Thursday, March 08, 2007


Killing the Messenger

The creationists are angry with Charles Darwin for having observed one of the underlying mechanisms of biology, namely evolution.

The same sort of anger was once expressed against those who came to understand the workings of the cosmos, not as heralds of an unseen god, but as stars, planets, moons, comets, and asteroids that move about their physical universe in accordance with natural laws.

Even today, some in the creationist camp believe the weather is directed by the hand of God. Katrina wasn't sent to New Orleans by the complex interaction of atmospheric pressure, temperature, and geography. No, it was sent by a God angry at the hedonism of a sinful city.

That God's punishment was also meted out on God-fearing (and Republican) Mississippi goes, for some reason, unremarked by those in close communication with God.

A continuing discussion in The Wichita Eagle following the state school board's decision to teach real science in science classrooms addresses this point, we think, quite well. Here's what Rick Nunnelly has to say:
I grow increasingly irritated each time I read someone referring to evolution as a religion ("It's faith, not theory," March 2 Reader Views). All religions started with humans' fear of the unknown and the worshipping of what they did not understand or what affected their lives the most -- the sun, stars, rain, food and planet. Evolution does not stand on ignorance. Evolution stands on the study and understanding of what we are, where we are and how we came to be what we are.

Would gravity be any less operative in the world if Galileo and Newton had not described it? Would the Earth not revolve about the Sun if Copernicus had not reported his observations? Why then, demonize Charles Darwin?

If he hadn't published Origin of the Species, then Wallace would be credited with the discovery. If not Wallace, then someone else. If no one ever described it, it would still be responsible for incredible variety of plant and animal life we see around us.


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