February 12, 2009

Darwinism is Not a Religion

Charles DarwinImage by Colin Purrington via Flickr

Why is it that people even refer to "Darwinism" in the first place? Nobody calls those of us who believe in gravity "Newtonians," or...well, you get the point. The word "Darwinism" is nothing more than a weak attempt by creationists or those who have been misled by creationists to disparage evolution. They know that opposing the foundation of modern biology is likely to raise questions about their grasp on reality, so they manufacture controversy and pretend that evolutionary theory, which they equate with Darwin, is somehow controversial. It does not bother them that evolution is not controversial in the scientific community. They are quite content to ignore facts that get in the way of their religious beliefs. And their worst accusation of all...that we who accept the reality of evolution are just like them (i.e., religious).

Darwin was tremendously influential, and his fingerprints remain all over modern biology. Along with his predecessors, he gave us concepts without which contemporary biological sciences could not exist (e.g., natural selection). His lasting contributions deserve respect and admiration. In fact, if I may be so bold as to suggest it, they deserve to be taught in science classrooms across the world.

But if there is one thing Darwin was not, it is divine. There is nothing magic, sacred, or holy about his theory. It is firmly grounded in reality and has the full strength of science behind it. Darwin provided us with a scientific theory, not a religion.

Those who accept the reality of evolution go by many names - "scientists," "informed consumers of science," "educated people," etc. Calling them "Darwinists" does little more than shine a spotlight on the idiocy of the speaker.

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