In the age of the internet conspiracy theories are certainly nothing new with even the most concrete of facts and scientific theories being questioned, mocked and ridiculed. One classic example of this involves Darwin’s theory of evolution. Despite being published more than 150 years ago, and over the years widely supported and proven, there are still people alive today who challenge the idea of natural selection. What is most bizarre about people who refuse to accept evolution as fact appear to be using some very over used myths to support their claims.
Here are 5 of the most overused myths about the theory of evolution and the process of natural selection.
1 – It Does Not Matter What You Believe
Whatever your personal believes happen to be I firmly believe that you have every right to them and therefore people such as creationists should be free to reject the theory of evolution should the chose to do so. When all is said and done does it really matter whether God made us or if we evolved from something that looks like King Kong?
Well, the short answer to this is that it really does matter a lot. Sure, you have every right to reject the idea of evolution but it is always going to be somewhat difficult to reject the scientific facts or the very real effects they have on our everyday lives. Over a very short period time the virus that causes the common cold is evolving into a more deadly strain as is the bacteria MRSA which is quickly becoming resistance to our best and most effective drugs. Regardless of your personal believes it is impossible to explain or conceive such notions without including and understanding evolution.
2 – Macroevolution and Microevolution Are Two Different Things
I could easily imagine that a creationist who reads the above text could make the argument that bacteria becoming drug-resistant or viruses evolving to become more deadly are nothing more than examples of what is known as microevolution. Basically this argument makes the claim that changes in microscopic organisms are so small they cannot produce a new species of animal because that is something known as macroevolution.
The problem with using this as a counter argument is that scientifically there is no difference whatsoever between microevolution and macroevolution. Both are forms of evolution, the only difference is that they go through the process of evolution over different timescales. It is a proven scientific fact that you can take any species on the planet and given enough time and enough small changes then sooner r later you will inevitably have a new species at some point.
The idea that there is a difference between microevolution and macroevolution was last popular during the 1940’s but it is now known that you cannot dismiss microevolution without rejecting every other part of the theory of evolution.
3 – Evolution Does Not Explain Homosexuality
Whenever someone is trying to attack the theory of evolution there is a tendency to go after the few things that the theory supposedly cannot explain. This leads creationists to suggest that the biggest problem surrounding evolution is sexual reproduction, homosexuality and what is known as the ‘gay gene’. What purpose would there be in a parent passing that ‘gay gene’ on to their offspring?
It is worth knowing that there is no evidence that there is anything like a ‘gay gene.’ As far as scientific explanations go it appears that homosexuality appears to be nothing more than a direct consequence of developmental, social and genetic factors. This very fact quickly rules out any suggestion that homosexuality would be quickly bred out of a population as a result of evolution.
4 – Evolution is Immoral and Wrong
Survival of the fittest is a phrase often connected to the theory of evolution and this leads to a somewhat depressing argument to justify the actions of Hitler and the Nazi’s during World War II. After all the Nazi’s were at the very top of the food chain and they honestly believed that any Jew was unfit. Sure, this argument is complete and utter nonsense but there are people who do indeed use it.
We all know that there was certainly nothing natural about the Holocaust and the idea of survival of the fittest is not the same as the person with the most advanced weapons always winning. The massive problem with describing evolution as immoral and justifying that using Hitler as an example is that evolutions merely describes nature and does not have anything to do with morality.
The very idea of evolution came from an observation and describes how life came to exist in the forms that it does. It is certainly your own decision if you feel that the natural progression of life is immoral but nothing change the fact that evolution is a scientific and proven observation of how life and the world works.
Evolution has nothing to do with teaching or telling someone how to act, behave and live out there life. The decision to murder someone you feel is not fit enough to survive then that is your choice and is no way the result of evolution. Evolution is nothing more than knowledge not a set of morals to live your life by.
5 – Evolution Proves God Does Not Exist
One of the most damaging myths out there happens to be the idea that everyone on the planet is faced with making the decision of either believing in God and religion or believing in evolution and science. Any choice such as this is always going to create two groups which are the exact polar opposites of each other.
There are indeed various scientific facts that contradict specific religious matters and even occasionally prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are simply not true. This does not mean that religion fails to exist just the same way it continued to exist when we finally learned the Earth was not flat or the Earth goes around the sun.
The biggest wedge you can drive between evolution and Christianity is insisting that Genesis is a very literal account of creation. Most of us can take an honest and open minded look at the world to see that the world is not exactly like it is described in Genesis. This certainly does not prove that Genesis is wrong it might just mean that if there is a God he is a little smarter than people seem to realise.
As far back as 1950 the Catholic Church pronounced that evolution doesn’t conflict with Church Authority since it is the soul, not the body, which matters. In 1996, Pope John Paul II accepted human evolution as fact and observed that “Truth cannot contradict Truth”. Both religion and science should be constantly open to reassessing what is True based on new information.
The final word on this matter should go to the extraordinarily wise Stephen Jay Gould: “The lack of conflict between science and religion arises from a lack of overlap between their respective domains of professional expertise—science in the empirical constitution of the universe, and religion in the search for proper ethical values and the spiritual meaning of our lives. The attainment of wisdom in a full life requires extensive attention to both domains—for a great book tells us that the truth can make us free and that we will live in optimal harmony with our fellows when we learn to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.”