Outreach directors at the federally funded National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) were disturbed that many Americans remain skeptical of evolution. They decided to help rural communities overcome fear and ignorance by letting them meet some real evolutionary scientists.
One of them, Craig McClain, says, “All of us know that despite no shortage of evidence of evolution in the world around us, the concept remains controversial. Just under half of Americans believe the theory of evolution is not supported by any confirmed facts,” and a shocking “42% of the public also believes the theory of evolution conflicts with their religious views.”
While NESCent is eager to teach the public “how to be good scientific citizens,” they are particularly concerned about teachers. Saying that “many public high school biology teachers may be overly cautious in advocating for evolutionary biology,” NESCent directors cite lack of sufficient understanding, fear of controversy, and even disbelief as the causes of the problem.
Citing an article1 which refers to people who do not accept evolution as “yokels and morons,” NESCent assistant director McClain expresses concern that anti-evolutionists will use the political process to advance “anti-science agendas.” Many team members feared persecution, having “never immersed [themselves] in the culture wars that surround the field.” The teams attended workshops and role-played to learn how to give convincing answers. And they assured school officials and community leaders that they had no religious or atheist agenda.
A belief that the Bible is the Word of God with authority over our lives starting from its very first verse is irreconcilable with evolution.
But the evolutionary worldview really is a religion. It is a faith based on acceptance of things which cannot be seen or tested. Facts of science are always viewed through the bias of the human observer. The facts of science are not in conflict with a biblical worldview, and creationists are not anti-science. But an evolutionary worldview is predicated on the idea that human beings can determine what is true and right. A belief that the Bible is the Word of God with authority over our lives starting from its very first verse is irreconcilable with evolution.
The culture war is real because what people believe about their origins affects how they live. Were you created by and answerable to a God who loves you? Or are you an insignificant product of random processes? Do you accept God’s version of the truth, or NESCent’s? We each must decide.
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