Evolution—a short guide for the perplexed

Evolution—a short guide for the perplexed
Bruce Craven, October 2008


Some people ‘believe in’ evolution, as if it were a religion. Some conclude from it that predatory human behaviour (‘winner takes all’) is justified. Some say that, because mutations are random, there can be no purpose or meaning in the world, or ourselves. Some strongly disbelieve in evolution because it conflicts with an interpretation of a sacred text. All these are serious distortions of a scientific theory.
Note that ‘theory’ means a coherent set of ideas, with substantial evidence to support them. It does NOT mean a dodgy conjecture, with little to back it.
It is a big misunderstanding to put evolution in that dodgy class. Nonetheless, evolution includes a whole package of ideas, and they are not all equally supported by evidence. No one need swallow a whole package without considering its various ingredients.
The sacred text mentioned (Genesis) is worthy of respect. But it has been interpreted quite differently, in ancient times (long before our current disputes) as well as now. A literal six-day creation of a ‘young earth’ is not the only tenable interpretation.

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