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Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Coffee Hour at Street Prophets. This is an open thread where we can discuss what’s happening in our lives, what we’ve been working on, and our opinions on current events. As a starting point, I thought we’d begin with the concept of biological evolution, a concept which is controversial only in American politics, but not among biologists.

With regard to the acceptance of the theory of evolution among scientists, Samir Okasha, in his book Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction, writes:

“So persuasive was the evidence Darwin adduced for his theory that by the start of the 20th century it was accepted as scientific orthodoxy.”
Scientists today accept evolution as fact.

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that about one-third of all Americans do not believe in evolution. Among Evangelical Protestants, nearly two-thirds believe that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. On the other hand, more than two-thirds of all Catholics believe in evolution.

The Catholic Church has supported the study of evolution. Pope Pius XII defended evolution in the encyclical Humani Generis, published in 1950. He stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation. Pope John Paul had reaffirmed the legitimacy of evolution and has pointed out that additional data and theory have placed the factuality of evolution beyond reasonable doubt.

With regard to political affiliation, about two-thirds of Democrats and Independents believe in evolution, while less than half of the Republicans believe in evolution. There are no political parties in other countries that use opposition to evolution as a part of its political platform.

Thomas Dixon, in his book Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction, writes:

“American politicians who deny the truth of the theory of evolution and advocate the teaching of a religiously motivated concept of ‘Intelligent Design’ in schools do not do so for scientific reasons. They do so, rather, to send a signal—to indicate their general support for Christianity, their opposition to excessively secularist interpretations of the Constitution, and their hostility to naturalistic and materialistic world views.”
Some Evangelical Protestants have been attempting to introduce Intelligent Design or Creation Science as an alternative to evolution in science classes. In 1987, the Supreme Court ruled that Creation Science is not science, but religion. This has not stopped the religious right from continuing to have it taught in public schools.

Samir Okasha writes:

“…virtually all professional biologists regard creation science as a sham—a dishonest and misguided attempt to promote religious beliefs under the guise of science, with extremely harmful educational consequences.”
How do you feel about teaching evolution or Intelligent Design in public schools?

This is an open thread. Feel free to change the subject and talk about whatever is on your mind. As always, what’s for dinner?

Originally posted to Street Prophets on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 01:06 PM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech and Holy $h*tters.

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