Reply to Christian Fundamentalists
about the teaching of Evolution

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Introduction

I began seriously researching the subject of evolution in the 1980s. I wrote a song in 1991 about the tremendous amount of scientific evidence for evolution, and I wrote an informative speech for a college class in 1997 about the teaching of evolution in public schools. After ten more years of additional research, thought, and discussion on this subject, I see more reason to stand by what I said now than I did when I wrote them.

Every so often I get into extended correspondence on this subject with someone who tries to tell me that there is no evidence for evolution, or that evolution is just as much a religious belief as creationism is, or that creationism is just as much science as evolution is, and therefore evolution should either be banned from the classroom or creationism should be given equal time. When this happens, I carefully reexamine what I believe and why, and also investigate what they believe and why.

If you have specific questions about the creation / evolution controversy, I recommend you check The Talk Origins Archive. It has a FAQ (frequently asked questions list), search features to browse their archive, an index, a site map etc. They even include links to the most well-known Creationist websites.


Evolution is also a fact, not “only a theory,” and there is much misunderstanding among the general public about this.

The following sentence is the description in the search engines for Evolution is a Fact and a Theory by Laurence Moran.

Biologists consider evolution to be a fact in much the same way that physicists do so for gravity.

Asking someone if they “believe” in evolution is just as ridiculous as asking if they “believe” in gravity or electricity. A more accurate question is to ask whether or not they accept the fact that evolution occurs. For further thoughts on this matter, I recommend reading Do You Believe in Evolution? and Is the Theory of Evolution Really a Matter of Faith?


There is no scientific debate about whether or not evolution happened, only in the details of the mechanisms involved.

So-called “Creation Scientists” (an oxymoron, by the way) are fond of quoting scientists out of context to misrepresent their views. This is called “quote mining.” I'd like to quote Quote Mine Project: Examining “Evolution Quotes” of Creationists regarding the way Creationists misquote scientists:

…every single one of the quotes so far checked do say that evolution is correct, and that what we see is consistent with it. All of them. You can dance around this issue all you like, but it is still a lie, and an egregious one.


If evolution is true, then isn't the whole Bible wrong?

This section is lifted verbatim from Warren Kurt von Roeschlaub in his essay God and Evolution.

First let me repeat that the underlying theme of the first book of Genesis can't be scientifically proven or disproven. No test has ever been found that can tell the difference between a universe created by God, and one that appeared without Him. Only certain interpretations of Genesis can be disproven.

Second, let us turn the question around. What if I asked you “If the story of the prodigal son didn't really happen, then is the whole Bible wrong?” Remember that the Bible is a collection of both stories and historical accounts . Because one part is a figurative story does not make the entire Bible so. Even if it did, the underlying message of the Bible would remain.


What about “Intelligent Design?”

Evolution, one of many interesting pages on the “Assertive Atheism” website, is an informative but highly offensive (if you are a Christian) page about this controversy. This page includes details of the 2005 court case in Dover, Pennsylvania about the teaching of “Intelligent Design” in public schools.

…in , the forces of this dishonest and anti-constitutional effort were dealt a brutal, stinging, humiliating, and far-reaching defeat from a Republican judge in the US District Court in Pennsylvania. In the decision, the judge essentially called the creationists liars and called ID a “breathtaking inanity”.

The text of the court decision and some transcripts of the trial are on the “Talk Origins” website at Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District Intelligent Design case. In 2007, the PBS science show NOVA broadcast an episode about the Dover case called Intelligent Design on Trial. You can view the program and read a transcript of the show at that web page.