WE LIVE at a time in history when it’s more dangerous to one’s career to question Darwin than God.
February 12 is the birthday of Charles Darwin. It is also, not coincidentally, the 4th Annual Question Evolution Day. Our guest is Cowboy Bob Sorensen, head of the Question Evolution Project, to talk about the growing movement.
Here is the link to the 2004 article from The Telegraph about the study by Prof. Maciej Henneberg showing that the 200 identified specimens of human-like fossils known as hominims are probably all variants of Homo sapiens.
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Challenge Evolution! A great idea. Interestingly, it is one that evolutionary scientists have engaged in since the beginning of the science. Evolutionary science (and, yes, it is a science with hypotheses, theories, testing of theories, and evidence) did not start as a fait accompli. It began as a crude idea that didn’t, yet, include DNA, RNA, or a host of other inheritance factors. At every step of its development, the science was challenged from the outside, yes, but never as strongly as from the inside. And guess what? Like an enormous jigsaw puzzle, first the framework of the puzzle came together, then elements within the framework. Also, like a jigsaw puzzle, not all the pieces fit together on the first try. Even today, the jigsaw puzzle is not complete. Scientists discover missing pieces all the time. They discover pieces that they didn’t even know were missing. Despite that, the picture is now complete enough that scientists have been able to use the genetic data to piece together new medicines, understandings about how our bodies work, why they sometimes don’t work, and even unsuspected relationships between different living organisms for which there is no other viable and functional theory of relationship than evolution. Perhaps most importantly, the framework provides a model that can provide similar if not identical results when tested by people from radically different cultural backgrounds.
So I say, challenge evolution, challenge, mechanical engineering, challenge medicine, challenge “Genesis”, challenge the existence of Thor, Vishnu, Cthulhu, and Yahoweh! Question everything you know or think that you know! Most of all, challenge your own assumptions! Is there any evidence for your assumptions or are they wishful thinking? Do you believe in the biblical creation (as opposed to the babylonian, shinto, or navajo ones) because it truly provides a useful and testable way of understanding the universe or do you believe it because without it you might have to concede that there might not be a Yahoweh and that, when you die, you might truly cease to exist? If it’s the latter, then you’re not being honest with yourself or others.
That said, you should really get someone on to talk about evolution and not against it. Cowboy Bob Sorensen, no matter how earnest he is, is not an expert on evolution and any of his examples are poor at best and fallacious at worst. Now, as a molecular biologist(?) your wife might be an interesting person to speak on this subject. I’ll admit that even many biologists have some serious misconceptions about the theory of evolution but modern molecular biology incorporates evolutionary principles on many levels and it would be interesting to find out how gospel “facts” help her do her job better than evolutionary theory. You should still consider having an authentic, well-spoken evolutionary scientist on the show because, honestly, I think that you and your listeners would find it fascinating and learn a lot.
I’ll leave you with this: biological evolution and origin of life are actually different areas of study. Where much of the confusion comes in is that we have come to understand that evolutionary processes, incremental changes to systems over time – be they biological, chemical, mechanical, or stellar – can cause radical changes in the arrangements and functions of the original systems, can provide frameworks for understanding non-biological processes. One of these non-biological processes being pursued is origin of life. Groups around the world are theorizing about the possible origins of life by applying evolutionary principles from the basic chemistry end of the problem and reverse-engineering life from the other end. The meeting of the two ends of the problem (which had made very impressive advances in the last decade or so but which may not meet for years to come – if ever) will not solve The origin of life on Earth. The evidence for that is probably long gone. But it may provide us with a way to demonstrate one (or more) potential origins of life on Earth. As both an ardent scientist and (amateur) biblical scholar, I will say that, If you haven’t looked into the topic recently, then you have missed out on a lot of fascinating stuff.