Why does the apple fall from the tree to the ground?
The 325 year old law of gravity explains it.
In science, a law is a theory that has been proven, without a shadow of a doubt.
A century and a half after Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution, it remains a theory.
It hasn’t been proven, despite vast excavations for fossils or amazing advances in unlocking the building blocks of life through chemistry and magnification.
Currently, we have a new legislative challenge to teaching evolution as fact in Virginia schools. (State Delegate Richard “Dickie” Bell (R) pre-filed House Bill 207.)
It’s a social and philosophical tug-of-war as old as Darwin’s theory.
Even Darwin himself, 155 years ago, wondered why there are no transitional fossils – missing links – between not only man and ape but between dog and cats, fish and amphibian.
In fact, all the animals alive today can be found in the most distant fossil records, although many have slowly changed over time to adapt to changing environments.
But nothing showing one species turning into another.
And yet, this theory of evolution is considered a law by many. It’s often taught in schools as a law. It is widely believed as a law.
Typically, anyone who doesn’t believe it is branded as a religious kook or an idiot.
Richard Neves, a Virginia Tech professior emeritus, has long fought this battle, despite being a nationally recognized scientist with an expertise in mussels.
“Those who are in charge of science in this country,” he said in a telephone interview, “from the National Academy of Sciences on down, they will not allow alternative hypothesis to be presented because their philosophical view is as strong as their scientific view.”
Almost religious in nature?
“It is,” Neves replied. “ . . . just as strong as any other typical religion we can think of. . . they need to have a more open mind and look at the lack of evidence that does not support the neo-Darwinian theory.”
I’ll be that kook too. (Something I’m sure many of you had concluded long ago.) The holes in the theory are just too glaring.
Me, I have a bachelor of science in biology, and have a lifelong fascination with this study of life.
I am constantly amazed at the absolute certainty of peole who, armed with maybe one high school biology class, believe so completely and passionatey in the theory that man evolved from apes.
Of course, there is a lot of scientific support for the theory we can find in gene maps, embryos and hair, scales and fingernails.
But no proof. We might yet find it under the oceans, or in a microscope slide.
But until then, why do so many cling so passionately to this theory?
You see the Darwin bumper stickers, the Darwin dog eating the creationism fish, and vice-versa.
Why – I mean, really – why are we set up in a simple, linear cultural war over this? On one side we have the creationists, on the other the evolutonaries . . . tonight – a fight to the death!
Why just those two choices?
Darwin reportedly commented about the religious-like passion of those clinging to his theory shortly before his death..
There are those who say – with some accuracy – that it takes as much faith to believe in Darwinism as it does a divine creator.
Me, I have no idea what the answer is.
I don’t think a Biblical creationism should be taught in science classes.
I just wish evolution was taught as a theory – with some pretty glaring holes - instead of a law, and leave the door wide open for other possibilities so students could ponder where we come from and the resulting larger question: why are we here?
Ask yourself – why is it so important for you to believe in evolution?
Why are these words making many of you so angry? (Please spend a moment examining the actual knowledge you have on this subject and measure that against your passion of your conviction. Take a breath. C’mon, a nice big one.)
Does the theory of evolution make you feel safe? Does it afford you a fairly straightforward explanation for this thing called life, as direct and mathematical as explaining why the apple falls?
Maybe, just maybe, there’s something else – something we haven’t thought about, something we may not even be capable of thinking about.
What that is, I have no idea.
But one thing is for certain . . . we won’t find it if we’re not looking for it.