Evolution was on the march last week, crushing the creationist crazies and intelligent design dogmatists. Will they now give up their anti-science jihad? Not likely.
Unfounded religious beliefs are addictive, like other drugs. They relieve the anxiety that comes from living in a complex, mysterious, uncertain world. When the unknown can be banished with the wave of a faith-filled hand, that’s damn appealing.
It's wrong. But still appealing.
Myself, I prefer reality. And that’s what evolution is: real. More evidence of this has arrived via two breakthroughs: a transitional fossil that shows how fish evolved into land animals has been discovered, and molecular biologists demonstrated that so-called “irreducible complexity” actually can be the result of small genetic changes caused by random mutations.
Life happens. On its own. For the life of me, I can’t understand what’s so metaphysically frightening about this. Nature is natural. The Taoists have been telling us this for thousands of years, as have many other naturalistic belief systems.
Why do so many people feel lost without a belief in a personal and paternalistic God-the-Father who directs every aspect of the cosmos? Grow up. We don’t remain children forever. At some point every human should learn to stand on his or her own feet, physically, psychologically, and spiritually.
Sadly, though, many young people are being held back by religion from achieving this sort of maturity. In “Testing Darwin’s Teachers” the LA Times reports that biology teachers are challenged by students who unthinkingly spout the Christian creationist party line.
And we wonder why the United States is sinking lower and lower in cross-national rankings of scientific literacy. Nations who are high in religiosity have lower science scores. Blind faith and critical thinking are like oil and water: they don’t mix.