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Evolutionists vs. Creationists

cevans's picture

       Ernst Mayr seems very disdainful of creationists and their opposition of evolution in his book What Evolution Is. He makes it very apparent to the reader that he believes their claims have no proof to back them up and in his list of books that would prove that they are wrong we have such unbiased sounding titles as Niles Eldredge’s The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism as well as Philip Kitcher’s Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism. Why are these titles so harsh? It is because on the other side of the divide the creationists are just as stubborn. Philip Kitcher says that creationists are abusing science but Paul Abramson the editor of says that evolutionists are abusing science. The animosity these groups hold for each other is astounding and due to the opposite nature of their beliefs I wondered if it were possible for the two groups to co-exist. I believe that the answer to my question is a provisional yes. I do not believe that these groups need to publish entire books that are poorly veiled attacks on the opposing side. I believe that evolutionists and creationists could co-exist if they were willing to listen to each others points and agree to disagree on certain others.

      I think that a problem between evolutionists and creationists rises from the fact that neither listens to each other closely enough. The two groups do both hold certain beliefs. The creationists on and many others believe in speciation. Their reasons for this belief supplement the fossil and DNA evidence with Noah’s Ark but it is a slight similarity. evolutionists usually choose to attack the belief in Noah’s Ark because they believe it to be a weak link in the creationists ideas. The idea of all animals in the world all fitting on one boot during a flood that covers the entire Earth does sound a little difficult, but it sounds this way even to the creationists. While people who believe in evolution are attacking this belief the creationists are finding it to be good evidence for speciation. They claim that Noah took pairs of all the ancestral animals on the ark and after the flood species diversity could occur again.  This doesn’t exactly fit in with the theory of evolution but it is a similarity between the two ideas. If the two groups really wanted to get along the evolutionists could stop deriding a belief that leads some creationists to accepting a part of evolutionary thinking.  

       There are a lot of misconceptions on both sides of the argument; both groups use evidence provided by the other side completely out of context to prove how ridiculous the other side’s beliefs are. Many creationists use science and scientific findings in very unscientific ways to prove their claims, such as and their use of statistical analysis to prove that protein ratios in living creatures defied the laws of chance and must therefore be the product of an intelligent creator. This fails to take into account the whole fitness for survival concept of evolutionary biology. It in fact fails to take into account almost anything that makes sense. Just because statistically there should be greater variety in living organism’s whether or not that variety was conducive to life must also be taken into account. The mechanisms of life are such that even though it is random at the beginning at the end there is a pattern because not everything survives. This argument stems from creationists latching onto the idea that evolution is random and taking it far more literally than it should be just as evolutionists do with the idea of the Ark and the flood being caused by the rain.

      Much of the animosity these two groups hold towards each other is due to misunderstandings between the two groups. Although these two doctrines seem opposite and indeed one cannot truly believe in both at the same time I see no reason why the two groups could not co-exist if each group would listen to the other without preconceived notions or prejudice.  Both groups abuse the other’s evidence and belief system to fit their opinions. Instead of letting the observations form the story they force the observations to fit the story. If both sides would stop being so concerned about which story was more true and instead focused more on learning from the other stories then they could coexist. I believe that the stories of evolution and creation can and do coexist for some people. It is the preconceived notions of the people involved and not the stories that prevent this coexistence.  


Paul Grobstein's picture

Why can't we all just get along?

I share your feeling that it would be preferable "if both sides would stop being so concerned about which story was more true and instead focused on learning from the other stories" (cf /reflections/pubintell/conversation.html and /biology/evolution/grobstein.html). And I think you're on the right track in suggesting that one could proceed from points of agreement rather than attack (are you sure though that Noah's ark is actually a root of diversity? I assumed all organisms were already on board). The intriguing question that this raises though is why don't the two groups do that? What are the "preconceived notions" that get in the way? And why do they have such powerful effects?