortunately ridiculous and unsuccessful ideas, creationism is just one of that..

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