In yesterday's CommonDreams, Sean Gonsalves has an excellent article on the current state of the debate between evolution and creationism. (I can't even believe I just wrote that sentence — what year is this?!)
A federal lawsuit has been filed against a biologist at the world-famous Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution by a zebra fish researcher named Nathaniel Abraham, alleging his civil rights were violated when he was fired because his belief in creationism.Yes, a researcher is suing a biologist over his beliefs in creationism. (Ironically, this researcher studies zebra fish, pictured above, which are featured in a UC Berkeley article from the series "Understanding Evolution." I guess he didn't go to Berkeley.)
Gonsalves points out that the current strategy of creationists such as the one in this case seems to be to "insert skepticism" about evolution into the public arena, since their outright dismissal of evolution on religious grounds has been thrown out numerous courts. And as often happens in these types of passionate debates, facts are being manipulated and twisted to fit the arguers needs:
The evolution vs. creationism debate may be an unavoidable political fight but much more relevant and revealing is what many evolution-believing secular conservatives and evolution-denying religious conservatives have in common: a belief in social Darwinism.I encourage you to read the rest of Gonsalves' article here. With the rise in the polls of social conservatives like Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, it's imperative that we know (1) the facts about evolution theory, and (2) where these social conservatives would take us on their journey down creationist lane.
A popular misconception is that Darwin coined the phrase “survival of the fittest.” Actually, Darwin’s thang was “natural selection,” which turns out to involve lots of cooperation.
The origin of “survival of the fittest” can be traced to British philosopher Herbert Spencer, who had an illustrious career justifying racism and imperialism with his pseudo-science 50 years after Darwin published The Origin of the Species.
Spencer bastardized Darwin’s theory and attempted to apply his misunderstanding of evolution to politics and economics. Thus began a political tradition in this country that has reached its apogee today, in which public policy is seen as a vehicle to prevent the weak from being “parasites” on the “fit.”
So while science battles evolution-opponents, I’m trying to understand a conservative political species that opposes evolution on religious grounds while supporting social Darwinism on the political and economic grounds.